Case Of The Pleasing Horn

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

He stayed there for 4 odd seconds.
That cop in the middle of the busy road staring at me.
Then put his head down and crossed the street.
Improperly again.
What must have gone through his mind; I raced through.
Can’t give me a ticket for honking at him.
I smirked.

Aristotle believed that everything in the world was composed of four basic elements – earth, water, fire and air. He also suggested the nature of forces that acted upon these elements, gravity – which caused earth and water to sink, and levity – which caused fire and air to rise. No matter how primitive and vague his concept was, it is still very consistent with our division of particles of the universe into matter particles and force particles. Aristotle believed that matter particles were continuous and there was no stopping point at which matter could be divided further. Democritus and Leucippus on the other hand, considered matter to be discrete and being composed of small units called atom (atom in greek means indivisible).

For centuries there was no hard evidence to prove whether matter was continuous or discrete. In 1803, a British physicist John Dalton came up with an idea that chemical compounds always combining in certain proportions could be the reason of atoms reacting with each other in numbers to form units called molecules. By 1897, another British physicist, J. J. Thomson discovered the existence of negative charge in matter particles with his cathode ray tube experiment. Even though it was apparent at this point that atom, indeed, was not the smallest unit, the structure of atom was still vague as no one could comprehend the origin of such negative charge.

One of the important pieces of physical evidence was provided by Einstein in 1905 in his paper, “On the Movement of Small Particles Suspended in Stationary Liquids Required by the Molecular-Kinetic Theory of Heat”, where he pointed out that what was called Brownian motion could be explained as the effect of atoms of the liquid colliding with the dust particles. Due to his groundbreaking theory on special relativity and photoelectric effect published in the same year 1905, his paper on Brownian motion went largely unnoticed. Later in 1911, another British physicist, Ernest Rutherford corroborated the existence of elementary particles within an atom. From his alpha-particle bombarding experiment, he proposed the existence of nucleus, describing it as a very small and dense region within the atom, and comprising of positive charge – the positive charge was later discovered to be proton having the same magnitude of charge as the electron. After James Chadwick discovery of neutron in 1932, the structure of atom became much more explicit, with proton and neutron forming the nucleus and electron spinning around the nucleus – the solar system model.

An amusing, yet logical feeling that I inadvertently summon while I cogitate over these historical advancements is how little these scientists knew about the particle that make up everything, before 1930. Yet, the most profound and far reaching theories of thermodynamics, relativity, quantum mechanics, in fact the whole of science, were proposed before that date and is still consistent and relevant to this day. The atomic structure, tunneling, discreteness in energy level and existence of degenerate energy state, discreteness of light etc. are all perfectly coherent with quantum mechanics and photoelectric effect and such. So if these theory deem to be true, are the experiments performed to verify them being influenced by our prior knowledge or do we really don’t need to know much to understand and revolutionize the world?

Special theory of relativity is an extension of Galilean relativity. In simple, Galilean relativity states that if you are in an object that is moving at a constant speed, you won’t be able to tell whether you’re at rest or motion. For instance, we don’t feel any motion sitting in a planet that is rotating around the sun at a speed of 30km/sec. Einstein special theory of relativity takes the relativity perspective to one step forward by assuming time to vary like speed based on observer. Time is therefore no longer constant in special relativity. Some famous corollaries of this theory include the feasibility of time machine and time travel, a yard stick that would contract and expand depending on its velocity etc. This is the best video explaining ‘Einstein Theory of Relativity’ that I’ve seen in the web. Enjoy the video, it’s worth the time:


PS: Feel free to can leave questions in the comment section.

Video  —  Posted: June 10, 2013 in Science
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Do you ever ponder upon the reason behind dreaming, how it develops or even what it really is or means? Not to mention how it gets so fascinating and surreal? Real, scary, living up fantasies and sometimes quite mysterious than day to day experience. Well! that’s dream, and that’s something no one seems interested even though no one knows much about it. One of the other thing that confounds me is the slowing down of time while dreaming. There are so many incidents that occur that your brain processes but in a relatively short time. Practically, your brain is working many times faster when you are dreaming than when you are conscious, and the reason is pretty simple – as most of our senses get to rest, brain gets all the munchies to work.

