Making Life Multi planetary: Elon Musk’s master plan in a nutshell

Last year, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled a masterplan to make humans a multi-planetary species by establishing a colony in Mars at the International Astronautically Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico. In his latest presentation at the IAC in Adelaide, Australia, he has provide an update to his 2016 presentation. Let’s have a look at the master plan in a nutsell:

In order to make humans multi-planetary, the first step is making a reusable rocket that can transport cargo and humans to anywhere in the solar system. The Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) is a huge spaceship that will make this possible. It will be powered by 42 of SpaceX Raptor Engine, which is still in development. It will be the most powerful rocket that will ever be build which can carry cargo to Mars of up to 450 tons. The booster system is referred to as the BFR. In his latest plan, he has scaled down the number of raptor engines to 31 in the ITS.

ITS rockets will launch spaceships into a parking orbit around Earth. The first stage will come back to the Launchpad to be refuelled. Then. It will launch a tanker version of the spacecraft. The propellant tanker goes up anywhere from three to five times to fill the tanks of the spaceship in orbit. Once the tanks are full, the ship would begin its long journey to Mars every 26 months.

Another key factor is making the trip affordable. It is estimated that the trip will cost $140,000 per ton. Hence, a trip per person will cost approximately $200,000 over time. But, it’s going to be a challenge to fund the whole endeavour. SpaceX will need to generate a lot of net cash flow from launching satellites and cargo to ISS.

According to the latest plan, he hopes to have the first launch by 2022 (that’s not a typo). At least two cargo ships are planned for 2022, in a move to confirm water resources and identify hazards as well as set up power mining and life-support infrastructure for future flights. The first crewed mission is planned by 2024. The craft will be able to hold 100 people in 40 cabins.

He also laid out a plan to establish a base on the moon. We will have to wait and see how this would emerge out in future. Another interesting fact is that BFR could also be used to transport people within the earth. The rocket would be able to travel across major cities in 30 mins and anywhere on Earth in less than an hour. A trip from Delhi to Sydney will take 36 mins. Although we don’t want a cost estimate, this could possibly work if it’s affordable.

At the end of the day, Space exploration is going to get even more exciting. Lockheed Martin Corp has also announced separate plans for a manned Mars journey – unveiling concept drawings of a “base camp” space station orbiting Mars and landing craft that would carry four astronauts to the planet’s surface. Many more players are expected to join the space race to colonize Mars. Only time will tell, who will be the real winner?

Self-made artificial reality – “Dreams”


You can turn your can’t into a can when you can turn your dreams into plans. As Abdul Kalam once said, “you have to dream before your dream can come true”. Let us analyse what all you have dreamt for 20+ long years and some facts about your fantasy world of Dreams.

A daydream or a night dream, your brain now will never accept others as a Hero of your fictional world. But, believe me, until you turn four years old, your dreams would have never accepted you as a Hero. Yes! You should turn 4 years old to start your own dreams. Blessing you to have a long life, we also bless you to have 6 years of your life spent dreaming (its proven fact man! “6years”).

Had someone not dreamt about DNA double helical structure, Alternating current generator periodic table etc., I’m sure the science textbook would have been a lot thinner. Yes! They discovered or invented them after dreaming about them. It seems that you cannot read or tell the time in your dreams. Then how could Dmitri dream about a periodic table? Well, he left us without explaining it.

I’m sorry to tell all those 99 percentile scorers of the world, whom-so-ever you are, you will forget 90% of your dream in 10 minutes once you are awake. If you didn’t, then you definitely need a doctor. Also, understand that our brain functions more actively during the night than during the day. So from here on, you can challenge anyone that you were more intelligent during the night than during a day.

“Men, men and men” in a man’s dream but “men and women in equal numbers” in a female’s dream! Oops! Gender discrimination in dreams also. Men, please control the number of men in your dreams as dreams can be controlled. It’s called lucid dreaming. If you still can’t control, try having some female talking beside you while you dream as brain incorporates external voices into the dreams while dreaming. If this option is also not possible, then try to snore. You can’t dream while you snore.

Not everyone’s dreams are colourful. 12% of the people dream in black and white. Are you one amongst them? This doesn’t mean that blind people can’t dream. They dream about other senses like smell, taste and feel etc. My dog, your cat, his parrot, their cow every animal dreams. But remember everyone who comes into your dreams are the ones whom you would have seen at least once in your life. Hereafter, no confusion that some unknown girl has come into your dreams. Go, find her, she might be somewhere around.

Foretelling is completely possible by dreams. People of Titanic and 9/11 dreamt about their crash and believe me 18-38% of the foretelling has proved to be true. These kinds of dreams are called premonition dreams.

Haaa! Not all dreams are sweet dreams. There are negative sides for these dreams as well. Rapid eye movement (REM) is a stage of dream where you sleepwalk, injure yourself etc. there are cases where people killed and got killed by being in this state. Sleep paralysis occurs to some during their sleep where they report inability to move their body or strong evil presence in their room. Dimethyltryphamine, famously called as dream drug is available in the market which is actually banned. These help in prolongation of your dreams and take you to a state where you can’t differentiate between a real world and a dream world.

Finally, though there is a darker side for dreams as well, you still have a treatment for them and they are not life-threatening. If your aim is to work in Google, know the fact that Google was also an invention from a dream. So dream, dream and dream. “Have a fantabulous dream”.

Article Written by Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy

Book Review: Breakout Nations- In search of next economic miracles


Ruchir Sharma is known for his outstanding business acumen. He is also known to be one of the most influential and powerful persons on the planet. His study on the emerging markets as per the current scenario is well explained in the book. The book is to be read in retrospect as it was written in 2012. Nevertheless, many things have changed its shape or have become crystalline from the natural nebulous state such as price wars, demonetization in India and addition of Renminbi (Chinese Yuan) to the currency basket. The book dwells into the geo-political and economic foray in a lucid and eloquent manner.

The approach of analyzing every country separately with comprehensive insights on its history helps the reader to understand the chapter thoroughly. The length of each chapter is also relatively small. The book is intriguing and extremely informative. The analysis of Turkey, Sri Lanka and the Five Tigers of Asia were appalling to me. The curiosity zoomed to heights after reading the initial few pages. The book talks on various economic factors like currency level, GDP, per capita income, Gini Coefficient and technology infusion. The blend of history with the present and Ruchir’s assessment of the future is a fantastic approach, as it becomes a complete learning experience to the audience.

The metaphors such as “morphic resonance” helps the reader understand the pervasion of knowledge among different economies in the world. The book emphasizes on the underlying causes rather the facts that can be obtained online from many sources. For example, the comparison of Indian “Hindu Rate of Growth” with the South African rate of growth in the nascent years of post-independence is well elaborated instead of just comparing them. Another landmark example that I loved was, the discussion on the uprising of Turkey with the integration of secularity and religious orientation. The basics are laid out clearly so that the reader could understand the dynamics of the MEA (Middle East Asia) with respect to the entire world.

The book also talks about other important countries in the global arena and their confrontations in striving to make their country a developed one. The description on all countries are crisp and it is an easy read for the audience. I would urge all the students interested in basic economics and geo-politics to definitely give it a solid read. I was lured by Fareed Zakaria’s statement about the book, “This book is one of the most interesting ones on economic landscape” and trust me, it is that good!

I would rate the book a 4.5 out of 5. I personally felt that the book was short with minimalistic yet optimal details. Perhaps, many would feel this itself to be heavy, as it is loaded with insights and information! I am eagerly waiting to start reading the next book of Ruchir which is also on the same lines, called as “The rise and fall of Nations”.

