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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.