What are some fascinating examples of ancient or medieval technology?

Ancient civilizations did their most impressive work with water. Hydraulic engineering is where the Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans and others devoted the most resources by far and they had some impressive achievements to display.

You will find a lot of information in this Quora blog: Pre-Modern Water Engineering. In there you will learn about qanats, sakia, hypocausts and how natural water flow can be used to do useful work, from pumping water, to producing salt.

I was truly impressed by the sheer scale of the work involved in the construction of qanats, but also with their simplicity and effectiveness as a solution to bring water from the aquifier to the surface. A Persian invention, quite obscure, but also very important.

A schematic of a qanat. Image source: Man Qanat Live By Bread Alone: Water Systems Around the World

One particularly interesting example from an engineering viewpoint is the Tunnel of Eupalinos, a 1036m long aqueduct built in the 6th century BC in Samos and kept in use for 1000 years. The fascinating thing about this is the way that Eupalinos managed to make the two sides of the excavation meet, not to speak of the accuracy of the tunnelling work itself.
Image source and more info on the tunnel: The Eupalinos Tunnel of Samos

Apart from water engineering, ancient weapon technology provides some fascinating feats. Among them, I am impressed by the sheer extravagance of the ultimate siege engine of the antiquity: the Helepolis.

Image source and more info on the siege engine: Ancient Greek war machines: The Helepolis, a fortified wheeled tower

What I found impressive, apart from the size, weight and number of men that manned it, is that it was armored with iron plates on 3 sides and that its enormous wheels could be steered with an enormous capstan, moved by 200 men.

Another cool gadget ancient siege engineering had was Polybolos, a repeating ballista. Medieval Chinese armies made extensive use of the repeating crossbow, aka the "chu-ko-nu". The former operated on a different principle (chain drive) than the latter (lever operated).

Chain drive of the repeating ballista. Image source and more info on the siege engine: Repeating Catapult

This answer also would not be complete without mentioning the Antikythera mechanism.

X-ray imaging of the main part of the Antikythera mechanism. Image source and more info on the mechanism: Advanced Imaging Reveals a Computer 1,500 Years Ahead of Its Time

The astronomical and mathematical knowledge, as well as the engineering genius and the exceptional metalworking craftsmanship that went into making this are simply unbelievable, for something that was truly 1500 years ahead of its time.

What are the core undergraduate computer science classes?

This question is bound to bring out all kinds of interesting bias; for all the discussions I've managed to participate in and survey, the question of what computer science exactly amounts to doesn't bring out any wonderful consensus even among computer scientists. That includes myself, so I will stop at stating an opinion. I've tried to sort it on a scale in order of descending math and ascending electronics (arguably, comp.sci. lives somewhere in the intersection):

Because of its role as the science of computation: algorithms and data structures. This continues into the study of mathematical logic, computability, and the theory of complexity.

Because of its role as the science of calculators: calculus and analytic geometry, leading into numerical methods, integration and finite differences in time.

Because of its role as the science of computers: computer construction (component-wise), networking (internet-wise), computer architecture (processor level), and interconnection networks (architecturally speaking, Not Small Internets, really).

Because of its role as the science of generally applied software execution devices: programming langauges, compilers, operating systems, embedded systems, digital design, electric circuits.

I think this is (more than) a basis which can go far, and quite a study if all 4 points are taken to their ultimate conclusion in open questions and research work. I'm open to criticism that I've left out the methods of software engineering, usability, verification, systems engineering, and all sorts of other useful stuff. I'd counter that I've also left out my own field of performance modeling, as it is, in a sense, a matter of applied statistics more than core computer science.

A core undergrad curriculum can't cover all this still. Given, say, 8 classes, I would slice the topmost elements from these lists into

  • algorithms and data structures
  • mathematical logic
  • calculus and analytic geometry
  • computer construction
  • networking
  • programming languages
  • operating systems
  • digital design

and expand as appropriate. Without application areas, computer science sort of descends into mathematics and philosophy, but putting in my favorite application areas isn't going to answer what the undegrad core is.

So there you have my proposed list of unavoidables, biased as it maybe.

Which art is the best way that expresses complex feelings?

All of the arts provide a way to express thoughts and ideas: music, visual art, theater, dance. You have to experiment with them and find the artform that feels like a good fit.

Every art requires time and effort to improve in, but one (or more) will feel natural to you, and you’ll find yourself wanting to do it all of the time.

Is this sentence an example of the subjunctive? – "It is seldom noted that average minds also think alike".

Nope. This is not in the subjunctive mood at all. This is the normal indicative mood. You probably got confused because it has a subordinate class introduced with 'that'.

Although it's not always the case, the subjunctive mood is usually found associated with desires, doubts and the like. Sometimes the same verb can take both indicative and subjunctive subordinate clauses. Compare:

The defendant insisted that he was innocent. (Indicative)

The prosecution insisted that he be punished. (Subjunctive)

How can an NRI contribute towards the development of India? Is it unethical to work in a foreign country if an individual is getting a better career opportunity outside India?

Development is a very broad term. Let me pour a part of my heart in this answer, covering a few fields. The most intuitive, economics and finance, is just touched upon as people already know about this. Also, this covers both NRIs and PIOs, which should not be an issue – as the question is more on ways to contributing being physically abroad than citizenship.

  • Sports

This person, born and brought up in Tamil Nadu and living in Spain, was confused to be a Spanish citizen even by HRD Ministry. He doesn't contribute much – just play Chess – and is current World Chess Champion, and has been the undisputed World Champion since 2007.

  • Astronomy

This person was born and brought up in Haryana, and later shifted to the US. She went on to become the first Indian woman in Space.

