What’s in a name?

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog, The Tranquil Eye for which I do not remember the domain name. I recovered the text from my email. This post appeared on March 2, 2007 as per the time stamp on my email. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

The name, “The Tranquil Eye” comes from Aubrey Menen’s book, The Space Within the Heart. Here’s what the necessary paragraph says:

I was there. I. Not the person weighing 72 kilograms and whom my mother and father named Aubrey Clarence: not the writer of this book: not the person whose life, when he is dead, will be displayed in a glass case one day by Mr. Gottlieb (or so he promises me). Another person.

I gave it a name. I called it the Tranquil Eye. The play on words amused me, and it was near the truth. I found I could retreat into the space within the heart whenever I wished. For a time, I needed the quiet and loneliness of my room to do it. Later, when I gave up my room and returned to normal life, I found that I could retreat into the space anywhere, even in company, for the sheer of pleasure of doing it. The Tranquil Eye had seen an unforgettable sight. It had seen the whole of my life lying around it: and it was comical. For it saw that my life had been the laborious construct of other people, some well-intentioned, some malign, some just interfering.

GIS in India

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on February 20, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

The NSDI has been trying for a long time to implement GIS in India with the aims of “to ensure that departments open their trove of information maps and data on forests, minerals, town planning, rainfall, archaeology for being placed on a proposed Geospatial Information System (GIS) backbone”.Yesterday, they must have had the happiest day of their life (I’m just thinking here) when they read this half-page report.

The Indian Government has finally decided to release data stored in files, cans and what not to the modern GIS. This comes as a surprise even for the NSDI. GIS will also provide imagery.

As the report goes on: “The NSDI web-user interface will provide open access of the information processed by the project. But further access to its metadata, data about data or a cataloguing system, will be secure. The metadata server will be the brain of the system and guide access and use of the NSDI agency server which contains the spatial data.”

There are also talks of releasing .8 m resolution satellite images available thanks to CartoSat 2. Let’s see how thinks go. The Defence establishment has already given the green signal.

Korolev’s Centenary Celebrations

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on February 08, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I attended the Korolev centenary celebrations yesterday. Started of like all Indian events do – with the lighting of the lamp. There was a photo exhibition that we walked through. Lot of cool pics – the early control rooms that the Soviet’s useds, their rockets, their launch pads and ofcourse, Korolev himself.

A couple of lectures later, we had some Indian twist in the form of screening the SRE mission. I didn’t post about the SRE here.

It happened on 22nd January, 2007. India tested its indigenously developed re-entry technology along with the launch of 4 satellites on board the PSLV-C7. SRE stands for Space Vehicle Re-entry Experiment. You’ll find a good deal more in the ISRO website.

Well, the Korolev evening ended with Cocktails. Since, I don’t drink, I settled for a Coke. Well, had a good time.

Korolev’s Birth Centenary

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on February 05, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

It’s a time for personal upheveal. I am not able to write anything in my main blog. But, have lots of work related to space.

Coming up later this week, I’ve been invited to attend the birth centenary of Sergei Korolev. He’s the man responsible for the first satellite and the first man in space – Yuri Gagarin for which you guys get to party on Yuri’s Night.

Let’s see how things go from there on.

Follow up to Kirk’s post and some ideas of my own

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on January 29, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Long time no post, so here’s one finally juiced between the time I went to the bathroom and ate my breakfast.

Kirk has an interesting article and some comments on why NASA feel kids don’t like what it’s doing. Even after recently getting out of teenage just now, I still can’t explain what problems a teenager faces. Times change very quickly. Kids seem to be interested in MySpace and community stuff, something that almost all space agencies leave out.

NASA and for that matter, every space agency leaves out the community aspect of space. People are interested to interact, exchange and learn. Today’s generation of kids live on blogs, MySpace and YouTube. Even I, 20 years old believe more what the blogs tell me than what the local newspaper does. Hell, half of my friends don’t even read newspapers and get their news from MySpace and Orkut.

I know scientists at NASA may not have the time to blog etc. but wouldn’t they if their funding depended on it? You need kids and the younger generation to talk and have conversations about you? Use modern technology. Just like you would advertise on a magazine catering to venture capitalists for such funding, you put your content on sites like MySpace, YouTube and start blogging if you want the kids to talk about you. And while you’re at it, having real people helps and not some sort of abstract character like Uncle Space.

That was just my two paise worth.

Progress and Revolution

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://pradx.wordpress.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on December 8, 2006 as per the permalink. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

The following is an article in J. Krishnamurti’s Commentaries on Living – Second Series. Please read this carefully. I am not suggesting this as a course to take. Purely for discussion. In this article, JK is talking with a revolutionary. There will be no blog posts till 13 December, 2006. So, feel free to discuss. These are from notes he took while talking with different people.

