The quality in the not so famous brands

Portable Fireplace. Source: Business Insider.
Portable Fireplace. Image Source: Business Insider.

Most of us, are fond of famous brand names for everyday use varying from clothing to the coffee we drink. Due to the mass production of the products and broad spectrum of services, the product or service might not keep up with the expected level of quality.

 

I recently came across a lot of smaller brands and startups which produced high quality products and provided high quality of service, most of the at cheaper costs than popular brands. The method and technology used by these small brands and startups left me intrigued. Some of the methods of production of commodity and service provided, increases in cost and/or loose quality when the production size is increased. The price range of the commodity of service can vary from being extremely expensive to really cheap in comparison with their popular counterparts.

These brands also have tier own unique identity, with most being designed and hand-crafted differently. It might the masterpiece of indie artists which come out from small studios to a specially designed cafe that serves medicinal tea along with an environment to use free wifi, read and work.

A great TED talk about leaders and what makes them great.

For most millennials who I know, says that the TED talks, with speakers from around the world and from varied background, helps them restore faith in humanity. This TED talk quite struck me and it depicts the psychology of real leaders and people who follow them. What makes you feel safe under a leadership, instills trust, gives you the choice to do what you want to do, increase morale and make an organization or a group productive. It can be applied anywhere in the society from small scale companies to large scale organization and even in the academia. Simon Sinek give this brilliant TED talk and concludes by saying “isn’t that the organization what we would all like to work in”.

This is the reason that so many people have such a visceral hatred, anger, discontent at some of these banking CEOs, with their disproportionate salary and bonus structures, not the numbers. They have violated the very definition of leadership, they have violated this deep-seated social contract. – Simon Sinek

There are senior people in organizations who are no leaders and we do what they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them. I know many people at the bottom of the organizations who are absolutely leaders, because they have chosen to look at the person on the left of them and they have chosen to look at the person on the right of them, This is what a leader is – Simon Sinek

Explaining concepts in aerodynamics

“Turbulence was probably invented by the Devil on the seventh day of Creation when the Good Lord wasn’t looking.” Peter Bradshaw (1994)

There is this difficulty in explaining concepts in aerodynamics like many other scientific areas because of the inherent debate in the concepts and theories. This can vary from law such as Biot-Savart Law which works perfectly in electromagnetism, but has its drawbacks when applied to aerodynamics where the law uses Kelvin’s circulation theorem to estimate velocity from vorticity. They can also lead to confusion when circulation is defined in terms of velocity of over a closed surface, where the flow in clockwise direction is taken as negative and the same circulation can be defined as the internal of the strength of vortices of er a surface of an aerofoil, and where the rotation of the vortex in the clockwise is taken as positive. This can also occur at a much fundamental level, when we expect high Reynolds number flow to give lower skin friction drag, but the alternative occurs. It was rightly said that “Turbulence was probably invented by the Devil on the seventh day of Creation when the Good Lord wasn’t looking.”

The failure of laws and principles in fluid mechanics/ aerodynamics is not just limited to aerodynamics in large bodies like aircraft and cars, but also in a smaller scale as in the case of fluidic devices ( devices which use fluids to perform analog or digital operations similar to those performed with electronics), where the flow becomes complex and unpredictable, and is influenced by minute disturbances, acoustic properties and vibrations. This has led to new discoveries recently where the classical laws of fluid mechanics fails and has left a number of unanswered questions, some of which cannot be answered due to technological limitations even in the 21st century.

Dr. Doug McLean, a technical fellow at Boeing, has described most of the flaws in his book:
Understanding Aerodynamics: Arguing from the Real Physics. The following is a video regarding the explanations by Dr. McLean on the misconceptions in aerodynamics at Michigan, which explains how the simple explanation of lift can actually become complex:

The bottom-line is, there isn’t any definitive explanation, to most phenomenon that occurs in the area of aerodynamics and we have to work with what is acceptable for the given situation and get a community to accept the arguments we make.

Anaconda – Enterprise Class Python Virtual Env for Scientific Computing

Python has been hugely popular in the scientific community for data analytics, large scale data processing and scientific computing, along with the huge array of packages. The problem with some python packages, are the fact that they can be sometimes buggy and sometimes unreliable.

The Anaconda virtual environment from Continuum Analytics (based in Austin, Texas), makes the use of python and its packages(330 of them) enterprise class for business and scientific use, without the bugs and with constant updates.In addition, pip install also allows the ability to add more packages to the python repositories, further extending its capability.

The ability to use multiple virtual environment, make its easy to use for a specific application, and at the same time, doesn’t mess up the python and packages in the system(such as in the case of linux distros like Manjaro, where changes to the python can cause changes to the desktop environment).

Major corporation such as Boeing, NASA, Raytheon, JP Morgan and Linked IN use Anaconda.

