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Sanjeev Nanda on How To Make Stop Motion Video

23 Jul
Sanjeev Nanda How to Guides

Still from Flushed Away

Stop-motion animation is one of the simplest, most fun animation techniques. Mix equal parts digital camera, computer, and imagination (you’ve got all three), and you’re on your way. Although flashier computer-generated animation is in vogue, stop-motion has a rich heritage of its own.

And it’s not limited to claymation, either–Tim Burton used stop-motion and puppets to create The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Comedy Central’s Robot Chicken uses stop-motion with action figures and toy props.

You can use just about anything in your stop-motion animation, and thanks to digital cameras and computers, creating one is now super easy. There are many ways to go about shooting, editing and finalizing a stop-motion short; Sanjeev Nanda your guide will be covering the simplest. Don’t be discouraged by the number of steps! It’s much easier than it first appears.

Things You Need for Stop Motion Video

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An idea is all you need

The first thing you need is, of course, an idea. Try to stick with something simple for your first one–any action that can be split up into smaller parts works well.

You may wish to make an inanimate object appear as though it is alive; for example, a sock inching its way across the floor or a piece of paper that crumples itself up. While brainstorming, keep in mind that you can expect to shoot around 10 photos for every second of film.

Second, you’ll need a digital camera. Since you won’t be printed these photos, you can set your camera to the lowest size image setting. This will let you fit more images on your memory card at a time. Depending on how long you’d like your movie to be, you may need to “fill and dump” your camera (copying the photos to your computer and erasing the memory card) multiple times before you are finished.

Finally, in order to turn your images into an animated video you will need video editing software like Apple’s iMovie or QuickTime Pro. There are also a number of free and shareware programs for Mac, Windows, and Linux, some of which are listed at the end of this tutorial. More information about these programs is available on their respective websites.

Step 1: Shoot Your Animation

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Take as many images as you want, it will give depth to your video

Let’s say, for example, that you would like to make an action figure move itself across the floor. Start at the beginning: place the action figure somewhere and take your first photo. Remember, you want to use camera (still frame) mode, not movie mode.

Using a tripod and only moving your object will make it appear as though your object is moving through your frame. Keeping the object in the same general area in each frame by moving the camera along with it will make it appear as though you are traveling with the object. It’s up to you.

After you’ve taken your first photograph, move the action figure slightly in the direction you want it to travel and take another photo. Move it again by the same distance, and take one more. Continue this until the action figure reaches where you want it to stop. You can manipulate your object in creative ways to add visual interest to your film, just make sure that whatever movement your object makes is done slowly over several frames.

Finally, if you make a mistake while shooting, delete that picture on your camera and take another. This will save you from having to edit your film later.

Step 2: Download Your Photos

Now that you’ve captured your images, you’ll need to get them onto your computer. This process varies widely from camera to camera and computer to computer. Consult your camera guide and software “Help” if you are unfamiliar with this process.

First, import your image files to the camera, and give them their own album. Once your photos have been imported, open any movie authoring software, for eg. iMovie for Mac, JPGVideo for Windows.

Step 3: Animate Your Photos

In order for your animated short to play properly, you must tell the software you are using, how long you want each photo to appear before showing the next one. It’s kind of like creating a slideshow, except instead of giving each image a few seconds, you give it only a fraction of a second. The timing you choose will affect the overall tempo and length of your film.

For action figure example Sanjeev Nanda used a duration of 3 frames-per-photo. Normally movie authoring softwares play at 30 frames-per-second, a setting of 3 frames-per-photo means you’ll see 10 photos every second. Now you can see why you have to shoot so many photos!

If you use the 3 frames-per-photo setting, you can easily estimate how many photos you’ll need to create a movie of a given length. In our example we used around 100 photos, for 10 seconds of video. If we wanted to make an animation exactly 30 seconds long, we’d shoot 300 photos.

This next step is very important, so stay with us! If you are using iMovie, select all of the photographs in your stop-motion album (the quick way to do this is to click on the very first photo and then, holding down the shift key, scroll down and click on the last photo.) Now click “Show Photo Settings” and type in “0:03″ for your duration in the floating window that appears. Click the Apply button and your photos will start getting sucked into the timeline at the bottom of the window.

Once iMovie’s finished filling the timeline, hit play. You just created your first stop-motion animated video short!

Final Touches: Music and Sharing

To fine tune your animation, you can slow it down by choosing to use more than 3 frames-per-photo. You can also add music to your short by dragging MP3s or AIFF files to the timeline. To share your stop-motion video, you’ll want to convert it to avi or mp4 or any other popular format.

That’s it! Don’t forget to save your project often as you go along, and check out Vimeo — a cool place to upload your finished videos!

One of the best stop motion videos i’ve seen:


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Sanjeev Nanda on Pod Slurping

19 Jul

Pod Slurping – An easy technique for stealing data

The problem with uncontrolled use of iPods, USB sticks and flash drives on your network. A common misconception is that perimeter security measures such as firewalls and anti-virus software are enough to secure corporate data residing on the corporate network. In this white paper, we explore how the uncontrolled use of portable storage devices such as iPods, USB sticks, flash drives and PDAs, coupled with data theft techniques such as ‘pod slurping’, can lead to major security breaches.

Pod slurping: How can insiders steal your data?

Sanjeev Nanda How to Guides

iPods - if in wrong hands can do more damage

Developments in portable device and data storage technology are escalating. The latest versions of MP3 players and flash memory devices have huge storage capabilities; yet these gadgets are small enough to easily conceal and sneak in behind the corporate line of defence. Further to this, easy connectivity and high speed data transfer has become increasingly more widespread – a user may simply plug the device into a USB or FireWire port and they are up and running – no drivers or configuration required! In practice, this means that a data thief can get away with even more precious data, and a negligent employee can dump more viruses onto the corporate network even when connecting for only a short time. iPod is just one example of such portable contraptions. At a glance it is an innocent-looking portable audio device. However under the hood it boasts up to 60 GB of portable storage space; practically large enough to store all the data found in a typical workstation. This means that a malicious insider can use an iPod to covertly take out (i.e. ‘steal’) proprietary data and millions of financial, consumer or otherwise sensitive corporate records at one go!

Gartner analysts Contu and Girard (2004) warned of the security risks associated with the uncontrolled use of portable storage devices within corporations. Today, information theft has become a plague on modern society; data leakage, data ciphering, and data disclosure incidents are all but some of the terms used by security experts to refer to information theft. However, the most original term so far is probably the term ‘pod slurping’ that was coined by US security expert Abe Usher (2005).

Pod slurping: An easy technique for stealing data

Usher uses the term ‘pod slurping’ to describe how MP3 players such as iPods and other USB mass storage devices can be easily used to steal sensitive corporate data. “There are dishonest people in the world”, says Usher, “many of them work at many companies – and these USB devices make it rather trivial to steal huge amounts of data” (Schick, 2006). To demonstrate the vulnerability of corporate security, Usher developed a “proof of concept” software application that can automatically search corporate networks and copy (or “slurp”) business critical data onto an iPod. This software application runs directly from an iPod and when connected to a computer it can slurp (copy) large volumes of corporate data onto an iPod within minutes. What’s more is that slurping is not limited to iPods and MP3 players alone. All portable storage devices can be used to slurp information; digital cameras, PDAs, thumb drives, mobile phones and any other plug-and-play devices which have storage capabilities! Data slurping is a very simple automated process and does not require any technical expertise; a user may plugin the portable storage device to a corporate workstation and by the time it takes to listen to an MP3, all the sensitive corporate data on that workstation is copied to the portable storage device.

