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Showing posts from 2010

China makes Chinese; Indians make India

When does a small town grow up and become a big boy? Does size matter? Geography is a peculiar addiction. Fat makes you large, possibly very large, but it does not make you strong. Some nations have a quarter of their population herded in slums extending in myriad directions because they have not created the capacity to build more cities. America's strength does not lie in New York and Washington but in the fact that Microsoft can be born in Seattle and the world's software industry is controlled from a desert in California. India was weak as long as its strength lay in the traditional four great cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. These urban sprawls became sores instead of cities as the poor flocked toward them, driven by unrealistic hopes. It is only logical that all four were British cities. Chennai was seeded by an English adventurer who wanted to live within riding distance of his local girl friend; Mumbai harbour came as part of the dowry of Charles II and was t…

Nature's sting: The real cost of damaging Planet Earth

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You don't have to be an environmentalist to care about protecting the Earth's wildlife. Just ask a Chinese fruit farmer who now has to pay people to pollinate apple trees because there are no longer enough bees to do the job for free. And it's not just the number of bees that is dwindling rapidly - as a direct result of human activity, species are becoming extinct at a rate 1,000 times greater than the natural average. The Earth's natural resources are also suffering. In the past few decades alone, 20% of the oceans' coral reefs have been destroyed, with a further 20% badly degraded or under serious threat of collapse, while tropical forests equivalent in size to the UK are cut down every two years. These statistics, and the many more just like them, impact on everyone, for the very simple reason that we will all end up footing the bill. Costing nature

Drivers of biodiversity lossLand use change - for example cutting down forests that provide essential water regulation, f…

Forget Ram, Worship Bhola

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The socialist courts of India have delivered their verdict on the title suit to the "disputed land" in Ayodhya in a highly predictable manner - in that the verdict seems to be "politically correct": the land is to be divided in three parts, and, presumably, all sides to the dispute will be happy. Of course, there will be appeals to the Supreme Court, and matters could drag on endlessly. I liked Vir Sanghvi's comments on this vexed isuue, available here. He says, most importantly: ...the real history of Ayodhya does not begin with the property dispute. It begins with the Rath Yatra and with the BJP’s decision to re-invent itself as the party of Ram. When L.K. Advani went on his Rath Yatra, his position was simple and clearly enunciated: millions of Hindus believe that Lord Ram was born on this site. It is, therefore, one of the most sacred spots in Hinduism. Do read the entire piece; it is well worth it. What is my take on the matter? One, that this is ugly BJP…

Image of Jesus

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Google Earth has been known to throw up some very interesting aspects of Earth's surface. I am sure this would be one of the most fascinating. I read this in a news article on TOI:
An Internet fan has claimed that he saw lord Jesus Christ's image in a farm on Google Earth.  Zach Evans, 26, spotted Christ's image as he strolled the map site looking for holiday destinations. Reportedly, Christ can be clearly seen in satellite pictures of a field on farmland near Puspokladany, Hungary.  Curious, I decided to check this for myself. And the news was indeed correct, there is a human image which can be clearly seen in one of the farms. Here is the image:


Fascinating, isn't it?

Invictus

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Ghana's victory over US in World Cup yesterday, coupled with the World Cup fever reminded me of Invictus movie. For those who haven't seen it yet, its a must watch - I highly recommend it.  In short, its an inspiring story of how Nelson Mandela, soon after being selected as the President, used Rugby to bring South Africa together as a nation. The movie has some amazing performance by Morgan Freeman (as always) and Matt Damon holds on his own as the South African rugby team captain who must lead his team to victory against pressure odds. I especially loved the poem:


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how st…

Me Indian?

Going through Priya Ramani’s much-talked-about article in the Mint, I was quite a bit confused. [Link] Recently I’ve become increasingly convinced that I’m not an Indian. After all, it is possible that someone did a baby switch at Breach Candy Hospital where I was born, or that my parents have carefully hidden the truth about me for 40 years. Quick proof that I’m not Indian? I have no furious loyalties to the Baganapalli or Alphonso. In fact, I can think of at least six fruits that I prefer to the mango. I have never eaten an entire paan or a pot of mishti doi (though I have tried both) and I don’t spit in public or private (except for that one time I tried a meetha paan). I don’t understand that other national obsession, cricket, either. White is not my favourite skin colour. I don’t read Chetan Bhagat or Paulo Coelho. I feel depressed every time I wear a salwar-kameez. No sir, I will not discuss my private life with a stranger on a train journey. And I don’t think I’ve ever begun a…

L.O. Organization: Faceless Facebook

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Amazing idea.. don't you think so? Came across this on an advert related site I follow regularly.

Goes to show you can help even with 0 budget.

Advertising Agency: ACW Grey, Tel Aviv, Israel
Executive Creative Director: Yonatan Stirin
Creative Director: Shani Gershi, Amir Ariely
Copywriter: Shani Gershi
Art Director: Asaf Levi
Account Manager: Dani Brande
Account Superviser: Shiri Shiffer
Account Executive: Galit Ben-Yehuda

WORST POLLUTERS OF ALL TIMES

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Warren Anderson, former head of Union Carbide and a man so hated in India, Gandhi himself would kick him right in the jewels given half a chance.
What makes him evil: As CEO of the multibillion dollar chemical manufacturer, he contributed to what is cheerfully referred to as the “worst industrial accident ever”. A plant in Bhopal, India that manufactured concentrated poison (the best kind of poison) suffered a massive breach, releasing 42 tons of gas. Authorities indicate the many, many safety flaws in the plant were known to Anderson and others before the spill. Reports of the dangers were recorded at least two years before the disaster as well as smaller incidents that were swept under the rug. While the sister American plant was kept up to code, the Indian plant was left to adopt a more “try not to inhale the deadly toxins” approach. Half a million people were exposed, tens of thousands of people died and the plant was left abandoned to keep on contaminating the soil and g…