What are the rules for hiring?

There is a matter of a suspense which should break by the time I come back for my next post. Here is the story. (Narrated, as usual, tortuously and at a length. (Don’t read if such posts turn you off.))

The mechanical engineering professors in the Savitribai Phule University of Pune, as you know, have been pitted against hiring of people with a background like mine: BE and MTech in Metallurgy; PhD in Mechanical. “You must have had at least one of the pre-PhD degrees in mechanical, why didn’t you?” they have been respectively saying and asking (in a probing manner).

Most people occupying the working of the faculty of engineering in this university these days, in fact have come not from the University of Pune (or the University of Poona) itself; they have come from other universities. Typically, they have come from Aurangabad, Amaravati, and Walchand—but not from IITs or IISc or the better ranked universities in the UK/USA.

In my experience (i.e. with the exception of the late Prof. Dr. S. R. Kajale, who did have has UG degree from Amaravati), all of them carry faulty notions about the traditions at this university. In the Pune (or Poona) University, these professors have tried to explain to me, in a tone consisting of a feeling of an utmost certainty as arising from a superior educational experience, the ordinary exasperation arising after not being understood, an abstract projection of an abstract feeling for the acute concerns of the jobless-ness of the person sitting across the table, as well as, all in all, a very definite sense of their own unquestionably high moral and intellectual superiority, that there always has been this policy. [They have never felt it necessary to enjoin in their comment their own experiences or knowledge of their undergraduate universities/colleges. They were in the University of Pune, they knew what they were talking about, the matter ended there, as far they were concerned.]

Wrong. Factually wrong.

The other universities might have historically had this problem, but not the University of Pune (i.e., barring a few well-known personality-related issues concerning the Mechanical and Metallurgy Departments at COEP—the only engineering college this university had, for a long time).

IIT Bombay (with a heavy institutional-cultural influence of the Russians that lasted for too long a time) also have had this problem (concerning branch-“jumping”) but rather in an off and on manner; the University of Mumbai, to my knowledge, never (not at least concerning the specific branches of Metallurgy and Mechanical).

IIT Bombay did have this problem in the mid-1970s; they were against this particular branch jumping (even while promoting their interdisciplinary research centers). Then, during the mid-1980s, they didn’t have this problem. (I could have got an MTech in Mechanical Engineering at IIT Bombay (I had enough of a GATE score to be competitive back then); it’s just that I chose not to pursue anything at this IIT—this IIT was too strong on hype and too low on the academic freedom to the student concerning mixing courses from different departments.) Then, over a period of time, by the time I was applying for PhD admissions during the early naughties, IIT Bombay had once again gone back to having a problem about branch-“jumping”. I don’t know which way blows the wind of their whims, as of today.

So, historically, other universities might have had problems with “branch-jumping,” but not so, for a long time, the University of Poona/Pune. Certainly not before the people from Amaravati, Aurangabad, Shivaji etc. began rushing in to fill the ranks of professorships, in this university. (Surprisingly, the University of Mumbai carried on their more liberal policies concerning the metallurgy and mechanical branches, despite a similar trend of demographics occurring also at its affiliating colleges; I don’t know the reason why. It’s possible that they, too, weren’t being too liberal; it was just that they didn’t have a separate branch of Metallurgy, and so, the issue of the turf-battles and the academic self-inflations of the Mechanical departments, never arose.)

In contrast, COEP and University of Poona actually had no issue admitting BE Metallurgy graduates to the ME Mechanical program—the only requirement was a first class at BE Metallurgy. (And, a higher second, if the BE was in Mechanical itself. Also, vice-versa: For ME in Metallurgy, a first class would be required from the BE Mechanical graduates, and a higher-second from BE Metallurgy graduates.)

How do I know? Because I myself had taken admission to ME Mechanical program at COEP once, back in 1989/1990 (I have forgotten precisely when). Having decided to pursue computational mechanics, I had taken admission to ME Mechanical at COEP, just as a fall-back option to my US applications, back then, I think. And, yes, even back then, I was interested only in computational mechanics. I had just an interest, no real idea of what all this sub-field involves. I in fact didn’t even know programming at that time. But, by that time, I had already spent 1.5 years on the IIT Madras campus, gotten some idea about FEM and computational modeling, and after spending some time in industry now had come to realize that computational mechanics was the field of my life’s calling. That’s how, I had taken an admission in the Mechanical department.

Actually, I had forgotten about it—I mean this admission of mine. I was reminded of it when, starting mid-2002, I tried to get admission at COEP, now for a PhD in Mechanical (with a thesis in computational mechanics, on a topic of my choice).

By the time it was April 2003, after having going through 12+ guides (all of who declined to be my official guide), and after having been declined by IIT Bombay (for branch-jumping issue), I finally was accepted by a professor at COEP. And then, the then director of COEP, Ashok Ghatol, kept my application in abeyance for more than six months.

During this time, one day in mid-2003—mid-2004, I received a letter from the COEP library threatening me with a legal action. The letter said that if I didn’t return the books I had borrowed, I would face action by the police. Yes, police, it had explicitly mentioned. The letter was delivered not by ordinary post (the way such letters usually are), and in fact not even by registered post (with the acknowledgment-due slip), but, as far as I remember it, by SpeedPost. Further, it noted that until the matter was legally resolved, I would be barred from many things such as: issuance of any certificate from COEP, applying for a job at COEP, and applying for admission for any further studies at COEP.

I first went through the collection of my books to locate this book, but couldn’t find it. (I in fact didn’t even recognize the book by its title, back then.) Until 1990 (when I went to the USA, and so, some of my habits here broke away), I would keep an excellent record for all the books I had. The book mentioned in the letter was not there in this list. (I would maintain this list in an old 80-page notebook, not in a PC database.) So, I visited the COEP library to figure out the issue. After some four/five visits to the administration building and the library on some six/seven separate days, I finally gathered that the book was supposedly issued to me not when I was a BE student, but when I was an ME student there!

Oh yes! Then the bulb lit up!! I was once a student of ME (Mechanical), at COEP! I had never attended a single class, but I had officially registered for the program, anyway.