Insider information theft is a real problem

Information theft has now become a major concern for every organization and thus data leakage prevention is slowly taking up a bigger portion of the IT budget. This drive is attributed to two factors: The wave of malevolent threats that is hitting every industry and the increase in regulatory requirements which demand more protection and tighter controls over client records and other confidential information. More stringent controls and severe penalties are forcing organizations to address regulatory compliance more seriously. In January 2006, the Federal Trade Commission charged commercial data broker ChoicePoint Inc. a settlement fee of 15 million dollars for leaking consumer data and violating consumer privacy rights (Federal Trade Commission, 2006). A misconception shared by many organizations is that security threats mostly originate from outside the corporation. In fact, countless dollars are being spent every year on firewalls and other solutions that secure the corporate perimeter from external threats. However, statistics show that internal security breaches are growing faster than external attacks and at least half of security breaches originate from behind the corporate firewall. Unfortunately, corporate insiders are the first and easiest route to evade perimeter security. The trusted position of corporate employees and their constant exposure to corporate data makes detecting and stopping of data theft an enormous challenge – especially in environments where corporate data is largely distributed!

Why would insiders want to slurp information?

Sanjeev Nanda how to guides

Is your computer safe from insider theft.

Corporate data can be profitable in various ways; blueprints, engineering plans, tenders, pricelists, source code, database schemas, sound files, lyrics and much more – all this valuable intellectual property may be exploited
by individuals or corporations to gain economical and business advantage over their competitors. The 2006 CSI/FBI survey indicates theft of intellectual property as having the fourth highest economical effect over organizations (Gordon et al., 2006). Malicious perpetrators may also steal sensitive consumer information such as medical and financial records from a company and divulge it to the public. This would damage the company’s reputation as well as make it liable to legal prosecution for violating consumer privacy rights. In a nutshell, malicious intent, monetary gain and curiosity are probably the major motives behind information
theft. Anyone is an enemy for a price and thus perpetrators can be various. Disgruntled employees that believe they are disrespected or exploited by their employers may take advantage of their trusted position and sell
corporate plans and other sensitive information to direct competitors. Former employees who feel they have been unfairly dismissed may use their inside knowledge or exploit internal relationships to access, steal and
publicly expose consumer information and damage the company. Trusted insiders can also turn into paid informers and engage in industrial espionage, data warfare or other extensive fraudulent activities such as
‘identity theft’. The term ‘identity theft’ refers to crimes in which someone obtains and uses the personal details of another person (e.g. social security or credit card number) to commit criminal acts, usually for financial gain. To date it is the fastest growing crime in the United States. It was estimated that identity theft victims amounted to around nine million adults in the U.S. in 2005 (Johannes, 2006).

How can corporations mitigate the risks of information theft?

The key advantage of iPods and similar portable storage devices is easy access. In theory, this may be of great advantage for corporations. However, it is a well-reported fact that access and security are at opposite ends of
the security continuum. The reason is that you never know what users may be doing with their portable devices. An employee might appear to be listening to music on his iPod, but actually he or she might be uploading malicious files or slurping gigabytes of valuable corporate data. A possible solution to avoid information theft is to implement a corporate-wide portable storage control policy. To mitigate the security risks, some experts and researchers suggest conventional courses of action such as the physical blocking of ports, stringent supervision as well as drastic actions such as the total ban of iPods and similar devices from the workplace. However, this is not the best practical approach. Portable storage devices can be beneficial tools for the corporate workforce and a blanket ban would be counter-productive. In addition good practice dictates that you must never rely on voluntary compliance.

Sanjeev Nanda Tips for Massive Arms

14 Jul

Sanjeev Nanda how to guides

Arnold : Every body builder's idol

Upper arm development is probably one of the most sought-after bodybuilding goals. I have yet to meet an elite pro bodybuilder pleased with his upper arm development, even though that arm development exceeds the 20-inch circumference.

If you’ve been frustrated recently with your lack of progress in upper arm development, follow any one of the seven tips given here and you are surely going to experience new growth in record time.

1. Don’t train biceps with back and triceps with chest

Training biceps after doing your back routine and training your triceps after a chest workout are antiquated training concepts. For example, when one does a full back workout, there’s plenty of residual fatigue in the elbow flexors from all the chins, rows and pulldown exercises that drastically reduce the training poundages in all curling exercises, thus falling short of optimal loading for the elbow flexors. At this point, you are using loads that fall short of the optimal training zone for overloading properly the contractile proteins. I strongly suggest that in order to improve the strength and size of your upper arms, they should be trained alone as a training unit. That leads us to point number two.

2. Train using the double station system

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Double workout your biceps

For every elbow flexion exercise, you should alternate an elbow extension exercise. Even though you may be thinking I’m just talking about supersetting biceps and triceps, I beg to differ on a subtlety. With a superset, little or no rest is taken between the agonist and the antagonist muscles. In the approach I strongly endorse, I prefer to use longer breaks between the two stations for the following reasons.

By having the antagonistic pairs contracting alternately (e.g. flexion followed by extension) as opposed to agonist contractions alone (precontraction of antagonists), the ability of achieving full motor unit activation (MUA) in a muscle contraction may be enhanced when immediately preceded by a contraction of the antagonists. This has the added benefit of allowing you to double the workload per training unit. It is important to alternate exercises working agonists muscles with exercises working antagonistic muscles together, while respecting long rest intervals. For example, after doing a 3RM set of close grip triceps presses, rest two to three minutes, perform a heavy set for the antagonist muscle (i.e., 3-4RM set of dumbbell curls for the biceps), rest another two to three minutes and repeat the procedure for the required number of sets.

With double station training, you get the added benefit of making sure both sides of the joints are equally loaded with optimal training loads, while in classic supersets, endurance levels may at times make the trainee compromise on utilizing the right amount of weight to overload the contractile proteins.

3. To gain arm strength, pause between reps

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Pausing between reps giving you strength to pull off more reps

Too often, trainees fail to make mass gains in their upper arms because their strength in biceps and triceps exercises has been stagnating for awhile. But, there is another way out. Research by Canadian exercise physiologists has shown that for a given submaximal force of contraction, motor unit activation is greater for repeated (intermittent) than for sustained contractions. Pausing between reps helps offset the oxygen debt associated with sustained contractions by various mechanisms, one of which is allowing the removal of waste products from the muscle cell that block the optimal neural drive. This type of intra-set rest allows for the recruitment of higher threshold motor units, which is essential for strength gains. Make sure these pauses are no more than 15 seconds in length and are taken where muscles can rest, such as when your arms are outstretched.

