Friday, May 26, 2017

Quick notes: Executive compensation, Radio-inactive...

  • Amid IT job cuts and bleak outlook: Infosys offers hefty stock compensation to top executives 

  • Radio-Inactive: Switzerland to phase out nuclear power and replace it with renewable energy

  • Radioactive math: “Nuclear waste processing is an extremely complicated technical problem. We haven’t fully cracked it yet.” 

  • Countering OBOR: The US has revived two major infrastructure projects in South and Southeast Asia in which India would be a vital player.

  • Kashmiri tragedy: Nehru was distrustful of the army, interfered in military operations, and succumbed to civilian advice in 1948 just when the army was gaining initiative and could deliver far larger gains if they were allowed to do their job. In 1962, he trusted Krishna Menon’s assessment over the professionalism of his army chief even when Chinese troops were killing Indian soldiers.

  • A classic Telugu song composed in Chinese language:

  • Instagram worst social media app for young people's mental health: Only YouTube had a net-positive effect among the respondents. Every other social network came back with a net-negative effect. (In order from least negative to most, they were: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.) "It is easy for our perspective of reality to become distorted. Socializing from behind a screen can also be uniquely isolating, obscuring mental health challenges even more than usual."

  • Solar Hazard! How do you shut system down a photo voltaic system in case of fire? On the PV array side of the switch, the conductors are generally energized during daylight hours—typically at voltages of 300 volts dc or more. On the other side of the switch, often connected to an inverter with large input capacitors, the capacitors and parallel PV array circuits can keep that part of the circuit energized long after the switch is opened.

Fwd: CPEC is a sea change+Global Consequences of the Trump Presidency+Pakistan’s Womb Bomb: Deadlier than its Nuclear Bomb

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

1. China's imperial overreach by Brahma C 25.5.17
2. How 2001 Parliament attack allowed Osama bin Laden's escape from Tora Bora 25.5.17 by sandeep unnithan
3. CPEC is a sea change: It transforms the matrix of opportunities and threats in India's neighbourhood 25.5.17 by swagota ganguly
'Most Marshall Plan aid was in the form of grants instead of loans; Europeans themselves were asked to create their own plans to rebuild their countries; technical assistance was provided to European manufacturers. Moreover the Americans extended Marshall Plan-like aid to Asian countries such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, and opened their market to them without reciprocal benefits.
According to Ruchir Sharma, Morgan Stanley's chief global strategist, China has kept its growth going after the 2008 financial crash mainly through stimulus measures, by pumping debt into wasteful projects. China's public and private debts have grown from a manageable 150% of GDP during the boom years to an unsustainable 260% now. '
Pakistan was made to refuse a loan offer from the multilateral Asian Development Bank for its $8 billion Peshawar-Karachi railway line, whose funds must be drawn from a Chinese bank instead.'
4. China's Belt and Road Initiative: India must Stay Out by brig gurmeet kanwal 25.5.17
5. Global Consequences of the Trump Presidency 26.5.17 by deepal kapoor
6. Pakistan's Womb Bomb: Deadlier than its Nuclear Bomb 26.5.17 by col anil athale
7. US warship sends vague message in South China Sea 25.5.17 \OPED
8. Is Singapore exploited by India in joint military drill to 'contain' China? OPED 25.5.17
'China and India also have territorial disputes and India is known to shelter Tibetan separatists. India also views the China-Pakistan relationship with concern.'
9. Pakistan's US problem first betrayal 26.5.17 by dr rabia akhtar
Johnson categorically told Ayub that if Pakistan-US alliance had any chance of survival in future, Pakistan would need to stay away from China. '
10. Indian armed forces joint doctrine: Elusive quest for integration 26.5.17 by pushpan das
11. Manchester attack aftermath: 'Good terrorist, bad terrorist' syndrome must end quickly'  25.5.17 by lt gen prakash katoch
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
to unsubscribe write back

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Fwd: The controversy on KANYADAANA

