Misc Links

This is probably the only way I can keep the blog updated so please indulge me while I post some random links :

  • I am trying to train myself for operas and here is a piece I found on Sound Mind. Something about the music in operas just seems so captivating probably because it seems to be the ultimate expression for sorrow and joy.
  • The best description of Apple kerfuffle……

More posts to follow soon.

WTF News Of The Day


Lisa MacLeod is a young female politician who commutes to her job at Queen’s Park from Ottawa and leaves her husband, Joe, and four-year-old daughter, Victoria, at home. Mr. Justice Douglas Cunningham of Ontario Superior Court said this is a big distraction for the 34-year-old woman and as a result he felt he could not accept her evidence as corroboration of the Crown’s key witness in the recent high-profile, influence-peddling trial of Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien

OK fine, maybe her evidence was incidental to his ruling and what the judge meant to say was, “her testimony is not required so let’s not get her here” but in saying what he said, he has just revealed himself to be a sexist.

What a moron.

Miscellaneous Stuff

  1. Indians happier than Americans and British…..Oh please!! What the hell are you talking about? Did you actually visit the millions and millions of destitute living in villages? I don’t believe this survey at all. I am pretty sure that it was done mostly in cities and not the villages.
  2. Leaving New York this weekend via LaGuardia airport I got the full brunt of the famous New York attitude. Every employee and every person at the airport was in a bad mood and I got lip from quite a few even though I had two large bags and a 6 year old to take care of…..
  3. This is just sad and naysayers say US does not need health care reform.
  4. Reason number 1,352 as to why Bill O’Reilly is a douche.
  5. I take ‘separating’ the trash very seriously as my family and friends would testify. And when the government started the Green Bin program (separate the organic trash from the rest), I have been diligently doing what was asked of me. So when I hear that my efforts are going to the dumps (literally), it makes me mad!!
  6. Some garbage workers at city transfer stations say they have routinely mixed green bin organics, which are supposed to be composted, with regular trash bound for Michigan dumps. The reason for this is that the green bin waste weighs more than regular garbage, and the extra tonnage is needed to get the Michigan-bound trucks up closer to their maximum weight.

  7. Apocalypse might be around the corner!!
  8. Yellowstone is a volcano, and not just any volcano. The oldest, most famous national park in the United States sits squarely atop one of the biggest volcanoes on Earth. Doane was wrong, however, in one crucial respect. Yellowstone’s volcano is not extinct. To an unsettling degree, it is very much alive……There are volcanoes, and then there are supervolcanoes…..The last three super-eruptions have been in Yellowstone itself. The most recent, 640,000 years ago, was a thousand times the size of the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980, which killed 57 people in Washington. But numbers do not capture the full scope of the mayhem. Scientists calculate that the pillar of ash from the Yellowstone explosion rose some 100,000 feet, leaving a layer of debris across the West all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Pyroclastic flows—dense, lethal fogs of ash, rocks, and gas, superheated to 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit—rolled across the landscape in towering gray clouds. The clouds filled entire valleys with hundreds of feet of material so hot and heavy that it welded itself like asphalt across the once verdant landscape.

Only In New York

I will be spending this week in New York, in Manhattan, and I have already seen a few things that in the normal course of daily life in Toronto would be “strange”.

> I and Rhea were on our way to my friend’s house in a cab and, not surprisingly, the cab driver almost crashed into a cyclist! If you have been for a ride on a cab in New York, you know what I am talking about. It’s literally a roller coaster ride. Anyway, it was clearly the cab driver’s fault and the shouting match that ensued after the driver stepped out of the cab was bound to end up in someone getting beaten up. I stayed in the cab for a minute or so, with my daughter and asking her to look away as I was sure that, based on the anger of the cab driver and the cyclist, a fight was about to start. But a minute later, both the cyclist and the cab driver were shaking hands and giving each other hugs!!! Only In New York!!

> Went for a run along FDR to Brooklyn bridge and back. It was a super duper hot day but it as it was one of the few hot days in New York (so I was told), the running route was crowded with runners, cyclists and walkers. The funny thing I noticed was almost 7 out of 10 walkers who were dressed like they were out for a power walk, were smoking away!!! It was the strangest oxymoron I ever saw. Out for a healthy walk and smoking at the sametime. Only in New York!!

Miscellaneous Stuff

Chocked with work for the past 3 days and my daughter’s flu is not helping me be my “cheery” self. Here are some miscellaneous stuff I found over the net in the past few days :

  • Universe exists because we exist. The gist of the article is that in this century, we are going to see a combination of physics (specifically the quantum side of it) with biology. The term coined by the authours is : Biocentrism.
  • No matter which logic one adopts, one has to come to terms with the fact that we are living in a very peculiar cosmos. Biocentrism fits very neatly into the late physicist John Wheeler’s participatory universe belief in which observers are required to bring the universe into existence. In short, you either have an astonishingly improbable coincidence revolving around the fact that the cosmos could have any properties but happens to have exactly the right ones for life, or else you have exactly what must be seen if indeed the cosmos is biocentric.

