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In one of the most bizarre incidents EVER, Ramakant - a washer man working in Ahmedabad - shoved up an air filling machine's nozzle up the rectum of his friend Vivek. Why?

All for fun of course. Both of them felt that it would be very funny to see an inflated Vivek floating around the room. Things didn't go quite according to plan, and Vivek's intestines burst under the pressure.

The police have booked Ramakant for negligence. Heh.

(Source IE)

But according to Chinese astrology, Tendulkar is also a Buffalo, a cousin of the bull — and these two systems combined make him a Double Bull.

This is from an article by Bejan Daruwala on tips to help Sachin overcome 'THE Jinx':
1.Sleep in the lap of his wife and tell her to love him sweetly and gently

2. Cook his own mutton cheese burgers and eat them

3. Have a terrific bath

4. Jump in his Ferrari and go for a drive
Via Megan:

The government can't fix society for the same reason that you can't remove your own appendix.
Click on the image to enlarge.

I did check the url, there are no pop ups by default but when you click on any of the pics to enlarge them a war starts between the javascript and Firefox's pop up blocker. Lovely.
Mohammed Hanif on probably the most excruciating speech ever made by a dictator:

But obviously, uncle didn't need any prompting. He launched into his routine about three stages of democracy. He claimed he was about to launch the third and final phase of democracy (the way he said it, he managed to make it sound like the Final Solution). And just when you thought he was about to make his point, he took an abrupt turn and plunged into a deep pool of self pity.

This involved a long-winded anecdote about how the Supreme Court judges would rather attend a colleagues' daughter's wedding rather than just get it over with and decide that he is a constitutional President.

As I said, I have heard some dictator speeches in my life, but nobody has gone so far as to mention someone's daughter's wedding for imposing martial law in the country.

I never expected Musharaff to explain his decision. And no, its not because he couldn't think of any good reasons - after all, you can rationalize pretty much anything - but because it was so obviously done to save his ass that any other explanation would have sounded false.

When you know reason is not going to work, what do you do? You turn to rhetoric. A speech full of impassioned and senseless vitriol proclaiming that the judiciary was standing in his way as he tried to eliminate the evil terrorists and single handedly save the nation was to be expected.

But speeches like those require fire. You do not whine that people aren't scared of you. You do not cry that your officers aren't immune from the law. And most importantly, you do not sound anything like Musharaff sounded on that day. You give a rallying cry to the country to follow you, their messiah. Any speech writer would have known as much. Mushi in his supreme arrogance decided to do away with him. After all, who cares about syntax when addressing their slaves? Seems like the proverbial pride before the fall. No?

(Counterpunch link via Amitava Kumar)
The chances of a mass public uprising against Musharaff seemed bleak to me. As long as their 'normal' lives were not affected and they got to watch the Indo - Pak series, will the masses rise out of their collective apathy? It was while being thoroughly disheartened by my own skepticism that I read this paragraph in Musharaff's guest post:

All dancing girls in bars have been banned. Such corruption has decayed our society. True Hospitality requires that we provide certain services to visiting dignitaries. From now on I will perform lap dances for visiting dignitaries myself. Some of the girls are giving me lessons on how to provide the other services as well.

Scared of what Musharaff will do to them, the men will stop frequenting the bars and will turn into a seething mass of suppressed sexual desires. In the end, libido will prevail. There will be a mutiny and inshallah democracy will be restored.
The manufacturer of a line of talking Jesus dolls gave a most astonishing reason for his decision to make a Jesus toy:

The owner of the company said he started making the doll because he was troubled by a lack of morals and ethics in toys.

Lack of morals in toys? WTF?
Musharraf has declared emergency in Pakistan, the constitution has been suspended, the chief justice has been replaced and the other judges of the supreme court have been arrested. Communications have been cut in Islamabad and all television channels except Pakistan TV have stopped transmissions.
What if Aldrin and Armstrong were unable to leave the surface of the moon? Seems like they had already planned for this worst case scenario.

Ugly gets redefined in this list of the Top 10 Worst Websites You'll Wish You Hadn't Seen.

10 Best Monster Ads.
Priceless anecdote from Edward Luce's Inspite Of The Gods: The Strange Rise Of Modern India:

[Arun] Shourie also provided an example of the farce that sometimes results from efforts to reform a system that will go to great lengths to thwart even the smallest of changes. In April 1999, India’s ministry for steel submitted a formal query to Shourie’s ministry for administrative reforms. The grave matter, which would take almost a year to resolve and would consume the valuable time of some India’s most senior officials, was about whether civil servants should be allowed to use green or red ink , as opposed to the blue or black normally used to annotate documents. After several weeks of meetings, consultations, and memoranda, the IAS officers in Shourie’s department concluded that the matter could be resolved only by officials at the bureau of printing. Another three weeks of learned deliberation ensued before the bureau of printing returned the file to the department of administrative reform, but with the recommendation that the ministry of training and personnel be consulted. It took another three weeks for the file to reach the ministry of training, since the diligent mandarins at administrative reform needed time to consider the expertly phrased deliberations of the bureau of printing. .

And so this question of state meandered for weeks and months, in meeting after meeting through ministry, before the following Solomonic compromise was struck: ‘’Initial drafting will be done in black or blue ink. Modifications in the draft at the subsequent levels may be made in green or red ink by the offices so as to distinguish the corrections made.” said the new order. Hierarchy also has to be specified: ‘’only an officer of the level of joint secretary and above may use green or red ink in rare cases [duly set out, with appropriate caveats].” As Shourie noted: ‘’A good bureaucratic solution: discretion allowed by circumscribed!” If Franz Kafka had inserted such a story into one of his novels, critics would have accused him of going too far.

