Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Power crisis hits N, NE India .. Need for Smartgrids ..

Huge power failure has again gripped over parts of N India and NE India from noon today, 31 July 2012. Metro has stopped and about 500 trains are stopped on the tracks as signal systems have crashed. Worst case in 11 years .. 600 million Indians without power. 

Commuters wait for buses outside a station after Delhi Metro services were disrupted following a power outage in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Waiting for buses and trains ..


VIPs and VVIPs are spared .. !!

International airport was spared, though all other systems suffered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_31,_2012_India_blackout

It brings to the forefront importance of proper energy management and finding alternate sources of power generation .. .. Overdrawing power from the grid by farmers in North India due to water shortage has led to the collapse is what we get the reasons from authoritative sources as reported in newspapers. ..

Former power secretary giving his comments .. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Blackout-in-20-states-should-lead-to-power-sector-reforms/articleshow/15317995.cms

The reasons on first analysis according to me are
1. power mismanagement by the states, resulting in overdrawal from the grid and low frequency of transmission
2. vagaries of a fluctuating rainfall causing North India farmers to work their water pumps more
3. More stress on building new energy generation plants than proper efficient utlisation of the existing ones
4. high ratio of transmission losses / pilferage losses in the system, due to poor monitoring and discipline
5. lopsided tariff scheme offering free power to farmers, with an eye on votes ..
6. improper / ineffective penalty to erring states

It is said a 9% shortage between demand and supply of power is annually shaving off 1.2% of GDP growth. (Washington Post 31 July 2012 http://washpost.bloomberg.com/Story?docId=1376-M7YDKA0YHQ0X01-79TK1GQCDQF2C5AQ5A383U7GQR)

The need for the Indian PM to think seriously on the proposed $400 billion investment ( as highlighted by Washington Post) to strengthen the energy infrastructure in the country, given that the GDP growth has slipped to 5.9 % now, brings to light the excellent business opportunities for Infrastructure firms to open shop in India. 

Can our Dilli and Assam friends comment on the state there ?? With summer at peak, what to say ?? We have a booming low capacity captive power generation industry in the country, which thrives on incompetent power management and power sector investment policies in the country.

Smart grids which can monitor online the generation, transmission, distribution of energy and its final consumption to efficiently plan for usage, is the need of the hour.

ge..

Why we need to reduce costs ..

Why we need to reduce costs ..

Monday, July 30, 2012

Learnings from the Consortium - Valuable research guidance for doctoral students

( this document is being refined.. pl check up the doc again..)

The 3 day Doctoral consortium on marketing and the first outside of US sponsored by the American Marketing Association, Sheth Foundation and Academy of Indian Marketing got over at Bangalore Alliance University central campus in Anekal yesterday 29 July, 2012.

The theme was Research in Emerging Markets.

As the Dean Dr Anubha Singh noted in the inaugural address, the consortium was indeed a meeting ground for Who's Who in Marketing ( including Editors of four top Marketing Journals) serious researchers and budding doctoral students from different countries, witnessing global fusion of intellectual acumen in the area of marketing.

Productivity of a researcher was one of the important points raised by the Main speaker, Prof Jagdish Sheth. 

A researcher's proclivity in generating knowledge and in getting this published in top Marketing journals is not only going to earn him employment for life but also name and fame .. As different from the practical application of Marketing successes, the stress was more on the academic aspects of generating knowledge for the future generations to understand the process of Marketing well. Challenge the existing dogmas and literature was the serious tone which was reverberating throughout all the sessions at the consortium.

Some learning which will be useful for the research student community in general and for prospective researchers and  for publishing of technical papers are given below divided into three or four areas.


Prof Kent Monroe ( University of Redmond)

