Friday, 31 August 2012

My first try at digital art!

I've always been interested in art. I sketch certain things when I get a chance. But before I continue I must say I am an amateur! I recently downloaded a sketchbook app on my macbook. I thought I'd try converting one of my sketches into digital art. The art I picked was a sketch I had done of jaguar E-type. So this is how much I've progressed:

My initial sketch
The outline created using sketchbook app
After addition of colour
I'll still keep working on it. I created the final picture by using many layers. I used different layers to lay down my initial sketch, the outline, the base colour, the aluminium work(Grey), the reflections. By merging all the layers, I got the final image. I was pretty pleased with the result since it was my first time.

You can also use, pinta or adobe photoshop to create your own artwork. Hope you guys give it a shot. Happy drawing!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Moment

By Namita Anil Kumar
A couple of days ago I was on stumble upon and I came across a website that hosted innovative videos. One of the videos were truly inspiring. The video was about what signifies a moment. Well, it got me thinking. What signifies a moment?

I am not talking about moment - an interval of time. I want to know what makes a person tell "That was a special moment in my life!"

According to the dictionary a moment is - "A particular period of importance, influence, or significance in a series of events or developments" (

That doesn't even begin to describe a moment! So lets get down to it. According to me, a description of a moment varies from person to person. Just like how I said that definition of 'Win' differs from person to person. To understand the meaning of a moment, I thought it would be best to consider some examples:

The first thing that comes to my mind is my dog. I would consider the first time she came home as a great moment. She was just a pup. She was excited, scared. She missed her mum. That night, she fell asleep on my lap. Just looking back at that moment, brings a smile upon my face.

I guess for parents, the first time they laid eyes on their kid would qualify to a beautiful moment. For them, almost every point of time they made progress with their kid is a spectacular moment. The first word, the first step, the first shot, the first day of school are all significant moments.

A moment needn't be a happy one. It could be painful. It could the first you fell down off your bicycle; The first time someone broke your heart; The first time someone yelled at you or the other way around;  The time you lost a loved one; Or it could just be a horrible nightmare. It might have been terrible, but it is something you look back upon. It isn't easily forgotten.

A moment could even be a silly one like the first candy; the first time you saw a clown; the time you made a fool out of yourself. It might be the most stupid moment. But it is some thing to laugh about after the moment passed.

A moment could be one of anxiety. The first time you had perform on stage; A time when you had to stand up against wrong doing; If you are able to overcome your fear and accomplish the task at hand, you end up creating a proud moment.

A moment could be very brief, even just a second. It could a period when you received a compliment. It could be a giggle. It could also be the first time you used a foul word. You might not remember those moments now. But at that time, it made you think.

A moment could be sad, scary, happy or angry. There are many sorts of moments. The above mentioned instances were just a few that ran through my mind as I watched that video I mentioned in the beginning. I have provided the link to the video. So, I ask you, to take a moment to look at it.

There are so many moments in our lives. Some we remember, and some we don't. I guess, a moment is a period which has an impact on us. Finally, we are the ones who create them. So go out! Create some beautiful moments!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The SIMPLE bicycle pump

There are so many items we use in our daily lives. But, do we know how these items work? It will amaze you when you learn how much of thought is gone in to making these important, yet simple articles. In this post I wanted to look at the working of a simple bicycle pump.

Here is the layout of a bicycle pump: 

Created by Namita Anil Kumar
It consists of 7 basic parts:
  1. Body - The outside of the pump.
  2. Compression Chamber - The area where the air is stored and undergoes compression.
  3. Hose - Connects the compression chamber to the tyre valve.
  4. Piston - Compresses the air.
  5. Inlet Valve - A one way valve valve that allows air to flow into the compression chamber.
  6. Outlet Valve - A one way valve that allows the air from the compression chamber to flow through the hose.
  7. Handle


The functions of each part will be evident by looking at the mechanism of the pump.
  • Consider a pump with its piston is at the lowest position. At this position the space with in the body above the piston is filled with air from outside the body. At this point both the valves are closed. The hose is attached to the tyre valve. In the first step, the user pulls the handle up. When the hose is connected to the tyre the air present in the tyre occupies the the space in the hose. But the air in the hose doesn't enter the compression chamber due to the outlet valve.

