Saturday, April 12

Pirates caught by commandos

This is the only way to deal with pirates. Pirates are beyond the pale. This is why whenever they were caught, they were summarily executed or punished. They do not work on the basis of normal behaviour. Whether we are talking about Julius Caesar or the North African Barbary States, they only stop once they have been thumped hard.

Similarly, these Somalian pirates need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and armed might. This is a very good step, I just wish the other navies take a step and do the same. Way to go, Sarko.

A graveyard of books

This set of photographs hurt.


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Islamophobic behaviour in full display

Now this is the kind of a behaviour which needs to be stamped down upon. When facial identity is not required to be proven, why on earth does the bus company need to know it or ask the woman to step off the bus? One has to be careful about these things and yes, the woman was perfectly within her rights to sue the pants off the bus company. What's next? asking me to remove my mustache because it wasnt as black as it was before? Disgusting. Then again, I personally do not have good experiences in Sweden...

I quote:

A 20-year-old Malmö woman has been awarded damages after she was asked to leave a bus for wearing a veil.

The woman has received 25,000 kronor ($4,203) from public bus service operator Arriva after an agreement was reached with the Ombudsman against ethnic discrimination (DO), according to local newspaper Sydsvenskan.
The woman was instructed to leave the bus in the southern Swedish city when she refused to remove the niqab veil that she was wearing as part of her sartorial hijab headdress. The niqab covers the entire face except for eyes.
The bus driver had asked the woman to remove her niqab so that he could identify her, however the woman was using a buss pass that did not require identification.
"The bus driver has not acted according to Arriva's values. There is no doubt where the fault lies and this is most regrettable. We are happy to pay out the money to make up for it," said Jan Wildau at Arriva.
As a result of the incident the bus driver, who was employed on an hourly basis, no longer works for Arriva.

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Announcing my new photo essay blog

Well, I was told that I am mixing up too many things in my daily blog, so have decided to create a dedicated photo essay blog. It is called as PiquantPhotos and here is the link. I will slowly move my old photo essays on to this blog (if I am not too lazy...) but any new ones will be posted here.

University customer service?

This is a curious case, is this going to be related to a freedom of speech case or a defamation case. Well, this step by the university is frankly silly. Here's the video. Take a look at the comments, what defamatory comments?

On the other hand, students demanding to be like consumers? Absolutely, why ever not? They have paid good money for it and if the offering does not match what was given, then they have a perfectly good right to complain. I would complain as well. If a student has not learnt, a teacher has not taught. And after having had an MBA, having taught in business schools across the world, recruited from several across the world and having been on advisory boards, I firmly believe that business schools should practice what they preach. And Universities should realise that they are running a business.

But why on earth is the university not listening? I will tell you why, because business schools are almost always looked upon as cash cows by the university. They take the money from the business school and use it to pay for the salaries of people who are investigating the Mongolian cultural significance of the Argentinean blue bean. I am joking, of course, but this is fairly typical of what I have seen.

But again, if you are a business (and lets get this very clear, universities are businesses now), this is your customer complaining. What are you doing about it? Threatening your customer with legal action is NOT a great way to improve reputation or getting additional customers.

Also, what the university has forgotten (or is perhaps stuck in the 18th century) that removal of comments does not mean that comments are removed. This episode has now created an internet electronic footprint which will be available every time anybody searches for Anglia Ruskin University. Not good, their internet, student and media management leaves much to be desired (even if their education and teaching management is perfect).

India: 10 Million Innocent Girls Killed in 20 Years - The Myth of Gandhi India is non violent country

I wrote this note in response to this tragic story on a mailing list:

Actually, these estimates are actually still not counting the lot. I researched this topic in 2004 and I found a figure of 35 million girls missing in India. Absolutely disgusting.

Here's the full essay in case anybody is bored enough to read it.

As long patriarchal societies and cultures abound, the value of women will never be high. But the behaviour is also driven by economics. When women earn less or none compared to men, their value to their families will always be lesser than sons. And everything being equal, given the limited number of children a woman can bear, it is but logical that they try to maximise their earnings potential.

Why do you ask? Because in our countries, children are our pension funds, and because of culture and economics, a girl child will never be at the same level as that of a boy.

What am I saying? Well, what I am saying is that millions and millions of more girl children will die despite our best efforts. That does not mean that we should not do our best. You might point to education and training and prosperity as one way to reduce this female foeticide, yes? No, surprisingly, more educated and prosperous the man and woman, the higher is the probability that they would kill their daughter (either via abortion or via post birth murder). Some of the most prosperous districts of the country are showing the lowest ratio's.

For those who want to point at religious factors, here's the results from the last census, Christians had a ratio of 1009 while Sikhs had the lowest 895 with Hindu's at 935 and Muslims at 940. In terms of location: worst affected states are: Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat (the very state of Gandhi), where the ratio less than 800 girls for every 1,000 boys.

Very complicated situation and the solutions are complex as well, and all this while, girls are being killed, day in day out...

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Friday, April 11

Martyrdom Video of a Brit

Here's the video and here' the text. I was eating dinner when I saw this on BBC news. And I was watching this man threatening me and my family with death. Nice going, mate. Perhaps avoidance of martyrdom videos (both making and broadcasting) would help in reduction of Islamophobia, just a thought...

Asp in our own bosom

Here's something that is so bizarre that I cannot still understand it. So I am paying my tax money to support this man and his family who wants to destroy and kill me and my family? What about my right to security and my family's human rights are basically not counted then?

Why most of the world is worried about Democrats?

This is an interesting column on why most of the world (at least the Asian bit) is worried about the fact that Democrats might come into power.

Thursday, April 10

Aircraft Carrier in the Sea of Japan

A most amazing video of an aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan. Can you imagine parking a 60 million dollar plane out in the weather like that? But there you go, the power of the sea versus power of the ship

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Chess is banned?

I did not know it, but apparently it is. I do not understand it that much. Why on earth would chess be banned, or forbidden or even controlled? Surely that kind of mental exercise is good for you? And while any practise, taken to extremes, is bad, surely things like chess, as long as you are not wagering on it, should be ok????

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

South Asian Islam versus the American South Asian Islam

A very interesting post showing how a wonderful lovely faith has changed when the same people move to another country. I quote:

After reading through a number of works discussing South Asian Islamic history, and also many of the references, I have thought a lot more deeply about the traditions of South Asian culture than my last series of posts on this subject. Every time I read the numerous moving stories, I have marveled at how totally lost Muslim South Asians, especially ex-patriots and their children, have become from their traditional past. While the first Masjid in India was built in Kodungallur by Malik Bin Deenar(R), a Sahabi (during the Prophet’s (S) lifetime), it certainly seems that most of what occurred after that point has been forgotten by South Asian Muslims living abroad.

Do read and ponder.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

SFO unlawful in ending BAE probe

This is excellent news. We want to expose these thieves and robbers. What national security is actually being served by pandering to these poxy corrupt rulers? Sod it, they raise terrorists and then they want money so that they will tell us about their terrorists?

I do hope they go ahead and re-open the inquiry and somebody's head must roll.

what cheek!

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

The forgotten genocide in Bangladesh

See these pictures of the 1971 war which stopped the Bangladeshi genocide. And see this story. 3 million dead. What has been done about them? Perhaps the OIC or the other people who are so excited about Palestine can shed some light on what have they done to bring those people to justice before talking about somebody else's crimes? Oh!, sorry, it is far easier to point to somebody else's mistakes, no? than to resolve their own?

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

The BBC and its much vaunted neutrality

Jennifer Marohasy: The BBC Changes News to Accommodate Activist

this was the most amazing thing I have ever read. A journalist doing something like this? Do they not know that the BBC is used, for example by my son, to learn things? And this is what their knowledge is based upon? Is this related to being this? So you could be liberal but you are definitely stupid and biased.

