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Archive for January 2008

John drops out…..

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Yesterday, John Edwards dropped out of the democratic presidential race. Sources say it was not due to Letterman spoiling his $400 haircut and it was more due to the fact that he hated finishing third – a position most Indian athletes would kill for.  Once he bid adieu, Hilary and Obama campaign came out with thank you letters praising John’s vision to see one America. I am just reminded about that piece in Mahabharata where both Pandavas and Kauravas line up at the Lord’s house and seek his services. The Kauravas wanting his army and the Pandavas wanting him. In this case, they both just want John’s endorsement and his 15% vote.

Here are the schmoozements from both the websites.

HillaryClinton.com

John
Edwards ended his campaign today in the same way he started it – by
standing with the people who are too often left behind and nearly
always left out of our national debate.
John ran with compassion and conviction and lifted this campaign with
his deep concern for the daily lives of the American people. That is
what this election is about – it’s about our people. And John is one of
the greatest champions the American people could ask for.
I wish John and Elizabeth all the best. They have my great personal
respect and gratitude. And I know they will continue to fight
passionately for the country and the people they love so deeply.

Obama statement on John Edwards

John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn’t popular to do or covered in the news. At a time when our politics is too focused on who’s up and who’s down, he made a nation focus again on who matters – the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington. John and Elizabeth Edwards have always believed deeply that we can change this – that two Americas can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose. So while his campaign may end today, the cause of their lives endures for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America.

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 31, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Posted in Garbage Post

All you need to know

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Ahead of Super Tuesday, here is a snapshot of all you need to know about the candidates. If you find someone’s position strong and you think it will take the country forward, vote for him/her. Nothing else matters. Keep the media spin doctors out of your mind and vote soley based on their position on the issues you consider are most important. Age, sex, race, religion, color, what dog they pet, which car they drive and other numerous unnecessary details should not matter.

Issues: Election Center 2008 – CNN.com

From concerns about the economy and the war in Iraq to the perennial topics of Social Security and the health care system, a range of issues is guiding this year’s presidential race.

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 31, 2008 at 5:30 am

Posted in Smoking Crack

Apathy

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Would it be racism if I call Pawar a swindling rat? The man who vowed to fight for India’s honor and stoke up a patriotic flare following Harbhajan – Symonds row has been caught by a Government body for swindling the money of the common man. Is India’s honor really at stake due to this? Maybe not, because who really cares if Pawar plays TERMINATOR to the lives of a few hundred farmers when the TURBANATOR has been shamed and banned for three test matches.  Even more pitiful is that no media outlet except Mumbai Mirror and Asia Times Online published out of Hong Kong has picked up this story.


Corrupt Pawar caught by CAG

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has put top politicians of the state, including Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, in the dock for diversion of funds meant for the payment of arrears to sugarcane growers for supplies they made to sugar factories.

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 30, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Smoking Crack

Wire Tapping Debate in Tamil Nadu, India

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Don’t you get the feeling that we have arrived on the world scene and are going to become a super power when you hear our legislature debating the same kind of things the US senate debates.  In this case, Tamil Nadu has risen to the stellar heights of the United States by discussing the wire tapping, a practice that a local daily has claimed is happening in Tamil Nadu. 

Wire Tapping in Tamil Nadu

Tension prevailed in the State Assembly on Tuesday when PMK president G K Mani alleged that the ruling DMK government was tapping the telephone lines of political leaders in the State. Denying the charges, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi informed the House that only phones of anti-socials and ultras were being tapped by the police.

How can GK Mani ever be happy with that reply because the CM just said that the phones of anti-socials and ultras are being tapped but he did not say the leaders were not anti-socials, which is most certainly the case with a lot of men who get elected in India. Karunanidhi rose to fame just by his powerful language and here he proves it again why he is a magician with words 🙂

For a more interesting wire tapping debate, visit this page onNSA Wiretapping.

After seeing this, I must send a hard hitting latter to the Information and Broadcasting Minister on India to put our legislative and parlimentary sessions on youtube. It is make interesting viewing.

