Thursday, August 17, 2017

Diesel vs. Petrol, environmental pollution ..

Modern research states that if you are owning a diesel car, you are polluting the environment four times more (4x) than a petrol car and doing a great disservice to your society and surroundings.

SUVs and other high powered vehicles run on diesel and pollute the environment heavily. Look at the situation practically, do private commuting vehicles require all that power ?

Though Diesel has a higher calorific value and Diesel engines are more efficient than Petrol engines, Diesel engines have higher emissions of NOx and particulate matter in comparison to Petrol vehicles with catalytic converters. (Catalytic converters help mostly oxidise the CO to CO2 besides NO to NOx and unburnt hydrocarbons which otherwise cause smog)

Especially when these toxic emissions like NOx and SOx, have higher fatal health repercussions, diesel cars are a disaster ! In addition, the cost of fatal health repercussions like cancer is immeasurable !!

The general public look smartly at the parochial picture, at keeping the running costs of vehicles low. To help industrial use, public transportation and to control costs, most countries price diesel cheaper than gasolene (petrol) by way of subsidies, for instance it costs less for diesel than petrol in India, unmindful of the bigger picture of the damages it does to the environment..

Contrasting with earlier reports which found CO and CO2 to be detrimental to human health, recent research points to NOx emissions which are the main culprit in deaths related to automobile emissions. Click on this Guardian newspaper link to read of how almost 38,000 people across the world (maninly from China, Europe and India) die every year to diesel pollution (or diesel vehicles meeting pollution regulation standards and failing to meet pollution regulation standards). Thee study also points to the fact that excess NOx (having escaped regulators lenses) will still be responsible for about 70,000 deaths annually by 2040 AD.

For unit pollution, every diesel-km a vehicle runs is equivalent to four petrol-km.

Let us be more responsible and leave enough of our beautiful environment for our future generations to enjoy and live in healthily. Let us dump those beasts and go for Petrol vehicles, still better electric vehicles in the very near future .


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cheruvally Estate and the new Sabarimala International airport

KPY with his family

It has been very shocking to find out how K P Yohannan, the self-proclaimed preacher and his relatives from Tiruvalla had purchased the Cheruvally estate from Harrisons Malayalam plantation in 2008. The deal itself was flawed as Harrisons did not have any right to sell leased land to KPY. Though on paper it is only for Rs 80 crores in white, we are not sure how much more money has been paid under the table. KPY's Gospel for Asia is under scrutiny for having received Rs 1050 crores+ from US for missionary work which has been illegally diverted for purchasing land.

The Rs 2500 crore joint venture Sabarimala international airport between NRis and state govt is going to be a prestigious project for Kerala state and the state authorities should lose no time and effort to take over the 2263 acre Cheruvally estate for the purpose of building the airport which will benefit devotees visiting Sabarimala, Lord Ayyappa's shrine in Perunad, Pathanamthitta dist, 48 kms away at an altitude of 1260 m above MSL, situated among the 18 hills comprising the Periyar Tiger Reserve. In comparison the nation's third largest airport (in terms of infrastructure and fourth in terms of passenger traffic) at Kochi is on just 2000 acres of land while the nation's fourth largest, Bangalore International airport is on 4500 acres of land.

KP Yohannan who has been masquerading as a preacher is a self anointed religious leader who through his US entity Gospel for Asia has been amassing huge amounts of money from US to be used for helping the needy and downtrodden through his domestic entity called Believers Church. Yohannan has been using the foreign funds to amass real estate assets for the church and his family members. He is a married man and has no rights to establish a church claiming power from the throne of St Thomas. He needs to be exposed and taken to task.

Let us hope the Kerala govt gets a little more serious in exposing KPY and putting him behind bars.These are some people who bring bad name to all of us ..

george.. (photo courtesy The Hindu newspaper)

Ref :

Friday, August 11, 2017

Drip irrigation - Basics and prospects in india ...

Drip Irrigation - the basics

We have heard of how Israeli agricultural scientists turned the deserts of Sinai into greenlands producing fruits and vegetables, making Israel one of the largest producers of oranges in the world from the desert sand.

Details of a drip irrigation system, courtesy Jain Irrigation Systems,
As per a TOI newspaper report, Hungund taluk, Bagalkot dist in N Karnataka in India has about 11,000 hectares of farmland under drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is gaining in importance across the world especially since we have been observing erratic patterns in rainfall and precipitation and falling river and reservoir levels necessitating more efficient and effective use of existing resources of water.

Drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. The goal is to place water directly into the root zone and minimize evaporation. Drip irrigation systems distribute water through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. Depending on how well designed, installed, maintained, and operated it is, a drip irrigation system can be more efficient than other types of irrigation systems, such as surface irrigation or sprinkler irrigation. -
An Israeli drip irrigation farm

Simply speaking drip irrigation is a system of providing water to the roots of the plants through a network of pipes to increase irrigation

Drip irrigation which was started commercially in Israel during the 70s has now become an accepted practice in arid and semi arid regions of the world. In northern parts of Karnataka, drip irrigation is used for floriculture, cultivation of fruits and vegetables and possibly maize and jowar ...

Drip irrigation saves anywhere from 30% to 60% of water used for irrigation purposes. Drip irrigation saves labour and electricity, controls soil erosion and even saline water can be used for irrigation,

In any drip irrigation system one needs to be worried about two aspects of the system, the design of the system and its maintenance.

Design of the system :

1. Water sources and the pump -  either from a borewell or well, pond or river.

2. Filtration of the water - depending on whether the water is from a borewell (only screen filter) or whether it is from an pond, well or river, we require a sand filter and hydro cyclone filter besides the screen filter.

3. Network of pipes - has a system of main pipes, sub pipes and laterals spread across the field to which the drippers are connected (or end tubes). The mains and sub mains should be submerged 45 cms below the surface for safety of the pipes from being trampled upon by farm animals. To prevent rats and squirrels from damaging the pipes, it is recommended to keep bowls of water in the farm so that the drippers are not damaged.

