H L Mencken

I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty, and that the democratic form is as bad as any of the other forms….

I believe in complete freedom of thought and speech – alike for the humblest man and the mightiest, and in the utmost freedom of conduct that is consistent with living in organized society.

I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run. I believe in the reality of progress. I —

But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than to be ignorant.

Mencken quoted in H L Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian by Murray N Rothbard.

Our Moribund Educational System

The Indian education system is in distress. It is critically in need of reform since it is inefficient and ineffective. What exists today is something that was designed to serve the needs of a different era with different objectives and compulsions. For sustainable development of India, the country needs a new system which is economically efficient, socially equitable, functionally effective, and consonant with the altered needs of the present.
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Be aware of fake Rs 500 bank notes

Today I was at the bank depositing some cash when the teller discovered that one of the Rs 500 bills I gave her was fake. Visual examination did not reveal that the bill was counterfeit; only under UV light can one make out that genuine bills have a silver line which glows while the same line on a fake bill does not glow.

One of the simplest ways of undermining an economy is to introduce a huge amount of fake currency. From time to time, one hears of counterfeiting operations in Pakistan. I suppose the Pakistani terrorists operating in India get paid in fake Indian currency. What a wonderful way to kill (sic) two birds with zero stones. And I presume that some of the billions of rupees of fake currency circulating in India is brought into the country via the bus and train service between Pakistan and India.

I don’t have any proof, but my suspicion is that certain political parties in India gain from this sort of transactions.

In any event, please pass the word along that accepting Rs 500 (and perhaps Rs 1000) bank notes may be risky. If people are vigilant, the fake bills will not be able to enter the system.


The theory of computation studies a class of problems called ‘NP Complete.’ These are problems that are considered computationally hard in the sense that all known algorithms to solve them require a non-deterministic Turing machine polynomial orders of time. The traveling salesman problem is a classic example of this set. They all share one characteristic – indeed it is the test of membership in the class – that they are all isomorphic. An algorithm that solves any of the problems would therefore solve all of NP Complete problems.
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The High Cost of Living — 2

The cost of living is high in India, as I mentioned the last time.

The dominant theme around where I live in Kalyani Nagar in Pune is one of massive construction. Multistoried residential buildings, shopping centers and office complexes are sprouting with astonishing rapidity. Despite the increase in the quantity supplied of floor space, the quantity demanded is growing even faster. This is evidenced by the fact that the price per square foot of built up space is growing at an astonishing 30 percent or more per year.
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The High Cost of Living

Burundi comes before Canada lexicographically but Canada leads in all measures of human welfare one could care to compare the two on. I am endlessly fascinated by the contrast between different parts of the world. How on earth did humans end up occupying such widely separated ends of the spectrum of economic development?
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Fragments – 8


Keith Hudson of Bath, England, whom we met on this blog, has a Daily Wisdom mailing list. Here is today’s item (#178):

Cervantes turned up today on the random page of Wednesday’s dictionary. The author of Don Quixote, the first, and some say, the greatest novel in the Western tradition, was an adventurer, soldier and prisoner-of-war, was admired by Shakespeare, his contemporary, and since then by Dostoevsky and many other intellectuals as one of the most perceptive observers of human nature ever. His noble-minded, but delusional Don Quixote and his credulous follower, Sancho Panza, remind one so much of today’s politicians and their manipulable electorates. Cervantes was the ultimate sceptic, both of what goes on in heaven and on earth, as today’s quotation reveals. Today, when the the most powerful nation on earth has elected the most culturally-restricted leader that it is possible to imagine, then we could do with a great deal more scepticism about the vaunted aims of those who seek to lead us and the democratic system which can allow such travesties to happen.

“Every man is as God made him, and often even worse.”
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha (1615)

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