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Friday, February 27, 2015

En Iniya Iyanthira - Jeeno - robot dogs .... artificial intelligence

The Rajnikanth starrer ‘Enthiran’ kept the audience glued to its storyline – all credit to Sujatha, the great writer and the director Shankar.  Dr Vaseegaran, a scientist working on alternative intelligence develops a humanoid  robot  which gets rejected by sinister designs.  At one point of time, the robot ‘Chitti’ asks why he has not been provided with ‘emotion’.  Dr Vaseegaran reprogrammes it with human feelings and emotions so that it could  distinguish between right and wrong. However things go wrong when Chitti falls in love with Sana (Aishwarya).   The making of Chitti and developing its functions was well depicted – I felt saddened when Chitti is dismantled [rather asked to self-destruct] and dumped in Perungudi garbage !

That was relatively little when compared to the lumpen feeling reading the travails of the little Jeeno, in the most interesting Sci-fi of Sujatha -  ‘En Eniya Iyanthira ’  and Meendum Jeano – the story of robotic dog woven subtly around a dictator who keeps the Nation under tight grip.   The pet robot dog which can think beyond humans, assists the dumb Nila in search of her spouse Sibi into bigger things.  Towards the end, the cute exceptionally dog loses it memory and back up and fades away ! Illogical it might sound, it was afterall a story – yet,  I felt very sad reading of its end. 

Emotional attachment is not uncommon, especially to pets.  Read that funerals are being held  in Japan for robotic dogs for, their owners believe they have souls.   Manufacturer of AIBI Sony discontinued product in 2006; but  kept 'clinics' open for the pets until last year for repairs – and the last of these are now closed leading some owners to stage funerals !!!

Incense smoke wafts through the cold air of the centuries-old Buddhist temple as a priest chants a sutra, praying for the peaceful transition of the souls of the departed. It is a funeral like any other in Japan. Except that those being honoured are robot dogs, lined up on the altar, each wearing a tag to show where they came from and which family they belonged to. The devices are 'AIBOs', the world's first home-use entertainment robot equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and capable of developing its own personality.

Sony rolled out the first-generation AIBO in June 1999, with the initial batch of 3,000 selling out in just 20 minutes, despite the hefty 250,000 yen (more than $2,000) price tag. Over the following years, more than 150,000 units were sold, in numerous iterations, ranging from gleaning metallic-silver versions to round-faced cub-like models. The dog came with an array of sensors, a camera and microphone. The final generation could even talk. By 2006, Sony was in trouble; its business model was broken and it was facing fierce competition from rivals in all fields. The AIBO, an expensive and somewhat frivolous luxury, had to go. The company kept its 'AIBO Clinic' open until March 2014, but then -- politely -- told dedicated and loving owners that they were on their own.  Now comes the news of the funerals of such pet dogs !!!

Away, Google's Boston Dynamics released a video designed to show off a smaller, lighter version of its robotic dog, dubbed Spot. During the footage, employees are seen kicking Spot to prove how stable the machine is on its feet, but this has been dubbed 'cruel', 'wrong' and has raised concerns about ethics. 

Meantime, in a recent paper by Dr Anders Sandberg from the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, posed the question: 'In the future it's possible we will be able to create artificially human brains that emulate a real human - but what are the ethicalities and moralities of doing this?.' In particular, in his 'Ethics of brain emulations' research, Dr Sandberg considers a future in which AI may be commonplace in so-called 'lesser beings'. If brain emulation becomes possible we could in theory clone animals to create, for example, virtual laboratory rats. There is much opposition to performing scientific experiments on rats and other animals in the modern day - but Dr Sandberg questions whether people will have similar objections to experimenting on an animal that was artificially created.  If an emulation was run for just a millisecond of time before being deactivated, some might argue that this would constitute a 'murder' of sorts, destroying a life as it had been created. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Feb 2015.
PS : Incidentally, the great writer Sujatha [Srirangam Rangarajan] passed away this day in 2008.

Inputs on ‘robot funeral’ acknowledged – Dailymail.co.uk

Thursday, February 26, 2015

celebrations in Afghan after WC win ..... who is the fielding Coach of India ?

Do you know who the fielding coach of India is ?

Afghan has long been known to the World for military activities and gets wrong coverage  for suicide bombing and the like.  Kandahar is the second-largest city in Afghanistan; formerly called Alexandria Arachosia, named after Alexander the Great, who founded it in 329 BCE.   The Arghandab River runs along the west of the city. Kandahar is one of the most culturally significant cities of the Pashtuns and has been their traditional seat of power for more than 200 years. It is a major trading center for sheep, wool, cotton, silk, felt, food grains, fresh and dried fruit, and tobacco. Kandahar has an international airport and  Indians would like to forget that fateful incident of IC 814.

 In the first official sign that the Pentagon plans to keep a U.S. military presence in southern Afghanistan after this year, the Army is sending the 7th Infantry Division headquarters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a year-long deployment to Kandahar Province this spring. The deployment follows Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s weekend visit to Kandahar, where he acknowledged in a meeting with soldiers that the Obama administration was reconsidering the pace of its planned withdrawal of the 10,000 U.S. troops who remain in Afghanistan. The deployment is small, fewer than 100 soldiers. But it’s significant because it shows that the U.S. military wants to maintain a presence in Afghanistan’s Pashtun heartland while continuing to reduce its footprint in the 14-year-old war.