(Via Retributions)
In-Your-Face-Hypocrisy story of the day:
Cambodia's prime Minister said Tuesday that his adopted daughter is a lesbian and he was severing ties with her, but he urged the country not to discriminate against gays. "My adopted daughter now has a wife. I'm quite disappointed," Hun Sen said. He made the rare revelation about his closely guarded family life during a speech at a university graduation ceremony.

[Via IE. I couldn't find a link to this story.]
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita comes up with a very interesting solution for the Israel Palestinian conflict:
Bueno de Mesquita’s answer to this dilemma, which he discussed with the former Israeli prime minister and recently elected Labor leader Ehud Barak, is a formula that guarantees mutual incentives to cooperate. “In a peaceful world, what do the Palestinians anticipate will be their main source of economic viability? Tourism. This is what their own documents say. And, of course, the Israelis make a lot of money from tourism, and that revenue is very easy to track. As a starting point requiring no trust, no mutual cooperation, I would suggest that all tourist revenue be [divided by] a fixed formula based on the current population of the region, which is roughly 40 percent Palestinian, 60 percent Israeli. The money would go automatically to each side. Now, when there is violence, tourists don’t come. So the tourist revenue is automatically responsive to the level of violence on either side for both sides. You have an accounting firm that both sides agree to, you let the U.N. do it, whatever. It’s completely self-enforcing, it requires no cooperation except the initial agreement by the Israelis that they are going to turn this part of the revenue over, on a fixed formula based on population, to some international agency, and that’s that.
Read the whole article.

(Via MR)
What Would Jesus Hate? iTunes, chocolate Mary sightings, Tom Cruise's Baby, Mil Gibson etc.

Thirty Illnesses, Sorted According To Whether Or Not You Can Eat The Victims.

Flirting is not just a way to convey your emotions to that special somebody, its also a technique commonly used by rogues use to hide their evil tendencies.

Dancing Condoms:
Zappos: Be Human

A woman has a heartwarming experience with an online shoe retailer and writes about it. Seth Godin picks up the story and so do hundreds of other people. This is what they did:

When I came home this last time, I had an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn’t received them. I was just back and not ready to deal with that, so I replied that my mom had died but that I’d send the shoes as soon as I could. They emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so I wouldn't have to take the time to do it myself. I was so touched. That’s going against corporate policy.

Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness, and if that isn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me, I don’t know what is.

My point is this: Did they do anything that one friend wouldn't do for another? No. And that is where the uniqueness of their act lies. They didn't treat their customer as yet another number in their registry who is to be exploited for all she is worth. They treated her as a friend, and got a customer for life. The amount of PR that they generated from this exercise is another story whole together.

Radiohead: Respect Your Customers

When customers are satisfied by your product, they will pay you gladly. You do not need to rip them off. This is the lesson that Radiohead has drilled into every bodies head. Their basic strategy was to ask the customer what their album was worth. You think its absolutely great and wanna pay 15 dollars? Sure, do it. Think its pure crap and doesn't deserve a penny? You can do that too.

If you thought that Radiohead's experiment was a colossal blunder, if you felt that people would never pay for something they could get for free then here are the figures: 1 Week, 1.2 Million Albums Sold, at $8 per album. No middlemen. Enough said.

Tata Indicom: Stupidity Has No Limits

Seriously Tata, can't you even do some damage control when you know that you are going to be featured in a T.V documentary exposing your abysmally shoddy service? But no. Never. Stupidity is what sets us apart you see:

The only lesson from Tata is to avoid being a dumbass, stories like these make or break a company's credibility. Millions spent on advertising are useless if you have jelly in your cranial cavity.
Jim Watson seems to have upset everybody with the statement that he was
"inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really."[Link]

Fact is, the IQ test scores of blacks and whites do vary by huge amounts. The unanswered question is whether the difference is due to genes or the environment. Even if it is the environment thats responsible, Sub Saharan Africa isn't the best place for a child to develop its intellect. If we reject Watson's claims by branding them racist, then we are disregarding facts and acting like fucking retards. Something that makes you uncomfortable, isn't necessarily false.

That being said, his argument is fundamentally flawed. What has the average African's intelligence got to do with our policies towards Africa?
Name the factor that may decide who the next American President will be? If freakonomics is to be believed, its the colour of their eyes. Blue eyed people have an unfair advantage over others:
Eye color is one trait, Kensut writes at Mijka Samora’s Reality Journal, that every president since Richard Nixon has had in common.

Today only 1 in every 6 Americans, or 16.7% of the population, has blue eyes. This percentage has been dropping in part due to immigration from non-European countries. A 2002 Loyola University study found that as many as 50% of Americans born in 1900 had blue eyes. The choice of an American with blue eyes for President may signal a voter preference for someone with deeper roots in America, vs. a relative newcomer.

I hope this prediction turns out to be false. Voters are irrational, yes but to this extent?
You and your buddies reach the highest mountain in the Alps after a treacherous, cold and exhausting climb to the top. What now? Open up your portable Jacuzzi and have a bath, silly.

For more, head over to jacuzzi.ch

(Via Kottke)
The Scientific American blog reports that a Dallas based company - Kannuu - has devised a technique that allows you to type with your thumb. They claim that typing speeds will be similar to those reached using standard keyboards.

