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Sunday, January 22, 2012

T-50 PAK-FA Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA] - Photographs & Reading

Went through the December issue of Take-Off magazine. Has a good set of articles covering some of the important aspects of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA], T-50 PAK-FA, also known as the Future Tactical Fighter [FTF].

Friday, January 20, 2012

Indian Aircraft Carrier - a Canadian Conspiracy!

As far as military conspiracies go, one could easily rank this right up there, amongst the most incogitable. In fact, a plot like this could very well have been taken right out of a Tom Clancy edge-of-the-seat mil-tech novel saga. But I'd doubt, even he would have risked coming up with a scenario this outlandish, least it gave his publishers a heart-attack, laughing. Then again, quoting the oft-repeated cliché, "Truth is Stranger than Fiction".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Indian Navy's MiG-29K aircraft - Weapon Load Out & Powerplant [Graphics]


The induction of the Russian-origin MiG-29K fighter aircrafts [MiG-29KUB, the twin-seater trainer variant] into the Indian Navy's air wing provides it with a quantum leap in capabilities. With higher operating speed [supersonic, as opposed to the subsonic Sea Harrier, it currently operates], greater range, much greater weapon load & a much more powerful on-board radar, the MiG-29Ks, taking off from one of the Indian Navy's future Aircraft Carriers would be capable of causing some serious damage to the belligerents, provided the civilian leadership of the country can muster the required political will to respond in anger.

This graphic, below, shows the various Russian-origin missiles that the Fulcrums acquired by India would be able to carry with it during combat, to perform different missions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

3D-photograph: Cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma [India's man in Space]

The sole Indian to have travelled to the outer Space, Cosmonaut Wing Commander [retd] Rakesh Sharma of the Indian Air Force, celebrated his 63rd birthday this 13th of January. A real shame that no newspaper that day bothered to mention it, even as a footnote. This apathy, towards a person who is the sole individual to accomplish a feat achieved by no other Indian, from among the 1.1 Billion who are its citizens.

Truth be told, it slipped even my attention that day. But then, I don't earn my bread & butter [preceded by coffee & gum] by being in the business of generating awareness. The media folks are. They should have written a few words about him that day. They did not. It was only yesterday, when I came across this 3D-photograph of him, did I remember.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jammu & Kashmir, India - introductory reading

The Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir has been a perennial cause of confrontation & consternation for the country's government of the day since the time of India's independence. Complete annexation & integration of an Indian state into its fold has, since its inception, defined the national identity of a neighbor. In the ensuing din of claims & counter-claims, allegations & counter-allegations, one is faced with the persistent threat of being swayed by biases & disinformation that vested interest groups attempt to inject into the prevailing narrative to strengthen their own positions.

Map of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir

Such efforts towards obfuscation & willful manipulation become that much more easier to accomplish when one enjoys an unbridled flow of Wahhabi Petro-dollars & the active support & connivance of the security establishment of the aforementioned neighboring country, whose entire setup is singularly geared towards dealing grief to India [the Salafi cannon-fodder with guns play a different, albeit concurrent, role]. An important element of this effort towards social engineering involves trying to make acceptable, a revisionist interpretation of historical antecedents by stating the same, in manners suited to the occasion, at every given opportunity, with the intent of turning fiction into the 'new fact'.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Solution for my need of quiet [Eureka moment]

Ever so often, while I'm in the middle of some activity that requires some amount of concentration to get done, the sound of the television in the living room, or the domestic help arguing with Mum has played spoilers to my plans. Closing the door to the bedroom screws up the flow of draught, [okay, Sheldon, I'm not]. Putting on the headphone, & playing music to cut off the background noises too isn't of much help - I'm simply replacing one kind of sound with another, when what I really want is some amount of silence.


My b0rked pair of Soundmagic's PL 11 in-ear earphones had been lying unused in the drawer ever since, well, it got b0rked. On a hunch, today, I took them out & put them in my ears, &, wonders, it cut out just the right amount of background noise, leaving me with the quiet I was looking for. It doesn't cut out the noises completely, which is good, as it leaves me nominally aware of activities in the background, yet it provides just the right amount of quiet, needed to do my stuff. Eureka moment. I've nipped the connecting wires, leaving just a bit of it for convenience. Simple & unobtrusive.


