Friday, April 3, 2015


The Taj Mahal of Agra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This ‘epitome of love’ is a magnificent creation built in the memory of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

The history of Taj Mahal adds a soul to its magnificence, a true soul filled with love, loss, remorse, and love again. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan fell in love with Mumtaz Mahal at the age of 14. Five years later in the year 1612, they got married.

Mumtaz Mahal, an inseparable companion of Shah Jahan, died in 1631, while giving birth to their 14th child.

The construction of Taj Mahal started in the year 1631. It took approximately 22 years to build it making use of the services of 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants.

Masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans got engaged in its construction from the whole of the empire and also from Central Asia and Iran.

The monument was built entirely out of white marble, which was brought in from all over India and central Asia.

The entire Taj complex consists of five major constituents, namely Darwaza (main gateway), Bageecha (gardens), Masjid (mosque), Naqqar Khana (rest house) and Rauza (main mausoleum).

The main gateway is situated at the end of the long watercourse, bordered with Arabic calligraphy of verses from the Quran, made up of black stone and a domed central chamber.

The original door of the massive sandstone gateway was made out of solid silver.

The main tomb of Taj Mahal stands on a square platform raised 50 meter above the riverbank and was well-leveled with dirt to reduce seepage from the river.

The four minarets on each corner of this square are detached, facing the chamfered angles of the main and are deliberately kept at 137 feet to emphasize the beautiful and spherical dome that itself is 58 feet in diameter and 81 feet high.

The western side of the main tomb has the mosque and on the eastern side is the Naqqar Khana (rest/guest house), both made in red sandstone.

The two structures not only provide an architectural symmetry, but also make for an aesthetic color contrast. One can only marvel at the mosque and the rest house as despite being on the opposite ends, the two are mirror image of each other.

The Islamic style architecture of the garden has a well-defined meaning which symbolizes spirituality and according to the Holy Quran, the lush green, well watered is a symbol of Paradise in Islam. The raised pathways divide each of the four quarters into 16 flowerbeds with around 400 plants in each bed.

A shadowy burial crypt inside the Taj Mahal houses the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan himself, who were buried there after death. 

Above these tombs is the main chamber that has the false tombs and perforated marble screens used to transmit light into the burial chamber, typical of mausoleums of the Mughals.

Calligraphic inscriptions of the ninety nine names of Allah are also found on the sides of actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth comes in between the sun and the moon. The sun’s rays are blocked from reaching the moon normally.

But some rays of sun curve around the earth, makes the moon to appear red during a total eclipse. This vivid colour total lunar eclipse is often referred to by NASA as a Blood Red Moon.

NASA confirmed that we have had "blood-red moons" on the first day of Passover and the first day of Sukkoth on back-to-back years seven times since 1 A.D. When four “blood-red moons” appears in close succession, NASA refers this as a tetrad.

The phenomenon of four consecutive blood red moons coinciding with Jewish feast days has only occurred ten times since 1 AD and only three times since 1492 AD. The three times are as follows:
•           Tetrad of 1493-1494
•           Tetrad of 1949-1950
•           Tetrad of 1967-1968

The religious teaching states that when four consecutive blood-red moons fall on Jewish feast days, a major event affecting the Jewish people will occur in close proximity to that time.

The Spanish Inquisition took place in 1492 just before the tetrad of 1493-1494
In 1492, the Spanish Inquisition was cruel beyond belief. Firstly Jews were forced to convert to Christianity then they were severely tortured to test the sincerity of their conversions. Once they confess, then they were burnt at the stake for not being true Catholics. 

The Nation of Israel reborn on May 14, 1948 just before the tetrad of 1949-1950
After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, Jews were driven into exile. For the next 1,878 years, the Jewish people retained their identity but were shifted through the nations of the earth, having no permanent homeland.

After Hitler’s horrible holocaust during World War II, the Jews were finally granted a homeland by the nations of the world. On May 14, 1948, the modern state of Israel was born.

The City of Jerusalem was reunited during tetrad of 1967-1968
In the Old Testament God said that He would place His name in Jerusalem. During their 2,000 years of exile, the Jewish people turned their faces toward Jerusalem three times each day praying for the restoration of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of their temple in Jerusalem.

On June 7, 1967 the Jordanian attacked Israel and west Jerusalem. Israel counter-attacked thrown Jordan out of east Jerusalem and of Judea-Samaria, and back into its own land across the Jordan River. Jerusalem was undivided and under Jewish control for the first time after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD.

Four blood moons on Jewish feast days are getting ready to appear for the fourth time during 2014-2015. According to NASA, they will occur on:
•           April 15, 2014—Passover
•           October 8, 2014—Feast of Tabernacles
•           April 4, 2015—Passover
•           September 28, 2015—Feast of Tabernacles

Some prophecy teachers are declaring that this tetrad is signalling towards something ready to happen, which will change the world forever. Let us see what will happen in this Tetrad. Hope for something good…

Saturday, March 28, 2015


In 1938 Xerography, a dry printing process was invented by the American inventor Chester Carlson.

The word ‘Xerography’ comes from the Greek word which means ‘dry writing’. It was the foundation technology for copiers and laser printers.

Carlson applied for patent in 1939 and in 1942 the patent was granted to him.

But he was not successful to catch the interest of companies towards his invention. Later on, Carlson succeeded to negotiate commercial rights of his invention to Haloid Company in 1947.

This was the biggest deal of the life both for Carlson and for the company Haloid, which became one of biggest companies in the world due to this invention. Later on this company was renamed as ‘Xerox’.

