Thursday, September 29, 2005

Secret governments that rule the world.

"Impossible !" you say ? Such stuff only occurs in b-grade spy novels ? Remember James Bond taking on SPECTRE ?

Well, apparently there just might be a group of people who weild enormous political, media and economic clout, that meets regularly to...
  • a discussion meeting about the state of the trans-Atlantic alliance and the problems facing Europe and the US.
Well, this is the Bilderberg group.

Here is an interview with Vicount Davignon, the corporate director of the group. Statements from his interview...
  • "I don't think (we are) a global ruling class because I don't think a global ruling class exists. I simply think it's people who have influence interested to speak to other people who have influence,"
Political doublespeak for saying, "yes, we do rule the world" ?

Apparently this year's meeting in Germany included
the heads of the World Bank and European Central Bank, Chairmen or Chief Executives from Nokia, BP, Unilever, DaimlerChrysler and Pepsi - among other multi-national corporations, editors from five major newspapers, members of parliament, ministers, European commissioners, the crown prince of Belgium and the queen of the Netherlands !

Gaming at new degrees...

You can now get a major in video games !

Left vs Iran ?

The left front should basically(put in a nice manner), keep its mouth shut ! A party that has no real ideological reason for existence in the modern world, has no other work than to drag itself into issues it doesn't seem to fully understand, or worse, care about ! Sometimes, they shoot their mouths off on inadequate and inaccurate information provided in the media. Here is a classic example of this...

An article in the Hindu, about the left front "registering strong protest" against India's vote on the Iran issue. An excerpt from this article...
  • The Left leaders drew attention to reports in The Hindu that Iran had conveyed to India that the $21-billion liquefied natural gas export deal was off.
First off, we must question the motives of the Hindu in publishing such reports, especially in the wake of contrary, categorical statements from Tehran(here is an article in the Hindu itself, which "reports" this). Secondly, how can the left front rush in with statements based on speculation in a newspaper, and not wait to confirm the facts ? I am not a fan of the UPA government, but when your own "allies" start shooting holes in your policies, I think the central government partnership must be seriously reviewed.

Greg's not a fool !

An article in Indian Express where former cricket stars comment about the "truce" negotiated between Greg Chappel and Saurav Ganguly.

I personally believe that Saurav Ganguly must step down right now, to save face, before the board ousts him. I mean, after such a glorious career and having been acknowledged as one of the best players on the off-side, and also being a part of the best opening partnership ever in one-day cricket, it sickens me to see the depths to which Saurav Ganguly's career has fallen. Especially after his outbursts during the match against Zimbabwe, it would be a mistake for him to stay on/be retained as captain. If he does not have the dignity to step down himself, then, in my opinion, he must be removed !

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Authors guild vs Google.

Google, in their library project, plans to digitize the works available in several major research and public libraries, so that their content is searchable through the net. Searching for certain terms/phrases, will show results from books that contain those them, and a couple of sentences before and after the phrase as well as details about the book, author, publisher, etc.

Now, most authors would really cherish this situation, right ? Imagine more people getting to know about them and their work ? I would be thrilled...but no ! The Authors Guild sued Google, alleging that this constitutes a "massive" copyright infringement !

An op-ed article in NY Times, illustrates exactly why this action by the guild is a bad idea...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents.

Reporters without borders, has released a handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents [pdf]. Collected wisdom from journalists, bloggers, etc. from around the world, it makes for interesting reading. Here is an interesting excerpt...
  • Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.
The handbook includes information on how to increase visibility, maintain anonymity, setting up, and many other useful and interesting articles.

Monday, September 19, 2005

"It Isn't Easy Being a Genius" !

Every year, the MacArthur Foundation announces its latest class of awards, for its so-called genius award. The foundation avoids use of the term "genius" and instead stresses that the award ($500,000) is for creativity !

Here is an interesting article by Jim Collins, one of the previous winners of the awards, and a professor at Boston University.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Budhha !

