Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Monday, January 30, 2006

Blair and Climate Warming




Here is the excerpt from the Guardian report, 'Tony Blair warns that the impact of climate change may be more serious than previously thought in a new government report on global warming published today.'

I wonder if he talked to Bush and got the permission before he goes and starts talking about such sensitive topics. I mean what is he thinking ? Is he allowed to do so ?

Anyway on a more serious note, this is a pet topic of mine, melting ice caps, hot summers, freezing winters, and inevitable environmental disaster waiting to strike us. I do hope people start paying attention, and take steps to save this world as we know it for a few more generations.

Blair issues blunt warning on climate change

Tags: blair, bush, climate, global+warming, environment, EU

Sunday, January 29, 2006

now playing: Rang De Basanti - Khoon Chala

I bought this CD, end of December or so. And blessed me... .i didnt listen to it fully, or even patiently listen to the songs.
My hook in this album was 'Khalbali'.... the 'khalbali hain khalbali' simply rocked me. But then i couldnt stop humming 'ek onkaar', dont know why, but the simple tune moved me a lot.

Well that was that. For a frightful 2 weeks or more, i didnt have time. I DIDNT HAVE TIME, to listen to ARR. Infact after Mangal Pandey, which was a very mediocre album for ARR's standards, i was waiting for another mind-blowing album from him. And i kept quiet.

Then i saw the movie on Friday, Jan 27th. Wow, what struck me was the songs. All that lost time !!! The movie was good, but i think the ending could have been tweaked a bit. The sequences till the death of Ajay Mathur was great. The movie seemed to move fast after that, and it lost me somewhere in the middle, but i did jump back. And the last few shots of the movie were good, even tho' i didnt quite agree, that all had to die in the end, like their erstwhile protagonists. I leave the movie hall, humming, 'Roobaroo..ooooooooo'

Back to the music...... as a i write this, the song 'Khoon Chala' is wafting thru the speakers of my laptop,oh there is no better way to describe this moment. I can see the movie shots, beautifully done, the music, the images, such contrast. The simpleness of the music with the voilence on the screen, wow, this director can move minds, 'naye rang bharne ko, khoon chala khoon chala', wow.. the lyrics, the guitar, the band, the mix, true ARR. Magic.

I have to dedicate a post to each song from this album, because they are begining to haunt, rock, move and awaken me bit by bit, and like any ARR songs, there are some special moments hidden in each song, that come out as listen to it repeatedly.

Like now in 'Khoon Chala', at first you are lost in the guitar, to notice the band begining to play in the background. And slowly the pace of the music picks up to match the mood, and it becomes from a peaceful rendition to a song played to the beat of a police band. Listen one more time, and then you suddenly notice a rather shy voilinist who leaves his or her mark too. Oh, i must not forget the pianist. who with just a few strikes on his keyboard plays quite a symphony, all in this about 185 minutes of solace of a song.

For those dont have the song, you can listen to it here.... Raagas

Irfan's hat trick

Boy, oh boy. This kid is truely turning into the wonderkid, we were looking for a long time.
I have put together the writing of Anand Vasu from cricket.org and the images from the hat trick from AFP, again located on the cricket.org site. Here is the ball by ball account, from the commentary maintained at their site.

First over of the India vs Pakistan 3rd Test Match on Jan 29th 2006

















1st BallPathan to Salman Butt, no run, just short of a good length and on the middle and leg, a bit of swing away from the left-handed Butt, defended awkwardly, the ball loops back down the pitch off the edge.
2nd BallPathan to Salman Butt, no run, short of a good length and far outside the off stump, left well alone to the keeper, a bit of swing there.
3rd BallPathan to Salman Butt, no run, and another one short of a length and outside the off swinging away appreciably, left well alone by Butt.

India attacking with three slips and a gully.
4th BallPathan to Salman Butt, OUT: fuller this time and on the off, the ball swings late and Butt plays at it tentatively. The ball takes the edge and goes towards slip. Rahul Dravid dives low and takes a sharp catch!
OUT

India have got off to the best possible start! Pakistan have lost their first wicket without a single run on the board! Rahul Dravid will already be breathing easier about his decision to field first. That is a great start for India in this decisive Test match. Younis Khan is the new batsman.
5th BallPathan to Younis Khan, OUT: full and on the stumps, this one swings in very late, that is a perfectly pitched delivery and it nails Younis lbw right in front of the stumps! India are on fire!
OUT !!

