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Monday, June 28, 2010

Warbird in Pune: MiG-23MF Flogger Aircraft [aka Vijay]

Update: More pictures in the MiG-23 have been posted - Warbird in Pune: MiG-23 MF Flogger Aircraft [Updated]

I first saw the aircraft one evening a couple of years back when I was returning home from college after an exam. It had just been brought at the location and Air Force personals were in the process of placing the aircraft in its current resting place. The sight of this huge, majestic bird sitting on a trailer in the middle of the road was a sight to behold and even as I was driving, I could barely take my eyes off the beauty – much to the distress of my folks when I told them about it [for reasons I’m still trying to figure out].

Travelling by that road, passing by the aircraft each day on way to College and back, became a much looked forward to activity for the day. Even after the much shorter route to the College was re-opened for public conveyance, what with its flyovers and concretized roads, I would often take a detour just to have a glimpse of the aircraft perched on top of its platform, proudly looking over the road – it owns that stretch of the road it is visible from.

From that day onwards, one additional ritual that I started on exam days was to take a detour to pass by the aircraft on way to the College [the other one is to stop or slow down while passing by the Shiva Temple at the Unit Line Peer Baba]. I could swear that, blessed by the Soviet Engineers who built this Engineering marvel as I passed by it, my performance in the exams slightly changed for the better Smile.

In fact, my route to College took me past yet another Warbird – the English Electric Canberra, which is placed within the campus of the AISSMS College of Engineering.

Today, after procrastinating for nearly 6 months, I finally bought a data cable cable to connect Mom’s 6300 with the computer. I had taken these pictures many moons ago [timeline of my activities can often stretch inordinately long, much beyond the expectations of most people].

It is a MiG-23MF that was configured for Air Defence operations. The aircraft has been placed in the Kamalnayan Bajaj Garden situated on the Mumbai-Pune highway around 2 kms from the College of Engineering, Pune with a Shoppers Stop in between.

Click on the Thumbnails to view larger sized photographs

Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune

Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune  

Will post some more photos & a video clip of the aircraft, including one that shows its tails number [SK 423] clearly, in some time – got to hunt for the memory card its stored in.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Resume YouTube video download after a computer shutdown or restart

Disclaimer/Warning: Downloading videos from YouTube may not be the most legal thing you could do on the InterWeb.

If you are using Free Download Manager [FDM] to download YouTube videos, then resuming downloading of the video may not be possible after you have shut down or restarted the computer.

Before shutting down [or re-starting] the computer, you may have first stopped the video download in FDM mid-way and then proceeded with the computer shutdown. On restarting the computer when you try to resume downloading of the video from YouTube, you find that download is no longer possible.

Downloading long videos from YouTube especially becomes a problem if you are unable to resume the download and have a slow Internet connection.

Solution: Instead of first stopping the video download before shutting down, let FDM continue downloading the video even as you shut down the computer. The next time you boot the computer and launch FDM, the YouTube video that was being downloaded will automatically resume its download from where it had left off.


Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible [weekend YouTube viewing]

But it was not an American was a Russian one

The world’s first production aircraft incorporating radar stealth characteristics, the F-117 Nighthawk was produced by the Americans. Yet the genesis of this US aircraft and [to a lesser extent] subsequent aircrafts possessing radar stealth can be traced back to the work done by a Soviet Scientist, Petr Ufimtsev.

When he first put forth the equations that would enable one to generate profiles for deflecting radar waves away from the receiver, the resulting surface profile so obtained lead Soviet Aircraft designers to conclude that an aircraft having such a surface would be incapable of flight. Yet, the Americans, who had been struggling to come up with their own stealth aircraft, made use of Ufimtsev’s work and finally succeeded in building the Nighthawk.

An interesting documentary report, Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible tells the story of how the Americans built their first stealth aircraft with the work done by a Soviet scientist to maintain/establish their supremacy over the Soviets themselves.

Language: Russian, with English subtitles

Duration: 10 mins 44 secs

Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible Part 02 [Duration: 10 mins 44 secs]

Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible Part 03 [Duration: 1 min 50 secs]

Russian stealth: Hunt for the invisible Part 04 [Duration: 10 mins 44 secs]

Report gives one a feeling it was made by someone who yearned for the Soviet days, when, undoubtedly funding for Science, especially that which could have military applications, was virtually unfettered & a feeling of condescension for the Americans too is apparent – not surprising I’d say.