Objectives of a Doctoral programme : a. Develop conceptualisation skills (ability to think abstractly)
b. Acquire substantial knowledge and learn to apply it
c. develop operationalising  skills and research methods knowledge
d. develop good communication skills ( both written and oral)
Maintain an attitude of discovery
a. Read/study within and outside your discipline
b. Read from newspapers/magazines/journals and other applied areas
c. Keep asking - how can I learn more about this issue or question
Maintain Intrinsic Motivation :
a. select questions and issues that interest you
b. work both SMART and HARD ..
c. Always aim for self-improvement
View Research as a continuous activity :
a. Engage in daily Time Management, at least 30 mins a day, to properly utilise your time.
b. set your own schedule ( don't allow anyone else to do it for you..)
c. set aside time for reflection of your activities and results attained during the day
d. get a comfortable place for study and working ( how badly organised it may be..)
e. be a note taker, you cannot say when those notes can be handy
Attributes of a Researcher :
a. Should be enthusiastic and have excitement in doing the work on the topic of research
b. choose an area where you are sure of having sustained interest over the next 5 -6 years
c. have a commitment to excellence
d. be open minded to accept ideas, have a wide area of interests
e. be humble, not arrogant, but confident
f. always be patient, even if things do not happen the way you want them to. There is something to     learn from observing and being patient.
g. Exercise self-discipline
h. do not procrastinate, finish today's work today itself, do not keep it for tomorrow.
i. be honest in all your professional dealings with your colleagues, supervisors
j. be meticulous, pay attention to details and explanations.



Ideas from Dr V. Kumar, George State Uty.

Where to get ideas for research :
a. search for gaps in literatureb. challenge existing dogmas and ideas
c. interact with mentors and other doctoral students
d. brainstorming with colleagues
e. attending practitioner forums
Which Research Method to use ?
a. do not be dogmatic about your methods, experiment with new, interesting and untried methods and analysis
b. find a co-author with complimentary skills / interests
c. bring more co-authors into the papers, thus bring different rich perspectives
How to draft a good manuscript ?
a. prepare a well written manuscript
b. use the right vocabulary / terminology
c. have consistency in the ideas / terminology throughout the paper
d. write a correct abstract / rewrite and rewrite, after small gaps of time,  till you are satisfied.
e. spell the research question correctly
f. mention clearly what is the intended contribution from the research
g. be humble to accept the limitations in your paper


Points made by Prof Ajay Kohli, Georgia Tech.

Managing the acceptance / rejection process :a. Get someone to critique the paper
b. after receiving the rejection note, wait for a couple of weeks , let all the emotions die out.
c. work to answer MORE than the reviewer questions, anticipate some other related questions too ..
d. do more than what the reviewer asks for
e. if reviewers' comments clash, ask for clarification
f. before resubmitting the paper, ( to other journal) always revise it !! ..
g. always prepare revision notes of date,section, line, change recorded etc.. ( discipline yourself, do not work haphazardly..)
h. avoid careless mistakes
i. ALWAYS STUDY A JOURNAL STYLE BEFORE MAKING A SUBMISSION TO IT.
j. try to co-author with someone who has already published in that journal
k. network with prospective co-authors during conferences / seminars

Points made by Prof Jerry Wind, Kellogs, UPenn.

a. Start doing what people matter about ! keep the focus on the ultimate user of the research ..
b. talk to others about your idea .. know their comments.. 
Challenges for the teaching community :
a. students are experts in double tasking with technology
b. e-learning
c. learning from games
d. search thru wikipedia / khanacademy.org
e. pervasiveness of social n/w
f. power  of wisdom of a crowd
g. employing performance metrics / deciding which one
Improving teaching effectiveness :
a. shift from teaching to learning / look at the needs of the customer
b. go beyond the schedule ( not just 3 hrs/week, but beyond..)
c. go beyond the curriculum , discuss and initiate discussions on interesting related topics which can make learning exciting and fun ..
d. hybrid learning - integrating Open Educational resources (OER) into the teaching curriculum like khanacademy.org, videolectures.net etc..
e. customisation of the content to the needs of the customer / employer
f. do not forget everyone is a content creator, promote use of wikis
g. experiment with new learning approaches / promote active learning , modes like case method, games, role playing, current events discussion
Analysing BIG DATA, text mining and social media analytics .. areas of promise and opportunity ..

Research process should not be like the person who lost a coin outside in the dark, searching for the same inside the room which has light .. DO RESEARCH IN THE CORRECT RELEVANT AREA exploring the right problem and analysing the right data .

Points made by Prof. Denish Shah, George Washington Uty
Over time spend less time on teaching and more time on research / Time management is the key 

Hope this will be of great use to the student and researcher community of the world cutting across disciplines.

One point which was reverberating throughout was the need to co-create the class with the students, not just one way directing ..

I also listened to the presentation given by Prof Parasuraman , Uty of Miami, on his famous Gaps model and Servqual model in Services ( co-authored with Zitham and Berryr, PZB " A conceptual Model of Service quality and its implications for future research ", 85, Journal of Marketing, vol 49). In fact the Gaps model paper has been one of the most cited papers in the history of scientiific/technical publications with about 10,400 citations.

