Monday, December 22

From Fitzgerald to Reagan, 5 Letters of Fatherly Advice from History's Greatest Public Dads |


I'm not sure whether to congratulate or sympathise with you. You have your mamma who wrote an entire book of letters to you (and to Diya) as well but then to compound it, your father keeps on sending you weirdass articles with strange commentary and advise. 

I'm reminded of a quote, 'the thing to do with good advice is to pass it on, it's never good for oneself'. 

I used to correspond  copiously with Dadu's elder brother. He was a ferociously intelligent man, with some very strong opinions about English, grammar, history, bibliography etc. I used to spend summers with him and we would talk and discuss about variety of things. And when I used to write to him, he would reply and also and my letters back corrected for grammar and spelling. Heh. 

Actually, there is a very long tradition down history of men writing to their sons or their mentees. For example, the first book I read was called as, Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son. Gandhi did it. You know why? Because fathers don't want their sons (and daughters) to make the same mistakes as they did or they want to make sure that the happiness they received is also adopted by their sons and daughters. I don't write too much to Diya at the moment about weighty things. She is a bit too young but we still have fun on a variety of topics, mostly related to what I photograph. 

Anyway, here are 5 letters that famous dad's wrote to their sons. History doesn't record what their sons thought of these letters but be that as it may, happy reading son. 



From Fitzgerald to Reagan, 5 Letters of Fatherly Advice from History's Greatest Public Dads | Brain Pickings

by Maria Popova

“The secret of success is concentrating interest in life… interest in the small things of nature… In other words to be fully awake to everything.”

With Father’s Day around the corner, let’s take a moment to pay heed to some of the wisest, most heart-warming advice from history’s famous dads. Gathered here are five timeless favorites, further perpetuating my well-documented love of the art of letter-writing.


imageIn a 1933 letter to his 11-year-old daughter Scottie, F. Scott Fitzgeraldproduced this poignant and wise list of things to worry, not worry, and think about, found in the altogether excellent F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters:

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about…

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

Sunday, December 21

During these days where children are killed…

you need something to restore your faith in humanity…even if its humans helping animals..

Friday, December 19

Algerian War


You know that I hate wars. It's a spectacular waste of intelligence and human resources. The uk has invaded more than 180 countries and what do we have to show for it? Mouldering graves in all those countries of young men and their families? 

Wars have very long memories son. They don't end when the peace treaty is signed. And have seriously bad repercussions for decades and centuries afterwards. Think about Thermopylae. It still excites emotions. How about the battles of panipat? Or of Vienna? Or the Golden Horde and Moscow? Or or or. 

This is another example of how imperialism has cast a very long shadow over so many people and generations. France has suffered hugely because of its imperialism, the fourth republic fell because of this, civil wars happened. 

Tocqueville praised how Algeria was taken over. This man praised the quality of American democracy and wasn't able to look at Algeria in the Same way. We got you his book for your 18th birthday son. Read it. 

Then the fight between Algeria and Egypt. It boils over every now and then, over football recently. But look at the history, Egypt helped Algeria regain it's independence and paid for it by having France invade it. Again! Poor Egypt keeps getting its teeth kicked in. 

But Algeria is still suffering from what the French did. 

And the Berber Arab fight in the Maghreb goes back to what the Muslims did when they expanded their empire. So on and so forth. Wars are crap. Hate them. They ruin lives societies not only when they are raging but for generations afterwards. We allowed the irAq war to happen son but you will keep on suffering the repercussions of that idiotic war for decades. 

Read and weep for a tragic violent pathetic horrible war where hardly anybody came out smelling like roses. 



Algerian War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Algerian War, also known as theAlgerian War of Independence or theAlgerian Revolution(Arabic: الثورة الجزائرية‎Ath-Thawra Al-Jazā’iriyya; French:Guerre d'Algérie, "Algerian War") was a war betweenFrance and theAlgerianindependence movements from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria gaining its independence from France. An importantdecolonization war, it was a complex conflict characterized by guerrilla warfare,maquis fighting, terrorism, the use of torture by both sides, and counter-terrorism operations. The conflict was also a civil war between loyalist Algerians believing in a French Algeria and their insurrectionist Algerian Muslimcounterparts.[5] Effectively started by members of the National Liberation Front(FLN) on November 1, 1954, during the Toussaint Rouge ("Red All Saints' Day"), the conflict shook the foundations of the French Fourth Republic (1946–58) and led to its eventual collapse. In 1961, president Charles de Gaulledecided to give up Algeria—which was up to then regarded as an integral part of France—after conducting a referendum showing huge support for Algerian independence. The planned withdrawal led to a state crisis, to variousassassination attempts on de Gaulle, and some attempts of military coups. Most of the former were carried out by the Organisation de l'armée secrète(OAS), an underground organization formed mainly from French military personnel supporting a French Algeria, which committed a large number of bombings and murders in both Algeria and the homeland to stop the planned independence.

Thursday, December 18

Who Invented the Yellow Card?

Fascinating nugget son. How the yellow card was invented. It's a simple ideogram. Like the Chinese language. Should more be a logogram but let's not quibble. 

You see son, living in an Information Age means that we have to digest more and more information. So keep on top of things, one has to abstract things. When I was in my previous bank, I was responsible for creating a one pager for a bank wide transformation. A one page. Which encapsulates the past current and future state of a Multi billion dollar initiative. It was designed to be read understood and then discussed in 1 hour. One of my fields of interest is data visualisation. The science of how to portray data more efficiently. 

And it's fascinating. For the same data, decisions can be different of you've shown it in a table or a bar or radar graph. Reminds me of the quote, it's not your vote that counts but who counts your vote that counts. 

The power to communicate son. That's the key. Hold your audience in your hand. Use visual aids. 



Who Invented the Yellow Card?

Among the stadiums and balls and robots specifically designed for this World Cup, a few objects remain unchanged. Most visibly, perhaps, is the yellow card. It is now and has, since its introduction to the World Cup in 1970, been a plain, handheld, yellow, card. That's it. But that simple yellow card can literally change the game.

The use of the yellow card is strictly outlined in the FIFA rulebook, which notes that “a player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the following seven offences:”

  • unsporting behavior
  • dissent by word or action
  • persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game
  • delaying the restart of play              
  • failure to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw-in 
  • entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee’s permission
  • deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission

FIFA also documents the invention of the yellow card. The card was the creation of Ken Aston (1915-2001), one of the game’s toughest and most respected referees, who served on the FIFA Referee’s Committee from 1966 to 1972. In 1966, Aston, a Brit, was thinking about some controversial decisions made in a recent match between England and Argentina, which was so heated that, after the game, an angry Argentinian team purportedly tried tobreak into the English locker room. At one point, an Argentinian player was trying to communicate with a German referee, and his passioned pleas, unintelligible to the ref, got him expelled for "violence of the tongue." The Argentinian player refused to leave the field until Aston intervened. Driving home after the game, Aston pulled up to a stoplight and inspiration struck. "As I drove down Kensington High Street, the traffic light turned red. I thought, 'Yellow, take it easy; red, stop, you're off'," Aston had said. It’s that simple. Aston’s epiphany is now used to indicate warnings and penalties in more than a dozen other games, including fencing, field hockey, volleyball and water polo.

Wednesday, December 17

The Law of Unintended Consequences





And the British Soldiers who died in Afghanistan.


Some of the American Soldiers who died in Afghanistan and their ages.

