It’s not the time to speak

If your ideas are not popular among your peers, it can be difficult to get your message across. Even if your points are valid and beneficial others, you may still have trouble convincing people around you. This occurs in almost all environments from home, school, office to in informal events.

While I am not very religious, there are some good points we can take out of almost all religions. In this particular case, an Indian philosopher (he never said he is a religious leader) well known as Buddha came up with several ways to improve how we speak and how to win an argument. The following diagram is based on his teaching which also later repeated by philosophers like Aristotle.

Chart is created based on the Buddhist texts titled, "Eightfold Path" and "Right Livelihood" translated by British and other historians.
Chart is created based on the Buddhist texts titled, “Eightfold Path” and “Right Livelihood” translated by British and other historians.


True or untrue is based on evidence. If you believe what you about to say is logically justifiable, then it is true.

Constructive ideas can either be beneficial to the society or improve the current conditions. Destructive ideas either can be beneficial, but at a great cost to humanity. For example, Hitler was a great leader to depressed Germans after World War I. But his ideologies popularized through his speeches were more destructive than constructive.

Great ideas come in both evolutionary and revolutionary forms. If a new concept is not currently accepted by a large supportive audience, a revolution may not be the best option to popularize it.

Tips for portable computer users

During the last decade, the portable computers have replaced most of the the desktop computers. Today some people use portable units like laptops or tablets as their primary computer. If you use these portable devices as your primary units, you should also take precautions to protect your privacy and data security. This is not a how to tutorial. This article is written for those who have no idea on where to start. I may improve some of the explanations over time.


In order to protect your data, create an administrative account with a very strong password. Your password should be at least eight characters long and should include numeric characters. In addition I recommend using capital and simple letters. But what if you don’t want to enter a long password each and every time you want to log in? The solution to this is to create a secondary account with “limited” privileges. You can use a weaker password for this account because this account will not have the permission requirements for modifications. The administrative account password will be needed every time you want to install (or uninstall) a program. While it will not provide ultimate protection for your personal data, at least it is a good compromise for busy individuals.


Caring for portable hardware similar to caring for desktop hardware. You to keep the electronics clean and in controlled environmental conditions. Both of these are harder to do with portable devices.


Compressed Gas Duster (oxygen can, air can, etc) is the best way to clean dust on hard to reach area. But dusting off also helps by removing debris around fans and vents intakes. If you decide to use the compressed gas to clean, make sure…

  • not to spry an area over a long period (will form water vapor)
  • not to spry directly into connectors causing the connectors to get lose due to the force of air


In countries like Canada where we have a very wide range in temperature, it is difficult to keep the portable devices at ideal conditions. Another problem you will run into is that with our busy lives we take the technology for granted a smallest malfunction due to these environmental elements could bring a catastrophe.

The best practices in controlling temperatures can be easily placed in a list.

  • Do not close your laptop (specially MacBook Pro) right after a long use. The head from the internal parts could damage the screen.
  • Place your electronic devices in protective casings whenever you can. For example, a laptop can be placed in temperature controlled sleeves.
  • The mobile phone/PDAs are most likely exposed to environmental elements because we cannot place them in enclosed cases (what’s the point of having a mobile communication device if it not quickly accessible?.


The best solution for this is not to spill anything around your electronics. The measures taken after any liquid damage is not always productive. Almost all liquids we use in our household are electrically conductive and have the ability to increase the process of oxidation of metals.


Some of you may be surprised to hear you may be able to repair some mobile devices at home. While most electronics circuity use machines, some parts are made with easy repair in mind. The most common portable device accidents are caused by gravity. To be more specific physical damage to a component caused by a fall.


Mobile smart phones made by Samsung have screen glued together using a heat sensitive material. Therefore you can remove the damaged screen by applying heat around the plastic front frame. You need to get proper tools which can be brought online. It is very cheap to repair at home than to actually send it out if the unit is not under warranty. So do your research and you might save some money.


While not all units have removable batteries, most of them have a method to open the battery compartment. This is because battery failures are one of the most common problems in portable electronics. Usually the power supply and the battery is fitted with removable plates. You may require a special tool to open it (such as special screws). I found hobby shops have variety of specialized tools that works for computers.