Pakistan in dire straits here at two wickets down without a run on the board. What a start for the Indian team and Irfan Pathan, who is on a hat-trick! Just a bit more for the bowlers and what a difference it makes! Mohammad Yousuf is facing the hat-trick ball. Three slips and two gullies in place
6th BallPathan to Mohammad Yousuf, OUT: Got him! Sensational stuff at the National Stadium! Mohammad Yousuf bowled through the gate by a pearl of an inswinger! That one came in superbly after pitching outside off stump and shattered the stumps!
OUT !!!
What a start for India! Pakistan have lost three wickets in the first over without a run on the board! Irfan Pathan becomes the second Indian bowler to take a Test hat-trick after Harbhajan Singh! Unbelievable scenes here at the National Stadium. Look at that scoreline Pakistan 3 down without a run on the board.

Hat-trick hero: Irfan Pathan


Irfan Pathan becomes the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the first over of a Test


What a game !! I wish i could have seen this live. But the high is just about the same, on reading this. Well, the good news ended there, because India too is down 74/4 a the end of the first day of the 3rd Test match. Lets see... its turning out to be an interesting match.

Balls of fire - When Pathan rocked Pakistan

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hamas, Palestine and Israel

The best thing you can do to a rebel, who is always demanding to fix the system, is to put them in charge. And i think the people of Palestine has overwhelmingly voted to put Hamas in charge.

My question is now that Hamas has won, can they not justify voilence against civilians and other Israeli installations ? Meaning, now it is has an official stamp. Because thats what Israel did all these days, when they tore down homes of the Palestinians and kept them under house arrest.
I dont agree with terrorism or voilence against civilians. But there is a thin line that divides a freedom fighter one side and a terrorist on the other side. When a state sponsors the whole program, there is an automatic legitimacy associated with it. And then it is a question of how many other countries you can rally behind you that determines whether you are a holy or evil.

Think !! The Allied forces did not begin to fight Hitler, until he started threatening their very existence. Infact Winston Churchill looked at the invasion of the erstwhile country of Chezhslovakia, 'as a country that no one has heard about'. And the US didnt begin to fight Japan until Pearl Harbour.

I sincerely hope that this election gives Hamas, Palestine and Israel an opportunity to sit down and work towards long term peace in their neighbourhood. Insha-allah.
Hamas takes all
Hamas to be invited to form government

Tags: Hamas, Israel, Palestine, Arab, war, terrorism
, election, democracy

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Happy Republic Day


Today is 26th January, the day, India declared itself a republic, adopted a consitution, way back in 1950, and its been a a long ride for 57 years.

Republic Day Celebrations 2006 - Pictures
India, the defining moments

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

follow up on Oliver Twist

It appears that the drama of India, US, Iran and the nuclear agreements between them are not over yet. I dont know where India gets the idea, that it can convince the 500+ to be relected US Congressmen and the 100 Senators, that they have agreed to all their terms and conditions, and then stand up-right and take the moral high-ground of not cowing down to another country.

Hello !! Excuse me !! Is anyone listening.

There are some serious flaws with the approach Govt of India is taking:
  • they were all along fooling the Indian people, telling them that the nuclear power generation technology has been mastered and how we dont need to depend on a foriegn power for the uranium, heavy water, other materials and technology.

  • they are now bowing down to the US congress, and reporting to them and detailing how and what we do with nuclear power generation in India. Oh ya, this is guised under the cloak of civilian vs military seperation of facilities.


Which is true and which is false ? Or both true or false !!

India rejects linking Iran vote to nuclear deal with U.S.
"Please, sir, I want some more." - Oliver Twist

Tags: india, usa, nuclear, npt, fuel, vassal, iran

Early Spring Cleaning !!

