Tuesday, August 31, 2010

stanford: himalayas' melting glaciers Sep. 2 SACHI announcement w/Carl Pope of sierra club

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tatiana Deogirikar <tanya@stanford.edu>
Date: 2010/9/1
Subject: CSA event: Sep. 2 SACHI announcement w/Carl Pope
To: Center for South Asia <southasia@lists.stanford.edu>

southasia mailing list

india's fleet has stagnated while china's has quadrupled. why not mothball our existing ships too?

aug 31st, 2010

china apparently has more warships than the US now. 

india does not an army, only a police force, said a wise man once. so true. if we're going to be a chinese colony, why, they'll take care of having us protected by the People's Enslavement Army Navy, oops People's Liberation Army Navy. 

ex CIA guy tells india to get out of afghanistan, and oh yeah, out of kashmir, too

aug 31st, 2010

this would have a lot more credibility if the CIA hadn't shown it doesn't know its ass from its head. it has allowed the paks to completely fool it. and now the inevitable advice to india: be afraid of pakistan, be very afraid. and give them kashmir. yeah, that's the ticket. 

yeah, so that the chinese can take over that part of kashmir too.

'chashmir' has a nice ring to it, no? like 'chibet' and 'chepal'? is this what jairam ramesh was pushing with his 'chindia' story?

in fact, as soon as obama stops giving billions to pak their adventure in afghan will end.

and ahmed shah massoud and the northern alliance was the only force that stood firm against barbarity. why do you think the taliban assassinated massoud the day before 9/11?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: B

THE DIPLOMAT, August 30, 2010

Coming Nuclear Flashpoint

India's role in Afghanistan is hailed as a triumph of soft power. In fact, it has simply made conflict with Pakistan more likely.

By Michael Scheuer

Michael Scheuer is the author of 'Imperial Hubris' and former chief of the CIA's Bin Laden Issue Station.


If the West has had any success in Afghanistan, it has been in encouraging India to make a massive investment there of economic aid, infrastructure projects and national prestige. New Delhi is the largest regional investor in the country, and ranks second among all donors. With the West's looming defeat in Afghanistan, however, India's success will prove Pyrrhic, and may well set the stage for another, perhaps nuclear, confrontation between Pakistan and India.

In their usual ahistorical manner, Washington and its NATO allies believed their 2001 occupation of the major Afghan cities signified not only the complete defeat of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but also an erasure of two millennia of Afghan history and religion that afforded an opportunity to start the country anew. In this context, they looked for other countries to share the enormous cost of nation-building, and India stepped up to the task without having to be asked twice.

And what has India been up to? Mostly infrastructure projects, such as a 250-kilometre highway from Zaranj near the Iran-Afghanistan border to the town of Delaram on the road that connects Kabul, Kandahar and Herat. Indian firms and Indian-government funding are also rebuilding the Salma Dam power project in Herat Province; building the new Afghan parliament house in Kabul; and constructing a power line that will use 600 transmission towers to bring electricity from Uzbekistan, over the Hindu Kush, to Pol-i-Khumri, and thence to Kabul. These and other projects now employ up to 4000 Indian nationals in Afghanistan. In addition, Indian firms are investing in Afghan agriculture and mining, and New Delhi is providing student scholarships, medical aid programs and training for Afghan police and civil servants.

Clearly, Afghanistan's battered infrastructure needs this help and much more. Like all foreign aid, however, India's aid has come with accompaniments the Hamid Karzai regime fully accepts, but which tend to drive Pakistan's government—and especially its general officers—to distraction and deep strategic worry. New Delhi, for example, has built one of its biggest embassies in the world in Kabul, and with it has built four consulates—some media reports say as many as seven—two of which, in Jalalabad and Kandahar, face Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. In addition, New Delhi has deployed nearly 500 men from the Indian Army's Border Roads Organization to assist in highway construction, and as many or more paramilitary soldiers from its Indo-Tibetan Police force to guard Indian diplomatic facilities and construction projects.

Why should the Pakistanis be worried? Well, you must first accept that you've not experienced severe and durable paranoia until you've experienced that of Pakistani officials and generals toward India, and vice versa. Indeed, in the midst of a nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan and a 5-year-old civil war in the country's tribal agencies, Pew Research reported in July 2010 that its polling found 53 percent of Pakistanis view India as their number one enemy, with 27 percent naming the Taliban and 3 percent al-Qaeda. With this mindset, then, the Pakistani government and military believe that India's expensive, extensive and growing Afghan presence is a direct and even existential strategic threat to their country.

In their one-sided confrontation with India's overwhelming military power, Pakistan's political leaders and generals have long prized Afghan territory as an area where Pakistani forces can retreat and regroup if India invades from the east. This idea has long been ridiculed by Western strategists, but it's a central tenet of Pakistan's strategic doctrine. And now, in less than a decade, this area of limitless strategic depth has been transformed into a second military frontier with India, one that puts Pakistan in a strategic vice with Indian forces on each side.

The seriousness with which Islamabad views this issue is seen in the fact that, per the media, up to 30 percent of Pakistan's ground forces are now stationed on the country's western border. This redeployment degrades the country's strength on its border with India and has been made to fight what Islamabad believes are rebellious, India-supported militants in its tribal agencies and Balochistan Province.

Pakistan's military considers India's embassy and consulates as intelligence centres that are running covert operations into Pakistan's Pashtun agencies and—with the help of Indian army engineers and border police—are training, arming, funding and picking targets for Balochistan's tribal insurgents in their low-level war against Islamabad. (NB: It's likely that Islamabad is even now responding to its perception of India's intervention by stepping up the tempo of the Kashmir insurgency.)

Pakistani generals also worry that India's growing and deliberately flamboyant military ties with Israel—that the Pakistani media call the 'Indo-Israeli nexus'—means the two countries are working together to neutralize Pakistan's nuclear capability, and will use Afghanistan as a base from which to do so. 'We have strong evidence,' a Pakistani foreign ministry official said in March, 2010, '[that India] is using Afghanistan against Pakistan's interests and do destabilize Pakistan.' Now none of this need be true, of course. But it clearly is how the Pakistanis perceive the intent of India's presence in Afghanistan. And perception is always reality.

Pakistan's perception has been encouraged—perhaps unwisely—by Indian officials and pundits. Granting that there's Good Samaritan-ism in India's activities in Afghanistan, New Delhi is far from blind to the strategic advantages accruing from its Afghan involvement. Indeed, the advantages are continuously outlined in the Indian media. The Zaranj-Delaram road mentioned above, for example, has been identified as a means to hurt Pakistan's economy by giving Afghan exports access to the sea through Iran without transiting Pakistani territory and ports.

Indian officials also have talked of their intention to use Afghanistan as a springboard for exploiting economic opportunities and accessing energy resources in Central Asia. Military-oriented Indian publications like theIndian Defense Review, moreover, haven't been shy about crowing over how the growing Indian presence in Afghanistan is making the Pakistan Army more 'worried with each passing day [that] its so-called strategic depth is becoming shallower by the minute.'   

All this sets the stage for tragedy, even though Western and Indian commentators are trumpeting India's performance in Afghanistan as the triumph of 'soft power' over military operations. This is nonsense. The success of India's soft power has depended utterly on the presence of 100,000-plus US-NATO bayonets, and even those haven't been enough to stop lethal attacks on Indian military personnel, construction crews and New Delhi's embassy in Kabul.

A good deal of the Indian media portrays India's activities in Afghanistan as successfully winning Afghan hearts and minds and building a long-term welcome for India. This is unlikely. If the Afghans have little materially, they do possess a prodigious historical memory and recall that India fully backed the murderous Soviet occupation (1979-1989) and then the Afghan communist regime until it fell in April 1992. This knowledge will be especially fresh among all mujahedin who fought the Soviets—and believed Indian pilots flew combat missions against them—but most intense among the Taliban-led Afghan Pashtuns whose war against Ahmed Shah Masood and his Northern Alliance was prolonged and made more costly by generous Indian aid to Masood. The idea that India's money-backed soft power is enough to negate such recollections and the vengefulness they fuel could only be believed by those trained at Harvard.

The real rub, of course, will come when NATO withdraws in defeat and leaves India high and dry in a country that dislikes foreigners, and especially non-Muslim polytheists like the Indians.