Power Supply

You cannot replace the power supplies without breaking them on any of the portable devices I know. However, you may want to do more research into your particular model.


This is the easiest part to replace or upgrade in most computers. Exception to some Netbooks and Ultrabooks, most laptops come with an access window for Random Access Memory (RAM) cards. Check the manual or the model number of the motherboard and verify the maximum amount of RAM it can take. In addition make sure you choose the right type of RAM (DDR2, DDR3, SO-DIMM, etc).

Tips for Emigration from Asia

Traveling outside the country is not something that most people in Asia would do. But with the growth of middle class, the interest in permanently relocating to developed countries have increased significantly. While some may argue that “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” is not always applied in countries like Canada. But if you are not willing to be flexible in your new adopted country, you will find it difficult to live. In 2012, majority of immigrants to Canada identified their motherland as Asia (including South Asia).

Your Name

Asians have a rich heritage. On top of that South Asians are very proud of their culture and history. In most communities we use the names to identify our cultural background. This is why you would come across South Asians with long names. These names are not random. They have a structure. I found this can be an inconvenient in the Western society.

The South Asian Buddhist culture have the following name convention. HISTORICAL_FAMILY_NAME YOUR_NAME_1 YOUR_NAME_2… SURNAME. The first name has historical significant and has nothing to do with identifying a person. For example, my dad, my brother and I all have the exact same first name. The last name, also known as surname is also common to family members. Therefore in my Buddhist culture it is a combination of middle name and the first or middle name and the last is the identifiable unique name of a person.

Now let’s look at Canadian legal documents and general conventions. Official legal documents in Canada will provide you with enough space to include the entire name. But the subsequent correspondence will only include your first and last name. This is a major problem because three of us in my household have the exact same first and the last names (HISTORICAL_FAMILY_NAME SURNAME). If someone send us a letter addressed to one of us, it can be confusing. This is what exactly happens when we get letters in the mail. To solve it, I decided to switch my middle and the first names around. But since I did not change it before we came to Canada, I had to go through the process of requesting the name change from the government. I highly recommend officially changing your name before entering an another country to avoid extra paperwork. Having three names or even more is OK, as long as the first name is your unique identifiable name. I recommend the following format; YOUR_NAME_1 YOUR_NAME_2… HISTORICAL_FAMILY_NAME SURNAME, which will translate into YOUR_NAME_1 SURNAME in most official documents.

Your Documents and Drugs 🙂

All documents from your native country either must be in English or the official language of the country you are immigrating. These documents must be translated by a respected and approved translator. In other words, the validity of these documents depends on the authorized translator’s accreditation and therefore go to the embassy and request for a list of translators. Do not discard the original documents. The translated documents must always be accompanied by the original for future comparison.

If you are bringing in controlled materials such as pharmaceutical drugs, do not remove the materials from their original containers. Such containers also must be in one of the official languages. It is better if you can bring them with the manufactures sealed caps(eg. without opening bottles).

Travel Documents

While in Asia it is a common practice to include dependents (children) in parent’s passports, please get individual passports even for the children. Countries like Canada and US will specifically inform you to have separate passports. But even if it is not specifically told, I recommend obtaining individual travel documents to avoid any unforeseeable issues.

Photocopy all your travel documents including the air ticket and leave that copy with a relative. This is for in case of an emergency and / or loss of the documents.

Regardless of if you are going to be a Permanent Resident(PR) or not, write down the information on embassy of your birth country.

Do not hesitate to ask questions… lots of questions from border security personals when you arrived at your destination.

Silicate Mineral Structures

Click on the image for larger high resolution file.

Dark blue is Silicate Tetrahedra, green is bonds and the light blue is sodium.

Olivine - Isolated Tetrahedra
Olivine – Isolated Tetrahedra

The isolated tetrahedra is a group of silicates in which the crystal structures have no shared oxygen between them. Therefore minerals like Olivine and Garnet are held together by the attaraction force between silica tetrahedra and the surrounding cat ions. This is the least polymerized type.

