All posts by villpower

About villpower

I am an IT professional since more than 10 years. Being in IT has it's demerits of squishing time out of busy work schedule for your own hobbies and passions. And (un)luckily I happened to follow passions which themselves are black holes of time. I am a lot into Computer gaming. Love to play and rant about it. I am an avid reader. Nothing is unapproachable as far as reading concerns. I must confess, IT field also have merit of presenting you with opportunities to travel around. I have been to few of the most exotic locations in the world. I have lot many things to talk about and discuss which includes but not limited to science, travelling, culture and food. Currently possessed with writers ghost so trying my hand on writing stories also. Follow my blogs and Enjoy.

Comic Con 2017 – Pune,India

“More of the Same.” is befitting summary to this years’ Comic-Con, Pune 2017. As if venue and layout almost matching to the last year’s event, there was no variety in terms of shops and merchandise also baring few surprises.

Comic-Con is always celebratory conglomeration of the geeks, nerds and all the fantastic not-so-fit-in-social-conceptions individuals. At the same time Comic-Con is social event all in all. It is fun and frolic event as any other. It can be enjoyed equally by comic enthusiast as well as all of those who believe in superhero fantasy; children and adults alike. Not wasting too much time in establishing the Comic-Con’s reputation as it will always be regarded as celebration with likes of the festival by its devoted fans. Though I would rate this year’s Comic-Con held at Pune, India as lukewarm.

Start was made as ideal as it could be for any Comic-book and DC fan with free giveaway of DareDevil poster for each entrants at ticket pickup counter. Considering the sitcom and binge-watching on rise in India, AXN has grabed the opportunity with both hands to market it with life-size billboards propped at every corners. And usual flair continued then onwards.

Outside the dome same colorful Maruti Alto who is official sponsor of Comic-Con, India displayed which was surprising for those who were first-timers but failed to excite me. Same large Comic-Con peculiar poster to get yourself photographed for future memoirs was also present. Inside the dome, I had deja vu of shops selling same merchandise for fans such as t-shirts, masks, fancy accessories and all other “not so easily available superhero stuff”. Surprisingly, very few shops dedicating to actual comic books which was disappointment for me. In fact only single shop by Crossword book store selling famous DC comics. It was small section and frankly there was no variety in collection also. I could see all those titles which I already owned or read before. I was hoping to lose myself in comic shops this time to find some hidden gems. Alas, no such opportunity presented. Indian comic-shops also selling the same old comics with no new-arrival announcements. Somehow I had the feeling that everyone was going through their zombie-routine to finish the act and not interested in catching the attraction of the audience.

After so much bickering about down-points, let’s move to good points now. Rows of screens connected to high-end consoles (mostly PS4) for visitors to battle out competitive gameplay either against human opponents or AI was always good sight to behold. Along with usual tropes like FIFA and NFS, Battlefield 1, Titenfall2 and Uncharted 4 were more than satisfactory. Promotional booths erected for just released movies Logan and upcoming Indian epic fantasy Baahubali 2 were, I must confess, novel addition. You could live out your fantasy with available props for a while and to be immortalized in digital photo (especially cool for social media update aficionados). Best part and the real highlight for me which has acted as fuel to warm this event review from completely “cold” to “lukewarm” was 30 seconds short animated VR experience (Setup mojo was Radeon Fury with Oculus gear).  AXN booth also held some fun activities such as shooting with blind and passing through laser a la Entrapment imitation to attempt and win goodies.

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At last, let’s not forget the most appealing aspect of Comic-Con anywhere in the world; Cosplay. Fans were fabulous again with their Cosplay as usual considering heat already making news here in India at start of summer . I witnessed lot more variants also amidst all-time favorite lot like Jokers, Batman, Star Wars characters and all. As far as special guest concerns, world-famous artist of V for Vendetta, David Lloyd had graced the occasion with his mild presence and signing event.