    • Piston rises & Air enters: 
    When the user puls the handle upwards the piston rises. When the piston rises the inlet valve opens and the air from the area on top of the piston is pushed into the compression chamber. The air flows through the inlet valve. The inlet valve does not allow the air to flow back out of the compression chamber. During this process the outlet valve remains closed.

    • Piston lowers: 
    When the user pushes the handle downwards the piston lowers. When the piston lowers the air in the compression chamber gets compressed. During this process the inlet valve is closed. And the outlet valve is remains closed till a particular extent. While the piston is lowered fresh air is sucked into the area above the piston from outside the body of the pump.

    • Outlet valve opens & Tyre inflates:
    When the piston is lowered the pressure of the air in compression chamber increases due to compression. When the pressure of the air in the chamber exceeds the pressure of the air in the hose (ai that was previously present in the tyre), the outlet valve opens. Then the compressed air enters through the outlet valve and the hose, into the tyre. 

    Then the process repeats itself. On further pulling and pushing of the handle the tyre finally inflates.

    This is the working of a basic bicycle pump. Certain pumps can be fitted with a pressure gauge.

    Pumps vary upon the types of valves that are used. None the less the working principle is the same as mentioned above i.e. they all open when the pressure exceeds a particular level.

    *all the images have been created by myself, Namita Anil Kumar.

    So now that you know how a pump works, I hope you acknowledge its technology the next time you use your pump (assuming you ride a bicycle). Happy riding!

    Friday, 24 August 2012

    Perseverance - A feisty thing!

    I recently was working on an artwork on my laptop. After completing 75% of the work, the application hung and it showed one of the most dreadful notifications - "Application not responding"! All that work down the drain. Those hours of effort fighting against the cramps in your hand, in vain. I agree that the work I was doing is of no significance. But it was something of my interest. And when it comes to activities that interest me, I carry it out with some dedication. I believe most of you will find this feeling quite mutual. I spent the proceeding hour in absolute anger. Well, I am quite sensible, I should have saved my work. I am still quite angry at the application which failed. But, mainly I am angry at myself. Anyway, I moved on. I restarted my work from scratch and I made sure I saved my work more often. So, I guess I've learnt my lesson.

    After that event I realised that many a times there are certain bumps that occur. Showing your frustation is completely justified. According to me, we have to show our anger. Its best to get it out of our systems. Well people deal with that part in different ways. I just show my frustration until I run out steam. Others might resort to some sort of meditation. And some others might just try to divert themselves by doing some other work. This part is not in my line of focus right now. I want to think about what follows the annoyance. People go about the situation in basically two manners: some give up and take up another activity; others give the operation another try. The later shows perseverance!

    Lets look at the people who persevere and go for the second attempt. Not all of them will succeed. The ones who succeed are the ones who would have learnt from their mistakes and would have gone about the exercise in a better, well thought out manner.

    The ones who fail are of two types. The first type, they would have learnt from their mistakes and taken a different path, but they still wouldn't have reached their destination. But there is a chance that their new path could have taken them closer. So, on consecutive trials by learning from their previous trials, they will eventually reach their goal. I call this Practical Perseverance.
    The second type, (or as I like to call it the good-for-nothing) are those who go about the task in the same manner as they did in the first trial. These guys will obviously fail because they repeat their mistakes. I call this The Good-for-nothing Perseverance.

    Now, for all those who go about the Good-for-nothing Perseverance, "S.F x2":
    S- Stop what you are doing
    F- Forget everything about your method because obviously its pointless
    S- Start again from scratch
    F- Focus through the entire process. The key is to get rid of distractions!
    Its a recipe for "Stalled Success"! Haha! Hopefully we don't need to come across it.

    Now for those on Practical perseverance. I'm sure its agreeable that it gets terribly irritating! To go for it again and again, thinking every step over, and end up failing. I hate to accept it. But, its because of lack of focus. The only solution is to concentrate harder. And of course, S.F x2 will help.

    Just go for it. By persevering in the right manner, you'll reach your goal! We can do it! I know you have heard this many a times before. But its very apt to end this post by quoting Edison:

    "If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

    Wednesday, 22 August 2012

    Rock n roll ain't noise pollution!

    By wonker
    The success of one the greatest rock bands of all time AC/DC began with the singer Bon SCott. But due to Bon Scott's unfortunate death the band thought of disbanding. But on insistence of Scott's parents they continued to make music. The new lead singer for the band was Brian Johnson.

    They set to work on their album "Back in Black" which they had starting composing with Scott. After its release "Back in Black" went out to become AC/DC's best selling album. And why wouldn't it? It exquisite songs like "You shook me all night long" where Johnson's singing capability was evident; "Hell's Bell" which conveys a dark and interesting story"; "Rock n roll ain't noise pollution" which is my favorite track; and how can you forget the title track which opens with a thrilling riff. But their success didn't stop there.

    Their next album "For those about to, rock we salute you". An interesting fact about this album was that it was inspired by a book written by Angus Young, "For those about to die". The best song in this album was undoubtably the title track which glorifies rock! And the addition of cannons just adds to the greatness of the song. Apart from that, I do like "Let's get it up" mainly because Angus Young's ingenious solo!

    The success unfortunately hit a ridge when they had let go of Phil Rudd, their drummer. He was replaced by Simon Wright. Their next album "Flick of the switch", in which Rudd had participated, did not meet expectations. The same went for the album that followed, "Fly on the wall". The two albums according to the Young brothers, were an attempt to return to their roots. They might not made it to the top of the charts; but I still enjoy listening to "Nervous shakedown" and the title track from "Flick of the switch" and "Shake your foundations" from "Fly on the wall".

    AC/DC came back with the album "Blow up your video". This had wicked songs like "Heatseeker" and "That's the way I wanna rock n roll". It had some other pretty good tracks like "Dynamite", "This means war", "Kissing". But apart from the above mentioned songs, the other tracks led to the album lacking clarity.

    After "Blow up your video", Wright left the band and was replaced Chris Slade. Then they released "Razor's edge" which put them back onto the charts with "Fire your guns", "Money talks" and "Thunderstruck". Thunderstruck is one of my favorites with the inventive opening riff. The rest of the tracks weren't great. Still AC/DC were back!

    AC/DC was still missing something. But that came back when they rehired Phil Rudd! They popped out "Ballbreaker" which had some really rocker songs like "Hail Caesar", "Hard as a rock" and "Cover you in oil". Apart from the three tracks mentioned "Ballbreaker" was a bit of a let down.

    Everything changed for the good when they came out with "Stiff upper lip". The title track which packed with power was the best! There were other good songs like "Satellite blues" and "Safe in new york city". This album managed to bring back some of the spark they had in "Back in Black".

    Things just peaked for AC/DC when they released "Black ice". This album was everything that AC/DC stood for...hardcore rock n roll! Almost all the tracks were rapturing! It had "Rock n roll train" where the Young brothers did their thing! Then there was "Spoilin' for a fight" which fist clenching wicked. This album was raw and undisputedly one of AC/DC's best.

    Well that covers up all the albums. AC/DC experienced a lot of ups and downs. But the music never stopped. Even after so many years they still knew how to rock n roll.  I guess its true "It ain't over till the fat lady sings". Wel, that is AC/DC. A band that makes rough, enticing, hard core rock music which makes them one of the most influential rock n roll bands of all time. If you are an AC/DC fan, well I hope you are looking forward to their new album which will hopefully be released in 2013(which will also mark their 40th anniversary). I know I am waiting very eagerly...

    For those about to rock, we salute you!
    Ain't gonna get tired, won't take a break, we salute you!
    We salute you!

    Monday, 20 August 2012

    Let there be rock!
    By Yannick Croissant
    I don't listen much to Australian rock bands. I don't know the reason why. I guess I never gave it a try. But no matter how ignorant one is in the subject of Australian rock bands, they will undoubtably know about AC/DC. Its impossible not to have at least heard the name. I mean, they are only one of the greatest rock bands in history. Yes, of course Led Zeppelin is top of my list. None the less AC/DC isn't that far off.

    AC/DC was founded by two brothers - Angus Young(Lead guitar) and Malcolm Young(Rhythms) in the year 1973. Their initial lead singer Dave Evens left in the early stages. The band line up underwent a lot of changes. But mainly it included the Young brothers and Bon Scott as the new lead singer. But soon they had they're first album out, "High voltage". Not many are familiar with all the songs of this album. Many, includes even me. That is probably because AC/DC were still in the making. Also, most of the songs stayed with Australia. But on the other hand, they released a single High voltage which was later the first song that was recorded for the album "T.N.T". I absolutely love that song. You can just imagine the crowd singing along when Bon Scott sang "High, I said high, High voltage, Rock and Roll".

