The way forward for technology: Drones and Automation

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Automation has been a field of interest since many years now. From automated emails to cars, we as humans have achieved a lot and have been using these technologies for getting things done faster and more accurately. But what else are we looking at? How are we going to move forward? In this article I will be mentioning the missing links by taking an example of Drones.
Drones are available online for as low as 4000 INR and many individuals have started showing interest in them. But is it legal to fly a drone anywhere you like? Can we feel safe while these machines are hovering above our head? Let’s answer these questions one by one.
With the advent of technology, we can now control drones with our iPhones or iPods and it does not require a lot of practice and patience to get the flying skills. But many people don’t realize that they can face serious legal charges if they end up flying in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even if we are ok with the fines, we have to understand that machines are not perfect and things can go wrong with them. So the answer to the first question is no, it is not legal to fly drones anywhere you like.
In terms of hurting people, drones can be considered as flying lawn mowers. Also, since they allow us to record and stream videos they can be a serious threat to privacy. Thus, as of today it is difficult for us to feel safe with drones.
So how are we going to move forward? Every new technology has got its drawbacks and can always be exploited in a negative way. But this does not mean that we should stop inventing. Companies like Google and Amazon have already started exploring the options for using drones to deliver mails and packages. I am sure you must have heard about the 30 minutes Pizza delivery service. The future services might get anything within a certain weight limit, delivered to your door stop within 30 minutes. This has already been tested by Amazon and they are excited to launch Amazon Prime Air which may look like science fiction, but it’s real. These drones will be flying under 400 feet and will make use of sense and avoid technology which comes with intense automation to ensure safety.

Amazon prime air drone picture
When cars were first invented, people had so many objections. The suggestions which were made were mostly bizarre, like every car should have a man walking in front with a red flag. And these debates did not stop until the government decided that cars are good for the society and we should have more of them. That is when roads were constructed and traffic rules got defined. Same should be the case with drones or any other invention that is useful for the mankind. So, let’s collaborate and find the right balance for future.

Ring the bell

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One person adds up to one million but the change doesn’t stop with that million, there are billions out there who are yet to change. But before we conclude that we need the change, let us speculate the present conditions.

In the metropolitan city of Delhi women don’t feel safe as they are told every day how vulnerable they are. It’s not that the news channels are exaggerating the issue but in reality the women feel unsafe. Some won’t start a conversation with a stranger even when they are in dire need. All they can expect is terror and violence and some have already started learning self defense. I chose the example of Delhi because it is the city where most incidents have occurred in the recent past. But the problem is not just with one city, it is everywhere. The following pictures were clicked in Sector 17 Chandigarh when a candle march protest was held after Delhi gang rape.

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Man is called a social animal, but sometimes I fear that we are not social any more. Even animals have a sense of faith which has been observed and proven. (You can learn about it at mother nature work) Then why has man become so unfaithful? Why a daughter can’t trust her own father? Why a girl has to feel like an object put on display?

There is no one single answer to these questions. All these things are inter-related and we need to find a solution which works for all. Whether it be Delhi or Patna, girl or boy, young or old, we need to make sure that the change effects everyone everywhere.

We can start with common habits. The advertisement industry has got more creative and can inculcate good behavior by using themes like following:

A girl has been feeling low all day and her parents take her to a social gathering even though she has got no interest. They pick up their neighbors and drive to their destination. They all did their chit-chat on the way while the girl sat silent. As all are excited about the party they quickly get off while the girl is sitting alone on the back seat, feeling weird. Just then a boy who was traveling along, opens the door for her with a smile on his face. The girl can’t stop herself from smiling. The sense of importance and respect given by the boy, changes her mood and the moment she gets off the car she is ready to party.
“A gentleman would always treat women with respect.”

This can be an ad for men’s wear or the car itself. (I am not sure)

Already we have people with great ideas which resulted into ads like these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc8ZbVcdHpg

Another one:

The most basic thing we can do is to give respect to women. Reading the news-paper and calling names to the culprits, to the government and to the mother land is not going to solve anything. We need to think because we have been given the power to think, we need to act because we have been given the courage to act and we we need to be strong because the dark side has always got more heads. A simple example would be the way war heroes are being treated in Bengal: War heroes or rape victims?. If only the society (that is us), would understand the very basic norm of humanity we all can solve the problem for sure. Let alone humanity, the basic sagacity can save us from such disasters. God has given us a brain, the instrument that made us the master of our planet. Why not use it constructively?