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David Lloyd-Prime attraction of this year’s ComicCon

All in all, I am still having mix feelings for this years’ Comic Con. And my disappointment is purely due to comics themselves were put aside to give more emphasize on commercialization of other merchandise. Which was not bad idea but fans like me still want to scour through multiple outlets completely devoted to comics and emerge with something which,doesn’t matter if old or new, but it must be fresh.

Game on…

Numbers are dry; drier than the Sahara desert. But at the same time, as all statisticians and analysts agree, numbers are the perfect lenses to observe the trend and future predictions. Best way to click the perfect picture and see what is out of focus and what caught the center of frame for any business trends and market in general. Every year ESA (Entertainment Software Association) come out with data encompassing sales, demographic and usage in terms of entertainment software, in short, gaming. I blogged about it before here with my own insights. After almost 2 year back let’s take measure again and see how deep the rabbit hole is. Let’s start.

Average game player age is 35 indicates that I have a couple of years more before I go out of the league. Though the fact that 26% gamers are 50+ years; almost catching up with younger competitors (Under 18 years-27%) and prime age personas(18-35 years-29%). I have all the sympathy with mid-life crisis sufferers (36-49 Years-18%).

Gender demographic is almost equally balanced with obvious minor lead for male (59%) over female (41%).

52% gamers believe that games are better over Movies, DVDs, Music etc. when it comes to value for money. And I completely agree with them. Take example of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from Polish developer CD Project RED. Even though I pre-ordered and bought all DLC without discounted price, the main game contents itself spanning over 200-300+ hours of game-play excluding DLCs and other tons of goodies. Combine that with AAA quality graphics and RPG engagement and it will be free deal on sale prices.

48% gamers are social gamers. Now that is very contradicting statement when you use “social” and “gamer” in single statement. But I think this is because of lot many co-op and family games available nowadays on console as well as on mobile platforms. It shows smartphones share 36% of all gaming devices with my favorite PC topping the chart with share of 56%.

In terms of co-op, gamers still prefer to have friends at their side rather than family members, parents and spouse/GF/BF in that particular order of receding preference. However anti-social still most of the world believe games are, 51% gamers believe that games help them connect to their friends on regular basis. However anti-educational still most of the world believe games are, 75% gamers believe that games are more mentally stimulant and educational than other “stuff”.

As predicted 2 years back in similar kind of post here, VR is the next in thing for future gaming. Considering 40% gamers ready to buy VR devices in one or the other way, it’s becoming “game” changing scenarios for future developments.

Only 11% M-ratings games compared to 37% E-rating in the year of 2016 also shows how diverse the gaming is becoming. And why the rise of family games. Gaming has stopped becoming geeky-business anymore. There is also shift in accepting the effects of gaming on child’s upbringing. 68% parents believe that it’s positive part of the life. 62% parents themselves participate in gaming sessions with their offspring.

Shooter and action genre still dominate almost 45% of all the genre available on the market. But when it comes to PC, strategy is topmost choice for 34.4% gamers. Notably RPGs also occupying 18.7% share in terms of PC gaming. It’s always difficult to play strategy and RPG without keyboard/mouse combo.

As support to my previous consumerism blog, data shows that 18% gamers buy game titles if it belongs to some continuing series or looks familiar. Though still biggest factor in influencing the consumption is price: 21%. That explains peak buying during winter/summer/autumn sales going on all the time on digital distribution sites. Quality of graphics has lost its charm though with all the new Indie but well-designed and immaculately conceived ideas. No need to have life-like graphics to get immersion.

Total consumer spend in the year of 2015 is 23.6bn $. No need to say that digital format is the best deal for distributors. Comparing to 2010 where physical format was having its golden days with 71% market share, now, in 2015 it’s reduced to mere 44%.

Magical future still awaits. No one has predicted that future holds such fantasy as living and playing out your dreams literally.

References:

http://www.theesa.com/article/2016-essential-facts-about-the-computer-and-video-game-industry/

http://www.theesa.com/

http://www.theesa.com/article/more-than-40-million-americans-age-50-plus-play-video-games/

 

Consumerism & Gaming

“Consumerism is a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.” – Wikipedia.

