Google+ Badge

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Solar power - Growth in production

In the last 3 to 5 years the cost of production of solar energy has come at par with traditional sources of energy. It is the reason why we are now able to see the exponential rise in solar energy production across the globe. 

The world leader in solar power production is Germany. Germany has installed around 39 gigawatts of solar power. During the year 2010,2011 and 2012 -- Germany annually installed 7 Gigawatts of solar power per annum. 

However recent data indicates that China has just surpassed Germany with an installed solar power capacity of 43.2 gigawatts. In 2011 China added 2.5 GW, in 2012 5 GW, in 2013 9.5 GW, in 2014 10.56 GW and in 2015 15.13 GW of solar power capacity was installed in China. 

In India where the installed solar power capacity was only 160 MW in 2010, today we have over 5 GW of Solar Power. In the last one year approximately 2.5 GW of solar power installation has been done in India and this will go up. 

So since the time prices of solar panels came to a reasonable level, countries around the world including India are tapping into the the vast amounts of available solar energy. India in particular gets tremendous amount of sunlight and in the future will be one of the biggest producers of solar power. 

This above numbers tell us why the prices of crude oil has come down. India gets far greater amounts of sunlight than Germany. India should produce more solar power than Germany.With development of cheaper and better energy storage technologies like ultra capacitors, people would start moving off grid, they would generate their own electricity. 

Solar power can potentially save our planet from all the pollution that is generated by combustion of fossil fuels. One just hopes that the exponential growth in production of solar power and installation of solar power plants across the world continues, along with increase in utilization of more energy efficient electrical appliances. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The future of space exploration

3D printers can make complex objects. In the future this technology will definitely improve, now let us imagine this, we have robot of the future which is capable of 3D printing and this robot which is way more intelligent than current robots, is able to 3D print its own replica. This robot is more intelligent than the robots we have today, the robots of the future are going to be self learning systems, they would learn from their own experience, just like us. 

So we launch a robotic spacecraft and the robot goes to a distant planet. With the materials available there it creates its replica. It designs and creates machines along with other newly made robots. This machines are able to extract resources from the planet like fuel, iron ore etc. The machines are used to build factories and more machines are made by the robots to build better processors and increase memory to upgrade themselves and build spacecraft to come back to earth. 

In the future it would be possible to have powerful robots like these that can bring an asteroid near the earth's orbit and set its orbit. They can build a factory in space that would produce different material sourced from asteroids and other planets. The will send us whatever products we need by producing them in those space factories. The source of energy for them would be solar power that they would harness from the sun. 

Robots are going to be our future exploration devices. Currently scientists in NASA are working on a technology that would use lasers to accelerate a spacecraft to very high speeds. The energy that is produced from solar energy is used to create the laser beams that would the be focused on a sail of the spacecraft. 

Each photon that bounces off the sail would impart some momentum to spacecraft. When a very huge number of them bounce off the the sail a significant amount of acceleration is generated. When the spacecraft is accelerated over great lengths of time very high speeds can be generated. 

According to NASA scientist Philip Lubin the spacecraft can go as fast as 30% of the speed of light.  He says that with this technology a 100 kilo spacecraft will reach Mars in 3 days. This technology will also cut the propellant requirement. Currently a space launch vehicle's mass at launch time is 70% propellant. Propellant not only comprises of fuel but it also has oxidiser since there is no oxygen in space. 

So it is clear that in the future better propulsion technology along with robotonics, artificial intelligence, faster data transfer and 3D printing will determine our future of space exploration.

With these technologies it would be possible for us to build planets that would have the same rotational path of earth, the raw materials for the planets will be sourced by these robots from astreiods and other distant planets, these planets will be new homes for humans in the future. The only thing we need to make sure is that we should not let robots take over us. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Human Evolution

Human beings are intelligent thinking beings. Our brains have evolved our millions of years of evolution. Life evolved on earth beginning from a single cell organism to complex organisms like us. When we use the term complex organism it does not necessarily mean biggest in term of physical size. The largest organisms ever to walk on this planet were dinosaurs that were as heavy as 60 to 100 tonnes and measured over 50 meters in length. In terms of size we are 1000 times smaller than them.

