A New Narrative

It seems to me that every developing country has a similar story about the priorities it has for arts and humanities. A lot of people in Pakistan, for instance, disregard any career associated with art as “thoughtless” and “suicidal”. Sure, the market is a little tough. Artists aren’t exactly in great demand. Its the engineer and the doctor, the computer scientist and any other type of scientist that inspire great respect amongst the individuals in our society. If you want a shot at getting rich, don’t waste your time with art. Art is for losers. Go to a science school, graduate with flying colours and you may have your chance. There is still no guarantee, however, for you see, the market isn’t changing so much. My experience in taking courses from the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) at LUMS has been brilliant. I have dared to dream, aspire, and all that jargon the school promises. More importantly, I have felt the yearning for creativity and art to be completely side-lined, as there is always a desire to produce the next big app, product, start up and all the other ways to “truly make a mark”, as they say. This is the place that tells me, “hey, you can be rich”, and to be honest, I see all other motivations pale in front of this tantrum.

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I inject disappointment into my soul at times; to be very honest, college life hasn’t turned out as great as I expected it to be. The people are okay. I’m gradually getting to know them better now but no one has the time to really stop, and care for the intellectual, artistic aspects of life. No one seems to care about genuine creativity and learning, and more or less, we all are focused towards scraping a grade. I can’t blame us now, can I? After all, we’re paying quite a lot and we need to score good ‘to fit in‘. 

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My million dollar plan.

Considering the fact that I have been able to convince myself that I am going to share my ‘million dollar plan’ with the world, it’s either me being not confident and telling you that it’s not a million dollar plan, or simply that I am giving the world a generous gift.

You all can thank me later.

Transportation is one of the most important part of the economic wheel. After all, without movement, materials cannot be processed, products cannot be made or delivered and people cannot get to their workplaces to run the world in the first place. Trains once revolutionised the transportation sector and also played a vital role in the Industrial Revolution boom. When Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour visited England before rising to prominence in the Italian state of Piedmont, he was impressed by two particular things; the banking structure and the train transportation system. Later, he would use these trains to ship French soldiers into Piedmontese borders to ward off the assault from Austria and to launch their own. India’s puppetry under the British administration gave it the benefit of a well established train transportation network from which both Pakistan and India today benefit.

That’s just a little on how important the trains are, but what is my plan?

My plan is slightly inspired by the current environmental woes in the world, but isn’t exactly too much of an environmentally friendly idea.

Trains today can waste a lot of fuel when they stop between one station to another. Although it’s obvious because that’s how it is supposed to be, but in my opinion, ‘stopping’ can be avoided. When a train stops and if it’s engines are still engaged, then they’re consuming fuel. It takes some good 2-5 minutes for people to unload and then another good 10 minutes for people to load again. Let assume that the train stops for 15 minutes in total for unloading and loading. When the train starts to move again, it has to do some work against static friction, which has obviously increased when the train is fully loaded as it goes by the formula “F = μ R” – where F equals ‘Frictional force’, μ equals the ‘friction constant’ and R equals the ‘ vertical Reaction force’. Vertical Reaction Force is dependant on the weight of the body and the weight has increased when there are more passengers in the train. Furthermore, the cables holding all the bogies of the train into one body also experience forces of tension, against which the train’s engine must work. All this can consume a significant amount of fuel and it takes more time for the train to reach the desired speed because now Inertia comes into play.

Train 1 copy


If somehow, we could solve the problem of the train stopping and moving again between destinations, not only would we able to save a lot of time for travelling but also help curb fuel consumption to some extent. Any fuel consumption curb is better than none in an environmentally challenged world of today.

I think I have a potential solution to this supposed ‘problem’. We can make use of alternate bogies, but this idea would be practically implementable on an open train platform and not in a subway train system. But what are alternate bogies?

Alternate bogies can be connected with the main track via a small sub track. These bogies are simple bogies without engines, however, they’re fully functional. People can be instructed to arrive at the train station some time before the train’s arrival, so that the administration can help people get into these alternate bogies in the meantime. When the train arrives, it doesn’t stop and instead, it slows down it’s speed considerably. As the speed slows down, the bogy already connected with the train dispatches onto another sub-track and the bogy filled with people for the next destination is geared, motioned and latched onto the train’s engine body. After a solid connection is confirmed, the train can roar ahead and move back to it’s normal speed.

train 2


This method would require significant initial investment in the form of sub-tracks and new bogies, but the system can be very effective. As mentioned before, the train wouldn’t need to stop, increasing time and fuel efficiency. Furthermore, it also provides a more ‘modern’ outlook to a train system which is always a plus for any city.

So that is my million dollar plan. You may think it sucks, but it actually can be an extremely practical application.



Why hindrance is inevitable

For all those who read ‘Nebulous – the science journal‘, you’d remember the article i wrote there, about ‘The dimensions of the procedure‘. It was basically a philosophical article meant to examine how the activities of science have been conducted over the years, and how it might be limiting our quest for knowledge. I received a comment on that post telling me that the article didn’t provide something solid, and I admit to that guilt that I wrote it when my thoughts were in a rudimentary stage. Therefore, now that I’ve given some thought over this, I’ll be able to muster it into a post, which hopefully, will clear you off any ambiguity regarding the stance I’m going to take.

So, what was the initial spark that led to me question some of the fundamental aspects of science? It was the advent of the final examination of my school. It’s this simple –  when solving some mathematics paper, i discovered a new formula in arithmetic progression; although it doesn’t hold that ‘awe’ element, but still, the message it carried to me was obvious and amazing at the same time. Human capacity to engage in the quest for knowledge is an amazing one, and something we definitely need to focus on. It’s the art of thinking coupled with the need to attain satisfaction that has really played the pivotal role in human’s progress but the question is, are we limiting ourselves in that very quest of knowledge?

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Why is AKU’s admission procedure a sham

For many, Aga Khan University represents a glorious opportunity, a future that promises security and basically all what they have hoped for. Yet, it’s very sad to see the state of top universities in Pakistan. Despite having a reputation that extends beyond Pakistan’s borders, they have admission policies that doesn’t deserve a university of the stature of AKU.

My first problem is AKU’s Admission Test. Continue reading