Ashok Ghatol, the Director of COEP in 2003–04, it would seem, was being very conscientious. How else could the administration of my alma mater wake up about this library book only now—after a few months after my acceptance by a PhD guide? After all, as far as this library book went, they had never sent a single letter any single time over the earlier 12+ years. But, looking at my PhD application with this guide, they did somehow think of it. Conscientious, nay, very, very conscientious, COEP had turned, in the decade+ time that had elapsed when I was a student here last (in 1989/90).

As would be very easy for anyone to predict, it turned out that the record of the books borrowed by me were, indeed, very meticulously kept also in the COEP library. However, the signature for the last entry on my reader’s card—the entry for the un-returned book—was not mine. It did look somewhat like mine, but it wasn’t actually mine. At least I had a hard time identifying it as my signature. I could convince the library folks about my doubt, but only after not only repeatedly signing in their presence but also bringing and showing my passport to them. Finally, they yielded, and acknowledged the possibility of the existence of a doubt.

But what/who was the source of this extra line? I don’t know. I still don’t. But no, I didn’t even think of accusing the COEP folks with any malpractice. A far more likely possibility here was that some other student (say one of my co-students at ME, or, friends in the Metallurgy department, or a student whose ME project I had informally guided in the late 80s—he had won a University Gold Medal for that project) might have borrowed my library card, and might have used it to borrow a book for their use. (This used to be a common practice at COEP. The number of books to refer could easily exceed the number of books allowed. So, people would freely use each other’s cards, often without knowledge of which book had been checked out on one’s name.) And then, probably, he had forgotten to return the book. Possible. And, of course, there could be other possibilities, too; I don’t know. (The book was not on a topic of one of my own interests back then—viz. computational mechanics.)

Anyway, even as I became very well aware of Ghatol’s utmost conscientiousness by this time, I also, by this time, was a sufficiently grown up educated Indian to be well aware of the way that Indian governments work. I would be asked to pay a fine, I was sure. And the fine, I was sure, would be within a few hundred rupees. It would have to be only a fine, not a book-replacement. Two reasons: (i) There would no possibility of book-replacement for the COEP library. The missing book, I think, was an old one, and so the possibility of finding a replacement was remote. Further, this being a government college, a policy of book-replacement would, in principle, go against the policy of procurement of any of the library holdings only in the bulk and only by the college itself, not by a student, and only from one of the approved list of book vendors. (ii) The rules for the fine would refer only to the original cost, not to the current market price, or the price arrived at after accounting for inflation. The settlement of issues via the latter route would not only violate the principle behind the procurement policy, but it would also require making a reference to the State Accounting and Finance Department in Mumbai, and there in fact would be no precedent or a policy on how to make this reference—none would even know what category the outward register’s entry should note.

I didn’t divulge the above two reasons to the COEP staff; I merely let them decide. Of course, it took a few visits to the COEP library and the main administration block, before the whole issue could be settled. The end result was, I ended up paying a fine, I think an amount less than Rs. 500. (Yes, I had to write an application, get it endorsed from two different people each in the administration block and the library, fill four copies of the challan, get them endorsed, and then go to that World Famous branch of the SBI on the COEP campus, to make the payment of this fine.) But yes, this part of the institutional objection against my PhD admission was, thereby, cleared.

[I had shown my willingness to get them a replacement copy, but this request of mine was politely declined. Apart from that feeling of guilt (who knows, had I checked that book myself and signed in a hurry?), it anyway would have been the fastest action towards properly closing the issue. Naturally, I was requesting them to let me see if I can find a replacement for the book. But they said no. Apart from the procurement policy, they were well aware that books do undergo change over editions. And, they were sure, that “the government” would always be able to find some way to source the replacement of the same edition as lost, some time later, according to its proper procedures. (I don’t know, but it is possible, that they had another copy of the same book with them anyway, stored sufficiently out of the reach of any student(s).) On the other hand, a patiently and friendly talking Distinction Class alumnus’ PhD admission could not now be held in abeyance forever, in their better judgment. Also, in their judgment, sufficient time had elapsed that even the most conscientious of the most conscientious Director could not point an accusing finger in their direction, should the matter ever come up for a review. Quite a few months (could be more than six months) had elapsed since my PhD admission application had gone in, and questions from the other side could also be raised: why had this issue come up only now, after 12+ years? Wouldn’t conscientiousness also go in the other direction? So, they let me go with a fine. Exactly as I had predicted, while explaining the matter several months earlier, to my mother. (She was unnecessarily aghast, once she read this mention of the police, on that letter.)]

But of course, obtaining the library clearance took sufficiently long time that, COEP, under Ashok Ghatol, had in the meanwhile revised the list of Emeritus Professors in the Mechanical Engineering Department, and thusly, the only guide who had accepted me as a PhD student (after a search for a guide lasting for one year and going over 12+ guides), was now denied a continuation of his Emeritus Professorship. He was declined an extension at COEP despite his having retired from COEP as a HoD, despite his being active in the field of education—including being on the board of an NIT, and despite the national level Fellowship which he had at the same time been granted by the UGC/AICTE at New Delhi. He still was declined an Emeritus Professorship. With no active professor at COEP available for guidance (it would be some months before I would approach Prof. Kajale), the matter had come back to square one at COEP.

BTW, in case you don’t know, the current dean of the Savitribai Phule University of Pune, Gajanan Kharate, has done his PhD under the guidance of Ashok Ghatol.

But of course it would be too much to expect that Gajanan Kharate could possibly be aware of the kind of institutional memory that the institutions under the University of Pune are capable of keeping: being aware of such possibilities requires a finer and longer experience with institutions in general.

Therefore, it would be too much to expect of him that the same University where he currently is the Dean, would, as recently as in 1990, in fact allow the mixing of the metallurgy and mechanical branches—even at the ME level, not just the PhD level (where the rules are anyway more relaxed).

