Bernoulli’s Principle: Applications Unlimited

Magical Swings

Bernoulli’s Principle, Magnus Effect, Newton’s Third Law of Motion  . . . . .  may sound complicated and boring. But watching these theories in action is certainly not. Particularly if you are in love with soccer, baseball, cricket, tennis, or aeroplanes.

Roberto Carlos does not know how he pulled it off. But he did score a goal that, over 20 years later, continues to thrill!

It was 3 June 1997. Brazil was playing France in the opening game of Tournoi de France.  In the 21st minute, Roberto Carlos shot a free kick from 35 meters. The football first curved 20 yards away from the goal post.

Video Courtesy of Lightning Gamer at

Just when it seemed to have gone wayward, it rapidly swung the other way and breezed into the goal post after brushing the left post. French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez was dumbstruck! He did not even get a chance to move. Thus far, no one has repeated this miracle banana kick. Many physicists believe, there will never be another.

Cricket lovers relish watching fast bowlers steam in and shatter stumps with a reverse swinging yorker! Many bowlers have left the audience spellbound with deliveries that seem to be going one way but treacherously turn the other way at the last moment and surprise even seasoned batsmen. Surprise truly is half the battle!

Video Courtesy of SameerKhan at

Ever wondered how they produce this magic? Well, there is no magic – its science, pure and simple! And, it called Bernoulli’s Principle. Entertaining applications apart, the principle has many solid applications viz. lift in an aircraft, Magnus Effect, Venturimeter and the like.


Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) was a brilliant scientist who excelled in a whole range of subjects.

Let us break down the Bernoulli Principle:

  • Statement: “For a flowing fluid (liquid or gas), the total mechanical energy remains unchanged.”
  • This is so provided the flow is laminar and steady, and that the fluid has negligible viscosity and compressibility.
  • Total mechanical energy includes energies due to fluid pressure, fluid motion i.e. kinetic energy, and elevation i.e. potential energy.
  • It is based on the omnipresent Principle of Conservation of Energy.
Figure 1. Upstream and Downstream Points for Bernoulli’s Equation
Figure 1. Upstream and Downstream Points for Bernoulli’s Equation

Mathematical equation of Bernoulli’s Principle is:

(P1) + (ρv12/2) + (ρgh1) = (P2) + (ρv22/2) + (ρgh2)                   (1)


P1 and P2 respectively denote upstream and downstream static fluid pressure

v1 and v2 respectively stand for upstream and downstream velocities

h1 and h2 are respectively the elevation / height at the upstream and downstream points

ρ is the fluid density

g is acceleration due to gravity

In simple terms:

pressure head1 + velocity head1 + gravity head1 =

pressure head2 + velocity head2 + gravity head2    (2)

Equation (2) helps us better understand the applications of Bernoulli’s Principle. In most applications, the difference in gravity head or height is negligible and the fall in velocity boosts the pressure on one side while the reverse happens on the opposite.


Figure 2. Lift in Airfoil Image Courtesy of Michael Paetzold, License:, Retrieved from
Figure 2. Lift in Airfoil
Image Courtesy of Michael Paetzold, License:,
Retrieved from

1.  Aircraft Lift: Is produced as a result of air flowing around the peculiar shape of an airfoil (cross section of an aircraft wing) that makes an angle with incoming air. Two scientific principles apply here:

A. Newton’s Third Law: The airfoil deflects air downwards at its read end making the air to exert an upward reaction force (lift) on the airfoil.

B. Bernoulli’s Principle: Airfoil shape makes air flow faster over its upper surface. Lower velocity head over the bottom surface means greater pressure and higher velocity head over upper surface means lower pressure.

Such pressure differential produces net upward force (lift).

Unless the airfoil moves at sufficiently high velocity through the air (or other fluid), it cannot generate substantial lift. Plus, there will be no lift in a vacuum.

2. Magnus Effect: Is a specialized phenomenon caused by Bernoulli’s Principle. A spherical or cylindrical object moving through air/fluid tends to follow a curved, and not a straight trajectory.

Figure 3. Magnus Force Image Courtesy of Rdurkacz at
Figure 3. Magnus Force
Image Courtesy of Rdurkacz at

As shown in figure 2, air speeds up on the lower side where the spin is in the direction of air and slows on the upper side which spins against it. Lower velocity head means higher pressure and the object experiences a net force called Magnus Force from low velocity side to high velocity side.

Magnus Force is precisely what makes possible the banana kick in soccer and the curved path of a baseball. Golf balls, tennis balls, and fired artillery shells demonstrate a similar deviation from the straight path.

Figure 4. Flettner Rotor Operating Principle Image Courtesy of NASA at Retrieved from
Figure 4. Flettner Rotor Operating Principle
Image Courtesy of NASA at
Retrieved from

Flettner / Rotor ships and rotor aircraft are another application of Magnus Force. Rotating cylinder(s) placed horizontally in rotor aircraft slows down flowing air on the lower side creating a lift as shown in figure 4.

Rotor ships use the same effect, but on vertical cylinders, which generate forward thrust when air blows in from the sides (figure 5).

Figure 5. Flettner Rotors: Forward Thrust and Wind Direction
Figure 5. Flettner Rotors: Forward Thrust and Wind Direction

3. Reverse Swing: Why do fielders vigorously rub the cricket ball on their pyjamas? To keep that side shiny while leaving the other to roughen. The seam on the ball divides the air stream with air moving slower over the rough side and developing higher pressure. Pressure differential pushes the ball on the shiny side.

Figure 6. Outswinger: Normal and with Reverse Swing
Figure 6. Outswinger: Normal and with Reverse Swing

Deliveries that start by swinging outside curve in while deliveries starting as in-swingers turn out – both at the very last moment.

Figure 7. Inswinger: Normal and with Reverse Swing
Figure 7. Inswinger: Normal and with Reverse Swing

4. Venturimeter for Flow Measurement: Venturimeter consists of a section with decreasing cross-sectional area, neck with the constant area, and a part with increasing area. It is fitted to a fluid carrying pipe and measures the fluid pressure differential between the pipe on the upstream and the neck.

Figure 8. Venturimeter Image Courtesy of Happy Apple at
Figure 8. Venturimeter
Image Courtesy of Happy Apple at

Flow is given by:

Q = A2 {2 (P1 – P2) / ρ (1 – [A2 – A1]2)}1/2

5. Siphon: Is employed to steadily transport fluid in a container at a greater height (point A in figure 8) to one at a lower height (point C) using a pipe but without employing a pump. The pipe rises above the liquid level in the higher container and then descends into the lower container. Pressure falls in the highest section of the pipe (point B) creating suction.

Figure 9. Operation of Siphon Image Courtesy of Premeditated Chaos at
Figure 9. Operation of Siphon
Image Courtesy of Premeditated Chaos at

6. Atomizer: Pulls vertically upward a liquid in a reservoir bottle at high pressure by blowing air horizontally over a tube inserted in the liquid. Air at high velocity is at low pressure, which creates a suction effect on the liquid.

Figure 10. Operation of Atomizer Image Courtesy of Mcapdevila at
Figure 10. Operation of Atomizer
Image Courtesy of Mcapdevila at

7. Chimney: Operates similar to an atomizer. Air at higher elevations moves faster and is, therefore, at lower pressure creating a suction effect on the air in the room at a lower height.


Applications of Bernoulli’s Principle are countless and will only expand as fluid mechanics technology advances.


Indrajeetsinh Yadav is the creator of this article. For splendid content on engineering and technology, and for academic assistance, write to us at

Pascal’s Law and The Mechanics of ‘Liquid Levers’: How Enclosed Fluids Boost Applied Force (MLA Format)

Pascal's Law





Pascal’s Law & the Mechanics of ‘Liquid Levers’: How Enclosed Fluids Boost Applied Force


Ever wondered why you can lift a heavy car with the force of your bare hands? With some help from a hydraulic jack, of course?

Also called Principle of Transmission of Fluid Pressure or Pascal’s Principle, the Pascal’s Law states that when pressure is applied to an enclosed fluid, it is transmitted equally to all parts of the fluid as well as to the container walls (Mobley 194).

It is precisely this characteristic of enclosed fluids which makes them capable of multiplying the applied force (Hodanbosi). Such action is similar to liquid levers.

Seventeenth century genius Blaise Pascal coined this superbly useful concept. The syringe and hydraulic press are Blaise Pascal inventions.

Derivation of Mechanical Proof of Pascal’s Law

Figure 1. Pascal’s Law and Force Multiplication
Figure 1. Pascal’s Law and Force Multiplication

Now, pressure is the force acting on unit area. Imagine a container with two ends and housing a fluid as shown in figure 1. Piston at the left end has smaller area (a) than the one at the right end (A). If you apply force (f) on the little piston, you get greater force (F) at the larger piston.

Such is the case because the same pressure (p) acts throughout the enclosed fluid and force rises with increasing area.

Because p= constant = (force / area), we have:

p = f/a = F/A       (1)

F = f * (A / a)       (2)

Since A is greater than a, F is greater than f.

