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Saturday, November 28, 2009

[not quite] Suggested Reading for the weekend – 2009.11.28

Unless you’d like to be recommended pearls of wisdom to read, written by the people going by the names of Doeblin, Ganesan, Sukhatme, Shigley ityadi, over the weekend, there’s not much else of reading I did.

Though I did grab a few moments to check out AWST [yet to receive the latest edition]. Posting some of the articles I liked.

Edited: Picasa seems to be re-sizing images of resolution beyond some value. Cropped them prevent resizing.

2008.11.28suggestedreading01 2008.11.28suggestedreading02
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2008.11.28suggestedreading07 2008.11.28suggestedreading08


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

26th November 2008: Channel 4 Dispatches - Terror in Mumbai

A documentary that must be watched. Produced by Channel 4 as part of its Dispatches series – Terror in Mumbai. Hosted on Liveleak.

Something that this documentary does not mention, either deliberately or otherwise - Mumbai terrorists sexually mutilated their hostages including the Israeli Rabbi and his pregnant wife


26th November 2008: India surrenders to Pakistan


P.S: If you know the source of this pictograph, please let me know. Had saved it on my hard drive, but don’t remember the URL


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Suggested reading for the weekend – 2009.11.21

Did not read much this week, what with an exam on Monday :). But if you plan to spend your weekend reading on issues & challenges pertaining to India, then I’d suggest you take a look at the content available here.

Archives of the Bharat Rakshak Monitor and Security Research Review, 1999-Present

Has some of he most well-written, pointed, non-partisan, objective articles one can find. Am in the process of reading them & plan to read them all – an enlightening experience. Do read them too.

HAL’s Minsk Square Matters carries an interesting article about the activities of its Industrial Marine & Gas Turbine [IMGT] division. They are involved in working with Gas Turbines used for power generation & propulsion of marine vehicles. This is especially significant considering the fact that the Kaveri Engine, being developed to power the Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] Tejas, is now being suitably adapted for powering ships. Also talked about converting Aero Engines for marine applications. Posting the article here. You may go through the full magazine here [PDF 4.8 MB].

Click on the picture to view a larger-sized image

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited - Minsk Square Matters

Was of some special interest to me as we got this Gas Turbine & Jet Propulsion [GTJP] subject this semester :)


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Only in Pakistan – antonyms are synonyms

Every time I feel low & feel like having a laugh, I log on to the Net. Earlier I used to get my dope from The Onion. But knowing that the writers themselves intended them to be funny & not be taken seriously [though they have :D] lead to search for something more real [after all as an Indian I do live in the land of “reality” shows :)]. Real-life, unintended humor PWNS The Onion BIG TIME [no offense].

Thus when it comes to Pakistani media outlets, one can quite confidently state that they are the proud and rightful torchbearers for the fast dwindling community of make-asses-out-of-ourselves individuals. I’d even go out on a limb and state “Pakistan is the last man standing as far as the idea of making asses of oneself is concerned”. The funniest part, I feel, is that people concerned probably do not even realize the mockery they make of themselves every time they indulge in their desperate bid of trying to convince the world of the superior society of martial race that resides in that corner of the world, that has been called moth-eaten by its very own [pork-chomping, whiskey swigging] Muslim founder. The resulting buffoonery that emerges is, in all likelihood, unintentional & possibly owes in no small measures to their professional obligations & commitments.

Thus wanting to lift myself out of one of the state of melancholy despair I’d slipped in to, I turned to my favorite source of humor – a Pakistani newspaper. Never the one to disappoint me, it surely had me in splits & the pall of gloom that appeared to have descended upon me seemed to have melted away – just like that. The headlines in one of its prominent news outlet read

Pakistan has better literacy rate than India

Ummm....okay. If you have data to back that statement, I’m willing to accept it. After all you have apparently quoted a source from the United Nations. But no could it be funny if it is true. Among the other Pakistan-uber-superior-to-India conclusions the article drew, was this clincher conclusion,

“The education rate and literacy indicators in Pakistan are better than those in India, a United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) report said on Wednesday....