However their brains were much smaller than us. They were nowhere near our level of mental development. No other animal comes even close to human beings when it comes to the ability to think, create, imagine, design, feel, express etc. No other animals makes tools for themselves except the humans. 

Humans have evolved rapidly. Just around 10,000 years ago most humans used to live in jungle and they would hunt animals to feed themselves. At that time the tools they had were weapons made of stone and wood. With the rapidly developing brain they discovered that by sowing seeds of plants in the ground they can make the plants grow at places they want. This reduced human dependence on hunting for food and human beings started agriculture. 

As they practised agriculture they started sowing the best seeds that they can find. Selective breeding is responsible for many of the food stuff that we eat today, you can go to this link and find how some of the commonly used grains, vegetable and fruits looked a few centuries ago and how selective breeding done by us has changed them. 

From building simple tools for self usage, humans developed more complex tools. Beginning with simple machines humans were able to develop more and more complex machines that would run on power provided by humans or animals. Then later on windmill and waterwheel were made, which ran on wind and flowing water. 

After that development in science and technology led to discovery of the power of steam and humans started using steam, it was made by boiling water using coal. Steam was used to drive different machinery and locomotives. After that electricity was discovered and it was generated in enough quantity to power homes and industry, the steam engines were replaced by machinery running on electricity.

Similarly giant advances were made in electronics, computer science and information technology. This lead to entire world being better connected. Just 20 years ago one had to rely on letter to communicate with people living overseas. Land line telephones were there but call rates back then were prohibitively expensive. Today thanks to the internet people living on any part of the globe can instantly communicate with each other using various free video conferencing services available on the internet. It costs nothing except one needs to pay his monthly broadband bill.

Human intelligence is constantly expanding and it is expanding at a very fast rate. The rate of innovation and invention has gone up. For humans evolution is not about physical growth, it is not about becoming dinosaurs or becoming bigger than dinosaurs. But if you observe human behaviour it is always guided by his curiosity in nature. Our desire to know about the various aspects of nature leads to discoveries. It also leads to increase in knowledge and using this knowledge we are able to make different tools, vehicles, machines etc. 

Above all animals humans have this quest of knowledge that makes him stand apart from all other animals on earth. In the future humans will be the first and only organisms from planet earth that would make homes in other planets. Maybe by then we would have developed technology to genetically modify ourselves to beings who can exist in any condition. 

Human knowledge and innovation can do things that one can't even imagine.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Number Systems


Decimal Numbers

In practice we use a number system called decimal number system. In the decimal number system there are 10 numbers that we use 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Using this ten numbers we can show any decimal value that we want to. Consider the number 251, we can describe it as
251= 2X(10^2)+5X(10^1)+1X(10^0) =(2X100)+(5X10)+10X1=200+50+1



So you can see that as we move from right to left in a number, for each position the power increases by one. Let us consider a few more examples
62= (6X10^2)+(2X10^0)=60+2
7821=7X(10^3)+8X(10^2)+2X(10^1)+(1X10^0)=7000+800=20+1.



Other number systems

In addition to the decimal number system there can be multiple different types of number system depending on number of literals that we want to use to describe a number.

In the hexadecimal number system in addition to the then literals 0...9 we also use the literals a,b,c,d,e,f. For the decimal number system this numbers correspond to a=10, b=11, c=12, d=13, e=14, f=15.

So (f)16=(15)10

If we want to convert a hexadecimal number to a decimal number, the method we need to follow is this:-

Consider and hexadecimal number (f2a)16 . Now let us convert this number into a decimal number

aX16^0+2X16^1+fX16^2

Now we know that a=10 and f=15. Hence the above equation becomes:

10X1+2X16+15X256=10+32+3840=3882.

Now to convert 3882 back to its hexadecimal form this what we will do.