I was rifling stacks of digital shelves teaming with gaming titles in my Steam library along with GOG to choose next best gaming title to be installed after completing SOMA.  Honestly, it was and is becoming most “stressful” decision-making process. In upcoming years, it’s going to get worse as I realized my “to-be-played” game list is ever-increasing tail of snake in that classic old Snake game we used to play longingly on our handhelds. Only exception is, no “Game Over” in sight. Even though I somehow able to run through all titles bought by me on current date basis for single play through, there is much more fodder to chew upon for next few years. Forget about second runs. Co-op and multiplayer also not counted. Is such consumerism good for Gaming industry?

I am no economist. On a chilled winter night, having discussion with one of my colleague-cum-friend, he raised the topic of consumerism and impact of the same on our daily lives. If I count myself conservative for consumer goods, I am extremely likely opposite of it when games and books come into picture. Currently Gaming industry is booming billions dollar business globally. In USA and European countries along with few technology-forward Asia-Pacific countries like Korea and Japan, buying games is quite mainstream. But in developing countries like India it’s still in lower gear, accelerating gradually. Credit goes to digital distribution model and inclusion of local currencies. Steam has almost claimed the market with local currency model and all the deals cropping up on regular basis. Other digital distributor also going to follow the trend soon. Still Consumerism won’t hold the same meaning when we are talking about Gaming Industry as there are some peculiar features which can only be applicable to Gaming. Here I would like to focus on PC and console gaming which is comparably more expensive than mobile or F2P model.

Pricey Affair: First and foremost, though user base is quite diverse, Gaming is considered as prime hobby, kind of expensive which could only be claimed by upper or upper-middle class. Average price of the high-end Consoles are approximately 35-42% of per capita income if we consider latest figure of 93,000 Rs. To build high-end gaming PC would cost much more than that. Price of newly launched Console title costs around 4000 to 5000 Indian rupees which is  almost 5% of per capita income. So, gamers are reluctant to buy new title right away if price is on higher side. They tend to wait out till some discounted price is on offer. And that is quite good approach when it comes to gaming as though shelf-life is short, lifespan of a typical title lasts very much longer. There is always something else on offer on lower price tag to satisfy the itch. And that’s when hoarding starts. As a Gamer you want to acquire titles during sale even though you didn’t have time to play as tempting slashed prices are too good to ignore. As soon as you see title with 50-60% price of the original, you right away make your mind to play the game at later date and buy it now. Series and franchisee loyalty also play big part in buying the title. For publishers, new IP is always difficult decision. It takes some time to get traction.

Value for Money: It’s always debatable topic that when should gamer be satisfied in terms of value for money. In gaming, user or consumer is active part of the value. In simpler terms, I might be perfectly happy with short but quality game-play. On the other hand others might not feel satisfied with hours and hours of content. Genre also play the bigger role here. One don’t want to have RPG of 10-12 hours of total gameplay. Contrary to that, 10-12 hours of FPS gaming is more than enough. In short, Gamers are specific buyers. They know their genre well. To draw new consumers is entirely different beast. Though genres also applied to other media like movies and books but they get advantage of peer-review and mouth-to-mouth publicity. Also you don’t have to invest yourself completely to experience them. In Gaming, you won’t take others word for your experience. There are examples of flawed gems where patchy designs actually enhances the gameplay so much that these titles are now considered as cult. STALKER series, Deadly Premonition are few to name.

Sliced: This brings us to sale and discounted prices. And consumer market is same as for other consumer goods. If particular title on discounted price, there is always chance of picking up the sale. And all consumers are attracted towards slashed prices. Gamers no different. Though it’s always difficult to perform valuation in the first place. Softwares or services tends to have various business models and choosing the correct one makes all the difference. Weather to go for F2P or premium package or MMO with gradual contents or go for low-investment cost mobile gaming, are just basic inception ideas Publishers/Developers have to face. Though most of AAA studios back their breads on many burners, kick-starters and Indie developers had gained much appreciated welcome to introduce their own quality flavor. Economic model and value chain of Gaming industry itself is vast topic. I would take that up in future series of blogs.

