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Friday, January 15, 2010

India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place

The 5th of December 2009 passed by without much of a notice here in India. However it was a day that was marked by an important milestone in the 2nd stage of India’s 3 Stage Nuclear programme. On that day, the core of India’s Prototype Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor was lowered into its safety vessel. Though it would use U-238 to generate Pu-239, the eventual aim to shift to the Thorium cycle as India has the 2nd largest Thorium reserves in the world.

Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited [BHAVINI] was responsible for the fabrication of the Core after which it was transported & lowered in to the Safety Vessel, manufactured by Larsen & Toubro [L&T].

Did not catch the news being reported on any Indian News channel – a really sad reflection of priorities of our media houses. Posting a video of the Core being transported & lowered into the Safety vessel.

Duration: 5 minutes [No Audio]


One of the better News articles reporting that event: Core vessel installed at Kalpakkam fast breeder reactor news

If you are unable to watch the video due to some reason, you may check out some of the pictures of the whole process. A welcome change has been the uploading of hi-res picture by our GoI agencies [though following an absolutely non-uniform file naming scheme – made batch download is a b1atch ;)].

Official announcement from BHAVINI of India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into the Safety Vessel Construction of India's 2nd prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place
Core of India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor being transported & lowered into place India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place
Manufacturing the Core of the Fast Breeder Reacto Core of India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor being transported & lowered into the safety vessel Core of India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor being transported & lowered into the safety vessel
India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into the safety vessel India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place
Core of India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor being transported & lowered into place Core of India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor being transported & lowered into place Core of India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor being transported & lowered into place
India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place India’s Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Core being transported & lowered into place

For further reading

India’s Three Stage Nuclear Programme

Fast Breeder Reactors

Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor [India]


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Russian Surface to Air Missile (SAM) Simulators

A name that leaves nothing to imagination, SAM (Surface to Air Missile System) Simulator puts you in the seats of the operator of various Soviet-era [Russian] SAM batteries. The Missiles & Radar’s control panel consoles are said to be a detailed & accurate replica of the real thing & looked quite intimidating [to me :p] trying to imagine people operating them. Tried my hands at operating a SA-2 [Divina] missile battery. Am yet to shoot down anything, even in the simulation mode. India being one of its former-operators [as also the Pechora], my admiration & respect for our men in uniform increases by unquantifiable magnitude as I try out this simulator & realizing the level of skills & their proficiency they needed [& still need, in spite of all the automation introduced in SAM radars] to posses to keep us safe and sound within our country.


The developers have promised to add more SAM battery consoles with each new version. A very interesting and quite an addictive addictive sim, if I may add.

It is a Windows-based software & can only work at a monitor resolution of 1280x1024.

Should watch the tutorial videos to give you a heads-up [though as I am finding out – not by much] on the simulator.

Video tutorials: SAM Simulator Software

SA-2 Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6a, Part 6b, Part 7

SA-3 Part 1, Part 2

Please note that as stated by the developers, it is not a Game. It is as real a simulator as possible to give you a feel of what it is like be bestowed with the power to shoot down any aircraft that your radar detects & develop the necessary skills to play GOD.

h/t Rock, Paper, Shotgun


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Space Agencies & Manned Moon missions: International Astronautical Congress 2009

In a plenary sessions at the International Astronautical Congress organized by the International Astronautical Federation held a few months back in South Korea, representatives of various Space agencies talked about their planned human missions to the Moon. Speakers in this session included representatives from Canada’s CSA, European Union’s ESA, India’s ISRO, Japan’s JAXA, South Korea’s KARI, USA’s NASA & Russia’s Federal Space Agency [Roscosmos]. During their talk, each one of them spoke about their proposed human missions to the Moon [either collaborative or stand-alone] including their work towards developing enabling technologies to achieve this that would include sending unmanned mission to the lunar surface as a precursor to the eventual targeted manned mission to the Moon.

Duration: 59 minutes

Of special interest was the talk give by ISRO’s Dr. V Adimurthy. In his talk he touched upon India’s eventual manned mission to the moon as also the much-nearer-in-the-future maiden manned space flight through the Low Earth Orbit scheduled for 2015 & the Chandrayaan-II mission scheduled for 2013. Not restricting itself just to the the Moon, he also touched upon India’s planned missions much further into the Space, including mineralogical exploration & targeting Comets headed towards Earth. Not surprisingly most of the participants in this plenary session referred to the successful, albeit slightly premature, completion of the Chandrayaan-I mission & successful completion of their own experiments as part of the payload onboard the Chandrayaan-I mission.

Posting some of the interesting screenshots from Dr. Adimurthy’s talk.

Click on the images to view larger-sized image

Speakers in the plenary session - Human Lunar Exploration Dr. Adimurthy of the Indian Space Research Organisation India's future lunar missions including Chandrayaan-II &
India's Launch Vehicles - PSLV[R] & GSLV[L] India's human-rated launch vehicles being developed for manned mission India's maiden manned Space mission - Earth orbital mission to orbit the Low Earth Orbit [LEO]
India's human-rated launch vehicle based on the GSLV Mk II India's mission beyond the Moon - Mars, Venus, Asteroids Social Welfare & development-oriented objective of India's Space programme

h/t SuperNova

In another session at IAC 2009, South Korea's first Astronaut, Yi So-Yeon gave an anecdotal account of her experience in Space including her selection process from among 36000 other South Koreans. Made for quite an interesting viewing.