Away from all the melee, hundreds of jubilant Afghan cricket fans flooded onto the streets of major cities Thursday, dancing, waving flags and firing AK-47s in celebration at their team's historic World Cup win over Scotland. The "Blue Tigers" had slumped to 97-7, but a brilliant 96 by Samiullah Shenwari took the Afghans to the brink of a sensational victory.  For the second time in two days the Associate head-to-head produced a magnificently compelling contest, a finish filled with tension and drama as Afghanistan's last-wicket pair hauled them to a famous one-wicket victory in Dunedin following an epic innings by Samiullah Shenwari.

Scotland set a target of 211 which looked remote and close to impossible as Afghans lost their 4th wicket at 88 and soon they were 97/7…. At 34.6 they were 132/8 – 79 runs away with only 2 wickets in hand.  Hamid Hassan, provided priceless support for Shenwari in the ninth-wicket stand of 60; he and Shapoor Zadran were left needing 19 off 19 balls. Every delivery was a minor epic. Ultimately it was a maiden World Cup victory for Afghans. 

In the 2 matches, India have batted and bowled well – Indian fielding generally is ordinary with some to be hidden all along.  We have seen and heard of Derek Randall, Jhonty Rhodes – none  other than Eknath Solkar and perhaps the old timers Ajit Wadekar, Abid Ali, Venkat presented good fielding side – in between we have had Brijesh Patel, Yahspal, Azhar, Kapil Dev, Robin Singh,  Kaif, Raina and a few more.   In Australia, most grounds are big – especially the Melbourne – the space can shrink radically. India, in their two World Cup fixtures so far, have showcased that quality with an electric battery of fielders holding on to their catches and affecting game changing run-outs.  If Mohammad Shami held on to a catch to dismiss Hashim Amla and made it look easy, it was Mohit Sharma’s speed and agility that ran AB de Villiers out at a crucial juncture of the match.

Both dismissals brought a smile to India’s fielding coach  who like any other day, was making notes and keeping a close tab of his troops on the field. Much of credit for India’s fielding success goes to Hyderabadi R.  Sridhar who has been tirelessly working with the team to get better in a skill that India is not traditionally known for.  Recall that Kings XI Punjab roped in former Hyderabad spinner R Sridhar as fielding coach for IPL 2014. Sanjay Bangar, B Arun and R Sridhar are part of India's coaching staff until the World Cup. The trio were part of a rejig of the backroom personnel after the 3-1 loss to England in the Tests ~ and  Ravi Shastri's is the team director.   

Yesterday, I had posted about Kerala’s Krishna Chandran playing for UAE.  He is not alone.   In his early days at Mumbai,  Swapnil Patil had only one passion and that was to play cricket. Patil dreamt big ever since he held a bat in his hand but he knew he had to be patient and take small steps towards success. Runs in inter-school cricket and club cricket became a regular feature during his budding days and soon he was a part of the probables in the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team. After three years of being in the probables list without a game under his belt, Patil’s patience finally gave in and he decided to make a move to UAE. Cut to 2015, UAE’s wicket-keeper batsman, Swapnil Patil, is living a dream that he claims to have never pictured ‘in the wildest of his dreams’.  Then there is Asanka Manjula Guruge who hails from  Ambalangoda in Srilanka.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Feb 2015.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

mauka, Mauka ..... the zing bails that did not come off and ... 44 All out !!

The minnows are doing so well this World Cup … ! the FOW reads : 1-0; 2-23; 3-25; 4-25; 5-31; 6-31; 7-37; 8-41; 9-44 & 44 all out – who and where ?  ~ do you know the Malayalee player in this World cup ??

This is a World Cup of advertisement, marketing hype coupled with technology. Zing bails have added playful neon to the World Cup, but early in Ireland's chase, the UAE's players were left to wonder whether they also had chewing gum attached. A full, swinging delivery from Amjad Javed slipped through Ed Joyce's drive, and the bowler roared at the telltale sound of ball disturbing off stump. But the momentary flash of the half-airborne bail was followed by the extraordinary sight of it settled back in place, a wicket all of a sudden evaporating. Joyce the luckiest man in Brisbane.
photo credit : cricinfo.com

Ireland eventually completed a win – win by two wickets, with four balls remaining. This has undoubtedly been the match of the tournament.  Two matches into the World Cup and the UAE may have its first batting superstar. Shaiman Anwar has carted the bowlers of Zimbabwe and Ireland, showing a fearless array of strokes and an impish,  and a WC century to boot.  The big-hitting Kevin O'Brien set right the mess along with Wilson helped by dropped catches, Ireland closed with 2 wickets and 4 balls to spare.   Now Pakistan has to wait with bated breath for Zimbabwe Vs Ireland match to decide whether they can qualify for the QF ~ and they have to beat those two teams and UAE, if not South Africa !!

