In this blog, I intend to write my thoughts on things happening around me, the news I see in the TV, something I read or anything that captures my attention. I will try to avoid the effect of everyday ups and downs of my personal life on the contents of the blog.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Earth Hour

Let's talk black and white, after all it is about keeping the light on, in this case turning the lights off. The emerging economies (BRIC) are so much power starved that it is unfair to compare the developed vs developing nations on the same scale.

But why am I raising this with a topic 'Earth Hour' ...?

Good to see that the 'Earth Hour' campaign has caught up good steam in about 3 years. It originated from Sydney, Australia in 2007 when the city's household and businesses decided to turn off their lights for an hour campaigned by WWF. Many other countries joined the next year onwards. Earth hour is observed on the last Saturday of March.

The statistics on energy saved due to this is highly debated and my verdict is that it will definitely be insignificant if we take into account the additional energy consumed by the propaganda, campaign materials and celebrity ramp walks involved, but is it really about the energy saved in that one hour? NO, to me it is more about spreading the message. The message about how much energy could be conserved by thinking a second time on the non-essential power usage we do, about bringing an awareness to people who have never seen a power cut or energy shortage in their lifetime.

Now, let me get back to my 'comparison' which I started with. At a rate of 0.7 kW per person consumption in India vs a 11.4 kW per person consumption in the US it is not a same plane comparison. 25% of world's energy is consumed by USA with 5% of world population. With 20% of the world's population, China consumes at a rate of 1.6 kW per person. I use USA as my benchmark not to point fingers rather to point out that any country that has reached a level of development of USA will be consuming at that rate. If by magic, we make all the other countries as developed as the US we all will be guzzling 11.4 kW per person which is scary, it is worse because our source of energy is mostly finite dependent on hydel or fossil fuels. I do not want to comment on who deserves more power, the developed nations whose development and better technology is also helping developing ones to be efficient or the developing nations who deserve a chance to catch up with the developed nations. It will be a never ending debate. The need of hour is AWARENESS.

If saving power is the motive, my thumbs down to earth hour campaign, it makes no senses to people like me living in place where we have such 'earth' hours almost every day and with such high power tariffs we cannot miss to switch off unwanted lights. We save much more power with regular power cuts than a once a year DAY for it. Brazil, having 90% of its power generated from water was caught a deep power crisis when rains failed for a few years. The government had to impose extreme steps like power-rationing mandating industry and middle class household to cut consumption by 70% or face a 300% fine on bills else risk lines being cut off.

As a global awareness campaign I see Earth hour is popular and hope it has the desired effect too on people who can make a difference with just a second thought

Bangalore, India during earth hour

Bangalore, India after earth hour

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Avatar - setting the bar so high

I watched the 3D movie AVATAR. The term 'Avatar' is not new to the cyber generation and it is not new even to the older generations in India (In Sanskrit it means incarnation). If I need to choose one word to describe the movie, it is 'Brilliance'.Imaginations in the human mind has no limits, the medium these imaginations could be manifested is the limitation. We are awestruck when these barriers are broken, every time. Jaws dropped when someone made a moving picture then when people could talk in the movie and when they could see it in colors then seeing their favorite cartoon character live and moving, when they could hear to stereo sound and then multiple channel surround sound...Records are set, only to be broken and our species is always in the pursuit to keep bettering things, which is what sets us apart. It is the pursuit to excel and control that makes us adventurous.

Not intending to write a long commentary about the plot, this fictional movie talks of the adventurous attitude added with greed driving humans to not respect the way of life of other alien beings in their land. As always, good wins over evil, in this case, evil being the human kinds.

The hero here is the story telling, I am amazed to see how much technology has enabled us to depict our dreams. There's been 3-D movies earlier but here's one I see which has not used this technique to thrill people by scaring us rather make us experience the environment. There are certain scenes where it is hard to resist putting out your hand to feel a beautiful glowing seed that descends down the holy tree. I also see that Hollywood is evolving to think beyond a limited set of sounds made by aliens or huge creatures which have been a predictable standard so far from the Dinos to Godzillas to any other kind of monsters. Here are some barking, tweeting and cawing species.

I think this 'Avatar' has set a record of sorts, hard to be beaten immediately but would love to see something that could better it soon, it is all about getting entertained. This movie does not have a special product to sell but like Starbucks and Virgin Atlantic has made it nearly impossible to duplicate the experience it sells on the product/service.

Quoting something totally out of context but I think IS relevant [Remember, this is MY blog and I reserve the right to quote unquote anything :) ].In Bhagvad Geetha, the guiding holy scripture of Hinduism, a religion practiced around numerous stories of good-over-evil, it is said that whenever the quality of humans fall below tolerable limits God manifests on earth as an 'Avatar'. Bhagvad Geetha is a book of philosophical advice given by God who rides the charriott for a prince into a battle. The prince, Arjuna, a master of archery refuses to shoot any arrows seeing that it is his own cousin brothers and uncles who are pitted against him in the battle. God advises Arjuna all about the cycle of life and explains that it is good to do anything to destroy evil. Coming back to the verse I wanted to quote:

"yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham"

Meaning :-
"when ever and where ever there is decline and decay of righteousness,
O Bharatha (Arjuna), then I manifest myself.
In all such dark periods of history, some great master comes to present himself as the leader of men to revive the standard of life and moral values"!!!

The movie AVATAR is here setting the bar higher for 3D graphics and animation industry and is asking us stretch our imaginations far beyond huge noisy creatures and uncontrollable natural disasters or scientific experiments.