In 1967 a young researcher in Xerox's Webster Research Center in Rochester, Gary K. Starkweather was sitting in his lab thinking instead of copying someone else's original, if we use a computer to generate the original and here only the idea of the laser printer was born.

At that time, the lasers were expensive devices, but convinced that the cost of lasers would drop over time and also there was a market for laser printing technology, Starkweather stuck to his guns.

His ideas were not meeting the requirements from Xerox management. Hewas told to stop working on the laser printer project. But he couldn't.

He just go through with his idea ignoring all ifs and but. He convinced people to get different parts for building it. The prototype was ready in 1969. It was built by modifying an existing xerographic copier.

Starkweather disabled the imaging system and created a spinning drum with 8 mirrored sides, with a laser focused on the drum. Light from the laser would bounce off the spinning drum, sweeping across the page as it moved through the copier.

The hardware was completed in just two weeks, but the computer interfacing and software took almost 3 months to get completed.

Printers were now a pillar of the company's growth strategy. Starkweather's drive to create the laser printer eventually transformed a small copier company into one of the world's imaging powerhouses, and revolutionized the computer printing industry.

When Xerox build the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in California in 1970, Starkweather came for salvation. 

Out of hostile territory,  he was finally given the freedom to conduct his research without fear of retribution. Starkweather went to work on building the laser printer.

In 1971, just nine months after joining PARC, Starkweather completed the first working laser printer.
He named it as ‘SLOT’, an acronym for Scanned Laser Output Terminal.

The digital control system and character generator for the printer were developed by Butler Lampson and Ronald Rider in 1972.

 The combined efforts resulted in a printer named EARS (Ethernet, Alto, Research character generator, Scanned laser output terminal).

 The EARS printer was used with the Alto computer system network and subsequently became the Xerox 9700 laser printing system.

Xerox 9700 was introduced in 1977, it was the industry's first commercial laser printer.
It was a wild success, few customers would produce the 200000 to 300000 prints per month needed for the unit to be profitable.

Starkweather shifted his research onto personal laser printers, and again worked against Xerox.
Xerox was a company that liked large, fast laser printers. They saw departmental units as the profit center for laser printer technology.

Xerox failed to realize that the profit wasn't in the printer but in the ink toner and the paper. As a result, the company was beaten up by Hewlett-Packard, which introduced the first personal laser printer in 1980.

Xerox always encouraged new ideas but never really liked to pursue them for very long. Things like Postscript, the laser printer, the personal computer, the bitmapped screen, the iconic interface, Ethernet, packet switching, all of this came out of PARC. And none of it, ended up as a product of Xerox.

In 1985, Office laser printers become available with high quality text and graphics. One of them is the Apple LaserWriter, a PostScript laser printer.

 HP LaserJet is introduced around the same time and uses the same Canon engine as the LaserWriter.
In 1987 Starkweather however left the company after 24 years of service. Following a 10-year stint at Apple Computer, Starkweather joined Microsoft Research in 1997. These days, his main area of research is display technology.

During mid-1990s, Xerox Majestik offers comparable image quality and colour to Canon CLC range and the color laser printing market becomes competitive in the market.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


A capacitor is a device for temporarily storing electric charge.

In October 1745, Ewald Georg Von Kleist of Pomerania in Germany found that charge could be stored by connecting a generator by a wire to a volume of water in a hand-held glass jar.

Von Kleist's hand and the water acted as conductors and the jar as a dielectric. Von Kleist found that touching the wire resulted in a spark even after removing the generator.

In a letter describing the experiment, he said "I would not take a second shock for the kingdom of France."

In 1746, the Leyden jar was invented by Pieter van Musschenbroek at the University of Leyden in Holland. It was a glass jar wrapped inside and out by a thin metal foil.

The two layers of electrically conducting material that is metal foil here were separated by layers of a non-conducting material that was glass in the case of the Leyden jar, but it can also be wax, mica, oil, paper, tantalum, plastic, ceramic material, or even air.

The outer foil was connected to the ground, and the inner foil was connected to a source of electricity such as an electrostatic generator.

The plates will become charged, one positively and one negatively. If the externally applied voltage is then removed, the plates of the capacitor remain charged, and the presence of the electric charge induces an electrical potential between the plates.

 Daniel Gralath was the first scientist to combine several Leyden jars in parallel into a "battery" to increase the charge storage capacity.

Benjamin Franklin checked the Leyden jar, and proved that the charge was stored on the glass, not in the water as it was assumed.

He used a Leyden jar to store electricity from lightning in his famous kite flying experiment in 1752. By doing so he proved that lightning was really electricity.

He deviced the idea of a parallel or flat plate capacitor & developed the first flat plate capacitor called the Franklin Square.

Leyden jars began to be made by coating the inside and outside of jars with metal foil, leaving a space at the mouth to prevent arcing between the foils.

The earliest unit of capacitance was the 'jar', equivalent to about 1 Nano farad.

Years later, Michael Faraday experimented and made the first practically viable capacitor. Faraday’s pioneering role in capacitor technology has been honoured by naming the SI unit of Capacitance as ‘Farad’.

Leyden jar or flat glass plate construction was used until about 1900.

The invention of wireless (radio) created a demand for standard capacitors, and the steady move to higher frequencies required capacitors with lower inductance.

A flexible dielectric sheet such as oiled paper sandwiched between sheets of metal foil, rolled or folded into a small package were constructed.