Nobel Prizes 2017

As it happens every year, this year’s Nobel prize did not disappoint anyone. Breakthrough researches in different fields were recognized and the prizes were awarded accordingly. Each noble laureate would receive a gold medal, a diploma and a sum of money as decided by the foundation.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Barry. C. Barish and Kip. S. Thorne for the detection of gravitational waves. Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was used to detect these waves. The detected gravitational waves were generated when black holes merged with each other creating a space time distortion. This also proves Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

Next, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for developing cryo-electron microscopy. The high resolution microscope is used to determine the structure of bio molecules. It will also facilitate the observation of bio-molecules by freezing them mid-movement. This 3 dimensional view of atomic particles was the result of series of discoveries by these laureates. First a protein was viewed 3 dimensionally, later the electron microscope was used to merge two 2 dimensional objects to generate 3 dimensional view. Finally, water was added to microscope’s vacuum to evaporate and collapse bio molecules making them to freeze.

Later, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Jeffery. C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael. W. young. They discovered the “molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” For many years, we knew that our body adopts to the regular rhythm of the day. The nobel laureates identified the gene responsible for biological clock and isolated a specific protein responsible for it. Also, they proved the after effects of not adopting to the cycle. Jet lag, alzheimer’s disease are few such cases.

Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” Being a British writer of Japanese origin he could provide a unique perspective of Japan. His much famed books describe the way in which Japan was devastated during World War 2 and how it was built thereafter. With his words he could evoke emotional appeal among the audience for which he earned the nobel prize.

While North Korea and U.S.A are threatening each other with the usage of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Foundation was rightly decided to award Nobel Peace Prize to the organisation-International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). It was instrumental in achieving treaty based prohibition of these weapons. The organization also works to highlight the loss and humanitarian destruction caused due to the usage of such weapons.

Lastly, the Nobel Prize in Economics is awarded to Richard. H. Thaler for is work on Behavioural Economics. He proved that factors such as limited rationality, lack of self-control and social preferences affect the consumer behaviour. Essentially he bridged the gap between psychology and economics. Thus, paying way for new field of study.

One important observation about this year Nobel Prize is that there no women in the list. Yet again raises many unanswerable questions!

iPhone X: All your need to know about Apple’s best phone

On 12th September 2017, Apple announced the launch of three new iPhones – iPhone 8, 8 plus and iPhone X at its even held at the new Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California. The first iPhone was released 10 years ago and it changed the way people perceived a mobile phone and transformed the industry forever. It was truly a distribution in the technology industry and opened up new arenas in mobile application development. Let’s have a look at what is special about the latest iPhone.

Some of the new features of the iPhone X includes edge-to-edge display, no home button, facial recognition software, wireless charging and some cool Augmented Reality features. TouchID has been replaced by FaceID. FaceID uses a combination of seven new sensors on the front camera to recognise your face. It means you can unlock your phone with your face. The mechanical home button has also been removed.

Looking physically, the new iPhone will have glass back in order to facilitate wireless charging. That means that you will have an extra glass to break and think twice before purchasing a cover. The device will also have a TrueTone display that adapts to the colour temperature and hue depending on the surroundings in order to reduce eye strain. The speakers are also 25% louder stereo speakers than before. The iPhone 8 (4.7 inch) and the iPhone 8 Plus (5.5 inch) will be available in three colours: silver, space grey and gold.

The iPhone X is powered by the new Apple A11 Bionic chipset. According to Apple, the processor is 70% faster and is the smartest chip ever in a smartphone. It has two high performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. Apple also has designed a GPU – 30% faster than the one found on the older version.

The Camera is a 12 megapixel camera that has an optical image stabilization feature. Another feature on the Camera is Portrait Lighting which is essentially is a bunch of different modes that simulate different lighting conditions. But disappointingly, the selfie camera hasn’t improved.

The phone also supports LTE Advanced and Bluetooth 5.0. Animoji are new animated emojis that use facial recognition software to customise existing emoji designs to mimic the facial expressions of the user.

Apple’s iPhone X release date in India is November 3, with pre-orders set to begin on October 27. The iPhone X has usually won’t come cheap. The device will cost Rs 89,000 in India, making its the most expensive iPhone yet. The 256GB version will cost a whopping Rs 102,000.