The consortium saw the opening of the 'Centre for Research on Emerging Markets" at Alliance University, Bangalore which will facilitate foreign and Indian scholars to study the emerging market economies and their companies.

ge..






Olympics, live and recorded on youtube

Do not miss the action, live or recorded on www.youtube.com/olympics..

Watch events country wise, sports wise, recorded or live as and when they happen ..

No missing of action or excitement !! 

China has started its dominating spree right from day 2 .. Upping the limits of human endeavour, willpower and spirits to never before heights ..!!

ge..

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Speed Dating at Marketing Doctoral Consortium at Alliance Uty ..


Speed dating on Day 1 for the selected doctoral students in Marketing to interact in short bursts with some of the greatest confluence of Marketing Researchers was a great opportunity for them.
Prof Kent Munroe (L) after the talk ..

View of hall and participants interacting ..

In a neatly arranged large hall with tables and chairs, about 30 Doctoral fellows ( the Marketing brains from the world including editors from top 4 Marketing Journals of the world)) and the selected Marketing doctoral students from different countries of the world interact with each other for about five minutes each randomly, in such a away that each doctoral fellow gets to briefly listen to and critically review the work individually of a minimum of ten other doctoral students and a doctoral student gets to explain and listen to critical reviews of his chosen area of working from at least ten doctoral fellows.

This was a very unique experience in the Indian context. Both the fellows and the students get to listen to rich, potential research ideas and reviews in emerging research areas. What to look out for , what to avoid, basically coming from the experience of a life time in Marketing research of a fellow. A reaffirmation of the research proposals .. A win - win for both the parties..

The inaugural speech by Prof JagdishSheth ( Jag) , Emory Uty and an invigorating talk sharing the learning and wisdom of a life time spent on research by Dr Kent Munroe, University of Illionois, was by itself worth all effort and time attending this Consortium. Some of the best intellectual discourses I have ever listened to !! Rest everything to be served during the Consortium is Bonus !!! Thanks to the brains who thought of this unique interaction !!

http://alliance.edu.in/aim/html/consortium-faculty-page2.html


Friday, July 27, 2012

Inaugural Doctoral Student Consortium on Marketing at Alliance Uty , Bangalore



Giving back !!  GIANTS HAND-HOLDING BUDDING RESEARCHERS !!


Theme : Research in Emerging Markets  ....


Sponsored by the American Marketing Association and Sheth Trust, the first Doctoral student  Consortium on Marketing outside of US is happening in Alliance University from today 27 July 2012, for three days.

Prof Jagdish Sheth ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagdish_Sheth ) is the main mentor for doctoral students at the consortium. There are app 100 or more students and fellows from almost 10 countries here. 

Details here .. http://alliance.edu.in/aim/

It is great to learn that the Chancellor of Alliance Uty Dr Madhukar Angur is inviting his former acquaintances and  is taking special interest in organising this doctoral student consortium as he is very much concerned about the student contributions to the field. Promoting the research climate, mentality and environment is a must for the growth and nourishment of students in an educational institution. The Institute is not known by the students produces like a teaching shop, it is known by the research contributions it makes. And I am really proud to be part of such an Institution.

Giants in the field, ( editors of 4 top marketing journals of the world are attending the conf) are sparing their time to give back to the society and community what they have taken from the society. A great gesture from the research faculty to the budding researchers. I do not know whether such activities do happen in the Operations stream in the world. Giants handholding budding researchers !!

And for the first time this consortium is being held outside of US and it is being held in Alliance Uty, Bangalore, India.

ge..

To R V G Menon Sir, with love and respects ..

To RVG Sir, with Love ..
With electricity tariff having been raised in Kerala yesterday after about ten years, installation of photovoltaic installations using solar energy is gaining importance in Kerala .. It is at this time I am reminded of the contribution my dear Professor (now retired) from College of Engineering, Trivandrum, Prof Dr R V G Menon is presently carrying out in the state of Kerala. A public spirited individual, simple and loving, he is a real gem of a person any student in Kerala should try to emulate.

Prof  RVG Menon is not only an academician par excellence (as can be vouched by his students), he was also very humble and easily approachable. He always had a humble, pleasant smile on his face wherever we met him, be it inside the classroom, on the verandah, in the canteen or even at the Statue junction.. He used to come to college in an old motorcycle (Jawa or so..) which made so much of noise, with loose dangling parts..