    The authour then went out to explain in great detail the interaction of quantum science and the philosophy of perceiving an object but he left out how exactly will…….

    ….aspects of biological and physical science which are currently insensible. Natural areas of biocentric research include the realm of brain-architecture, neuroscience, and the nature of consciousness itself.

    affect this new form of science? Maybe he has elaborated in greater detail in his book but I am not very comfortable with this theory. This seems and stinks of a new form of philosophy and not a new science. Anyway, that’s my take. What about you?

A Spanish bar is encouraging clients to insult its staff – and offering free drinks for original or hilarious abuse. “When you come in after work, you can say swear at them and call them bastard or imbecile,” said client Antonio Ossa.

I would go to this bar just to watch the patrons try their best to get a free drink!!!!

The Man Who Saved The World

This is just astonishing. We have seen numerous movies and numerous TV shows that have characters saving the world with his/her guile and cunning ways. But imagine that happening in real life!!!

When Lt Col Stanislav Petrov arrived to work the graveyard shift at the secret command bunker near Moscow from which the Soviet Union’s early warning satellites were monitored, he was anticipating another routine stint of checking screens and communications systems, with a few chess problems to help pass the time.

But shortly after midnight on September 26, 1983, alarms started blaring and a red button on the console in front of Petrov began to flash the single word: “Start”. This signified that an American ballistic missile had been launched and was heading towards the USSR: then the computers linked to the satellites reported that four more missiles were on the way.

As commander of the bunker, Petrov, a 44-year-old rocket specialist, was responsible for deciding whether the horrifying launch data was accurate. If it was, standing orders required immediate notification of the Soviet high command, which would then consult the Kremlin about initiating a swift and massive retaliatory strike against the US. “For 15 seconds we were all in a state of shock,” Petrov recalled years later. “We needed to understand with absolute certainty what came next.”

I think this guy definitely deserves a movie deal!!

Updated : Be sure to read the rest to find out what happened!!

Discrimination Against Women In India


In India, China and sub-Saharan Africa, millions upon millions of women are missing. They are not lost, but dead: victims of violence, discrimination and neglect.

These are excess deaths: women “missing” above and beyond natural mortality rates, compared to their male counterparts.

Women who are dead because their lives were undervalued.

Around the world boys outnumber girls at birth, but in countries where women and men receive equal care, women have proved hardier and more resistant to disease, and thus live longer. In most of Asia and North Africa, however, Sen found that women die with startlingly higher frequency.

His research began a flutter of activity in academic circles and by 2005, the United Nations produced a much higher estimate for how many women could be “missing”: 200 million.

“Previously, people had thought that they (the missing women) were all at the very early stages of life, prenatal or just after, so before four years old,” Anderson says. “But what we found is that the majority are actually later.” Female infanticide has been endemic in India and China for some time, which she says led researchers to assume that it was the source of all the missing women. But the truth is much more complicated.

Once she and Ray broke down the numbers by age group, they found that the majority of excess female deaths came later in life: 66 per cent in India, 55 per cent in China and 83 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.

Female infanticide is a huge issue in India. People just do not want girls. The government has tried to step in but what do you do when majority of the population does not desire baby girls.

And this is not a poor-educated issue. My mom is a teacher in a secondary school catering to the well to do families and she sees the gender gap in the classroom. She just does not comprehend why the gap exists. Why would a family opt for a boy to a girl?

And this is just plain sad……

“Why would there be excess mortality of, let’s say, 45-year-old women versus 45-year-old men?” asks economics professor Kevin Milligan. “And what they find is … they have the same set of diseases, they just seem to die more frequently. The explanation that seems most consistent with that is differential access to health care. And so that’s a really striking finding.”

Anderson says that lack of health care is likely a big part of the problem, but that there are numerous cultural and social factors at play that can be difficult to pinpoint.

…..in India, a category called “injuries” yielded ominously high figures: 86,000 excess deaths in the age group 15-29 in 2000 alone. Anderson has done extensive research in India, and says the numbers beg the question of exactly how many deaths were so-called “kitchen fires” – often used to mask dowry-related killings, the result of a new bride being tortured by her new family until her parents pay their debts.

Random Links

  1. Only in India can convicted crooks become politicians. <Link>
  2. An excellent book blog. <Link>
  3. I usually do not agree with most of what’s on nationalinterest.in as I think they are far too obsessed with blasting Pakistan from the face of the Earth, but this is actually a good analysis on BJP and their politicking. <Link>. What I like about the post is how the authour nails the sad truth about politics in India

    …….a riot or two has never affected the political fortunes of Indian politicians.

  4. Holy cow!!! If this article is true, India-Pakistan were a hair’s depth away from attaining permanent solution to the Kashmir issue. Although why the authour went from high level politics to what the Mumbai terrorists were saying to their Pakistani handlers, I really don’t know. <Link>.
  5. Life after Battlestar Galactica’s stars.<Link>
  6. Man, the Chinese government sure is really serious about censorship!! <Link>
  7. Here are some effective ways of using Wikipedia. <Link>