Source: http://continuum.io/
Source: http://continuum.io/

 

The Magical “Tulsi” – Ocimum tenuiflorum,Ocimum sanctum, holy basil

Last week, I came across a vendor selling tea with Tulsi(aka Ocimum tenuiflorum,Ocimum sanctum, holy basil) in It.  The word Tulsi originates   from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, and translates to “the incomparable one” . Tulsi or the incomparable one is often regarded as a consort of Lord Krishna in the form of Lakshmi in the Hindu Mythology. It is also referred to as the “Queen of Herbs” or the “Mother medicine of nature”.

Source: http://www.dreamstime.com/
Source: http://www.dreamstime.com/

All through out my childhood in Kerala, India, we had Tulsi in every other house. The plant offers a number of medicinal importance. These include solutions to heart disorder, fever, headache, stress, sore throat, skin disorder, teeth disorder, eye disorder, kidney stones, coughs, mouth infections, insect bites, respiratory disorder, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and children’s ailments(including diarrhea and vomiting).

As a result of its magical properties it is used in the traditional India medicine system of Ayurveda. A per the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text(900 to 600 BCE), Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, helpful for adapting to stress and is is considered as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity.

 

Procedural generation based “No Man’s Sky”, glimpse into the future of gaming and advanced computing

Source: Hello Games
Source: Hello Games

Procedural generation involves generation of content using algorithms and mathematical equations, rather than creating content manually. The video game developer, Hello Games, came up with the idea of creating a games with Procedural generation. The game called No Man’s sky which uses this technology to generate content as the user plays the game, is set to release on Playstation system in the Q4 of this year.
The game, not only provides an amazing gameplay, but also gives us a glimpse of of the future. The game, generates content including creatures, environments and planets based on a series of mathematical equations.  The content generated based on the procedure, creates objects such as new species of creatures, which even the creator of the algorithm will find amusing, and which is generated in realtime, rendered using the graphics card in PS4, systems.

Elementary OS: Freya, beyond the eye candy

A few years back, I used this ubuntu derivative called Elemetary OS Luna,  which was a sneakpeak into the world of an elegant, stable, fast and easy to use linux distro. And a few days back, the same team came out with its latest release called Freya.

Beyond the eye candy and its minimalistic approach, Freya offer the the advantages of the Ubuntu and Debain base, it comes with the Pantheon environment which was developed by the engineers at Elemetary, and the set of stable applications developed to match the minimalistic feel with the  fine tuning of the entire system offering a premium experience for linux users. It also offers  fast boot speeds compared to distros of its class.

Most ditros offers the bleeding edge technology with the exception of the ultra stable debian, arch etc. Elementary on the other hand is based on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS edition, which enables a stable platform for most users and developers.

Replacing my laptop hard disk with 3D NAND evo SSD and purchasing it using Cryptocurrency

Image Source: Coindesk.com

My laptop hard disk started showing errors a few days back, stopped working yesterday and had massive data corruption, that I lost a lot of data(though I had critical data backed up).

Eventually I was looking for a replacement, and figured of purchasing a SSD, which is faster. The Samsung evo had the new 3D NAND technology enabled in the 850 series. This technology has the unique property of rapid access compared to its flat (horizontal) access counterpart and has a longer endurance. Rakuten.com(US subsidiary of Japanese company) was offering the same for a discount if a Bitcoin was used. So, I went ahead an bought it using Bitcoins(converting USD to BTC).

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which is virtual and can be used for buying things without the regulation of a central bank or authority. It is the torrent version of peep to peer money, 3 months ago a popular Bitcoin wallet company coinbase has started a coin exchange with a 75 million USD backed by giants such as the Citi group(NYSE: C).

The entire concept of the currency, including mining is quite interesting. It all started with a paper published by Wei Dai that provided insights into of “b-money”, an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system. Soon after that paper was published, Nicholas Szabo, a legal scholar and cryptographer, created bit-gold a precursor to Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrency use. And everything else is history. The concept of cyrptocurrecy  mining is performed with expensive hardware such as GPU or ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit made for Bitcoin mining). The value of 1BTC = 252.57 USD when this article was posted.

[Image source for featured title image:  Coindesk.com, Video sources correspond to respective youtube authors]

The notebook of the Wright brothers who changed history for ever

In my recent visit to the Franklin Institute in Philly, I had the opportunity to take a look at the notebook used by the Wright Brothers and the first drag measurement counter balance, which was used by the brothers to estimate drag of various airfoil sections, using wind tunnel testing. The no. 12 section used by the brothers was found to have low drag and high lift, in comparison to the other sections which were tested. The No. 12 section later on was used in the first manned flight of 1903.

 

The airfoil section No. 12 used in the flight of 1903 and the drag measurement device used by the wright brothers
The airfoil section No. 12 used in the flight of 1903 and the drag measurement device used by the wright brothers
Wright bros notebook and a chart showing Lift coefficent and L/D ratios of the No. 12 section
Wright bros notebook and a chart showing Lift coefficent and L/D ratios of the No. 12 section
The Wright bros flight drawings
The Wright bros flight drawings

 

[Featured title image source: http://www.uscg.mil/history/faqs/Wright_Brothers.asp]