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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Easy and hassle-free downloading from file-sharing sites [software]

As an Internet user, downloading a file from one of the innumerable file-sharing websites like Rapidshare, Megaupload etc is quite unavoidable given their convenience & resulting popularity. From personal experience, I'd say that I am more likely to find files I am looking for on one such file host rather than, say, the Bit Torrent network.

However, if you are a non-paying user, then downloading files from such a site can be a very inconvenient & frustrating experience - CAPTCHA, multiple mouse clicks, countdown timers, limit on number & size of files downloaded ityadi. Limitations put in place to encourage [rather, force] you to become a paid user, after which all such restrictions are removed. With every one having their own preferred file host & thus sharing them on a different site from the other, becoming a paid downloader on each of these sites may not be a very VFM idea [understatement].

In the last couple of days I've had to download large number of files from such file-sharing websites. Being a non-paying user, the prospect of going thorough the whole cycle each time I had to download a file [93 files in all] had to be avoided.

easy & convenient downloading from Rapidshare and other file sharing sites

FreeRapid is a useful download manager that does just that. All you have to do is add the URL of the file in Free Rapid and specify where you wish to save the file and FreeRapid will do the rest for you. No more mouse clicks or countdown timers to deal with - gives a convenient & hassle-free download experience. Best of all it is a Freeware.

The developers state that it can download from more than 150 such file-hosting websites. I've tried downloading from a couple of sites, including YouTube and was able to download with ease & without issues. It also claims to be able to resolve some types of CAPTCHAS. If it fails to do so, you shall be prompted to do it manually after which download begins

Gripe: Free Rapid can't seem to prevent the computer from going into standby if the computer is not being used for anything else & left unattended - currently using Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. Its a big problem if the file-sharing site does not support download resuming - downloading will re-start from 0% no matter what. I had to run some other program alongside to prevent standby. Also the option to shutdown the computer after download was completed seems not to be working.

Small gripes aside, I'd say FreeRapid is a must-have tool to download from the the online file-hosts as a free user with ease and convenience.

While looking for a suitable software, I also came across some other such freeware download mangers that are said to do just the same - Mipony, MDownloader & Skipscreen [Firefox add-on].

Haven't felt the need to try them out yet, but a quick Google tells me that they are just as easy & effective.

Godspeed

Possibly related posts:

Get a free license for eXpert PDF Pro software

How to create, edit and remix audio files without installing any software?

Keep your installed software updated using Personal Software Inspector [PSI]

Make site accessible without the www

Google Email Uploader : Transfer/copy/import all your emails to your Google Apps email account


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Carbon Dioxide powered Engine for Space travel [India connection]

Scientists and Engineers are working to develop a propulsion system utilizing Carbon Dioxide, CO2,  as an oxidizer to generate energy. A departure from conventional combustion of Hydrocarbons that produces CO2 as by-product of combustion.

One such attempt is underway at the University of Hertfordshire where they are working to develop a prototype Engine to demonstrate the feasibility of using such an Engine to power future missions to Mars. If successfully developed, it would essentially halve the required amount of fuel needed to be carried by these Spacecraft, as the Carbon Dioxide needed for the return flight could be captured from the Martian atmosphere itself - a major breakthrough since this would greatly reduce the total weight of the spacecraft, economizing the use of fuel needed to generate required thrust to propel such a craft.

Can watch the concept being explained in this video [Duration: approximately 6 minutes]

Carbon Dioxide-powered Rocket propulsion system

Solution essentially proposes igniting finely divided Aluminum, supported  by CO2 as an oxidizer to generate heat. Here, the choice of the oxidizer borne solely out of its easy availability in the Martian atmosphere.

4Al + 3CO2 -> 2Al2O3 + 3C + Heat [exothermic]

Nothing new about the reaction - known since ages, but the challenge lies in putting it to practical use. Some issues, I foresee, that need to be addressed before such a propulsion system can be put to practical application - amount of specific energy generated which would determine the size of the system, ability to effectively control the process of generating energy & just as important, IMO, the cost-effectiveness of such a solution.

