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Monday, October 31, 2005

US Media in a Conundrum ?

Came across article in the Bangkok Post regarding the US Media and its dichotomic position related to the CIA case.

"The old joke asks what do you do when the only way to save an endangered species is to feed the animal endangered plants. "

--! #snip#

The serious question is what do you do when the only way to protect freedom of the press is to kill the biggest story of your career. This Solomonic stumper arose last weekend when an independent US prosecutor charged the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney with perjury. The precise problem is that Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby is the crimeless victim in a complicated case that will erode press freedom enormously if it is successful _ even though it is the front-page scandal of the decade while it lasts and, especially, if the case widens.

#snip# !--

Read the full story here.
Very interesting ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Noam Chomsky's Branding

Came across this post at India Uncut

The Branding of the World's Top Intellectual: Noam Chomsky

Would hold comment , till i see the reply to this from Mr Chomsky.
Is he one among us ? Or is it just plain hypocritial on our part to ask him to step out of Capatilism without providing a viable alternative?

After all like that rhetorical dodge , you can't expect him to live in a Montana Cave , do you ?

Monday, October 24, 2005

BSNL India Wide Directory

Came across the BSNL India Wide Telephone Directory.

Pretty neat stuff , i could find out my home phone number.
At the cost of sounding perennially pessimistic, a few links are broken.
Non-unifrom GUI across states, very open to mis-use in the face of amazing number of call centers that are coming up to sell all sorts of stuff.

But leave all that aside... for the moment ..
Kudoz to the DoT and GoI.

p.s. A public / non - public listing option should follow soon.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Substance Over Form

Came across this stark and simple ( considerting that its Market Cap ~ $130 Bn ), but yet overwhelmingly meaningfull website of BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.

Leaves one wondering why people can't get this into their heads
"It is the substance that matters not the form !!" ...... including me !

Please read
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.
You might end up discovering more about yourself.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Everybody !

What do junta mean, when they use the term " Everbody "

... the school going kid mean , when he / shes says "Dad, everybody has got an iPod "
... the VJ anchor mean , when he / she says .. " Everybody thinks the song cool, watch it .. "
... the News Anchor on prime time network mean , when he / she says .. "Everybody thinks,the move to ban tobacco from Movies reak of authoritarianism "

How this came up ? A few of my lunch partners was discussing Outlook's Article. Topic , veered in and out ( Sphere of Influence , India Shining, Slap by the common
man on the Media's face [ General Election 2004 ] , PR , Spin , Blogging , Uncontrollable information , Earthquake ). When one of those present made this seemingly inoccous comment about how "Everbody " is blogging now !
One of my friends asked this person, how many in a 100 people would be blogging ? and of the remaining , how many even had the accessed the computer even once.
She thought for a moment and came up the number of 50. My friend persisted , " fine , i will accept 50, but what about the other poeple ? ".

It doesn't take much more than that for the point to hit home, or does it ?

I tried to think of various situations when i have used "everybody ".. and yeah i have used it very extensively. .. the realisation hit home , that i have used it mostly when i have tried to win an argument to show that most people in general.

But what i have missed out and possibly the moot point in those discussions could be..that Everbody is highly context sensitive ( like a perl variable type ) ...

If i say , that "Everybody maintains a blog " , then honestly i don't mean that everybody in the world maintains a blog. ( if you have a blog you are 1 in 200 and if have an active blog that number probably comes down to 1 in 100 ) What happened to the other 99 , who speaks for them? Or when will they be enabled to have their voices heard ?

What i really meant was that " Everybody whom are there in my sphere of influence , has a blog " or that " Most of my close friends have a blog " or that most of the opinion makers around have a blog " Was it a "selective amnesia" style miss ? Probably not , but did it make a difference to the final arguement and how it was taken by the recpient ? Probably yes.

Is the politian who makes an argument saying "Every sane minded citizen would have voted for his party ?" , going to change the use of Every/ Everybody ? Nopes.

But i sure will make an effort to think about the lot i miss, when i generalise ,
before i make a case.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Indian Media's Delusion

Stunning Article on Indian Media's lack of depth and how it is hopelessly out of touch with the rural folks.

