Showing posts from May, 2010

Book Review: The Immortals of Meluha

The Immortals of Meluha is first Part of the Shiva Trilogy from Amish Tripathi. It is also one of the first books by an Indian author to be introduced by a viral video on youtube.
The story is set in 1900BC and operates on the premise that Shiva was a mortal, a simple man whom legend turned into God.

Amish summarizes his fundamental premise as: I believe that the Hindu gods were not mythical beings or a figment of a rich imagination. I believe that they were creatures of flesh and blood, like you and me.
I believe that they achieved godhood through their karma, their deeds.

With these premises, an interesting read is assured.
While parts of the story are rooted in mythology and some parts are corroborated by history - like the description of town planning by the Meluhans - most parts are pure speculative fiction.
The story is very interesting and keeps you gripped.
The Suryavanshis are the descendants of Lord Ram who have created an extremely stable society based on strict rules and r…

Movie: The Hunt for Gollum

For all the fans of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series, here is something interesting.

The Hunt for Gollum is a 2009 fantasy-adventure fan film directed by Chris Bouchard and produced by Independent Online Cinema that is based on the appendices of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The film centres on the fictional lands of Middle-earth, where wizard Gandalf the Grey (Patrick O'Connor) sends ranger Aragorn (Adrian Webster) on a quest to find Gollum, whom he fears may reveal information about the One Ring to necromancer Sauron. Filming took place in North Wales, Epping Forest, and Hampstead Heath. The film was shot in high definition video, with a budget of GBP£3,000 (USD$5,000). The production is completely unofficial and unauthorized, though Bouchard said he had "reached an understanding" with Tolkien Enterprises in 2009. The Hunt for Gollum debuted at the Sci-Fi-London film festival and on the Internet, free to view, on 3 May 2009. By Octobe…


I know I should have written this post earlier, but with all the work and running around, I never got a chance. Since this is coming at the very last minute of the deadline (literally, as last date for applications is 15th of May, 2010), I'll cut to the chase.
British Council in India is on a drive to do their part in Climate Change Awareness. As such, they are inviting applications from young enthusiasts who want to do their part and make a difference. British Council has already identified 70 Climate Champions in India and Sri Lanka who have a passion for the environment and interest to work against the effects of climate change. If selected, as a British Council International Climate Champion the candidate will raise awareness, address impacts through a project and contribute to the growing international consensus to the need to tackle climate change.
Interested? Go to this link for more information and to apply:…

Will the Dragon’s Failure be the Elephants gain?

This is a guest post written by my colleague, Rachit Channana. Rachit is a professional consultant and has interests in global economy, investing and risk management. His articles are widely published both within the corporate network & knowledge center and in various publications, both online and in print.

In accordance to the famous investment analyst and entrepreneur Marc Faber, the Chinese economy is set to crash in the next 9 – 12 months. I cannot but agree with him fully.
With 60% of the country’s GDP pegged at Construction, it already looks under pressure with the fall of commodity prices. The government has already banned loans for purchase of third homes in China and has raised the mortgage rates and down payment requirements for second homes, thereby reducing the speculation in the real estate sector.
The negativity is being felt by the fact that though the property prices have spiraled to an unparalleled growth of 11.8% since March 2010 (the highest since 2005, which w…

Europe’s Debt Bomb

A fantastic graphic by Nelson SD. Schwartz at the New York Times:

If the PIIGS default, their inter-dependent obligations between the PIIGS countries total 369 billion dollars.Spain holds 1/3rd of Portugals liabilities. Obviously a bailout is good for Spain.From the above graphic: Britain owns $418 billion of PIIGS debt, Germany $686 billion and France a whopping $929 billion. Obviously the biggest beneficiary is France, which can’t understand why it should lose nearly a trillion dollars, nearly Germany and Britain added up. Though honestly $511 billion is just exposure to Italy.  Britain is too confused right now about who’s going to rule it. Germany’s pissed off, but when you stand to lose $686 billion you get slightly less pissed off.The point the article makes is – and I think I agree –  a default will trigger serious problems in the other Euro states. Greece will hurt Portugal, which will hurt Spain, and then it gets reeely bad from there.

10 Things You Don’t Know About Starbucks

Starbucks is the coffee icon people either love or love to hate. The Seattle company opened its first shop in 1971, and all these years later, the coffee giant is still brewing up addictive drinks and venti-sized controversy across the globe. Here are 10 things you might not have known about Starbucks. 1. It Could Have Been ‘Pequods’ Nothing says marketing genius like an extremely vague literary reference. At least that was the logic of Starbucks’ original founders — two teachers and a writer — who chose to name their fledgling coffee bean business after a supporting character in Moby-Dick. When the first Starbucks opened in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971, it didn’t sell coffee drinks, just beans. The founders wanted to name the place after Captain Ahab’s first mate Starbuck. Right… that guy.Before that, they considered naming it after Ahab’s boat, the Pequod, but changed their mind — according to a Starbucks spokesperson — when a friend tried out the tagline “Have a cup of Pequ…

The Remaking of a Slum: The World Is Watching Dharavi

Twelve years ago, an architect named Mukesh Mehta saw an opportunity to put Mumbai on a development path that could make it the next Shanghai. In the heart of the city, at the cross section of two major thoroughfares and two train lines was a sprawling informal settlement of shanties and shacks. Mehta had a vision to transform this 500 acre landmass into a cosmopolitan, urban destination that could set a shining example for the growth patterns of the rest of Mumbai. Fast forward to today, and although Dharavi has starred as the protagonist in many movies, books, websites, and blogs, the settlement is as it was when Mehta first considered it—a heaving, growing, dynamic, and very much alive community. Dharavi is a stubborn, stalwart of a slum. She inserts herself into every conversation about Mumbai’s future, and she is the cause of much debate when it comes to redevelopment, poverty, slumdwellers, and infrastructure. Trust us, she is flattered by the attention. But, she would rather y…

Bankers turn climate crunch champions!!

This is a guest post from a friend - P, who is working for HSBC. P is very interested in CSR activities and any extra-curricular activity that takes place in HSBC. P was recently selected to actively contribute to HSBC’s environmental initiative, and as part of this initiative P went to the forests of Western Ghats in Karnataka with a team of about 10 people (selected from all over the world) and worked with some leading scientists for 10 days. In the forest P helped these scientists conduct numerous experiments and work on environment conservation.
In this post P has shared the work done by the team during this forest visit and Climate Championship program of HSBC in general.
Bankers may not be the world's most popular people, but at HSBC we have the good of the planet at heart – the bank has invested $100 million in the employees, to assess the potential effects of climate change and preach the green gospel to colleagues back at the office.
HSBC is doing so through the climate cha…

The Devil Went Down to Wall Street

Read this strip on abstusegoose, and simply had to share this one!!

Disclaimer: This strip has been republished here after obtaining written consent from the site owner.

Why is an auto company talking about water?

I recently came across this very interesting article written by Sue Cischke, who is the Group Vice President, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, Ford Motor Company. I have often written about Carbon Footprint, need for conservation etc, and this article highlights how increasingly important it is to conserve water and energy and every way we can! Not surprisingly, when I am asked to participate in professional conferences, the requests center on Ford's view of the future of transportation. It's a topic central to our planning and product strategy for years to come. But several weeks ago I had the opportunity to discuss a very different strategic issue, one that may have had some people wondering: why is an auto company talking about water? After all, there are other industries including food and beverage, chemicals and mining that are far more water intensive. The answer is simple. Water conservation has long been integral to Ford's overall sustainability …