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 29, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Posted in Smoking Crack

An Important publication

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One Man Takes Aim At Prejudice With Storybook – washingtonpost.com

“This book is a weapon for India’s millions of low-caste children who are fighting for respect, just as African Americans did and do in the U.S.,” said Ilaiah, who also wrote the best-selling anti-caste book “Why I Am Not a Hindu.” “How do you change ancient prejudices in any society? You do it through repositioning caste at childhood. If young children are taught respect over a bedtime story or in class, that could help enormously.”

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Posted in Smoking Crack

Howzatt

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Barack Obama might be laughinghis way to Super Tuesday after he got an endorsement from Ted Kennedy but the Hilary campaign has dealt a major blow , at least if this new story has to be believed…..

JD-U offers to campaign for Hillary in US

What an upset in a week of upsets – Federer losing to  Djokovic, Nadal losing to  Tsonga and the one most likely to come near JD-U  upsetting Ted Kennedy is Spartans spoof topping the US box office beating Rambo on a week in which Rambo himself endorsed John McCain. I think Mitt Romney would be knocking at the doors of the Spartans to get their endorsements and prove a point to McCain.

PS: In the JD-U article, please read the comments and it is a mirror to the minds of  some Indians. We can debate on almost anything with a straight angry face.

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 28, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Posted in Garbage Post

First Steps towards an Open Curriculum

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I applaud this move by the IITs . A great move to take education outside the classrooms and outside to the world. There are millions  who would love to extend their education by  viewing these lectures.

IITs Upload Engineering Lectures On YouTube | contentSutra.com

The National Programme for Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has uploaded video lectures from professors from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) on YouTube, reports HT. Plans for this had been reported in November last year. Currently there are 18 segments with as many as 655 videos – on VLSI design, Strength of Materials, Electro-Magnetic Fields, among others. The channel has already been viewed 3916 times, and there are 116 subscribers. One thing I don’t like, is that they’re not allowing the content to be embedded elsewhere. They’re also considering uploading courses on pharmacy, nursing and management. This video on VLSI is 54 minutes long, longer than the standard 10 minute videos, so there’s obviously a deal with Google (NSDQ: GOOG). I love the old-school preroll…reminds me of Doordarhan. Now contrast this move with that of DoorDarshan, which, intends to monetize its content, but probably not offer it online because of DRM concerns.

MIT uploaded all its lectures online @ ocw.mit.edu a few years ago and it is really heartening to see Indian institutions following suit

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 25, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Sweet…

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I watched Cheeni Kum last night. After a long time, I could tolerate Amitabh Bachchan. He plays a grumpy stickler of a chef in an upscale Indian restaurant in London and  plays his age. He falls for one of his customers Tabu who teaches him to put kum cheeni in the biryani. Love blossoms through an unlikely agent and how he wins over the girl even though the age difference is a big obstacle is the rest of the story.

The music by Illayaraja is recycled. He has reused tunes from Mella Thiranthathu Kadhavu and Mouna Ragam. Tabu looks hot and Amitabh is just adequate. The scene stealer’s are  1) the small girl who plays Amitabh’s next door friend and 2) Paresh Rawal who plays  Tabu’s father. Watch it once just for the dialogue writer. He has done a fabulous job. I don’t think I can tolerate the movie twice.

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 25, 2008 at 10:16 pm

If the priests are here, can God be far behind?

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Found this piece on rediff and a few other blogs in the blogosphere.


Buy a car, get puja done for free

Raman Gupta, who is a Manager (operations) in a leading IT company, recently bought a new Maruti from a car dealer in the capital. Like many middle-class Indians, he also believes in starting any new work after performing some rituals. Just as he was about to leave for a Hanuman temple in the nearby area, a person from the showroom approached him and introduced himself as Pandit Radhamohan Tyagi, a priest deployed by the outlet manager for carrying out the “customary rituals and ceremony” for the occasion. “We are here for your convenience sir. Don’t worry I will take care of your feelings,” remarked the priest. In just 15 minutes, he along with his disciple performed all the rituals from coconut-breaking and ‘swastik’ smearing to ‘aarti’ and all. “I am really delighted at the service being offered by the company at no extra cost”, says Seema Gupta, Raman’s wife. Panditji is happy too. “We perform every ritual as per the demand of customer and get paid by the company”, he says.”The showrooms also sell accessories, including small statues of Hindu gods to place on dashboards”, he adds. “Drive with auspicious omen on your side,” displays a signboard next to a mini-Ganesha idol. “Moreover, we get handsomely paid by the owners of the showroom as against the low income from being at temples and homes. So, I have adopted to work for them”, he says.

