Of product and process innovation

From pillar to post

Michael Palin, of the Monty Python parrot skit fame (remember “he’s probably pining for the fjords”?), went on another of his global tours in 1991, which was broadcast as the BBC travel documentary from Pole to Pole in 1992. Heading south from the North pole (well, whichever way you go from the North pole, you are headed south) along longitude 30 degrees east, he visited the Soviet Union shortly before it all came crumbling down. There are lots of theories about why it collapsed. I am only guessing that there must be since I have not read much in that area. However, that does not stop me from advancing my own theory. Wild conjecture it is not, however. It has to do with something that was illustrated in an encounter that Michael had in Moscow.
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Italy is minding its business

The Acorn says that “Italy should mind its own business.” It appears that the Italian foreign minister intends to lodge a protest with the Indian ambassador to Italy about the recent violence in Orissa — “to demand ‘incisive action’ to prevent further attacks against Christians that have left 11 people dead in India so far.”
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The Tyranny of Faith

One can’t seem to get away from the devastating effects of faith – especially monotheistic religious faith – around the world.

Blind faith can justify anything. If a man believes in a different god, or even if he uses a different ritual for worshiping the same god, blind faith can decree that he should die–on the cross, at the stake, skewered on a Crusader’s sword, shot in a Beirut street, or blown up in a bar in Belfast. Memes for blind faith have their own ruthless ways of propagating themselves. This is true of patriotic and political as well as religious blind faith.

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Swaggering Imbeciles

Newly educated and semi-educated classes – social or intellectual – seek positions in government bureaucracies or social advocacy rather than in industry and commerce where competence is inarguably measured at the end of every business quarter. The growth of bureaucracies needed to absorb these swaggering imbeciles is precisely opposed to society’s growth and development both as direct philosophical enemy and as infinitely hungry sump to resources otherwise needed to support productive endeavors.

From “Uncle Al” in a post on the usenet years ago. I spent years on the usenet, the grand-daddy of the world wide web. I like the phrase “swaggering imbeciles” — it describes a certain ruling dynasty in a certain so-called emerging superpower.

The Tyranny of Christi-insanity

Swami Laxmananand Saraswati, an 80-year old Hindu priest, and five others were murdered by what is suspected a Christian mob recently in Orrisa. The news is that “police have arrested Pradesh Kumar Das, an employee of the World Vision, a Christian Charity, from Khadagpur while escaping from the district at Buguda. In another drive, two other persons Vikram Digal and William Digal have been arrested from the house of Lal Digal, a local militant Christian, from Nuasahi at Gunjibadi, Nuagaan. They have admitted to having joined a group of 28 other assailants.”

What else would one expect from the followers of Christi-insanity? Their scriptures teach them hatred and intolerance of all non-monotheists. Let me just cue up Pat Condell (who perhaps coined the term “christi-insanity”) and let him rant on my behalf on the insanity of the monotheists and their murderous ways. Here’s “The Tyranny of Scriptures.”

I wonder when humanity will become free of the curse of murderous madness of monotheism.

Dawkins at UC Berkeley

On March 8th, 2008, Richard Dawkins spoke at the Wheeler Auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus during his US book tour for his book “The God Delusion.” I am an absolute admirer of Prof Dawkins.

You could see the google video of Richard in Berkeley (56 mins) or you could see it in six parts on YouTube. Here’s YouTube part 1/6 of Richard at Berkeley:

Part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6.

Related post: Darwin’s Big Idea

Certification, not degrees

An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal (Aug 13th) by Charles Murray, “For Most People, College is a Waste of Time” has many points that I agree with. (Hat tip: R S Malapati.)

For a while I have been convinced that it is better to separate teaching from testing and evaluation. See this post “De-linking Teaching and Testing” (Feb 2005) where I wrote: Continue reading “Certification, not degrees”

Pro-poor policies work

Pro-industrial policies promote industry, pro-health policy promote health, pro-education policies promote education. So it is natural that India’s pro-poor policies — and let’s be very clear that every single one of India’s economic policies have been pro-poor — work and promote poverty and the number of poor keeps on going up. The absolute number keeps growing. What about the percentage? It does keep improving.

So what’s the latest on poverty in India from the World Bank? It is reported that the WB released some study which talks about the changes in the recent past. Good news or bad new? Depends on who is reporting the study. Sort of like assessing beauty — which we all know lies in the eyes of the beholder. Rediff says “India has fewer poor people: World Bank“. IBNLive reads the same report and says “Number of poor in India has gone up: World Bank.” (Thanks Dr A for the links.)

How’s that for objective reporting?

Free Educational Content

A new world

That the world has changed radically in just this generation is nowhere more evident than in matters that have something to do with information and communications technology. The evidence is all around us — including this fact that I am writing this on a laptop somewhere in India and anyone with a connected computer anywhere in the world can read it. It is hard to overestimate the profound changes. Perhaps because the changes are so overwhelming that we consider them normal and so unremarkable. However, understanding the consequences of that change is going to be important in how successful we are in meeting the evolving challenges and indeed making the most of it. Here I will argue that education — the process and its objectives — has to change dramatically in this new world.
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