If you are in one of the S&T fields and don’t know what “paperity” means, then guess it’s time you checked out the Web site: [^].

Came to know of it only today. Was doing some Web search on QM, and landed here [^]. Then, out of curiosity, also checked out an outgoing link [^] from that page, and thus, got the idea behind the site. … Hmmm… Need to explore it a bit more, but no time right now, so, may be, some time later!

Bye for now.

A Song I Like:

(Hindi) “saawan barse, tarse dil…”
Music: Aadesh Shrivastava, Anand Milind
Singers: Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

[TBD. May be tomorrow. Done right tonight (21:40 IST, 11 July 2017). Also corrected the spelling of “paperity” in the title and in the text.]

An Idea on Visualization of Cultural Contexts

I have had an idea on visualization of cultural contexts, for quite some time now (for years, actually).

The idea is something like this: Using software, plot geographical maps, say, of nations, and show their evolution in space and time as a dynamically evolving series of pictures (perhaps suitably faded in/out). … In short, animations or movies depicting nations… The idea can be extened to many cultural contexts as well…

For a simple implementation, think of a world map in a 2D window and a slider for the time variable. The slider can be moved up or down manually, or it could progress on its own once put in the auto-mode. Maps of all kingdoms or nations existing at a given time appear on the world map. (With software, you can easily zoom in/out and handle a lot of data simultaneously.) As the time-slider moves, geographical extents of the nations also move, creating a movie of sorts in the process. The movie visually shows how the kingdoms or states originated, expanded, contracted, or got absorbed in other kingdoms, empires, etc.

In short, something like the evolution of soap bubbles (dynamically collapsing, growing, changing shapes, etc.), but on a geographic and historic scale.

In case the description appears too impersonal, then think of providing links from cities or locations on the maps to important historical personalities—their pictures, movies, speeches, ideas, etc.

What I said above for political maps can also be implemented for maps of regions of influence of cultures and ideas. … How different cultures spread from their points of origin outwards… For instance, think of the Greek culture, the Roman culture, the Indian culture, etc.

You can also have evolving history of the spreading of languages.  Also, of technical know-how, gadgets and devices in daily use, mathematical ideas, calender systems, art, literature, games of sports, coins, units of measure in daily use, myths, religions, philosophic ideas, political systems… Almost anything big and small characterizing people, societies and cultures. … Why, even manners of dress and of culinary practices!!

Also, movements of people (individuals or groups) could also be superimposed on these evolving maps. (Good print illustrations, say in coffee-table books, do show such things, say using thick arrows. The point here is, all such things can now be dynamic.)

You can have a globe-based (i.e. 3D) visualization for the geographical base too. (Thereby removing all argumentation related to distortions in maps etc.)

The whole thing could be provided as a Web-based service. If so, it could link good informative Web sites together.

The evolution of political landscapes (just as an example) could be provided as standalone animated GIFs (or Flash movies, etc.) too.


Another feature: On such a map, it should be possible to choose a particular location (say, an ancient city like Rome, or Varanasi, or Cairo), and, upon right-clicking on that location, the software will pop up a window giving a detailed scyscraper kind of visualization of the “layers of history” of that particular place, rather like geological layers in appearance, each layer being depicted using a different color. Each layer would correspond to a certain time period at that geographical (spatial) point.

This will help one realize the “depth of culture” of the place, so to speak. (That is, depth, as measured by time alone, which is not a very good way to measure the “depth” of an idea… Things related to conceptual linkages like extent of abstraction, scope of referents subsumed… these are the real issues in gauging the depth of an idea..)

Not all ideas are equal and not all cultural influences are equally strong. Some are stronger of influence than others. Some periods are brief but leave a far more lasting legacy than others. (Just think of the century-odd period of Socrates-Plato-Aristotle.) Some influences persist over short areas but for too long a period. (Consider the worship traditionally done in a North Indian village, of Ravana—not Rama.)

All such things could be brought out by directly depicting not just the layers of history but also the processes of diffusion (of languages, religions, arts, food, cultural influences, ideas, etc.) over time and space.

The software will prove to be far more instructive than merely timelines.


I kept the idea to myself because I thought someone or the other surely must have thought of it. (Esp. after I saw the timeline and other multimedia features in Encyclopaedia Britannica, in its 2000 CD edition.) However, apparently none has.

I don’t subscribe to the altruist-collectivist philosophies that often ride on movements like “open source,” “wiki-this” and “wiki-that,” “anti-patents-movements,” etc. I think ideas like these (altruist-collectivist) are destructive of all culture.

However, I also am not always interested in taking out a patent on every patentable idea that occurs to me. That’s how I am sharing this.


Written (in an email) on July 23, 2008. Revised and published here on August 10, 2008. [And yes, I sure will post my thoughts on water availability in India real soon, as promised a couple of posts earlier or so…]

The Flaky Open Source Drupal and the Inconsistent iMechanica Policies

Firstly, today, I repeatedly tried to write an answer to a query at iMechanica, but was failed in all my attempts. Blogging here is so much more easier. Why do issues keep repeatedly coming up only at iMechanica?

