Friday, July 19, 2019

Data Visualisation Presentation..

Dr. Sukanya explaining the finer aspects of Data Visualisation in R
Today 19 July 2019, Business school and Engineering school of Alliance University joined hands for an interesting session on Data Visualisation using interesting free and open source software available, thanks to the Free Software Foundation. R, Python and Gnuplot .. 👍👍🙏

The session was well attended by students and faculty alike. 

Data visualisation is a very important aspect of Data analytics given Big Data and different forms of data including videos and audios available in the Internet ecosystem. 

Dr. Sukanya spoke of using R and Dr. Shobhana spoke of Python and it's capabilities in Data Visualisation.  Dr. George spoke of the slightly old gnuplot with its strength in visualising graphical data in 2D and 3D.

This will be followed up soon by sessions soon to discuss detailed aspects of Data Visualisation using R and Python separately. 

Dr. Shobana from Alliance Engineering gave a top class presentation on Python
The effort put up by both the faculty members in sparing their time to read, think and do a presentation on Data Visualisation has not only improved their professional competence a great deal, it has made them competent and confident to engage serious sessions for senior students both in the Engineering and Business schools.

The impact on the audience in getting exposed to a highly important and emergent area of Data Analytics , ie., Data Visualisation was an added bonus.  

Looking forward to more such presentations in cutting edge areas in future.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The greatness of Pandit Jawaharlal Neru ..

A true and great leader to the core ..
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Indian Prime Minister. He also happens to be a widely misunderstood politician because of the political allegations and accusations that have been labeled against him by an illiterate and selfish political class.

I feel whatever be the personal working style of Nehru, he is one of the greatest Indian politicians India has ever had, who could be put in seniority after Mahatma Gandhi. He who has spent almost ten years in British prisons fighting for Indian freedom from British exploitation and misrule.

Nehru has been a great literateur who has enriched global literature by his literary contributions through four of the greatest books on Indian culture and civilization,  
  • Discovery of India
  • Glimpses of World History,  
  • Letters from a father to his daughter and 
  • An Autobiography
The sad fact with people slinging mud on Nehru are people who are ignorant and have not made any attempt to read any of these books, most of them have been written while in prison.
The dead cannot defend themselves ...
One of greatest works on India, ever ..
The other contender of the fundamentlist thinking group in the country have nothing to say when asked neither how many years Sardar Vallabhai Patel has spent in British prisons raising his voice against British oppression of Indians nor his literary contributions to the world ? Was Patel an opportunist who was careful not to antagonise the British and be in their bad books, history will say.

If India never had a leader and a global statesman like Jawaharlal Nehru, would we have progressed so much in Science and Technology ? Would we have had all the great establishments in Space Science, Atomic energy, IITs, IIMs, the green revolution, the white revolution and the like .. ?

If Nehru had not called Vikram Sarabhai aside in 1961-62 and had not asked him to start some basic and simple space experiments, initially sounding rockets to study the altitude variation of temperature and gaseous composition from Thumba, Trivandrum, to understand the truths of space and nature, would Indian space science and technology have matured to this state now ?

 And Nehru knew exactly which all sectors of the economy and areas of science and technology, our crappy bureaucrats should be allowed to interfere and where all it should be left free to the specialists and subject experts. 

That is why we are now a great nation now. We had great leaders who suffered in prisons for long periods even for three years at a stretch, often for total periods of individually upto 9-10 years, in non-cooperation and Quit India movements, fighting for Indian freedom. 

Leaders who were intelligent, sincere and honest to the core for the sake of the country ..

George ..

Monday, July 15, 2019

World Class Manufacturing ..

Here is a link ..

Click here for a video of WCM ..


History of lunar robotic probes ..

History behind lunar missions 

Moon surface bright North hemisphere, courtesy Washington Post.
After India’s successful lunar orbiter Chandrayaan 1 success in 2008, the Chandrayaan 2 robotic rover launch was planned for 2012, but was postponed when Russia grew jittery with sharing their technology.

Despite this hiccup, India developed the technology indigenously, launch date was fixed in January 2019. Knowing that some more maturing of technology was needed, the launch got postponed to April ‘19 This is the greatest satisfaction and point of consolation in this whole exercise. We may learn slowly, but the learning is firm and sure..

With the orbiter and rover technology indigenously developed we have the wherewithal and capability to launch extra terrestrial missions to anywhere in the Universe.

July '19, Courtesy Washington Post (WP)
After the Israeli private lunar launch failure, our launch was postponed from April to July for carrying out more checks and now again to another slot not decided yet . Lifting a 640 Tonne craft to 200-300 km altitude has it’s own challenges. Europe is decades away from such high technology ..

Doing some research found these facts and dates - Prior to this, Chinese Yutu robotic rover aboard Chang’e 3 did a moonwalk in 2013. Earlier Lunokhod 1 of Russia (USSR) aboard the Luna 1 did moonwalk in 1970. That was the earliest history of moonwalking..

If India never had a leader and a global statesman like Jawaharlal Nehru, would we have progressed so much in Science and Technology ? Would we have had all the great establishments in Space Science, Atomic energy, IITs, IIMs, the green revolution, the white revolution and the like .. ?

If Nehru had not called Vikram Sarabhai aside in 1961-62 and had not asked him to start some basic and simple space experiments, initially sounding rockets to study the altitude variation of temperature and gaseous composition from Thumba, Trivandrum, to understand the truths of space and nature, would Indian space science and technology have matured to this state now ?

A true and great leader to the core ..
 And Nehru knew exactly which all sectors of the economy and areas of science and technology, our crappy bureaucrats should be allowed to interfere and where all it should be left free to the specialists and subject experts.

It is so gratifying to note that the Indian government supports the stance of our founding fathers and are making the right choices and steps taking it to the forefront of nations in high technology applications.