Excerpted from the forthcoming book, The Indian Media: Illusion, Delusion and Reality’, a collection of essays in honour of Prem Bhatiato be published by Rupa and Co, New Delhi, in January 2006

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Nailing a 24 Karat Commie

Hey ,

Came across a nice story..

Would sure like to hear what Mrs ^arat has to say about this ?


IIPM Controversy

Lot of sublinks , which act as the pre and post developments to the original article below.

Original Article

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Mail Exchanges On Intelligent Design

########## Vijay

Guys, follow this debate.

Just be thankful that BJP or someone isn't demanding similar stuff in

########## Kalyan

I could not understand what this Intelligent Design is...
not Even from wikipedia page.

########## Vijay

Here's a famous example, assume you find a watch in some field. You'd
immediately conclude that it was made by someone right? Would you be willing
to believe that the particular watch you found "evolved" from some primitive
They apply this argument to complex pieces of apparatus like the human eye.
Another frequently used argument is called "irreducible complexity",
blood-clotting needs about 12 proteins (all of them) to work in tandem for
it to occur.
They say that such systems are irreducibly complex, lack of anyone protein
disturbs the process. It must mean someone should have designed the process,
an "Intelligent Designer".

########## Vamshi Krishna K Sep 28, 3:36 am show options

Vijay tried to explain what Intelligent Design is about in his own way ..
here is my take on it for those who din't get to follow those articles ..

In US, currently there is a debate on what should be taught in Science
classes regarding the evolution of all species .. The debate is akin to the
sort of debate we had in India on saffronisation of Indian education .. the
difference though is that in India it was history that was being tried to be
reinterpreted (like how did Aryan's come about etc) .. But there it is on
Science ..

The average science expert (like we have been taught in school) say there is
only evidence that support that all species have evolved from the lowest
form of life which is a single cell bacteria .. like single cell organisms
becoming multi-cell then to some anthropoids (hope that's the right word) to
aquatic beings to teresstial bodies etc .. All this helped by mutation,
natural selection and so forth (the Darwin theory and all that we studied in
class nine I guess) ..

But another section to intellects (these are called conservatives, for they
seem to influenced by the Christian outlook on this) propose that not all
questions on human evolution are answered by the theory of natural selection
or mutation or so called Darwinism .. they say there is some Intelligent
Designer who designed how all life is supposed to be and how it grows and
all that .. kind of Superpower or the Almighty .. though they make the
argument in such a way that it is not overlooked as some religious
fundamentalism .. and mind you the intellects are big Ph.Ds and well-known
scientists themselves .. They say since Darwin's theories don't answer all
questions, we should allow these alternate theory of Intelligent Design in
science classes in American schools .. to which the (so called mainstream)
scientific community is vehemently against ..

And the debate is going places currently .. with interesting arguments and
counter arguments put across ... it's interesting if the science of
evolution is of interest to anyone ..

########## Sujith Ramakrishnan Sep 28, 9:32 pm show options

Some more info..


########## Vijay Griddaluru Sep 28, 10:32 pm show options

That article pretty much sums it up!

########## Sujith Ramakrishnan Sep 28, 11:21 pm show options

Vamshi, I guess, you knew this was coming ..
But I take umbrage to the fact that you mentioned this in the same breath as the so called saffronization of history ..
Aren’t we talking similarities between Oranges and apples here.. ?

Apples : Evolutions.. say the horse came from the donkey .. ID says nopes, horse came from someone who wanted humans to ride ..
One is provable.. one is not ..
Oranges : Someone might say , Aryans invaded from North west.. , others might not agree and that it might have been a peaceful migration..
Both are just different ways of “recorded” history .. neither Is provable..
And what is proven .. might not be addressed .. ( Temple remains in Ayodhya .. ) .. :D
Let me digress.. Let things be discussed.. why are we putting things under the carpet..
Someone famous said “ Nobody can stop an idea , whose time has come “..
Similarly may I say … “Nobody can ever perpetuate an idea, whose value is not forthcoming “..
Isn’t the current version of history “leftized “ .. Mooplar rebellion on the Malabar coast ?
Massacres and Freedom struggles can be made to look different when painted with a fresh set of paint..
Why do we still depend on the British to provide us with our history ?
President Kalam writes in his book.. “In our entire history , we have not attacked another country .. “ .. That is plain wrong..
Just look for the temple remains.. in Cambodia .. I read one article.. some months back.. which said..
The kind of brutality that the Tamil Kings committed in Indo China .. ( old Malaya.. circa 1300 AD , is second to none.. )
One king it seems had decided to move his capital to the other side of Bay of Bengal.. probably explains why .. no remains of
His kingdom remains here ..

One more recent article from

How is that I have never heard about this ever in my life till now ?
As they say, one man’s hero is another man’s villain ..


########## Vijay Griddaluru Sep 29, 2:03 am show options

History discussions are usually painful.

The "Intelligent Design" debate has a chance of being resolved at least
after a few thousand years. By 10000 AD, Evolution might explain everything
about life or we might have become familiar with the aliens from Andromeda
who designed the life on earth.

Aryan Invasion Theory and other such controversial things have no such luck
(until we invent time travel!). We have to depend upon written history which
is woefully incomplete. Unknown stuff is scary. How are you going to "prove"
that ancient people from India DID NOT go to Egypt and build the pyramids?
You say there is no evidence? I can argue it just hasn't been found yet.
Most of history has to make do with what it has, not what could have been

Some hyper-radical views of 18th century british historians have mostly been
discredited. No one seriously backs the AIT any more. Sujith mentioned
british historians and leftist historians in the same breath as well. It has
a little explaining to do. How Indian history was perceived by both was a
little different. Early british versions of Indian history angered our
nationalists (for obvious reasons) and they lashed back with their own
flowery versions. Neither approach is really useful.
That's when the leftist versions came out. They might have had their own
prejudices but they are sure better than imperialism or faith. That's not
even the point. History is something which needs objective appraisal and
I'll take the "marxist" versions of Romila Thapar and D. D. Kosambi anyday
over those of P. N. Oak (of the Tejo Mahalaya fame) or N. S. Rajaram (of the
Piltdown Horse fame). Attack historians by all means but judge them by the
relative merit of their findings not their political persuasions. What do we
care whether AIT was proposed by a Tory or a Labor party member? The guy
might even have been a poor little researcher who has none of the qualities
usually attributed to the british invaders who actually thought that AIT
made sense. Does that make any difference? The subsequent research just
proved him wrong. Let's simply hope that only research overthrows older
theories, not faith, whether in history or biology or anything else.
On 9/28/05, Sujith Ramakrishnan wrote:

########## Vamshi Krishna K Sep 29, 4:32 am show options

Sujith & Vijay, thanks for the nice discussion ..

Sujith, I continue to have this problem with you :-) .. you are taken by one
(in my opinion) insignificant sentence in the whole mail and you are out on
a trail .. I guess the context was clear .. I was never subscribing, much
less recommending, to any of the versions of history, right ya left by
making the sort of comparison .. (on second look, I wouldn't even have
brought it in for I feel the saffronisation will gain credence by equating
it with the ID discussion .. okay, I am kidding) .. to use your own
metaphor, I wasn't comparing Apples and Oranges .. I was just saying both
Apples and Oranges are fruits .. can't you take things that simple .. or has
someone proclaimed a ban on using both those words in a single sentence or
paragraph .. ufff ..

And Vijay, nice points you have raised .. A few thoughts from my side ..
Only research should prove other research wrong .. nice thoughts .. but
which research is right .. more so when every historian worth his salt is
tagged by a faith and there are always doubts on the methods of analysis
themselves .. plus all historic (so-called) facts are always readily
discredited .. "History is written by winners" is the common refrain (though
I think that's an all-pervasive convenient argument to counter anything
inconvenient) .. Objective evaluation is an ideal we all can aspire for but
which I think is humanly impossible .. for each of us (however learned and
matured) have our own notions/beliefs/hunch/gut whatever .. plus there is
that issue of convenience/inconvenience of all people in power making the
process that much difficult .. but having said all that (even going beyond
the point while doing so), I go by every word you said .. all misgivings
considered, if not for anything, the leftists view "seems" non-prejudiced
for it's mostly devoid of extremes .. I think that's the way the world is,
any given time ..

