Space Exploration & Innovation: Mission Moon to Smartphones

Space exploration and technology series begins with this article. Derived for an earlier published note here, this one is improvised with more data and edited to suit the palate of my audience. We begin with Apollo 11. The report shares an overview of a few critical inventions & innovation in technology over the last 150 years predominantly in the US with space exploration, specifically lunar explorations as the focal theme encompassing the article.

Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface at 02:56 UT on July 21 (10:56 p.m. EDT on 20 July) with the words, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” NASA

Dawn of Space Age: Rise of Technology and Communication over the last 150 years

# Apollo 11: Dawn of Space Age: One step for man, one giant leap of mankind   

The iconic Neil Armstrong step on the moon set up the foundation for the space age among millions of people globally. The Soviets erstwhile USSR were the first one in space sending Yuri Gagarin but United States until now remains the only country which has landed crew on the moon and brought them back safety to Earth. Apollo 11 exemplified one of the greatest scientific feats of all time, televised and watched by an estimated 650M people. This event left an indelible mark on people, motivating, and inspiring millions of people to pursue careers in science. Apollo 11’s social impact is immeasurable; it refreshed space exploration among other nations and achieved the unthinkable — ability to land humans in outer space and successfully bring them back home. The series of space exploration kick starts with the video below.

 

# Hello Alexander Bell:  Mr. Watson, come here; I want you

1915 is a landmark year, eternally remembered as the year when humans made the first Trans-continental telephone call from New York to San Francisco (Alexander Bell to Thomas Watson). The photo here chronicles some of the most landmark events in global history. Source: University of Michigan, bicentennial celebration

Alexander Bell, a straightforward man, considered himself a teacher of the deaf. The Scottish born American invented the telephone, i.e., transmit sound through electricity way back in 1876 but went through one of the history’s most extended legal battles for patents. He immigrated with his parents to Canada in 1870 and after a couple of years established the school for the deaf in Boston, Massachusetts. As a Professor of speech and vocal physiology at Boston University, Alexander Bell dreamed of transmitting sound over the wire. The sound waves caused an electric current to vary in intensity which produced a thin metal plate called diaphragm to vibrate. This vibration was magnetically transferred over the wire to another membrane at listeners end for faithful replication of sound. The iconic words “Mr. Watson, come here; I want you”—was transmitted in his laboratory on March 10, 1876. Mr. Watson, not to be confused with Sherlock Home’s sidekick, the iconic detective created by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle, also made history. Alexander Bell, with many inventions and patents, is one of the most prolific and greatest inventors of all time.

“Only the US, USSR (Russia), Europe, Japan, China, India and SpaceIL (private) have carried out successful lunar missions”

US, Russia and China have successfully soft landed on the moon.

Nikola pic source: SMITHSONIAN.COM

 

# Iconic Nikola Tesla:  Father of inventors, Electric King and humanitarian par excellence

Use of radio signals for communication began with Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian physicist, credited with sending the first transatlantic first radio signal between Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland, Canada, an area over 2000 miles. The message was a simple Morse code s. The story of technological innovation, communication, and personal magnificence is redundant without one man. Nikola Tesla: The father of inventions/inventors and humanitarian par excellence. His greatest deed is not in his stellar designs which include the first alternate current motor, grand design of AC system or electromagnetic waves but as a humanitarian. Born with a photographic memory, with godly looks and puritan streak, Tesla with 300 patents was, by all means, head by a mile of his peers. He is the greatest philanthropist of the modern era, and we will look into it in a separate article. Nikola Tesla is one of the major figures behind the scientific zest and will be perpetually covered here.

Inventions kept coming by. Dictaphone was invented in 1907, Reader’s Digest started in 1922 while Time, America’s oldest weekly magazine came in 1923. The first color TV broadcast was the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 1954. In 1959, Xerox introduced mass scale photocopying.

# Killer apps: Internet, E-mail, SMS, Walkman, Smartphone  

One of the most significant paradigms shifts in the modern era of communication was in 1971 when Ray Tomlinson sent an email to himself. The message QWERTYUIOP sent through ARPANET, a communication protocol preceded the ubiquitous internet. Ray Tomlinson is the father of the character @ so every-time you send an email, and press character @, it’s Ray. 

