Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2016 03:46:30 +0000
Mon, 21 May 2007 23:43:00 +0000Due to various reasons, I am moving this blog to Wordpress.
Sat, 07 Apr 2007 00:15:00 +0000For those of us who cannot think straight, someone created this :
Fri, 06 Apr 2007 18:00:00 +0000No...the title of this post was not a typo. Read on ..read on, I say !
This intensifies my belief that everything has a market. Not only can you pawn on your own life, you can do so on others' lives too !!!
Here’s an area of controversy and concern. There’s a new industry that’s sprung up called the “Secondary market for life insurance”. Here’s how it works. It’s mostly for elderly or ill people. The origination of this started some years ago when terminally ill people who needed financial help turned to their life insurance policies and sold them to investors. They got a percentage of their insurance amount based on how long they were expected to live.
Love may be priceless, but unfortunately getting married can be very expensive. If you have recently become engaged or currently planning the wedding of your dreams, you should see if wedding insurance is right for you.I know what you are thinking --- but I am sorry.
Wedding insurance is a form of special event insurance designed to provide financial protection if you have to cancel or postpone a wedding because of death or serious injury in the immediate family, the bride or groom is called to military duty, a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake occurs on your special day or other insured disaster.
One thing that is generally not covered, however, is change of heart.
Fri, 06 Apr 2007 17:36:00 +0000Atanu Dey gives some background to the recent hullabaloo about British personnel taken hostage by Iran :
Then there are references to the Iraq occupation and the real reasons behind it:
Ever since oil was discovered there at the turn of the 20th century, Iran has been the object of plunder and high politics. From then onwards, both Russia and the UK repeatedly tried to control the country. Then, during World War II, Germany needed Iran’s oil and, in order to prevent this, UK forces invaded Iran and opened a pipeline to Russia, then our ally in fighting Germany.
This may be too simplistic a statement of facts. Nevertheless, I think this holds true in most scenarios: think Afghanistan where the Americans , for so long, supported Osama Bin Laden when he was fighting the Soviets. Now he is enemy number one.
Ever since the Germans tried to build a Berlin-Mosul railway a century ago, oil has been the main motivator of Western nation policy towards the Middle East, but most American and British people are totally unaware of this as they cheerfully pump petrol into their cars. They still don’t fully realise why Bush and Blair invaded Iraq in 2003 nor, in the latest foolish episode, why Bush persuaded Blair to trespass on Iranian waters in the hope of provoking Iran into excessive reaction, giving cause for powerful American response with, Bush naively assumed, world-wide support.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 17:44:00 +0000I did not notice this story earlier. It only came to me today while reading this post :
The things our Government would have us believe !
We have heard this story before. Remember the early 90's stories of Indian software engineers only working on low end maintenance projects? Or the early 2000 stories that only low end call center work is outsourced to India? What Dr. Bhargava says is likely to happen. The first that will test the waters are going to be younger educational institutions, those that have little to lose & a lot to gain. The Ox-Bridge/ Ivy Leagues will come in much later. But why should we quibble? Does the color of the cat matter as long as it catches the mice? If the new entrants offer value, they will have a market. If not, they will need to go back to the drawing board and rework their India strategy. Any one who is under the mistaken belief, that all a foreign university needs to do is to set shop in India and every one will flock to it, needs to read about the struggle of MTV, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Pizza Hut etc. to gain market share in India. India is an extreme value conscious market. You need to get your value proposition right to crack the market and the same will apply to higher education.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 17:27:00 +0000Do you know how to calculate squares of numbers close to 50 ?
When Bethe and Feynman went up against each other in games of calculating, they competed with special pleasure. Onlookers were often surprised, and not because the upstart Feynman bested his famous elder. On the contrary, more often the slow-speaking Bethe tended to outcompute Feynman. Early in the project they were working together on a formula that required the square of 48. Feymnan reached across his desk for the Marchant mechanical calculator
Bethe said, "It's twenty-three hundred."
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 17:07:00 +0000Sometimes, I wonder where the will and wish to do good comes from. Is it the youth ? does it come from our exposure to other cultures ? is it from our extensive education ?
Read on...there are some things in this country of ours that just defy explanations !
