December 22, 2010

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

How odd it sounds to say that. Really ! Are we living in the 21st century or what !!!

Is this still the Middle Age? Say out loud — The King of Saudi Arab. What an anachronism !!!

I read today that the said "king" of SA is getting out of hospital in New York !

And it occurred to me how there's this civilizational clash going on between the West and the Muslim nations ... Muslims would generally have a very low opinion about the "moral" values of the West and would be lightning fast in criticizing them but when it comes to getting medical care, I guess they don't mind when the King goes on a little jaunt to the Big Apple to get his slipped discs set right or a few broken bones joined back ...

Oh well, people tend to not realize when they are being hypocritical ... that's human nature.

December 19, 2010

A Double Century — At Last

Well, it has got nothing whatsoever to do with the celebrated Little Master. It's only a personal milestone ... this is my 200th blog post for this year ...

Oh well, that definitely calls for some celebration !!!

Not that quantity signifies quality — not by any stretch of the imagination !!!

But I am happy with my 'perseverance' since I am usually lazy and what not ...

And this is far from a money-spinning endeavor.

What a journey this year has been ... but that calls for a separate post !

India's Cryogenic Travails

It seems India is yet to perfect its cryogenic engine powered satellite launch vehicle ... today, one more launch was postponed. India is of course yet to become self-reliant in this technology either ... still using Russia supplied engines.

I guess India is still on a learning curve when it comes to all this complex technology which is a combination of so much ... material science to electronics and what not ...

My hats off of course to the boffins of ISRO who have achieved so much in spite of the fact of working in an organization that is "owned" by the Government of India.

December 17, 2010

Bidding Adieu to Larry King Live

I must confess I have wasted too many hours sitting in front of the TV and many hundreds of those hours might have been spent watching Larry King Live.

Well, the critics will all be dissecting Larry's career and show and what not. I think I mostly enjoyed watching people who are at the top of their game in various professions. How else would I have managed to meet people as diverse as Michelle Obama to Seth Shostak.

So, my thanks to Larry for bringing all these achievers to my drawing room at various points of my life. Watching successful people has an effect that is mostly beneficial. It somehow makes you want to achieve something in your own life. So, a positive influence after all.

Of course, one can criticize the sense of priority of our society where people who have a "public" sort of career tend to get the lion's share of publicity. So, you have movie stars and music stars holding forth on every topic under the sun. Perhaps, that reflects the escapist tendency of most humans who want entertainment on TV rather than something really hard ... like science.

How many people after all would be interested in a TV show that had on its show scientists and engineers and doctors every day and every week and for months and years on end. People would quickly tire of discussions about various approaches being tried to battle cancer, or discussion about the next steps in space exploration, or a discussion about how to fight climate change, etc.

I remember Larry King once saying that Angelina Jolie was one of the most intelligent people he had ever met ... and I remember thinking that then perhaps Larry has not met that many intelligent people ...

December 14, 2010

Beginnings and Endings

I was thnking about Liz Hurley's marriage with Arun Nayar coming to an end.

On the other hand, Prince William seems to be on track to keep his promise to his girlfriend Kate Middleton and marry her.

So, some things are ending and others are beginning.

And then I hear just now about the death of Richard Holbrooke — that's an ending as well ... albeit in a completely different category and of a completely different kind.

December 13, 2010

Ride Like Royalty — as per MSN

1=22021#2">http://editorial.autos.msn.com/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=1167436&icid=autos_0122>1=22021#2

The options:
  • Nissan Acura
  • Ford Taurus
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • Infiniti G37 Journey
  • Lexus ES 350
  • Lincoln MKZ
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited
  • Toyota Avalon Limited
  • Volkswagen CC 2.0L

The Safest Cars in America — according to msn

1=22025#2">http://editorial.autos.msn.com/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=1167463&icid=autos_0120>1=22025#2

  • Ford Fiesta
  • Honda Civic
  • Subaru Forester
  • Hyundai Sonana
  • Volvo XC60
  • Buick LaCrosse
  • BMW 5-Series
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Volkswagen Jetta

Peter Orszag

I am a bit surprised to hear about Peter Orszag joining Citi ...

http://www.banktech.com/articles/228800147?cid=nl_bnk_daily

I am not sure why this is not a bigger news than it is ...

I guess this is all a normal part of the usual Washington revolving doors or musical chairs game ...