All I can say for now is that we all have some good and some bad inside us. There are also parts of our country where women are treated with utmost respect. There are people who have died for such causes and are relentlessly fighting for the right. We all need to bring the change together and we all need to play our parts by understanding the problem and making our decisions accordingly. If you are reading this article, then you are definitely acquainted with the problem. The change that I have been talking about starts with you. If you can make sure that all women in your family are treated with respect, then you have brought the change. If you can make sure that you will stop or report any incident of wrongdoing without making any excuses, then you have brought the change. If you can make sure that you would think about the severity of the problem and ways in which it can be solved, then you have brought the change.

There is hope and there is light, we just need to reach the other end of the tunnel.

Girl lighting candle

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk6Bi23Q7-E]

Going green on MTB

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Bike

I have always loved the concept of mountain biking and with the increasing concern for environment, green biking has become popular.

Today while chatting with a colleague at I.T. park I came to know that he has been using an MTB to commute to the office. I had noticed a few more cyclists in Chandigarh before but I hadn’t got a chance to commune with any. After learning the gear shifts, I had a quick test ride in the parking lot and got amazed with its performance. The disc brakes were good enough to perform a rookie stoppie which prompted my idea of buying an MTB. Though I am not a fan of roadster bikes, if you give me a proper MTB I might even ditch my motorcycle. I won’t just be saving my fuel money but would also become a part of  the green family of futurists without letting go of my passion for thrill.

P.S.: As I have just started off with my professional life, I would like to plan more before investing.

How talented the underprivileged kids are?

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Pic with the kids

I always believed that kids are supposed to be naggy and spending time with them means dealing with their cries and piss. But this notion got completely changed when I volunteered for Aashayein foundation with the help of Vidwan.
Me and my senior Mr. Ashish Batra met at Sri Sri Bal Vidyalaya primary school for underprivileged kids situated near the BSNL exchange in RDC, Ghaziabad. He debriefed me about the cultural fest called “Khushi Ke Rang” we were supposed to organize. As we had only 2 days to prepare the head mistress was kind of charged up on us, but I later realized that it was just her way of getting the work done fast. While she continued to hasten us, we maintained our cool and took care of all the arrangements one by one. The children had already prepared some of the performances which included songs, western and cultural dances. We analyzed their performances and decided the schedule so.

I got so mixed up with the kids that I started teaching them some dance steps by myself. It was an amazing experience as they were very obedient and worked hard until they got it right.  Just while I was showing them one of the masculine steps, a boy did a cart wheel right out of the blue. I was stunned because he was hardly 7 years old. Soon I realized that there was not just one but about 10 boys who could easily do this stunt flawlessly. To the addition of my amazement a girl did a cart wheel and then 2 more showcased this skill. Watching these little kids do it so easily, I thought that India has really got some talent.

On the day of event, about 12 more volunteers came to the school to become a part of the fest. Each volunteer was assigned about 5 kids with whom they interacted and helped them during the drawing competition. We were dazzled by the marvelous drawings that these kids were making with utmost brilliance. All the drawing material was provided to the kids which was later donated to the school.

The kids were filled with joy and were very anxious to perform on the stage. After all the performances, the stage was declared open for dance. The kids who couldn’t perform earlier were patiently waiting for this moment and grabbed the opportunity in no time. The volunteers were also dragged on stage by the kids who were eager to copy each of their steps. Lunch and drinks were then distributed as the kids made a disciplined row on their own.
Another example of such discipline was noticed by me when one of the kids spilled his lunch. Normally a kid of that age would start crying or just start playing with it. But instead he got up, brought a broom and cleaned the mess on his own. I guess the hardships in their lives teach them to rely on themselves. This incident touched my heart and made me more sure about staying involved with the social work. Just imagine what these kids can do if only their basic requirements are fulfilled.

