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Showing posts from 2010

Heralding X'mas at the end of Kaarthigai month

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On 'phone-o-grams'

I continue to prefer phone-o-grams (telegrams booked and conveyed over the telephone from the sender's end) for conveying sentiments on special / unusual occasions, and find the public-sector Indian telephones' related services great for the purpose. You can probably see it as a connection to older, better worlds, apart from being a convenience at effort-saving...
(Phone-o-gram - not to be confused with existing definitions of phonogram)
In case you wish to use those services - here are the details:

1. MTNL (Delhi, Mumbai) - Call 1584 / 1585, respond to the IVRS. On call-back, state the addressee's details and your message in Hindi or in English, and you're done.

2. BSNL (rest of India) - Call 1585, respond to the IVRS. On call-back, state the address details and your message, and you're done.

You could personalize the messages, of course. I prefer to avoid the phonetics, though, and choose the appropriate message number from the list of standard phrases - appended belo…

"The Story of Electronics"

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Here's the next story in this series - "The Story of Electronics".

Make 'em safe, Make 'em last, Take 'em back is a catchy enough jingle, but WHO is listening?

That same philosophy applies to cosmetics, furniture, plastics(!) and - well -relationships.

Anyway - spare a thought to what Annie Leonard talks about - perhaps that's the least a diehard consumer - if you are one - can do.
The alternative is to put into practice Bertrand Russell's thought "To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."

Some notes - Sep 2010

1. The hype about 24 Sep 2010

- Ishwar-Allah tere naam, SABKO SANMATI de Bhagwan!

2. Mamta's state, Mamta's Govt Dept, this time 7 pachyderm victims

- May the gentle souls rest in peace.

3. The Rain God has been generous to the capital which is experiencing a very good monsoon. Shouldn't we be calling it the BEST in 30 years? The sense-of-priority-challenged media is terming Nature's benevolence 'worst monsoon in 30 years'.

A cartoon = a million essays

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This has been said before, and I repeat it here. "If a picture = 1000 words, this cartoon = million essays".

Cartoon courtesy: The Hindu

Yet another scathing write-up on food security

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"Maharashtra ended famine forever by passing an Act that deleted the word ‘famine' from all laws of the State."
Food Security - by definition
"....Who will you export it to? Are there good global prices for rotting grain? Grain that even when in best condition was not of superior quality? What you will do is flog it at rock bottom prices to traders who know you won't consider any other option — like letting the hungry eat it — and can knock your prices through the floor. And then the traders can export it as cattle feed — like India has done before in this very decade. About the only thing Iran and Iraq could agree on in 30 years was that the grain exported to them from India was unfit for human consumption. Both rejected shipments early this decade. But there are always, never fear, European cattle. Talk of sacred cows — these will be subsidised by some of the hungriest humans on the planet....."

Why isn't P Sainath our Minister for Agriculture?

If you hav…

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.......! We need Swaraj once again...

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The morning's headlines have given an extremely sick feeling in the pit of the stomach.
Government set to let suppliers off the hook

We will need to renew Tilak's call - "SWARAJ is my birthright, and I shall have it".

Swaraj, this time, from predatory nations, corporate classes and political asses.

Commemorating the 6th of August

It's now six decades and a half since Hiroshima-Nagasaki. It appears that this person is the only surviving member of the 12-member crew on Enola Gay that brought hell on Earth.
Apparently he has no regrets over what he did - "I've never found a way to fight a war without killing people. If you ever find that out, let me know."

No, I did not consider that interview worth my time.

Sincerely do not wish to sound cynical - to me it appears a typical US mind-set. In 1945, becoming a war hero at the age of 24, he may not have heard of MK Gandhi - the simply-clad son of the soil somewhere in the third world - actively trying to fight just that kind of 'war', ...
Surely he's wiser now? Apparently not. Only older. Someone should let him know.

As GVK put it, "Astonishing. His is an acute case of conscience-deficit disorder."

74 nations participated at a memorial event in Hiroshima.
"Hiroshima was careful to ensure that the memorial — while honoring the …

Greed and cowardice "cooked the planet"

Our daily newspaper carries Nobel laureate Paul Krugman's column, and I used to wonder why the happenings in Wall Street and Washington DC should jostle with much more serious local issues in the op-ed page.
For a change, today's piece (a part of it placed below), "Who cooked the planet?" is more globally relevant than the other pieces in that column thus far.
(it appears that the online version of this newspaper no longer carries the same column, only the print edition does)
"....it wasn’t the science, the scientists, or the economics that killed action on climate change. What was it?

The answer is, the usual suspects: greed and cowardice.

If you want to understand opposition to climate action, follow the money. The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines.

