iRead, iLearn, iWrite. Hence, iBlog.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

NAC's Harsh Mander's link with Pakistan's ISI [Ghulam Nabi Fai "interface"]

The Mainstream Media [MSM] in India has, as of 27th August 2011, been on a spree of unrelenting, unceasing coverage of a fast undertaken by a gentleman named Anna Hazare. For the past 12-odd days, beamed through the airways into our living rooms is a macabre spectacle of a septuagenarian man killing himself slowly via a self-imposed starvation, egged on by a cheering crowd of ~15000 [generous] around him. Doctors, who have taken an oath to ensure their patient's good health & well-being, look-on without acting against it, even as his health deteriorates.

Television viewer in India has been trippin' on this heady concoction of death-threats, rage, blackmailing, infused with the hyperbole-induced melodramatic narration by television news reporters, anchors & ably assisted by "experts" invited by the channels. However, in midst of this melee, one crucial, & potentially damaging bit of news has found absolutely no coverage at all in any form of media.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Two Quotes from History [India-Pakistan military at independence]

On the 6th of August 1947, on the brink of India's independence & the creation of Pakistan, a party was held to bid a warm farewell to those officers who had chosen to be part of the soon-to-be created Pakistan. Major General K.M. Cariappa, who would later rise up to become the first native Chief of Army Staff of India [subsequently promoted to Field Marshal]  delivered a touching speech on that occasion, in which he said,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Create your own personal, custom search engine

I read, & then I read some more. While a fair bit of what I read are good while I read it & no more, there are others I find more interesting, possibly useful & would want to be able to access it again at a later date. Naturally, a copy of such a reference material, I archive on my HDD. However, accessing that file, based on the content [text] inside the document is cumbersome. Some software like Google Desktop search need to be installed to make it possible.

However, the desire to be able to access the information from anywhere lead to me create 6 other blogs, where I tag those news items along with their respective URL, anchored around the title, for future reference -,,,,, My own personal bookmarking service

However, a major drawback in this method of online archiving is that I need to manually add a title & URL to each news item. I also have to write a brief description of the URL's content, for me to be able to use the search feature in the Blogger's Navbar to search at a later date. Needless to say, with an average of 110 news items awaiting me in the inbox each morning, this method of online archiving wasn't quite working out as I had envisaged & I was posting infrequently there.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

India's PSLV launch picture: a unique photograph

Came across this picture of the launch of satellites using India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV]. While varied launch photographs of PSLV & Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle [GSLV] themselves are quite readily available on the Internet, this particular photograph caught my attention.

This photograph seems to be taken during that phase of the flight sequence when the PSLV's countdown has just about entered the positive counting [looking at the propagation of the flame front underneath the vehicle] & its umbilical cords are still attached to the Launch Vehicle [T+milliseconds]. To be more broad-based and, thus, correct, the photograph here depicts the flight sequence of the PSLV between T-1 to T+milliseconds in the countdown. The photograph has been taken from an elevation almost as high as that of Launch Vehicle itself - not many such pictures of Indian Satellite launches I've seen. Most pictures available are that of after visible lift-off.

Professor Dr. Yash Pal - Science for all [weekend viewing & reading]

Professor Dr. Yashpal

Tuning into Doordarshan every week to catch the latest episode of Turning Point would be the high point of TV watching during the days of single-channel Television. Turning Point was a weekly bulletin that showcased important Science & Technology developments taking place in India. While the host of the program changed over time, one section of the program remained unchanged through the entire duration the program was telecast. Towards the end of the show, Professor Yashpal would pick up a post card and read out a Science-related query sent to him by a viewer. Then in his own imitable manner, he would go on to explain the associated scientific phenomena and answer the question in a manner that was understood by all. Such joy watching Turning Point was - simple, yet informative & engaging.

On page 10 is the story of Professor Yash Pal's surname, or the lack of it :)


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

MiG-29 fighters of Indian Navy & Air Force [MiG-29K/KUB/UPG] [Photographs] - UPDATED

On the 3rd of August 2011, the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG invited journalists for a visit to their plant in Lukhovitsy near Moscow. The following are some of the pictures taken during the visit.

RAC MiG has been contracted to supply the Indian Navy with 45 MiG-29 variants fighters. Of these, 8 of them would be in the twin-seater trainer configuration [MiG-29KUB], while the remaining 37 would be the conventional single-seater version [MiG-29K]. 11 aircrafts are currently operational with the Indian Navy.

The entire fleet of MiG-29 aircrafts operated by the Indian Air Force [IAF] too has been scheduled to undergo a Mid-Life Upgrade [MLU]. 6 of the aircraft would be upgraded in this plant seen below, while the rest would be carried out by Indian Aerospace company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL]. One significant development to be featured in the upgraded aircraft is the transition from performing Hard Time-based Maintenance of the aircraft to On-Condition Maintenance, thereby optimizing usage of systems & bringing about cost advantage to IAF's operations. Once upgraded, these Indian Air Force fighters would then be designated with the suffix UPG - MiG-29UPG [single-seater variant], MiG-29UB UPG [twin-seater variant] - the twin seater's designation, though, is often written as MiG-29UPG UB also - will update upon finding the correct one.

