Wednesday, December 22, 2010
While sharing my experience with this book ‘SERENDIPITY:ACCIDENTAL DESCOVERIES IN SCIENCE’ written by ROYSTON M. ROBERTS, I would like to say that for me reading this book was utterly unceremonious as I was oblivious to such kind of any book in the market till my recent stay at space port of India@ SDSC SHAR. The book, with a catchy title could hold my attention effortlessly at the very first time when I darted a glance over it. Instantly I read few pages on my friend’s suggestion and found it an excellent book based on the breakthroughs in science which have in some way been fuelled by chance.
The book is collection of accidental discoveries in science which is of utmost importance in our daily lives like- Teflon, Velcro, nylon, x-rays, penicillin, safety glass, sugar substitutes, polyethylene, plastics etc. Other than this the book also tells about serendipitous experiences of scientists in the discovery of many revolutionary fundamental principles in science like Newton's theory of gravitation, the Big Bang theory of Creation, and the discovery of DNA. You will find it quit amusing as well as edifying to know the fortuitous connection between cowpox and smallpox by investigating the claim of a milkmaid who avoided smallpox illness in the barnyard, observing the fall of an apple and Newton’s law of gravitation, and many more. These stories clearly revels how the inquisitive human mind turns accident into discovery.
I strongly feel it a must read book especially for my peers of the scientific community and I am pretty sure that they will enjoy reading this book .Unlike novels which calls for reading in a single stretch or in minimum breaks to maintain the continuity, this book is having collection of independent stories which goes to maximum 10 pages, one can easily mange time for reading as per his choice. The book is readily available at VSSC Library.
Rubber Seed Oil – an alternate fuel
As a developing country, the fast depleting fuel resources are a cause of great concern to us. So exploring the feasibility of using any alternate fuel for automobiles can greatly contribute towards prolonging our available energy resources. The most critical threat is the scarcity of automobile fuels, which can deliver maximum efficiency and pollution free exhaust. As a result, the search for alternate fuel is guided not only by the limited resources of fossil fuels but also the pollution factor.
Research studies show that the Rubber seed oil can be used as an alternate fuel to diesel in combustion ignition engine.
Rubber seed oil
Rubber seed oil, which is highly yellow in colour, is a minor source of non-edible oil in
Rubber seeds are harvested from rubber tree, which is sturdy quick growing and tall. Rubber is traditionally grown in the hinterlands of the south west coast of
parts of Tamilnadu. Non-traditional areas where rubber is being cultivated includes North-eastern states, Karnataka, Goa, parts of Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra. The fruits nature and ripen during July / September months are picked up every day during this seed fall season. Seeds can also be collected by harvesting fruits at yellow brown colour stage and breaking them. Each seed weighs about 6 gm. They possess hard brown coat having characteristic mottling.
Rubber seed oil is used for making soaps and is a substitute for linseed oil in the paint manufacturing industry. Oxidised rubber seed oil is used as anti corrosive coatings, adhesives and resins coatings. Rubber seed oil with
For a long time, only small quantity of the rubber seeds produced in
The increase in price of non-edible oil after 1970 gave the necessary impetus to this industry. The rubber seed oil production industry is mainly concentrated in Tamilnadu and more particularly in and around Virudhunagar. The millers in Tamilnadu have been mainly processing groundnuts. These groundnut mills function after December while the rubber seed season in
A few units have also come up in Kerala in recent years. Some of the units processing Cashew kernel waste are located in and around Kollam. The market price of this oil at Tamilnadu is around Rs 25 per Kg.
Estimate of oil
The rubber seed contain an oily endo sperm. Generally 37% of the seed is shell and 63% kernel by weight. The oil content of air-dried kernel is about 47%. An estimated 45000 tones of rubber seed are produced during a normal year. Around 10% of the seeds are used in plantations. The oil content in the rubber seed is about 15% of the total weight of the seed. The annual production rubber seed oil is placed around 3500 tones.
Greater the percentage of carbon and hydrogen, better is the fuel in quality and calorific value since these two constituents are responsible for heat value. Nitrogen has no calorific value and hence its presence is undesirable. For a good fuel
The inherent properties of rubber seed oil make it suitable for use in diesel engines, as an alternate fuel. Rubber seed oil can be used as a fuel in rural area for agricultural and irrigation equipments.
Development and utilization of plant based seed oils in Indian rural areas will definitely assist in extending our crude oil reserves beyond the expected period of availability.