    After the release of their first album, the band included the Young brothers, Bon Scott, Mark Evans(Bassist) and Phil Rudd(Drummer). This followed by the release of a single "Its a long way to the top" which was considered as their anthem. And who wouldn't consider it a ecstatic song. It even included Bag pipes! The song was about how hard it is to survive in the world of rock n roll. They included this song in their second album "T.N.T". T.N.T like High voltage before was limited to Australia.

    After gaining some international success after releasing some of their tracks from the first 2 albums, they released their next album "Dirty deeds done dirt cheap". This album had two versions, Australian and International. The two versions varied in terms of track listings. I am not a huge fan of this album. I always felt it lacked something. But I still enjoy singing along to "Dirty deeds done dirt cheap".

    Let there be sound, and there was sound
    Let there be light, and there was light
    Let there be drums, and there was drums
    Let there be guitar, there was guitar
    Let there be rock!
    A brilliant song. It plays off the bible i.e. "Let there be light". Especially the the final verses which is followed by the guitar solo by young is truly exhilarating. The album "Let there be rock" also had memorable songs like "Whole lotta rosie" and "Dog eat Dog".

    After the release of "Let there be rock", Mark Evans was replaced by Cliff Williams. He debuted with he release of "Powerage" which had a great song "Rock and roll damnation". AC/DC shot to fame with their next album - "Highway to hell". An album filled with unforgettable songs like "Shot down in flames",  "Touch too much", "If you want blood", "Night prowler" and not to forget "Highway to hell". This was the last album recorded with Bon Scott who passed away. The band had plans of disbanding after Scott's, but decided otherwise when Scott's parents urged them to continue. The replacement was Brian Johnson. Scott's death did mark the end of an era. But the songs he wrote will live on. AC/DC didn't stop there. They went to create ingenious music with Johnson as lead. But that is for another time. Till then:

    I tell you folks
    Its harder than it looks
    Its a long way to the top
    If you wanna rock n roll!

    Friday, 17 August 2012

    Train of thought

    We've all been there. Lazy afternoons, sitting either at home or a cafe, having absolutely nothing to do but just sit there. As time flies, you find yourself pondering about vivid ideas. You leap from one thought to another without your notice. Before you know it you would have run through dozens of ideas and you'd be wondering what your first thought was. The particular phenomenon is called the train of thought. I find it absolutely amazing that the human mind can do that. Its brilliant!

    The first thought could be anything. An event that took place that day. It could be something your friend said. It could be something that happened somewhere else in some other period of time. It could be something that is unrelated to you. It could be of major significance like the thought of a world war or of minor significance like the thought of a missing aglet. Just one thought and the train takes course from there. It travels to stations that are miles apart or yards apart.

    Speaking about stations, there has to be certain rails connecting them. The connection between thoughts aren't always obvious.  The connections could be distinct. For instance, when you jump from the thought of one friend to another, its evident that the connection is the fact that they are both your friends. Here's the blue-print of a train of thought where the connection is pretty distinct:

    Basketball -> NBA -> Competitions -> Olympics -> Many Nationalities -> France -> Eiffel Tower -> Creme Brûlée -> Food -> Bread ->  Croissants -> Austria -> Germany -> Hitler

    But just take a look at the start: Basketball and the end: Hitler. When you think of them individually, they seem like they have nothing in common. But the connection is well defined above.

    The above instance showed how thoughts are connected. Sometimes it might appear as if two thoughts are unrelated. But, if we do have a look at our intricate labyrinth of thoughts, the link between the thoughts will become relevant to us.

    Train of thoughts needn't occur only to one person. To say it in a simpler manner, there could be two passengers travelling together in the train. This usually happens while amidst a conversation with another. This has happened to me many a times. When I talk a friend, we start with a particular topic and end up jumping to other topics. I'm sure you have experienced it too.

    I end up in the train of thought at least twice a day. I guess that indicates the fact that I don't have much work to do per day. Well, to that, I agree completely. Haha, talk about honesty! But I have enjoyed each and every trip I have taken. It is a very splendid way of spending time, be for a short or a long travel. I can't wait for my next trip. Heck, why wouldn't I look forward? Its free!

    Sunday, 12 August 2012

    A perfect sunday

    Its sunday!!! The day of the week we all look forward to! Even when it is a sunday, we're looking forward to the next sunday! Any person who is either working or a student treats sunday as a gift. A day that is so anticipated should be spent appropriately. And I bet, we all at least try spending it appropriately, in our own ways.