Another one of those innumerable built for mobile devices innovations that show up every day, but I for one am looking for a PC version of this thing. Why? Because I am a two finger typist. Although I am good at it now, and am as fast as those 'proper' typists, I can't avoid looking like an idiot in the company of such masters.

Using my thumb to type is a different ball game altogether. Hours spent smsing my girl friend does have its advantages. :)
This is my 100th post. I would have never believed that I would be foolish enough to spend such copious amounts of time on something that almost nobody reads. But foolishness is fun. Having your space without anybody there to censor you is unbelievable. I can call you a nigger, insinuate that your mother is a whore, brand our PM as an ass and pretend that I know more about economics than the Planning Commission; I am my God in this domain. And you can't do shit about it. It is for this freedom that this blog will survive.
Quote of the day:
Humanity does not care for freedom. The mass of the people realize they are not up to it: what they want is being fed, led, amused, and above everything, drilled. But they do care for the phrase.

All stories of countries and people attaining freedom, are stories of a select few individuals fighting the apathy of the masses with the sheer force of their character. The majority is an indifferent bunch, they couldn't care less about issues that don't affect their daily lives. Even genocides are dismissed until it's your home that seems empty.


99 wolves rush head on into a glass wall.

Continuing its conquest of gullible minds everywhere, the bible gets translated into one more language: Pidgin.

Here is an excerpt from the book of Job:

1. In teh land of Uz wuz a man calded Job. Teh man was goodz, afraid of teh Ceiling Cat and evilz.

2. Teh man hadz seven sunz and tree doters,

3. And lots of sheepz and camlez and rinoceruseses and servnts, srsly.

4. His sunz tok turns mading cookies, and they all eated them.

5. And Job wuz liek "Oh noes! Wut if cookies were sin? Gota prey, just in cased."

Alex, avian legend and the world's best known parrot died last month at the young age of 31. Demonstrating an astounding ability to understand and speak the human language, he was the subject of study for Harvard scientists who wanted to understand his decidedly non bird-brainesque mental capabilities. He knew how to count, identify shapes, differentiate between colours and curse researchers about their repetitive experiments. His last words:
You be good. I love you.
Miss you.
From the creator of the English subtitled Indian Thriller, comes yet another masterpiece.

(Via India Uncut)
Aadisht has a beautiful post explaining why the best thing you could do for the Indian farmer is allowing him the right to sell his land.

Freakonomics on how the law of unintended consequences may be the strongest law around: How the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was drafted to give equal opportunities for disabled individuals ironically turned out to be the reason for people hiring them even less than before.
In his endless quest for different mediums and tools to express his creativity, the artist seeks the unconventional and the absurd. Some use animal carcasses while others, brass utensils. Pricasso uses his prick.
Are the paintings any good? Doesn't matter as long as you are newsworthy enough to be picked up by Reuters, it seems.

Urbanomics has a rather interesting post titled, Why the 1 lakh car is not smart economics? It argues that the costs for soceity as a whole will be much greater than the benefits for the individuals.

But I have a few issues with a couple of claims that Gulzar makes in his post. He states that with a car as cheap as this customers
will be encouraged to swap their more fuel efficient two wheelers for the status conferring, but more fuel consuming cars.

Social status does depend on scarcity. If every moma and papa is going to go around with this car then it looses its social status conferring abilities. Moreover the question is between a bike which at about 60k will be fairly high and a car that is right at the bottom of the ladder. Which will be a higher denominator for status. probably the car, but there is huge room for skeptics.

One more issue that this car will face is that if they are targeting the budget conscious customer, then that individual is not just worried about the costs of the vehicle, gasoline prices will be inevitably be considered too. A car is not going to be half as economical as a bike.

I can't be sure if these factors will be enough to counter the kind of price that has been set by the company, but one can always hope.
Aussies bashing teams off the field is as much of a bore as what they do to them on the field. The problem, is that nobody has anything credible to say anything against them. How can you diss somebody who kicks your ass every time you face him?

The answer was to discard the hate and show them some gandhigiri, desi ishtyle. And jay Ram Reddy showed us how its done.

Reddy, after winning an auction for Ponting's picture, went forward and landed a kiss on his cheek. Here is the video:

When asked for the reason he said:
He is a great captain - and our Indian culture is to kiss him.
After the screams were abated and the saliva sank in, Ponting realized what lay in store for him. The better you perform Mr. Ponting, greater will be the proof of your greatness. Mr. Reddy is already salivating.
The sun reports on the formula for perfect boobs[NSFW]. Its goes like this:
The ideal is a 45 to 55 per cent proportion — that is, the nipple sits not at the halfway mark down the breast, but about 45 per cent from the top — and the nipple is pointing slightly skyward.

All this is very good as long as nobody comes with formulas for the penis, the horror will be unbearable.

Leher Kala, has an article in IE on how parents are finding it difficult to get their toddlers into schools. She states that the reason is scarcity:

Delhi has approximately 2000 private schools, which receive an astounding 3000 plus applications per year, all competing for just 200 seats.

Umm.. sounds fishy no? 2000 private schools and 200 seats? Every school has 0.1 seats? WTF?

In a rather scary story, a child in China was diagonised as having grass growing in her heart. The explanation being offered is:
The baby must have inhaled some grass seed into her lungs. The seed, finding the environment suitable, started to grow.

Doesn’t sound true at all, grass needs sunlight to grow and lungs are not the sunniest places around. But then, my expertise in such matters is rather limited.