Hotmail was the first free email service provider founded by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia. Hotmail later sold for $400M to Microsoft. At one point in time, the world’s most fabulous killer app, email transformed the way we communicate for personal and professional purposes. This invention would drastically change the productivity curve of the labour market around the world. Real-time communications exponentially increased global decision making, leading to better utilization of resources, increasing output, and wages. Source Apollo pic NASA

“However, the US turned out to be an anomaly. In a book review by Mark Kramer published in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Marks highlights US productivity grew 72 percent between 1973 to 2014, but workers wage growth increased by 9 percent. For 117M Americans, the incomes have increased from $16,000 to $16,2000 while the wealthiest have tripled their wealth.” 

Freebies changed the pattern of communication and consumer behaviour. For the first time in recorded human history, consumers had an unmatched buying power. But then there is no free lunch. To support a sustainable revenue model, companies had to reinvent their revenue model, and they relied on internet advertising. Internet advertising, over the years, has become of the significant drivers of REVENUE for tech companies. This led to what we call community-driven companies which piggyback on privacy.

             “In 1957, Russians sent Sputnik 1, the first human-made satellite to orbit the Earth and Sputnik 2 sent first living being, Laika, a dog to outer-space. Have you seen the movie The Cat from The Outer Space? It’s very entertaining & funny.”

The rise of technology gave boost to technology-based Startups around the world and momentum to an ancillary industry, angel investing, and venture capital. Angel investing proved to be one of the best alternative investment class, especially in silicon valley funding startups which became mammoths challenging and redefining the business paradigm globally. The brick & motor structure suddenly started wobbling inundated with new-age companies, astronomical valuations, and new pathways to customers.

      “Many pioneers are credited with the evolution of the internet although chief among them are Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.”

Computers gave rise to a supercomputer which can make astronomical calculations in a millionth of a second. Supercomputers first introduced during the early 1960s became prominent as a significant force during the 1990s. And came another power. Artificial Intelligence; Matrix. Neo. 

                                “With Supercomputers, comes great power and with great power comes judicious responsibility.” 

# Space Exploration Revisited the 1950s until now and ISRO 

Numerous expeditions took to our only natural satellite i.e. moon and its impotant to understand a terms based on lunar exploration. Flyby is used when a spacecraft flies by the natural satellite (moon) or a planet (Mars) to take pictures. Luna 1 is the first partial success of flyby mission followed by Pioneer 4. Impact probe’s mission is to hard land intending to record images of the surface while landing. Soviets (USSR) succeeded here too but its Ranger 7 which is the turning point for space travel. The impact took 4,316 stunning pictures of the moon and its data formed the structural work for Apollo missions. Although Soviets again won the Orbiter mission by a few months, Americans finally nailed it with the first and only successful manned mission to the moon and back. Apollo 11 succeeded in setting the first crewed humans to the moon and back to Earth safely,  fulfilling President John F Kennedy’s vision of setting foot on the moon. Space exploration especially the US owes President John F Kennedy’s for kick-starting NASA’s mission to moon. A crisp vision which motivated Americans and laid out the path for space missions going forward. 

                                        First works spoken from the surface of another world.

                                       “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

A lander unlike an impact probe soft lands on the surface to function and share valuable data about the surface. Deep space exploration also includes space probes (orbiter and lander) missions to Mars and other planets. Over the years many more countries, including the European Space Agency, Japan, China, India, and Israel (private) have conducted lunar missions. From the 1950s until 1979 only the US and USSR conducted space explorations and after the brief science of the 80s decade, Japan stuck gold with Hiten, its maiden lunar mission. 

Although space exploration increased over the years, the 80s was a dry decade with no space explorations. Recently Chinese soft-landed Chang’ e 4 on the far side of the moon and its rover survived eight frigid nights to share data on the unknown part of the moon. Until now this was the southernmost attempt to soft land  on the moon but Vikram lander attempted target was 1200 miles further south from Chang’ e4.

With Chandrayaan 2 and Vikram Lander, the Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO attempted to land to the south pole of the moon, between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N., to understand lunar south poles composition. Chandrayaan-1 successfully put its maiden orbiter around the moon and hard landed an impact probe.

      “India is proud of our scientists! They’ve given their best and have always made India proud,” Indian prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi

Discovery of water by Chandrayaan 1 orbiter in soil at the lunar poles, turned out to be a game changer. ISRO humble beginnings come from a church in Thumba on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram city. Selected for its proximity to earth’s magnetic equator, St Magdalene church served as India’s first space exploration headquarters. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai”, the father of Indian Space Program,” established ISRO and played a pioneering role in establishing Indian Institute of Ahmedabad. From its first launch on November 21, 1963 of a sounding rocket made at NASA, the Indian space program has grown into a pioneering global leader in space exploration. Side pic source: ISRO

# Mobiles to Smartphones: Rise and downfall of Nokia, Coming of iPhone 

After email, SMS turned to be the next major killer app defining real-time messaging. Mobile phones soon followed leading to the dawn of SMARTPHONES. Rise and downfall of Nokia, a Finnish multinational, which started as a paper mill company before dominating the mobile market in the 90s is an excellent example of a company achieving superlative feats in innovation before losing out its global position as a leader in mobile phones. Nokia gave to the world the iconic 2100 ringtone, the snake game, stunning cameras on mobile, but could not replicate its success in the smartphone category. Nokia employed effectively multi branding strategy to distinguish its brands of mobiles catering to different sections of the society. From exclusive, luxury and now-defunct brand Vertu to budgeted and inexpensive mobile phones for less privileged people in developing markets, Nokia had it all. Vertu sold through selected outlets as a standalone brand worked well for Nokia, which was not perceived as a luxury brand. Multi-brand strategy works well for fast-moving consumer goods companies like P&G, Unilever which sell brands with little association from their companies. Example Tide and Dove. Nokia led by a considerable margin any of its competitors Apple, Erickson, and Sony during the 90s.  But Nokia failed to understand consumer insights, especially the futuristic role of smartphones which proved to be a fatal mistake. Nokia is back again with its new smartphones and maybe this comeback can be akin to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Disclaimer: I personally use Nokia smartphone. 

Vikram Lander, is one of the most ambitious landings at the farthest side of the moon near its south pole with a budget of $140M”

Apple innovated Smartphone market launching iPhone, arguably one of the most exceptional electronic device assembled at its time. Smartphones iPhone sales still account a significant portion of Apple’s revenues, generated 48.29 percent of its revenue in the third quarter of 2019. In the smartphone market, android turned to be a game-changer, an open-source mobile operating system developed by Alphabet (Google). The platform became industry-standard, promoting a crowding in many multiple mobile players. Rise of android as a platform for mobile phones served as a considerable blow to Nokia with its Symbian platform failing to live up to its expectations. Mobile was not the only space where world-class innovation was defining a new era in communication and customer delight. Something else was cooking in an ancillary industry, and it was in music. 

# Deadman Walking: Walkman to Telstar 1 

In 1979, Sony introduced Walkman to the world. Sony Walkman TPS-L2, a 14 lbs blue and silver, portable cassette player turned out to be the forefront killer idea. It changed the landscape of music and the way we heard music which led to the innovation of MPEG 3. Digital music revolutionized or disrupted the music industry. Remember, Napster, a free peer-to-peer music service which almost crippled the music industry through free music downloads founded by Shawn Fanning. Shawn, portrayed by Justin Timberlake in  Social Network, is James Bond of Technology industry or should I say, Robin Hood. Coming to Robinhood, a great love song from the movie Robinhood: Prince Of The Thieves — Bryan Adams at his best.

The era of competition to outer-space, between US and Russia fueled communication supremacy for many purposes. Spying became the fundamental reason for Communication, and this drove further innovation. Never in the history of humanity, has technology progressed at a quantum speed within a few decades. Compared to the time taken for the evolution of humans, humans have within 1% of time learned to light the fire, domesticate animals, grow crops, invent the wheel and land on the moon — may be less than 0.5% in time-based on recent discoveries about our evolution.

In 1962, the world’s first active communications satellite, Telstar 1, was launched. The satellite set communication standards for the satellite industry. For the first time, live images of news and entertainment were telecast around the world. And the entertainment industry changed. Live sports coverage brought in more customers, increased consumption, increased jobs, and GDP. If we look at technological innovations, AT&T is the father of many inventions to take place in the last century. AT&T ultimately broke into seven smaller companies called baby bells due to antitrust laws.

The advent of technology changed the world economy leading an exponential increase in productivity, wages, and facilitated globalization. It was effortless to understand what was going on in different parts of the continent, and free knowledge became available. It brought about an era of collaboration between economies never seen before. As the small output of technological utility decreased with new inventions, it requires more resources and technical know-how to get an incremental delight or service from an innovation.