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bharat Gupt Please read and respond
Many things like this have to be taken up.
It is disgusting that some senior BJP leadership has fallen victim to this
Marxist deconstruction of the serious concept of Daana.
There is a section in the BJP which is ready to reform and re-edit
even the Manusmriti. They want to bring out a modern expunged edition
of dharmashastras, and this, seeing the absence of professional 
scholars in the ranks of BJP,  will result in towing the Marxist discourse
internalised by some modern right wing reformists.
These reformists are not even the NRI anglophones but desi bhaashaawaalaas.
They do not know how they are being made into useful idiots
by Marxist discourse.
Let us not allow pseudo reformists do cause great harm.
A major political family in Nagpur from the BJP has prided in performing vivaah without kanyadaan. This sort of bravado shows a complete ignorance of tradition…
LikeShow more reactions
Bharat Gupt
Former Faculty, Delhi University,
Trustee and Executive Member
(Ministry of Culture), New Delhi
mobile:+91- 98100 77914
home phones: +91-11-2724-1490.


sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

KPS Gill passes on

shanti. the great cop who broke the back of pak-instigated revolt in punjab. we need someone like him to do the same for pak-instigated revolt in J&K

of course he was rewarded for his success with a witch-hunt in which he was accused of sexual assault on women. i have no idea if it was true or not, but the commies/lefties succeeded in humiliating him. 

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

are india's startups losing their sheen?

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

ft on the prospects of india's growth (book review)

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

china is biting off more than it can chew: chellaney

imperial hubris. america's was that it could fight a bunch of wars at the same time. china's is that it can get an empire by stealth by fooling all its neighbors

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

India Most Populous Nation, Not China: Chinese Scholar

Chinese scholar Yi Fuxian says that India has already passed China to become the world's most populous country, due to overestimates of China's population by its govt. India's population is currently at 1.32 billion, while China's population has been revised downward from 1.38 billion to 1.29 billion.

Bellatrix Aerospace Approaches Capital Markets

Bellatrix Aerospace has decided to go into defense contracting - presumably because it will get them money faster. They expect to raise the required capital in the next few months:

Hopefully they'll continue towards their space dreams.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

China's Credit Rating Downgraded

Moody's has downgraded China's sovereign credit rating:

Moody's warns another downgrade may happen in the future:

22 Killed in Manchester Bombing

A suicide bomber detonated a blast at a concert for Ariana Grande, whose main fans are young girls. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, in which 22 have died so far (more are in critical condition):

The bomber has been identified as 22-year old Salman Abedi, a British born person of Libyan descent.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fwd: Water pincer against India+The Agni-II Trial Failure+ Furthering India-Japan Defence Cooperation

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

1. German Analyst Siegfried Wolf gives his assessment on China's OBOR scheme, and why the EU has misgivings about it:
2. Water pincer against India by Brahma C 16.5.17
The Bunji and Bhasha dams, which will largely benefit the dominant Punjab province, located downstream, are set to enlarge China's strategic footprint in the restive, Shia-majority Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Bhasha Dam alone will flood 200 square kilometers of Gilgit-Baltistan, displacing at least 28,000 residents and submerging some significant archaeological sites.
The IWT is binational but China has emerged as the third party through its Gilgit dam activities and upstream control of two of the six Indus-system rivers.'
2a. Skipping OBOR Summit would reflect 'India First' Policy 16.5.17 maj gen sb asthana
3. India needs to think beyond rift with China 16.5.17 OPED
Rising nationalism has made Indian public opinion extremely sensitive on China-related issues. Indians are keen to compare themselves with China on development and international status, but meanwhile strongly object to China developing friendly cooperation with Pakistan, for fear that Sino-Pakistani ties are targeting India.'
4. India should rethink its position on B&R initiative, find solutions: experts 16.5.17
5. Where Chinese media get India wrong by sanjeev nayyar May 2017
6. Furthering India-Japan Defence Cooperation: Arun Jaitley indicates a new approach 15.5.17 by amit cowshish
7. The Agni-II Trial Failure: Evaluation rather than Flagellation is needed 15.5.17 by sanjay badri maharaj 
'On May 4, 2017, India's Strategic Forces Command (SFC) conducted an unsuccessful user trial of the Agni-II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM). This failure marks the third unsuccessful test – either development flight or user trial – of the missile and comes after a series of five consecutive successful user trials.'
8. The Law keeper and the soldier by noel ellis 4.5.17
Warm Regards
sanjeev nayyar
to unsubscribe write back

sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Sunday, May 21, 2017

CPEC: Paki-Chini Bhai-Bhai

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper published a leaked copy of the CPEC agreement, which Pakistan signed onto with China at the OBOR summit:

The details aren't very rosy for Pakistan at all - it's more like a way for Pakistan to become indentured to China. Pakistan will be able to borrow $50B to spend on infrastructure projects - contracted out to Chinese companies - and it will have to pay that money back at relatively high rates of interest, including a requirement for timebound repayment of the principal. Islam may not approve of high interest rates, but obviously China doesn't mind them. China will help to set up a lot of surveillance technology for the Pak govt, which may not be to the benefit of Pakistan's general population. The money Pakistan borrows must be spent on Chinese contractors and Chinese goods - and the terms of this deal are to be deliberately kept hidden from public scrutiny - the better to hide the kickbacks.

