bhuvan & riya.com

I got news about two different projects in last 12 hours.

1) Bhuvan by ISRO
India's ISRO has launched a new tool named Bhuvan, it zooms in to satellite images upto 2 meters resolution. Also helps you know about natural resource in area like water etc. I am trying since last night to get a glimpse of it(Servers overloaded after launch, I guess whole India is on it). This project will be as prudent as India's railway booking website http://www.indianrail.gov.in/ . Powerful & extremely useful.


2) Riya.com
Got email from founder of Riya, Munjal Shah, about riya.com shutting down. I remember following all happenings at this startup as if it was my own company. It was all inspiring to read Munjal's blog. riya team has moved on to new project Like.com and they are doing good. I do not like like.com as much as riya.com, because I personally do not identify with it. However if munjal starts blogging again, I will buy some gift for my wife on this website.

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posted by Nitin @ 5:31 AM, , links to this post

Economics of Mumbai Attacks

I was small kid playing Cricket, one sweeping shot with bat in my hand and ball smashed next building glass window. Me & my friends ran away from there. Owner never knew who broke the glass window. He guessed it was some kid from next building.

Owner called glassier and probably paid 500 rupees to fix that glass window. Glassier made 500 rupees that day and he was happy. Owner lost 500 rupees. While owner was mad & busy fixing window, he decided to order food from nearby restaurant(no time to cook). He missed his daily evening walk and visit to temple that evening.

What would have happened to that 500 rupees if glass was not broken?

* May be owner wanted to buy some toys and clothes for his kids.
* May be if that money was part of his savings, he wanted to just keep it saved somewhere [may be under carpet or bank account]

This is important economics lesson. I tried relating it to Mumbai attacks. Terrorists comes and attacks Mumbai. They leave a strong proof that it was fixed by Pakistan. Indians get angry. US comes to India's help.

If now India goes on war with Pakistan. War begins. War ends. Lot of life lost and tremendous material loss. There is lot of man made disaster and India spends lot of saved money on recovering from it. While India is busy recovering(like the owner fixing glass window) China supplies all finished good[please don't buy tainted baby milk products]

India goes on war.
India spends.
China gets to manufacture and supply.
US based companies in China gets to sell stuff.

Cycle of Economics begin.

[above stuff was my imaginary analysis except for the glass window which I really broke when I was kid]

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posted by Nitin @ 10:54 PM, , links to this post

walking to temple

Yesterday[Sunday March 9 2008] I walked from my home to Fremont hindu temple.

route: 'Fremont hub' to 'Fremont Temple'
means: walking
distance: 3.5 miles [~ 5.6 km]
time: 55 minutes
purpose: hobby
whats next: plan to continue same route for next few Sundays and then plan some bigger trip[may be fremont-to-livermore temple ~ 22 miles].

No oil/gas was burnt in any way whatsoever during the making of this trip.

posted by Nitin @ 12:31 AM, , links to this post

Wind energy; forest land aquisition; carbon credit;


Last Wednesday I was on some remote mountain , near sangli, ~150 kilometers south of Pune city, on National Highway 4. These mountain ranges where all covered by wind mills, belonging to several companies, mostly suzlon, vesta and enercon.

These companies install/develop wind mills for anyone who wants to buy it, or rather invest money. Cost of simplest wind mill starts ~4 crores [1 million]. These companies keep many windmill for them self.

I was out with one senior engineer working with enercon and kept asking him many questions about economics of wind energy and related activities. He has been working for wind energy companies for last 10 years.

He has supervised actual installations of wind mills and has done liasioning [formal paperwork] of certifying carbon credits for wind energy produced. At this point of time he takes care of land acquisition for his company.

He looks for two different types of lands, one which can be actually used for installing newer wind mills and other land is for forestation. He explained me that for every piece of land which gets used for wind mills, company has to submit replacement land and handover to forest department.[I am not sure if thats the only intention, there are chances that these companies claim carbon credits for all forest land they buy] Cost of acre land in forest region was around 25000 Indian rupees[~500 bucks].

Later I told him how American entrepreneurs are taking benefits of carbon credits. I know of one Professor from berkley university who has come up with genetically modified rice seeds, he has a deal with farmers in Indonesia, who use these seeds for cultivation. These crops emit less carbon than the usual ones, he collects carbon credits for it. Another story where a Texas based company throws a kind of green algae in middle of sea, these living plants absorb carbon from atmosphere and this company claims carbon credits.

posted by Nitin @ 8:14 PM, , links to this post

Athithi devo bhavo !?

I am at home[Mumbai, India] since last 4 days. Before taking connecting flight from london heathrow I called my mom and told her that I am skipping all meals[except coffee] in last 7 hours of my London-Mumbai flight and will have food only after reaching home. She kept bhakri and shaak ready. [shaak is what we call any vegetable-cooked-curry in Gujarati]. I have loved bhakri cooked by mom ever since I was born.

Reched Home, sat down to have food, it was full of oil and spices. I did let go my calorie filtration for a day and had everything. It felt like I was eating some good meal after 18 long months.