“It is desirable that a man live in all respects so simply and preparedly that if an enemy take the town, he can walk out the gate empty-handed and without anxiety." - Henry David Thoreau. Prof RVG was such a simple man. Simple not only in material possessions, but also in his demeanour and how he carried himself.

As a senior responsible citizen of the society ,he is now transitioning to a new, serious role, as the conscience keeper of the scientific and developmental community in the state of Kerala. He has been highlighting issues of sustainable development.

Through his life, Prof RVG has given meaning to the saying of the Father of our Nation, MK Gandhi.. "You must be the change you wish to see in this world .."

His efforts at restoring the livelihoods of the excluded communities of Kerala by the application of basic scientific developments and applications is remarkable. In other words he taught us about inclusive growth much before our PM and his economists .. !!

In this series of 7 videos, Dr RVG Menon is talking on general developmental issues in Kerala to his old students in the Gulf states, each of app 15 min duration.

Click for Part I here .. 

Click for Part II here ..  

Click for Part III here ..

Click for Part IV here ..

Click for Part V   here .. 

Click for Part VI here ..

In Part VII,( click here) by installing a solar panel investing app Rs 2 lakhs in his TVM home (opp to Actor Mohanlal's house. Pandu Mohanlal mookkolippichu nadannappol, Saar avandeyaduthu padhikkan ethra prayashyam paranjittundenno ..!!) ) using Solar energy on his terrace, RVG Sir has practically demonstrated the applicability of home based solar installations.

He advocates heavy energy users, like big homes, industries, entrepreneurs starting engg and medical colleges to instead start Energy farms, to adopt this technology earlier than domestic users.

RVG Sir had dedicated his life to the cause of innovations in Science and Technology while we were at College through the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad ( and even we studied from his book titled 'History of Science and Technology' in the first year !!, I do not know whether I failed in that paper in the first attempt.. !!).

His contributions to the Popular Science Movement and Popular Science Lecture series on TV and mass media ( even inside the classes !!) will for ever be remembered not only by his vast followings of students, now in their fifties, but also by the science loving people of Kerala.

The day after the Bhopal Eveready chemical leak on Dec 2, 1984, we spent almost an hour in the early morning 8.30 AM class on Dec 3, discussing about the implications to society and water sources because of the leak... An unforgettable incident which had global implications, was discussed for the whole time (probably no other classroom in the world, and so early within 8 hours of the occurence, would have had such heavy weight discussions as we had in the class on that day)

Can you ever find such a socially relevant, practical, unwavered, enthusiastic, passionate and committed Professor anywhere other than in MIT or Harvard ?

A big thank you Sir.. The best way we can say a thank you is by upholding all the principles of Science and Technology which you held very close to your heart throughout your life. You made us socially relevant engineers ..

Sir has a big fan following not only in CET, but in all Govt Engineering colleges in Kerala state !! Sir retired as the Principal of College of Engineering, Kannur in 1998. On 30 July, 2011, at our 25 th jubilee alumni reunion at CET, got to talk with him after many years !!

george.. (photo courtesy : The Hindu)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Photos of North Kerala 1900 - 1930s, part II.


These are photographs of North Kerala,(Malabar region ) taken by missionaries from Basel Mission around 1892 - 1930. The original title and year has been retained in most of the cases. Extra explanation has been given in some of the cases without losing the original meaning to add value to the photo.

All the people in these photos are no more living on planet earth, probably their first and second generations too have gone away. However, it is great to see the similarities in most of these activities with activities in the villages in Kerala these days.

Even though the average level of education and health of the people in these photos cannot be compared with the educational levels these days, due to increased access to educational institutions and health care presently, what is really surprising is that the people had the same level of enthusiasm, enterprise and enjoyed hardwork. The  earnings and freedoms were limited during those times, the political mileu weighing heavily against the Malayalai with subservience to the English / foreign masters hanging like the millstone tied to the neck ..!!

Enjoy these snaps and realise that we carry lot of lineage and cultural heritage from our ancestors and it is our duty to preserve them for posterity too - like a relay baton we transfer it from generation to generation !!

Click here for Part I of the snaps ..