Well, winter is almost over in India, and so it is just about the time to do some cleaning. This is an ongoing problem, with houses assigned to MPs and MLAs becoming permenant residences later. In the last decade or so, PIL (Public Interest Litigation) has changed the face of the nation in a positive way. One of the most important PILs giving Indians the freedom to display their flag and tri-color on all days, not just on Republic Day and Independence Day, as it was before the lawsuit.

Throw ex-MPs out from govt bungalows: SC

Tags: india, PIL, supreme+court, MP, bungalow, residence, politics

Monday, January 23, 2006

9,000 pieces of space debris



Here is the side effect of the space programs. I remember long back, one of the first INSAT satellite launched by the ESA launcher was hit by something from space. Now, there are lot of stuff moving about space, which were not put by man, but the many different launches by the Russians and Americans and also the few other countries that can do it, have been putting thousands of junk in space, while launching their satellites.
Its time that these countries did something to clean up the space too. Because if not, this debris is going to come back to hurt the satellites to be launced in the future or the ones orbiting today.

Space junk continuing to accumulate

Tags: space, debris, launches, usa, russia, india, insat, isro, nasa

Some action finally - Wiretap lawsuit

I have been thinking that a lawsuit was long overdue. If the Congress and Dept of Justice doesnt want to investigate the President and his misdeeds, the courts should be able to. And so finally some thing to look forward to. I am still unsure how this will play out. But i am hopeful, because Clinton's problem really started with a law suit.

Two groups sue over NSA wiretap program

Tags: NSA, wiretap, bush, lawsuit, ACLU

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The cycle of economics

What is it about socialism that irks the US Govt so much ? And why does the US Govt that always calls for the support of democracy, have a problem when the popular vote is won by a leftist leaning, or socialist minded party or leader ? I guess it must because they are 'capitalist first and a democracy next'.

Back to the revolution happening in South America. It started long before the people of Venezuela elected Hugo Chavez to power. But Chavez's election and subsequent actions, have helped the revolution. But more importantly it is the long and consistent meddling with the economies by the US, that has helped the hands of the socialism to spread there. The support to military rulers during the proxy wars managed and sustained by the US and Russia during the bitter cold-war era, contributed the untold misery of the indigenous people in these countries. And the US clearly had an upper hand in this effort, thanks to the crass commercialism and consumerism that are part and parcel of capitalistic form of society. It is an important part of the selling of private enterprise, choice to the people to buy whatever they want. The bigger question though is, can they afford it ? However, the era of Regean-economics, with the theory of trickle-down economics not only impacted the US society, it had its impact on other parts of the world too.

If you observe closely, you will notice that many of the successful countries of the western world, implement a very carefull crafted socialist policy that is for the benefit of its own citizens. However, they impose conditions and restrictions on the developing countries when similar programs are supported in those countries.

In my theory, the society always has to constantly tweak its macro and micro economic functions to ensure that the society does not create huge variances in distribution of income and wealth. And so, the cycle of leaning to a socialist or capitalist structure based on needs is important. And so, this current mood of the people in South America is a reflection of this. In a decade or two, you can expect the problems of the socialist economic structure to have created problems if these Governments were not wise enough and ready to tweak their policies frequently.

In today's global atmosphere, these leaders are finding added motivation in this revolt by also directing their anger to foriegn governments, primarily the US, which is way ahead of the others in meddling with internal policies and subverting the economic structures of these countries to the benefit of the US Companies. The irony is that, the people of the US are hoodwinked to believe what is good for the US Corporations are good for the average citizens. I think people here are becoming wiser.... or are they ?

Revolution in the Andes - The Guardian

Tags: venezuela, bolivia, US, south+america, socialist, leftist, capitalism, democracy

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Wonder and Mystery of the Exclamation Point!


Welcome to UNIX! Enjoy your session! Have a great time!
Note the use of exclamation points! They are a very effective method for demonstrating excitement, and can also spice up an otherwise plain-looking sentence! However, there are drawbacks! Too much unnecessary exclaiming can lead to a reduction in the effect that an exclamation point has on the reader!

For example, the sentence

Jane went to the store to buy bread

should only be ended with an exclamation point if there is something sensational about her going to the store, for example, if Jane is a cocker spaniel or if Jane is on a diet that doesn't allow bread or if Jane doesn't exist for some reason!

