ICCES’07 Conference Miami

I will be attending International Conference on Computational and Experimental Engineering and Sciences(ICCES) early next year (Jan 3rd – 8th) in Miami. I hope to present a synopsis of some of the talks that I shall be attending. Unfortunately, I have to head back early (Jan 6th) and will probably miss some of the talks. I was thinking how cool it would be if conferences could have the videos of talks online complete with a login etc. That could save a lot of accommodation money for the less fortunate (read grad students working with profs who dont have too much money!). But then, the purpose of conferences is also networking, ergo physical presence would actually help. Anyway, I am digressing here…

I am also quite excited about visiting Miami, it should be a welcome change after the really sucky weather that we have been experiencing here in Seattle. Also, having spent countless hours playing GTA-Vice City, I feel like a Miami resident, I hope it lives upto my expectation. 🙂

“To dig a well with a needle”

Just finished reading Orhan Pamuk’s  Nobel Lecture. I have been meaning to read his works for a while now and this lecture has really inspired me. Here are some excerpts: –

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man – or this woman – may use a typewriter, profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I have done for 30 years. As he writes, he can drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time he may rise from his table to look out through the window at the children playing in the street, and, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or he can gaze out at a black wall. He can write poems, plays, or novels, as I do. All these differences come after the crucial task of sitting down at the table and patiently turning inwards. To write is to turn this inward gaze into words, to study the world into which that person passes when he retires into himself, and to do so with patience, obstinacy, and joy. As I sit at my table, for days, months, years, slowly adding new words to the empty page, I feel as if I am creating a new world, as if I am bringing into being that other person inside me, in the same way someone might build a bridge or a dome, stone by stone.

My confidence comes from the belief that all human beings resemble each other, that others carry wounds like mine – that they will therefore understand. All true literature rises from this childish, hopeful certainty that all people resemble each other. When a writer shuts himself up in a room for years on end, with this gesture he suggests a single humanity, a world without a centre.

What literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity’s basic fears : the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears; the collective humiliations, vulnerabilities, slights, grievances, sensitivities, and imagined insults, and the nationalist boasts and inflations that are their next of kind…

And finally, this turkish proverb that I have used as the title for this post :-

The writer’s secret is not inspiration – for it is never clear where it comes from – it is his stubbornness, his patience. That lovely Turkish saying – to dig a well with a needle – seems to me to have been said with writers in mind.

If not anything, this lecture has inspired me to start writing my dissertation, shutting myself in a room etc. 🙂

A few videos

Since I am currently too lazy to write, I figured uploading a few videos would keep my “bloggers-guilt” at bay. 🙂  Here are a few videos off youtube –

A game-table, the game as such would need a lot of work though! 😉

Touch-screen video, reminds me of that movie “Minority Report”,  Agatha Agatha… 🙂

Finally, I came across this from a post in iMechanica, really cool cornstarch experiments –

Caprino’s paper

On the origin of cutting forces in machining unidirectional composite materials
Caprino, G., Santo, L. and Nele, L., American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Petroleum Division (Publication) PD, v 75, n 3, 1996, p 83-87

Abstract: Short-term and wear cutting tests were carried out on unidirectional graphite fibre reinforced composites, holding the cutting direction coincident with fibre orientation. During the tests, performed with high speed steel tools, the tool rake and relief angle, and the depth of cut were varied. The observation of tool worn surfaces after wear tests revealed absence of friction along the face; on the contrary, an intense sliding of the work against the tool flank was suggested by the flank surface morphology. Consequently, a force scheme consistent with the information gathered from tool wear examination was built. It is shown that, when the experimental cutting forces are treated according to the new force scheme, the coefficient of friction, f, can be considered independent of the tool geometry and the depth of cut, t. Besides, the unit cutting force X is unaffected by the depth of cut, although it is a decreasing function of the rake angle. On the contrary, if the simplified hypotheses generally adopted in metal cutting are used, both f and X strongly vary with the depth of cut. In particular, the unit cutting force notably increase with decreasing t, undergoing the well known `size effect’. (10 refs.)

Ghost Dance Video

Via Amardeep>Boing Boing >UCSD etc, heres a clip from Satyajit Ray’s 1968 movie “The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha (Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne)”:

I am actually very impressed by the special effects, seems way ahead of its time! Incidentally,  heres bongopundit’s explanation of the video.


A fully consolidated Applied Mechanics Forum is now functional at iMechanica. I have appended my links though retaining  most of my previous links.


Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel Brave New World has been hailed by many as his greatest work. After procuring a second hand (well who knows how many hands it has passed!) copy of the book over 5 years ago, I finally finished reading it last week. From what I understand, this novel along with Orwell’s 1984 is part of high school suggested reading curriculum. In fact, only a few days back I read this interesting story on nytimes about outsourcing homework, the topic being comparing/contrasting the two novels. But I digress, coming back to Somaphoria*, I have tried to present some salient ideas here…

In the new civilised world, eugenics have been mastered and a specific social order exists, alphas > betas > gammas > deltas > epsilons, controlled by the amount of alcohol added while conception in a test-tube etc. Hypnopedia is used to condition people to like (not love since thats contagious and overly destabilising) the present circumstances of community life, and any free time that the people have is spent on “soma” holidays and the “feelies”. They have mastered fear of death, so basically life is just one big passionless overly pleasant experience. “Happiness is never grand” like. The highlight of the novel for me was when Mustapha Mond, the Western World Controller, rejects a heretical article titled ‘A New Theory of Biology’ about the conception of purpose stating ‘What fun it would be if one didn’t have to think about happiness!’ Indeed a very valid point! By systematically rooting out any form of free-thinking, innovation, high art, science and ofcourse dissent, a stabilised social order or the persistence of civilisation can be achieved. 

The logic of Mustapha Monds is undoubtedly impregnable. To prevent you from getting hurt while playing football, the game is abolished, not just abolished, negative propaganda is repeated ‘3 times a week between 13 and 17’ and so forth. But why have a civilisation? Stop decanting babies and end it already Mustapha! 🙂

*Somaphoria: portmanteau (soma + euphoria)