Saturday, 30 January 2016

I have tried to upload the videos of the science fair many times, but they don't seem to work when posted in the blog. Not being too tech savvy, I may have to simply delete those posts if I can't figure it out soon. Any suggestions are welcome.

beating retreat

I love marching bands and in particular the Beating Retreat after our Republic day. I watch it almost every year. I wait eagerly for the 'Abide with me', specially the bells. This year, it started with the lovely 'Kadam kadam badhaye ja'. But then, there was this composition 'Agyat Youvana' that had an Indian classical component with tabla, violin, etc. That is just not done. I like classical music, I enjoy both instrumental and vocal music - but in a marching band?   It violates the basic requirement of a marching band...it has to march.
I will listen to Zakir Hussain or Taufiq Qureshi or any other tabalchi separately and enjoy them thoroughly, but not at Vijay Chowk on 29th Jan.

Friday, 29 January 2016

ancient languages

In one of my previous posts, I had said that I felt deciphering ancient languages had, to my mind, a little bit of unjustified extrapolations. Here is one

http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/linguistics/science-indus-script-sanskrit-language-01777.html
While describing one symbol, he gives a reference (called Spokensanskrit) and says that "Kavari" means umbrella in Sanskrit. However, I could not find this meaning in any regular dictionary.
The dictionaries I saw give "Chat" as word for unbrella and that fits with the commonly used words like chatrapati and chatri.
The symbol looks like the Kavadi that people in Tamil Nadu still carry and dance with, sometimes in a trance, during certain festivals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtcdZr9GByY
So if at all the term 'Kavari' is to be associated with that symbol, it must be linked to or a precursor to Tamil. Iravatham Mahadevan's thesis is that the Indus language is Dravidian.
I find it difficult to judge what is serious academic work and what is mere fanciful extrapolation. In this case, use of a website called Spokensanskrit as a source makes me suspicious.

Friday, 15 January 2016

teaching in India

There is some talk of "Brain Gain" describing people, usually in STEM fields, returning to India after working abroad, usually in the USA.
What I would like to see is one of these academics from a notable US university becoming a professor in one of the minor state universities. I shall refrain from giving examples.
It would be an eye-opener of epic nature!
Thirty years back, it would have required some adjustments for the new professor, but it would have been within reason. But now, the story is very different. I wish someone would try and write about it. That would be my nominee for the book of the year.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

video 5




This was a rocket powered by vapours from surgical spirit and ignited by a kitchen gas lighter. This was enjoyed the most.
The others include a Gauss gun, a quiz board that lights up when answered right, and the light beam from a laser pointer bending along the water flow.
Most ideas were from you tube videos and the Toys from Trash videos, with some modifications when required.

video 3

video

video 2

video

video
A few of the models in the science fair at the school I go to.

Monday, 11 January 2016

net neutrality

I discovered John Oliver recently and have been watching his old videos. Here's one on net neutrality......"big corporations like Google, Facebook signed up for net neutrality.."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpbOEoRrHyU    see at about 4 55 min.
Ironic!!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

higher ed in India

http://thewire.in/2016/01/05/watch-the-occupyugc-protest-has-just-put-out-the-coolest-video-ever-18609/