Friday, February 24, 2017

C25 Cryo Engine Test Firing

Here's a video of the C25 cryogenic upper stage engine test firing conducted recently by ISRO. This engine will be used to propel the upper stage of the GSLV-Mark3.

Besides being used in the GSLV-Mk3, the system may one day be adapted for use on the upper stage of the TSTO (Two-Stage-to-Orbit) Reusable Launch Vehicle.

2 Indians Shot Dead in Kansas

2 Indians have been shot dead at a bar in Kansas by a local man:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Quick notes: Solar tariffs, Cognitive computing...

  • Solar tariffs hit all-time low: Rs2.97/unit. It couldn’t be a worse time for the coal-fuelled power plants in the country as India’s current installed capacity of 3,10,005 MW and the projects under construction are expected to meet the country’s electricity demand till 2026. This effectively means that there will be no requirement for new coal fuelled power plants in the country till then.

  • Cognitive computing: Watson helps treat heart disease by looking at medical images

  • Clogged cities: On an average, 353 new cars and 1,372 new bikes joined Bengaluru’s slow-moving traffic every day in 2016, taking the total number of vehicles to 66.65 lakh. "No amount of infrastructure will be adequate if private vehicles are not reduced".

  • Tackling smog: London to charge all pre-2004 cars $27 to enter on weekdays

  • Manu Prakash: Saving lives with simple Engineering

  • 17 equations that changed the world:

Bannon is the Strategic Brain

At the annual CPAC convention for American conservatives, the top men of the Trump Whitehouse showed up to speak to the attendees. Steve Bannon articulated the vision underpinning the Trump agenda, which commentator Dr Charles Krauthammer said showed he was the brains of the operation.

It remains to be seen how Bannon will get this agenda implemented at the National Security Council, where a new seat has been created for him. Will the establishment be successful in opposing the new reforms?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

India Becoming Smartphone Manufacturing Hub

India is starting to become a hub for smartphone manufacturing, which makes sense given that it's got one of the largest smartphone consumer markets in the world:

This is a key area where India can make the leap into electronics manufacturing, and develop its own thriving ecosystem for homegrown hardware innovation. This in turn would have tremendous ripple effects on other sectors like defense and aerospace, as well as Make-in-India as a whole.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Uranium Extraction from Seawater Improved

A team at Stanford has managed to obtain a nine-fold improvement in the extraction of Uranium from seawater

This technology could reduce India's dependence on external suppliers of Uranium.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump Appoints McMaster as NSA

US President Donald Trump has appointed General H R McMaster to replace Michael Flynn as his NSA:

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster has staked out a decidedly more hawkish position on Russia and gone out of his way to assert that the war against terrorism must not turn into a war against Islam.
McMaster's worldview and positions are significantly different than Michael Flynn's. The Lefties at CNN, etc are thrilled:

If pro-establishment establishment forces are successful in veering Trump back towards establishment policies of appeasement towards Islam, then India will have to look for strategic alternatives.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

PSLV-C37 Onboard Camera Footage

Here's footage from the onboard camera of PSLV-C37, showing the various operations executed during the mission, including the deployment of all 104 satellites:

Some private customers (private Indian and private Japanese) will be paying ISRO to send their lunar rovers to the Moon, which should be happening by year's end:

ISRO will also be sending its own rover to the Moon with the Chandrayaan-2 mission.

Quick notes: Technology shift, Helical model...

  • Tech Shift: Half of Indian IT workforce may become irrelevant in 3 years: McKinsey

  • Cutting Meat Without Cutting Muscle: Science finally settles the issue: If muscle-building protein is what you seek, plant protein is just as good as animal protein. ...Dangal got this wrong!

  • Scientific Superstition: “As there is religious superstition, so also there is a superstition in the matter of science. …As soon as a great scientist’s name, like Darwin or Huxley, is cited, we follow blindly. It is the fashion of the day. Ninety-nine per cent of what we call scientific knowledge is mere theories. …Just as we should be careful with the priests, so we should be with the scientists. Begin with disbelief. Analyze, test, prove everything, and then take it.” -Swami Vivekananda

  • The Helical Model - our solar system is a vortex

Saturday, February 18, 2017

leaving twitter

i wanted to point out that i am basically leaving twitter, though i am not deleting my account. i have some forwards from other sites that will automatically come to it, but i have ceased to be active on twitter. i'm the same way with facebook: no active participation, just forwards. i thought could be a substitute, but it's not anywhere near as popular or useful.

twitter has become highly politicized, in a way that #freedomOfExpression has now become: you are free to express my opinion. 

which opinion they hold you can imagine, when they have a kashmiri separatist as their man in india, and the failing twitter is 10% owned by a saudi.

there is an account named @bhaktslayer which apparently has a direct line to twitter india. it consist entirely of tweets about how they have reported certain accounts to twitter, and lo and behold, 100% success: every such account is suspended, regardless of merit. 100% success is very unusual, except if you are, say, a dictator in kazhakstan or zimbabwe; it typically means there are other considerations.

the last straw has been the harassment of sonam mahajan, apparently a kashmiri pundit (who would thus have a grievance) who was posting aggressive but not severely offensive and objectionable content. twitter suspended her first account @asyounotwish, and then her new account @isonammahajan.

twitter obviously has the right to suspend or dismiss anybody (we signed an agreement saying they can do this when we signed up), but there has to be transparency and fairness. they do not say exactly what it is that they object to; nor do they act even-handedly in suspending those who are offensive on the other side. 

even though i like twitter as a newsfeed, there's no reason for me to enrich it with my time. it is anyway failing, which means that the #FoE that i once thought was possible through social media is no longer quite the case. i was once quite positive about it (and amitabh bacchan, the great one himself, liked this piece too). 

but social media, in the hands of facebook and twitter, have gone the #DeepState way, as far as india is concerned. of course, @therealDonaldTrump is using it quite a lot, and it's his way of disrupting the existing system, and more power to him.

but as for me, i have ceased to spend time on twitter, which is probably good for my well-being as well as my time management.  

US Carriers Start Routine Patrols in South China Sea

The US is sending aircraft carrier battle groups to start routine patrols in the South China Sea:

US President Donald Trump has vowed not to let China claim the South China Sea as its own.

ISRO Tests C25 Engine

ISRO tested its powerful C25 cryogenic engine for a duration of 640 seconds

This powerful upper stage engine will be used on the new GSLV Mk-3.

India's Only Volcano Active Again

India's only volcano, in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, is now active once again, showing small eruptions every 5-10 minutes: