Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ad Makers thrive on ignorance of Public

In many ads about germicides, it is claimed that so and so soap kills 99.9% bacteria. This means that if there were 100000 of these microscopic beings, after treatment 99900 will be killed but still 100 will stay alive. One thing they don’t tell is that bacteria growth is exponential and within no time they will multiply again.  As the number of surviving bacteria will be less and amount of food is same as before, their proliferation rate is very high and they will grow within no time to large numbers. Only limiting factor against their growth is the starvation when the food is exhausted. Don’t be fooled that they die when the food is exhausted. No, they become dormant and wait for the food to become available again and again they revive.

The fact is we are born with “conditions apply’ tags and we are bound to play host to millions of bacteria who live inside and outer skin of our bodies. Many of these are beneficial to us.

What the bacteria lack is size they amply make up in sheer numbers.They live everywhere and there is no escape from them except immunity levels which are different from person to person and also with age.

Lack of knowledge of general people is used by the manufactures to fool them.

Where is Mandwa?

“Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. Poora naam. Baap ka naam, Dinanath Chauhan. Maa ka naam, Suhasini Chauhan. Gaon, Mandwa …. “, these iconic lines spoken by iconic Amitabh Bachchan in movie Agneepath made people curious to know where is this Mandwa after all. The movie has been made again by Karan Johar having Sanjay Dutt as playing the villain Kancha Cheena who is supposed to be having his nefarious activities in Mandwa, although shooting has not been done in Mandwa at all.
Mandwa is a coastal village and a ferry landing about 15 km from Alibaug and by road 117 km from Mumbai Central by road. It is back breaking journey by bus. This is due to the fact that the coast along the Arabian sea called Western Ghats is like the page of a book which has been eaten at the edges by the moth. Sea wedges between the land and only place where proper bombay island is connected to the main land mass of India is a bridge at Vashi and Airoli.

But most local people make use of ferries which take only an hour to Gateway of India. It is just like any other coastal village dotted with palms. The inhabitants are fisher folks and are called Kolis. Like many such secluded places, Madwa is also used for bringing in smuggling goods. As such Alibaug is second home to many rich of Mumbai like Tata, Ambani and Sachin and all rich people of Bombay. Alibaug is called Second home of the rich in Mumbai. There are so many beaches in the vicinity of Alibaug and on weekend lot of Bombay people take to these places for picnics.

Change is not always for the better

It is generally said that change is for the better. It is a general statement and hence may not be always true or valid for all changes. Sometimes change can disturb your balance with the nature and people and can result in problems and makes you repent your decisions.

For example, the weather at the new place may not suit you and you shall not feel in good spirits. Your moral can come down. Sometimes, the people at new place may not turn out to be of your liking and you will feel cut off and isolated.

Then you may come face to face with people whom you had known and made a very optimistic opinion about them when you were away from each other. But coming nearer may show of the facets of their personality which you have not expected. Your expectations are shattered. Your mind struggles to change its opinion about them and suffers.

Sometimes, the adaptability becomes poor with increasing age. Physical strength is down and visiting places and friends can become a demanding task in itself.

Of course, if you already decided to live at a given place, then also your life becomes routine and stale. Mind then craves for newer things, places and people. In such cases a short trip to another place may be even better for us.

In Mumbai

We again visited Mumbai, the city where we lived for more than 20 years during my posting there in ONGC. We lived in Panvel, a town falling on the Mumbai-Pune highway about 50 kilometers from Mumbai. We left the place on my transfer to Dehradun. Our children grew and got educated while we were there. As everyone knows no city in India is like Mumbai. It is always active, seldom goes to sleep, people seem to be in a great hurry and belong to every strata from billionaires to beggars. There is never any fear in the night like North Indian cities. In fact, more night bus services operate in the night time than in the day time.

South Mumbai is the real city built by British. From Dadar towards South Mumbai is the old and beautiful city. It flaunts all its wealthiness and majestic building and highrises. Old time buildings still display all the glory.

From Victoria Terminus Station, renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, we went towards Gateway of India in a cab. On the way, we passed on the D.N.Road, Flora Fountain aka Hutatma Chowk. There are book sellers in their makeshift stalls and piles of second hand books in the triangular space near Fountain.

A short distance ahead is Kala Ghoda and Prince of Wales Museum which now has been renamed after Shivaji the great Maratha king. After that one can see the Police Headquarters. Just after that is Gateway of India.  The structure was erected to commemorate the landing of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder, when they visited India in 1911.

These days the ground in front is cordoned off. This has been done to tighten the safety as terrorist attacks especially on the Taj Mahal hotel opposite have taken place and shattered the peace in the area in the past.

People take pictures in front of the structure. There are always big crowds. There is a ferry landing and pleasure ferries are available here to have a visit in the Arabian sea and from there see the majestic sky line and buildings of Bombay and Colaba. Boats are also available for famous Elephants caves located on the island.

Nearby is the Colaba market where one can buy all the fancy items. Foreigners are seen in plenty here. The famous Leopold Cafe is also located here. It was here in this small eatery the terrorists killed many innocent people in Mumbai attacks.

We took a taxi to Marine Drive and reached the Nariman Point End. From the esplanade, one can see the Arabian sea in its glory. The Sun set is very beautiful .A strong breeze blows. There are people sitting on the boundary and on the tetrapods. With the setting in of the evening whole area lits up. There are lights on the opposite side in the area called hanging gardens.

We sat there till evening. Took a taxi back and reached Victoria Station again and caught the train to Vashi back.

Train from Delhi to Dehradun: Pictures

Here are some pictures taken from the train during recent journey from Delhi to Dehradun.  It is April beginning. There are golden wheat fields, sugarcane and poplars. There are water bodies near Haridwar in which you can see the reflection of poplar trees.

Ammonia Clock

Ammonia is a chemical of great industrial importance as it is used in making the nitrogen based fertilizers. Its demand is so high that when Haber who developed the synthesis of ammonia by combining nitrogen and hydrogen using catalytic method, he was awarded Nobel prize.

Here we will discuss its peculiar structure. Nitrogen is the central atom to which 3 hydrogen atoms are attached. But due to sp2 hybridized bonds it is not flat but trigonal prism. A pair of electrons resides on the nitrogen giving it basicity.

The ammonia molecule readily undergoes nitrogen inversion at room temperature like an umbrella turning itself inside out in a strong wind. The energy barrier to this inversion is 24.7 kJ/mol, and the resonance frequency is 23.79 GHz, corresponding to microwave radiation of a wavelength of 1.260 cm. The absorption at this frequency was the first microwave spectrum to be observed. This frequency of flipping is so constant at a given tempertaure that it was used to construct very accurate clock called ammonia clock. It was the first atomic clock constructed by NBS in 1949.

First Atomic Clock (US NBS)

Its caption read as follows:

The Bureau atomic clock program sought to provide a spectroscopic standard capable of being used as a new atomic standard of time and frequency to replace the mean solar day and so change the arbitrary units of time to atomic ones. With such a clock, new precise values might be found for the velocity of light; new measurements of the rotation of the earth would provide a new tool for geophysicists; and new measurements of the mean sidereal year might test whether Newtonian and atomic time are the same, yielding important results for relativity theory and cosmology”

It operated with an ammonia-regulated quartz crystal and ran with a constancy of one part in 20 million.

Carbon Dating

There are atoms which have same chemical properties but different atomic weights. They have same atomic mass because number of protons are identical but additional neutrons make then different in weight. Such atoms are called isotopes.

For example carbon which has 6 protons and 6 neutrons have an isotope which have 6 protons but 8 neutrons.  They are presented as C14 and C12. Addition of protons make them less stable and many of them are radioactive. The rate at which a particular atom decays is independent of temperature, light or darkness. During decay the atom is trying to achieve state of minimum energy and produces atoms with lower atomic numbers and energy.

The rate of decay is expressed in terms of half life. For example a given weight of C14 atoms will become half in weight in 5600 years. precisely.  Then the remaining mass will again take 5600 years to become 1/4 th and so on. This property has many uses and one of the most popular one is carbon dating to determine the age of wood.

Vegetation absorbs CO2 and the same C14/C12 proportion is found in wood as in the atmosphere as long as the tree is alive.But, after a tree is felled it no longer absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Inside the dead wood, the C14 brothers slowly disappear, and are not replaced. So, a piece of wood from a Pharaoh’s tomb contains a far lower C14/C12 proportion than a tree that has recently been felled. This type of clock is particularly useful to archaeologists, and allows them to date wood between 200 and 20,000 years old.  The ratio of C14/C12 is measured using a ratio recording mass spectrometer.