4. Don’t neglect the forearms

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Working your forearms will give you strength

When a bodybuilder complains of stagnation in mass and strength gains in the elbow flexors, I often recommend adding some direct grip and forearm work. When you include direct forearm and grip work, your curling poundages go up because a few forearm muscles, such as flexor carpi radialis, contribute to elbow flexion; this leads to furthering biceps and brachialis development. As you know by now, heavier weights mean greater overload on the muscular structure, and greater overload on the muscular structure means greater hypertrophy.

Elite bodybuilders of the sixties, Chuck Sipes and Larry Scott, were known for handling Herculean weights in curling exercises. They were very strong proponents of complementary forearm training for upper arm development. The other added benefit is that the aesthetics of your upper arms will also be enhanced.

Frequently, doing three sets each of wrist flexors work, wrist extensor work and grip work, jolts one’s progress to new levels. A sample tri-set could look like this:

  • A-1 EZ-bar handle low palms up – Wrist Curls 3 x 15-20 reps on a 2010 tempo; rest 45 seconds.
  • A-2 EZ-bar handle low palms down – Wrist Curls 3 x 15-20 reps on a 2010 tempo; rest 45 seconds.
  • A-3 Gripping Machine 3 x 10-12 reps on a 2013 tempo; rest 45 seconds.

As you can see from the tempo, you’d isometrically hold the contraction for three seconds when the hands are closed. For the two types of low pulley wrist curls, the Tribar company makes a very interesting handle with rotating sleeve. The shape of the grip makes for a more ergonomic and comfortable position. Recently, Dorian Yates visited my training site for soft tissue work and he was quite intrigued with the Tribar handles.

When doing grip work, stay away from choppy reps. When you are lowering the grip handles, make sure on every rep that the handles are at the very tip of your fingers so it will feel like you’re just about to lose your grip.

This will insure a greater range of motion, thus greater development. Once the handles are brought back together, squeeze with all your might. Keep in mind that one of the fastest ways to improve your forearm size and gripping strength instantly is to forego the use of lifting straps when training the upper body.

5. Train your traps

If the arm’s muscle mass is not balanced with the trapezius and deltoid development, the sheer weight of the arms will block its neural drive because the proper alignment of the upper extremities will be faulty. Adding some direct trap work on upper back training day should do the trick. Best choices for exercises would include one arm shrug with dumbbell or low pulley, which permits greater range of motion than raising both scapulae at the same time. Another great exercise for trap development is the power snatch from mid-thigh.

6. Give the 6-12-25 method a try

It consists of doing a heavy set of six reps. Take a 10-second break, switch the exercise and do 10-12 reps. Take a 10-second break, switch to a new exercise and perform an agonizing 25 reps with it. After this, a much needed two-minute break is required before the cycle is repeated once, and at most, twice. One should expect to have to decrease the load between 10 to 20 percent for the second cycle to meet the desired repetitions brackets.

For the six rep sets, I prefer exercises in which the muscles are in a pre-stretched position, as in incline curls for the biceps and overhead low pulley extensions for the triceps. For the 10-12 rep sets, I prefer to use exercises that overload the mid-range of the strength curve, such as barbell curls for the biceps and dips for the triceps. For the 25 rep sets, machines or pulley devices that offer a more uniform tension on the muscles throughout the range of motion work very well. It will take some experimenting at first to determine the right load, but once you have dialed into it, it’s extremely effective for building large muscular arms.

7. Specific brachialis training

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Most important muscle to workout for aesthetic appeal

The brachialis muscle is a widely neglected muscle in the bodybuilding world. However, every single bodybuilder who has phenomenal arm development sports a pair of fully developed brachialis muscles. When you see Ronnie Coleman do his back double biceps pose, his brachialis muscles are the tennis ball-shaped muscles you see between his triceps and biceps muscles. The brachialis muscle is better known among kinesiologists as the workhorse of elbow flexion. That is, it works in all elbow flexion movements, whether the forearm is pronated, supinated, or in between. When the forearm is supinated (palms-up grip), the biceps have an effective line of pull. However, when the forearm is pronated (palms-down grip), the biceps is rather ineffective in flexing the elbow. When your forearm is pronated, the brachialis takes the toll and pulls the resistance almost alone.

In order to objectively measure your brachialis muscle, you need specific work. Go on the Scott bench and curl five or six reps with maximum weight on the barbell curls with a supinated grip. After a 10-minute rest, you should be able to reverse curl with an EZ bar 76 percent of that weight for five or six reps. If you cannot do so, your brachialis muscle will need specific muscle work. If you don’t already do one of the various forms of reverse curls as part of your workout, adding it could surely result in 1/2 to one full inch of arm growth in a month’s time!

Make sure to always perform at least one specific brachialis exercise when training your upper arms. Your arsenal of brachialis exercises in the arms race include: reverse Scott curls (wide or narrow grip, low pulley or EZ bar), hammer curls, Gaspari bar curls, Zottmann curls (seated or one arm at a time on the Scott bench).

Sanjeev Nanda TIP

If you have neglected your brachialis muscles, here’s a very good program to pack size on them. This program involves what is called a post-exhaustion system. That is where you do a compound (multiple joint) exercise that recruits a lot of motor units, and follow it immediately with a superior isolation exercise that also taps well into the motor unit pool. Just by the amount of delayed onset muscle soreness you will get from this routine on your first go at it, you will be convinced of its efficacy at building large muscular arms. The routine looks like this:

Post-Exhaustion Cycle

  • A-1 Narrow Grip Pronated Pull-Ups 4 x 4-6 reps @ 4010 tempo
  • A-2 Pause Standing Reverse Curls 4 x 6-8 reps @ 3210 tempo
  • Rest 10 seconds between A-1 and A-2
  • Rest three minutes between A-2 and A-1
  • Rest 10 seconds between B-1 and B-2
  • Rest three minutes between B-2 and B-1

Sanjeev Nanda Tips to Control Your Temper

13 Jul

Sanjeev Nanda how to guides

Anger Management is important for healthy living (clipartguide)

10 Ways to Tame your Temper

Controlling your temper isn’t always easy. But these effective anger management tips will help give you the upper hand.

Do you find yourself fuming when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure go through the roof when your child won’t cooperate? Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion, but learning how to deal with it in a positive way is important.

Uncontrolled anger can make both you and other people feel lousy. If your outbursts, rages or frustrations are negatively affecting relationships with family, friends, co-workers or even complete strangers, it’s time to learn some anger management skills. Anger management techniques are a proven way to help change the way you express your anger.