    Some of us might spend it at the movies. My Mum loves the movies. I on the other hand am not a huge fan. Those sort of people find it wonderful to get out of the house, travel all the way to the movies. They love to get some munchies and just settle down in their seat. I do not go for movies unless the film is worth watching. Like I've said before, I'm slightly lazy. There is a lot of effort that has to be put in. You have to travel all the way to the cinemas and make sure you are on time. Then, you have to find your seat in the dark. Also, not to forget the elaborate process of getting past all the legs to get to your seat. Then there is the intermission (which probably exists only in India) in the middle of the movie which you have to go through. The bad part of the intermission is not the waiting. The bad part is what follows the intermission - people coming in after the movie re-starts who end up blocking your view while they try getting to their seat. All this effort will be in vain if you end up not liking the film! I might not like the movies, but I still like spending time with people I like watching something together.

    While some people head to the movies, others might just like to spend time with friends. The gathering could be anywhere. As long as their friends are there, it doesn't matter. You could do anything. Go get a bite to eat; play a sport. Of course how can you forget parties? Its really nice to have fun with friends. I enjoy spending time with my friends. We play around, have lunch together. We laugh on top of our lungs. I'd consider my group of friends to be pretty crazy. But, hanging out with friends on a sunday? No, that isn't befitting for me. Any other day of the week, I'd join them without giving it a second thought.

    What about avid cooks? My mum loves cooking. She makes brilliant dishes on sundays. I guess she finds it very soothing. I have friends who love to bake. Bread making! Get up early, get all of your ingredients. Then mix them all together. Then starts the mammoth task of kneading! Knead and rest. Knead and rest. Finally its into the oven. Then comes the best part: Breaking the bread and eating it! I'm a terrible cook. I struggle to make microwavable dishes! So obviously, I don't spend my sundays cooking. But if there are people who love cooking elaborate dishes on sundays, I'd be glad to join them for a meal!

    Shopping! I absolutely dread it! Going to malls and waiting in queue for the trial rooms. Throughout this entire process, you have bear the horrible music that they play. Shopping on sundays has another negative that is the huge crowds!!! Everyone knows that malls are full of people on sundays.

    I crossed out many ways of spending a sunday. So, how do I like my sundays?? Well, I like to get up very late, have my coffee. Then watch a movie or read a book or write something. And during the evening I like to spend some time playing with my dog. I like quiet sundays. I am an example of the phrase "Lazing on a sunday afternoon". Well I pretty much know how I like my sundays. How about you?

     Hope you have a perfect sunday!

    Thursday, 9 August 2012

    Landscaping - part II

    In my last post, I covered the first two steps of landscaping, that were:
    Step 1: Planning
    Step 2: Procuring plants and manure

    Now for the rest of the steps.

    Step 3: Execution of 3 the stages
    1. De-planting and Fertilizing: The title states it pretty clearly. Get rid off all the unnecessary plants. You can also create slopes in the garden like tiny hills. Then loosen the soil and mix it with a good content of manure. Once you finish adding the manure, leave it over night. Stage 1 complete!
    2. Planting: Follow the design and plant accordingly. You can always improvise too. While planting your shrubs, keep in mind the distance that you have to keep between two shrub saplings. You want them to be able to grow and slightly overlap each other, so that they form a continuous line. In my case I planted a sapling per foot. But the distance will vary depending upon the type of shrub. Stage 2 complete!
    3. Laying of the Lawn: That is pretty clear. If you have any rock garden or stepping stones(or tiles), first lay the lawn and then arrange your stones. That way, the lawn will engulf the stone. You can always grow creepers instead of lawn too. Stage 3 complete!
    Step 4: Maintenance 
    This is the never ending step. You have to tend to your garden. Else, you'll be right back at square one: over-grown jungle. Water the plants at least every other day.

    Here are certain extra yet crucial pointers
    • If you grow a creeper, pay extra attention to them, because creepers can provider a good habitat for rodents. 
    • Similarly a rock garden can become a home for insects. So, keep an eye on them!
    • If your soil is devoid of nutrients. Then just fertilizer won't cut it. You might even have to get some bags of nutrient rich mud and mix it with your soil while you are adding the fertilizer.
    • This is a funny, but very important point - If you have a pet, make sure its potty trained!
    • If you are not an avid gardener, then plant flowers that bloom all through the year. That way, your garden will always look pretty.

