Archive for the 'nature' Category

Address of a location in a boundary less world

March 15, 2015

If we are interested in a border less world, what kind of address we shall give to a friend who wants to visit? Or deliver a letter to someone?

Currently the postal departments all over the world use a very hierarchical way of locating a place.  First we name a country, then a state, district, town, street, building and if you live in an apartment, the flat number, and then of course person’s name. All this sounds very logical and politically correct.  But in a world where there are several possessed boundaries.  When such political boundaries do not exist, how would you locate yourself?

In the current modern techno-savvy world, we can simply use latitude and longitude of the place. Perfect! But the lat-long numbers are  difficult to remember.

If we link lat-long to a landmark, and if the landmark has a unique number, and if the landmark is not a political boundary, such as e.g. a tree that lives longer than most buildings and roads we build, we have a better system of locating ourselves.

For example, I can say that I work close to tree 355, live close to tree 400.  We can also give directions, e.g. turn right at tree 320, stop opposite tree 455.  Since there are many many trees the numbers will go on increasing, which may become difficult to remember.

We recently started a citizen science project to map the trees, map all the trees, in India. It is in this context that I realized that the platform that we have built assigning serial numbers to the trees and to the planting sites.  Then it occurred to me we can use these numbers as another way of giving address to ourselves and the sites we inhabit.

tree 51

tree 51 at metaStudio

I meet visitors at my office and eat my lunch, drink tea/coffee at tree 51 of http://trees.metastudio.org/.

If you want to create such landmarks and try to grab a smaller easy to remember number for your address, join at http://trees.metaStudio.org/ and map your tree anywhere in India.  If you live in any other part of the world, please send us a request by naming the locality where you want to create a landmark tree, we will create a tree mapping site for you.

cycling in Mumbai

June 23, 2011

I used to commute daily to my office near Anushakti Nagar from my home, TIFR colony at Navy Nagar, Colaba, by local train using the harbour line (from CST to Mankhurd and return). This happened for the last 15 years. One day, on May 2nd 2011, I went to a cycle shop and purchased a hybrid citi cycle (Trek 7100). From that day till today, except when I wasn’t in the city, commuting daily to my office. The track is about 26km or 23km depending on which route I take. I am covering this distance within 1:15min with an average speed of 19km/hour without much effort.

Cycling track TIFR colaba to Homi Bhabha Centre Mankhurd

Cycling track TIFR colaba to Homi Bhabha Centre Mankhurd

The picture is one of the routes I use for my commute.

What I realised from this experience is that Mumbai is a flat city. The change in altitude in my entire stretch of 26km is only 60meters. This makes the city an eminent place to commute by cycles. I did it in the hottest month of May, and also during the rains. Cycling in the rains is certainly less tiring than the humid and hot weather of Mumbai. Having tested my endurance in both the hottest and wettest weathers, I am hoping to continue to the rest of my life cycling.

I will write once in a while my experiences.  Happy cycling!

Scientific Support for Nuclear Energy

April 10, 2011

George Monbiot’s article, published in The Gaurdian and republished in The Hindustan Times provoked me to seek the truth, and look for scientific evidences for building factories for producing nuclear energy, called nuclear power plants.   I posted the following as a comment at the latter’s  site.  For the record and possibly for a ensuring more eye balls, I am reproducing the comments here.  The context may become clear if you could read the article linked above from either of the source.

Even if the anti-nuclear lobby took advantage of the Chernobyl incident and exaggerated the deaths to be 900,000, or even if Chernobyl did not occur, I still hold that factories for generating nuclear power should not to be touched by human beings on this earth. The reasons are scientific.  So, I seek scientific evidence to the
following:

  1. Artificially accumulating  radioactive substances is inviting trouble.  Even if a group of people are capable of taking care of it in a nicely sealed containers, when it leaks due to an accident it does not specifically take only those who accumulated and took control of it.  It takes the lives of innocent people.  Even if radioactive leak selectively kills the responsible nuclear engineers and policy makers, it is not justified.   Scientists cannot leave such a thing loose and say they are not responsible.  Scientists have no scientific answer to repair this damage.   A deadly poison  (like cyanide)  will have only local effects, it kills only those who take it.  Even fire kills only those who got burnt.  Nuclear material is not of this kind. Nuclear material causes non-local damage.Do we scientifically know how to repair this damage?  I want a journal publication to show that this kind of damage is repairable.  Could the pro-nuclear power lobby provide a scientific claim published in a journal that exposed accumulated radioactive material does not cause damage to lives.  At least 300 people did die at Chernobyl.  Did they die because they got crushed under the rubble of concrete?  Was the death of 300 innocent people cheap?  Are they martyrs for the crazy nationalistic patriotic nuclear scientists pursuit or the private factory that makes justifiable amount of money? I do not see any logic in the author’s argument.  Just because some anti-nuclear activist’s figures are wrong, it does not follow that nuclear energy production problem is scientifically solved.
  2. All other kinds of furnaces and boilers that we use in factories and thermal power plants work at a possible temperatures allowed at this cooled environment of earth where nuclei are mostly stable. Radioactive nuclei are present on Earth, but at a density that allowed life to happen and flourish.  Nuclear energy produces temperatures that are not suitable for this earth.  None of us scientifically know how to live or repair the perturbations caused by that scale of energy.  Even if we can produce with a lot of sophistication nuclear energy, as several nuclear power plants are doing now, there is no scientific evidence that another chernobyl or tsunami does not occur ever in the future.  Is there any scientific reason published in any journal so far that gives pro-nuclear energy gang the confidence that the probability of nuclear accidents of this kind is so low that we can go ahead with the factories producing  nuclear power.

I am still perplexed how scientists can scientifically justify and play with a factory of nuclear energy.

While I will not defend a factory of nuclear energy, I will defend a few nuclear plants for scientific research., since this is not let loose to companies and factory management.

Seeking scientific evidence for the two cases above.

Painful to see the man made devastations

October 9, 2009

The recent heavy rains in the Indian subcontinent caused heavy damage to human habitat as well as to crops. On the one hand it may appear like a natural calamity, but the truth which is now well known to most experts is due to the shallow rivers. Reckless damage to the forests leading to soil erosion which caused this is so well known and is repeated by one and all. But are we taking any corrective action? I am wondering what we can do to prevent the recurrence. Helplessness and pain is what we seem to be left with. It is a case of a known diagnosis but incurable disease.

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