Exam Fever

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com/. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on Ocober 15, 2006 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Well, exam’s beginning in another month. Aaaaahhhh! (runs and hides under the bed). Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. Can do nothing from under the bed. Relax…(What???)…Breathe in and breathe out… So, till the end of December…blog posts will mostly be about shouting and running under the bed..studying…sleeping…studying…eating..studying…eating…studying…did I say eating….

Pardon my attempt at humour…I’m trying to release severe mental trauma and tension. Sorry for killing the medical terminology…those equations are wrong…what’re you doing online??…
[Ed: Blogger was under severe stress while composing the blog. Kindly overlook any spelling errors etc. Thank you]

Hah! Feel much better already. Thank you for bearing with me for this one post. Will do it again before the exams..so bear with me.

listening to: (go study….exams in one month and your listening to songs??????)
I hope you dance – Lee Ann Womack
I never loved you anyway – The Corrs

Is blogging genetic

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com/. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on Ocober 14, 2006 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

In the future, will today’s bloggers offspring also blog? What will they blog about? The same subject as their parents or something different. If both father and mother are bloggers, whose style will he take more??

Nah, just joking. But, just think: how would ur children blog…what would blogging be like in that age – 30-40 years or even 10 years for all you older folks.

What about SMSing and the choice of search engine or the choice of computer…or the choice of tech gadgets?? Trying to get your mind on a track that may or may not be thinking about. This can be developed into a whole new branch of philosophy called techno-philosophy where people study such abstract questions like “Why does Technology have the affect it does have?”…”Why does technology exist?”…”What would happen if there were no technology??”.

Enjoy thinking.

listening to:
Angel – The Corrs
At your side – The Corrs

Google and Microsoft

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com/. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on Ocober 12, 2006 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Thinking yesterday: Will Google take over Microsoft or will Microsoft take over Google or some new super power take over both of them…maybe Apple or IBM or maybe some company like Altavista or maybe something that is not born yet?…I’m talking about 25-50 years from now. Think about it. How do you look at it??

Possible conspiracy theory or reality??

20 years into the future… MS goes open source. MS and Google work together to make the Internet available to all. MS was actually siding with the “evil Government ” to take over all closed source companies and ISPs to provide free Internet and softwares for humanity….Computers now available for $1. Laptops for $2. Internet connection free. Unlimited bandwidth…every computer engineers heaven…since everything is open…currency is abolished. You just take anything you want whenever you want…after asking, ofcourse.

Currency is abolished = companies useless = stock exchange useless = billionaires’ money is just a piece of paper = poor get food = medical services are free = everyone can research about their favourite subjects without worrying about lack of money = environmentally clean technologies = Governments useless = Greatest equaliser among human beings

I seriously doubt whether that will happen, though. Not costly to be optimistic? Is it??

listening to:
Would you be happier – The Corrs
X-Files Theme [remix] – Mike Oldfield

What If?

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com/. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on Ocober 12, 2006 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

What if for one day all the world’s multinational companies sat down and allowed alternative people in their business to demonstrate their skills. One place where the world can watch. All free and open source or paid services from the people in your adjoining area. No, this is not for saving the rupees you would give the multinationals who have made themselves an integral part of our society.

One day, one place where only people from the locality field their products. Call it the Local Market. Locally manufactured food, locally manufactured drinks, locally manufactured products, local people. A place to meet and discuss. A place for local businessmen to sit and talk with these enterpreuners of the local kind. One day that their talent is showcased to the community.

Maybe they have a better computer than Apple. Maybe they have better food than MacDonalds. Maybe their products are better than the ones you would find in multiplexes. Maybe their product is much more superior to anything that you have seen till date. OR maybe they are worse than the above named people. What’s wrong with giving it a try? For one day?

Empowering local communities with local self government powers like the Advanced Locality Management is not enough. You should give them the power to survive as local economies doing well in themselves and also yearning to do better than the best in the industry. When, you encourage such organisations, you will have companies like Apple and Google starting from a garage in India.

Alas, people still want the best. But who decides what’s best. That was told by a fellow sitting in someplace near Silicon Valley or in Bangalore or Hyderabad. What if there was a better Operating System than Windows or Linux? What if there were people who don’t have the Internet access to distribute their OS but had a small community who used a system of telegrams to send and receive mail regarding bugs and bug fixes?

I am not saying that such a community exists but isn’t there a possibility? Programs aired on TV recently showed the work of village level enterpreuners who had no basic education but used the skills passed on from their parents to build these wonderful machines useful to the people around them.Necissity, is indeed the mother of invention. But, if man does not accept these inventions, what then? The TV shows maybe a 10-20% of the actual events taking place and even less percentage of perspectives on a subject.

There is no denying that the youth in India today are taking initiatives that their forefathers would not have imagined taking up. But, if you do not pay attention to that human voice asking for attention for the work that he is doing, how will this whisper be heard by more people?

Life is not always just. Man is not always fair. But, atleast we must try…

Where I want to spend the rest of my life?

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com/. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on Ocober 12, 2006 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I had great ambitions for my life.But, I seem to have lost it. My interest has not vaned but certain experiences have helped me to reach this conclusion.My ambition would just be a waste of my energy. I can conserve that energy and put it back to something more useful.

I want to go to some place.A place where people are not out to take the world by storm. Or maybe a country that has still not discovered the idea of taking over the world. I am not saying India is all of this but her people lack the amount of time spent on recreation and family. They all seem to be increasingly hardworking. Then, why not go to an Indian village? Things from the city will soon reach there too. I want to go to a place where civilisation of the MNCs, 12-24 hour work load, tension when not doing the work and studying thoroughout vaccations have not caught up yet.

As the people working here go to foriegn lands and work even harder, the natives there will see that they are losing their edge to the Indians and begin working harder. This will lead to a sort of world that I would not want to live in. A far away peaceful country like Norway, Sweden, New Zealand or some island in the Pacific will suit my purposes. I do not want money.I just want peace and quiet.

The people of today know only that the more you squeeze an orange, more juice will come out. But, if you don’t take care of the orange tree, there won’t be any juice there in the first place. All it takes is for one generation of Indians to say “NO” to this way of life and it will all change. But, the present generation of Indians have still not been pushed to the limits. Not yet.And yet, because of the infusion of youth, the older employees have to work harder to get their work done. The cycle will continue until somone can break it.


Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com/. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on Ocober 12, 2006 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I think about many things at the same time. I get good ideas on many things at the same time. And in the process of writing one down I forget the another. This process is caused by restlessness. I am restless to write down that new idea. Somehow, this feature seems to be integrated into my body functions.
While studying one subject another line of thought goes through the beauty of another mathematical derivation. The thing is I am conscious of it both at the same time. This leads to lesser retention and weaker long term memory. Hell, I can’t even remember what was thought yesterday because of this.
This is a very quiet form of restlessness.
I have tried another form of meditation. Thinking of everything at the same time as a point instead of thinking of a point as a point. This only seems to lead to further distortion. The other form of meditation, I cannot do, because when I do it, I am not aware of only the two but all the different streams of thought flowing through my mind.

What my blog will not be about

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com/. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on Ocober 12, 2006 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

[blog was written over many days and songs]
1. Will not be about one subject
2. Will not have a fixed theme (for non-WordPress guys n gals: the layout)
3. Will not be political (except content [sometimes] in the sidebar)
4. Will not be easy to find
5. Will not be number one on WordPress.com (won’t mind if it happens though)
6. Will not be about celebrities
7. Will not be about tech
8. Will not always be about what I like (hey, you gotta give the other side a chance)
9. Will not be about money
10.  Will not always follow the above written objections or happenings (hey, rules are meant to be broken)

listening to: (in alphabetical order)
Intimacy – The Corrs
Irresistable – The Corrs
It’s Like that – Mariah Carey
Lifting me – The Corrs
Mea Culpa – Enigma
No Frontiers – The Corrs (great song)
Old Hag – The Corrs (great instru)
Rebel Heart – The Corrs (best instru)
Parachutes – Coldplay
finally finished that post….ha!

Why not in India?

I emailed Rashmi Bansal, then editor of Just Another Magazine or JAM on August 9, 2006 requesting her to publish this article on JAM. She replied saying a part of this will be published in JAM with the article posted on the website. I think neither happened. Hence, posting here.

When we read foriegn technical journals available in our college library, students often think, when will we reach that stage? The thought is even shared by some Professors. While others think that engineering education is enough of a burden for students without adding the additional burden of innovation and enterpreunership. Engineering education in India is a fixed subject each semester and there is absolutely no flexibility of choosing some subjects of your own. This is because classrooms are constant and teachers have to circulate from classroom to class room to go to each class. An attempt to give the description of engineering education is a little overwhelming, but that’s the basic. 

Within this framework too, there are students who manage to develop their own projects and also do well academically. Doing well academically implies getting a good job and sufficiently good salary, the primary reason for choosing engineering. Students do not choose, or atleast the majority of the students do not choose engineering because they like it. They choose it because it is the easiest path to getting money and lots of it. After four years of hardwork and a little industrial experience you’re ready to face the big bad world. We cannot blame the students for the desire for money. That desire arises because of the need to support their  family as their parents age and are unable to do work or retire. This leaves most of the other branches open with empty seats and poor quality of students (the majority of them atleast). Engineering and Medicene are the most sought after branches of education. 

Why dont things like a project of building rockets or a student-run newspaper happen in India? What stops them from taking a step further and actually going ahead and building rockets or starting their own magazines? Learn and Earn are the only two principle objectives of the student in India. If you think that we lack ideas, I shall give you a few. Let’s see how many people can do this in India, with all the obstacles of education, examination and bureaucracy. 

Idea 1: Start a student-run newspaper, circulated initially within campus and then extended to other colleges without a central command at any of the college. How do you think online open source projects work? Some thing like that. Available for free online on a website. You can take a copy, print it and post it on your college notice board, with permission of course. Cover all the topics that you need to cover. Advertise by word of mouth. Just look at the number of students in Mumbai. I think there are enough writers to contribute say a 10 page newsletter. 

Idea 2: This one is for the engineering colleges. How about a rocket making competition? Make rockets that touch a certain height. Ask the Government where we can launch them and have the competition somewhere safe. It doesn’t have to go to space. A height of say 10 meters or whatever is safe. 

Idea 3: Most of us go to coffee shops right. Why not a student run coffee house chain? This will help students of home science and integrate with students who do management. This is a basic concept. Anything to do with management and a thing useful for student goes well with us. Recruit the famous wada pav wallas of your area and make your concept better. You know the streets and you know the people who make certain things well, you have it done don’t you? 

That’s just three ideas for starters and in three areas that I can remember – mass communication, engineering and management. You can think of tons more. Student projects and initiatives are encouraged across the globe. So, why doesn’t it happen in India? We ask that question, say that’s life in India and move on. Well, we got to atleast make a start on something so that future generation of students are able to hone their skills that assures that the future of the country remains bright. We can’t just hope that among the millions of engineers atleast one another Narayan Murthy comes up with another Infosys, we gotta believe that 10 Narayan Murthys with 10 Infosys comes up within the next 15 years. Target 30 for the next 30 years and so on. Beat our targets year after year. 

Is anyone of you ready to take the challenge? We have IIT-Bombay right here in Mumbai. Why don’t they organise a rocket competion? Why don’t we have flea markets in college festivals. College students are the ones who like to buy stuff cheap. I mean mostly. So, college festivals would be a good place to trade and bargain. Management students can research then, on how well that works and give us some figures. The ideas are endless but the commitment and desire to do the job is what it takes at the end of the day. Do you have it in you to atleast implement the three ideas stated above?

Ancient Indian Astronomers

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://pradeepnair.wordpress.com. I recovered the text from here which is also something I ran. This post appeared on April 1, 2006 as per the permalink. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

History has not yet caught up with the investigation of the works done by the scholars of Ancient India. In this article, I would like to give you a brief idea of the work of some of the great astronomers of ancient India. Before beginning, let me tell you that these men were mostly into several fields at the same time. So, the same person may have dealt in varied subjects like astronomy,mathematics, philosophy etc. at the same time.