Meanwhile the Baloch Liberation Army has just carried out a fresh attack on Pak Army near the CPEC route at Turbat:

Saturday, May 20, 2017

China Kills/Imprisons 20 CIA Spies in 2 Years

China was able to achieve a ruthless purge of CIA informants from its govt, to cripple US spying operations against it:

From the final weeks of 2010 through the end of 2012, according to former American officials, the Chinese killed at least a dozen of the C.I.A.’s sources. According to three of the officials, one was shot in front of his colleagues in the courtyard of a government building — a message to others who might have been working for the C.I.A.

ELM Channels Balk At Ratings As Arnab's RepublicTV Sweeps

Controversy has erupted as major english-language news channels withdraw from the existing ratings service for measuring viewership, accusing it of reporting inflated numbers for Arnab's RepublicTV:

Reacting to an observation made on Facebook on an report detailing the decision of a  few English TV news channels to boycott BARC, Joshi observed, “What the recalcitrant measurement subjects need to introspect on are the following two issues: how many times have they used multiple frequencies? How long will their advertising proposition survive without a credible, agnostic measure? Many of them (the boycotting TV news channels) also have print businesses and (they) can't be oblivious to the havoc wreaked upon revenues by the absence of a readership measure for an indefinitely long period.”

The whiners are themselves hypocrites, because they themselves have engaged in the same tactics they accuse RepublicTV of.

What's clear is that Arnab & RepublicTV are able to attract far more english-language viewers than the rest of ELM - and this has the ELM terrified. With a much larger english-language viewership, RepublicTV will be able to suck advertisers away from the ELM establishment. This will hit them where it hurts most - in their pocketbook.

What's amazing is that it's taken this long to mount a challenge against the ELM on their own turf - this should have been done a couple of decades ago. Now that the game is on, it's best for iron-clad methods of measurement to be adopted, in order to provide iron-clad proof to advertisers on whom the market really prefers, and thereby give ELM the drubbing they deserve, in front of everyone.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Quick notes: Jobless growth, Madras triple helix...

  • Big red blotch on the Modi govt: Employment growth at 8-year low, tough times ahead for the young 

  • More taxpayers: India added a country’s population worth of taxpayers after Modi’s crackdown on illegal wealth 

  • After H-1B, Strong Rupee The New Worry For Indian Tech Companies: Each 1 percent upward move in the rupee against the dollar will erode the margins of Indian IT exporters by 25-30 basis points

  • Foe turned friend:  India has opened talks with Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a long-time enemy of New Delhi and close ally of Pakistan, marking a dramatic break in its policy towards Kabul.

  • Madras triple helix: GNR came up with the very grammar of protein folding. To this day, researchers use the Ramachandran Plot to validate protein structures. Like the Raman Effect, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the Ramachandran Plot has rendered the scientist behind it immortal.

  • Cars As A Service (CaaS): The cost reduction for going to a service like Uber, which may provide subscription services -- a monthly fee for all you can ride -- should be massive. What that suggests is that the market for new cars should collapse in favor of Cars as a Service. Only the very rich will own cars, as a sign of status.

  • 'Supercomputer-as-a-Service': Rent a Cray in-the-Cloud

  • Against green mobility: Clubbing of hybrid vehicles along with luxury cars in GST rates is a regressive step

  • Sadguru shuts up Journalist:

  • Waiting for rakshaks: cows in India are choking on plastic

Thursday, May 18, 2017

East India Company Revisited

Some commentators are referring to China's OBOR enterprise as a new East India Company, designed to colonize the region purely in pursuit of profits for mother country China.

Meanwhile, the founder of Blackwater International feels that it's time to adopt an East India Company approach in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Advanced Mass Transportation Network

Elon Musk has finally announced his greater plans behind starting a tunnel-boring company. He's looking to accomplish more than just boring tunnels - he wants to provide the means of transport through them:

To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic...