Secondly, then, for some reason(s) I cannot fathom, just when I had succeeded in putting up *something* (a rough, initial draft), the iMechanica site refused to let me edit my own comment.

Thirdly, I notice that iMechanica moderators have allowed all of the following to appear on the front page of iMechanica:
(i) a PhD post ad by a The Netherlands researcher
(ii) an amateurish sort of a post by a doctor (with an Indian sounding name) concerning electric vehicle; (not that I consider amateur as bad), and
(iii) a post asking the meaning of the term “CFL” of CFD.

However, the same group of moderators have in the recent past found that my post related to MTech/ME/BTech/BE projects was not suitable enough to be published on the first page. They did not wish to give the matter (esp. the content) the prominence it rightfully did deserve.

Is it some kind of vengeful tactic by some pressure groups, or is it some individual “moderators” whose *sentiments* I have come to hurt? I can’t be sure which one is the case. Or is it that the Western countries love to keep portraying the idea that good research only gets done in their countries so that all (actually) brilliant students must flock to their universities? Is that the issue here? Possible. But I don’t know if that was the cause either.

Or, is it the case that my references to or to have come to anger them? Hurt them—objectively speaking? Again, I can’t be sure and certainly don’t know.

I mean, this all is still different from the high-handed manners of so many Americans (including those at iMechanica). Consider their tactics. Not addressing me by name in their replies (thereby making it a general reply) even when common sense demands so; making it look as if none is taking my reply seriously through the tactic of inserting a vacuous reply to some comment which appears somewhere *way above* my recent comment; digging up petty issues (I can cite specific examples to let you see that these indeed were petty issues); and now, even relegating my posts away from the front page!!

Not just that, there also are other matters that compromise the credibility of that site. Consider this fact. It is considerably populated by the (English-speaking) Chinese. Not an issue by itself if you ask me, but consider this. When Prof. Suo received an outstanding honor recently (selection on national academy), there were messages after messages praising him… Alright. Hero worship is a good thing by my philosophy. And so is honoring someone’s achievements. (I did congratulate Prof. Suo then, after waiting for a while, just to see who all spontaneously put in a message there, including from India. If I remember it right, finally, Guru of IISc Bangalore and now in USA did put in a message!) But then, what happened to this same set of people when Prof. Sia Nemat-Nasser, it was announced, is this year’s Timoshenko Medal winner? Or are we supposed to believe that people better know Suo’s research than Nemat-Nasser’s? Is this the case? Or the motivations (or the motivators) of a rather different nature?

But whatever be motivation(s) (and motivators) regarding all the above (and similar) things, I think at least the recentmost treatment that I received is, at least *inconsistent*—if not outright unjust.

I also think it is high time I let the world know that I have taken cognizance of that inconsitent treatment (not to mention all the other matters I jotted down above).

All my policies for dealing with such happenstance were already worked out by me, and I will act on them too. Anyone (within reason that is) is free to contact me if he so desires.

But yes, I meant to express my displeasure with iMechanica in no uncertain terms.

Now, what my edited draft would have looked like, in reference to one Ashish Katarkar’s query at … Here we go; it’s 12:12 PM IST on June 26, 2008.


0. Also see the other side of global warming and pollution—to my mind, the right or the true side, in fact. To begin with, follow this link: You might want to use “pollution” in place of “global warming,” too.

1. About electric car: By your name, I presume you are from India (probably from Maharashtra). If so, see and the links therein, esp., In any case, do have a look at:

BTW, I am not familiar with the Ca-Ca battery technology itself.

2. About recharging. I am not very sure what you mean here, and given your wording, I guess, none can be. But thinking of all the times when people put forth wrong ideas, let me mention something in passing here. There is this wrong idea of charging the battery of an electric vehicle (i.e. an electric battery – > motor vehicle) using a dynamo, as it begins cruising. Now, this idea violates the second law of thermodynamics.

3. The so-called hybrid cars (of a very reputed Japanese make) were recently introduced in India. They made it work for cars. However, for a scooter, I think the idea may not be so appropriate. In fact, it might make the scooter somewhat bulky, and so, less efficient in using either kind of a drive. Further, recharging a low kVA battery like the one they have in a scooter, using the usual household electricity sockets, would not be a major issue. If the availability of electricity is problematic, and if you must have an electric vehicle, then, for a higher cost (i.e. after discounting the usual subsidies given for the household electricity and taking the burden of non-economy of scale), rather than mount a petrol engine and a dynamo on a scooter, it would be better to use a stationary gen-set like what they routinely use in shops in India.

4. As an aside, I had some ideas to try out in cooperation with a doctor—ideas related to diagnosis, instrumentation and computerized signal processing (like, say, FFT or wavelet analyses). If interested, please get in touch, giving your contact details.

Reply to Ashish Katarkar at iMechanica over.