Progress and Revolution

He said he was a revolutionary, ready to kill or be killed for his cause, for his ideology. He was prepared to kill for the sake of a better world. To destroy the present social order would of course produce more chaos, but this confusion could be used to build a classless society. What did it matter if you destroyed some or many in the process of building a perfect social order? What mattered was not the present man, but the future man; the new world that they were going to build would have no inequality, there would be work for all, and there would be happiness.

How can you be so sure of the future? What makes you so certain of it? The religious people promise heaven, and you promise a better world in the future; you have your book and your priests, as they have theirs, so there is really not much difference between you. But what makes you so sure that your clear-sighted about the future?

“Logically, if we follow a certain course the end is certain. Moreover, there is a great deal of historic evidence to support our position.”

We all translate the past according to our particular conditioning and interpret it to suit our prejudices. You are as uncertain of tomorrow as the rest of us, and thank heaven it is so! But to sacrifice the present for an illusory future is obviously most illogical.

“Do you believe in change, or are you a tool of the capitalist bourgeoise?

Change is modified continuity, which you may call revolution; but fundamental revolution is quite a different process, it has nothing to do with logical or historical evidence. There is fundamental revolution only in understanding the total process of action, not at any particular levelm whether economic or ideological, but action as an intergrated whole. Such action is not reaction. You only know reaction, the action of antithesis, and the further reaction which you call synthesis. Integration is not an intellectual synthesis, a verbal confusion based on historical study. Integration can come into being only with the understanding of reaction. The mind is a series of reactions; and revolution based on reactions, on ideas, is no revolution at all, but only a modified continuity based on reactions, on ideas, is no revolution at all, but only a modified continuity of what has been. You may call it revolution, but actually it is not.

“What to you is revolution?”

Change based on an idea is not revolution; for idea is the response of memory, which is again a reaction. Fundamental revolution is possible only when ideas are not important and so have ceased. A revolution born of antagonism ceases to be what it says it is; it is only opposition, and opposition can never be creative.

“The kind of revolution you are talking about is purely an abstraction, it has no reality in the modern world. You are a vague idealist, utterly impractical.”

On the contrary, the idealist is the man with an idea, and it is he who is not a revolutionary. Ideas divide, and separation is disintegration, it is not revolution at all. The man with an ideology is concerned with ideas, words, and not with direct action; he avoids direct action. An ideology is a hindrance to direct action.

“Don’t you think there can be equality through revolution?”

Revolution based on an idea, however logical and in accordance with historical evidence, cannot bring about equality. The very function of idea is to separate people. Belief, religious or political sets man against man. So-called religions have divided people, and still do. Organized belief, which is called religion, is, like any other ideology, a thing of the mind and therefore seperative. You with your ideology are doing the same, are you not? You also are forming a nucleus or group around an idea; you want to include everyone in your group, just as the believer does. You want to save the world in your way, as he in his. You murder and liquidate each other, all for a better world. Neither of you is interested in a better world, but in shaping the world according to your idea. How can idea make for equality?

“Within the fold of the idea, we are all equal, though we may have different functions. We are first what the idea represents, and afterwards we are individual functionaries. In function, we have gradations, but not as representatives of the ideology.”

This is precisely what every other organized belief has proclaimed. In the eyes of God we are all equal, but in capacity there is variation; life is one, but social divisions are inevitable. By substituting one ideology for another you have not changed the fundamental fact that one group or individual treats another as inferior. Actually, there is inequality at all levels of existence. One has capacity, and other has not; one leads, and another follows; one is dull, and another is sensitive, alert, adaptable; one paints or writes, and another digs; one is a scientist and another a sweeper. Inequality is a fact and no one can do away with it. What so-called revolution does is to substitute one group for another, and the new group then assumes power, political and economic; it becomes the new upper class which proceeds to strengthen itself by privileges, and so on; it knows all the tricks of the other class, which has been thrown down. It has not abolished inequality, has it?

“Eventually it will. When the whole world is of our way of thinking, then there will be ideological equality”

Which is not equality at all, but merely an idea, a theory, the dream of another world, like that of the religious believer. How very near you are to each other! Ideas divide, they are seperative, opposive, breeding conflict. An idea can never bring about equality, even in its own world. If we all believed the same thing, at the same time, at the same level, there would be equality of a sort, but that is an impossibility, a mere speculation which can only lead to illusion.

“Are you scouting all equality? Are you being cynical and condemning all efforts to bring about equal opportunity for all?”

I am not being cynical, but am merely stating the obvious facts; nor am I against equal opportunity. Surely, it is possible to go beyond and perhaps discover an effective approach to this problem of inequality, only when we understand the actual, what is. To approach what is with an idea, a conclusion, a dream, is not to understand what is. Prejudiced observation is no observation at all. The fact is, there is inequality at all the levels of consciousness, of life; and do what we may, we cannot alter that fact.

