Friday, January 16

Book review The Spanish Armada

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


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Thursday, January 15

In the Time of Cholera


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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 14

'Calculated to Alarm'

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

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

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

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

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



'Calculated to Alarm'

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 12

book review Indian Styles: Taschen

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

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