# Back to Space Exploration: Budget travel to space 

India’s recent Chandrayaan-2 mission is applauded globally and hailed by the mighty NASA. China’s reaction to the announcement of Chandrayaan-2 seemed positive, and there is a thought to establish Asian Space Agency on lines of European Space Agency. The recent Indian exploration is critical for a few reasons. First, NASA has a $21.5B annual budget which dwarfs the space budget of any other country. But it needs its money well spent. It’s planning its human-crewed mission to the south pole in 2024, the target of Vikram lander and exploring cheaper versions to do so. The success of Chandrayaan-2 mission is a shot in the arm for NASA as recent data shows that ISRO lost contact with Vikram Lander just 400 meters from the moon. ISRO learned lessons from the previous SpaceIL Beresheet mission another low-cost lunar mission $90 to $100M almost entirely funded by private investors. ISRO painstakingly close success in placing a lander and rover on arguably the most challenging part of the moon increases chances of NASA success in the upcoming low-cost mission.

Second, NASA can learn from mistakes from the Chandrayaan-2 mission. ISRO got invaluable insights from the Beresheet on navigating pitfalls in soft landing. Third, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will complement NASA’s LRO, the only other orbiter orbiting the moon. India’s orbiter has improved camera’s with better resolution (0.32meters/pixel), dual band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) will map and quantify the amount of ice on the moon’s surface and share stunning images and data of the moon and much more, a massive boost for the world and NASA’s future planned missions. Finally, space exploration will bridge the gaps among countries for an era of peace.

Its time for ISRO to plan a manned mission to moon and back. NASA is going to the moon again in 2024 but this time for a longer and sustainable presence. Welcome The Artemis project estimated to cost between $20 to $30B.

 

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SEDA, Well-being and Social Equality

Boston Consulting Group’s Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA) inspired by leading economists such as Amartya Sen, Michael Spence, and Joseph Stiglitz lays a foundation of measuring economic and socio-economic developments of countries. Further, it aids in peer comparison to benchmark global best business practices. SEDA is a step forward in understanding how wealth creation is translating into well-being and social equality. Pic source: BCG

 

# SEDA Framework 

SEDA measures the progression of countries in generating social equity and well being. It has ten dimensions selected over three categories: Economics, Investments, and Sustainability, which translates into 40 indicators for measuring well being. Economics category has only three variables income, economic stability, and employment while Investments includes health, education, and infrastructure. The third element of Sustainability measures social impact and includes income equality, civil society, governance, and environment. The ten dimensions are normalized on a scale of 0 to 100 and aggregated for respective countries to arrive at holistic scores. These scores help in peer comparison of countries on the well-being index apart from understanding the effect of well-being and quality of living.

To understand relative effectiveness of conversion of wealth to well-being, a measure wealth to well-being coefficient is tabulated. The score gives a comparison compared to the actual scores computed using GNI (gross nation income) indicator. GNI includes economic wealth created by citizens both within and outside the country in comparison to GDP which focuses on income creation within the country. Usually countries which have high foreign direct investment or aid have GNI higher than GDP. Remarkably the US has GNI and GDP comparable since its out bound investment equals inbound investment. According to BCG model, a coefficient of 1 indicates well being in line with expected outcome based on income levels, a figure greater than 1 out performs and a figure less than 1 under performs.

# Key Insights

The analysis relies on both objective well-being (SEDA and wealth to well-being coefficient) and subjective well-being through UN-sponsored World Happiness Report. The review is a mixed bag, some predictable and at the same time, some baffling. Income equality generally considered the most important yardstick for well-being, does not necessarily translate into high SEDA scores. Example, Pakistan and Germany have comparable income equality scores, but Germany is in the top SEDA quartile and Pakistan in the lowest SEDA quartile. This is where critical parameters in sustainability and investment play a pivotal role in defining well-being esp. social equality. Social equality is more significant in explaining well-being in SEDA matrix as compared to income equality keeping other variables constant. E.g., top-ranked global powerhouses and SEDA leaders, Finland and the Netherlands have both high social and income equality. Pic BCG
Although usually both well-being and happiness move in tandem, countries which score high on well-being don’t necessarily score high on the happiness index. This suggests that there are other variable factors affecting happiness. This further suggests that happiness is highly intangible and in many ways demographically aligned could also be based on cultural influences apart from reasons cited in the report. Further, wealth-to-well-being coefficient and happiness has no significant evidence of correlation and is a bit of an enigma. We will discuss it in a subsequent article.
The report hugely focuses on four dimensions: education, employment, health, and infrastructure as critical enablers for improving well-being and also promoting social inclusion. China, India, Indonesia, Colombia, and Rwanda have made above-average improvements in three of the four dimensions mentioned above, improved their conversion of wealth into well-being at above-average levels which translates in their excellent improvement in overall SEDA scores.