No Pay, No Gain: I have already put emphasis before on the fact that you need to fuel the economic engine by paying up fair if you don’t want your favorite entertainment to be vanished from market. Paying up for indie development also encourage more quality and passion-driven projects. Game lovers like me do this often. Long list of “to-be-played” games are fair proof of that.

End of one more year occasioned me to slap and shake my sleeping personal blog to wide awake and review what has gone well in lost year of 2016 and what’s promising in upcoming year 2017 on measuring scale of reading. At time of typing, I am still 2 books short of my over-enthused resolution of completing 24 books in a year. And that will be the case if I am not able to finish my ongoing massive Japanese thriller Six-Four and Russian classic Anna Karenina; both few hundred pages left. Anyway so maintaining the norm and using the GoodReads provided data, following is my current challenge status.

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Though I easily surpassed all my previous years in terms of number of pages read. Also in terms of number of books.

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My Dickens-obsession grew more and finished two of his classics in 2016. And that will also give me opportunity to declare “Bleak House” as most engaging read of the year. Let’s have the read books be explored in different manner this time. I awarded some weird and whacky titled which will identify specific read absolutely pertaining to me only. Read it and see if it’s fitting to you also.

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Hate Economy, still going to love the book about Economy: The Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

I knew Japanese Horror, but never prepared for this: Uzumaki by Junji Ito.

Never knew Indian origin Graphic Novels are this better: Devi & Ramayan 3392 A.D.

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First time ever, Movie was actually bad but still quite good than its source:  Suicide Squad

Something alluring about J. K. Rowling: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (All these Robert Galbraith adventures are not that much powerful if you compare with other thriller/mystery genre books available. But there is something in writing which will always compelled me to read ferociously once I start)

Never felt that depressed by object called Book: From Hell

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Fillers from my favorite author can be most arduous effort to finish: Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins

Scientific absurdity and enlightenment: What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

Story and deep philosophical message without speech bubbles?, Yes Possible: Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

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Gouging the current reading trend of myself, there will be lot more classics in upcoming years with more of Russian classics lit thrown in. And they all shall be huge. So number of books going to dwindle but pages going to surmount. Still best part to which any reading aficionados agree to be never premeditate anything, you will never know when you come across best read of your lifetime.

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I shall end, announcing my reading resolution as quoting the favorite

“Please sir, I want some more.” – Oliver Twist.

 

Historical Fiction or Fictional History?

I enjoyed 3rd entry in the Transformers movie series very much (I know, I also feel guilty but I did enjoyed); dubbed as “Dark side of the Moon”. Though tone of the entire series allow ample space for the viewers for suspension of disbelief, one thought pierced my mind and has been nagging me from that point onward whenever I try to entertain myself with fictional account which involves history. How grave impact popular media is having on the audience, especially juvenile or ignorant or uneducated in influencing their knowledge base which has been so partially, and in some cases completely dependent on entertaining media. I can understand the liberty of showing Dark side of moon playing key role in Transformers, but having shown forged video with then American president Nixon and proposing large-scale global conspiracies is definitely not correct way to get informed firsthand about moon voyage.

In the same track there was slapped on X-man story on true key historical event of Cuban missile crisis in X-men: First Class. Why so much bickering, you may ask. For me, movie is much powerful and influential medium as compared to books and games. There is limited fan base to books and other media. It is not “exposed” to all types of people. So if such maligned data be presented in book format one can also assume that people who got affected by it are readers in themselves and hence me very well be aware of the factual history. Similarly Gaming medium itself has never taken such liberty to account the presented story as facts or conspiracies. On the contrary, Games are evolving as most sought education medium when done correctly. True, Movies have disclaimers but who actually knows what is there.

Consider a case here in India with Bollywood (Indian movie industry) where nowadays the trend is to make movies “inspired” by true historical Indian events; Jodha-Akbar, Bajirao Mastani and now upcoming Mohenjo Daro. Producers somehow took unprecedented advantage of words “Inspired from true events” and presented the history in different light. Was Bajirao such an invalid to go gaga over Mastani with entire kingdom and his wife on hand? Is really Akbar in “true love” with Jodha as presented? Akbar had 13 wives in total. Even though in ideal case, he had “truly loved” each one than also Jodha would have to contend with 1/13th of True Love or should I say “divided love”.