    You can also plant a vegetable garden in one of your phases. Nothing is tastier than something picked out from your own garden. Hope your garden turns out great! Happy gardening!

    Landscaping - part I

    My mother recently gave me the job of redoing the garden. Honestly, the garden looked pretty much like a overgrown jungle, if there is a such. Well, I took up the task and set to work.

    Many people think of redoing their garden. But unfortunately it doesn't always go as planned. That is probably the reason why people hire professional landscapers. For those who can't or don't want to hire a landscaper, I developed an easy way of getting your garden into tiptop condition. I'm pretty sure many leave their garden untended because of the lack of time, though they want to do the opposite. My method is an organised way, which saves a lot of time.

    STEP 1: Planning
    I suggest you should keep a small notebook in order to keep track of your plan and progress. Take a look at your garden are and make a rough sketch of how you want the garden to look.

    While designing, you have to break up your garden into parts, or as I call them phases. Each phase will undergo three stages each: De-planting & fertilizing, planting and finally laying of the lawn. Design each phase separately. While carrying out of the steps, you can do it in two ways:

    • Slow and steady: Approach each phase separately. Complete all the stages of each phase and then move to the next. You can spend three days on each phase, completing a stage per day. I did it using this method mainly because I'm a bit lazy. This method consumes less of your time per day. But it'll take quite a lot of days before you can complete your garden.
    • Turbo-charged: Approach all phases simultaneously. Here you will have to complete one stage of all phases and then move onto the next stage. You can complete one stage per day. If you have few consecutive free days with absolutely nothing to do other than gardening, you can use this method. It is a very tiring method.

    You can carry out the steps in any manner that is befitting. You can combine the above two methods to get a satisfying way.

    Leave certain plants, which you like untouched. Build your garden around those plants. They are the centres of attraction. You can grow small shrubs around that plant in a sort of curve. You do not want an overcrowded garden. Having certain plants as the Centres Of Attraction (COA) gives the garden a simple yet beautiful look. They will be like the how the centrepieces of a flower arrangement are at the weddings.

    If you do not have an plant you like to be your COA, don't fret. You can buy a nice flower-bearing plant or a small tree. If you go in for a tree, make sure it is not a deep-rooted large tree, because it will disrupt the growth of the plants around it. I would suggest flower bearing plants. After all, they are going to be your centrepieces.

    Phase 1 of my garden has three COAs. I have 3 lines of shrubs. Two of those lines run along the boundary of phase 1 area. The third shrub line runs through the middle curving its way around the COAs. I plan to lay lawn in the open areas between the shrub lines.

    As you can see, there are two grown plants, which are the COAs. The third COA is still growing. The lawn hasn't been laid yet. I have also made a small rock garden in the corner.

    STEP 2: Procuring the plants and manure
    The plants, which have to be brought, can classified into the following types:
    • COA: Plants of a significant height, which are very attractive.
    • Shrubs: Plants of low height, which can be planted along a line.
    • Lawn: You should approximately know the area of the places where you want to lay in square feet while placing the order.
    • Creepers: If you do not want to lay lawn, you can use creepers as a substitute. I suggest you grow creepers in small area. Creepers grown over a large can give the look of swamp sometimes. You can also plant creepers in pots and hang them if you have hooks in your garden.
    You can get these plants at horticulture camps or gardening shops. For those who are in Bangalore, India, you get plants at a reasonable price at Lalbagh. You will need a lot of shrub plants. Do not be alarmed if you even have to buy 30 plants of the same shrub. I had to buy 15, 20, 35 plants of the corresponding plant in the pic above. Ask the attendee at the shop about how large the shrubs will grow and decide accordingly how may you need.

    You will need bags of manure. Do not restrict yourself while buying the manure. You can buy animal dung manure or plant manure, which is made from dead plants. Go for natural manure because they are healthy for the soil.

    Here are a couple of plants I bought:

    I will discuss the next steps in my next post. Till then, happy gardening!

    Monday, 6 August 2012


    I have always been a fan of tennis! And yes, I am a big fan Federer! His accomplishments and the grace with which he played fascinated me. The only thing he was missing was the Olympic gold...the cherry of his truly delicious cake! He had the opportunity to get that gold in the finals 2012. But he didn't snatch it. He failed to beat a person he had beaten just few weeks ago in the same court! As I watched Andy Murray demolish Federer at Wimbledon, I wondered as to watch signifies a win. 