Saturday, January 07, 2012

UPDATED: INS Viraat - Indian Navy Aircraft Carrier [Wallpaper material]

INS Viraat - Indian Navy Aircraft Carrier [Wallpaper material]

The INS Viraat is currently the sole Aircraft Carrier in operation with the Indian Navy and also the oldest Aircraft Carrier in the world, still in operation. Long due for decommissioning, it has had to undergo multiple Life-extension upgrades to prolong its service life in face of delayed induction of the INS Vikramaditya, a refurbished & modified Soviet-origin Aircraft-carrying Cruiser, originally named Baku, then renamed Admiral Gorshkov [not to be confused with the recently inducted class of Russian frigates]. Despite its age, the INS Viraat, with enhanced capabilities incorporated as part of its upgrade programs,  continues to remain the flagship of the Indian Navy & is expected to remain in service with the Indian Navy till around 2020.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Guard [Movie majik]


If you like your movie funny, dark, morbid, irreverent & unpretentiously politically incorrect, then this is the movie to watch, if you haven't watched it already. An absolute rip-rollicking delight. Just finished watching it myself. A welcome change, too, from the Hollywood brand of English movies.

Wikipedia Entry


Monday, January 02, 2012

Indian Missile Programmes - Some Updates

Blogger Tarmak007 recently concluded writing a series of articles on India's indigenous Missile development programmes. Titled Cracking India's Missile Code, they contain quite a bit of updates & previously not known information. Especially refreshing it was to read the Director of DRDL calling for increased participation of the private sector in Defence production & R&D & his [DRDO's] commitment to lend them a helping hand in their effort. All the right noises made. How well it gets implemented, is yet to be seen. Good Read.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Indian Navy Sea King Helicopter aboard US Naval Warship [Photograph]

Indian Navy Helicopter aboard US Warship
The Malabar series of Naval exercises are a yearly Naval engagement primarily involving participation by the Navies of India & the United States of America. Other countries who have been invited to participate in these exercises, up till now, include Japan, Australia & Singapore. The exercises this year were held in the month of April. Scheduled to be held off the coast of Okinawa in Japan, the situation arising at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant, prompted a withdrawal of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force [Japanese Navy]. The exercises were held in the Philippine Sea.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Google-powered Educational Courseware [Google University]

Yesterday, while browsing through the Internet, which I do a fair amount of, I was struck by this realization. Our Internet experience would have been so much poorer & exceedingly dreary & tedious without the invaluable service provided by the Google search engine. Its bots, crawling through the near-infinite maze of web pages on the Internet, indexing them, categorizing them & then, making just the relevant pages available to the user in the form of search results, when the user keys in a particular search string. Such ease & convenience in accessing information has, thus, made it possible for a much greater number of people to gain the knowledge & information they seek, without having to encounter brick-walls in the form of protocol, hierarchy, red-tapism, or even prior knowledge in the field in which the information is sought, at each step of the way, as is the prevalent practice in the traditional stream of knowledge dissemination.


It is indeed true that the Internet, itself, has made possible for dissemination & acquisition of knowledge in a manner & scale far greater than traditional means introduced earlier. However, without the help of a search engine to bring it all together, & inform us that various portions of information we seek are actually available at different locations, our search on the Internet would be akin to groping our way through the dark, in the hope of getting lucky. It would have lead to the Internet being a network of disparately located islands of information, virtually isolated from one another. A person, who is aware that information about a topic is available at a given location [web site], may not also have known that additional information could also be accessed at another website, without the help of a search engine to point that out, as would be the case today. Data ghettos we would end up with, as opposed to the ocean of information that the Internet is today.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MiG-29 aircraft [MiG-29UPG] of Indian Air Force [IAF] to fire Russian Kh-35U Anti-Ship missile [Photograph]

Upgraded MiG-29 aircraft [MiG-29UPG] of the Indian Air Force [IAF] equipped to fire Russian Kh-35U Anti-Ship Cruise missile