Early capacitors were also known as condensers, this term is still used occasionally now.

It was coined by Alessandro Volta in 1782.

 It was derived from the Italian word “condensatore”, with reference to the device's ability to store a higher density of electric charge than a normal isolated conductor. 

Monday, March 16, 2015


In Stanford Research Institute, scientists had to use pre-existing devices in order to interact with the computer including the light pen, joysticks and the trackball.

The first trackball consisted of a Canadian bowling ball that was supported by air bearings. It was invented by Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff in 1952. The device was created for the Royal Canadian Navy.

The first light pen was invented by Ben Gurley in 1959.

In 1961, Douglas Engelbart was attending a computer graphics conference at Stanford Research Institute. He was disturbed with the computer graphics pointing devices available at that time. The basic idea for the computer mouse came to his mind there itself.

In 1964, the first prototype of computer mouse was made to be used with a graphical user interface (GUI), 'windows' of the computer. The primitive mouse had the cord in front, but they quickly connected it to the back end for a smooth motion.

In early 1967, Engelbart and Bill English published a paper having a discussion on a “knee-control” device that appeared challenging. That device was based on Engelbart's observation that the human foot was a good sensitive controller of the gas pedal in cars. 

They discovered that the knee offered even better control at little movements in all directions. In tests, it outperformed the mouse by a small margin.

After Engelbart got the idea, he hired Bill English who had been working in another lab at SRI, to make the hardware design of the mouse.

It was a simple mechanical device with two perpendicularly mounted discs on the bottom. The user could tilt the mouse to draw perfectly straight horizontal or vertical lines.

In 1967, Engelbart applied for a patent and received it as an assignor of SRI for the wooden shell with two metal wheels.

Mouse was originally referred to as a "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System." This mouse was first attached with the Xerox Alto computer system in 1973. But it was not so successful.

The first widely used mouse was found on the Apple Lisa computer. Today, mouse is found and used on every computer.

The first cordless mouse was shipped in September, 1984, with the Metaphor computer of David Liddle and Donald Massaro, former Xerox PARC engineers. The computer also had a cordless keyboard and function keypad.

The cordless mouse was built for Metaphor by Logitech and used infra-red (IR) signals to transmit mouse data to the computer. 

The problem with IR technology using devices was that they need a clear line of sight between the mouse and the computer's receiver which was too difficult.

This problem was solved by replacing IR with radio frequency (RF) communications.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


The book Records of the Unworldly and the Strange, by Tao Gu, China in 950 AD gives the earliest descriptions of a match:
If there occurs an emergency at night it may take some time to make a light to light a lamp. But an ingenious man devised the system of impregnating little sticks of pinewood with sulphur and storing them ready for use. At the slightest touch of fire they burst into flame. This marvellous thing was earlier called a “light-bringing slave”, but afterwards when it became an article of commerce its name was changed to ‘fire inch-stick’.”

In 1669, Hennig Brandt in Hamburg was experimenting to transform an olio of base metals into gold, but accidentally produced the element phosphorous. He did not make use of his discovery.

In 1680, Robert Boyle, a British physicist coated coarse paper in phosphorous, and a splinter of wood in sulphur. When the wood was passed through the folded paper, it burst into flames. Due to the limited amount of phosphorous, this invention was little more than expensive.

In 1817, “the Ethereal Match” was invented by a French chemist in which a piece of paper coated with a compound of phosphorous got ignited when exposed to air. The paper was vacuum-sealed in a glass tube called the “match,” and whenever required it was ignited by smashing the tube.

In 1826, John Walker, an apothecary in Stockton-On-Tees, was conducting an experiment in his laboratory. He stirred a mixture of antimony sulphide, potassium chlorate, gum and starch with a wooden stick, and subsequently scraped the stick on the stone floor of the lab to remove a glob of the solution dried on the end of it.

When the stick burst into flames, Walker felt it very interesting and made several of the sticks. He demonstrated it again with Samuel Jones in London.

Samuel Jones realized the commercial potential of this sudden invention and set up a match business in London, and cleverly named his product “Lucifer’s”.  Lucifers became popular and following their introduction in London, tobacco smoking of all kinds greatly increased.

In 1831, Charles Sauria of France developed a match that used white phosphorus. These matches were strike-anywhere matches.

They were much easier to ignite and caused many unintentional fires. Also White phosphorus proved to be highly toxic. Workers in match plants inhaled white phosphorus fumes and hence suffered from a horrible degeneration of the jawbones known as "phossy jaw."

Inspite of this health hazard, white phosphorus continued to be used in strike-anywhere matches until the early 1900s, when government action in the United States and Europe forced manufacturers to switch to a nontoxic chemical.

A non-poisonous match using red phosphorous was invented in the mid-1800s; however it was more expensive to produce.

After agitation and worker actions like the London Match girl’s Strike in 1888, Government pass legislation against the use of white phosphorous, which forced match manufacturers to reform their dangerous product.

In 1844, Gustaf Pasch of Sweden placed some of the match's combustion ingredients on a separate striking surface, rather than adding them all into the match head, as an extra precaution against accidental ignition.

In 1855, J. E. Lundstrom of Sweden introduced safety matches coupling the idea of Gustaf Pasch with the discovery of less-reactive, nontoxic red phosphorus.

Although safety matches posed less of a hazard, but still many people preferred to use strike-anywhere matches, and both types continued to be used today.

In 1896, a brewing company ordered more than fifty thousand matchbooks to advertise a new product on it and the ubiquitous practice of matchbook advertising was born.