Edward Joseph Acosta, 21
Trevor Brandon Adkins, 21
Ahmed Kousay al-Taie, 46 Erica Paige Alecksen, 21
Tobias Christoph Alexander, 30
Joseph James Altmann, 27
Mabry James Anders, 21
Joshua Ryan Ashley, 23
Bradley Wayne Atwell, 27
Daniel Benjamin Bartle, 27
Jon-Luke Bateman, 22
Jonathan Batista, 22
Rayvon Battle Jr., 25
Taylor John Baune, 21
Jordan Logan Bear, 25
Clayton Ross Beauchamp, 21
Genaro Bedoy, 20
Bryan Richard Bell, 23
Russell Ryan Bell, 37
Jose Oscar Belmontes, 28
Kenneth Wade Bennett, 26
Keith David Benson, 27
Richard Liam Berry, 27
Robert John Billings, 30
Christopher James Birdwell, 25
Jeremie Shane Border, 28
Christopher David Bordoni, 21
Joshua Alan Born, 25
Michael Cean Braden, 31
Mikayla Anne Bragg, 21
John R. Brainard III, 26
Sean Edward Brazas, 26
Andrew Trevor Britton-Mihalo, 25
Michael John Brodsky, 33
Christopher L. Brown, 26
Daniel Joseph Brown, 27
Milton W. Brown, 28
Gregory Thomas Buckley, 21
Antonio Carlos Burnside, 31
Thomas Jefferson Butler IV, 25
Brandon Lucas Buttry, 19

Gerardo Campos, 23
Shane William Cantu, 20
Daniel Lewis Carlson, 21
Sean Patrick Carson, 32
Roberto Cazarez, 24
Julian Clement Chase, 22
Nicolas D. Checque, 28
Gregory Lamont Childs, 38
Bruce Kevin Clark, 43
Junot M. L. Cochilus, 34
Kenneth Eldren Cochran, 20
Keaton Grant Coffey, 22
Julian Lee Colvin, 21
Timothy John Conrad Jr., 22
Gregory Todd Copes, 36
Cesar Cortez, 24
Niall William Cotisears, 23
Joseph D’Augustine, 29
Johnathon Frank Davis, 20
Nathan Tyler Davis, 20
Coater Bernard Debose, 55
Michael Robert Demarsico II, 20
Anthony Joseph Denier, 26
Leroy Deronde III, 22
Nicholas Michael Dickhut, 23
Scott Edward Dickinson, 29
Alex Frank Domion, 21
Curtis Joseph Duarte, 22
Michael Stephen Duskin, 42
James Evan Dutton, 25
Edward Joe Dycus, 22
Kevin Richard Ebbert, 32
Jason Kyle Edens, 22
Brandon Forrest Eggleston, 29
Vincent James Ellis, 22
Darrel Lynn Enos, 36
Richard Allen Essex, 23
Bobby Lee Estle, 38
Kyler Lavon Estrada, 21
Joseph Henry Fankhauser, 30
Aaron Matthew Faust, 22
Mathew Gregory Fazzari, 25
Patrick Delaney Feeks, 28
Arronn David Fields, 27
Krystal Marie Fitts, 26
Joseph Fitzmorris, 31
Thomas Kent Fogarty, 30
Nicholas Charles Fredsti, 30
Vilmar Galarza Hernandez, 21
Luis Antonio Oliver Galbreath, 41
Jonathan William Gifford, 34
Theodore Matthew Glende, 23
Jonathan Alan Gollnitz, 28
Moises Jesus Gonzalez, 29
Brandon Dwayne Goodine, 20
Brittany Bria Gordon, 24
Brett Edward Gornewicz, 27
Walter David Gray, 38
Kevin James Griffin, 45
Samuel Mark Griffith, 36
Jesse James Grindey, 30
Dustin Dean Gross, 19
Raul Madrigal Guerra, 37
Michael J. Guillory, 28
Ryan Preston Hall, 30
Carl Erik Hammar, 24
Shawn Thomas Hannon, 44
John Eric Hansen, 41
Justin Michael Hansen, 26
Jeremy Franklin Hardison, 23
Zachary Hayden Hargrove, 32
Aaron Arthur Henderson, 33
Alex Hernandez III, 21
Pernell Johnnie Herrera, 33
Channing Bo Hicks, 24
Darrion Terrell Hicks, 21
Tanner Stone Higgins, 23
Terence John Hildner, 49
Hunter Dalton Hogan, 21
Eric Scott Holman, 39
Patricia Lee Horne, 20
Brian Daniel Hornsby, 37
Justin Louis Horsley, 21
John Patrick Huling, 25
Francis Dee Imlay Jr., 31
Aaron Dale Istre, 37
Kedith Lamont Jacobs Jr., 21
Sean Robert Jacobs, 23
Jamie Darrell Jarboe, 27
Ryan Paul Jayne, 22
Ryan Jeschke, 31
David Andrew Johnson, 24
Donna Rae Johnson, 29
Nicholas Scott Johnson, 27
Payton Alexander Jones, 19
James Austin Justice, 21
Ramon Taisakan Kaipat, 22
Matthew Geoffrey Kantor, 22
Andrew James Keller, 22
Thomas Elliott Kennedy, 35
Kurt William Kern, 24
Richard James Kessler Jr., 47
Michael Joseph Knapp, 28
Jabraun Steven Knox, 23
Noah Mark Korte, 29
Suresh Niranjan Aba Krause, 29
Jarrod Allen Lallier, 20
Todd William Lambka, 25
Matthew John Leach, 29
Dick Alson Lee Jr., 31
Brian Jeffery Leonhardt, 21
Joseph Michael Lilly, 25
Darren M. Linde, 41
Daniel Lee Linnabary II, 23
Kevin E. Lipari, 39
Roberto Loeza Jr., 28
John Darin Loftis, 44
Joseph Daniel Logan, 22
Jesus Jonathan Lopez, 22
Conner Thomas Lowry, 24
Bryant Jordan Luxmore, 25
Bruce Andrew MacFarlane, 46
Thomas Raymond MacPherson, 26
Matthew Patrick Manoukian, 29
Robert Joseph Marchanti II, 48
Justin Cameron Marquez, 25
Chase Stone Marta, 24
Ethan Jacob Martin, 22
Alex Martinez, 21
Robert Anthony Massarelli, 32
Erik Nathaniel May, 26
Kyle Brenton McClain, 25
Philip Daine McGeath, 25
Nathan Ronald McHone, 29
Allen Robert McKenna Jr., 28
Barett Wambli McNabb, 33
Richard Lewis McNulty III, 22
John David Meador II, 36
Dale Wayne Means, 23
Kashif Mohammed Memon, 31
Michael Joseph Metcalf, 22
Daniel Thomas Metcalfe, 29
Jonathan Matthew Metzger, 32
Cale Clyde Miller, 23
Eugene Clifton Mills III, 21
Christopher Michael Monahan Jr., 25
Jose Luis Montenegro Jr., 31
Osbrany Montes De Oca, 20
Cody Otho Moosman, 24
Travis Alan Morgado, 25
Christopher E. Mosko, 28
Sky Russell Mote, 27
Christopher Lee Muniz, 24
Dustin Paul Napier, 20
Juan Pantoja Navarro, 23
Benjamin Harold Neal, 21
James Dominic Nehl, 37
Joshua Nathaniel Nelson, 22
Sapuro Brightley Nena, 25
David Paul Nowaczyk, 32
Israel Paul Nuanes, 38
Nicholas Henry Olivas, 20
Tyler J. Orgaard, 20
Kyle Bruce Osborn, 26
Jesse Aaron Ozbat, 28
Scott Patrick Pace, 39
Joshua Cole Pairsh, 29
Michael Jeremy Palacio, 23
Alejandro Jose Pardo, 21
Christopher Alexander Patterson, 20
Brandon Robert Pepper, 31
Sergio Eduardo Perez, 21
Trevor Adam Pinnick, 20
Benjamin Carlos Pleitez, 25
William Compton Poling Jr., 42
Paris Shawn Pough, 40
Alexander George Povilaitis Jr., 47
Stephen Chase Prasnicki, 24
John Castle Pratt, 51
Daniel Joseph Price, 27
Scott Eugene Pruitt, 38
Michael Wayne Pyron, 30
Christopher Keith Raible, 40
Thalia Suzanne Ramirez, 28
Ryan Davis Rawl, 30
Clovis Tim Ray, 34
Jerry Don Reed II, 30
Chad Robert Regelin, 24
Nicholas J. Reid, 26
Kevin James Reinhard, 25
Jose Joel Reyes, 24
Jeffrey Leon Rice, 24
Joseph Alvin Richardson, 23
Travis William Riddick, 40
Jeffrey James Rieck, 46
Michael Eugene Ristau, 25
Richard Anthony Rivera Jr., 20
Daquane Demetris Rivers, 21
Dion Rashun Roberts, 25
Leonard Robinson, 29
Daniel Anthony Rodriguez, 28
Jose Rodriguez, 22
Kyle Robert Rookey, 23
Adam Corey Ross, 19
Nicholas Jan Rozanski, 36
Clinton Keith Ruiz, 22
David E. Rylander, 23
Brenden Neal Salazar, 20
Christian Riley Sannicolas, 20
Ryan James Savard, 29
Philip Channing Sipe Schiller, 21
Joseph Lee Schiro, 27
Jonathan Philip Schmidt, 28
Julian Seiji Scholten, 26
Jacob Michael Schwallie, 22
Matthew Scott Schwartz, 34
Matthew Ryan Seidler, 24
Ricardo Seija, 31
Anthony Ramon Servin, 22
Dean Russell Shaffer, 23
Christopher Greg Singer, 23
Matthew Steven Sitton, 26
James Lyn Skalberg Jr., 25
Tyler James Smith, 24
Orion Nelson Sparks, 29
William Chapman Stacey, 23
Cameron James Stambaugh, 20
Trevor Jovanne Stanley, 22
Camella Marchett Steedley, 31
Riley Gene Stephens, 39
Steven Prince Stevens II, 23
Matthew Henrick Stiltz, 26
Jesse Wade Stites, 23
Michael Joseph Strachota, 28
Sean Patrick Sullivan, 40
Billy Albert Sutton, 42
Steven Gene Sutton, 24
Jason Michael Swindle, 24
Abraham Tarwoe, 25
Robert Joseph Tauteris Jr., 44
Tofiga Joshua Tautolo, 23
David Wayne Taylor, 20
Nicholas Andrew Taylor, 20
Alec Robert Terwiske, 21
Matthew Bradford Thomas, 30
Alejo Rene Thompson, 30
Joel Del Mundo Tiu, 48
Louis Ramon Torres, 23
Jon Ross Townsend, 19
Gregory Ray Trent, 38
Nelson D. Trent, 37
Neil Isaac Turner, 21
Jalfred David Vaquerano, 20
Manuel Joseph Vasquez, 22
Jorge Luis Velasquez, 35
Dain Taylor Venne, 29
Don Cayetano Viray, 25
Paul Clarke Voelke, 36
Brian Lloyd Walker, 25
Jonathan Patrick Walsh, 28
Eric Dean Warren, 23
David John Warsen, 27
Samuel Thomas Watts, 20
Dennis Paul Weichel Jr., 29
Jeffrey Lee White Jr., 21
Nicholas Schade Whitlock, 29
Justin Michael Whitmire, 20
Ronald Herbert Wildrick Jr., 30
Justin James Wilkens, 26
Clarence Williams III, 23
David Vincent Williams, 24
Eric Edward Williams, 27
Wesley R. Williams, 25
Ryan James Wilson, 26
Shane Gregory Wilson, 20
Wade Daniel Wilson, 22
William Robert Wilson III, 27
Jessica Marie Wing, 42
Benjamin Brian Wise, 34
Joshua Eli Witsman, 23
Chris John Workman, 33
Sterling William Wyatt, 21

