Tuesday, April 30, 2013

~ Best parallel parking ~

Sorry, I don't mean to offend any women here. But this video speaks volumes about parallel parking.

You have to give it to her, that she never gave up even if it took about 30 mins to park.

Via How do you parallel park?

Monday, April 29, 2013

~ Take a walk ~

Everyone knows walking is good for health. But how many of us {urban population} walk these days? I have seen people around me, including myself, dependent on 2 wheelers even for a 5 minute walk to the local kirana store.

Nilofer Merchant's has a very interesting TED talk - Got a meeting, take a walk. As she articulates the fact that, "Sitting is the smoking of our generation". We sit for an average of about 9.5 hours & sleep for about 7.5 hours i.e. Sitting > Sleeping {At least those with a desk job, this holds true!}.

Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health: Next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it into a "walking meeting" -- and let ideas flow while you walk and talk. 

~ Oil, Nations & Corporations ~

Image courtesy: FIFP

Spent my Sunday evening watching the 4 part series - Secret of Seven Sisters, by Al Jazeera. The documentary showcases how the so called Seven Sisters came into existence to explore and control Black Gold across various continents under different political regimes. 

The pact by Seven Sisters which influences the foreign policies of various nations is not an eye-opener. When many of the recent wars are fought in the pretext of human rights, terrorism, WMDs, etc; but the main reason could be attributed for controlling the stake of oil reserves among - US, UK, France, Russia, China, the UN permanent members to the Security Council. 

The documentary highlights the following about the Oil Corporations:

  • How the tribes in the Middle East were fooled by them for many years by paying meagre sum for oil extraction
  • How Dictators, Kings, Political Leaders are influenced and used to keep their commercial interests going
  • Many of the oppressing regimes have had blessing of the UNSC permanent members which favoured the Oil Corps
  • French Oil Corps have a lot of stake in oil exploration in Africa
  • They looted many of the African nations until each country began nationalizing their natural resources
  • The money never really benefited the people of the land. Rather it helped the Oil Corps get rich & in turn compensated the Kings, Dictators, Political & Militant Leaders for their support
  • The ecological habitats have been destroyed in some places by these Oil Corps
  • Sanctions over Libya was removed once Gaddafi paid compensation for the Lockerbie bombing of about $2.7 billion. Seriously? Money cannot compensate the loss of people lives here. By paying money made out of oil sales, Gaddafi couldn't alter his karma. He eventually was lynched by his own people during the uprising.
  • Saddam was as - friend, enemy, oppressor - over the years of his rule of Iraq by UNSC permanent members
  • Even the most recent catastrophe in the Gulf-of-Mexico where BP has a lot to answer
As the now dead Libyan Minister said,"There are no friends or enemies. Everyone has their interests when it comes to dealing with Oil producing nations. It's a win-win situation for everyone".

People might be skeptical of the documentary made by Al Jazeera channel, which is based out of Qatar. I feel majority of the media is controlled these days. On the contrary the programme offers a lot of different views on how the new world order is rising up to take on the Seven Sisters in the 21st century.

India & China would be a major factor as they want to meet the growing needs  of energy for 2 billion people. Both the nations have been warming up to Iran for oil despite the US sanctions in place.

One of the reasons why I like Elon Musk's vision of alternative energy resources & expansion of human settlement beyond Earth.

H/T: Naveen, thanks for the sharing the documentary.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

~ Connectivity ~

~ Karnataka State Highway ~

Am not talking about internet connectivity. Am talking about offline, real world connectivity - Roads. Yes, you read it right - Roads. Roads help region(s) progress & prosper with the rest of the country or world. 

We the Citi-zens keep complaining about road conditions. I agree that we are entitled to do so, as we pay our taxes year-on-year. What about those who are living in villages or semi-urban areas, have you given a thought about them.

~ Kerala / Karnataka Border ~

I have travelled extensively by Road across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and I feel the three states fair well in the terms of connectivity to remote areas. Over the last couple of months have heard stories from people or read articles about Roads & how it changes lives.

First story was from a friend who spent time living with a family during his travel. The family originally from a farming background faced a lot of hardship earlier. Currently, the family is happy with a highway cutting through their fields. They didn't mind giving a piece of their land, for a token price, for betterment of lives all around. They have prospered well & leading a decent life.

