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Monday, October 14, 2019

Google doodle on "phénakistiscope" ~ what !?


When was the last time you saw a Cinema on screen in a theatre ? ~ how much time do you spend daily seeing TV – and how many Serials do you see ? (perspective could change totally depending on gender too !)

I have not heard or read of this instrument that is described to be in the form of a spinning cardboard disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed radially around the disc's center is a series of pictures showing sequential phases of the animation. Small rectangular apertures are spaced evenly around the rim of the disc. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the images reflected in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images keeps them from simply blurring together so that the user can see a rapid succession of images that appear to be a single moving picture. When there is the same number of images as slots, the images will animate in a fixed position, but will not drift across the disc. Fewer images than slots and the images will drift in the opposite direction to that of the spinning disc. Confusing !

The phénakisticope was the first widespread animation device that created a fluid illusion of motion. The phenakistiscope is regarded as one of the first forms of moving media entertainment that paved the way for the future motion picture and film industry.

Though some could call them boring, their popularity is never in Q.  Some serials usually run for one season, for 100–1000 episodes of 22 minutes. They are often centered on a family story, with love ties and relationships being in the focus, more of negative characters these days, portraying wrong relationships too. Though not in any order of popularity, some popular TV serials could be :  Vannakolangal, Metti Oli, Anandham, Rail Sneham, Marmadesam, Annamalai, Thangam, Kolangal, Thendral .. …

A soap opera is a radio or television serial dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by melodrama and sentimentality. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers.   BBC Radio's The Archers, first broadcast in 1950, is the world's longest-running radio soap opera; the world's longest-running television soap opera is Coronation Street, first broadcast on ITV in 1960.

This is no post on soap-operas but to some extent on soap-bubble. Daily experience shows that soap bubble formation is not feasible with water or with any pure liquid. Actually, the presence of soap, which is composed at a molecular scale of surfactants, is necessary to stabilize the film. Most of the time, surfactants are amphiphilic, which means they are molecules with both a hydrophobic and a hydrophilic part. Thus, they are arranged preferentially at the air/water interface.  Soap films are thin layers of liquid (usually water-based) surrounded by air. For example, if two soap bubbles come into contact, they merge and a thin film is created in between. Thus, foams are composed of a network of films connected by Plateau borders. Films are used as model systems for minimal surfaces, which are widely used in mathematics.

Plateau's laws describe the structure of soap films. These laws were formulated in the 19th century by the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau from his experimental observations. Many patterns in nature are based on foams obeying these laws ~ and today’s Google doodle on this Joseph Plateau considered in someways to be pioneer of movies.
                             Today’s Doodle celebrates the Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau, whose research on visual perception inspired him to invent a device he called the phénakistiscope, which led to the birth of cinema by creating the illusion of a moving image. Inspired by the mesmerizing animated discs, the animated Doodle art was made to reflect Plateau’s style, with different imagery and themes in them on different device platforms.

Born in Brussels on this day in 1801, Plateau was the son of an accomplished artist who specialized in painting flowers. After studying law, young Plateau became one of the best-known Belgian scientists of the nineteenth century, remembered for his study of physiological optics, particularly the effect of light and color on the human retina. Plateau’s doctoral dissertation detailed how images form on the retina, noting their exact duration, color, and intensity. Based on these conclusions, he was able to create a stroboscopic device in 1832, fitted with two discs that rotated in opposite directions. One disc was filled with small windows, evenly spaced in a circle, while the other had a series of pictures of a dancer. When both discs turned at exactly the right speed, the images seemed to merge, creating the illusion of a dancer in motion.

Plateau lost his vision later in life, he continued to have a productive career in science even after becoming blind, working as a professor of experimental physics at Ghent University with the help of colleagues that included his son Felix Plateau and his son-in-law Gustaaf Van der Mensbrugghe. Google Doodle today celebrates what would have been the 218th  birthday of Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th Oct 2019.

cleansing the Nation ~ Modiji plogging at Mahabalipuram


What it takes to keep the surroundings clean ? – have you ever wondered when you walk past any area which is untidy ! – other than blaming the system and expecting people to refrain from throwing litter everywhere.. … what can we do to keep the public places clean – how can we prevent people throwing waste from their balconies and from their two-wheelers or throwing from a distance !!

A recent video and photos  of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji  cleaning Tamil Nadu’s Mamallapuram beach created waves of response.  While it was a huge positive impact on right-minded citizens, who took him as a great role model, some with negative mindset did criticise it stating that it was not PM’s job and it was a   planned photoshoot.

.. .. .. and some did wrong propaganda too.   Congress MP from Tamil Nadu’s Shivaganga constituency Karti Chidambaram tweeted three images on Saturday night. Two of them show PM Modi cleaning the beach and the third image  of an equipped camera crew in action. He wrote Jai Shree Ram as the caption of the tweet.

India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found Karti’s post to be misleading. The viral image showing the camera crew is not related to PM Modi’s Mamallapuram beach cleaning event. This image is around 14 years old and was taken at West Sands beach, beside St. Andrews Cathedral in Fife, Scotland, by a TV production crew.  Here is something read in India Today web.  AFWA probe: ~ the initial reason for suspicion was that the crew comprised mostly of what looked like foreigners. A few users, including Twitter handle @pillai_007, pointed out on Karti’s post that the same viral picture was taken from the webpage of Tayscreen.

Tayscreen is an organisation based in Dundee City, Scotland, UK, which works with various government councils of Scotland in media production-related activities. A much bigger picture of the viral image with a wider horizon and background can be found on the Tayscreen website. In this image, one can see old European structures with two spires and a tower in the background. A combination of reverse image and keyword search indicated that the location of the viral image is West Sands beach, Fife, Scotland.  With the help of satellite images and Google street view, they  could locate and identify the two monumental spires and towers in the background as ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Rules Tower in Fife, Scotland. These historic structures can be seen from the West Sands beach, where the camera crew can be seen shooting with equipment.

India Today posted that, therefore, we can say that one of the viral images which Karti Chidambaram posted on Twitter along with PM Narendra Modi’s pictures from Mamallapuram was unrelated, and hence the post is misleading. However, we could not verify whether any crew was present at the spot while PM Modi was cleaning the beach. But the viral image used by Karti to show the camera crew was taken around 2005 in Scotland. Even Karti later clarified in a separate tweet that he was wrong in his choice of one photo.

In this beautiful World, it is easier criticising and finding fault with action of others. WE can make a difference to the place around us – all that is required is ‘indomitable will, few leading from the front and people cooperating ’ –  In 2014, Tripllicanies saw vinyl banners dotting the Mada veethis of Thiruvallikkeni – SYMA  launched a ‘Cleaning Campaign’ – not a single day job – with vision to keep Streets of Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam clean.   

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a great beginning with his pet initiative -  Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.  The Corporation of Chennai also launched a public campaign through various forums, including social networking sites, for a `Clean Chennai' and to promote source segregation of waste. The Civic body’s aim was  to make it ‘clean Chennai’  urging the residents to take a green pledge and do their part in keeping  their home, street, work space and city clean and free from litter.

                       7th December 2014 [Sunday] catalysed Triplicane residents into action. With brooms in their hands, pledge on their lips imbued with enthusiasm to make the Divyadesam, a model place – a clean, hygiene place – volunteers of SYMA and passionate residents went around Mada  Streets launching cleanliness campaign making the Streets around the Temple – ‘Litter-free Zone’, a clean area, where bakthas can walk with bare-foot around the Temple.  SYMA was at the forefront in making the residents of Triplicane realise that a clean litter-free environment is possible, if only, we all dedicate ourselves in that.

For four  months, SYMA undertook to maintain the mada veethis spending, creating additional infrastructure, involving locals in a  “Pilot Project”.  We went on door to door campaign seeking support and urging the citizens to keep the streets clean.   

b u t  ~ the result was not a huge success.  We realised painfully that it is not as easy as it was thought out to be.  Though we were at the forefront spending some money for a noble public cause and seemingly Triplicane was with us, the project’s success could not be continued .. however we see it as a worthy beginning.  Triplicane has some Street organsiations continuing this well and there is a joint action group too.

Moral : do not waste time in criticising act of others and trying to find fault with others.  Support every action done with good intention and in the interests of the Society.  Appreciate the efforts of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji.

SYMA in service to Society
Yours Truly – S. Sampathkumar, Secretary, SYMA
14th Oct 2019.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

How Chinese President Xi Jinping travelled to Mahabalipuram !


We were seeing Fiat, Standard 10 and Ambassador cars on the streets when in 1985, Ravi Shastri was the Champion of Champions in World Championship in Australia and was  awarded an Audi 100 sedan.  Our feeling was Krish Srikkanth deserved the award more .. .. and by a special order of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Indian customs waived the heavy import duty the car entailed. At that time, the cricketer said he did not have a driving licence.