The player from Kerala is Krishna Chandran, who represents UAE.  Born in Kollengode, Krishna Chandran, otherwise known as Krishna Karate, has spawned something of a cult following already this tournament, his distinctive name having many fans clamouring for UAE replica shirts bearing the "Karate" name.

As per ICC, more than a fifth of human population or approximately 1 billion people will watch the biggest cricketing event: World Cup 2015. Overall, advertisers are expected to spend between Rs 1200 and Rs 1500 crore on advertisements, which is excluding stadium ads and merchandising rights sold by ICC.   The Star Sports ad poking fun at Pakistan’s World Cup record against India has become a rage in India. But across the border in Pakistan, the advertisement  did not go well as they retaliated with other big matches including that Chetan Sharma – Miandad last ball six.    The  first ad showed a Pakistan fan desperately waiting for a chance to burst a crate of firecrackers if and when Pakistan won the India-Pakistan match, the second ad shows a bunch of teenagers sitting and watching a match when two South African fans hand them a crate of firecrackers and walk away singing "Mauka, Mauka".  Then the spoof of Pak fan wearing SA shirt and hearing the verdict of the match hears the calling bell to receive UAE group presenting another shirt.   The ‘#MaukePeChauka!’ film ends with the voiceover announcing, ‘Yeh World Cup nahin, yeh hai World vs India’. What a hype !!!!
Test cricket could be reduced to four days, and the next World Cup curtailed to 40 overs a side, if wide-ranging discussions between the chairmen of the English counties and the ECB become firm proposals, and are ultimately adopted by the ICC. Any reduction in five-day cricket would mean the abandonment of a tradition that has been at the heart of the international game for more than 30 years.

Back home, in Ranji trophy, Vijay Shankar continued his good form to help Tamil Nadu to a steady 192 for 3 on the first day against Maharashtra in Kolkata.  The team that was bowled out for 44 is Mumbai – yes, read again Mumbai.   Twenty-one wickets fell on the opening day of the first semi-final, as hosts Karnataka gained an upper hand against Mumbai at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.  Karnataka were all out for 202 then 6/20 spell by Vinaykumar knocked Mumbai out.  The visitors then dismissed openers Robin Uthappa and KL Rahul for the second time in the day, but were left facing an uphill task going into day two.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Feb 2015.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WC 2015 - Gayle 200; Moin Khan in Casino and Craig Wallet in gallery !

Nearly a month ago, India were playing their final group fixture in the 2015 Cartlon Mid Tri-series here against England, where they went down by three wickets. They did not make it to the finals of the 3 Nation Competition and was criticised severely. 

The other team England had a win against Scotland.  Moeen Ali's all-round performance (128 & 2/47) and Steven Finn (3/26) helped England defend their strong total of 303 against Scotland, bowling them out for 184 giving  Eoin Morgan their first points of the World Cup 2015. At the same time, comprehensive  victories over Pakistan and South Africa  has  given India the unlikely top spot in a tough Group B of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, and - as they quietly trundle into Perth for their next two matches - it has left the team's management with the pleasant headache of looking at players who have warmed the bench so far.

So far only Indians have made double hundreds in ODI and today came the fastest ODI double 100 from ‘who else’ Chris Gayle.  This was the fifth double-century in ODIs, and it came exactly five years after Sachin Tendulkar first reached the landmark on 24th Feb. Once a year is too frequent a rate for the milestone to be special any more, and since it was Gayle, it answered the question of when rather than if.  Gayle finished on 215 from 147 balls. He hit 10 fours and sent 16 sixes flying over the straight boundary or into a group of fans dressed as a coven of witches beyond the midwicket boundary. At the other end, unnoticed, Marlon Samuels made his highest ODI score and played second fiddle in a partnership of 372, the highest for any wicket in ODIs.

Reports confirm that  PCB has asked Moin Khan, Pakistan's chief selector and a member of the tour selection committee, to return home after he was reportedly seen in a casino two days before the team's clash against West Indies in Christchurch. The board has also launched an official investigation against him.The  PCB chairman, said strict action will be taken against Moin should he be found guilty.

You don’t see players outside the player’s enclosure -  but Scotland's reserve wicketkeeper Craig Wallet was doing just that as his team was playing England at the Hagley Oval on Monday .  TOi reports that he was seen in a Tui beer orange tee-shirt, looking to catch the ball with one hand and win a pie of the million New Zealand dollars that are on offer throughout the tournament.  He wasn't sitting with the team because he is not a part of the 15, but he is training with the team and will also travel to Dunedin on Tuesday for the Afghanistan game.  Just that his teammates didn't give him the chance through the afternoon to become a millionaire!

Sachin Tendulkar has backed the cause of Associate nations' participation in the Cricket World Cup. ICC (International Cricket Council) has proposed a 10-team World Cup in 2019 unlike the 2015 edition where 14 teams are participating. The 2019 edition will have the top eight teams qualifying directly while two more teams will join them after a qualifying round. The move has met with a lot of criticism from supporters of nations like Ireland, Afghanistan amongst others. Tendulkar, the brand ambassador of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, was of the view that playing against top teams regularly would only help the smaller teams.

ICC sees the change in number of teams as a way of making the World Cup more competitive and ensuring that each match remains competitive. On the flip side, there has been argument that it would actually discourage the smaller teams. Tendulkar was keen on the top teams playing against Associate nations on a more regular basis.  The minnows have so far made good impact in this World Cup.

The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy returns in the ICC World Cup encounter between New Zealand and Australia to be played at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday. The ODI trophy, named after the legendary cricket families in Australia and New Zealand, was last played during the 2011 World Cup in Nagpur. Both teams have played just one ODI since then - in the 2013 Champions Trophy - but due to an "oversight", as admitted by New Zealand Cricket CEO David White, the match, which eventually ended in a washout, wasn't given the status of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th Feb 2015.



McLaren's accident ~ Fernando Alonso tweets from hospital !

Accidents are not uncommon in Sporting World, especially in Sports where speed is the essence.  The Spaniard, 33  had CT and MRI scans, with a “thumbs-up” picture of him appearing in Twitter today from his hospital bed in Catalonia putting  paid to rumours of his health condition. He has been given the all-clear by doctors but remains in hospital recovering.  The Sporting World is feeling relieved.  Cars can reach speeds of 150mph at that point on the track, although Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who was following at the time of the crash, said his rival's speed was more like 90mph.

F1 or the  FIA Formula One World Championship  is the highest class of single-seat auto racing that is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).   The "formula", designated in the name, refers to a set of rules with which all participants' cars must comply.  The F1 season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix (from French, originally meaning great prizes), held throughout the world on purpose-built circuits and public roads. Formula One cars are the fastest road course racing cars in the world, owing to very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downforce. Formula One cars race at speeds of up to 360 km/h (220 mph) with engines currently limited in performance to a maximum of 15,000 RPM.   While Europe is the sport's traditional base, and hosts about half of each year's races, the sport's scope has expanded significantly and an increasing number of Grands Prix are held on other continents.

Fernando Alonso Díaz (1981 born),  a Spanish Formula One racing driver and a two-time World Champion who will be racing for McLaren-Honda in 2015 is in news for wrong reasons.   From Karting world championship, he made his Formula One debut in the 2001 season with Minardi, and then moved to the Renault as a test driver the next year. Starting in 2003 Alonso then became one of the main drivers of the team.  Nicknamed El Nano, a typical pseudonym for Fernando in Asturias, his place of birth, Alonso acts as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. With his fourth place finish in the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix, scoring his 1,571st career point, Alonso took over the record for most championship points in his career.

The McLaren driver, 33, was  taken from track by ambulance and then to hospital after being involved in a crash at speeds of up to 150mph. The Spaniard was then airlifted by helicopter for treatment of concussion.  A look at the damaged car may not give one any confidence; the rash was on the final day of the Formula One pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Amidst rumours of serious injuries, McLaren said the two-time former world champion was 'conscious and able to speak' while receiving first aid at the circuit's medical centre, but had been taken to hospital for 'precautionary checks'. After several hours of tests and observation, the team later added that Alonso was 'uninjured' but had suffered concussion in the accident.  The Spaniard crashed after completing 20 laps. The accident occurred at turn three, when Alonso went off course and the right-hand side of his car hit the wall. Neither the team nor track officials have reported the cause. 
As McLaren rubbished spurious suggestions that Alonso had been unconscious due to ill health or electrical shock before his accident, the team said that they remained unclear if he would take part in the final engagement of the winter, starting on Thursday. They also blamed “unpredictably gusty winds” at the 150mph corner for the crash which left Alonso concussed, confirming that there had been no mechanical failure.

Alonso has 32 career grand prix victories, the last of which came at Montmelo in 2013. No decision has yet been made on his participation in the third and final round of pre-season testing, which begins later this week. A photo of a smiling Alonso sitting up in his hospital bed was posted on social media by his manager. It was accompanied by the message: "Lunch time! Thank you for your support!"

Alonso left Ferrari at the end of last season, negotiating an exit from his contract two years early, because he believed McLaren and new engine partner Honda gave him a better chance of winning a third world title. But McLaren's preparations have been troubled, with repeated engine reliability problems restricting their mileage in testing.  The McLaren F1 is a sports car designed and manufactured by McLaren Automotive.  In 1998, it set the record for the world's fastest production car, reaching 231 mph (372 km/h) with the rev limiter enabled, and 243 mph (391 km/h) with the rev limiter removed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th Feb 2015.

Eddie Redmayne wins Oscar - The Theory of everything : Stephen Hawking

Eddie Redmayne has won the best actor Oscar.  Known as Oscars, the ‘Academy Awards’ -  given for  excellence of cinematic achievements is out now. This no post on ‘Oscar statuette’ but something I felt interesting on a film,  likes of which perhaps we may not get to see here.  Can you imagine a film being made on physical decline following a disease getting global recognition ?  The theme or rather hero is not an ordinary man, but one suffering from a peculiar disease !
Eddie with his wife arriving 

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and Charcot disease, is a specific disorder that involves the death of neurons.  The man spoken about suffers from a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of ALS  that has gradually paralysed him over the decades.  He had experienced increasing clumsiness during his final year at Oxford, including a fall on some stairs and difficulties when rowing.  The problems worsened, and his speech became slightly slurred;  the diagnosis of motor neurone disease came when Hawking was 21, in 1963; at that  time, doctors gave him a life expectancy of two years.  In the late 1960s,  his  physical abilities declined: he began to use crutches and ceased lecturing regularly.  As he slowly lost the ability to write, he developed compensatory visual methods, including seeing equations in terms of geometry.  He preferred to be regarded as "a scientist first, popular science writer second, and, in all the ways that matter, a normal human being with the same desires, drives, dreams, and ambitions as the next person."  His speech too deteriorated and  became unintelligible.