Second story was from my colleague who did his studies from Sikkim. As another colleague was travelling to Gangtok earlier this month, this colleague was giving him travel tips. I was surprised to hear that there is ONLY one main road which connects Sikkim with rest of the country and that is via Silliguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong. Unfortunately, the only road was affected very badly during the Sikkim earthquake and people had to face a lot of hardship. The update being, Sikkim will soon have their first civilan airport. 

Yesterday I read an headline which stated 
A 28-year-old bureaucrat takes a different road to reach the people’s heart
Definitely, Armstrong Pame is a harbinger of change who has brought happiness to those living in Tousem. The idiom, "It takes one to know one" fits very well here. 

The 2009 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer was moved by the plight of people when he saw how they had to trudge for five hours by first crossing a river and then a stretch that can by no stretch of imagination be called a road to reach Tamenglong just 50 km away.
"After writing my IAS exam, I came to Tamenglong in 2007. Since I had seen hardship in my childhood, I decided to visit 31 villages of Manipur on foot to see how the people live," said Pame.
"In 2012, I became SDM of Tousem. I traveled to many villages and saw how people were carrying sacks of rice on their backs, walking for hours, and patients being taken on makeshift bamboo stretchers due to the non-availability of motorable roads. When I asked villagers what they wanted me to do for them, their only wish was for a road," he said.

Indeed he is the miracle man for having understood the basic problem of people & providing solution for the same. Another Statesman whom I can recall is Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A true visionary, who knew how to collectively take the country forward than just one specific region or state. Am referring to GQ | Golden Quadrilateral project which connects 4 metros & major cities along the route in an integrated manner. In January 2012, the GQ was officially announced as complete. 

The largest highway project in India and the fifth longest in the world, it is the first phase of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP), and consists of building 5,846 km (3,633 mi) four/six lane express highways at a cost of 600 billion (US$11 billion). The project was launched in 2001 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee under the NDA government, and was planned to complete in January, 2012. {Wiki}
How I wish the political class showed some common sense & interest in solving basic problems like roads, sanitation, drinking water, education, etc for everyone above everything else. 

I hope people of my state - Karnataka, will caste their vote in a sensible manner for a right candidate over a party.

~ Film Photography ~

Those who have done film photography, would enjoy this short documentary. The documentary is about Film Photography & Printing by Billy Mork, a Singapore based photographer, who was an art director and an architect eventually moved to his passionate domain of film photography. The short film has been shot by Duong Thai Anh.

Enjoy it!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

~ Sugar man ~

In the afternoon I saw this movie titled 'Searching for Sugarman' & I was blown by it. A beautiful movie about an Artist who was not only forgotten by everyone but he chose to move with his life. Until two people Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman & Craig Bartholomew Strydom decided to find out more about Rodriguez.

The movie seems like a fairytale than anything else. We all have so much to learn from Rodriguez. I don't think any Artist in the current era who stature is compared to being Elvis of South Africa, can lead such an humble lifestyle.

If you love music then watch this movie. No other movie on a band or musician comes close to this one. After watching this one, if you feel there is something better than this then do let me know.

I wanted to dedicate my 400th post of this blog to Arsenal, the EPL club. But life, as always, throws surprises at you & you are left wondering what to do with it. That's how Sugar Man replaced the Gunner dedication post.


Not only did he skip the Oscar ceremony – he was asleep when he won. Searching for Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul begged Rodriguez to attend the Oscars, but he refused, feeling it would take the attention away from the filmmakers. "We also just came back from South Africa and I was tired," Rodriguez says. "I was asleep when it won, but my daughter Sandra called to tell me. I don't have TV service anyway." 
...giving away most of it. 
Rodriguez has lived in the same modest Detroit house for over 40 years. He has no car, computer or even a television. His daughter Regan forced him to get a cellphone a few years ago because she grew weary of driving around the neighborhood trying to track him down. "He lives a very Spartan life," says Regan. "I almost want to call it Amish. He once told me there's three basic needs – food, clothing and shelter. Once you get down to that level, everything else is icing." 
 He plans on giving much of his money to his three daughters and some old friends. "That's his philosophy," says Regan. "He takes great pleasure in giving it away, especially to people that supported him when he wasn't a big commercial success. I do really wish he'd spend some of the money on himself, though."
 Read more: Rollingstone 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