Sanjeev Nanda tips to help get your anger under control

  1. Take a ‘timeout.’ Although it may seem cliche, counting to 10 before reacting really can defuse your temper.
  2. Get some space. Take a break from the person you’re angry with until your frustrations subside a bit.
  3. Once you’re calm, express your anger. It’s healthy to express your frustration in a nonconfrontational way. Stewing about it can make the situation worse.
  4. Get some exercise. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. Go for a brisk walk or a run, swim, lift weights or shoot baskets.
  5. Think carefully before you say anything. Otherwise, you’re likely to say something you’ll regret. It can be helpful to write down what you want to say so that you can stick to the issues. When you’re angry, it’s easy to get sidetracked.
  6. Identify solutions to the situation. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work with the person who angered you to resolve the issue at hand.
  7. Use ‘I’ statements when describing the problem. This will help you to avoid criticizing or placing blame, which can make the other person angry or resentful — and increase tension. For instance, say, “I’m upset you didn’t help with the housework this evening,” instead of, “You should have helped with the housework.”
  8. Don’t hold a grudge. If you can forgive the other person, it will help you both. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want.
  9. Use humor to release tensions. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don’t use sarcasm, though — it’s can hurt feelings and make things worse.
  10. Practice relaxation skills. Learning skills to relax and de-stress can also help control your temper when it may flare up. Practice deep-breathing exercises, visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, such as “Take it easy.” Other proven ways to ease anger include listening to music, writing in a journal and doing yoga.
Sanjeev Nanda how to guides

Anger Management (2003) movie

Getting anger management help

You can practice many of these anger management strategies on your own. But if your anger seems out of control, is hurting your relationships or makes you feel physically violent or destructive, you may benefit from some help. Here are some ways you can get help to keep your frustrations in check:

  • See a psychologist or licensed counselor. Seeing a therapist can help you learn to recognize your anger warning signs before you blow up, and how to cope with your anger. Ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a counselor specializing in anger management. Family and friends also may give you recommendations based on their experiences. Your health insurer, employee assistance program (EAP), clergy, or state or local agencies also may offer recommendations.
  • Take an anger management class. An anger management class can teach you what anger is, how to recognize anger triggers and how to keep your anger under control. These courses can be done individually, with spouses or families, or in groups. In addition to the search methods for a psychologist or counselor, you can find organizations offering anger management courses on the Internet and through your district court.
  • Read a book. There are a number of helpful books on anger management. A number of them focus on particular situations, such as anger in teens, anger in men or anger in couples. Many of them are workbooks, with exercises that teach concrete skills.

Anger and irritability can be signs of an underlying mental health condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder. If your symptoms don’t improve, or you have signs or symptoms of anxiety or depression, see a mental health provider for help.

Sanjeev Nanda tips for Great Wildlife Photography

7 Jul

9 Rules For Great Wildlife Photography

Sanjeev Nanda shares his experience and best tips for taking amazing photographs of animals in the wild….or at Zoo.

Many people are curious about secrets for taking excellent wildlife pictures. I don’t know any secrets—but I do have 9 rules that will help you take great photos.

Rule #1: Have Patience

Sanjeev Nanda rules for photography

Patience is Virtue

When you spend a lot of time with an animal, you’ll see amazing things. So when you’re shooting in the wild, in a zoo, or at home with your pets, you’ll need lots of patience to get an amazing photo. I often spend hours watching an animal in the wild or at a zoo exhibit, just waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Rule #2: Take Lots of Pictures

Sanjeev Nanda rules for photography

Sometimes it takes 1000 photographs for that one perfect shot

Give up your old film habits, and shoot a lot of pictures with your digital camera. Like humans, animals have “good” and “bad” expressions and postures, so the more pictures you take, the more likely you are to get a great shot. For example, in a four-hour game drive, I will shoot about 500 images, not worrying about the “bad ones.” Then during the editing process on my computer, I will select the best ones.

Rule #3: Use Standard Settings

Animal photography is motion photography, so being ready is very important. Set your camera to standard settings (see below), and return to these settings after you’ve altered them for a specific situation (if time allows).

Standard Settings

    Shooting Mode: Aperture Control AV; P for flash use
    Image Recording Quality: JPG Best Quality; or RAW
    White Balance: Shade (outdoors); AWB (indoors)
    ISO: 400 (good weather); 1600 (bad weather and indoors)
    Metering Mode: Center Weighted
    Drive Mode: Single Shooting
    Auto Focus Mode: One Shot; AI Servo if object is moving towards you or away from you
    Auto Focus Points: Center Point Only

Rule #4: Keep the Eyes in Focus

Sanjeev Nanda rules for photography

Eyes give photographs character and depth

Remember that an animal is not a cathedral—you’ll only have a few seconds to compose a shot. When using “center point focus,” you are in control of the focus, not your camera, so make sure that the animals’ eyes are sharp and in focus. Compose the shot so that the eyes are in the center of the picture, and leave extra room around your subject so you can crop the image later.

Rule #5: Learn How To Over and Under Expose

Sanjeev Nanda wildlife photography tips

Play with exposure settings to get surprising results

Once you have your standard settings, you can use the exposure compensation feature (+/-) to adjust for a perfect picture. If your subject is much darker than the surroundings, use the over-expose (+) to lighten the image. If your subject is much lighter, use the under-expose (-) to darken the image. I usually adjust in increments of .5, but experiment with the feature to find what works best (and what doesn’t).

Rule #6: A Higher ISO Is Your Friend

With animals, you need short exposure times because they’re always moving. I rarely use use a tripod—though sometimes I’ll use a monopod—so I can adapt to their movements quickly. When I use a full aperture set, I’ll use a higher ISO (800-1600 or even above). Older digital cameras will usually have visible noise over 400 ISO, but results with newer digital SLRs are much better. I think it’s better to have an image with a little more noise than a picture completely out of focus.

Rule #7: Get Down There!

Sanjeev Nanda photography tips

Take photographs anywhere but eye level

If you want tension in your pictures, get on eye level with your subject, or even below eye level. I often find myself laying flat on the floor when shooting in zoos. Many exhibits are below the observer, which is good for watching the animals but bad for photography!

Rule #8: Avoid the Flash—Use a Flashlight Instead!

I don’t like flash pictures because they’re mostly flat and have no depth. In wildlife photography, you seldom have the time for good flash setup (with multiple flashes) anyway. I’d rather use a higher ISO and try my luck without a flash. A standard, hand-held flashlight can help by producing a glint in the eye of an animal and lightening up a dark corner.

Rule #9: Eliminate Fences

Sanjeev Nanda wildlife photography tips

Zoom through the gap in the fences

When there are fences between you and your subject, get as close to the fence as possible without touching it (legal moves only, please). Extend your zoom to the largest telephoto setting, and open the aperture full. Ideally, your subject will be in the middle, between the front and back fences. Shoot through the shaded parts of the fence, and the fence should disappear from your shot.

Sanjeev Nanda tips on Saving Fuel

2 Jul
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Save Fuel Save Future

Fuel prices have sky-rocketed in India. Government decision to dergularize fuel prices will only add to the chaos. It’s time we take measures, to not only save fuel but save the environment. If you can save the environment by saving money, there’s no better motivation than that.

Each step by itself will account for a small increase, but if practiced in combination can increase your FE by as much as 20%!

DRIVING STYLE

Drive smoothly: Aggressive acceleration and braking significantly increase the fuel consumption of your car. Develop a smoother driving style whereby you accelerate and decelerate in a linear and smooth manner. How you drive is very important to FE.

Avoid clutch riding:

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Avoid Clutch Riding at all costs

Driving with your foot on the clutch results in “wastage” of engine power, which in turn increases your fuel consumption and wears out your clutch rapidly. Do not keep your foot on the clutch, except for when changing gears.

