A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #23

Hello friends,

Welcome to another edition of my newsletter.

This week I managed to have my first mentorship session with Seema Prabhu. Recently, I saw on her LinkedIn profile that she is doing these sessions and I thought of talking to her on ADPList. It was a very fruitful session since I have been thinking of figuring out which direction to take my career after being in testing for more than 16 years now.

We also visited the Independent Schools Show at Battersea Park. It was a very interesting show and it was quite insightful talking to people from Whitgift School and Sevenoaks School. These schools are different from the state schools, here in the UK, as you need to pay school fees. They are either boys only, girls only, or co-ed and they accept students who are day boarders or in boarding. Each school has different criteria and admission processes. But they all have a good teacher-student ratio. And there is a preference in some schools for IB over A Levels.

Another favourite thing I have rekindled lately has been playing chess on Lichess. I normally play the 5 min or 10 min format of speed chess with random people. My game is not that great but it's fun playing chess and thinking. I bought a chess board from our Morocco trip and that made me play more. If interested please join Lichess and play with me.

I have also started following Captain Harpreet Chandi's journey who is attempting to be the first woman to cross the Antarctic solo and fully unsupported. Early this year she became the first woman of colour to complete a solo and unsupported trek to the South Pole. Follow her journey at Polar Preet.

YouTube is also providing a unique handle to everyone registered on their site. Please check out your handle or select a custom one.

🥫 E numbers

Recently while looking for an item's ingredients, to check if it was vegan, in my local grocery store I noticed some numbers beginning with an E. I have observed them before but never paid enough attention.

Food additives are substances added intentionally to foodstuffs to perform certain technological functions, for example to colour, to sweeten or to help preserve foods.

In the European Union all food additives are identified by an E number (A number used in the European Union to identify permitted food additives. An E number means that an additive has passed safety tests and has been approved for use). Food additives are always included in the ingredient lists of foods in which they are used. Product labels must identify both the function of the additive in the finished food (e.g. colour, preservative) and the specific substance used either by referring to the appropriate E number or its name (e.g. E 415 or Xanthan gum). The most common additives to appear on food labels are antioxidants (to prevent deterioration caused by oxidation), colours, emulsifiers, stabilisers, gelling agents and thickeners, preservatives and sweeteners.

Every packaged food sold in the UK has a label on it. And sometimes in the list of ingredients, you can find a number starting with an E. These numbers are approved additives by the UK Food Standards Agency.

These numbers represent

  • colours

  • preservatives

  • antioxidants

  • sweeteners

  • emulsifiers

  • emulsifying salts

  • stabilisers

  • thickeners

  • flavour enhancers

  • gelling agents

  • anti-caking agents

  • anti-foaming agents

  • bulking agents

  • firming agents

  • flour treatment agents

  • foaming agents

  • glazing agents

  • raising agents

  • acid

  • acidity regulators

  • carriers and carrier solvents

  • humectants

  • modified starches

  • packaging gases

  • propellants

  • sequestrants

🧀 "Swiss Cheese" model

I love understanding how aircraft work and have been lately following the YouTube channel Mentour Pilot. Recently, the channel posted a video, below, of an Emirates flight that failed to lift off and hit the runway while trying to go around.

In this video, Dr. James Reason's Swiss Cheese model was mentioned.

The Swiss-cheese model takes a systems approach to accident investigation. With this approach, human error is viewed as a symptom of a larger problem in the organization, not the cause of the accident. Within an organization, barriers are established to prevent adverse events. To be most effective, multiple levels of barriers should be established. Reason argues that most organizations have established four separate levels of barriers. The four levels of barriers are sequential in nature, meaning that those levels at the top affect the levels below. Within each level, failures can cause holes in safety barriers. These failures can either be active, those occurring immediately prior to an accident and directly impacting events, or latent, those removed temporally from the event and not exhibiting a direct impact.

HFACS uses the same levels presented by Reason in his model; organizational influences, unsafe supervision, preconditions for unsafe acts and unsafe acts. Within each level of HFACS, causal categories were developed that identify the active and latent failures that occur. In theory, at least one failure will occur at each level leading to an adverse event. If at any time leading up to the adverse event, one of the failures is corrected, the adverse event will be prevented. Using the HFACS framework as a guide, accident investigators are able to systematically identify active and latent failures within an organization that culminated in an accident. The goal of HFACS is not to attribute blame, rather to understand the underlying causal factors that lead to an accident.

This model is one of the models used in safety science.

🖥️ Bloomberg Terminal

Recently, my wife started working on Bloomberg Terminal as part of her development work at her firm. She mentioned that the terminal can't be accessed remotely, it can't be connected to her work machine, it has its own keyboard and it's a huge software.

So I decided to research it a bit and learn a bit more.

Imagine Google Search but specifically tailored to search for financial data for as many years in the past as possible. Also includes searching for news, financial trends, technical analysis, graphs, connections, etc.

⚙️ 20 mechanical principles machine

I regularly follow the Brick Experiment Channel on YouTube and the last video posted on the channel was this.

The 20 mechanical principles explained in this video are as follows -

  1. Schmidt coupling

  2. Constant-velocity joint (CV joint)

  3. Universal joint

  4. Bevel gears

  5. Slider-crank linkage

  6. Sun and planet gear

  7. Scotch Yoke

  8. Chebyshev Lambda Linkage

  9. Chain drive

  10. Belt drive

  11. Constant-mesh gearbox

  12. Oscillating direction changer

  13. Torque limiter

  14. Winch

  15. Rack and pinion

  16. Offset gear

  17. Uni-directional drive

  18. Camshaft

  19. Intermittent mechanism

  20. Worm gear

The whole lego set can be bought from BuildaMOC (My Own Creation). The front and back of the final build, in 3D, are shown below.

Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.

Until we meet again next week, go ice skating, conserve energy, stay hydrated and play a lot of board games.

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