Thursday, April 17, 2014

Christmas in April (Santa in the voting booth)!!!

We finally understand why so many info-gurus have been requested to participate in the elections. Apart from their impeccable qualifications, it was also in the national interest to make sure that the Indian National Congress wins.....at any cost.

Again it was those poor, illiterate, low information, rustic, hicks from fly-by-Konkan-coastal people who noticed that their rights have been infringed and found the courage to complain. Bravo!!!

....
Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), April 17 (IANS) A malfunctioning electronic voting machine (EVM) reportedly "transferred" all votes cast to the Congress candidate in Sindhudurg district here, in the second incident of its kind Thursday.
The incident came to light when voters in Padve-mazagaon village complained that when they pressed their chosen candidate's button, only the Congress light blinked.
Angry voters boycotted the elections for nearly three hours before frantic election officials ordered a replacement EVM and resumed voting around 1 p.m.
At least 68 voters claimed that their vote may have been wrongly credited to Congress candidate Nilesh Rane contesting from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency in the Konkan region.
A similar incident happened at a polling booth in Pune city when voters found that whichever button was pressed on the EVM, only the Congress light blinked.
Alert voters brought this to the notice of the election officials, who immediately stopped voting.
Voting resumed after a delay of nearly 90 minutes after a new EVM was acquired.
The Election Commission also permitted around 28 voters who had already cast their votes in the malfunctioning EVM to vote afresh.
Political activists of all parties have demanded an extension of voting hours by three hours in Sindhudurg and 90 minutes in Pune to compensate for the time lost due to the defective EVMs.
....
Link: https://in.news.yahoo.com/defective-evms-transfer-votes-congress-maharashtra-101804553.html

regards

Jamia Hafsa (Lal Masjid) builds a new shrine

We all need heroes...even if they are imported from foreign shores. 
Also it is an incontrovertible fact that one man's terrorist is another (wo)man's freedom fighter. 

Finally when a legend is born, it is not possible to kill it by killing a mere man, the voice will continue to speak (and command) from beyond the grave and it will resound deep in our (faithful) hearts.


Jamia Hafsa, a religious school for women in the Pakistani capital Islamabad connected to the notorious Lal Masjid has renamed its library in honour of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"Dad, don't worry. I've got a life vest on..."

Even though it is really morbid, we have to admit that we laughed at that one. The fibs that our children tell us, in this case so that poor dad does not get to know how terrified his daughter actually is, texting while drowning in a dark boat, with chaos all around and the bitter cold ocean pulling her down.  

Of course the subterfuge is of no use, we (as parents) would already be dead with worry and frozen with fear... and we would know that the kids are lying...and we will be forever grateful for those last words (texts).

The night-flares lighting up the sinking ship will remain one of the most beautiful/sad scenes that we will experience (even if vicariously) over our lifetime.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

17/7 Rajputs for 24/7 defense (against China)

The 17/7 Rajput regiment is in charge of guarding the North-Eastern (India) borders aka "undisclosed high-altitude location under Eastern Command"

Most of us are not really familiar with the (Indian) military and its ways. For example, is a Rajput regiment composed of only Rajputs (khatris)? Look deep and ye shall find. 

The "barhe chalo" regiment was raised during the WWII by Field Marshall Cariappa and fought in the North-Eastern Frontier (Kohima, Nagaland on the Indo-Burma border) against the mighty battalions of the Japanese Imperial Army. They will now be prepared to defend the north-east frontier once more, this time against the mighty battalions of the People's Liberation Army.
....
"Among all battalions of the Rajput Regiment, 17 Rajput has a unique place in present day history of the Indian Army. It was raised during the period of Quit India Movement in 1942. It was also among 10 other Rajput Battalions that were raised following outbreak of World War-II from 1940 to 1943."

283 children lost at sea (South Korea)

Updated missing count: 287. This is horrible!!! SoKo is (almost) a developed country. Disasters of this magnitude are expected only when Rohingyas escape on leaky katamarans to Malaysia.

It is an unimaginable loss for the parents whose children were out on a pleasure trip. Hopefully more people will be rescued, however chances are much reduced after a few hours (water temp is only 12C).
....
A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured.

The high number of people unaccounted for — likely trapped in the ship or floating in the ocean — raised fears that the death toll could rise drastically, making it one of South Korea's biggest ferry disasters since 1993, when 292 people died.


The decline and fall of Islamic science

More accurately, science as practiced by people who happened to be muslims. The conventional wisdom that (conservative elements in) Islam was the sole cause for arresting the march of science in the Middle East may not be quite true .

....though religious extremism certainly was the reason why Abdus Salam had to leave his native land for good and whose glorious contributions to science will forever be disowned by his own (majority) countrymen.
.....
According to Thomson Reuters' Science Watch, the Arabian, Persian and Turkish Middle East produces only 4% of the world's scientific literature. Paltry by almost any standards, that value is even more diminutive when paired with the fact that the Middle East, at one time, led the world in science.

So what happened?


(slow) Train to Ernakulam

We are familiar with strange truth (stranger than fiction). Here is an example of plain scary truth (not as scary as flying by Malaysian Airlines, but still....)


Above we have the map of (Indian Railways) South-Western Zone. The original route was along the west coast (Konkan Railway shown in green). Instead the train got diverted to Pune (top left corner in yellow zone). At that point it should have moved directly south to Miraj and from thereon turn west to reach Goa. Instead it traveled south-east (right-wards in the map) to Solapur and then on to Gulbarga, a few hundred km on the wrong track.

Not a single official noticed (the passengers eventually did). BTW Udupi is a town on the west coast near Mangalore.


Atheists please STOP (beating your wives)

....and murdering homeless people. We understand that your spirit is willing but your flesh is weak. Please try a bit harder to become a model (moral) minority. Thanking you, your fellow (concerned) citizens.

