Shanth’s Dairy

October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

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September 14, 2009

Juan, the Champ

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Juan Martin Del Potro

Juan Martin Del Potro

Wow..What a match that was. I never saw Juan ever playing before and I had really high expectation on Federer for this match. But Juan Martin Del Potro stunned the world by stealing Federer’s crown in the US Open finals. It could not have happened by chance because defeating Federer and Rafa (6-2,6-2,6-2??) in the same tournament is close to impossible.  I was under the impression that Rafa did not put his best on the court, because of his injuries. I thought the chances of Federer, the five time champ, loosing were close to nothing.  But Juan put on great show. especially the forehand shots were so spectacular that Federer does not have an answer for them. But I still feel that was not the real Federer. I believe he had higher expectation set on him and was so much pressure even after winning the US Open five times in row and break the records that he created himself.  But I do not have complaints because Federer already showed the world what he is, so its probably time to yield for the young talents. Federer kept his cool most of the match, but lost it to the empire ones.  His frustration is probably understandable. But the 20-year Juan was so humble to congratulate and acknowledge the talent of Federer.What really threw me off was the announcer did not gave chance to say a few words in Spanish. Juan had to request him the second to say a few words in Spanish. I am not sure what he said but he was quite emotional.

I am sure Federer will be around for more but we might have found ourselves a new star! Bravo Juan.

July 20, 2009

Apollo 40th Anniversary

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“One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind. ”

-Neil Armstrong

Apollo

Source: NASA

January 30, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

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I saw Slumdog Millionairefar before it made it to the golden globes and Oscars. I was excited about it because the plot of the movie is based on India. Vikas Swarup wrote an impressive plot for his novel Q&A which  turned to be Slumdog Millionaire on the silver screen.I do not intend to write another review of the movie, but I would like to share some experiences related to it.  The movie is now famous and my most colleagues at work saw the move and I think there was one question that was haunting them.  Everybody seem to be confused by the portrait of India that Danny Boyle created in the movie. So they asked me is India really like that?. When I had to answer their question, I did not answer it right away but asked them a question back. I was curious to know what comes to their minds when they think about India.  Those who visited India before said huge crowds, spicy food and a few mentioned Taj Mahal. Thanks to Danny Boyle for adding the image of the slums to this list.

I think the real question that they had on the back of their minds is whether India is still a third world country.  Here is the same question posted on Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081129213910AAepVDs) and you will see mixed opinions there.  That discussion reminds of a presentation that our team did for one of my MBA classes. There were two team that were assigned a topic on the same lines. One team had all Americans on it and the other had 3 Indians out of total 5 in the group including me. The other team tried to show India as a third world country for lack of infrastructure related to electricity, transportation and unemployment.  We, on the other hand, tried to show India as a developing country and as the IT hub of the world.  We never disagreed to what they said and by the way we were not ready to accept their comments.  It becomes really tough to drop to a conclusion on this topic, especially if you are somebody like me who have seen both sides of the coin. But I must confess that they were right to some extent and so were we. Like I mentioned we were just showing to different sides of the same coin.  But I would still say India is a developing country. The picture of India that I had in my mind from my childhood is entirely different from what it is. So I can say for sure India made a great progress over the years and there is still a long way to go. But are we a third world country?. That goes back to how a third world country is defined. Here is an article on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World) that says India is a third world country.  According to Wikipedia “Third World is a categorical label used to describe states that are considered to be underdeveloped in terms of their economy or level of industrialization, globalization, standard of living, health, education or other criteria for ‘advancements’.” Let us talk about these factors and see where India stands on these factors.

India has been posting a 6%+ growth rate over the past few years. An article by Jagdish Bhagvati says India had made significant industrial development over the past 50 years and liberalization of Indian economy and opening the doors for multinational countries had a direct correlation to an increase in trade, which increased investment, and therefore increased the growth rate. If you read Thomas Friedman’s world is flat, you wont miss the point that India is playing a major role in the globalized world.  India has a literacy rate of 65.38%, which is not too bad.  From my personal experience India had made a significant improvement in terms of health standards over the past 20 years.  So all it boils down to is to define what the other criteria for advancements really is.

I am sure the portrait of India that Danny Boyle presented to the world had annoyed many of us.  But we all know there is some truth in it. So let us not get bothered by what somebody says about India, but take it as a reminder for something that we need to work on and improve ourselves.

November 9, 2008

Chandrayaan in Lunar Orbit

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ISRO

Source: ISRO

Chandrayaan was successfully maneuvered in to the lunar orbit around 04:21 EST on November 8th. Chandrayaan was set on a seventeen day journey to the moon on October 22nd. During this period the liquid engine of Chandrayaan was fired five times, to extend its elliptical orbit away from the earth and close to the moon. Chandrayaan entered the lunar transfer trajectory on 4th November.  Chandrayaan is now orbiting around the moon with an eleven hour period of revolution. The elliptical orbit of Chandrayaan passes right over the polar regions of the moon and the space craft can get as close as 504km (roughly 315 miles) to the lunar surface.