But the question is “Is the iPhone X worth purchasing?”. You must understand some of the new features of the iPhone is already available in Android smartphones. Biometric authentication using you face is available in the latest Samsung Galaxy 8, but has some problems. We saw in the demo by the President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi that even he couldn’t get it to work on the first try which indicates that it doesn’t always let the right person in. Hence, the technology is yet to be pioneered by anyone.

Wireless charging is yet another feature available in most smartphones. But iPhone supports only Qi standard and not PMA. The camera is always the best reason to buy any new iPhone, but iPhone X’s dual camera setup is barely different than that of the iPhone 8 Plus.

So, what is the future for Apple and the iPhone? Feature addition is not going to help. You need innovation.

Probably the Google Pixel 2 will challenge the iPhone soon.

Myanmar crisis: What changed Indian stand from 1971 to 2017

During the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, around 1 crore refugees migrated from Bangladesh to India. The then Indira Gandhi government supported their movement for an Independent nation and waged a war against Pakistan. We won the war and the East Pakistan transformed into today’s Bangladesh. But, what changed India’s stand from 1971 to 2017? India went against the whole world in supporting the Myanmar government to curtail the activities of Rohingyas. India opposed a Bali Declaration which “called upon all the parties to show respect to Rohingyas in the Rakhine state regardless of their faith and ethnicity.” India supported the cause of Bengali Hindus but opposed the aspirations of Rohingya Muslims to form their own nation.

According to Al-Jazeera, Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. They are concentrated in eastern part of Myanmar and their population is around 10-12 lakhs. There exists a long battle between minority Buddhists in Rakhine state and the Rohingyas. Religious tensions have been recently increased which led to incessant influx migrants into Bangladesh territory. According to UN report, around 3 lakh Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh to escape the atrocities committed by the Myanmar’s government. The irony is that Myanmar is a Buddhist dominated country and led by a Noble Peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. The government is in a constant war with Arankan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – an armed rebellion group which represents the minority Rohingyas. But, the Myanmar’s government is going beyond their call of duty in restricting the flow of immigrants. According to Amnesty International, the government is implanting landmines across the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to restrict the migration. This is an outright Human Rights Violation.

India is unconditionally supporting the Myanmar’s government. Indeed, the long held Indian stance and strong ties between the governments is compelling the Modi government to support Nay Pyi Taw. India is also aware of the strengthening relationship between China and Myanmar. India can be easily replaced with China in case we do not support the Myanmar’s government. Supporting Rohingyas will also mean that India is in principle open to the concept of forming new nations. This stance would contradict India’s stand on the demand for separate Kashmir and North Eastern states. Also, supporting ARSA would mean that India is encouraging terrorism in the foreign lands. So, India had no other choice but to support Myanmar’s government. But, India could have extended categorical support instead of unconditional. Gandhi used to say that a person has to be separated from her work to maintain cordial relationship. To foster a relationship, unjustified actions ought to be highlighted and criticised.

Though the governments may give umpteen number of reasons, the underlying reason is only political and religious. BJP is predominantly projected as Hindu nationalist party. Supporting a Muslim cause may risk the ire of its supporters. This phenomenon is also evident with the support of Israeli government. Israel is a Jewish dominated country and opposes Muslim organisations mostly due to Palestine issue. So, there is no wonder that the Israel is funding Myanmar’s Junta (army). In 1971, we supported Bengali Hindus but in 2017, we are averse to the subjugation of minority Muslims. India had a great history of supporting world causes bereft of our self-interest. Taking forward this unhindered legacy, we should atleast oppose the blatant subjugation of innocent Rohingyas.

Impact of Smartphones on Leadership

When Ahmed Ali Shah conquered parts of Northern India in early 18th century, he appointed Nadir Shah to administer these provinces. Nadir was provided full autonomy and the intervention by the Ahmed Shah was minimal. Nadir Shah had the trust of his leader and he enjoyed full autonomy with respect to his provinces. Had he possessed a smart phone back then, he would have poked by Ahmed Shah to update on a day to day affairs every evening. This would have restricted Nadir Shah’s freedom of decision making and hindered his leadership potential.