For drip irrigation we need a pressure of 1.5 to 2 kg/sq cm in the lateral pipes while for a sprinkler system we need a pressure of 3-5 kg/sq cm. For widely spaced plants, the drippers need to be of 12 mm dia laterals which can carry 250-300 liters of water per hour while for closely spaced plants, we need 16 mm dia laterals which can carry between 450-500 litres per hour.The drippers should be placed at a gap of 30-40 cm for closely spaced crops.

Drip Irrigation Systems, courtesy FAO, United Nations.
Maintenance : 

Maintenance of the system is of great importance to ensure high effectiveness and longevity of the system. Use of high quality ISI mark pipes and valves made from virgin plastic instead of the cheap recycled plastic can ensure longevity of the system for upto ten years if the pipes are exposed to sunlight for upto 800 hours a year.

Clogging of laterals and emitters prevents the flow of water to the roots of the plants. This happens because of algae deposits, sand, organic material, Calcium Carbonate etc. Acid treatment and chlorination ate two methods by which clogging can be prevented. Filters are to be cleaned of impurities daily and flushed cleaned weekly of impurities. End caps of sections and laterals should be opened for upto 30 minutes occasionally once in a couple of days. Adding Hydrochloric acid at 25% concentration is an effective way of cleaning pipe from clogging of organic impurities. Maintaining a pH value of 4 (acidic) throughout the pipe for upto 24 hours, is a good way to do this.

This is an excellent video which University of Agricultural Sciences  Bangalore of 30 mins duration, which states all details about the drip irrigation system and the problems that can arise while operating it in Indian conditions.

Jain Irrigation Systems is one of India's top drip irrigation company. Click here for the more commercial details.

As per the Times of India, the world's largest drip irrigation project is coming up in Bagalkot in Karnataka.  Covering about 35000 hectares of arid farmland in two phases, the Rs 768 crore scheme will benefit almost 15,000 small and medium farmers in the area. The scheme will help the farmers in the area to double the production of maize and jowar in the area. After the first five years of operation and transfer of ownership based on a BOOT model, from the Jain Irrigation group, the farmers will pay a meagre charge of Rs 1330 for each acre to the Water Users Associations, who will help maintain the system in the long run.

The success of the Bagalkot project will give the needed boost for other drip irrigation systems in the country and abroad. With dwindling precipitation noticed in certain areas of the country, especially North Karnataka and the impact of the seasonal El Nino Southern Oscillation across the world once in seven years, it is all the more important that drip irrigation systems are given the needed fillip and encouragement across the country to help build the needed food stocks for food security in the country.

George Easaw

    Ref :
       1. FAO, Drip Irrigation, Last accessed August 2017
       2. Jain Irrigation Systems, Drip Irrigation, , Last accessed Aug 2017.
       3. Times of India, World's largest Drip Irrigation Project, Aug, 30, 2016.
       4. University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India, Drip Irrigation a detailed overview, Your agri channel, Youtube, 2014.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Understanding the water and energy intensity of industries ..

Modern day industries depend heavily on water and energy, the two vital components of survival.

We use water in all our daily uses preparing food, for agriculture that gives us food, livestock that gives us proteins, meat etc and industrial use. It is said that more than 70% of water use in developing countries is for agriculture while it is about 30% in the developed countries. Combined with water, the other important component of growth, development and human life is energy. We need energy to power up our homes, kitchens, automobiles that guzzle non-renewable resources like fossil fuels and finally for private and public transport and industrial uses. 
The graph given here , courtesy Ross et al, HBR, gives us a measure of the energy and water intensities of use across industries in developed countries.

First of all we come up with three areas A, B and C in the graph.

Area A (bottom left) where the the water intensity (measured in units of cubic metres of water per million US dollars of sale) against the energy intensity (measured in units of Megawatt per million US dollars of sale) is linearly proportional, ie, in the region between 100 and 500 cu m of water and 100-200 MW of energy per million US dollars of sale. This Area A (green class) includes Technology companies like IBM, TCS, Accenture, Google, Infosys etc. All telecommunication companies like China Mobile, Vodafone, Airtel etc  fall in this group. Once the telecom infrastructure is in place, we find these companies need very less inputs in terms of water and energy. Defence, Manufacturing, automobile manufacturing like Toyota, Renault, VW etc and health care including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies fall in this category. We can also call them the green industries, to signify the relatively low levels of water and energy usage intensity per million dollars of sales. 

Area B (orange class, centre) includes industries where the water and energy usage is slightly on the higher side, we find in these industries like food processing (Brittannia, Nestle etc), beverages (Coke Pepsi etc) , hospitality, oil, gas and coal industry that includes conventional transportation industry, the water intensity is in the region of 1000-7000 cu m of water per million dollars of sale while the energy intensity is in the range of 300-1000 MW of energy per million dollars of sale. We call these industries the orange group of industries as they have greater pollution potential than the type A green class of industries. A society should try to invest in less of these industries for better sustainability of the environment.
Area C (red class, top right) includes industries that have water usage intensity in the range of 10,000 to 90,000 cu. m. and energy usage intensity in the range of 2000-8000 MW of energy per million dollars of sale. The industries that fall within this category are energy utilities like thermal, nuclear and hydro electric power plants and metal processing and chemical industries, which includes tyre, paints, chemicals etc.

We find technology industries like Information technology, chemical technology etc use the least of both these resources while the oil and gas industry uses energy on an average scale while energy utilities in organisations have the highest combination of use of both these resources. The more modern electronic commerce class of Industries also fall in this category as they have less warehousing needs (Alibaba model) and thus energy needs and slightly higher transportation energy needs, with very less water consumption intensity.

In densely populated cities and urban areas and societies which are very concerned about environmental pollution and safety hazards, it is better to have industries of the Green class or Type A industries that are technology based, automobile, defence, manufacturing health care etc. In areas less populated, the orange and red class of industries can be setup.

Employment potential is higher in the case of green class industries in comparison to orange and red classes of industries.

Airline industry is a vast and important sector in any economy and we find its water intensity is very less (in the range of 40-50 cu m of water usage/million dollar sales) while energy usage intensity is on the higher side (in the range of 5000-6000 MW of energy usage/million dollar sales). The same can be said about the retailing sector as they have huge warehouses,  transportation networks to power up with comparitively  less usage of water  We put them in the orange class of industries considering their higher energy intensity over water intensity.