Have not heard much about this luxury car – ‘Hongqi H7’ manufactured by the Chinese manufacturer FAW under the Hongqi marque. FAW Group Corporation ("First Automobile Works") is a Chinese state-owned automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Changchun, Jilin, China.  Its principal products are automobiles; buses; light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks and auto parts. FAW is one of the "Big Four" Chinese automakers alongside Changan Automobile, Dongfeng Motor Corporation, and SAIC Motor.

The earlier version,  big beauty,  Hongqi L5, was touted the most expensive Chinese car, costing  five million yuan or $760,000; approx Rs.5.40 crores. Hongqi  company is famous for its enormous state limousines and parade cars. The frame is made of metal and the flag is made of glass.  Hongqi L5 is a giant car; 5.55 meters long, just over two meters wide, 1.5 meters high, and with a wheelbase of 3.4 meters. To put that into perspective: the current Mercedes-Maybach S600 is 5.2 meters long. The L5 is also very heavy, even in this non-armored civilian form. It weighs an incredible 3150 kilo, compared with "just" 2390 kilo for the Mercedes. The engine that has to move all those kilos is a 6.0 liter V12.  Fuel consumption is a mystery as well but bet it drinks a lot; that way  has a capacity of 105 litre.

When Govt heads visit other countries, lot of preparatory work and lot of intelligence work takes place.  Nothing is left to chance ~ most Head of the States travel in their own vehicle and their limousines travel by air preceding them.  In US, the  Presidential state car is the official state car used by the President of the United States. A variety of vehicles have both officially and unofficially been acknowledged as the presidential vehicle.  The most recent vehicle to be customized as the presidential car is a Chevrolet Kodiak-based, Cadillac-badged limousine often referred to as Cadillac One  as also ‘The Beast’.

A few years ago, US President Barack Obama was on a historical trip to Israel ~ the whole World was closely observing the development.  During the meticulously planned trip, can you imagine, the US President's $1.5m 'Beast' broke down and had to be  towed away in a recovery vehicle …… and can you imagine the reason !!! ~ media reports suggested that  the  armored limo broke down on the way to the airport.  The custom General Motors Cadillac limo was relegated to a pick up truck  because  the driver had accidentally put gas in the tank instead of diesel. The 18-foot car has an tank that holds 6.5 liters of diesel, and does not work when given gas.  Following that silly mistake, the President was forced to use the second vehicle that they brought over from the U.S.

Our Ex-President Pratibha Patil was provided a Mercedes Benz S600L Pullman, an armoured car whose special protection features provides cover from military-standard small-arms projectiles and fragments from hand grenades and other explosives. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh used a two B5-level armoured BMW 7 Series car.  The cost of the car of the President was  estimated to be around Rs 6 crore. During Shri Narendra Modiji's time as the Gujarat Chief Minister as well as during the promotional campaign in his run-up to becoming the Prime Minister,  Mahindra Scorpio remained an integral part of the politician's career. The SUV, armoured nevertheless, was synonymous with  Modiji
and was the vehicle he was driven-in to the Rashtrapati Bhawan for his swearing in ceremony.

Now for the meet at Mahabalipuram, PM Narendra Modi landed in Chennai and flew to Mamallapuram by helicopter, but President Xi covered the 57 km journey by road travelling. Chinese President Xi Jinping opted to travel to tourist town Mamallapuram by road instead of a helicopter as Chinese leaders, as matter of policy, shun travel by choppers.  Xi covered the 57 km journey to Mamallapuram from Chennai, where he is staying in a hotel, by road travelling in a specially flown in "Hongqi" limousine. The "Hongqi" is a luxury Chinese car used by leaders of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) from the time of its founder Mao Zedong. In Chinese, "hongqi" means the red flag.

Chinese leaders, almost as a rule, don't use helicopters, the foreign ministry officials in Beijing said. "Chinese leaders travel by planes and cars and don't use helicopters," they said, when asked why the president chose a long car journey over a chopper ride during his India visit. Even when attending multilateral meetings, like the G20, Xi shunned the use of helicopters, the officials said. Xi, who is now the most powerful leader in China after Mao, heading the CPC, the military and the presidency with a prospect of staying in power for life after last year's constitutional amendment removing the two term rule for presidency, had introduced the practice of using the "Hongqi", similar to the US president travelling in a specialised Cadillac vehicle named "The Beast".

