Thursday, June 5

A tale of 2 events - Israel and Sudan

Today, I read two events. The first was that one entire country was held responsible for genocide. And a future president praised another country which is also accused of genocide. In both cases, Muslims are being killed, but in one case, its Muslims killing other Muslims while in the latter, its the Jews killing Muslims. In one case, it is greater by an order of magnitude in terms of dead and injured, in the other case, the time period is greater by orders of magnitude

What I found so amusing was on the Muslim side, there was total shock at the first and nary a mention on the latter. While on the right and western side, that was total shock at the latter and nary a big mention on the former. Specially on the chat rooms, internet, blogs, and online media outlets.

Curious or what?

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The Beady Law of Bush Bilking

You must have heard of Godwin's Law. After having seen a huge amount of discussions and debate on the George Bush Phenomena, I am going to propose another law based upon that master, Godwin. The Beady Law of Bush Bilking states that:

Accusing somebody of being a George Bush or his supporter is guaranteed to bring the conversation to an end.

Just like people who are just too easy to accuse other people of being Nazi's show evidence of loose thinking, the Beady Law of Bush Bilking states that the person has not really thought through the argument and has just lazily reached out to a hated figure. And that's it, the conversation either stops at that point or no longer remains a conversation and degenerates into people throwing their toys out of a pram and thereby proving the adage, "many an argument is sound, just sound"

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Wednesday, June 4

Some good questions for BoJo, London Mayor

I would be interested in the answers as well to these questions. I wonder if he will answer them.

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A Levels are useless

When three of the top five universities in the world say that the British A level system is fatally flawed and almost worthless, i am wondering what's the point of my son working towards them. To add to the problem, these 3 universities are British themselves!

What a tragic indictment of the British Schooling system and then I suppose the frankly spectacularly incompetent Schools Minister will turn up and say that this just shows how wonderfully diverse our education system it.

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Formula 1 does not see anything wrong with Nazi's

This made me really depressed, I mean, formula 1 was already getting a bit boring but now this game has continued on to keep this man, Max Mosley, who did frankly some major objectionable things, as the President. Well, my friends, it is obvious that Max Mosley and his antics represent Formula 1, but not me, so I have to now consign Formula 1 to the depths as well. Useless git and frankly morally corrupt and supine bunch of buggers who should be turfed out.

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Don't put lipstick on a pig when our newspapers need hard surgery

This headline was so funny, but the headline referred to an important aspect, how do Newspapers innovate? what are they doing? Some very interesting observations on that post. Loved some of the ideas:

1. Be different
2. Shake things up
3. Raise hell and sell newspapers
4. Make readers smile, not depressed
5. Great stories
6. Be hyper-local
7. Integrate or die
8. Graphics, graphics, graphics
9. Try wild ideas

But what will be the newsroom be like of tomorrow?

1. a "Superdesk" at which the chiefs are accessible, visible and open.
2. a "Community desk" at which a team is in charge of integrating audience comments, pictures, videos, tips and opinions
3. an "Assignment desk" at which reporters, photographers, etc sit.
4. Integrated mini TV and radio studio
5. Digital walls on which the newsroom staff can see the online edition displayed at all times.

Now trying to think laterally, this is what actually happens on a trading floor. The heads are visible, there are technologists and people who put together integrated news, assignment is automated and we have everything integrated - voice, data, you name it and finally, large digital displays are on the wall where we see the world. Curious, does this mean that a news story will become like a financial trading transaction?

Another sign that the balance is tilting east

Now this is another issue for the west (besides the fact that the east is eating more meat...), more patent filings in China. I quote the impact:


The newfound respect for IP rights in China may be good news for many, but the explosion in applications there also creates a challenge for companies pursuing patents in the U.S. or other countries. A key step for applicants is informing patent examiners about "prior art"—existing inventions often described in other patent applications—and explaining why the patent they are seeking is different. Harold Wegner, a patent attorney and professor in Washington, D.C., noted in an e-mail bulletin, "Huge numbers of Chinese patent applications are becoming prior art upon their publication—and [appear] only in their Chinese version." It may be time for U.S. patent practitioners to bone up on their Mandarin.

The Chinese are still stuck on nationalistic viewpoints over knowledge generation (something akin to Islamic science), but patents are a crucial clutch of sand into the gears of knowledge generation and monetisation. So the sharp rise of China in terms of patents will have a giant impact on the future of the IP based industry. Knowledge centres will move to China (like they already have to India and Israel), and because they have their own very large internal market and a protectionist government, they will have a life of their own. India and Israel had to fall in with what the west and USA said about patent protection because most of their exports are to USA but China can raise 2 fingers (ish) as their internal market itself is big enough to cater for their unique patent system...

Interesting coins

Tutankhamun Death Mask Pyramid Coin

and they are legal tender!

Monday, June 2

Mashing up phone records with bank records?

So you mash up your phone records with your address books and what can you potentially get?