The use of such engines on Earth, however, need not necessarily be a solution to current problems. CO2 is a much-needed greenhouse gas needed to maintain optimum temperature on the Earth's surface sustaining life. Even though its increasing levels in the atmosphere is a cause of concern now-a-days, removing it from the atmosphere that could lead to a situation where you remove more than you produce, if it were to ever reach that stage, could prove to be quite catastrophic. Its more of a specific solution for a specific application type scenario.

Not to anybody's surprise I guess, the research at the University of Herefordshire involves an Indian [or at least a person of Indian origin] Sathyakumar Sharma who had previously worked with the Indian Space Research Organization [ISRO]. With so many Indian sounding names popping up in almost every other eye-popping experiment or research being carried out around the world, I cannot help but feel that India must find a suitable way to leverage this to gain from their expertise, and, more importantly, their experience to aid & fuel its own programs. Crowdsourcing, short-term focused project groups, mentorship could be some of the ways to achieve this. Been reading news of a reverse brain drain happening in India - need to incentivize/accelerate this through the implementation of smart policies.

Godspeed

Possibly related posts:

Nukes in Space: Rainbow bombs [Documentary]

Space Agencies & Manned Moon missions: International Astronautical Congress 2009

Design Engineers, I.T. and Crowdsourcing

Pranav Mistry talking about Sixth Sense at TED India 2009


Monday, July 19, 2010

Sardar and his tenacity

Sardar Vallabhai PatelMy respect & admiration for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel gets reinforced every time I read about India's struggle for independence, especially the enormity of challenges faced by a post-independence India & the situation prevailing at that time.

Faced with the prospect of inheriting an India pockmarked with more than 500 independent princely states within its national boundary, it fell upon Sardar Patel, independent India's first Home Minister to ensure that rulers of these kingdoms see light & integrate with the Indian Republic.

With dogged determination & perseverance, he set about the unenviable task of trying to persuade the rulers of these kingdoms, often whimsical & illogical characters, pampered into subservience by the British Raj - none of which would be possible in the Indian Republic, to merge with India for the greater good of all. When all else failed, he was, on occasions, forced to send in the Armed Forces to effect an integration. His use of force as the last resort did make him unpopular amongst certain sections within the Congress party, but thanks to his lack of interest in winning any popularity contest, we in India enjoy a contiguous India, free of any of such aberrant independent states within our midst.

His immense powers of persuasion, however, would alone suffice in getting most of these princely states within the Indian fold. While reading an amazing book written by J.N. Dixit India - Pakistan in War and Peace, I came across one such example of Sardar Patel's power of persuasion [Page 101],

"The maharaja of Indore decided briefly to declare his state independent and not to accede to India or Pakistan. The story goes that Sardar Patel invited him to come to Delhi to finalise the decision. His Highness Maharaja Malhar-Rao Holker got into his special train at Indore to travel to Delhi. The moment it entered the territory of the Indian Dominion, it was stopped at Ratlam, neither allowed to proceed to Delhi nor to go back to Indore. Then a message went to him that if he could not even move out of the limits of his state without the Government of India’s cooperation, how was he going to manage a viable independent status? He came to his senses. Indore acceded to India."

If only the Iron Man had put his foot down, disregarding Chacha Nehru's fascination for the newly created United Nations [UN], and carried on with the task of driving the Pakistani Army & the marauding tribal Lashkars back into their moth-eaten territory [as Pakistan was described by its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah himself], the situation in India could have been so much different, in a positive manner. Instead, the first Prime Minister of independent India, in all his wisdom, decided to place this matter in the UN, who ordered an immediate ceasefire. As a result, instead of a properly authenticated International Border in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, we ended up with a notion called the Line of Control [LoC], for the control of which India has been enduring the needless blood letting of the brave Indian soldier at the hand of Pakistan. 63 years after Pandit Nehru placed a problem, that was on the verge of being resolved, in front of the UN, the UN has failed to deliver a verdict & the matter continue to be contested by both countries.