Ploughing the fields, 1901 ..
A north Malabar street 1921 ..
Carpenters 1914 ..
Malabar women pounding paddy ..
Kitchen crew grinding, pounding grain and cutting wood for the fire ..1902
Sunday School in a Christian church ..
A farmer ploughing land, 1902 ..
Goldsmiths/firesmiths, kollanmaar ..
Kitchen crew in an affluent family, 1914 ..
Fishermen at sunset, Malabar coast ..
Thatching happening in a coconut grove .. 1901
A poor casual labourer 1921
Manalilezhuthu, teaching young kids the letters of Malayalam language on sand ..1902
Posing in a school, Pallikkoodam 1914..
A full blown Theyyam dancer, 1901 ..
Potters trading their ware at the potter market ..1914 ..
Devotees going with offerings to Kannadiparambu temple, 1914 ..
A patient 1901 ..
A patient with manthu rogam, elephantiasis in Calicut Mission Hospital, 1902 ..
Afternoon lunch 1914 ..
coconut palm climbers ..1914
Malabar girl with earrings, kaathilola 1912 ..
Gusthi kalari 1905 .. learning martial arts ..
Kids with jackfruit and cocnut, 1905
Aerating the land by breaking hard blocks of sand after ploughing, kattayodakkal,  1921 ..
Courtesy to Mathrubhumi newspaper for publishing these photographs which will be an ocean of information to the present generation to understand how their ancestors lived in kerala just a hundred years back, Thanks to Basel Mission Society for recording these photographs and South California Uty digital archives for preserving them .... Permission obtained from Basel Mission for reproduction of these photos.

Archives mission 21 / Basel Mission: BMA QL-30.012.0018
Digital reproduction by the University of Southern California Digital Archive. Available:http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/impa/controller/view/impa-m44665.html?x=1343719344496
Accessed July 24, 2012.

A big thanks .. !!


North Kerala snaps of 1900 - 1930s .. part 1

Nobody from Keral;a would want to miss these photos taken almost a hundred years back of the people and the lifestyle and culture of North Kerala / malabar ..

These are photographs of North Kerala,(Malabar region ) taken by missionaries from Basel Mission around 1892 - 1930. The original title and year has been retained in most of the cases. Extra explanation has been given in some of the cases without losing the original meaning to add value to the photo.

All the people in these photos are no more living on planet earth, probably their first and second generations too have gone away. However, it is great to see the similarities in most of these activities with activities in the villages in Kerala these days.

Even though the average level of education and health of the people in these photos cannot be compared with the educational levels these days, due to increased access to educational institutions and health care presently, what is really surprising is that the people had the same level of enthusiasm, enterprise and enjoyed hardwork. The  earnings and freedoms were limited during those times, the political mileu weighing heavily against the Malayalai with subservience to the English / foreign masters hanging like the millstone tied to the neck ..!!

Enjoy these snaps and realise that we carry lot of lineage and cultural heritage from our ancestors and it is our duty to preserve them for posterity too - like a relay baton we transfer it from generation to generation !!

Available:http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/impa/controller/view/impa-m44665.html?x=1343719344496
Accessed July 24, 2012.


A big thanks ..



Courtesy to Mathrubhumi newspaper for publishing these photographs which will be an ocean of information to the present generation to understand how their abcestors lived in kerala just a hundred years back, Thanks to Basel Mission Society for recording these photographs and South California Uty digital archives for preserving them .... (Permission obtained from Basel Mission for reproducing the photographs)

Archives mission 21 / Basel Mission: BMA QL-30.012.0018
Digital reproduction by the University of Southern California Digital Archive.


A farm snap .. 1921 
A boatsman taking people across the river .. 1921
A seminary snap ..
Rev Rense along with students, 1901.
Preparing thatched leaves from coconut palm leaves ..
ola medayal . 1921.
Getting ready to go to the sea .. Beachside shot .. 1892 ..
Horse cart, very prestigious ride .. 1901..
A Muslim family, 1901
A theeyya lady taking a daybath in the stream , chira.
Nair girl well dressed ..
Girl from the cheruma tribe .. 1930
Nair women .. 1914
Syrian Christian family ..1912
Mohammedans, 1914.
Malabar Nair lady 1914.
Muslim women covering their face and walking on the streets ..
An affluent North Kerala family ..
A Brahmin family .. 1902
Nair girls preparing for Thaalappoli .. 1914 ..
Malabar Christian ladies 1902 ..




16 Psyche, one of the largest and richest asteroids ..

What does this asteroid, 16 Psyche, 200 km diameter, 450 million miles away (3x distance between Earth and Sun) in the asteroid belt bet...

My popular posts over the last month ..