See how easy it is?! Proper control of exclamation points can add new meaning to your life!

Call now to receive my free pamphlet, "The Wonder and Mystery of the Exclamation Point!"!
Enclose fifteen(!) dollars for postage and handling! Operators are standing by! (Which is pretty amazing, because they're all cocker spaniels!)

--- a unix fortune cookie

The President Broke the Law

I just signed the petition at Moveon.org. In the past, petitions from this group has helped changed the way business is done at Capitol Hill. I am confident, that more people who sign the petition, will result in some sort of investigation, even if it is internal or congressional hearing. As the November election draws closer, democrats will be closely watching to see how high they must shout about these problems. And i think it is important that we tell them clearly, that they are not shouting loud enough.

Hi,
President Bush admitted to personally authorizing thousands of allegedly illegal wiretaps, and he doesn't plan to stop. Circumventing the Constitution is serious business.
This is a big moment. People from across the political spectrum are standing together to protect the rule of law and the principles that are core to our identity as Americans.
Can you sign this petition to show Congress that Americans want a thorough investigation of the president's secret wiretapping program?
http://political.moveon.org/ruleoflaw/
Thanks!


Log on and register and sign the petition if you havent already done so. That is, if you too feel that this is a serious matter and must not be allowed to go unnoticed.

Tags: bush, election, law, illegal, wiretap, congress, investigation

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

IMF and its rehab program

I read this article recently in The Hindu, thanks to their arrangement with Guardian of UK to share news and information. This is article talks about the efforts undertaken by Argentina to escape the clutches of the IMF and World Bank regulations. There are some important lessons for countries like India, China etc, who are joining the new club of soon-to-be rich nations. There are a lot of important distinctions that separate them from the countries of the South American continent, but still the core issues, of poverty, distribution of wealth and associated social ills are about the same.

For last 10 years or so, India has seen a meteoric rise in its stock amongst the nations of the world, and rightfully so. The inherent talent and economies of scale are finally finding fruition. But, just think 10-20 yrs from now, and you can even see the impacts of the social tension today, when the disparity increases within the country and amongst the other nations of similar caliber. The day is not far off, when the jobs and money that flocked to India, starts their migration out, at the same or faster speed.

For some apparent reason, or i guess because the access to wealth the Govt of India is pretty open to the globalization ideas and concepts and is ready to trample on a few farmers, tribal and workers every once in a while. It also tends to ignore some of these issues, outright in its march towards 'progress'. It is tough to argue against, people are doing well, the country is doing well and the politicians from all parties, ruling or opposition are having a whale of a time. I must admit many steps taken by the Govt seem to be in the apparent right direction. Having lived in the US, and knowing how the Govt, with all the controls available in the US Democracy, can still still fool the public, its not far fetched to think of the same scenario here in the India. I do hope for the sake of me, my children and for the billions that call this country home, we don't have to go thru' some of the horror stories as mentioned in the article, which we may have experienced in the past.

Argentina's unorthodox rehab - The Guardian

Tags: imf, world+bank, india, usa, argentina

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Makara Vilaku

Today is makara shankranti, and is also the day of makara vilaku or makara jyothi (vilaku/jyothi means lamp/light) at Sabarimala in Kerala.

Sabarimala is the abode of Ayyappan. The story of Ayyappan is very interesting and has many connotations. In many respects, his story and legends sort of unites different sects of people and cultures. It is popularly known in kerala, that at any ayyappan temple, is open to people of all religions. The temples though follow very ritualistic and hindu vedic pooja, the are some subtle differences.

Pooja - Typically most keralite temples do not burn camphor during pooja times. Almost all temples in TamilNadu burn camphor during the pooja and take it out to the devotees waiting outside. In an Ayyappan temple, even if buried deep in the ritualistic kerala, the TamilNadu style of pooja is very prevalent.