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New upcoming trailer of Mohenjo Daro has surpassed things in terms of historical fiction. This part of Harappan civilization had been excavated in 1924-26 when due to its excavated situation named as Mohenjo Daro; translated in dialect Sindhi as “Mound of Dead”. Why the hell than actors in movie still call it the same when all of them are quite well and alive? This is blasphemy. One can easily search the Google for degree of discrepancies these so called historical movies spreading. And that brings us all to same question. Why so much bickering? Because how many of us really care to crosscheck the facts. Movies is accessible to all kind of people here in India and most of which are not keen on sharpening their historical know-how. My concern is what blasphemy they can spread further on with such tainted knowledge. Time will come when the curious child will have to fight hard just to contemplate what is true and what fiction is.

PS: I can understand that there is never easy way when you are taking reference of some historical events. There are always disputes. Much more views and counter-views. And that’s because if history is not documented well enough than there is no way to ascertain the factual events. Movies need not be historical documentaries for sure nor are directors and producers history teachers. Duty lies with audiences and viewers to gobble down such movies with pinch of salt and pepper; satiating the curiosity of mind (if there are) with proper dose of “knowledge-pill”.

PPS: I love both Transformers and X-men series.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akbar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohenjo-daro

Riding The “Waves” – Part 2

So continuing from last blog, I would like to elaborate more on Gravitational waves in this blog; what exactly are they? How useful this current discovery mean? How could they be pioneered to understand the universe? And why it took so long to physically detect them by LIGO?

So let’s start.

As explained previously that Gravitational waves are nothing but ripples in space-time fabric generated through some violent movements or explosions (Which considering the vast span of universe is norm, but to be able to evidence the same is not that common). Einstein has shown the same mathematically in 1916. Also it stated that these waves travel at light speed and carry significant information of the event which has given birth to the waves. These events could be anything like supernova death of star, colliding of black-holes, “brotherly hug” of neutron or white dwarf stars, wobbly rotation of binary stars and also gravitational radiation created by birth of universe itself.

In fact, in 1974, two astronomers working at Arecibo Radio Observatory had successfully observed the binary stars movements in accordance with Einstein’s theory and hence proof of the existence of Gravitational waves. More studies have also been made into successfully predicting similar effects, but all such proof were, in one sense, mathematical and more of an indirect evidences. Scientists around the world were keen on gaining “physical” proof.

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So what’s so important about detecting the waves? To understand the deep mysteries of the universe has always been captured the mankind’s attention since the evolution of Homo sapiens sapiens or may be even before that in whatever half-intelligent Genus we all belong to. More astrophysicists and astronomers explore and understand about universe on behalf of entire humankind, more unsolved mysteries are cropping up. As if span of the universe itself is not doubtful enough, scientists don’t have clear picture of the birth of universe also. Gravitational waves are not electro-magnetic radiation. They are in complete different league; whole new phenomena. They carry information which was not measurable before. They have tendency to travel without any interaction with matter and hence retaining the “purity” of the event. Hence it is becoming so much important to take it up the study of the waves to dive deeper into depths of unknown; in search of those brightly shining but hidden pearls of wisdom.

As per theory, any moving object is source of Gravitational waves; even on earth whether it’s ball pitched at high velocity by pitcher or bullet fired or spinning top or newspaper thrown in your verandah with ferocity of the daily boring job; practically everything. But as noted before, considering heavenly objects for which Einstein’s theory specialized for, numbers generated by this relativity equations via such miniscule objects are negligible. Waves are so weak that you can pretend that they are not present at all. And hence scientists all over the world had to rely on massive movements outside our world. Even those waves, while reaching to earth are faded out, needed very precise and efficient carefully built experimental instruments to measure them. One of them is LIGO which stands for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. You can find all the information related to LIGO and science behind the architecture at https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/ligo-gw-interferometer .