2,000 U.S. Soldiers Killed In Action and 17,644 Wounded In Action in Afghanistan War

Tuesday, December 16

Common law


I'm going to start a course on English common law soon. It's going to be required for my next PhD. 

Law is a fascinating creature. It distinguishes countries. It defines societies. It very closely tracks the history of a country and actually has immense implications on the temper of a country. 

At this moment, the world has common law (which we are familiar with) civil law which is in most other countries outside the sharia law driven Muslim countries. You know my views on the sharia law countries. But slowly these three systems are going to converge. Look at the financial markets which very easily handle all three systems easily. 

Economics and economic development hugely depends upon the kind of legal system you have. You can count yourself lucky that you're born and brought up and will work in a common law society son where there's more stability and predictability. Easier to love and live and do business and be happy! 

Anyway. Should be fun. 



Common law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Common law (disambiguation).

Legal systems of the world[original research?]

Civil law

Common law

Bijuridical/mixed (civil and common law)

Islamic law (Sharia)

Common law (also known as case law or precedent) is law developed byjudges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals, as opposed to statutesadopted through the legislative process or regulations issued by the executive branch.[1]

A "common law system" is a legal system that gives great precedential weight to common law,[2] on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions.[3] The body of precedent is called "common law" and it binds future decisions. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is usuallybound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision (this principle is known as stare decisis). If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases (called a "matter of first impression"), judges have the authority and duty to make law by creatingprecedent.[4] Thereafter, the new decision becomes precedent, and will bind future courts.

Monday, December 15



Here's the story of a fascinating mythical character. We were in Athens long time back. Kannu was 4 or 5 years old when we were there. It's a beautiful city. I had the most wonderful time there. Lovely food. Great history. Wonderful friends. Great work. And you're surrounded with so so so much history. Walking in the same streets where Aristotle or Plato or Solon or Theseus also walked is an indescribable feeling. I also met god there in a tiny church in Plaka. 

We will go there again one day :)



Theseus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturday, December 13


Here's one of the men who as the leaders of Athens drove it to defeat in the Peloponnesian war. 

This kind of leader is quite common son. Populist leaders are very very dangerous. They appeal to the base instincts. And thus seem popular in polls and there are short term gains but the country suffers in the long term. One extreme example is Chavez of Venezuela. Another is ex president Ahmadinejad of Iran. Same with bibi Netanyahu of Israel. And our own David milliband with his stupid idea of price controls on energy bills. 

Be wary of people who are like this son. Look at them with the deepest suspicion. Even though David milliband's proposals will help me right now by reducing the electricity bill for 2 years, you and Diya then run the high risk of having no electricity or load shedding. Short term gain for long term pain. Not fun. 



Cleon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cleon (English pronunciation: /ˈklən/; Greek: Κλέων, Ancient Greek: [kléɔːn], Kleon) (died 422 BCE) was an Athenian statesman and a strategos during thePeloponnesian War. He was the first prominent representative of the commercial class in Athenian politics, although he was an aristocrat himself. Contemporaries Thucydides and Aristophanes represented him as a warmonger and a demagogue.


Public service

Opposition to Pericles

Cleon first came to notice as an opponent of Pericles in the late 430s through his opposition to Pericles' strategy of refusing battle against the Peloponnesian League invaders in 431 BC. As a result, he found himself acting in concert with the Athenian aristocratic parties, who also had no liking for Pericles. During 430 BC, after the unsuccessful expedition by Pericles to the Peloponnesus, and when the city was devastated by the plague, Cleon headed the opposition to Pericles' rule. At this time, Pericles was accused by Cleon of maladministration of public money, with the result that Pericles was found guilty and removed from office (see Grote's History of Greece, abridged ed., 1907, p. 406, note 1). However, Pericles' setback was temporary and he was soon reinstated.

Rise in popularity

The death of Pericles from the plague in 429 BC left the field clear for new leadership in Athens. Hitherto Cleon had only been a vigorous opposition speaker, a trenchant critic and accuser of state officials, but he now came forward as the professed champion and leader of the democracy and, as a result, dominated Athenian politics. Although rough and unpolished, he was charismatic, being gifted with natural eloquence and a powerful voice, and he knew how to work upon the emotions of the Athenian populace. He strengthened his support amongst the poorer citizens of Athens by increasing the pay of the jurymen, which provided many of the poorer Athenians with a means of livelihood.