Vaishnavites and Shaivites - The legend of Ayyappan includes one which talk about him as the son of Shiva and Vishnu. He is also called Hari (Vishnu) Hara (Shiva) Putran. Ayyappan kind of unifies these two sects. But the puritans of this sect, easily overcome this issue by ignoring him as god in the hindu pantheon. This legend has another connotation for the modern times, both Shiva and Vishnu are male gods. The child was born to Mohini, which is supposedly Vishnu dressed as Mohini.

Hindu and Islam - Ayyappan is also supposed to have defeated a muslim warlord, Vavvar, and befriended him. And at Sabarimala, there is place of worship dedicated to Vavvar, which is manned by muslims. And it is considered that no worship of Ayyappan is complete without the worship and blessings of Vavvar. Hindus, muslims, christians and people of any religion, caste, community or sect are welcome at the Ayyappan temple.

However, one set of people are excluded from worship at the temple, women between the age of 12/13 to 60, basically between puberty and menopause. The Ayyappan temple surely hypes this physiological issue and gives it more than required attention and focus. I think the reason it started was not because of Ayyappan itself, but because of the 41 day vrata/fast that people must endure to go to this abode. Also the fact the lord of the abode is a brahmachari (bachelor) could be a cause for it. But to continue to enforce this rule, when so many of the other requirements have been watered down to man's convenience, doesnt make sense.

Commoner God - There is historical significance, in that Ayyappan was the son of the Raja (lord) of Pandalam, and he gave up the kingdom, and took to a life of meditation in the hills of Sabarimala. To me it shows how people can even consider and worship a common or mortal human being as god, no different than Jesus. My point being that people always look upto something a symbol, a person, an identity to help them through their daily lives, something to give them hope, raise them from depths of sorrow, to redeem them from their actions of anger and hatred etc. Ayyappan is one such recent entrant into the Hindu pantheon of gods.

I am not an atheist. I am not a fanatic either. I am a believer, and i am a rationalist. I believe in creation and evolution, both at the same time. I am not a brahmin, but i am in the search of god. I am not an orthodox, and quite a rebel, but i still have a few rituals i observe and follow.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Makaram Shankranti / Pongal

Today is is celebrated as Bhogi in Tamil Nadu or Lohri in many places in North India. Typically celebrated by making bonfires of all things that are waste, old or need to be destroyed, to help start anew the next day on. These days, the Govt has put out notices to reduce this, in a view to avoid pollution because of the bonfire. Most people these days also burn synthetic waste, which is the primary cause for concern.



Tomorrow is the first day of the month of Makaram (or Thai masam for the tamil). Many people celeberate Shankranti as a new year, or as an occasion to begin something new. This marks the begining of the moveThe tamilians specially celeberate this day as Pongal, and closely connected to the land, because it is harvest time. The connection to the harvest is the most common theme across the country, as almost every the winter crop has been harvested and done, and the people need to get ready for the next season.

Pongal means to fill up. On this day, the offerings to the gods used be rice cooked in earthen pots. To show that they had plenty to offer on this day, after a bountiful harvest, the rice was allowed to boil over the cooking pot. For me a malayalee, brought up in Madras, Pongal had only special significance, a must bathe and pray before breakfast order from mom, and plenty of sugar cane to chew and eat.

Happy Pongal or as they say here ... Pongalo Pongal

Tags: pongal, makaram, shankranti, india, festival, hindu


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Katha


Katha - means story.

I happened to come across this name in a book fair, when i saw a book by MT Vasudevan Nair - The Master Carpenter (more about this later). The Katha is an interesting publishing company, with an interesting tag line, 'a profit for all organization'.

Its weird they were founded in 1988, but i hadnt heard of it until last week (not that i must know everything that happens in this world). But i mean, i wish there was more publicity about such organizations.

I used to read a lot. A whole lot. There was a time, when i could go thru' one, two books in a day. But soon gave up, when i got fed up of spy stories, and likes of Sidney Sheldon, Harrold Robbins, Jeffrey Archer... oh so many of those. Then i went back to classics, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, but soon was fed up with that too. I was tired of reading about stories and fiction written in english by foriegn authors. I wanted something different. After a bout of reading non-fiction, which was good at times, but a little dreary. I wanted something more from my culture and background. Unfortunately, i cant read fluently in Hindi, Malayalam or Tamil, three Indian languages that i can speak and understand.