The above chart is plotted for industries that are supplied by the conventional non-renewable sources of energy like thermal, oil and gas etc. As industries get supplied by renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, tidal etc, which is more efficient in generation and transmission compared to conventional forms of non-renewable sources of energy, the points get closer to the Y-axis, or the slope of line joining the industries increases, or the line becomes more vertical. Usage of electric driven vehicles in transportation is thus a big game changer in the transportation sector.

As industry develops and energy gets cheaper and widely available, we find water still remains the bottleneck as mankind is yet to produce great technologies that help reduce water consumption in major industries, Unless we are able to come up with a really cheap industrial class desalination technology to convert salty seawater for potable use in homes and industries, we are still at risk in future of running into water scarcity.  Really as James Ferguson in the April 2015 Newsweek article highlighted, the next global war will not be over boundaries or economic might, it will be over water.

george ..

Reference : 1. Ross, Kevin and Deborah Frodl, Solving the twin crisis of water and energy scarcity, HBR, Jan 2016

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Chicago chain tea stalls, Chennai ..

This chain of 15 year old profitable and high volume *Chicago tea stall chain in Chennai* is run by Gopalan, who believes in values, takes care of his employees very well with 9 hr work schedules and very good pay .. 

The employee perks are interesting !! Dress allowance, May Day treat a city 5 star hotel and so on .. 

An example of how happy and satisfied employees automatically bring in satisfied customers and thus help build a great business ..👌👌 ( don't miss the video..)


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Youtube as an educational and entertainment channel ..

Some exciting Youtube statistics I collected (as of July 2017) :

1. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube daily.  
2. 1.3 billion population on planet earth (of the 7.44 billion-2016) use Youtube 
3. On an average there are 1 billion mobile Youtube views every day ..

No doubt Youtube and videos are getting to be the most widely used entertainment and information tools of the future. Even all the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) use videos for teaching their students. Most of the Universities use a mix of videos and quizzes to help students learn. I use videos heavily in my E-learning courses at

While it is easy to convey ideas at the school level, one of the greatest doubts higher education Professors have is, can videos based teaching help in higher education. The author believes that if used creatively, with a blend of white board and videos, even higher education can benefit a lot. 

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words, similarly a video speaks a thousand pictures. Visual systems is an interesting lean manufacturing philosophy (Japanese) where by whatever actions, commands, situations, environments , choices, decisions, information etc are displayed by means of pictures. 

Videos take this information a step further and gives a three dimension view of the situation and the ecosystem around it. It is very comforting for the viewer to observe and imbibe what is good and what is bad from it.  Videos should always be used as an extension to the classroom lectures and not a s a substitute for it. If used carefully, it can be the best teaching mode to be used in a classroom. Used in the blended mode with a bit of oral teaching combined with occasional videos, also called blended teaching, learning can be made really interesting and fun. 

Worldover, Youtube videos are used more for entertainment than as a learning resource. But as a teaching professional, even the entertainment videos I watch on Facebook or Whatsapp social media, I find there is always a learning component to it. It is for us to discern the good from the bad and absorb the positive aspect. 

The research is to find whether there is a still better medium or mix of media that can help in effective learning .. The immersion experience of taking students to different places around the world for a better understanding of the situation, the environment and the eco system surrounding any event is a better way to understand a situation. 

Can every student of the world be able to do it around the world ?  It is definitely possible in one's near surroundings and nearby places. That is the reason why educational tours and industry visits need to be made mandatory along with industry internship in a student's educational life, whatever stream the student is pursuing, be it engineering, medical, law, arts, commerce, pure sciences etc..


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Why organisations need to move from strategic planning to innovation planning ?

We are living in a world full of disruptions and uncertainties. It is difficult in the present world to plan strategically for a unchanging future. All planning needs to factor in the element of variability, uncertainty and disruption.

I was reading this Greg Satel article on how businesses will get disrupted in the future.. This article has some of his points while others have been added, especially the reference to Tata Sons. 

1. Having a very clear mission - Google's mission is to organise all the world's information. It could not be anymore clearer than that. Walmart's mission is to offer goods at the lowest price everyday. Similarly South West Airline believes in offering the lowest priced flights for the people of US. Getting great clarity in one's mission helps one to achieve the results much faster and effectively. Clear mission helps get stability in the business and prevents it from overspinning out of control. Tata Sons in India believes in serving the society ethically as much as in making profits as their mission. Click here for their core values and the philosophy of giving back to society .... How many of the global corporates we come across believe in giving back to society ?

2. Leveraging on the core competencies - SouthWest Airlines remained true to its mission by having only limited variety in its fleet. Sam Walton concentrated on organising the best logistics and supply chain operations to deliver items at the lowest cost to customers. Tata Sons ensures they have the right people and the rights sets of values imbibed in them to help reach their goal of being fair to its customers, society and other stake holders in the business. By ensuring they have the right team of suppliers and efficient supply chains, Tata Sons are able to serve the customers well.

3. Driving profitability - Once you have a clear mission and core competencies in place, getting one's products through to the customers at the lowest cost ensures profitability. Satisfied customers talk to other customers and help more products to be sold, driving profitability. Tata Sons has great core competencies that support their mission. Unless it succeeds in converting this core competency into profits, Tata Sons will find it difficult to survive in the long run. High customer value ensures customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and this brings in the needed profits in the long run. It is in this area that Tata Sons needs to concentrate to ensure it is able to survive in a cut-throat market focusing only at short term gains than long term goals.

4. Shift focus from strategic planning to Innovative planning - Walmart's planning is focused on the uncertainty and changes that can affects its operations on a daily basis. Tata Sons in its planning does focus on certainties as much as it does on innovative disruptions. By keeping its employees properly motivated and energised, it ensures that its employees are able to sense changes happening in the ecosystem and adapt to the new environment as fast as possible. 