During a visit to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research on the border of France and Switzerland in mid-1985, he contracted pneumonia which in his condition was life-threatening; he was so ill that his wife was asked if life support should be terminated. She refused but the consequence was a tracheotomy, which would require round-the-clock nursing care, and remove what remained of his speech.  Years later, he received a computer program called the "Equalizer" from Walt Woltosz. In a method he uses to this day, using a switch he selects phrases, words or letters from a bank of about 2500–3000 that are scanned; and much later he  activated a switch using his hand and could produce up to 15 words a minute.  Lectures were prepared in advance and were sent to the speech synthesiser in short sections to be delivered. Even that could not last, as in 2005 he lost the use of his hand and began to control his communication device with movements of his cheek muscles,  with a rate of about one word per minute. One cannot read any further of the sufferings.

The Theory of Everything is a 2014 British biographical romantic drama film directed by James Marsh and adapted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking, which deals with her relationship with her ex-husband, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of motor neuron disease, and his success in physics.  The film stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones  and  had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in Sept.  2014.
The film received four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for Redmayne and Best Original Score.  Now, Eddie Redmayne has  received the Academy Award for Best Actor.  In the movie, Redmayne brilliantly captures Hawking's transition from a vivacious young man racing around on bikes to needing a cane, then two canes, and eventually being confined to a wheelchair. The actor told Live Science previously that he worked with dance choreographers and patients at an ALS clinic to get the physical poses just right. He also worked with a speech therapist to recreate Hawking's progressively garbled speech.  The British actor came to the Oscars the favourite after claiming the Screen Actors’ Guild’s best actor award last month. The winner of that award has gone on to pick up the best actor Oscar every year since 2003.
as portrayed on screen !

Jane Hawking, Stephen Hawking's former wife, on whose memoir the film The Theory of Everything is based, says that she was "astounded" at how realistic Felicity Jones' performance was. Ms Jones played Jane Hawking in the film. "I thought how can I be on the screen and in a cinema seat at the same time," Ms Hawking said. Although Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor award in the 2015 Oscars on Sunday for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking, Felicity Jones missed out on the Best Actress award.

Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA (1942)  is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works include a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th Feb 2015.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pooja for SYMA Growth students 2015

Pooja for the welfare of SYMA Growth students 2015

This morning I received a parcel flown from Delhi, with clear instruction to Blue Dart to deliver before 12 noon.

SYMA has an unsaturated desire for serving the Society.  In our sojourn, we understand the need for shaping the children and inculcating in them the good qualities, making them responsible citizens. In this little World, most students are frightened to face the Public examination for the first time in X std. (SSLC) SYMA’s vision was to provide good quality education training for those students who suffer for want of opportunities and dreamt of quality tuition to Students free of cost.  On 6th July 2008,  Mr R Sekar, IPS, Commissioner of Police launched our Tuition Centre ‘Growth’  and a right beginning was made.  Every year since, we have been tasting grand success with very good results.

The classes for the present academic year started  in July 2015  after our initial screening ensuring that the most deserving were selected on economic criteria.  The Centre is run on all days from 6-8 pm in the evening and on Sundays @ 10-12 am and has  +2 Commerce, + Science Group; X standard – Tamil and X Std English medium – each having around 35 students. 

The Examinations are closer and today 20th Feb 2015, SYMA organised a Pooja at NKT National Boys High School, praying for the success of our students and for the well being of the Organisation in continuing this good cause.  All our students were present in time.  Special pooja  was conducted by Sri Devaraja Swami, Chinnamurai Archagar of Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple who blessed the students.   

The teachers present today spoke and wished the students.  Mr S Venkatadri, HM National Boys School elaborated on the present set-up of Answer papers and the approach in strategically preparing and answering.  Mr Srinivasan, advised on the need for putting in right efforts punning on the word ‘Chemis-try’.  Mrs Subashini emphasised on right diet and not eating junk food while preparing for the examinations.  Mr MK Sridhar @ Meiyur Kannan encouraged the students to do well. 

Yours Truly wished them and spoke on SYMA’s expectations of the students doing well in the examinations, earning high status, doing back to the Society and getting back to SYMA helping in continuance of the good cause.  We had invited a good friend, who grew with us about three decades back, studying in NKT and Hindu High School, Vivekananda College, then pursuing higher studies in Organic Chemistry in IISC; Post doctoral fellowships in  – Swiss Federal Instt of Tech, Zurich, National Instt of Health, USA, Johns Hopkins University, USA and now Scientist at National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi.  It was an attempt to implant in the minds of students that they too can reach great positions in life when they aspire and put in required efforts.   Mr Srinivasa Gopalan Sampathkumar’s visit today truly inspired them as also the lengthy deliverance in simple eloquence.   The Scientist impressed them so much that after the Pooja, he was encircled and subjected to barrage of Qs on multitude issues.  TJ Ramani proposed the vote of thanks.