There are other translations, but then they are more mainstream. so when i found this book and few other short stories book, i was might pleased. I have managed to finish the book by MT (as he is known). And geting ready to start on the short stories. Hopefully i will get back to my reading days.....

Tags: stories, katha, india, books, reading


Tree cause pollution!!


There has to be logic behind this. I am little fed up of these different studies that prove everything and anything, and then quickly disprove the same. Obviously there are some blind people and there is a big elephant somewhere.
I only wish that the newspapers and journals that print this story also indicate who the sponsors of the study were. Because it appears that a large number of studies are specifically initiated to ensure findings on behalf of these sponsors.

I guess, its time to cut the trees down. Well, then, who will convert all the carbon-di-oxide into oxygen ?

Global warming: blame the forests

Tags: pollution, global+warming, trees, methane, study, climate

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Scramjet - ISRO crosses another milestone

ISRO today issued a press release that indicates that it has crossed yet another milestone, with the successful testing of the scramjet engine. No launches are scheduled yet, because the flight testing of this engine is expected to happen only by 2007.


Scramjet is a technology that helps the engine to breathe. Meaning take oxygen from the atmosphere, and use that to propel itself to space. This helps reduce the fuel that needs to be carried onboard the rocket or spacecraft. This reduces cost and also theoritically increases the load available for cargo, that needs to be shipped to space. But this engine will stop breathing once it crosses the atmosphere, but then the rocket doesnt need a lot of fuel to propel itself through the nothingness of space.

The scramjet apparently has been tested only by the US (NASA). But the web showed that Australia also has made some progress in this regard. I didnt do more searches, but i had read somewhere that Japan too was trying to further this technology.

Couple of thoughts and comments here. If this technology does reach fruition, will it impact the availability of oxygen in the atmosphere. I am assuming it will need a lot of oxygen to propel this spacecraft. The scramjet achieves Mach 10 speeds (10 times the speed of sound), and can easily be used to further military power.

India joins nations in supersonic race

Tags: scramjet, isro, nasa,usa, india, space, technology, australia

Monday, January 09, 2006

World without women - progress report !!

In case you didn't get, i am being cynical.

It appears we in India are making steady progress in eradicating our society of women. Yes, this news article, released by an foreign medical journal, may not be the whole truth. But neither is it impossible to believe, given the perception of the society so obsessed with having a male heir, and more importantly, not having a girl baby because of the economic strain at the time of marriage.

The issue is not much of education, because that alone doesn't seem to address this problem. Many, not all, who chose the route of female feticide, are educated. It is more about breaking the law. The Govt has tried several measures to curb the abuse of the ultrasound machines that are used for this purpose. It is mandatory for the owners and operators of this machine to be registered with the Govt. But there are millions of them and how do you track abuse.

India has a legal abortion system and i think it is an important requirement of population control that the Govt has been attempting. In fact, there has been significant advances to report on that front, meaning many states in the union has been able to reduce the effective growth rate. But this very same abortion process, has resulted in contributing the female feticide problem. Even before tackling the feticide problem, the Govt must quickly take effective steps to stop the female infanticide. It is a crime, and it must be treated that way. Just like the way, the dowry death syndrome has quietened down as a result of automatic arrest of the husband and the in-laws, a similar method will work to help curb infanticide.

India has lost over 10 mn girls in 20 years!
World without women

Tags: india, feticide, infanticide, abortion, population, women

Sunday, January 08, 2006

End of the shuttle ?

It appears that the shuttle is doomed. But for the unfortunate accidents, the shuttle would still have been NASA's main choice for launches to space. But the shuttle was always a very expensive way to send a satellite or even people to space. Infact, the soviets had their own version of the shuttle, Buran, ready in 4 years after the official launch of the shuttle program by NASA. The Russians quickly found that this wasn't the most effective method for space launch. Of course, that wasn't the only reason for the end of the Russian's cancellation of the Buran.

The Shuttle is an interesting concept. But since its development and launch in 80s, there hasnt been any major improvements or enhancements, atleast outward visible and/or perceivable changes.