The photograph, above, shows an Indian Air Force MiG-29 aircraft, currently in Russia to receive a Mid-life upgrade, loaded with a Kh-35U Subsonic Anti-Ship Cruise Missile . The entire fleet of these Russian-origin aircrafts are to receive a Mid-life/Life-extension upgrade. Following the upgrade, these aircraft are to be identified by the nomenclature UPG as suffix, i.e., MiG-29UPG. Capability to launch the Kh-35 missiles are being incorporated into the MiG-29 aircraft as part of the upgrade package decided upon.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Indian Space & Defence programs [something to read]

Was reading the December issue of Aeromag Asia this afternoon. Has some interesting articles including one about the newly-established Bird Strike Research Group of India [BSRGI]. Also of interest is the article about the Engine & Test Bed Research & Design Centre [ETBRDC], a division of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. It speaks of some challenges that are unique to small-sized Gas Turbines. Worth a read.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sony Ericsson Xperia Active - my first Android [Uncontrolled Joy]

I have been using my new handset since the past week - a Sony Ericsson Xperia Active [also sold by the name ST17i]. Filled with glee, owning my first handset running Google's Android Operating system :-) . While it came with Gingerbread installed out-of-the-box, a notification to install Ice Cream Sandwich has already been sent across. Being my first handset running the Android, still getting to know my way around the O.S's environment. Getting a hang of things, however, wasn't really any issue. The interface is so wonderfully intuitive that I was able to get going with the phone even without having to take a look at the user guide.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Active [ST17i] cellphone

Intend to explore the handset a bit, initially, in its factory default configuration. Once I develop a fair amount of comfort with the device, will jump right into the game, rooting1 it & a Cyanogenmod install, if available. Have already installed MoboPlayer & a Notepad app from the Android Marketplace.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Computer Science Research Institutions in India [Institute ranking]

Computer Science, or rather 'Computer Engineering', is quite a buzzword in India. Every Engineering College that has started in India in the past two decades or so, has invariably had Computer Engineering as one of its first course offerings.

This phenomena is not hard to figure out, though. Ever since the "IT-boom" India witnessed, first gaining widespread public attention in the 90s, an inordinately large number of students, those about to take up undergraduate studies, have been influenced by the promises & challenges of this sector. As a result, wanting to reap the benefits of the opportunities offered by this sector & enjoy a lucrative, high-paying professional career [compared to the other sectors in India], one has seen students rush to apply for the course in far greater numbers than other branches of Engineering1.

Supercomputer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture [SAGA-220], currently India's fastest Supercomputer in terms of peak performance

Such rush is not without complete justification, either. Nearly every major company in the field of Computer & Information Technology has a sizable presence in India, & expanding their operations here. The nature of work done at these centers, too, is said to be rising higher up the value chain. Thus, in order to cater to the increasing demands of qualified professionals required in these industries, newer educational institutes. as well as the older, established ones, therefore, ensure they have a Computer Science department in their portfolio.

However, as with anything else, with a quantitative surge, one tends to witness a qualitative dip. This is no different for these educational institutions either. The variance, quite often vast, in the quality of education imparted in each institutions & the the infrastructure they posses, calls for a need to put them in perspective, assigning rank, in order to visualize a clearer picture of the situation.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Download for Free an amazing book of wildlife photography [24 hour e-book giveaway]

20111218-Wildlife-Photography-Free-Download-01Budding photographers, perhaps even those who've bloomed, especially those interested in wildlife photography should find this bit of news very helpful. German wildlife photographer, Uwe Skrzypczak is giving away as a free download, a copy of his book, 'Wildlife photography: On Safari with Your DSLR: Equipment, Techniques, Workflow'.

I just finished downloading his e-book. I was actually hoping it would have lots of high-resolution photos of the wild [National Geographic-like], which was what primarily piqued my interest in the download. With my eye still nearly wholly shut, what with the spurious coffee I'm drinking, which I'm quite sure is just mud water, I missed reading the description of the book. This, as it turns out, was not so bad a thing to have happened, & not just because it is a free download. Quickly going through his book, I realised that the author has put in genuine efforts in writing it.