~ War for Water ~

Am not sure who the F*$k should be blamed for this - Will Bangalore have to be evacuated by 2023?
“The Government of Karnataka will have to evacuate half of Bangalore in the next ten years, due to water scarcity, contamination of water and diseases.”
Bangaloreans would do well not to dismiss Balasubramanian’s peep into the future as an exaggeration of a worried mind. It is corroborated by the lab results at the Public Health Institute, and the Department of Mines and Geology of the Karnataka government. The results reveal that 52 per cent of the borewell water, and 59 per cent of tap water in Bangalore, is not potable and contain 8.4 per cent and 19 per cent E.coli bacteria respectively.
The reason: the groundwater in at least half of Bangalore is contaminated with sewage water. In 1790, a British captain had described Bangalore as the land of a thousand lakes. Today less than 200 of those 1000 lakes remain and are no more than sewage tanks. The sewage water contaminates the ground water and percolates into the borewells.

Absolutely lack of town/city planning coupled with disorganised growth across various parts has changed the face of Bangalore. What was once known as 'Garden City' or Pensioners' Paradise has turned into a dysfunctional metropolis, due to the lack of vision & concern for the city by the those who are elected to govern.

There are lot of woes which citizens of Bangalore are facing. After the being held for ransom at the hands of Land & Garbage Mafias, we will see the rise of Water Mafia. We are seeing Apartment mushrooming across the new areas of Bangalore - Marathalli, Sarjapur, Whitefield, Electronic City, Kanakapura Road, Tumkur Road, Hebbal, North Bangalore, Outer Ring Road - & also some of the builders are taking over factories or mills and converting them into townships - Mantri Mall, Brigade Gateway. I have always wondered how can the Real Estate Developers provide water for so many families who form the community in such town ships.

For the purpose of statistics, if we assume that an apartment has 3 members. Then the average water flushed = 9 times {3 per person} with 3 lts flush tanks = 27 lts. Now assume that an average township would have about 500 Apts, then the water being flushed per day equates to 13500 lts. Add to this we have 4 Wheelers which are on rise across India & on a average 5000 cars are washed everyday sending  3,75,000 litres of water down the drain.

The place I live in is better off with Cauvery water being provided on alternate days. Am sure that there are many of them living in layouts, apartments, town-ships & gated communities who are all dependent on ground water for sustenance, as BWSSB does not provide water. That's where the Water Mafia steps in. They charge anywhere between 500-800 INR {$10-$16} per tanker depending on where you live in Bangalore. Even if BWSSB aspire to do QUENCH the thirst of 8 million inhabitants, they simply cannot. Due to the fact that Karnataka hasn't had a good monsoon last year & the rivers - Arkavathi, Hemavathy, Shimsha, Cauvery - which are responsible for feeding Bangaloreans are in dire straits this year.

Even the Water Mafia will not be able to supply for long, as the ground water levels are depleting rapidly as everyone is sucking from the same water-table. Not sure how many {people living here & those governing the boards} of us really worry or care to think about such crisis looming over our future. This is definitely a CAUTION considering the fact that rivers are National resources which need to be shared amongst different States. Going by Karnataka's history w.r.t water sharing with our neighbouring States; except for Goa, we have had issues with the remaining states { Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala } at one point or another. As Maharashtra is already reeling under severe draught & according to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Center, the forecast for KA doesn't look good.

Am all for holistic planing & growth of the City or the State or the Country. If we do not have a sense of how to utilize natural resources & sustain them or If the Government cannot encourage businesses to operate from various parts of the state than just the capital of a State then who else can be blamed for this but us.

Evacuation might not happen, but War for Water amongst ourselves is a possibility in the years ahead. Use it responsibly. Educate your family, friends, colleagues, et al and conserve water.