The first time Xi ferried Chinese-made vehicles was during his state visit to New Zealand in 2014, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported earlier. At the tme, Xi had opted for two Hongqi L5 cars. Xi rode on bulletproof Hongqi limousines during his three-nation tour of the Southeast Asia and the Pacific in April this year. The move was seen as an attempt to promote the Chinese brand on the international stage, in line with Xi's own 2012 directive to Communist Party cadre that they must eschew foreign wheels in favour of Chinese vehicles. It was seen as a defiant response to the actions and criticism that have been thrown at China by America's outspoken, Cadillac-riding president Donald Trump in his current trade war with China, it said.

"The Americans don't trust local security so they always bring their own [cars]," one spokesperson  said and added - "but I don't think the use of Hongqi is for the same reason." Mao used it during US President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China in the 1970s. But starting in the 1990s, the brand fell out of favour as Chinese leaders switched to using imported vehicles. Xi, in a 2012 speech to Communist Party cadre, said that China's leaders should only use Chinese cars. After Xi's speech, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi began using a Hongqi H7 as his official vehicle in 2013 and started providing Hongqi cars for the motorcades of visiting foreign leaders, according to the Morning Post's report.

Xi Jinping’s car can travel at a top speed of 400km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100kmph in just 1.9seconds, but the Chinese President decided to slow it down to savour the drive down scenic East Coast Road. Instead of zooming past, witnesses said the speed of the luxury vehicle was reduced to 30km/hr-40km/hr along the route to Mamallapuram. On Saturday, Xi’s convoy, which includes ambulances, a quick reaction team, a commando force apart from jammer vehicles, took 50 minutes to reach Chennai airport at 1.30pm from Mamallapuram. Usually, VVIP conyoys take only 30 minutes to cover the 50km distance.

In his car, the President travelled with his driver and a Chinese escort officer during the two-day visit to Chennai and Mamallapuram. Usually, when a head of state visits India, the ministry of home affairs deputes an IPS rank officer to accompany them and they also work as liaison officers. But Xi declined the offer of an Indian as a liaison officer. “As this was an informal meeting between the two leaders, we humbly accepted the request,” said a senior police officer.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Oct 2019.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

#WelcomeModiji ~ meet at Mamallapuram making global waves


The meet is making waves globally !  ~ #WelcomeModi @ Mamallapuram.

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived to a lavish welcome in the southern Indian city of Chennai for his second informal summit with Indian Prime Minister on 11.10.2019.  Xi was treated to a performance showcasing the local Tamil traditional dance forms on the runway.  Visiting Chennai for his second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping opted to travel to tourist town Mamallapuram by road instead of a helicopter as Chinese leaders, as matter of policy, shun travel by choppers.

While PM Modi, who landed in Chennai earlier, flew to Mamallapuram by helicopter, Xi covered the 57 km journey to Mamallapuram from Chennai, where he is staying in a hotel, by road travelling in a specially flown in "Hongqi" limousine. The "Hongqi" is a luxury Chinese car used by leaders of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) from the time of its founder Mao Zedong. In Chinese, "hongqi" means the red flag.

Chinese newspapers are full of appreciative coverage for this significant event. CHENNAI, India, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed here Friday to promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations to achieve joint development and prosperity. Xi and Modi held their second informal meeting in the southern Indian city of Chennai following their first in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in April last year, screamed SCMP.

During Xi's trip from hotel to Mahabalipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, people from all walks of life, including young students, lined the streets waving Chinese and Indian national flags, with young men and women in Indian traditional costumes singing and dancing, to welcome the Chinese president for his visit. Receiving Xi at the entrance, Modi also extended warm welcome to the Chinese president. Xi recalled his successful meeting with Modi in Wuhan last year, which brought China-India relations into a new stage, and said that he is delighted to come to Tamil Nadu in southern India to further learn about the country.

Modi gave Xi a guided tour of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, which were built during 7th and 8th century and includes Arjuna's Penance, Panch Rathas, Shore Temple and other monuments. The two leaders held an extensive talk during the tour on dialogue and mutual learning among civilizations. Tamil Nadu, a maritime transit hub for cargoes in the ancient Silk Road, has a long history of exchanges with China and close connections with China on maritime trade since ancient times, Xi said. Both as ancient civilizations with several thousand years of history, China and India have carried on their exchanges and mutual learning till this day, he said.

