Sunday, 29 September 2013

Electric cars

Most people think I am nuts when I say that electric cars charged at our household electric supply are more polluting than well-maintained petrol cars.  Here's a lifecycle costing.
So, unless it is charged by solar power, and until we get better long-living batteries, I am not a fan  of electric cars. And, if all this happens, it may be unaffordable. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

mental bandwidth

In a totally different context, this mental bandwidth occupancy is the main reason why  many women find it so difficult to do research or any seriously creative work after having children. Issues like "is there enough milk in the house", " is kid2 developing a flu", "what should I make for dinner when guests are expected", "did kid1 finish his project"  are not earth shattering, important issues. But these are the things that need immediate attention and HAVE to be done.
Hence, focusing on that research paper, or solving that problem of internal coordinate redundancy gets very difficult.
By tradition, or conditioning, most men do not seem to have these worries. Anyway, wife will attend to it, so why worry!!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A boy genius

There is this article in yesterday's Deccan Chronicle. A thirteen year old boy believes that "the quantum theory is not right" and the "Big Bang theory by Stephen Hawking needs to be expanded a lot more more".
Whether the quantum theory is wrong or not, is another issue. I am sure theories will undergo modifications as they always have.
Perhaps this boy really is a genius, and self confidence is a good thing. However, to believe at age 13, that one is really on the verge of proving that the quantum theory is wrong, is something else.
His credentials are that he can perform 100 multiplications of 2 digit numbers in 4 minutes and 46 seconds and various similar feats.
PS- Coincidentally, I just went on to read an interesting post.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

It always seems strange to me when someone advertises a HD TV on television. The ad. demonstrates to us how good the image quality is........duh! ...... If I saw good quality image on my 1998 vintage BPL TV, why would I need a HD TV?

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Undergrad teaching and research.

I have said before that a person teaching undergrads  need not be a researcher..in fact, research takes away time from teaching and vice versa.  My opinion is based only on my observations , but here is a paper 

Friday, 6 September 2013

teachers' day

A few students made my day. I got such nice messages from some of them. Particularly, one long conversation on the phone with a student who has now joined for an MSc in Organic Chemistry.

I call my PhD guide on the phone once in a way and his wife says he enjoys his chats with me.
During  the work for my PhD,  my guide had a hands off method of guiding students (which suited me best), unlike a colleague of his who would micro-manage his student's work in the lab.
But what  I tried to learn from him, is to live life in a a balanced manner. Most importantly he was unflappable. It had a calming effect during the many crises that came up during the course of my doctoral studies. I owe him a lot for that.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

GHMC and APTRANSCO

There was this vague talk a few years back that the GHMC(greater hyderabad municipal corporation) was planning to dig up all the roads and lay one large pipeline all over the city. Any one needing to lay cable/pipe, must rent this pipeline and just thread their cable through this pipeline. It would fetch revenue for the GHMC, minimise the work for the canle laying organisation and best of all, save us, the common people from the relentless digging up of roads.
As with all good ideas, it fell by the wayside.
Two years back, the electricity supplier, APTRANSCO dug up all the major roads ..some 10-15 ft wide and 10 ft deep (I think), causing a drive to buy vegetables, to become a matter of life and death. You could, at anytime, be edged into the seemingly bottomless pit with your car. I had to watch helplessly a couple of times, when a tractor/car scraped and dented my car since there was no space to move away. After about a year, they filled up these trenches. However, one monsoon later, these patched up part of the roads sank. Now we have free roller coaster rides on our way to work.
This  whole exercise was meant to convert all overhead electric lines to underground cables. Now, two years later, there are no underground cables, only uneven roads to remind us of our ordeals. 

crime and punishment

Today the auto drivers are off the roads . They are protesting against the steep increase in the fines to be imposed for traffic violations. The traffic police of Hyderabad have adjusted for inflation and have decreed that jumping red light, which used to cost Rs.200, will now cost Rs 1000, drunken driving will attract larger fines.
Next all murderers are planning to go on strike............culpable homicide should merit a punishment of no more than 20 days in jail and the All India Union of Bank Robbers say they must be let off with a week in prison.
India is a democratic country. We all have the right to commit offences with impunity.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

when criminals fall out

When someone is jailed for a crime committed at another's behest, should he expose evidence against the mastermind  in small installments ?  If he provides  the evidence all at one go, in a surprise move, the danger of his being murdered in prison is less, for he has already exposed all he knew, and can say no more. If he just hints at a few clues, he can be murdered so that he really can say no more.

Vedic people

In my school days, the Aryans populating India were of central Asiatic origin who entered India from the north west. Then there was this hu...