Been reading many articles on water for quite sometime, if you have time then do go through them
Bangalore Water Supply & Source BWWSB | Aabid Surti: The painter who catches every drop The Alternative| Help us save water, pleads Bangalore Water Supply & Sewerage Board TOI | Bangalore heading for a water crisis in May TOI | Where will the water go? Caravan | Water Crisis Boston Globe | Paani. Water needs an integrated approach as we have passed the danger mark Shekhar Kapur | Rain or Not, India is falling short of drinking water NYT | Delhi groundwater may run dry in 3-5 yrs: Study TOI | All construction activity comes to a halt in Gurgaon The Hindu | Massive March for Yamuna River Nears Delhi NYT India | 15,260 cr given for improvement of clean, drinking water facilities Tweet The Hindu | Mapping villages with water scarcity Deccan Herald | Urban Floods: Case study of Bangalore IISC

~ Progressive world ~

Problems/challenges are plenty. You just gotta pick your battles & get better at them. 

Collaborative thinking across the globe is bringing people together to solve problems that just doesn't limit to one's surrounding. Tomorrow's world is about how we think & act, to achieve a greater good than innovating to make couple of companies grow rich & dictate. 

A very interesting episode by BBC Horizon. Do watch it. Thanks Naveen for the recommendation.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

~ Go Vote! ~

Finally a video which summarises my thoughts { & probably others too} very well. The video nails all the points. Stop voting for parties whose ideologies are - religion, caste, free supply, dynasty - oriented. Time for some movement from WE THE PEOPLE. Doesn't matter if these unknown candidates win or loose, at least the corrupt ones will get a taste of citizens.

Let us put a fight against the corrupt ones. Do your bit, know your candidate & VOTE!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

~ Personal robotics ~

Imagine, when you can train your robots & let it guard your home. That would be brilliant ain't it? We aren't very far from that day. 

This TED talk looks more like a infomercial, of sorts, for the company which has built the robot - Romo. However, it offers a glimpse for the ideas or use-cases that one can come up with.

It would be definitely worthy of building an similar Android powered robot - Andro, just because it is more economical. Who would want to buy an expen$ive phone & use it as Romo?  :P

Saturday, April 06, 2013

~ Knowledge never goes obsolete ~

In the era of Information Age where information is available at your finger tips. Adoption of mobile applications, by metropolitans, for carrying out daily chores has fueled the growth of Smartphones in the last 5 years. Many of us, at some point of time, cannot recall a person or place or information without reaching out to our smartphones. Feel that by constant leveraging of devices, we are getting dumb on some of the basic functions in offline world. Didn't know about Hippocampus region existed in our brains and was responsible for memory & spatial navigation.

Knowledge never goes obsolete. As we embrace new technologies for convenience, do  keep learning & don't outsource it to an app & become an handicap. An interesting talk by Ken Jennings: Watson, Jeopardy and me, the obsolete know-it-all 

Friday, April 05, 2013

~ Leadership ~

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” — Jim Rohn

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

~ Best Coin Ever Spent ~

There are mindless flash mobs & then there is this one. Beautiful! 

Watch out for this girl who climbs the lamp post & enjoys the show :)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

~ Unholy Nexus ~

Unholy nexus of sports, politicians & drug dealers. It would be a open and shut case if someone is caught with drugs, irrespective of the quantity.

Instead in India, if you belong to the high & mighty and well connected then the case could get dragged over weeks without even a charge or arrest. The Punjab police are still trying there level best to obtain hair & blood sample of the Vijender Sign, who won middleweight bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, who has been alleged for consuming heroin with Ram Sign his sparring partner.

So me & a colleague computed the street price of Heroin according to the media reports which pegs 26Kg at 130 Cr. Here is a breakdown of the Heroin prices

25kgs = 125 Cr
1000g = 4Cr
100g  = 40 lakhs
10g = 4 lakhs
1g = 40000
*All prices are in INR.

On a serious note read how Punjab is battling with drug crisis Firstpost| What hit this land of plenty? Tehelka | Drug addiction blights the Indian state of Punjab BBC | Indian State Finds Itself in Tight Grip of Addiction NYT | Drug nexus in Goa

~ Equality ~

Irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, religion or culture we are equal. Personal dignity is a foundation of human civilization - Maja Wolna

Monday, April 01, 2013

~ Have you been fooled today? ~

Happy fools day :)

What started off as fun couple of years ago to trick people into believing it was real seems to have lost its meaning today. Am talking about Google's plan to use the April 1st to get free publicity. Earlier they used to play a prank on product which was fictional. Today they seem to have invested a lot of $$$ in making videos on many of their existing products to get more eyeballs. Epic fail!

If you haven't seen them all, then check them out 2013 | 2012