Saturday, January 30, 2016

Physics made Interesting

Through a long chain (toys > finite time singularities > euler's disc > tippe top > rigid body forces > MIT) I bumped into the character of Prof. Walter Lewin. Acknowledged as one of the best teachers of our generation, Lewin studied in physics and astrophysics, then followed with taking up teaching (for good) at MIT (Cambridge).

His striving for pedagogical frontiers is exceptional, and teachers need to see and understand more of him - this 75 year old guy swinging on a pendulum in the name of physics (and under the assurity of physics), and riding out on fire extinguisher-powered tricycles on his last lecture at MIT.
It was surprising to see even baby bro join in and enjoy the lecture alongside me - he, who has not touched Physics since 2005 and surely sees no reason to.

A tiny note to add - his status royale at MIT was snatched after charges of sexual harrassment surfaced, which happened a coupla years back. It was after his term ended at MIT (during his involvement with MIT's online education platform, OpenCourseware). Disciplinary action ensued, and all his lectures were taken off OpenCourseware thereafter.

Coincidentally, t'was Walter Lewin's birthday just yesterday, on the 29th of Jan.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Watchin them birds on the street

My first falcon sighting. To chance upon a Shikra, in the middle of urban Delhi, is surprising. Thanks to the drifter day, I got to notice it, perched on the branches of the tree next to my balcony, feeding on carrion. A long observation ensued. The bird was not nervy to my presence, as I had assumed. We both checked each other out aplenty. A very curious squirrel kept pestering the bird, while it lounged on its breaks between the feeding cycles.

PS: Shikra derives from the word "shikari" or hunter, as it is trained and used in hunting by the falconers. It is comparable to a German Shepherd (of domesticated birds world), as in being a utility bird that could fetch game for other more prized birds.

It also turns out that Shikra is not a falcon, but a type of hawk (also called "little banded goshawk") - an Accipiter. It probably was a female, "her" spots match more of whatever females I could find on Google for a confirmation.

The shikra is a small raptor (26–30 cm long) and like most other Accipiter hawks, this species has short rounded wings and a narrow and somewhat long tail. Adults are whitish on the underside with fine rufous bars while the upperparts are grey. The lower belly is less barred and the thighs are whitish. Males have a red iris while the females have a less red (yellowish orange) iris and brownish upperparts apart from heavier barring on the underparts. The females are slightly larger.

Armchair ornithology FtW. This is why we need surviving canopies in our residential areas.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

day of new wallpaper ideas and statistical analysis experiments

In the meantime

As a consumer, here is some interesting bits about the world I've consumed in the itinerant new year holidays:

Rubrics and hubris of all sorts, sorry.

Falcon 9 onshore landing is the newest feat of perfection

Space X re-entry re-imagined

Satisfying re-entry, from Lko to Delhi. Things not too pensive, as were in the last re-entry - bills and landladies to take care of first thing, then finding precious foods and other items foraged on by  the scavengers of the house, then laying my last job to a rest in a graveyard of deadbeat things I happened to get into and get out of.. and then to a start.

Today, by some dint of fate, there are no bills to be paid, no chaos to fathom in the physical space (always be knolling ethic in place), hot girls on my tow, and a bike undergoing the annual instar. Oh, and a new job come through consent to exploitative terms to deal with.