All in all this was a wonderful experience and I loved spending time with the kids. 🙂

Letter to #IromSharmila (You are truly an Iron lady with a conscientious decision)

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Irom Sharmila Chanu

JN Hospital Security Ward

Porompat, Imphal – 795005

Manipur

Email: writetosharmila@gmail.com, writetosharmila@hotmail.com

Sub: You are truly an Iron lady with a conscientious decision

I came across your story when I was going through my friend’s updates on social network facebook. It was a picture of yours, annotated with the text telling about ignorance among people regarding your effort. As I was one of those ignorant people, it made me read about AFSPA and the powers it gives to the armed forces. Just after reading the three main points I could figure that this act can certainly violate the human rights.

This act empowers unlimited powers to Security personals to

  1. Fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law” against “assembly of five or more persons” or possession of deadly weapons.
  2. To arrest without a warrant and with the use of “necessary” force anyone who has committed certain offenses or is suspected of having done so
  3. To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests.

Thus after getting a fair idea about the act, I started reading about your strike. I learned that it started after November 2, 2000, in Malom, Manipur, when ten civilians were allegedly shot and killed by the Assam Rifles.

Though the powers have been given in order to bring back normality in disturbed areas, it has rather been permitting torture, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions; as stated by the human rights groups.

It was surprising and abominable to discover that you have been regularly released and re-arrested every year and police has been using nasogastric intubation (force-feeding through nose) forcibly. It is also said that you have been deprived of the basic amenities like internet connection. The stifling and self forgetful existence that you have chosen for yourself is surely a work of an “Iron lady”.

I am sorry about your circumstances and I wish things get better soon. I wonder what force has given you the power to carry out a decade long hunger strike, but now I can see it fluctuating in the activities that have been going on recently. The Save Sharmila campaign has organized various events like street awareness program, cycle rally, signature campaign etc.

It’s good to know that you have got international support as well and people like HM Queen Elizabeth II have written letters to you. This makes me feel even more anxious because, when even the people from outer states are able to understand the situation why haven’t anything been done about it till now.

Right now I am not sure whether the AFSPA should be completely repealed or not, because it has been stated that this might lead to disturbances; but a check should certainly be kept on the activities of armed forces.

Rather, the act can be altered and thus allow prosecution of those officials who go beyond their line of duty. I mean to say that the following line could be emitted from the act to make it more humane:

“– No prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding shall be instituted against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.”

Maybe, being a resident of a calm place like Delhi is affecting my thoughts, but this is what I think at my level of cognizance.

May your appeal be heard and acted upon.

Kushal Ashok

Student at Punjabi University

REFERENCES:

Articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irom_Sharmila

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/one-indians-decade-long-hunger-strike

http://www.theweekendleader.com/Crusade/684/Iron-lady.html

http://www.repealafspa.blogspot.com/

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-07-05/guwahati/29738700_1_irom-sharmila-military-act-kongpal-kongkham-leikai

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2506988.ece

Facebook Pages:

https://www.facebook.com/SaveSharmilaCampaign/
https://www.facebook.com/iromsharmila

Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/savesharmilacampaign/

Picture that initiated my thought:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2048969225507&set=a.1541642102646.2070495.1282747233

Twitter: ( Hashtag: #IromSharmila )

https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23IromSharmila%20

About AFSPA:
http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/armed_forces_special_powers_act1958.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armed_Forces_(Special_Powers)_Act,_1958

Aarakshan: Education is not a business

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Aarakshan is one of the movies that I consider intellective. Even though I was told by most of my colleagues that the movie is bogus, they could not change my decision to watch it.

I think that in spite of a few flaws, the theme and concept of the movie made it commendable. The topic which has never been portrayed in this fashion before was brilliantly presented. The best thing about the movie was that it was not biased and the arguments of both sides were demonstrated equally.

I for one had always thought that the high percentage of reserved seats for minority is not fair, but after considering the facts that I came across in this movie I had to doubt my opinion. Especially the speech given by the character ‘Deepak’ was quite prestigious considering the history of our nation. Although it is agreeable that the conditions are not same anymore and reservation has indeed made many meritorious students suffer, but this is probably because of the wrong use of the law. Probably the main thing to be considered for someone to deserve a reservation should be his economic conditions and not merely his caste.

I completely agree with the character played by Mr. Amitabh which was very strong and impregnable. From his voice to the slightest of his expressions, everything was just top-drawer. Well this post is not just about him as we don’t need to specify reasons for the success of the “King of Bollywood”.