....As per details regarding education, the report said that in Pakistan, 32.3 percent male and 60.4 percent female above 15 years of age were literate. 23.1 percent male and 45.5 percent female above the same age were literate in India....”

This is the above mentioned report the article apparently quoted. Monitoring ICDP goals: Selected indicators [PDF 462 KB].

Have cropped off the other countries, leaving only the data pertaining to India & Pakistan for ease of comparison. As can be seen the claim about 32.3 & 60.4 percent literates in Pakistan actually referred to the percentage of illiterates in Pakistan.


Now in most civilized societies that place high value & importance to education, the difference between the concept of  literacy & illiteracy is distinctly known and not to be confused or used interchangeably – it would be a disgrace to the teachers imparting education in that nation. However it seems not to be the case for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – where literates are illiterates and illiterates are literates, such is the greatness of that nation.

So not only, is the percentage of literate Indians above the age of 15 higher than that of Pakistan, but also Pakistanis have once again successfully & comprehensively proven their failure to make sense of available data, leaving no iota of doubt in the minds of reader where the last bastion of unpretentious/unintended real-life self-flagellating humorists reside – the vast population of uneducated masses displaying self-deluding grandeur of national & religious superiority.

Though in all fairness to Pakistan, with all of its educational institutions having been shut down owing to the apparently unislamic nature of education, it would be highly unfair of the rest of the world to expect them to know and conclude any better. As has been stated by the learned, disuse of ones Grey Cells inevitably leads to the catatonic dystrophy of grey cells – as is being witnessed in Pakistan. Any way, there appears to be no relation or use for literacy & Pakistan’s greatest national export -  Jihad and Sooooside Bummers. So why bother studying.

Having said this there is absolutely nothing in the presented data for me as an Indian to feel happy or gloat about. We too would be deluding ourselves, living in denial & slipping into complacency if we compare our data with that of failed nations that sustains itself on international handouts and feel good about ourselves.

India is destined for greatness. As has been announced recently, India is projected to be one of the three biggest economies of the world by 2050. It would be a momentous achievement no doubt, considering the state of our nation post-independence. Yet for a nation that has been home to some of the oldest and proudest of civilization – the leader of the world order in historical times, it is somewhat of a ignominy to be considered as ‘among the top three’, instead of the ‘top among the three’ [agreed, poor word play :D]. It would be a national shame if India, home to harmonious inter-mingling & co-habitation of multiple religion continues to lag behind China, a nation that engages in remorseless persecution & oppression of the the believers. We owe it to ourselves & to our rich history to correct this projection & become the most powerful nation of all times. Only then would we have fulfilled our destiny. In order to realise this destiny, we have to strive towards creating an Indian Society that has achieved human development & welfare as seen in the Scandinavian countries,  coupled with the power-wielding stature of post-Cold War America [the immediate aftermath]. The best of these two regions we must strive & inculcate into our own society. Only then would we have achieved our destiny.

We should always remind ourselves where we stand in comparison to the aforementioned regions & align our actions to achieve the intended goals.


But hell, nobody said work has to be all serious & no laughs. In fact laughing our way through work would make our work that much more easier & enjoyable. So for some pure unadulterated laughter, untainted by commercial considerations, just take a look across our western borders into the land of the pure [globe-trotting beggars] and self-exploding biological entities.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pranav Mistry talking about Sixth Sense at TED India 2009

Pranav Mistry was one of the speakers at the recently held TED India 2009 hosted at the Infosys campus in Mysore. A must watch video. Won’t write anything about it. Just watch it and be amazed.

He also announced that the technology involved would be released through the Open Source license – a great move.