Criminal. What has been done about this?

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Wednesday, April 9

The Incorruptibles..

This was the most amazing site that I have seen, most gruesome but fascinating.. The idea that most devout Catholics and saints do not rot after death..


And here's something for Buddhists...


and self mummification...

one lives and learns...


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Maps of War?

Thanks to Nat :), how religions grew...

this is very interesting, but dont get excited, its just a representation.

The death and life of the American newspaper.

A great article here.

Also read this article on the British Scene.

Monday, April 7

Photo Essay: St Paul's Cathedral, London

It was evening when I got to walk past St. Paul's on the way to a meeting at the London Stock Exchange and as I  was a few minutes early, I took out the camera to take some photos of the St. Paul's Cathedral. It is an imposing building.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I was working at Goldman Sachs, which had a building right in front of St. Paul's and at that time, I used to walk over to the grounds of St. Paul's and have my lunch there. But of course, at that time, I did not have a handy camera. But now I do and here are some of the pictures taken in haste.

the pillars on the front of the cathedral with quite intricate carving
this was an iron fence which presumably protects the corner of the building from getting knocked and damaged.

this is a view of the northern side of the cathedral looking due east. The cathedral has a strong Greco-roman feel with those columns and crenellations.
Looking back up west and if you keep on going up, you will hit Fleet Street.

There seems to be some restoration going on as well, its Albion Stone, a very nice buttery cream coloured limestone. Can you imagine trying to restore stone to what it was like before? And St. Paul's restoration is a long term project. Mind you, this particular building is the fourth to occupy this site and this latest one was created around 1700's. Designed by that great man, Christopher Wren. See some pictures of the restoration here.  
The fence is made up of some serious ironmongery, the casting of these fences should have taken up serious amounts of money, time and skill.
This is the statue of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.  He looked far too stern for my liking, reminded me of one of the teachers I had in my Jesuit school, but you can see the man who is perhaps responsible for one of the greatest flowerings of evangelical Christianity in modern ages.


The base of the pillar containing the statue of St. John the Baptist (I think, it wasn't clear which John...) But the raised bronze/copper? inscription was very interesting. Makes you wonder about your own mortality. One erects these monuments to the dead and 100 years later, a man will be standing in front of it and wondering who or what Anne Richards was. It says, "IN MEMORY OF ANNE RICHARD BVRIED IN THIS CHVRCHYARD OF HER SON FREDRICK RICHARDS FOR MANY YEARS RESIDENT IN WAITING STREET AND OF HER GRANDSON FREDRICK FIELD RICHARDS PRIEST RESIDENT FOR MANY YEARS IN ST. PAVLS CHVRCHYARD THIS CROSS WAS ERECTED BY HENRY CHARLES RICHARDS CITIZEN BAKER AND TVRNER ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S COVNSEL TREASURER OF THE HONORABLE SOCIETY OF GRAY'S INN 1904 1905 AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR EAST FINSBURY 1895 1905 WHO SPENT THE HAPPIEST HOVRS OF A BVSY LIFE AS A FREQVENT WORSHIPPER WITHIN THE WALLS OF THIS CATHEDRAL "GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME AS A SINNER".... 1905

Notice that the U's are replaced with V's, impact of Latin perhaps? A bit verbose and perhaps I would not have written so much, but hey, who pays the piper gets to call the tune. But the craftsmanship was brilliant, very nice.


Then we have a bench which has a plaque which states, "IN PROUD MEMORY OF THE LATE LT. COL. H. N. CLARK, DSO, TD, COMMANDING OFFICER, 290 BDE RFA (T) PRESENTED BY 2/1ST CITY OF LONDON, RFA, OCA, 1914-1918. That's Royal Field Artillery for you. Here's an interesting site which tells you about the man who commanded this group of men, they were part of 1st corps, 58th London Division, and I quote: "58th Division advancing on Lens on the right" on 11th November 1918, the day the first great war ended...

