A bit about my trade…

Even while enjoying my writer’s block, I still won’t disappoint you. … My browsing has yielded some material, and I am going to share it with you.

It all began with googling for some notes on CFD. One thing led to another, and soon enough, I was at this page [^] maintained by Prof. Praveen Chandrashekhar of TIFR Bangalore.

Do go through the aforementioned link; highly recommended. It tells you about the nature of my trade [CFD]…

As that page notes, this article had first appeared in the AIAA Student Journal. Looking at the particulars of the anachronisms, I wanted to know the precise date of the writing. Googling on the title of the article led me to a PDF document which was hidden under a “webpage-old” sub-directory, for the web pages for the ME608 course offered by Prof. Jayathi Murthy at Purdue [^]. At the bottom of this PDF document is a note that the AIAA article had appeared in the Summer of 1985. … Hmm…. Sounds right.

If you enjoy your writer’s block [the way I do], one sure way to continue having it intact is to continue googling. You are guaranteed never to come out it. I mean to say, at least as far as I know, there is no equivalent of Godwin’s law [^] on the browsing side.

Anyway, so, what I next googled on was: “wind tunnels.” I was expecting to see the Wright brothers as the inventors of the idea. Well, I was proved wrong. The history section on the Wiki page [^] mentions Benjamin Robins and his “whirling arm” apparatus to determine drag. The reference for this fact goes to a book bearing the title “Mathematical Tracts of the late Benjamin Robins, Esq,” published, I gathered, in 1761. The description of the reference adds the sub-title (or the chapter title): “An account of the experiments, relating to the resistance of the air, exhibited at different times before the Royal Society, in the year 1746.” [The emphasis in the italics is mine, of course! [Couldn’t you have just guessed it?]]

Since I didn’t know anything about the “whirling arm,” and since the Wiki article didn’t explain it either, a continuation of googling was entirely in order. [The other reason was what I’ve told you already: I was enjoying my writer’s block, and didn’t want it to go away—not so soon, anyway.] The fallout of the search was one k-12 level page maintained by NASA [^]. Typical of the government-run NASA, there was no diagram to illustrate the text. … So I quickly closed the tab, came back to the next entries in the search results, and landed on this blog post [^] by “Gina.” The name of the blog was “Fluids in motion.”

… Interesting…. You know, I knew about, you know, “Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics” [^] (which is a major time- and bandwidth-sink) but not about “Fluids in motion.” So I had to browse the new blog, too. [As to the FYFD, I only today discovered the origin of the peculiar name; it is given in the Science mag story here [^].]

Anyway, coming back to Gina’s blog, I then clicked on the “fluids” category, and landed here [^]… Turns out that Gina’s is a less demanding on the bandwidth, as compared to FYFD. [… I happen to have nearly exhausted my monthly data limit of 10 GB, and the monthly renewal is on the 5th June. …. Sigh!…]

Anyway, so here I was, at Gina’s blog, and the first post in the “fluids” category was on “murmuration of starlings,” [^]. There was a link to a video… Video… Video? … Intermediate Conclusion: Writer’s blocks are costly. … Soon after, a quiet temptation thought: I must get to know what the phrase “murmuration of starlings” means. … A weighing in of the options, and the final conclusion: what the hell! [what else], I will buy an extra 1 or 2 GB add-on pack, but I gotta see that video. [Writer’s block, I told you, is enjoyable.] … Anyway, go, watch that video. It’s awesome. Also, Gina’s book “Modeling Ships and Space Craft.” It too seems to be awesome: [^] and [^].

The only way to avoid further spending on the bandwidth was to get out of my writer’s block. Somehow.

So, I browsed a bit on the term [^], and took the links on the first page of this search. To my dismay, I found that not even a single piece was helpful to me, because none was relevant to my situation: every piece of advice there was obviously written only after assuming that you are not enjoying your writer’s block. But what if you do? …

Anyway, I had to avoid any further expenditure on the bandwidth—my expenditure—and so, I had to get out of my writer’s block.

So, I wrote something—this post!

[Blogging will continue to remain sparse. … Humor apart, I am in the middle of writing some C++ code, and it is enjoyable but demanding on my time. I will remain busy with this code until at least the middle of June. So, expect the next post only around that time.]

[May be one more editing pass tomorrow… Done.]




Yo 6—A few interesting links, etc.

Just a few quick notes…

  • I really appreciated this reply by “John D” at Sean Carroll’s blog [^]. Prof. Hammond’s article to which he provides a link [(PDF) ^] has a superb summary of history of mechanics and electromagnetism, condensed down amazingly to just a few paragraphs.
  • This discussion [^] at iMechanica has turned pretty interesting. It began with Prof. Suo’s notes on frame indifference (in the context of his course on plasticity), but soon turned into a discussion on the exact meaning of the terms like gradient, vector, etc. … As you would expect, I have jumped in, too, but of course, with only a minor aside. For comparison, go through the clarifications by Prof. Amit Acharya of Carnegie Mellon, and Prof. Arash Yavari of Georgia Tech.
  • Dr. Harry Binswanger’s blog-like Web site has undergone a change. Now, HBL is supposed to be HBL 2.0, and in the new version it  stands for the Harry Binswanger Letter (and not the Harry Binswanger List). The HBL 2.0 is less frequently updated [^], but I gather that it now has a member’s area without any size limit for the comments. … The only reason I don’t want to join the list letter-cum-blog is that I know it would be a great time-sink for me. I am already far too pressed for time.
  • But, while we are at it, the holiday-reading season is almost around the corner. So let me tell you that Harry Binswanger’s book “How We Know” [^] is just amazing. This is one book that is making me read it    v     e     r     y         s     l     o     w     l     y. [That means that I like the book.] And, don’t wait for my review of this book; it’s never going to come. I mean, I already know by now that I won’t write one. So, just take my word for it, and just go ahead and buy it. (Lower-cost e-Versions are available.)

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There are a few changes to my blog-roll, as well. I have deleted the links to a few blogs that anyway were more or less completely defunct, rectified the links to others (e.g. HBL), and also added a few new links. The process will continue. I would like to add a few S&T-related blogs in this list in the near future, too.

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My next post could very well be concerning a few items about the diffusion equation (and about foundations of physics) that have now come under a much better focus and understanding for me. For instance, I think I now will be able to show that the proof for the uniqueness of solution is faulty. … [It would be relatively easy for me to do that because the existing proof is one by contradiction. These are always an easier game.]

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A Song I Like:
[I don’t know why!]
(Hindi) “nazar naa lag jaaye… [Oh my love…]”
Singer: Mohamad Rafi
Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi