Why was Sriharikota chosen by ISRO as the launching site of PSLV?

Why was Sriharikota chosen by ISRO as the launching site of PSLV?

Answer by Shubham Bansal:

The Sriharikota range is the second-best located spaceport in the world, next to the Kennedy space centre in the U.S.

                                  – Mr. Vijayasarathi, Group Director, MSA, SHAR

Why?

1. Location, Location & Location:

  • Located nearer to the equator, Sriharikota is the ideal launch site for geostationary satellites.


  • Sriharikota is ideal for eastward launches. SHAR’s location on the east coast ensures that it gains an additional velocity of 0.4 km/s due to Earth’s rotation to easily launch rockets. Most satellites are launched eastward. Click & search for eastward to know "Why are most satellites launched eastward?"
  • There is also a proposal for a new launch pad at  Kulaseka­ra­pa­ttinam in 2013 which is ideal for southward launches. (refer: ISRO News)

2. Accessibility:

  • Their equipments are huge and travel from across the world. For this very reason, It must be accessible by all means of transport; Land, Air, Water.
  • At the same time, The site is prone for accidents. So, it should be remote away from inhabitants.
  • Being a coastal islandish area with no habitation proves advantageous for Sriharikota because it is on National Highway (NH-5), 20 KM away from nearest Railway Station, and 70 KM (Chennai) from nearest International Ports by air & ships. Can you ask for more?

On the left:
Red dot – Railway Station, Yellow line – NH 5


3. Coastal Site:

  • You never know what falls off from a flying object. The maximum distance of impact from the launch site can be upto 6,500 kms. See the map towards the east of Sriharikota. Need I stress more?


4. Climate:

  • See the chart below? The red horizontal line signifies the temperatures registered in Sriharikota across the year. The blue vertical line represents the rainfall in mm. Heavy rains come only in October and November allowing them to test outdoor for 10 months in an year. There's no bad day than a rain day and Sriharikota offers you optimal rainfall.


It is no accident that Sriharikota is chosen. Sriharikota is not chosen among few options. It is THE OPTION for ISRO. Sriharikota silently played & playing it's role in making India proud ever since the "Rohini-125" sounding rocket was launched in 1971 helping 35/43 successful launches as of June, 2014.


Edit: Special thanks to Jai Parimi for restructuring the answer wholly in such a great way. Inspiration!


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Why was Sriharikota chosen by ISRO as the launching site of PSLV?

Is the consolidation of policy-making authority in the Prime Minister’s office a good thing for India?

Is-the-consolidation-of-policy-making-authority-in-the-Prime-Ministers-office-a-good-thing-for-India

Answer by Deepak Mehta:

Modi is working as the newly-appointed CEO that inherited a dying company. And his strategy would work for the next few months, but would need to be tweaked later.

This was something that was anticipated when Mr. Modi took charge and we have been seeing signs of it.
The problem with the previous NDA regime was an over-abundance of processes and controls and approvals. Things that entered the system did not see the light of day for months. Laws and approvals would be passed on from the office to the GOMs to the PM and there would be a lot of back and forth.

The first step was consolidation of ministries. The second was abolishing GOMs and EGOMs. The third was taking back control of the "most crucial" items from each ministry back to the PMO. Except in routine cases, the final approval would rest with Modi. This is akin to a corporate set-up wherein routine, day-to-day decisions are taken by the managers, short-term, strategic ones by the MDs and the VPs but anything that concerns crucial long-term, strategy decisions rest with the CEO.

Even in the PMO, Modi is constantly assisted by his team (experienced people specializing in Strategy, PR, Defense, Technology etc). Notice how it is similar to the Executive Committee of an organization (CFO, CSO, CMO, COO etc).

And if the model can work well in a Corporate set-up, it can work well in a political set-up too. Without the proper incentive schemes in place, no team can deliver great results.

However, this is good for the beginning. What he has inherited was a mess – political, procedural and economical. By bringing things under his control at the start and centralizing and speeding up the decision-making process, he is trying to undo the damage done by the previous government and sort out the mess. This is exactly what a newly-appointed CEO that inherited a dying company would do.

However, he would need to be ever-vigilant. He (and his team) would need to constantly monitor the state of things. The same strategy cannot (and does not) work in every situation. When (hopefully soon) things improve, he will need to start tweaking his methods and focus more on long-term goals, all the while slowly relinquishing control to the various major stakeholders.

P.S. I could not help but draw parallels to the Steve Jobs' second stint at Apple Inc where he made major changes, fired a lot of people, accumulated decision-making in his office etc.

A good read: The  once and future Steve Jobs

Is the consolidation of policy-making authority in the Prime Minister's office a good thing for India?

Why has the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route been chosen to be the first one for the bullet train?

Why-has-the-Mumbai-Ahmedabad-route-been-chosen-to-be-the-first-one-for-the-bullet-train

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

Modi is from Gujarat and thus it might be legitimately argued that he put his weight on the project [in a democracy, leaders listen to their voters – accept that]. However, Mumbai–Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor project has been in works for a long time from the times of Lalu Prasad & Manmohan Singh – neither of whom are from Gujarat. In various feasibility studies done by the previous government, this route came at the top.

Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor proposed via Thane
High-speed railway project talks put on fast track

Other corridors considered by the previous government:

(i) Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar (450 km approx.)
(ii) Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad (650 km approx.)
(iii) Hyderabad-Dornakal-Vijaywada-Chennai (664 km approx.)
(iv) Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Ernakulam (649 km approx.)
(v) Howrah-Haldia (135 km approx.)
(vi) Delhi -Agra-Lucknow -Varanasi – Patna (991 km approx. )

A journey of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project so far

Rationale:

  1. Traffic: Mumbai-Ahmedabad is among the busiest lines in the country [BCT / Mumbai to ADI / Ahmedabad – 59 Trains] and is also a part of the broader Mumbai-Delhi route over which the line might be extended in the future. Any investor would look for routes with the maximum travelers possible.
  2. Rich travelers: Mumbai-Ahmedabad route involves a number of business executives and entrepreneurs who might not hestitate to pay the heavy ticket price if the trip could be made in 2 hours. Only a couple of other routes [involving Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai] have this advantage.
  3. Flat terrain: The route is flat as a dosa and almost right at the sea level. The train moves completely in the yellow region on the left. This makes the track investment less risky and less expensive [one reason why Pune was left out].  Mumbai-BLR on the other hand involves some elevation climb through the Western ghats [dark green zone].


  4. Land acquisition: It is possible that part of the line will be new – instead of just over the existing routes. Gujarat has been traditionally successful in land acquisition process and Modi can be sure that he can get anyone on the route cleared. In most other routes, the state governments are too weak to clear out the impediments. Investors don't like too many delays from the NIMBY folks.

In theory, whom you vote for should not determine in what services you get. But, in practice it always does. This is why siding with the right leader at the right time is a prudent move.

Why has the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route been chosen to be the first one for the bullet train?

Why does the USA think it is the moral compass for the world?

Why-does-the-USA-think-it-is-the-moral-compass-for-the-world

Answer by Ian McCullough:

Because the U.S. Navy invests more in state-of-the-art navigation technology than anyone else in the world.

One of our 11 active aircraft carrier groups will be happy to tell you which direction we think that you're heading.

Just kidding!
Sort of.

Chest-thumping jingoism isn't my style and might certainly does not make right, but the fact is that we are the most economically and militarily powerful country in the world. Although we have lots of internal disagreements, we're in a position to set the terms of international discussions. Although knocking our influence is a globally popular pastime, many nations (at least their governments if not their citizens) generally see us a preferable alternative – especially when push comes to shove – to other hegemons like Russia and China.

Why does the USA think it is the moral compass for the world?

What are the signs of an ultra smart person playing dumb?

silence!

Answer by Christopher Reiss:

Silence.

               Michael Corleone (Character) from The Godfather (1972)

Stealth intellect has a slack expression, does not react, does not laugh, does not challenge, does not question.

It sits quietly, like a coiled snake, soaking up everyone and everything, until it makes a sudden move at the time of its choosing.  You don't want to be in the path of that strike.

What are the signs of an ultra smart person playing dumb?

Who are the greatest politicians in different countries around the world over the last 50 years? Why?

Who are the greatest politicians in different countries around the world over the last 50 years? Why?

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

I will disqualify any leader before 1964.

Asia Pacific

  1. Lee Kuan Yew – Showed that a tiny Asian slum of Singapore can become the world's most advanced nation without the need of armies, natural resources or exploitation of people. Amazing leader by any metric.
  2. Deng Xiaoping – Can you change the future of 1 million people? How about 100 million? How about 1.5 billion people? Deng pulled China out of a brutal self-destruction loop and brought the most number of people out of poverty in human history. He helped more poor people out of their situation than all the charity agencies in the world, combined.
  3. Indira Gandhi – She was not an angel, but she was ruthless and effective. She was a woman prime minister who exercised full control in a patriarchal society. She helped create the nation of Bangladesh by going against two superpowers – US and China. She secured India's nuclear future by flipping a finger at the unfair NPT.
  4. Mahathir Mohamad – He took over Singapore's poor cousin of Malaysia and turned it into an Asian tiger. He was a Prime Minister for 22 consecutive years – among the longest in any democracy.

Africa & Middle East

  1. Nelson Mandela – The peace icon of South Africa. He helped heal the wounds of apartheid and showed how you can integrate different races in an amicable way. World leaders, including the US Presidents, can learn a lot from him.
  2. Jomo KenyattaCan a carpenter of meager background create a nation, challenging an empire? Kenyatta fought colonialism and racism, and was able to rise as a towering African figure and the founding father of Kenya. Despite suffering from racism, he let the white settlers continue peacefully after he obtained independence.

Americas & Europe

  1. Bill Clinton – Although he is not that well appreciated in the US, Clinton is among the most respected US Presidents internationally. He ushered in an era of peace and the only war he took was a just one (overthrowing Milosevic of Serbia). He brought a lot of respect to a nation that is frequently caught in unnecessary global controversies.
  2. Margaret Thatcher – The iron lady of England presided over range of economic and political reforms over a 11 year at the office. In centuries of British democratic history, she was the only woman to hold that office. Like Reagan, she took over the economy at a very precarious state and ended at a high note – communism was dusted. She stood strong against Argentina's expansionist policy in Falklands and became the first British Prime Minister to visit China.

If the 50 year hard limit is not needed then the two more great leaders can be added:

  1. Vallabhai Patel – Welded a 500 nation subcontinent with a fifth of world's population into the Republic of India. One of these nations was thrice as big as Ireland and was ruled by the world's richest person. Patel took over that in weeks without batting an eyelid. Called the Iron man of India. 
  2. Dwight Eisenhower – Provided the longest peacetime period in recent US history. Created the interstate system and set the foundation for massive jump in US scientific explorations.

Who are the greatest politicians in different countries around the world over the last 50 years? Why?

Why do China and Pakistan have such a good relationship?

Why-do-China-and-Pakistan-have-such-a-good-relationship

Answer by Akshay Jain:

China has been traditionally a good friend of Pakistan to have an edge on India.This works good for both Pakistan and China as India will always have to make war moves considering an attack from both sides.

This would thin our lines and give them an edge.
There are many other reasons.

1)China does not have allies as it has problems with all its neighbors(Vietnam,Japan,Singapore etc).Pakistan comes as a good ally that also helps it make connections with the Muslim world.

2)China gets access to ports like Gwadar Port that lets it build "bases" across the Indian Subcontinent.

3) In a situation of war the Indian Navy can cut off the oil that China gets from the naval route.

This would make Chinese military to stop its expansion and bring it to a halt. They are now building a pipeline that would enable them to get oil through Pakistan. This also explains many Chinese investments in the POK.

Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline

If you think about it Pakistan is getting a lot of money just because of the borders it has.From China because of India and from the US because of Afghanistan.

Hope this helps.

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Why do China and Pakistan have such a good relationship?

Who are the Kurds and what role do they play in the Middle East?

Who-are-the-Kurds-and-what-role-do-they-play-in-the-Middle-East

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

Who are they?

Kurds are one of the 4 main ethnic groups of the Middle East. In the map below – Green is Turks, Red is Kurds, Yellow is Arabs and Orange is Persians. If you move further east, you can also see a brown – Pashtuns. All the top 5 are predominantly Muslim, but they all have their cultural quirks and identity of their own. All of these shape up the history and politics of the region in various ways. Zoom this map to get a better picture.

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

Now, why is this a problem:

  1. Imagine you are being tasked with creating nations from the first map that primarily represent one color (ethnicity). You are given a random spray where no region is completely of one color. How do you draw the boundaries? That was the challenge for the British and French who had this huge territory after the First World War and didn't know how to draw.
  2. Other major ethnicities – Arabs, Persians, Pashtuns and Turks all got a nation of their own. In fact, the Arabs got many nations for their ethnicity. However, only the Kurds were left out of the game. Among the major ethnicities, they were cheated. No one bothered to give them their own nation after the end of the WW-I when all other nations were created around them.
  3. When a culture doesn't have a nation to go to, it is historically victimized. [Offtopic: This is the reason why Israel wants a Jewish majority nation for themselves] Kurds bear the brunt of not having their own nation.
  4. In the region they inhabit, they are among the most tolerant and democratic people. That doesn't sit well with other tribes which want to impose a more orthodox version of Islam.

History of the Kurdish people

What is their History?

The Kurds were initially sheepherders in Iran and due to the Muslim conquests from the 6th century, they were taken further and further by West and got into Turkey, Syria, etc. Some of them, like the Yazidi subgroup in the Kurds, remained animists, while a few others stayed Christian. Most of the rest were converted to Islam.

They were eventually wedged between 2 very powerful groups – Safavids of Persia and Ottomans of Turkey. These two dynasties squeezed a hell out of native Kurdish lords and made them lose all their powers. Both these dynasties thought their own ethnicities to be highly superior and played Kurds as football thrown between east and west.

After the first World War, Britain helped them to get their one nation – Kurdish Republic of Ararat, but Kemal Ataturk of Turkey was too powerful for the Kurdish general Ihsan Nuri. Eventually the Ararat republic was reabsorbed by Turkey. In Mesopotamia, Arabs were allowed to take the Kurdish region to form the new nation of Iraq. England needed the friendship of the powerful Hashemite clan of Arabs as they found new reserves of oil and knew how powerful it is going to become.

While Turkey's democracy provided a better home for the Kurds, the various Arab rulers of Iraq always saw the Kurds as alien and brought some of the worst brutality on these people. Kurdish genocide. ISIS is following that Arab tradition of Kurdish genocide now.

Summary:

In summary, Kurds are among the 4 major ethnic groups of the Middle East and the only one who doesn't have their own nation. They are predominantly in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, although originally they were Iranians. Many of them are Sufi Muslims, although some of them are Christians or animists. For the other Islamic tribes, Kurds appear alien and worshipper of non-Islamic gods. Thus, they get constantly massacred.

Who are the Kurds and what role do they play in the Middle East?