 In the 1940’s the psychological warfare branch of the U.S. government distributed thousands of matchbooks containing anti-Nazi slogans to occupied countries, and the French Resistance produced matchbooks containing instructions on how to derail Nazi trains printed on the inside cover.

Thirty thousand match heads will produce a 10-15 foot column of flame. A satchel of sixty thousand match heads has enough firepower to propel a 6 pound bowling ball 1500 feet.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


In 1938, Ruth married Elliot Handler.

In 1945, Mattel Co. was founded by Harold Matson, Elliot Handler and Ruth Handler to make picture frames. But in 1946, Matson sold his interest to the Handlers. Mattel started making and selling doll house furniture.

During early 1950s, Handler observed that her young daughter, Barbara, and her girlfriends enjoyed playing with adult female dolls as compared to baby dolls.

Handler returned from a trip to Europe with introducing "Lilli" doll which was modelled after a cartoon character in a German comic strip and in a daily newspaper called the Bild-Zeitung.

This character was known for her large breasts and sexy clothing, was originally created for adult entertainment as a symbol of sex and pornography for the men of Germany.

Ruth Handler encountered the Lilli doll on her vacation in Switzerland and now the toy company that she and her husband founded i.e. Mattel had started turning a profit.

While she watched her daughter, Barbara playing with adult dolls, Ruth Handler formulated the idea of creating an affordable adult doll for little girls.

Jack Ryan, executive of Mattel, purchased the rights for Lilli and negotiates with a company of Tokyo to create an inexpensive doll like Lilli for little girls.

American male designers challenged Handler that it would be impossible to make a doll with stylish clothing and accessories with an affordable price. But Handler accepted this challenge and created a new doll with softer look by the "rotation-moulding" process and named it “Barbie” as her daughter’s name.

Finally in 1958, Barbie was born with 11 1/2 inches height and weight 11 ounces. She debuted as a teenage model in a black and white striped swimsuit along with sunglasses, high-heeled shoes, and gold-colour hoop earrings.

Her body was shaped with movable head, arms, and legs. Barbie was the first doll in America with an adult body.

Barbie was used as a "teaching tool for femininity". As the ideal western woman with long legs and arms, a small waist, and high round chest, Barbie represented every little girl's dream of the perfect mature body.

Barbie was accompanied with an original box and a fashion booklet. The box is covered in haute-couture style drawings representing Barbie a very fashionable figure. The cover of the booklet is of Barbie's profile.

Her side-ways glancing look was set against a pink background creating an air of "remarkable sophistication".

Barbie has a pleasant attitude toward cleanliness. Barbie is seen in a Bar-B-Q outfit showing the homemaking skills required for being a good wife.

Barbie also wore undergarments that symbolized adulthood. She had a girdle, which was a necessary garment to encourage good posture in women. Barbie's first wardrobe also included two straps-less bras, one half-slip, and one floral petticoat. All private and embarrassing questions about growing up could be answered by dressing Barbie.

Another popular outfit of the first Barbie was the wedding dress. She also owned clothing for recreational activities such as playing tennis and dancing ballet.

Fashion of the 1950's was up-to-date in Barbie's wardrobes. Latest fabric innovations such as nylon tricot, nylon tulle, sheer nylon, and nylon net were used as materials for Barbie's clothing.  As women were purchasing tights, Barbie was given her first pair in 1961 to keep up with current feminine trends.

Mattel wanted to keep Barbie's image too perfect so they decided to create a more personal side of Barbie. Society's emphasis was on a family, therefore in the 1960's Barbie's parents were identified as Robert and Margareth Roberts from Willows, Wisconsin.

Along with parents, Mattel developed a boyfriend and female friend for Barbie. Ken, named after the Handler's son, was introduced as Barbie’s boyfriend in 1961 and Midge, Barbie's freckle faced friend, debuted in 1963.

Ken also came with teenage male essentials, such as a letter sweater, tuxedo, and a grey flannel suit. They believed that young girls did not need to know some realities of adulthood; therefore Ken was born with permanent underwear.

Midge was less glamorous and less intimidating. She had Barbie's body but a wider, friendly face covered in freckles. Her look was intended to be "thoughtful".

Barbie has been able to maintain her status as "the most popular fashion doll ever created". The talented staff at Mattel researches societal trends to keep Barbie current.

She has now appeared as a doctor, astronaut, businesswoman, police officer, UNICEF volunteer, and athlete. Over the years, Barbie had achieved the title of the most popular fashion doll ever since created.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The word ‘LASER’ stands for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation".

In 1917, Albert Einstein first explained the theory of stimulated emission, which became the basis of Laser.

When a photon interacts with an excited molecule or atom, it causes the emission of a second photon having the same frequency, phase, polarization and direction.

During late 1940s or 50s, scientists and engineers work hard to realize a practical device working on the principle of stimulated emission

In 1954, a predecessor of the laser, called the MASER was independently developed at Columbia University by Charles Townes and Jim Gordon and in Russia by Nicolay Basov and Alexsandr Prokhorov.

MASER stands for "Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation",

The ammonia masers were two-energy-level gaseous systems that could continuously retain a population inversion and oscillation.

Nicolaas Bloembergen proposed a three-level solid state maser at Harvard in 1956. It was demonstrated by researchers at Bell Labs that same year.

After the masers, Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes thought to make infrared or visible light masers.

In 1957 Schawlow and Townes developed an optical cavity by placing two highly reflecting mirrors parallel to each other, and positioned the amplifying medium in between the cavity.

