Monday, July 06, 2015

Quick notes: AMCA, Fuel cookie...

  • From Tejas to AMCA: While the IAF will be praised if the AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, an indigenous Gen-5 fighter) meets its objectives, credit should really go to the unfairly vilified DRDO-HAL-ADA combine for leapfrogging three generations of technology in developing the fourth-generation Tejas fighter.

    In this process, the LCA project has catalysed an aerospace eco-structure, and a design experience, that will be the essential springboard to the AMCA. With much of these Gen-4 technologies currently being refined for the Tejas Mark II, the AMCA team can focus on the Gen-5 challenges.

  • Fuel Cookie from waste wood: 84% less wood and 98% less emissions than traditional open fires.

  • Air pollution makes your brain age faster, destroying white matter like a neurotoxin.

  • The Myth of Big, Bad Gluten: Maybe shifts in our intestinal microbial communities, driven by antibiotics and hygiene, have contributed.

  • Kalyug:

  • Chainless e-bike:

Lessons from Vyapam Scam: Free Up Education From State Control

The Vyapam corruption scam and the ensuing series of deaths around it are opening a new debate:

While the West has plenty of private institutions of higher learning, India prefers state control over education. Absolute state control has encouraged state corruption, and we are seeing some of the effects of that in this latest scam affair. One answer to what we're seeing unfolding now is to free up education from the clutches of the state.

China Engineers "Double Muscle" Pigs

Chinese scientists have created a "double muscle" version of their domestic pig:

With pork being a main staple food in China, then like the Belgian Blue cattle, obviously a hyper-muscular breed could help provide its citizenry with more protein.

With the Indian govt calling for a new 'green revolution' after the first one wore out about 30 years ago, it's worth asking if genetic engineering of livestock could provide useful dividends to the country, beyond just crop engineering. Even for those who don't eat meat, livestock are still a source of dairy output, not to mention farm work.

Communism meets Free Market Economics

The world just figured out that free market economics and capitalism are two different things.

Greece has effectively voted to default on its debt to the IMF and the EU, and it is a massive defeat for Germany's Angela Merkel and the troika she led, which insisted there was no way out for Greece but to pay back its massive debts.

The vote is huge lesson for conservatives and anyone else who thinks this is about a dilettante government of left-wing idealists who think they can flout the law while staging some kind of Che Guevara-esque dream:


This is what capitalism is really about.

From the beginning, Merkel and the EU have operated from the position that because Greece took on debt, Greece now needs to pay it back. That position assumed - bizarrely, in hindsight - that debt only works one way: if you lend someone money, then they pay it back.

But that is NOT how free markets work.

Debt is not a guarantee of future payments in full. Rather, it is a risk that creditors take, in hopes of maybe being paid tomorrow.

The key word there is "risk."

If you're willing to take the risk, you'll get a premium - in the form of interest.

But the downside of that risk is that you lose your money. And Greece just called Germany's bluff.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

100,000MW of costly solar power can sink ‘Make in India’

Narendra Modi has raised the target for solar electric capacity from 20,000MW to 100,000MW by 2022 at a cost of maybe $100 billion. This is a serious blunder. It will sabotage his “Make in India” plans by technically disrupting the whole electricity grid, and raising the cost of a critical manufacturing input — electricity.
(Stupid Goal) X (Competent Execution) = Disaster

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Quick notes: CM-ul-Mulk, Hydrogen production...

Friday, July 03, 2015

Ellen Pao Triggers Reddit Revolt

Having taken over leadership of Reddit, unskilled maverick Ellen Pao seems to be determined to drive it into the ground:

Her dictatorial policies have triggered a revolt by the millions of users of the Reddit site. Clearly Pao doesn't seem to understand that she can't dictate to her customers, and if she does, they may just decide to go elsewhere. Reddit is ripe for being disrupted, should any rival step forth to offer comparable services - just as people once abandoned Digg for Reddit.

Quick notes: AfPak threat, Delhi publicity...

Fwd: For the first time, India uses 'right to reply' to cut short Pak's Kashmir blame game

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt.
Rahul Tripathi, ET Bureau | 3 Jul, 2015, 05.39AM IST
NEW DELHI: Amid reports of Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Ufa in Russia, the two countries were locked in a bitter tussle at the ongoing United Nation Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva where New Delhi, for the first time, used its 'right to reply' to send a strong message to its neighbour. The right to reply is a special rule allowing a delegate to interrupt a speaker.

Under the Modi government, there has been a constant endeavour to name and shame Pakistan at international forums and the opportunity was used by India's delegation in Geneva as well.

In a statement, India also criticised Pakistan's move to raise matters related to J&K at the UN forum and asked Islamabad to look deep within over killings of innocent children atPeshawar in December 2014.

For the first time, India uses 'right to reply' to cut short Pak's Kashmir blame game

"A part of the territories of our state remains under the forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan. It is unfortunate that in recent times the people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have become victims of sectarian conflict, terrorism and extreme economic hardship because of Pakistan's occupation and discriminatory policies," India said at the UN.

The provocation came from Pakistan. It said: "The people of J&K have been denied their right to selfdetermination, subjected to consistent and forceful foreign occupation and their democratic rights have been usurped and suppressed by conduction of sham elections at gun-point."

The rebuttal from India underlined the fact that J&K has recorded 65% voter turnout in the recently concluded assembly polls, despite threats from Pakistan-based terror groups.

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Fwd: Least resistance - A question about the Emergency left unaddressed

relevant to rajan case #emergency75 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt
Friday , July 3 , 2015
Swapan Dasgupta

At a function in New Delhi to mark the 40th anniversary of the Emergency, the finance minister, Arun Jaitley, recounted a conversation he had with the former Supreme Court judge, H.R. Khanna - the dissenting judge in the infamous habeas corpus case - during the course of a leisurely morning walk sometime in the late-1990s. Khanna apparently told him that the astonishing admission of the attorney general, Niren De, that the Emergency regulations meant that the right to life was at the mercy of the State was prompted by a leading question he asked from the bench.

To drive home the point that natural justice was above the suspension of fundamental rights, Khanna asked the government counsel whether the Emergency could deny someone the right to life as also mentioned in Article 21. The question was as much aimed at the attorney general as the brother judges. However, as Khanna lamented, the rest of the bench headed by the then chief justice, A.N. Ray, sat there stony-faced and expressionless. "It was at that point I knew which way the verdict would go."

The 4-1 judgment of the Supreme Court in 1976 legitimizing the suspension of all human rights during the term of the Emergency has often been described as the "darkest chapter" of India's judicial history. The alacrity with which the Supreme Court went out of its way to ingratiate itself to the political executive was shameful, and may explain why the institution has subsequently been so anxious to bend the stick in the other direction as an act of atonement. That this was a bespoke judgment has been confirmed by the subsequent, post-retirement admissions of grave error by the former judges, Y.V. Chandrachud and P.N. Bhagwati, the luminaries from whom a show of spinelessness was not expected.

... deleted

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Stratfor's Friedman: Europeans Destined for Conflict

George Friedman, founder of Stratfor speaks on Europe and why it's destined for conflict:

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Saudis Sentence Zaid Hamid to 8 Years, 1000 Lashes

During a visit to Saudi Arabia, hardline Pakistani firebrand commentator Zaid Hamid has been arrested and sentenced to 8 years in prison and 1000 lashes for a speech he made in Medina attacking the ruling Saudi regime:

Saudi govt has denied access to Pakistani consular officials to see him.

Fwd: How the US uses WTO to act against India's interests

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arvind Kumar

How the US uses WTO to act against India's interests

Wednesday, 1 July 2015 - 6:35am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna | From the print edition

The US and its allies which are members of the International Energy Agency stock up hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil as part of their "strategic" reserves. The US also hoards up on heating oil ostensibly to prevent disruptions to the supply.

In recent months, the American government has used the World Trade Organization to target India for creating a buffer stock of food grains for use during emergencies. According to the WTO economists, this is an unfair subsidy which distorts the global markets. At the same time, these economists have neglected the fact that the US government has created a huge reserve of crude oil and natural gas. 

The US and its allies which are members of the International Energy Agency stock up hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil as part of their "strategic" reserves. The US also hoards up on heating oil ostensibly to prevent disruptions to the supply.

In other words, it is unacceptable when India creates a buffer stock of food grains as it distorts the marketplace, but it is perfectly acceptable that the American government hoards up on petroleum products as it supposedly prevents the distortion of supplies.

The quantity of crude oil in the US government's reservoirs has a direct impact on the global markets. Every Wednesday, at exactly 10:30 in the morning on the east coast of the US, the US Department of Energy puts out its storage numbers for the week. Almost every trader who trades in crude oil ceases trading before the numbers are put out while some firms speculate on these numbers and publish their expectations. Within an instant of the actual number being published by the government, there is a great frenzy in the markets as the traders run like a huge herd of stampeding buffaloes in one direction or the other depending on whether the numbers indicate a shortage or oversupply as measured against the speculations of the industry. The same process is repeated for natural gas on Thursday mornings. If the distortions in the global markets due to hoarding is a concern, the American reserves clearly need to be eliminated.