When you apply force on the tiny piston in a hydraulic jack, it gets multiplied at the huge piston and that is precisely how you lift a car with the force of your hands.

Associated Questions

Q.1. Does Pascal’s Law Violate the Principle of Conservation of Energy?

A. No.

Enclosed fluids multiply force, they do not multiply work. Let us illustrate the point through mathematical equations.

In figure 1, the volume of enclosed fluid displaced at the left end will be same as the one displaced at the right end. If h and H are respectively the heights of fluid column displaced at the small and large piston ends:

a * h = A * H                (3)

h = H * (A / a)         (4)

Since A is larger than a, h is greater than H, meaning you have to move the smaller piston through greater distance to obtain little movement of the larger piston.  You must have noticed the same while operating a hydraulic jack.

Now, work input at small piston:

w = f * h                       (5)

And, work output at large piston:

W = F * H                        (6)

Using the expression for h from equation 4 in equation 5, work input at small piston:

w = f * (A / a) * H              (7)

But from equation 2, we have:

F = f * (A / a)

Therefore, from equation 2 and 7, we have:

w = F * H = W           (8)

Work Input = Work Output

Of course, this is an ideal case scenario where we have assumed no friction and zero transmission losses. In the real world, there is a bit of both, making work output somewhat smaller than work input.

Q.2. Mention of Pascal’s Law’s Applications in Hydraulics.

A. Applications of Pascal’s Law:

  • Hydraulic Press: uses hydraulic cylinder for amplifying compressive force through a machine press.
  • Hydraulic Jack: to raise heavy objects such as cars to small height (
  • Hydraulic Brakes: transfer pressure applied on the brake pedal to the brake shoes in all the vehicle’s wheels (
  • Hydraulic Lift: lifts heavy objects to large heights (
  • Power Steering: produces greater turning of vehicle wheels with lesser turning of the steering wheel (Steiner).

Q.3. What is Mechanical Advantage?

A. Mechanical Advantage is the ratio of output force to input force. In other words, mechanical advantage is the force multiplication achieved by a machine (ck-12).

For the mechanism in figure 1:

Mechanical Advantage = (F / f)

Q.4. Name Simple Force Multiplication Devices.

A. There are six simple machines. Except the pulley, all these machines act on the same principle i.e. lower force acting via greater distance creates higher force acting via lesser distance. Six simple machines are:

  • Simple Lever: tiny force applied at greater distance from the fulcrum (also called pivot) can move larger force (load) placed at lesser distance from the fulcrum.
Force Multiplication
Figure 2. Simple Lever & Force Multiplication
Image Courtesy of CR at Spanish Wikipedia at

Mechanical Advantage for fig. 2 = (Load Lifted / Effort Applied) = (100 / 5) = 20

  • Wheel and Axle: both rotate together and minor force applied to rotate the large-diameter wheel lifts major load attached to the small-diameter axle.
Figure 3. Wheel-Axle & Mechanical Advantage
Image Courtesy of George Payn Quackenbos at
  • Pulley: more angle of wrap around the pulley delivers higher mechanical advantage. T2 is always less than T1.


Pulley and Force Multiplication
Figure 4. Pulley & Force Multiplication

T1 = T2 * eµθ

Mechanical Advantage = (T1 / T2) = (1 / eµθ)


T1 is the load or weight being lifted

T2 is the force required to lift the load

e is 2.71828

θ is angle or wrap in radians

µ is coefficient of friction between rope and pulley

  • Inclined Plane: is a ramp that allows you to lift a load by sliding it along instead of raising it vertically.
Inclined Plane
Figure 5. Inclined Plane & Mechanical Advantage

Fi = Fw * sin θ


Fw is weight of the object

Fi is the force needed to move the object along the inclined plane

Mechanical Advantage = (Fw / Fi) = (1 / sin θ) = always more than 1 because maximum value of sin is 1.

  • Wedge: is equivalent to two inclined planes and is employed to raise heavy bodies from surfaces. Separating devices such as axes, scissors, knives, and saws are wedges and so are holding devices such as nails, staples, and doorstops (Idaho Public Television).
Figure 6. Wedge & Force Multiplication

Mechanical Advantage = (L / t) = always greater than 1.


L is the distance moved by the wedge inside the two surfaces

t is the distance by which the wedge has separated the two surfaces (Georgia State University)

  • Screw: is similar to a long inclined plane woven around a shaft. When using a lever of length L to turn the screw around through one rotation, the load will rise by an amount equal to the pitch of the screw (P).

Mechanical Advantage = (2πL / P)

Figure 7. Screw & Mechanical Advantage

Pascal’s Law is fundamental to devices using enclosed fluids and is utilized in a whole range of applications. Proper understanding of the principle is essential for developing a firm grasp over the basics of engineering and fluid mechanics.


Works Cited

ck-12. “Mechanical Advantage.” n.d., Accessed 20 Mar. 2019.

Georgia State University. “Simple Machines.” N.d., Accessed 21 Mar. 2019.

Hodanbosi, Carol. “Pascal’s Principle and Hydraulics.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration, n.d., Accessed 19 Mar. 2019.

Idaho Public Television. “Simple Machine: Facts.” 2019, Accessed 21 Mar. 2019.

Mobley, Keith. Fluid Power Dynamics. Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999. ScienceDirect, Accessed 20 Mar. 2019. “What is Pascal’s Law and How do we Use it?” Pascal’s Law and its Applications, 16 Jul. 2018, Accessed 20 Mar. 2019.

Steiner. “Pascal’s Law and Fluid Automation.” 27 Apr. 2015, Accessed 21 Mar. 2019.



Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words is the author of this paper. For great Engineering Content and Academic Assistance with equations and calculations, write to us at

Electric Cars & Disruptive Technology

“No one can stop an idea whose time has come.”

Victor Hugo

Electric Cars: The Electrical Market Shocker

But has the time for electric cars come? And, are they a disruptive technology or a progressive development? These questions merit analysis of electric cars’ pros and cons.

For one, electric vehicles (EVs) emit less or zero greenhouse gases (GHGs), a prime advantage when Global Warming and Climate Change are signaling the loud ticking of Planet Earth’s ecological clock.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Plus, the quantum of oil-gas reserves will be exceedingly uncertain as these fossil fuels deplete rapidly. Unpredictability will stoke up speculation, triggering massive price swings on either side. EVs are more necessary than we think.

Necessary, yes! But has EV technology reached sufficient development levels? What will be the overall ramifications of EVs on the larger economy? They sure sound like disruptive innovation, but will they be creatively destructive?

Electric Car Technology

Electric vehicles (EVs) use different amounts of electricity for propulsion:

  1. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs): use only electricity without gasoline (petrol) or diesel engine (henceforth called internal combustion or IC engines)
  2. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs): also called Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs), these employ both battery electricity and IC engine. You can charge their batteries by plugging-in them to external electric sources. Regenerative braking also charges their batteries
  3. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) utilize battery and IC engine, but the battery is charged only via regenerative braking. IC engine supplements battery power only when loading and speed rise

There are also Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) which generate electricity by mixing hydrogen and oxygen. Water and heat are the by-products. FCEVs use hydrogen fuel, which they combine with oxygen absorbed from the air.

Regenerative Braking benefits from the reverse motor operation. Electric motors running in reverse generate electricity. Braking slows the EV, running the motor backward. The created electricity is stored and used to propel the car forward.

EVgo provides a comprehensive list of electric vehicles:

Types of Electric Cars

Types of Electric Cars
Types of Electric Cars

Chargers for EV can be:

  • Level 1: utilize 12-volt supply to charge batteries in 8 hours to cover 75-80 miles
  • Level 2: take 4 hours to charge a battery for 75-80 miles distance using 24-volt supply. These are available at public charging points and offices
  • Level 3 or DC Fast Chargers: are found at special charging stations and take 30 minutes to charge an EV battery for running up to 90 miles

Electric Cars: Pros & Cons

Chief pros of EVs:

  1. Eco-friendly: because they don’t burn fossil fuels. And because electric motors convert battery power into vehicle movement more efficiently than IC engines do use fuel power. How much emissions they cut depends on the source of charging electricity:
    • BEVs charged from dirty electricity still emit less than conventional vehicles
    • FCEVs utilizing hydrogen made using dirtiest electricity are yet 30 percent cleaner than IC engine vehicles. Plus, their range and refueling are similar to the latter.
  2. Economical: greater energy efficiency means BEVs save about $1000 per year compared to gasoline vehicles. BEVs shut down automatically when idling to cut energy wastage. Regenerative braking also saves energy
  3. Quieter and Smoother with Fast Acceleration: because electric motors deliver torque faster than IC engines do. Smoother acceleration means less discomfort in typical start-stop city conditions

Tesla is looking to extend the life of EVs to 1 million miles – about 7 times of IC engine vehicles.

Sufficient Charging Infrastructure is Necessary for Mainstreaming Electric Cars
Sufficient Charging Infrastructure is Necessary for Mainstreaming Electric Cars

Limiting factors at present:

  • Battery Technology Restricts Range
  • Charging Infrastructure Deficit
  • Massive Investments vis-a-vis IC Engine Vehicles

A 2012 study by the US Department of Energy (DoE) concluded that EVs will be commercially viable only when their:

  • production cost takes a 88% dip; and
  • battery power density doubles.