This better practice was stopped only some time later, roughly around the same time that the IIT Bombay changed its whims in their regularly irregular course. It was the same time during which the hoards of the even more enlightened souls from the Amaravati, Aurangabad, and Walchand/Shivaji universities (but not those from IISc or IITs or foreign universities) had joined the ranks of the Approved Professors at the University of Pune. It was also the same time during which COEP’s name was slapped with the “Government” prefix, to make it fall in line with the similar Government-run colleges elsewhere in the state. If COEP had later dared to drop this part of its moniker (which, too, happened during this same period), then its alumni couldn’t possibly be relied upon to know about the better practices concerning engineering education elsewhere. Conscientiousness would be a key value to keep, especially during those troubled post-liberalization times, and especially in respect of the more exceptional ones among the COEP alumni—at least those who thought of themselves as being exceptional, anyway.

Now, cutting to the present, as far as this branch-“jumping” issue goes, there were many people wanting to go back to the (somewhat) better times, of course. (I know of at least one past Dean of Engineering of the University of Pune who did. In fact, two.)

Some other people were really not aware of the better times, but they simply faced the practical inconvenience of not getting a Government Job, and so were trying very hard to persuade both the university as well as the state government. The Maharashtra state government could only be sensitive to the representations if these were made in a democratic manner, and it would only be willing to review the mere technicalities involved, but of course, according to its own time-table—as a part of its ongoing Plans for a further expansion of the state expenditure.

Thus, while the efforts of these other people at the Savitribai Phule University of Pune didn’t at all bear fruit—I suspect that something other than conscientiousness might have come in their way—their tenacious representations to the state government certainly did. Over a period of some three years (give or take a few), the Mantraalaya finally did come to the point of concluding its ongoing reviews, and thus come to the point of issuing a GR.

It was thus that, in mid-2014, the Maharashtra State government came out with a GR affirming certain new eligibility criteria for the hiring of professors in the Government-run colleges in the state, as well as for the non-aided colleges in the state. These new criteria included allowing the graduates of the production, metallurgy and materials science branches (as also certain other new branches such as CAD/CAM, CFD, etc.) to become (full) Professors of Mechanical Engineering, if the candidate also had his PhD in Mechanical. (If he has a PhD, but if his PhD is not in Mechanical, the candidate now can still be hired, but he can now become only an Associate Professor, not a Full Professor. But at least, he can now get a job in any university falling under the jurisdiction of the Maharashtra State, now. More importantly, he can get a Government Job.) Including at the very highly conscientious university that is the Savitribai Phule University of Pune, Pune.

The GR had come out in the mid-2014. However, I didn’t know about this development. In the University of Mumbai, none was aware. None of my numerous friends (more than 10) working as Professors, HoDs, and Principals, in the private engineering colleges in the Savitribai Phule University of Pune, knew about it. Not a single one of them. And, Gajanan Kharate, even if he sure would be aware of the development, did not clarify the matter in response to the emails I sent (keeping him on the cc field for my application for a Principal’s position). In fact, he sent no replies at all—not even to the other email I wrote; this email was addressed to my friend’s friend (and a COEP alumnus), one who is a Principal at one of the (better) engineering colleges in Pune, and whose ad I was responding to. The Dean didn’t deem it fit to clarify the matter to a Principal of a leading engineering institute in Pune.

So, how did I come to know about the GR?

Only by accident, and only around mid-June 2015, i.e. one full year after it had originally been issued, while idling browsing the Web site of COEP. … You see, I have been looking for an opportune time to show them—the current COEP professors—down, and so, I sometimes do check out their Web site, esp. their recruitment section. For their latest recruitment advertisement, COEP had now put up this GR on their Web site. That’s how I came to know of it.

But, by this time—mid-June 2015—professors’ posts at the leading colleges in Pune had already been filled. (I saw all their advertisements in the Pune papers during April and May, but ignored all of these, concentrating my efforts instead only on the colleges in the better run University of Mumbai, because Mumbai had no issue concerning the metallurgy-to-mechanical branch-“jumping.”)

Anyway, the point is that after mid-June, I began applying to (and indeed also sporadically interviewing at) the private engineering colleges affiliated to the Savitribai Phule University of Pune.

The current status is that chances are high that I would get a job offer at at least one engineering college in Pune. I have been offered a position by phone and I have confirmed my acceptance by phone, but I have not received the offer by email. Once the latter happens, I will update this post when that happens.

I also want to see if this blog post goes against my getting that job offer (or any other job offer). No, not exactly for fun, but I do want to do that. … It’s just me, you know… I am just so talkative. And, readative. And, also, writative. Blogative, in fact. … I just can’t help blogging…. And so, it’s quite natural to want to see if (my) blogging habits come in the way of (my) getting job offer(s). Check back for any updates concerning this aspect.

Update on the same day (2015.08.11, 5:30 PM): Yes, I have received the job offer by email. I should be joining the college right this week. More, later. [The section on a song I like has returned immediately, however; check out below.]

 

[Some editing, as usual, is due, and I may effect it, but I am not in a hurry. Done. I may go out of town for something other than the job-related matters, too, in the meanwhile…. Either visit a friend, or go on a short trip driving in the mountains, or something like that… Check back after a couple of days…]

 


A Song I Like:

(Hindi) “ashkon ne jo paayaa hai …”
Singer: Talat Mahmood
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Music: N. Dutta
[E&OE]

An Important Comment I Just Made at iMechanica—And, (Much) More!

0. The title says it all!

Go, check out this comment I just made at iMechanica: [^].

1. Now, on to the “more” part of the title. Noted below are a few more things about my research.

2. My Researches on QM:

2.1 Since the publication of my QM-related results, I have moved on considerably further. As mentioned earlier on this blog, I have since then realized that my approach—the way I thought about it, as in contrast to what I (happened to have) published—always could handle the vector field equations of electromagnetism, including those for light. That is, including the angular momentum part of the EM fields. (Paddy, Suku, are you listening?) … However, I decided against publishing something in more detail to cover this aspect. A good decision, now it seems in retrospect.