The aspect that really fascinates me is the fact how I can put myself in so many places and do multiple things in a relatively short time. A real incident that happened to me last week when I was traveling with two of my friends from Boca Raton to Miami, I felt asleep on the way in the backseat of the car. I had this crazy dream of winning the lottery of 350 million, which probably got into the mix from seeing the lottery ad in a hoarding board on the way. I received the full money as there is no tax cut in dreams (pun). But for some reasons which I could not recall, I wasn’t allowed to spend the money. I woke up and asked my friends to stop by a nearby store and purchase the lottery ticket thinking I might win. NOT! Dreams can be false and are most often so in my case. But that’s not the point I want to get into. I slept for 7 minutes as I remember seeing the time in the dashboard of the car right in front of me before closing my eyes and opening them again, it had switched from 9:35 to 9:42. In these approx 7 minutes – I bought the lottery, won the lottery, got the money, got featured in the TV, tried to use the money, and wasn’t able to. It all felt so real like a movie and the series of events were recollection of few days from buying the ticket. Life moved so much faster in those 7 minutes.

Everyone must have experienced free falls while dreaming – falling off a cliff or a building and never reaching the bottom, so scary yet so real. You never reach the ground! Scientist define dream to be just a recollection of past events and experience, which however seem to contradict with the free fall experience which many people like me do not have real life experience on. To justify the claim, they assert the brain to be simulating such fall from real life experience of jumps and falls and surmising it to a higher extent. I am no scholar and it might be true, but I happen to be a hard skeptic, and I for one don’t believe in such unfounded assertion. How can we know much about dream when we know so little about the brain itself! What I believe that might be true is the eye and other senses stifling our brain to process things differently thereby confining ourselves to this inadequate 3 dimensional world. Or may be it’s the world itself that confines our brain and limits it’s potential. Will we be able to think faster if we were in a different world driven by different physical parameters, different gravitation force, different speed, different constraints? May be. May be all we need to do to explore the universe and other dimension is just close the eye for few minutes and rest all our senses and get the brain into full action.

—- WARNING: COULD BE TOO CRAZY FOR SOME READERS —-

Perhaps when we fall asleep here, the other side of us becomes active in a parallel world. The parallel world operates much faster and is similar to the real world and populated by people we know already, except for the fact that the the clock is different. The other side of you don’t need as much time to carry out its daily routine as you need, as the difference in time is huge. Say, a 5 second in earth is like a 5 hour in the parallel world. Sleeping here for 7 minutes, you practically live for 7 days or even 7 years in the parallel world. We call them DREAMS.

The Scripted World

Posted: March 25, 2013 in Science

Do you believe that your actions have already been fixed? In fact whatever you do in future is bound to happen irrespective of your will. For instance you are reading this article because you were destined to read it, and I wrote it because that was my destiny as well. The idea seems quite bizarre, but there’s a majority of physicists that believe it’s true. Since everything is made up of the same elementary particles just with different composition and concentration, the behavior of every matter and the way in which everything occurs must be explicable and defined. Therefore what you do, in fact whatever happens in this world – the atomic bomb, the world war, advent of computers, airplanes etc. has already been scripted 13 billion years ago, right at the time of the big bang.

Well if this happens to be true, things and cases it ensues can get quite complicated. One cannot be blamed (or accredited) for his actions, as he was destined to do it. For instance, a murderer or criminal should not be held responsible for the tragedy and must be exonerated from his crimes if this is true. Now the world can be a real disturbing place to live in. This created a huge contention among scientists of the 19th century. Einstein opined that a person should be no matter held responsible for his/her actions no matter bad or good, and a criminal should be punished accordingly. He said it was necessary to do so in order to maintain stability in the world. Otherwise, the world would run into riots.