The fondness of the Athenians for litigation increased his power; and the practice of "sycophancy" (raking up material for false charges), enabled him to remove those who were likely to endanger his ascendancy. In 426 BC, Cleon brought an unsuccessful prosecution against Laches based on his generalshipin the unsuccessful first Sicilian expedition. This is one of the very few times that an Athenian general escaped civil punishment for a defeat. Having no further use for his former aristocratic associates, he broke off all connection with them, and thus felt at liberty to attack the secret combinations for political purposes, the oligarchical clubs to which they mostly belonged. Whether he also introduced a property-tax for military purposes, and even held a high position in connection with the treasury, is uncertain.

War against Sparta, subsequent death

Friday, December 12

Copper Sheathing helped save lives in an ass backward way

fascinating paper here.

British slave traders were early and rapid adopters of the new technique of sheathing ships' hulls with copper. From the 1780s this innovation increased sailing speeds of British slave ships by about a sixth, prolonged the ships' lives by at least a half, and reduced the death rates of slaves on the middle passage by about half. It was, above all, the fall in death rates, and possibly the improved condition of surviving slaves, that made the investment so compelling. Copper sheathing may have paid for itself in a single voyage, even though it was usually good for several. By the 1790s few slave ships, even if making only a single voyage, were uncoppered. These results confirm that copper sheathing was one of the major improvements in shipping productivity before the use of iron and steam in the mid-nineteenth century.

I am not sure if this would be really that appreciated by the slaves, what would you prefer? an agonising death on the slave ships or a life of slavery?

one thing which I have read about slave ships is how the British squadrons came to know about the slave ships. Besides intelligence and beating about the mouths of African rivers to capture the slavers, they used the power of smell. Slave ships were extremely odorous. truly disgusting, specially on the trans Atlantic voyages or up to Europe. first, the slaves would be chained down spoon fashion for the voyage. they would be crammed in tightly as a sardine in a can, with multiple decks. layer after layer after layer. they wouldn't be fed that frequently either. They will piss, shit, vomit, sweat, drip blood, die, all in the same area. if they were lucky,they were brought up to be given a drenching in the cold sea water, but no captain would risk a mutiny or rebellion so death rates of up to 50% were accepted.


so anything that reduced the voyage time, would help increase the survival rates…

here are some of the photographs from our visit to Portsmouth…you can see the photograph showing the shelf in which you as a slave will be curled up in chains for 2 weeks, the gaps in the wood will let all the bloody fluids and sewage from top drop on you.

Wednesday, December 10

the migration of Citron

While studying the destruction of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians, I came across an interesting mention of India. Citron was imported from India to Ancient Persia / Babylon and from there it came to Jerusalem. And then I bumped into those in Sicily. Here’s the wiki entry. Some interesting factoids…

The citron could also be native to India where it borders on Burma, in valleys at the foot of theHimalayas, and in the Indian Western Ghats.[23][24] It is thought that by the time of Theophrastus, the citron was mostly cultivated in the Persian Gulf on its way to the Mediterranean basin, where it was cultivated during the later centuries in different areas as described by Erich Isaac.[25]Many mention the role of Alexander the Great and his armies as they attacked Persia and what is today Pakistan, as being responsible for the spread of the citron westward, reaching the European countries such as Macedonia and Italy.[26] The citron is mentioned in the Torah as being required for ritual use during the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40). According to this tradition, the Jews brought it back to Israel from their exile in Egypt, where the Egyptologist and archaeologist Victor Loret claimed to have identified it depicted on the walls of the botanical garden at the Karnak Temple, which dates back to the time of Thutmosis III, approximately 3,000 years ago.[27]

how fascinating, eh? I love this fruit, delicious….and a commentary by Theophrastus..

In the east and south there are special plants... i.e. in Media and Persia there are many types of fruit, between them there is a fruit called Median or Persian Apple. The tree has a leaf similar to and almost identical with that of the andrachn (Arbutus andrachne L.), but has thorns like those of the apios (the wild pear, Pyrus amygdaliformis Vill.) or the firethorn, Cotoneaster pyracantha Spach.), except that they are white, smooth, sharp and strong.

Spines of the Firethorn.

The fruit is not eaten, but is very fragrant, as is also the leaf of the tree; and the fruit is put among clothes, it keeps them from being moth-eaten. It is also useful when one has drunk deadly poison, for when it is administered in wine; it upsets thestomach and brings up the poison. It is also useful to improve the breath, for if one boils the inner part of the fruit in a dish or squeezes it into the mouth in some other medium, it makes the breath more pleasant.

The seed is removed from the fruit and sown in the spring in carefully tilled beds, and it is watered every fourth or fifth day. As soon the plant is strong it is transplanted, also in the spring, to a soft, well watered site, where the soil is not very fine, for it prefers such places.

And it bears its fruit at all seasons, for when some have gathered, the flower of the others is on the tree and is ripening others. Of the flowers I have said[30] those that have a sort of distaff [meaning the pistil] projecting from the middle are fertile, while those that do not have this are sterile. It is also sown, like date palms, in pots punctured with holes.

This tree, as has been remarked, grows in Media and Persia.

So for friends in Europe and USA, when you are squeezing a lemon on yourself or on your dishes, remember the antecedents of this lovely little fruit.

Tuesday, December 9

Being raped costs over $100k for the victim

this is bloody disgusting.

In 2006, approximately 49% of violent crimes were not reported to police. Being the victim of sexual assault is expensive; each incident imposes an external cost of over $100k on the victim. However, recent estimates of the total social cost are an order of magnitude larger suggesting that from a social welfare standpoint rape is likely to be underreported if the victim's demand for reporting is price elastic. In spite of the centrality of victim reporting in the functioning of the criminal justice system, to date there is very little systematic evidence on what governments can do to encourage victims to report crimes. We estimate the sensitivity of victims to the cost of reporting in an Alaskan city between 1993 and 2006, during which time a chief of police publicly supported a policy of charging victims of sexual assault for medical procedures required to collect evidence against their attackers. Using a triple differences approach that compares trends in reported sexual assaults to other index crimes over time and across Alaskan cities, we estimate that this shift in cost of approximately $1,200 from the city government to victims reduced the number of reported rapes by between 50 and 80%. This large response highlights the importance of public policies which reduce the private cost of reporting crime.

during the days when you hear about so many bloody sexual assaults happening, we have to reduce the costs of the crime for the victim!

Saturday, December 6

Pornography, public acceptance and sex related crime: A review

this should get the old wrinklies  into a tizzy. Availability of sexually explicit material does not (gasp, shock, horror) increase sex crimes. And in some cases has even decreased sex crimes. See this paper.

A vocal segment of the population has serious concerns about the effect of pornography in society and challenges its public use and acceptance. This manuscript reviews the major issues associated with the availability of sexually explicit material. It has been found everywhere it was scientifically investigated that as pornography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased. It is further been found that sexual erotica has not only wide spread personal acceptance and use but general tolerance for its availability to adults. This attitude is seen by both men and women and not only in urban communities but also in reputed conservative ones as well. Further this finding holds nationally in the United States and in widely different countries around the world. Indeed, no country where this matter has been scientifically studied has yet been found to think pornography ought be restricted from adults. The only consistent finding is that adults prefer to have the material restricted from children's production or use.

curious, eh?

Friday, December 5

What an evocative photo


not that one uses a fountain pen any more…but still, amazing imagery :)

Thursday, December 4

The Criminalization of Abortion in the West

this was an interesting book review that I read today…

I quote

The argument of this book is that abortion, including miscarriage by assault and infanticide (p. 5), came to be treated as a “crime” in the modern sense — “wrongdoing requiring lawful retribution from the hands of publicly appointed officials” (p. 4) — in the period 1140–1250 (pp. 1–2). The introduction sets out this thesis and the crucial problematic: when do the sources for law and society in the West first conceptualise a clear distinction between crime on the one hand and wrongdoing that is not criminal, such as “tort” or sin, on the other? It is a debate that has long engaged scholars of medieval canon and English common law.

a fascinating argument. the author talks about abortion being criminalised in the mid 12th century with the rise in the emergence of universities and jurisprudence studies.