I was riding in a car on Bannerghatta Road. Work is finally getting done on that road to widen and pave it, so traffic was moving at a fast pace. As we passed an apartment complex on the left, I noticed an old lady with a red handbag making her way off the footpath and on to the road, probably in anticipation of a bus or to flag down an auto, I thought. But she did not stop moving. As our car passed her, she strode toward the middle of road, holding up her red handbag.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 16:29:00 +0000Cutting the Chai writes about Moserbaer putting video pirates out of business in this informative piece:
Like they say, "It happens only in India" !
A DVD for Rs 34! That would definitely be a cause of worry of the Pirates of Palika, who peddle their stuff for Rs 75-Rs 150. A VCD's for a mere Rs 28. My neighbourhood DVD rental charges Rs 30 for a day. Looks like he'll have to think of competitive pricing soon.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 02:02:00 +0000India Uncut never fails to shock me...
If you’re straight, imagine one more time the dystopia gay Indians live in, where not just sex but love and companionship are elusive. Isn’t that criminal?
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 01:49:00 +0000Quite an old piece but relevant today:
The SHERPA initiative is arguing that scholars put their research work on university/institution archives so the general public can access them free of cost.
Rising journal costs restrict access to scientific research. Martyn Bull reports on a campaign to get institutions to set up free internet archives
If the purpose of scientific publishing is to increase access to knowledge to enable further advances in science and technology, then researchers are not doing much to help. Too often they care more about the impact of publishing in a high-status journal than how many people might be able to read it.
The report advocates radical change in the scientific publishing process to prevent escalating costs and restrictive publisher agreements choking access to scientific research. It recommends that authors disseminate their research for free on the internet by storing articles in institutional archives, as well as backing a switch from “subscriber pays” to “author pays” publishing.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 00:47:00 +0000Villages in Haryana ban cricket:
How about banning politicians, I say. Surely, politicians do more harm than silly, incompetent cricketers !
"We all have taken this decision and those who go against it will have to face social boycott. We've enshrined this in the Panchayat records of 28 villages," said Tewa Singh, head of Dadan Panchayat.
"We will stop playing it (cricket). We will play kabaddi, football, volleyball and wrestle instead," Pankaj, a resident of the village, said.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 00:32:00 +0000Excellent post on a blog that is fast becoming my favourite:
The thing with trust is: it takes a long time to build and once it is broken, it is very very difficult to get it back.
At the bus, plenty of angry shouting, more stones flung, a window broken, three youths scream at us: "We don't want your peace talk, tell it to the RSS who did all this, now get out while you can!"
Wed, 04 Apr 2007 15:36:00 +0000Chilling piece here from Alternative Perspective:
Emperor Nero's parties in his garden were attended by all the Who's Who of Rome. Often the the parties were in progress, but then the dusk fell, and night arrived. There was no light around for the guests to continue to enjoy the festivities. Nero came up with a innovative solution to provide illumination: the prisoner and poors were brought and burnt on the stakes party all around the arena to illuminate the garden... Tacitus (The Annals, Book XV, C.E. 62-65 ) noted:It makes me think: is our social responsibility not really an obligation ? Are we condemned to be busy with our own lives and not root for justice !
"(they) were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle."
...and the party continued....
Of course, Nero, as most people know, was mad and cruel - and so, his conduct is perhaps not really so surprising - even if it was sensational.
But what about Nero's Guests?
They were, after all, the prominent elites of Rome - the intellectuals, the traders, the artists... sort of the "owners" of Roman culture and prosperity... (one would perhaps find them similar to our contemporary urban eduacated elites in temperaments and aspirations)...
It is important to understand the psyche of people - our own, actually- who could enjoy their wine and food, while the crackling light from burning bodies provided illumination to their delights...
as the party (i.e., the GDP, the Shopping Malls, the brands, GDP, SEZs, etc.) continues...
Wed, 04 Apr 2007 15:14:00 +0000Ever remember when you went out for a movie with your friends and then you came to a sad scene where a friend made a funny comment and you all started laughing uncontrollably ?
Wed, 04 Apr 2007 14:25:00 +0000Why does everyone want to work at Google ? Because, according to Fortune magazine, it is the best place to work in America.
No wonder, the search company gets 3000 new job applications each day - that's more than a million every year.
