Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Terror...a lot closer home.

At least 700 people were killed in a stampede in Baghdad, as panicky pilgrims crushed each other and jumped of a bridge when rumour spread about a suicide bomber !

The entire idea of instilling terror by heinous acts, so that normal everyday people are forced to change their lifestyles and keep looking over their shoulder, seems to have hit a lot closer home than what I imagine the terrorists had in mind. Since they were busy doling out liberal servings of terror to the western/South Asian (Indian subcontinent) world or to people from those regions, they seemed to have forgotten that people of their own geographic regions and in particular their own faith are just as susceptible to all the propoganda and violence...they being human beings themselves, are vulnerable to panic and hysteria...even if it is supposed to their own "brethren" who are dishing it out.

India leads...and where !

India was the top buyer of arms in the year 2004, and also in the period between 1997-2004 !

Interestingly enough, the following statement by Sean McCormack, the US department of state spokesman caught my eye :

"Just as we exercise restraint in our own transfers, we encourage restraint by other countries,"

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rebels...really !

Apparently "rebels" in Tripura, are making porn films to raise funds for their compaigns !

What exactly are they campaigning against ? I wonder if they would get support from "liberal" people, if not for their cause, but at least for their innovative fund-raising schemes !

Of course, forcing people to act in these "movies" and being involved in trafficking of women should make these "rebels" and their cause mighty unpopular and take the sheen off whatever they are fighting against...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Hell !

Which is hotter ? Heaven or hell ? Theological Thermodynamics, intends to debate this very point ! (link courtesy of DC's website.)

Another funny article on a related topic...

The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)? Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed)or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following: First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you", and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."

All hail the Flying Sphagetti Monster ! RAmen !

The religion, Flying Sphagetti Monsterism, was created by Bobby Henderson, a graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in physics, in opposition to the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to allow intelligent design to be taught in science classes alongside evolution.

Check out some of the beliefs of this "religion"...especially the second one:
  • The Universe was created by an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster. All evidence pointing towards evolution was intentionally planted by this being.
  • Global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct consequence of the decline in numbers of pirates since the 1800s. A graph showing the inverse correlation between the pirates and global temperatures was also provided. This was presumably intended to highlight the logical fallacy of correlation implying causation.
  • Bobby Henderson is the "prophet" of this religion.
Prayers end with the word "RAmen" rather than Amen !

A great way to make a point...apparently this "Religion" has caught on a lot on the net...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Drooling over a hottie !

A former Boston Herald sports writer has lost his part-time teaching job at Boston University, after posting web comments about a student in his class. In his post, he described her as "incredibly hot".

Here is another article that gives a more detailed look at the comments...

...and the response from the actual student. Notice though that she does not contradict the fact that she is gorgeous !

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Piano Man.

A British police patrol, in Kent, picked up a soaked man in a suit, after a member of the public reported that he had been roaming the streets. He did not say a word and was taken to the hospital. The labels from his clothes had been removed as well.At the hospital, he sketched a drawing of a grand piano, and when taken to one, members of staff at the hospital were apparently entranced by his virtuoso performance of Tchaikovsky. On being transferred to the psychiatric unit, he seemed to "come alive" while playing the piano, for several hours at a time. Some medical experts said that he was autistic, and some rumours also started that his voice box might have been removed !

A hollywood movie story ? Bourne Identity meets Shine ?

Not the full story. Also on Wikipedia.

Lazy Jobs !

The Indian parliament has passed a jobs bill, which will guarantee 100 days of employement to rural households !

It has been in the news for a while, but now it seems that the bill will become a law.

Between $ 3 bn and $ 17 bn in costs ! Probably every year ! How will they meet the expenditure for this ? I don't think that even 1 % of the money will reach those intended to receive it.

Another concern is : will this not create a nation of lazy people ? I mean, we get enough flak for slacking off as it is, but this is getting close to a welfare state, where people don't really need to actively search for employement/work....also all small-scale entreprenuership will die, as every household is now guaranteed of a job, at least for part of the year ! What will be the long-term repurcussions of this move ? As it is, the "welfare" ideology of reservations is killing all Indian institutions, with deserving candidates losing out on jobs/admissions/ this seems just a bad move as that !

Pugilists reign supreme !

Indian pugilists achieved tremendous success at the Commonwealth Boxing Championships winning nine medals, four of which were gold medals (the most by any country there) !

Great to see other sports also, hope the media gives them ample coverage and they also get television and print endorsements...not to mention awards from the goverment.

Guilty ! Why ? Because they were caught...

The Bihar governor Buta Singh and the railways minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, are getting some heat in the parliament, because of a letter written by the former to the latter. Apparently, in the letter, the governor had requested the transfer of a railways employee to a senior position...

