Monday, February 29, 2016


Smörgåsbord is used to refer to a buffet table with variety of dishes.

It was originally a type of Scandinavian meal originating in Sweden. It is served with multiple hot and cold dishes on the table.  

The meaning of Smorgasbord is open faced sandwich table. Smor is butter. Gas is goose but referred to butter floated to surface of the cheese. Bord means table.

Sandwich is two slices of bread with some food filling between them. Open faced sandwich is a single slice of bread with food items like cheese spreads, butter, meat slices, sausages and vegetables on top of it.

A special Swedish smorgasbord is Julbord or Christmas table. Jul means Christmas and bord means table.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Grand Slam Tennis

Grand slam tournaments are four major annual tennis tournaments that offer most ranking points, prize money and popularity.
  • Australian Open in January on hard court in Melbourne started in 1905
  • French Open in May or June on clay court in Paris started in 1891.
  • Wimbledon in June or July on grass court in London started in 1877.
  • US Open in August or September on hard court in New York since 1881
Winning all four tournaments in same year winning grand slam. Don Budge in 1938 is the first official champion. Rod Laver won it two times in men's singles in 1962 and 1969. Margaret court won once in women's singles and twice in women's mixed doubles. Esther vergeer won twice in women's wheelchair doubles. Stefen Edburg won in men's juniors. Three women, Martin Connolly Banker in 1952, Margaret Court in 1970 and Steffi Graph in 1988 won all grand slam titles in single year.

Winning four grand slam tournaments in any year is called career grand slam. Six men including Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are career grand slam winners. Ten women, Martin Connolly Banker, Doris Hart, Shirley Fry Irvin, Margaret Court, BillyJean King, Chirst Evert, Martina Navratilova, Serana Williams and Maria Sharapova won career grand slam in women's titles.

Winning Olympics gold medal along with four tournaments in same year is called golden grand slam. Winning four grand slam tournaments and an  Olympics gold medal is called  career grand slam. Andre Agasse is the first male player to win it.

Dong Budge won six consecutive singles grand slam titles. Roger Federer won 17 grand slam men's singles titles. Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal won 14 grand slam men's single titles. Rafael Nadal won 9  French Open singles titles and that is the highest in a men's single tournament. Pete Sampras and Roger Federer won seven Wimbledon singles titles.

Margaret Court won 24 grand slam women's singles titles. Steffi Graph won 22 grand slam women's singles titles and is the only winner of golden grand slam in 1988. Serena Williams won 21 gran slam women's singles titles. Hellen Wills Moody won 19 grand slam women's single titles Chris Evert and Martin Navratilova won 18 women's singles titles. Margret Court won 11 Australian Open single titles. Chirst Evert won 7 French Open singles titles. Martina Navratilova won 8 Wimbledon titles. Molla Mallory won 8 U.S. open titles.


Benford's law

Benford's law, also referred as first digit law, is a principle that in any large random real-life sets of numerical data, around 30% numbers begin with 1, around 18 percent begin wit 2, and so on, very small data begins with leading digit 9.  It is a frequency distribution law of nature.

Simon Newcomb, american astronomer, noticed in 1881 that first few pages of logarithm books are used more.  Frank Benford, physicist, paid attention to it in 1938. He collected data from 20 different domains like surface areas of rivers, sizes of populations, physical constants and numbers from a reader's digest magazine.

Wikipedia Benford's law
Wolfram Mathworld page

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mendicant Order

Mendicants are people who take vow of poverty, disown all personal property, exclusively relies on charity from others to survive and spend all their energy on preaching and practicing the religion.

Mendicants mean beggars. Some Hindu ascetics, Sufi saints, Buddhist bhikkus, Jain monks and Christian friars live as mendicants.  In catholic church, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Servites and Augustinians are mendicant orders.

Mendicant orders

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Occam's razor

Occam's razor is a guiding principle to verify a hypothesis, to propose a theory, to solve a problem or to deduce logical conclusions. Other things being equal, simpler explanations are better than the complex ones.  More things should not be used than are necessary. It is a law of briefness that says that it is not worth it to do with more what is done with less.

Ockham was a town in England. William of Ockham was an early 15th century English theologian and philosopher. Jis original words are "plurality must never be posited without necessity". Razor was referred to shaving away unneeded assumptions to prove a hypothesis. It is a tool to encourage parsimony in argument or simplicity in logic. It says that simplest explanation is usually the right one.

It is used in many number of fields in science, medicine, logic, mathematics, philosophy, theology and law. It can also be used in context of simple things and observations in every day life. It helps in reasoning to slice through the problem or situation. If you find a fallen tree, most possible claim to verify first is that some wind would have blown it down rather than some meteorite hit it which requires several other rare things to happen.

Wikipedia Occam's razor
HowStuffWorks Occam's razor

Monday, February 22, 2016

Labrador dogs

Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dogs in the USA for the last twenty five years. Labrador dogs are hunter friends and fetch game. They are family dogs and good-natured. Other popular dogs in order are German Shepherd, Golden Retriever. Bulldogs, Beagles, French Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, Rottweilers, Boxers, Pointers and Siberian Huskies.