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So not going much detail into how exactly LIGO managed to detect gravitational waves after almost 100 years (It will require much detailed scientific setup of LIGO. Refer above given link & a picture), I would like to wrap up the blog with brief mentions of types of gravitational waves. Based on characteristic vibration signature waves are categorized as below:

  1. Continuous Gravitational Waves: It is generated by single spinning object, say Neutron star. They are mostly constant in their properties such as frequency and amplitude.
  2. Compact Binary Inspiral Gravitational Wave: As name suggests, these waves are created by binary stars. Actually it could be either binary Neutron stars or Binary black holes or mixed-doubles like Neutron star-Black hole. Whatever be the source, one fact is observed by scientists that due to losing energy with each spin, both spinning object come closer which again increases the gravity and spin; ultimately make them spiraling into each other with cataclysmic crash at climax.
  3. Stochastic Gravitational Waves: Frankly speaking these waves are nothing but same as your transistor radio tuned to no particular station but just emitting noise. But these noise here could be from the time when time started its existence i.e. Big Bang. They are small, random, ever-present and difficult to distinguish but most desirables.
  4. Burst Gravitational Waves: These waves are ghost. There is no model or signature to define them and hence no particular methodology. It’s like searching something but you cannot name what it is. They have utmost potential to reveal something which has always been “holy grail” of human conscience.

Further Reading reference:

https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/gravitational-waves

 

Riding the “Waves”

Being predicted in 1916 as part of General Theory of Relativity by none other than “The one of a kind” brain, Einstein; it took more than a century by world scientist to physically detect Gravitational waves and remove the last hurdle for proposed Theory of Relativity. For all those whose lives burdened by day-to-day job commuting, daily manager tussles, data crunching and deadlines, family and social overabundant wants, whole universe of love interest and crush problems, EMIs and ever alluring investment plans to aid EMIs, drunken Sensex bobbing up and down or same sex decriminalization (for India); you all need to continue without expecting any change. Though space-time fabric and hence gravitational waves are effective enough to all celestial body and governing the universe, they don’t have any control over humankind’s daily chores. So please don’t expect something major of such (actually major) discovery of Gravitational Waves.

As any astrophysicist agree on the view that there is nothing more endearing than to excavate mysteries buried deep down the Universe’s vast, expansive blackness. It is Pandora’s Box. You will never know what you find next which is utterly bewildering and next to impossible if you are not wearing scientific goggles (Though Science manage to explain all these through well-defined rules and mathematical equations which is more superior than magic).

To explain the intricacies of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and importance of detection of Gravitational Waves is no small feat. I would suggest well-known books on the same (find few reference links at end). In short, Einstein was not completely “moved” by force presented as Newton’s laws when the same applied on much more larger scale as Universe. He was not convinced specifically by source of gravity which was assumed to be based on objects’ mass in classical physics. Einstein was keen on providing new model for objects which were much bigger as heavenly bodies in Universe. He took the base of Newton’s Laws and proposed General Theory of Relativity in 1916 (He has already proposed Special Theory of Relativity in 1905 fixing the limit for speed of any object i.e. speed of light).

In very simpler terms, theory assumes space as space-time fabric; kind of a stretchable fabric. Let’s conduct a thought experiment where four of your friends tightly held the each four corners of this square fabric so that it gives you smooth surface same as pool table without any table support (you can imagine corners held by anyone you like. It’s thought experiment, so take liberty :).  Now you rolled one solid snooker ball (in this case strip won’t also make any difference, take your pick) across to center. You can observe the “dint” created by ball. You can also observe that if ball travels across, it will carry this “dint” along with it. Now if you put leather ball of cricket or say baseball, you (along with your helpers if they are interested in science) notes that it will have bigger distortion. In the same manner, all universal bodies i.e. stars, planets, pulsars, asteroids, black-holes make impact on the space-time fabric. Only difference is that space-time fabric is 3-D covering entire object rather than 2-D as in our pool table analogy.