(Yes, Jayant, you may now try your best to prod me towards publishing, including emphasizing how unpublished research is non-existent research. Just try it! Any which way you wish. … Precisely just the way I don’t give a damn to wannabe physicists turning JPBTIs turning entrepreneurs, I also don’t give a damn to the Statism-entrenching advices coming off the Statism-entrenching scientists, esp so if they also are the State-revered ones. So, just try it!! Also others, like, say, Sunil!!!)

2.2 I had also resolved the entanglement issue, and have chosen not to publish about it. As I stated earlier here [^], Louisa Guilder reports that Bell’s inequality paper has garnered the highest number of citations in physics literature so far, an astounding 2,500. The paper # 2,501 (or greater, as of today) must have concluded that the entanglement issue cannot be resolved—possibly out of the position/conviction that there was nothing to be resolved.

So, basically, I have resolved what an enormous number of misguided (and, possibly outright stupid) people could cite but not resolve.

Aside: Of the hundreds of papers on this topic I have come across, I know of Dr. Joy Christian’s position to be most reasonable—and in my knowledge, only his. Now, there are some minor differences between what he says and what I have always known and never published. But these differences are, in a sense, minor. The important part—and aren’t we concerned only with the important things here?—is that I knew about it, and have deliberately chosen not to publish about it. (If holding this position makes it possible to tick me off via certain lists such those maintained by a John Baez or a Scott Aaronson, I couldn’t care less about it—and both (and all) of them, I suppose, should know/could get to know, how (I care so less about those lists).)

BTW, as a matter of progression in time, I had thought that the issue would have to be first resolved in the context of photons, not of electrons. I am not very sure about it, though. In any case, that was the sequence in which I did it. First, photons; then, electrons.

Go, try your best to prod me towards publishing something on it! Just try it!! … BTW, my resolution had happened years before I had publicly offered an Indian PhD physicist on a “LinkedIn” group that I could explain my results if she (or anyone else) could meet me in person at Pune. This public offer of mine has just ended, right now!…. So, go ahead! Just try it!!!

3. My Researches on Other Topics

3.1 I have had some definite ideas for research on other topics from computational science and engineering and allied fields (including a numerics). I have kept these aside for the time being, because many of these are well-suited for guiding PhDs. Which brings me to the last couple of points for today (or at least, as of now, in the first version of this post).

3.2 As to student projects, I have decided not to accept anyone unless he is remarkably bright, and hard-working. (For those who seek to do truly independent PhD research, I cannot make myself available as a guide, as of now. Also see the point 3.3 below.) Roughly speaking, this means that rough level as would be understood by one or more of the following: GRE (V+Q) scores of at least 1350; GATE score of 95+P; throughout distinction class (or in at least 5 semesters out of 8) in BE of University of Pune (or equivalent).

3.3 The University of Pune has a stupid requirement for becoming a PhD guide: you (i.e. a fresh PhD graduate) must wait for at least 3 years after his own (successful) defense before he can become a PhD guide himself. The three years, in my case, end on September 20, 2012. (They—the Indian government(s)—probably arranged the date to numerically coincide with the date on which I first entered USA: 2nd September, 1990. Yes, the same government that whispered the UK government to give Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law all security clearance at UK airports, on par with the President and Prime Minister of India.)

Recently, someone reminded me a further requirement that I had forgotten. You also need to have two publications in those three years, before you can become a guide. Since I have mentioned the Gandhi’s and the defence-date here, I am sure that they would now interpret the sufficiently vague rules to imply that those two must be journal articles—peer-reviewed conference proceedings won’t do.

I, therefore, have decided to try to publish two journal articles in the near future of a few months. (Hey Elsevier, take notice!)

At least one, and probably both of these two articles would be on CFD.

Those of you who know me, would know that once I get going, I get going. I don’t disappoint (these of) you, not this time around at least: I have already installed Ubuntu 11.10 (natty) inside Oracle’s VirtualBox running on top of Windows (32 bit XP and 64-bit 7), and have already installed OpenFOAM v. 2.0.1 in that Ubuntu (32-bit, as of now). I also have installed other software. I have shortlisted the niche problems I could work on. I have contacted a couple of IIT Bombay professors, not for collaboration, but merely for sounding out. I knew that being employed by the IIT Bombay, there would be no collaboration, though a collaboration could have been perfectly OK by me. I also knew that once I wrote an email to them, it would get trapped (as all my emails are), and then, even the sounding things out over a 30 minute session would soon become impossible. And, that the impossibility would never be communicated explicitly via any means, esp. via an email. This  supposition of mine has indeed come to pass. (Congratulate me for being a good judge of the IIT Bombay, of the Indian government(s)—all of them, today’s and those of the past under the BJP regime as well, of Indians, and of humanity in general.) I knew all that, right in advance, and had prepared myself mentally for it. And, thought of plans B and C as well. I am executing on these.

And, no, I couldn’t care a hoot for how many freaking citations those two journal papers generate. As far as I am concerned, these two papers would allow me to fulfill the stupid requirements whereby I can become a PhD guide. And whereby, a slim chance does exist that I might get some good guy (gals included) for PhD supervision. (Chances are, it could be someone I already knew as a friend—numerically speaking, most of my friends are without PhDs.)

So, there. For the next few months, that’s the sort of research I am going to do—in my spare time, of course. Hey Elsevier, take notice (once again!!). As to others: If you consider yourself my friend, help me publish it in an easy and timely manner, ASAP.

That’s all for today. For this first version, anyway. As always, I might come back and correct or add a few things. …. Might as well add a few political comments right here.