Look…

More stuff from 'The Story of Stuff' team

Watch Annie Leonard as she explains the ills plaguing / wrought by the US cosmetic industry (and by the 'trickle-down' effect is applicable elsewhere also). Most cosmetic products carry a tongue-twisting what's-in-it list, intelligible only to the producer and competitors. No commercially advertised and aggressively marketed product is free of harmful chemicals - whether it's an after-shave, lipstick, or baby shampoo.
"Herbal", "Natural", "Organic" carried on labels may turn out to be meaningless.
Beware! Be Aware!
(I wish Annie had included a note on the the amount of trash - recyclable or otherwise - that eventually piles up - directly proportionate to the company's profits)
More stories from SoS team
The Story of Stuff
The Story of Cap and Trade
The Story of Bottled Water
The Story of Electronics (planned later in 2010)

Photo contest of North East India

Beautiful tropical countryside - see entries for the contest in several categories
Funny
Culture
Faces
Greenest

Welcome to the North East of India's unique states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland

'MICed' Bhopal, Slicked Gulf -

This is just to record some very telling write-ups in the media - of the contrasts between the two happenings, the respective countries' responses, the sell-outs, the double standards - all pointers to must-learn hard lessons vis-a-vis the Civil Liability for Nuclear Claims Bill - 2010.

P Sainath's Games Big Corporations Play
Arjun Makhijani's Civil Liability for Nuclear Claims Bill, 2010: is life cheap in India?

Rare, sensitive write-ups from the Western hemisphere -

Keeble McFarlane's Twenty-five years later, the poor people of Bhopal are still sick and angry

Lydia Polgreen's Gulf response fuels India's fury over Bhopal

Struck by this thought. It may be possible for the Indian Government to hire US-based lawyers to draft the Nuclear Liability bill, for the theoretical scenario where the two countries' roles are reversed - that is, Indian corporations causing nuclear accidents on US soil. Then it would be a simple matter to derive the 'perfect' Ci…

Sizzling Capital Summer

As a student at Bangalore in the early nineties, one experienced the change in temperature within the IISc campus, guaranteed to be 2 degrees cooler than the rest of the garden city. (Sigh!) ... that was another century!

Apologies - I know Delhi is always in the news, and I'm adding more bytes. Just sharing a note on the summer temperature levels.
If it is 43 degrees in and around Lutyen's Delhi, Palam (yes, the airport locality) is invariably at 45+. I have never heard any of the weather anchor persons mention this fact. (Perhaps I too have noted it because I happen to reside in a sprawling sub-city Dwarka located quite 'near' the very happening airport).
Here are indicative figures (all in degree Celsius, figures courtesy the daily newspaper, available at IMD) since the onset of summer -
23 April 2010- 39 (City), 39 (Safdarjung), 40 (Palam)
29 April 2010 - 41, 41, 43
7 May 2010 - 35, 35, 36
18 June 2010 - 42, 42, 43
19 June 2010 - 43, 43, 45
20 June 2010 - 45, 45, 47
21 June …

Is there a Sudoku helpline?

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Read only if you are a Sudoku addict!
When her newspaper started offering a sudoku puzzle a day, it took her a few months to get addicted, and addicted she was for years. Then there was a period when the familiar newspaper was not available at a certain job location, and she was forced into a state of Sudoku Anonymous.

Thankfully that was temporary, and now she simply can't do without her daily grid-ful. Some complacency set in and she deigned to attempt puzzles with difficulty rating less than 4 stars (in a scale of 1 to 5). Wednesday's puzzle left her flummoxed, and a sparsely filled grid persisted with her all way through Dreamland.

Giving herself time before the morning paper (with the solution) arrived, and nearly at the cost of the family's hunger, she continued to tax the grey cells even as early birds burped loudly at the windowsill. With extreme hesitation she placed a possible digit in row 4 column 1, and the rest of the grid fell neatly in place, (confirmed an ho…

Amusing - ? Bemusing -? Obfuscating -? headlines

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Whether or not you are personally concerned about gm foods you will hopefuly raise an eyebrow at least - Try as I could, I found no explanation for the date. The son helpfully said - "No Mom, there is no 'double leap' year"...
No wonder the Hon Minister's "explanations failed to convince protesters"! Here's a link to the news item - Decision on Bt Brinjal after Feb. 30, says Jairam Ramesh
Perhaps the Hon Minister meant Feb 2030? By then, there will be enough devices around to delete public memory in a jiffy, very conveniently!
PS: Most likely, end of this month was the 'good' date intended?

Update on 9 Feb 2010 - The Readers' Editor of the newspaper finally responded to a mail message - "Thank you for your email. The mistake has been corrected in the net edition."

Not trick photography...

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A picture to tickle grey cells....

Hint: Picture was taken at National Science Centre, New Delhi