The following pictures show the Indian Navy's & Indian Air Force's contracts being executed at the MiG plant.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Internet & way we remember information

While using the Internet it has often occurred to me that, on occasions, there are certain information that I choose how to access when required rather than actually remembering the information itself. For example, the other day, while Googling something, I came across an article. While it was interesting, I did not want to read it at that moment nor did I bother to remember the URL or tag it using Read it Later. Though I've yet to read the article, but almost a week later I still know how to access it:

  • Google the keyword that originally brought up the result
  • Go to the third page of the result
  • Click on the relevant URLs on that page
  • In the page that opens up, is the URL to the article I was interested in reading later

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Professor Dr. Daulat Singh Kothari - a doyen of Defence Research in India [Weekend Reading]

20110807-Daulat-Singh-Kothari-Defence-India-01Professor Dr. Daulat Singh Kothari was, arguably, one the most prominent individuals who played a critical role in setting up the infrastructures required for carrying out defence research & development in India. It was under his leadership that India set up the Defence Science Organisation [DSO], the precursor to the Defence Research & Development Organisation [DRDO]. The DRDO was later created by consolidating the various other defence labs being run under the jurisdiction of other administrative bodies. Thus, quite rightly, he is called the Architect of Defence Science in India.


The talk he had given as the then Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister of India holds true & has become even more relevant in this day and age we live in,

Science and warfare have always profoundly influenced each other. This has grown with the growth of science itself and now modern warfare is completely dependent on applied science (-war has been described as applied science-1 and methods of precision mass manufacture which originated in the last few decades........

....In any country the standard and efficiency of weapons and equipment of its fighting services is, in the ultimate analysis, largely, if not entirely, determined by the technological and industrial potential of the country. Any marked disparity between them is neither possible, nor, if artificially sustained, can it survive for long.

Not only was he a well-regarded Scientists, but also his knowledge about religion and spirituality evoked great admiration & respect - a truly well-rounded, multi-faceted personality he was. His dedication to his work & persona has left a lasting impact on those who came in touch with him.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

How to remove highlight from a text image [replace one color with another]

For my previous post, I made use of an image which originally had highlighted text as seen below. While the content of the text was what I wanted, the highlighting itself was unnecessary. Thus, removing the highlighting would make the picture more suited for my needs.
Click the image to view a larger-sized picture

20110805-Eraser-PaintNet-06While it was possible to erase the highlight using the Eraser tool available in even the most basic photo-editing software, it would've made the task very tedious & time-consuming due to small space available to move the eraser around between two line of text. Moreover, there was always the risk of accidentally erasing a portion of the text in the picture, thereby rendering the picture useless for my needs.

Friday, August 05, 2011

a modest proposal from the Soviets...duly rejected by Indian Babudom

with all credit & due apologies to Peter Landesman for lifting & then twisting the title of one of his articles


While going through the stack of news in the inbox today yesterday morning, I came across an article, written by a Brazilian. The article called for getting Brazil's defence programs & industry up & going by hiring from among the number of highly trained American Scientists & Engineers.

Brazil will never find another opportunity like the one that is available today with NASA laying off thousands of highly qualified scientists and engineers who are specialized in the aerospace area and are ready to go to work immediately on these projects.

This kind of endeavor brings many benefits to the Brazilian economy such as high paying jobs, innovation, new technologies, and also shows that Brazil is serious about becoming one of the leading nations in the 21st century.

The fast development of a state-of-the-art defense and aerospace industry in Brazil has become a priority for Brazil to go up to the next level and become one of the leading nations in the 21st century.

With the recent closure of America's Space Shuttle program, a large number of them are expected to lose their employment. Thus, their experience & knowledge would be an invaluable addition to any Science & Technology program they choose to associate themselves with.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Polar & Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle [Infographic]

While going through Dr. B.N Suresh's presentation slides, came across these infographics about India's Satellite Launch Vehicles - the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV] & the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle [GSLV].
Very neatly explains some of the aspects of the Launch Vehicles.

India's Space Shuttle [Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV)] program - some information

Dr. B.N. Suresh, then Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center [VSSC] had made presentations where he spoke about India's Reusable Launch Vehicle program [India's Space Shuttle].
Posting the relevant presentation slides here for information.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

America's Space Shuttle: 135 flights, 1 page [& India's own Shuttle program thrown in for good measure]

As the Space Shuttle Atlantis glided back & landed safely on Earth, it also brought down the curtains on NASA's three decade long flight of its Space Shuttles & its Space Shuttle program.
Since then a good number of articles have been written about the Space Shuttle program and its contribution towards advancing the cause of Space travel & research. Indeed, watching a shuttle launch every time on CNN, along with PSLV & GSLV launches, evoked an unparalleled feeling of excitement & exhilaration, besides providing that much needed inspiration.
This neatly compiled, interactive infographic prepared by the New York Times lists out all missions undertaken by each Shuttle, color-coding them to indicate the mission it was undertaking & highlighting important milestones achieved in the mission. The relative height of the marker indicate duration of the mission. Hover your mouse over a mission to view additional info & snapshot from the mission.