While closely preserving our democratic traditions, bringing the high impact areas of renewable energy, space exploration, hi-technology research, employment generating growth and poverty alleviation to the forefront should be the lookout of all citizens of the country.  Effective and efficient decision making, devoid of favouritism and corruption, should be the the mantra of the political class to take the country forward meaningfully and gainfully.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

10 critical moments in Chandrayaan 2 mission ..

10 critical moments in the 9 week Chandrayaan 2 Moon mission of ISRO .. The July 15 2019 mission of Chandryaan 2 was abandoned as a glitch was detected in the spacecraft functioning.

1. Launch to GSLV rocket from Sriharikota 

2. Launch of spacecraft after escaping earths gravity

3. Traveling distance to the moon

4. Entering lunar orbit

5. Drops down and settles in a 100 km altitude lunar orbit

6. Drops the lander with rover

7. Rover has a soft touchdown near lunar South Pole

8. Lander releases the rover

9. Rover steps out to lunar surface 

10. Over 14 days rover does a 200 m *Moonwalk*  ..

And all this is controlled remotely from the ISRO Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore 3,74,000 km away from lunar surface .. 


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Better by Atul Gawande ..

Atul Gawande, a US surgeon of Indian parentage
Finished reading an excellent book Better by Dr. Atul Gawande, an American surgeon, published by Penguin books. 

Dealt with many issues like the treatment / operation camps and casualties in the US-Iraq war, to euthanasia, capital execution by injections to oncology, cystic fibrosis affected children, etc.. really excellent writing ..

Helps get good understanding of the medical profession in general, doctor's mind in particular and the moral dilemmas faced by medical professionals and understand how medical science has helped through better medical care and mass immunisation drives reduce infant mortality and improve human longevity across the world..

One chapter talks exclusively on how male and female doctors attend patients of the opposite sex and the ethical issues involved.. Another talks of how and why doctors are taken to litigation on the very sensitive issue of medical / surgical failures, which essentially leads to higher medical costs in US and the world. 

The impact of the Apgar score to reduce infant mortality rates across the world is well illustrated . 

The Apgar Score is a method to quickly summarize the health of newborn children against infant mortality. Virginia Apgar, an anesthesiologist at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, developed the score in 1952 to quantify the effects of obstetric anesthesia on babies. - Wikipedia

The Apgar score used in the paediatrics section in medicine, helps me to innovate its application into retailing and other service sectors in the industry.

The importance of the influence of bell shaped normal distribution in medical treatment also gets special mention in the book. 

A good read. I have also read some of his earlier books like Checklists (click here) and Being Mortal. His writing style is captivating and explains complex medical concepts, conditions and medical treatments in very simple terms to be clearly understood by the layman.


Chandrayaan II - the details and what to look out for !!

The trajectory of the rocket and the spacecreft
In spite of all the high profile Apollo missions by US planned under a spirited Kennedy administration in the early 60s and executed by the Nixon administration in the late sixties, 1969 to be precise, it took 39 more years until Indian ISRO’s lunar orbiter Chandrayaan I discovered the presence of magmatic water on a moon crater in 2008.
Even though US disbanded the successful Apollo Moon Mission programme by Dec. '72 after 7 missions after the Apollo 17 mission, the data brought down from lunar atmosphere and rock samples from lunar surface were not tested for water presence, considered the most vital element in the subsistence of organic life as we know it, anywhere in the Universe. Even though controversies abound, if the US moon landings are ever debunked by future generations, it will indeed be a sad day for global science and technology ..

Click here for the Astronomy Now website that gives a very clear pic of the mission ..

The second Indian mission Chandrayaan II is headed for a landing of the lander Vikram for the first time ever in the treacherous area exactly 600 kms away from the South Pole of the moon between the craters Manzenius C and Simpelius N at 70 degree South latitude on 6 September 2019. The rover Pragyaan in the lander has a one lunar day life (14 earth days) and is capable of moving 150-200 m on lunar surface.

There are a lot of ifs here, but on a positive note, will it make some surprising discoveries about the origin of the moon ?

The assembly of the spacecraft payloads traveling to lunar orbit
What is the difference between the Chandrayaan I and Chandrayaan II missions ?

1. Chandrayaan I spacecraft was just an orbiter of the moon with a crash landing module (finished it's mission in 2008 itself) while Chandrayaan II is planning a soft landing on the moon using a lander and move a robotic rover on lunar surface for about 200 m to collect data for studying it's origins.

2. Chandrayaan I was launched on a less powerful rocket, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C11) which through a series of slingshot missions helped the spacecraft of the Chandrayaan I orbiter escape the earth's gravitational pull. In contrast, Chandrayaan II uses the Geostationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk III) with higher power that vertically takes off and develops enough thrust to escape the earth's gravitational pull. The spacecraft is put on the solar orbit after six slingshot maneouvres for its seven week sojourn to the lunar orbit.

3. Chandrayaan I mission objectives were to just orbit the moon and crash land a module while Chandrayaan II objectives are much laudable and can help throw light on the evolution of the solar system itself.

Why are we interested in knowing about the origin of the moon ?
Firstly, it will help us to understand the formation of the other planets and their moons a couple of billions of years back and secondly, perhaps throw light on the formation of the solar system and galaxies billions of years back.  It is going to be a scientific and technological treat for the scientific and technical brains of the space agency as well as a treat for the people of the world to know how their planet came to be what it is today after 4.6 billion years of evolution. A great satisfaction for the Engineers and Scientists at ISRO to have furthered the frontiers of knowledge in understanding the Solar system ..

There are presently 4 theories floating in scientific circles about the origin of the moon. 

