Friends of mine always complaint that I don’t stay in touch with them. I agree wholeheartedly with them. Just 1 short mesg to them – “Things won’t change”
I always found it uncomfortable speaking with an old friend (like some1 from my school) over the phone for the 1st time after a decade. But pinging him on a social networking site like Facebook isn’t that difficult. His/her current status updates or basic background details are good starting points to get a conversation going. Commenting on your friend’s status updates are another way of ensuring you remain in touch…the flow of communication & sharing of thoughts possible with just a single line !
But I haven’t written this entry to heap praises on the power of the Internet (Oh 1 more : Sharing this blog is also possible thx to the net…All hail thee !).
I have always preferred meeting people face to face rather than talking to them on the phone or chatting with them over the net.
My choices were further encouraged over the last month or so when I had to invite people for my brother’s wedding. I had a whole lot of relatives & friends who resided in the same city as me. People who I didn’t know existed (“Out of sight out of mind” + absence of any documented family trees :-/ ).
I could have invited them over the phone or via an invitation card (snail mail or email). But somehow I wanted to meet them. I wanted to meet them all in their surroundings where I could give time to each & every1 of them & get to know them better.
Thats where the beauty of meeting a person came out. Eye to eye contact ..maybe a firm handshake & a smile to accompany it. Talk about the past, the present ..the future..the surroundings…your likes…dislikes. All whilst ensuring the conversation remains interesting by observing the body language of the person. All this isn’t possible on the phone….nor is it possible over a video conference. Truly Nothing can replace this.
Thats why I like visiting new places or places which I haven’t visited for a while. No person remains the same over time. Time changes everyone.
When you revisit places & people, you will always gain new knowledge, new insights & enrich your experience further.
Going back to the start : Friends & relatives alike – I’d rather meet you than talk to you. So if I am in the neighbourhood, I will be meeting you. Or drop me a line if you are nearby. Lets meet !
Sigh…its that dreaded time of the year again. As hard as I try, I cannot avoid it. Its the time when one returns from a break….a delightful break which unfortunately one cannot forget
Let me explain. Having been born & raised in the city, I am addicted to the fast pace of city life. Making the utmost use of time – thats something which I have been conditioned to believe in. I also earn my living doing something I love – Yep…ideal circumstances for me to develop workaholic tendencies.
But somewhere down the line , one realizes that a break is needed. Else one can end up as the other rabbits from the Duracell ads…stop functioning normally & the results of your choices show up in your health report if not in your performance. Causality aka Karma …who can escape from it?
I have taken breaks before where I traveled to other cities. Returning back to work from such a break doesn’t bother me much since the only things different from the usual surroundings are the absence of work & the change in location. But when I go to my native place – ie a visit to the rural parts – thats when the change truly makes an impact.
Picture some of the situations I ended up in :
- Lazily talking away delightfully with long lost friends & relatives with meal times being the only distractions in between.
- Walking through the forest with the sound of dry leaves under your feet. A gentle clean breeze waltzes past you as you marvel at the greenery that surrounds you from all directions.
- Sitting at the top of the house with the rising sun spraying the surrounding trees with his bright light. Chirping birds welcoming the start of a new day. Huge trees swaying their leaves, dancing away in the rhythm of the winds.
- Sitting under the night sky. Stars visible in all directions. A gentle reminder of how small we are in the scheme of things.
I could think of a single sentence – “I could grow old here”.
Yes…that was the effect my vacation had on me. Still reeling from the after effects on returning back to the city. The fact that I live closer to the place now (about 7 hrs) than I did before (I moved to this city recently) somehow tempts me to drop everything & rush back….Sigh..Time is supposed to be the great healer…but the wait is more agonizing…
At such times my mind takes pity on me & reminds of the lines from the Robert Frost poem -
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
& I carry on…till the next time.
Its been almost 2 months since I last wrote here. I just moved my base to another city & thats somehow demolished my usual routine. It will take 1 more month or so to get back on track….but I am glad that I finished this post…it has remained in draft stage for ages .
With the news of the nuclear calamity in Japan, the calls for changes in policies for Energy generation has been quite vociferous. People are promoting certain forms but hardly anyone is coming out with the whole correct picture. Their focus has always been on the -ve points of other forms(some of which aren’t even valid) but never on their own.
I thought of getting all the facts in a single place so that one can form an unbiased opinion.
The current Energy consumption of the World is given below :
With the depletion of the existing sources of energy, its become important to switch to other forms of energy with virtually unlimited resources.
Note : All the below forms emit negligible or no green house gases into the atmosphere thus their advantage over fossil fuels need not be mentioned.
- Nuclear Energy
- A single nuclear reactor can produce a large amount of power. None of the below energy forms even come close to it.
- The operating costs of a nuclear reactor are relatively low.
- Nuclear plants need only a small amount of uranium to produce a lot of energy. Current amounts of Uranium can last for abt 200 years but with implementation of certain new methods (like extraction from seawater) can lead to a Uranium supply for thousands of years.
- Waste products are negligible & can be safely buried in the Earth where they decay until they lose their radiation.
- Leakage of the radiation can lead to disasters of cataclysmic proportions (Eg: Incidents in Chernobyl at Ukraine & Fukushima at Japan).
- Initially setup cost is large because of emergency, containment, radioactive waste and storage systems.