Head over to FT for a neat flash animation on the housing mortgage problems in the U.S. One of the simplest explanations around. (Via Urbanomics)

Want more forest cover? Fuck for it. Totally NSFW. Probably the most satisfying idea to save the enviornment. Ever. (Via The Madhat)

Posting has been very slow on the blog because my net connection was down since a week. Why? Because a bunch of monkeys ripped off the cables. Twice. Seriously.
In the current scenario when people are increasingly turning ad blind, it is imperative for companies that they devise novel methods to advertise their wares. And the single biggest tool they use these days is the media. If effectively used then you can get advertising worth millions for free. The key point is to be remarkable, to be newsworthy. To deliberately do stuff so that you catch the media’s eye.

I saw a rather wonderful example of that today. Harrod’s has hired an Egyptian cobra to protect a pair of ruby- sapphire- and diamond-encrusted Rene Caovilla sandals. Totally frivolous you say, so what? Almost every single newspaper seems to have that story. And that’s publicity worth lakhs for a few hundred bucks...

The one advice every single self help book in the world seems to have is this: Imagine you are at your funeral. All the people who were important in your life have gathered together. One by one each of them gets up to speak a few lines about you. Now what would you like to hear them say? Now consider your actions. Are they good enough to elicit paeans of praise from everybody? And then we are advised to plan our life so that people will say what we would like them to say.

But if newspaper obituaries are anything to go by, then this is one thing that people shouldn’t worry about. Nobody seems to see anything negative in anybody once they die. All their sins seem to be washed off or are just hinted at. Qualities which they never possessed are bestowed on them.

The Indian express published an obituary of Namdeo Salubai Dhasal today. It ends with these lines: To this day the imagery he introduced into Marathi poetry remains path-breaking. How about an example of his imagery? Here you go:

These great intellectuals are roaming with blazing torches in their hands/ through lanes and bylanes, chawls and chawls/ claiming that they understand the darkness in our huts, where even rats die of hunger/ they are great like horny whores/ those who don’t know that there is darkness under their arses/ can exhibit coquettish excellence with ease.

Darkness under their arses. Heh. Such imagery.

The single most frequently used tool by our media to prove a point is sensationalism. Pick up a story or a fact, knead it, buttress it, bake it until it rises up to occupy a volume much greater than the original. Let us take the example of farmer suicides which for most newspapers is damning proof of the government’s failure to provide for them.

When a headline screams: Gujarat Police admit 366 farmers’ suicides; the obvious reaction is one of dismay at the government’s apathy towards its citizens. After reading that headline most people would dismiss it with a weary sigh. But if you are one of the few who do make the effort to read it, then you come to know something totally contrary to your pre conceived notions: Only 16 of these have been classified as having committed suicide over crop failure or financial reasons.

“Government figures!” you scream. They certainly have an incentive to under report suicide figures, but even if the real figures came out, I doubt if they will be earth shatteringly terrible.

There are two myths that are repeated in all these farmers and suicides stories:

1. A huge number of farmers commit suicide. Not so. Approximately 50% of India’s populace is involved in agriculture, its obvious to expect the suicide rates to be heavily skewed towards farmers. But a look at this Chart proves that this is clearly not the case:

2. Almost all farmers take their lives for financial reasons. Probably false again. Let us have a look at the major reasons for suicide:

  • Family conflicts, domestic violence, academic failures, and unfulfilled romantic ideals.
  • Voracious appetite for high-end consumer goods spurred by moneylenders and hire-purchase schemes.
  • The wide gap between people's aspirations and actual capabilities.
  • The disintegration of traditional social support mechanisms as was prevalent in joint families.Emergence of a trend towards nuclear families, alcohol abuse, financial instability and family dysfunction.
  • A growing population of the aged.
  • Failure of crops, huge debt burdens, growing costs of cultivation, and shrinking yield. [Link]

Aren't there equal chances of a farmer taking his own life for any of the reasons mentioned above? Then why should it be the financial reason alone?

This article is not an attempt to state that farmers are well off and that they do not need any assistance. I am just trying to prove that suicides rates are one of the worst metrics for an analysis of their situation.

(The image is via Maithri)

Ever since the day I got an internet connection at my place, I have been hooked to the blogosphere. My feed reader has had about 75 feeds for the last six months. As is to be expected, a large number of them are some of the biggest blogs around. Seeing their success, I often ask myself: Is this for real? Is it possible to be a top notch blogger even if I start now? Is the kind of traffic that the John Chows and Darren Rowses boast of possible without investing a buckteload of money? And last but not the least, can blogging earn me money?

Tomorrow I will start an experiment to try and get answers to these questions. Its duration will be three months. Within these three months, my aim will be to have 100 feed subscribers, an average daily traffic of 300 – 400 visitors and monthly revenue of $100 or above.

What will I do to reach this target? For starters I will post a minimum of three posts everyday. Each of these posts will be of 200 words or more. Link exchanges will be conducted with other willing bloggers on a regular basis. If and when an idea strikes, linkbaits will be prepared too. I will also make it a habit to comment on all the major blogs that I follow. Apart from the occasional link back, they can be good sources of traffic.

Revenues for the time being will be through two contextual ad programs: Google Adsense and Kontera Text Links. The ads will be optimized for maximum revenue potential. I am deliberately leaving ads off my front page in order to make it a better reading experience for my regular readers.

My current short term target is to have an average traffic of 100 readers per day by the first week of October. I also aim to reach the target of 40 feed readers by October the 7th. No monetary targets will be set for this month as it is too short a time frame to expect anything substantial. Weekly updates will be given on my progress.