Its been 4 days i am in Mumbai and most amazing thing about this trip so far has been food. I have been out with friends, had fish. My mom has tried cooking almost everything[vegetarian] I wished for. My aunty made vada pav, she knows my style, that even if i love vada-pav, i am going to have max 2 or 3, hence very nicely I get 3 vadas and optional pav and green chatni in a tiffin box, delivered at my place.

Another aunty calls me for morning tea and then she surprises me with Kadak-pav.[In india bread is often called Pav and kadak in hindi means hard]. I was regular customer of irani restaurants around bombay, while i was in Mumbai. If you have not tried, do it now, goto Irani restaurant, early morning. [my favourite one is off sv road near shivaji park]. Ask for maska-pav and tea. Pav should be kadak-pav. There are few things which are unique to bombay lifestyle, I believe this item is one of them.

After living in california at a strecth for 18 months, I have got into habit of watching for calories. Any food item I see now first thing i try calculate is calories. I dont talk abt it, here in mumbai to anyone, because they will laugh over it, calling me typical desi trying to act like NRI. but anyways, calorie watch is all in my mind.

Last evening i understood some intersting point about Indian culture and felt that why its not applicable anymore. In India we have a phrase "Athithi Devo Bhavo", I love this phrase and practise it everytime with best capacity.

Here in India this phrase needs some repair work. I visit some relative and they make me eat lot of food. I love what they do and I love food they bring in front of me. But everyone here in mumbai beleives that love is expressed only through food, if they make you eat one additional thing, they have passed more love and respect. During olden days, people use to walk 5-6 kilometers or more before they reached someone's house. And these people were hardworking people and they use to be hungry. "Athithi devo bhavo" was perfectly applicable here. You were suppose to provide lot of good and rich food to your guest. However this practice is not correct anymore. Nowdays people are already stuffed with food, and then they take cab or auto-rickshaw and get down right in front of your apartment gate :) They come to your house, and there is no need of lot of food. Overeating kills!.

I am not complaining about anything here, but just expressing something i came across. I love everyone in mumbai. They have no idea, how a cooked delicious dish feels like million dollars to a bachelor who lives in USA. I cook, its healthy but not very delicious. Having those ready made rotis from bharat bazaar store feels like nightmare after you have tasted hot fresh rotis at home in India.[Ahh..I dont want to have those rotis again :( ]
Life is easy for now. By the time i will get completely reed of my calorie watch game, my 4 weeks holidays will be all over and I will be back to california.

posted by Nitin @ 5:43 PM, , links to this post

Top 8 mistakes I recollect from my flying

While entering Livermore airspace for landing called livermore tower frequency and said.."Napa Tower this is cessna niner seven two tango alpha"...tower replied..."niner seven two tango alpha this is livermore tower not napa"


While entering bay area from North.instead of calling Norcal over 120.9 i tuned into 121.9 and said "Norcal this is cessna niner seven two tango alpha"...frequncy replied back.."this oakland ground not norcal"


didnt note that livermore airport is at 500 ft elevation, hence delta airspace goes upto 2500 + 500 = 3000 ft. I started descending into its airspace entered 3000 ft, without taking clearance from airport.


was about to make one very bad landing, was 10-15 knots faster than required speed and didnt flare for long time. if i had continued 2-3 seconds more in same configuration, I would have damaged aircraft.

came almost on oakland downwind without calling tower and taking clearance for landing.

during pre-solo phase checkride my examiner took off/away power from engine and tried simulating engine failure, we were at 4500 ft. i went thru emergency landing checklist & executed most of the steps. made a big mistake in selecting emergency landing field..i decided to make landing on a golf course below me. i shud have tried for concord airport, just 6 miles away. wrong choice of emergency landing field. i came down to 800 feet then full throtle and started climbing.

most memorable mistake:
I was holding short runway 27 right at oakland. one jet was on final to land. i called tower "oakland tower cessna niner seven two tango alpha holding short runway 27 right ready for takeoff"....tower replied "972ta hold short runway two seven right"..i replied "27 right cleared for take-off"..as soon as i said that "pilot inside jet which was about to land" and tower controller freaked out on radio ;) i was told to just keep waiting, and replied wrongly saying alright i am taking runway for take off :) . before making any movement i apologiesed and said tht i am going to hold short.

posted by Nitin @ 5:07 PM, , links to this post

castleman disease and flight stories

My father passed away on may 16th 1995 due to rare cancer/disorder named Castleman Disease. Last night for some reason I tried looking for info on this disease and it seems even today medical science has no solution/treatment for it.


I was speaking to my mom in mumbai to update her with my flight stories. I usually tell her things with reference to locations around mumbai. I have started flying outside bay area for which i told her thht now i have started taking aircraft from santacruz airport and i kind of fly upto New bombay and come back all by myself. And this month I am goign to fly cross-country flight which would be as good as flying from mumbai to ahmedabad or kolhapur and come back. on the way i need to land at 3 different airports.


I come across people now and then who ask me what will I do once I get pilot license. I give different answers depending upon what that person is upto.

posted by Nitin @ 11:48 PM, , links to this post