  • Increased safety. A fully stabilized autonomous vehicle eliminates human error and the ability to “swerve off-course.”
  • Increased speed. The controlled autonomous sled allows for speeds of 125 miles per hour in urban settings.
  • Multiple payloads. The electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour.
  • Eliminating hazardous emissions. Electric sleds are zero-emission vehicles, and thus do not output hazardous gases like internal combustion cars do.  Every mile the sled transports a gas-burning vehicle becomes a zero-emission mile.

Musk is actually maneuvering to replace existing mass transportation (train/subway/bus) with a fleet of smaller automated vehicles, each of which is capable of independently carrying people or goods from any place to any other. Think of how the internet works - it's a digital packet-switching network for information transport - able to route all kinds of packets of information from any point to any other, on a massive scale. So imagine being able to do this with people or goods, instead of just information. Self-driving technology is the key to implementing this kind of system. Experts have said that driverless cars will never really take off until they have their own exclusive dedicated highways, to avoid problems with non-autonomous vehicles. Musk's tunnels may be turning out to be such a separate dedicated transit network, capable of higher-efficiency throughput.

With India being an underdeveloped country lacking all kinds of infrastructure, such new transportation technology could be easier to implement, because there's not as much already-existing infrastructure to disrupt - it would be like writing on a clean slate. Post-war Japan and Korea were able to gain tremendous competitive advantage when they rebuilt their destroyed infrastructure from scratch with all-new infrastructure.

India also has a much poorer population base, for whom affordability of automobile ownership is a big hurdle - that's why we're a "2-wheeler economy". Driving safety is also an issue, and many car owners actually have drivers to drive for them.The availability of vast fleets/pools of independent autonomous vehicles to serve the needs of the general population on demand, would mean a lower overall number of vehicles required by society, while improving safety and reducing insurance costs. It would also radically reduce the congestion problem, and this includes reducing the need for parking. Instead of parking your car somewhere to have it sit there unproductively, as soon as you step out of a vehicle it then immediately departs to be used by someone else. Such congestion relief could be particularly crucial for an overcrowded country like India.

A personalized mass-transport system which allows everyone access to the same convenience of travel, means a more egalitarian society where everyone's needs are better served - which can translate into votes. Modi has certain pet projects like GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tech-City) which could perhaps be used to test out these kinds of new ideas.

Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has also come out with some initiatives in support of advanced transportation - perhaps he should add this latest idea to his list:

If India were to become an early adopter, it could gain valuable experience and intellectual property in the development of such technology, and eventually export it to other countries.

India & Japan to Join in Rival Effort Against OBOR

India and Japan will mount a joint effort for their own rival proposition to China's OBOR:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Stephen Cohen Warns About Deep State

Longtime veteran foreign policy expert Stephen Cohen warns that America has a hidden '4th branch of government' (ie. Deep State composed of powerful intelligence agencies) which is seeking to manipulate and control the direction of American foreign policy:

ISRO Unions Oppose Privatization

Worker unions at ISRO are seeking to oppose privatization:

Given how expensive space launch activities are, and how rapidly other competitors are dropping their prices, I don't see how India can afford not to pursue privatization.

Monday, May 15, 2017

SpaceX's Mueller on Competition, Future Plans

SpaceX's Tom Mueller, said to be perhaps the smartest rocket engineer alive, recently gave a talk on Skype which was recorded and posted online:

Video linked here:

Transcript linked here:

He gave his blunt/frank feelings on his assessments of competitors in the space race, as well as interesting details on SpaceX's technology and its future plans.

EU's Misgivings on China's OBOR

German Analyst Siegfried Wolf gives his assessment on China's OBOR scheme, and why the EU has misgivings about it:

Likewise, The Economist gives their view on OBOR, and they clearly don't like it either:

Chinese businessmen in central Asia call it “One Road, One Trap”

So EU/Germany is very wary of OBOR - that may explain why NYT is using phrases like "Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir" while critiquing the OBOR project, since NYT's stances always reliably align with EU's interests - and same goes for The Economist. Germany didn't plow all that money/effort into building EU, just to have China swallow it all into its larger fold. That would reduce Germany's relative local economic pre-eminence, and make it play second-fiddle to the Chinese Far Emperor. How can Brussels be a centre of power, if the real power lies in Beijing - who would take them seriously? Why would any junior members want to put up with tolerating EU's onerous restrictions, if big Emperor China is offering a bigger party?