So while I was sitting there on that peaceful evening looking up at the great building, this bench was commemorating a man who led men on the battlefields of one of the most violent conflicts known to man. All quiet on the western front?

Then I trundled around back to the front of the cathedral which has an interesting series of polished stone bollards around the front. You can see up the road and walk down the stairs holding on to this massive bronze handrail, very nicely crafted as well. Although I think the stone bollards are new.
The porch (although it is way too big to be called as a porch) was massive with the pillars and the marble flooring. You can see the huge wooden doors on the left hand side photograph behind the photographer. Although the alcoves looked empty. It was as if they were designed to hold statues, but they did not. I was also not sure about the purpose of the pillars, so close to the main wall. Are they really load bearing or just for show?

The wooden doors were massive and the bronze rosettes were big as well, and looking at the ceiling,  it is very tightly sculpted in that Albion stone. Lovely warm stone, but apparently it gets dirty very quickly...

As before, for the full slide show (and some more photographs) in much bigger resolution, please click here or click on the thumbnail to go to a bigger resolution picture.

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British Ahwazi Friendship Society

Did you know about this society? It is a society set up relating to the arabs who live inside Iran. Quite a fascinating history they have and rather interesting current situation.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Sunday, April 6

More Afghan children condemned to illiteracy

More Neanderthal behaviour, and another school blown up by the moron Taliban. I quote:

Kabul : Insurgents have blown up a school, but fortunately hurt no one, in the eastern Afghanistan province of Paktika, said a statement of the U.S.-led Coalition forces released here on Sunday.

"The school was built by Afghan citizens and sponsored by Coalition forces in Farouq district of Pakitka," the statement said, adding that the incident happened Thursday.

"Villagers told police and Coalition forces that a man with his face veiled exited a taxi in front of the school where detonation occurred approximately twenty minutes after the taxi departed," it added.

On multiple occasions, insurgents in Afghanistan have destroyed schools and threatened to murder teachers in an attempt to undermine Afghan government efforts to provide a better education for Afghan youth.

According to Afghan Ministry of Education, 220 students and teachers have been killed in the militant-related violence.

Curious, no? how they want their people to remain slaves and ignorant?

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Jews in Mecca & Medina?

It didnt take long to get a reaction to the US House Resolution 185 which talked about the Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands. I quote:

It is a “ploy to give Israel a share in every Arab country” and force the Arabs to drop Palestinians’ “right to return” from their negotiations with the Israelis, Sheikh Hilal Mabrouq told the congregation during his sermon at the Najma mosque yesterday.
“It is very clear that the resolution is one step forward to strengthen Israel’s existence in the region,” he said.
“Each Arab country had a Jewish community which lived in peace with the Arabs before the establishment of Israel. I think it is only meant for finding a share for Israel in each Arab country,” he said.

But the best part was this one which I didnt not consider:

“I will not be surprised if the US Congress came up with another resolution tomorrow, claiming the right of the Jews who had left the Arab peninsula after the appearance of Islam to return to both Makkah and Al Madina and establish a Jewish community there,” he said.

Lol, well, me being evil, i can very well think, well, why not? if length of stay and presence on land is indeed the case, right of returns cuts all ways... What will Israel and the assorted Arab League countries do?

Best Laid Plans of Mice and BDmen

Well, i was hoping to do a spot of gardening this weekend. So yesterday, went out and purchased 150 quid worth of soil and pots and tubs. Have to do that anyway because need to get the patio floor fixed, but see what happened today..




See the tubs on the right hand side? Those were supposed to be filled up with roses... Now its just snow..

Best laid plans of mice and men..

The world according to newspapers and bloggers

This was amazing! the graphic below is the world according to the blogosphere


and here's the world according to the NYT


life is so much different between real life and blog life...

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