This entails an interesting relation between religion and science. Now as religion, indeed every religion, believe in destiny and fate, and god deciding all the events and happenings that take place in this world – science seems to be justifying it. But with scientific reasoning, of course. Well I’m not an advocate of religion trying to impress or urge you to believe in it with my hypothesis. Personally, I won’t reject nor believe in the possibility of existence of god. If you ask me, throw me into the agnostic category.

So was Einstein a genius, or just an extremely lucky man to have been chosen to formulate those equations?

Perplexed I am. Constantly. Eternally.
Absurd obsessions profoundly grounded.
Mystic is this star dancing around. Mystic is this world.
Only if you look closely, you’ll see.
Take my eyes, take my mind.
Comprehensible enigma toys me throughout,
Incessant thoughts turn into crazy dreams,
Seeking unobvious answers;
Willing to solve the missing elusiveness;
Willing to elucidate the prevalent ignorance,
Blinded by orthodoxy, blinded by lack of imagination.
Futile venture you may call,
Trivial you may call.
Trivial I am.

Trash talk:

On contrary to the title, that is pressing you to skip this article RIGHT AWAY, you might well give a second thought to actually go through the context that has been described further, simple enough to be understood, even by a layman. For the love of science, I hope this article serves as a wonderful experience to your learning process.

Background:

The advent of satellite-fiber network dates back to 1965 when Intelsat launched the first commercial satellite. They proudly paraphrase this as ” Nasa put a man on the moon, and the world watched it happen via Intelsat”. It can be regarded as a breakthrough in the field of modern satellite-fiber communication system. Although optical fibers only came into extensive use since the early 90’s, the need for a cheaper and efficient system became prevalent, as neither satellite nor copper cables could suffice the need for the growing bandwidth. Cost of service being the other instigator.

Introduction:

Satellite-Fiber hybrid network is a seamless integration of satellite and fiber network that offers enhanced data rate, dynamism, robustness, flexibility and many more features that can’t be achieved by either of the network individually. A satellite-fiber network works in coordination with each other, such that, information sent through one of the network can be easily transferred to other for convenience. The transmission of information may take multiple interplay between them before being broadcasted. Information received over fibers may be transferred to satellite through antennas and then back to fibers, and vice-versa.

Satellite communication is a highly expensive form of communication system that offers much less bandwidth compared to Fiber networks. However in regard to reliability, security, mobility and availability of service, satellite communication holds its eminence aloft. Therefore, satellite communication is extensively used in military and scientific purpose. Fibers, on the other hand, offer higher bandwidth and transmission rate at a much, much cheaper rate compared to satellites. Data being transmitted in the form of light, invulnerability to external noise and interference is another advantage that fiber edges over satellite. However, one must have to endure network-complexity and the constant maintenance issue entailed by fibers.

Optical Fiber Network:

An optical fiber is a transmission medium that enables information to be sent through it in the form of light. It is made up of silica or polymer. Polymer fibers are generally used because of the durability and flexibility.  An optical fiber is composed of three layers –

  • Core
  • Cladding
  • Buffer Coating

The core is the inner-most part of the fiber. It is the very medium through which information is transmitted. The diameter of the core varies on the nature of fiber. It ranges from 8 micro meter to 100 micro meters (or more). The core material is made up of silica or polymer. The refractive index of the core and cladding determines the angle of incidence at which the light signal must strike the fiber core.

Optical Fiber Layers

Cladding is a protective layer that encloses the core to maximize fiber strength and microbend resistance. It also prevents the light signal from straying away from the core. The material used for cladding should always have a refractive index lower than that of the core in order to attain total internal reflection. Also, the absorption coefficient of the cladding material must be low to prevent diffraction. The buffer coating offers enhanced durability to the fiber. It, along with the cladding, protects the core from physical and environmental damage.

On the basis of their working methodology, optical fibers can be broadly classified into two types:

  • Single-mode fiber.
  • Multi-mode fiber.