What do Americans think of atheists? They are tolerated but not celebrated. The latter would be difficult because most Americans consider atheists to be living an immoral life. And here is a shocker, even hard-core atheists would agree with this sentiment!!!! 
.......

Atheists have been speaking up more loudly in recent years, adding a fresh perspective to debates over meaning and morality. But in spite of this new visibility, the way Americans view non-believers remains extremely negative, according to a newly published study.

Participants in the first experiment—237 Americans—read a description of a man engaged in unambiguously immoral behavior. “Dax” was described as someone who harmed animals as a child, and then went on to kill a series of homeless people as an adult.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ugly duckling hopes to be a swan

Many many people question the value of democracy in a country like India filled with poor, illiterate, low information people. This thinking can be logically extended to the necessity of a popular ballot. After all the elections will consume of the order of $5 Bil. Why do it?

One answer to the above question is that it demonstrates at least one area where the Indian state does a gargantuan job reasonably well (also getting better with time with further scope for improvement). Heavy-weight candidates lose elections by a 1000 votes and accept the result without comment. This is such a remarkable fact...that it is ignored for the most part. 

The Economist is inspired by the election process (if not the headline candidates) and inspects the functional parts of the Indian state and considers how to improve the non-functional parts. Excellent advice for the most part.

One thing that did not merit a few bytes is the importance of (appearance of) non-partiality. The reason the Election Commission is so widely respected because it calls out ALL the bandits in equal measure. Thus both Azam Khan (muslims won Kargil war) and Amit Shah (hindus should consider taking revenge) have attracted the maximum penalty. In a country like India it is essential that the government is fair and seen to be fair. Nothing else will do.


Vijay-anna ki Pulitzer vijay

Congratulations are in order for (one more) distinguished Tam-B. We fully expect that dear Anna (elder brother in Tamil) will be enjoying a long, productive life and reaching even higher levels of glory (Nobel?). 

Why not question him on his views of the impact of Indian elections at home and abroad, and how it is creating cracks in the house of creators, to the point where a publishing house which owes its living to the First Amendment will black-list its own star author for the crime of holding politically incorrect opinions.

We discovered a 2005 link from Sepia Mutiny (which died 2 years ago this April) and a separate link from Amardeep Singh (one of  the mutineers). VS is referred to as a 2nd gen (1.9 gen) gent because he migrated to the USA at an early age.


....
Bangalore-born Vijay Seshadri, who moved to America at the age of five in 1959, has won the 2014 Pulitzer prize for poetry for his collection of poems 3 Sections (Graywolf Press), which was described by the jury as "a compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless."

Coastal Leader for a prosperous India

So far Indian leaders have been almost always from up north (as far north as Kashmir), far away from the coast and with little understanding of coastal people and their lives (and livelihoods). Even PV Narasimha Rao was a Brahmin from Karimnagar, Telengana, which does not have a coastal (read: trader) ethos.

Joe D'Cruz is by some estimates, the greatest Shudra author in modern times and he is on-record with his heart-felt love (scroll to the bottom) for the tallest Shudra Leader: Shri Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi. As a Coastal Leader first and foremost, Joe is sure that NaMo will wield his magic wand and restore the reputation and fortunes of Coastal India. And all of India will benefit from this rising tide.

In the old days famous poets used to sing the praise of mighty kings - prashasti in Sanskrit- which would be inscribed on rock-tablets for posterity. In 21c. we are (unfortunately) lacking in omnipotent men as well as master poets. Now at long last, the wait is over. Look on these glorious words below, ye BPites....and you will be filled with either despair or delight.

The liberals are (naturally) outraged and have declared Joe to be an out-caste (untouchable).



Monday, April 14, 2014

Heart-bleed cyclone devastates Mums (and babies)

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Avoid the Internet if you can. Keep changing your passwords on a daily basis. Be prepared for the worst.
....
British parenting website Mumsnet is the latest organization to have been hacked due to the "Heartbleed" bug, founder Justine Roberts revealed on Monday.


NDTV projects clear majority for NDA!!!

The Mod-memtum is gaining speed if opinion polls are anything to go by, and now we have a prediction for majority, as the alliances have been firmed up. We remain unconvinced (200-230 is our estimate).

We do have one wish- whatever govt formation takes place, Mamata Banerjee must not be part of it (Trinamool is predicted  to be the second largest party). She needs to learn how to govern responsibly (without taking recourse to blackmail) first.
...
For the first time in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, a poll on Monday predicted a clear majority for any pre-poll alliance with NDTV projecting that NDA would get 275 seats in the 543-member House. This is 16 seats more than the poll had predicted last month.
 

BJP on its own would win 226 seats — the highest tally ever for the party and the best by any party since 1991, the poll done by Hansa Research estimated. UPA would win just 111 seats, with Congress sinking to its lowest-ever tally of 92 seats, it said.
 


$70 Bil (from coolies) for Motherland

Kaushik Basu (Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, World Bank) is mighty pleased that India tops the global remittances list. It is remarkable that this $70 Bil grant exceeds India's software exports figure ($65 Bil).

It is indeed the single best possible anti-dote to poverty that our socialist rulers can envisage. Why not create better opportunities for these folks at home who are essentially slaves abroad? That is a bridge too far for our visionaries.

"Billions from Coolies" is a life-line for other SAsian countries as well (Pak #7, Bangla #8 on the list). 

What appears to be a bit sinister is that Bangladesh's receipts declined year on year. It is possible that the lovely GCC nations are punishing Bangla via excessive deportations etc. in response to Awami League's war against the Jamaatis. Since the strangulation of BNP/Jamaat is probably supported (instigated) by India, the least India can do is to try and make up for this loss of "revenue."