1. Double Planet Theory (Co-creation theory) - at the origin of Universe itself, Earth and moon were co-created as separate planets
2. Fission Theory - material spun off from earth over millions of years resulting in the formation of the moon
3. Capture Theory - Space debris floating around was captured by Earth and one of the captured large debris happened to the moon
4. Large Impact Theory (Giant Impact Hypothesis)  - an unknown large object is said to have impacted the earth resulting in many fragments. The heavier fragments coalesced to form the Earth and the lighter fragments got thrown off and became the moon.
Sept 6, 2019 will be a great day for Indian space research .

Even though the Moon is the closest space object from the earth, we still do not known how it was formed and when. Probably Chandraayan 2 would throw more light on the origin of the moon and help us to debunk the other three ..

The safe ejection from the Chandrayaan II orbiter, of the Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyaan) from a 100 km altitude orbit, riding piggyback on 3.3 T space vehicle is very crucial. The craft is taken outside earth orbit on the 640 T GSLV MkIII M1 rocket from Sriharikotta. The trip in the sun's orbit over a 6 week long period covering 3,82,000 kms is an event the whole world is eagerly looking forward to. 

India's successful Chandraayan I launched in 2008 had the orbiter and the Moon Impact Probe while this mission comes with the complete package to walk around the moon and do some basic and simple data collection and experimentation.
The mission in brief ..
Even though the Chandraayan II project should have taken place around 2012-13 as per original plans, due to unforeseen delays with a collaboration with Russia for the lander and the rover technology, that did not materialise, it got delayed. Then India, thanks to the government at that time which gave full support, embarked on the indigenous technology route when the lander and rover were developed indigenously all alone. The project thus got extended to 2019.

The list of instruments on the Orbiter, lander and rover are given below. (courtesy, click here for the link)

On the Orbiter :
  • Terrain Mapping Camera 2 (TMC-2), which will map the lunar surface in three dimensions using two on-board cameras. A predecessor instrument called TMC flew on Chandrayaan-1.
  • Collimated Large Array Soft X-ray Spectrometer (CLASS), which will map the abundance of minerals on the surface. A predecessor instrument called CIXS (sometimes written as C1XS) flew on Chandrayaan-1.
  • Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM), which looks at emissions of solar X-rays.
  • Chandra's Atmospheric Composition Explorer (ChACE-2), which is a neutral mass spectrometer. A predecessor instrument called CHACE flew on Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe.
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which will map the surface in radio waves. Some of its design is based on Chandrayaan-1's MiniSAR.
  • Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS), which will measure the abundance of water/hydroxl on the surface.
  • Pragyaan in close quarters ..
  • Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC) to examine the surface, particularly the landing site of the lander and rover.
  • Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) from NASA
The lander's instruments include:
  • Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA), to look for moonquakes.
  • Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE), to examine the surface's thermal properties.
  • Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA-Langmuir Probe), to look at plasma density on the surface.
The rover instruments include : two science instruments to look at the composition of the surface:
  • the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) and 
  • the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS).      courtesy
The mission in graphics, courtesy ToI ..
What happens on lunar surface ??  

The orbiter at a height of 100 km above lunar surface with release the lander-rover combo for a soft landing on lunar surface. After detaching itself from the lander, the rover Pragyaan will spend a lunar day, almost 14 earth days on the lunar surface and walk about 150 - 200 m on the unexplored rocky terrain in the South pole of Moon from Sept 6 to Sept 20, 2019 collecting data and samples of surface rocks.

It is the first time that any country is attempting a landing on the dark side of the moon in the Southern hemisphere.

George ..

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Top ten rules for success, Prof. Yuval Noah Harari

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari of Hebrew University, Jerusalem and author of three classic best sellers on the human species, our past and our future, in this video talks of the future of humanity and mentions the top ten rules for success to make ourselves relevant and take oneself forward in the present world.

Quite practical, meaningful and philosophical !! Complied by Carmichael. 

1. Be Adaptive - the world is changing so fast,  with AI disruption going to happen soon, there will be no need for doctors, teachers, lawyers etc.. we humans need to adapt to a world where we will have to change our jobs every ten years and adapt. The best areas to invest would be Emotional Intelligence.

2. Learn how to deal with failure  - Do not get discouraged with failure, instead take failures as great learning opportunities and scale much greater heights with the learning. A person who has failed and knows how to crack the exam has learnt much more than the person who cracked the exam with a straight A in the first attempt.

3. Be a story-teller - Everyone looks forward to listening to things narrated to them in an interesting manner. Let there be a good learning too in what we say to catch the audience attention. Everybody tends to understand better in stories or real life cases. That is one of the reason why the top Universities in the world teach complicated concepts and thoughts through cases.

4. Get to know yourself - through meditation, travel, trekking or sports. The anger we express on others is more damaging for us than to the other person.

5. Practice Vipaasana meditation - it is an ancient Indian / Budhist meditation technique. Click here for more info .. Helps one to see reality more clearly. Just observe  your self starting with our own breath and then concentrate on different parts of your body, relaxing our muscles etc.. It helps us to understand our anger, emotions and other feelings. Listen to S N Goenka one of the global experts on VM ....

6. Engage with spirituality, not religiosity - Morality helps us to see the reality. Spirituality is about questions and reality is about answers. Spirituality is in everybody  and is unique. Religiosity is potent and can divide people on petty issues.

7. Study philosophy - Philosophical issues of Freewill, morality, humanity etc. have been studied by people over centuries without any impact. In the new technologically advanced environment, the society will need more philosophers to study practical issues to gain insight.

8. Read lots of books - Books expose us to the wonderful world of ideas and thoughts, it teaches us something new. By reading books we keep up-to-date with the wonderful, ground breaking, revolutionary ideas of the world

9. Develop your social skills - In the present time, our interactive, communication skills have more impact than our physical features.  To understand the society and people better, one needs to develop the ability to socialise well

10. Find your mission - Try to contribute to society by finding where and what one is good at and do it better. That is the call for which we are here on planet earth.