16)3882(242
32
68
64
42
32
10

Reminder 10=f

16)242(15
240
2
Reminder 2

16)15(0
00
15
reminder 15=f

so the hexadecimal number become (f2a)16

In this way we can create any number system that we want to. We can even use an octadecimal number system by just increasing two more number, we can denote them as g and h, where g=16 and h=17.

Computers that we use today process the numbers as binary digits 0 or 1.

The decimal 5 is expressed as 101. Similarly (7)10=(111)2

Suppose there is a binary number 11001, this is how we find its decimal value.

We will move from right to left and keep increasing the power of 2 for each position. So
11001=1X2^0+0X2^1+0X2^2+1X2^3+1X2^4=1+0+0+8+16=25.

(11001)2=(25)10





Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pycrete

If you live in a location where you have lots of ice all year round then you can try mixing water with sawdust and then freeze the mixture. The proportion should be 86% water by weight and 14% sawdust by weight. Which means that if you want 1 kg of the mixture you need to mix 140 grams of sawdust with 860 grams of water. When the mixture freezes the product you will get is almost as hard as concrete, it is called Pycrete. 

Pycrete is much harder than ice and it melts much slower than ice. On a hot summer day 1 cubic foot ice can melt into water in an hour. However a block of pycrete of equivalent size will take many days to melt.

It also takes more time to freeze the water and sawdust mixture to make Pycrete. The reason why Pycrete melts slowly and also why pycrete forms at a slower rate as compared to ice  is due to presence of wood particles, wood is a bad conductor of heat. In parts of the world where there is snow all around the year, people can use structures created out of Pycrete.

If we want to create man made structures in Antarctica, we can very well use Pycrete to create replicas of structures like Taj Mahal, Pyramids, Sphinx, White House etc out of Pycrete, since the temperature in Antarctica always remains below freezing point this structures will never melt. 

In Antarctica people can replace ice with Pycrete to build igloos. Their homes will be stronger because Pycrete is stronger as compared to ice. 

Pycrete was named after Geoffrey Pyke, an English journalist and an inventor. During the second world war he and his team discovered the properties of a frozen mixture of water and sawdust. He wanted to build a giant aircraft carrier out of pycrete, however the project never took off. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Graphene

All of us have used pencil for writing. The pencil's lead contains graphite. The molecular structure of graphite has one carbon atom bonded to three other carbon atoms in one plane, forming an hexagonal array of carbon atoms per layer(Figure). Layer after layers of such planes are stacked over one another and each carbon atom, the forces between the layers are weak, that's why they are quite slippery and used in pencils. 

So when we write using the pencil, some layers are deposited on the paper. However till recently it was difficult to separate a single layer. Hence we were not able to extract graphene for a long period of time. 

Now that we have graphene, we have discovered wonderful properties processed by it. It is a superconductor which means it conducts electricity with very little resistance. It is 100 times stronger than steel. 

Scientists are looking forward to use Graphene as the material for supercapacitor. The supercapacitor will replace lithium ion batteries in the future and the would charge up very fast. The supercapacitors will be cheaper and provide an ideal energy storage solution for electric cars, offgrid solar powered homes etc. 

Honeycomb Lattice of Graphene.

Scientists are exploring ways to do different things with graphene according to this article, scientists have managed to make lens from graphene so thin that its thickness is 300 times less than the thickness of paper. With this lens it is possible to have data communications at the speed of light. 

This lens can also be used in nanosatellites that would reduce weight and focus better on earth. The lens weighs about 1 microgram. 

Microprocessors made from silicon and germanium have almost reached their highest possible clock speeds. Increasing clockspeed of microprocessors will result in heating and melting of the tiny circuits. In the future graphene is expected to solve this problem. Microprocessors made from graphene will not melt, even at very high clock speeds. So we can have even more faster processors in the future. 