What is interesting, is that such "favours" are asked for an granted every day, all across the country...the only problem was that these two got caught doing it - no doubt some employee who works for either one of them, and holds his or her "loyalties" to the opposition got the letter out...

Well...what will be the repurcussions ? The parliament will stop for a few days (if you ask me, that's a good thing...a good parliament is one that doesn't try to do anything useful), and then life will go on as usual.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"Angel" gets wheels !

A 19 year old waitress in Sweden received a Porsche as a tip from an elderly patron...

Here is an excerpt from the article...

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, told the paper he could not really explain why he gave her the car.

“I was just sitting there in the restaurant and looked her in the eyes and saw an angel and thought to myself ‘The Porsche, she should have it’,” he said.

A new arms race.

The next generation arms race.

Model Citizens !

The Bush administration has imposed aid cuts to countries that have refused to sign an agreement which provides immunity to Americans from the International Criminal Court.

So, the idea is that if you want money, then you should not prosecute Americans...of course it does not matter if they are guilty or not ! The United States government has decreed that all of its citizens are model human beings...once they leave the borders. Anyone refusing to agree with this blanket verdict will get the stick and not the carrot. This from a country which claims to be the bastion of world democracy and justice !

But then again, we must all be used to double standards by now...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Greatest Trick !

I found the following lines in a post on the blog, Secular-Right India.

In the film noir classic The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey's character reprises Baudelaire to describe the genius of the arch-villain Keyser Soze: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Having read this NRO review of National Geographic's Inside 9/11, we are compelled to reprise the same idea in a different context: The greatest trick Kashmiri separatists ever pulled was convincing the world India oppresses them.

For the full post, look here.

Cricket in Swing !

Apparently cricket has seen a major revival in England, after Freddie Flintoff's and Michael Vaughn's theatrics !

I found one statement in that article funny...

Interest in the game, which for much of the past decade has been as unfashionable as [former prime minister] John Major, is starting to eclipse even that of football

City of Joy takes down Rikshwala

The Communist government in West Bengal, has decided to do away with hand-pulled rickshaws.

Interestingly enough, the reasons given for the changes were...

The Chief Minister said he was keen to go through with this because it was a blot on the image of Kolkata.

‘‘For most westerners, Kolkata is synonymous with hand-pulled rickshaws, beggars etc. We will have to change the image,’’ he said.

Of course, no concrete plan has been put forward to explain what will happen to the people who depend on this for their livelihood. Some random mumblings of "maybe replace with cycle rikshaws"....which brings forth another argument : if pulling rikshaws is inhumane, then pedalling is not ?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Indian Economy Blog.

Here is a blog that tracks the Indian Economy. This was created today and I got this link from Amit Varma's India Uncut page.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Neighbour in Need ?

These are the people whom we're supporting against the Maoists ?

Interestingly enough, China gave persmission to use its aerospace, while the Nepalese refused. This in spite of the fact that we gave military aid to Nepal a few months ago, when it seemed like the Maoists were about to take over. And the new king hasn't even reaffirmed Nepal's long-standing support to India's quest for a permanent seat on the UN security council !

Another case in point was the abduction and murder of a BSF officer by the Bangladesh border forces, the BDR ! That fact that both of these small nations owe their existence/origin to India doesn't seem to faze them ! Instead of maintaining good neighbourly relations with "big brother" India, they seem to want to irk us more and more...and successive governments on our side, on the other hand, do not seem to be bothered with responding to such behaviour either ! If these state of affairs continue, I feel that matters will only degenerate from here on, as every tom, dick and harry will feel that he can get away with pulling all sorts of nonsense againts India/Indians !

Who's your daddy ?

An article in Reuters, about how one in every 25 "fathers" could be unknowingly raising another man's child !

According to the article, on one hand, if the fake dad gains the knowledge that the child is not his, then it could lead to family violence and breakups, whereas if he does not know, then leaving paternal discrepancy hidden could mean having the wrong genetic information, which could have health consequences.

Aamir Khan/Mangal Pandey ?

Aamir Khan is blogging as Mangal Pandey ? Interesting to say the least....

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Outsourcing Companies ?

Why are Indian companies being referred to as "outsourcing companies" ? I mean, is Infosys, just an outsourcing company to the rest of the world ? Seems like the world media is taking sides (against Indian entreprenuers and companies) by using such negative language to describe them.

New age space travel : Space Elevator !