I, admittedly, have the benefit of hindsight while criticising Panditji's decision, something he did not - there was no way then to predict how toothless a tiger UN would turn out to be. Also Sardar Patel, pursuing with driving the Pakistani invaders out of India against Chachaji's wishes would have amounted to insubordination - clearly unlike anything Sardar stood for. He gave up his rightful & strongly-backed claim to become the Prime Minister of independent India on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi - such was his devotion to the Motherland.

Shath Shath Naman to the Iron Man for his gift we call India.

P.S: India - Pakistan in War and Peace is an absolutely unputdownable book. Started reading the 500+ page book in the evening & finished 101 pages. Doing an all-nighter today and stop only after I finish reading it - awesome stuff.

Godspeed

Possibly Related posts:

Space Agencies & Manned Moon missions: International Astronautical Congress 2009

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

Britain needs to show tough love to India

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's Letter to Every Indian


Friday, July 16, 2010

Nukes in Space: Rainbow bombs [Documentary]

Nukes in Space: the Rainbow bombs - www.shubhspace.comJust finished watching an interesting documentary. Nukes in Space: the Rainbow bombs chronicles America's race to develop a working Intercontinental Ballistic Missile [ICBM] and the Nuclear Arms race that had ensued between the Soviets and the Americans post-World War II.

The most interesting aspect in this battle for supremacy was the series of high-altitude Nuclear tests conducted by them to gauge the effect of injecting high energy particles into the ionosphere and the Van Allen radiation belt, after its existence was proven by the Explorer-1. Knocking out radio communications, destroying orbiting satellites and producing a surreal kaleidoscope of multi-spectral Aurora visible across the sky were some of the resulting consequences, besides the extremely high levels of radiation released after such test detonations.

In fact, the 9th of July marked the 43rd anniversary of the Starfish Prime test, considered to be a very significant test as it is said to have yielded far more data than any previous tests conducted and had succeed in extending the Van Allen radiation belt temporarily.

A very well-made documentary, containing some amazing footages of American & Soviet missile launches and assembly, besides the the artificially created Aurora resulting from these high-altitude Nuclear test - would highly recommend watching it.

While watching, do keep an eye out for the series of test launch failures faced by the Americans in their attempt to build up their Nuclear deterrence - spectacular footage of missiles and launch vehicles blowing up on launch pad or veering off course mid-flight, breaking up into spectacular balls of flames - all expected part of any genuine R&D programme.

Should put things in perspective as far as India's own development efforts go, operating at the fraction of the budget enjoyed by the US and Soviets, yet being able to build up a credible deterrence force in place. Unsubstantiated criticism, based on ignorance is so very unwarranted, people.

Additional info:

High-altitude nuclear explosion

Ionosphere

Possibly Related posts:

Understanding Nuclear Energy and Technology [suggested weekend reading]

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

Rolls-Royce & Larsen & Toubro to collaborate on global #Nuclear opportunities

"India has a flourishing, & largely indigenous, #Nuclear power program"


Friday, July 02, 2010

Install & run Unigraphics NX4 (or older) in Windows 7 and Vista

Warning/Disclaimer ityadi: Assuming that you, the person facing this problem, owns a licensed, legitimate copy of the software. You got no business taking my name when the aunty-piracy overlords throw you in ze gulag for using warez – Comprende?

The problem lies not with the Software [Unigraphics NX], but with its license manager that is supposed to run as a service in the computer. It enables you to run Unigraphics NX on workstations that access the license manager before running. However, the license mangers of Unigraphics NX4 and Unigraphics NX3 [and possibly other older versions] fails to run as a service in Windows 7 [and also Windows Vista], thereby terminating the installation. As a result Unigraphics NX will refuse to work even if installed on your workstation.

There is a workaround though. Installation of the License Manager terminates when it tries to start the file – meaning the file has already been transferred to the Hard Disk – and when it fails to start, it informs you so, after which you cancel the installation process.

Install and run Unigraphics NX4 [or older] on Windows 7 and Windows Vista

  • After you receive the message saying that installation failed to start the service, do not click Cancel immediately.
  • Instead, go to the following location [or the path you had selected for installing the license manager – this one is the default location]:

Install and run Unigraphics NX4 [or older] on Windows 7 and Windows Vista

C:\Program Files\UGS\License Servers\UGNXFLEXlm

  • Copy all the files that you find inside the folder UGNXFLEXlm.