Minimise Idling: If your car is going to be stationary for an extended period of time, switch the engine off.

Choosing the right gear: Being in a higher gear at too low a speed, or in a lower gear at a very high speed increase your fuel consumption. It is important to shift up as “early” as possible without straining the engine. For most cars, the ideal shift point would be anywhere between 1500 – 2000 rpm.

Maintain a constant speed: Varying speeds do not make the car as efficient as a constant speed will. Especially when out on the open road, try to maintain a consistent rate of travel.

The Optimum speed: Aerodynamic resistance increases exponentially with speed. For e.g. at speeds over a 100 km/h, your car will consume a lot more fuel than at 80 – 90 km/h. Keep within this limit to maximize the FE of your car.

A safe distance: Maintaining a healthy distance between your car and the one ahead is not only safer, but also leads to higher FE. This gives you a higher reaction time, better visibility and a smoother drive. Aggressive braking has a detrimental effect on your cars fuel efficiency.

Around the corner: Short trips invariably make your car consume a lot more fuel. The primary reason is that every engine has an optimum running temperature, and very short distances will almost certainly result in your car running at a cold temperature for a majority of the distance.

Windows drag: At high speeds, open windows can affect the cars aerodynamic efficiency. It is better to keep the windows rolled up and the air-conditioner on at speeds over a 100 km/h.

CAR – RELATED MEASURES

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Fuel is blood for your car

The honest petrol pump: Considering the high amount of fuel adulteration and other fuel-industry malpractices, we highly recommend you to choose the right petrol pump. Tampered meters that result in under-filling, misappropriating bills and selling adulterated fuel are some of the most common malpractices. Company-owned filling stations are the best option, though there are some honest privately-owned petrol pumps also. Look around and opt for an honest reputable petrol pump. This alone can account for upto a 10% difference in your fuel efficiency.

Appropriate tyre pressures: It is very important to maintain manufacturer-recommended tyre pressures to optimize the level of rolling resistance. Tire pressures can also be increased by1 – 2 psi if you live in a city with smooth roads. Please do not exceed this limit since it can cause uneven wear.

Keep the car well maintained: Your car will gulp fuel voraciously if it is not in the right state of tune. Make it a point to keep your air-filters clean, engine oil changed and your engine healthy by sticking to the manufacturer recommended maintenance intervals.

Upsized tyres: Wider tyres increase rolling resistance and rotating mass, thus hindering FE. Do not oversize your tyres.

Light weight: Weight has to be carried around, and will result in additional work for the engine. Unload any unnecessary cargo / baggage etc. to keep your car as light as possible.

The right fuel for premium cars: High-compression engines do not operate properly on the regular octane fuel available in India. To improve efficiency, it is important to use manufacturer-recommended grades of petrol.

Recommended fuel additives: Some makes of cars (e.g. Volkwagon Jetta) are not able to run optimally on the Indian fuel quality, and their manufacturers recommend fuel additives to keep the fuel system clean. If your car came with this instruction, make use of the recommended fuel additives.

ALTERNATE WAYS

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Use Carpool make the world beautiful

Car Pool: Travel along with your neighbours / friends / relatives if the office timings and destinations are alike.

Keep a FE car: Why use the guzzling SUV when your hatchback serves the purpose for daily running?

Plan your trips to avoid traffic: You can beat rush-hour traffic by traveling either before or after peak hours.

Club tasks together: Perform more tasks per trip, saving the need for repeated trips to the same destination.

Walk it up: If the distance is very short, consider walking. It is healthy and saves fuel.

Sanjeev Nanda on How to Speed up on a New Job

2 Jul

Asking for Help When You’re New to the Job

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Start a new job with a positive attitude

When you transfer to a new division or start a job with a new employer, it’s natural to want to demonstrate mastery of your position from day one.

Many bosses make the irrational assumption that by merely breathing the air of the cubicle farm, you’ll absorb all the information you need.

Against that daunting background, how can you meet the challenge of getting the help that’s required to get up to speed on a new job?  Approach the task the way a journalist would get the story — by asking the five W’s.

Why?

If your company has effective training and orientation programs, why do you have to ask for further help?  The only way to become a savvy journalist or to succeed at your hedge-fund firm is to ask a lot of questions.

You also must demonstrate the rationale for your inquiries to the people whose time you take up. Your attitude and presentation are key; you must project confidence that your requests for information and guidance are reasonable and necessary.

Do ask about training, documentation and other resources you can use to educate yourself without taking up people’s time.

What?

You can demonstrate your respect for other people’s time by being careful about what you ask. When you ask, you want to be very specific and share what you already know.

But don’t confine your queries to the procedural; seek out what makes your new workplace tick. Ask a peer, “What are some things that you wish you’d known before you started working here?’ Try to get at the subtle culture issues. “Is this an email culture or an IM culture?”

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Ask questions like you were born to ask them

Who?

You will quickly build a reputation as a thoughtful worker if you carefully consider who in your organization is best-suited to answer your questions and otherwise render aid. Create your own map of who does what in your organization, a sort of annotated version of the standard organisation chart.

You’ll also need help in your initial efforts to jump-start your information-collection system. A key tactic is to pose this meta-question to your boss or other ranking manager: “Who else could I go to with this sort of question (so that I don’t have to take up your time)?”

Where (and How)?

Just as important as asking the right questions of the right person is choosing the optimal communications medium for your inquiries.

Ask your coworkers and boss what typically goes out on email; you just want to know what the norms are. That email is never the most effective medium when a dialog is required.

When you ask a question of a superior, let them know that you’ll be happy to take their response in whatever form is easiest for them. If they choose to answer your detailed email with a brain dump to your voicemail, just be grateful for the information.

When?

One way to alienate coworkers and superiors from the get-go is to ask too many questions too soon, before you need the answers and can absorb them.

Of course, you’ll still have plenty of legitimate questions in the early going, and that’s a good thing. Ask early and often. “If you ask often, people will see you as curious.”

As you move past the first stage of your tenure in a new position, consider giving back to your company’s next generation of newbies by volunteering to put together documentation of key information for new hires, whether it’s a company glossary, a guidebook or an intranet page that indexes internal resources.

Finally, if you ever get discouraged by any friction you create by asking for help, look at the big picture. You have to remember that you’re asking questions not just for yourself, but to advance the goals of the organization, So you can be as forceful as you need to be.

Sanjeev Nanda on How to Write a Good Report

1 Jul

This post describes how to write a good report. This is based on common mistakes I have observed over a period of time. While most of the following apply in general, they have been written with management and engineering students in mind.

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Report writing is nothing short of an Art

Structure of a report

The following should roughly be the structure of a report. Note that these are just guidelines, not rules. You have to use your intelligence in working out the details of your specific writing.