5. Leadership : Any implementation of progressive thoughts and ideas need to be fully supported by the top management. The top down culture of promoting an environment of thinking innovatively needs to come from the leader.  Were it not for the great leadership by Sam Walton or Steve Jobs or Jamshedji Tata of Tata Sons pursuing excellence, innovation and a value based leadership, some of these great organisations on planet earth would not have existed.

6. Promoting a culture of innovation - understanding that the future is very dynamic, if an organisation needs to be in the forefront in any industry globally, it has to continually innovate, evolve and adapt to the changing technology, customer needs and dynamic economic, business, social, cultural and political environment across the world.

The best way to foster innovation is not to focus on ideas or solutions, but on problems. According to me, problems drive innovative thinking, innovative thinking drives changes in mindset, changes in mindset drive changes in the ecosystem and changes in ecosystem drive value, changes in value drive benefits. Tata  Sons tries its level best to be as close to the customer as possible. In addition to be innovative it should also understand that the problems of the present day Indian society is fast urban development, generation of waste and alarming rate of consumption of water and lowering of the water table across the country. Let these be the new problems that are going to drive the next set of innovations in India. 

No business model is fixed. In this fast changing world, the models are very dynamic. Innovative planning and innovative thinking are the drivers for organisations to turn out successful and profitable in the long run. Tata Sons founded by a group of Parsis who landed on the Gujarat coast from Northern Iran around the beginning of the nineteenth century, over one hundred and eighty years back around 1830s have over this time built a global organisation known for its values and customer loyalty.  Planning for innovation aimed at better serving the society has helped Tata Sons to establish itself in the growing markets of India and Europe.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Supreme Court verdict, let there be peace finally ..

St. Thomas
Why can't both the Orthodox and Jacobite facti
ons of the Indian Orthodox church be together ? We want peace to return to the Orthodox church in India. Is it pointing to some other malaise affecting the church ? Is there anything more than belief and traditions ?

Any person who goes the legal way to court can seek judicial wisdom at three or four levels in the country, is also bound to accept its verdict at the end. If he/she is not satisfied with the verdict at any stage, he/she can appeal at the next higher level, from Munsiff Court to District Court, then to High Court and finally the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court whatever be the verdict, he/she is bound to follow it by letter and spirit and oblige to the law of the land and the infinite judicial wisdom. 

In the case of the dispute between the Malankara Orthodox faction and Jacobite Syrian faction in Kerala, the Supreme Court through its partial verdicts of 1958, 1995 and finally through the complete verdict of July 2017 completely sealed the case of the ownership of churches and properties in India totally in favour of the Malankara Orthodox Church, the only truly indigenous church with native beliefs, customs and a Syrian liturgy, thanks to the papal overlordship of fifty years which ended around 1653 AD, and settled as per the church Constitution of 1934.

How Christianity spread in India.. For 1500
years we were all one church ..
Now after all legal  processes are completed, with the Supreme Court verdict asking all churches and believers to strictly follow the 1934 church Constitution, is it fair and correct on the part of one faction to act like cry babies and try to block the implementation of the court verdict ? If they believe in the Indian Constitution and wish to abide by it, it is time for them to gracefully accept the verdict, if not, they should openly challenge the courts and their legal validity.

Trying to incite violence in the troubled churches to give an impression of their believers' dissatisfaction of the court verdict and try to spread violence and indiscipline is violating the sovereignty of the Indian state and acting against the spirit and substance of the Supreme Court verdict in the case. 

The mother church like in the earlier situations has been acting peacefully, being magnanimous, showing great restraint and extending loving open arms to all brethren in a spirit of love, respect, accommodation, understanding and tolerance. Unfortunately, this is not being adequately and appropriately reciprocated by the other faction.

Malankara Orthodox Church HQ and spiritual head ..
Though a majority of the Jacobite faction would want peace, tranquility, accommodation, understanding to return and would not mind following the 1934 Constitution in word and spirit, a miniscule minority among them want to disturb peace, challenge the law of the land and take to violence to prolong the feud for their private petty, selfish gains and to satisfy their bloated selfish egos. 

Can this be permitted in a vast country like India with the oldest and greatest civilization and presently home to 1250 million Indians, the largest and greatest democracy of the world ?

It is our humble request to everyone, kindly rethink the strategy of confrontation and defiance of law, accept the verdict, obey the law of the land and act unitedly for the growth of the greatest civilization and culture of India.

Jacobite Syrian Church HQ and Spiritual head ..
As the Malankara Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II has been exhorting,  let us be one in the true Christian spirit of love with perfect understanding and accommodation of each and every believer. There should be no feeling of lost hope, of deception or being sidelined by the Supreme Court of India. We need to understand that we are all followers of that famous carpenter from Nazareth. We are not in search of wealth or prosperity or material well being, we are in search of our traditional roots, our traditional beliefs and culture with the oldest Christian beliefs starting from 52 AD all encased within the great Indian civilization - the oldest and most tolerant civilization of the world.

If only we are united can we continue to serve the world and be a helping hand to the suffering people of the world and realise the meaning of our existence on planet earth.

Thanking you for your time and understanding. 🙏🙏


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Aditya - world's first solar mass transport boat ..

It's great and proud to see all solar based innovations coming out of God's own country, Kerala, be it the world's first and only 100% energy-neutral solar energy airport or partially insolated Mass Rapid Transport Systems  (Metro with Platinum certified green building stations..) or the world's first solar powered Mass transport boat service, Aditya  .. 👍👍👌👌🙏

Sandit Thandassery, the IIT Chennai BTech graduate is the brain behind the world's first solar boat initiative - Aditya ..

Kerala blessed with abundant waterways will benefit from this solar technology in a big way in the coming days. 

George ..

Simple queueing systems ..

Simple Queueing theory terma and explanation..

Arrival rate / inter-arrival time / Markovian arrival 

Service rate / service time / Markovian departure

Kendalls notation - a/b/c  d/e/f - arrival / service / servers  service discipline / waiting space / calling population

Balking, reneging and jockeying phenomenon

Single server and multiple server queues

Finite waiting and infinite waiting

Finite calling population and infinite calling population

Service discipline - First Come First Served

Monday, July 17, 2017

TED talk - How to grow fresh air indoors ?

Money plant that release abundant oxygen can be easily grown indoors .
How to grow fresh air indoors ?? What are the challenges offered by urban living as opposed to rural living. We find that we are living in more congested and constricted places indoors for more than 12 hours a day, forget about the sleeping time. 

This is an exciting TEDx talk (app. 4.5 min) on how some plants can help in aiding healthy indoor living. As more and more citizens move to densely populated cities, we need more of indoor plants giving out abundant oxygen, which is going to be an essential  requirement for healthy urban living in the coming centuries ..

Click here for the TED video on how to grow fresh air indoors ??

Here is a youtube video on how to grow money plant indoors ..


Friday, July 14, 2017

Sitting is the new smoking !!

Sitting for prolonged hours is dangerous ..
(Fro the internet, very useful message ..)

You may have heard the statement "Sitting is the New Smoking!" When I first heard this saying, I thought it was crazy. Sitting is NOT like smoking.
But recently, I looked more into it, and it completely changed my outlook on one aspect of health that most people neglect.

Here's the problem: we sit an average of 9 to 10 hours a day. So we sit more than we sleep. We sit more than we stand or do any activity. 

We sit in our cars. We sit to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We sit to work. We sit to watch TV. We sit at the movie theater. We sit at the dentist's office. We sit everywhere.

What's the problem with so much sitting?
You'll be surprised to hear that it's not really "back pain" or any such thing (although, that can happen too!). The problem with so much sitting is that our bodies were not meant for it. For millions of years, we were in constant movement for 10-12 hours a day. 
Switch that to sitting for 10 hours, and there's no amount of exercise you can do that can undo the damage. Even if, after your day at the office, you went to the gym for two hours, it wouldn't negate the damage done by sitting. 
That's what led Dr. James Levine to coin the phrase "Sitting is the New Smoking!" 
When you stand, your body works very differently than when you sit. Sitting for hours a day causes the following damage ...
1. Because blood flow slows down, you increase your risk of heart disease. 
2. Your insulin is negatively affected by just one day of sitting 10 hours a day. 
3. Sitting increases your risk of cancer, for reasons we're still speculating about 
4. Perhaps it's the antioxidant processes that are engaged when we are in movement. 
5. Sitting compresses your body, slowing down digesting, leading to cramps, heartburn, constipation and bloating.  
6. Brain function slows down when we sit  
7. Your brain gets less blood and oxygen. 
8. Because of the above, mood worsens.  
9. Posture gets worse, leading to strained neck and shoulders. 
10. Your entire body degenerates when you sit 10 hours a day  
11. Standing requires tensing of the abdominal muscles.  
12. Sitting leads to weak abs, leading to mobility issues. 
13. Varicose veins develop. 
14. Your bones get weaker.
One study found that you can increase your lifespan by two years by sitting down three hours or less a day.  Another study found that each hour spent watching TV after 25 reduces your life expectancy by 22 minutes.
On the other hand, each cigarette reduces your life expectancy by 11 minutes.

Hence… sitting is the new smoking! It kills you much faster than smoking !! Get moving your buttocks quick and fast !! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Start small for a greener planet - reduce your Carbon footprints..

Ask oneself - Do I make conscious efforts to personally have a sustainable life style ?

Always stick to the 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle 

These are a set of humble instructions in all the everyday actions in our life, which if followed by everyone will help make planet earth a more greener place to live..

1. Living and surroundings
a. make more use of natural lighting and wind circulation
b. keep surroundings clean
c. use more of cotton bags and less of polythene bags
d. always insist on less packaging for goods and food items
e. try to purchase more from kirana stores than from super markets
f. employ rainwater harvesting to preserve water
g. try to fast for at least half a day in a week or 2 days in a month
h. at source itself, try to segregate waste and prepare compost for organic waste
2. Food and drinks 

a. eat more of unprocessed and unpackaged food
b. eat less of meat, eggs, poultry and fish
c. eat more of locally available food, fruits, vegetables
d. use less of plastic bottles and packaged / processed drinks and water
3. Energy usage 
a. use energy efficient LED bulbs
b. maintain fans, pumps, motors etc regularly for efficient operation
c. switch off fans and lighting when not in use
d. switch off wi-fi routers and other electronic gadgets before one goes to sleep
4. Study / Games / Work environment

a. try to read and study in naturally lit and naturally ventilated rooms
b. try to use more of renewable energy sources like solar panels, wind turbines 
c. while organising sports or other events, be more green conscious
5. Transport 
a. make more use of public transport
b. try to walk more to your destination instead of taking automobile, it is very healthy too
c. if taking private transport, try to do more car-pooling
d. always insist on less storage and less transportation in the supply chain 
6. Socialising

a. go to clubs and entertainment centres near to home to avoid excess travel
b. network with social service NGO to take away excess food at special events

These are some simple steps one can take to make a sustainable world from our home or work environment. And if everyone on planet earth decides to do his bit for the environment, imagine how wonderful and peaceful this planet is going to be ..


Sunday, July 09, 2017

Sindhutai Sapkal from Pune ..

Some people come in our life as blessings, some come in as lessons - Mother Teresa
*Mother to 1400 orphans*, 70 year old Sindhutai Sapkal from Pune is doing great service to society, much more than what words can describe !! How tiny and selfish we are in comparison to this great Lady. 

Even to this day she does not depend on govt funding, but only on the he goodwill of kind hearted citizens.  

Her 80 year old abusive husband who drove her out on the roads when she was just 20, has repented and has come back to the family as her eldest son ..

Click here on the YouTube video  on the life of Sindhutai !!

Click here for a neat writeup from the betterindian site ..

George .. 

Thursday, July 06, 2017

How can companies make their transition to environmental sustainability smooth ?

Environmental Sustainability is a term detested by most of the industries and businesses in the world because it entails extra expenses, more regulations and extra headache. It challenges the status quo, profitability, competitiveness and even the survival of the organisation in the long run.

Everybody talks of going green, being sustainable and so on, but is there a strategic time-tested and proven method of carrying out sustainability transition in large and small organisations, that can make this transition less risky. This is one of the reasons why organisations detest to go green. But there are time tested strategies and illustrated in this paper of a research by a team led by late Prof. CK Prahlad and published in the Harvard Business Review. 