When NATO goes, India's personnel and interests will face attack by Afghan mujahedin, Pakistan-backed Islamist militants and probably Pakistani Special Forces. To repeat,Pakistan can't strategically tolerate a growing and solidifying Indian presence in Afghanistan and will risk war to end it. New Delhi will then face the excruciating decision all nations rightfully dread—'How best to save face?' Will New Delhi decide to deploy large numbers of troops to protect its nationals and investments by defeating the fresh-from-victory Taliban and its allies, among whom will be Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the other Gulf states? Or will it decide not to throw good money and lives after bad and draw down its presence to a Kabul embassy, if the Taliban will permit one?

At that point, cool heads in New Delhi probably will see that India's rapid move into Afghanistan was based on the wrong but understandable conclusion that Washington meant to defeat its 9/11 attackers. Undone by US-NATO fecklessness, they will also see that what once was a glittering economic and diplomatic opportunity has been transformed into a potentially war-causing question of national honor, willpower and prestige.

If India leaves Afghanistan, there's no way to avoid having the Taliban, Pakistan and all the Muslim world perceive the common-sense Indian departure as anything but a victory for Islam over Allah's polytheist enemies. Unavoidably, India's Afghan withdrawal will be seen as a triumph for Pakistan that restores its strategic depth; as an act that puts a huge dent in New Delhi's oft-stated ambition to be a regional superpower; as a signal to India's growing Islamist militant movement and its foreign backers that Hindu power is not invincible; and, by Beijing, as a sign of India's lack of resolve at a time of rising Indo-Chinese tensions.

It's nice to think that when this no-win situation becomes clear, New Delhi and its generals will have the thick-skin and toughness to decide the Afghan game is not worth the candle.(And that their counterparts in Islamabad are adult enough to forego public gloating.) For New Delhi, realism dictates that a major military effort in Afghanistan is not sustainable, and that it isn't worth introducing the massive Indian force needed to try to protect India's Afghan investment only to fail and perhaps set in motion events that could potentially lead to a nuclear confrontation with Pakistan.

Sadly, few governments in history have ever had the courage to get out of quagmires while the going was good. The US surged in Iraq and Afghanistan and still lost both wars, for example, and Russia is now losing its second war in the North Caucasus. At day's end, the need of both New Delhi and Islamabad to save face and protect their strategic interests may well lead to the brink of a nuclear disaster over Afghanistan, which, to paraphrase Bismarck, probably isn't worth the bones of one Indian grenadier.

Monday, August 30, 2010

afghans and their boy-chiks: joel brinkley rides again

aug 30th, 2010

joel brinkley is striving to be an equal-opportunity offender. last week he offended indians. this week he is offending afghans, and mohammedans in general. wanna bet he'll get some death threats and that he will never offend mohammedans ever again?

but the afghan predilection for boys and rear-entry is well-known. in fact, the mythology of virile pathans rear-door exploits has caused several white women to swoon and get serious rape-fantasies. i suspect robin raphel, barbara crossette et al fall into this category. mind you, it is just a suspicion, given their general panting after certain people. 

also, i suspect our good friend from the atlanticist, who spent some highly fulfilling time in pakistan, will be able to shed some light on the virile pathans.

even our desi mohammedans have this tendency. i guess it makes sense when the women are black tents, wearing umbrella-fabric. malabar's mohammedans are known to keep 'kuttans' for recreation, while procreating with the black tent baby factories. a man and 'kuttan' may walk into a shop and the man may say casually, 'a tea for me and a banana fritter for my kuttan'. 

let me hasten to add that a 'kuttan' is distinct from a 'kingini-kuttan'. (obligatory disclaimer for the censors).

Western forces fighting in southern Afghanistan had a problem. Too often, soldiers on patrol passed an older man walking hand-in-hand with a pretty young boy. Their behavior suggested he was not the boy's father. Then, British soldiers found that young Afghan men were actually trying to "touch and fondle them," military investigator AnnaMaria Cardinalli told me. "The soldiers didn't understand."

All of this was so disconcerting that the Defense Department hired Cardinalli, a social scientist, to examine this mystery. Her report, "Pashtun Sexuality," startled not even one Afghan. But Western forces were shocked - and repulsed.