  • Title and abstract: These are the most-read parts of a report. This is how you attract attention to your writing. The title should reflect what you have done and should bring out any eye-catching factor of your work, for good impact.The abstract should be short, generally within about 2 paragraphs (250 words or so total). The abstract should contain the essence of the report, based on which the reader decides whether to go ahead with reading the report or not. It can contain the following in varying amounts of detail as is appropriate: main motivation, main design point, essential difference from previous work, methodology, and some eye-catching results if any.
  • Introduction: Most reports start with an introduction section. This section should answer the following questions (not necessarily in that order, but what is given below is a logical order). After title/abstract introduction and conclusions are the two mainly read parts of a report.
    • What is the setting of the problem? This is, in other words, the background. In some cases, this may be implicit, and in some cases, merged with the motivation below.
    • What exactly is the problem you are trying to solve? This is the problem statement.
    • Why is the problem important to solve? This is the motivation. In some cases, it may be implicit in the background, or the problem statement itself.
    • Is the problem still unsolved? The constitutes the statement of past/related work crisply.
    • Why is the problem difficult to solve? This is the statement of challenges.
    • How have you solved the problem? Here you state the essence of your approach. This is of course expanded upon later, but it must be stated explicitly here.
    • What are the conditions under which your solution is applicable? This is a statement of assumptions.
    • What are the main results? You have to present the main summary of the results here.
    • What is the summary of your contributions? This in some cases may be implicit in the rest of the introduction. Sometimes it helps to state contributions explicitly.
    • How is the rest of the report organized? Here you include a paragraph on the flow of ideas in the rest of the report. For any report beyond 4-5 pages, this is a must.

    The introduction is nothing but a shorter version of the rest of the report, and in many cases the rest of the report can also have the same flow. Think of the rest of the report as an expansion of some of the points in the introduction. Which of the above bullets are expanded into separate sections (perhaps even multiple sections) depends very much on the problem.

  • Background: This is expanded upon into a separate section if there is sufficient background which the general reader must understand before knowing the details of your work. It is usual to state that “the reader who knows this background can skip this section” while writing this section.
  • Past/related work: It is common to have this as a separate section, explaining why what you have done is something novel. Here, you must try to think of dimensions of comparison of your work with other work. For instance, you may compare in terms of functionality, in terms of performance, and/or in terms of approach. EAlthough not mandatory, it is good presentation style to give the above comparison in terms of a table; where the rows are the various dimensions of comparison and the columns are various pieces of related work, with your own work being the first/last column.While in general you try to play up your work with respect to others, it is also good to identify points where your solution is not so good compared to others. If you state these explicitly, the reader will feel better about them, than if you do not state and the reader figures out the flaws in your work anyway :-).Another point is with respect to the placement of related work. One possibility is to place it in the beginning of the report (after intro/background). Another is to place it in the end of the report (just before conclusions). This is a matter of judgment, and depends on the following aspect of your work. If there are lots of past work related very closely to your work, then it makes sense to state upfront as to what the difference in your approach is. On the other hand, if your work is substantially different from past work, then it is better to put the related work at the end. While this conveys a stronger message, it has the risk of the reader wondering all through the report as to how your work is different from some other specific related work.
  • Future work: This section in some cases is combined along with the “conclusions” section. Here you state aspects of the problem you have not considered and possibilities for further extensions.
  • Conclusions: Readers usually read the title, abstract, introduction, and conclusions. In that sense, this section is quite important. You have to crisply state the main take-away points from your work. How has the reader become smarter, or how has the world become a better place because of your work?

Refinement

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Start Writing early don't wait for the last moment

No report is perfect, and definitely not on the first version. Well written reports are those which have gone through multiple rounds of refinement. This refinement may be through self-reading and critical analysis, or more effectively through peer-feedback (or feedback from advisor/instructor).

Here are some things to remember:

  • Start early, don’t wait for the completion of your work in its entirety before starting to write.
  • Each round of feedback takes about a week at least. And hence it is good to have a rough version at least a month in advance. For a good quality report, it is good to have a rough version at least 2 months in advance.
  • Feedback should go through the following stages ideally: (a) you read it yourself fully once and revise it, (b) have your peers review it and give constructive feedback, and then (c) have your advisor/instructor read it.

Recommended strategy for producing a high-quality report

Based on the above, I recommend the following strategy for students who want to produce a high-quality report, which would then have a high potential for being turned into a publication:

  • Think through the outline of the report even as you are working on the details of the problem. Such thinking will also lend focus to your work and you will end up optimizing the returns on the time invested.
  • Two months before the actual deadline, you have to have at least a paragraph-level outline of the report, with all details worked out.
  • After one round of critical analysis by yourselves (or by your group), have another student or another group review it, perhaps in exchange for you reviewing their work. Have them check your flow of ideas. While it may be good to get someone working in the same area, for much of the feedback, this may not really be necessary.
  • Now you are probably about 6-7 weeks from the deadline. At this point, have your advisor/instructor give feedback on the paragraph-level outline. Getting this early is important since, based on this, you may have to reorganize your report, rework your theorems, or rerun your experiments/simulations.
  • Have a pre-final version of the report ready 2 weeks before the deadline. Again, go through one round of self/peer-feedback, and then advisor/instructor feedback.
  • With these 3-4 rounds of revision and critical analysis, the quality of your report is bound to improve. And since many of the student theses are of good quality, quality of writing dramatically improves chances of publication.

Sanjeev Nanda tips on Long Distance Riding

30 Jun

To most motorbike riders, 700 kilometers in a day seems like too much. For some riders, even 200 sound like too much. It shouldn’t. If you are in reasonable shape, covering 500 to 600 kilometers in a day of riding on the open road or 300 odd kilometers in the hills should not be too strenuous. Riding long distance entails a re-calibration of your fatigue threshold. Like the ‘second wind’ experienced by a marathon runner, long hours in the saddle reveal similar reserves that exist within us. Usually, after 5 hours on the road, nearly every rider feels tired. Yet, pushing oneself even an hour beyond this apparent tiredness shows quite clearly that it will not get any worse. The body may feel a need to rest but the mind can push it on for twice that time without damage. The trick is in keeping your eyes on the target and paying attention to details.

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Motorbiking is pure passion, enjoy every moment you spend on your bike

1. Keep your bike in top mechanical condition

A failure 2 days into the tour and in the middle of nowhere is a thoroughly avoidable event. The engine tuning, control cables, brake pads and fluid, tyres, electricals, drive chain and even the frame need periodic checks.

2. Carry all the relevant documents in original, with a photocopy placed elsewhere. The R/C Book, Pollution certificate and Insurance policy (even the cover note will suffice).

3. Being in a reasonably fit physical shape helps the rider stay alert even at the end of a 10-hour ride. Fitness stretches one’s fatigue threshold.

4. Plan your route, along with any alternatives, and calculate equipment and financial requirements according to the longest probable route. Good road maps are a must. Especially the ones that show distances (with heights in case of hills) accurately and mark petrol pumps that actually exist. Being stranded without fuel is depressing at the best and life threatening at worst if you get caught at high altitude late in the day and without equipment to spend the night in the open.

5. On highways within India, doing about 200 kms stretches between breaks is usually the limit.

6. Carry only as much luggage as is totally essential, but never skimp on tools and repair equipment. Carry all that you would need, short of towing another similar bike behind you. Tie the luggage securely on the bike. If riding one-up, tie it on the seat behind as it gives your back some added support and stops the wind from getting in from behind you.