After reading an article in IEEE Spectrum this month, I was impressed by the amount of effort that has gone into this radical new idea, called the Space Elevator. Apparently the idea is VERY feasible in 10-15 years ! Nowadays, it costs about $20,000 to hoist a kilogram of material into space...the idea of the space elevator, if implemented, would apparently reduce it to less than $200 per kilogram, and in the long run to around $10 per kilogram ! That is cheaper than the amount spent in transporting materials over the Pacific !

In the Spectrum article, the authors talk about various problems that will arise if the construction/operation and maintenance were to proceed..the most interesting of all potential "problems" discussed by the authors, was terrorism ! Of course, since the authors suggested the base station on earth to be located on the Galapagos Island in the Pacific, which is hundreds of kilometres from any shipping/aviation routes (and for many other scientific reasons), they state that it will be much easier to arm and defend against a terrorist attack ! Interesting to see that even cutting edge science needs to be aware of such issues.

The new Baghdad.

The Mayor of Baghdad was ousted by an armed Shiite group. Considering the enourmous amount of money time and wasted human lives that have been spent to "liberate" Iraq, is this what the new "democracy" is going to be like ? Now, we should wait and see as to how the Americans respond to this. The question to ask of course is that if they went through all this effort to replace a malevolent dictator with oppression and religious fanaticism ! I mean, most educated people around the world guessed that this would be the eventual outcome. How long can a foreign presence remain in that country to "maintain law and order", without it degenrating into occupation ? And now that radical elements have decided to come out into the open and perform coups, what will be the next step ? A bloody civil war ?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fat vs Thin

Article on Fat people vs Thin people was sent to me by a friend...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Can you hear me NOW ?

An article by Thomas L Friedman, about the wireless technology situation in the US. Apparently, Ghana has a cellphone service that is better than what is available in the US ! And it is a known fact that the Japanese lead the way in this area.

To quote Friedman's article...
I began thinking about this after watching the Japanese use cellphones and laptops to get on the Internet from speeding bullet trains and subways deep underground. But the last straw was when I couldn't get cellphone service while visiting I.B.M.'s headquarters in Armonk, N.Y.

Whenever I come down to India for a vacation, I am pleasantly surprised to the see the popularity of cellphones, and also to see some of the latest, cutting-edge devices and handsets being used there...some that are not even available in the US !

Music, movies, TV shows and books that changed the world.

A poll was conducted among music and movie stars, to find the music, movies, TV shows and books that changed the world.

Hotels and Patels !

An undercover sting operation in Georgia, to ferret out grocery store owners who sell the ingredients to make methamphetamine, is falling to pieces. The reason being is that most of the people "trapped" by these sting operations are of Indian origin, and apparently their lack of knowledge of American slangs, led them to being trapped.

For example,
when the undercover operatives told store clerks that he needed the cold medicine, matches and camping fuel to "finish up a cook," some of them said they figured he must have meant something about barbecue.

Another couple of interesting lines from that article...
Forty-four of the defendants are Indian immigrants - 32, mostly unrelated, are named Patel - and many spoke little more than the kind of transactional English mocked in sitcoms.

This corner of the state is still largely white; Indians began moving here about 10 years ago, buying hotels and then convenience stores, and some whites still say, mistakenly, that "Patel" means "hotel" in Hindi.

Hmmm...well, of course injustice has been done...but I also believe that a lot more Indian jokes and in particular Gujarati and Patel jokes will do the rounds now. As if the mocking "Apu" accent wasn't bad enough !

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


"Invictus", by William Ernest Henley, a British poet who lived between 1849-9013. A poem which achieved notoriety a few years ago, because Tim McVeigh (executed for the federal building boming in Oklahoma in 1995), left a handwritten note with the above poem, on the morning of his execution day. He had no other last words...

In itself, a good follows...


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit fom pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For the unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Op-Ed in New York Times.

An article about op-ed, in the op-ed section of the New York Times...for all of us wannabe "journalists" maybe this could be a forum to start.

Also, here is an older, related article by the same author (who else, but the editor of the Op-Ed page for the New York Times - the ultimate authority who decides what goes in and what doesn't).

What happens to the astrologers ?

Here is an article about Pluto's status - i.e. whether it should be deemed a planet or not !

Now what are all the atrologers going to do ? Since the definitions of planets either include more than the nine that we know about (I mean lumps of ice/rock) or just the first eight (no Pluto!).

Interesting, one planet stops shaping our lives and our future ?

Phenomenal Growth !

Interesting article about blogs !

A new blog every second ! And the number of blogs double every five months ! wow ! I wonder, with so much information being pumped onto the net every second, how long before the current backbone of the net starts wheezing ? Did anyone forsee such growth rates ? Any networking people out there wanna try your hand at a reply ? :)

On the other hand, take a look at Blogger's Depression...a hilarious take on the blogging phenomenon.