December 11, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards

Her death is quite shocking to hear.
Reminded me of others who have died over the years.
Reminded of my mortality as well. Especially because it was 'cancer.'
The days of our lives are numbered. As Elizabeth said.
Life and death. So sudden!
What a contrast. More than day and night.
What to do. An unsolvable mystery.
A one way journey ... no turning back, no returning.
All of us will be dead as well ... soon enough. The span of a human lifetime is not much in the life of the universe ... although it appears to be quite long within its own framework.
Nature rules ...

December 01, 2010

News please

Well, here's one of my occasional news round-ups of the day ... just a random collection today's news headlines that caught my fancy for some reason or the other ... oh, so it's my 'editorial judgment' and I am responsible for it, okay!!! So, don't hyperventilate please, ye reader, if you are not in agreement with my particular choice of headline items ... you are free to have your own blog and then talk THERE about the stuff that interests you ... of course, I know that my stuff is better than your stuff — that's a NO-BRAINER!!! So, with that helpful 'disclaimer' or 'Preface,' let's get started ...

  1. Oh, let me start with yesterday's news in fact ... I saw Barkha being 'tried' on NDTV by folks like Dileep Padgaonkar and Sanjay Baru and Swapan Dasgupta. Manu Joseph was there too and the program overall helped me gain some perspective into the whole controversy since I have not been following it too closely ... well, seems like Barkha has not committed some sort of an 'original sin' after all ... and folks were merely hyperventilating after all ... as is the usual nature of media folks to do ...
  2. Ratan Tata is aggrieved about private conversations being bandied about openly with impunity and he has rightly filed a petition in the Supreme Court claiming that his right to privacy has been breached. I shudder to think what all the government might be recording ... when you combine the power of technology, the headiness of power that you feel when you have the official sanction to wield that power, and the secrecy that surrounds this whole business, I think this is a perfect recipe for 'MISUSE' ... All I can think of that the government can do to minimize the scope for misuse of this right would be to have multiple people involved in the decision-making process. And there should be an annual or six-monthly audit of all the wiretapping performed. Ahhhh, I am thinking of Gene Hackman from Enemy of the State. It's such a difficult balance to maintain really .... on the one hand you have the need of the state to keep a tab on things ... have the technological ability to keep a tab on things and then there's this massive scope for abuse/misuse ... a perfect storm ...
  3. And so the circus in Andhra continues ... a son claiming that he is the 'rightful' heir to his father's legacy ... well, I guess his argument certainly has merits in this country where many elderly men/women pass on their legacies to their kids ... so, why not Jagan???
  4. I did not know that the present CVC is the former Telecom Secretary. Need I say more? What a corrupt person he must be!!! And he's the Chief Vigilance Commissioner !!! My foot !!!
  5. WikiLeaks has managed to stir things up once more ...what a fantastic job it is doing ... stirring up one hornet's nest after another and giving sleepless nights to many people around the world ... folks must be wondering: am I next on the list? Here's wishing WikiLeaks all the Godspeed in the world ...
  6. Well, the NDA is going paperless ... that is the National Defense Academy.
  7. What else ... the Sensex is northbound ... exports are on the rise, GDP expected to grow spectacularly ... all positive news basically ... oh well ... cheers then!!! India Shining

F-u-e-l EFFI-cient

Well, this one certainly gives new meaning to that phrase.

One might normally ask ... how many kilometers to a liter? But with this vehicle, the right question is: how many liters per kilometer?

And the answer is: 350 liters ... that's how much fuel the crawler transporter guzzles ...

Have more fuel if you are hungry ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crawler-transporter

Vehicle Assembly Building

Too many records to its credit ... largest, or fourth largest building in the world by volume, tallest single-story building in the world, tallest building in Florida until 1974, etc.

Well, what can one say about an 'assembly' facility ... basically a 'workshop' that is 160 meters tall, 218 meters long, and 158 meters wide. No need to say much really.

Let me just quote Wikipedia and say that the interior volume of the building is so vast that it has its own weather.

Read more ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_Assembly_Building

Boeing X-37

Oh, the U.S. is still up to doing its usual secret x-plane stuff!

I learnt about this beast only today.

It's supposed to do an automatic landing at the Vandenburg Air Force Base this weekend.

Wow!

A Space Shuttle that lands automatically all the way from space ...
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