Besides, most of the actors played their roles the right way. For instance, the emotional scenes were well handled by Deepika Padukone. When her character apologises to her father, it depicted the intuitiveness of father-child relationship. Also the chemistry with her boyfriend was pictured substantially.

There are a lot of things in the movie that can make you introspect and cerebrate. One just needs to keep his mind open enough to allow the light to enter from all sides. This is a perfect example of how patience, faith and determination are necessary to live a respectful life. I cannot promise that these things will eventually lead to a happy ending like that showed in the movie, but will sure give mental peace and satisfaction. Because money is not just everything and no matter how many difficulties we are facing, we have some duty towards our mother-land.

The brain drain has caused huge loss to our country as most of the prominent Indians are working for foreign companies. And the blame is then put on the conditions here like “reservations” and “corruption”. But we should ask ourselves this question, “When a part of our body is in pain, do we cut it away or take medicine?” Instead of continuously complaining about it, we should do something about it. I know this is a very old line which we hear every day. But there is a difference between hearing and listening and the day one listens to it, he or she will know which road is supposed to be taken.

Some people complained that the movie did not live up to its title as the thing about reservations was not showcased much after the interval. But a title does not decide whether a movie is good or not. The other concept considered here is as important as the first one. These days, education has become a business and we all are a part of this industry, wearing out ourselves without realising the downsides of it.

These people who like movies like “Ready” more, should explain that how such a movie is even slightly related to its title. I am not saying here that ‘Ready’ was a bad movie. There are different genres and it sure was a good comedy; but I just couldn’t argue with these people and explain to them why this movie should not be called Bogus. Maybe I don’t need to and should just try and live the right way.

P.S.: Education should never be made a Business

Is 25 the new 18?

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not old enough to drinkThe recent raise of minimum drinking age from 21 to 25 in Maharashtra is pure hypocrisy! The majority of Indian citizens seem to be ungratified about this anserine convention. Especially the Bollywood is shocked to its guts as we get a line from the recent updates like: “Big B finding it STRANGE”  and “Imran filing the PIL”.
It is more like a decree recounting that we are not responsible enough at 18. When we can get a driving license and a voter card then how can we be not able to decide about drinking? India is a developing country and the level of advancement achieved by youngsters in all walks of life is not a jest at all. When at 23, Sid Mallya can own the  3rd largest liquor company in the world how can he be not allowed to drink?

What makes it more perplexing is that they have set different rules in different states. While Kerala, Goa, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh allow 18 year olds to handle booze; Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu keeps it 21. And it’s not astounding anymore that  it is completely prohibited in Gujarat and Mizoram. What do the state governments want to prove here? Isn’t it a dubiousness on our ‘integrity in diversity’?
Moreover, are these rules being implemented aright? If it were so, there had been no case files piled up in the courts. The beauty of our plotters is that they are more occupied in making new rules and not descrying that the old ones are not even hunky-dory. This is one of the reasons that corruption is building up so well. It appears that the rules are meant to be broken.

If such stupendous rules are imposed on the nestling citizens, of course they will be aroused to go against it. What is required is to use the power of youth and not to suppress it. It is not that we should support drinking as a habit or anything alike, but it is just that the basic rights being provided should be well delineated based on the needs and acquisitions.

P.S.: Under-age tipplers can still be found buying liquor in every state, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

http://twitter.com/#!/speedoholic/status/81390085093851138

Indian yogi ‘Baba Ramdev’ fasts against corruption

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Image Courtesy: www.bbc.co.uk

A few days back I saw the BBC headline: “Indian yogi Baba Ramdev fasts against corruption.”
Now what image of our country does it draw?

I cannot deny that corruption in India has caused so many problems that people are no longer ready to bear it. Thus, when such strikes are organized the people get to see a ray of hope that maybe, just maybe this time some things will change.

The way I see it, Baba Ramdev is surely a good Yoga educator but when it comes to events like these, it’s perplexing to understand who is telling the truth. I do not understand whether the sympathy people are having for Baba Ramdev is purely based on his effort to evade corruption or they are being hypnotised or something. He sure has a great following due to his remarkable achievements in the field of meditation and Yoga. But this makes it difficult to believe that people who follow him are actually against corruption or do they just want to agree with their hero.

There is controversy in every little statement. Viz. Baba Ramdev says that thousands were injured owing to the wipe off organized by police; while authorities count injured as 30. Now how bad someone’s math can be?