Wed, 04 Apr 2007 11:54:00 +0000Touching piece on the convictions for the crimes committed against Sikhs in 1984:
If you check around, you'll find your own crop of similar explanations. The Bhiwandi killings of 1970 and 1984, the Delhi killings of 1984, the Mumbai killings of 1992-93, the Gujarat killings of 2002: pick any one, plenty of your fellow countrymen rationalize it, using words like "retaliation", "justified", "lesson", "water under the bridge" and more. Why, on the day I read about the conviction of Gurpal's killers, I also read a report in the Times of India with this title: "For RSS, Gujarat riots are history."History means so many things to so many people. For some, it is a distant scene: something that they watch as if they were watching a movie or a game of cricket. At the end of it, they can brush it off and get on with their lives.
There's no justice for so many ordinary Indians slaughtered, but it's "history."
Wed, 04 Apr 2007 10:07:00 +0000Interesting piece on the Freakonomics blog:
I personally do not agree with this view. I feel that the best parents are those with the best intentions in their heart. Of course, this has to be combined with that essential element called love. Parents have to stop thinking of their kids as extensions of themselves and treat them as individuals in their own right.
The paper’s authors conducted a randomized study with 153 socially disadvantaged Welsh parents with children aged 3 or 4. Some of the parents were given a 12-week “intervention programme,” in which two professionals taught the parents how to reward, punish, and discipline their children. The control group of parents were wait-listed for this workshop.
The results showed that the children of the parents who took the workshop behaved significantly better afterward, at least in the short term. The authors make the point that, since childhood anti-social behavior is a strong indicator of adult anti-social behavior and criminality, the findings are potentially very important.
What sayest thou ?
Wed, 04 Apr 2007 09:53:00 +0000A Bangladesh perspective to the slide in Indian cricket
This is typical sub-continent rhetoric. Everytime we beat Australia or South Africa, we talk about how India have shown these great nations their place. Bangladesh, unfortunately, is following that route.
The Bangladeshi Newspaper Prothom Alo said this win is a reply to the Indian's disrespect about Bangladesh. Bangladesh proved India that what is commerce to them is merely a game for them. The article concludes with the hope that India is put down on their feet with this shock. If they still cannot revise their opinion about Bangladesh they will be reminded in the coming tour.
It is funny how one win can make dreamers out of losers !Incidentally, I read this piece from Prem Panicker's blog only a couple of days ago. Do read it...
I have nothing but the greatest respect for the way the Bangladesh team beat India in the WC. It was a fantastic exhibition of tight bowling and sticking to the basics. I really liked the attitude of Tameem Iqbal in that eventful over from Zahir Khan --- hope to see more from this kid.
But, please hold on to your horses. You guys have a long way to go. You only have two wins in this cup so far: one against a lazy India and the other against a hapless Bermuda.
Please show us more before we start talking about how Bangladesh are better than India...let us please keep our feet firmly on the ground, shall we ?
But unfortunately Bangla-desh, like it's more colourful neighbours India, has got mindless followers whose emotion often beats logic. The whole nation was over the moon since early hours of March 26, a very special day in the history of the country. It was quite understandable when we rejoiced the success against Bermuda that confirmed the Tigers of a place in the next round.
But wasn't that something like an excess what followed when many including the knowledgeable section started thinking of 'going all the way to the semifinals' or sweeping comments like 'winning has become a habit for us' or 'I don't want to take the win as an upset'.
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 15:07:00 +0000Intriguing theory here from scientist Richard A Muller.
Like a thorn in the side of mainstream researchers, Muller's Nemesis theory -- that our Sun has a companion star responsible for recurring episodes of wholesale death and destruction here on Earth -- seems to reemerge periodically like microbes after a mass extinction.
It's a theory that has many detractors. And it's a theory that has been beaten down and left for dead in the minds of most scientists.
Yet it is a theory that just won't die
The theory goes on to state that this star re-emerges every 26 million years to cause a shower of meteors on our planet causing mass extinctions:
Muller's idea for Nemesis came to him 1983. Luis Alvarez, then an emeritus professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, and his son Walter had recently put forth the theory that a giant impact had wiped out the dinosaurs. (This idea, like so many others that are now widely accepted, met with staunch criticism when it was introduced because it, too, was not mainstream).
Around the same time, two other researchers had suggested yet another controversial idea, that mass extinctions occurred at regular intervals -- every 26 million years or so. Scientists immediately folded the ideas into a new and breathtaking possibility: Impacts by space rocks were causing massive global species destruction every 26 million years.