# Well-being, Innovation and Financial Inclusion  

Innovation, although not calculated as a separate dimension in the SEDA framework for well-being, performs well in explaining an increase in well-being. Innovation is the critical enabler in promoting productivity, income and employment growth, and social inclusion. Take, e.g., Global Innovation Index 2019, which ranked Switzerland, Sweden, and the US as the most innovative countries, all top quartile powerhouses on SEDA. India has shot up to 52 and on track to figuring among the top 30 soon under the excellent leadership of Mr. Narendra Modi. Today India leads in ICT services and creative good exports, quality technology professionals backed by a few world-class institutes. Further, few African countries performed good on well-being also lead in innovation relative to their level of development esp. Rwanda.

Pic right: https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/Home

One of the key driving factors behind a rapid rise in selected Asian and some African countries on well-being attribute has been their ability to leverage technology in promoting financial inclusion among the less privileged people in the society. Digital payments is one of the enablers in this space.

Sweden is a global leader in adopting innovation and emerging technologies. It plans to be a cashless economy by 2023 and its world defining project Swish; a mobile payment platform is a global role model in electronic payments. Today cash accounts for less than 1% of total transactions in Sweden. Left side pic: BCG

 

Today, Sweden is one of the most accomplished economies around the world in integrating financial inclusion within society. It has helped in effectively fighting money laundering, crime, etc. An excellent read on Sweden’s inventiveness here.

SEDA framework highlights the importance of social equality as a critical variable in measuring well-being. Further, innovation and its comprehensive application acts as a considerable leveler in making society more inclusive and therefore improving social equality and well-being among all.

To be continued.

Coming up articles on other vital insights and limitations of SEDA model.

How to embrace technology.

 

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Elementary Particles: Building Blocks of Our Universe

“Electrical charge can neither be created or destroyed. Energy is neither created nor destroyed.”

This article has been elaborated and reworded to my previous article here. The article shares a brief overview of the quantum world of elementary particles the building blocks of our Universe. The report further discusses Bose-Einstein Statistics, Markov theorem, Brownian movement, and its application in pricing options in finance.

There are four fundamental forces in nature i.e. in our Universe: Gravity, Electromagnetism, The Strong Force, and The Weak Force.  Electromagnetic Force makes our television and mobiles work while Strong and Weak Forces are prevalent over subatomic distances. Strong Force, the most potent force in nature, binds nuclei together while the Weak Force is primarily responsible for radioactive decay and neutrino interactions over subatomic distances. Gravitational Force, on the contrary to popular opinion, is not a strong force. The fact that one can jump in the air with Earth exerting its pull exemplifies this point of view.

Nature of our Universe: Elementary Particles 

About 96% of the human body is made up of Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen. Hydrogen and Helium are the elements which build the atomic mass of our Universe. Hydrogen and Helium atoms make up 99.8 % of all the atoms and 98% of all atomic mass in the Universe. An atom has protons and neutrons in its nucleus with electrons orbiting around it. Protons and neutrons have the same weight, but weigh much more than that of electrons. The number of protons decides the elementary characteristics of the elements on the periodic table.

Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen atoms play a fundamental role in burning fat. “The chemical equation of human fat C55H104O6 decomposes into Carbon and Oxygen. Check out the video here. 

Mass of electrons is negligible compared to the mass of protons and neutrons. Mass, measured by mass of atoms in the body, equals the mass of protons and neutrons combined. Mass is constant while weight changes according to the gravitation pull of the planet.

                                                    “Gravity is the effect of curvature in our Universe”

The movies Interstellar and The Martian are good examples of how weights can vary in different planets. The scene below from the movie Interstellar depicts the concept of time dilation (discussed below) and the effect of gravity on time and weight. One hour on Miller planet represents 7 hours on Earth.

From Fission to Fusion

Atoms are not elementary particles since elementary particles are subatomic particles which have no particle inside and cannot be further broken down. Electrons are elementary particles while quarks (elementary particles) make up proton and neutrons. Atoms are usually neutrally charged, but atoms with different protons and electrons are known as ions. Lighter atoms i.e., atoms with lighter nuclei protons are equal to neutrons while for more significant nuclei number of protons differ from those of neutrons.

For example, Uranium has 146 neutrons and 92 protons, which makes it very unstable, an elementary quality used for nuclear fission. Fission occurs for very heavy nuclei with mass numbers higher than 250 and produces particles of uneven mass. Nuclear Fission is very different from Nuclear Fusion, which is fusing hydrogen atoms to form Helium.

The Sun burns up half a billion tons of Hydrogen per second to blend into Helium. Helium gets its origin from the word Helios, a Greek word for the Sun.  Fusion combines two atoms of Hydrogen to form an atom of Helium. In the process, energy is released with wholesome byproducts like carbon, oxygen, etc. which are present in stars, planets. Fusion works at very high temperature; Sun has 5726° C. Apart from the high temperature for synthesizing fusion, Strong Force works for the process of fusion. Today, science is working on effectively harnessing fusion for energy and will become a game-changer going forward in the energy space.

Elementary Particles

Elementary Particles, he building blocks of our Universe, are considered the smallest particles in nature which cannot be broken down further. Fermions and Boson. Fermions are the building blocks of matter (Quarks, Leptons) while Bosons are forces mediating interaction among forces (Fermions). Bosons are also known as force particles, and maybe the Force is with you. Anti-Matter, another elementary particle, are opposites in characteristics to their partner particle but have the same mass.

Fermions consist of a set of twelve particles which includes six quarks and six leptons. Quarks take part in Strong Force while leptons do not. The six quarks are up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom. I swear these are not exercises, and I have no intention to charm my readers, but their names sound a bit strange. Six types of leptons are electrons, muon, tau all having a negative charge: -1 while neutrinos have no electric charge. The force between any pair of particle arises because they exchange another type of particle called a Boson. Bosons are gauge bosons, gluons, photons, W+, W-, Z^0, and HIGGS Boson.  Gluons are the forces mediating strong forces, and all electromagnetic waves are photons: bundles of energy while W+, W-, Z^0 mediate weak forces.

Comparative Chart of Force and Strength

This chart compares the four forces, elementary particles in our Universe and Nature. The Weak Force is equated to 1; the rest are approximate weights relative to Weak Force.

Force-Strength

Force Force particle                                            Mass Comparative Strength of Force Weak=1
Strong Gluon 0 10,000
Electromagnetic Photon 0 100
Weak Guage Bosons 8697 1
Gravity Graviton 0 7*10^-34

Source: The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene & Einstein For Everyone By Robert Piccioni

The Strong Force as discussed before, holds the quarks and nucleus together. Electromagnetic Force contains atoms, molecules, and bodies together while Weak Force pertains to radioactive decay. The weakest force, among all, is the Gravitational Force since it mediates at infinite distances. Gravity plays a pivotal role in the Einstein theory of relativity and for understanding the concept of time dilation. Refer to the video shared here on my Twitter. Gravity holds the planets, defines the elliptical path of orbits, etc. and holds everyone to Earth while it spins on its axis and around Sun. In a nutshell, Gravity is the effect of curvature in our Universe. Check out Cosmos documentary.

An interesting feature of the particles is their chaotic, unpredictable nature of transiting discrete energy states. To understand the nature of the particles better, it’s imperative we look at Bose-Einstein Statistics and the Markov Theory.

 

Do not be Fooled by Randomness. 

Bosons, named after the great Indian scientist Satyanarendra Bose, along with Einstein proposed Bose-Einstein statistics. The theory suggests how a group of identical but non-interacting particles may occupy different energy states without following Pauli’s exclusion principle. The uncertainty and unpredictability of laws of physics at the quantum level unlike gravitational theories baffled Einstein till his death.

To understand the discrete nature of particles and chaos at the quantum level, let’s refer to Einstein’s ground-breaking paper on Brownian motion. Investigations on The Theory of the Brownian Movement delves into the movement of pollen grains and the molecular kinetic theory of heat. The theory forms the foundation of random walk theory used in valuing options in finance. Brownian motion forms the basis of stochastic processes, which is also the underlying assumption behind the option pricing in the Black Scholes Merton model. A variable (not to be confused with the particle in quantum mechanics), whose value changes over time in an uncertain way both continuous or discretely follows a stochastic process.

The Markov Theory

Markov theory proposes predicting future pricing trends or outcomes. The theory emphasizes that the probabilistic result of the price in the future is independent of any path taken in the past for pricing. The transition from one state to another would form a Markov chain which would look like a matrix of outcomes with a probabilistic result for each state of change. Time-series statistical data of stocks are taken to understand this principle to normalize it on a bell curve.

Normalization Simplified

For normalizing any data, the data must be independent and identically distributed (i.i.d). The data must have more than 40 observations, with equal probability of random selection, and the sample constitutes less than 10 percent of the population. The little brief on the stochastic process is an analogy on impermanence governing both our lives and processes at a subatomic level.