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Travel Light for added pleasure

7. Tie the bag so tight that it cannot be moved sideways or up and down at all. A loosely tied bag will keep sliding this way or that and apart from distracting you, could act as a pendulous mass in case of a rear wheel slide during panic stops. Being well behind the centre of gravity of the bike, even a 15kg bag could exert enough leverage to make the otherwise controllable slide totally wild.

8. Prefer a bag with side pockets that are not covered by the tie-down straps. Keep the frequently needed stuff like the water bottle, small tool kit, the first aid kit, spare goggles etc in them. Pack the bag such that the heavier things are at the bottom and the lighter ones on top. Keep extra clothes and rain gear outside the bag. Secure it on top with bungee cords or elastic net. Don’t forget to wrap these things in a polythene bag first or the dust and grime enroute would not leave them worth wearing.

9. Keep a separate helmet at home for exclusive use during the long tours. Make sure its visor is clean, scratch-free and seals out the dust effectively. Following a truck or bus on a narrow and dusty mountain road at slow speed will prove you its real worth.

10. Wear a cotton or silk balaclava before putting on the helmet, whatever the weather. It protects the inside of your helmet from oily perspiration and stops insects from getting into your ears and nose if you need to ride with the visor open. Two thin cotton balaclavas inside a well fitting helmet can see you through the coldest ride.

11. Wear a cotton inner in summer (a cotton track suit is ideal), and preferably a wool one in winter. Au outer windproof jacket with a closed collar is useful, whatever the season. Even 20degC summer mornings can be uncomfortably cold when doing a 100-kmph for hours together. (Remember the wind-chill factor). Also, when riding in those hot summers, contrary to instinct, cover yourself well, leaving as little skin exposed as possible. The dry hot wind blows away perspiration before it can cool you and since every bit of liquid near the skin gets dried up almost immediately, you get dehydrated pretty soon. Clothes help retain this water. And keep drinking water or cold drinks frequently.

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Biker Jacket for all weather

12. For cold weather riding, dress in layers comprising of wool, cotton and wind-proofs. A layer of cotton inners followed by a wool tracksuit, then a thin windproof jacket, which in turn is covered, by a heavier quilted windproof jacket can take you through sub-zero riding conditions. Gloves are a must but of the kind that don’t compromise on feel and grip, whether wet or dry. To avoid wind-chilled hands in winters, wear latex rubber surgical gloves over woolen ones. Leather though, is ideal. Improvise a nape cover for the gloves using a non-slip type polythene bag.

13. Dress your lower extremities the same way as the top. Two layers, one cotton and the other wool followed by good windproof pants that close around the ankles are sufficient. Boots should have thick non-slip rubber soles, a metal reinforced toe cap and should reach above the ankles.

14. A set of dark glasses for bright sunlight and clear one’s for night riding, are important. Needless to say, they should be scratch-free and a good fit.

15. The rain suit should be made of rubberised cloth and its seams must be double sealed, pasted together and not stitched. The stitch-holes will leak, no matter what the manufacturer claims.

16. However far or near the destination, try to leave early in the morning, pre dawn preferably. The sight of a new day breaking, while you ride, is somehow very rejuvenating. And the added benefit is of very little traffic so early in the day.

17. Take frequent breaks, at least every 2 hours, when on a long ride. After 10 hrs on the saddle, you might need to stop even more frequently, to fight fatigue. When riding in the cold, take frequent breaks for warm food and drinks. Do not keep riding until you get numb. You could be closer to hypothermia than you realise and could crash from delayed reactions.

18. Drink lots of water on the way. The wind rushing past carries away more water from the rider’s body than he would loose if walking or travelling in a covered vehicle. In cold weather, tea and coffee are good substitutes but for the frequent toilet breaks, since both of these are diuretics.

19. Keep a fuel log. It helps you monitor the mileage your bike is giving apart from keeping the fuel expenses in the picture. In areas where fuel stations are far and apart, you can easily assess whether you can make the distance or not.

20. Maintain a steady fast pace for long stretches. Rushing along for sometime and then stopping every hour will actually reduce the ultimate distance you cover in a given time span. Remember the Hare and the Tortoise!

21. Wrap sandwiches or paranthas in aluminum foil and clamp it somewhere on the engine casing. You get hot food whenever you stop for a tea break! A real treat in those chilling winter rides.

22. Ride the long road with the attitude of someone on a holiday. Leave that poisonous urban rush behind. Set a target for the day but don’t keep chasing it all day. Relax! You are out for fun.

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Enjoy the ride, be cautious and responsible

23. When in the hills, keep to your side and watch out for gravel, oil, water or pine needles on the inside of blind curves. In winter, during frosting conditions, watch out for the treacherous ‘black ice’. Water or even moisture on the road gets frozen into clear ice and it is very-very slippery. This happens even on a bright sunny afternoon on the shady side of the mountain.

24. With snow or a crust of crunchy ice on the road, a bike ridden two up is more stable than with a single rider. Due to the added weight, the wheels an cut through the ice to grip the road.

25. If there’s a stream flowing across the road, watch for slippery moss covered rocks underneath. Keep the bike upright and avoid sudden direction changes.

26. Night riding in the hills is, in a sense, safer than during daytime. You can see the approaching vehicle’s lights beyond a curve. Also, you are more focussed since all you can see is what gets lit up by the headlight. There are no distracting views to see around. Prefer a headlamp that gives a wide beam spread as it enables you to see which way the road goes beyond a curve. A narrow focus beam lets you see straight ahead but not where the road is heading beyond the turn.

27. Night riding in the plains is a different ball-game. Follow a fast 4 wheeler at a safe distance and use its lights to see ahead. A bike is not the king of the road at night.

28. Practice doing minor repairs, in darkness, or with your eyes closed. Things like changing the control cables, the headlight bulb or the spark plug. You could get stuck with any of these failures in total darkness.

29. Always carry a spare tube even if you have puncture patches. And, before hitting the road, check the expiry of those puncture patches and adhesive. In case of sudden deflation of a tyre while riding at speed, never brake the punctured wheel. The tyre will jump the rim and you get thrown off the bike.

30. A couple of meters length of insulated wire and insulation tape are indispensable for on the spot electrical repairs.

31. Carry a 12ft X 16ft plastic sheet. It works as an emergency rain shelter. Put it across the seats of two bikes parked parallel with a 5ft gap in between for you to sit. You get an instant roof and the luggage gets added protection from rain. Keep a stout rope, about 15ft long, for emergency towing.

32. As a ritual, check engine oil, brakes, control cables, chain tension and lights each day before starting. Keeps you in touch with the bike and you are not easily caught by a surprising failure.

33. Intersections are popular places for spills. Keep that head on the swivel and preferably let another vehicle run interference between you and the cross traffic. Let him take the hit if some moron jumps the light. Any larger vehicle is far better equipped to take on impacts than an exposed motorcyclist.

34. Passing a bus that has pulled over at a stop, look at the road ahead of its front tyre from under its bumper for brave pedestrians who believe in crossing in front of a parked bus!