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 14:47:00 +0000(image) Read on here
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 13:42:00 +0000I love reading Prem Panicker's blog:
Subhash Chandra, of Zee TV, has gone and done it: set the cat firmly among the BCCI pigeons.
Just moments ago, at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi, Chandra did a Kerry Packer, and announced the formation of an alternate domestic cricket league in India.
The salient points:
#The league will comprise six teams of 14 players each.
#Each team will have four international players, and at least two players who have played or are playing at the national level.
#The remaining eight players will be picked from the brightest young talent available in India. "We have experience in talent-search in the entertainment field; we will use that same expertise to unearth cricketing talent," Chandra said.
#Each team will have a qualified coach, physio and psychological expert.
#The league will be floated with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore; the prize money on offer in the first year will be $1 million.
#The league will have a professional media manager, and an ombudsman who will handle complaints either from the public or the players.
Read here for more info.
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 13:12:00 +0000Whenever I watch a hindi movie, or discuss cricket with my office colleagues, I am faced with what I like to call "dumbing down the topic".
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 12:56:00 +0000I found this very elaborate and very thought-provoking piece:Our obsession with stars and brands I agree stars are important. It’s the obsession with those stars where I see the problem. We (as Indians) are obsessed with stars and brands. We don’t need to look deep to realize this about us. Our Cinema (unabashedly called ‘Bollywood’) and Cricket has many examples. The whole focus is on one or two individuals while the rest are completely unknown. It applies to our technology space as well. IITs are a brand. Therefore, anything to do with technology in India is referred to IITs while hundreds of universities and other institutes get no mention at all. If an IITian starts a paan shop, the heading goes, “The IITian left his cushy job to start a paan shop right across the street…” If they start some dumb political party, the article reads, “The IITians instead of going to US have sacrificed their careers to start a political party to better India…” A mere contraption of no significance from IITian gets the attention of starving media. This media is more interested in writing ‘This IITian has done…” than writing what he has actually done. The media is only feeding into our own obsessions. They reflect our sentiments- that of ordinary people, the families, and the societiesThe same is true of our software-services companies. Why we did not look at other important industries is because these services companies were hogging the limelight for more than 20 years now. In fact, they are hogging the complete light while the rest of the industry is languishing in the dark. Bangalore, which is supposedly the ‘Silicon Valley of India’ (which I don’t agree at all), has lavish office spaces (look at Infosys and ITPL) which almost resemble a developed world. These are the same office spaces which have been glorified by the likes of Thomas Friedman (who has added more fuel to the celebration of our mediocrity). On the other hand, the same Bangalore provides extremely worse conditions to the industrial sectors where hardware and manufacturing houses are located. I have visited some of these manufacturing places- they don’t have roads, they are connected by muddy paths which have huge cracks in the middle, they don’t have water or electricity and this place looks like a remote village of India in the 16th century. The attention of whole of media, political administration, elite, institutions, investors, has been directed towards software-services companies while other industries do not get basic amenities. Software-services companies get lands at very low price; they get tax-holidays, exporting and importing is easy for them. Meanwhile, the manufacturing and other industry of India is putting with policies of old economy.I posted a comment on that blog which I reproduce verbatim here:You make a compelling argument. However, I beg to disagree. If the software services industry is such a rage, it is for a reason. I am not suggesting that the service industry is better, or more profitable, than the manufacturing/product sector. However, the fact remains: manufacturing/product is a long-term thing. You need investments in time, resources, money, training today to get paybacks, maybe 10, 20, 30 years down the line. The service industry has more instant paybacks on investments. It is the nature of the beast.We, Indians, who are on the verge of starvation, do not have the luxury of time. However[...]
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 12:34:00 +0000The next time you feel hard-done by life, read this
I feel happy when I do not overstay at office in the evening and reach home on time, that is 7:35 p.m. Oh how happy I feel to see my wife and childrens. I hope they too feel happy to see me. If I reach on time, I get a royal reception from them, if I am late even by half an hour, I have lot of explanation to do.
After dinner, we, that is I, my wife and children go to our building's terrace for a stroll. Nowadays it is sooo hot during the day, the cold breeze in late evening just makes me happy and makes me smile.