The video concludes by mentioning what Prof. Yuval considers the three main threats facing humanity by the turn of the century.
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Climate change and 
  • Disruptive Technology
Disruptive Technology and other threats facing us he says, will force us to reinvent ourselves and engage in different pursuits every ten years ..

The late Cambridge Cosmologist Sir. Stephen Hawking had predicted that the three greatest threats facing humanity at the turn of the century are atomic weapons, aliens from outer space and AI robots. Click here for the link ..

Impact of Climate Change, courtesy
The  only difference we observe in their approaches is that while Stephen Hawking accepts the threat of aliens from outer space a major threat, Yuval never mentions anything about it, may be out of his ignorance on extra terrestrial sources of life and EI, but definitely Yuval finds the pressing issue of climate change to be a major threat to humanity than aliens from outer space.

Click here for interesting 25 min video ..

Yuval says that we can predict the future, but not influence it. we find with each passing day, technology is pervading all aspects of our life and by understanding this technology we are able to predict the future better than anyone else. 

The purpose of this writing was to crystallise some thought processes of some of the great thinkers of our times. This should help us to understand our future much better.


Thursday, July 04, 2019

Kaizen burst events - what, why, how and where ?

What is a Kaizen burst ?

A Kaizen Burst event, which is also called a Rapid Process Improvement (RPI), is a 3-5 day event whose focus is achieving dramatic improvements to particular parts of a specified process by the time the event ends -

An intense Kaizen observation focused around a certain area looking at continuous improvement which is realised to a good percentage, about 80% is called a Kaizen Burst.

A Kaizen event has 4 phases, selecting, Planning, Implementing and Followup.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Lisa Genova TED talk - how to improve our neuroplasticity and avoid Alzheimer’s disease ?

Lisa Genova, US neuro scientist, author of Still Alice ..
Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, neuroelasticity, or neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout an individual's life, e.g., brain activity associated with a given function can be transferred to a different location, the proportion of grey matter can change, and synapses may strengthen or weaken over time. - wikipedia
Listening to this TED talk by Lisa Genova (click here) will help us understand the risk mankind faces from a grave lifestyle disease afflicting mankind with no special reason, Alzheimer's disease, affecting every second person above 80 years of age , in other words how to improve our neuroplasticity .... 

Lisa tells us why our brain cells degenerate over time and how we can avoid this natural degeneration by creating new functional synapses in our brains , for example through reading a new book, learning a new language or an instrument, engaging in aerobic exercises etc .

In the process of neuroplasticity, new synapses are created by learning. The amount of new synapses (joining point of the nerve fibres in the brain) overtakes the older ones getting dysfunctional due to amyloid plaque accumulation. 

Healthy and Alzheimer's affected brain, courtesy Alzheimer's Association
In other words, facts and information stored in some part of your brain which got erased from ageing of the cells (amyloid plaque accumulation) has now been stored in a new synapse. We have almost a hundred trillion synapses in our brain.

We cannot remove the plaque that accumulates in the amyloids of the synapses at the end points of the nerve fibres in our brain. But we can create new fresh synapses that can capture new facts of knowledge and prevent the brain from getting stunted. Learning new skills, languages, knowledge  etc overtake the amyloid plaque accumulation in the synapses in our brains due to our poor sleeping habits of the past.

I was surprised in my earlier visit to IIT Bombay, end 2018, to find my Professor, Uday Gaitonde, moving the mouse very easily with his left hand (earlier he used his right hand). When i asked him, he told me he has learnt a new skill and the aim is to keep away Alzheimer's disease.

One skill that I too have acquired of late (and which I want others also to acquire quickly) is the ability to move the computer mouse of the office computer with the left hand at great speed. It has not only helped improve my word processing speed, it has reduced excessive strain on my right shoulder blades otherwise and brought about healthy synapse generation in my brain.

So as we march to old age, let us be more creative, helpful, accommodative of other people which will keep our brain fresh and give us active old age.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Boeing and it’s outsourcing woes !!

The  Seattle, US based world's largest aircraft manufacturer
HCL from India has been in global aviation industry news of late, though for the wrong reasons. Known for it's efficient team of engineers and technologists who carry out interesting Research and Development work for major global clients spanning around the globe, this issue has got both Boeing and HCL in hot waters. Boeing Max Issue and the software outsourcing contribution through HCLhas been in the headlines for some time now. 

Boeing, the 103 year old company established in Seattle US is passing through one of the toughest periods in it's history over the past 24 months due to mismanaged outsourcing activities to Engg software partner HCL from India. The matter of fact was that in order to cut costs, Boeing's 737 Max display software was outsourced to HCL from India, who were managing the show with $9-an-hour engineers. There is also an allegation that Boeing is coming with these allegations against HCL in a concerted and veiled attempt to wash it's hands off the two major aircraft disasters that have hit Boeing 737 Max 8 over the last year.

The annual revenue for Boeing in 2018 ((founded in 1916) was US$ 101 billion while that for Airbus, the competitor from France with France, Germany and Spain as the founding members (founded in 1970), during the same period was approximately US$ 73 billion, Boeing has a clear 30% revenue edge over Airbus, but day by day this lead is narrowing down, raising lot of eyebrows.

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO Boeing
Click here for the Boeing's outsourcing disaster story from Bloomberg.

There was no other option for Boeing to remain in business competing with Airbus, than by doing extreme cost-cutting, often at the expense of the life of its customers and by laying off many of it's experienced engineers, some of the finest in the world, who had many years of experience handling safety issues.

