Saturday, January 24

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


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

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



H-Net Reviews

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

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

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

Friday, January 23

Did people in the Middle Ages take baths?

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

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

Fascinating how history changes. 



Did people in the Middle Ages take baths? -

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 22



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

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

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

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

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



Leviathan (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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


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

Wednesday, January 21

Greetings from New England’s Gun Valley

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

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

Still a good story about gun making. 



Greetings from New England’s Gun Valley - -

Globe magazine

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

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

Tuesday, January 20

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


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

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



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

Continue to the


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

Khadeeja Safdar May 20 2013, 9:43 AM ET

800 facebook 2.jpg


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

Monday, January 19

Pilgrim traffic during the First World War

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



Pilgrim traffic during the First World War - Untold lives blog

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

Mecca C13727-08

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