This image of the Earth was taken by Chandrayaan, from an elevation of 9,000 km and shows the Northern coast of Australia. On October 29th, ISRO conducted a series of tests to check the health of the camera aboard Chandrayaan.

October 2, 2008

LHC Update – 2

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CERN)

The LHC (Source: CERN)

As Ed Murphy said, “if anything can go wrong, it will.” It would have been a miracle if LHC had worked the way it was supposed to the very first time. I guess we could expect problems in an equipment of such size and expense. But LHC did perform beyond our expectations on the very first day. Coming to the update, there is a bad news and not so good news.

In the last couple of weeks LHC sustained some major drawbacks. On September 18th, CERN reported that there was a failure in one of the surface transformers and it switched off the main compressors of the cryogenics for two sectors of LHC. I guess what that means is that the temperature inside LHC went over the threshold because of the transformer failure. So it took them a while to get it back on track. The major disappointing news is that CERN is investigating another failure in one of the eight sectors of the LHC. On September 23rd, a large helium leak into sector 3-4 of the LHC tunnel has been detected. The most likely cause of the incident, according to CERN, was a faulty electrical connection between two of the accelerator’s magnets. So they had to bring the temperature back up to the room temperature before the crew could go in there and fix the problem. According to LHC this process will take until November, that is exactly when the entire research infrastructure of CERN is due maintenance. So in a nut shell, The LHC experiment is delayed until spring of 2009. The not so exciting news is that, on 21st OCT  CERN is organizing an official ceremony to inaugurate the LHC. I do not know what that really means to somebody like me. From what I read, it sounds more like a non-scientific event.  Only representatives of the governments of CERN’s Member and Observer States and other participating nations will take part in this event.

Here is the parting note made by General Robert Aymar, Director of CERN, “While the timing is undoubtedly a disappointment, a few extra weeks on a project that has been over two decades in the making is not very much. It is simply a fact of life in experimental physics at the frontiers of knowledge and technology.” I guess we all understand that, so keep your spirits alive until spring of 2009.

If you would like to read more, please follow these links

http://lhc-first-beam.web.cern.ch/lhc-first-beam/News/lhc_080918.html
http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2008/PR10.08E.html
http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2008/PR12.08E.html

September 11, 2008

LHC Rap Video

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This is pretty cool and informative toooo..lols..

Still Standing Tall

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In the memories of Americans and many more across the seas who last their loved ones on this dreadful day 7 years ago.

September 10, 2008

CERN-LHC Update

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The LHC experiment was successfully initialized this morning (10:28 Local Time) by steering the first beam inside the 15 mile long tunnel.  The complete agenda for Sep 10th experiment is here.  According the press release “Today’s success puts a tick next to the first of those steps, and over the next few weeks, as the LHC’s operators gain experience and confidence with the new machine, the machine’s acceleration systems will be brought into play, and the beams will be brought into collision to allow the research programme to begin.” According to another report the collision of the hydrons is planned for some time late October, this report by a Russian Newspaper says ” Large Hadron Collder to be Launched Oct 21“.

There are major concerns about the safety of LHC.  Some scientists feel that the collision will result in Cosmic rays, Microscopic black holes, Strangelets, Vacuum bubbles and/or magnetic monopoles. CERN rules out the possibility of any danger to our planet because of the LHC Experiment.  In a safety report CERN claims that, “LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) reaffirms and extends the conclusions of the 2003 report that LHC collisions present no danger and that there are no reasons for concern.” Read the full report Here

So who ever feels like the LHC experiment will bring Armageddon to our planet have another month and half to live their lives. In any case life is too valuable to waste, be it a month long or a century, I would say forget all fears and start living the best of your life from now on.

September 9, 2008

CERN- LHC Experiment

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Tomorrow, September 10th 2008, will be an auspicious day for physicists around the world. Scientists at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research” are all set to explore answers to some of the most profound questions in particle physics with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment.  The experiment involves accelerating a proton in the LHC so as to obtain 7 TeraElectronVolts (TeV) of Kinetic energy and colliding with another proton of about that energy level. This would result in a collision energy of about 14 TeV. At 7TeV each of the protons will be traveling at 99.9999991% of the speed of the light. According to CERN the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment will help scientists to explore the possibility of existence of new particles and solve the mystery of antimatter. The LHC is a 17mile circumference machine built underground at a depth of 330feet near the Swiss-German border. The LHC experimental set up was designed in the early 80s and with contributions from Japan, US, India and other non-member states of CERN, CERN was able to put together this experimental setup, which costed about US$5.5 Billion. The LHC experiment is scheduled to be performed around 3:30AM EST tomorrow. I believe experiments of this magnitude will help us take a quantum leap in terms of our understanding of the subatomic particles and our universe as the whole. So wish them lots of luck!

If you wish to read more about the experiment go here: The LHC

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