The next step would be to bring Rama, Krishna and Lord Ganesha into the dealerships itself. I am sure stage actors are out of jobs due to the booming DVD and television market. By the way,can some explain why is it only middle class Indians who believe in starting any new work after performing some rituals.

Car Buyers move priests from the temple while auto buyers worship

Bodyguard Munnneswaran

For plenty of autorickshaw and bus drivers the answer is very clear: it is all because of the deity Bodyguard Muneeswaran, praying to whom is the best insurance against accidents.

Just the Gods make India a vibrant place.

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 25, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Garbage Post

Doesn’t Charity begin at home?

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Bill Gates wants the world to improve as evidenced by his speech at the World Economic Forum today.

Bill Gates @ World Economic Forum

In his speech to a standing-room-only crowd Thursday evening, Bill Gates took the first steps toward transforming himself from software baron to social philosopher. His new effort is based on a public challenge he issued during his evening address to corporate executives, in which he urged them to pair the self-interest that is the hallmark of capitalism with interest in the welfare of others, which he asserted was a second important force of human nature. Mr. Gates quoted an early work of Adam Smith to buttress his claim that humans are just as interested in insuring others’ fortunes as their own. “I’m an optimist, but I’m an impatient optimist,” he said during his speech. “The world is not getting better fast enough, and it’s not getting better for everyone.”

MS has made huge profits by making incompatiable and has-to-be updated closed versions of software. The digital divide can be bridged to a great deal if their software is open.

Why Open Source in Schools

It is indeed a strange world when educators need to be convinced that sharing information, as opposed to concealing information, is a good thing. The advances in all of the arts and sciences, indeed the sum total of human knowledge, is the result of the open sharing of ideas, theories, studies and research. Yet throughout many school systems, the software in use on computers is closed and locked, making educators partners in the censorship of the foundational information of this new age. This software not only seeks to obscure how it works, but it also entraps the users’ data within closed, proprietary formats which change on the whim of the vendor and which are protected by the bludgeon of the End User License Agreement. This entrapment of data is a strong, punitive incentive to purchase the latest version of the software, regardless of whether it suits the educational purposes better, thereby siphoning more of the school’s limited resources away from the school’s primary purpose. The use of such closed software in education may be justified only where no suitable open source solution exists.

Educators have been called upon throughout history to combat censorship imposed by various powers over the flow of information. The censorship being applied today comes in the form of licenses that lock away the tools to build the information age and laws that limit fair use in ways that are unprecedented in the modern era. The powers imposing this censorship attempt to create an artificial scarcity of information and the tools to work with that information to feed their greed. Where would education be today if, for example, the mechanism and idea of the Gutenberg press were not only hidden, but protected by threat of dire punishment under the law if anyone dared to attempt to “reverse engineer” it?

We are well into the beginnings of the Information Age. It stands to affect the people of the world at least as profoundly as the Industrial Age. It is time for the opening of the tools that will be needed to build this new age. Teaching our children to be passive purchasers of closed, proprietary solutions to problems is not enough. Constraining students to move the mouse within the confines of the instruction set of a few closed, proprietary programs merely cages those students and constrains our future.

Students should, at least, be given the opportunity to see how their new tools work. They should be given the opportunity to examine the inner workings of software. They should be given the opportunity to extend the functions of their tools, where they see or imagine possibilities. They should not be held back by locking the toolbox of the Information Age and told they must not peer inside, must not try to discover how it works, must not share their tools with others, must not use their tools without paying proper tribute to the software overlords, under penalty and punishment of law.

Will MS open its gates of knowledge to the poor and underprivileged or do they want to keep knowledge closed and be traditional capitalists

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Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 25, 2008 at 2:08 am

Posted in Smoking Crack