Links of interest - Sixth Sense, on Wikipedia


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My T.E. Mechanical AutoCAD drawings

I made these drawing using AutoCAD for my Third Year undergraduate Mechanical Engineering course. This year we first had to design the components, determine safe dimensions & then use it to draw suitable assembly & detail drawings. Quite unlike last year when we simply put in value into the empirical values represented in terms of proportions w.r.t. the shaft diameter.

Semester 1: Design of Machine Elements [DME]

Have not kept last years journals. So have absolutely no idea what the problem statement was. :)

Third Year Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD drawing - Cotter Joint & Protected Flange Coupling Assembly
Cotter Joint & Protected Flange Coupling Assembly

Third Year Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD drawing - Cotter Joint & Protected Flange Coupling Details
Cotter Joint & Protected Flange Coupling Details

Third Year Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD drawing - Screw Jack Assembly

Screw Jack Assembly

Third Year Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD drawing - Screw Jack Details

Screw Jack Details


Semester 2: Transmission System Design [TSD]

We had to design a gearbox to operate a sluice gate. I found only the Assembly drawings. Did not keep a copy of the Assembly drawings which were prepared by another classmate in my Design group. Not quite sure how the BOM got misaligned – probably a result of importing AutoCAD drawings into Solid Edge 2D.

Problem Statement: Design a Gearbox to operate a 20 KN Sluice Gate with Power Screw rotating at 10 rpm.

Third Year Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD drawing - Gearbox Assembly

Gearbox Assembly


Monday, November 16, 2009

My S.E. Mechanical AutoCAD drawings

As an Engineer student the 1 thing I like the most is the drawing. Be it for journals, design sheets or simply answering theoretical questions – there is a lot to draw [and on not few occasions re-draw :-)]. Drawing is something I never get tired to doing – be it fine arts till school or now the truckloads of Engineering drawings. So it hardly comes as surprise to any that subjects that don’t have any significant drawings or diagrams [aka Industrial Engineering & Management, Electrical Technology] to draw are the one that I have a near-nightmarish time clearing.

As far as Engineering drawing go the Second year was the most undoubtedly fun. We had to complete 16 full imperial-sheet drawings that year. It included 4 sheets for TOM-I. Funny thing was that as the years progressed the number of drawings sheets progressively decreased. This Final year we barely had to draw two sheets & possibly the last two sheets of 2-D drafting of our Engineering career, ‘cause as people were saying next semester we would be working on 3D Modeling software, Inventor in our case.

The Second Year was also the first year, we had to do 2D drafting as part of the curriculum & plot them on full-imperial sized sheets. As the first sheet started emerging from the plotter showing the partially printed drawings we were gripped with a near sense of excitement & [as far as the Second Year was concerned] a sense of achievement for having roughed it out with AutoCAD trying to figure out the features to perform required tasks & finally coming out triumphs [okay it, on hindsight, may sound like a hyperbolic reaction, but in S.E it felt like a perfectly normal reaction].

On holding the first sheet that emerged from the plotter, one would probably have found it perfectly alright if someone had shouted out, “Congratulations! it’s an AutoCAD drawing!”. But no one did. Maybe if I’d seen the movie then, I‘d have done the honors :).

Of the 16 sheets, 4 had to be made using a drafting software, while the remaining 12 had to be done by hand – drafter, drawing boards et al.

Was searching for something on the loft, where I found all the sheets each binded neatly for convenience of the external examiner who would conduct a 10 minute oral examination among three of us students seated, often not even checking out each persons sheets, who would then determine my fate in that particular oral & evaluate the effort I had put [or not put] in the past 6 months for that particular subject.

As it turns out, I also kept the original soft copes of my drawings. Uploading them, just for the heck of it actually ;). Check it out.

