Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cost considerations of machine tools

It is necessary to meticulously consider the economic aspects of various machine tools available for production, to check for their suitability. Recovery of capital investment usually takes 5 to 10 years. Hence, there is no point in buying a new machine tool, if the production cost or time per workpiece will not decrease substantially…

Material cost depends upon the size of the workpiece and condition of the raw material. This will be same for existing and new machine tools, unless there is a change in the production process…

Labour cost or operator wages is higher for general purpose machines, which call for more skilful operators. Special purpose machines, with a higher degree of automation, can do with an unskilled operator, who only has to load and unload workpiece, and press start/stop buttons.

Overheads comprise all indirect costs such as money spent on the maintenance department, tool room (for resharpening tools), clerical staff, methods engineers, managers, even sales personnel and advertising. Overheads are usually expressed in overall percentage which ranges from 50 per cent for small workshops, to 500 per cent for large establishments with modern amenities and a better qualified workforce.

(pp.3-4, ‘Machine Tools Handbook: Design and Operation’ by P.H. Joshi from McGraw-Hill www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

'Lick' laid the intellectual foundation of Internet

Pages could be filled by listing all the people who have made significant contributions to the origin and evolution of the modern Internet. But one person laid the intellectual foundation: J.C.R. Licklider, a remarkably modest man who insisted on being called ‘Lick’ rather than ‘Dr. Licklider’ and who was comfortable letting others take credit for his ideas. Licklider had both a wide-ranging curiosity and (according to him) a short attention span. Combined with a gift for problem solving, these characteristics made him a generalist with deep insights into a number of fields. The fact that he was a psychologist, not an engineer, explains why his early ideas about computing and networking centred more on their cultural role than on technology.

(p. 1, ‘OSPF and IS-IS’ by Jeff Doyle from Addison Wesley www.awprofessional.com)

Stumblers, scanners and sniffers

The terminology related to wireless tools can be a bit overwhelming. Generally speaking, most tools that implement active scanning are called ‘stumblers’, whereas tools that implement passive scanning are called ‘scanners’. However, a stumbler is generally considered to be a ‘scanning tool’ (even if not technically a scanner). ‘Sniffers’ are network monitoring tools that are not specifically related to wireless networking. A sniffer is simply a tool that shows you all the packets the interface sees. A sniffer is an application program. If a wireless driver or card doesn’t give the packet to the sniffer to process, the sniffer can’t do anything about it.

(p. 95, ‘Hacking Exposed Wireless’ by Johnny Cache and Vincent Liu from Tata McGraw-Hill www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Options and procedures

Option-oriented managers are motivated by the possibility of doing things in a different way. They are the ones who develop procedures for performing a task and then move on to develop some other procedures for the same task. Procedures are for others. Exploring new ideas and possibilities is of great interest to them. They prefer to have options and alternatives in any situation or activity. They do not like lmiting themselves to the one right way. Their language will be full of words like 'can', 'options', 'opportunities' and so on. They concentrate on what has to be done, and want to get to work on the task at hand, doing what needs to be done. Managers of this kind will want lots of freedom, flexi-time and options.

Procedure-oriented managers like to follow set rules and processes. Once they understand a procedure they will repeat it over and over again... Thy are more concerned about the how of doing something than the why. The procedure-oriented person looks at a task as a sequential series of actions... For them, there is only one correct way of doing things. Their language is full of 'must' and 'should'... Procedural employees will have to be given instructions, and procedures should be well-tested and foolproof.

(p. 124, 'EQ and Leadership' by P.T. Joseph SJ from Tata McGraw-Hill www.tatamcgrawhill.com)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Caste system among Sikhs

Although not themselves Hindus, Sikhs are a historical offshoot of Hindu civilisation, who, since their parturition from the parent faith, have enjoyed a symbiotic coexistence with both Hindus and Muslims in the multiplex cultural environment of northwestern India. The Sikh religion and the socio-cultural milieu in which it evolved was founded upon doctrinal divergences both from orthodox Hinduism and fundamentalist Islam. It rejected many of the formalisms of the caste system and embraced principles of social egalitarianism derived both from Islam and Bhakti; it rejected orthodox Hindu polytheism and adopted a form of denominational monotheism based upon the authority of a succession of gurus. Its emphasis was, in Madan's words, "anti-ritualistic, anti-idolatrous, and social egalitarian" (1997:80).

