Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Coolest Comment to my Blog Posts so far!!!

I thought this was the coolest comment to any of my posts so far. The comment comes from an "Anonymous Reader" and in response to my post titled "My Idea for a source of Energy" . S/he has an alias name of "ask me about it" and I thought I wouldn't be doing it enough justice if I didn't post the comment as a separate blog. So, here it is:

Ask me about it. said...

Energy can be classified into two types.. energy that can be "stored/transmitted/used else where" and energy that can be "used where it is produced". For the stored/transmitted/ used else where type of energy a good source is justified based on three aspects... reliability, cost and environmental impact. It might be interesting to note that environmental impact and reliability rank as the best parameters besides cost (although reliability and environmental impact can also contribute to costs as maintainance and remediation issues) in comparing the various energy sources. So unless you have a gym where bikes are running non-stop(with bonded labour from some asian / african nation i presume....) this is not a viable option for reliability purposes (assuming energy is transmitted for use as it is generated). For purposes of storing energy and then using it elsewhere the accepted method is converting mechanical energy to electrical energy and storing this in chemical storage devices or electrical storage devices (devices like flywheel type energy storage where inertial energy is stored are also available). For storing in these type of devices the obvious problem is storing enough energy before you can remove the storage device and use it else where... if you generate very small amounts (like those that you would generate during ur two hour work out) the losses are significant as compared to the generated energy. Again you would need a dedicated workforce to generate enough storage energy. (a good question to ask would be where do we see people exerting energy solely for the sake of spending it.. like they do in a gym) To talk of the obvious, dynamo installed on the cycles (remember HERO cycles??) is an application of "use where you produce" type of energy. Hope I didnt bore you.. nice blog though.

3:42 PM

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The DOT COM Start - Up Worthy Idea...

Alright, first of all my apologies for not being able to do this yesterday! I was a little surprised I got just ONE caustic comment to my last post :P

Anyways, without further do, here it is. The idea that came up during a conversation with my brother is, to develop a search engine that would take in a zip code (and possibly a given mile radius) as input and return a list of gas stations in that area.

What use would that be? Well... here's the real deal. The search engine would have to organize the gas stations is ascending order of gas prices on that particular day!!! Some add-ons could include providing the user with the option of ordering the results either by gas price or by distance from the source zip.

So.... now for the ground work.... WHAT's IT GONNA TAKE? Hmmm... off of my head, I can think of a few scenarios:

1. Have people drive around gas stations on a daily basis and send back information to a central database. Simple, but not the most economical and certainly not scalable.

2. Have a "tie-up" with gas stations (thinking on the lines of mobile phone manufacturers tieing up with service providers) and have them send information to your database. Slightly better and more scalable.

3. (This assumes the existance of networkable databases in gas station systems) Have automated programs (WEB SERVICES, SOAP, XML, WSDL, if you will) extract information from the gas station databases and feed them to yours. Very scalable but, a wee-bit far fetched in its assumptions!

Cool.... I'm out for now, but this thing is gonna sit in my head for SOMEtime :-) Other inputs/ criticism appreciated!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Idea for a Search Engine Start-up!!!

If you are reading this, the title of this blog has done its job well in getting you excited! Well... come to think of it, it wasnt too hard, because in today's world the words web, search engine, google, yahoo... are an instant eye catcher.

So, whats all my fuss about? Rest assured it isn't just to get you to click on my blog post. If you have been reading (or atleasting looking at) my blog now and then, you must have observed that my last post sprung out of my frustration over the ever-rising gas prices. As a Civic owner I am way better off than the sports coupe folks or SUV fans, but still, a national average of $2.15/ Gallon, does pinch!!

Speaking of gas prices, brings to mind a conversation I had with my brother a few days ago. We were comparing gas prices between Santa Barbara and Portland (OR) and we quickly realized that the rest of the nation had made bigger (in comparison to CA) strides over the last couple of months. To put things in perspective, last November ('04), when I visited Portland I noticed my brother could get gas for as low as $1.90/ Gallon. It was unbelievable, for a moment I though the prices actually went down that day. I was eager to find out, and I did as soon as I got out of SB airport, only to see the same old... $2.45/ Gallon. And now, SB stands at around $2.60/ Gallon, while Portland is at $2.45.... see what I am saying??

Well... it might sound like I am contradicting what I said earlier, but I have had my writing dose for the day and I am kinda sleepy, so I think I am gonna write about my "Start-Up" Idea tomorrow ;-) ... please be gentle on the comments :P

Sunday, April 10, 2005

My Idea for a source of energy

Gas prices in the US seem to be on a steady climb nowadays. Buying a hybrid vehicle seems to be the best way to go in the present times. Thinking of this makes me realize the significance of all the research that goes into finding new and alternative sources of energy. The list of alternative sources of energy that are actually being harvested at the moment includes, Hydroelectric, Solar, Tidal, Geothermal, Wind, Biomass and Biogas.

I came up with a workable idea for a new source of electric power. It is not novel in the way power is generated, but it is in novel in the part of the available energy (remember the universal law of energy transformation?) it converts to electrical energy. It all started with me fogeting to carry my Audio Player to the gym. Since, I didn't have any music to listen to while I biked, I got thinking....!!

If you have ever been to a gym, you have probably observed that all the cardio exercise machines, except the treadmills, do not require external power for their operation (if you discount the LED diplays). So, I wonder if it might be posible to use all the human energy that gets expended on the bikes, the elliptical machines and the stepping machines to power the treadmills, and possibly some more?

Friday, April 08, 2005

MS Walk/ Run

I plan to spend most part of tomorrow, participating in an event to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research. :

Feet 2 Beat MS

Apart from the monetary contribution, I will also be a part of my company's team, and I am hoping to complete a 10 Kilometer run :-)

Wish me luck!

MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS consists of the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. Surrounding and protecting the nerve fibers of the CNS is a fatty tissue called myelin, which helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses.

In MS, myelin is lost in multiple areas, leaving scar tissue called sclerosis. These damaged areas are also known as plaques or lesions. Sometimes the nerve fiber itself is damaged or broken.

Myelin not only protects nerve fibers, but makes their job possible. When myelin or the nerve fiber is destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted, and this produces the various symptoms of MS.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Conquered Montecito Peak

Today me and my Hiking Buddies hiked up to the top of Montecito Peak which, I think, is one of the highest peaks in the Santa Barbara area and also one of the toughest hikes. It was a 9 mile round trip hike and took us about 2.5 hrs to get up and about 1.5 to get down. When we reached the top, we found this book with entries by hikers who have managed to make it to the peak. We flipped through it and found entries as old as 1994 (there may have been older, but this was the oldest we caught at a glance). Here is one that I thought was cute enough to take a picture of, seems like a little kid who hiked up the trail with her dad:

A Cute Entry that caught our eye ! Posted by Hello

And of course we were sure enough to leave our mark...

Our Entry in the Hiker's Log ! Posted by Hello