Tonight will be spent on tweaking Adsense completing my blogroll so that I am all set to roll by tomorrow. To receive updates on my blogging project, grab my feed. Wish me luck.
Proof that we learn nothing from history. Heh:


Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!
Everybody, and I mean literally everybody has been making a fuss over the study that supposedly discovered the evolutionary reason behind men liking blue and women having a pink fetish. I declined making comments on this believing that discussing anything as silly as that would be giving it undeserved mindspace. But when every newspaper is running that load of bullshit, you just have to bring your pooper scooper out.

The first question that we have to address is: Does any such gender specific preference exist? From what i have observed the answer is a no. When pink shirts became a new fashion statement, the men who adopted them were variously branded as metrosexual or gay in the west. But when that happened in India, the media - except for some parts of the English media - was largely silent. The men took to it like people take to any new trend; some liked it some didn't. My point is that if at all there is a bias, then its largely a result of social conditioning. People tell you that guys are not supposed to like pink, the media tells you that pink is girly. Who wants to stand out? Everybody would rather blend in.

Also note this quote from the study:
The Chinese students showed a marked preference for red. As red symbolises luck and happiness in China, this indicates that cultural norms are also involved.

See? It is culture that is playing the major role here. Not genes.

Now for the rest of the claims that the story makes:

“The explanation might date back to humans’ hunter-gatherer days, when women were the primary gatherers and would have benefited from an ability to home in on ripe, red fruits.”
Flawed. The study just proves that women like pink. It says nothing about their ability to detect pink. By the very same logic why do men prefer blue? Were they delegated the task of looking for blueberries?

The second supposed 'reason':
Pinks are also involved in showing changes in emotional states, and might be picked up preferentially by women. “Again, females may have honed these adaptations for their roles as care-givers and ‘empathisers’,” the researchers said.
Blushing and other instances of the skin getting a shade of pink are evident only among people with pale skin. In a person with a darker skin tone such effects won't be visible. This supposed explanation thus conveniently ignores huge parts of humanity.

Its amazing that studies such as these receive funding. Mind boggling actually.

Update: Bad Science has a post on the same topic. Here is a quote from their article:
Back in the days when ladies had a home journal (in 1918) the Ladies Home Journal wrote: “There has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

The Sunday Sentinel in 1914 told American mothers: “If you like the color note on the little one’s garments, use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention.” Some sources suggest it wasn’t until the 1940s that the modern gender associations of girly pink became universally accepted.


Disclaimer: This critique is based totally on the Times Online version of the study. You have to pay up if you want the original research paper. Even if i had the money, it would go to a hosting plan for my blog and a box of ferrero rochers for me. No supporting researchers who waste money on stuff like that.

More: Joe Paoletti on Dressing For The Sexes.
Indiaholic will be going through a few design changes. Posting will be on a hold for a while.
The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.

-Tommy Smothers
Sonia Gandhi has been ranked 6th in the Forbes list of the most powerful women in the world. While she certainly deserves her place there, the reasons that Forbes gives for her selection are amusing:
Lawmakers recently elected Gandhi's choice for president, Pratibha Patil, in a historic vote seen as a step forward for India's women and girls who endure daily discrimination.

Do your research people. Pratibha was not even considered when negotiations between the Left and the Congress began. But when the Left rejected every single candidate proposed by the Congress, Ms Patil was brought in. Why? Because the Left wouldn't dare oppose her candidature: Anybody anti Patil can very easily be branded as anti women.

She was not Sonia's choice for the post of the President, she was Sonia's way to avoid a confrontation with the left. The claim that all of this has anything to do with women's empowerment is of course a load of monkey poop.

Sonia is the among the most powerful women in the world because she runs the government of the world's biggest democracy. Thats it. Nothing more, nothing less.
All those little kids in N.Y who are looking forward to one more year of dropped erasers, and the accidental views of panties as you bent down to pick them up are in for a rude surprise: Peeping into women's clothing may soon be banned.
I doubt if better passwords would have helped stopp the hacker who published a list of 100 email accounts - along with the passwords - of government establishments. But the situation does seem appalling when the usernames are much more difficult to guess than the passwords. No? A few samples:

Username: commercial@indembassy.be
Password: india01

Username: mis
Password: misadmin

Username: amb@indianembassy.org.cn
Password: 1234

Username: rb1002p1
Password: consind1

Username: amb@indianembassy.org
Password: 1234

Username: jpsingh@drdo.com
Password: password+1

Unbelievably the Indian embassies in China and the US use the same password: 1234. Sad.

(Original story via The Indian Express.)
.. I can use a public toilet without being shit scared:

some women won't sit on the seat to relieve themselves. Rather, they hold themselves above it and pee all over the seat! Worse, they don't clean it up. I've always thought this to be the height of arrogance. They are too pure to sit on the sit but they see nothing wrong with sullying it for others who come after them.

This excerpt was from a comment on BPS Research Digest. Personally i feel that the women who peed on the seats were scared of sitting on a seat which might have been peed upon by somebody else. Such is human nature.
Awesome and disturbing. Created by Charlie White, it is the best ad in the adicolor series. Once you are done with this one, do check out the other colors in the series here. Guaranteed to elicit at least a Wow.

The Economic Naturalist Robert Frank at Google:

Interesting questions that were analyzed:

  • If seat belts are provided for kids in cars, why not in airplanes? In-flight turbulence is at least equivalent to that experienced by people driving on a highway. Then why this apparent lack of concern for infants in flights?
  • Why does a flight from Hawaii to the mainland cost more than one from the mainland to Hawaii? The distances are the same, the route is the same. The fares should be the same. No?
  • Is depending only on people's self interest a good strategy to ensure a better allocation of economic resources?
But what caught my interest the most was Robert's analysis of the teaching of economics. Students not grasping concepts is understandable when even the professor's don't know much about them, it gets disturbing.