Glad that both the Boeing 737 max display software glitches leading to major accidents happened outside US, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, else the iconic company would have been liquidated by now. HCL too has a lot of dirty baggage to carry around because of this incident.. Remains to be seen where they will wash this dirty linen and baggage. 

This is a great case study on how cheap incompetent outsourcing can kill companies and their reputation, leading to large financial burden too .

Will Boeing survive for a decade more ? Maybe, it will. but people have lost their trust and goodwill in this company for ever. They are aware the company will go to any extent to firm up it's bottom line, often at the expense of its valued customers' lives ..

Courtesy CBC news and Boeing ..
Some of the uncomfortable questions, global customers and the traveling public from around the world could ask Boeing would be the following ..

1. Did the Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg think correctly before he went on with the 737 Max display software outsourcing issue, though press reports say he still defends his decisions to do so ?

2. Why was there an undue haste in releasing the new 737 Max series with compromised engineering, security, audit processes ?
3. Already having their order books full, why did Boeing show haste in the 737 max models bringing disrepute to a global brand and putting air travel customers in a piquant situation ?

4. Will this temporary glitch and setback to Boeing affect its other development plans for the future ?
5. Is Boeing compromising on quality and audit trail issues / FMEA processes which are affecting the flight-worthiness of it's planes ?
The 160 seater COMAC C919 from China ..
The coming days is sure to bring more news in the public domain and we will be more aware of the pressures Boeing and Airbus are going through in the global competition to catch the airlines dollars .. The advent of Chinese COMAC and possibly India's HAL in the near future can be unsettling news for the aircraft majors.

Click here to read my blog about the top international passenger aircrafts of the world .. The 160 seater twin engined COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) C919 is the new Chinese entrant in the medium capacity, mid-range aircrafts of the world. How soon will it be able to catch up with the 2 major aircraft manufacturers ?


Friday, June 28, 2019

Design Thinking workshop at Alliance University

David Kelley, Stanford Design School
As part of the Open Forum of Alliance University, today we did an Open Forum on Design Thinking on Friday, 28 June 2019. Prof. Sukanya Kundu led the discussion on Design Thinking which was followed by myself taking over with some explanation and characteristics of Wicked problems. Wicked problems as different from tamed problems are problems which do not have a single, simple solution, it is dynamic and the optimal points can change over time. Click here for a copy of my presentation .. David Kelley of the Stanford Design School is the founder of Ideo and the original proponent of Design Thinking..

We had a novel empathising approach for the brainstorming activity. Every member taking part in the brainstorming session had to narrate an unfortunate and sad event of their life in the introduction stage to instill an empathising and self involving approach. Click here to understand Brainstorming approach developed by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Roger Sperry from Caltech, which is one of the basic components of Design Thinking ..

Participants of the workshop narrated touching, moving incidents in their life, like escaping from a very serious air accident in Arabia, to being involved in a serious bus accident, to having a serious and crippling low back-ache, novel challenging and professionally threatening work experiences at the first job.

Different stages in Design Thinking starting with empathize .
The participants thus gave a very empathising beginning to the brainstorming or ideating session. After this self-introduction, the members were asked to give innovative suggestions for solving the water crisis that is crippling Bangalore, saving water in the city of Bangalore.

The participants gave very insightful recommendations to solve the water crisis. They are listed here for the benefit of the participants (red indicates the most repeated and important ones as agreed by the participants)

1. Building construction is a cause for water crisis. Stop building construction.

2. Leakage of water to be stopped from leaking pipes and taps

3. Deploy Rainwater Harvesting in homes

4. Washing of cars from municipal / borewell water to be done less frequently

5. Reverse Osmosis to be made available in all homes

6. Reclaim / save water bodies
7. Deploy Rain water harvesting on rooftops in homes

8. Recycling water from kitchen etc

9. Creating awareness on conserving water

10. Sensitise industries to use less water

11. Reduce construction activities

12. Lakes that have been leveled for construction activities should be reclaimed and allowed to fill with water

13. Companies should meet their water needs from their personal resources and by recycling

14. Recycling of waste water by every apartment building
15. Use showers less for bathing, use buckets

16. Use grey water for gardening and toilet uses

17. Have variable capacity flush in toilets

18. Reduce cemented floors to reduce storm water generation

19. Deploy better storm water drainage to allow water to permeate to the ground
The quality and quantity of the discussion we found was quite good. We intend to communicate this to the city infrastructure and municipal authorities.

Prototyping and testing will be done  later as this is a large wicked problem which does not have an exact solution and can have very dynamic solutions.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The violent death of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt ..

While trying to understand global history, I am tracing through  the life of some contemporary politicians who tried to bring a change but were mercilessly taken out from planet earth and removed from power. Mohammed Morsi of Egypt, the former PM happens to be one such person.

Egyptian PM Morsi and his General El-Sisi. 2012.
Mohammed Morsi happened to be the only popularly elected ruler in modern Egyptian history coming from the Muslim Brotherhood. He died while in court in Cairo while defending his own confinement in prisons for the past six years. What were the charges leveled against Morsi and why did he have to suffer all the torture in Egyptian jails ? The story of the death of Mohammed Morsi is as scared as the tales that come out of the dark country of Egypt.

Of late, the happenings in Egypt has been very unsettling and disturbing. When the first democratically elected government of Egypt came to power under the flag of Islamic Brotherhood in 2012, I thought it was part of the change that was blowing across the Arab World, popularly called the Arab Spring.

I came to know deep  about Egyptian policis only after reading the Malayala Manorama newspaper article of 26 June 2019 which was being published from the South Indian state of Kerala. It gave an excellent article on former Egyptian PM Mohammed Morsi. Was Morsi an extremist who wanted to wipe out all opposition and rule Egypt with an iron fist or was he a moderate ? Did Morsi reflect the dangers inherent in Egyptian mainstream society ? Was Egypt destined to go again into anarchy following troubled times before and after Morsi ?