And yes, history discussions are painful .. but interesting too .. :-)

########## Vamsi Krishna Kondamudi Sep 29, 4:26 pm show options

I know very little about ID , but following this discussion very well..

blogged it for reference in


########## Vijay Griddaluru Sep 29, 10:35 pm show options

Btw, reg this sentence: "I feel the saffronisation will gain
credence by equating it with the ID discussion .. okay, I am kidding".
Scientists usually say that here wrt ID. That is, they don't even want
to discuss ID because they fear it might lend credence to it. That
silence is one of the reasons people are talking about today. It's
hard to say which method is better, silence or debate.

The image evolution supporters want people to see now is that "ID
is so unscientific that we didn't even want to talk about it. We will
now because it's in court and we are legally obligated to do so.'
However, we can't say how a normal us citizen will perceive this
trial. One interesting fact to note is that there is no question at
all about the general validity of evolution at the university level.
They may quarrel about minor details but like written in the article,
it's one of the pillars of our science. It's only in schools that
people are demanding ID. Parallels can be drawn in India too. There is
a reason why schools are targeted!

The things mentioned by vamshi are the challenges faced by
historians. They have to put aside all their prejudices and try to
tell exactly how it happened. You guys played a single game of cricket
and we had a huge thread about one run. What do you expect when a
thousand reasonable people study an inscription independently and form
their own opinions? Majority wins and it stays that way (it should)
until a Copernicus comes along.
Like Sujith said, flawed ideas cannot hold on forever.

########## SriHarsha PVSS Sep 30, 12:57 am show options


I am digressing from ID but still feel I have a something to add slightly
relevant in this context . If its too much of digression, we can put it in a
separate thread.

There was a mention of "faith" in some of the articles about ID and this is
what interested me. One prof also quotes (forgot the link) that faith can be
complementary to Scientific teaching / thought.

I am not aware of the truth of this in other walks of life, but can surely
vouch for it in the field of art. The field of art has been enriched much by
the creations of artists through faith and can't understand how we can find
a scientific alternative to it.

Arguments like whether ASI (Archaeology Survey of India) proves / disproves
the temple remains at Ayodhya, wether NASA agrees / disagrees with Adam's
bridge existing / not existing hold no water for me.

But, every time I listen to Tyagaraja's kritis

"nagu momu kanaleni naa jaali" raagam: abheri


" nidhi chaalaa sukhamaa?

raamuni sannidhi sEva sukhamaa?

nijamuga palku manasaa!!!" raagam: kalyAni

I gain immense pleasure. I might not have seen or can prove existence of a
person with name Rama with wife Sita born to Dasaratha, but mind can't
negate the pleasure in hearing those compositions, because they are real and
so are hundreds of his compositions which are expressions of his faith.

Every one of his compositions is made in the realm of Carnatic Classical
music which is a very matured and scientific scheme of music where all the
sapta swaras(frequencies) share a mathematical relation to each other, where
we have three scales and we have ragas with stipulated rules about the
usages of a combination of sawaras etc etc. Yet, I doubt if we can come up
with an algorithm to produce his compositions and "train" a super computer
to give us a "nagu momu" kriti.

You can't get the weight of this until you hear a musician who doesn't
believe in any faith express worry . The reason being, may be he doesn't
find anything better than "faith" to give that intense feeling.

This is a specific example within my knowledge domain that I could quote,
but there are myriad of such that can be cited from Indian subcontinent

Oh yes, I am aware that art was what I was referring to all through out.
But, human life minus art is absolutely bland to me like food without salt.
Remember that "bhaskara stakam" padyam??

"padunuga manchi kuura nala paakamu cEisna naina aMdu

iMpodaveDu uppu lEka ruchi puuTTaga nErchunaTayya , bhaaskaraa?" J

So, though I can't deny that art can be automated in 9999AD, because I
can't prove / disprove it, I don't want to be feeding myself on tasteless
food for 8000 years J


PS: If I am not wrong, the kriti "nidhi chaala sukhama" was performed at
our college under a SPICMACAY concert by Sri TM Krishna. We have recorded it
too. Am I right, Vamsi?

########## Vamshi Krishna K Sep 30, 3:42 am show options


I can see through your thinking while you wrote that nice mail .. thanks for
sharing it with us .. But I am really confused how this is relevant in this
context .. I guess we all understand this but now that you have made such a
nice post, let me add to it ..