1. You could write a plugin for Outlook or use Gmail’s API to display the last time you spoke to someone [on the phone] when you bring up an email from them.

2. Or you could go further and create an app showing in one place the history of your email, IM, Skype, and cell phone conversations with all your contacts (the cell phone is the missing piece - all the other data is already accessible).

3. You could write an app displaying every call longer than one minute in iCal at the date and time it took place, so that [a record of] all your calls appear in the same place as your in-person meetings.

4. 37Signals could add a note to the Highrise page for every call you make to a contact tagged “Business” in Skydeck.

5. RescueTime could display all the hours you spend on the phone alongside the applications you use and the web sites you visit.

6. FreshBooks could break out calls with clients on invoices for their customers.

7. LinkedIn could use ranking data to show which of the five people that we both know is best placed to introduce you to me.

8. You could write an app to bring all this data back to your smartphone. We will target some phones ourselves, but we can’t address every platform and we won’t stop anyone from trying.

9. You could write an app showing which of your Facebook friends you text [or call] most often. (You’d have to match on name because Facebook doesn’t disclose email addresses etc., but that’s not so hard.) Or use our measure of reciprocity to poke the friends that never call you back.

10. You could throttle tweets to your cell phone based on how many text messages you have left in your plan. (We track how many minutes and text messages you have left each day).

Now imagine if you managed to mash up your bank transaction records into that mix (ignoring data protection and regulatory laws). NOW we are talking, because that will allow you to literally become a bank in your own right because you can lend money to people who you correspond more often. Or microcredit is easier as the banks can identify who you speak to most often. Or I can offer you goods based upon what your friends have purchased. Or I can see what kind of fashion or spending is common amongst your most common friends and tell you how or what to spend. Or I can warn you where you are not following good spending patterns... Interesting or what?

Sunday, June 1

Brilliant quote on beauty

Read this "Coco Chanel: "I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny." from here.

Creativity - Saudi Arabia versus Malaysia

In a short discussion about creativity in Saudi Arabia, I was reminded of a presentation that I saw in KL. It referred to a bill of guarantees. This is a promise by the Government of Malaysia that it will help foreign investors. Now see the point that they guarantee that there will be never any internet censorship? Now its like that kind of broad based liberal thinking which will help Malaysia to power ahead compared to Saudi Arabia. Malaysia is digging and fertilising minds, promising not to interfere despite wherever those minds go to. I am not so sure whether Saudi Arabia can be this free, despite laudable steps like this. Still, identification of a problem is a good step towards solving it.

Banned VW commercial

I am sure I have posted this before but this is for a terrorist car bomber... very amusing! :)



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Mating turtles

This is a heartwarming story. Protecting turtles by pushing them to bonk. Compare that to my previous note about how the river goddess dying.

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Kill the women to protect their honour!

I spoke about honour killings before. But here is another example of this tragic situation. This is the reason why this is not going to go away any time soon and I quote:

But there were other mutterings that were clearly audible. 'I could hear people talking on the corridors and the only thing that they had to say was that Leila was wrong for defending her daughter's mistakes and that her death was God's punishment.

And what did Leila's killers say?

Death to betrayers of Islam who don't deserve God's forgiveness. Speaking less you will live more.'

Nice one there, chaps. God is punishing women and God has so many willing volunteers to his work.

Here's the final proof why tube drinking is right to be banned

I am perhaps out of synch with the wider world or am an old fart but still cannot understand why you have to get drunk to enjoy. I used to drink like a fish when young as well, and have sowed my wild oats, lol. But, hey, more fun to have without drinking, anyway, you get to pick up more girls when you are sober than drunk, so go figure.

But well, ok, that's your choice and your liver. But when it comes to public transport, why am I supposed to share that public transport with people who are drunk and disorderly?

I will agree to your right to drink when you are willing to pay for somebody to accompany you and stop you from doing something stupid. You do not have a problem with banning drink drivers, do you? But you have a problem with people drinking on public roads and creating a nuisance? So basically it is hypocrisy because the reason this was done was to rebel against a conservative mayor.

This is what happens when you allow drinking on the tube. See here for more mayhem and arrests. I quote:

Police also reported four assaults on train drivers and three assaults on other members of London Underground staff.

Empty carriage strewn with litter

Clowns, its a relief that nobody got injured or dead in that frankly silly party. But then, people who rely on drinks to feel good are, well, ok, you know what I think of them.

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How India jumped generations in its development

I spoke about how interesting I found that India is not going down the broadband revolution but the mobile revolution. Now this is an example of a tiny village in the depths of India and see how they are using the mobile phone technology to effectively do business and nary a PC in sight.


So one needs to think about why governments are pushing so hard for broadband rollout when even basic mobile phone services allows you to have human development and business relationships. Every part of human value chains are being linked via mobile phones rather than internet based emails, websites or what have you. And it will be much more cost effective...