Egyptian Jail torture, pics by Marwan Nabil
Mohammed Morsi was part of the Muslim Brotherhood cabinet which came to power in 2012 amidst widespread distrust and dissent accusing Morsi of being very close to the Western powers.

Muslim Brotherhood was perceived to be in alignment with ISIS of Iraq and was immediately blocked, Mohammed Morsi selected a senior armed forces personnel of this country El-Sisi to be his Defence Chief. Subsequently, in 2013, in a silent coup, his faithful right hand El Sisi, removed Morsi from power. Morsi was put by his faithful Defence Chief behind bars for the past six years giving his family just three visits to the prison to visit Morsi in six years.

Morsi when taken to the court, in spite of the solitary  confinement of 6 years, where in the presence of the Judge he crumbled down to his death last week.

Did Morsi, the supposed gentle face of Muslim Brotherhood, deserve such a tragic end of life ? He crumbled in the court room while defending himself, probably out of the stress of inhuman torture inflicted on him by the El-Sisi regime.

Why was Morsi put in solitary confinement for six years ? Why was he brutally mistreated while in prison ? Was the situation in Egypt as dangerous as made out by the 21 year old artist student who was rounded for taking part in the Arab Spring (Pro democracy) demonstrations in Egypt. above pic, courtesy Malayala Manorama.

In this June 18 New York Times coverage (click here) of the tragic end of Morsi, we read how the Egyptian military government of El-Sisi has quietly buried its former PM without giving anyone any explanation of what happened and how it all happened ? The people of the ancient land of the Pharaohs, deserves a better treatment from its ruling people ..

What is the future for Egypt in the rest of the 21st century ? Is it going to be as brutal or violent as the earlier days ? While different versions come out of the  mercenary nature of operation of Morsi and his political party, I feel the Egyptian public should have waited to see democracy and rule of law regain legitimacy in their land.

Only the coming days will tell the story of how Egyptians decide to chart the future of their own land .. Perhaps El-Sisi, close to President Trump of US will never face the wrath of actions in this world nor will he be sent to the prison or gallows in this life time.
The more you know about the past, the more prepared you are for the future - Theodore Roosevelt.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Lean Operations MDP experiential workshop

Taiichi Ohno, Father of TPS

Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify it's inefficiency - Bill Gates
It was great to be back at 91, Springboard, Koramangala, Bangalore on 22 June 2019 for a Lean Operations Experiential workshop - learning how to make operations efficient and less wasteful !!

This was being jointly conducted between Alliance University Bangalore faculty and, the online startup of Indian small and medium sector industries based out of Bangalore.

There were 10 excited and enthusiastic participants for the experiential Lean workshop (originally Toyota Production System, TPS). 91, Springboard is a great co-work space (click here) and is located in the center of Bangalore city, near Koramangala Forum Mall.

The workshop started with a brief explanation of the pressing necessity for organisations across the world to accept "lean operations" given the pressure to automate almost all industry functions.

Lean Operations history is synonymous with Toyota successes in Japan. Starting from the Toyoda textile loom company to the first automobile which rolled out of Toyota company in 1936, (click here for Model AA)  to the opening of the Toyota Motor Company in 1939, it was a quick and short discussion. The stellar role of Taiichi Ohno in shaping the Toyota Production System cannot be forgotten. According to the author, Value Creation, Standardisation and Continuous Improvement are the main pillars of Toyota Production System or the present Lean Operations.

At first in the organisation, process implementation happens haphazardly in the beginning. Over time, the processes get stabilised and then goes for improvement, optimisation etc.  It is then that gains accrue from the improvements in the processes on the shop floor.

Great Learning and enjoyment at 91, SpringBoard, Koramangala
Bangalore ..
We also discussed how Prof. James Womack from MIT started the idea of studying the Japanese Production system under a US govt grant of $ 5 million, which was disturbing the American car giants like GM, Ford, Cadillac and so on.

Then was born Lean Manufacturing concept that concentrated more on creating value to the customer besides reducing waste with a pull type of manufacturing aiming for unit lot size production, undergoing continuous improvement.

One of the most important Lean Tools is on Workplace Organisation, 5S. We started the experiential learning with the 5S Numbers game which everybody enjoyed, it emphasised the importance of workplace organisation and development and also on safety. Finding missing or displaced items is a major constituent of wasted time on the shopfloor. This concept was stressed by the game in the last phase. 

Industry participants appreciated the practical training
on all facets of lean at the workshop ..
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a set of standard instructions at any work or process which helps to utilise resources efficiently and effectively on the shop floor. The SOP game which we played in a series of steps stressed on the importance of having good communication and coded instructions on the processes already implemented and followed before any work is finalised to be undertaken.

The Marshmallow game was played to understand the impact of teamwork and leadership on teams. The teams displayed great cohesion and understanding while paying this game.

Understanding the difference between Push and Pull systems is very important to understand Lean systems in detail. While Push systems are triggered by the forecast of the customer demand, the pull systems are triggered by the actual customer demand

The next game we played helped to understand the major concepts of Push and Pull type simulation of production, with some paper assembly of planes. The concept of Throughput time, Cycle time and Takt time was well explained by the game. In the practical demo, it was made clear how the Talk time gets changed with changes in the demand for the end product.

Even though we did not have a game on Poka-yoke, there was a good discussion on Poka-yoke and each team through an experience sharing session was asked to come up with minimum two or more types of Poka-yoke they have used in their day-to-day work life. The difference between safety concepts and Poka-yoke was stressed in this discussion.

