Monthly Archives: July 2012

Over 700 million lose power in India in second day of grid failures

After writing about power problems that affected thousands of homes, it's hard to imagine a problem that would take out 700 million subscribers. But that's just the problem facing India, which has seen failures of its transmission grid in two days straight – the biggest power outage ever.

Some sources for more information:

The Guardian, UK. "Power cuts plunge 20 of India's 28 states into darkness as energy suppliers fail to meet growing demand"

More than 700 million people in India have been left without power in the world's worst modern blackout, prompting fears that protests and even riots could follow if the country's electricity supply continues to fail to meet growing demand.

Twenty of India's 28 states were hit by power cuts, along with the capital, New Delhi, when three of the five electricity grids failed at lunchtime.

Power Grid Corporation of India's press release on the subject provides some details:

A disturbance occurred in the NR, ER and NER electricity grid at 1300 hours today leading to a blackout in these regions except survival of small pockets in Delhi, Kolkata, Narora etc. Supply to affected regions is being extended from Western and Southern Region grids. Presently supply to NR has been extended from Gwalior on Gwalior-Agra line up to Delhi stations. Supply to railway traction and metro has been restored to almost all the points. Hydro Stations in NR have been started and supply has restored up to Punjab and Haryana areas also. Startup supply has been extended to Singrauli, Rihand via Vindhyachal and startup supply to Talchar has been extended from Western Region It is expected that supply to all the major points in affected regions shall be made available in 2 to 3 of hours time. 

The Wall Street Journal live-blogged the blackout for the second day.

A bad day for India, however you look at it. The government was forced to admit not just a serious shortage of power but also of water. These are without question two of India’s biggest long-term challenges.



What you’re likely to find here

I treat this weblog as an unpolished open notebook, inspired by RFC 3 from 1969:

Steve Crocker, Internet Request for Comments 3, from 1969: "There is a natural hesitancy to publish something unpolished, and we hope to ease this inhibition."

If you are looking for some more evidence of focus and polish, I've moved some of the writing that I've done on some topics to their own weblogs. See these:

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Edward Vielmetti, Ann Arbor MI

The return of microcoworking

Microcoworking is independent workers and freelancers working together at the same time in a coffee shop, sharing ideas and conversation. It's more informal than the coworking facilities that have sprung up all over the country, but it shares with them the idea that just because you're working on your own you don't have to be alone.

Today Laura Fisher, Patti Smith and I restarted a microcoworking cell that had been on hiatus for a while, meeting at Zingerman's Next Door. We did some editing work together, Patti and I, and Laura showed off her stylish Sensu brush for the iPad. The music started out as a 70s mix which gave us all the appropriate flashbacks in time.

Ann Arbor District Library to circulate electronic music tools; Moog Foundation event August 1, 2012

Thanks to Eli Neiburger for the heads up for this event - 

The Ann Arbor District Library is launching a new circulating collection of electronic music tools, and they are brining "Dr. Bob's Sound School", a program of the Robert Moog Foundation, to AADL this Wednesday August 1, 2012. It's an introduction to the principles of electronic sound synthesis, a little history of Moog, and a chance to get your hands on some seriously cool and unusual music tools.

The instrument collection will feature musical gear that you can check out from the Library, from such noted manufacturers as Moog, Korg, Maywa Denki, Bleep Labs, Chamber of Sounds, Folktek, Critter & Guitari and more! Participants in the workshop will get a chance to get their hands on these instruments before they go into general circulation.

One event is intended for grades K-5 and their adults from 2-3:30 PM, and another for grades 6 – Adult from 7 – 8:30 PM.  Details here:

and here:

Happy birthday to no one, not today. A birthday problem

According to Facebook, none of my friends have a birthday today. How many friends do I have to have so that there's a 50/50 chance that there will be a birthday every day of the year?

An answer comes from the blog Math Goes Pop!, referencing the well known "coupon collector's problem".

What’s known about this problem? Well, as I said above, even if you buy hundreds of thousands of cards, or stuff millions of people in a room, there’s no guarantee that you’ll collect every card or every date. However, on average, the number of cards you’ll need to go through to complete a set of size n is about n*log n.

In terms of birthdays, this says that if you want to collect every date, on average you’ll need to pool together around 2,153 people. Why such a large number? It’s not unreasonable to expect something like this – when you first begin collecting people, it won’t be hard to get people with different birthdays. However, as your numbers increase, you’ll get a new birthday less and less frequently. Finding that last birthday could prove to be quite elusive.

No birthdays today means no existential angst about filling in witty, brief birthday greetings to all of your friends. You could have swipe file of pithy and varied greetings that can be cut and pasted in with loving care. (Especially if you have 2,153 people to greet annually.)