Enabling the students write the exams well, an attractive  pouch containing Trimax pens (2); pencils; scale, eraser, screw .. was given to each student.  Mr Prashant Singh, India Art Investment Co, New Delhi had sent them by air – the freight itself was so costly.  Mr Prashant Singh once visited SYMA Growth Pooja and  has been doing this for the past 3 years continuing his passion for the welfare of students and we bow to him for this affectionate gesture. 

SYMA places on record our profound thanks  to the Management of NK Thirumalachariyar National Boys High School, Mr S. Venkatadri, HM, NKT Boys High School, our beloved teachers of SYMA Growth, Mrs Thara, Mr Raja, and the volunteers. 

                   We now look forward to our students coming out with flying colours in the Public Examination.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Feb 2015.







Southee pins England to ground ~ McCullum thrashes them out !!!

At home on leave and watching WC, over 7.1, Chris Woakes to McCullum, bottom edges a low full toss on to his stumps.  Waits for the Umpire to check whether it could be a ‘waist high’ no ball; no it isn’t …. McCullum walks, England players are not exactly jubilant – and the match is almost over !

Don’t be surprised – some mad hitting just over McCullum walks back after scoring 77 off just 25 – 8 fours and 7 sixers – strike rate of 308 and yet he may not be the Man of the Match !!!!

There has already been some good contests – though this one at Wellington is  only the 9th match.  Some brave performances by minnows already ! that includes an upset, which Ireland do not want to be termed so. "The World Cup itself, the premium event, without exception should be played between teams that are evenly matched and competitive." So said the ICC chief executive David Richardson in the lead-up to this tournament. It was his way of justifying the decision to trim the World Cup from 14 teams back to 10 at the next event in England in 2019. No more Associates, no more one-sided thrashings, no more boring, meaningless pool matches. That was the ICC's theory.

Yesterday, UAE playing  their first ODI against a Full Member nation in nearly seven years, went close to a win.  A few fielding mistakes crept in, in a few loose balls, just the odd nervy moment. Williams, in his 71st ODI, steered Zimbabwe to victory. UAE, in their 19th as a team, fell short.

We have seen some great bowling performances that include McGrath, Bichel and Winston Davis – 7 for.   Winston Davis’s 7-51 came against Australia at Headlingley.  Today Tim Southee rocked England with 7/33.  He snared Bell out,  had Mooen Ali, then Taylor, Jos Butler, Chris Woakes,  Chris Broad and then Finn to finish with a 7 wicket haul.
Tim Southee  burst upon the international scene in great style when still only 19. Handed his Test debut against England in Napier, Southee responded with 5 for 55 before smashing 77 off 40 balls in the second innings with nine sixes to hint at a bright all-round future- and still England won that match in Mar 2008 by 121 runs. He bettered that performance with 7 for 64 against India in Bangalore in 2012.

So going to be  an excellent win by New Zealand – another 12 runs needed actually and Crowd booed as there is supper break – 12 required of 41 overs, should they not have completed before breaking  !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Feb 2015 @ 10.30 am

Thursday, February 19, 2015

ODC ~ Boeing 747 transported by road along British motorway

Marine Cargo Insurance is all about insuring cargo in transit from place to place and specific emphasis is on the way the goods are carried, handled, moved, the mode, packing, stowage and other aspects.  Containers by their standardisation eased space and brought in a revolution.  Yet there could always be cargo much bigger than the regular size, not suitable for container, would not fit inside vehicles, would extrude and are disproportionate in size.  As you travel on road and happen to see a big cargo on a truck, the first thought is to slightly get out of the way !

Over Dimensional Consignment (ODC) is a shipment system that is normally bigger than standard container in length, breadth and height. It requires special arrangement to properly place/stow such cargo on the vehicle which generally would be low bed mullti-axle trailers.  ODC could consist of Bridge sections,  beams), Transformers, heavy machineries, Boilers, Gas turbines, Storage tanks, Heavy structure,  Windmill components (Blades, tower) and sometimes vehicles, train coaches, boats and more.

It requires some expertise and lot of careful planning to transport such ODC.  When the value is very high, they would conduct pre-transportation survey to observe overhead wires, narrow lanes, bridges and like to check whether the ODC could comfortably traverse the path without hassle.  Logistics offers multiple challenge to the handlers, and for Insurers it poses newer challenges – of trying to understand the risk exposure.   Though there may not be identical definitions, in someways Overdrawn cargo is defined based on weight and dimension. “In dimension terms, anything above 40 feet length, with 8.25 feet height, and 8.25 feet width would be considered OD cargo.  

Insurers do not have standard definition on what they consider as ‘ODC’ but when declared so, would impose specific warranties and restrictions in carriage.  A well identified cargo, methodically transported with route survey being done is a better risk for the Insurers.  The details of the transportation arrangement and the contracted terms of carriage would be of help. 