As for myself, i am firmly of the belief that its the choice of the mother whether or not to abort. And yes, whilst you can quibble over whether or not at which time period the baby becomes viable, the fact remains that the mother is responsible and accountable. So end of. But curious how this is all religiously mandated. For example, you wouldn't find any of these issues relating to non Judeo Christian backgrounds, at least not that I have read about it. If you believe in the cycle of life and rebirth, then when you die is merely a waystation…fascinating…

this book goes on my to be read pile :)

Tuesday, December 2

I have no ancestors of that gifted people

I don't have to tell you about the holocaust son. But remember that pretty much the entire German population with very few very honourable exceptions supported or agreed or kept quiet whilst this was happening. It's unfair to hold them just up for scrutiny. Jews have been persecuted for centuries not least here in the UK. If you get a chance son, visit the Jewish museum in London. We've got tons of books on this, including a mildly controversial book, Hitler's willing executioners. Then you can read about how common people turned brutal. And it can happen anywhere. Eternal vigilance son.

But that's not the point which I wanted to bring out. It's the letter writing which I wanted to point to, son.
It's a letter of note. Polished English. And it's a highly intelligent put down. Very smart very very intelligent. Normally I don't recommend writing letters or emails when angry. Then you'll end up writing the best email you'll ever regret. Never do that. If you get upset over an email, by all means, draft a letter but DONT send it. Store it in draft and then send it next day after sleeping over it. Anger is very expensive son. Extremely expensive. It costs huge amounts, not just to you. It has a destructive ability that vastly overpowers the immediate benefit of hurting the other. See people who get angry and you know what their weaknesses are. You know how to control them by observing their anger.

So whilst I can appreciate the intellectual aspect of this letter, I disagree that he should have sent it. How will it change the mind of the publisher? He's going to get pissed and it doesn't help.

There's a time and place for anger. This isn't it. Then again, if he hadn't sent it, then I wouldn't have been able to share this with you :)



Letters of Note: I have no ancestors of that gifted people

via Instapaper

Monday, December 1

Sing your heart out


The first time I heard about Paul Robeson was on a song from Calcutta Youth Choir. He is an amazing man, kids.

take a look at his life. A big sportsman, a strong lawyer, political activist, etc. etc. Amazing chap. But look at what he says...

“Hard-working people, and poor, most of them, in worldly goods—but how rich in compassion! How filled with the goodness of humanity and the spiritual steel forged by centuries of oppression! There was the honest joy of laughter in these homes, folk-wit and story, hearty appetites for life as for the nourishing greens and black-eyed peas and cornmeal bread they shared with me. Here in this little hemmed-in world where home must be theatre and concert hall and social center, there was a warmth of song. Songs of love and longing, songs of trials and triumphs, deep-flowing rivers and rollicking brooks, hymn-song and ragtime ballad, gospels and blues, and the healing comfort to be found in the illimitable sorrow of the spirituals.”

Paul Robeson

That's the important thing, kids. Song. Sing. You need to sing out loud, not just in the shower. Like Dada and I used to dance to the songs of Belafonte. How Diya and I dance and sing to the Disney songs. Sing out loud, kids, that's a way of being human. It exposes your emotions, makes you think and feel. As Paul says, songs of love and longing, songs of trials and triumphs, deep -flowing rivers and rollicking brooks, etc. etc.

I grew up with listening to songs in Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Punjabi. They were about love, they were about rivers, they were about Indian nationalism. Even now I get goose bumps when I listen to the Indian national anthem.

but you kids have grown up in the UK and are British. Your songs are going to be different, the songs which you love are going to be relating to different aspects such as the Queen or love or culture or etc. etc.

but don’t forget to sing, not just listen to songs, kids, sing your heart out. Even if it’s the barney song :)



Sunday, November 30

Hunger Feeds More The Hungry: Evidence On Cognitive And Affective Empathy

a rather interesting paper here

We investigate experimentally the impact of cognitive and affective empathy on behavior. A
novelty of the study is that we do so directly without invoking responses to questionnaires, but
by manipulating the state of hunger of participants in the single-shot Dictator game during
the holy month of Ramadan. Our sample consists of male workers in the Sepaahaan (car
battery) manufacturing factory in the city of Isfahan in Iran. We find that, only, affective
empathy amplifies altruistic behavior. More specifically, hungry dictators transfer more money
to hungry recipients than fed dictators. The difference is statistically as well as economically

and there’s a great quote from the old master, Adam Smith. I quote:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his
nature which interest him in the fortune of others and render their happiness necessary
to him through he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.
Adam Smith

the use of hunger during the Ramadan time is quite interesting. Despite them being hungry, the donors will pay more in an altruistic manner. The fact that they are hungry themselves attenuates their unselfish behaviour, good to be human, eh?

Monday, October 27

Babylonian Daily Calendar was from sunset to sunset

I am studying the Kingdom of Judah and I came across a fascinating factoid. The Gregorian Calendar measures the day from midnight to midnight. The Babylonian calendar, unlike the Gregorian calendar, is measured from sunset to sunset. It also had the 7th day as a holy or evil day depending upon what could or couldn't be done.


here’s an cuneiform tablet talking about an eclipse.

the link down to our Sunday’s and how we measure time is fascinating…

Friday, October 24

copyright is theft? really?

this was an interesting paper which i read about from here. Abstract:

This paper exploits variation in the adoption of copyright laws within Italy – as a result of Napoleon’s military campaign – to examine the effects of copyrights on creativity. To measure variation in the quantity and quality of creative output, we have collected detailed data on 2,598 operas that premiered across eight states within Italy between 1770 and 1900. These data indicate that the adoption of copyrights led to a significant increase in the number of new operas premiered per state and year. Moreover, we find that the number of high-quality operas also increased – measured both by their contemporary popularity and by the longevity of operas. By comparison, evidence for a significant effect of copyright extensions is substantially more limited. Data on composers’ places of birth indicate that the adoption of copyrights triggered a shift in patterns of composers’ migration, and helped attract a large number of new composers to states that offered copyrights. - See more at:

quite an interesting argument. Copyright is intellectual property and you should protect it. I saw this great point in the comments, which I didnt know about. Do you think theft only happens in torrents today? See what this note says with respect to Dickens.

In publishing The Pickwick Papers in volume form after the book’s epoch-making serial run in 1837, Dickens dedicated the work to dramatist and politician Thomas Noon Talford, partly because this writer as an M. P. had introduced a copyright bill in the House of Commons in 1836. Dickens was already aware of how much money he was losing as a result of massive violations of his copyright both at home (via theatrical adaptations) and abroad (via cheap American re-prints). As a shorthand reporter for The Mirror of Parliament and the True Sun (1831-33), young Dickens had followed the copyright question avidly from the press gallery. In 1835, while a reporter for The Morning Chronicle, Dickens applauded the efforts of the young barrister who had been elected Member of Parliament for Reading in 1835 to introduce a copyright bill, which eventually became law in 1842. In early 1844, Talford would act as Dickens’s attorney in the case against Richard Egan Lee and Henry Hewitt for their flagrant plagiarism of A Christmas Carol.

Young Charles Dickens, in the process of being lionized by his Yankee readers, dared to assert that, had American publishers paid Sir Walter Scott appropriate royalties for his works re-printed in the United States from Marmion in 1808 to Castle Dangerous in 1832, he would not have faced bankruptcy in the middle of his career and would not have died at the age of 61, broken in body and mind by years of financial difficulties, and “unjustly deprived of his rightful income” (Ackroyd 350). Further, he alluded to the disgraceful treatment of Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848), retired Royal Naval officer turned author, who established residency by means of his 1837 tour, but was subsequently denied copyright protection by American courts unless he were prepared to renounce his status as a British subject and become an American citizen.