Understanding Nuclear Energy and Technology [suggested weekend reading]

Generation of energy through the Nuclear route – either fission or [in future] fusion, is a much misunderstood & unjustifiably feared concept amongst most individuals. A reason for such irrational aversion for Nuclear energy could be due to improper understanding of the principles & processes involved in the generation of Nuclear energy, brought about by inaccurate information from sources best not referred to.

Yet, the tangible benefits obtained from harnessing Nuclear energy & inherent advantages of energy generation the Nuclear way, makes it imperative that people are made aware of the facts & imparted with the right information about Nuclear energy, dispelling their fear based on incorrect information received thus far. Generating awareness & dispelling myth about Nuclear energy is especially important in India, considering that Nuclear Power plants are going to be set up in India in a big way, in the coming decades, to help meet energy requirements, a fact made possible due to the waiver received from the NSG, the Hyde Act & the 123 Agreement [PDF] signed between India & the United States of America in 2008.

Nuclear Energy Option: An alternatives for the 90sThe book The Nuclear Energy Option: An alternatives for the 90s attempts to do just that. Using easy to assimilate, simple language, the author, Professor Bernard Leonard Cohen, explains, in sufficient details, the concepts of Nuclear energy generation and the various aspects related to it, like the actual danger posed by Nuclear radiation, cost of electricity generated the Nuclear way etc. Dispelling with the use of Mathematical equations or avoidable technical terminologies, yet putting forth the correct information, this is a book one must read to become more aware and gain better understanding of Nuclear Energy.

The complete book has also been made available to reading for free by the author himself in the HTML format - The Nuclear Energy Option: An alternatives for the 90s.

The Virtual Nuclear Tourist !  Nuclear Power Plants Around the World is another site that is a venerable source of information about Nuclear Reactors and plants around the world. It also has an exhaustive collection of URLs to other related site of interest & collection of related photos. This informative site is a result of the efforts of 1 man. I wish, though, that he had provided for a better navigation through his site – a small yet significant inconvenience.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Write a Research Paper within seconds [and present it at Science Conferences]

No kidding! You can actually author a “Scientific Research paper” within seconds that could very well get accepted for presentation at a Science Conference of considerable repute [or disrepute as things would stand after things come out in the open].

The guys at M.I.T. have coded a program named SCIgen that will do just that – all you got to do is enter the names of the people who are supposed to have “authored the paper” & viola!! an impressive-looking Computer Science Research Paper, complete with graphs, diagrams & an array of references, is churned out in seconds.

“SCIgen is a program that generates random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers. Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence.”

As admitted by them, these papers [if at all one would like to call them that] are, in fact, complete gibberish making absolutely no sense.

In spite of this, stuff churned out by SCIgen have regularly been accepted for presentation at various conferences, including one sponsored by the IEEE.

Here is my 8-page paper, Knowledge-Based Methodologies for Hash Tables, co-authored by me a few minutes back ;).

Knowledge-Based Methodologies for Hash Tables

I wonder if any of my friends in College, who had studied Computer Engineering, had submitted a SCIgen-generated paper as part of their 6th Semester Curriculum – wouldn’t be surprised if they did & got away with it :).


SCIgen on Wikipedia

SCIgen Blog - The birth of SCIgen


Monday, June 21, 2010

Dr. Homi J. Bhabha – Scientist in action [suggested YouTube viewing]

I recently received this very old & rare documentary about Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, without doubt, one of the finest Indian Scientists of International repute. As would be evident in the documentary, it was sanctioned by the Govt-run Doordarshan not so long after his untimely death in a plane crash – so brace yourself for some un-Discovery Channel-type narrations & reporting.

Had to split it into 3 parts in compliance with YouTube’s 10 min limit.

Dr. Homi J. Bhabha – Scientist in action Part 02

Dr. Homi J. Bhabha – Scientist in action Part 03

It is quite unfortunate that India, in spite of being home to some the most brilliant Scientists and Technologists, makes virtually no effort to highlight their works or accomplishment & make the common Indian aware of the greatness of their work and achievement – Prof Dr. CNR Rao immediately comes to mind; a person for whom the much-deserved Nobel, for his pioneering work done right here in India, remains elusive till today.