- The technology used for generating nuclear power can also be used for producing nuclear weapons.
- Waste products require a long time (1000yrs?) to decay & lose their radiation.
- Uranium requires mining which like the coal industry leads to loss of health & lives of a number of miners.
- Solar Energy
- No pollution (ignoring the pollution caused during production of the required equipments.)
- Sunlight provides an unlimited supply of energy.
- Small units can be installed independently to provide energy for homes.
- Extremely high cost of setup though price is coming down compared to initial times due to government subsidies, improvement in technology.
- For production of a significant amount of energy, large amounts of land are needed for installing large solar panels.It requires 33 square miles of mirrors for this system to produce as much electricity as 1 nuclear power plant.
- Duration of production. Solar energy is only able to generate electricity during daylight hours. Its even dependent on the weather.
- Hydro Electric Energy
- Inexpensive maintenance.
- The dams are useful for storing water which is useful for proving nearby areas with water in case of a drought.
- Hydro electric plants last long and since the power generation process is mostly automated, less labor is needed to operate and supervise the power station.
- Expensive setup cost.
- Large amount of land needs to be cleared for setup.Compensation needs to be provided for transferring people and necessary arrangements for the same need to be made as well, for areas around where the dam is to be built. This is a tough task and could result in major disagreement and opposition from people if their demands are not met.
- Hydroelectric energy plants, at times, can alter the local environment of an area to a great extent – be it fish or humans.
- As hydroelectric energy plants require a reservoir to function, it could cause flooding in neighboring lands & lead to loss of a number of lives.
- Wind Energy
- Wind is a never ending resource.
- No pollution.
- Limited to windy areas.
- Highly climate dependent – wind can damage equipment during windstorms or not turn during still summer days.
- May affect endangered birds, however tower design can reduce impact.
- Based on the average wind speed there it would take 50,000 wind turbines , in a 300 square mile area, to generate the same amount of electricity one nuclear power plant produces.
- The rightmost column in the below figure gives the cost of production (in relative terms). Ignoring the fossil fuels, 1 can see that Nuclear Energy appears to be the best bet for energy production as far as cost goes. But the risk involved (even if its 1%) would scare off most people.
- Solar Energy can be the next best bet then provided that technology improves to such an extent that its cost drops drastically & we are able to plant large areas with solar panels (maybe try something radically different like floating structures on the oceans.)
- Sadly we are still very far away from such developments & we are falling short of time…
Wiki : World Energy Resources Consumption
Wiki : Relative cost of electricity generation
Comparisons of various energy sources
Advantages of Nuclear Power
Scientific American – Uranium Supply Q
Nuclear Energy – Pros & Cons
Hydro Energy – Pros & Cons
Solar Energy – Pros & Cons
Wind Energy – Pros & Cons
One more revolution around the fiery sun….A New Year – 2011 : the Year of the Golden Rabbit (Chinese Zodiac)
For me, the best thing of a new year is the fresh clean slate it offers. The time of beginnings…of new resolutions…of new opportunities…of new chances.
If you ever analyze the best moments of your life you can probably see a pattern. The most memorable moments have probably been those in which you either did something really different & managed to surprise even yourself. You left your comfort zone & ventured out into the unknown.
Experiences such as this enrich life & make it a worthwhile journey.
A New Year serves as a Pit Stop on the journey of life – a point where one can re-evaluate one’s goals & get set for a new strong innings.
I made my resolutions. New things are lined up on my road starting this very week. Can’t wait to travel alongside it .
Btw the New Year is also a good time to view the ‘Sunscreen Song’ video. Its one of my all time favourite feel good songs ^_^. It kinda paints the big picture of life in just about the right way !
On a side note – its an exciting year ahead even if you just view the event calendar !
For cricket buffs – with an event like the Cricket World Cup scheduled right at the beginning of the year, we can expect some fantastic fireworks ahead !
Heres to a brilliant year ahead !
Its the end of the year 2010 & its been given a grand send off with the beautiful festival of Christmas !
As a child , Christmas was my favourite festival & it still is. Unlike most other festivals, its peaceful & the theme of joy,harmony & compassion remain central to it.
In my childhood days, I had no inkling of the relation between Christ & Christmas. Santa Claus was the single symbol of Christmas for me. I actually used to wonder as to why the US & UK were the only ones visited by Santa
ps : On a side note, do check out the Santa Tracker made by Google & NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) . We finally have the technology to track Santa
I love the way people celebrate it. Right from the prayer gathering on Xmas eve (Midnight Mass) to the singing of melodious carols to the concept of the gifts around the Xmas tree.
I personally felt the spirit of Christmas only when I read Charles Dickens’ famous novella – A Christmas Carol. It is such a beautiful tale with lessons worth learning.
I also love another cartoon which I had seen ages ago – It was based on Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! . The portrayal of the Grinch was so good that you can’t help like but like the character’s mischievous evil nature. His transformation to a warm kind person thus exemplifying the Xmas spirit is the highlight of the story .
After a novel & a TV show, the only media source remaining is a movie. Thats where the ‘Home Alone’ series(1&2) comes in. The movie revolves around the adventures of a lonely Kevin McCallister separated from his family. Both the movies end right about at Xmas with a warm happy reunion of sorts.
Its great that Xmas is located right at the end of the year. It ensures a a joyous farewell to the year almost gone & a warm welcome to the upcoming year .