NASA strikes deal for Soyuz flights

Tags: shuttle, nasa, space,buran, russia, soviet, mir, soyuz

Friday, January 06, 2006

"Please, sir, I want some more." - Oliver Twist

The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The master, in his cook's uniform, stationed himself at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him; the gruel was served out; and a long grace was said over the short commons. The gruel disappeared; the boys whispered each other, and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:

"Please, sir, I want some more."

The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.

"What!" said the master at length, in a faint voice.

"Please, sir," replied Oliver, "I want some more."


I am sorry, but when i saw the headlines this morning, i couldnt think of anything else.

Nuclear plan presented to Washington

Tags: india, usa, nuclear, npt, fuel, vassal

Precision strikes

I am referring to the attempt of the US Airforce to get it right. Since the advent of the first live edition of the gulf war, the airforce has been touting their precision bombs. Bombs that can figure out the real ugly ones and spare the good and bad ones. But time and again, they have been forced to correct this, and frequently admit to bombs landing where it should not. Sometimes, in the neighbour's yard, across the street, the next block, ahem.. maybe even the next township.

And then there is the US intelligence, that is supposed to have, as per this report, figured out the three people who set off a roadside bomb, had entered the nearby building. But after knowing all that i know about their capability to gather intelligence, i am prompted to ask the question, when ? Because they have many times bombed neighbourhoods in Baghdad and also caves and villages in Afghanistan, based on intelligence that their suspect is located in the area of bombing, only to find out, that it was eons ago.


An Iraqi man weeps Tuesday next to the bodies of victims of a U.S. airstrike in Baiji, Iraq.

The bombing below was been triggered by insrugents (note the term), and over a 100 civilian lives and few soldiers lost their lives. There were no such bombings before the invasion, was there ? How come, the forces that came into rid the place of terrorists, suddenly attract so many bombings ? These are some of the laws of socio-politics and geo-politics that good friend Bush and his team didnt quite care about, when they went after Saddam. They got him alright. But they could have gotten him long back, if they wanted to, specially those days when they were the ones actively supporting him. It like the joke in the US, during the days of the WMD presentation in the UN, 'we know he has weapons of mass destruction, because we supplied it to him'.
Anyway, my point here is that, to make this stop, the US forces have to withdraw. That is the first step.

Relatives outside a hospital grieve over a victim of a suicide bomb attack in Karbala, Iraq, on Thursday. - AP Photo


U.S. says bomb hit wrong house in Iraq
At least 134 killed in attacks across Iraq

Tags: usa, iraq, wmd, bombing, terrorist

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Whaling in the high seas



Kudos to these guys. It looks like an exciting picture, but can be very dangerous.

But, on a different note, it is also a clash of cultures. Certain communities have been doing this for ages, and wonder what is so wrong in consuming a whale. The point is the technology used now vs then, and the amount of whaling done now vs then. If the Japenese fishing were to adopt their century old method of catching a whale, i dont think there would be much of a concern. So also, i am sure in the good old age, not everyone got to buy it off a grocery store shelf. They had to go and fish for it, and given the choice battling with the king of the ocean, the people would have chosen other tamer options like chicken and cow.

High-seas battle looms for Japan whalers, activists

Tags: japan, whale, greenpeace, norway, whaling

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Revelation 1:101

This wasn't obvious !! It required a poll ?

No. No. I am not trying to be too cynical. I had taken it for granted. Nothing to do with the background i come from. But to expect a politician to be nothing but just and honest.

Even the much quoted man who said 'for the people, by the people and off the people', freed the slaves not because he particularly thought that it was bad. The emancipation proclamation was tied to economic compulsions of the day. The history is frought with such misconceptions.

I guess you cannot 'fool all the people, all the time', but you sure can 'fool a vast majority of people, most of the time'. Time here being defined as a period between one election campaign to the next.

Poll: Half believe Congress is dirty

Tags: politics, howard+zinn, history, corruption, usa

And the point is ?

What is the point of such talk and rhetoric ? Does it help weaken the resolve of the terrorist ? Does it help appease the pain of the victim ?
This is the same kind of talk that comes out of Bush and many of his colleagues. The point is making such statements dont help resolve the situation. Many of these require more restraint and caution to be exercised. But then a politician is a politician and what less can you expect ?