Here is an interesting cargo movement – that of two giant Jumbo Jet fuselages of decommissioned Boeing 747  transported along Britain's motorways as reported in MailOnline.   The report says that the aircraft, weighing 60-tonnes and measuring 22 feet wide, 16ft 3ins high and 137ft long, caused traffic chaos.   The newsitem states that the front section and cockpit of the 'Queen of the Skies' made its way from Cotswold Airport in Kemble, Gloucestershire, down the A419 dual carriageway between Cirencester and Swindon.  The disused plane will eventually be put back together on a site in Staffordshire to provide a studio for interior design university students.

Here are photos of lorry transporting  decommissioned Boeing 747 jumbo jet crawling along the A419 near Swindon causing congestion on the roads.  It was transported with a police escort.   The aircraft left the Cotswold Airport at headed  north to Cirencester, then south east heading north up the M5 through Gloucestershire. A spokesman for Wiltshire police is quoted as saying -  'Due to the size of these transporters they will be slow moving and will have the potential to create congestion.


The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport aircraft, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. Its iconic 'hump' upper deck along the forward part of the aircraft make it among the world's most recognizable aircraft. First flown commercially in 1970, the 747 held the passenger capacity record for 37 years. The 747 is to be replaced by the Boeing Y3 (part of the Boeing Yellowstone Project) in the future.

Interesting indeed !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

19th Feb 2015.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

the cryptic Protonmail ...... at Switzerland !

You have the brush with technology everyday ~  right from the morning till one hits bed, one dabbles with gadgets and most require login IDs and passwords.  Some want communication to be encrypted and gets bowled over by beautiful terminology.  There would be terms of remote server, encrypted message,  'hard-core predicate', 'trapdoor function', '  'impossible differential cryptanalysis'- and  'zero knowledge' !

The proton is a subatomic particle, symbol p or p+, with a positive electric charge  and mass slightly less than that of a neutron. Protons and neutrons, each with mass approximately one atomic mass unit, are collectively referred to as "nucleons".  The Large Hadron Collider is being brought back to life, ready for Run II of the “world’s greatest physics experiment. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) had shut down for two years to upgrade following the discovery of the Higgs boson.

Dan Brown’s ‘Digital Fortress’ published in 1988  was a real techno-thriller…… The story was about the theme of government surveillance of electronically stored information on the private lives of citizens, and the possible civil liberties and ethical implications using such technology.  In the beautiful World of innumerable IDs and multiple PWs, one may not desire to have a new e-mail account – yet there could be compelling reasons for what is known as ‘freedom of expression’ ….

ProtonMail was founded in summer 2013 by CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) scientists  Andy Yen, the systems administrator and a Harvard and CalTech trained physicist; Jason Stockman, the front-end developer who previously worked for Epson, 3M, Versace and the International Red Cross; and back-end developer Wei Sun, an MIT-trained physicist who built the software for AMS Collaboration.  While the founders are centered in the U.S., ProtonMail is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, due to the country’s privacy laws.

To its makers, privacy is a fundamental human right that must be protected at any cost. The advent of the internet has now made all of us more vulnerable to mass surveillance than at any other point in human history. The disappearance of online privacy is a very dangerous trend as in many ways privacy and freedom go hand in hand.  ProtonMail uses breakthrough web technologies and proven cryptographic algorithms to protect your privacy. Because of its end-to-end encryption,  the data is already encrypted by the time it reaches its servers. Even its administrators have no access to the messages, and since they  cannot decrypt them,  the messages cannot be shared with third parties.  The servers are in  Switzerland outside US and EU jurisdiction so all user data is protected by strict Swiss privacy laws.

It is claimed that ProtonMail is completely free and works on smartphones and tablets as well. Because of end-to-end encryption, all data is already encrypted by the time it reaches the ProtonMail servers – so there would be no targetted ads. The service received initial funding through a crowdfunding campaign, and will be sustained long-term by multi-tiered pricing, although the default account setup is free.

Unlike host of other mails, one requires two passwords –  first to authenticate the User and the second to decrypt access to one’s mail box.  The Mailbox Password is not stored even on ProtonMail’s servers and hence if lost, there is no way, you get access to your mails – there would be no ‘forgot password option’ !!!  The encryption is a technology known as ‘Zero-knowledge proof’, a concept from cryptography, an interactive method for one party to prove to another that a (usually mathematical) statement is true, without revealing anything other than the veracity of the statement. If proving the statement requires knowledge of some secret information on the part of the prover, the definition implies that the verifier will not be able to prove the statement in turn to anyone else, since the verifier does not possess the secret information.

Proton mail also includes a message expiration feature: messages can optionally self-destruct from the ProtonMail system after a period of time.

              ProtonMail is in beta right now, and one can open an account only with an invite ~ there are perhaps so many waiting to join the ‘encrypted way’ – are you on the queue ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Feb 2o15.   


the indecent, inhumane killing of a worker by a rich boss !

Rich and famous are often portrayed as violent and inhumane ! 