Around 30 Crs. of Indians possess smartphones and it will exponentially increase due to the advent of companies like Reliance Jio. Benefits in terms of access to information and entertainment are palpable but the impact on psychology is not. The ready-made availability of data is making our brains weaker. Instead of recollecting the stored information, we could easily access the data through Google. This reduces our cognitive abilities and decreases our brain’s potential. Excessive usage of smartphones makes a person emotionally weaker. 9 out of 10 students in an Australian University felt stressed when their battery is about to die.

On an average, a person checks his/her mobile 110 times per day. This phenomenon not only impacts their leadership skills but also makes them ill mannered. 90% of the people felt that using a mobile in public place is considered rude when asked in 1999. Now, let alone public places, it’s common to use a mobile phone even while a person is talking directly to you. This is called Phubbing i.e., the practice of ignoring your companion in order to pay attention to one’s mobile device. The empathy levels are slowly going down due to the intrusion of smartphones in our life. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that 2 out of 4 students were 50% less empathetic than they were 30 years ago. is the campaign began by Lior Frenkel to address the issue of mobile addiction. The campaign persuades people to not to use mobile atleast for a certain period of time. It will nudge the users to eventually get out of their addiction. The campaign was a great success. Of course, when a study shows that 57% of women in U.K chose to give up sex rather than their smartphones for a week, these campaigns assume more importance.

There was a time when Marco Polo used to travel across India without access to any device. All the decisions were based on his knowledge, courage and intuition. Smartphones have increased our dependency on others and the internet. Cautiousness while using the mobile is the need of the hour.

Hear the Whimper of our Rivers


As it’s always said, “The progress of rivers to the ocean is not as rapid as that of man to error”. Rivers have seen huge depletion from the past one century.

“Bindhya Himācala Yamunā Gaṅgā Ucchalajaladhitaraṅga” a country proud of its rivers and their heritage, a country which is both divided and united by rivers, a country whose origins were on the banks of a river called Indus, India. Rivers have changed the life of people. As they changed their course, so did the civilizations.

Rivers are no longer seen as abundant natural resources. They are private properties, sources for authority and possessions of states. All the rivers in India either flow into Arabian Sea or Bay of Bengal and there are some rivers which flow into Inner parts of India. With seven major rivers (Indus, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Tapi, Godavari, Krishna and Mahanadi) and their tributaries Indian River system is a host to one of the most fertile lands in the world.

We need not list down the factors that cause the depletion of rivers. We have heard enough about polluting the rivers, global warming, filling the river area with landfills and what not. To just understand few facts here, in the 70 years of Indian freedom the depletion of rivers has successfully been 70%. The per capita availability of water now is 1588m^3 which was as high as 5200m^3 in 1951 with year on year depletion rate at 8%. Where are we leading this to? A seasonal river flow or extinction of rivers? The most sacred river for Indians, the Ganga is listed amongst one of the most endangered rivers in the world.

Greatest civilizations like Harappa and Mohenjodaro vanished as the course of rivers along which they developed has changed. India owns only 4% of the total water available in the world and this is not just for drinking purpose, it also has to be used for agriculture, industrial purposes and household needs.

The only answer for all these problems is clearly known, taught, forced to follow and even told as tales. It’s the “trees”. It is high time to say an answer to people who say “As there is no water there are no trees in our region” it’s time to answer them telling “As there are no trees in your region there is no water”. Save trees need not necessarily mean planting trees. Understanding which products are made of trees and finding a renewable alternative for the same or conservative usage of those products can also make you a part of the mission to save the world for your children and their children.

In support of “Rally for Rivers – Lifelines of India” a campaign by Isha foundation headed by Sadhguru has come up with a plan to rejuvenation of the Indian rivers. “Everyone who consumes water must rally for Rivers” is a call given by Sadhguru. Even if you can’t make some time for this campaign any smallest act to save water and trees will together change the conditions of life for our future generations.

Article Written by Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy