Monday, January 31, 2011

My concerns on Facebook

...and other social networking media.

Is this really required? If so,
1. How secure is my personal information?
2. How much should I reveal and how much should I keep to myself and my close friends?
3. Facebook's privacy settings are shoddy. (read this).
3.1. Facebook is a business.
4. Are there better alternatives?

I am still researching. Any update will be reflected in this post as edits.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Progress on Thesis : Update 2

Dear readers / myself,
  1. I have identified the following four sections for results and discussion chapter
    1. Validation - done with this.
    2. Properties of damage, e.g. SRF $\Omega_{1}$ and $\Omega_{2}$ dependency on either directions, natural frequency, buckling, etc.
    3. Instability due to in-plane load.
    4. Instability due to follower load. - currently ongoing. So far I have identified three subsections
      1. Degree of damage
      2. Location of damage
      3. Area of damage - done with this. This was too small.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Progress on Thesis : Update 1

Dear readers / myself,
  1. All textual chapters are done except for the following
    1. An additional page or two on the literature review of cutout problems may be necessary.
    2. An additional page or two on the literature review of damping problems may be necessary.
    3. The "Conclusion" chapter can't be written unless I have finished compiling the "Results" chapter.
  2. The validation portion of "Results" chapter is over.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What is art?

Brandon Boyd quoting Tom Robbins on the digital booklet of The Wild Trapeze

Thursday, January 13, 2011

GMail escape hatches for Temporary Error (500)

Dear Readers,

Please note that these are only some escape hatches that might enable you to re-access gmail. Their tech support is virtually non-existent and their forums are never visited by any gmail/google employees.

The remedy is to disable certain apps/codes/plugs in gmail so that nothing funny is loaded while you are accessing gmail. The only way you can access gmail settings is if you log into gmail!!!!! But the fact of the matter is that you can't log into gmail in the first place!!!!!!!! Please try these instead

a) Log into gmail in basic html mode

b) Disable google labs (this appears to be a major cause of such breakdowns)

c) Log in with their alternate UI

d) You may use their non-SSL versions of either (this may auto-redirect to an SSL url if you settings say so)

Once you have access, you can disable any labs (Settings > Labs) feature you had turned on, or as some people have suggested to set browser connection (Settings > General) to 'Don't always use https'.

There is no guarantee that they will work, but still might be useful.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BBC One's The Magician - S01E01 : Play Along Tricks

The math behind Lenny's cheap tie.

Dear readers,

Choose a 3 digit number whose all digits are different. Flip it around to get another 3 digit number. Subtract the smaller from the larger.

Let us assume that our number looks like $xyz$, which means it is actually $100x + 10y + z$. The flipped number would be $100z + 10y + z$. Assume that $x > z$, i.e. the first number is larger - you may choose otherwise. Their subtraction will give
$[100x + 10y + z] - [100z + 10y + x] = 100(x - z - 1) + 90 + (10 + z - x)$
Please note that the final form is like that because $x > z$ and a borrow/carry-over is performed. If we flip this number, we get $100(10 + z - x) + 90 + (x - z - 1)$. The sum of $100(x - z - 1) + 90 + (10 + z - x)$ and $100(10 + z - x) + 90 + (x - z - 1)$ is 1089.

The price of Lenny's tie was revealed to be GBP 10.89, a finite number no matter what your choice was. They did mention that the digits must be different. For this, it is strictly required that the hundreds and units must be different, i.e. $x \neq z$. A condition on the tens digit is not needed.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

More on $\LaTeX$ and IIT Kharagpur

Dear readers,

The Research Scholars' Day is an useless mandate that requires every department to host paper presentation in the presence of an invited dignitary. While this showcases some of the work that the department research scholars have undertaken, this also serves as reminder that no breakthrough work* is actually being done by majority in IIT Kharagpur. Compounded by a mandate to publish a proceedings booklet and preparing posters, this is a major waste of time. Oh, did I mention that it is not a particular day that has been fixed on the calender. The department chooses according to its convenience.