Now, is it possible to approach the fact of inequality without creating further antagonism, further division? Revolution has used man as a means to an end. The end was important, but not man. Religions have maintained, at least verbally, that man is important; but they too have used man for the building up of belief, of dogma. The utilizing of man for a purpose must of necessity breed the sense of the superior and the inferior, the one who is near and the one who is far, the one who knows and the one who does not know. This separation of psychological inequality, and it is a factor if disintegration in society uses the individual, just as individuals use each other, in order to benefit in various ways. This using of another is the fundamental cause of the psychological division of man against man.

We cease to use one another only when the idea is not the motivating factor in the relationship. With idea comes exploitation, and exploitation breeds antagonism.

“Then what is the factor that comes into being when idea ceases?”

It is love, the only factor that can bring about a fundamental revolution. Love is the only true revolution. But love is not an idea, it is when thought is not. Love is not a tool of propaganda; it is not something to be cultivated and shouted about from the house tops. Only when the flag, the belief, the leader, the idea as planned action, drop away, can there be love; and love is the only creative and constant revolution.

“But love won’t run machinery, will it?”

Space Projects

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://pradx.wordpress.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on December 6, 2006 as per the permalink. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I am involved in a satellite project. It’s actually not such an alien thing to do. There are more than 50+ satellites currently under construction and ready to be sent all around the globe. All this is under the CubeSat project that was started by Califoria Polytechnic. My appreciation for such projects. There are also numerous others bigger satellites under development. So, how’s ours different?

We’re students. We’re all in one organisation. But we all live in different countries. So, what do we hope to do? Research – Construct – Assemble and Launch. Straight forward to listen to. Here’s the fun part. We build parts of the satellite in different parts of the world. So, one country builds the outer structure. The other builds internal structure, another solders the communications circuits and so on. Well, the satellite is no good in parts, is it? So, we bring it all to one place and we put it together. Take it to a launch pad and launch it.

We’ve been discussing it since 2005 as a technical project in which we can all be physically and not Internet-ly involved. Sending emails and IMs are now passe. Collaborate with others across the globe and build stuff.

I hope some car enthusiasts group from different countries can build a global car. They can release the manufacturing notes and let anyone with resources build a car for themselves. The experience of driving in a car you build is totally different and very very few people have experienced it. And don’t stick to cars either. Try to do this across other stuff as well.

All this is a great way to network. You know these people are serious and not just bluffing with you. Also, you get to meet new people. Learn to trust each other. Who knows, maybe one day we can have peaceful co-existence that we have been trying to achieve for the past 2000 years.

Lotsa work

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://pradx.wordpress.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on December 3, 2006 as per the permalink. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I dunno if you’ve experienced this yourself but you tend to finish a lot more when you’re having your exams as compared to when you’re not having one. I did the SEDS India website, reset my blog, deleted my rolls, contributed to the mailing lists, removed myself from Orkut and Facebook (darned things took a lot of my time – they’re time eaters) and read through 23 blogs (not blog posts everyday, which might be a greater no. ~50-60 posts everyday). All this besides studying..

songs…

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://pradx.wordpress.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on December 3, 2006 as per the permalink. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Some songs have an uncanny resemblance to either your life or your personality. I was listening to The Corrs (again??) and found that this song had this for me. I’ll search the net to see if I can find the song and put it up a later.

But here are the lyrics in question:

“Do you feel you’re someone else inside,
And no one understands (who) you are..”

Trust me. No one in the world, not even me understands me completely and I always feel that I’m someone else inside.

“Then you stumble on tomorrow,
And trip over today”

Well, not exactly..but this makes more sense:

“You’re racing for tomorrow,
Not finished with today”

Jumping from one thing to another between my interests. When I’m studying, I’m thinking of project ideas…When I should be thinking project ideas..”Darn! Haven’t finished that chapter”.

“Would the sun shine brighter,
If you played a bigger part”

I wonder..

“So you promise that tomorrow
[will] be different than today..”

Always.

The song? ‘Would you be happier?’ – The Corrs. That’s a double whammy on the occassion tof 4 down 2 to go..

A nuclear-less world

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com/. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on Ocober 16, 2006 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

The whole world takes all its nuclear explosives and gets rid of them. A thorough search of the Earth is carried out with satellites to make sure that no evidence of nuclear energy is left on Earth. All Uranium, useless to Earth and useful only to nuclear energy is also packed and taken far away into space and explodes. The world is then rid of nuclear energy.

What a lovely scenario to contemplate. But, not so possible in the next 10-20 years. Nuclear alternatives, it seems are necessary for the coal dependant economic powerhouses of India and China. Until you have effective and useful alternatives to coal and as cheap,nuclear power would be very hard to get rid of.

But, if it is eventually got rid of, won’t all the good stuff – like nuclear medicene, go along with it too? Who knows what other hidden purposes Uranium can be used for?

Think about it.

If there is a perfectly scientific explanation to this, kindly send me a link in the comments section. I’m too lazy to search on the Internet or do research on what I think? If you want to make this a PhD thesis, go ahead.

===
listening to:
birds leaving after hearing the children shouting…