Industry participants were elated at the experiential learning
Plan-Do-Check-Act is the famous PDCA cycle, also called the Deming cycle. The different phases of the PDCA cycle can be illustrated by playing the PDCA card game, (click here) which involved taking a pack of cards and dividing it among the teams asking them to stick to the objective of keeping the total sum value of cards with each team constant in multiple iterations. Each iteration involved Plan, Do, Check and Act. This gave the teams a good idea of the steps in the PDCA cycle.

The Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) game which was among the most interesting played highlighting the different nature of work processes took almost 45 minutes to complete.
Continuous Improvement is always better than delayed Perfection - Mark Twain.
The learning was good among the four teams and the winning team did the passing of the balls in a minimum time of 3.25 seconds. 

Lean principles were clearly communicated
to the participants 
The Theory of Constraints game was played with the help of the randomly distributed numbers and 2 production lines with five workstations each, each workstation having five machines and with infinite initial inventory.

The practical case necessitated explanation of how Tata Sons made use of Theory of Constraints in crossing over from $ 63 billion in annual revenue to $100 billion around the last years of the first decade of the 21st century. It was a great real-life experience and a great lesson to demonstrate the effectiveness of Theory of Constraints in a corporate environment.

The workshop had a mixed group of participants from the Computer industry and the hard core mechanical engg industry. The requirement or pre-requisite of Automation and getting ready for Industry 4.0 in the near future necessitates standardising and optimising processes in any industry around the world on standard lean principles. It requires the employees and managers getting hands-on experience on how to apply lean principles on the shop floor. The workshop had this focus firmly in mind and was helpful in preparing engineers from across domains with Lean Thinking.

The workshop ended with the sharing of the experiences and the distribution of certificates. The positive feedback received from the participants has motivated us to offer more such editions of this MDP on  a monthly basis in future for the benefit of the industry.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Libra and Calibra - the new Facebook cryptocurrency and wallet ..

The aim of this article is to trigger better understanding and awareness about the new FB global fintech instrument and tool, Libra and Calibra ..

The world is getting ready for the 2020 Facebook crypto currency Libra and digital wallet Calibra launch pegged on the US dollar or EU Euro ..  

With enough safety measures set to prevent laundering and frauds as claimed, will the Libra Blockchain enabled Libra cryptocurrency be a global hit ? This could seriously disrupt banks and economies across the world.

Will the countries of the world take to this development wholeheartedly or ban it straightaway?? What will be the countermeasures taken by sovereign countries and their national and private banks to counter Libra ? 

To know more about Libra, read the white paper (click here)

The Libra Association is described by Facebook as an independent, not-for-profit organisation based in Switzerland. It serves two main functions: to validate transactions on the Libra blockchain and to manage the reserve Libra is tied to and allocate funds to social causes. -

Click here for a Guardian report ..

Facebook claims that although it created the Libra Association and the Libra Blockchain, once the currency is launched in 2020 the company will withdraw from a leadership role and all members of the association will have equal votes in governance of Libra. The companies who contributed a minimum of $10m(£8m) to be listed as founding members of the Libra Association include tech companies such as PayPal, Ebay, Spotify, Uber and Lyft, as well as financial and venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive Capital, Visa and Mastercard. -

Libra's operational control will not be with Facebook but with Libra Association, which is a list of the initial 28 members who contributed $10 million to the Libra corpus. This is to allay any fears with the global community that Facebook would besides having control over their social media data, would also have a grip over their monetary transactions data.

The 28 Founding partners of the Libra Association are as follows - payments (5), technology and market place companies (8), telecommunication companies (2), Blockchain companies (4), venture capital firms (5) and non-profit multilateral organisations (4).
  • MasterCard;
  • PayPal;
  • Payu;
  • Stripe;
  • Visa.
  • Booking Holdings;
  • eBay;
  • Facebook Calibra;
  • Farfetch;
  • Lyft;
  • Mercado Pago;
  • Spotify;
  • Uber.
  • iliad;
  • Vodafone.
  • Anchorage;
  • BisonTrails;
  • Coinbase;
  • Xapo.
  • Andreessen Horowitz;
  • Breakthrough Initiatives;
  • Ribbit Capital;
  • Thrive Capital;
  • Union Square Ventures.
  • Creative Destruction Lab;
  • Kiva;
  • Mercy Corps;
  • Women’s World Banking.
With the backing of these 28 top global corporate entities, FB is trying to convince the world of it's intention to cleanse, streamline and optimise global financial transactions.

Market value for crypto-currencies (cc) globally now stands at between $100 billion - 136 billion. The best way to understand the dynamics of a system is to discuss the strengths, weaknesses and challenges of the system. Similarly in the crypto-currency system, it is indeed a good step to try to understand what are the challenges facing the system ..
Some of the challenges with crypto-currencies are given below (click here for an interesting link)

1. Too volatile and unsustainable - The big holders of cc (whales) make frequent buy and sell walls on crypto-trading platforms by coming up with a selling proposition. This usually dampens the prices on the platform leading to high volatility. Smaller traders dispose of their stocks, enabling the whales to acquire more stock at low rates. The extreme volatility is observed when the prices fluctuate by as much as 49% in a time span of 24 hours.

2. Unregulated markets - Governments have not yet entered this market with the result that more ccs are introduced with high volatility in their prices. Unfair practices cannot be prevented by law. People are hesitant to enter the market out of fear who is responsible if data is hacked, ccs are stolen, governments bring in regulations to stall growth etc.. No rules to prevent laundering of money or black marketing or funds being diverted for paying for drugs, smuggling, kidnappings etc, can only increase the distrust in the minds of the people.

3. Technical limitation - On the present blockchain network only about 10-100 transactions are possible to be finalised per second, while actually transactions many times that number do happen, leading to frustration and slow transactions

4. Limited areas accepting cryptocurrency - Due to lesser stores and establishments accepting ccs, customer dissatisfaction is high leading to distrust and finally low usage

5. Limited functionality - presently cc trading happens by just sending cc across the network. Actually we need to enable different types of accounts, built-in payment systems, mobile top-up, encrypted messaging, a more unified open platform etc ..