In 1960, Maiman realized first working LASER based on Ruby at Hughes Research Laboratories.

In 1961, Javan, Bennet, and Herriot invented first gas laser using Helium- Neon gases called as He-Ne laser at Bell Laboratories.

In 1962, Johnson, Boyd, Nassau and Sodden developed continuous wave solid-state laser.

During 1964, Geusic, Markos and Van Uiteit together led to the development of first working Nd:YAG LASER at Bell Labs.

CO2 LASER was invented by Patel during 1964 at Bell Labs.

Argon Ion LASER was developed by Bridges in 1964 at Hughes Labs.

In 1965, Pimentel and Kasper made first chemical LASER at University of California, Berkley.

In 1965, Wave propagation in nonlinear media was observed.

First metal vapor LASER i.e. Zn-Cd Laser was developed at University of Utah by Silfvast, Fowles and Hopkins in 1966.

In 1966, first Dye Laser action was demonstrated by Sorokin and Lankard at IBM Labs.

In 1970, First Excimer LASER based on Xenon (Xe) only was developed by Nikolai Basov's Group at Lebedev Labs, Moscow.

It was in 1980 that Geoffrey Pert's Group gave first report of X-ray lasing action at Hull University, UK.

During 1984, Dennis Matthew's Group demonstrated "laboratory" X-ray laser from Lawrence Livermore Labs.

Monday, March 2, 2015


It is believed that the concept of parachute was firstly given by Leonardo da Vinci(1452-1519). The description of a parachute concept is found in da Vinci's notebooks along with a sketch.

Although da Vinci never made the device but his sketch consisted of a cloth material pulled tightly over a rigid pyramidal structure.

He is credited for the concept of lowering man to the ground safely using a maximum drag decelerator.
Croatian Faust Vrancic constructed a device based on Da Vinci's drawing and jumped from a Venice tower in 1617.

Faust Vrancic published Machinae Novae magazine in which he described in text and in picture form fifty-six advanced technical constructions, including Vrancic's parachute called the Homo Volans.

In 1783, Sebastian Lenormand jumped from a tower using a 14-foot diameter parachute. The first emergency use of a parachute was made by Jean Pierre Blanchard in 1785 after the hot air balloon exploded in which he was present.

Blanchard also worked on a foldable silk parachute, before then all parachutes were constructed with a rigid frame so cannot be folded.

On October 22, 1797, Andrew Garnerin become the first person to jump from hot air ballons as high as 8,000 feet in the air with a parachute without a rigid frame.

 As the parachute was coming down, severe oscillations were induced in the canopy. So he designed the first air vent in a parachute to reduce oscillations as suggested by Lalandes.

In 1890, Paul Letteman and Kathchen Paulus invented the method of folding or packing the parachute in a knapsak to be worn on the back before its release.

Kathchen Paulus was also behind the invention of the intentional breakaway, which is when one small parachute opens first and pulls open the main parachute.

The development of modern parachutes deployed at high speeds and high altitudes started in the 1930's. Knacke and Madelung developed the ribbon parachute in Germany for Ring sail parachute decelerating heavy high speed payloads.

After World War II,  Knacke invented the ring slot parachute which is used for moderate subsonic speeds. This parachute is used primarily for cargo delivery and aircraft deceleration.

By the late 1970's the parawing was replaced by the parafoil, invented in the middle 1960's by Domina Jalbert, a kite maker.

The parafoil or ram-air parachute is a deformable airfoil that maintains its shape by trapping air between two rectangle shaped membranes, sewn together at the trailing edge and sides, but open at the leading edge.

Several ribs are sewn to the inside of the upper and lower surfaces, maintaining an airfoil cross section in the spanwise direction.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


·         Mobile phones have become an indispencible part of our lives. Due to the fast growing technology and innovations over a period of time, mobile phones are now affordable to everyone.

·         It was Charles Stevenson who invented radio communication in early 1890s for keeping contacts with the offshore lighthouses.

·         In 1894, Marconi transmitted signals over the distance of 2 km and Fessenden capably broadcasted music through radio by 1906.

·         In 1908, Nathan B. Stubblefield lived in Murray, Kentucky applied for the U.S. Patent 887,357 for a wireless telephone but he originally applied only for radio telephones.

·         The radio telephones were used for air traffic safety as well as in the passenger airplanes. At the time of Second World War, German tanks made great use of these radio telephones too.

·         Two way radios were an ancestor of the mobiles phones. These mobile phones are referred to as 0G mobile phones, or Zero Generation mobile phones.

·         Later these radio phones incorporated cigarette lighter plugs and were called bag phones. They were fixed in the vehicles to be used either as portable two way radios or mobile phones.

·         In 1940s, Motorola came with new developments in mobile phones called as Walkie Talkie. It was large, bulky and battery operated and was used by US military.

·         In 1956, Ericsson Company released the earliest full automatic cellular phone system called MTA in Sweden. It was operated automatically but too much bulky, weighed around 40 kgs. Its lighter version was introduced in 1965. This was known as MTB and used the DTMF signaling.

·         In 1957, Leonid Kupriyanovich developed experimental model of wearable mobile phones in Moscow, operating with the help of base station. He developed the radio phone known as LK-1 whose battery lasted for around 20-30 hours, weighing 3 kg, and worked within the distance of 20 to 30 km from the station.

·         In 1966, another automatic pocket mobile phone was developed in 1966 at Bulgaria called RAT-0.5, phone coordinated with the base station known as RATZ-10.