The French Bulldog continue to jump spots over the decade and is currently in sixth rank.

Popular dogs

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Elements of Style

Read the following two sentences and the second part of each of them looks like an afterthought or twist on the first part of it.  The compound sentences formed with conjunctions like "and" and "but" are sometimes vague in explaining the relationship. Such style of writing trigger the minds of the reader to recall something said earlier and form some relationship between the two parts.

"The early records of the city have disappeared, and the story of its first years can no longer be found."

"The situation is perilous, but there is still one chance of escape."


The relationship between the two parts of the compound sentence can be made more clearer with better words like "as" or "although". This style helps the reader to keep his mind calm and relaxed.

"As the early records of the city have disappeared, the story of its first years can no longer be found."

"Although the situation is perilous, there is still one chance of escape."


Using subordinate clauses and a complex statement is even better than any compound statement in terms of words it required or time it takes to parse it. The disadvantage of such compaction gives impression that it is too formally written.

"Owing to disappearance of the early records of the city, the story of its first years can no longer be found."

"In this perilous situation, there is still one chance of escape."


Elements of Style

Monday, February 15, 2016

Second Ammendment

Second amendment gives the right to  people to own and carry Arms. This right may not be violated by the State because a well equipped militia is necessary for keeping state safe and secure. It was passed by congress on September 25th and added to constitution on December 15th in 1791. It is one of the ten amendments to the Constitution contained in the the bill of rights.

The actual text reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of the free State,  the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not  be infringed."

The debate is mostly around whether the right is individual or collective right. Supreme court invalidated a federal law that bans Arms in Washington D.C.

History of the second ammendment
Second amendment interpretations
Constitution Center on 2nd Ammendment

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rule of Seventy Two

"Rule of 72"  is an approximate formula to find how much time it takes for an investment to double with compound interest.  It can also be used in other things that grow similar to interest.

Some scenarios are below. 

  • If you invest 100$ with annual percentage of 6%, it takes approximately 72/6 or twelve years to double the original investment. 
  • If you invest 100% with annual percentage of 9%, it takes approximately 72/9 or eight years to double the investment value. 
  • If the inflation year over year is 4%, the money will lose half of the current value in eighteen years.
  • If bacteria grows 3% every hour, it will double in size in twenty four hours or a day.
  • As the population of India is growing at 1.2% from 1B people, the population if India will become 2B people in 72/1.2 or sixty years from now.
  • If the trend of the GDP growing at 6% annually continues, it will become twice the current GDP in 72/6 or twelve years.
  • Suppose an exponential program on n inputs runs for 10 seconds and the increasing input by one takes 11.2 seconds or 12% over 10 seconds, then increasing the number of inputs by six more inputs requires 20 seconds to run the program.

Seventy two is chosen so that it has several divisors and can be convenient for computation. Choosing sixty nine or seventy improves accuracy.  The formula is correct between 6% and 10%, The accuracy for every 3% away from 8% can be improved by adding additional 1 to the value of 72. If you invest 100$ with annual percentage of 25%, it takes 75.66/25 or little more than three years to double the investment value.

Verification from the basic mathematics

S = Sum, P = principal, R = interest rate percentage, r = interest rate fraction = R/100.
The sum after one periodic interval: S = P  + PR/100 =  P(1 + R/100).
The sum after two periodic intervals:  S = P(1+r)(1+r).
The sum after n periodic intervals:  S  = P(1+r)^N

When S = two times the value of P,   2   =  (1+r)^N
Number of periods can be calculated by taking logarithm on both sides.

log(1 + r) = r for small values between 5 to 10%.
N = log(2)/log(1 + r)  = 0.6933/r = 69.33/R

Wikipedia - Rule of 72
Investopedia - Rule of 72
Exponential double time  - Rule of 72
Better Explained - Rule of 72

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Fire = Heat + Fuel + Oxygen

Fire requires three things - fuel, heat and oxygen (oxidizing agent). A fire can be stopped by removing at least one of them from the context of the fair. Combustion is chemical reaction that feeds more heat to fire and continues it.

Without fuel, the fire can not start or continue. Reducing the heat stops the combustion. Adding water reduces heat in the fire, as water absorbs some energy to convert to vapor. Depriving the oxygen near the fuel controls the fire. Water should not be used for all fires. When there is oil or combustive metals or electricity is near the fire, adding water creates more problems. Covering with blankets, halogen or carbon diode are attempts to reduce the oxygen. Some materials like nitroglycerin acts as both - the fuel and the oxidizing agent.

There is fourth element required for fire to continue. That is chain reaction or continuing the chemical equation. Inert agents like dry sand breaks the chain reaction.