... deleted

Fwd: Jingoistic and Talkative India by sanjeev nayyar in Swarajyamag

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sanjeev Nayyar

Jingoistic and Talkative India by sanjeev nayyar 29.6.15
Loud mouthed boasting of a nation's strength will by no chance improve its worth among the world nations. Real worth is when the rest of the world praises a nation for its performance that was achieved as a result of humble toil.
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
to unsubscribe write back

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Indian Reforms Stalling: Moody's & Fitch

While agreeing that the economy isn't worsening under Modi, ratings agencies Moody's and Fitch are expressing concerns that momentum for previously stated reforms is stalling:

2 major platform planks, the Land Bill and the GST Bill, are bogged down due to opposition obstructionism, and there doesn't seem to be anything new from the govt being put through for reforms. They need to come up with more.

Fwd: Malacca buccaneers

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Step aside, Somalia: South-East Asia is the new piracy capital of the world

Jun 27th 2015 

EIGHT men armed with pistols and machetes boarded the Orkim Harmony, a tanker, in the early evening of June 11th. Carrying 6,000 tonnes of petrol—worth more than $5m at market prices—the ship was nearing the end of a voyage around the southern tip of Malaysia, from Malacca on the country's west coast to Kuantan Port on its eastern one. The pirates restrained the crew and scrubbed three letters from the hull, crudely disguising the vessel with a new name, Kim Harmon. Then they headed north towards Cambodia, in search of a friendly port in which to siphon off her liquid cargo. When the ship was finally spotted seven days later, the hijackers warned away security forces by threatening to harm the hostages, then slipped away in a life boat with whatever loot they could grab. The crew escaped injury except for the cook, who was airlifted to hospital after being shot in the thigh.

... deleted

Fwd: How to salvage some security from the botched Iran deal

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt
If the west does not stand firm, Israelis may be left to face the ayatollahs, writes Michael Herzog
June 29, 2015 12:03 pm

Israel is not at the table negotiating the deal on Iran's nuclear programme. Yet it is Israel's national security, perhaps more than anyone else's, that will be affected. Threatened by Iran's nuclear and hegemonic ambitions, Israel and most of its Arab neighbours question whether the expected agreement will stem either.

The choice is not between a good deal and a bad deal. A good deal — permanently rolling back Iran's nuclear capacity, as was done in Libya — is no longer possible. The question is whether the deal is acceptable, given the confines of the framework agreed in April.

That framework in effect legitimises Iran as a nuclear-threshold state and focuses on stopping it from crossing that threshold. In the first decade the deal limits Iran's capacity to quickly make enough nuclear material for a weapon. But in the second decade Iran is allowed to reduce its breakout time almost to zero, as restrictions on enrichment and stockpiling of uranium expire.

... deleted

Fwd: It will take silky diplomacy to build China’s new road

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt
June 25, 2015 6:19 pm
Beijing has not met opposition or Islamist leaders in Asia. This must change, writes Ahmed Rashid
Today it is known as the Karakoram Highway, a twisting road carved high into the mountains along which trucks inch their way south through China and into Pakistan. You can trace the origins of this dizzying pass back to the Han dynasty, when it formed part of a trading route stretching 4,000 miles. Merchants would ferry valuable Chinese silk to markets as far west as Italy, collecting ideas from the world's great cultures and depositing them as they went.

Now Beijing wants to build a new Silk Road across the Eurasian landmass, equal in economic and cultural significance to that ancient precursor. Its ambition is leading it to make deals in a volatile region from which the west — in its preoccupation with east Asia — is essentially withdrawing.

... deleted

Fwd: The BBC and its chums stress out over Yoga

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt
Sandwiched between these two items which were each over five minutes long, was the item about International Yoga Day.
One just can't make this up! If moneygrubbing rip-off merchants like the trendy lowlives in Europe and the USA who make a fortune out of Yoga or even a cool hippie or Hilary Clinton were to run a Yoga Session, the illiterati at the BBC, Guardian or the Independent would be applauding it as "environmentally green, health conscious and the epitome of cool". One only has to search "Yoga" on the Guardian's website to learn that.

But when the elected government of one of the very few millenniaold surviving indigenous cultures and nation in the world gets its day in the sun to celebrate something that all humanity can derive benefit from, the illiberal liberals get apoplectic while they stress out over Yoga. Funny how, these days, they even beat the rival camps of proselytisers to either decry everything Indian as the very work of the devil or purloin it for the "civilized world" and package it as a gift of the master race which the natives would otherwise so presumptuously celebrate as their own. The Master Race just can't have that

In the British press, the build up to International Yoga Day began weeks before the main event.  The Guardian, with its Hindu hating Jason Burke (at one time he described the Iraq invasion as "entirely justifiable from a humanitarian perspective") was quick off the mark using all the wiles of the plagiaristic 14year old which seem to be the hallmark of the foreign news hack: name dropping, a sprinkling of unheard of, but dangerous non-entities like Owaisi thus creating a vacuous veneer of "research" and "respectability" best described as pretend-journalism.

... deleted