    To a sportsman, a win means a spot on the podium, medals, and breaking records...or is there more to it. Every sport requires sacrifice! Athletes lead a disciplined life. They have to take care of both their physical health and their mental health. They have to maintain a particular diet. They have to train to the maximum extent. In certain sports training starts as early as 13 years old. Those elite athletes are home-schooled because of their training. So most of them are devoid the fun of school. They cannot lead "normal" lives because a sportsman can remain in the sport only till the age of 30 years and in some sports the age limit is lesser. After all the sacrifices, the possibility of an athlete becoming successful is low. So, why do it? The answer is Passion! Ah, passion, we've all heard that before. I agree it is highly necessary. But I cannot believe that an athlete participates in the sport only because of passion. They want to win! They have to win! It is the competitive spirit that drives them. If an athlete loses a match, does it mean that he truly LOST? Was his entire practice in vain? NO! Winners aren't made of only trophies. A winner is people who can get out on to the field and perform their level best. A winner is a person who isn't person who feels dis hearted after a fall, but is keen on getting up and fighting again. A winner is one who accepts their mistakes and wants to correct them!
    businessman on phone by shokunin - That covers sports. What about in the industrial world? Any working person puts in a lot of effort. It is a tough life. Both of my parents work. They don't get much of free time. And they spend quite some time on travel. Certain businessmen live out of a suitcase! This is the case when they are working. Before that, they have to first get a job. In order to do that, they have to have certain educational qualifications. So, there is a lot of years that is spent studying which is not easy...believe me, I am doing it! Its pretty clear as to why a person works...survival. In order to survive they have to win! Now, what is a win, in the business world? The easiest answer would be to say Profit! But it shouldn't only be about profit. A win is when one can deliver beyond the expectations of the customer. A winner is a person who can lead their team to glory and also help the team members grow. A winner is a person who can juggle both professional and personal life efficiently.

    doctor_making_rounds.jpgDoctors! Where would we be without them? It is a universal fact that Doctors lead a hectic life. There is immense amount of studying that goes into becoming a doctor. Free time is very rare gift for doctors. But, even a doctor wants to win! So what is a win for a Doc? Pretty simple answer...It is to be able to save and improve that life of their patient. They are like gladiators trying to outwit death! But, the thing that makes a Doctor a true winner is their ability to go beyond and contribute to making a healthy society.

    Teacher silhouette black and white with desk and blackboard by palomaironique - Teacher silhouette black and white with desk and blackboard - Silhouette en noir et blanc d'une enseignante avec pupitre et tableau noir - Lehrerin Silhouette schwarz und wei� mit Schreibtisch und Tafel - Insegnante sagoma in bianco e nero con scrivania e lavagnaI have talked about studies a lot. A major role in imparting knowledge is "supposedly" carried out by Teachers. I would never consider heading a room filled with an average of 35 imbeciles. Both my grandmothers were teachers. And I believe they were great teachers. I love spending time with my paternal grandma. And, on many occasions, there have been ex-students who come up to her and tell her about how much they loved being her student. My grandmother might not remember most of her students, but they surely remember her. She's even had ex-students who weren't part of her class come and speak to her about how she inspired them! I guess, for a teacher, to be able to succeed in inspiring their students is a win. In that case, both my grandmothers were winners!

    What about the one's who actually do the studying? I am talking about the students. They put in a lot of effort too. They undergo peer pressure too. Is all that studying done to get a job? No, the objective is to learn. According to me, a student wins when they are able to learn, make great friends and succeed in developing as a person. A student is a winner when they study for the sake of learning and not for the sake clearing their exam.

    Well, I've pretty much discussed major fields. But I haven't talked about what I think...after all, this is my blog! According to me, a win is to perform with dedication and to be satisfied with the end result. I am not a winner now. But, I hope to emerge a CHAMPION one day! What about you?

    Thursday, 2 August 2012

    Laminar Flow

    Ever seen the water flowing out of a thin pipe? It flows along a clear undisturbed stream which looks like a glass tube. That is called Laminar flow.

    Fluids experience a resistance to flow (like friction). This resistance is known as viscosity. Higher the viscosity, harder it is for the liquid to flow. For instance; oil is a fluid that doesn't flow easily. Thus oil has high viscosity. The viscosity experienced by a fluid is one of the factors that determine the type of flow. There are three manners in which a fluid can flow: Laminar, Transient and Turbulent.

