Monday, March 14, 2005

Can excitement exist without fear?

I believe not. Anything that excites you brings with it a certain fear, or vice versa. Why is that? Propably because it is only the out-of-ordinary events or things that excite one and by definition these being new bring with them a certain fear of the unknown. It is a natural human reaction. The only difference in people is the varying amounts of each when faced with the same situation. I do not bungee jump as my fear overshadows the excitement that I have for it. In Arthi's case I believe they are 50-50 and she is as much inclined to do it for its excitement as she is scared. And there are tons of people for whom the excitement value is much greater than the fear.

Looking at it another one - we could propably say that fear excites. I am sure there is some biological explanation for this - but being one from the I-hate-biology camp, this is what I gather from my experiences and musing about them.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I am a satisfied teacher now....

I was given the thankless job of teaching Physical and Chemical Equilibrium to mainly mechanical engineering students last fall. Why thankless? - because thermo is the most difficult subject to teach and very somniferous. I took a completely different approach to teaching it and tried to make it more of a discussion. I gave them a practical viewpoint of thermodynamics based on my experience working with it for the past 4 years.

By the first break of my first lecture I felt beaten - the entire class was silent even to simple Yes or No questions. I figured it one of the problems could be that I was lecturing in English rather than in Norwegian. At the end of the lecture though, one of the students came up and asked a few questions. He cautioned me not to expect too much response from the students as he said "We Norwegians are quiet learners - no one will speak up in class".

The entire semester went by without incident - mainly because no one spoke in class. I considered that I had done a good enough job as no one slept in class - and for a class of 60+ students, that is a big thing!!!!

And suddenly, out of the blue, one of my students from fall just stopped by my office today. He had a few questions - particularly with a mnemonic I gave them to remember the different energy functions and its cononical variables. He said that he found that very useful in other courses - and wanted to understand how it works in more detail.

I am satisfied - if I could make a difference in just one student's attitute towards thermo - so be it. In my world, ONE is much much gerater than zero!!!!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Lunch with Indian Charge d'Affairs for Norway

The Indian Charge d'Affairs for Norway, Mr, Gogna, is on a visit to Trondheim since Saturday. We, at ISF, had an informal lunch meeting with him. Apart from Mr. Gogna and his wife, Rita Kumar and her husband were also invited as guests. It was a low key affair - pretty much in tune with the simple personality of Mr. Gogna. He filled us in on what is happening back home and on the bilateral front between India and Norway.

What really captured my attention was him mentioning the huge cooperation we have with African countries. Thinking about it, it make much sense - Africa is rich in natural resources and India is rich in human resources. A PERFECT MATCH!! Further, with Indian companies gaining economic clout, they can bring in investment to Africa too.

ONGC have signed an oil agreement with Sudan recently (a purely economic one according to Mr. Gogna). But this has not gone down well with the powers that be in Washington. They percieve it as Indian support to a goverment promoting genocide. India, in its quest for its ever increasing energy supplies, is willing to turn a blind eye towards morals and is filling the coffers of the Sudanese goverment - Washington claims.

Another example of American hypocrisy???? It sure is, but it certainly gives some food for thought. Is India right in supporting curropt and unjust governments in order to satisfy its eeergy needs? What are its other options? Must India take the moral high road to development?

I believe that India can do away with supporting such regimes - provided we get enough support from the developed countries. Key items to address would be:

1. Support for accelerated research in alternative energy resouces
2. Promote investment (through incentives ??) in renewable energy - the indian goverment should open up the energy sector
3. Develop better and layered public transport system - the standard of living of Indian public varies greatly and so does their preference of transport. Various alternatives of public transport are required to suit the needs of different people.

Any opnions??????

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Nidaros catheral, Trondheim

Byggern - view from Gamle Bru

Trondheim Sentrum

View from my office

Bymarka, Trondheim

Friday, March 04, 2005

Narain Karthikeyan, F1 and India

Narain may not approve of the title - "Why did you bring F1 between me and my beloved county?" this wear-nationalism-on-your-head-and-whereever-else-you-can driver is certain to ask.

I propably started off on the wrong note (or gear). To make things clear - I respect Narain and his accomplisments - being the first Indian to race F1 is no mean accomplishment. I dig the F1 (as my wife will readily attest) , love my country and show a great sense of pride in being an Indian.

Narain has helped put India on the F1 map and has shown the world another facet of India - an India that has gone from being a land of snake charmers and elephants to the land of IT-itis and the back office of the world. Yes, this is definitely a good thing.

I confess to following the F1 grapevine this season as Narain is in it, rather than sticking to just watching the races as I did earlier. What I fail to understand is why Narain has to be so overly patriotic and appear as if he is doing it for the country, topping it off (quite literally) with a tricolor helmet. I, for one, am against overt nationalism - particularly in sports. It is the last place one needs to show patriotism.

We are who we are, at least in part, because of our motherland. It is there for all to see - no point in the patriotism-in-your-face attitude; just makes one lose sight of the big picture. What?

The Australian Grand Prix starts tomorrow and I will be closely following Narain's lap times. It will be a great achievement, given his lack of clocked time, if he completes the race on Sunday, even as one of the last few.

Good luck mate and er... Jai Hind!!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hello World...

Aren't these the first words once is expected to type? Anyways, serves my purpose. I have been wanting to get on this blog-bandwagon for quite some time now - and finally I HAVE ARRIVED.