·         Invention of mobile phones that closely resembles today’s mobile phones is credited to Martin Cooper, employer and researcher of Motorola.  He initially developed cellular phone named Motorola Dynatac in 1973.

·         It was 5 inches width and 9 inches in length, 2.5 pounds in weight having around 30 circuit boards in it. It had recharge time of around 10 hours, talk time of 35 minutes. One could listen, dial and talk on this mobile phone but display screen was still missing.

·         The next major step in mobile phone history was in the mid-eighties with the First Generation (1G) fully automatic cellular networks were introduced.

·         Motorola DynaTac was the first ever mobile phone to be approved by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the USA in 1983.

·         In 1993, the birth of the Second Generation (2G) mobile phones was found in Finland. In the same year, first SMS text messages were sent and that data services began to appear on mobile phones.
·         Mobiles that we use today are 3G mobiles, or Third Generation mobiles, or even more advanced 4G handsets.

·         3G launched was launched in 2001 and allowed operators to enjoy a huge range of advanced services such as video calling and HSPA data transmission.

·         4G became commercially available in the UK in late 2012 and offers superfast connections and similarly speedy downloads.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Thermometer is a device used to measure temperature, by using materials that change in some way when either heated or cooled. In a mercury or alcohol thermometer, the liquid expands as it is heated and contracts when it is cooled, so the length of the liquid column is longer or shorter depending on the temperature. Modern thermometers are calibrated in standard temperature units such as Fahrenheit or Celsius.

In 1596, Galileo Galilei is often claimed to be the inventor of the thermometer. However the instrument he invented was a thermoscope, the predecessor to the thermometer.  The thermoscope is a thermometer without a scale. It indicates differences in temperature if the temperature is higher or lower.

Savants had found out that it might be possible to use air and water to invent a "ruler" or scale that would mark the grades from cold to hot and back again. They experimented with thermoscope involving a column of air in a tube with one end in a container of coloured water. In 1610, Galileo tried it with wine instead, and so is credited with the first alcohol thermometer.

The Italian, Santorio Santorio (1561-1636) is generally appreciated for applying a scale to an air thermoscope around 1612 and thus is thought to be the inventor of the thermometer as a temperature measuring device. Santorio's instrument was an air thermometer. Its accuracy was poor due to the effects of varying air pressure on the thermometer.

The first sealed thermometer was designed in 1641 for the grand duke of Tuscany. It used alcohol, and it had degree marks. But the man who used the freezing point of water as the "zero" or starting point was a Londoner, Robert Hooke, in 1664. An astronomer called Roemer in Copenhagen chose ice and the boiling point of water as his two reference points, and started keeping weather records.

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) was the German physicist who invented the alcohol thermometer in 1709, and the mercury thermometer in 1714. In 1724, he introduced the temperature scale that bears his name - Fahrenheit Scale.

In 1724, a German instrument maker called Gabriel Fahrenheit settled on mercury as the most suitable liquid for measuring temperature.

 He calibrated his first thermometer using a mixture of ice and water with sea salt as his zero. But salt water has a much lower freezing point than ordinary water, so for his purposes he chose his freezing point as 30, and the temperature inside the mouth of a healthy human as 96. 

With those three points, he established the boiling point of water at 212 and later adjusted his freezing point of water to 32. This way, he could count 180 degrees between boiling and freezing, at sea level.

Two decades later, Linnaeus - the Swede who invented the taxonomic system naturalists now use for naming species - and a Swedish astronomer called Anders Celsius separately worked out a scale of just one hundred degrees between freezing and boiling points. Because there were 100 steps between the two states, it was called a "centigrade" scale.

Lord Kelvin took the whole process one step further and led to the invention of the Kelvin Scale in 1848. The Kelvin Scale measures the ultimate extremes of hot and cold. Kelvin developed the idea of absolute temperature, often called the "Second Law of Thermodynamics", and developed the dynamical theory of heat.

He used the centigrade scale, but started from absolute zero, the point at which all molecular motion stops, the lowest conceivable temperature in the universe. This turned out to be -273.16C.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Weapons have been used from time immemorial. But they have been developed from time to time, catering to the needs of humans. The use of Longbow and swords are found in the historical wars or battles. Rat race of collecting arms for the national d├ętente is not new. Whether for purpose of self defense or offence, guns have a fascinating history.

Mythical monk from Germany is believed to have given idea of propelling projectile with the gunpowder in the 1300s. And Arabs are known to be inventors of earliest cannon named madfaa. This cannon was a wooden bowl with gunpowder in it and cannonball was made to stand on bowl’s rim. Its name that meant pot of fire, described how the iron bottle gripped gunpowder. Modern cannons were developed from this model only.

It was in 1364 that mankind first recorded the use of a firearm. These weapons, called “hand cannons,” were the first step in the creation of guns.
hand cannon
Originally, a wick was tied to “touch hole” inside of the barrel of guns. Then, when one lit the wick, the powder would inevitably be ignited inside, creating the reaction needed to launch the projectile. Obviously it was awkward to hold both gun & slow match while trying to dip the match to the touch hole of the hand cannon.

It was due to the matchlock gun arrived in the 1400s that guns began to evolve. This particular firearm was the first gun that used mechanics to release a bullet.
matchlock gun
Serpentine, the device was S-shaped and lowered slow match in priming pan whenever a gunman pressed the trigger. Introduction of this device had modernized gunnery while letting the aimers shoot and aim using both their hands. Musket was around 5-6 feet long with twenty pounds of weight. Supported by forked stick, musket users were known as musketeers.

