Saturday, January 24

The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945.


Wars have the unsettling ability to make countries lose their equilibrium. And normal trajectory. One of the reasons why I hate wars. They end up wasting resources on a colossal magnitude. If the uk had not got involved in the Iraq and afghan wars, all that material and money and men could have helped the country recover from recession better. Our leaders got distracted. And this will keep on rumbling on for a long time. 

Second, history is very west centric at least what's taught here in the uk. But for you son, china will be important. Just like USA was/is for me. So you need to know and learn where they are coming from. The rivalry between Japan and china is important. China has had geopolitical disputes with pretty much every neighbour. It's a strange country. Spend much time learning about it. 



H-Net Reviews

Mark R. Peattie, Edward J. Drea, Hans J. van de Ven, eds. The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945.Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010. Illustrations, maps. 664 pp. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8047-6206-9.

Reviewed by Roger H. Brown (Saitama University)
Published on H-War (December, 2012)
Commissioned by Margaret Sankey

The Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45 was immense both in its scale and consequences. Nevertheless, Western military histories of World War II have focused overwhelmingly on the campaigns of the European and Pacific theaters, and those specialized studies of the conflict that do exist deal primarily with such matters as diplomacy; politics; mass mobilization; and, in more recent years, Japanese atrocities and public memory. Indeed, as the editors of the volume under review attest, “a general history of the military operations during the war based on Japanese, Chinese, and Western sources does not exist in English” (p. xix). In 2004, Japanese, Chinese, and Western scholars gathered to remedy this situation and in the belief that such a close study of the operations and strategy of the Sino-Japanese War would “illustrate that, in this period, warfare drove much of what happened in the political, economic, social, and cultural spheres in China and Japan.” They further recognized that because “much of the best scholarship on WWII in East Asia is naturally produced in China and Japan,” there was a need to “bring the fruits of Chinese and Japanese work to the attention of a wider public” (p. xx). Granting that the resulting volume is not exhaustive, the editors seek to bridge the inevitable gaps with “a general overview of the military campaigns, an accompanying chronology, and introductions to the several sections into which the chapters are grouped” (p. xxi). With that caveat behind them, coeditors Mark R. Peattie, Edward J. Drea, and Hans J. van de Ven declare that the contributors have provided “an authoritative introduction to the military course of one of the greatest conflicts of the twentieth century” (p. xx). Their confidence is not misplaced, for The Battle of China beautifully fulfills the objectives they have laid out for it and will be gratefully utilized by readers interested in the history of the Sino-Japanese War, World War II, and modern warfare in general.

Friday, January 23

Did people in the Middle Ages take baths?

One of my regrets is that I don't get a chance to take more baths. Actually I don't think I have had a bath in the past several years. Or if I did, kids, I don't remember. I do remember bathing with both of you when you were babies. And then I would pour water on your face and both of you would HOWL and go all red and complain. 

Now it's all showers and quick clean. Funny history behind baths. I read up so much on Roman baths and how scientific they were 2000 years now. 

Fascinating how history changes. 



Did people in the Middle Ages take baths? -

medievalbathingIt is often thought that medieval men and women did not care too much about personal hygiene or keeping clean. One nineteenth-century historian writing about daily life in the Middle Ages commented that there were no baths for a thousand years. However, a closer look shows that baths and bathing were actually quite common in the Middle Ages, but in a different way than one might expect.

There are stories of how people didn’t bathe in the Middle Ages – for example, St Fintan of Clonenagh was said to take a bath only once a year, just before Easter, for twenty-four years. Meanwhile, the Anglo-Saxons were believed that the Vikings were overly concerned with cleanliness since they took a bath once a week.  On the other hand, we can also see many literary references and works of art depicting people taking baths, and noting that it was part of daily activity.

Personal hygiene did exist in the Middle Ages – people were well aware that cleaning their face and hands – health manuals from the period note that it was important to get rid of dirt and grime. They also explained that it was important to keep the entire body clean. For example, the fourteenth-century writer Magninius Mediolanesis stated in his work Regimen sanitatis that ”The bath cleans the external body parts of dirt left behind from exercise on the outside of the body.”

He also adds a second reason for bathing: “if any of the waste products of third digestion are left under the skin that were not resolved by exercise and massage, these will be resolved by the bath.” There was a strong connection between bathing and eating, which could affect one’s overall health (these ideas have not quite left us – many people might remember their mother telling them not to go swimming for an hour after a meal). Baths could relieve digestion, stop diarrhoea – but taken improperly cold lead to weakness of the heart, nausea or fainting.

Thursday, January 22



This is a famous book. Truly ground breaking in it's scope and Logic. At another time, he would have been burnt at the stake for blasphemy. So a very brave man. But then he lived during the English civil war. 

The English civil war was a funny old thing son.  We don't remember it now as we have a constitutional monarchy. And the sheer amount of parliamentary and democratic debate that war engendered is forgotten by most people. 

In my view three civil wars are crucial in world history. The English civil war. The Russian civil war. And then the American civil war. They have given rise to the political situation which we live in at the moment. 

Brothers fighting against brothers is the most bitter of all fights son. That's what civil wars do. Think of the Mahabharata war.  Which gave rise to one of the greatest poems of all times. And perhaps the most powerful book on philosophy and religion and ethics of all time - the Gita. 

Anyway, leviathan is a great attempt to solve the question. What and how does a man want to be governed. The book has concepts that are difficult to comprehend now but still needs to be incorporated. As the current Scottish referendum shows, and the myriad loads of fights across the world demonstrate, we are still struggling to answer this question. 



Leviathan (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2012)


Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil—commonly referred to as Leviathan—is a book written by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and published in 1651. Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan. The work concerns the structure of society and legitimate government, and is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory.[1] Leviathan ranks as a classic western work on statecraft comparable to Machiavelli's The Prince. Written during the English Civil War (1642–1651), Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and the brute situation of a state of nature ("the war of all against all") could only be avoided by strong undivided government.

Wednesday, January 21

Greetings from New England’s Gun Valley

You know my views about guns Kannu. They are dangerous items and just like dangerous chemicals and stuff like that, one has to treat them with care and to be avoided as far as possible. 

But this story is about the men and women who make rifles and guns. I found the anecdote about the manufacturer unable to find good people quite accurate. Despite huge unemployment, finding good people is a serious pain. 

Still a good story about gun making. 



Greetings from New England’s Gun Valley - -

Globe magazine

This story is from, the only place for complete digital access to the Globe.

LENNY LARIVEE has spent 68 percent of his 69 years on this planet doing the same thing: making guns. And he’s made them all for one company, Savage Arms in Westfield, just off Exit 3 on the Mass. Pike. He’s tall and bald, with a voice that is low and a speaking style that is John Wayne-slow. He is also a cantankerous character. Newcomers who stop by his bench expecting to find a senior statesman are usually startled to hear his opening line: “You don’t like what I say? Stay the eff away.”

Tuesday, January 20

Facebook, One Year Later: What Really Happened in the Biggest IPO Flop Ever


Couple of things to note here. Ipo's are strange times to buy and sell. The presence of big beasts can influence unknown stock movements. And for small investors like us, it can be too high. Never run with the herd son. One of the reasons why I've cashed out now. It's irrational exuberance all over. Think about it. All analysts are predicting a max 1% economic growth. Europe is negative. USA is 1% tops. Just how does that justify 6-10% stock market rises? 

Be that as it may, second lesson is to be wary of investing in places where you aren't comfortable. I rarely invest in tech stocks. Far too nebulous an investment. Never invest in anything that you don't understand or are unable to explain to a 10 year old. 



Facebook, One Year Later: What Really Happened in the Biggest IPO Flop Ever - Khadeeja Safdar - The Atlantic

Continue to the


After Facebook’s disastrous debut, the preferred clients of big banks walked away with huge profits. How? Public documents and interviews with dozens of investment bankers and research analysts reveal that the Street caught wind of something the public didn’t. The social network and the banks told half the story. Here is the other half.

Khadeeja Safdar May 20 2013, 9:43 AM ET

800 facebook 2.jpg


Uma Swaminathan tuned the television set in the living room of her ranch style home in the suburbs of East Brunswick, N.J. to CNBC. It was 9:00 a.m. on May 18, 2012, a day the retired schoolteacher thought might make her rich. She logged onto her Vanguard brokerage account on her computer and placed an order for 5,000 shares of Facebook at $42 a share.

Monday, January 19

Pilgrim traffic during the First World War

Pilgrimages are expressions of piety son. And they are fascinating phenomena to observe. Rationalists sneer at them. Say it's a waste of time money and energy. But the power of pilgrimages whether to amarnath or Lourdes or Mecca has to be considered. Despite the rise of secularism and modernity, people are going on pilgrimages even more. They used to go thousands of years back. They will keep on going. If you are ever in the middle of such a religious throng, you will feel surprised at the very strong faith based feelings that the pilgrims have son. I've seen this in Allahabad, in Paris in Jeddah in Tirupati in Jerusalem and so many other places. The interesting thing is that the stones of these ancient prayer pilgrimage sites are imbibed with the prayers of the millions of people and the stones talk to you. Despite the monstrosities that people erect in the places like in Mecca and other places. 



Pilgrim traffic during the First World War - Untold lives blog

Every year Indian Muslims undertake the journey from India to Mecca as part of the Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam.  Prior to 1947, the British Indian Government maintained a strong interest in the welfare and safety of pilgrims travelling from India, and regularly received reports from the British Agent at Jeddah on the yearly pilgrimage, copies of which can be found in the India Office Records.

Mecca C13727-08

The outbreak of hostilities between the British and Ottoman Empires in 1914 raised fears about the impact this would have on the Hajj.  In November 1914, the British Government published an undertaking in the Gazette Extraordinarythat the holy places of Arabia and Jeddah would be immune from attack or molestation by the British naval and military forces so long as there was no interference with pilgrims from India.  Similar assurances were given by the Governments of France and Russia.  Despite this, there remained fears for the safety of the pilgrims who would be entering a zone of conflict.  There was also a concern among British officials that foodstuffs and other supplies exported from India for the use of pilgrims in Jeddah would be appropriated by Turkish forces.  The Indian Government had briefly stopped exports of food from India to Jeddah following the seizure of a cargo of food supplies by the Turkish authorities in March 1915.  However reports of distress amongst pilgrims and residents of the holy places had caused the exports to be resumed.

Friday, January 16

Book review The Spanish Armada

I have to admit kids that I didn't know the details of this episode. Of course I knew the basics, Philip of Spain wanted to attack England and Elizabeth with Drake managed to fight him off. Big seminal moment in British history. Take that, you poxy papists.
But managed to go deeper this time on this book. It's a bit of an old book so I'm sure there will be more recent research based books which provide more information via library and newly discovered archives and books. But this 55 year old book was good enough to talk to me about the leaders. The ships. The cannons and culverins. The food and water - or rather the lack of it. On both sides.
Two lessons I took away. First is that I'm still very convinced that logistics are the crucial part of any strategy. England at times had only 1 day worth of food and water in their ships. They were fighting while hungry. They couldn't fight many times because they didn't have any ammunition. Round shot and powder was terribly in short supply.
Second, it's about luck. And luck comes to the brave and people who jump at more opportunities than the next one.
Curiously the actual number of ships destroyed in actual battle were minuscule. Most ships were lost to the storms and when they had accidents while getting lost. Huge number of sailors died due to disease and sickness rather than battle. Hardly any damage was actually done to the ships.
It's curious. One of the greatest triumphs of England and the reason for that was luck and that the Spaniards were badly led. Truly history is written by the victors.


Displaying IMG_9863.JPG

Thursday, January 15

In the Time of Cholera


We've got a book called as the white mans burden. By WILLIAM easterly. It talks about how the aid and human rights industry has been born and how little it's been effective. In a previous guise this was colonialism. Now it's aidism. 

See what the un and cdc and who and and and have done. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Years of intervention and billions of dollars and frankly progress has been shite. 

Ridiculous. Still you need freedom of speech son to keep these governments and supranational agencies in check. 



In the Time of Cholera - By Jonathan M. Katz | Foreign Policy


The horror was in the stomach, an empty, draining pain. All the way up the highway, Rosemond Lorimé had felt it running out of him. It was like the river running out of him, getting worse with every turn around the mountains.

Rosemond lived in a thatch-and-mud house in Meille, a small village on Haiti’s central plateau, built along a little river of the same name. There wasn’t much to do there, among the bean plants and banana trees, for a man of 21. You could swim or take a bath in the river. You could help the older folks raise pigs and turkeys, or plant cassava. Rosemond and his cousin would sell rum andkleren moonshine to the soldiers at the U.N. base, and introduce them to the neighborhood girls in exchange for a few dollars. But that was about it. Even the earthquake had been boring in Meille. The ground had just groaned and rumbled and stopped.

The sickness came nine months after. Rosemond’s father fell ill first. A low, hard pain formed in his gut and radiated all over his body. Then the diarrhea began, then vomiting, torrential like a fall storm. Soon everyone in the house was sick: Rosemond, his four brothers and sisters, his mother. The illness then moved into the neighboring houses. The family gathered up its money and sent Rosemond’s father to the hospital in the nearby town of Mirebalais. But it soon became clear that Rosemond’s sickness was the worst. Pain gripped his gut, and heat rose in his head and cut his intestines as if he’d eaten a stick of thorns. His stomach became a rejecting vessel. The water he drank would come back up or go straight out. Rice did the same. Even the garlic tea and cotton leaf that the women in the village gave him to settle his stomach ended up vomited or run out onto the ground. The diarrhea kept flowing; Rosemond became thirstier and thirstier. Neighbors whispered that it must be a spell.

The family looked for money to send Rosemond to the hospital too, but it took days to find enough. The day after his father returned home, weary but alive, Rosemond’s brothers put the slumping young man on the back of a motorcycle taxi to go to Mirebalais.

Under an arid sky, arms carried Rosemond into the little hospital with green-painted walls. A voice cried out in the room. Struggling for air, Rosemond closed his drying eyes and never opened them again. It was Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010.

Wednesday, January 14

'Calculated to Alarm'

Whilst I'm a libertarian and fully support people wanting to buy guns, oranges or green hair dye son, what I do not understand is being idiotic about risk. The question is about risk. The idea of defending against government tyranny using a gun when the government has got bombers and computers is so ludicrous that one immediately thinks that the man's a muppet. 

Also just because you can doesn't mean you should. For example would you want to carry an open beaker of sulphuric acid? You can of course but is it safe? Same thing. 

I was watching cnn over the last 4 days in Canada. And pretty much, for example, every day, I heard about shootings in the universities and schools. Hello? ERM. Why? What? 

I've used guns and rifles son. Even hunted. But I wouldn't have a gun at home for the same reason I wouldn't have highly corrosive acid in the house. It's too risky. 

Very strange. But very interesting campaign by the mothers, son. Take a lesson from them. The gun owners will loose of course. Never bet against a mother wanting to protect her child Kannu. Very powerful emotions and determination. 



'Calculated to Alarm'

The weapon he was carrying, an AK-74 assault rifle, measures three feet long, with a barrel of about 16 inches, and is capable of firing several dozen rounds per minute. Brian McCauley says he never meant to scare anyone. The state of Texas disagrees, and his upcoming trial has become a focal point in a dangerous new battle in the national debate over gun laws.

By the time McCauley walked into a San Antonio Starbucks in August, tensions had been building for years. The chain's corporate policy was to defer to local gun ordinances, many of which allow the open carrying of weapons, and gun owners from Virginia to California had been visiting the coffee shops with handguns worn outside their pants, as the songwriter Townes Van Zandt once put it, "for all the honest world to feel." In response, a gun-control group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, started promoting a national boycott called "Skip Starbucks Saturday."

Police officers arrested McCauley outside that Starbucks, charging him with disorderly conduct, which under the Texas penal code, covers 11 categories of behavior, including that of a person who "displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm."

Those last three words – calculated to alarm – have inflamed passions on both sides. Leaders of the open carry movement, once regarded as fringe-y by more traditional gun rights organizations, are rapidly signing up new members and staging bolder public confrontations. Gun-control advocates, who failed to win legislative change following the massacre at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School, are using the image of semi-automatic weapons in public places to reinvigorate their supporters.

As McCauley awaits his day in court, both sides are escalating their tactics. In September, two men wearing AR-15s walked through a farmer's market in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. Gun rights advocates scheduled a major rally at the Alamo on October 19, to coincide with a national event called Guns Next Door, where gun owners are encouraged to "for one hour stand or sit in your front yard armed." In response, Moms Demand Action is advising supporters who encounter someone carrying a semi-automatic rifle to "call 911 immediately."

Monday, January 12

book review Indian Styles: Taschen

1-IMG_9712-001 its a little book, has about 191 odd pages and contains photographs of Indian landscapes, houses,interiors and  details. the author and photographer has wandered around Kashmir, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Mumbai, Goa and has taken some photographs along these themes. a significant number of photos are from the palaces and also some of the noteworthy rich people in Delhi and Mumbai.

its ok, some photographs made me stop and see them a few times, here are some of them but if you really wanted to check out Indian photographs, you can do better than this one I am afraid.