Thursday, November 15, 2018

Quick notes: Kaangress manifesto, J-20 payload...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

GSLV MkIII Launches GSAT-29 Successfully

GSLV-MkIII D2 flight has been  carried out successfully:

The GSAT-29 satellite will be able to provide various new capabilities, including fast-throughput connectivity using laser communications.

With the successful completion of this 2nd developmental flight of the GSLV-MkIII, this rocket is now operationalized and a full working member of ISRO's launch vehicle family, allowing ISRO to undertake bigger things.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Quick notes: Placebo effect, Wind damage...

  • What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick? New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora’s box for Western medicine.


  • Ecological imbalance from Wind Farms: In the Western Ghats, wind farms have reduced the abundance and hunting activity of predatory birds like raptors. As a result, wind turbines are creating a “predation-free environment” that is changing the behavior and even the form of creatures lower down the food chain.

  • China Telecom's Internet Traffic Misdirection: The improper routing caused some US domestic Internet communications to be diverted to mainland China before reaching their intended destination.

  • Democrats will back Trump on Trade war: “Even though Democrats and Republicans disagree on many issues, they hold exactly the same negative opinion of China.” 

  • Widebody jet: China, Russia unveil life-size model of planned widebody jet.... Question: Why is China the only country that seems to be challenging the USA for global dominance?  

  • 10 Indian workers die in Gulf every day: At least 24,570 Indian workers have died in six Gulf countries, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE since 2012 till mid-2018

  • KK Mohammed ex Regional Director, ASI: Temple existed

  • Rafale deal: 36 Rafales cost 40% more than Dassault’s earlier offer

  • World University Rankings 2019: IISc, IIT Indore top Indian institutes for physical sciences. NO Indian institution finds spot in top 200 globally

  • Sai Nikhil Reddy Mettupally: Indian student’s algorithm helps in leading driver directly to empty parking spot 

  • 'Chiplets', the future of processor fabrication: Instead of printing a whole circuit on a single chip, a number of chiplets can be put together in various configurations allowing multi-die processors tailored for specific tasks such as machine learning or cloud computing.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Quick notes: RuPay, Vanishing Aravalli...

  • Mastercard lodged U.S. protest over Modi's promotion of RuPay: Mastercard told the U.S Govt that Modi was using nationalism to promote the use of RuPay, which levied half the transaction fee charged by Mastercard and Visa... Modi in June said foreign card companies take their transaction fees abroad and as “everyone cannot go to the border to protect the country, we can use RuPay card to serve the nation”. This year, U.S. tech companies have protested against an Indian law that would require them to store more data locally.

  • Greed-driven economics: Toxic air killed over 1 lakh children in India in 2016.

  • Vanishing Aravalli hills affecting air quality in Delhi: 31 out of 128 Aravalli hills in Rajasthan have disappeared due to illegal mining activities.... What Delhi can learn from Beijing.

  • Political ego: Statue of Unity could have paid for 2 IITs, 5 IIMs and many agri projects

  • India's art of simple living -Michel Danino:
    Strabo, the Greek geographer and historian of the first century BCE noted, “All Indians live a simple life,” which surely requires some qualification: as we know from Kautilya and others, or from the artha-kama-dharma-moksha quadruple objective of life, wealth was not looked down upon; it was however to be used in a dharmic way, not merely for oneself but for the good of the society around. Thousands of inscriptions from all periods of Indian history testify to rulers, merchants, ordinary men and women, donating temples, icons, wells, ponds and other irrigation works, or endowments for centres of learning. Artistic depictions of village life point to comfortable but simple lifestyles. Barring the very wealthy, “Be happy with little” seems to have been the dominant line.

    Today, we have perfected the art of being unhappy with much—or too much. Out of selfish greed rather than higher values, in search of petty pleasures rather than worthwhile accomplishments, we have critically jeopardised the planet’s lifecycles and caused species to fall extinct at a frantic pace. We must return to ancient India’s philosophy of simple living, else the collapse of our artificial system may one day force us to it. Our small everyday choices are blind and mechanical; let us make them enlightened and we can yet change tack.

    “Greed is good” has been de facto the motto and prime mover of the world economy, especially of the US kind: let greed drive your growth; instil the same greed in others so as to boost consumption. The consumer is not a human being with free will, but a cog in the wheel whose choices can and will be oriented. Nobody needs processed or exotic foods, ten pairs of shoes, torn jeans, piles of electronic gadgets or diamonds—never mind, the obedient consumers will buy all those and more, even if they cannot afford them.
    German economist Ernst Schumacher realised that this greed-driven economy could not last. He pioneered the concepts of appropriate technologies and unsustainable exploitable of resources, and authored the best-seller Small Is Beautiful in which he advocated a radically different philosophy: why not place the human being at the centre of the economy, rather than the consumer? “In Buddhist economics since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption. Modern economics, on the other hand, considers consumption to be the sole end and purpose of all economic activity.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

India's Only Active Volcano Erupts Again

India's only active volcano, on a small island in the Andaman & Nicobars, is once again erupting:

Twitter India Policy Head Deletes Tweet Showing Her Bias

Twitter's India policy chief Mahima Kaul deleted a tweet of hers which showed her anti-Modi bias:

Angela Merkel Steps Down As Party Chief, Won't Run in 2021

Angela Merkel announced that she was stepping down as the head of her Christian Democratic Union party, and will serve out the remainder of her term as Chancellor until 2021, when she will leave political office.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Quick notes: Digital tax, Train-18...

  • Britain’s new “digital services tax”: The new tax is expected to raise an additional £400m a year by targeting tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon... India was the first country to implement such a tax.

  • Facebook, Google Face Billions in New Taxes Across Asia, Latin America: Inspired by EU proposals to impose a tax based on revenue of tech companies rather than their profit, South Korea, India and at least seven other Asian-Pacific countries are exploring new taxes. Mexico, Chile and other Latin American countries too are contemplating new taxes aimed at boosting receipts from foreign tech firms. Such taxes are separate from corporate income taxes many companies already pay.

  • India's 1st Engine-Less Train Said To Be Faster Than Shatabdi: Driven by a self-propulsion module sans a separate locomotive, Train 18 will cut travel time by 15% compared to the Shatabdi.

  • Aircraft-like pressurised coaches for world's highest track in Leh:  The 465-km strategically significant line to be built at a cost of Rs 83,360 crore, will see railways' first pressurised coaches which are currently used only in the Quinghay-Tibet Railway Line.

  • HAL: Outright purchase of Rafales without local manufacture would end up in an enormous life cycle cost which may drain out the exchequer.

  • Letting Sunlight Indoors Kills Disease-Causing Bacteria:  Lit rooms had about half the viable bacteria (those that are able to grow), compared with dark rooms. Rooms that were exposed only to UV light had just slightly less viable bacteria than ones exposed to daylight.

  • Paper Airplane Designs: A database of paper airplanes with easy to follow folding instructions.

  • e-scooter: Ford is the next company to join the electric scooter craze.