Static Electricity

That Theoretical Physicist

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Have you ever wondered what causes a bad hair day or the sparks from your woollen blanket during winter or the random shocks you get from random objects now and then or the standing fur of your pet cat or the most obvious, disastrous lightning dashing across the evening sky!? There can be one answer to all these – Static electricity!!!

The general definition of static electricity is that it is an imbalance of electric charges in a material. The material remains charged until it can discharge these charge (electric current) trough any medium.

Static electricity effects are evidently annoying. However, it should be said that life is impossible without the forces associated with static electricity. Static forces, both positive and negative, hold the world of atoms and molecules together in the right balance. But, what is static electricity? Is it really harmful? Why it is more during winter? To understand the…

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Yes, I finished a half marathon…. I did it!!!

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I did it…. yes, i did it…. finished a half marathon….

Finishing a marathon was a challenge i had put in my bucket list a while back….
Last year when i was around for the 6 km run, i envied the half marathon finishers with their finisher medals and i had said to myself, next year you r doing it
Delhi marathons happen during winter and during winter my arthritics problems will double up… yet, i wanted to take on this challenge…
Trained for 4 months…. improving the pace day by day… taking up different levels; hard, easy, medium… it worked well… inbetween i had some injury scare…. managed to keep that cool with volini sprays and and bandages….
Race day…
Race day didn’t start well for me… Didn’t sleep the previous night… probably because of excitement or tension… Then my cab driver turned up at the destination and refusing to come to my address… luckily, managed to reach in time….
That feel when u r about to take up something big and you are surrounded by 1000s of competition… that rush… that adrenaline… that was something!!!!
I had a strategy specifically for 21 kms…. race and then slow down… race again and slow… and on and on… But with 100s of people around, that didn’t work…. so i went on my average pace from start to end…
I have never anything like that before… so when i finished, i was surprised at my effort… and a timing- 2:17:16…. made me proud!!!
Pace: 6.31 min/km
The finisher medal....

The finisher medal….

When i came back home after the race, every part of my body was aching… and i was dizzy, from lack of sleep and fatigue… but, i was happy…. happy that i did something which people said i cannot do and never expected me to do… i am glad i pushed myself… and i will push myself more to prove many more wrong….
I am looking forward to next year…. and the year after that… for all the runs and races and challenges i can take up!!!

One more week to race day!!!

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It’s here… almost here….

One more week to go…
Last day i collected my bib and all from the Marathon expo… since then the excitement is at another level…
So far… Running gear – check, nutrients, supplements – check, energy drinks – got it all…
Plan of action on the day – check check check (100 times)…
Reebok RealFlex.... i ran ADHM last year in this... sticking with it again...

Reebok RealFlex…. i ran ADHM last year in this… sticking with it again…

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Enerzal…. seems good!!!

Only worry is the severe cold and getting a bit of arthritic related injury… deciding not to exert too much next week… Focus mostly on strength and stamina building… and not giving any room for panic attacks (last day, i had a nightmare – i got up way too late on race day)….
Well, getting ready physically and mentally….
Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, here i come….

A note on Electric Heating…

That Theoretical Physicist

Heating coil in an oven. Heating coil in an oven.

Last day I was going through a class 6 science textbook. I was reading the chapter on ‘electricity’ where there was a discussion on the kinds of materials used in different electrical apparatus like iron box, heating coils, water heaters, bulb filaments, etc. It was mentioned in the section, certain materials are used as heating elements since they have high electrical resistance. I just wondered if a class 6 student will be able to understand the relation between electrical resistance and heating. So I sent a short note on resistive heating to the teachers’ manual as an explanation. Here is a ‘not so short’ version of that:

What is Resistance?
We know that (electric) current is the flow of electric charges in a circuit. In electric circuits, this charge is carried by the moving electrons through a wire driven by the potential difference between the ends of the wire. Often, an electron moving through an…

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My RunKeeper…

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I have experimented with numerous fitness app ever since i had my first android phone… Whether it is for running or walking or working out, i always trusted some of them, especially the ‘endomondo’ which was the first among the many used…

What was cool about endomondo was we get to see the route map even after you share them in facebook or twitter… The speed, the distance, the calories burned looked almost accurate then… But, every app when they grow will come up with some bugs or drawbacks… What happened with endomondo for me was it made most of its services under premium (paid)… and other services needed lots more storage space which made my phone running slow…

So, i had to uninstall endomondo and then started my experimentation with other apps in googleplay… some apps, keep accurate fitness report… but when you keep the phone in your pocket, the report will be something else… some apps wont even show the running route map… or cals burned…

After reading many online reviews, i came across this app called ‘RunKeeper’… Almost perfect compared to the other apps i used… I can even keep my phone in my pocket; it wont affect in getting the proper gps… Pace, calories burned, distance travelled…. route map, everything looking accurate for me…

The awesome thing about the app is it update your distance, average pace and all every 5 minutes… For me, preparing for the marathon, it is a reminder every now and then… another cool thing i found was the data it keeps in website… endomondo, i could never open in my laptop and check my progress…

So, i am planning to stick with this app for a while… it keeps me motivated and gives me a record of my activities…

recent summary...

recent summary…

The need to take a break….

Runners wake up before the sun!

Runners wake up before the sun!