Recently researchers at University of Glasgow have produced the material at a 100 times lesser cost, making graphene cheaper and increasing its potential usage in different different feilds . Scientists have also made a nanometre thick graphene film. It can absorb 95% of the light incident on it, making it the most light absorbent material on earth. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Gravitational Waves Discovered

Dr Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity showed how space becomes wrapped around a physical body. The more massive the object,the greater is the space- time curve. He also predicted when two black holes merged or if there was a supernova explosion, it would generate gravitational waves, similar to the effect that is created when a hammer hits a bell. 

The theoretical prediction of gravitational waves had existed for about a hundred years. It is only now that physicists at LIGO(Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory) have got evidence of gravitational waves.

The LIGO laboratory works by bouncing laser beams  back and forth along two 4 km long tubes. It allows physicists to observe very minute disturbances in space time. On 14 September last year they picked up a large change in their laboratory in Louisiana. After a gap of 7 milliseconds, they made a similar observation at their laboratory in Hanford, Washington. 


Gravitational
Source - LIGO
For months physicists rigorously studied this signals to verify if they were something else. On February 11th LIGO made the announcement of the discovery. Thus Dr Einstein's last prediction has now been conclusively proved. Indeed what a great scientist he was. 

The gravitational waves travel at the speed of light. The gravitational waves observed at LIGO is said to have originated 1.3 billion years ago due to the merging of two black holes. Now it remains to be seen how we utilize gravitational waves in the future. The discovery of x-rays, electromagnetic waves etc, had tremendouly influenced our lives. Let's hope gravitational waves does the same. 

How two inventions made Middle East rich

Some of the biggest requirements for human beings are transport, electricity and plastics. In ancient times horses did the job of transportation also electricity and plastics did not exist. However with horses the speed of transportation was slow. Humanity needed a faster means of transport.

The field of transportation changed with the invention of the external combustion engine or the Steam Engine by James Watt. The steam engine not only brought railways to the world but it also drove the machinery during the industrial revolution.

However the steam engine was not very efficient. It had an efficiency of around 10%, which meant a large amount of coal was required to generate very little electricity. The external combustion engine working on steam were very heavy.

The existence of petroleum was known for a long time. However during the industrial revolution the process of distillation of petroleum into different constituent compounds was developed.

In the 1860s for the first the internal combustion engine came into existence. The internal combustion engine ran on diesel or petrol(for US readers gasoline). It was far more efficient as compared to the steam engines and it was much lighter as well.

The internal combustion engine became the engine that drove automobiles on road. The horse carraiges were now replaced by cars, buses and motorcycle. Also generators running on internal combustion engines were used to provide electricity at various places.

Plastics and other synthetic materials made from petroleum were discovered and its uses increased. Plastics provided an economical replacement to goods made from metals and wood.

The demand of petroleum increased due to the increase in use of internal combustion engine and plastics . More and more oil wells were dug up across the globe but the demand kept increasing.

The middle east comprising of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran etc are countries located in a part of the world that is all desert. Hardly any vegetation grew here. But once upon a time, a few million years ago these area were under sea. Hence for a long period of time fossils of aquatic animals were under the land under high pressure which lead to the formation of massive amounts of petroleum.

As oil was discovered in this areas. Countries around the world made a beeline to buy oil from this nations. Since petroleum in this countries were in plenty they simply sold the oil and became rich. This is the secret behind the wealth of Arab nations.

It is not a wealth that they have generated by their hard work, but it is due to the hard work of the researchers who invented the internal combustion engine, plastics and other synthetic products - that can be made economically from petroleum.

The various buildings you see in Jeddah, Dubai or Doha are made by European or US companies. Most of the infrastructure is built by companies from US and Europe. The Shaikhs only gave their approvals to the designs and plans. Without oil this nations don't have any value at all.







Monday, February 8, 2016

How images and videos are seen

We say we see through our eyes. But what our eyes can sense is a particular spectrum of electromagnetic waves that has a wavelength of 4000 to 7000 Angstrom units. This spectrum is known as the visible light.

The colors that we can perceive fall in certain frequency range. Kindly note that frequency and wavelength are inversely proportional to each other. The lesser the frequency the higher is the wavelength and as the wavelength increases the frequency decreases.