Lithium-ion batteries offer a limited range. For EVs to displace IC engine cars, they need a 200-mile range with under $35,000 price tags. Interestingly, electric cars existed towards the end of the 19th century. It was the longer range of IC engines cars that sidelined them.

The Disruptive Creativity of Electric Cars

Joseph Schumpeter, in 1942, coined the term Creative Destruction – process and product innovations which destroy old ones and create a new order by boosting productivity and reallocating resources.

Thomas Parker’s Electric Car in 1895
Thomas Parker’s Electric Car in 1895

Clayton Christiansen’s 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma first used the term Disruptive Innovation – technology that creates a new product or business model by challenging established market players and practices.

While creative destruction captures the overall transition, disruptive innovation focuses on the technological aspect. Government subsidies and fall in battery prices will primarily determine the demand for and disruption by EVs.

And with the specter of ecological catastrophe looming large, governments are doing their bit:

  • Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) is an International Energy Agency (IEA)-coordinated measure set up by the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in 2010 to have minimum 30% EVs in all new vehicle sales by 2030
  • The Chinese government is aiming for 20% EV (BEV and PHEV) penetration by 2025
  • Europe may have 25% light EVs (BEVs and PHEVs) by 2025, and the U.S. about 10%

Speaking of disruption:

  • Mega Losers will be the Automotive Sector, Oil-Gas Refiners and Producers, and Gas/Refuelling Stations
  • Big Winners will include Power Utilities as well as Miners of Lithium, Cobalt, Copper, or Nickel

Roaring demand for electricity will spell boom for power utilities as also for companies mining metals required for EVs. Demand for IC engine vehicles and fossil fuels will plummet.

Even if gas stations remodel to electric charging points, few would wait for hours to recharge for another 200-odd mile. Most owners will charge their EVs overnight at home.

Charging stations along busy, intercity routes and those besides long distance tracks will thrive, particularly if they offer specific fleet maintenance services for brakes, tires, and batteries. Motor inns and hotels will need to develop charging infrastructure.

Such disruption is not a foregone conclusion though. Joe Barkai explains why:

  • Players targeting to rattle markets need complete insights into technology, customer maturity, capacity and willingness of markets to change, and the model and ecosystem of business
  • Market resistance can create roadblocks for disruptive innovation
  • Established market players with massive finances and robust networks are not easy to replace, particularly in engineering where innovation matures at snail’s pace
  • Getting to and staying on the top with disruptive technology requires tons of patience, funds, and publicity

Final Analysis

Most innovations start slow. Eventually, there comes a tipping point when they gather critical mass and move onto a high growth trajectory. Often, disruptions are creative. Computers were the dreaded job killers back in the 1970s. Today, they are an essential commodity!



Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words has authored this article. Do write to us at for effective content on Engineering-Technology, Environment, Finance-Economics, Academic topics, and History. Also on offer are eyeball-grabbing Resume-Cover Letters, Web and Social Media content, and Personal Statements.



Causes for World War 1 beyond German Culpability

WWI Cover Image
Skirmish during the First Word War Image Courtesy of Gemalde @

‘War begins in the minds of men.’

Atharvaveda, ancient Indian text.

Prologue: Is Germany Alone to Blame for World War 1?

Few events have left an imprint as vast and permanent as the First World War. The world had never seen before such an all-pervading conflict or the calamitous devastation which altered the global landscape to its very foundations.

Aggressive German nationalism did hasten the conflict, but other nationalism variants were equally guilty. By 1870, Otto von Bismarck welded fractured German principalities into a coherent nation. But in doing so, he sowed seeds of distrust across Europe that would reap a bloody harvest. Anxiously energetic, the young German nation restlessly sought a leading position at the high table of international politics.

Trench Warfare in World War I
Trench Warfare in World War 1

Britain was the chief empire of the day, on which ‘the sun never set’. She and France were apprehensively jealous of Germany’s meteoric rise since 1870. All imperialists take the mile before reluctantly conceding the inch. Britain and France ferociously denied the deserving inch to Germany who, then, decided to grab the whole mile instead.

World War 1 Causes: The Context

‘Oh! If I only knew,’ was German Chancellor Bethman’s reply when quizzed on the causes of the First World War. Complex and interrelated, developments that triggered World War 1 (1914-18) must be seen in the context of related phenomenon viz.:

  • European Industrialization
  • Intense Nationalism
  • Social Darwinism
  • Globalization of Conflict
  • Absence of Peaceful International Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Rapid industrialization in 19th century Europe created the need for industrial powers to seek colonies and spheres of influence in distinct lands for obtaining cheap raw materials, assured markets, cheap labor, and lucrative investment destinations. This sparked off a mad race for colonies among numerous European powers.

By 1914, most non-industrial world in Asia, Africa, and the Americas was divided as colonies or spheres of influence between Britain, France, Germany, Italy, United States, and Japan. Further imperialist expansion was possible only by snatching someone else’s possessions.

And expand they had too. Colonization produced a chain reaction – a colony was needed either to protect an earlier colony or the route from the mother nation to it or both.

Decline of the Ottoman Empire had exposed the Balkan Peninsula to imperialist designs. The chief rivals were Russia and the Austro-Hungarian empire. Germany too eyed the Balkans as did Britain and France.

Nationalism is a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity felt by a certain people. A positive concept, it was twisted by the prevailing politics to mean industrial, military, and colonial might. In combination with the concept of Social Darwinism i.e. survival of the fittest, nationalism became a tool to legitimize imperialism.

Having arrived late in the scramble for colonies, Germany felt left out. Nationalism had unified Germany. But the perverted version of nationalism was wrecking havoc across Europe. It was this young, nervous energy that coerced Germany to start World War 1 by attacking France on August 4, 1914.

Military Alliances Globalized
Military Alliances Globalized the Conflict
Image Courtesy of Nelson Harding at
Retrieved from

Imperial powers were divided in armed camps. Russia was aligned with Serbia, France, and Britain while the Germans were in agreement with the Austrians and Italians. The United States was more interested in its trade interests than direct colonization and Japan was vying German areas of influence in China.

In the absence of an international conflict resolution mechanism, these military alliances escalated an isolated discord between two rival powers into a global strife.

World War 1 Causes: The Triggers

Summing up the sentiment in Europe at the time is a relevant quote by French politician Raymond Poincare: ‘if our generation has not been living in the hope of getting back Alsace and Lorraine, then I don’t see any other reason why she exists.’

Following factors sparked off the war:

  • German Nationalism was triggered by industrialization and her quest for a ‘place under the sun’. Germans made rapid strides in coal, iron, and steel production – the essentials of any development – and rivaled Britain’s production capacity by 1914.

In an atmosphere charged with suspicion and the distorted interpretation of nationalism, strife was inevitable.

European Military
European Military Alliances in 1914
Image Courtesy of Historicair, Fluteflute, and User: Bibi Saint-Pol at
  • Bismarck’s Policy of Backdoor Treaties and Manipulation planted doubt in the minds of European rulers. Secret treaties meant nobody was sure who was supporting whom! The armed alliances were:
    • Triple Alliance 1882: Italy joined the 1879 accord between Germany and Austria-Hungary. These formed the Central Powers with Bulgaria and Turkey. Italy, however, switched sides.
    • Triple Entente of 1907: Russia joined the 1904 French-Britain Entente Cordiale. These were the Allied Powers. Japan, United States, Portugal, Greece, and Romania joined later.

Here is an example of Bismarck’s manipulative politics. Wanting a pretext for war with France, Bismarck publicly released a doctored version of a telegram, making it look that the Kaiser (German emperor) and the French ambassador had insulted each other in a meeting over Spanish succession.

As expected, public opinion on both sides bayed for blood and there began the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. In this war, Germany snatched the resource-rich Alsace and Lorraine provinces from France that later became a cause for hostile French nationalism.

  • Arms Race gathered pace after the armed treaties. Germans bolstered their navy from 1897. Britain reacted by launching the Dreadnought, the most advanced warship of the early 20th

By 1914, Germans had over 4.5 million forces under training, Britain had less than a million. Russians up-scaled military training and expanded to 5 million.

  • Tragedy of Miscalculations by everyone precipitated the crisis. Serbian rise and her desire to throw off Austrian yoke gained strength, particularly after she fared well in the 1913 Second Balkan War. This irked Austria and Germany. Germans interpreted relative British detachment from continental politics as her unwillingness for war.

The assassination of Francis Ferdinand, Austrian Duke and heir-apparent, on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo set off the spark in these explosive conditions. With unconditional German support, Austria issued an ultimatum to Serbia. The Russians ordered a military mobilization, as did the Germans.

European Political Map 1923
European Political Map 1923
Image Courtesy of Historicair and Fluteflute at

Both sides wrongly interpreted mobilization as war. Germany declared war on Russia and France and attacked the latter via Belgium. This forced British entry in the war for Belgium is just opposite the English coast.

The war had started. Soon, Europe would be the biggest loser.

Epilogue: World War 1 Effects

Directly, the war killed over 16 million. Adding the injured, missing, and prisoners plus deaths due to war-caused epidemics, starvation, and genocide, the figure skyrockets to 37 million.

European domination of international politics began to wane with the end of the First World War. Tremendous economic losses put Europe in debt, mainly American. Plus, there emerged the Soviet Union.

Allies’ propaganda of the war ‘defending democracy’ aroused nationalist feelings in their colonies. How could the Allies talk democracy when they denied it to their colonial subjects? Decolonization gathered steam and dented European supremacy.

Ironically, imperialism picked up after the war. The victors imposed ruthless penalties, particularly on Germany – $6.5 billion war penalties, return of Alsace-Lorraine to France, military restrictions, and breakup of colonial possessions among others.

Austria and Turkey faced similar fate. This further intensified and distorted German nationalism post World War 1.

European industrial heavyweights went to the ‘war to end all wars’ to preserve and expand their colonial prowess. Paradoxically, they ended up provoking a more calamitous war – the Second World War which hastened just the opposite i.e. loss of colonies and global hegemony.


Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words is the author of this article. For more such historical content with conceptual clarity, write to us at Visit Falcon Words for sterling content on 10+ areas.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Content Marketing

AI Falcon Words
Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables you to read the customer's mind and customize your Content Marketing

The Customization Roller Coaster

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Content Marketing is fast becoming the jewel in the crown of customization, a crown studded with illustrious feathers named Crowdsourcing, 3D Printing, and Social Media. Mass customization is the rising sun; mass production, a soon-to-be relic of the past!

Winds of customization are sweeping Planet Earth even as technology enables unprecedented global connectivity and opens up fresh opportunities like never before. It is only a matter of time before the gentle breeze gathers hurricane force and transforms into a juggernaut of global proportions.

Back in 1895, farm equipment maker John Deere first printed The Furrow, widely regarded the first application of content marketing.

Alan Turning argued for the thinking power of machines in his pioneering paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” in 1950.

Since then, Deep Blue has beaten then chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997 and IBM’s Watson trounced human opponents in Jeopardy, a TV game, in 2011.

How AI is Solving Marketing’s Biggest Problems

Customer is the king and the way to the king’s heart goes through catering his desires. How? Via personalized content.

This is precisely where AI comes into play – helping you read the customer’s mind! Once you know what the king craves for, your content marketing strategy can address these desires.

Content Marketing delivers relevant content to target audience

Please note, customization is the critical key to successful content marketing. Consider this:

  • 60% marketing guys have tough time personalizing content;
  • 52% customers may change their brand in the absence of personal communication; and
  • 61% companies with pioneering game plans are already harnessing AI for identifying opportunities.

Internet usage generates tons of data. Interpretation of such, huge information is simply beyond human capacity. Predictive analysis, natural language processing, and generation of algorithms are the main tools of AI that provide insights into:

AI in Content Marketing: Present & Future

AI is focused on reporting, publication, and analytics at present. The combination of content marketing with AI thrusts the customer to the center stage and allows you to generate relevant and tailored content to guide your present and potential clients through all phases of the marketing funnel.

With the knowledge of customer requirements, you can:

  • Personalize:
  1. Targeting of Potential Customers: by delivering useful data through their favorite channel at the right moment. For best results, employ a multi-channel communication strategy. Take Netflix, 75% of its suggestions are based on algorithms;
  2. Social Media News Feeds; and
  3. Content Curation: find and share great quality and relevant content.
  • Improve Customer Experience: by minimizing the customer time and effort required to obtain personalized responses. Moreover, you enrich customer experience by providing knowledge-based value.
  • Create Content Automatically: this application is limited to simple reports and news pieces. For example, Washington Post uses its robot Heliograph to write news pieces.
  • Fine-Tune Customer Service via Chatbots that provide automated replies to customer queries.

How AI Can Change Content Marketing in 2019 and Beyond

As we move deeper into the 21st century, AI may overcome its present limitations viz. human creativity, communications with a human touch, accountability, and compassion. It could also start writing more complex content pieces by itself.

AI Future
AI in Content Marketing combines the best of Man and Machine

Currently, AI is necessary but not sufficient for successful content marketing. Humans still have to work on the insights it makes available.

Despite expected advances and contrary to popular fears, AI will not replace content marketers but be their valuable assistant.

Machines have always performed best when stewarded by humans. There’s no reason why this time will be any different!


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The Priest & The Brat

Reading people's minds is winning half the battle of wits

Why the ability to read minds a.k.a. emotional intelligence is so important!

(This short narrative is a work of fiction and is a redrafted version of an old story)

Just as he placed the parcel at the church’s doorstep, the unrepentant man knocked the door. He did not waste any more time and faded away into the depressing night as if nothing had happened, as if he had not sinned!

Howling winds and rattling window glasses reduced the knock to a faint tap. Or perhaps the priest was too absorbed in his study to take note. Winter was a month away, but dusk had brought along gusts of chilly dry winds on the moor and ended an otherwise balmy day in a cold, dreary night.

The old, ‘lighthouse’ church stood atop a small hill that rose gently from the main village street. Well past its ancient glory, the church’s ragged walls wore a dark, soiled look. But the solid structure and graceful architecture were alluring and bore testimony to its bygone splendor.

The Lighthouse Church
The ‘lighthouse’ church shined like a beacon

Church architects had built a glass walled fire pit over the bell tower. Every evening, church servants lit a fire and, even on this bleak night, the church shimmered like a beacon from afar. Just like a lighthouse!

Diligent and forthright with exhaustive knowledge of the world, religions, and philosophy, the priest hated interruptions when studying scriptures before he retired for the night.

Nine hours a day was about the only time he could dedicate for study these days. He never slept for more than six and began his day at the crack of dawn. Unmarried by choice, he focused on God with a single minded devotion.

He was about to dismiss the hazy knock as a figment of his imagination when he heard a muffled, barely audible cry. That was it. There was no more uncertainty. The priest strode purposefully to the main door and opened it on to the spacious front porch.

Placed on the porch was a bundle wrapped in a warm blanket. The priest rushed to the package just as the moon brushed aside the veil of obscuring clouds and unleashed milky white light, right on the parcel. It was a baby!

Without a moment’s hesitation, the priest picked up the bundle. His first thoughts ran to the infant’s health and safety. Deeply religious with an unshakeable belief in virtuous behavior, he would never make a burden out of the bundle.

‘Richard,’ the priest called in a gentle but commanding voice as he picked up the baby.

‘Yes Father,’ replied the attendant hurrying to the front door.

‘Some warm milk, err . .  quick.’

Richard did what he was told. As always. The baby boy stopped crying and lapped up the milk greedily. After that, the boy did not hesitate getting used to the new setting. And when he slept, he did as if he belonged there.

‘As shameless as his real father,’ thought Richard but did not dare utter a word before the priest.

‘Isn’t he lovely Richard?” The expression was more of an order than a question. “He’s a gift from God. We will call him Gabriel,’ the priest continued.

And that was that. Gabriel grew up quick into a mean, naughty brat. Richard was often the target of his pranks that bordered on the terrifying. He once killed a snake and hung it over a sleeping Richard. The spoof nearly gave Richard a heart attack and it was weeks before Richard recovered from the shock.

Gabriel roamed around with his ‘gang’, not returning to the church for days at end. He got into bloody fights with village lads. And he developed an eye for girls as the girls did for him. “Just like his real father,” Richard went telling around the village, careful his gossip would not reach the priest.

So much so, the brat never learned to read and write. More than anything else, this irked the learned priest. But Gabriel did have a talent for quickly reading people. Within minutes, he knew if the person he was dealing with was a softie or a toughie, a man of action or a man of thought, a serious candidate or a bluff. And, playing hardball during tough bargaining matches came naturally to him. These hardnosed, worldly skills were, however, lost on his bookish father.

The priest played it smart. Or he thought so. He made Gabriel ring the church bell each day for a small stipend. After a while when Gabriel got used to the pocket money, his father ordered all church workers to be at least barely literate if they wanted to keep their jobs.

All in vain. Why would Gabriel need a stipend when he made much more in card games at the run-down village bar? Helped, of course, by one of his gang who could lie hidden on the battered roof and another member who relayed the message with his eyes only! The boy readily abandoned his errand of ringing the bell. That broke his father’s heart.

Finally, on Gabriel’s fifteenth birthday, the priest mustered every ounce of his rather shaky resolve.

‘If you don’t learn to read-write and do not straighten up, leave my church right now.’ The priest somehow managed to put down his jittery foot.

There followed a bitter war of words. The father steeled his mind and, finally with a heavy heart, threw out his adopted son.

The priest could not touch food for two days.

Neither could Gabriel. But only because he could not buy or steal any! He had squandered his gambling winnings in the village bar right before his father kicked him out. The rascal was of the kind born without a sense of guilt.

Wandering cold and hungry on the desolate, unforgiving moor for two days, he finally came across a farm of a well-off cigar trader. Instinctively, Gabriel sensed the cigar trader’s soft corner for the unfortunate. Gabriel begged for food. He was a good actor. The owner took pity and fed him leftovers.

This brought our lad back to his true self. He prayed the owner to let him sleep in the barn for the night. He actually took a short nap to recover strength. And then, just after midnight, without so much as a whisper, Gabriel stole a large box of cigars, a horse, and some clothes before vanishing into the night.

Two hungry days had taught him something about life although Gabriel would never admit it. His first stop was the house of Edward, his most trusted old gang friend. Edward was also the toughest – twice he had beaten Gabriel in a friendly fight, the only one to do so. Together, they rode hard for a day to a distant town where cigars were a prized commodity.

Gabriel and his gang had often visited the village for its peculiar, sweet wine and knew who could shell out the most for cigars. After making a windfall and regaling for a day, Gabriel and Edward purchased guns before returning to the cigar trader’s farm.

This time he did not steal. He proposed partnership! Even after spending nearly a quarter of his recent fortune, Gabriel had enough left to impress the trader. In fact, the trader was awed – he had never yet seen such huge profits.

Within two years, Gabriel amassed enough wealth to start his own cigar factory. And within five years, he was a filthy rich tycoon. He knew all the places and people who could cough up the most for cigars and abused the information to the fullest. The old cigar trader was now his junior partner!

Never the one to follow the law, Gabriel rarely paid taxes. Or paid the least possible sum. His methods for business were simple – beg, borrow, steal, and bribe. And if these failed, shoot! Edward came in handy here.

To cover his dark deeds, he began donating to charity. With much aplomb and always making the grant look more than it was. He even paid fat allowances to his old father’s church. But the priest would not approve of his ‘sinful’ ways.

Gabriel was now looking to invest his immense wealth. Loading three stagecoaches with gold, silver, and coin money, he took his lawyer along to meet an investment banker in the next county. Edward and his mounted musketeer guards rode along for the convoy’s security.

Gabriels Money
Gabriel’s money convoy rode hard to the next county.                                             Image Courtesy of Georges Jansoone (JoJan) at

The investment banker had heard of the notorious Gabriel Gang. If ever he wanted a client, this was it! Not just for the money, but also for the influence that would come with the deal. He rolled out the finest red carpet, wore his best jacket, and ordered the most delicious lunch from town.

Gabriel ‘the tycoon’ arrived late and got down to business without as much as nodding to the banker. Even the seasoned banker was fascinated by Gabriel’s shrewd investment sense and grasp over tiny details.

After lunch, the lawyer and the banker drafted a detailed contract. Smiling eagerly and respectfully, the banker presented his gold nipped pen to Gabriel to sign the contract, bowing slightly as he did so.

‘Forget the pen. Get me a stamp pad,’ Gabriel ordered gruffly. ‘You’ll need my thumb mark,’ he added without a shred of embarrassment.

For the first time since Gabriel had ignored him after arriving late that morning, the banker felt sure of the ground beneath his feet. After all, he had that, at least one quality his prosperous and influential client did not – education.

There was now the faintest of twinkles in the banker’s eyes. Sometimes, the eyes of even the most hardened professionals fail to conceal their inner feelings.

‘Forgive me Sir’, the banker interjected as he composed himself, recovering from the momentary jubilation. ‘But you could have made much more with education’, he added withdrawing his pen.

Gabriel had already noted the tiny twinkle. He was after all, a master at judging people.

‘Wrong,’ growled the tycoon, ‘with education, I’d still be ringing the darn church bell!’

Moral of the Story: Never underestimate uneducated or less educated people. They might have read less books or none at all, but they are usually better at reading people and excellent judges of character. Emotional Intelligence, as they say.

Please note, education is more important than ever before in this age of technology and emotional intelligence is not a trait absent in the highly educated.


Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words is the composer of this short narrative, which is a work of fiction based on an old story. For captivating and informative content on 10+ subjects, write to us at

Archimedes Principle & Buoyancy Force: Why Denser Bodies Sink in Fluids and Vice Versa? (MLA Format)

Rising and sinking of Submarines and the floating of Aircraft Carriers is based on the Archimedes' Principle
Floating of Ships and Rising-Sinking of Submarines is based on Archimedes' Principle





Archimedes Principle & Buoyancy Force: Why Denser Bodies Sink in Fluids and Vice Versa?


Wood floats in water, but steel sinks. Why then do ships made from steel hulls not sink? Moreover, submarines can float and sink at will. Such phenomena are explained scientifically by one simple property i.e. density. Objects sink if their average density is greater than that of the fluid, while those with lesser overall density float. The scientific concept which elaborates what sinks and what floats is the famed Archimedes’ Principle, which, even after 2000 years after its discovery, continues to be the focus of multiple engineering and technology content writing endeavors as well as academic content writing papers. So fundamental is the notion to physics and fluid mechanics, it continues to command the attention of researchers across the world over two thousand years after it was discovered (Mohazzabi 836) by the illustrious Archimedes of Syracuse. The present experiment used four separate objects, including an empty tin can, of different shapes and materials to check the influence of density on their floating behavior. Results indicated that objects less dense than water float, while those denser than water sink. When floating objects were forcefully submerged in water, an upward force was felt. Finally, while the empty tin can floated, it sunk when filled with water.


Primarily, the present experiment verified if bodies with density lower than that of water float while those with greater density sink by investigating the buoyancy force, which objects experience when immersed in fluids. Four objects of distinct materials and shapes were placed individually in water inside a vessel with a beak after calculating their average densities. Floating bodies were further immersed in water to check if they sunk. Thereafter, the empty tin can was filled with water and placed in the beaker to examine if it floats.


According to the Archimedes’ Principle, any object partially or wholly immersed in a fluid displaces a volume of fluid equal to the volume of its submerged part (Kires 484); and the object experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid (Keighley et al. 67).

Forces and pressures acting on body immersed in a fluid

Figure 1. Forces and pressures acting on an immersed body

Fluids exert a hydrostatic pressure on all surfaces they contact. Hydrostatic pressure is given by (eCourses):

PH = ρFgh                                        (1)


ρF is the fluid density;

g is gravity; and

h is the depth of the surface.

Consider figure 1 for an object immersed in water inside a beaker. Upward hydrostatic pressure acting on the object’s lower surface is:

PL = ρF gh2                   (2)

Similarly, downward hydrostatic force acting on the object’s upper surface will be:

PU = ρF gh1                   (3)

Horizontal hydrostatic pressures acting on all vertical sides balance out. Therefore, the net upward hydrostatic pressure is:

PNET = ρF g (h2 – h1)                 (4)

Now, (h2 – h1) = H. PU and PL act on the same area viz. L * B. Therefore, the net upward hydrostatic force will be:

FNET = ρF g H L B                   (5)

But, H * L * B = V = volume of the object, which is also the volume of the displaced fluid. Therefore:

FNET = ρF g V               (6)

Right hand side of equation 6 is the weight of the displaced fluid, which equals the net upward force i.e. the force of buoyancy. Buoyancy (BF) is:

BF = ρF g V                 (7)

For a body to float, its weight (W) has to be equal to or less than the buoyant force. Mathematically:

W = BF

ρS g V = ρF g V; or

ρS = ρF                      (8)

Where, ρS is the density of the solid i.e. object. From equation (8), we define three floating conditions. Objects with density:

  1. equal to the fluid’s, float with their upper surface along the fluid surface;
  2. less than the fluid’s, float with their upper surface above the fluid surface; and
  3. greater than the fluid’s, sink (BC Campus).

For condition 2, we have:

ρS g V = ρF g V’

Where V’ is the submerged volume; V’ < V. Solving for V’:

V’ = V (ρS / ρF)                       (9)



  • vessel having a beak, the vessel being large enough to accommodate all the objects;
  • measuring flask, spring balance, sinker, measuring tape, and stand; and
  • four objects viz. metal (mild steel) cylinder, wood block, tin can, and brass key.


With reference to figure 2., the experimental procedure involves:

  1. Measure the mass of the four objects. Calculate their weight in air. Take g = 10 m/s2.
  2. Measure the dimensions of wood block and mild steel cylinder. Compute their volumes.
  3. Immerse the brass key in a known quantity of water inside the measuring flask and determine the volume difference, which is the volume of the key.
  4. Repeat step 3 for the sinker. Attach sinker to tin can repeat step 3 to evaluate the tin can’s volume.

Experiment setup for the Archimedes' Principle trial

Figure 2. Experiment setup

  1. Calculate the densities of the four objects.
  2. Separately attach the three objects (except the tin can) to the spring balance and place them in the vessel with the beak and measure their weight, which is their experimental (measured) apparent weight.
  3. Attach the tin can to the spring balance and place it inside the vessel which is completely filled with water. Collect the overflowing water in the measuring flask and calculate its weight.
  4. Compute the theoretical (calculated) apparent weight of all objects by subtracting buoyancy force from their respective weights in air.
  5. Push the floating bodies deeper in water and record if you feel any upward force.
  6. Fill the tin can with water and note if it sinks.


Table 1. Experiment data

Sr. No. Object Mass (Kg) Weight in Air (N) Volume (10-5m3) Density (Kg/m3) Buoyant Force (N) Weight in Water (N) % Error
Calculated Measured
1. Metal Cylinder 0.982 9.82 12.6 7793.65 1.26 8.56 8.19 4.52%
2. Wood Block 0.271 2.71 48 564.58 2.71  0 0 N.A.
3. Brass Key 0.217 2.17 2.496 8693.91 0.25 1.92 1.847 3.95%
4. Tin Can 0.093 0.93 1.281 7259.95 0.92 0.01 0.00 N.A.


  1. Mild Steel Cylinder.

Height = 10cm, Radius = 2cm

A. Volume = πr2h = 3.142* 2*2*10 = 125.663cm3 = 0.000126m3

B. Density = 0.982 / 0.000126 = 7793.65 kg/m3

C. Buoyancy Force FB = V ρF g = 0.000126*1000*10 = 1.26N

D. Calculated Apparent Weight = Weight in Air – Buoyancy Force = 9.82 – 1.26 = 8.56N

E. % Error in Apparent Weight =

Absolute Value of [(Measured Weight – Calculated Weight) / Measured Weight] *100

= [(8.19 – 8.56) / (8.19)] * 100 = 4.52%

  1. Wood Block.

A. Volume V = LBH = 10*6*8 = 480cm3 = 0.00048m3

B. Density = 0.271 / 0.00048 = 564.58 kg/m3

C. Sumberged Volume V’ = V (ρS / ρF) = 0.00048*(564.58 /1000) = 0.000271m3

D. Buoyancy Force FB = V’ ρF g = 0.000271*1000*10 = 2.71N

E. Calculated Apparent Weight = Weight in Air – Buoyancy Force = 2.71 – 2.71 = 0

3. Tin Can.

A. Volume V = 12cm3 = 0.000012m3

B. Density = 0.093 / 0.000012 = 7750.00 kg/m3

C. Submerged Volume V’ = 92cm3

D. Buoyancy Force FB = V’ ρF g = 0.000092*1000*10 = 0.92N

E. Calculated Apparent Weight = Weight in Air – Buoyancy Force = 0.93 – 0.92 = 0.01N

Discussion Questions

Q.1. Why is step 7 in Procedure necessary for the tin can? Why its buoyancy force cannot be calculated similar the wood block’s?

A.1. Although tin is denser than water, the empty tin can becomes less dense than water because of the air that fills it. Unlike the wood block, the empty tin can (tin + air) is not made from single material, making it tough to directly compute its average density that is necessary to determine its submerged volume, which, in turn, helps calculate buoyancy force.

Q.2. Why does the tin can float when empty but sink when filled with water? Explain its analogy with ships and submarines.

A.2. With air occupying the space inside the tin can, its average density is less that of water and it floats. However, when filled with water, its overall density rises above that of water. Similarly, the average densities of ships are less than water because of the empty spaces in their structure. Breached hulls allow water in, which escalates their average density and sinks them. Submarines take water into their ballast tanks to dive underwater and force it out to rise (Brian and Freudenrich 1). To maintain stability, unloaded ships take water into their ballast tanks and release it when loaded.

Q.3. When you force the floating bodies further inside water, do you feel experience upward force? If yes, why?

A.3. Yes. Forcing floating bodies further inside water increases their immersed volume. With more water displaced, the buoyancy force also rises and, therefore, we feel the net upward force.

Q.4. Is there any relation between buoyancy force and Newton’s Third Law? Explain?

A.4. Yes. A body immersed in a fluid exerts the force on the fluid. The fluid, therefore, exerts a reaction force in the form of the buoyant force (Mohazzabi 838).

Q.5. Will 1 kg of iron and aluminum experience the same buoyant force in water? Will 100 cm3 of iron and aluminum feel the same buoyancy force?

A.5. Iron is denser than aluminum. Therefore, 1 kg of aluminum will occupy a larger volume than the same mass of iron. Aluminum will displace more water and, therefore, feel the more buoyant force. However, 100 cm3 of iron and aluminum will feel the same buoyant force since they displace the same volume of water.


The objective of the experiment was to check if objects with a density lower than of the fluid they are immersed in float and vice versa by examining the upward buoyant force. Results proved that bodies denser than water sunk while those less dense than water floated. Equipment errors and discrepancies in noting the readings introduced differences in experimental (measured) and theoretical (calculated) values of apparent weight. The percentage error for both floating objects is not applicable (N.A.) because the denominator is zero.


Works Cited

BC Campus. “Archimedes’ Principle.” Accessed 5 Oct. 2018.

Brian, Marshall, and Craig Freudenrich. “How Submarines Work.” How Stuff Works, 17 Aug. 2000, Accessed 5 Oct. 2018.

eCourses. “Fluid Mechanics – Theory.” Accessed 5 Oct. 2018.

Keighley, H.J.P., F.R. McKim, A. Clark, and M.J. Harrison. “Archimedes’ Principle and Floatation.” Mastering Physics, Macmillan Master Series, 1984, pp. 67-80. Springer Link,

Kires, Marian. “Archimedes’ Principle in Action.” Physics Education, vol. 42, no. 5, 2007, pp. 484-87. Research Gate,’_principle_in_action.

Mohazzabi, Pirooz. “Archimedes’ Principle Revisited.” Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics, vol. 5, 2017, pp. 836-43. Scientific Research Publishing,




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The Fundamentals of Ecological Footprint (APA style)

Green Earth






The Fundamentals of Ecological Footprint


Institutional Affiliation













Ecological Footprint (EF) is a simple and, therefore, popular measure of evaluating environmental performance in our quest to understand and address critical issues such as Global Warming and Climate Change. Its simplicity is an asset when explaining environmental issues to laymen, but somewhat of a liability when trying to comprehend ecological challenges in their entirety. Precisely why other measures have evolved. Since the dawn of the industrial age, humans have taken their liberties with nature to unprecedented levels. So much so that today, the very existence of humans on this planet is endangered. Environment supplies us with all the resources we need to survive and thrive. It also absorbs all our wastes, but very slowly.

The more resources we consume, the more wastes we create. It is precisely the imbalance between the galloping rate of resource extraction and waste generation on one side with the lumbering pace of waste assimilation and resource regeneration on the other that is at the root of the evil of pollution. If we have to leave a better planet for future generations, we have to adopt sustainable development. The sooner the better, for “there are no rewards and punishments in nature, only consequences’” as aptly summed by William Ralph Inge.

Keywords: ecological footprint, global warming, climate change, sustainable development, carrying capacity, pros and cons of ecological footprint, environmental performance index, environmental conservation, industrial revolution, pollution, natural resource degradation.


The Fundamentals of Ecological Footprint

Emergence of Sustainable Development

Any debate on present day environmental issues has to begin with the Industrial Revolution. The process ushered in the era of machines, which skyrocketed production quantities even as greater exploitation of resources became the norm. Consumption expanded alongside and created more wastes. Unless we seriously re-examine our lifestyles, an irreversible environmental disaster of biblical proportions is just round the corner.

Seeking to strike a balance between economic development and environment, there emerged the concept of sustainable development. The term as such was coined at the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development or the Brundtland Commission and was defined as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (International Institute of Sustainable Development [IISD], n.d.)

Economy-Environment Link

Environment is simply the sum total of all planetary resources, biotic and abiotic (National Council for Education Research and Training [NCERT], 2007). An ecosystem consists of all living and non living elements of a particular area that are bound in a complex web of relationships with each other and with their surroundings. Environment is, therefore, the sum total of all ecosystems on the planet that serves three important functions:

  • provision of resources
  • assimilation of wastes
  • maintenance of biodiversity and life on earth

It is the environment supplies us with all resources, including those used for economic production. The processes for their conversion to finished goods and subsequent consumption generates wastes, which the environment can absorb and reconvert to resources, but only at a snail’s pace.

When the rate of resource extraction and of waste generation respectively exceeds the rate of resource regeneration and of waste assimilation, pollution results and hampers the ability of the environment to maintain biodiversity (NCERT, 2007). Such imbalance has gathered pace since the advent of the industrial age.

Biodiversity includes all life on the planet and it is the interrelationships between living creatures and their reciprocal connections with the environment that sustains life on earth. If we are to continue with an unsustainable development trajectory, life on earth would disappear sooner or later. Now, that is a haunting prospect requiring a prompt remedy lest we all perish.

Ecological Footprint as a Measure of Sustainability

Among the earliest measures of sustainability is the Ecological Footprint (EF) that was developed in the early 1990s by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel (Bunker, n.d.) in Canada. EF is defined as ‘the land area needed exclusively to produce the natural resources that population consumes and to assimilate wastes that it generates indefinitely’. It is measured in hectares per person.

EF is based on the concept of ‘carrying capacity’ of a given region i.e. the maximum rate of resource extraction and waste discharge that the region can sustain indefinitely without negatively affecting the functioning of its relevant ecosystems. EF links the first two functions of the environment and its third function that is essential for sustainability.

Available capacity is that area of biologically productive land available for a person to obtain his resources from and absorb his wastes. On the global scale, only 2.1 hectares of land is available for every person on an average (Pulsipher, 2012). EF is calculated by dividing the total production of a country by the land area needed to support this production and absorb the wastes that the use of this produce will generate. The global average EF was 2.7 ha per person in 2010 (Pulsipher, 2012).

Figure 1. Ecological deficit as of 2013 (Issacdaavid, 2018)

Comparing the available capacity and EF (required land areas), we are overshooting the use of our land area by 33 percent. What is more alarming, we have not even considered the area required for other species. If we were to leave half of this planet for animals, which we as a greedy species will certainly not, the available capacity becomes 1.05 ha person and our usage is 157 percent of the available. From where are we going to bring another one and a half planet?

Simplicity is the foremost merit of the EF concept. Even laymen can easily grasp this concept in terms of the land area needed. And because it is simple, it motivates people to lower their EF. It is based on the scientific principle of lifecycle of resources and the wastes that they generate.

Reflection of its simplicity is also found in its methods of calculations because it clubs together different categories of consumables as well as environmental consequences into a single entity. Such bundling enables general comparison based on the near total consumption, not isolated comparison based on usage of specific goods.

By focusing on consumption, EF brings out the importance of a low demand lifestyle. The lesser you consume, the less wastes you generate and the better you are from the environmental point of view. And since the world is divided into wealthy nations and people consuming more and poor nations and people using fewer resources, EF maintains the emphasis on equity and global justice (Holden, 2004).

A major fallout of EF’s simplicity is its rather limited approach, for it includes only those consumption and emission types that are extracted from land and absorbed into land while ignoring conventional pollution of air and water (Acrewoods, n.d.). Then again, it is completely silent on the quality of life of the people (Acrewoods, n.d.).

Some of the techniques employed for the calculation of EF are questionable. For example it does not measure water usage against water availability but takes into consideration the amount of power / energy needed to provide water. Moreover, the methodology employed for measurement of land required to neutralize the emitted carbon dioxide is not foolproof.

Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is probably the best measure of sustainability. EPI was developed in 2008 and has evolved from the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI). The EPI ranks countries based on how close they have performed on the environmental public health and the ecosystem vitality fronts in relation to declared policy goals in this regard (Environmental Performance Index, 2012).

The EPI score is based on the difference between the quantified policy goal and actual performance of a country on 25 environmental performance indicators that are placed under six defined policy categories. For e.g. if the stated goal is to make drinking water available to 1 million people but was made available to 0.5 million only, the difference will reflect as a low score on this indicator. All the scores are added and the final value is arrived at.


Most statistical techniques and measures cannot be said to be completely irrelevant. Their utility is usually contextual. Possibly as an acknowledgement of its simplicity that imparts mass appeal to it, the Global Footprint Network is trying to make EF relevant to policy makers and businesses by standardization of the calculation techniques used.












Acrewoods. (n.d.). Ecological footprinting – Methods and limitations. Retrieved from

Bunker, G. (n.d.). Ecological footprint analysis: Background and rationale. Retrieved from

Environmental Performance Index. (2012). Retrieved from

Holden, E. (2004). Ecological footprints and sustainable urban form. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 19(1), 91-109. JSTOR,

International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD). (n.d.). Sustainable development. Retrieved from

Issacdaavid. (2018). World map of countries by ecological deficit (2013). Retrieved from

National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT). (2007). Environment and sustainable development. In Indian Economic Development (pp. 162-178). NCERT.

Pulsipher, J.L. (2012). What is an Ecological Footprint? Retrieved from



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Writing Killer Statements of Purpose (SoP) for University Applications


Writing a killer statement of purpose (SoP) for university applications is critically important today because it becomes the key differentiator when the academic credentials of candidates are fairly similar. And with more and more universities taking the admission process online, the number of applications has skyrocketed.

Grades only tell half the story making it harder for the tutor to select the most appropriate candidate. What is more, few universities actually hold interviews. Your purpose statement could be the only opportunity to talk directly with the tutors. And for courses that do interview, the statement sets the stage for it.

While a statement of purpose (SoP) is largely professional, a personal statement, as the name implies, is more personal:

  • Statement of Purpose focuses on your research interests, how your prior academic and professional experiences have fine tuned them, and how the interested course will further refine them. The focus here is the course.
  • Personal Statement showcases your innate traits that made you naturally develop the research interests. It goes on to chalk out the real-life experiences which shaped your outlook. Most importantly, it defines why you are suitable for the program / profession at the innate, personal level. The focus here is you.

Graduate programs rarely ask for a personal statement, they will most likely require a statement of purpose (SoP). Short-listers look for:

  • clear thinking;
  • passion;
  • persuasive and simple writing style;
  • basic knowhow of the university and education program; and
  • value you can add to the program.

Before you start writing your purpose statement, remember the tutor has a huge pile of statements to look into. Clearly he / she is not going to read each in detail. Here are few guidelines to write killer statements of purpose for university applications:

  • Research the education program thoroughly;
  • Start with a bang and keep the tone lively yet professional – never bore the reader;
  • Define your key skills most relevant to the education program;
  • Explain how you acquired and employed these skills and and how you can further develop them; and
  • Provide specific examples in brief when necessary.

Let the take a fictional student named Nathan White who has just completed Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of North Florida, Jacksonville. A passionate researcher and an environment enthusiast, Nathan has achieved some success in his chosen career path and volunteering activities. Now, he wants to take his research to the next level. Here is how he can go about writing a killer statement of purpose (SoP) for university application:

Nathan White Statement of Purpose (SoP)

“Of all the goods transported across the face of the globe, shipping carries an overwhelming 90 percent. And if it were a country, shipping would be the sixth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide.” Professor Bell remarked emphatically in the Fluid Mechanics class during my second year undergraduate course. “Design something that genuinely cuts shipping emissions and you will make the world a better place,” she continued in her usual invigorating manner. Professor Bell’s capacity to galvanize even an intricately technical class had never failed to amaze me. Growing up in Jacksonville, FL, ships were a familiar sight. Prof. Bell’s comments directed my professional voyage in the pursuit of ‘green’ ships, to explore the impact of various parameters on hull performance with the ultimate objective of boosting ship propulsion efficiency.

Thus far, the journey has earned me a research internship at the Fort Lauderdale plant of Wartsila, numerous awards at seminars, volunteer experience with marine environment organizations, and excellent academic grades. It is with the purpose of taking my research to the next level that I hereby request you to consider my application for admission to the Naval Engineer’s Degree – Program in Naval Construction at the Mechanical Engineering Department of your prestigious organization.

What naturally caught my eye in the early days of research was Professor Anthony Brennan’s Gator Sharkote project at the University of Florida. That someone could successfully devise an eco-friendly hull coating which cuts down algae fouling by a staggering 85 percent was simply inspiring. After all, fouling escalates ship fuel consumption by a mindboggling 40 percent! Not for nothing was the project creating proverbial waves in marine engineering after making literal waves in water.

As I dived deeper, the sprawling expanse of eco-friendly ships, its various facets, and their reciprocal linkages became apparent. Most importantly, I came to grasp the subtle, organic connection between concepts and practices of core Mechanical Engineering (my Major) subjects and those of Fluid Mechanics (my Minor). Staying in sync with the big picture without losing sight of treacherous, tiny details demanded studying Mechanical topics viz. Thermodynamics, Machine Design, Mechanics, Propulsion, and Sensing-Control in unison with Fluid Mechanics areas such as Laminar and Turbulent Flows, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Stability of Immersed / Floating Bodies, Archimedes’ Principle, and Bernoulli’s Theorem.

With my perspective improving, so did my grades. From being a just-above-average someone with 3.2 GPA, my scores surged to 3.8 and stayed there. My earlier inclination to get absorbed in the mathematical aspects and lose track of the overall direction was behind me. Responding to my vehemence, professors guided me and I came to identify how engine power, propeller pitch, gear reduction ratio, speed (RPM), and propeller diameter influence hull performance, which, in turn, affects fuel use and emissions.

Emboldened, I started presenting papers at University level competitions. A participant at one such event spellbound the audience and effortlessly walked away with the first prize not because he presented some exotic topic. But, because he put forth his views in simple words even non-engineers understood clearly. I learned a valuable lesson here, one only experience can teach, which radically transformed my techno-centric approach. The results were exemplary, I started winning presentations. By now, I had enough confidence to volunteer for environmental organizations such as the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and the Clearwater Audubon Society and utilize their platforms to spread awareness on ocean ecological conservation to a wider audience.

As part of my internship, I had the good fortune to visit the marvellous Pratt School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To say, I was enthralled would be a gross understatement! Discussions with your staff took me through decades of cutting edge development and I was thoroughly convinced I was at the right place for my future studies.

It is with the express purpose of furthering my research on the effect of diverse ship parameters on ship propulsion efficiency that I submit the present application. With a 3.8 GPA, a 333+5 GRE score (169 Quantitative and 164 Verbal), and all the passion I have for hull design, I believe I can successfully make it through the rigorous course regime.

Eco-friendly technologies and advancements will be more important than ever as the downward spiral of environmental degradation assumes calamitous proportions. By accepting my application, I hope you enable me to make my humble contribution in the global endeavour against a truly international challenge.

Thank you for your consideration.

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words has composed this article and sample statement of purpose (SoP). If you need help writing killer statements of purpose (SoP) for university applications, contact us at We also create eye grabbing personal statements for university and job applications, as well as captivating and to-the-point resumes and cover letters.


Inequality & the Fall of Civilizations Part 3 : Why Morality Matters?

Romulus Augustulus Surrenders before Odoacer in 476 A.D. Marks the Formal End of the West Roman Empire

History’s Take on the Moral Hazards of Inequality

 “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

George Santayana.

Once Upon a Time . . .

Long, long ago, humans lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers. They barely managed to make anything beyond subsistence levels. Plus, they had to share their possessions. The end result: they did not leave behind much for their sons or daughters.

What changed things decisively was the transformation from wandering pastorals to settled, farming-based life. Now, humans produced extra material goods and had more to pass on to their successors. Thus began the perpetuation of inequality across generations. In the second article, we have seen how inequity originates when someone earns more than the average and how the rich get richer as the poor get poorer.

Milking Cows in Ancient Egypt
Milking Cows in Ancient Egypt

Immorality creates inequality. Pronounced inequity arouses unrest, which, left unchecked, can descend into cultural destruction. Chaos spurred by inequity played a definitive role in bringing down the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Hittites, Mayans, and Incas. The same inequity provoked turbulence in Sudan, Burundi, and Bahrain. And, it teamed up with resource paucity to foment civil war in Syria.

There’s another dimension to inequality. It is called environmental degradation. Mother Nature supplies us with all resources, of which the elites control and consume more than their fair share. The rest are terrified there isn’t enough left, a feeling that inspires insecurity and, eventually, unrest. The turmoil is, in fact, a mad scramble for scant resources.

And with Climate Change making its presence brutally felt, resources are dwindling rapidly, adding fuel to the already raging fire of uncertainty. The ecological imbalance has at least partially disintegrated the Easter Island, Classic Lowland Maya, Angkor Wat, Soviet Union, Zaire, and Yugoslavia cultures.

But if the conflict is a squabble over resources, can it not be controlled with fair resource distribution? Well, yes and no. As we shall see, during the early stages of a civilization, resource allocation is somewhat principled. Over time, things take a turn for the worse and culminate into discord. The answer lies in the reasonable allotment and responsible use of resources. Easier said than done, for sharing is a lot tougher than owning.

The Bare Necessities of Civilization

In order to survive and thrive, a civilization has to strike a balance between the following elements:

  • Strong Moral or Religious Foundation: that binds society together;
  • Optimum Population Levels: for production of goods and services;
  • Surplus Resource Levels / Production Capacity: ensuring there is more than enough for its population;
  • Centralized Government Mechanism: that channelizes resources and provides governance via tax collection, infrastructure creation, and offering protection;
  • Fair-Minded Division of Labour between Leaders and Workers: wherein leaders command the respect of workers and can motivate them towards greater efficiency and, when necessary, sacrifice; and
  • Atmosphere that Promotes Innovative Problem Solving: because innovation thrusts a civilization miles ahead of others.

Moral foundation is, by far, the most important. People listen only to leaders with ample moral authority. If the nation is at war, the situation demands all sections of society to unite. Say, the leaders appeal to people to enlist for military service and donate money. Common people agree to such pleadings only if the leaders have made similar sacrifices. And, if the leaders have ‘ethically compelled’ the elites to make identical contributions. In the absence of moral force, all hell breaks loose.

Rise & Fall

Liberty produces wealth and wealth destroys liberty.

Henry Demarest Lloyd

The road which numerous civilizations have taken from rising to fall is very much alike. They usually start by freeing themselves from some sort of subjugation. The ensuing climate of free thought and openness promotes innovation and development, thereby creating wealth. And this is when the ground normally starts falling from under the feet! Few feel it though.

Political Marginalization Triggered the Sudan Civil Wars
Political Marginalization Triggered the Sudan Civil Wars    Image Courtesy of Rune Eraker at

Affluence makes people, fist the elite and then the commoners, move beyond luxuries and seek carnal pleasures. Materialism, greed, laziness, and selfishness pick up as people start regarding sex and violence as a kind of liberation. The fall of morals is slow and insidious, exactly why society does not sense it.

Common people often imitate the elite. Why? Because lifestyles of the super-rich are seen as habits of successful people. The elite has enough clout to coerce governments into providing legal (but amoral) tax breaks and other concessions. And, the more unequal a society is, the more the laws favor the rich. The common people replicate such lobbying by ganging up along racial, religious, caste, sectarian or other lines to demand free lunches – unfairly of course. And there begins the mindless rush for resources.

By now, governments are remarkably corrupt and fragile. What is more, they have irrevocably surrendered their moral authority and have to appease everyone. This disturbs the delicate balance in the bare necessities of civilizations. With revenues so squandered in mollifying everyone, governments have little left to protect their citizens. Collapse is only a matter of time. Sometimes, civilizations repeatedly recover from the brink of total catastrophe before failing completely.

Speaking of the ecological dimension, imitation of the top brass also takes the form of extravagance. The filthy rich often flaunt their ‘possessions’ – mansions, luxury cars, jets, yachts, and extramarital relationships. Likewise, common folk takes to buying unnecessary things. And since nature provides all resources, such indulgence breeds severe ecological imbalance.

Emissions are a good way to measure consumption. The more you consume, the more you emit. Globally, the top 10% elite emit around half the total greenhouse gases. And with commoners following the moguls, emissions rise thereby aggravating Climate Change. This further depletes resources making the resource rush harsher. Alas, we are blinded by materialism to feel it!

In the first article, we started with BREXIT and Trump victory, at the core of which was inequity rising due to immigration. While not bad in itself, immigration can disturb the delicate balance between the civilization’s essential elements. One, it makes labor cheap and upsets the fair division of labor. With the leaders hiring cheap, immigrant labor, local workers start questioning the morality of their leaders. Not that the locals are paragons of virtue.

Next, uncontrolled immigration can escalate populations beyond the optimum levels, thereby lowering the required surplus apart from overloading infrastructure. Most importantly, it can entrench us versus they mindset, particularly if the immigrants’ religious-cultural beliefs run contrary to those of the locals’. Sectarian outlook gets fortified precisely when the need of the hour is broad-mindedness.

The Multiple Facets of Inequality

“War begins in the minds of the people.”

Atharvaveda, ancient Indian text

Inequality is a multi-faced coin with economic, social, cultural, and political aspects. Professor Frances Stewart breaks down inequity as:

  • Economic Inequality: related to income, employment, and control over assets – natural, financial, human, and social.
  • Political Inequity: covers disparities in control over army, police, and institutions at the national, provincial, and local levels.
  • Social Inequality: considers access to education, housing, and healthcare.
  • Cultural Inequity: based on differences in language, customs, and religion.

Prof. Stewart points out that inequity is more likely to precipitate violent strife when cultural differences are more or less along economic and political fault lines. The civil war in Burundi (1993-2005) sprung from an intense political rivalry between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, both having separate cultures.

Senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, Gudrun Ostby has similarly demonstrated how social inequity matters more than its economic counterpart. Policies in Burundi deliberately limited the number of Hutu students and teachers before clashes erupted.

Massive Protest Rally in Bahrain 
Massive Protest Rally in Bahrain                                        Image Courtesy of Football at

Political violence specialist, Jok Maduk Jok demonstrates the connection between the Sudan civil wars and the Arab North’s conscious political marginalization of the Christian South. Dr. Seth Kaplan likewise relates the 2012 Bahrain unrest to the Sunni elite politically sidelining the Shiites.

Perhaps, people look at those with different social, cultural, and political identities as outsiders. This explains why these inequalities matter more than plain economic inequity, the root cause of the issue. This also explains why mobilizing people for conflict is simpler by linking economic and political exclusion with cultural or social discrimination.

Take the curious case of Syria, where many of these facets joined forces to spark the civil war. The population had expanded before the drought hit hard in the late 2000s. Climate Change combined with policies that withdrew water subsidies at the height of the drought worsened conditions. Farming declined, forcing many, particularly unemployed youth, to migrate to cities. It did not take long for the presence of such frustrated and desperate youth to ignite ethnic tensions when limited urban resources were already stretched to the breaking point. Civil war broke out in 2011.

Morality Goes Before the Fall

Civilizations cave in via slow or sudden conquest by external powers. Or, they descend into anarchy. In all three scenarios, morals break down before the final crash. And so does pride – Rome’s last aristocrats had to swallow their arrogance and queue up for the Pope’s grants while Mayan nobility ate humble pie – the food of the commoners!

Insightful leaders who trace the source of the clash can stem the rot through strong and creative stewardship. And this is perhaps what sometimes brings cultures back from the edge of destruction. Although terribly tough, dealing with such situations is not impossible. History bears testimony to this, another side as well!

Indrajeetsinh Yadav @ Falcon Words has composed this article. Keep following us at our blog for more such illuminating content. Falcon Words offers sterling content on Academic topics, History, Environment, Economics, and Finance. Write to us at for further details.