Friday, January 31, 2003

Less said the better

"Speakers housed in the fighter pilot's helmet give advice and information in a calming, authoritative female voice. The pilots' nickname for it is 'Nagging Nora'. Just one of the innovative ideas from BAE Systems that help to make the world a safer place."

"Our newly invented radar homing beacon alerts the coast guards to locate people lost at sea. It also assists our defence personnel in locating soldiers lost at war or direct the missles fired by our tanks to their target with absolute precision. Just one of the innovative ideas from BAE Systems that help to make the world a safer place."

These are just a couple of the advertisements by BAE (British Aerospace) that can be seen plastered in London's underground tube stations. Since the hypocrisy is pretty evident - I won't comment much ;-)

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Courage or stupidity – part 2

All these days I have put up posts stating that I oppose war in every possible sense. Last night I punished myself to think if there was anything good that this war would bring - even from an American point of view. Long ago someone said, "If you want peace, prepare for war". My last night’s thoughts could be summarised in that sentence. No. This doesn't in any way mean that I support the war. But there is some cud to chew upon in that phrase.

Lets leave aside the issue that America wants Iraqi oil. Lets also leave aside the fact that America wants to have a permanent base in the Middle East just like the ones they have in S.Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and other such places. The crux of the issue that I want to point out is - how many leaders do we know who would defy the United Nations and the security council and go out for an all out war? Taking on either Saddam Hussein or other Islamic militants is not a backyard rugby game. These people are hardcore fighters and would not hesitate to use the most destructive weapons.

The fact is that Saddam does have the capability to produce biological weapons. The reason I state this is because it doesn't take a genius to produce a biological weapon. By spending Rs.300/- a person can produce a crude fertiliser bomb. In fact given the right materials, even a skilled high-school student could assemble a nuclear weapon. I shall place my faith that the scientists working for Saddam are better qualified. And it is for this reason that Americans and the UN monitor each and every ship movement in and out of Iraq. But even with the best 'eye in the sky' it is impossible to track every move.

America has dug its own grave because of its double standards in international polices - especially towards Islamic countries. Or shall I say - half a grave? And now they face serious threats because of their past sins. And Bush wants to go all out to prevent from American's being spanked, even if it means war. What needs to be admired is that Bush doesn't mind sending hundreds of thousands of troops - knowing fully well that some of his troops might get massacred should Saddam use biological weapons. Saddam has nothing to lose. He has lived a 65-year life - and better half of it in full power. And trust me, he is not loosing any sleep on this war. Should American's arrive at his gates, then he will take the Americans, Baghdad and himself down (in that order) without blinking an eye.

Compare this to our Vajpayee. Would he sacrifice his troops or his countrymen knowing fully well that in case of war with his western neighbour, there is every likelihood we might end up at the receiving end of non-conventional weapons? Why just him - is there any other world leader who would take on that challenge? I don't think Blair has the balls to take on Iraq without Americas backing. And the same goes for Israeli leaders. Its not that other super powers in the world are not capable of taking on Iraq but they just won't do it. So this makes Bush either very courageous or very stupid. And as I had written before, there is a very fine line between the two.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Fractals in the fourth dimension

When I first laid my hands on "A brief history of time" by Stephen Hawking, I was amazed at the concept of the fourth dimension. The fact that we all live in a three dimension world need not be stressed. It is also widely believed in the scientific community that time is the fourth dimension. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for man to imagine things in the fourth dimension. But allow me to make an attempt at showing the well known fractal repetition does exist in the fourth dimension.

In 1989 when America stepped into Kuwait to liberate it from Iraq, few people then knew that it was America that had given the green signal to Iraq to go invade Kuwait. Much has been said and written about April Glaspie’s role - and how she herself was misled into believing that US would not bother if Iraq invaded Kuwait. FYI, she was the US Ambassador to Iraq during the first Gulf war period. That the US has always desired to control the oil rich middle east is no secret. That the greasy Bush family has a disease called Oil-o-phylia is also no secret. To satisfy its thirst for oil – it wouldn’t mind taking its nation to war. And that is what it exactly did in 1990.

Fast forward to 2001- 2003. Two planes crash into two towers. Bush declares war on terrorism and that the nation is at war. The whole world watched the splendid fireworks that the United States unleashed on Afghanistan. Unfortunately their bombs hit the shit and scattered it all over the place. Al-Qaeda were no longer grouped in one country. People, who had never heard of Al-Qaeda, now knew everything about it thanks to the wonderful PR by the American media. Infact they over did to such an extent that they thought they could stretch the war into Iraq.

Obviously sane people (and thankfully most people are just that), saw through the game and realised that the attack on Iraq had two purposes. One to control the oil rich middle east and establish a hegemonial presence over there. And two, more important, was to botch up a few more points in the post invasion poll ratings. Therefore this fourth dimension equation, only a little bit more corrupted by the effects of time, looks like this: War on terrorism=attack on Iraq=media churns garbage = another term in the office.

Isn't it sickening how low the politicians of the developed world will stoop down to, just to remain in power? And ironically that's exactly what his father tried but failed. And if history wants me to have unflinching faith - then I hope it repeats itself. Bush, go back to your ranch and stay with your pigs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Little robbers

This happened a few years back here in the UK. I forget the town where it happened but I know for sure it wasn't London. One fine day two little kids walked into a bank with an intention to rob it. One of them was a seven year old girl and the other, her brother, was aged five years. I'm sure you have all noticed how there is just a small gap between the glass panel and the counter through which the cashier hands out the money. It is almost impossible for an adults hand to go through. But a kids hand? Well it can easily go through and come back with a wad of notes.

And that is what exactly happened. The two kids had earlier in the day watched a bank robbery on a western movie. It so happened that their mother had not bought them the goodies that they had been asking for. So that's when they came up with idea of robbing the bank. The kids were so short that the cashier didn't even notice them standing in front of his glass cubicle. He was busy counting the notes when the five year old kid stood on top of his sisters back, put his hand through the gap and pulled out two wads of notes. They were £10 notes and so the kid stepped down with £2000 worth of money and gave it to his sister. And with that they cool-ly walked out of the bank.

The trouble began when they got home. They both started arguing who should have how much money. The girl insisted that the little boy was too young to have anything more than £10. The boy on the other hand insisited on equal share. The argument continued till late afternoon till the boy's patience wore off. He got up in a huff and walked straight to the bank. He went right upto the cashier and complained that his sister was not giving him his 'share' of the money.

The cashier - had earlier reported that £2000 was missing. And upon interrogating the boy, the banks officials went down to the boys house and recovered the money. By that time the girl had already spent some money on her accessories (what is it with girls and shopping??). In any case no charges were pressed against these two juveniles and they were let go. Talk about innocence :-)

Monday, January 27, 2003

Comparison of Indices

I hope the picture is clear. Just wanted to show you that Indian indices (BSE - sensex, and the Nifty) both have been cosistently outperforming the FTSE 100, and are at par to the Dow Jones index. The last 10 days has seen FTSE being wiped off by nearly 10%.

Ok let me make it simpler. Suppose I had $2000 with me and I invested on Jan 1st 2001, a thousand in FTSE and a thousand in the Delhi based NSE, I would have lost nearly $400 in UK where as I would have actually made $100 in India. A 10% return over 2 years in these turbulent conditions is actually pretty good - considering that you didn't even have to actively trade to get that kind of return. In other developed countries (which are eager to go to war), even active trading doesn't get them anywhere close to 10% net gain.
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