Artificial Raindrops keep falling on my head !

It’s been a really cloudy day today around Dubai, with showers in parts of the city. Will stop sounding like a weatherman on the radio and get to the point. The point that I am trying to make is that the rain that is currently expected in Dubai may or may not be created naturally. Is that even possible you ask ?? Of course it is. The process is called Cloud Seeding and people have been trying it in India from years. What is really concerning is not the current sort of expected rain for this time of the year, the issue is a bit more larger.

Apparently the Abu Dhabi government has been asking their scientists to experiment with cloud seeding during the summer months. And believe you me, the experiments are working. Fifty rainstorms were created last year in the state’s eastern Al Ain region using technology designed to control the weather. Most of the storms were at the height of the summer in July and August when there is  no rain at all. The scientists have been working secretly for United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They have been using giant ionisers, shaped like stripped down lampshades on steel poles, to generate fields of negatively charged particles. These promote cloud formation and researchers hoped they could then produce rain. In a confidential company video, the founder of the Swiss company in charge of the project, Metro Systems International, boasted of success. Helmut Fluhrer said: ‘We have achieved a number of rainfalls.’ It is believed to be the first time the system has produced rain from clear skies, according to the Sunday Times.

In the past, countries like India and China have been utilizing chemicals for the sake of Cloud seeding, it’s the first time that there is a sort of a non chemical approach to cloud seeding. Last June Metro Systems built five ionising sites each with 20 emitters which can send trillions of cloud-forming ions into the atmosphere. Over four summer months the emitters were switched on when the required atmospheric level of humidity reached 30 per cent or more. While the country’s weather experts predicted no clouds or rain in the Al Ain region, rain fell on FIFTY-TWO occasions.

So how does it actually work ?

The Metro System scientists used ionisers to produce negatively charged particles called electrons. They have a natural tendency to attach to tiny specks of dust which are ever-present in the atmosphere in the desert-regions. These are then carried up from the emitters by convection – upward currents of air generated by the heat release from sunlight as it hits the ground. Once the dust particles reach the right height for cloud formation, the charges will attract water molecules floating in the air which then start to condense around them. If there is sufficient moisture in the air, it induces billions of droplets to form which finally means cloud and rain.

The cost savings using the Weathertec technology are huge with the system costing £6 million a year while desalination is £45 million. Building an ionising system is about £7 million while a desalination plant would be £850 million and costs a lot more to run.

But in the long run what effect this might have in the entire global picture of the planet, global warming, and such we don’t really know. Is it good ? well if technology is non chemical, non toxic, cost saving, and life giving then I will say yes. Only until we find the downside to it, for now it might seem too good to be true without side effects. What do you guys think?

Some references of further reading for people who are interested:

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/03/scientists-create-52-artificial-rain-storms-in-abu-dhabi-desert/

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/abu-dhabi-backed-scientists-create-fake-rainstorms-in-11m-project-371038.html

http://www.itp.net/518649-further-unseasonal-bad-weather-hits-uae

Hierarchy of needs cause of Dubai crash ?

I just stumbled upon the Hierarchy of needs by Maslow which was published in a paper in 1945. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is also predetermined in order of importance. It is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the lowest level is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with self-actualization needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose.

Businessman stacking blocks

The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission.

United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Nad-al-Sheba Club, camels

What has all this got to do with the Dubai crash that has been so vastly publicized earlier this week, well I think everything. Most of my friends who left India looking for better prospects a few years ago are now residents of those countries or well and truly getting there.  There might be various aspects in which I might be doing a bit better than some of them, but definitely they are in a position where they are now nearly getting their citizenship in those countries.

Looking at the attitude of those guys I realized that my love for Dubai is like a fish loving his bicycle. I mean its not that I dont really like Dubai, but I do not have a sense of belonging here. I have worked my way up a fairly small ladder and have spent my earnings .. all of them in this country. But still I have no sense of belonging. Being an Indian I have seen first hand the sort of discrimination that happens in this country when it comes to how much money an Indian guy makes or an european/arab national makes for a similar role. Moreover the largely Indian population in Dubai are to a certain extent responsible to keep the machinery of Dubai rolling. Having said that they are subject to a sort of discrimination and the “emiratization” they still seem to work here, one because their need of money / security or lifestyle is met in Dubai at some level.

But South Asians ( mostly Indians) in Dubai have found more than just the nominal construction worker / cleaner / driver / clerk roles and have made their way into the greater roles like Financial Advisors, Financial Analysts, Planners, Engineering Managers etc. In fact the UAE cricket team that is playing to qualify for the Asia cup will not be allowed to play even if they qualify !! Because they are not citizens of this country. Why does this not happen to a South African cricketer who now plays for Australia ?? or an Indian Player who is now playing for England ? Because they are now up the ladder in the hierarchy of needs and have already received their citizenships.

Getting back to what we were talking about, as these guys move up the ladder the sense of belonging to a country or a place where you dedicate a huge chunk of your life gives you a motivation to work in another country than your own. Bearing all this in mind I began to think would the financial advisers of the bigger firms in Dubai would have been the same like they have been ? And this is not only the Indian community but also the expatriates that are in decision making positions in Dubai. I think people would have splurged less and been more cautious with the decisions that they would have made. I could be wrong … but there is no way to find out.

Technology and Networks in the Military

Sparked by the Dubai Air show, and the awesome display of the aircrafts here, I began to think what the future of the warfare would be like. We are seeing a different sort of a conflict resolution in the world already, The U.S playing big brother in the world trying to have a say in all the internal issues of countries is a growing concern among nations. This was evident when the U.S president bought over the topic of unrest in Tibet and the Xinjiang province. The “Minority Report” style of operations (like foreseeing the conflict that Iraq may pose with its alleged WMD’s) that was employed by the U.S to attack Iraq was something of a game changer, not only is the result a bad reference for the U.S but a definite setback to similar thinking processes.

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The entire shift of conflicts now is spearheaded world over through the keyword “terrorism”. Most conflicts starting from the Sri Lankan siege on the LTTE or the worldwide attack on Al Qaeda are all terrorism related. The good old days of the cold war don’t seem to be in sight, when one country used espionage on another country to get information in peace time to have an upper hand during “war” time. On the surface it looks like it is a dying form of warfare or has it just moved from the physical to the virtual.

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Analysts say China employs a constantly shifting mix of official and civilian or semicivilian groups (such as so-called patriotic hacker associations) as the foot soldiers — the “proxies” — in its cyberwar armies. The technological challenges of tracing attacks on U.S. government and private-corporation computers are so enormous that Beijing can simply deny that any of the problems have originated in China. If you cannot identify the source you cannot deter the attack. So far, the Chinese have been able to get away with it, despite the fact that not just the U.S. is complaining. In the past few years, sources ranging from the German Chancellor’s office to government mainframes as far afield as New Zealand and Belgium have made loud public allegations that they had been the subject of cyberinfiltration from China, all to no avail.

If U.S. officials try to raise the issue of what they believe is a constant and growing campaign by China to infiltrate U.S. networks, steal secrets and hone Beijing’s ability to wreak havoc in case of military conflict, the likelihood is that Chinese officials will simply deny that the problem exists, as they have done with great success in the past. From the American point of view, there’s unfortunately currently little Washington can do to change that state of affairs.

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Since I am from one of China’s neighbors, India, this might not be something we might be losing sleep over, today. But definitely as technological advancements trickle down into the heart of the military operations in India this might be something that we need to worry about, but unlike a country like the U.S, our inability of implementation of these technologies in the military sector might be a sort of a boon in disguise. The websites of the Indian armed forces are a faint shadow of their counterparts in the U.S or Europe.

With less networking between the bases, the Indian Armed forces rely on less “low tech” communication methods than the rest of the superpower militaries. Although having declaring itself a nuclear state with the capability of producing a nuclear weapon in 18 months, It has begun indigenously manufacturing its own weaponry only in the late 90’s and the 2000’s.

One could write a whole lot about the pros of technology in the military, I am quite contended that India is on the ‘not-so-advanced’ list. For now …