Faith is valid when it comes to art .. but in Science/research, there can be
no place for it (other than a scientist investigation something just on his
faith/gut feeling etc) .. faith/hope/belief are all things that are relevant
(may be quite important) when it comes to human pshychological needs .. as
an inspiration/de-stressing requirement .. but at the same time one can't
say "Hey this is not provable, but just have faith and believe that Krishna
passed by this side in 5BC and from him followed the whole Indian
civilization .. otherwise how can anyone explain a Meera's devotion or
Thyaraja's passion/genius .." .. or "This works on the axiom of faith ..
humans today are able to exercise their limbs the way they do because the
Great Designer has destined him to do it that way, have no doubts .." .. it
doesn't work that way .. if it so happens, then that will be the end of
scientific investigation ..

So the bottomline .. faith definitely has it's place in our lifes .. but
there are certain areas where it's not allowed .. I dare say you will have
to leave it outside the door at times ..

Did I make an apparent and unnecessay point?? So be it .. :-)

########## SriHarsha PVSS Sep 30, 8:25 am show options

I was actually not very clear about how my statements would fit in this
chain. It was a bit hazy to me, but still wanted to put forth a few thoughts
that have been germinating in me for some time.
But Vamshi, I feel your reply has put it in a better perspective. I agree
that faith can't be dragged into Science / Research. And scientific &
rational thinking will always continue to mould the human civilization.
And borrowing words from Sujith and Vijay about
"Nobody can ever perpetuate an idea, whose value is not forthcoming " or
"flawed ideas cannot hold on forever."
all I want to say in the same breath is that, if it has REALLY come to it,
from then on, no one should ever find any thing musical beyond the trite
collection of sound frequencies in Tyagaraja kritis. Till then atleast I am
going to believe in his work.
I would say, your concluding statement
"faith definitely has it's place in our lifes .. but there are certain
areas where it's not allowed .. I dare say you will have to leave it outside
the door at times .."
is indeed very right, it has put things pretty clearly. Can't agree more
with it.

########## Vijay Griddaluru Sep 30, 10:02 am show options

From: Vijay Griddaluru - Find messages by this author
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 07:02:22 -0700
Local: Fri, Sep 30 2005 10:02 am
Subject: Re: Intelligent Design
Reply Reply to Author Forward Print Individual Message Show original Report Abuse

Reg harsha's point abt art and faith, we can see that happening in other
fields as well, not just music. You don't see similar fervor in literature
or beauty in sculpture anymore. Attributing why we feel so to the "My
ancestors are great" complex may not explain it completely.
However, consider this - We didn't have ipods at the time of tyagaraja and
we don't have keerthanas of his quality now. When did that exchange happen?
Is that an exchange in the first place? Would you say we don't have enough
people of faith now? Or, would you say we can encourage music of that
quality by making people more faithful?
We might not have a tyagaraja now but we have a rahaman. I'm pretty sure
that a sammelan from 3000 A.D will express similar sadness about a lack of
rahaman's quality music.
I hope you'll all agree that people from tyagaraja's time were a lot more
religious than we are. This trend is just going to continue. Progress of
science and education will see to it. Vamshi's statement about faith having
a place in our lives may be true now. I suspect that it won't be sometime
later. Art based on faith (consciously or unconsciously, tyagaraja might
have used rama as an outlet for his creativity. It will be cruel to say that
it's all just because of his devotion. We've had a lot of devotional people
in our history but we are not singing all of their songs.) will just take
other forms. There might be a million differences between tyagaraja and
rahaman but they are both people whose music their contemporary society
enjoyed. Times change and tastes follow (or vice versa).
Regarding reducing tyagaraka krithis to individual frequencies. It doesn't
necessarily have to be his work. Right now, we can't do that to rahaman's
songs too. Anyway, I don't think it's about 'believing' anyone's work. The
fact that you are enjoying his (or anyone's) music is a tribute to his
musical talent. You might enjoy the krithis more if you are a person of
faith and can identify with his mindset at the time he composed the song.
People who can do that become rarer by each generation and I don't think
it's necessarily a bad thing. It's just social evolution at work.
Coming back to the ID discussion, one thing is true. Theoretically, there
is nothing we can do if proof does emerge that some aliens designed the life
on earth. That's why people won't object if ID is taught in a philosophy
class. Just don't bring it into the science rooms where people demand

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