Impermanence at Quantum Level Exemplified: Sting Theory and Theory of Everything

String Theory mathematically proves that the smallest subatomic elementary particles are strings. These strings move as sources of energies which continuously vibrate as strings. M Theory, also known as Super String Theory, encapsulated many string theories to come out with 11 dimensions in this Universe. String theory is known as Theory of Everything, encapsulates laws of physics at both macro and quantum level. Theory of Everything builds on Grand Unified Theory, which unifies the three gauge interactions: electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces at high energy levels into a single force. Theory of Everything unifies even gravity along with the other forces into an only force. The equations in the proposed Theory of Everything will describe all-natural laws governing our Universe i.e., laws of physics, chemistry, biochemistry you name it.

Strings due to their infinitesimally small size have yet to be observed although experimental work through bombarding elementary particles at large Large Hadron Collider. Remember discovery of Higgs Boson, an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics which caused a sensation worldwide.

 

 

Theory of Everything, which builds on String Theory, is a landmark achievement in Theoretical Physics of the late. Scientists esp. theoretical physicists struggled to define a theory which would combine laws of physics to give a semblance. It’s a significant theory in theoretical physics and for details refer to Brian Greene (TED talks) and articles. One day, hopefully not far from now we will be able to experimentally observe the elementary particles, and how they govern laws of nature within our Universe.

 

 

 

 

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Pune City Connect: Transforming Pune the Collective Way

                 “Sampoorna Pune. Every Life Enriched.”

Pune City Connect, a non-profit whose vision is to enrich the life of every citizen of Pune, is enabling a social transformation in Pune through a multifaceted collaborative model under the able leadership of Ms. Ruchi Mathur. An alum of IIM Ahmedabad, Ruchi wears many hats professionally with work experience in marketing, nonprofits and corporate social responsibility, is embarking on a mission of transforming the city through Collective Action. The collective action here is inspired by the Stanford Social Innovation article Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity by John Kania & Mark Kramer.

Pune City Connect acts as a centrifugal force bringing together Government (Pune Municipal Corporation: PMC), Corporates through Corporate Social Responsibility: CSR, Non-profits, Foundations and Civic Societies on a common platform of social and economic well-being. The Public-Private model helps in attracting resources for an inclusive and equitable Pune through selected development programs.

Pune City Connect is catalyzing a transformative social change through collective action. Mindset behavioural change and scale are the way forward for maintaining a sustainable change.” Ruchi, Pune City Connect.

Listen to Ruchi’s interview with Nishant here.

The development programs plan to empower the less privileged members of the society by bringing the best pedagogy in education for municipal schools, focusing on digital literacy & inclusion and imbibing skills for a sustainable livelihood. Under its partnership with PMC, Pune City Connect works as the interface with the corporates for generating capital and other resources for selected development programs mentioned herein.

The company facilitates resources for programs bringing in best business practices to aid measurable impact, scalability, and enhanced accountability. PMC gives support through fixed and capital expenditures while CSR funds the variable operational expenses. About 30 Corporates, have contributed since Pune City Connect started. Approximately 35 implementation partners are on board, including non-profits for implementing projects in the development sector. All the development projects are focused on driving India towards fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

“Impact lives of 20% of the slum population for catalysing Collective Good for everyone through a spiraling effect.”

To drive its Mission and Vision, an ensemble group of prominent stalwarts and leaders from the corporate sector are working on the board of directors. The education project for municipal schools modelled on the holistic philosophy of imparting activity learning to both primary and secondary students through “Models of Excellence Schools” project and as a support for honing skills of teachers/ mentors/ coaches through the Sahyogi Dal project. Nineteen municipal school teachers were selected as Sahyogis to train and mentor other teachers.

“Coached 1000 teachers in instructional & pedagogical structure across 172 Marathi medium Schools for the last four years.” Sahyogi Dal Project.

Models of Excellence is an integrated approach in developing both qualitative and quantitative skills of all the stakeholders in education. The method uses various pedagogy structure, which includes direct experiential learning through activities, especially those in science and arts, to develop well-rounded personalities.

                                                                  “40,000 students impacted in Schools.” Ruchi, Pune City Connect 

The projects plan to foster a sense of belonging, self-learning & awareness to boost self-esteem among students who hail from low-income background apart from mandatory skill sets for better personal growth and development. The intervention started this year in five Marathi medium schools would increase to other municipal skills to measure its impact over two years. The long-term objective is to develop balanced, responsible citizens backed by intelligence and intellectual ability for making a sustained positive change in society.