Sustainability has impact not only on the environment,
it has impact on the society and economy too.. 
While going through earlier issues of HBR (Sept 2009), I found that treating sustainability as a new frontier of innovation and creating great awareness of the future benefits through good communications was one way organisations could be made to transition to sustainability initiatives effectively.

In the research, Why sustainability is now the key driver of innovation, the authors have brought out five proactive steps, if adopted can make the sustainability and innovation journey of organisations quite productive and smooth. The five steps are mentioned here.

Step I - Viewing compliance as opportunity

Step II - Making value chains sustainable

Step III - Designing sustainable products and services

Step IV - Developing new Business Models

Step V - Creating next-practice platforms

In step I when we view compliance as an opportunity we tend to accept that sustainability is good for the society and the environment as a whole and change our mindsets and that of the society to take to environment preservation through sustainability initiatives as a top priority.

In step II, as the next step after recognising that sustainability is an inevitable activity, we need to follow it up not only with enforcing sustainability within only our organisations, but also sensitising our suppliers and supply chain partners to be more environmentally sensitive and to contribute to the well being of the environment.

In step III, having setup the supply chain to be environmentally conscious and sensitive, turn to getting advanced designs of one's own products and services which are environmentally sustainable, like electric cars, water less washing etc. 

In step IV, concentrate more on coming up with new business models like sustainable models of solar energy and wind energy generation, developing green buildings, adopting lean manufacturing across organisations etc..

In step V, creating next-practice platforms which have a radical look at conventional thinking and do away with many of the present day wasteful practices and customs can help design better revolutionary products that can not only serve human and societal needs but also come up with solutions that can take care of the environment and make it livable even for future generations. 

As much as it is important for organisations to have top-down commitment to foster sustainability measures, it is equally important for them to absorb and nurture the right quality workforce that respects and takes care of the environment and supports al sustainability initiatives of the organisation with full gusto and fervour.


Ref : 1. Nidumolu, Prahlad, Rangaswami, Why sustainability now is the key driver of Innovation, Harvard Business Review, Sept, 2009.

Friday, June 30, 2017

If and when Alphabet / Google fails ..

Larry Page
The reality of the present day metropolitan lifestyle - Alphabet/Google influences more than 50% of a metropolitan citizen's alert life .. With the vast spread of the tentacles of the Internet, the rest of the world catching up is not far away. Look at the scenario below ..

We are all very comfortable presently logging into Google and carrying out our daily chores of communication, knowledge gathering, blogging, Google maps, you tube videos, searching, video calling, using Android smartphone etc..

What will happen if one day Google hangs up and the founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin decide to call it a day and go on a loooooong holiday ? (they are already among the top ten richest people on planet earth now with personal wealth of almost $50 billion each)

The whole world is used to Google apps and innovative offerings for almost everything in their lives. A very tricky situation which we need to ponder about ..  The result is the Google effect -
1. no friendly discussion with colleagues and friends,
2. coccooning effect - people tend to be to themselves most of the time and
3. intellectual laziness - a laziness to understand things, you just need to know which sources to tap for the knowledge, not the knowledge by itself. 
Socrates in 475 BC bemoaned the practice of writing saying it would kill the practice of memorising. Similarly the development of the Gutenberg's printing press in the 15th century, brought many people to decry it saying it would also stop people from memorising. Over time, we have found that these developments instead of pulling us back, have only helped us to scale greater heights in societal development, economic upliftment, scientific growth and technological innovations.

Sergei Brin 
How can we insulate ourselves from the harmful effects of a Google shutdown ? Let me start with the Google effect. 

For example most of us Google site maximum for
1. Internet search
2. Gmail is our indispensable mailing client  
3. most important, Google Drive is also our precious online storage, stores all my class notes, case study manuscripts and final pdfs, academic writings and so on. 
4. It is an indispensable word processing client, most of us have chucked MS and its products for many years now.  
5. Google Blogger additionally serves as valuable teaching aid that supplements classroom teaching, reaching out to the "knowledge-thirsty" student community all over the world.  
6. Google News keeps us updated with events happening around the world and it updates us on a minute-by-minute basis.  
7. Google Maps helps us in Bengaluru to tide over the painstaking traffic by giving real time updates on the traffic conditions in Bangalore
The only two areas where Google has still not entered is in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and E-learning portals. In a world thirsting for knowledge, the earlier Google enters, the better it is for them - just my opinion !!

If Google decides to shut down, most of us are in for serious trouble, as are a good part of the world population !! If Google decides to withdraw its free offerings and charges, we may or may not go for it, that's a different issue. The fact is Google is not in this field of business just for money (like Microsoft..), as much as for their passion for innovation and enterprise ..

The greatest attraction of Google's parent company Alphabet, which has grown inorganically through over 200+ acquisitions over a 19 year period, is its passion to innovate. Google always has a surprise element in its offering and this brings in the needed novelty. Any person logging in anytime never gets bored and is attracted to its different offerings. It could also bring psychological states of addiction in some cases.

How Google Maps helps me tide over the unruly Bengaluru traffic ?

Google's secrets of Innovation .. Susan Wojcicki, earlier Google VP Advertising ...

Google surprises the world with its stream of innovative products ..

Google's innovation potential brought the Google LunarXprize challenge, which Team Indus from Bangalore is very confident of winning.  The prize money is $30 million ..

The problem I feel which could be a major threat is, what if somebody with a lot of money takes over Google ? What if the new owner of Google is not an enterprising, as innovative, as inventive, as open minded, as unorthodox, as unconventional, as inventive and as ingenious as Page and Brin ?

For the time being lets hope such an eventuality never happens !!
Maybe the Google effect will help us conquer some other dimensions of human intelligence which humanity is yet to conceive and comprehend !

Ref : 1. Ramaprasad, T, The Google Effect - Maybe good, maybe bad, The Hindu, April 2012. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A primer on Cryptocurrencies ...

Of late we are seeing the rising surge in use of virtual currency - cryptocurrencies and the issue of many Initial Crypto Offerings (ICO) in the market..