Recently,  IANS and other papers reported that the actor Salman Khan did not possess a driving license when his car met with an accident in 2002, an officer at Regional Transport Office (RTO) on Monday (February 16) informed the Sessions court hearing the hit-and-run case.  It was stated that the witness produced the records of the actor’s driving license before the court when he was examined by Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat.    Khan's car had rammed into a roadside shop in suburban Bandra, killing one person and injuring four people, who were sleeping on the pavement, on the night of 28th  Sept  2002.  For years, his lawyers have argued that Mr Khan was not driving the car.

Away from this in a chilling instance, Daily Mail reports of an Indian millionaire charged with murder after 'crushing security guard with his Hummer because he was too slow to open the gates on his driveway' in India.

According to the report,  Tobacco tycoon Mohammed Nisham has been accused of killing a security guard because he was too slow opening the gates to his apartment complex in the Indian state of Kerala.  Mohammed Nisham is accused of chasing the guard with his SUV inside an apartment complex last month, squeezing him against a wall before beating him with an iron rod. He was reportedly angry over a delay in opening the gate after returning home late one night two weeks ago. The 50-year-old guard, K Chandrabose, died later,  after being in hospital on life-support in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Doctors treating Chandrabose said 'his heart had not been functioning properly following the impact of the internal injuries,' according to the Press Trust of India news agency. Nisham was in custody in a jail near the town of Thrissur where he lives, police official  is quoted as saying.  He has had several police cases filed against him, including one for allowing his nine-year-old son to drive a Ferrari on a public road in 2013. He was granted bail on some cases and was ordered to pay fines for others.

India's economic boom has created a class of super-rich, whose excesses are frequently in the news. When he was charged with allowing his son to drive the Ferrari F430, police records showed he owned 18 high-end cars worth an estimated $4m (£2.6m), including a Bentley and a Lamborghini. He let his son take the wheel of the £127,000 supercar on his birthday - with nobody else in the vehicle except for his six-year-old brother. The boy drove it for several hundred metres along a road - all filmed by his proud family, who then uploaded the footage to YouTube.

Kerala Police registered a case against Nisham for uploading a video of an illegal act, sending out a wrong message to the world and allowing a child to drive a vehicle.  The ways of rich and famous are often …………………… and this is a seriously inhumane act indeed ..sad.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18th Feb 2015.

Google Doodle on 270th birthday of Alessandro Volta ~ inventor of battery

This morning as I googled, it was an interesting page – the google doodle !

Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (February 18, 1745 – March 5, 1827) was an Italian physicist – the Google Doodle for the day celebrates what would have been the 270th  birthday  of the Italian physicist who in the year 1800 published a theory that led to the modern battery. As TIME wrote back in 2007, Volta “realized metals could produce a current and developed the first battery, or ‘voltaic pile,’ a series of copper and zinc strips in salt water that gave off an electric current instead of static electricity.”

Experimenting with different metals and solutions, Volta ended up creating the first electric battery: the Voltaic Pile, a battery so remarkable was that it was easy to construct out of common materials and enabled experimenters for the first time to produce steady, predictable flows of electricity. Within just weeks it inspired a wave of discoveries and inventions and ushered in a new age of electrical science.

Born in 1745 in Como, Italy, Volta’s invention was the result of a professional competition with Luigi Galvani, who discovered that dissected frogs’ legs would twitch when probed with a wire. Galvani believed the frogs’ muscles generated the electricity, while Volta thought the animal tissue was only a conductor. The debate galvanized Volta to experiment with conductivity (often on his own tongue). Eventually, Volta put together a stack of metal disks and when metal wires were connected to both ends of the stack, an electric current flowed through the pile, proving that animal tissue was not necessary to generate an electric current. In announcing his discovery of his voltaic pile, Volta paid tribute to the influences of William Nicholson, Tiberius Cavallo, and Abraham Bennet.

The battery made by Volta is credited as the first electrochemical cell. It consisted  of two electrodes: one made of zinc, the other of copper. The electrolyte was either sulfuric acid mixed with water or a form of saltwater brine.  It was proved that within these two terminals, an electric current will flow if they are connected.

In honour of his work, Volta was made a Count by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1810.  His image was depicted on the Italian 10,000 lira note along with a sketch of his voltaic pile. Volta retired in 1819 to his estate in Camnago, a frazione of Como, Italy, now named "Camnago Volta" in his honour.  Volta's legacy is celebrated by the Tempio Voltiano memorial located in the public gardens by the lake.

The Google Doodle of the day honours Volta’s discovery with an animated battery that is reminiscent of both a voltaic pile and a battery life reminder on a modern day smart phone. The man who made the doodle describes in Google blog that it was exciting to design the Doodle for Volta and just was his second doodle.   Having done the initial research, he says ‘I didn’t want to just settle on using Volta’s portrait for the Doodle, especially since most of the world wouldn’t recognize him. I wanted instead to represent his accomplishment.  Digging into visual research I looked first for images of his inventions, then wider to other scientific equipment of the time. WIth an interest in graphic design I also looked to designs of the period and was especially inspired by the intricate and ornate details of some early Victorian posters for their dimensionality and dynamic layout.’

Interesting indeed !
With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Feb 2015.