Sunday, December 23, 2012

global tea party #1

With sincerest flattery of imitations from 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

So this local tea party fellow, he is everytime writing something so that ki people are saying - "what a post macha", or awesome and all. Some educated people are even using foreign words like "erudite" and "eloquent" or something.

Anyway, other day I thought, simply I will also write off like this fellow only, even that "anti local tea party" fellow is doing, so why I should not? Half of Bangalore people anyway are talking like this.

So, I am having one Nokia 1100 and before that 3220 phone... Many times I am thinking, "Arey yaar, I must get one smart phone", but never only I can actually.

See boss, when I was small, we had that black color ITI telephone - with finger, you had to rotate round and round, and if you dial 161 and keep it down, it will ring back at once "trrring trrring trring" and if you dial 162 and keep it down, after 5 seconds it will do "trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr". How I found out you are asking? I saw one phone repair fellow do it and we asked him off, and he told that number.

After Ambani and all made Reliance CDMA phone, then only I got actual cellphone. Mostly some 5 to 6 people I call mainly in life, rest all rarely, once in awhile I am having SMS conversation to and fro with people.

Nowadays everyone has smart phone, minimum some 12000 they are costing, and everytime people are buying newer and newer models. One huge economy itself is there from appstore and all, and they are keeping some tasty names like Ice cream sandwich for god knows what. Everyone is sliding their finger on the screen again and again like that number puzzle we used to have in young age - only in that puzzle, there was an ending, when you got all the numbers 1 to 25 in order. In smart phone no ending only. Also these people are eating bajji and bonda, rubbing their hair and then again using this touch screen - It is looking like one greasy dosai-kallu from Shanti Sagar restaraunt only.
Now you may be thinking ki boss, this fellow is one waste, he doesn't like progress and all, so he is making a fuss, but I am also one geek only and I know ki what amazing technology is in iPhone etc.
But think also, for two minutes only people are not able to leave this phone - When jogging also measuring speed, when travelling also using GPS, when going to bathroom also some are using. Some are even using when sleeping, to measure snores it seems.

In younger days, I was going off on 100s of kilometers journey with no chance of contacting home anywhere in between... If bus had fallen down the mountain also, family would have come to know only after many days.But nowadays, when walking the dog also I am keeping cellphone with me - thinking ki, "Who knows! Always better to have one phone.."
Too much only.... 

global tea party #2

This is one of my many facebook notes that I am going to copy into this blog, with suitably anonymized comments...
I wrote the following in the wake of the reactionary posts that people made on twitter and facebook after the really horrible Delhi gang rape incident of December 2012 (The bangalore-speak style is intentional)

All of you guys, waste buggers only... 
First of all scaredy cats, you will be scared of black cat crossing your path. You will be scared of exams, whole year you will do masti, on exam day only suddenly start praying off. You will be scared of parents, can't dare to smoke or drink or get stoned without hiding from parents. Internet history also you will delete off.

Full year you will stand near college gate and say "this figure, that figure", you will put marks, refer to girls as "maal". In films you will die for item number, whistle for Sheila and Munni, make "fraanship" on internet. You will join "AXE angels" group on facebook and like all the posts. Every sunday you will party, get drunk and discuss "isko pataunga, usko pataunga" ( or "ivalai correct pannren, avalai correct pannren" ).

Every third word you will say MC and BC and BKL and DK Bose and what not. 99% of girls on dating sites you will chase away with your country/kantri approach.

Then one day, you will hear in NEWS about something like the the awful incident in Delhi and suddenly you will start thumping chest like Tarzan -  "Like this we should beat the molestors, like that we should torture the rapists". For you greatest grief is that your friend can afford iPhone 5 and you can't because his parents are more misled than yours, but you will act off as if you really know anything about pain or suffering.

You will do nothing to change your sorry views and attitude on women, but as soon as one scapegoat was found, who is the extreme end result of your mindset, you will demand his blood and support capital punishment, support torture - If you wan't to talk like that, go live in some Taliban country where they condone this sort of eye for an eye stupidity. You will start saying how great in Saudi Arabia where they cut off peoples heads or hands for punishment - go die there only.

You got offended only after this all happened and now you are talking about iron rods and stuff? Daily so many thousands got offended by idiots like you, who only respond with hate to anything. Luckily all those did not take up any swords.You guys are the real scary people, you look and act literate online, but in your mind you are very backward- If some random guru or politician says something, he can hypnotise people like you into beating and oppressing other people. You think just because you are on a scale of 2 out of 10 in disrespecting women, you are better than the rapists who are 10/10 and can judge and be smug.