In 1509, the creation of the wheel lock made for an even more intriguing and advanced weapon. Contrary to the matchlock, which required a wick to ignite the gun for usage, the wheel lock was a steel wheel that created the spark needed to ignite the gun.
This wheel lock led to introduction of pistols. Slightly curved and with length of two feet made their way as gun of cavalry. But wheel lock used in the pistols was costly and hence army prepared cheaper matchlocks as replacements.
Wheel lock gun

The flintlock solved a longstanding problem. In the late 1500s, a lid was added to the flash pan design. To expose or protect the powder, the lid had to be moved manually. The flintlock mechanism was designed to push back the lid and spark a flint at the same time. The flintlock ignition system reigned for two centuries, with virtually no alteration.
Flint is an amazingly hard form of rock. If iron or steel is striked with flint, the flint flakes off tiny particles of iron. The force of the blow and the friction it creates actually ignites the iron, and it burns rapidly to form Fe3O4. The sparks are the hot specks of iron burning.  If these sparks come near gunpowder, they will ignite it.
Flintlock gun

The first multi-shot, revolving firearms that were mass produced came from Samuel Colt. Colt produced a gun that enabled people to fire multiple shots without reloading — a development that forever changed warfare.

Introduced at the start of the Civil War, Spencer repeating guns were technically advanced, used cartridges (a recent development), and could fire 7 shots in 15 seconds. But the Army didn’t want a repeating gun, fearing that soldiers would fire more often, constantly need fresh ammunition, and overtax the supply system.

But in 1863,President Lincoln test-fired a Spencer. His approval led to the purchase of 107,372 Spencer repeating carbines and rifles (of 144,500 made), and the Spencer became the principal repeating gun of the Civil War.

Winchester rifles were affordable, and became the generic rifle. The Winchester had such a powerful hold in some regions that it actually became known as "the gun that won the West." In 1887, Winchester came out with their first repeating shotguns.

The next major milestone for Winchester came in 1903, when the company introduced the first automatic rifle that would become widely used.

According to the National Firearms Museum, the first truly fully automatic machine guns (firearms that fire continuously while the trigger is held down) emerged in the 1880s when Hiram Maxim perfected the technology. Then, John Moses Browning followed these weapons up with the .30 caliber Model 1917 and the .50 caliber M-2 “Ma Deuce” — the latter of which is still used today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


The very first car might be the invention of a Flemish missionary Verbiest who was born in Flanders in 1623 and was an accomplished astronomer in Europe but left Europe for China in 1658.

He built a small, self-propelled vehicle which consisted of a rudimentary, ball-shaped boiler, which then forced steam towards a turbine that could turn the back wheels.

This was a remarkable achievement, but there were some pretty big caveats . The car was so small just like a toy car. It was about two feet long, far too tiny for any human to ride in it.

The 1700s were dominated by various inventors working to use the steam engine in automobile. Thomas Newcomen and James Watt were probably the most famous of these. But the first person to take a steam engine and place it on a full-sized vehicle was a Frenchman named Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, who between 1769 and 1771 built a steam-powered automobile more than thirty years before the railway's first steam locomotive.

Cugnot's design was quite unique. The contraption weighed about 2.5 tons, had two big wheels in the back and a single thick central wheel at the front, and could seat four people. The boiler was placed well out in the front, which made the vehicle more difficult to control. While its top speed was meant to be about five miles per hour.

Most people agreed with the fact that it had poor weight distribution and so was unable to handle even moderately rough terrain. Since its intended purpose was as a transport for heavy artillery on the battlefield, that has to be considered a drawback.One story says that the second of Cugnot's two vehicles crashed into a wall in 1771, which might make it the first ever automobile accident.

Russian inventor Ivan Kulibin came with a steam-powered vehicle in the 1780s, and it featured plenty of modern automotive hallmarks, including brakes, gearbox, flywheel, and bearing. The problem is that, though it did have a steam engine component, it still required human peddling to operate, so it can't really be considered an automobile.

Steam-powered mass transit had some limited success in the opening years of the 1800s, but it wasn't until the 1820s and 1830s that steam buses began gaining popularity with the British public.
The steam buses proved to be something of a dead end, and engineers turned their attention to traction engines, which were slower, more stable machines that were basically just steam locomotives adapted for use on land.

The Locomotive Act of 1865 said no land vehicle could travel faster than 4 miles per hour, and that all such vehicles had to be preceded by a man waving a red flag and blowing a horn.

While steam remained the main focus of inventors in search of a practical automobile, the results remained difficult to control and incapable of reaching speeds much over about five miles per hour.

The internal combustion engine provided the pathway to the first modern automobiles, with Karl Benz generally getting the credit for the first successful invention in 1886.

Vehicles with electrical engines were also invented. Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first electric carriage. Electric cars used rechargeable batteries that powered a small electric motor.

 The vehicles were heavy, slow, expensive, and needed to stop for recharging frequently. Both steam and electric road vehicles were abandoned in favor of gas-powered vehicles. Electricity found greater success in tramways and streetcars, where a constant supply of electricity was possible.

Austria has its own claim to the first inventor of the automobile in Siegfreid Marcus.   In 1870, Marcus  built a simple cart with a gasoline engine directly linked to the rear wheels.  This prototype had no steering, brakes, gearing, clutch or seat.  Marcus followed up the first prototype with a design for a second car, which was built years later in 1889.  The papers of Marcus were destroyed by the Nazis, who did not want to draw attention to the invention of an early automobile by a Jew. 