Got this image from Shekhar Kapur's blog.

It is a sketch from the designs of his new movie Budhha, which by the looks of it, he may not be making anymore. Sad...would have been interesting to see his version of Budhha's life.

Dissatisfied ?

The main result of a BBC survey of world public opinion suggests that only 30% of people feel that their government is governed by the will of the people !

More detailed breakdown of the results.

An interesting quote from the article...
  • It would have been an even worse sign if the results had been otherwise. We do not want any of those referendums in totalitarian and dictatorial countries which regularly showed over 90% government approval and, in Saddam Hussein's case, over 100%.
Another article on the BBC website regarding this survey.

If you want to contribute to the survey yourself, then click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Why is a blog better than a woman?

Because you can disable comments !

Courtesy of Amit Varma's India Uncut Page. I loved it so much that I had to put it up here...

Memory Lane...

An article by Subir Roy, describing a part of Bangalore that I hold dear to my heart...I can visualise down to the last detail when he talks about Old Madras Rd and the path it is a road that was very close to my house and I have myself travelled on it numerous times...not everything that he mentions about that part of the city is in a positive vein, but then again, who says that memories have to be built of only good is the confluence of images, smells, experiences and people that creates an everlasting, endearing fragment of memory...probably more so, because I no longer live in the city that I love most...Bangalore.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Future of Human Race(s) !

An article by Brad DeLong on his blog about Ongoing Human Evolution seemed interesting enough...but the comments and articles referred to in them caught my eye as well...makes for a very interesting read. Here they are...

Plight of New Orleans.

We now know that most of the post-Katrina deaths and problems in New Orleans occured as a result of poverty being so pervasise that evacuation attempts failed and also due to the levees failing at the critical juncture.

The New York Times public editor takes an in-depth look at the media's (particularly NY Times) responsibility in these matters. According to Byron Calame, the NYT public editor, any media organisation and NY times in particular with its vast resources and reach had the responsilibity for keeping the public informed of such problems and the devastation it could lead to...he comes up with articles and reports that indicate that the NYT has borne that responsibility partially, and has constantly pointed out these possible problems. The problem of course, is twofold
  • The facts and conclusions that point towards these potential problems were hidden away within large, verbose articles and would catch only the discerning reader's eye.
  • Apathy on the part of the readers/establishment to such facts.
The NY Times is partially to blame, because they should have given more prominence to the problems and not, as illustrated in the article, the following...
  • What readers would have been more likely to find in The Times's past decade of news coverage of New Orleans were stylishly written articles about the city's charm, cuisine and colorful characters
Surely reports in the NY Times on such critical matters are not ignored by the establishment ? Or have we gotten used to being plastered about various problems by the media, that no one bothers to respond, unless catastrophe strikes, or the reports personally attack a particular official or a department ? Do reports such as the ones pointed to by the above journalist go unread ? Do they absolutely fail to evoke enough interest or alarm at any level ? At least they must start a lively discussion on the matters pointed to if not to actually solve the problems ?

Now the question is : who is to blame for everything that happened in New Orleans ? The government officials seem like the immediate culprits...but which government : The Federal government that didn't make this a priority and entrust FEMA to take preventive steps to handle any future problems ? The state, and city establishements that are closer to the particular problem and should have allocated resources in their budgets for this issue ? The citizens of the state, that had to make the devilish choice between strengthening the levees or spending that money on developing the state's education and healthcare systems ? Or the rest of us "well-informed" readers of NYT, who should have noticed a pattern and then alerted any of the above agencies or citizens of that state ? Or is it the fault of the media, NYT included, who should have stated these facts in screaming orange headlines, each time they found a new fact about the sad realities of New Orleans ?

New kind of Visa ?

Check out this band called the H1Bees...basically the brainchild of Srikanth Devarajan, a computer engineer by profession and gifted musician.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Offensive Jokes.