Dickens was essentially using the plight of these authors to argue his own case, for as fast as he turned out The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and other early novels, American publishing houses snapped them up and published them in cheap editions which sold in the thousands across the country, pocketing the proceeds without sending so much as a letter of thanks to Boz. The piracies began as early as the publication of Sketches by Boz in 1834.

He bewailed, ironically, “the exquisite justice of never deriving sixpence from an enormous American sale of all my books.” Having already spoken up for increased copyright protection in Britain and for a British-American agreement, he had it in mind to advance a just cause from which he and others would benefit. Ignorant of the complications of copyright politics and of the recent severe depression, he crossed the Atlantic with the naïve expectation that in this republic of his imagination elemental notions of fairness would triumph over politics and power relationships, as if America were some elegant utopia. . . .(Kaplan 124-125)

The rowdy American press, particularly in New York, soon disabused Dickens of his utopian notions vis a vis copyright. Americans, expecting him to be grateful for their warm reception, were staggered when this young British goodwill ambassador at the beginning of 1842, at a dinner held in his honour in Boston, dared to criticize them as pirates while urging the merits of international copyright, which at that point in American history would have seen vast amounts of Yankee capital heading overseas with little reciprocation.’

here are some of the arguments on copywrite is theft. Here. And here.

Thursday, October 23

Recession or no recession, many NFL, NBA and Major League


Both of you have investments and thankfully have got the savings bug. That's very good discipline. I've seen poverty closely kids and it's not fun at all. Not at all. Specially when you're old. That's the worst part kids because you cannot make money at that time and have to rely on people's handouts. 

It's soul destroying to ask for money. I've seen your grandparents in extremely difficult circumstances as far as money is concerned kids. Never ever allow yourself to get into that situation. 

You may have lots of money kids. You may invent something big. Or one of your lottery tickets comes true. Or an investment pays off. But always be grounded. 

See the story of these athletes. They are like flashes in the pan kids. They earned loads and then whoosh. All was gone. 

Read and learn. And remember the rule kids, save 1/3rd of your money. Every month. As much as possible. 



Recession or no recession, many NFL, NBA and Major League - 03.23.09 - SI Vault

What the hell happened here? Seven floors above the iced-over Dallas North Tollway, Raghib (Rocket) Ismail is revisiting the question. It's December, and Ismail is sitting in the boardroom of Chapwood Investments, a wealth management firm, his white Notre Dame snow hat pulled down to his furrowed brow.

Wednesday, October 22

White People Love Hiking. Minorities Don't. Here's Why

This is a very USA centric opinion piece son so one has to be careful in extrapolating it but I've seen the similar behaviour in many other countries like in Europe, UK, some countries in Asia. The idea of going out in the wild where you are walking the paths, cold or hot. Sweaty. Hungry. Carrying water and swatting fleas and other biting insects. Not quite fun is it? My feeling is that poorer sections of the world are too close to the time that they had to work outdoors to make their living. So for them to voluntarily head outside into the wilderness is strange and doesn't compute for them.
And you're too young to perhaps appreciate this son. At this moment you need friends, lights, music, company and and and. Which is perfectly fine. Because you're at the age where you are still finding and defining yourself. Looking externally and understanding people. Which is right and do more of it.
When you reach my age perhaps you will be more comfortable with just being with yourself. Curious attribute -- loneliness son. I've got to admit that I usually don't feel that but that could be because I'm ok with being alone. Lol. Who wants to be with this messed up mind anyway?
But once in a while I feel the need to get away from it all son. Just me, my legs, camera and you head off into the mountains or forests. You don't need company and you definitely don't need groups. At best have one person with you but select very carefully son. The wrong choice and you will regret it as then the beauty of Mother Nature is lost in the cacophony of I'm hungry, I'm dirty, I'm cold. I'm hot. Whatever. :) try to find somebody you can be quiet with son. Quietly standing by a little stream in a forest or mountain and observing a dragonfly darting about and sharing that moment with somebody. You will burn that memory in your brain and it will live on for decades compared to memories of expensive gifts or holidays which disappear quickly.
But there is huge joy in wandering the forests and mountains. Sometimes you feel like weeping with the sheer beauty of what you're seeing. The majestic sweep of mountains receding into the horizon. Clouds roiling over. Shadows on the ground. Grassy plains. The silence broken with bird song or chirruping of insects. If you're quiet and are very lucky, you can hear God talking to you. It's such a wonderful feeling.
White People Love Hiking. Minorities Don't. Here's Why.

Tuesday, October 21

More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat

I attended a lecture on Wounded Minds at the old alma mater. Fascinating stuff. the lecturer talked about the following:

The First World War not only shaped the lives of thousands of young men and their families but also sparked a significant transformation in the treatment and understanding of mental illness. For many the trauma of war didn’t end with the final gunshot; the phenomenon of shell shock saw soldiers return home still reeling from the horror of what they’d seen. Whilst many of their symptoms – dizziness, loss of appetite, and deafness – were typical of having sustained a head injury, many soldiers had no such wounds and some hadn’t even been on the front line.
Leading physicians and neurologists alike, baffled by what they were seeing, began to think differently about psychiatric disorders, producing new causal theories and treatment initiatives. By the end of the war over 240,000 cases of shell shock had passed through British Army medical facilities. With treatments researched and out-patient units emerging, psychological medicine had truly arrived.
Whilst the term ‘shell shock’ has since become redundant, with psychologists preferring ‘Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’ (PTSD), there’s no doubt that what this phenomenon taught us about mental illness remains as invaluable as it ever was.
As we mark 100 years since the start of the Great War, we are delighted to invite you to join Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War studies, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Director of the
King's Centre for Military Health Research, and Professor Edgar Jones,Professor in the History of Medicine and Psychiatry, to examine the appearance of shell shock during the First World War, the struggles faced by affected soldiers and exactly how it impacted our understanding of mental health then and now.

anyway, there was one point which they mentioned which made me go look for more information. And this was the story of George McQuay.

Here’s the soldier before he left for the war.


then he left for the war. mental health treatment was pretty much rudimentary. Shell Shock was considered to be “cowardice”, he came back to Australia with complete loss of memory, depression. So they ran a campaign to find out who he was. After many many misses, his mother found him, from NZ!

meeting2[1] stroll[1]

Such a tragic story. But you know what fucks me off? Is how easy we think of sending our troops into battle. Here are some statistics about the PSTD incidents. I quote,

Summary of Veterans Statistics for PTSD, TBI, Depression and Suicide.

  • there are over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam; there are 8.2 million "Vietnam Era Veterans" (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War)
  • at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. (Military counselors I have interviewed state that, in their opinion, the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher; the number climbs higher when combined with TBI.) Other accepted studies have found a PTSD prevalence of 14%; see a complete review of PTSD prevalence studies, which quotes studies with findings ranging from 4 -17% of Iraq War veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment
  • out of the half that seek treatment, only half of them get "minimally adequate" treatment (RAND study)
  • 19% of veterans may have traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Over 260,000 veterans from OIF and OEF so far have been diagnosed with TBI. Traumatic brain injury is much more common in the general population than  previously thought: according to the CDC, over 1,700,000 Americans have a traumatic brain injury each year; in Canada 20% of teens had TBI resulting in hospital admission or that involved over 5 minutes of unconsciousness (VA surgeon reporting in BBC News)
  • 7% of veterans have both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury
  • rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for these wars than prior conflicts
  • in times of peace, in any given year, about 4% (actually 3.6%) of the general population have PTSD (caused by natural disasters, car accidents, abuse, etc.)
  • recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought (see suicide prevention page).
  • PTSD distribution between services for OND, OIF, and OEF: Army 67% of cases, Air Force 9%, Navy 11%, and Marines 13%. (Congressional Research Service, Sept. 2010)
  • recent sample of 600 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan found: 14% post-traumatic stress disorder; 39% alcohol abuse; 3% drug abuse. Major depression also a problem. "Mental and Physical Health Status and Alcohol and Drug Use Following Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan." Susan V. Eisen, PhD
  • Oddly, statistics for veteran tobacco use are never reported alongside PTSD statistics, even though increases in rates of smoking are strongly correlated with the stress of deployment and combat, and smoking statistics show that tobacco use is tremendously damaging and costly for soldiers.
  • More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat in 2012 (New York Times)

I hate war, and I hate a foreign policy which requires needless deployment of soldiers. By all means, defend the country, but to send them to Kurdistan? why? So the Islamic State will win over, sod it.