So, finally good news!!!
The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) organisers accepted my application… My first real competitive marathon is coming… My past efforts in ‘marathon’ were only charity based or occasion based… Even last year’s 6 km run in ADHM was just testing the waters…

The training has been going on in full swing… With the new job and the timings, i get only an hour in the morning… to increase the pace and distance covered… That part of the training is going fine… my run app is congratulating after every run on the new achievements… I was excited on this…

But soon i realised, in the effort go faster i am ignoring the injury scare… a couple of minor scares last week… Also, the anxiety to do always one step more… yes, i was pushing myself way beyond my strengths… So, then i came up with this new plan… a break… Take a day or two off in a week…

Train hard for 3 days… take a break…. that day can be used to warm up inside… rest the over-worked feet… then come back to road stronger next day…. It worked wonderfully yesterday after a break… Also, the break is good in some sense, i am sure i wont get tired of this run schedule… There is always a possibility that our tired body with the run and work schedule force us to abandon the plan altogether after getting bored of the daily workouts!!!

So every now and then, a break is needed… It is not just a rest to the body, but also the mind… After a break, i always look forward to my day’s run/workouts… Also, i am working on new routes to run… the same old route bores me sometimes…. new plan, new route always challenge me… and i tend to do better when challenged….

So far so good at my end… working on other factors like diet and sleep hours as well….

Home, new home…

Finally, I am back to my space… After a phase of uncertainties and confusion, Delhi again…  So from West Delhi, to Gurgaon and now to East Delhi; the city is not leaving me….

I can proudly say, I have the many painful phases of shifting successfully:

The tedious house hunting phase – check
Moving the stuff – check
Cleaning up the house – check
Arranging the stuff – 75%
Setting up my study space – 90% (i am not satisfied)
Arranging my books – 0% (yet to figure out how to)

The house hunting was crazy, moving stuff was scary… cleaning up the house and arranging the stuff was painful… All i can think when i sit back now and type this blog: IT’S OVER!!! I am back to my shell… a new shell… but i am loving it…

Finally, a successful ‘Fruits and Nuts Cake’…

My mom makes the best cake in the world! B’days, Christmas or some special guests coming over, our house used to fill with this amazing fragrance of her cake… People have taken the recipe from her and I really don’t know if anyone got success in matching her’s…

Its a fruits and nuts cake with lots of nuts and cherries and I have been trying the recipe for years, always been unsuccessful… Even i  tried with an old style electric oven, the kind of oven my mom uses…. Yet, it didn’t change anything…. So many disasters, one among was an awful Christmas cake!!!

Ok, then came yesterday, my friend Meera’s b’day eve… The decision to bake a cake for her was bold as it would be the cake for the birthday… I had to get it right!!! It was one of my lucky days i say, eventhough the day drove me crazy because of few people in my life… So, getting a recipe work, after so many attempts…. i call it a moment!!!

The cake was a success, eventhough i was not happy with the fact that it could have burnt and got a lil’ dry…. I was happy when i saw the cake getting over, piece by piece taken away… A chef’s satisfaction…

From oven.... to the final bits!!!!

From oven…. to the final bits!!!!

So here I am sharing this amazing recipe…. with few changes from my mom’s original recipe….

Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts, black raisins, cherries
1 cup caster sugar (can be slightly less than 1 cup)
2/3 cup butter
3 eggs
Powdered spices – 1 clove + 1 cardamom pod + small piece of cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
Few drops of vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180C.
2. Add 2 tbsp of flour into the nuts and dry fruits and mix them well. Set aside.
3. Combine the flour and baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
4. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Next, add the eggs one by one and beat.
5. Add vanilla extract to the above mixture.
6. Now, add a spoon of flour mixture and fold. Once it is used up, add the remaining flour mixture spoon by spoon so that no lumps are formed. Add the nuts and dry fruits mixture to this and combine them well.
7. To a tray greased with butter and flour sprinkled over, pour the batter and bake for 45-50 minutes until the top turns brownish. Insert a skewer into the cake; if it comes out clean, your cake is done.

Notes:

1. I usually fry the cashews slightly in butter. Fried, crispy cashews in the cake, to me, tastes better.
2. Keeping the fruits and nuts mixture in flour is important. This is to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter while baking.

Books in my Kindle…

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For a bookworm like me, getting some new books to my self has always been a joy… But since i moved around cities for research and job, i couldn’t maintain my collection properly… Lost/donated many of my books in the process… Now, i am in the middle of another move… So, I have no other choice other than turning to the e-books…

Kindle has been in my wishlist for a while… Many of my friends who were using it for years has been advertising the product… Yet, I stuck with the ‘real books’ because i love the feel of sitting in a room surrounded by books, taking them out once in while, turning the pages and storing them back in shelf once i finish… The joy at the last page of a good book when you are about to finish it, you will never get that from the bottom of an e-file… that is happiness at another level!!!

But, as the ‘to read list’ became longer and longer, i realised that if i start buying all those books i won’t have space to keep them… So, i finally moved the Kindle from the wishlist to the cart!!! It was a pleasure to have a kindle hand… especially when i started to get loads to books to store in it…  

Though i will miss the feel and smell of paper, i think i will love this new reading arrangement… infact i have been reading some of the Physics e-books from my laptop… moving those to kindle and reading from there is a huge relief to my eyes… Also, it would cut down the distraction of internet…

My only problem with the kindle is the keyboard mobility… typing to make notes is quite difficult there… hopefully with some practice i can do better….

So, here I am ready to move around with loads of e-books in Kindle; saving some trees for the paper…. i am consoling myself with that fact…. 

Perseverance!!!

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Perseverance
/pəːsɪˈvɪər(ə)ns/
noun
            persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

Read the following snippet from ADULTERY (Paulo Coelho) few weeks back:

A rose dreams of enjoying the company of bees, but none appears. The sun asks:
“Aren’t you tired of waiting?”
“Yes,” answers the rose, “but if I close my petals, I will wither and die.”

Yes, perseverance… sustaining life!!!