Robert proposes a method of teaching economics using narratives and repetition. Sounds intuitive and fun. I for one am not gonna forget any of the principles that i learned, any time soon.
Rather than going for any radical changes in the site structure, Orkut has decided to just tweak the appearence a little with better icons, rounded corners and the like. Nothing special, mind you; but definitely better than the previous version.

A comparision between the two versions at flickr.
Headlines like "Internet Communities: make Modi the Next PM" make it seem as if a large survey was conducted to reach to this conclusion. But what was the story actually about? A poll in an orkut community in which 365 people participated. Newsworthy... Not.

P.S. I have an idea. Why not gang up and form a poll on who should be the next president of India. We can rig it and make sure that Cthulhu emerges as the overwhelming favourite. Now that's newsworthy. Amit will be proud.
Moral policing in India incites emotions ranging from bewilderment to disgust. At times, even jealousy at the relative freedom that the citizens of the west enjoy. No more. Proof that human insanity is distributed equally all over the globe:

Atlanta considers banning baggy pants: Convinced that sagging pants are an "epidemic" that is becoming a "major concern" around the country, city councilman C.T. Martin has sponsored this rather absurd legislation. Apart from boxer shorts and thongs, bra straps will probably be banned too. Violation ofany of these laws will result in strict fines. Apparently they are not the first to think up something like this:
Earlier this year, the town council in Delcambre, La., passed an ordinance that carries a fine of up to $500 or six months in jail for exposing underwear in public. Several other municipalities and parish governments in Louisiana have enacted similar laws in recent months.

Feel free to sell guns, but dildos? Never.
: Blowing up people's heads may be a pretty reasonable thing to do, but a blowjob? Good God No.

And its not just evil dirty dildos that these paternalistic lawmakers have saved the state from, they have banned casinos, lotteries and betting parlours too. Utopia, no?

(Stories via digg)
Camlin permanent markers are the secret to a long life. Applicable only if you are the husband. Brilliant.

Embedded Video

On the 15th, Anwar Jahan Zuberi, VC of Calicut University, hoisted the national flag at the University Administrative Block. But something was amiss: the tri colour was the wrong way up. This error can result in two scenarios:
  1. Fiction: An embarrassed  VC orders the flag to be hoisted as it should be. Followed by a little apology to all present for the goof up. The end.
  2. Reality: The mistake is noted, the corrections are made. The end? Not so. The members of the Kerala Students Union see an opportunity to add a political twist to the proceedings. A complaint is promptly registered and the police file a case against the authorities under the absurd Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act. Not to be outdone, the Muslim Youth league shoots of a letter to the Governor demanding action against the University Registrar.
Another opportunity to practice our very own desi brand of patriotism. As matters of real importance very rarely penetrate the formidable walls of our collective apathy, we assuage our consciences by protecting and nurturing meaningless symbols and irrelevant customs. Why? Because they conveniently allow us to pretend to do something while doing nothing.

(Source: Hindustan Times)
Scott Adams points to an article which takes a new step forward in stating the obvious:
The smarter you are the less chicks you get to lay.

The more i think about it, what troubles me is not the lack of opportunities for born geniuses like me; what gets to my nerves is the relative lack of trouble that smarter women face. True, for getting the man of their dreams they may have to work on that hour glass figure or have plans to get rid of those braces. But for pure unadulterated sex they just need lower their standards. Men will swarm to them.

Sigh. The injustice of it all. Why oh why do they get to choose? Just because we have more numbers and hence they become a scarce commodity? If the answer is yes, then Babu Bajrangi and me may have a common cause now.
As far as I am concerned, children hanging by penises is child pornography. What is the moral police doing in the face of such blatant pederasty? Oh the horror!

Embedded Video

When questioned about the measures being taken to provide relief to the victims of landslides in Darjeeling, Minister of Relief and Rehabilitation Mortaza Hussain responded that the affected people will be provided with lungis and dhotis along with other relief materials.

Santa Chetri the MLA from Kurseong protested:

The people of the hills do not wear dhoti or lungi, they wear trousers.
But Hussain remained adamant:
According to standard practice, we provide only dhoti and lungi for those who have been affected by a natural calamity. We are bound by rules.
Rules regarding dhotis and lungis? Maybe I am just being cynical but in all probability any such rule if at all it exists is a result of a comfortable little deal between dhoti manufacturers and politicians. You scratch my back, i scratch yours.
11 year old Bianca Ryan performing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" by Jennifer Holliday in the debut season of America's Got Talent. Absolutely magnificient voice. A Prodigy. Unbelievable stuff. I am running short of adjectives. WOW.


As if dealing with their own addiction to the bottle was not bad enough, policemen now have to deal with alcoholic rats. Pity pity.

P.S. The first link is kinda old, from 2005 actually. I couldn't find any such stories for this year.
Erotic Cakes. My mind fills up with conversations like these:
Mumma mumma lets have some pussy on my birthday.
Here is one their advertisements:

(via the new shelton wet/dry)
Giving proof of the fact that church leaders are severely affected by a case of chronic ennui, they issue the "10 Commandments For Drivers." It starts of with:
You shall not kill.
Considering the fact that people break laws more often when they are there to be broken, I wonder if this list of commandments will not have the opposite effect of people driving rashly just to prove that they can breaking the Church's laws and not give a damn about it?