Monday, October 20

one of the most destructive but strangely seductive sights


i love volcanoes and lava flows. there is something abut their sheer destructive power that just fascinates me. plus the colour red. and how relentlessly it flows. and how it transforms the landscape. and how it gives birth to new life and new land. love it. i can watch this for hours transfixed.

Friday, October 17

A little slice of heaven

I saw this photo today. And for some strange reason, I just stared at it for a long long time.

this is just an amazing image. this is my dream place…and I WILL have it :)

Wednesday, October 15

Who uses Facebook? An investigation into the relationship between the Big Five, shyness, narcissism, loneliness, and Facebook usage


The unprecedented popularity of the social networking site Facebook raises a number of important questions regarding the impact it has on sociality. However, as Facebook is a very recent social phenomenon, there is a distinct lack of psychological theory relating to its use. While research has begun to identify the types of people who use Facebook, this line of investigation has been limited to student populations. The current study aimed to investigate how personality influences usage or non-usage of Facebook. The sample consisted of 1324 self-selected Australian Internet users (1158 Facebook users and 166 Facebook nonusers), between the ages of 18 and 44. Participants were required to complete an online questionnaire package comprising the Big Five Inventory (BFI), the Narcissistic Personality Inventory – 29-item version (NPI-29), the Revised Cheek and Buss Shyness Scale (RCBS), and the Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults – Short version (SELSA-S). Facebook users also completed a Facebook usage questionnaire. The results showed that Facebook users tend to be more extraverted and narcissistic, but less conscientious and socially lonely, than nonusers. Furthermore, frequency of Facebook use and preferences for specific features were also shown to vary as a result of certain characteristics, such as neuroticism, loneliness, shyness and narcissism. It is hoped that research in this area continues, and leads to the development of theory regarding the implications and gratifications of Facebook use.

Tuesday, October 14

Elevator accident

Well, i always thought that the best way to survive an elevator accident which is in free fall is to just pray. Well, more importantly, to jump just before it crashes. it was an idle thought, of course you cannot really figure out when exactly to jump as you don't have any external references and you will end up into a little paste. So this article tells you what to do, the answer is “lay down flat with your back to the ground”to spread the impact.

Monday, October 13

But Is It a Book?

You are right, kids. We do have too many books. We also have a ton of e-books. But this was the best overview that I've read about the basic difference between an ebook and a physical book. There are differences kids. We have so many rare and antiquarian books. The difference I'm seeing in reading a book published in the 18th century versus the same book downloaded is so different. You have a sense of reverence and history when you're reading a book. A feeling of togetherness with the ancients. 

Still form and functionality are being diverged. Bit sad but we have to move with the times. 



But Is It a Book? - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Editor’s Note: Jennifer Howard spent a week in early July at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, taking a course on “Born-Digital Materials: Theory & Practice.” This is the first in a series of posts on the experience.

Charlottesville, Va. — What makes a book a book? For Michael F. Suarez, director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, a collection of texts on an e-reader doesn’t qualify in the fullest sense.

Over macaroni and cheese in early July at the Virginian, an eatery across from the university’s Grounds, Mr. Suarez talked with The Chronicle about how much more there is to a book than the words that go into it.

“When you take the text of Moby-Dick and pour it into a Kindle, you strip out the bibliographic codes and you strip out the social codes,” he says. “You lose that hermeneutic surplus of meaning that the book is.”

Friday, October 10

Jaywick provides fertile ground for Ukip’s anti-politics


A fascinating move is happening in the UK but the same behaviour is being seen in most of the developed countries. That's the rise of the underclass. The poor. The left behind. The white majority. The tea party in USA. The northern league in Italy. The national front in France. The alternatives party in Germany. The true Finns in Finland. The anti immigration Swedish democrats in Sweden. And then the UKIP here in the UK.
You see son, the political system we received in the 20th century has left behind a large number of people who aren't up there. There's some very rich people. Then there are the professionals upper class and middle class who are the lawyers bankers teachers nurses etc etc. And then the rest of the socio economic class. It's this very large lower socio economic class which is seriously fucked off. And are supporting these parties. Why? Because they don't have jobs. Technology has ensured that basic processing and manufacturing or farming jobs are no longer available to soak up these people. So the governments thought that they will provide welfare to keep them quiet. But then they started to run out of money so the welfare state is starting to be shrunk. And when this happens, the proletariat starts to complain.

So what do you do? In my view son, you need leaders who are brave and can tell some seriously clear messages. Secondly the only way to fix the problem of the underclass is to fix two things. 1. Fix the educational system so that they get the right education. And 2.  Make it easy to setup business. Make it easy to get funding. Land. Shops. Equipment. Training.

Basics son. People forget the basics. You're so lucky that you're in the UK but you and your children need to address the problem of the underclass. At our Homestart charity that's what I'm trying to do. Improve their financials. Make the family stay together. Get them jobs or get them to setup their own business.

And then there's immigration. I'm an immigrant. So I'm biased. Also the nation state isn't going anywhere. So you have to have utmost loyalty to the UK son. No questions asked. This country has been good to me and you and you need to give something back to it. But immigration is an emotive subject and yea the populace's views need to be taken into account. If not they will react badly. Europe doesn't do immigration well son. Down history, Europe has mistreated and massacred immigrants left right and centre. So one has to be very careful about letting the immigration genie out of the bottle son.

I don't blame the UKIP like others do. Understand them. They have a legitimate reason to complain. And you as a future leader and citizen need to understand their complaints.

Anyway. It was good to hear you finally managed to get a good nights sleep son. Freshers week can be a rush. But you're having fun and that's more important. And all I could think about was how you're going to wash your clothes and bring back the laundry as you don't have a laundry basket. Such is the thinking of your father. From the sublime and structural political discussion to banal washing baskets. :)

Love you son. And missing you :)


I saw this article when using the Financial Times app and thought you might be interested:
Financial Times,

Jaywick provides fertile ground for Ukip’s anti-politics
Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent
The Clacton suburb of Jaywick is the most deprived place in the UK
Read the full article at:

Thursday, October 9

Big Law Firms in Trouble: When the Money Dries Up

A rather interesting view of big law firms son. I've told you before what my view is when needing to deal with lawyers. Try in the first instance not to need one but that's not always possible. Second is to be totally transparent with the lawyer. And third is to speak to the opposite party if possible. Give them a chance to rectify the situation. Not fun to get dragged through legal aspects son. 

But remember as I keep on telling you, always have a technical skill or two son. Coding, writing, photograph, sculpture something that you can fall back upon. 



Big Law Firms in Trouble: When the Money Dries Up | New Republic

Of all the occupational golden ages to come and go in the twentieth century—for doctors, journalists, ad-men, autoworkers—none lasted longer, felt cushier, and was all in all more golden than the reign of the law partner.

There was the generous salary, the esteem of one’s neighbors, work that was more intellectual than purely commercial. Since clients of white-shoe firms typically knocked on their doors and stayed put for decades—one lawyer told me his ex-firm had a committee to decide which clients to accept—the partner rarely had to hustle for business. He could focus his energy on the legal pursuits that excited his analytical mind.

Above all, there was stability. The firms practiced a benevolent paternalism. They paid for partners to join lunch and dinner clubs and loaned them money to buy houses. When a lawyer had a drinking problem, the firm sent him off for treatment at its own expense. Layoffs were unheard of.

Wednesday, October 8

The Way of All Flesh

A rather interesting life of a slaughterhouse inspector. We don't see this. We see the beef steaks nicely packaged in the supermarket but how does it get there? These inspectors check the process.
Very interesting life.

there is an art to removing the meat from the bones from an animal. I don't have that art, I tend to hack about but guess what? your Didu knows how to do this :) she is an amazing lady, you have to spend time with her son, she has so many skills and qualities that you will be gobsmacked. hunting, swimming, acting, playing, teaching, researching, directing, radio, TV, stage, translations, songs, drama, interior decoration, exterior decoration, languages, geography, history, ecology, environmentalism, Sanskrit, etc. etc. etc.

anyway, happy meat eating son :)

Tuesday, October 7

Discoveries At Teotihuacan's Pyramid Of The Moon Help Unlock Mysteries Of Western Hemisphere's First Major Metropolis


I visited these pyramids last nov. and have posted a photo essay so check it out if you can. 

Funny comparisons with the Giza and Saqqara pyramids in Egypt. . Both are old but I was more familiar with the Egyptian ones as we know more about them. I could stand there and imagine the ordinary Egyptians walking living eating loving there. 

But in Mexico it was a different feeling. First nothing. I couldn't hear anything. Not a peep. Yes you could feel the antiquity and feeling of old age but no sense of the people who lived and died there. I usually employ a trick at these old mouldy buildings. Sit and close your eyes, try to tune out the current noises and feel the stones talk to you son. Think of it as your attempt to be so silent that a butterfly lands on you. Then the ancients talk to you. 

It moved me. That kind of an experience changes lives :) I hope you will also experience what I did in saqqara. 

But fascinating. Giant structures and no idea if the people who made these. 



Discoveries At  Pyramid Of The Moon Help Unlock Mysteries Of Western Hemisphere's First Major Metropolis

Sep. 21, 1999 — An unexpected set of new discoveries in the ongoing excavation beneath the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacan may provide critical clues in reconstructing a 2,000-year old history still mysteriously missing from the ruins of the ancient master-planned metropolis, located 25 miles from current Mexico City.

Announced today, the latest discovery at the site is a tomb apparently made to dedicate the fifth phase of construction of the pyramid, containing four human skeletons, animal bones, large conch shells, jewelry, obsidian blades and a wide variety of other offerings. Excavation is expected to continue for another two weeks.

Found by a team of archaeologists led by Saburo Sugiyama, associate professor at Aichi Prefectural University in Japan and adjunct faculty at Arizona State University, and Ruben Cabrera of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, the burial contains important evidence that may help archaeologists define and examine a particularly active period in Teotihuacan’s history and perhaps one of the culture’s “defining moments.”

Monday, October 6

Prince Hal’s Head-Wound: Cause and Effect

An interesting historical record of how an arrow wound was healed son. I was reminded of how taita did a similar thing in wilbur smith's novel. 

Btw son, do learn how to do first aid. It's very useful and the time you need the knowledge, it's going to be vital. One of the things like swimming, cycling etc. good things to know. 

Plus it allows you to know yourself son. Medically. I don't mean that you need to do a Michelangelo and go about doing dissection on dead bodies but a working knowledge of medicine, anatomy and being accustomed to blood and organs helps. 



Prince Hal’s Head-Wound: Cause and Effect

King Henry VPrince Hal’s Head-Wound: Cause and Effect

Paper by Michael Livingston

Given at the session Aspects of Medieval Military History I, at the 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies (2013)

Michael Livingston, Associate Professor at The Citadel, explains what happened in one of the most remarkable cases of battlefield surgery from the Middle Ages – the arrow wound suffered by the future Henry V at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403.

Prince Henry was only 16 years old when he marched with his father’s forces to Shrewsbury in western England to fight against the rebel army led by Henry “Harry Hotspur” Percy. With English longbowmen on both sides of the battle, arrows caused many of the dead and wounded, including Henry Percy, who was killed when he lifted up his visor and was struck down by a shot.

According to one chronicler’s report, Prince Henry was also “hurt in the face by an arrow.” A much more detailed account survives in the Philomena, a medical tract written by John Bradmore. The account was originally in Latin, and a Middle English translation of it survives as well.

Thursday, October 2

God and the Ivory Tower-

Some interesting stats on religion kannu. Made me surprised, but as a citizen, we need to control religion, it's too dangerous to let loose. Just like any other ideology which is totalitarian as well. 

God and the Ivory Tower- By Scott Atran | Foreign Policy


The era of world struggle between the great secular ideological -isms that began with the French Revolution and lasted through the Cold War (republicanism, anarchism, socialism, fascism, communism, liberalism) is passing on to a religious stage. Across the Middle East and North Africa, religious movements are gaining social and political ground, with election victories by avowedly Islamic parties in Turkey, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. As Israel’s National Security Council chief, Gen. Yaakov Amidror (a religious man himself), told me on the eve of Tunisia’s elections last October, “We expect Islamist parties to soon dominate all governments in the region, from Afghanistan to Morocco, except for Israel.”

On a global scale, Protestant evangelical churches (together with Pentacostalists) continue to proliferate, especially in Latin America, but also keep pace with the expansion of fundamentalist Islam in southern Africa and eastern and southern Asia. In Russia, a clear majority of the population remains religious despite decades of forcibly imposed atheism.Even in China, where the government’s commission on atheism has the Sisyphean job of making that country religion-free, religious agitation is on the rise. And in the United States, a majority says it wants less religion in politics, but an equal majority still will not vote for an atheist as president.

Wednesday, October 1

The Revolution That Wasn’t


Here's an excellent overview of the train crash disaster that is Egypt. Let me lay my opinion up front. The brotherhood presidency was bad but overthrowing it has really made a bad situation worse. A liberal democracy does not happen overnight. Look at India. It took years. It made many mistakes. But it's a good country. Same with the uk and USA. Some common themes. Enlightened leaders. Rule of law. Freedom of speech. Army under control. Free media. Religion firmly kicked in the balls and controlled. Good institutions. Free judiciary. But egypt keeps on making mistakes and keeps on being stupid. What? 5 revolutions in the past century? 

The army is the biggest problem. Second problem is the religion and the religious leaders. Third is the judiciary. And and and. Thousands have now died and now it's back to what it was few years back. Disgruntled Islamists. Army in command. Economy fucked up. Population in distress. 

The solution is clear but the Egyptians don't have patience. Heck the Egyptians laughed at Pakistan and there's an Egyptian quote which said that they don't want to become Pakistan. But with the democratic transition in Pakistan, Egypt will do worse. They would be lucky to be like Pakistan. I do not have a good prognosis about Egypt. Another decade of decay beckons. 



LRB · Hugh Roberts · The Revolution That Wasn’t

Hugh Roberts

  • The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life by Roger Owen
    Harvard, 248 pp, £18.95, May 2012, ISBN 978 0 674 06583 3
  • Adaptable Autocrats: Regime Power in Egypt and Syria by Joshua Stacher
    Stanford, 221 pp, £22.50, April 2012, ISBN 978 0 8047 8063 6
  • Raging against the Machine: Political Opposition under Authoritarianism in Egypt by Holger Albrecht
    Syracuse, 248 pp, £25.00, October 2012, ISBN 978 0 8156 3320 4
  • BuySoldiers, Spies and Statesmen: Egypt’s Road to Revolt byHazem Kandil
    Verso, 303 pp, £16.99, November 2012, ISBN 978 1 84467 961 4

Western opinion has had difficulty working out what to think, or at any rate what to say, about Egypt. It now seems that the pedlars of hallucinations have been cowed and it is no longer fashionable to describe the events of 3 July in Cairo as a ‘second revolution’. But to describe them as a counter-revolution, while indisputably more accurate, presupposes that there was a revolution in the first place. The bulk of Western media commentary seems still to be wedded to this notion. That what the media called ‘the Arab spring’ was a succession of revolutions became orthodoxy very quickly. Egypt was indispensable to the idea of an ‘Arab spring’ and so it had to have had a revolution too.