The Fabulous $10 Indian Government Laptop

“Everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper,” wrote Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Solow in 1966 about Milton Friedman, another Nobel laureate economist, the father of monetarism. 🙂

Everything reminds me of India’s failed education system — and by extension — the stupidity of the government policymakers, bureaucrats and politicians included. Unlike Bob Solow, however, I cannot keep it out of my posts.
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The PickensPlan

You’ve got to hand it to the Americans — they think big. Thinking big is the first step to doing big things. There too they are no slouches. Both in terms of good and bad, they do think and do big things. The modern world you and I inhabit (and it is important to remember that not everybody lives in the modern world — a couple of billion of our contemporaries live in a world that is decidedly primitive) has been shaped by Americans to an extent that is hard to overstate. Love it or hate it, you cannot ignore the US.
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Earthquake in Pune

This morning around 12:40 AM, I am sure there was an earthquake around Pune — the building shook for about 10 seconds. Having lived for decades in the San Francisco Bay area, on and around dozens of faults (San Andreas, Hayward, etc) and having been through dozens of quakes, including one of the biggest (the Loma Prieta in 1989), a little shake like that does not evoke much of a reaction. It is all ho-hum stuff.

I could find no reference to any earthquake in the news on the web. Perhaps some local Pune paper would. But did find an item in the BBC: Quake rocks Southern California. Good. Magnitude 5.4. What time? Not reported. Or even which date? Nope. The BBC report neglects to mention such minor details. Very disappointing bit of reporting. I wrote to the BBC. Let’s see if they fix it.

Penn and Teller on Climate Change and Global Warming

I admire Penn and Teller. They are sensible, forthright, articulate, and most of all very entertaining. So here’s an episode of their “Bullshit” series from 2003. It is about the hysterical reactions of some to the matter of global warming and climate change.,t=1,mt=video

Penn and Teller – Bullshit! – Environmental Hysteria

Urbanization and Development of India

The following is an article by me that appeared in ISB’s in-house magazine insight June 2008 issue.

There is a definite positive relationship between the size of the habitation and the productivity of the population.”

The full article is below.
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Blaming the victims

The news of death and destruction from terrorism has become somewhat of a routine. The politicians make inane statements about how all this is most lamentable and aside from telling people to “maintain peace and quiet” they appear to go about their business as usual. The reactions from various quarters are predictable from past experience. One reaction which fills me with revulsion and disgust is the type that emanates from idiot pseudo-secularist commies. One such ended up in my mailbox just minutes ago. One Jaya Kamlani contributed this to a mailing list:
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No true terrorist acts

The Hindu reports that an official of the “Indian Union Muslim League has asked the media and public to not to brand the perpetrators of the deed as Muslims.”

“I appeal to the media and the public not to brand the perpetrators of the Bangalore blasts as Muslims,” State president of IUML K M Khader Mohideen told reporters here on Saturday night.

“These kind of people are neither Muslims, Hindus or Christians. The Centre and the state government should take steps to nab them quickly,” he said.

That’s an example of what is called the “No true Scotsman” fallacy, a fallacy of equivocation and question begging. Here it is, from Thinking about Thinking (1975), by Andrew Flew:

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again.” Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing.” The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing.”

As long as we are declaring that the self-proclaimed bombers who self-identify themselves as Muslims and their organizations as explicitly Islamic are not Muslims, why don’t we go the whole hog and declare that there were no terrorists bombings, that there were no deaths, that everything is peaceful and tranquil?

Let’s live in fairy-land as the reality is too painful and our so-called leaders are powerless to do sh!7.

Crackergate — Part 2

I really don’t have much to add to what insanity I had reported on the post titled “Crackergate“. This follow up highlights a comment made by one “/ehj2” in a Cosmic Variance thread (also titled “Crackergate.”) Every once in a while I come across something that I wish I had written. This comment is one of those. Here it is, for the record.
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The BBC is Biased

A BBC report on the recent Ahmedabad bombs concludes with:

Mr Modi has been accused of failing to protect Muslims in the riots in Gujarat during 2002 in which at least 1,000 people died, including many in Ahmedabad. The violence erupted when a fire broke out on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, killing at least 59 people.

I suppose BBC had reported the American attack on Afghanistan in 2001 with something like:

The US invaded Afghanistan after the twin towers of the World Trade Center in NY collapsed after fire broke out killing over two thousand people.

Mysterious fires suddenly erupting in building and trains. So mysterious that even the BBC has no clue how or why the fires started. Truly astonishing.

What is interesting is that the BBC is not reluctant to report an accusation — almost as if it were an established fact — but cannot bring itself to report an established fact that the torching of the train was a premeditated act of Islamic terrorism. I wonder if the BBC reporters get funded by Islamists.

In Chennai for a CSR Event

I don’t think that I have ever had a more hassle-free flight ever than the one that I had last night. I left home around 9:45 after dinner. It was drizzling a bit. (Thanks, Raj, for the ride.) At 10:15 I was at the Spicejet counter and got a printout of the e-ticket. Was the flight on time, I asked. “It is before time,” I was told. By 10:25, I had a boarding pass and had gone through security. At 10:30, I was on board the flight. I have never ever gone from the kerb to my seat on a plane in 15 minutes.
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