Moreover it is not necessary to make it a list of 10. Please understand. If you have nothing to say, then say nothing. "No.3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events." is such a space filler. Pah! Seems more like a lily livered suggestion than a roaring commandment. Big time disappointment. Moses was better.
Microsoft unveils a revolutionary new interface. Go ahead and watch it Now. Especially look out for the parts where data is transferred between a camera and a cellphone.
Run over and read the comments on this post.

The best one?
u have a very sexy figger.ur smile is very good for health.&u take very simle dress in these photo but u lokking very good
Providing irrefutable proof that animals are not half as dumb as we make them out to be, they have finally figured out the two essential qualities that every creature should posses to get by in this world:
  • The ability to communicate with people.
  • The realization that truth is an inconvenient commodity and that if you want to be successful then the ability to lie is almost a pre condition. (Read the whole article.) Here are the relevant parts:
    Their trainers believe they uncovered instances where the two gorillas were economical with the truth. In one example, Koko broke a toy cat, and then signed to indicate that the breakage had been caused by one of her trainers. In another episode, Michael ripped a jacket belonging to a trainer and, when asked who was responsible for the incident, signed "Koko". When the trainer expressed some scepticism, Michael appeared to change his mind, and indicated that Dr Patterson was actually to blame, before finally confessing.
    And also:
    At feeding time, each elephant was given a big bundle of hay. Morris noticed that a couple of the elephants tended to eat their own hay quickly, sidle up to their slower-eating companions, and then start swinging their trunks from side to side in a seemingly aimless way. Morris's repeated observations suggested that this apparently innocent behaviour masked a duplicitous intent. Once the trunk-swinging elephants were sufficiently close to another elephant, they would grab some of the uneaten hay, and quickly gobble it up.
Expect news articles with headlines that scream:

Mahout sues elephant for breach of trust.
The elephant was allegedly offering its services to another Mahout for a few sugarcane sticks.

Here is the video of the elephant that practices every night to err, perfect his diction:
The word democracy conjures up visions of a government run by representatives who enjoy the support of the majority. Lets have a look at the situation in India. The voter turnout in most elections is close to the 60% mark. And even these votes are distributed among a large number of parties. The result is a surprisingly low percentage of votes for the person who is eventually elected. How low exactly? Here is the shocker:

99 per cent of members of legislatures have got in with a minority vote, 60 per cent of them with a minority of less than 30 per cent.
-Arun Shourie in The Parliamentary System.

30% of the votes out of 60% that voted constitutes a majority? I don't think so.

Is there a way out? As long as we allow our votes to be divided among parties which have nothing to separate them except their casteist or communalist affiliations, it is highly improbable. While we can't take away people's freedom to form political parties or their right to vote for people that they want to, the situation is not hopeless.

One of the best things that we can do would be to make voting compulsory.Why? The advantages are twofold:
  • 40% of the populace can skew the results to a very large extent. Compulsory voting will ensure that we get a more accurate view about what the public's opinion really is.
  • Moreover i believe that this will help reduce casteism and communalism in politics. How? Consider the Yadav who wants somebody from his caste to rule the state: He will go out and make sure that he votes for that person, the RSS fanatic will make sure that he votes for Shiv Sena, similarly the disillusioned Dalit will probably go out and vote for the BSP; it is the person who has no such explicit desires who is least likely to take the trouble to vote. This particular voter is also most likely to vote on economic issues because as we have seen earlier he has no other ulterior motives.
Now to the all important question. Why do we need to make voting compulsory? Why do we need to force people to do some thing that's for their own good? I suspect that the answer to this question for a very large number of people would be disillusionment with the political process. They believe that every single politician is a lout and is not worthy of being elected. Which brings us to the even more important question: Why don't we have the choice to express that during the elections? Why can't we vote for nobody? It's high time that the negative vote was an option, ideally with an accompanying legislation to the effect that if the majority votes negative then that particular constituency should have elections again.

Any suggestions would be most welcome. If i find them good enough then chances are that I will incorporate them in my post.
I hereby promise that if I have access to the internet then I will make sure that this blog gets a post every single day. Ya you heard that right. Every single day. I have been procrastinating for way too long. High time i did something fruitful. I also plan to earn a little something from this blog. My target is 100$ per month one month from this day. If the target looks too difficult from just one blog then i propose to start a few new ones too. Bless me.
Presidential candidate John Edwards recently spent 400$ to look like that:

Birju Nai does better than that at 20Rs. What are you grinning about? You just paid 835 times more than that silly cut's value.

(Source: The Politico via Instapundit)

Saw this while i was crawling along the Blogosphere. Have a look at the bottom of the ad. It clearly states that this is a public service ad. This seems to be new. It was definitely not there before the recent update.
eMarketer informs us that Women outnumber men online. Anybody who has been into social networking for more than a week wouldn't have been surprised. You have droves upon droves of horribly bored, self righteous, arrogant, pseudo-profile creating girls there. And they dominate the market totally. It is maybe the girly thing to do. Go out and network. Talk trash. Participate in intellectual discussions about what you propose to do in Gandhiji ki dhoti. And loads of other mind racking puzzles. Including one where you prefix "In the bed" before your daily fortune's prophecy.

Considering that porn is no longer the most happening thing in Web 2.0 it was high time that the fairer sex took over.

Hopefully they will take the major part of the blame for the time that the world spends wilfing.
(link via Indiauncut.)

Yup. But is that girl the Titanic? Is that the implication?
At least they knew how to name themselves. They were everything they said they were.

