Why Hudhud was named Hudhud: How Cyclones are Named

Cyclones are devastating but now they are given interesting names. Hudhud is an interesting case, how a small bird’s name be given to a massive cyclone!!

Lets try to find out.

How the Naming Started

Hurricanes and tropical cyclones in the Atlantic have had their own names since 1953, a practice begun by Miami’s National Hurricane Centre and maintained and updated by the WorldMeteorological Organization (WMO), a Geneva-based agency of the United Nations.

However, it came to South Asia and the Middle East only later.

Cyclones originated in the north Indian ocean were unnamed before 2004.

The main reason, according to Dr M Mahapatra, head of India’s cyclone warning centre, was that in an “ethnically diverse region we needed to be very careful and neutral in picking up the names so that it did not hurt the sentiments of people”.

In 2004 they clubbed together and agreed on their favourite names.It was when an international panel on tropical cyclones led by the WMO sat down and decided to name their cyclones as a committee.Eight countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Thailand – took part. They settled on a list of 64  taking eight names from each country for upcoming cyclones.

The list is an alphabetical one, according to each country. The last cyclone in the region was Nanauk in June, the name was contributed by Myanmar.

Names can also be suggested by the general public in the member country or by the government. India, for example, welcomes suggestions on the condition that the name must be “short and readily understood when broadcast, not culturally sensitive and not convey some unintended and potentially inflammatory meaning”.

This time, following the alphabetical order, it was Oman’s turn

Last year, Phailin, the name for a massive cyclone which battered India’s south-eastern coast and led to the evacuation of more than 500,000 people, was provided by Thailand. Some of the Indian names in the queue are the more prosaic Megh (Cloud), Sagar (Ocean) and Vayu (Wind).

The Hudhud or hoopoe bird is an exotic creature noticed for its distinctive crown of feathers and is widespread in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Next time a cyclone hits the region, it’s Pakistan’s turn to give it a name It will be called Nilofar. Last time Pakistan named a cyclone was Nilam in November 2012.

A name helps people and the media to identify each cyclone and become more aware of its implications. It also does not confuse people if there is more than one tropical cyclone brewing in the region.

And these cyclones often prove to be deadly – their names resonate for a very long time.

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Ecumenopolis: city without limits

Originally posted on archithoughts:

I have to share this great article written by Juan Manuel Restepo on Favela Issues.

In today’s cities we see how governments struggle to create solutions and to implement large policies. Cities are more complex, diverse and dynamic making governance almost impossible. Governments can’t make changes in these cities by themselves. They need to build collective efforts with all the stakeholders in the city.


Nevertheless, politicians keep on promising and acting as if they had the capacity to make real changes by themselves. They keep on bringing THE SOLUTION for mobility, security, education and health without really understanding the issues or the actors behind them that control real power in the city. During the political campaigns they promise everything and give figures of all the great changes they want to make. But when they get elected the passionate candidates crush with a wall of the real power that controls the city through…

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Space Research Organization of India launches IRNSS 1C Navigation satellite : A New Step in Making an Independent Navigation System

ISRO  successfully launched IRNSS 1C on board ISRO’s PSLV C26 rocket from the spaceport  moving a step closer to setting up the country’s own navigation system on par with Global Positioning System (GPS) of the US.

The satellite  is the third of the series of seven satellites ISRO is planing to launch to put in place what is called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. It will be placed into a sub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (sub GTO) with a 284 km perigee (nearest point to Earth) and 20,650 km apogee (farthest point to Earth) with an inclination of 17.86 degree with respect to the equatorial plane.

IRNSS is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area.

IRNSS’s applications include:

  • Terrestrial and marine navigation
  • Disaster management
  • Vehicle tracking
  • Fleet management
  • Navigation aide for hikers and travellers
  • visual and voice navigation for drivers.

Few countries have their own navigation systems – Russia’s Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS), European Union’s Galileo (GNSS), China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system and the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System.

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Political Control of Sanitation in India

Originally posted on Adventures in Research:

Between 30-60% of India’s population use facilities for defecation, with most sanitation infrastructure development occurring over the past two decades. Sanitation is the responsibility of the states under India’s Constitution. Yet political activity for sanitation is observed in each governmental role – prime minister, president, supreme court, state legislatures, congress, and bureaucracy. Recently, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was elected into office in May 2014 has been utilizing a political campaign for “Not temples, but toilets” during and continuing after his election. In a recent Times of India news article, Congress reportedly critiqued Prime Minister Modi for claiming sanitation improvements as his own political agenda, while failing to recognize the momentum for sanitation that other political institutions had created. Does it matter which political institutions are supporting sanitation? How does authority over sanitation differ among government roles? Finally, how do elected officials control implementation by non-elected government officials?

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Africans shaped India’s History and Ruled !!(link)

There was a time in India’s history when being African was no taboo and they mingled in the society and in fact, played a crucial role in India’s history. Some Africans at one point of time were part of India’s ruling elite. The story of Yakut in Razia’s court is not a lone one.

Here are some notable examples.

The journey of Africans to India was itself incredible: bought and brought by Arab slave traders, they were packed into hell ships that came to India via the Indian Ocean and its surrounding seas. They were bought by kings, princes, rich merchants and aristocrats and were referred to as habshis. But not all remained slaves. Some like Yakut did make their own destiny. But while Yakut’s was perhaps a story that didn’t end too well, others set examples worth emulating.

Malik Kafur’s is an interesting case. The transgender slave was bought by Sultan Alauddin Khilji’s general Nusrat Khan for a thousand dinars. Kafur caught the fancy of the sultan and rose through the ranks, becoming his deputy and entering the history books as Nawab Hazar Dinari. In his last days, an enfeebled Khilji was at the mercy of Kafur who effectively ruled Delhi and also played kingmaker after the sultan’s death.

In the Deccan, Africans were making an impact on the political landscape. The small states of the Bahmani kingdom resisted the expansion of the Mughal Empire to the south. One of the pillars of this resistance was Malik Ambar, the prime minister and general of Ahmadnagar  who was an African by origin. Ambar is believed to be the father of guerrilla warfare in India since he used his Maratha cavalry against the Mughals with great effect.

The Bijapur state had a powerful group of habshi nobles led by Ikhlas Khan, a powerful general.

Some Africans also get to set up independent kingdoms, like the Siddis of Janjira. The Janjira state and its successor state of Sachin survived until Independence.

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Crypto-geographies and the Internet of Things

Originally posted on Open Geography:

Secret codes have long fascinated people. According to Secret History, a new history of cryptology by Craig Bauer, who was Scholar-In-Residence at the NSA Center for Cryptologic History in 2011-12, cryptography predates the Greeks. Many of these ciphers were relatively simple by today’s standards, involving either transposition or substitution (respectively systems where the letters are moved but not replaced, and where the letters are replaced, eg., A is replaced by Z, etc).

The now fairly well-known Enigma machine, deciphered by British scientists at Bletchley Park (and the subject of many books and a couple of movies) is pictured above. This was a German system of ciphering, used by the German Nazi regime during WWII. Less well-known (but undeservedly so) are the decryptions by the NSA and its predecessor group (The US Army Signals Intelligence Service located at Arlington Hall, a former girl’s school in Virginia) of the so-called Venona…

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