Indian film-maker would rather rip-off some Hollywood movie and turn it into Hindi instead of making an inspirational yet equally entertaining movie about some of our Scientists & technological achievements, a genre that Hollywood biggies do not shy away from working on & have made some amazing movies.

Growing up on a staple diet of uber-slick, fast-paced documentaries shown on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic Channel, one may, initially, be a tempted to stop mid-way. Nevertheless watch the full report – it will grow on you as it progresses – amazing stuff.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Suggested reading for the weekend 2010.06.19

A few days back I stumbled upon this interesting set of reading material that could serve as a good starting point for anybody interesting in understanding Defence Technology or just Technology, in general.

Popular Science & Technology Series

Having been published during the late 80s-mid-90s period, the information provided is dated. Nevertheless, the simple and lucid language used to explain concepts & technology in these booklets would serve as an ideal primer for further, more contemporary reading.

In fact, going through these booklets, I could not help but feel that books such as these could be incorporated into the curriculum of students studying in Class 9 and 10 [possibly even 11 & 12] as added reading recommendations. Studying the principles of Science in the regular textbooks, a student, while going thorough these books would be able to relate those principles in real-world applications, esp., defence applications, thereby generating evoking greater interest for the Science in the student.

The current issue of Sadhana carries an interesting paper detailing the Hydraulic design of India’s prototype Fast Breeder Reactor. Of special interest are Fast Breeder Reactors to India, especially the third stage of the fuel generation cycle as it envisages conversion of Thorium, of which India has the second largest reserves in the world, into an unstable energy-liberating fissile material, thereby ensuring self-sufficiency of energy reserves.

Overview of pool hydraulic design of Indian prototype fast breeder reactor (PDF 2.72 MB)

Happy reading


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Disable comments in selective posts in Blogger [BlogSpot] - Update

It appears that either the Google guys introduced this feature on a date after I posted about it [possibly after reading about it on my blog :D] or I was just so plain careless that I did not notice it.

Any which way, as I found out there is indeed a feature in Blogger to selectively disable comments in specific posts as and when needed. It resides just underneath Blogger’s online Blog editor.

Enable/Disable Comments in selective posts in Blogger [BlogSpot]

No need to do anything I’d said last time. Wish that some kind soul create an add-on for Live Writer so that it may be done from within it.

P.S: Returned back to find that Blogger has messed with my Blog template. List of missing customizations:

  • Social Bookmarking widget missing
  • LinkWithin widget missing
  • Read more option missing (Blogger’s new Page break too not working with my template)

Work needs to be done.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Disable comments in selective posts in Blogger [BlogSpot]

Please check this post - Disable comments in selective posts in Blogger [BlogSpot] - Update

I like using Blogger+Blogspot has my blog platform & host. Get to enjoy a host of features offered to me by the reliable Mountain View guys for absolutely no money at all [have never quite bothered to click on the Monetize button, something they strategically placed on my Blogger dashboard quite some time back ;) – ungrateful me]. As things stand no free blog platform & host, IMHO, is as feature-rich as Blogger+Blogspot is currently. However using the platform, on occasions, I tend to moan about the absence of certain features in Blogger [more often than not, after checking out a similar feature being offered on some other platform :)] that would make life SUPER. One such feature would be the ability to enable or disable comments to selective posts on the fly. Wordpress users it appears have it good as far as this feature is concerned as some kind soul has developed a plug-in to do just that.

Well, till the time somebody comes up with similar solution for Blogger, here is a kludge way to disable comments in selected posts in Blogger.

Take for example this post. As you can see here, you will not be able comment on that post [not that many people do anyway, even if comments are enable w/o even captchas, but that is a different issue ;)]. In order to do so, prior to making an new post, you must disable comments in you Blogger account. Then post the new content on to the blog.

Disable comments in selective posts in Blogger [Blogspot]

Once posted, you may enable comments again so that all the other posts on your blog can be commented upon. Not the most convenient way to go about it, but till someone comes up with a neater option, my way seem to be the only way ;). Would be nice if it could be done from within windows Live Writer itself [which, by the way, is the most awesomest blogging tool EVAR :)].

Please note: Comments once disabled can not be re-enabled for the post. Also you need to disable comments before you make the new post.


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