The two countries' ancestors have overcome various obstacles to carry out extensive exchanges and promote the development of literature, art, philosophy and religion, which have greatly benefited both sides, Xi said. Noting that China-India cultural and people-to-people exchanges bear great potential, the Chinese president urged both countries to take the 70th anniversary of China-India diplomatic relations next year as an opportunity to conduct broader and deeper cultural and people-to-people exchanges. He also called on the two countries to jointly advocate and push forward dialogue and exchanges among different civilizations, so as to inject more lasting driving force into the development of bilateral ties and continue to produce new glory for Asian civilizations.

Modi told Xi that the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram is an outstanding example of India's cultural heritage and architecture, and witnessed India and China's civilization exchanges and historical connections for more than a dozen centuries. After their development for several thousand years, India and China have both become important emerging economies, Modi said, stressing that enhancing exchanges and cooperation bears great significance to the two countries and will promote global progress and prosperity. The wisdom from the two countries' ancient and profound civilizations can provide inspiration for solving various challenges facing the world today, said the Indian prime minister.

Accompanied by Modi, Xi watched Bharatanatyam and other Indian classical dances, which represent ancient Indian civilization. In the Shore Temple on the coast of the Indian Ocean, Xi and Modi talked about the domestic development of China and India and exchanged experience in state governance. The two leaders agreed that China and India should respect and learn from each other so as to jointly achieve common development and prosperity, as well as the great rejuvenation of the two civilizations.

Political watchers on both sides say the meeting – which takes place in Mamallapuram, a coastal town about 50km south of Chennai – is aimed at thawing a chill in relations that has been fuelled by China supporting Pakistan’s opposition to India’s move to strip the Kashmir region of its autonomy. Like the first informal summit held last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, officials from both sides said there will not be a fixed agenda. The choice of Mamallapuram, a southern coastal town popular among tourists, was a  natural one, said sources on the Indian side. The former trading centre used to be ruled by Pallavas, a powerful fourth-century dynasty that first established trading relations with China. “Such historic ties between India and China make the summit’s location in Mamallapuram apt,” Tamil Nadu chief minister EK Palaniswami said on Friday. Apart from the ancient links, the town also saw a more recent Chinese connection. Zhou Enlai, the first premier of China, came to the town as part of his India trip in 1956, at a time when bilateral ties were on the upswing. After visiting the state-owned Integral Coach Factory, which made railway coaches, Zhou praised the establishment. “This is a modern coach factory. It is worthwhile for the Chinese to come and learn. This factory is well-built and well-organised. The technology and training given are very good,” he wrote in its guest register.

Hashtags are among the several tools offered in the website that allows online users to locate and become part of discussions that they?re interested in.  Twitter allows users to provide tweets or posts with a maximum of 140 characters only. You can also locate other users and companies on the social media platform and follow those whom you find interesting. Other users on Twitter can also follow your account.  Twitter hashtags help make disparate posts and conversations centered around the same topic easier to find and search.  Hashtags are formed by using the pound sign (#) in front of a word with no punctuation or spaces.    Trending topics can involve a variety of topics covering politics, the entertainment industry, other current and world issues and even everyday mundane things. The hashtag #election, for instance, got 43,400 tweets at its peak during the Nov 6, 2012 US presidential election.

A probe by intelligence agencies has shown the #GoBack Modi trend on Twitter, noticed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Tamil Nadu, was energetically promoted by handles linked to Pakistanis who have a history of acting in tandem on social media with extremist groups. This time the agencies tracked the handles and profiles and detected a common thread of anti-India propaganda. Indian agencies had been observing a #GoBack Modi campaign on Twitter when Modi was in Tamil Nadu . While there is a possibility of Modi facing opposition in the state where DMK remains an opposition, investigators were intrigued by the intensity of the campaig, said sources. An investigation carried out by agencies revealed the role of pro-Pakistan handles with a long history of acting in tandem with military establishment in that country.
For instance, @MuzammilAslam3 congratulated @ImranKhanPTI and @Official DGISPR — verified handles of the Pakistani PM and Pakistan Army spokesperson respectively — on Friday afternoon over #GoBackModi trending on Facebook. Sad that some locals are trying to trend the hashtag without ever realizing the Nation’s need and significance.
Shri Modiji in traditional veshti is a real National honour and he has taken our Nation to great heights.  We heartily welcome respected Prime Minister Modiji #WelcomeModiji

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th Oct 2019.