Image converted using ifftoany
Space-time fabric and “dints” created by space bodies

Also observe that as we done in our thought experiment, this wrap of space-time fabric travel along with heavenly body as in motion of earth around Sun. Bigger the object, more contorted the fabric is. And just because Sun is so large as compared to earth and other planets in our solar system that their “impacts” are relatively small compared to larger “impact” of Sun. This “impact” is nothing but gravity. And when such bodies collide or move or blast themselves off, than they transmit waves in the space-time fabric same as ripples at other end of swimming pool once that someone large has crashed down on your end. And this waves are nothing but gravitational waves which in turn travel at speed of light (So if Sun destroy itself by something mysterious, it’s gravitational waves will hit Earth after 8.5 minutes, at the same time when earth experience complete blackout).

Latest Gravitational waves detection has inspired this blog series which I will continue with few more articles on Gravitational waves and LIGO. And if it found footing than may want to took up with more of Einstein’s theory and Quantum Physics which in my view are the most magical understanding of the real world in terms of science.

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Last Thought: Newton’s laws of gravitation are not applicable at Universe level, but hold with accuracy as daily affair. Einstein’s theory is good for understanding universe but are cumbersome at taking into account at small level such as velocity of car, train etc. In general, Newton’s laws are nothing but adaptable view of Einstein’s theory. When you come down from Universe to earth, object’s mass could be considered for gravitational laws and hold correctly as per Newton’s laws.

Further References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_relativity

http://www.desy.de/user/projects/Physics/Administrivia/rel_booklist.html (Really impressive link to find the suitable GTR book)

(Final Note: I am big fan of science but I’m not scientist. When Einstein could be humble enough to accept his “Biggest Folly”, I am just the small fleck in comparison. So any errors/deviations are liable to me and not Science.)

 

 

India in Space

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A picture speaks thousand words. So here it is. Most significant historical pic in terms of Indian space program which absolutely completely exudes the true Indian face of simplicity as well as temerity. It shows the transportation of sounding rocket in early days of Indian space ventures by ISRO. Truly magical moment of space flight on bicycle like that ever-remembered shot of movie E.T.

We had small exhibition last week organized by our IT organization where I work, in the name of ongoing scientific initiative. It was held by none other than the only one in India and one of the well-known commodity on International scale, ISRO: Indian Space Research Organization. And I took chance to make myself more familiar and researched with Indian space program which was achieving feat after another feat with utmost unbelievable success in recent history (And which was, as expected lauded less as compared to whatever recent Indian Cricket tour by media or covering other sensational news).

So I grab the opportunity along with recent successive launch of IRNSS-1E satellite launch to present here in this blog few tidbits about ISRO, history of Indian space-faring, future plans, little bit on science behind satellites and lovely chat with presenters in multiple parts.

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ISRO found its roots around 1969 when NASA was in process of launching Nil Armstrong to moon; with sole purpose of getting India to its feet and propelling to space. For country which was known for incessant neighboring conflicts, political turmoils, economic issues, agricultural dependency and as developing nation, it was bold move and vision by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai at the time. But no one could have imagined the height ISRO was going to achieve in span of 4 decades through competitive and inimitable intellect and hunger for success. It launched its first satellite “Aryabhata”; named after ancient Indian mathematician, with help of Russia then known as Soviet Union, in 1975.

By 1980, ISRO succeeded in launching orbital satellite “Rohini” with self-made launch vehicle SLV-3. And then after it was dream run for ISRO. Successful tests of new version of launch vehicles along with unavoidable failures considering such endeavor, had given ISRO the courage for Lunar Orbiter, Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. On 24 September, 2014, as Mars orbiter entered the Mars orbit, India had become first ever nation to achieve success in Mars mission on its first trial (No, not even NASA has done that). India was fourth such agency to do that and first in Asia (No, not even China has achieved this). Success rate of launching along with low budget has garnered so much news that at the time of writing, ISRO has 23 satellites launching mission in queue from other countries which also includes USA and France.