The most popular however happens to be Bitcoin and Ethereumn and some more .. We shall try to explain something about bitcoin, the most popular of them.  

Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.-

Value of bitcoins ...
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and a digital payment system invented by an unknown programmer, or a group of programmers, under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It was released as open-source software in 2009.
The system is peer-to-peer, and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Since the system works without a central repository or single administrator, bitcoin is called the first decentralized digital currency.
Besides being created as a reward for mining, bitcoin can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services in legal or black markets.
As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment. According to research produced by Cambridge University in 2017, there are 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin. -

Cryptocurrencies together around the world presently have a combined value of about $80 billion .. (click here for the Economist article ..)

What are the advantages of Cryptocurrencies ?

1. Limited nos of currency in circulation, issue of fake currency is totally removed with encryption and distributed database
2. Difficult to duplicate as it each transaction needs confirmation/authentication from a digital database - the blockchain
3. Just like shares, a cryptocurrency value can fluctuate as more people start using it and can be reliable form of currency
4. The volume of crytocurrencies in use also increase at a predetermined rate in such a way that the value does not skyrocket at any point of time and holds it within reasonable limits. Bitcoins which were issues at $.05 in 2008 are now valued at more than $2420 as of 24 May 2017.
5. It is a global currency, no central bank controls it. The distributed database (blockchain) of the coins and the great secrecy with which it is encrypted makes the database difficult to breach or hack.
6. It gives customers freedom to store their wealth in national currencies or digital currencies
7. As digital currencies escape national government regulations, it is a definite pointer to a unified global currency and unified global markets.
8. The extensive range of use and applications of the block chain concept and encrypted digital currencies can ensure stability in global financial markets in future.
9. More popular an encrypted digital currency, more will be its usage and more value will come out of it.
10. The innovative uses of cryptocurrencies and blockchain is limitless, it could even change the way we do business in future cutting across national boundaries.

The Challenges :
1. The transaction cost is now at $6 per transaction which could demotivate large transactional volume
2. Transaction times can be anywhere from 2-3 hours as databases on blockchain around the world have to be referred before finalising any transaction.
3. Big IT firms can have hold and control of future cryptocurrencies and they could attempt to throttle free enterprise and monopolise global economic transactions
4. Can it be used in the wrong way like for example to finance extortions or drug money transactions ?
The coming days will definitely see innovative uses and applications of the concepts of cryptocurrencies  and blockchain database across the world. Let us wait for more of it. 


Friday, June 23, 2017

Mukesh Ambani shares entrepreneurial lessons ..

Mukesh Ambani is India's richest industrialist, though Reliance family is second to Tata Sons as the largest business conglomerate in India.

Frankly speaking, I used to think of him as a person who inherited a great business empire from his father. Despite academic qualification from one of the best business schools of the world, I really had doubts whether he would succeed. But the recent launch of Jio telecom which made India the most competitive telecom field in the world was something which would make everyone stand and applaud. Putting up to $33 billion into the telecom sector in the new startup, he not only made Jio the most promising telecom player in India, he made India the most competitive telecom field in the world. Even Vodafone had to call quits, were it not for Birla's Idea Telecom's timely intervention.

Recently while talking to a crowd of well-wishers, fellow industrialists and media persons at a NASSCOM event, he shared his life lessons on entrepreneurship.

Though these lessons are simple, they are heavy weight, worth their weight in gold... Since it comes from one of India's greatest entrepreneurs, it has great value for youngsters and old alike. Click here for the youtube video of the talk..

Here are his life lessons, hope someone out there benefits from it.

1. Figure out what one wants to do in life, what dream to pursue ..

2. Find a problem one is passionate about before finding a solution to the problem

3. In whatever actions or dreams one pursues, create societal value which benefits the society first, later financial returns will follow ..

4. Realise that failures are just a step before success, learn from them and never give up.

The next two points he says are non-negotiable ..

5. Treat investor's money with great care than one's own money

6. Have the right passionate team aligned with one's mission

7. Always be optimistic, entrepreneurs help spread positive energy in society

Now my respect for this person has increased by many times. As he says, creating societal value is one thing entrepreneurs should be primarily concerned about. When Mukesh visited IIT Bombay during the late 90s, though I attended hsi talks, I never then was impressed by his capabilities and personality.

Now I am thoroughly impressed with this person and his abilities to influence society and work wonders. I still have some anguish at the way he handles national wealth of oil in the Krishna Godavari basin for his personal aggrandisement.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why is General Motors exiting India .. ?

General Motors , over a century of operations around the world ..
After India's attraction as a manufacturing hub for some of the global popular and mid-range auto majors like Ford, GM, VW, Toyota, Renault, Hyundai, Suzuki, Skoda, Fiat, Volvo, BMW, Audi, Mercedes etc, for the first time we find GM is exiting India. As a management case study it makes great sense as to what went wrong with GM's India operations at Taloja, Maharashtra plant and how they could have salvaged it.

US takes pride in General Motors as the second great automobile company to come out of US in 1908 in the last century. One of its greatest CEOs Alfred P. Sloan already has the MIT Institute of Management named after this great leader. It is a great shock to the rest of the world and a great lesson for other automobile companies from around the world who already have operations in India or are planning to open up new ones to understand what went wrong with GM India strategies ? GM India now makes cars only for the Latin American market. 

The major reasons for GM India operations failure as has been outlined after a research by Prof. Vijay Govindarajan of Tuck School of Business are five in number (HBR, June 2017 issue).

After a thorough analysis of the reasons of the inglorious exit, we find the withdrawal of GM from India is due to the failure in two fronts, leadership and strategy.