Clinopyroxene - Single Chain - Pyroxene Group
Clinopyroxene – Single Chain – Pyroxene Group
Atomic model of Clinopyroxene
Atomic model of Clinopyroxene

Single chain silicates have links between the silicate tetrahedras by sharing two oxygen atoms between two of them. Pyroxene is the most common group in this category.

Actinolite - Double Chain - Amphibole Group
Actinolite – Double Chain – Amphibole Group

Double chain silicates shares two or three oxygen atoms. You can look at these structures as two independent chain silicates bonding together because the fundamentally, they are two set of chains. Amphiole group is an example of such minerals.

Biotite - Sheet - Mica Group
Biotite – Sheet – Mica Group

Sheet silicates form 2D silicate structures. All sheet silicates share exactly three oxygen atoms between silica tetradera. While sheet themselves are strong, in between the sheets different types of molecules can be fitted in. One for the example of this would be the water molecule in which a hydrous form of the mineral is formed. Micas such as biotite and muscovite are examples of such minerals.

K-feldspar - Framework - Feldspar Group
K-feldspar – Framework – Feldspar Group

Framework silicates are the most polymerized version. The structure uses all four oxygen atoms in the silica tetrahedra to form bonds between them. Feldspars are the most common type of framework silicates.

Structure contouring

The structure contours are very important for understanding geologic features. They are used to demonstrate three denominational models using one denominational paper. More often the structure contouring techniques are often used to widen our understanding of sub-surface geology, but it is also equally useful in mapping non-penetrative geological features.

General Procedure

  1. Look for intersections between the geologic feature(s) of interest and elevation contours on the map.
  2. Plot as many points of intersect as possible. Higher the number of points, better accuracy for the structure contours.
  3. Determine the appropriate contour interval.
  4. Interpolate the plotted locations by connecting them using a logical process. The quantity of intersection points will directly impact the accuracy of the lines.

I usually start my structure contour lines from a location that either has a lot of intersection points or a location with the most highest geologic complexity. Be careful not to make an error in tight areas because often mistakes can go unnoticed in complex regions.

Rules of Contours

Geologists are famous for making assumptions on the fly. The assumptions we make always have some underlying set of rules. Otherwise Geology would not be a science, but an art. Let’s look at the rules we follow…(1)

  1. Every contour must pass between points of higher and lower elevation. In other terms, a contour line should only pass through points of intersection in equal elevation.
  2. Contour lines should not merge or cross except where the surface is vertical or is repeated due to overturned folding or reverse faulting. The lower set of repeated contours should be dashed.
  3. Contour lines should either close within the map area or be truncated by the edge of the map or by a fault. Closed depressions are indicated by hash marks (tic marks)on the low side of the inner bounding contour.
  4. Contour lines are repeated to indicate reversals in the slope direction. Rarely will a contour ever fall exactly on the crest or trough of a structure.
  5. Faults cause breaks in a continuous map surface. Normal separation faults cause gaps in the contoured horizon, reverse separation faults cause overlapping contoursand vertical faults cause linear discontinuities in elevation. Where beds are repeated by reverse faulting, it will usually be clearer to prepare separate maps for the hangingwall and footwall.
  6. The map should honor the trend or trends present in the area. Crestal traces, trough traces, fold hinges and inflection lines usually form straight lines or smooth curvesas appropriate for the structural style.

Errors in Contours

There is a great deal of interpretation and judgement involved in when deciding on where the lines should go on the map. Even with advanced algorithms used for sanitation of data in geological software, there is always a possibility for errors. The ambiguity of data could lead to different structural styles in contouring.

Same data, but different contour. Which one is right?
Same data, but different contour. Which one is right?
Unless we have additional data to either verify or refute our interpretations, you could categorically argue all contour lines drawn based on just the map data can be valid. The above diagram of four different versions of interpretations on the same map is a good example why we need a lot more data than just a map with some intersections to draw accurate contours.


1. 3D Structural Geology; A Piratical Guide to Quantitative Surface and Subsurface Map Interpretation SE; Groshong, Jr., 2006