“Beep Beep”, the alarm in my mobile was giving out its wake up call faithfully at . Grumbling about its punctuality and persistence and cursing it for meticulously carrying out its duty, I sat up, rubbing my eyes and switched it off. Vaguely, I sensed the presence of butterflies in my stomach. As the slumber- induced fog in my brain cleared away gradually, the reason sprang to my mind- the day I had to go to school and conduct classes under the aegis of World Space Week ’10 celebrations of ISRO had dawned. Suddenly, I was wide awake. I had announced my willingness to be a resource person (as we are known) on a sudden whim. But once I was briefed about the activities to be carried out, I realised that earnest effort had to be put in to pull it off successfully. A refreshing shower and a quick bite later, I commenced the final stages of my preparation for the same. By the time I concluded a swift perusal of the slides in the presentation, the vehicle arranged for our journey had arrived at our doorstep. It had been pouring cats and dogs since daybreak. The LCD operator and two of my senior colleagues from LPSC, Manoj Sir and Venugopal Sir were picked up on the way. Being experienced, they put me at ease, sharing the anecdotes of previous years and counseling me on how to tackle the students’ doubts and queries.
Our first destination was Iqbal school at Peringammala., nestled between picturesque hills and lush forests. As our van rumbled along the winding, uphill road, I noticed the students glancing curiously at the flex board displayed on the vehicle and murmuring among themselves, “Look, ISRO people have come here.“ The Headmistress and teachers there accorded a war welcome to us. The screen and projector were set up. As soon as the laptop was turned on for a last minute scanning of the slides, the power supply went off. The laptop was entirely devoid of charge. The obliging teachers provided us with the school’s laptop, but unluckily, it was low on charge too. The school authorities informed us that this was a regular occurrence and that they were compelled to rely on generators to hold practical classes for the children. About an hour would lapse by the time a generator was procured and put into operation. Notwithstanding these setbacks, we resigned ourselves and decided to go ahead with our mission.
About 100 students (of classes 9 and 10) and teachers were crammed into a library room intended to accommodate not more than 40. Having completed schooling just 5 years ago myself, it was overwhelming to behold the adulation and anticipation of the pupils and their tutors. The fact that the prestige of our organisation was at stake gave me courage. After a formal welcome by the HM and a short introduction by Manoj sir, I plunged into the presentation nervously. My senior colleagues intervened whenever I encountered difficulties , in elucidating a point or was searching for the exact Malayalam translation for technical terms. It was transformed into an active, vociferous interaction between us and the students, awakening their interest and inquisitiveness. The responses to the queries thrown at them were highly enthusiastic. Manoj sir’s quick wit elicited quite a few laughs. The resumption of power supply was greeted with rapturous applause. As we wound up, many of the children had their eyes glued to the visuals on the slides.
Subsequently, there was a barrage of intelligent, thought- provoking doubts from the listeners- how is the launch vehicle controlled and commanded remotely at the launch pad? Beyond the atmosphere, what provides the reaction force for the rocket to proceed upwards? What are the cryo fuels used in our launch vehicles? – being a few samples. There were queries on the RSR launches and the admission procedure at IIST too. We collected the feedback form and set out for our next school, the
Unsure of the precise location, we went farther ahead and were ultimately guided correctly to the institution. About 200 students and teachers were seated in a large auditorium. Lady Luck smiled on us this time with the electricity authorities favouring us and the slide show was put up. Unfortunately, the microphone brought out by the authorities refused to co-operate and we had to strain our vocal chords yet again. One of the teachers delivered an excellent introduction on the observance of World Space Week. The video of C-11 (Chandrayaan) liftoff drew spontaneous appreciation from the young audience. Here too, the information imparted by us was received with immense interest and vigour. A smart girl stretched our thinking powers to the limit, probing us with numerous questions on the cosmos- regarding black holes, the theory of relativity, discovery of traces of fossil fuels on the moon Titan etc. The 15-year-old confessed to be an avid reader of Stephen Hawking, arousing our admiration with her insatiable quest for knowledge. A young man enquired,” Chechi, will you come next year also? The video was fantastic.” A few girls actually flanked us, clutching their notebooks and asking for our signatures. Almost embarrassed, I hastily scribbled ‘best wishes’, while trying to acquaint with all of them. With great pleasure and satisfaction, we bid adieu to the school and embarked on our sojourn back to the city.
Recalling this ‘lecture at schools’ programme fills my mind with elation each time. It is a glorious opportunity for us to reach out to and interact with budding scientists and engineers. Having been educated in a private school in the city, I had requested to be allotted schools in the rural suburbs of
Friday, November 26, 2010
Three people play an important role in shaping the life of a child; his family, friends and his primary school teacher-A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Saturday, October 2, 2010
- Wrestling is returning to the games after a gap of eight years with 64 medals.
- Archery will be held only 2nd time in the history of CWG where India can hope much because of her last performances at different events. 24 medals will be at stake.
- Tennis is making its debut in the CWG. There are 5 golds at stake in this competition.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I said a prayer for you today...
I know God must have heard
I could feel the answer in my heart,
Even though he didn’t speak any word...
I didn’t ask for wealth or fame,
I know it will not last...