A competition was conducted to find...
  • the funniest, and
  • most offensive
religious jokes ever, apparently in opposition to the British government's proposed anti-religious hatred legislation (oddly enough, the hyphen seems to make it sound like the legislation is anti-religious !).

The list of winners in the above two categories.

Check out the favourites : numbers 2 and 8 on funniest list and numbers 1, 5, 6, and 10 on the most offensive list.

A complete listing of all submissions is also available.

Corporate ethics !

Corporate ethics, or rather the lack of it, is obvious in the case where Yahoo provided information to the Chinese Government, which helped jail a reporter for apparently "divulging state secrets".

In order to improve their businesses in China, many large companies, such as Google, Microsoft, etc., actively participate with the Chinese government, in blocking information, sites, blogs, etc.

Wonder how far such policies will really help these companies...ok, they may provide immediate benefits and profits, but what about the future ? Suppose the Chinese government's policies change, or the government itself ceases to exist in the current state that it is in, then these corporations will find themselves at the wrong end of the stick...probbaly end up being hated for their current policies.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Indian Flag.

India Posted by Picasa

Just a nice image that I found on the Vaada blog. Not to mention, this is the first post in my blog which contains an image !

Rubber Stamp.

This article seems to bring out into the open a fact that has been painfully obvious to anyone has been following Indian politics for the last year or so...the fact that the Prime Minister is that only in name...Dr. Manmohan Singh is nothing more than a rubber stamp ! The real power and decision making happens behind the Sonia Gandhi's house, with the approval of the left front's top brass !

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Here's a fantastic blog, titled Monstercake, which has some really good illustrations !

Out of Africa...a new theory.

The recent theory that human migrated into Asia from Africa and then went on to migrate to the Asiatic plains and Europe has been set forth recently by Dr. Stephen Oppenheimer. He has based this on genetic evidence collected and a study of climactic changes over the last few millenia.

Here is an animation that traces the path of human migration.

This of course directly contrasts with the Aryan Invasion theory that has been most popular for the last century or so.

Where will this take us ?

Although I have enormous respect for Dr. Manmohan Singh, as a financial genuis and someone with great scruples, I have serious doubts about his foreign policies and issues related to other serious internal affairs.

The reason why this point comes up, right now, is his decision to cut Indian armed forces in Kashmir, after talks with the Hurriyat Conference ! An interesting point from this article was :
  • Ahead of the meeting, 13 people were killed in three separate incidents in Indian-administered Kashmir.
And this is why we agree to cut security forces in the area ?

Dr. Manmohan Singh's speeches in Britain and in the US Congress didn't set well with me either. Seems like a slavish mentality has crept into the Indian administration to win over the western world. I think the politics should be left to peope who can stand firm - either with other countries, or with terrorists and the financial wizards should stick to just that - the economy.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Fallen...and to what levels.

An article by Harsha Bhogle, about the pathetic state of affairs in Indian cricket, especially the ongoing series in Zimbabwe, highlights some definite problems in the Indian team/selection mentality.

Here is an interesting exceprt from that article:
  • For an individual, defeat translates into being left out of the side. Players that are scared of being left out will hardly ever win a cricket match.
Being a hardcore supporter of the Indian cricket team and the players in the team, I guess I knew that some of these problems did exist, but when someone as respected as Harsha Bhogle points it out, I guess it strikes a nerve...but the obvious question is...what will the team/the players and the selection committee do as a result ? If anything, i.e.

Intelligent Falling.

An excellent article in the Onion, about Intelligent Falling, a sarcastic take on the Intelligent Design theory that has been doing the rounds of late, what with school boards taking up the topic in earnest.

Of course, this is in line with the Flying Sphagetti Monster idea that has also gained popularity of late.

Idiot Bosses.

Check out this article on how to work for an idiot boss.

Link via Amit Varma's India Uncut Page.

Of course we have all seen Scott Adams' Dilbert for nearly a decade now to understand how idiot bosses mess things up in the corporate environment.


Rick Lee has a very good site and a blog where he puts up "photo puzzles"...very good stuff actually.