6. Costly for the time being - Due to low penetration, the customer now pays heavily for the transactions, which needs to be reduced to a uniform rate.
7. A disruptive tool : Bitcoin trade could disrupt banks present intermediary role in financial transactions in a big way and could greatly undermine their current influence on societies.
8. Visibility across media - Will my social media friends see my financial transaction data ? 
How will Libra overcome these challenges ? Libra can provide a fast and reliable blockchain platform for faster transactions. It can bring in valuable and interesting functionality than just trading in cc, due to the wide clientele FB has, the usage can spread very fast, if initially some free credit could be given to each customer (an airdrop to kickstart activities in the system).

INSEAD Finance Professor Antonio Fatas writes in this 2018 article in HBR (click here), how banks can be severely inconvenienced or otherwise with the launch of crytocurriencies in general. 

From an educational and awareness perspective what are the other challenges the new cryptocurrency is likely to encounter ? Do you think Libra will succeed or be just like any other global national currency ? Do you think FB should transition from social media and communication world to the Fintech world too ?


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

World unites on ocean pollution..

Plastic from a dead whale, picture courtesy Green Peace
On 28,29 June 2019 in Osaka Japan under the leadership of Shinzo Abe, the Japanese PM, leaders of 20 major economies (G20) of the world are getting together to come up with some thoughts on an action plan to contain the marine plastic waste that has been haunting the world's oceans. 

How serious is the global problem of marine plastic waste ?  

Of the 8.3 billion tons of plastic produced globally since its invention in the fifties, 6.3 billion tons has been condemned as waste. Only 9% of this has been recycled so far, 74% is either dumped in landfills or strewn around, 12% gets incinerated and the rest most probably lands in oceans .. 8 million tonnes of plastics ends up in oceans every year ..  (click here for the NG link)

And plastics take about 600 -1000 years to decompose into micro-plastics that enter our food chain. This is one of the greatest threat to humanity and animals in the form of foreign particles in the bodies leading to cancer and many other ailments.

Of the 34.5 million tons of plastic produced by US (13.4% of global production) in 2015, only about 3.1 million tons (9%) was recycled. All the rest has gone into land fills, incinerated, strewn around or entered water bodies .. Source : US Env. Protection Agency

Really shocking . The reason why G20 nations (click here for NY Times link) have taken it as top priority and have started working on containing the plastics entering global water bodies.

With the largest population, China produced the largest quantity of plastic, at nearly 60 million tonnes. This was followed by the United States at 38 million, Germany at 14.5 million and Brazil at 12 million tonnes.

Only 9% of the plastics generated by these 4 countries was recycled, these under developed countries caused the maximum plastic pollution by way of land fills, incineration and dumping in oceans .. (click here for the link)

In terms of plastic waste produced per person the under developed country of Germany tops at 0.5 kg /person/ day followed by the US at 0.4 kg/person/day .. Where do these wastes go, either to landfills (ground pollution), incineration (air pollution) or oceans (water pollution).

The reality is China, US and Germany are the greatest irresponsible plastic polluters on our planet .. (click here)

Regarding air pollution the picture is no way different, as pointed by this World Economic Forum Report. China's total CO2 equivalent pollution of air is about 29%, followed by US at 14% and India at 6-7%  (top 3 global air polluters).. China and US account for almost 45% of global air pollution, which is easily covered up again in statistics ..

Before the industrial revolution, levels of atmospheric CO2 were around 280 parts per million (ppm). By 2013, that level had breached the 400ppm mark for the first time. On 3 June 2019 it stood at 414.40ppm. For 300 years the industrialised world has been polluting the air and for the past 40 years, China and India too have joined in ..

Who is the biggest culprit in this game of global silent covered-up environmental pollution, it is very clear as daylight .. (click here)

Cancer Incidence : Overall, the sad part of this environmental pollution for air, land and water is revealed in this vital health statistic .. cancer incidence, from World Health Organisation Cancer Today website .. 

Cancer prevalence rates in top 3 economies of the world (as percentage of population)

China 0.55% (5.5 in 1000)
US  2.2% (22 in 1000)
India 0.17% (1.7 in 1000)

Cancer prevalence rates
US = 13x India
US = 4x China
China = 3.2x India

The heavy price developed countries have to pay for their under-developed thinking .. (click here)

If the world does not unite on fixing this ocean plastics pollution by the different countries of the world, it is going to be a serious issue not only for humanity but the animals on planet earth and all the sea living creatures and fishes swimming in our oceans. Click here for a video of a whale that was shot off the Norwegian coast which had a whole bunch of plastic waste inside its body.

Click here for the greenpeace article on the ocean pollution thats haunting the world.

Boyan Slat with the largest ocean cleanup project
One of the most suggestion is going to be increasing the percentage of recycled plastic globally from just 9% to double or triple that amount in the next ten years. This will ensure that more plastic, which is by now accepted as an important constituent of human development and culture, finds use in not just single use applications but reused and recycled in different forms and finally may be used even in mixing with bitumen to lay roads. The main focus should be to limit the plastics entering landfills, oceans and being incinerated with fumes entering the air. It can limit the spread of the scourge of the present generation - cancer ..

Boyan Slat, the ocean cleanup kid from Uty of Delft, Netherlands, 24 years old ..(click here for the video).     His Ocean cleanup project (click here)


Data Visualisation Presentation..

Dr. Sukanya explaining the finer aspects of Data Visualisation in R Today 19 July 2019, Business school and Engineering school of Alli...

My popular posts over the last month ..