4. A Few Comments on Politics and All:

Just noting down a few comments on politics (i.e. that politics which is “larger” than the one in S&T fields) in passing (and I will take liberties to pass comments on people without alerting them):

To ObjectivistMantra and Others:

Tavleen Singh’s article on the slap to Mr. Pawar was the best. However, it fell short on the count of completeness. On this count of completeness, she does far, far better (actually excellent) with her next article in the Indian Express’ Fifth Column. Why I say she fell short. In an entrenched mixed economy such as ours (i.e. India’s as in the past and as of today, and of USA’s in near future), the whole system has already become so statist, so mangling of individual rights, that it is impossible to systematically assign blame on any one systemic part of it. In my twenties and early thirty’s (i.e. 15–25 years ago), having known this, I used to argue that it would be impossible for the Indian army (i.e. defence services in general) or the Indian courts to be singled out as being clean. Time proved me right. Indeed, it’s at least since my X standard (i.e. for ~35 years now) that I have argued that you can’t blame politicians—indeed that far too many politicians, from the village through the national level enjoyed much more of esteem in my opinion than what salaried class (say, my “Brahmin” friends) would allow them. Sometime while I was in SF Bay Area, I further realized that the trend to say: “It’s all polltishuns; common people and businessmen are clean” had originated not in India, but in the middle-east and Pakistan etc., and that our Punjabi’s, Gujarathi’s etc. settled in the USA and UK (e.g. Kanwal Rehi, Vinod Khosla and their friends there and here) had been simply rubbing the characterization (actually applicable in the middle-east and Pakistan etc.), expectedly witlessly, on to India’s scene. Since Shobha Dey makes many frequent visits to Dubai, she was expected to have picked it up, too. And, she has shown over the years  that she has. Her latest column springs from that faulty position as regards India. Tavleen Singh is better. (That’s one basic reason why a link to her columns features in the my blogroll here.) Singh did stop short of stretching on that line. However, she did get overwhelmed by the dominant presence of that erroneous idea in our present culture. That’s why, she couldn’t think of a single example on the following lines: Taking a symmetrical case, should I be allowed to put a slap on the face of a Kanwal Rekhi or a Vinod Khosla, for not giving me a job in SF Bay Area in late 2000/early 2001, so that my green-card processing could have been completed? Should I be permitted—morally, even if not legally—to land a (Marathi) “saNsaNit thappaD” (nearest English: a resounding slap) on the face of a Ratan Tata, not just for never giving a job in his company (in Ratan’s case, Tatas) but even allowing my harassment (e.g. as stated on a LinkedIn thread re. VSNL/Tata Indicom Broadband)? Would it be morally justifiable? Why, Ms Tavleen, speak of the emotions of common man but refuse to discuss the issue on more clearly and more on specifically moral terms? So, you see, even if Ms. Singh is far better—and here I thankfully recall all her wonderful articles in the recent past, esp. the courage she has shown in taking on the urban twittering “middle” classes in the “Gandhian” Anna Hazaare “movement”—it is obvious that she overlooked something. Mind you, it’s just plain omission (and as far as I am concerned, it seems to be a very honest one). But still, an error is an error. On omission is an omission. Since I enjoy and admire her columns as much as you do, I hope that she addresses the moral aspects of the emotional issues rather than emotions. In any case, what she wrote was otherwise far better, far superior to what I could have written. This is exactly like Swapan Dasgupta’s recent article. Except for that one error, the rest of the article is excellent! But, hey, you don’t design or manufacture 99 components of an engine well, and leave 1 component out of either good design process or actual testing. As to Ms. Dey, I think I am going to stop reading her now. Some time ago, she was wondering when certain people had kissed last, in the context of—and who else: Indian “poltishun”s. (In case someone finds it intriguing, realize that she is a daughter of an Indian central bureucrat, and as far as I can make it out, has had no explicit rational philosophy to guide her writings, though she is a lady of enormous culture and composure in her own right too. Oh well, even explicit rational ideas do make a difference—think what a whole rational philosophy can do!)

I think I will stop here, and add possibly add other points via other blog posts. For the time being, as far as politics goes, I am enjoying (“loving it”) watching the BJP more than anyone else in the opposition/government, as far as the issue of retail FDI goes.  However, I am not going to support Walmart for the simple reasons that (i) their country has unreasonably failed me in the PhD and unreasonably denied me green-card/citizenship, (ii) they are too big to need my support anyway, and (iii) supporting a big company against government—Microsoft, in the DoJ case—was one among many things that got me a heart condition, I know. (How do I know? Well, it’s the same guy who has known how to resolve the QM wave-particle duality in the context of light, and about angular momentum in EM, and then, a resolution of the riddles of quantum entanglement, as well as many other unpublished, even un-discussed topics.)

One final point, again going back towards research. For the past several years I could not fathom the reason why people might be so unenthusiastic about my approach—I mean, honest people (apart from all the dirty things and “political” issues I have mentioned/indicated above.) Well, it was while reading Sean Carroll’s blog at Discovery magazine that I happened to realize one important (technical) reason why this might be (or must be) so! Hmmm…. Nice to know. It’s always great to know. Though, I am not going to divulge here what that thing was—or how it not only doesn’t contradict my approach but rather helps me be even more confident about my approach (if I ever needed such help, in this context!) And, as you know, I am not going to discuss it or publish about it either. Try to get me to do otherwise. … Just try!
Ok. Enough is enough. As usual, to be edited/streamlined later—perhaps!

* * * * *   * * * * *   * * * * * 
A Song I Like:
[RIP, Dev Anand!]
(Hindi) “gaataa rahe, meraa dil…”
Music: S. D. Burman (perhaps with R.D. looking after the orchestra (??) if not also the tune. (I have read somewhere that he was involved in “Aaraadhanaa,” but have no such idea when it comes to “Guide”)
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Shailendra

[E&OE]

Some Aspects of Modeling with Continua in Physics and Engineering Sciences

Some Ideas Implicit in Modeling Something as a Continuum

This post concerns continua. It touches on certain basic conceptual ideas concerning continua but not with details of their applications. Of course, the ideas here remain relevant for applications too. Many engineers/physicists do not seem to be very clear on these ideas. … Most of these are the observations I have derived myself through self-study and thought. As such, their expression is likely to be a bit immature. However, a blog is an informal medium, and so, there is no harm sharing these…

What is a continuum? For the purposes of our discussion, the real number line, studied right in high-school, provides a suitable example. Take any line segment; no matter how small it may be, there always are an infinity of points lying on that segment. There are no gaps in any part of a line segment. As such, it is a continuously existing object—a continuum. Extend this same idea to a 2D or 3D embedding space, and you can say that there are an infinity of points on any surface or in any 3D volume. … We all learnt it in high-school. However, some of its implications for our more advanced courses in physics/engineering sciences are not always fully grasped.