Install and run Unigraphics NX4 [or older] on Windows 7 and Windows Vista

  • Create a new folder somewhere else, say the root of your c: drive, and name it suitably – say UGNXlm, and transfer the files you had copied into the newly created folder.
  • Now you may click on the Cancel button, I had asked you not to click on earlier.
  • Open Notepad and copy-paste the following into it [uncheck Word Wrap (Format>Word Wrap) to be safe]:

echo @C:\UGNXlm\lmgrd -c c:\UGNXlm\ugnx3.lic -l C:\UGNXlm\log.txt >c:\UGNXlm\nx3_server.cmd

Install and run Unigraphics NX4 or NX3 in Windows 7 or Windows Vista

where, ugnx3.lic should be replaced by the .lic file name of your license file. You may also replace nx3_server with a name of your choice.

  • Save that notepad file, giving it a name “nx3_server.cmd” including the double-inverted commas as shown. The file name [here, nx3_server.cmd] should be same as the name you had used inside the Notepad file [.cmd].

Install and run Unigraphics NX4 or NX3 in Windows 7 or Windows Vista

  • Once done, it will create a new file nx3_server.cmd [in my case].
  • Before starting Unigraphics, run this .cmd file. After this, Unigraphics NX should run without issues.
  • If, unlike me, you happen to use Unigraphics frequently, then you may copy a shortcut of the .cmd file [nx3_server.cmd] to the startup folder. License manager will start the moment you log into Windows.

If you also happen to own a licensed copy of Unigraphics NX5 or beyond, then you could copy the lmgrd.exe file from there and use it to replace the file having the same name in NX4.

Hat tip NXway

Godspeed


Thursday, July 01, 2010

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

MiG-23 in Pune [Google Earth]

Had nothing to do this morning. So we decided to pay the bird another visit. More so, as I found that the other memory card which had some more pictures had been used, and the pictures got erased in a firmware update Sad smile.

Good thing we went, as this time we climbed up this contraption used to climb up the Coconut tree and took a couple of snaps.

Some more pictures of the MiG-23.

Click on the images for a larger-sized photograph

Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune [National Highway 4] Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune [National Highway 4]
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune [National Highway 4] Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune [National Highway 4]
Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune [National Highway 4] Warbird: MiG-23 in Pune [National Highway 4]

Tried creating a kludge panorama image [4697 x 1277 pixels].

Warbird: Mig-23 in Pune [Mumbai-Pune highway NH4]

Information at a Glance:

Aircraft: Mig-23 MF. Also on Bharat Rakshak

Serial Number: SK 423

Origin: USSR [roughly, present day Russia]

NATO name: Flogger

IAF designation: Vijay [no longer in service]

Function: Air Defense mission

Warbird Location: Kamalnayan Bajaj Park [Wikimapia], Mumbai-Pune Highway NH4

Reference Landmark: 2 km from the College of Engineering, Pune passing by Shopper's Stop.

Have uploaded the whole bunch on to my Picasa Web Album – Warbirds: MiG-23 in Pune

Godspeed


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My [not so] new Rig

My new Rig - www.shubhspace.com

Assembled a new rig for myself this February. Had been using the old one since 2004. Although I kept adding a hardware or two here and there, though still in perfect working condition, it had begun to show its age around a couple of years back itself.

So I finally decided to assemble a new one, convincing my folks that a new computer would work wonders to my otherwise indifferent academic performance Winking smile. Though no way did they buy that argument, they permitted me to go ahead with my purchase Smile.

After much procrastination, that carried on through the entire seventh semester [after having received permission from my folks even before the 7th Sem began :D], I finally got down to selecting the hardware in December of 2009, and by mid-January 2010 had ascertained fairly well, what hardware I was going to build my Computer with.

I had also set myself a strict budgetary restriction of Rs.50,000 INR [around $1090 USD] – under no circumstances was my rig going to cost more than that. With this constraint in view, I set about building the rig, ably advised by the wonderful people at the ThinkDigit Forum.