The classification is merely based on the nature of transmission of light inside the fiber. In the single-mode fiber, a highly directed light wave is sent through the fiber, perpendicular to the fiber surface to prevent the light from dissipating. Hence, the light travels along a straight path. The source is usually a laser device or an ultra-high frequency LED. Single-mode  fibers are used in cases where high transmission rate and low interference is expected.

As the name suggests, multiple signals i.e. a beam of light is sent through the core in case of multi-mode fibers. Consequently, multi-mode fibers offer higher bandwidth. Thus is used in general purposes.  However, multi-mode fibers are affected by ISI (Inter Symbol Interference) and Diffraction that deteriorates the system due to noise, signal overlapping and transmission delay. Graded index multi-mode fiber is a solution and a better form of multi-mode fibers.

Satellite Network:

A satellite is a geo-stationary object that revolves around the earth in a fixed orbit. It constantly exchanges information with the ground station in the form of RF signal. Satellite communication was primarily used for telecommunications and scientific purpose because of their expensive rate of service. Gradually they became more commercialized as the need for exchange of information in geographically remote couldn’t be accomplished by cable networks. The cost required to install a satellite in outer space and the need for a highly powerful transmission system in order to send information over such a long distance, imposes expensive service rate for satellite communications. A satellite communication system comprises of two terminals:

  • Earth terminal (also known as ground station or earth station).
  • Satellite terminal.

Satellite network

The earth terminal acts as a hub for data exchange between the satellite and the other communication channels. An antenna, maintained at line-of-sight with the satellite, is used to interact with the satellite. The signal received by the antenna is sent to the processing unit that processes and records information constantly. If the information needs to be sent over optical fiber, it is first converted into respective form and then transmitted. This forms a satellite-fiber network.

The link between the earth station and the satellite is called an uplink. An uplink is a channel that serves as a medium when an earth station transmits data to the satellite. Similarly the link between the satellite and the earth station is called a downlink. A downlink is a channel that serves as a medium when a satellite sends data to the earth station.

Implementation:

Satellite is effective in delivering point-to-multipoint coverage i.e. broadcasting, while fiber is more efficient to route point-to-point traffic. A satellite-fiber network is used in conjunction with each other to deliver information. However due to the difference in the nature of transmission one must always take in consideration – the data conversion process.

Satellite-Fiber Network

Information is sent in the form of RF signal in case of satellite. While in fiber communication, data is transmitted in the form of light. Hence, it must be converted to respective form before transmission. Also it must be noted that fibers offer much higher bandwidth compared to satellite. Therefore, the amount of information sent through fiber cannot be handled by satellite simultaneously. Hence, proper data scaling must be done before transmission i.e. before forwarding the data from fiber to satellite, it must be converted to a lower rate and vice-versa, expecting transmission delay.

The four fundamental forceUntil the 19th century, it was believed that there was only two force that defined the mechanism behind everything: the gravitational force and the electromagnetic force. The Gravitational force is defined as the force that acts between two bodies with mass, and is defined by Newton’s famous equation: F = k*G1*G2/D^2. It is the force that keeps two things together and explains the movement and positions of heavenly bodies, and most importantly keeps us attached to the ground surface.

The Electromagnetic force is the one that explains almost all phenomena in the world, except gravity. It was discovered by Michael Faraday, and later on revised by James C. Maxwell. The electromagnetic force is comprised of the Electrostatic force and the Magnetic Force. Atoms are electrically neutral, but when two materials are bought in contact, electrons from one body is transferred to other developing an Electrostatic force between them. For instance a balloon clings to our sweater if we rub it. In this process, the sweater (made of wool) is likely to lose electron while the balloon (made of rubber) is likely to accept electron. Magnetic force is similar to electrostatic force. Like in case of charge, opposite pole attract each other while similar pole repel. Electrostatic and Magnetic force are interrelated phenomena that cannot be addressed separately, as changing one of them causes change to the other. Taking both of this inseparable phenomena into account, Faraday postulated his laws of electromagnetism. In simple terms, it said that a change in electric field, develops a magnetic field and vice-versa. Here’s a short video demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=cy6kba3A8vY#t=75s

From propagation of electromagnetic wave such as light, RF, microwave etc to the binding of electrons in the nucleus, and simply, the working of my laptop that I’m currently using to upload this post, which uses electricity generated by rotating that turbine by those water molecules, by causing a change in the magnetic field in that hydroelectric cell – the laws of electromagnetism governs almost everything.

“Einstein regarded Maxwell as the most profound contributor in physics since Newton.”

According to Electromagnetism, like charges repel while unlike charges attract. This, however, contradicted with the structure of atom, as in atoms positively charged protons stay together inside the nucleus. To explain this phenomena, scientists discovered a force called the Strong force that kept the proton and neutron in the nucleus from busting apart. As the name suggests, the Strong force is so strong, it undermines the electrostatic force between the protons and holds them inside the nucleus. The Strong force is extremely complicated, and one must have the knowledge of fundamental particles such as hadrons, quarks, gluons etc to understand the process. Briefly explaining, Proton and Neutrons are called Hadrons and are composed of 3 Quarks. Proton is composed of 2 Up quarks (+ve) and 1 Down quark (-ve), while neutron is composed of 2 Down and 1 Up quark. Gluons are Strong-Force charge carriers that interact with the quarks and makes them change their Color. Gluons are extremely powerful particles, that prevent the quarks from straying away, thereby stabilizing the nucleus.

The Weak force, as the name implies, is the weakest of all fundamental forces and acts over a very tiny range. The weak force explains why some atoms undergo radioactive decay, the process that fuels every star in the universe, and indeed keeps the sun shining. Just like the strong force that changes the color of the quark, weak force changes the Flavor of the quark, by the impact of force carriers. The force carriers in weak force are called Bosons that interact with the quarks. Briefly explaining, Bosons are of two types – W boson that is either +ve or -ve, or Z boson that is electrically neutral. When a -ve W boson comes in contact with a Proton (you know what quarks Protons are made up of right? If not, see paragraph above), the proton changes to a neutron, as the -ve W boson changes the quark flavor of the proton from 2 Up and 1 Down to 1 Up and 2 Down quark. With change in the number of protons and neutrons, the atom as a whole changes i.e. decays to a more stable form.

I hope you understand the 4 fundamental forces of physics now, if not, at least the top two. The strong and weak force is fairly complicated to comprehend without knowledge of quantum particles. However, to simplify the matter, I’ll write about the fundamental particles, explaining its characteristic and behavior in detail in my next blog.


If one yearns back to the days of ancient computing, the recent development of powerful hand-held devices that boast inclusive working platform might be stupefying. Now as nostalgia sets in, we can only think back to that day when late Steve Jobs, the Apple honcho, first unveiled the groundbreaking development of iPad. With that, the inevitable was imminent – our usual habit of general computing and web browsing went through metamorphosis thereby giving birth to a new dimension to basic computing. Apart from witnessing an intuitive experience on a miniature level, which wasn’t necessarily seen before its time, one thing that shocked everyone was its highly competitive $500 starting price point, much lesser than what was anticipated. Even today, it seems that many companies strive to achieve that price figure– thus, bringing us into the constantly shifting price wars.

Now as I stumble upon these burgeoning tablet developments, I foresee a constant threat imparted upon the laptop and smart phone manufacturers, and most significantly to the titans itself – the expediency of the Apple’s iPad is now in jeopardy. Apparently that’s the key reason for major smart phone and laptop manufacturing companies like Samsung, Motorola, HP, Acer, Toshiba etc to venture into the tablet business. One reason for most of these tabs to groom and transcend iPad and other contemporary devices is the easy working platform offered by the Android OS. Development and deployment of app has become a walk in the park for aspiring mobile app developers – the key reason why android tablets has mushroomed over the past few years.