What it is like being an Astronaut [Duration: 43 minutes]


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Pictures of PAK-DA, Russian long range Bomber Aircraft

Not much gets written about Russia’s development of a new generation long-range strategic bomber aircraft under the project name PAK-DA. If the few bits & pieces of news that appear are to be believed this new aircraft, said to incorporate stealth technology extensively among other awesomeness', is to be inducted in the Russian Air Force during the 2025-2030 timeframe with its first flight test to be held around 2017.

Some speculative artists impressions of the PAK-DA aircraft floating around on the Internet since a long time. Depending on which picture you look at, these pictures seem to have been created using either the Su-34 or the Tu-160 as the base reference.

Click on the pictures to view larger-sized image

PAK-DA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft PAK-DA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft PAK-DA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft PAK-DA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft PAK-DA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft
PAK DA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft PAK DA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft PAK DA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft PAKDA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft PAKDA Strategic Russian long-range Bomber Aircraft


h/t China Military Report

Meanwhile, the workhorse of USAF’s bombing duties the B-52 Stratofortress is expected to serve for almost a centaury, while its newest long-range, possibly unmanned, Bomber Aircraft is to be inducted around the year 2037, last one to be inducted had been the B-2 Spirit.

Speculative pictures of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Thunderbird colours - Here

Speculative pictures of the PAK-FA [the base design for India’s FGFA] - Here


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Suggested reading for the weekend – 2010.01.02

Pragati - The National Interest Review If you haven’t heard of it already, then I’d most earnestly urge that you read Pragati. It is a free, online, monthly magazine brought out by The Indian National Interest portal. Going through various periodicals & websites for my daily hit of News, I can safely say that matters concerning India is most objectively & pragmatically covered by the magazine in an easy to assimilate manner. The best thing I like about the magazine, is that it does not adhere to or promote any particular ideology [left of centre, centrist, right of centre] & its more than ready to call spade a spade if saying so is in the greater interest of India – not something that could be said with conviction about other publications in the country.

Do make it a point to read the blogs that are part of The Indian National Interest portal, covering various spheres of India’s Interest [okay what else would a portal that calls itself “The Indian National Interest” cover :rolleyes:] – highly enriching experience.

The AcornPragmatic EuphonyVarmanThe Gold StandardRetributionsPolaris - The Broad Mind - Raja-Mandala

Another blog that used to appear under the NI umbrella but has now started its own portal – Offstumped. Have yet to come across another blog/portal that espouses the right of centre ideology with more sensibility & intelligence [except for the part covered by ZIM  just my VHO :)].

Another blog not under the Offstumped portal but belonging to one of the member –

If you so desire, you may also purchase the print version of the Pragati, they’ve recently started publishing – not a bad choice if you looking to subscribe to a new periodical.

Download link to the latest edition of Pragati [1.7 MB PDF]


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Get licensed version of O&O Defrag Professional Edition Software for Free

A New Years gift coupled with commercial promotion I guess. O&O software is giving away licenses of their Defragmenting Tool – O&O Defrag for free.

O&O Defrag Professional Edition Free Download

The version 12 is the latest version. They are giving away the licenses for version 10 – still not a bad deal for a software that used to be retailed for $50 & has won a truckload of awards I’d say. Been using the freeware Auslogics Disk Defrag for defragmentation & have been pretty satisfied with the result, though reading through the periodic reviews of the software in Digit & IC-CHIP tells me that it is a pretty good software to have if you have the moolah to shell out [I don’t, so never used it :-)]

Fill up the form for your license & activation details to be mailed to you – Here

You can download the software - Here

Wikipedia Entry – O&O Defrag

Some reviews – 1, 2


Image courtesy Wikipedia

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

How to make any Website a reader-friendly page

If you spend a great deal of your time online reading from different websites, then you will surely find this piece of code very useful.

Make any page reader-friendly with TidyRead

Tidy Read is a multi-browser add-on that removes all the unnecessary elements of a web page – side bars, menu bars, advertisements on the side etc -  leaving only the actual text content along with relevant pictures, properly formatted for reading. It also allows you to change the appearance of the Tidy-ied page on the fly – changing the text width/alignment, font size/type/color, background color to suit your reading requirement – lot more customization options available than what you can get in the printer-friendly version of any page.

If required you can assign TidyRead to automatically open the reader-friendly [Tidy-fied] version of a page when you open  pages in a particular site. Once a page has been rendered using TidyRead it will also try to fetch the subsequent pages and render it using TidyRead – very useful if an article has got multiple pages to read. However, this subsequent page fetching does not always work with all websites – small gripe.

Yet another complain I have is the inability to print pages rendered using TidyRead – it prints out the first page properly & all the other pages are printed out with only a date, time & URL stamp on the top & bottom of each page – major downer. It is a known issue & the developers have promised to work on it- lets see.

If you don’t want to install the add-on on the browser you can also use their bookmarklet for rendering the pages. They even allow you to visit their site and enter in the URL of the page which you wish to turn in to reader-friendly [with limits on each page size]. An iPhone version too is available.

Do give it a try – brings about a welcome change to online reading experience.

You may also contact them on Twitter  - @tidyread.


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
2008.11.28suggestedreading03 2008.11.28suggestedreading04
2008.11.28suggestedreading05 2008.11.28suggestedreading06
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!