The current configuration of my Rig is as follows:

Hardware

Company/Model

Cost

Processor

Athlon II X4 620 (2.6GHz)

Rs. 4850 INR
[$105 USD approx]

Motherboard

Asus M4A785TD-V EVO

Rs. 6500 INR
[$141 USD approx]

GPU

ATI Radeon™ HD 5750 chipset - based Sapphire Graphics Card [1 GB DDR5]

Rs. 8650 INR
[$189 USD approx]

RAM

Corsair
VS2GB1333D3G (2 * 2 GB)

Rs. 5800 total
[$126 USD approx]

HDD

1.5 TB Western Digital SATA Caviar Green

Rs. 5900 INR
[$128 USD approx]

Monitor

Samsung 2233SW

Rs. 8900 INR
[$193 USD approx]

Keyboard

Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000

Rs. 1000 INR
[$21 USD approx]

Mouse

iBall Laser Precise Speedster - Mini

Rs. 500 INR
[$10 USD approx]

Optical Drive/Burner

LG GH22NP20 DVD writer [SATA]

Rs. 1050 INR
[$22 USD]

Cabinet

Cooler Master Elite 330

Rs. 2450 INR
[$53 USD approx]

PSU

Gigabyte Superb 460W

Rs. 2350 INR
[$51 USD approx]

Bluetooth Dongle

Generic Chinese Brand

Rs 75 INR
[$1.6 USD approx]

DVI Cable

Generic Chinese Brand

Rs. 300 INR
[$6.52 USD approx]

DKE-2 cable

Generic Chinese Brand

Rs. 100 INR
[$2.1 USD approx]

Exchange rate [assumption]: $1 USD = Rs. 46 INR

I also scavenged some Hardware from the old computer, thereby saving me some moolah that I used to buy the other hardware whose cost would otherwise have pushed my budget above the Rs. 50,000 – a BIG No No!.

Hardware

Company/Model

Cost

Speakers

Altec Lansing ATP3

NA

Headset

Altec Lansing AHS502i

NA

UPS

APC Back-UPS ES 500

NA

The total amount came to Rs. 48425 INR [$1052 USD approximately], well within my allotted budget, much to my folks surprise, if I may add Smile.

Assembling a computer after a gap of nearly 3-odd years, I was a little nervous at the beginning, but then preparing myself by reading the manuals and keeping them at the side while I assembled the rig did the trick – assembled it without issues the first time itself.

Haven’t run any benchmark tests yet, but working with CATIA, while there is a video encoding taking place in the background along with optical disk burning and a small analysis being carried out using Ansys, not to mention music playing, did not quite bother the computer one bit, as I was easily able to do my work in CATIA with no hanging or time lag occurring. Was working with a simple assembly and the analysis too was pretty basic – haven’t tried any complex stuff yet.

Using Windows 7 Ultimate Edition [x86] as my primary OS [meaning only 2 GB of my RAM is being currently detected by the OS] and have left around 300 GB of HDD space un-partitioned for other OSes.

Warning/Note: The Asus Motherboard manual mentions Kingston’s KVR1333D3N9 2G in its list of recommended RAM sticks. Reading this I had first purchased that RAM as it also cost less. However, right from the moment I booted my computer for the first time, I started facing problems that varied from the computer hanging up suddenly to the computer getting restarted automatically. Finally after I went to my vendor, he suggested that I change the RAM and take the Corsair RAMs instead, which incidentally does not happen to be in the Asus’s list of recommended RAMs for the motherboard.

Some of the more pictures of the rig.

My new Rig - www.shubhspace.com

My new Rig - www.shubhspace.com

My new Rig - www.shubhspace.com

My new Rig [GPU] - www.shubhspace.com

Uploaded these and the rest of the pictures, including that of my old computer, on Picasa Web – Rig Pics.

Godspeed


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.

Godspeed


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.

Godspeed


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

But it was not an American discovery..it 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.

Godspeed


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.

Godspeed


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

SCIgen on Wikipedia

SCIgen Blog - The birth of SCIgen

Godspeed


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.

Godspeed


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

Godspeed


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.

Godspeed