We begin this journey covering the works of ancient astronomers with Aryabhata.

Aryabhata was one of the revolutionaries in science whose work, the Aryabhatiya was almost forgotten. Aryabhata is regarded as the greatest mathematician-astronomer of India. It was with this honour that India’s first satellite was named after him.

Aryabhatta was born in 476 A.D. He wrote his first work, Aryabhatiya in 499 A.D. at the age of 23. The Aryabhatiya deals with both mathematics and astronomy and is divided into four parts: Gitikapada (preliminaries), Ganitapada (mathematics), Kalakriyapada (reckoning of time) and Golapada (astronomy).

Aryabhata (476 – 550 A.D.) believed that the earth rotated on its axis and the stars were fixed in space.  He goes on to say that the apparent rotation of the heavens was due to the fact that the earth revolved around its axis.  According to him the period of one rotation of the earth is 23 hours 56 mn 4.1s while the modern value is 23 hours 56 mn 4.091s.  His accuracy regarding this is amazing. To justify this point, he stated:

“Just as a man in a boat moving forward sees the stationery objects (on either
side of the river) as moving backward, just so are the stationery stars seen
by people at Lanka (on the equator), as moving exactly towards the west.”

Aryabhata was among the first astronomers to make an attempt at measuring the Earth’s circumference. Aryabhata accurately calculated the Earth’s circumference as 24,835 miles, which was only 0.2% smaller than the actual value of 24,902 miles.

Another of Aryabhatta’s work, Aryabhatiya-Siddhanta, is only known through references to it another books.Among his most notable contributions to modern astronomy are: the explanation and computation of solar and lunar eclipses, the expounding of the heliocentric model of the solar system and the computation of the length of earth’s revolution around the sun.

We now go ahead in chronological order to the other great astronomers of ancient India beginning with Varahmihira (505 – 587 AD). He worked as one of the Navratnas or nine gems in the court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya. His book Panchasiddhantika (The Five Astronomical Canons), written in 575 AD gives us information about older Indian texts which are now lost. The work is a treatise on mathematical astronomy.

Next,we come to, Brahmagupta (598-668 AD). He wrote two texts – Brahmasphutasiddhanta in 628 and the Khandakhadyaka in 665. Some of his important contributions are: methods for calculations of the motions and places of various planets, their rising and setting, conjunctions, and the calculations of eclipses of the sun and the moon.

Sripati(1019 – 1066 AD) was an Indian astronomer and mathematician, author of Dhikotidakarana (written in 1039 AD) a work on solar and lunar eclipses. He also wrote the Druvamanasa in 1056 AD for calculating planetary longitudes, eclipses and planetary transits. He also wrote a majr work on astronomy titled Siddhantasekhara and an incomplete mathematical treatise Ganitatilaka.

Next, we take a look at Bhaskara (1114 – 1185). His main works are Lilavati, Bijaganti and Siddhanta Shiromani. He worked on the following subjects: mean longigtudes of the planets, true longitudes of the planets, the three problems of diurnal rotation, syzygies, lunar and solar eclipses,latitudes of the planets, risings and settings, the moon’s crescent, conjunctions of planets with each other and the conjunctions of planets with the fixed stars, the paths of the sun and the moon. He is also credited with the near accurate calculation of the sidereal earth as 365.2588 days. The modern accepted measurement is 365.2596 days, an error of just one minute. He also wrote about the first visibility of the planets,astronomical instruments, problems of astronomical calculations and the seasons.

Here we end the great journey that began with Aryabhatta and ended with Bhaskara. I hope you can respect that the work that these great astronomers have done at so early a time. Their work was lost before being found. Theories are being discussed that the Arabs translated this work in Kerala and then made it available to the Europeans in the 15th century which introduced them to the works of calculus. This is only a theory and has not yet been proved.Studies on this matter continues till this date. There is also work on the translation of some of the major works into English and Hindi. But, the true beauty of these works can be recognized only when read in the language in which they were written –  Sanskrit.