For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means "boy player." The men like to boast about it.

... deleted

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/28/INF21F2Q9H.DTL#ixzz0y6roKzHY

a 'miracle' for MT

aug 30th, 2010

there were news reports that MT's pals were disappointed that the godmen rejected one of their 'miracles'. they are apparently in search of a new 'miracle'.

here i furnish, gratis, a 'miracle'. that is p chidambaram's 'win' in sivaganga in 2009, after sweating bullets, trailing by 30,000 votes. but then, 'miraculously', he scraped through with a handful of votes. i am sure chidambaram prayed to MT. so here's a genuine 'miracle'. maybe he also prayed to the gods of the EVM, especially naveen chawla. let us note that chawla was the biographer of MT! truly mysterious are the ways of miracles. 

so it's clear that PC prayed to MT, who then prayed to naveen chawla, who then prayed to the EVM hackers... no, no, check that. 

and you thought i wasn't a fan of MT! jeez! shows how little you know. 

how do you spell 'bubble' in mandarin?

aug 30th, 2010

what gordon chang has been saying for some time will come to fruition some time.

maybe all those potemkin facades will come tumbling down.

those who are investment savvy, are you guys shorting china? how?

Arjun Lahiri: How do you say 'bubble' in Mandarin?
China's journey up the growth curve has been so fast that the ride down could be equally nerve-racking
Arjun Lahiri /  August 30, 2010, 0:41 IST

Is China a Lehman multiplied, waiting to collapse? Hugh Hendry thinks so. Mr Hendry is a Scottish hedge fund manager in London who has become something of a celebrity for his unconventional and outspoken opinions. Mr Hendry is convinced that China is a growing property bubble, and claims the Chinese authorities are pumping money in to unnecessary construction projects to fuel growth.

For the last 30 years, China has maintained a growth rate of around 8 per cent. And the world has never quite seen anything like it. Since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 — a sort of coming-of-age display for the country — the international community has almost come to accept China to be the new superpower of the 21st century. But the last few years have also begun to show the first signs of cooling of the Chinese economy: an inevitable process for an economy beginning to mature.

... deleted

obama could kill fossil fuels overnight by pursuing thorium, but wont. why? ah, maybe 'cos he's the arabs' manchurian

aug 30th, 2010 
    Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium 
    If Barack Obama were to marshal America's vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years. 
    By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
    Published: 6:55PM BST 29 Aug 2010
    We could then stop arguing about wind mills, deepwater drilling, IPCC hockey sticks, or strategic reliance on the Kremlin. History will move on fast. 
    Muddling on with the status quo is not a grown-up policy. The International Energy Agency says the world must invest $26 trillion (£16.7 trillion) over the next 20 years to avert an energy shock. The scramble for scarce fuel is already leading to friction between China, India, and the West.
    There is no certain bet in nuclear physics but work by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power. 
    ... deleted

Babri-WTC Masjid Builders are Slumlords

Babri-GroundZero Masjid builders Imam Rauf and his Kashmiri wife Daisy Khan appear to be slumlords. Their existing tenants on the other side of NYC don't have nice things to say about them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Democracy Down the TOI-let

The TOI-let paper has suddenly started questioning Hari Prasad's motives in investigating the potential fraud in EVMs. They're claiming that he's a tool for corporate interests who want to push their own brand of voting machines. Pathetic.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

why anand was humiliated

aug 24th, 2010

yes, he played chess with the untouchable narendra modi.

and he probably does not pay off the bozos in the UPA like the cricketer jerks do with their undeserved moolah.

: Why Viswanathan Anand's citizenship is questioned? 
 .. Here is the reason... 

insult the one guy who's truly a sports champion in india

aug 24th, 2010

anand is probably more indian than 90% of the people in parliament, and certainly more so than the sonia parivar. 

why isn't the GoI questioning the citizenship of sonia considering she apparently has never surrendered her italian passport?

no, anand is not a citizen of india, but all these bangladeshis are. soon they will have UIDs saying they are.