I also heard about the proofs that some harmful events like bomb-explosion were being planned, by those who are always awaiting such opportunities when mass number of people can be affected.

Several upshots like these made it clear that the agitation could not be allowed especially in a city none other than the capital of India; and thus it somehow defends the police action. Moreover, according to reports the tear gas was only being used after the violent agitation by supporters. If this was true, then Baba Ramdev should have just got down from the stage and hand himself over to the police because he was already given a warning on Saturday night. This would have saved the thousands of people who got beaten brutally by the police; according to the contradictory reports.

Now if we assume that all the claims made by Baba Ramdev’s supporters are true, then surely the police’s action cannot be justified at all. Making an announcement is  the foremost thing that is required in such a situation, where there are high chances of stampede. But it is hard to believe that Indian police could have acted like Jallian wala Bagh‘s troops; because for one thing, General Dyer is not alive anymore.

Other than this, the never-ending fight between the two political parties has given this a totally divergent picture. What was supposed to resemble a “satyagrah”, wouldn’t have involved such comments being made by the politicians’ one after the other.

There is a huge difference in the ways of Mr. Anna Hazare (associated with Jan Lokpal Bill) and Baba Ramdev. For instance, the Ramlila Maidan was being booked for carrying out Yoga and not for any agitation. Breaking the rules (under section 144) in the first place made me think more about the ethnicity of this so-called ‘Fight against corruption’.

Wake up dude! We are not being ruled by a foreign company now; the people we are pointing our fingers at are the ones being elected by us only. We the people of India are responsible for its past, present and future.

For me, fighting against corruption is not going on a hunger strike but to eradicate it from the roots whilst we start from the leaves; the leaves that we have watered for our own sakes.

P.S.: All that I have written here is purely based on the knowledge that I received from the news reports. Now we all know about the preciseness of such reports, so maybe the way I am thinking now is also a result of the ideas being implanted in my brain by such manipulated compositions.

Hike in rates gave Delhi a quake!

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BJP activists blocking traffic in Delhi

I do not know whether petrol hike could be avoided in spite of the increased rates in international market or not. But I don’t think that blocking roads is a solution at all. Yesterday, I was stuck in a traffic jam in Delhi for about 2 hours. The sweat was dripping off my face and the sun was not going to be easy on me. I was so pissed that I could have slapped those agitators who were waving their party flags in middle of the road. As for me, it is nothing but a game being played between the two parties who keep blaming each other for the changes being brought. And who knows that if these people were among the ruling party, would they have been able to manage the economy without increasing the fuel rates?

This was not the first time that I had to deal with such a situation. The last time I had to travel a lot of extra distance and my holidays were almost ruined, coz the roads leading to our destinations were blocked due to ‘Gujjar Andolan’.
Who gave them the right to do so? Why can’t the police just beat the shit out of them? Why are they allowed to ruin our schedules?

These are the questions that can be easily answered by any of the Indian politicians. But the reasons that he or she is usually going to use are completely lame to me. I do understand that Delhi has always been considered as the ‘land of rallies’ and we have to raise our voice against the things that are going wrong. But for me, methods like these are no good. I am not claiming that I know a better solution to the problem but at least I know that if one is unable to solve a problem, he or she shouldn’t be creating more of them.

By blocking roads like this, first of all they became one of the reasons for the next rate hike by forcing hundreds of vehicles to burn more of the expensive petrol. Second of all, they played with the lives of so many people who got late for their appointments, jobs, etc.

All in all, I think that such protests shall not be allowed!

Now I am sure that a lot of people will disagree with me as people have seen police officials beating up or putting the innocent people into jail. But maybe all that we are suffering from is the dysfunctional constitution and the never-ending battle among the political parties.

For example, first BJP activists block roads on 16th May 2011 (read the article at yahoo), and then on the very next day Congress party protests over hike in road tax (read the article at newstrackindia). Now where is the common man in this picture? All I can see is two parties playing a chess like game while using us as their pawns.

As I don’t have much knowledge about the political science, I will not say much about it. I just wanted to express my anger and used this post for it (first of its kind in this blog). But I will come back with a lot more sensible intellect along with the solutions, soon after I collect the required cognition.

P.S.: Please excuse my words if you don’t agree with me! I am just an Indian citizen expressing myself.