  • National: Hell, they ruled over the whole country.Thats national right?
  • Democratic: A perpetual reminder of the fact that the reason for all your misery is well, You.
  • Alliance: Well they were allied in the common cause of draining whatever patience was left in you.
Now sample the UPA:
  • United: Pah
  • Progressive: You didn't expect that did you?
  • Alliance: Ya maybe. Power lust may still help them get through the five years.
Brilliant commercial from the folks at Nike.

IndiaUncut points me to an article in the Times of India which tells the story of how not so innocent minds are trained to perfect the art of copying in exams. I wonder why they go to all that trouble? I understand that children are interested in learning all that they can about this oh-so-very-necessary skill but why damage your reputation when there is an easier way out of this mess?

The solution that i advocate is not something that I cooked up now. It has been tried and tested to great success in a certain school. For the purposes of this post lets call the school 'The Turbaned Flower.' (He who can see, please do that.)

Ya now it so happens that 'The Turbaned Flower' while having a bunch of students excellent at extra curricular activities, did not have many academically brilliant students in its ranks. Now any self respecting school should have at least a 100% passing rate for its students in the SSC Boards. It was all about reputation. Anything below 100% was just not done. But with the kind of students that the current batch had, anything above 90% looked quite impossible.

So off goes the school's trustee to meet the management of the school which was going to be the center for the Board exams. After a little persuasion and not so little amounts of money, the management of the school agreed to provide Guide Books to all the students of "The Turbaned Flower."

Examination time came. Everything went as planned. People took due care not to score 100/100. Everybody passed. The students were jubilant. The management was ecstatic. The parents were stunned. And all was right with the world.
Woke up to see Papa getting ready to leave for Goa. He was supposed to attend a congregation of fathers from almost all the churches which are a part of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. Amen to that.

Mornings and lethargy are synonymous for me. I find it a chore to drag myself out of my bed. And so being incapable (by choice) of doing anything productive i was just walking around the house, occasionally giving the walls a meaningful stare. Then finally Papa was all set to leave. I asked him how he proposed to reach the railway station and he said that he would probably catch a bus. Cool I said and asked him if I should get a rick to take him to the bus stand. Mom was there and on hearing my suggestion, she crinkled her forehead, frowned and said, "Do you have any clue how long you will take if you go to fetch a rick?". Ouch. I may be slow but this was casting too great an aspersion on my ability to fetch a rick. But hey if they don't want it then why force it upon them?

Mummy and Papa started discussing how he was gonna reach the bus stand. After much deliberations over God knows what, they decided that he will catch a rick. Ahem, did anyone mention that earlier? I told dad that "Hey so what was it that i suggested earlier?" He had one of his nervous smiles ready, its not nervous actually its almost shy and ya he looks kinda cute with that smile on, you have to see it to get an idea what its like. Ya so where was I? Ya he gave one of those disarming smiles of his and just said' "Ya."

Dad and Grandpa eventually walked the whole distance. Much faster than the rick i could have called over of course.
Yesterday I watched Umrao Jaan. This was in continuing with my tradition of watching every movie only after every man, woman, their dog and if its people from the cow belt then their cow too has watched it. Needless to say the movie was a big bore. Lets get down to lists again:
  • Aishwarya sounded asthmatic.
  • Abhishek sounded bored. (obviously)
  • Nobody had a clue why they were doing this movie.
  • The songs were fabulous; for the people who own stocks of companies that make pills for headaches. Sigh. Wish i had watched this earlier then i could have tracked the stock markets and maybe could have earned a quick buck.
Now that this part is settled lets get down to the real reason why i started writing this post. After every bad movie that i see I have to rant and rave about that to as many people as possible. Neha was not an option as she was my comrade in arms in passing snide remarks throughout the movie. So then it had to be Maddy. She said that i was a prejudiced git. No she didn't use those words but that was the gist. She said that I was heavily prejudiced in favour of international cinema. And she finally concluded that just because Indian cinema doesn't have the technological brilliance of our western counterparts we shouldn't ridicule them.

That brings me to a very important point. When we watch a movie are we trying to seek more than mere entertainment? Do factors like sympathy play a part in how good a movie is in our eyes? Does the fact that a movie has the hottest pair in tinseltown make it any better? Are we objective when we watch a movie or are we subject to too many factors that bear little or no connection to the actual matter?

Or am i just asking too many questions? Because a study shows that people think more when sleeping than when they are watching TV...

God i will have to stop my rambling.
Recently Neha had the misfortune to step on a poor insect. It promptly showed her that trampling people without their permission is just not done. And it was one smart insect if you ask me: it chose to voice its protest not through its own feeble buzzing but through Neha's belligerent bellowing. It managed to bite/sting her in such a way that to this day we have not been able to find a single clue as to where exactly did it inflict the wound. Neha shows me a mark to prove that I am wrong.....

But to continue with our story, Neha showed why she was competing against the Niagara falls for the maximum quantity of water that can pass through any point in space in a given period of time. And her exemplary performance convinced me that Niagara was just not competition. She let some of that salty water fall on my hands and when she hit me - don't ask why, its a mystical ritual - ya so when she hit me, water actually splashed all over my face. Men fortunate/unfortunate enough not to have water fountains as sisters will never understand what happened but then thats a minority. If not a sister then a girlfriend can always fill in.

All this resulted in deep pain for me: I had to carry her around and this resulted in unbearable agony to my 17 year old - performing like a 70 year old - back.

Moral: Insects are bad. Bad for your sister and more importantly bad for your back.

Originally uploaded by Khalid .
WTF? The first two letters mean what the...