Problem with Facebook – On Facebook Everybody Loses

By Anupum Pant

I had to say this a couple of weeks back. But, now I think, I’ve gravely been irritated by Facebook to let it out. So here goes a post on how Facebook is repeatedly trying to make you confirm your own  pre-conceived notions and is basically making you an ignorant person everyday, is hurting page owners, and they are doing all of this to make short-term money for themselves. It is evil. That, is the problem with Facebook.

Almost every good thing you want to see is hidden from you on Facebook

Okay, let us start with my Facebook page. I know it is a small one, with just 446 likes (as of today). That said, I can tell you one thing for sure, I never forced any one of these people to like my page, nor have I ever advertised my page on Facebook to amass likes. All, or may be most of the people who like my page wished to clearly subscribe to my content and my views. Clearly, they wanted to be updated on the things I was posting. But Facebook tells me, that isn’t happening, unless I pay them the money.

Now take a minute to look at the screenshot below:

Facebook page insights
Look at the total reach.

See the first post in that list. Of all the 446 people who’ve subscribed to the page, this appeared on only 15 news feeds. Moreover, the chances are high that all of these 15 people must have not even scrolled down to see the loaded post. So, probably 10 of the 15 loads were just useless loads. 5 of them who actually saw the post, decided (probably subconsciously) to not engage – that is understandable. Even if all the 15 people did see this post, how is that fair? Continue reading Problem with Facebook – On Facebook Everybody Loses

Train Wheels are Not as Simple as They Seem

By Anupum Pant

I’m pretty sure not many of you know this about train wheels, neither did I.

Look at the picture and answer this: What do you think keeps a train moving on the track? or Which part of the wheel do you think it is that keeps the train from careening away from the track at turns?
Applying general logic, I thought that flanges at the end of the wheels  kept a train from going off rails at a turn. Turns out, I was wrong!

In fact, flanges at the end of the wheels are just a safety mechanism to keep the train on its track only if the main mechanism fails. And what is that main mechanism?

The problem with cornersTrain wheels are conical in shape. That means they have a varying diameter at different points of contact. Now, suppose the track turns right. The train’s left wheels now have to travel more than the right wheels because at the turn the track on the left is longer.

So how do the left wheels travels more than the right wheels without a differential?
Since the wheels are conical in shape, the whole wheel-set shifts a bit to the left, if the track curves right. Now the point of contact of the left wheel is at a larger diameter of the cone. While the smaller wheel Correction from the toptouches at a point where the diameter of the wheel is lesser. Therefore, if the left wheel now makes one circle it travels further than the right wheels and the train moves along the curve smoothly.

The whole beauty of this system is that the amount of shift of the wheel-set happens automatically, makes the train move on turns smoothly and keeps the train on track.

Look at how you can try this at home using 2 plastic cups and 2 similar pipes. [Experiment]

If I couldn’t explain it properly, probably the best physics teacher ever – Richard Feynman – will explain it to you better. [Video]

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Concrete Cloth – Makes Durable Shelters Within Hours

By Anupum Pant

Today we have something which civil engineers would be extremely proud of – A recent innovation in concrete technology that has an immense life-changing potential – The concrete cloth; certainly a splendid engineering marvel.

What is it?

It is material which feels like a very thick canvas and has a three-dimensional fiber matrix. This piece of thick cloth is impregnated with a specially formulated concrete mixture. Once it is completely wet with water, it hardens into a thin, strong, fire-resistant and water-proof material, within a few hours. Commercial variants either have a hydrophobic coating on the outer surface or a PVC lining from the inside to make it completely impermeable to water.

Concrete Cloth

Since it just a thick piece of canvas impregnated with concrete, it can be transported fairly easily and can be made into various shapes to be used for different applications. For instance, it can be used for rapidly deploying hardened concrete shelters for people in need. It works like this:

  1. You carry a huge concrete canvas balloon with you in a truck.
  2. Place it wherever you need the shelter to be deployed.
  3. Pump water into it.
  4. Quickly start inflating it using a pump.
  5. Pull it around using, say a truck.
  6. Wait for it to harden.

Advantages:

  • To erect a shelter with concrete canvas, it only takes a fraction of the time taken to construct a shelter using tradition building techniques.
  • Unlike cloth tents, this one is extremely durable and can last for about 10 years. Moreover, it protects the residents from any form of extreme weather outside (Thermally insulated).
  • Construction material is light enough to be transported by a small pickup truck.
  • Requires just 2 people and can be deployed to a ready state within 24 hours – Within these 24 hours it gains about 80% of its full strength.
  • Can be tailored as required with the help of staples, cuts and nails / screws. In fact cutting it before hardening is not much different from cutting a thick piece of cloth.
  • Does not burn and is water-proof.
[Read more]
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