But 20 million Illegal bangladeshis and m teresa are. RT 
: Viswanathan Anand not an Indian, says govt 

why is this happening? well, because anand is of the wrong religion. he won't say, "i am a poor oppressed hindu minority brahmin. this is a religious issue." in comparison, mohammed azharuddin, when caught with his hand in the cookie jar, used the "i am a poor oppressed mohammedan minority person. my religion is in danger." defense. yeah, right. poor oppressed. 

let the GoI question fareed zakaria's citizenship "because he has been living in the US for a long time." then we'll see the ELM get quite unhappy. or, for that matter, dawood ibrahim's indian citizenship. 

nobody questions glady staines' visa status. and everybody was so happy about that old hag MTeresa being an "indian citizen"

ergo: according to the UPA, if you are a mohammedan or christist, you automatically are eligible for an indian passport. if you are a hindu, you are liable to be declared stateless. if you are christist terrorist symapthizer named susan arundhati roy, even if you declare that you have renounced your indian citizenship, the GoI will beg her to keep her passport. 

ergo: indian citizenship is only for mohammedans, christists and communists. well, we kind of knew that already. government of, by, and for semites. (sorry, no jews allowed, i hasten to mention.)

and nobody questions the fact that an indian passport can be bought (a news paper demonstrated this) for a small investment of rs. 5000. along with a driving license and a voter id card. which the 20 million bangladeshi illegals already have invested in.

i am reminded most of all about what happened to nobel prize winning pakistani physicist abdus salam. he was dishonored and humiliated because he was a minority ahmadiya. 

same thing is happening to vishvanathan anand. he's that species most hated by all the creeps in india: the tamil brahmin. the crypto-christist DMK is surely behind this disgusting attack. 

well, spain would welcome anand with open arms and give him two citizenships if he wanted. it's just like all those soviet/east european chess champions chose to accept citizenship in less obnoxious countries. 

and who will be the loser? indian children who lose their best role model, a giant as compared to all those pathetic pygmy cricketers. this man is the World Champion, for god's sake! and with no help whatsoever from the indian public or the ELM or the GoI

and why don't you, UPA, put up signs at ports of entry: "dogs and hindus not welcome. but if you are a mohammedan jerk like m-f hussain, or a christist terrorist like graham staines, or a communist terrorist like susan arundhati roy we want you."

jeez, even ratzy's pals find this too much to stomach: M Teresa's "miracles" not enough for sainthood: Church

aug 24th,

yes, "miracle" #1: monica besra's tumor went away when she prayed to MT. she omitted to mention that she also underwent chemotherapy, which the doctors pointed out later.

"miracle" #2: there was unexpected light around MT in some photographs. the photographer mentioned that he was using new film with a high ASA rating he was unfamiliar with

"miracle" #3: godman was cured by praying to MT. yeah, i was cured of my lack of money by praying to the nearest ATM. i also inserted my ATM card into it 

but there is a true miracle: that the charlatans in the vatican actually have standards for "miracles". considering the fellows who have been already sainted -- like 'saint' francis xavier, a thug who converted lots of fisherfolk up and down the coast at the point of a gun, we find that hard to believe.

consider a new padre who is to be fast-tracked to 'beatification' and 'sainthood': a kerala godman who was convicted of murdering his (pregnant?) girlfriend in madatharuvi in 1969 or so, let off on some technicality, and now 'exonerated' as per his fellow-godmen because the doctor who had done the autopsy 'confessed' something. (can we say 'hearsay'?)

yup, they do have standards. basically it's CYA, because tomorrow it may be your A you've covered by exonerating some other horny old goat. for instance, see how cleverly they have got the supreme court to invalidate narco-tests with one single objective -- exonerate godmen kottoor and puthrukkayil and godwoman seffi (yep, the menage a trois) in the ax-murder of sister abhaya. 

is managing to avoid being hanged for murder a 'miracle'? if so, we'll soon see kottoor, puthrukkayil and seffi joining the queue for 'sainthood'. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sri 

Teresa's miracles not enough for sainthood: Church
Press Trust Of India
Aug 24, 2010


Baruipur, West Bengal: Even though the world eagerly awaits the
elevation of Mother Teresa to sainthood as she approaches 100 this
Thursday, this may not be possible soon as the Church is still looking
for an 'acceptable' miracle attributed to her, a prelate has said here
in West Bengal.

"We are receiving reports from all over the world of favours granted
by Mother. Miracle has certain characteristics. Favours reported do
not fit into the characteristics," said Bishop Salvadore Lobo of

After Teresa's death on September 5, 2007, Pope John Paul-II put her
on the fast-track to sainthood, concluding her beatification on
October 19, 2003, on the basis of claims of a tribal woman in Raiganj
that she had been cured of stomach tumour by praying to her.

Church Law requires another miracle of a medical nature attributable
to her before she could be canonised (declared saint).

On the 10th anniversary of Teresa's death in 2007, a Catholic priest
from Guwahati claimed to have been cured of kidney stone after praying
to Teresa.

"This claim was rejected by the Church authorities," Lobo, who headed
the Diocesan Enquiry Team looking into the life and virtues of Teresa
for her beatification, said.

Noting that the Diocesan Enquiry Team has been folded up after
Teresa's beatification, he said a fresh enquiry team will have to be
formed once the report of an 'acceptable' miracle was received.

The new team will have to be formed in the country where the fresh
miracle is reported.

more information on the EVM issue

aug 24th, 2010

usenix is the group that originally supported the unix operating system. listen to the podcast of the usenix panel discussion. https://www.dropbox.com/s/k0b2vib2mc1k6sy/indian-evm-panel-evtwote.mp3

there should be a full investigation of even a whiff of suspicion. 'ceasar's wife should be above suspicion' as they say. the more the EC stonewall and dissimulate, the more suspicious they look. 

this is also a matter of national security. india cannot afford to have its elections be unsafe. there is nothing more important for the country than ensuring that elections are proper, as we repose so much faith in the elected. 

gvln rao is a pollster, who thinks EVMs are dubious.

prof indiresan and alok shukla represent the EC.

halderman is a computer scientist who thinks EVMs are vulnerable. 

so two supporters, two opponents. 

the circumstantial evidence is chilling, and compelling. clearly EVMs are potentially hackable. whether they were hacked we dont know, but the chances are that they were. it has to be *proved* to the satisfaction of neutral scientists that they were not hacked. trojan horses, bluetooth/GSM radio -- the possibilities are endless.

why is the EC not revealing the 2 foreign cos that flash the ROM? why not reveal the source code? 

at the very least, the usenix guys deserve a hearing. they are not morons. when they say EVMs are dubious, they should be listened to.

1 hour panel discussion at usenix on EVMs. audio file w GVLN rao, prof indiresan, alok shukla dep EC, dr halderman 

a group of computer scientists wrote letter to EC saying EVMs are vulnerable. no ranting/raving bunch: sober folks. 

w/ all due respect to prof indiresan, he should recuse himself. he is not neutral, as he is the EC's main witness.

we skewered apple for gestapo tactics against the fellow who leaked the iPhone4. EC is doing the same nazi thing to intimidate re. EVMs

EVM buggy, hackable; runs 'pac-man'

aug 24th, 2010

perfect job for EVMs: run pac-man.

except that it's the EC that's running around as pac-man gobbling up citizens and votes.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: S. Kalyanaraman <

I suggest that the varieties of EVMs used in India should be banned for elections and handed over to schools for children for use as calculators and to learn creation of pac-man type games on Renesas H8/3644 series microcontroller. Read about Indian EVMs and their potential for mis-use in elections at http://indiaevm.org/evm_tr2010.pdf


Electronic Voting Machine Hacked to Run 'Pac-Man'

by Terrence O'Brien on AUGUST 19, 2010 at 06:30 PM

Electronic voting machines are notoriously buggy and hackable. Even the manufacturers of DRE (direct recording electronic) voting talliers have admitted so much. Some states have even gone as far as to ban the touchscreen devices. While they may not be great at recording votes (or leaving a paper trail), it turns out their outdated PC-like innards are perfect for playing retro arcade games. This particular machine, the AVC Edge, houses a 486 processor and 32 MB of RAM, making it about as powerful as a 15-year-old PC. Researchers J. Alex Halderman from the University of Michigan, and Princeton's Ariel J. Feldman managed to open the machine, overwrite the embedded psOS+ operating system with the more pedestrian DOS, and install 'Pac-Man' -- all without leaving any evidence that the machine had been physically altered (aside from the ghosts chasing a yellow circle around the screen, that is). 

Thankfully, states are phasing out these machines, so the obvious security concerns are less of an issue. Now, we need to figure out what to do with the thousands of devices that could soon be piling up in our landfills. This proves they'd make a pretty decent (and cheap) vintage arcade machine for homes nationwide. [From: University of Michigan, via: Slashdot]

Monday, August 23, 2010

worth revisiting: my jul 2009 essay on how EVMs can be used to defraud

aug 23rd, 2010

as stalin said, it is not who votes that matters, it is who counts. 

if the great alleged democracy indians are so proud of turns out to be a sham, well, that is worth knowing. 

much water has flowed under the bridge since i wrote this in jul 2009, and i have not updated it. the story is even more compelling now.

also, it looks like hard times are in store for whistleblowers around the world. it is believed the pentagon was behind the swedish rape charade over the wikileaks guy -- seems rather strange he would go around raping somebody, now of all times!

in india, it is a clear case of witness intimidation. EC does not want its precious EVMs exposed for what they possibly are: crappy little boxes that are easily manipulated. with bluetooth or other radio, you just need to be in the vicinity of the booth to do your thing.

in the interest of the scientific method, yes, i have no evidence (yet) that elections were fixed. but the fact that they *could be*, and that the EC resolutely meets every request with a "trust us, the thing is foolproof" makes one intensely suspicious. no, EC, if the thing is foolproof, you must *demonstrate* that it is foolproof, not just stonewall and hope everybody gets tired of the topic and moves on.

no country for whistleblowers. india arrests hari over EVMs. swedes arrest wikileaks founder on rape charges, then withdraws them. odd?

youtube videos on EVM fraud and hari prasad in police wagon: 
right to information? yeah, right.

rajeev in DNA on the magnificent incongruity of onam in today's kerala

aug 23rd, 2010

how we have screwed up the land and everything in it


The magnificent incongruity of Onam

Rajeev Srinivasan laments that the festival has been reduced to a travesty of its true self


The ten days of Onam arrived with multifarious splendors: flower arrangements in courtyards, maidens resplendent in off-white, gold-bordered two-piece saris, grand multi-course vegetarian meals served on banana leaves, boat races, sensuous tiruvatira-kali dances, and new clothes, ona-kodi, for all. The skies cleared post-monsoon, the beginning of the Malayalam year with the month of Chingam/Leo and the land is green and fertile, freshly-washed.


On the tenth day, thiruvonam, August 23rd this year, everyone dressed up to greet the legendary King Mahabali, of whose splendid reign the gods themselves became jealous, so that he was consigned to the underworld, whence he visits his beloved subjects on just this one day.


That is the theory. I wish this were still true in Kerala, but this native son is saddened by the reality. Onam is less and less relevant with each passing year. For starters, it is a harvest festival where there is almost no rice cultivation, or harvests.


Secondly, the old gods are eclipsed. Mahabali may have been compelling in a simpler time, but the post-modern denizens of Kerala may find him na├»ve: who allows himself to be tricked by a dwarf? 


Thirdly, the landscape itself is changing. The infinite vistas of paddy fields are gone;  once-free-flowing, perennial rivers – the envy of those not so blessed – are now constrained ribbons in the sand in lean times. What looks like untouched wilderness in the High Ranges is a green desert of monoculture: plantation tea or rubber; it is no rainforest storehouse of genetic variation.


Fourth, despite all the talk of the Kerala model – anthropologist and environmentalist Bill McKibben once wrote stirringly about how Kerala mirrors the US in various indices, at one-seventh the income – the quality of life has deteriorated sharply. It now leads in suicides, alcoholism, and almost certainly in hypocrisy and crimes against women. The matrilineal joint family, a masterful social construct, has fragmented into nuclear families.


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tibet and dalai lama obliterated by obama

aug 23rd, 2010

reminds me of how the comrades erased trotsky et al from the collective history of the soviet union. they were erased, their photographs snipped out, and they became non-persons.

obama is making tibet a non-country. 

the opposite of "truth by repeated assertion" is "extinction by malicious silence".

Ellen Bork: "The words 'Tibet' and 'Dalai Lama' have gradually disappeared from Obama administration's vocabulary"