The first automobile to be produced in quantity was the 1901 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, which was built in the United States by Ransom E. Olds. Modern automobile mass production, and its use of the modern industrial assembly line, is credited to Henry Ford of Detroit, Michigan, who had built his first gasoline-powered car in 1896.  Ford began producing his Model T in 1908, and by 1927, when it was discontinued, over 18 million had rolled off the assembly line.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Roman philosopher Seneca was known to use water-filled objects as a means to magnify text for reading as early as 4 B.C. It is believed that the Egyptians and Assyrians were the initial inventors of optical lens styles. They were depicted to made use of magnifying stones to enlarge text and print. Initially Magnifying technology was used for the purpose of vision correction and enhancing smaller images.

The first vision aid was invented around 1000 AD popularly known as reading stone. The reading stone was a glass sphere that was kept on top of the reading material to magnify the letters. The first wearable eye glasses were invented around 1284 in Italy. It is thought that Salvino D'Armate was their inventor but this claim has been proven to be totally false.

Early recorded evidence demonstrates that glasses first appeared in Pisa, Italy about the year 1286. Technically, they were formed from two primitive convex shaped glass/crystal stones. Each was surrounded by a frame and given a handle. These were then connected together through the ends of their handles by a rivet.

The 15th century marks a crucial time in the development of spectacles. The city of Florence by the middle of the fifteenth century led in innovation, production, sale, and spread of spectacles within and outside Italy as found in documents. Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press around 1450 made use of glasses by artisans as well as monks and other religious scholars. By the end of the 15th century, spectacle peddlers were selling glasses on the streets of Western Europe. People often rummaged through baskets filled with German metal and leather spectacles in order to improve their vision. The purchaser tried several pair and finally selected the one giving clear vision. This demand increased exponentially after 1665, when the first newspaper, the London Gazette, appeared.

During the 17th century tinted lenses first became popular. Round lenses were almost universal. Until the end of the 18th century oval lenses became more popular and fashionable. The earliest frames were made of wood, horn, or bone. Leather frames had a relatively short life span but were popular from the 16th to the middle of the 18th century. Rectangular lenses became popular in the mid-1830’s. Some materials for later frames included brass, tortoiseshell from the hawksbill turtle, baleen, steel, silver, and gold. The cases also were often very finely crafted. The oldest existing spectacle case in the world was found in 1982 in Freiburg, Germany and it probably dates to the 14th century.

Aristocrats commonly used monocles as a status symbol and fashion statement. The elegant double eyeglass on a handle (scissors glasses) and the typically elaborate single lens magnifier (quizzer) had become common among the more fashionable members of French and German society in the second half of the 18th century. Both Lafayette and Napoleon used scissors glasses.

Lorgnettes, used most often by women, developed around 1780 from the scissors glasses of France and England. It is believed to have been first popularized by London’s George Adams, Jr. (1750-1795). They had a handle on the temporal side.

In England, especially between 1758 and about 1790, the so-called Martin’s Margins became popular. London optician Benjamin Martin (1704-1782) developed Visual Glasses in 1756 in an attempt to reduce the supposed damage to the eyes from excessive light. The aperture of the lenses was reduced by a horn annulus placed inside the ordinary sized frame.

Bifocals or split lenses were improvised most likely in London after the 1760’s by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). They were made by halving lenses of differing powers and positioning the segments together with a straight line across the middle. The upper portion was ground for distance vision while the lower portion was ground for the near vision. He was certainly wearing them and able to order them from local opticians by the mid 1780’s. Franklin wrote to London philanthropist George Whatley in May 1785, "as I wear my own glasses constantly, I have only to move my eyes up or down, as I want to see distinctly far or near, the proper glasses being always ready." Franklin’s split lens bifocal was the first "no-jump" bifocal, one hundred years ahead of its time, because the distant optical center, the near optical center, and the combined optical center were all at the same point.

As the 19th Century came to a close, more and more people wore their eyeglasses everyday.  A popular style of inexpensive, everyday spectacles was the pince-nez. French for "pinch nose," the pince-nez was first developed in France circa 1840 and began to be imported to America after the 1850s.

Pince-nez have no temples, but are fit snugly on the bridge of the nose. Pince- nez could be uncomfortable to wear and broke often from falling of the nose. The popularity of pince-nez was helped by political figures such as U.S. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge who wore them regularly.

Although pince-nez were still widely popular in the 1920s, they began to be seen as stuffy and old-fashioned. A Hollywood actor named Harold Lloyd was known for wearing tortoiseshell spectacles with large, round lenses. His photos and Hollywood movies started a fashion craze for temple spectacles.

In the 1930s sunglasses became popular for the first time. Sir William Crookes of England created a lens capable of absorbing both ultraviolet and infrared light. Further advances in sunglass design were accomplished in order to meet the needs of military pilots in World War II (1939 - 1945). As a result, manufacturers began to market sunglasses that were both practical and fashionable.

By the 1940s, advances in the manufacture of plastics made a large variety of spectacles available in every color of the rainbow. Women wore frames characterized by an upsweep on the top rim, a style that was very popular until the end of the 1950s, while men tended to sport gold wire frames.

By the latter half of the 20th century, spectacles were considered part of a person's wardrobe. More and more celebrities were influencing spectacle fashion, for example, in the 1970s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis helped to popularize oversized lenses.