Random Ramblings

#149 : Z – Zeigler Nichols Tuning

Z finally and I thought I will never make it. Thanks to a bunch of good souls including my husband for helping me make it. I’m in no mood to write about the actual concept of Zeigler Nichlos Tuning.

If you are curious this is what it means – The Ziegler-Nichols rule is a heuristic PID tuning rule that attempts to produce good values for the three PID gain parameters.

I’m sure you wouldn’t have understood what P or I or D means unless you’ve slogged hard to complete your engineering degree just like me.

I learnt this topic the hardest way possible. Back in college we were made to write numerous tests. If you had failed in a subject you would require to attend special class after college hours. Being the average third bench student that I was, I managed to scrape through all the subjects, except for Engineering Graphics. Drawing was, is, will, never be my thing. One other subject I terribly regretted failing was Control Systems. I had failed in one of the mid semester test by half a mark. The Professor flat out refused that half a mark and ensured that I attended the special class. This very topic was the reason I lost that half a mark!

Now you know why I am in no mood to write about this topic  in technical terms.

If you are still curious about this topic, buy me a library, then I might consider teaching you all about it.

#AtoZChallenge done and dusted.

Random Ramblings

#148 : Y – Yousafzai, Malala

For a change, this is post is about a writer whose book has been on my To read list for quite sometime now. This youngest noble prize awardee has piqued my interest after I watched her interacting with Emma Watson.

A little about Malala,

Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Her family came to run a chain of schools in the region. Considering Jinnah and Benazir Bhutto as her role-models, she was particularly inspired by her father’s thoughts and humanitarian work. In early 2009, when she was 11–12, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat. The following summer, journalist Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. She rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by activist Desmond Tutu.

On the afternoon of 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was injured after a Taliban gunman attempted to murder her. Yousafzai remained unconscious, in critical condition at the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK.

When I first read about Malala, there was just one thing which kept bother me. This is girl was gifted enough and had the means to be treated. What of the other girls? What of the other people whom Taliban attacked. Undoubtedly, she is a fighter and a survivor. Had it been some other girl from a poor economic background who would have footed her bills? Sadly, that’s the unjust way of life.

Do watch the video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKckKStggSY

Random Ramblings

#147 : X – X-Ray

If you are wondering how the heck is an X-Ray related to an engineer like me, hold that thought. We had one paper in our course work dedicated to studying medical instruments. X-Ray, ECG,EEG,EKG, you name it, we’ve read it. It’s one subject which was supposed to be interesting, but fell flatter than a flat tyre.

So what is X-Ray? A device used to check if you have any broken bones. That’s a rather crude form of putting it.

X-Ray is basically an electromagnetic radiation with wavelength shorter than the UV Rays (Ultra Violet? Sun? Radiation? Rings a bell I hope).

Fun fact : X-Ray was discovered by  Wilhelm Röntgen. Poor fellow was all lost and confused and couldn’t figure out what the heck these rays were. So he named them X-Ray where X signified the unknown. Oh and this doesn’t have any connection to the X we were often tortured to find in our math subjects.

As mentioned earlier, the X-Ray is used to check for broken bones and stuff. The thing is, our bones contains a lot of calcium. The calcium absorbs X-Rays well. This reduces the amount of X-rays reaching the detector in the shadow of the bones, making them clearly visible on the radiograph.

However, these rays used for diagnostic purpose are harmful for the body and induce cancer when dosed in large amount.

There are plenty of other uses of X-Rays including industrial applications, crystallography, astronomy and microscopy.

Random Ramblings

#146 : W – War

This is one topic I dreaded writing the most. I’ve not read  much of war based books baring a couple of books. In general this is what I learnt.

1. Graphic and Gory – Some people like reading all the graphic details of a war casualty.  While others prefer a much toned down version. Describing a war in a very graphic manner would help the reader visualize things as they happened. For some people, it may trigger unwanted unpleasant memories. Thus, moderation is the key.

2. Of World War II – Most of the war stories written have World War II as the setting. There is a lot of scope for story line manoeuvre as the Nazis tortured the Jews in many innovative ways. In fact I had to steer clear off such books to ensure my head was intact. Unless you have the gut to read about such human cruelty, is recommended not to pick such books.

3. Time Line Switch – Time line switch is one literary device which can be used to plot a war story. It is easier to make an aged character remember their past. Example of a typical story line would be an aged character searching for a long lost artifact or a close relative. A La Titanic.

4. The Kashmir Angle – I’ve read a couple of books based on the Kashmir conflict. The most memorable read would be Our Moon Has Blood Clots. The story involves a sadly memorable incident when Kashmiri Pandits fled their homes in fear of being attacked. this is one interesting yet sad thread of story line to be used.