Last year I was in charge of the design works. This year I have picked up the proceedings. This enthusiasm was fueled in part due to a recent gift (The Elements of Typographic Style v3.2 by Robert Bringhurst) I had received from my friends. I was aware of the fact that not many people work in $\LaTeX$. (Well they should. Technical documentation on MS Word is a nightmare). As a consequence I had to give everyone an MS Word template, too. I'll have to typeset everything in $\LaTeX$ again once I receive the initial drafts.

The proceedings will also have a few unlikely pages that must be designed beforehand. I'll be mailing a template before I go to bed.


*There can be an in depth post on this. For the current purpose, this is out of scope.

In case you are in India, here is the Flipkart link for the book -

Friday, January 7, 2011

A $\LaTeX$ user's lament

Dear readers,

IIT Kharagpur doesn't give a $\LaTeX$ template that a Ph.D. candidate can use to write his/her thesis. After toiling for some two-three odd hours, I wrote a workable class file for this purpose and a trickier jacket template. Writing a code to generate the jacket spine was the trickiest part. After many trial and error cycles I finally achieved some success.

Also, I would mention that there were two cases where a $\LaTeX$ template was not provided by the publisher. Please bear in mind that these are reputed publishers. To my astonishment I found that both the submission systems accepted $\LaTeX$ sources. Writing a .bst file to suit the publishers' bibliography style is not an easy task.

I have a request to all the publishers. Please ditch the closed source, Microsoft Word standard. Word documents are a typesetter's nightmare.


Edit: The code is now hosted at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Causes of Acid Reflux (GERD) and it's remedy

Dear readers,

This is more for my study and a reminder methodology. This will also act as a guide to what I should avoid in my meals.

Causes (not limited to)
  1. Hiatal hernia - A hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm
  2. Being overweight or obese
  3. Eating a heavy meal and lying on your back or bending over at the waist
  4. Snacking close to bedtime or lying down right after a meal
  5. Taking aspirin or ibuprofen, some muscle relaxers, or certain blood pressure medications
  6. Exercise may cause acid reflux by increasing the pressure in the abdominal cavity
  7. Liver malfunction (?)
Stuff to avoid
  1. Alcohol - don't consume anyway
  2. Carbonated beverages - don't consume anyway
  3. Chocolate - take note
  4. Citrus fruits, such as oranges or lemons - don't consume anyway
  5. Coffee or tea (regular or decaffeinated)
  6. Fatty or fried foods - reduction of intake mandatory - MANDATORY
  7. Foods containing tomato, such as spaghetti sauce, salsa, or pizza
  8. Garlic and onions
  9. Mint
  10. Spicy foods, such as those containing chili or curry
Target - one week

Follow the above guideline. Chelidonium M. and Nux V. twice daily. Mild exercise (not too heavy to trigger point 6). If things are not in control, will have to visit a doctor.


Small update

... and a happy one

Dear readers,

My paper got accepted at Proc. IMechE, Part C: J. Mech. Engg. Sci. for publication. It took 8 months, two sets of reviews and a rejected manuscript.


Monday, January 3, 2011

The art of balancing or how the cards topple

Dear readers,

Here comes an uncertainty of a magnitude that is getting the better of my judgment and clarity of thought.

I am a musician who is also an engineer and will soon get a PhD. Over the last few years my academia/degrees were my first preference, thus giving second slot timing to my band and musical ventures. The last one and half years have been really difficult since asynchronous schedules and commitments of each of the band members have pushed us out of live circuit. Even worse, we are not even at square one.

This difficulty would be easy to sort out had I moved out and stayed in the same city with my other bandmates. However, a more complex academic regulation imposed by my institute guarantees that I will not be able to leave this place before May.

It would have been easier to sort out if the band had time. Sadly, this is not the case.

I have one last viable option - letting go of the band that I had built. This will ease things out and relieve the constraint that the other guys are facing. If things fall into their place, there may be a future to deal with. If I constrain them more, there might not be a future indeed. Right now, the future seems bleak.

I will not take any hasty decision right now. Let me think.