Click on the image to view a larger-sized image (uploaded as original A0 size – Picasa screwing it up)

S.E Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD Drawings - Standard Machine Components

Standard Machine components

S.E Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD Drawings - Standard Machine Components

Standard Machine components

S.E Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD Drawings - Cotter and Knuckle Joint Assembly

Cotter & Knuckle Joint Assembly

S.E Mechanical Engineering AutoCAD Drawings - Cotter and Knuckle Joint Details

Cotter and Knuckle Joint Details

P.S: Okay so I do know that calling them AutoCAD drawings is not quite the most correct term to use. But just as all photo-copies are called Xerox even if made on a Canon machine & chocolate most often referred to as Cadbury even if manufactured by Nestle here in India, so also is all Computer-Aided 2D Drafting are called AutoCAD drawings. At least as far as 2D drafting goes, it is not quite incorrect to call it AutoCAD drawings as in all these years studying Engineering I’m yet to come across anybody who uses any other software for drafting [me fiddling around with Solid Edge’s Free 2D only recently, though I’d still go back to AutoCAD for any college work]. Me has absolutely no plans of taking on the world [or my classmates for that matter] to convert them in to calling the drawings by its correct description.

Colloquialism Rules!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Suggested reading for the weekend – 2009.11.15

Not been reading much for many weeks now. Exams & stuff. Came over some interesting content, though not necessarily this week. Definitely worth reading.


Came across this exhaustive compilation in a thread on the India Forum.

How India’s powerful & influential are related to each other [my title]

Some are drawing alarmist doomsday-ish conclusions. I am not too sure though.


Reclaim ‘Bombay’ and ‘Bangalore’

On the last day of the first semester of our last year in college [:D it was deliberate] on Wednesday many of us went to watch Wake Up S!d. People came out of the theatre with mixed opinions. I loved it [4/5] – must go and watch the movie. Yet a movie review was not quite what prompted me to write this. Throughout the movie, the characters referred to the now renamed city of Mumbai by its earlier name, Bombay [as also was Bengaluru called Bangalore & Kolkata as Calcutta, but nobody got bullied or harassed anybody over it, so my rant ain’t going to include it – okay Bangalore it includes, but only in context of Bombay].

Quite expectedly, the SS troops of Maharashtra Nazi Sena [MNS] resorted to what they do best [& for that matter the only thing they’ve done so far ever since they broke away from an equally thuggish political outfit, the Shiv Sena (SS), an organisation that has wantonly abused & misused the name of one of the greatest warriors India has produced, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, to further their own selfish & ulterior cause of narrow-minded, anti-national ghettoism] – bully & threaten the makers of the movie into submission to extract an apology from them for causing immense harm to the Marashtrian Asmita by such a dastardly act of Geographical & Cartographical blasphemy. Not surprisingly the film maker cowered & bowed down before the language warlords.

Now I don’t suppose I’d be wrong when I say that anybody who has heard of India, especially the post-liberalisation India, is also most aware of the cities of Bombay [now Mumbai] & Bangalore [now Bengaluru]. The former has been the economic & commercial hub of our country since the pre-independence times while the latter has made a name for itself due to the fast-growing cutting-edge Technology industries that are being set up and flourishing in that city. The collective sweat, toil & efforts easily amounting to more than multi-trillion man hours of hard work & endeavor has gone into turning the names of these two cities into two of the proud symbols of our nation [okay, numbers of magnitude exceeding trillions are beyond my comprehension, hence multi-trillions even though the actual number may be a multi-greater-than-trillion number]. They symbolize things that are right with India and the promise India holds out for the future. The amount of economic transaction that is carried out in the city of Bombay has rightfully earned it the title of the Economic capital of India & an important business city of the world. You even have the President of the United States of America refer to the city of Bangalore in his speeches on more than one occasion [though in a manner reflecting their insecurity] – such is the brand & recall value of the names of these two cities.

However with one quick swoosh of the pen over an administrative authorization letter, the prevailing governments Maharashtra & Karnataka of their time authorized changing the name of these two places to Mumbai & Bengaluru. They cited popular public sentiment & demand as the reason behind this renaming [while having taken no referendum to back this argument]. However such has been the impact these names have had on us & values we associate with it [not to mention, we’ve grown up referring to these places by its defunct names], that majority of us continue to refer to it by its old name.

Thanks to petty regionalism bordering on anti-national sentiments, these names no longer have any official significance & have long been chucked away into the deep abyss of our administrative thrash cans. Yet these two names continue to hold immense sway over our collective psyche (& memory) and more importantly individuals from other countries that have business interest in our booming economy continue to associate the place by its old name - an outcome of Brand Bombay & Bangalore.

Indians referring to these places by their old names is simply a matter-of-fact expression of love, admiration & maybe growing-up nostalgia they may have for the place & the symbol rather than any hatred or disrespect they may hold against it or its new name – a fact lost on these lead-headed political hoodlums.

Can you ever imagine Google not renewing the domain name? Well we in India have indeed done something similar with Bombay & Bangalore.

However this loss can just as easily be turned into an opportunity [okay, not so easily maybe at last literally, but it is possible]. One state’s loss can become another’s gain. Just as Bombay & Bangalore were chucked away by their respective states, so can other states rename places in its state to Bombay & Bangalore. Just as quickly the former states chose to forgo the benefits of “Brand Bombay” & “Brand Bangalore”, so can other development-minded states lap up the benefits these names have to offer with absolutely no opposition from its previous benefactors.

Simply renaming a place to one that has enjoyed immense success would, by no means, guarantee equivalent success to the others – I neither hold nor preach [=rant] any such illusions. The collective toil & hard-work that went into the earlier places also needs to be put in these places. However these names would act, rightly described in military parlance, as force-multipliers in the governments’ efforts to develop a particular place.

Some small but significant factors that influence decisions to get involved in the affairs/investment/development of a place,

  • level of comfort one experiences on hearing or using the name of that place
  • its recall value
  • manner in which the place has been branded
  • ease of pronouncing it [Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan’s name being shortened to Venki]
  • impression or image that flashes in ones mind when one hears the name

All these factors are more than satisfied by Bombay & Bangalore & in pursuing investment for development in places with these names, the Government in question should find it that much more easier in evoking a favorable response, especially from foreign investors, who are used to hearing these names & the positive reaction it would invoke in them.

Such act of reverting to the older name in order to continue enjoying the benefits of the established brand name & advantages is not without precedence – it has been done. Renaming an institute & renaming a city are by no means analogous, even if for the same intention. However it does offer a rough pathway that justifies such a renaming – an extrapolation of the earlier act of the institution in its efforts to maximize progress & development.

However, naysayers might say, among other things, that the people of a place would resent such renaming of their place with names not quite part of their local ways. A valid argument, I agree. It therefore becomes the collective responsibility of the local Government administrative officials to strive to convince the people & take them on board, assuring them of the associated benefits before going with the renaming. Once on board, the administration should go forward with the renaming & start working aggressively in promoting that place as a destination that offers all the benefits & advantages offered by the place the name was earlier associated with.

As stated earlier merely renaming a place Bombay & Bangalore will never guarantee success & development enjoyed by these places. Hard work & vision is vital & imperative. However every big/small advantage that one can seek must be grabbed & utilized effectively & efficiently pushing the boundaries of development. In our endeavor to become a developed nation, we must grab every opportunity & opening that comes our way, shortening the time to reach a certain level of state of development or reaching a stage of development higher than the one that had been set for a given time frame at the conceptual stage.

I am sure that with the talented & dedicated people that are its residents, Mumbai & Bengaluru too would become the high-valued, emulation-worthy  brand name that Bombay & Bangalore are. However one must not forget & disregard the efforts gone into adding value & brand to the names of Bombay & Bangalore – it has been the collective labor of love of millions of people who called those two cities home & were proud to be associated with it [both the name & place]. May some state rename places after these two amazing names & bestow upon the names the honor & dignity they deserve.