(pp. 82-83, 'Sikhs, Swamis, Students, and Spies' by Harold A. Gould, from Sage www.sagepublications.com)

The rise of BSP in UP

BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) has checked the dominance of the upper castes effectively in a number of ways. At the outset, the BSP did this by establishing a political party led and dominated by Dalits and other marginalised castes and communities. The BSP established iteself by sensitising and weaning away the Dalits first from teh Congress in the 1980s and then from the BJP in the 1990s...

The BSP adopted a policy of democratic political representation of different communities to check the monopoly and political hegemony of the upper castes. Indeed, the BSP had long back floated a slogan that stressed teh representative aspect of democracy. The slogan was 'Jiski Jitni Sankhya Bhari, Uski Utni Bhagedari' (each according to its numerical strength). Significantly, the party did not keep this slogan only a slogan, but tried to implement it both in letter and spirit.

(pp. 248-249, 'Political Process in Uttar Pradesh' edited by Sudha Pai, from Pearson www.pearsoned.co.in)

How to meditate?

Question: Is it all right to meditate in the space between the eyebrows?

Answer: When the heart centre is there why not go directly to it instead of going through other centres. To go to Tiruvannamalai from Madras why should one go to Benaras first and come down all the way? Why not come straight?

(p.59, 'Spiritual Heart: Bhagavan Ramana Answers' by A.R. Natarajan, from Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning)

Inequities towards the mentally impaired

All modern societies have had gross inequities in their treatment of children with unusual mental impairments. Often such children do not get the medical care and the therapy they need. (... For example, muscle therapy for children with Down syndrome can make it possible for these children to negotiate their world in a way that promotes active learning). More, even, than people with many physical impairments, children with mental impairments have been shunned and stigmatised. Many of them have been relegated to institutions that make no effort to develop their potential. And they are persistently treated as if they have no right to occupy public space. In the congressional hearings prior to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), many examples of this shunning were cited. One case concerned children with Down syndrome who were denied admission to a zoo so as not to upset the chimpanzee.

(pp. 199-200, 'Frontiers of Justice' by Martha C. Nussbaum, from Oxford www.oup.com).

Destruction of indigenous habitat!

85 per cent of all known plant species are situated in areas that are the traditional homelands of indigenous people. In addition, tropical rain forests, which account for only 7 per cent of the earth's land surface and provide the habitat for 50 million indigenous people, are thought to contain over half of the species in the entire world biota. The system of land use and resource management that has been developed down the centuries encompass nomadic pastoralism, including animal husbandry, shifting cultivation, agroforestry, hunting, herding and fishing. In addition, the indigenous knowledge of plants, soils, animals, plants and climate is used to achieve a balanced ecosystem.

... Much of the world's biological richness is found in those areas of the globe that form the traditional homelands of the indigenous people. There is a direct correlation between the rate of diversity loss in terms of ecosystems, species and genes and the destruction of the habitat of the indigenous people.

(p. 160, 'Biotechnology, IPRs and Biodiversity' by M.B. Rao and Manjula Guru, from Pearson www.pearsoned.co.in)

From Ashavad to Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad began as Ashavad, which thrived as a Hindu town around the 10th century but by the 15th century, it was transformed into a well developed Islamic city. Within the folds of the eight kilometre fort wall, it housed the citadel, the Friday mosque, royal tombs and city gates aligned along an axis, which redefined Ashavad as Ahmedabad. Yet its residential precincts known as 'pols' with their interactive street fronts and varied thresholds were notional and sustained different ethnic sub-groups within its overall medieval fabric.

(p. 53, 'In Conversation: On contours of contemporary Indian architecture' by Balkrishna Doshi and Sen Kapadia, from Macmillan www.macmillanindia.com)

Finding solution

It is exciting to serarch the world for ideas and 'best practices' and to compare them with each other. However, the most useful idea may not be the one that is 'objectively' the best amongst them but the one which best fits the specific needs of the situation. Therefore, an analysis of the situation and the problem within it that neds a solution must preced the search for good ideas and the right solution.

(p. 176, Discordant Democrats by Arun Maira from Penguin www.penguinbooksindia.com)