Now with the Samsung Galaxy tab been able to keep the iPad at bay with its all-in-all features and flexibility, Amazon – the eminent e-commerce portal, has dared to bite the bullet to disrupt the tablet ascendancy. Amazon with a perfect mindset first dropped the Kindle to cater readers who love to read electronic books. The highly sought device with its near-perfect attributes gained the deserved prominence in no time. The features they mention in their site describe it best to make you wonder:

  • 30 days battery life with a 3 hours complete charge.
  • Perfect screen resolution to avoid glaring so that one can read under a bright sun with no difficulty.
  • Millions of free books, music and movies from Amazon store.
  • Thousands of popular apps.
  • Cloud hosting to all Amazon products. And lots more…

With this huge success, Amazon subsequently released the much hyped Kindle Fire. Many, including me, were enthralled to find out its price and functionality. In addition to an easy-to-swallow $199, the Fire offers comprehensive features and ample of free stuffs – 9 million free books (now that’s fascinating), thousands of free songs, movies and popular apps. Amazon Kindle Fire is here itching to ignite itself into stardom – thanks to its combined functionality of being a Reader first with a superb battery life, display and performance. For an ardent book reader like me, a tablet replacement at such an affordable price with millions of free books and all inclusive features of that of a tablet, the Kindle Fire is definitely the first choice. But for others, will it contest to supersede the titans in the tablet landscape? Or will it merely prove to be nothing more than a laughable tablet wannabe?


In a political climate where I could go onto spark a nation-wide strike for not getting my suit cleaned up on time; Nepal Banda is a familiar trite and a well-celebrated culture by all us Nepalese. From small house-hold quarrels to major political parties’ altercations, an agreement has never been achieved by the means of negotiation; therefore a strike has been a must. And we, the civilians, are always on the receiving end that must bear this regular ordeals. But, how long shall we endure and put our freedom and human right at stake, is a critical issue that needs serious attention.

Something that causes a deep ignominy amongst us, is the demand of the political parties for their affiliates dying off a petty cause, be it a road accident, to be labelled a martyr. How easily we forget those brave patriots who sacrificed their life during the Anglo-Nepal war and the Rana regime! The names that we used to revere on the auspicious day “Sahid Diwas” and study in our primary school general knowledge books has been swept under the rug by these immoral so-called citizens. And needless to say about these self-claimed visionary political leaders, who, instead of solving the issue through arbitration, unleash their student affiliates go rampant and cause havoc. Impeding public and personal vehicles from operation during strike was a normal affair, but how despicable to obstruct ambulances and press vehicles; not even bystanders are spared from their ravages.

Having mentioned all these displeasing consequences that a Banda entails, I dare to emphasize on some good aspects. Now, before I begin I would like to express my consolation to all the job holders who have to perform the day’s commute by foot, but for me, as my office usually remains closed on the days of strike, Nepal Banda is just another holiday to relish. A long sleep in the morning is always pleasing to the eye and a solace to my restless mind. In addition, as load shedding hours are usually deduced on the days of strike, home-stay doesn’t gets that boring after all. Children become animated with ecstasy when they hear about their school being closed due to the strike. Furthermore, as means of transportation on such days are only bicycles or one’s foot, the environment of the valley is alleviated from the air and noise pollution caused by the vehicles. With all the people walking by the road, a long walk from home to office suddenly becomes short and exciting. Besides, a little exercise to warm up those lazy bones is always good for one’s health. And sometimes, friends and acquaintances almost forgotten get to meet each other reviving their deteriorated relationship there in the road. (Happened me to many times)

Now taking into account some of these positive and useful prospects, why can’t we exercise them without a Nepal Banda. In many developed cities like Beijing, where there are approximately nine million bicycles, people usually travel and carry out their everyday work by the means of these propelling vehicles. Not because they don’t have enough resource to afford a motor vehicle, but to preserve natural serenity and minimize pollution. So, why can’t we as well let go off our usual habit and dedicate a day (at least once a week) for the mother nature and help the already dilapidated and alarming environmental state of our Kathmandu valley regain its natural state? All we need is a small change; if you ask me, I won’t mind walking a few miles for a good cause. Indeed l enjoy traveling by foot listening to some good old songs with those ear phone plugged in my ears. But the question is do you have what it takes to change for the betterment?