Terrorism is wrong. Many of know it, accept it and condemn it. But i like to you all to pause for a moment and think about who the terrorist really is ? Us or them ? That doesnt mean all means justify the end, or for that matter i justify this means to their end.

I must tho' grant it to the Indian Govt, that they dont always jump the gun and attempt to launch a military campaign to eradicate the terrorist camps they claim exists across our borders. So i guess these words are then just what they are, words.

No force on earth can weaken India's resolve

Tags: india, terrorism, pakistan, banglore

Monday, January 02, 2006

Cool utility for Win XP

Ever since i installed MS office 2003, one of my favourite, the Office Shortcut bar, disappeared. I had stalled installing this version of MSOffice, until it became a nuisance to live without. A typical problem with the corporate world, where there is more talk about change, and less action about it. We all could have saved a lot of money, if we could have done without MSOffice in the first place, switched to OpenOffice or StarOffice. Both of which are more or less compatible with MSO. The problem is with the 'less compatible' part. Since the world is now using the defacto standard office product, its tough to be a rebel.


So as soon as i figured that i had to live without the office shortcut bar. Actually i wonder which moron in MSFT had this suggestion. If there was something useful in mso, it was this utility. It was my constant companion, in my effort to keep my programs organized. Anyway, i tried to use the toolbar offered by windows XP and that didnt work for me. Because it was no different from a windows folder, and the problem was no special setting or config was possible. I gave up and used my favourite download.com, to look for a replacement. After a few searches, hits and misses i landed on freelaunchbar.com, the freeware equivalent of truelaunchbar.com.


Try it. Its not so difficult to install, but a tad bit complicated to get started and active. But once you are up and running, it remains quite, doesnt do much, other than what it supposed to do. Its tough to find such programs these days. Usually they want to remind about looking for updates, getting info for registering, checking to see if there are new skins, allowing you to share this info with your friends and sometimes even checking to see if the President is home. Well, thankfully, this is just a plain and simple and cool, menu toolbar, that you can use to organise your favourite programs.






Well, have fun, and take this for a spin.

Tags: windows, software, >utilities, tools, downloads

Its about time



Its about time, that someone had a heart to heart conversation with this man, and told what reality is. It appears that he is still in his long lost world, well, when did he ever show signs of anything that made sense. A good example was the smug look on his face, when is aide told him about the 9/11 bombing, and then recently his 'You are doing a good job, Brownie' to the now fired FEMA director for his the job he did in New Orleans.

You know, in some other way, he is finally doing the american people a favour. But continuing to blabber, he is setting himself and his party for a big fiasco in Nov 2006. I only wish half of america, who have been kind of sleeping for the last 6 years, would wake up. Even the democrats are suddenly figuring out, this is their moment to stick it in. And finally find a voice of disent.

Bush defends NSA spying program

Tags: bush, usa, terrorism, spying, iraq, wmd, patriots+act

Sunday, January 01, 2006

BCCI vs ICC



I think its about time, that the BCCI takes control of the cricket world. What i mean is, that India funds the coffers of ICC. The game with the highest ratings and money are the ones that feature Team India. Given this, i dont see why BCCI should not dictate terms to the ICC, or make sure that things and rules and regulations that are favourable to it are passed thru at the ICC.

This is how the world of sport works. Money controls everything. It just so happens that for the last decade or more, money for cricket comes from India. Because this is a sport that has losts its charm in countries other than the sub-continent. And a lot of this credit must go to Jagmohan Dalmiya. It is a different fact, that he later wanted to run the BCCI like his next door pawn shop.

The spectators, the citizen of India, and the sub-continent are the ones who now support and fund this game. The sponsors have come in big droves because of this huge following. It is unfortunate, that other sports in India have had to take a back bench. I see a point in the current stand that BCCI is taking. I am not sure how good this is for team India, who can make any match, even if it is Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, turn into an exciting game with their lacklustre performance and overconfident approach.

Anger over India's threat to Test schedule

Tags: cricket, bcci, icc, india, one+day, test+match