Digital Empowerment Pune is an ambitious project to sustain the exemplary vision of the Honorable Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi’s National Digital Empowerment Mission (NDLM). The mission plans to empower at least one person per household in internet literacy. PMC and Pune City Connect plan to train 200,000 low-income families by 2022 impacting at least one person per household. The impact translates into 20% of the low-income households having at least one computer literate member bringing in economics jargon into a Network Effect which would cascade across all the less privileged families in Pune.

The project promotes participatory culture among the masses, bringing a sense of inclusion and pride. The project focuses more on the application of technology rather than just theoretical knowledge. Pune City Connect designed the curriculum which encompasses an in-depth understanding of computers with a focus on an overview of hardware and software and its various applications. Experiential learning aided through 15 Digital Empowerment Centres and 6 Digital Empowerment Buses equipped with computers, Wi-Fi, a projector and screen along with a printer scanner.

            “More than 40,000 citizens in low income households trained in Digital Empowerment.”

Each center has a Mobilizer and a Trainer who trains 2-3 batches per day depending on availability. Further, Pune City Connect coordinates with 800 placement agencies for helping participants, especially those through sustainable livelihood project in job recruitment. All developmental projects work on rising scalability through incremental participation by increasing awareness of the mission, decreasing variable costs, and opening new avenues for sustained empowerment, community building, and sharing. (SDG 1,2, 4,10). A bell weather step if India wants to succeed in its Smart City and E-governance initiative in the fourth technology fueled revolution of emerging disruptive technologies. (SDG 11).

Finally, the other major development project is to provide skills and personal development for urban disadvantaged youth. Launched under the appropriate moniker Lighthouse, the plan envisions to promote gender equality, economic growth, social harmony, and leadership skills through skill building, coaching, and mentoring. Below Ruchi speaking on the television. Ruchi, CEO Pune City Connect in the video below.

                                           “6 new lighthouses launched on 8th July 2019.”

Majority of the enrolled participants are between the ages 18-30, with 60% of them women. (SDG 5, 8,9,10,11,17). Further, the project trains and mentors’ participants in technology-related coding and non-coding skills like MS Office, C, Java, etc. The project has made huge inroads in its mission, and in this video, Ms. Ruchi talks about their approach on the ground.

           “Value-based personality development for 6000 youth across five lighthouses; 1750 youth placed.

                                                      Social and economic development in 20 slum communities.”

Pune City Connect is playing a significant role in transforming the city through the novel approach of driving innovation at the bottom of the pyramid through collective action by incorporating multiple stakeholders. Today, there is more accountability through the participation of various actors, measurable impactful interventions at less privileged members of the social work as enablers for attracting more capital through philanthropy.

“Lighthouse are centers of love and compassion to build a change from within for a ripple effect in society. A community building effort to promote economic landscape through increased jobs in the organized sector, expand gender equality, enable leadership and peer, support groups, enhance a sense of citizenship, and spread social harmony.Ruchi, CEO, Pune City Connect. 

Listen to the Podcast here.

A step forward, indeed, still a lot needs to be done. A lot will depend on Puneites playing their small part in transforming the city for good, an uphill but achievable task. Last but not the least a great appreciation to numerous volunteers who devoted valuable time for spreading well-being in the most real altruist sense. Learning is more suitable if it’s fun. Leave you with the music of wannabe rappers.

I suggest the following further readings here.

Sustainable Development Goals: Pioneering Solutions for India

Philanthropy, Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofits

 

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The need for high speed rail in the US and 1% tax policy for a sustainable social impact

This article elaborates on importance of high speed rail network in the US and policies for raising capital for the infrastructure spending. The article includes a brief documentary on the subject matter and its huge positive social impact within the society. This is a continuation of my article on the development of infrastructure in the US and low inflation.

First, high speed railway network will reduce greenhouse emissions and builds on five sustainable development goals cementing principles of UN Global Compact: affordable and clean energy (7), decent work and economic growth (8), industry,innovation and infrastructure(9), sustainable cities (11) and community, and climate action (13). Continue reading “The need for high speed rail in the US and 1% tax policy for a sustainable social impact”

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Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey

 

The documentary Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, is much more than an enriching take on our Universe. Narrated by one of the best-known scientists of our times, Neil deGrasse Tyson, it delves into many scientific topics apart from our Cosmos. I loved the Newton episode. Plan to watch it again. It’s hard to write a review of Cosmos, looking at the breadth of topics this documentary covers. It’s simply priceless.

 

Read More »

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