March 2014

Offshore wind mills Science: For the past 24 years, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, has been developing a complex computer model to study air pollution, energy, weather and climate. In light of these recent model studies and in the aftermath of hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, he wondered What would happen if a hurricane encountered a large array of offshore wind turbines? Would the energy extraction due to the storm spinning the turbines' blades slow the winds and diminish the hurricane, or would the hurricane destroy the turbines? Read more ....

Wobbly planet Imagine living on a planet with seasons so erratic you would hardly know whether to wear Bermuda shorts or a heavy overcoat. That is the situation on a weird, wobbly world found by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope. Read more ....

Exoplanets NASA's Kepler mission has announced the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system. Read more .....

Clouds University of Georgia marine scientists are uncovering the mechanisms that regulate the natural production of an anti-greenhouse gas. A National Science Foundation grant will allow the UGA-led research group to further document how genes in ocean microbes transform sulfur into clouds in the Earth's atmosphere. Read more ....

Tubing segment The heroes and villains in animated films tend to be on opposite ends of the moral spectrum. But they're often similar in their hair, which is usually extremely rigid or - if it moves at all - is straight and swings to and fro. It's rare to see an animated character with bouncy, curly hair, since computer animators don't have a simple mathematical means for describing it. Researchers have provided the first detailed model for the 3-D shape of a strand of curly hair. Read more ....

Tit for tat

The other day I had to go to a shop to buy a notebook. It was late afternoon and there was no other customer in the stationery store. The store owner sat in his seat staring blankly at nothing.

I broke his reverie and demanded to be provided a 200-page notebook. I asked him the price and placed the amount on the counter. Meanwhile, the owner lumbered up to the shelves, drew out a 200-page notebook, and tossed it at me over the counter. This annoyed me to no end. I wish he had had the courtesy to hand over the notebook instead of tossing it. That is simply not the way to treat your customers.

I wish I had not already paid him, else I would have done what my friend had done when similarly treated by a shop owner.

The friend had to make a purchase - I don't remember what it was but it was definitely not something which was breakable and it was, of course, light. I had accompanied him.

The owner removed the article from the shelf and tossed it at my friend.

This angered the friend but he did not say anything.

"How much is it?" he asked the owner.

"Ten rupees," the shop-keeper said.

The friend had currency notes in his pocket. But he deliberately withdrew ten one-rupee coins and, then, with a look of great concentration on his face as if he was participating in a pistol-shooting competition and was aiming for the bulls-eye, he began tossing the coins over the counter one after the other. The coins made nice ringing sounds when they dropped on the glass-topped counter.

After the tenth coin had landed, the friend relaxed his countenance and looked up at the shop-keeper who had lost speech and was watching goggle-eyed.

There were a number of customers in the shop at that time, and they found the incident quite amusing. Some of them even went to the extent of laughing aloud.

I never visited that shop again, nor did the friend. But I am sure the shop-keeper must have learned his lesson well and given up his love for tossing things at customers.

I would have done the same thing as my friend, had I not already paid up for the notebook. Henceforth, I am not going to pay up first. It is only after taking the article of purchase in my possession that the shop-keeper will get his money, and that too in a manner similar to which the article was handed to me.

Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission -
  • IIT-Kharagpur -
  • Indian Statistical Institute -
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras -
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad -
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission -
  • IIT Bombay -
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad -
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi -
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training -
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) -
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi -
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai -

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