35. With disc brakes common, the increased braking power could get translated into a rear end collision if you brake hard and surprise a tailgating motorist. So watch those mirrors before dropping anchor.

36. Alcohol is a great deluder. It makes you feel strong when you are weak, capable when your abilities are diminished. Maybe that’s the attraction behind it. Don’t, please don’t mix alcohol with 2-wheeler riding. Since the ‘robot skills’ of starting, stopping and steering are not much affected, the drinker is deluded into believing that all his reflexes and riding faculties are intact. Not so. Even ½ a bottle of beer (that’s just 5% blood alcohol level, half of the legal limit) just takes away the rider’s ability to cope with the unexpected. And mishaps are unexpected.

37. Stitch a piece of chamois leather to the back of your left glove’s fore finger. A quick wipe across the visor in rain improves vision substantially.

38. At night, deflect the angle of your rear view mirrors a little to avoid the glare from vehicles following you. Adjust the angle so that you have to lean forwards a little to look into them

39. When riding in a strong crosswind, crouch to make yourself as small a target for the wind as possible. Tuck in your arms, narrow your shoulders, bend your back, slide back on the seat to get your head close to the tank and grab the tank with your knees. In short, shrink. And turn into putty. Relax your body and retain a firm yet resilient relationship with the bike. Let your body move a bit with every gust and absorb its energy on its own without shaking up the bike. And watch for sudden changes in the wind force due to static (trees, houses) and moving (cars, trucks, buses) windbreaks. They stop the wind as you pass them and it comes back in force suddenly when you are past them.

40. Fatigue is one major factor that can result in lax reflexes and diminished ability of the eyes to focus. Rest, if possible. If not, then concentrate on focussing on distant objects to avoid falling into the trap of focussing on ‘nothing’ in front of you, the ‘seeing yet not seeing’ syndrome. And keep those eyes moving. Take a short break or a nap when sleepy. Driving drunk or drowsy is the same.

41. Develop peripheral vision, that ability to be aware of what’s going on in the far edges of your sight while looking straight ahead. While riding, fix your eyes on the road and traffic ahead and without moving your head, try to monitor the traffic on either side of you. We usually sacrifice side vision when we concentrate on what’s ahead.

42. Braking performance is degraded when carrying a passenger, mainly because the added weight lengthens the stopping distance. Same with cornering. The extra weight takes up suspension travel and makes the bike less responsive to steering inputs. So take it easy when tow-up and extend those safety margins.

43. The passenger should hold on to the riders waist or lower chest. Grab rails leave the passengers wobbly, making the bike unsteady. Tell the passenger to look over your inside shoulder, stay in line with the bike, hold on to you and relax.

44. To cover long distances in a day, the first rule is to keep moving. Don’t dawdle over lunch and tea breaks. Minimize your stops by combining tasks. Take a leak, drink water, change your jacket and tighten the luggage in one go. The second rule is to keep the stops short. Maintain a steady fast pace balancing the time gained against the risk factors. At the end of 100 kms, doing 95 instead of 85 makes you gain some 15 odd minutes. Which is about an hour less on a 400km ride. See if it is worth pushing yourself and your bike so close to the limits to gain just an hour in 8 hours of riding.

45. When riding through deep water that submerges the exhaust pipe, keep the bike in first gear and those RPM’s up. If the engine stops, water will enter the tailpipe and maybe enter the engine. Do not attempt to re-start the engine as the water inside can severely damage it.

46. When riding through sand, drop tyre pressures by upto 40% (The idea here is to improve tyre floatation i.e. its ability to ride on top of the sand through increasing the contact patch), keep the bike in low gears and steer straight. In sand, always remember that the wheels have a tendency to dig in, so when coming to a halt, do so gently or the sand piles up ahead of the front wheel making the subsequent pick-up difficult.

47. Keep a 2-mtr long piece of fuel pipe for emergency fuel transfers from one vehicle to another. Also, have a flat board of wood, about 12″X8″ handy, to put under the main stand if you need to park your bike on soft ground. Otherwise, use only the side-stand, with a small flat rock placed under it, for parking on soft ground.

Note: What appears to be hard ground now could become soft after even a short rain shower. Even hard tarmac becomes unusually soft on a very hot afternoon.

Travel the high road on a motorcycle for the fun of travelling. The highways are not proving grounds for speed and tricks. They are means of getting to far off places. Respect and be considerate for other road users, especially the villagers who were there before the highways came into being. Leave ‘Mr. Hurry’ and ‘Miss Speeding’ behind when you tie those bags. Wear your helmet, eye protection and proper safety gear. Just savour the freedom your mechanical steed provides you with and ride so that you can ride again and again.

Sanjeev Nanda tips on Signs of Attraction

27 May

In today’s society, beauty, physical attraction, and sexuality are all commonly misunderstood as some transcendent inevitable fact; falsely interlocking the three makes it seem doubly true that in order to initiate attraction between a man and a woman, both sexes should be beautiful to be sexual.  That of course is not true at all. The definitions of beautiful, attraction, and sexual constantly change to serve the social order, and the connection between the three ideas is a recent invention.

In a survey conducted by an “evolutionary psychologist,” from 10,000 individuals who were interviewed, it was found out that men have high-regards to physical attraction in their budding sexual mates, while women attach importance to prominence, goals, and monetary sources.

No wonder why most cases of attraction are all based on sexuality and physical attributes. This is because men and women would rather have their significant others physically and sexually capable of giving them their necessities.

How can the individual identify the clear signs of attraction?

There are many probable actions that might suggest attraction. However, the real signs include but not limited to the following:

1. Visual contact

This is when both a man and a woman gazed upon each other and instantly prolonged the moment as they look at each other longer than the typical glance.

Eye Contact - 1st step of attraction

Both are completely immersed on each other’s anecdote, and every word will impress them both. All eyes are glued to each other that send a message that they are drawn to each other.

2. Preen

Preening means to adorn oneself carefully or to groom oneself with particular attention to details. Hence, attraction sets in when both would try to instantly make a quick fix and conquer each other’s space.

3. Flirting

Flirting - 3rd Stage of Attraction

Teasing could have been the more appropriate term for it. This is when both sexes converse in a relaxed manner, with bodily actions associated to their thoughts and feelings, where, most often than not, sexual tensions and arousal are the primary upshots.

4. Physical contact

This is when a woman leans to wards the man and places a modest hand on his hand or arm. In this way, the woman is trying to tell the other person that she is attracted to him and that she is open to possibilities that involve the concerned person.

All of these things are boiled down to the fact that the asymmetry of the correlation among beauty, attraction, and sexuality that tells both men and women lies on how they both perceive each other’s physical attributes. This is inevitable because the lack of it will definitely keep them sexually estranged.

Attraction is generally focused on imagery that is exclusively on the physical attributes of both men and women, where the society has created a very important role. This goes to show that the signs of attraction indicate the clear identification of desirability.

Given all that, both men and women should make the choice, by and large, to take each other as human beings first and not just mere sexual objects.

It should be well noted that these signs of attraction may be well confined on the premise that both men and women send out these signs as a ticket to conquer each other’s space so as to start the “getting-to-know-each-other” stage.