What I asked Him was to send,
Treasures of a far more lasting kind...
I asked that he’d be with you always,
to grant you Health and Blessings...
I asked Him to show you the Right path always...
I asked Him for good friends to share your way...
I asked Him to help you to spread Peace and Happiness...
I asked Him to protect you from all Evils...
I asked for Happiness for you in,
all the Great and Small things you do...
I asked Him to keep you Safe,
also your Dear ones...
But, it was for His Love and Care
I prayed for you most of all...
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Now, SHAR is not exactly a ‘tourist’s paradise’. But, even in this forsaken place, there is a small pristine paradise. Situated on the northern fringe of SHAR, surrounded on all sides by the PULICAT and totally cut-off from the mainland is Raidurg. One of our friends who had visited this place recommended it to us as a place to get good fish. So we decided to give it a try and all 8 of us bundled ourselves into a hired taxi (the faithful ambassador) and landed at the place.
Raidurg is a small village and the only means to reach it is by a boat. We saw a fisherman on reaching there and we hitched a ride in his yacht.
As we entered the village, we felt as if we had gone back in time by at least 50 years. There were no roads, only man-made trails. The huts in the village were very short. One can enter only by crawling on all fours, and then inside, there isn’t any place to stand upright. Bushes and shrubs around the huts served as fences. As we entered the village, we could see people sitting in front of their courtyards and passing away their time in idle chit-chat. Children roamed about on the streets playing their merry games and women were busy in their homes doing their daily chores. It was like a ‘50s black-and-white movie playing.
We started wandering around. Wherever we went, people stopped whatever they were doing and stared at us. It was as if they couldn’t believe people from outside could come into their small hamlet.
We were roaming around when our de-facto guide (the taxi driver) took us to a house where a lady was busy preparing something – and the next minute, we all had a glass of toddy in our hands. It seems toddy making is a cottage industry here. We had a drink but didn’t like the taste. Sensing this, our guide took us to another house where the toddy tasted much better. So, while we entered the village looking for good fish, we ended up having toddy instead. Great !!!
The place drew us towards itself and we were happy to oblige. We wanted to spend as much time as possible, but couldn’t as evening was approaching fast and we had a long way to go back. Besides, we had to go to work the next day. So, spending the night there under the open skies was out of question though it would have been great. We felt sad to leave the place. But, on the bright side, we can always come back here. This place is not very far from SHAR centre and if one has any spare time, he can always plan a trip here. Atleast, it will make our wretched stay in SHAR feel better. It’s with such happy thoughts that we finally bid adieu to the place and came back to our hostel rooms.
- There is an old temple on the way to Raidurg. This temple is now in ruins. Anyone interested in historical adventures can check it out as it looks to be a great place for exploration.
- Don’t forget your swimming trunks while going to Raidurg, else, you may miss out on a great swim.
- This place has a wide variety of sea shells. Anyone with a keen eye can get a nice shell without much effort as we got this time.
- Though the village is not connected to the mainland, it still has some modern amenities like DTH, telephone, schools etc. yet it retains its old world charm inspite of that.
- On the way to Raidurg, there are lots of small lakes, each offering itself as a potential spot for picnic.
The lady sitting next to me (munching ground nuts and phone plugged to her ears) was regarding me with a bored expression and soon turned away, evidently dismissing me as uninteresting. Two toddlers, one enthusiastically looking out of the window, and the younger, reclining on his mother’s lap, set up a loud howl of demand, when a vendor with snacks walked past, shouting out his wares. Sadly, their mother had other ideas. A kindly lady, seated adjacent to the family, resolved the crisis, by proffering her own purchase (some crisp snack) to the kids.
I looked around the compartment, vaguely taking in the social, economic and age diversity among my co-passengers- aged mothers, their twenty-something daughters beaming proudly at their young offspring, college students chatting and laughing with their friends, school children, attired in uniforms of various colours, carrying bags that would put seasoned weight lifters to shame...most of them had the orange kanakaambaram flowers decorating their plaited hair and the yellow of turmeric paste was clearly visible on their faces and hands..
The train slowed down as quickly as it had picked up speed and came to a screeching halt at a station. A mass of humanity moved into and out of the train, jostling each other in the process. All the seats being filled up, the new entrants of all ages immediately dropped to the floor and settled there. Atleast 4 people were settled on seats with spaces intended for 2 and I thanked God for creating humans with such sisterly love. A 4-year-old young man was voicing his protest loudly against the humiliating treatment handed out to him by his callous mother, making him sit in a ladies’ coach. His mother was busy conversing with a neighbour, a just- acquired acquaintance.
As I watched fascinated, the steady stream of vendors continued- oranges, guavas, murukku, samosas, mixture, pakoda, nuts, biscuits and what not. Everyone appeared to be prepared to buy everything on offer. The unceasing consumption of eatables of wide variety and rapid socialising were carried on with vigour by the newcomers who replaced those who disembarked at the stations that came and went. The tradesmen, men with admirable athleticism and acrobatic skills, balanced their baskets on their heads, while expertly weaving their ways among their customers (crowded on the seats and squatting on the floors ) and their voluminous shopping bags. The tiny, juicy oranges (sold incredibly cheap) and the hot, yummy samosas found many takers, as did the ever popular ground nuts and popcorn. People were very courteous, willingly sharing their purchases with their new-found friends. Indeed, the brisk trade going on before my astonished eyes would have aroused envy in the owners and salesmen of even the most-profitably run eateries and restaurants.
An elderly lady, seated facing me grinned, revealing her toothless gum, and enquired,” Time evvalavu ma?” As I glanced at my watch and replied, she ventured, “nee enga pore?” Then she proceeded to narrate to me, all about how she was going to visit her son for the day and how she will be returning by the evening train.
Before I knew, the clock had wound forward by two hours, the crowd had thinned out considerably and I beheld the name board of Sullurpet station. As I extracted my luggage and alighted from the train, my mind was filled with remembrances of the eventful, if not entertaining train journey I had just experienced. I’m still astounded by the ease with which the simple folk fraternised with each other and became comrades, virtually exchanging their life stories and also, the hugely successful trade carried out by the numerous tradesmen. To this day, this intriguing train journey remains etched in my memory.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
This post is written to help all those north Indians who come to Kerala for the first time , maybe for honeymoons and for them who are coming because their company TCS has given them a joining(....finally.....) and the training is in Trivandrum (not Trivendram) aka Thiru Anantha Puram. This article will help you to live and survive and also enjoy Kerala. It is because these are experience of a normal North Indian Guy(whose hometown is at U.P,Uttaranchal, Haryana border…so this makes him quite a north Indian and so is a perfect test matter for experimenting in Kerala.). but this first post, this first Very important post will save you from the sorrow you could have, when you order your first tea in kerala.
But you might be wondering why did I suddenly had this idea, this innovative thought to write about such a important topic that has been left out by many eminent cultural writers, tour guides, people from Discovery and NG channels. This enlightenment din’t came like this only. Like Lord Buddha saw 7 scenes before he decided to renunciate the world, I also had this motivation to write this after that memorable incident of my life.
Well it all happened when I first sat down on a creaky old stool near Trivandrum Central Railway station after a 5 hours journey from Cochin to Trivandrum, to have tea(aka chaya and not chai ), for the first time, in god’s own country, aka Kerala. So I ordered tea and few idlis(I think it was 2 idlis). The waiter, who was a very generous and kind hearted fellow (atleast I thought he was so at that time )brought along with the order a VADA. Btw for all those who don’t know what a vada is, maybe some foreign nationals or NRI’s or american born confused desis ,(+dubai born ones too) let me give some preliminary details.
A VADA is an Indian dish, I don’t say it’s a south indian dish. This is because I have had vadas when I was in north india too. Only difference was that they were called DAHi-VADAs because they came with DAHi or curd while the ones I get here in south, are with chatni …and obviously it is with coconut chatni. So a Vada is made by first grinding Urad daal (donno what is it called in English ;?), making a paste of it and then frying it in oil. The shape and size is subject to market conditions and taste of people, maybe also on latitude and longitude of the place. The ones you get in kerela are like the enlarged version of polo poppins, hope you remember the ” mints with the hole” from your childhood. It is brown and may contain black chilli and curry leafs(again this may vary according to various factors as mentioned above).
So on getting that Vada I was very happy and feeling lucky too. Since it was 24 September and as far as I knew, it was not a festive season too.” Maybe it’s an offer for all the customers!” , I thought in my mind.”maybe in Kerala with 2 idlis you always get a Vada free..” , I was pretty delighted and started dreaming about all the free vadas that I was going to have for free, for rest of my life in Trivandrum. Being indian, its always good to get things for free. This is an established fact now.
So after enjoying the most delicious vada, I have ever had I till that day, I went to pay the bill. It should have been 15 INR according to my calculations(5+5 for idli and 5 for the chaya)so I took out a Rs 10 note and a brand new shining Rs 5 coin and presented it before the lady at the counter(in kerala you see ladies working everywhere, no wonders its f/m ratio is above 1000..more about this later), but she said ……..something.... something she said.....
“No malyalam!!” I replied making signs.
She waved her open palm and said “5 Rupees”.
“What for??” I asked astonished, because being from a engineering college I was sure that my math was fine.
“But its free!!..”
Opening her eyes wide and staring at me as if I had just called a bad omen, (and breaking all my dreams, my lovely lovely dreams about all those nourishing elements, those precious moments of glory I was going to experience with all those free VADAS)….she replied..