  • Medicine

This person is from Punjab (British India), who later went to the US. He won the 1968 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

  • Economics

He is from West Bengal, but lives in US/UK. He spends most of his time working on the problems of society's poorest members, and was awarded the 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

There are many, many more similar to Vishwanathan Anand, Kalpana Chawla, Har Gobind Khurana and Amartya Sen. You might be wondering how they helped develop India, but consider this – their feat has not only inspired generations, but has led to opening of many centers and universities in those fields. For example, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Government of India (DBT Department of Biotechnology), and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum jointly created the Khorana Program in 2007. The mission of the Khorana Program is to build a seamless community of scientists, industrialists, and social entrepreneurs in the United States and India. This is development.


So how can you contribute?

You can pretty much do anything and everything – choose any way of contributing! India needs development in every aspect. Its upto you to decide upon your area of interest. Some common ways are:

  1. Create a role model – Give in your best to your field, like the above examples. Give Indian youth a benchmark, and inspire them to surpass it. Convey them the message – "yes, an Indian can do this..". Development in that field would automatically follow.
  2. Spend Time for Social Cause – There are many NGOs working for development in India – in the field of education, women rights, etc. Contribute your time understanding the problems at ground level, and maybe you can develop some strategy to solve these. I volunteer for 2 NGOs – INDIA LITERACY PROJECT and Asha Stanford and it has been a great experience
  3. Spend Money for Social Cause – If you are short of time, donate on online websites. I have covered various such sites here – Can money buy happiness?
  4. Preserve and Promote Indian Culture – Ensure that your children know about Indian Culture – first step. They can learn Classical music, dances, organize festivals in the community, etc. Only after they appreciate this themselves, can you hope that they spread this around them and in India.
  5. Read this answer – When you go to India for a visit, take these things with you:  Non-resident Indians: What are some good things to take from USA to India? – and also educate the local community for the same.
  6. Research and Development – Develop models, technology and other ways that are cheap, sustainable, require minimal things and suitable for India – like in the fields of agriculture – better seeds, education – cheaper devices or interesting methods for learning, counter-terrorism equipments and so on. Leverage the resources abroad to develop things for the developing nations
  7. Develop Start-ups, invest in India and so on – this is covered by other answers.

So basically, being outside India shouldn't be an obstruction in the path of contribution!


Small Comment on the 2nd part of the Question: Note to Indians in India

The questions raised in the description should be an independent question. I would just raise a point – Indians in India very conveniently blame the NRIs for being "unethical" and "traitors" for leaving India. I think this is a very common misconception – NRIs are very conscious about development in India. Just because one lives in India in no way implies that he is contributing to the development. Had this been the case, it should have taken just a few years for 1.2 billion people to develop India. Having said that, one should stop blaming and join hands – for the ultimate aim of all Indians is to see her reach the zenith before they die!

How does Quorabot collect data from Quora?

I am not affiliated with Quora and I have no secret access to their data. I'm keen not to piss them  off too much, but as they don't provide an API to access Quora, I had to  make my own.

Over the Christmas holidays this started as a quick  script to measure how many followers, posts, boards etc. each Top  Writer had. It was quick and dirty, but this early experiment grew  rapidly into something much more interesting.

via Welcome to Quorabot by Oliver Emberton on Quorabot

Do offences as a minor affect FFL NICS checks?

The distinction to be made is not whether the crime was committed when you were a minor, but whether the crime committed was a felony and/or otherwise disqualifies you from purchasing a firearm.  If you were convicted of a non-violent misdemeanor, you will not be prevented from purchasing a firearm.  Whether or not a domestic violence conviction prevents you from doing so would depend on the specific laws of your state, and whether it was reported to the Federal government as a blocking conviction.

I would recommend that you seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction who can review all of the court records for your case and give you the best, most informed opinion on the matter.

What fires your passion for life? What makes you feel most alive?

I have many obessions, but one of them is creating my own stuff that bring benefit to people. It has to help people but with my knowledge and creative skills. I combine different skills like:

Sketching, Painting, Storytelling/Writing, Graphic Design.

Website Design, Songs/Music, Motion Graphic animation

For examples sketches and illustrations. I use them to combine with my writing to tell stories to help people in a practical way to solve their problems.

So I sometimes use animals, different characters that tell a story of a particular problems but also, you get to fall in love and connect with characters as they resemble our traites too.

Sometimes the illustration is a little more graphical (pen and digitally inked) with human figure form and landscapes…

Designing, writing and illustrating my books

Writing and desiging my magazine

Designing Websites
I work with talents, graduates, and skilled people who want to attract jobs using the internet. So I work with them from inception, beginning with their goals help develop their strategy, marketing plan to design their website in a customized way. This one is for a product designer.

She can they got to focus on is adding content, marketing…and results or they won't even get to this stage. Too much work for one person:

And because I want community to benefit I take all knowledge, how it was done from scratch i.e. the identifying the market as well as the product designers needs, all the design of the pages and why, who built it and the results she got..

This is an example on how inside book will look like. So I use software skills like Indesign, Photoshop and Copywriting…

Video Motion Graphic
To animate my illustrations, to tell a story or to animate my magazine inside as it opens the pages with music…

Designing for songs I'm writing/producing

Designing for my digital products

And now I'm working on my website to bring it all together which won't just be about generating diverse income for me but benefiting community too to see how the work evolves. Plus case studies of clients I have helped over the years.

As you can see, I have different creative skills and I'm excited about where it's all leading to. Being able to use my own skills to create my own stuff and build an audience around it all to help people.

So what makes me feel alive is helping people using my creative skills and knowledge. Being able to bring it all together as one for benefit of community I'll be building it all for 😀

My belief and message….. "Do it for the feeling."