You guys are the type of people who write that America deserved the school shooting. Hateful scum.

If you really had concern for suffering and pain of others, long ago you would have become vegetarian, stopped drinking Coke and Pepsi, stopped buying Apple products and fireworks from Sivakasi. You wouldn't sit there with your 30000 Rs dumbphone and haggle for 20 rupees with a barely surviving auto rickshaw driver. Bullshit people you are.

Go do your work, be more respectful of women and keep your trap shut. Your violent words are worth less than your IQ (~0) 

Summa don't be off one "akil ka bakil" (free lawyer for everyone).

Let those who really can do something do it, don't pollute their effort with your medieval crappy reactionary violent mindset.  


N B :
Well written.

That being said, let me be quick to point out that while I'm no fan of the KSA and it's views (as you might be aware), I'm actually in favour of extremely stringent punishment that sets an example for would-be perpetrators of such crimes. In the outrage following what happened to that girl, we seem to be forgetting the umpteen cases of girls as little as three years and six years of age being raped; they barely get a column or two in the papers. 

Girls so young can't go identifying perpetrators, nor can they be expected to go learning and displaying martial skills (!) to protect themselves. If a change has to be brought about, it has to be at a societal level; inculcation of values, respect for women and children. This will take a generation or two.

Human nature being what it is, it has to be done via both education as well as with the fear of a punishment so dreadful that it makes one think ten times before committing such heinous crimes. Exemplified by Sun Tzu executing the two favourite concubines of the king who refused to follow orders; after that everybody fell in line.

No, I'm certainly not Talibanesque. Yes, I am vegetarian. And I respect women. For the record.

Me :
I think the bigger disease here is violence, rather than anything else - If a man is comfortable hitting another living being, any small deviant behavior becomes a full scale crime. The only difference between a loser and a rapist is that a loser is not violent enough to force himself upon a woman, the only difference between a frustrated youth and a killer is that an average frustrated youth has not the violence to pick up a semi-automatic weapon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Solarian Mirage

The sun shines bright
We live in an age of fear and guilt, because we realize that the oil and coal are running out, and we've (puportedly) carbonized the atmosphere to a level high enough to cause weather changes.

While the first point is true and quite serious, the second is debatable (I won't debate it here, not today at least). Green is the new gold, and people are apt to jump on the "Solar solves all problems!" bandwagon at the drop of a sun hat.

I don't buy into this meme, because unlike almost all of you, I actually lived along with my family on solar electricity for several years, and what I and my brother have forgotten about the practicalities of solar electricity is much more than most will ever learn.

Now though, I (obviously) live in an urban home, and last month I consumed 326 KWh of electricity which runs :
  • A fridge for 24 hours
  • TV for upto 8 hours
  • 3 CFL Lights for 6 hours
  • Desktop PC for 6 hours
  • 2 Laptop chargers for 12 to 16 hours
  • Water heater for 30 minutes
  • Microwave for 30 minutes
This is a very meager amount of energy consumption compared to most households.
Let's calculate what it would cost me to go solar, given that I need a paltry 10 KWh a day...

Let's assume I get 4 hours of peak sunlight every day, which is very optimistic, given that it is tropical weather and urban atmosphere to boot.

I would need get a power output of 2.5 KW from my panels. That DC voltage would need to be converted to AC, at an efficiency of about 80% (again very optimistic) so that makes it 3.125 KW.

Since I need power at night, I need to store energy in lead acid batteries, at an efficiency of 70% (not including the loss caused by charge control circuitry). This gives me 4.46 KW of peak power requirement from my panels.

I looked at some listings on e-bay for poly crystalline panels and they need about 5 to 7.5 sq. m. per KW of peak power. We will think about pricing later.

Thus I need anywhere from 22 to 35 sq. m. of panels, installed on the roof of my house, which is a lot!

Also consider that I would like to have about 50% extra power, so that In a span of two sunny days, I can save up enough energy for one cloudy day (once again rose colored glasses).

I wish I had a dollar fifty for every time I prayed for sunny weather back when I needed it.