Random Ramblings

#145 : V – Verne, Jules

It was the year 2002. It was my second year at the new school. I had begun to mingle well and made friends. I  was just another ordinary girl with average grades. The only thing people would really remember me was for my hair. I had cut it into a bob and it spread out densely like a tree’s canvas. I was ridiculed and compared with a then popular god man. It wasn’t upsetting really, I had a reputation for having particularly thick skin. That’s when I won a competition conducted annually by my school. I don’t remember which now though. The prize was a Jules Verne book – Around the world in eighty days. An abridged simple version. I still have it safely locked away in my book shelf at mum’s place. As expected, I finished reading the book in one sitting.

VJules Verne.jpg

Jules Verne was a popular French writer and novelist whose works were influential on literary avant-garde and  surrealism. In fact, he is one the most widely misunderstood writer in my opinion for his books have been translated and abridged heavily. A clear case of loss in translation perhaps.

Realisation dawned upon me upon reading a translated version of his other famous work – Journey to the centre of the earth. The version of around the world in eighty days I read (and own), was obviously meant for children and teenagers probably. This book has a very pleasant memory attached to it. Does it matter if it not the original work. Absolutely not! Oh and I never managed to finish reading Journey to the centre of the Earth. Clearly not my type of a book!

Random Ramblings

#144 : U – Upstream Processing

A day’s break did no good for me. Sunday just whizzed by and I’m running a temperature since Saturday. I’m back at work today and there seems to be no improvement on the temperature part. Does that matter? Absolutely not. Well, I can’t hit the bed just after dinner can I? So writing seemed to be a good option.

Upstream processing is a rather interesting topic. It’s interesting to note that there is a technique called upstream processing in the field of bio-sciences. Since I have no connection whatsoever with biology as a subject (I’ve always hated studying that boring subject), this upstream processing is related to Petroleum. Petroleum has fast become our life. Can you imagine a life without petrol and subsequently vehicles and stuff. Of course, we do have electricity, but coal is not going be around forever.

uUpstreamprocessing.jpg

The oil and gas sector is broadly divided into Upstream, Midstream and Downstream Processing. The upstream processing mainly consists of search and exploration of underwater crude oil and natural gas fields, drilling exploratory wells, and subsequently drilling and operating the wells that recover and bring the crude oil and/or raw natural gas to the surface. Then there is fracking which can also be broadly classified as Upstream processing. Fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc. so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.

In simple terms, you drill the earth to bring out oil, gas and process it into a whole range of products which help you get through the day. I’m sure there is alarm bells ringing on your head if this process is safe. Of course one, how long can you drill? How many places can you drill away? There would come a point where there would no more oil to drill away, but that day is far. Far enough for us.

It is interesting to note that this industry records the largest number of Mergers and Acquisitions. As expected, a lot of money flows in and out of this industry. Drilling in the middle of the sea after all, can be very expensive.

How is upstream processing connected to me? I work for a company that does automation for upstream processing plants.

Random Ramblings

#143 : T – Thriller

My favorite genre. Racy plot, blasting bombs, espionage and what not related to a thriller – totally my thing. In fact, I devoured thrillers so much so that my mum decided to put her foot down for the fear of me becoming a psychopath. I never even turned my head to the romance section until I was 22. Thriller all the way. However, there came a time I got naturally bored of thrillers. It was the same old formula – get something stolen or drop a bomb or kill an important person and get it all solved. That’s when I realized I needed to diversify. I started reading proper prose and romance too. Moreover, I realized I had to pick writers diversely when it came to thriller. I had stuck predominantly to American and British writers with the exception of Stieg Larsson. This post is not about the thriller I liked, but observations from the books I’ve read. I literally had to scramble for examples! I can’t seem to pick!

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Here are my observations about a thriller and a mystery.

  1. The timing sense. That’s the major difference. In a mystery, the plot almost always begins with the crime being committed or the crime is down within a few chapters. In a pure thriller, the crime is probably done towards the end or there are a series of small crimes eventually leading to big ones.
  2. In the mystery, the protagonist tries to solve the case at hand – be it a murder or a theft. In a thriller, the protagonist prevents the crime from happening. The most popular example would be Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons where in there is a theft but there is a larger consequence at hand. So the protagonist works towards solving it and prevent the catastrophe.
  3. In a thriller, the pacing needs to be fast. The best example would be any of Jeffery Deaver’s books. My personal favorite would be The Bone collector. That plot is all bam bam bam boom boom boom. The stark opposition would be Agatha Christie’s books in general. My personal favorite would be the sparkling cyanide featuring colonel Race. The story unfolds thread by thread. One has to savor it piece by piece.

That’s the major difference I have noted! Recommendation for a good thriller welcome!