 In the visible spectrum at the lower end of the wavelength there is violet color that has a frequency range between 3800 Angstrom units to 4200 Angstrom units. While at the higher end there is red with a wavelength range between 6200 Angstrom units to 7500 Angstrom units. The wavelengths of other colors fall between violet and red.

Now you might have noted that when you mix two different colors a new color is generated. Example is when you mix red and blue in equal proportions you get the color yellow. It happens because of the net effect of particles emitting red and blue color. The resultant frequency that the eye perceives is an average of the wavelength of the two different colors. Now Red, Green and Blue are primary colors. The other colors that we can perceive are generated by combining this three colors in different proportions.

This feature of colors is used in our LCD, LED and CRT displays. The images that we get are divided into tiny units called pixels. You might have heard about the term resolution 320x240 pixels, 640X480 pixels and so on. Each pixel comprises of many dots which are physically designed in the LED screen.

Now for each pixel some color is stored in the memory. Now the question arises : How this information is stored in the memory? Well, each primary color is assigned a byte of memory, so it can have values starting from 0 to 255.

This is better explained in this link, over there you can see that every color is denoted as an RGB(R=red, G= Green, B= Blue). The numbers are denoted in hexadecimal integers. In this link you can combine the colors in different proportions and see the results for yourself. If you are using Fedora Operating System in your computer, open the System Monitor, you have the option to change the color of the graph lines, when you try to change the colors you can see how different colors have different RGB combinations.

There are over 17 million different possible combinations, as you would have seen in the link when R=255, G=255, B=255 or #ffffff, the resultant color would be white or when R=0,G=0,B=0 or #000000, the color is black. This pixels placed one after another showing different colors create an image on the screen.

You would have noticed that the images are stored in your computer or mobile in jpg or png format. You would have also noticed that png format would hog a lot more space than jpg format. It is because of the compression algorithms of the format. When same colored pixels happen to be adjacent to each other they are encoded in a way that would save lot of space. It would just contain information that particular array of pixels have the same color.

If there was no compression then a 640X480 pixel image would hog 900Kilobytes of space. However normally 640X480 image does not take more than 100 kilobytes in jpg format.

Compressing an image is vital since that not only saves memory but also it would be easier to transport the file over slow networks. The video that we see is a set of images shown one after another. When 24 images are shown one after another in one second, it gives the human eye a sense of continuous motion. 

In video files instead of saving one frame after another, changes in the previous frame are saved. This makes videos much lighter. The most commonly used video format these days are mp4 and webm. Other formats are mpeg, flv, 3gp, avi etc. 




Sunday, February 7, 2016

Free Software and Android

Free Software Benefits:-

1) The user has access to the source code of the software.

2) The user has the freedom to modify and distribute the software.

3) Because of the freedom to modify the software. The user can customise the software as per his/her need. Now practically speaking in case of corporations, they would have some specific requirements, they can go to a software company get the software modified as per their requirements. 

4) Many Free Software projects are community projects. People from all around the world contribute code, graphics, fonts etc to the software. With proprietary software only the company that made the software can modify it.

GNU/LINUX is an example of free software. Richard Stallman started the GNU project to build a Unix like FREE operating system. In eight years the software was almost ready except for a vital component of the software called the Kernel. A Finnish computer science student Linus Trovalds built a monolithic kernel for the GNU operating system and decided to release it under the GNU/GPL license.

Since the GNU/LINUX operating system is a free software. Developers from all around the world work on it, modify its code and create newer versions of the software. While you have only one distribution of Macintosh and Windows operating system. With GNU/LINUX, you have hundreds of different distributions available.

In reality when it comes to software. Governments around the world must make laws that compels developers to share the code of the software if they want to sell the software to people. 

With proprietary software it is possible to build back doors in the software to track user activity, since the source code is not available to the users it is not possible to verify. 

Today smartphones and tablets have overtaken computer as the most used people's computing device. The most popular operating system in these devices is the Google's Android operating system. While Google does release the source code of the Android operating system. It does contain proprietary device drivers. However the Android Operating system is relatively more free than Windows and Macintosh. 

The kernel of the Android Operating System is a modified version of the Linux Kernel. So Free Software Movement has contributed to Android development. 

Android Architecture

There are many other commonly used software that have come out of Free software projects. The freedom and opportunity to collaborate and co-operate provided by Free Software will win over proprietary software. Free software is here to stay and it will continue to grow. 
     

Friday, February 5, 2016

Importance of Research

Hormones are chemicals that are produced in different organs that control the various functions of the body. There is gland called pituitary at the base of the brain. The gland is very small, but it is an extremely important gland. It produces growth hormones that controls the growth of the body. 

The gland is so important that in the skull it is protected by four bones to avoid any damage to the organ. There are people who grow exceptionally tall and also keep growing taller after 21. It is found that this is caused due to tumour in the pituitary gland, that results in overproduction of growth hormone. 

Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. It is an extremely important hormone. It plays a vital role in the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body. The absence of the this hormone leads to diabetes. Diabetes was once so dangerous that before the invention of insulin, occurrence of diabetes meant death. 

After the discovery the insulin, the challenge was to extract the hormone. The pancreas produces digestive juices, Fredrick Banting figured out that if the pancreatic duct was blocked then the parts of pancreas that produced this juices would stop functioning and then one would be left with insulin. This was tried on a dog, and insulin was extracted from the pancreas of the dog.

The dog was kept alive for a few months with the extract. Later the experiment was tried on calves, whose pancreas were not completely developed yet. The got positive results. Then they purified the extract and went for their first clinical trial.  

This insulin was tried on a patient Leonard Thompson. He was admitted in a hospital and he was so pale that he was thought off as a famine victim. The first administration of insulin lead to severe allergic reactions since the extract was still not pure enough. 12 days later after refining the extract a second dose was injected to the patient. The patient showed remarkable improvement in his condition. Thompson survived for many more years till the age of 27, he died of pneumonia. 

The above examples show the importance of research in the field of science in general. It is research into the functioning of human body that helped us figure out how exactly the body works. When scientists knew how the body works, they figured out ways  to find cures when the functioning of some organ is not proper. 

The average lifespan of human beings have increased due to increase in the knowledge of the human body and developments in the field of medicine. This is one of the reasons why governments and businesses should invest in research. The above examples are from medicine but it applies for all other branches of science as well. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

India internet users increase advantage

India now has the second highest number of Internet users in the world. The number of Internet users in India is roughly around 400 million(40 crore). In the last few years the number of Internet users in India increased at a very fast rate. It took over 10 years for the number of Internet users in India to go up from 10 million to a hundred million. 

It took about 3 years for the numbers to go up from 10 million to 20 million however in less than one year the number has increased from 30 million to 40 million.  In last one year the growth in the number of Internet users has been a mind boggling 49%. 

The major reason for increase in the number of Internet users is affordable smart phones. Also the sight of more people using Internet has increased the awareness about the opportunities Internet provides. In the West such growth in Internet usage happened during the late 1990s to early 2000s. However in case of India and South Asia, it is happening now. 

Next year one can safely assume that the number of Internet users will jump up to 500million. The e-commerce sites are reaping in the advantage of increase in the number of Internet users in India. Sites like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Homeshoppe18 etc are reaping the advantage of this boom. A portal called Rediff.com started way back in the early 2000s. It was also listed in NASDAQ. It offered a host of services from news to selling goods. However Flipkart and other e-commerce sites that started much later did way better than it.

Before smartphones came existence. It was predicted that in the future most Internet users will access the net through mobile phones which double up as computers. The term used back then was mobuters. The same mobuters are here for a few years, only that we call it with a different name. We use the term smartphone. 

Indeed the prediction did become a reality. Most Internet users today access Internet via mobile devices like smartphones, tablets etc. Very soon the city of Delhi will provide access to free WiFi to all its citizens. The use of Internet will revolutionise the lives of people. Digital divide is going to be a thing of the past. 