As of now, there is no widely available alternative to Lead Acid batteries, and while the technology has improved in the 15 years since I last used them, they are still heavy, expensive and short-lived.
For my hypothetical green home, I would need to store power for about a week shall we say? Let's be more optimistic and say 3 days.

30 kilowatthours - that is 2500 Ampere Hours at 12V

The best deep cycle tubular batteries are about 200AH capacity so I need about 12 of them. At 75 KG a piece, that is pushing close to a ton of equipment, including a 5KW inverter and all the associated paraphernalia.

About 15000 Rs a piece for the batteries
About 15000 Rs per sq. m. for the solar panels (based on rates of 300 USD /sq. m.  as seen on e-bay)
About 15000 Rs for a good 5KW inverter, I'm guessing.

Panel Life? They say 30 years, and it seems like that is a reasonable estimate.

Battery Life? Don't believe the manufacturers hype, if you can preserve 75% capacity of the batteries after 5 years with a few deep discharges in between, I will present you with an iridium asteroid.

So it costs me :
  • 4.46 * 1.5 * 15000 = 100,350 for the panels 
  • 15000 for the inverter
  • 15000 * 12  = 180,000 for the batteries
Total is about 2.8 lakh rupees initially, assuming I will do all the wiring and installation myself  (You could too,  if you just master one simple formula V=IR)

Every 5 years I would need to replenish the batteries, so I buy say 4 batteries to supplement the aging ones - That is 60,000 every 5 years or 12,000 per year after the first 5 years.

After 30 years... 
Assuming prices are constant, my power usage does not rise, sunlight remains plentiful and so on.

I would have spent 1500 a month on regular power from BESCOM - that's 1500 * 12 * 30 = 5.4 lakhs of rupees.

For solar, I would initially spend 2.8 lakhs and for 25 years after the first 5, I would spend a 1000 a month on battery cost = 1000 * 12 * 25 = 3 lakh rupees.

Does not really work out cost-wise!!

Let's look at what variables I could have misjudged by a great margin.
  • Panel costs  - perhaps they could be cheaper by another 15%
  • Battery costs - lead acids not likely to be cheaper than what I mentioned unless technology inevitably leaps and bounds, but halving the price of batteries would probably take a decade.
  • Sunlight - I counted ampere hours day after day in the Himalayas, where the skies are actually blue, and I declare that 4 hours of peak power a day is extremely optimistic, as is 2 sunny days for 1 cloudy one. 1 week without sunlight is not uncommon. And if you just deep discharge your batteries a few times, they will be scrap!
  • Rising costs of conventional power - this is very much what can throw my price numbers out the window
  • I don't consume much energy! I bet most households are consuming at least 2 to 3 times as much.
  • Energy costs of making the panels, the batteries, and the costs of installation (let me pretend I can't understand V=IR)
What about cooking?
That itself consumes almost as much energy equivalent as I use electricity. Once again there are only 2 people in my domicile, and we don't cook or eat much by most standards.
Then again, what about transport?
I burn 20 to 50 times more energy in the form of gasoline when I ride my bike - If I had a car, I would use probably 1.5 to 2 times as much of that again, not to mention the immense energy required to smelt, cast and forge three quarters of a tonne of steel and aluminum into an automobile!
Should I choose to use an electric bike and forgo the beloved noisy IC engine, I could reduce the energy needed by my bike to about a tenth but even then it's a very big amount.

So it all adds up to some dismal numbers, cost wise and carbon wise - and these numbers do not paint a good picture for solar. Don't even mention wind to me, because it is even worse.

I'm not saying solar is useless, but it's a bad choice, considering the demands of energy we have - and I haven't even considered heavy industry or jet transports or ships.

The wise thing would be to push for nuclear - whether you like it or not, in 25 years most of our energy needs will be from fission reactors. The French are doing it, so are the East Europeans - it works...

There's no other known way to run all those zillions of automobiles and air conditioners and what not. If you have huge amounts of nuclear energy, you can split water to make hydrogen and make almost totally emission free automobiles. It's been done decades ago. Even if hydrogen storage is an intractable problem, we can still use electric vehicles.

Nukes are the only technology that can be implemented right here, right now, to provide reasonably cheap and emission free energy for everything except air transport (and maybe that too, once they master hydrogen burning jets).

Anyway, 20 years from now, I will be reading this blog, either feeling like a complete idiot or a prophet! But somehow the idea of square kilometers of panels and tonnes and tonnes of batteries, just does not look very doable.