    The three types of flow regimes can be distinguished by considering the fluid flow in pipes:

    Laminar flow takes place in small pipes. The fluid flows at low velocities. The fluid in the pipe can be considered to flow as layers. These layers are in the form of cylinders having the same axis as the pipe. The layer touching the pipe flows at the lowest speed while the layer near the axis flows at higher speeds.

    On the other hand turbulent flow is chaotic. Turbulent flow consists of many disturbances like swirling and spinning action of the fluid. Turbulent flow takes place at high velocities and occurs in large pipes. (The disturbances in turbulent flow are: eddies, vortexes and wakes. These have not been discussed in this article since the main focus is on Laminar flow. I suggest you look it up or else you will have to wait for an article on turbulent flow by me)

    Transient flow is a mixture of Laminar and Turbulent flow. In case of fluid in a pipe, transient flow consists of Laminar flow along the walls of the pipe and turbulent flow at the centre of the pipe.

    The type of flow is better defined by the dimensional number, Reynolds number (Re). The Reynolds number is the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces of a liquid. 
    The following are the ranges of Reynolds number corresponding to the flow regime:
    Laminar flow - Re < 2300 where viscous forces are superior
    Transient flow - 2300<Re<4000
    Turbulent flow - Re>4000 where inertial forces are superior

    To understand that the significance of laminar flow, see the video in the following link:
    Before explaining the video there is a need to know what Couette flow is.

    Consider two plates set apart from one another with some distance. Let the space between them be occupied by a viscous liquid. If there exists relative motion between the plates, laminar flow of the liquid will take place. This is Couette flow.

    In the video, the instrument used is called Couette viscometer. It consists of a solid glass cylinder, which is placed in an open glass cylinder. There exists a cylindrical space between the two cylindrical surfaces. This space is filled with corn syrup which a highly viscous fluid. Then blobs of dyed corn syrup are added. When the cylinder is rotated the dye appears to diffuse through the colourless corn syrup medium. And when the motion is reversed, the dye separates and returns to its original position.

    As I said, "the dye appears to diffuse", it does not actually undergo diffusion. The dye is mainly undergoes Couette flow. In this case the two plates are the two cylindrical surfaces and the liquid is corn syrup. Due to the laminar flow of corn syrup, the dyed syrup is merely dragged along the direction of rotation by viscosity. When viewed from the side it appears as if the dyes mixed with the colourless syrup. But, when viewed from top you will see the dyed syrup dragged into a spiral.

    The video demonstrates that in laminar flow the fluid flows in layers slipping past each other. This is a highly desirable property when we want the liquid to flow smoothly and also direct it towards a target. This has been explained by taking the example of a fire hose.

    A fire fighter extinguish the fire by directing the water flowing out of the fire hose towards the site of fire. When trying to reach a site at a significant height, a pump is used in order give the stream of water a larger range. So, efficient extinguishment requires two major factors:

    • the stream of water should have a good range without drawing much power from the pump.
    • the water lost while flowing from the exit of the hose to the fire site, should be minimum.
    Both these factors can be achieved by laminar flow.  By reducing the turbulence, we are making the water flow in a well-defined smooth stream. In order to achieve laminar flow, disturbances in the water like bubbles, reverse flow have to be minimised. Passing the water through filters does this. The video in the following link demonstrates the basic manner in which Laminar flow can be attained:

    Laminar flow is also used to study chemical reactions in a Laminar flow reactor (LFR). An LFR consists of a tube. The reactants enter through one end and the products are collected at the other end. Due to laminar flow of the reactants in the tube, the rate of flow reactants decreases as its distance from the axis of the tube increases. Thus the time the reactants spend in the LFR increases with its distance from the axis. This allows the researchers to easily study the states of the reaction.

    Certain products like biological samples, pharmaceutical products and even electronic devices like semiconductor wafers have to be kept in a well-protected area free from contamination. A Laminar flow cabinets provide such a clean environment. The cabinet draws air from the surrounding are passes it through filters, which creates a laminar flow of the air - devoid of particles. Laminar flow cabinets include: Vertical Laminar Flow Cabinet and Horizontal Laminar Flow Cabinet.

    Laminar flow has many uses. It is undisturbed flow which is actually beautiful. The beauty of laminar flow is quite evident when you look at laminar flow fountains!
    By orphanjones