Using Internet farmers can sell their products directly to the consumer. Specially in a country like India which has a huge number of small farmers. The middlemen procure agricultural produce from the farmer at low rates, they create huge stockpile of it, which leads to an artificial shortage. This results in increase in prices of the product. In the last few years we have seen in India how the prices of onions and tomatoes shot up by a factor of 4 to 5 times. 

The traders had procured this vegetables from farmers at low rates. In Maharashtra onions were even procured at ₹1 per kilo and in off season this onions were sold in the market for a price as high as ₹80. This exploitation of farmers of India at the hands of unscrupulous farmers can stop if the farmers start using the Internet and sell their produce directly to the consumer either individually or by forming co-operatives. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Electronic Devices - costs

One of the most beautiful thing about electronic products are the more its mass produced, the more cheaper it gets. In 2004 an average computer used to have a RAM of about 512 megabytes. Back then assembled computers used to cost ₹28,000 or more. Branded computers used to cost more. In US dollar terms the cost of assembled computers was around $600.

Except for computer science students, programmers and engineers. Normal users simply used it to access the Internet, watch movies, play games, create documents; create and save text, audio and video files. Now the basic requirements of all computer users remains the same. However computers have got faster and the amount of RAM and storage has increased. 

The Raspberry PI Zero released few months back by Raspberry Pi foundation. One can simply connect it to his monitor or LED TV and use it as a computer. One has to buy a USB mouse and a USB keyboard though. 

The Raspberry PI Zero has clock speed of 1Ghz and a RAM of 512 Mb. At $5, its as inexpensive as a full fledged computer can get. The stuff that once cost $500 is now cheaper by a factor of hundred. 

The same is apparent in case of all electronic devices mobile phones, radio etc. The components that make the electronic devices are extremely cheap. The major cost involved is in the R&D.

Also electronic devices become obsolete very fast. In every one and half to two years you get new microprocessors that are twice as fast. Also the storage and RAM increases. These days even you have smartphones that come with 3Gb of RAM.

The processing power and the memory of computers will continue to double every two years. So in the future one can expect many more innovative electronic products which we cannot even imagine right now and they will be available at dirt cheap prices. 






Dark Matter and Dark Energy in simple terms.

After the invention of the telescope it was very well known that all bodies in space are moving away from each other. Based on that scientists theorised that if all bodies are moving away from each other as time goes forward, then if we go back in time there must be a point at which all the bodies were together. 

This is how the Big Bang theory came into existence. Scientists believed that the celestial bodies constantly moving away from each other at constantly reducing speeds. However in the 1990s it was discovered that the bodies are not only moving away from each other but they are moving away from each other faster and faster. 

This completely baffled the scientists. They were unable to figure out the source of energy from which the separation of this bodies is accelerating. They named the energy Dark Energy

Again it was found that in the universe the total amount of mass-energy is mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter. In fact ordinary matter and energy only account for 4.9% of the total mass energy in the universe. The rest is composed of dark energy(68.3%) and dark matter(26.8%).

When it was found that the orbital spin of galaxies is different from what it should be considering the amount of mass present in the galaxies. It was assumed that there existed some invisible matter in the universe. This invisible matter was named Dark Matter. The discovery of Dark Matter happened much before Dark Energy

No one ever saw dark matter or dark energy. They are only inferred through observations of space. Dark Matter does not seem to reflect electromagnetic waves, it only interacts through gravity. When it comes to Dark Energy, its the accelerated constant separation of different bodies in space which lead to its conceptualisation. 

Over here I have made an attempt to explain Dark Matter and Dark Energy to ordinary people in simplest possible terms. If it does encourage your scientific curiosity, lot more details is available online.

Kindly note that people do make a common mistake. They tend to mix up Dark Matter and Antimatter. Antimatter is negative matter and the gravitational effects are opposite to ordinary matter. Dark Matter's gravitational effects are same as ordinary matter.