Class A Fires involve wood, paper and fabric. Removing any element extinguishes the fire. 
Class B Fires involve flammable liquids. Inhibiting the chain reaction with halogens suppresses the fire. 
Class C Fires involve flammable gases. Inhibiting the chain reaction suppresses the fire. Class D Fires involve flammable metals. Specialist skills are required to contain the fire. 
Class E Fires involves electrical equipment. Ordinary combustibles control the fire.
Class F Fires cooking oils and fat. They can be suppressed by removing oxygen or water mist.

Fire classes
Fire Triangle

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tamil first lesson

வ ண க்க ம்!
Va na k ka m - Namasthe!

எ ம், பே ர், பிர ச ன் னா.
E n, Pe r, Pra sa n na
My name is Prasanna

ஒ ங் க, பே ர், எ ன் ன?
U n ga, Pe r, E n na?
What is your name?

நா ன், கூ கு ல் இ ல், வே லை, செ ய் கி றே ன்.
Na n, Goo go le e, l, Ve lai, Se y ki re n.
I am working at Google.

நீ ங் க ள், எ ங் கு, வே லை செ ய் கி றீர் க ள்?
Nee n ga n, E n ga, Ve lai Se ya ki re k n?
Where are you working?

எ ன், தா ய் மொ ழி, தெ லு கு
E n, Ta y Mo li, Te lu gu
My mother tongue is Telugu.

உங் க, தா ய் மொ ழி, எ ன் ன?
Un ga, Ta y Mo li, E n na?
What is your mother tongue?

ந ன் றி
Na n ri

அ ற ம் செ ய வி ரு ம் பு
A ra m, Se ya, Vi ru m bu
Just, do, like - Do the right thing!

Tamil wikitionary

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Simply the best

George F. Haines is one of the great sports coach, who founded santa clara swim club in 1951, stayed there for twenty four ytears, and sent 53 swimmers to olympics and won 68 olympic medals during his tenure there. He was also physical education teacher at Santa Clara high school in those 24 years. He was the head coach of United States Olympics team, He later coached at UCLA and Stanford.

He was inducted into international swimming hall of the fame. He is major force behind the careers of several athletic people like Don Schollander, Donna de Varona, Chris von Saltza, Steve Clark, Claudia Kolb and Mark Spitz.

George Haines
Santa clara swimming club
The championship swimming

Friday, February 5, 2016


Panipat is located in Haryana and about 90 km north of Delhi and 169 km south of Chandigarh on NH1. It is currently known for recycling old wool clothes and producing shoddy yarn.

There have been three battles of Panipat.

1526: Mughal empire founder Babur vs. Delhi Sultanate Ibrahim Lodi
1556: Mughal emperor Akbar vs. Delhi King Hemu or Hemachandra 
1761: Durrani king Ahmad Sha Abdhali vs. Maratha commander in chief Sadasiva Bhau


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ken Burns Effect

When there is only still imagery but video footage is not available, panning and zooming the photos to give moving video effect is called Ken Burns Effect. Ken Burnes is an american documentary film maker and tv producer. He produced several films like civil war, the baseball, Jazz, National Parks, Mark Twain, The Roosvelts, The prohibition and Thomas Jefferson.

Ken Burns Effect

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

PSU companies

Public Sector Undertaking(PSU) companies where the central or state governments have more control than other private entities. They are classified as three kinds.

  • CPSE(Central Public Sector Enterprises)
  • PSB(Public Sector Banks)
  • SLPE(State level public enterprise)
There are around 280 central public sector companies in India. Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises control around 50 or majority of public sector enterprises. (CCI) Cement Corporation Of India) or BHEL(Bharat Heavy Electoricals Limited) are some examples. Other ministries own the rest of them. Air India Limited is administered by civil aviation ministry. Coal India Limited is administered by coal ministry. Steel Authority of India Limited is controlled by steel ministry. Many PSEs are listed on stock exchange like other private companies are.

They are divided into several kinds based on their performance. Maharatnas, navratnas and miniratnas.  Navratnas are companies that have competitive advantage and potential to become global players. Nav in Navratnas means not nine but new. They can invest up to 1000 crores without taking government permission. Miniratnas are also profit making companies or have potential to profit making but are not ready to perform at global level. Miniratnas are again divided into two subcategories. The high rank ones make 30 crores profit at least in one of the three past years and can make investment up to 500 crores without taking government permission. The miniratnas second category can make up to 300 crores investment without taking government permission.

Maharatnas are large Navratnas that have real power to excel in domestic and global market and government can give more autonomy for them to expand. They have annual profit of 2500 crores. They have around 25000 crores turnover and net worth of 10,000 crores. They can make investment up to 5000 crores without taking government permission. Currently seven companies, BHEL, SAIL, Coal India Ltd, GAIL(Gas authority of India Limited), IOCL(India Oil Corporation Limited), ONGC(Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited) and NTPC (National Thermal Power Plant) qualify for this category. Their performance will be reviewed annually by inter ministry committee to make decision on whether to continue the status.