Future Plans: Next step for ISRO which lies in immediate future are GSLV Mk III launch vehicle for heavy satellites, Reusable launch vehicle in the likes of space shuttle, human spaceflight on its own and second lunar exploration mission. Interplanetary probes and solar spacecraft mission also in plan for long future.

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NASA has already established itself as pioneer of space missions. And if India has to reach such height in terms of space-faring than they need to adopt the same vision as USA and at some point other European countries. And that being provide ample rewards and appreciation of their talent pool. Give importance to scientific view and community. As everyone knows the story of rocket scientist Von Braun who was the inventor of V2 missiles in WW2 against allied nations and afterwards the prime brain in design of Saturn 5 rocket which launched with Apollo 11.

I was keen on discussing science of the various satellites and types but may be in next article. So ending the post with few stats regarding ISRO as on 26-Jan-2016.

Spacecraft missions till date: 75

Launch missions till date: 46

Foreign satellites: 51

For more: http://www.isro.org/

 

 

While silky smooth, molten-gold liquid silently seeping through to circulatory system, enriching the palate and nose; I must confess that year 2015 “ended” on high note. With all the New Year resolutions in-check as usual, though not completely in influence of the single malt I was consuming; I decided to be adamant enough to stick to them at least for a while in year 2016. Of all the other resolutions, I am pretty much confident enough to complete the one: Reading Challenge 2016. Last year I set goal for single book per month which I successfully completed without much fuss and hence I am doubling the target in year of 2016 so that I must have 24 books completed by the end of year 2016.

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Thanks to the lovely reading-habit supporting site Goodreads, I am able to summarize very easily my reading journey in terms of numbers and statistics for year of 2015 which I am presenting as a blog. So here is the glimpse of year 2015 in Reading.

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Though as shown, longest book I read was J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, I must say that I started reading it way back in 2005. After completing first two books (i.e. Part 1 of LotR), my mind deviated to other reading ventures. At the eve of release of first part of Hobbit Trilogy by Peter Jackson, I was intrigued again to return to middle earth and complete the entire LotR saga. So I started reading again from beginning in year 2014. So it happened that all the books of LotR had been completed in 2015, that year got the privilege to get the honor of having beautiful LotR. (And that’s why the massive page count)

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I can sense that I have very unpredictable and erratic reading pattern. 2015 was mix bag, containing all the varieties of fiction and genres; sci-fi, classic literature, historical fiction, crime, adventure, epic fantasy, modern graphic novels, superhero, noire….. To name the few. Though I missed out on non-fiction and my favorite Charles Dickens, I turn towards dependable (And Dickens’s friend) Wilkie Collins to satiate my literary appetite. Then there was also “Lord of the Flies” with other “Lord”.

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Book_list4“The Girl with All the Gifts” was most surprising and engaging read of the year competing hard and won marginally over “Hyperion”. I know that genres are totally different where former is novelty take on zombie apocalypse and the latter is hard-core sci-fi. But still “The Girl with All the Gifts” is that kind of read where once you started, you are compelled to finish it in a single swift go.

“The Terror” was my most anticipating read of the year. And it didn’t disappointed. Slow build, amazing characterization and great adventure mixed with unknown. It made me put Dan Simmons in the list of “Must Read Authors”.

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In terms of graphic novels, if you have anything with Alan Moore as writer then it is not fair competition to others. I started Swamp Thing saga and would like to continue in year 2016, but best part was “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. Wow…. How could I allowed myself to be away from such brilliant novel in Graphic medium?

In crime fiction, I am much obliged to give Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) a go.

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So that’s how 2015 ended, and now I’ll allow my mind to wander wildly, unpredictably and erratically in new Year to come up with something fresh and some classics to discuss about. Feedback/suggestions for New Year read are most welcome. Wish all my reader good Reading.

Reference Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2015/23689104

 

 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Though numbers are not as much impressive as with lot other popular blogs, it’s kind of “wrap-up” feeling to year 2015 and hence I am publishing. Hope to be active more in upcoming year and wish my mind to churn out more for blogging community. Thanks to all my followers and visitors and to entire blogging community. Happy New Year.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 520 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.