HONK your way

HORN OK PLEASE” – Honking in India

I strongly believe it all started when they painted “HORN-OK-PLEASE” on the back of numerous trucks which travels anywhere within India. People took it literally and started HONKING, and since then it has become an important behavioral aspect. The real meaning of the text was to make riders aware – who ride behind a truck – that since being a big vehicle I can’t see you so please send me a signal by blaring your horn so I can give you a side to pass by. This reasoning fits, I suppose. Let me tell you one thing, the text “Horn-Ok-Please” though painted in sequence (per space on the back of the truck) doesn’t read that way. Instead, it says, Please horn so I know you are behind me, and as an acknowledgement, there’s this “OK” 😊

There are as many two-wheelers as there are cars today. Early days India had more two and three wheelers (Rikshaws) than cars. Due to the economic growth in multiple sectors, especially in Information Technology, people can afford cars and petrol (‘Gas’ in American parlance) too, I must say. The more vehicles on the road, more the noise. And they (let’s call them Honkies for this blog sake) want to make noise without needing a reason. Just because the horn button is conveniently placed on vehicles, the honkies decide to use it whenever they please. The button doesn’t need an extra power as it’s attached to a battery and the battery is fuelled by petrol, so if the battery is not dead, there’s nothing to lose.

I haven’t done any behavioral analysis of Honkies and I am no expert, so cannot say WHY they honk unnecessarily. Do honkies think that if they do so, they will irritate the front driver and somehow s/he will give a way? Or they take pride in doing so or seek the attention of others, either to themselves or to their costly bike or car? Now tell me, on a busy road where vehicles are either stuck or slow moving, what would honking constantly do to it? Every honkie knows that the traffic is not going anywhere, but still, they want to tweet. It’s magical or some law of physics probably. Constant honking would be creating an energy wave of some kind which will push everyone ahead…..!! Quite possible, ya.

No matter what they are driving, anything drivable entity on the road, the horn is as important and necessary as the gas pedal. If one leg is on it, so be a hand on the horn. We all know that the ubiquitous horn is an extension of people’s feelings, a substitute for anger and irritation. And that the western folks use it rarely only when in danger or angered over or irritated.

Let’s consider the data analysis from the financial capital and the busiest city, Mumbai. According to data (Source: Hindustan Times) from the Indian transport department, there are currently (as of Jan’2018) 3 million vehicles in Mumbai city. A Mumbai driver honks at least 6 times an hour and the city honks a whopping 18 million times an hour. This adds more than 5db to the noise already on the streets.

While I was researching on this topic, I found many articles, some scholarly, discussing this phenomenon. But all of them tend to justify why people honk, and these were obvious reasons like someone riding in the center of the street, a cow in between, a vehicle very close to collision etc. However, these are all true reasons, much of the honking happens when the traffic is snarled at a signal. As soon as the opposite traffic stops, people start to blare their horns in the hope that their signal would listen promptly and turn green. During my research, I came across an image that was apt. All it showed was how people treat signal lights.

If it’s Green, Go; if it’s Orange, Go Faster and if it’s Red, look around for a traffic cop and if not seen, keep driving.

I would urge manufacturers to bring in some Artificial Intelligence (AI) into these vehicles at least for horns. Two wheelers horns can be battery (special designed and a bit expensive than traditional – CR2032 or AAA or AA) operated which would drain if used constantly. This way honkies will use it sparsely and thus reduce noise on streets. Same thing for four wheelers. A separate battery connection and an indicator showing the battery life, so it can be replaced/recharged in time before it drains completely, which is when one has to open their windows and SHOUT….!!

Seems there is a strong movement in Mumbai to stop honking and some are responding to the need. It would certainly need more to eradicate this behavior.

Note: Readers, if you have any suggestions on HOW to educate these honkies, please share.

Earth 2.0

We all are aware that there is a strong push and commitment from the scientific societies of the world to find an alternate living space. Scientist all around the world are directly or indirectly contributing to the research. The search is to find WATER on other planets, without which there’s no life. The quest is ON as NASA probes have been analysing our moon and have found an evidence which defines a possibility that the moon is harboring water somewhere, which shape or form, don’t know. Does it have lakes and oceans beneath, not sure.

This blog is not a lecture on astrophysics nor my contribution to the ongoing research, but a curtain raiser to something that we all have in mind…what if we find a planet habitable enough? There are so many WHATS and HOWS that need to be answered. Let’s dwell on few and I request my readers to add to the list. Before you start reading, I would like to clear that the heading ‘Earth 2.0‘ has nothing to do with Kepler-452b (an exoplanet quoted to be as Earth 2.0) but a mere versioning. If our current Earth is version 1.0 then another would be a 2.0.

  • We know one day the Earth will vanish (vaporise is the right word, I suppose) because the SUN will die, but that one day is somewhere 7 to 8 billion years from now. So WHY are we hunting for a new planet so early?
  • Finding water on the moon solves what? Are we really going to stay on the moon? If we stay on the moon, there will be no other moon in the vicinity. The phrase “Over the Moon” will be moot too.
  • If we are not staying on the moon, are we bringing that water down to earth?
  • One good thing living on the moon would be that no one would need a vehicle to travel. We all float and go places.
  • What happens when we find a planet that has enough WATER?
  • Would it be equal to or more than the size of our current Earth?
  • Is it necessary for the planet to have Oxygen in it’s atmosphere, or are we sending bottles/tanks up?
  • Who will decide who will go first?
  • If we are moving there way way before the sun dies, who get’s to move first?
  • Who will be responsible to build colonies and How will we build it. Will they be built off of similar materials (aluminium, steel, bricks, cement, wood etc.) we find here on earth or we need to find out an alternative on planet Earth 2.0?
  • Will the planet Earth 2.0 be demarcated into continents, countries, cities etc. like we have now or will all be ONE, irrespective of cast, creed, religion?
  • Assuming there will not be any trees, we will have to plant them (again assuming there is soil) – god knows now many to begin with – and wait for them to grow?
  • Will it rain there? Is it possible? There won’t be an unlimited supply of water, I am sure. Once we start draining it we also will have to add it back so to sustain.
  • If rain is not possible how long will the water last?
  • Even if we think of seeding, there must be an atmosphere to hold it? Where are the clouds?
  • Can we do farming? Will Earth 2.0 have soil to plant?
  • Can we take cattle from earth to the new planet? Will they survive the ordeal? Even if they do, can they reproduce? Where would they graze? They will have to wait until the grass and trees grow, if at all.
  • Will we experience and enter another stone or ice age? Start from scratch?

There could be a pretty long list if we start jotting down everything that we do today and correlate to how will that be on the new planet. I would like to invite our young readers to share their thoughts and opinions on this cosmic matter.

Conclusion:

I think we are trying to find a new HOME not because the SUN will die eventually and so the EARTH, but to reduce the current burden on earth, due to the limited natural resources and due to the ever changing climatic (hurricanes, tsunamis, global warming) and geographical conditions (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions). We fear there might be a day when every volcano on the earth would erupt.

Good Read:

  1. https://www.livescience.com/32879-what-happens-to-earth-when-sun-dies.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler-452b
  3. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/the-solar-system/
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