Failure in Leadership 
1. Frequent change of Indian leadership - 9 CEOs have come and gone in 21 years heading the India operations, though the latest has been around for 14 years. The long term impact of frequent change made the situation within the country very fluid and no leader had a vision and long term plan for the company in India, GM having already exited from India two times in the past.
2. Local leaders never got autonomy to take independent decisions - Indian operations being large and catering to a billion plus population needs to have lot of autonomy content inbuilt, Indian CEO cannot be interacting with Global CEO and with Global HQ for each and every action to be taken to spearhead Indian day to day operations. This lack of autonomy to Indian CEO affected GM India operations and dented it's image much. 
Failure in planning strategies 
1. Indian operations can be run only with India specific strategies -  India being a global player and set to lead global economy by 2050 AD, cannot be expected to follow strategies suited for other economies. India is by nature very cost conscious and Indian customers are some of the greatest cost bargainers and at the same time demand unparalleled quality in the products, unlike other global customers. Global Companies need to look at such stringent cost and quality constraints as opportunities for growth and global leadership. General Motors failed to understand this truth in India. (the recent example of Vodafone running scared of their Indian telecom operations finally having to team up with Birla's Idea telecom is an example to quote) Suzuki and Hyundai, global auto leaders have suited their operations to manufacture sub compact cars for the middle class customers and have reaped intense benefit, together they control about 65% of Indian market.
2. Indian strategy has to be focused on volumes and scale, not just on expensive high end cars - Indian customers are very diligent when it comes to spending money on cars. They study the market carefully, make personal observations and ask their friends and relatives many times before finalising on a high value purchase - a societal norm too. Indian customers are extremely obsessed with value for money and do not allow themselves to be taken for a ride by the automobile companies. Companies that have a good dealership and maintenance chain across the country frequently do succeed in their domestic operations. Maruti, Hyundai, Tata etc have great maintenance network across the country.
3. Lack of a long term strategy - a long term strategy is much needed for success in Indian markets. India having opened to almost all auto-majors of the world now is a great ground for improving product competitiveness. It also holds promise to be the world's largest automobile market very soon especially with the advent of electric cars. Short term myopic strategies rarely succeed and fail in India because Indian customers are some of the smartest in the world. Despite initial setbacks, a company that focuses on long term vision only can hold itself and withstand intense competition from other global competitive players operating within the country.

This GM India withdrawal case should be an eye opener not only in the automobile sector but in the FMCG sector too. Indian cost consciousness already is making waves in the high-tech space technology and atomic energy market, India leading over the rest of the world in high-quality cost consciousness.

India once again proves to the world, that though it outwardly appears to be a castaway, it is high time countries and companies around the world started taking it seriously, if it is to stay in business in the country and plan for its future survival in the world..


Ref : 1. Govindarajan, Vijay and Gunjan Bagla, What US CEOs can learn from GM's India failure, HBR, June '17. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sadhguru on why we need to save our rivers

Sadhguru - Jaggi Vasudev ..
Great video.

Great civilizations around the world have thrived and survived on rivers. The Egyptian civilization around the river Nile, Mesopotamia civilization around the Euphrates Tigris, Indus Valley civilization around the river Indus, Chinese civilization around the river YangTseKiang etc.. 

Human civilization all over the globe over the past 10,000+ years have been interwoven with rivers, thriving on river banks .. 

Indian rivers in a single generation have from being perennial, become seasonal .. shocking ..

We need to save our rivers for survival of mankind on planet earth .. !!


Will Indian politicians allow the US game plan to disrupt Asia ?

Has the Indian political establishment fallen to CIA designs and plans to disrupt Asian economic growth ? Yes, there are all indicators for that ..

By pitting India against China, US intelligence has managed to push both countries not to worry about their economic growth, and instead concentrate on the nationalistic pitch, gain cheap publicity for the leaders to find an excuse to fight and distract from productive growth. 

Indian political leaders have clearly fallen to these destructive plans, looked outside their economic growth and derailed the economy in the long run.

The present Indian PM instead of playing to the gallery should be smart enough to see through this US game to continue their economic and political domination of the world. The former Indian PM was intelligent and smart enough to understand this, understood the priorities and acted accordingly. 

Present Indian PM Modi should realise that it is quite easy to ruin the economy, but it is very difficult to build it to greater glory and prosperity.. 👍👍


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Kochi metro sustainability initiatives ..

For the first time in the world - Each of the stations on Kochi metro are Platinum certified GREEN BUILDINGS , the highest ratings for sustainable buildings across the world granted by the Indian Green Buildings Council. 
E Sreedharan's contribution to Kochi metro has been phenomenal ..

This recognition is besides the already existing reputation for Kochi metro as
1. the most advanced metro in terms of signalling systems, connectivity etc 
2. the cheapest one in the country (at Rs 220 crore/km compared to Rs 337.3 crore per km for Bangalore Namma Metro, a clean Rs 107.3 crore more per kilometre !!) and  
3. the fastest executed metro in the country in just three and a half years compared to Bengaluru Namma metrro which has been struggling to cover an additional . 
To cover phase I of Bengaluru Namma metro (43 km) which is 60% more than Kochi Metro distance of 26 km, Bengaluru Namma metro has incurred INR 13,800 crores over Kochi's INR 5200 crores, a clean 150 % more. Inefficiency or corruption whatever it be, this is shocking..

When we talk of green buildings, we have to say that all the Kochi metro stations are built using locally available materials ensuring least transportation of building materials and storage, least disrupting natural streams and wetlands, ensuring best use of natural lighting eliminating expensive unnecessary indoor lighting,  best use of natural ventilation,  maximum use of renewable energy - almost 25% is solar energy and recycling of water, ensuring very healthy places to gather and travel to. 
The surprise never ends ! 👍

LED lighting across all stations, water efficient toilet fittings and rainwater harvesting in stations makes the Kochi Metro a greatly renewable energy type of ecosystem, recycling the precious resource of water, unheard of anywhere in the world ! 👍 Even every fourth pillar of the metro is an enviable hanging green garden full of flowers and rejuvenating the environment with Oxygen.

In short, the Kochi metro has the lowest Carbon footprint among all the 200 metros of the world !! 🙏, making Kochi leaping towards being recognised as the green capital of the world, with the world's first and only 100% solar energy powered and energy neutral International airport in the world, competing along with the Kochi Metro.


Diesel vs. Petrol, environmental pollution ..

Modern research states that if you are owning a diesel car, you are polluting the environment four times more (4x) than a petrol car and ...

My popular posts over the last month ..