Consider a simple physical situation concerning fluids.

Light up a mosquito coil, an incense stick (or, if you are a smoker, a cigarette) in a closed lighted room, and watch the smoke spread. (No fans—let the process be as dominated by natural convection as possible.) This is a routine example to illustrate the transition from the laminar to the turbulent flow. We will not go into those details. But what concerns us here is a certain basic conceptual point.

On their upward path, initially, the smoke lines are rather sharply defined. As the smoke goes further up and the turbulence sets in, the streak-lines mix up and become less sharply defined. As the smoke travels still further, the lines also become increasingly thin, and therefore, visually, they are less sharply defined. If you let the smoke fill the room, eventually, you will find that there no longer are smoke lines visible at a remote corner; instead, it’s all almost uniformly foggy out there.

You know that such mechanics of fluids is ruled by the Navier-Stokes equation—an equation that is very much continuum-mechanical. … Now, here is a question.

Consider two fluid (air) particles initially in close vicinity with each other. (You may consider smoke particles too, so long as remember that our basic concern is with the air motion; we consider smoke only because it makes the fluid movement visible.) The question is: as the fluid moves, do the neighboring particles remain neighbors always? Or do they drift apart?

… Think about it for a while before proceeding further…

If you have caught the drift of this post (and not just the drift of the smoke), you would notice that the question does not so much concern only the NS equations as it does the fundamental assumptions we bring to bear in our continuum—i.e. conceptual and therefore mathematical—modeling.

Let’s make the question more precise: consider two particles that are only an infinitesimal distance apart initially. How about these?

The answer, as far as I know it, based purely on my own reasoning (and I would be happy to correct my reasoning if you point out errors in it) is: in the NS (or any continuum theory), the two particles would always remain neighbors no matter how far away they travel.

Now, here, you are likely to disagree with me, basing your reasoning on the chaos theory—the extraordinary sensitivity to the initial conditions brought about by the differential non-linearity and all…

(Incidentally, from a general philosophic viewpoint, the naming of the non-linear phenomena is a curiosity—the terminology wrongly suggests that things are/can be defined purely by negation of something else—not in reference to some actually existing facts of reality, but by negation alone.)

But coming back to the chaos theory, though I have only surface knowledge (if at all that) concerning it, I, however, also believe (wrongly or rightly—but I think rightly) that the said sensitivity to the initial condition applies only to those particles which are a finite distance apart initially—not infinitesimal. … There is a huge mathematical difference between the two: the finite and the infinitesimal.

If you find it strange that despite chaos (or turbulence) the infinitesimally close particles don’t move a finite distance apart, consider that college physics experiment done with some peculiar jelly-like thick fluid. (I forgot where I read up on this experiment but it could easily be the Feynman Lectures.) Roughly speaking, the experiment goes like this.

You take that jelly-like fluid in a beaker and put a drop of ink or so in it. Then, with a stirrer, you gently stir the fluid, say in the CW sense. What now happens is that the portions near the stirrer keep sticking to it, and so, due to the stirring action, they get stretched and form roughly circular lines. As these fluid layers stretch, the ink particles move along too. (After all, the stickiness applies as much to the ink particles as to the fluid-stirrer interface). After a few rotations, you see a highly mixed up jelly. All the colored ribbons seem entangled with each other and it seems impossible to disentangle them.

However—and here’s the dramatic part of the experiment—if you now slowly rotate the stirrer backwards (in the CCW sense), then the jelly-ribbons actually begin to “shrink” backwards. Once you complete the same number of rotations backwards, you once again get just a localized spot of the ink. The entanglement of the jelly-streaks disappears completely!!

The reason the experiment works even under actual physical (laboratory) conditions is because the fluid in question is thick. However, the principle does get established with this experiment. So long as you have viscosity, in principle, the same behavior can be expected.

During fluid mixing, local sub-regions of a viscous fluid never really tear away from each other (neither do they begin sticking with some other sub-regions). Continuity of the adjacent fluid particles is maintained…. Is “continuity” the right word here? … Actually, what gets preserved is not so much continuity as it is: connectivity.

Two fluid particles connected to each other always remain so. Regardless of the degree of internal mixing of the fluid. Nay, not just that. Regardless of any turbulence within the fluid. That’s the conclusion we seem to be reaching here, don’t we?

If you have seen those CFD simulations of vortex-shedding, you must be wondering: “how come?”After all, a vortex is defined by a finite quantity of fluid rotating within its local region. As vortices get shed, they drift away from each other. If one considers a fluid particle in between two adjacent vortices but closer to one of them, it is an easy guess that it would get sucked into the nearest vortex. Thus, there should be a separation between this particle and its neighbor that went to the other neighbouring vortex.

Right? Wrong?

But rather than answer this question, I would let you figure it how—just in case, of course, you don’t know it already. …

Actually, connectivity or otherwise of adjacent points in vortex-shedding is a fairly well known result. … Typically, students do know the right answer about it. [Something similar used to be a routine orals question at COEP for a second-year course on fluid mechanics + heat transfer for us—the students of metallurgy.] What students don’t realize is that the right answer also applies as a generalization to all continuum phenomena—wherever the assumption of the continuum applies.

[Of course, I am only asserting a generalization here, without really having proved it, and so, I could be wrong. But I can’t think of any good argument why or how this could be a hasty generalization. Please let me know if you know of any.]

Something similar is what I had indicated during one of my past comments at iMechanica. The context, there, was mechanics of solids rather than of fluids, in particular, fracture mechanics. I had pointed out how I had had a discussion about these observations of mine with a graduate student of mathematics (among others) and how I was always told that (in my words) that “one body separates internally and becomes two bodies” is something that simply cannot be dealt with using the mathematics of continua. The issue is one of connectivity, really speaking. A continuum (of the type we conventionally use in physics and engineering to describe real things) locally does conserve connectivity.

I have something to say about implications of this all too, but some other time, may be, my next post here… Also, about singularities in continua—some basic conceptual comments, concerning the way we do our mathematics.

– – – – –

Update on February 1, 2010

No one seems to have caught an obvious error in the above description. (Actually, the statements above are not so much wrong as they are in need of suitable qualifications throughout.). … I had thought that someone would catch me right within a day or so—at least that part of the writing above where I get to making that statement about two infinitesimally distant particles going into two different vortex regions. … In any case, right from the very first draft of this post, I had been dropping hints, too, concerning singularity and all… Now, more than two days later (and many hits later), still, none seems to have caught the error. What’s going on?

Apparently, going by the comments received at this blog (but moderated out) many people (notably including certain students (probably from an engineering department) at IIT Bombay) seem to have been more concerned with swearing at me rather than catching the technical/conceptual/mathematical/reasoning errors in the write-ups…. Hmmm…

– – – – –

A Few Songs I Like (More or less at random)

1. (Marathi) “tuj saguN mhaNu ki nirguN re…”
Lyrics: Sant Dnyaneshwar
Singer: Pt. Bhimsen Joshi

2. (Marathi) “tyaa phulanchyaa ganDhakoshi…”
Lyrics: Sooryakant Khandekar
Singer: Hridaynath Mangeshkar

3. (Hindi) “chhupaa lo yun dil me pyaar meraa…”
Music: Roshan
Singers: Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultaanpuri

Explaining My Joblessness + A Little Bit Philosophic

If you have been reading my blog (or are one of those bustards who are responsible for following me up), then it would be obvious to you that my joblessness is deliberately planned for by the governments of USA and India together.

Notice that my joblessness has occurred at the same time as the graduates of Hyderabad’s management school got Rs. 1 Crore+/annum salaries. (And, CapMag.com, shut up; if your only reaction is going to be to defend the high salaries of CEOs, I will begin considering, you, too, as outright bustards.) It has occurred at the same time as young and incompetent IIT Bombay graduates got contracts and jobs in CAE field (e.g. Alcyon—remember the name, Kanwal?). It has occurred at the same that COEP graduates have got Rs. 75,000/month salary (e.g. Shirish Deodhar’s daughter, who got such an offer with Microsoft India. That, despite the fact that those Sun Java vs. Microsoft wars being played out in his own company, i.e. Frontier Software, with him inwardly taking Sun Java’s side. I mean, this guy supported Sun Java, and still got his daughter inserted into Microsoft India. And he still lied to me through his teeth that he had only Linux projects even when he had Microsoft projects… But then, it’s not particular to the body of Shirish Deodhar alone. It all is explained with this combo pack: Brahmin + IIT Bombay education + being a Congress (I) man’s son! (And, he would have been worse if he were a BJP or a Communist man’s son))

Now, the other side of this story. The jobs that I did get offers for/was permitted to do. The linguistically interesting things the bustards arranged.

The way these American + Indian bustards run the things, Google happily supplies links to my course material on FEM. But Google bustards and bitches don’t include my scholarly research papers into Google Scholar. … But then, what Google is doing now was only to be expected. (They are just Americans—no need to qualify them, is it, with any swear word such as a bustard and/or bitch.)

Before I came back to India in 2001, the last company who had sponsored my H1B visa was softUltimate, Inc., a small company of Hemant Pathak’s. Hemant later on closed it down. (While he dilly-dallied about immediately beginning my GreenCard sponsorship, by delaying it by one year, the smart fellow stayed back in the USA until he got his own citizenship… But then, at least he had the least decency to offer me a job once again.) Eventually, the only time the Indian bustards allowed me to get a job was with SunGard, where Hemant was working. Now, the games… Did you get the play on the name? No?  Recall that I had publically supported Microsoft in its moral defense. With the sort of bustards we have running our Indian IT industry, with the sort of principled amorality which these bustards want to promote (if it’s not Hindu Brahminism, it has to be principled amorality), they got it arranged with a company name of SunGard.

I have been shouting about these bustards from rooftops. That is what these blogs are. But the only software development company who happened to have called me for an interview was… Can you guess? Its name was “Fugro”. Now, you might be tempted to think that this was a play on the words: “Fuck” + “Row”. Nope. Wrong. The way Indian and American bustards want industry and commerce and run, the intended hint is actually at: “Fu” + “Gro”, a stand in for “Few” + “Grow”. And, what’s the meaning of that, you ask? Well, in mid- 1998, it so happened that just when India tested the nuclear bomb, I was very fresh in beginning writing emails to Leonard Peikoff. Indeed, it was only in 1998 that I had begun writing emails to him. (I have stopped doing so for years by now. I never got a reply from him, but when I once brought up the matter by calling him in on the radio show, he did say that he wrote my emails. That was, I believe from memory, in 1998.) In the very first email I wrote to him, I had written humorously: “When I really really grow up, I will be able to tell if I am an Objectivist or not.” This particular comment, I noticed, led to a lot of activity among the socialists in media (which means, about 95% of media men and women, including Jug Suraiya (shame on you, Jug!) and Mukul Sharma (yeah! Konkona’s father)). As usual, the American bustards had begun it—Bill Clinton’s supporters in the San Francisco Bay Area began it (with local newspapers in Palo Alto being the first to do so), and then it spread to others in the USA, and then, it spread, slowly, to India. And when I say I noticed, I am being inexact. The matter was thrust into my perceptual field—both “sensory” and “extrasensory”. (Which means, media bustards and bitches inserted such things at inescapable places in newspapers. And the Powers That Be also inserted such things in my mental “space” and in my dreams, sometimes awakening me up at night—giving me stress in the process.) Though the matter began with the American socialist bustards in the SF Bay Area, it very soon spread also to the Republicans, and the right-wing Christian bustards also milked it (including my life) to what it was worth. (But, yes, when I complained at Harvard’s iMechanica about it, the Microsoft/right-wing controlled msnbc.com were the first stop “using” my life. This happened in the year 2008. Until then, the right-wingers, too, were among the bustards to give me stress and squeeze life out of me. So, if they have stopped now, it only means that the right-wingers are more disciplined in exploitation unlike the left-wingers who tend to be a bit more scatter-brains about it.) So, our Indian IT bustards, wanting and trying to protect the cash kept compressed under the ass of Azim Premji, Ramdorai/Ratan Tata, and Narayana Murthy, obliged the American bustards and thus, the only place I got shortlisted since this blog began was in “Fugro.”

The reason I mention this all is because I have sent my resume to “Softtech Engineers”  (http://www.softtech-engr.com) and have not yet been shortlisted for the interview. Actually, they are conducting walk-in interviews

But I have gotten sick of the Indian employers bustards and bitches all finding excuses not to hire me. So, I have now decided to ask them to actually shortlist me and only then to attend the walk-in interview. (In fact, even at  Fugro, their employee incompetent Java bustard Rajesh Thorat asked me to architect not one, two, but three systems, all of which dealt more with networking than the domain of Fugro because that bustard knew only Java and only the networking domain and not petrochemical engineering. Thorat, then, smilingly found flaws in whatever answers I gave him. And asked me go back to him for a second interview should I better myself technically… Now, it  is true that I have forgotten some of my software engineering. But I am 101% sure that this pure CS-bustard was afraid that I would eat him alive should I get a chance in his company, and so, out of turf-battles, wanted to keep me out. Right, bustards Nayak? And immoral Retired Commodore? Didn’t you oblige your bosses in Delhi in shortlisting me and then treating me the way you did?)

So, even vis-a-vis Softtech, I did some homework. Here are the “lovely” aspects about them. (i) The name Softtech, if I mistake not, also was being used for her business by one lady engineer I have known—one Mrs. Kamal Purandare, my class-mate at C-DAC’s Diploma, also a COEPian herself, and a COEP classmate of my friend the Late Dr. Rajendra Kulkarni. (ii) Softtech’s board of advisors includes one Mr. Ajit Pawar, an engineer, i.e. a namesake of Sharad Pawar’s  nephew and a current cabinet minister in Maharashtra (and a political enemy of Suresh Kalmadi). (iii) On their Web site, their CEO has been shown accepting an award from none other than Sharad Pawar himself.

Now, all this could very well be a mere coincidence. Sure. But we don’t have to wait for too long to find out either. I have applied to them, called them up once, and have been told that they are going to get back to me after going through my resume.

If you browsed their requirements (and I am not sure if they have any honest requirements for all the advertised posts or not), professionally speaking, my resume fits them (and their company, to me) perfectly. So, if they at all call me for the interviews, I know to that much of an extent that they were being honest. Simple.

But then, today’s times are what they are, and for the reasons I have given you above, none can be sure if I would actually get shortlisted, interviewed the way I should be, or offered a job.

But then, one to cut the evil networks is to expose them. Accordingly, I have decided, from now on, to blog each and every “attractive” advertisement that the Bustard Rajah, Bustard Jyotiraditya Scindia, Bustard Ashok Chavan (the by-default IT minister of Maharashtra, following the scheme the scheming Bustard Vilasrao Deshmukh and cooked up to inflate his own cash-ass), and others have released .

Also, I am going to jot down here each and every advertisement that I respond to. And, why.

I am applying to Softtech Engineers because the domain for the software development concerns engineering.

Anything else, American and Indian bustards?

I will also be applying to Sharad Pawar’s Vidya Pratishthan’s College of Engineering.  Last year Mr. Prataprao Borade had conducted my interview for the post of Principal, and had informally indicated to me that I had been selected and that they could release their offer if I had a PhD in hand. Since then, I have taught a course at COEP. Naturally, I believe that even if not as a Principal, I should get Asstt Professor’s post. If I have PhD in hand, I qualify for a Professor’s post. With that, I also qualify for the post of Principal. Right now, I have to be satisfied with Asstt. Prof’s post. Pune University has this seriously idiotic rules that MTech in Metallurgy does not count towards Mechanical. Otherwise, I can also be a Professor even if I have no PhD. But I take it that Narendra Jadhav and others, even if they don’t t say so, have take a personal enmity with me, and therefore, aren’t going to change these bureaucratic rules so that I could sit as a Principal and make some decent money somewhere. Anyway, I believe, 99%, that Asstt Prof’s post at VP COE,  Baramati, should be mine. There are some disadvantages to that post too, like the distance from Pune and all. But I am applying there as a matter of job security.

I also plan to apply to COEP whenever these exalted ladies and gentlemen release their advertisement. Rather, I plan on being inside that interview hall on looking at their faces at a close view—what they think of me when they see me in there—once again!

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I began writing a small piece on the issue of the physical vs. volitional causation. I began that way, but ended up writing a plain text file of about 22 KB. (Which means, a lot.) I will post it, but only after I feel like it.

The bustard Americans and Indians must learn to respect me better. Including the IT industry bustards (including ministers, including Congress(I) and NCP ministers) must learn to respect my mind better. And begin to give me concrete evidence. Not through their “regular” channels. But using decent, rational means. Until then, I have no particular desire to add new words and phrases to their fucking gossip circuits aimed to keep IIT Bombay bustards exalted, IT Bustards moneyed, and me, without credit—financial, intellectual, moral, etc.

Got it up your ass and therefore into your brain (because there is no other way you have left of reaching your brains/heads) smart Indian and American bustards and bitches?

Good. Now, act.

PS: I want Indian Objectivists to know that Harry Binswanger won’t, in the last analysis, support you. Neither will ARI. Not when it matters the most to you—in your own most vulnerable moments, when you should have been protected. Whether to call him a bustard or not is a matter I have not yet finalized my mind on. But, yes, it is a possibility too. (One does not live giving one’s actual enemies every benefit of doubt they have not earned. Got it, HBL excerpt-picker for today “Sunny Soloman” i.e. Sunni, Solo, Man? Got it? If, as an American he is going to rather protect bustard/bitches Americans at my expense, he too, becomes bustard—wouldn’t he? That is the matter important here.)

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Needless to add, I will “revise” this post later on. Probably, after I get my next job—of the sort I want.