Western-sanctioned Russia of course would be happy at OBOR's long-term effect of diminishing and even sidelining Western power (particularly American power), even though OBOR would be more China-centric than the ShanghaiFive Cooperation Organization, which previously had Moscow and Beijing as co-equal founders.

Not sure why Trump has now suddenly flipflopped to be sending a US delegation to the OBOR Summit (maybe he really is appeasing Russian interests?) The inherent national interest of the US would be to avoid allowing itself to be marginalized by OBOR, and see its power diminished and overtaken by China. Coupled with EU's misgivings about OBOR, then India should not have to be alone in opposing OBOR and its initial CPEC keystone. It should also create the conditions for everyone to become much more interested in the Balochistan issue.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Official Trailer

When Ridley Scott's Blade Runner came out (based on Philip K Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"), it was a landmark movie with a very novel stylized visualization of the future. The trailer for the sequel shows more of it - the drab smog-filled atmosphere, the congested urban megalopolis on a blighted landscape, and the yawning divide between rich and poor, with the former living high above in their towering cathedrals-pyramids-skyscrapers, and the lowly poor scratching out a living on the streets below. India may have its own version of this in the decades to come.

The trailer's voice dialogue once again takes up the theme of slavery as the engine underpinning economic growth. Who will keep India's "replicants" in line?

China's Silk Road Spending Entails Risks

NYT notes that most of the countries China is giving financial support to as part of its Silk Road initiative are ranked below investment grade:

This is also the first time I've seen NYT use the phrase "Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir"

$500M Pak-China Deals Signed for OBOR

Pakistan has signed $500M of deals with China during the OBOR summit, for the development of the its segment of OBOR:

Some countries are wary of the debt burden that the Chinese financing could create.
Pakistan, however, has expressed an optimistic view, with the government's chief economist telling Reuters this week that the repayments will peak at around $5 billion in 2022, but will be more than offset by transit fees charged on the new transport corridor.
Meanwhile, an uptick in violence in Baluchistan is already starting:

Friday, May 12, 2017

China Sucks More Countries into OBOR

China has been roping in a broad range of countries to get their support for its "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) initiative. This is causing increasing concern to Indian strategic experts.

I can see some potential problems happening down the road, which the Chinese leadership's army of Yes-men groupthink followers may be ignoring due to their rose-colored glasses. The lessons of EU loom large for grand schemers who suffer from self-deception.

By pushing high-interest loans onto OBOR collaborators to finance its development, China is basically imposing a mercantilist vendor-financing model to keep its vassals indentured and on the hook to repay Sugardaddy China. The reality is that the populations of these underdeveloped partner countries will ultimately rebel and force their govts to renegotiate - a la Greece. Then China will be on the hook for monies that the others refuse to repay. OBOR could become a big Ponzi scheme. If only Goldman-Sachs were to get involved, as it did in helping Greece rack up bad debt.

Nextly, while Pakistan may be an asset for China militarily, it's a liability for economic trading purposes. This is because of Pakistan's irredentist obsession with India and Kashmir - which may be consistent with war-mongering ambitions, but is entirely contrary to the needs of trade and economic growth, which require peace to be successful. We can already see China experiencing similar problems with its other irredentist client state North Korea, which cannot refrain from its Pak-like obsession against South Korea. Remember the cautionary tale of the Fox and the Scorpion:

Pro-Pak Cyber-Jihad Exposed by RepublicTV

Arnab's team at RepublicTV have exposed a Pak-orchestrated cyber-jihad to promote separatism against India:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Quick notes: Kurds advance, 5th gen fighter...

India is 'China 2.0' Frets Chinese Think Tank

A Chinese think tank warns that India could become 'China 2.0' and that China should develop a response strategy for this:

Monday, May 08, 2017

WaPo Quotes Kerala Marxist in 'Nazi' Smear

Washington Post's Annie Gowen decides to parrot Kerala Marxist Angshukanta Chakraborty's claim that "Evil Hindoo Nationalists" are demonstrating their "Nazi" inclinations by conducting eugenics experiments with babies:

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Bahubali Sequel Breaks Rs.1000 Crore Mark

The movie sequel Bahubali 2, starring Prabhas, Rana Dagubatti and Anushka Shetty, and directed by SS Rajamouli, has now crossed the Rs.1000 crore mark in box office earnings:

This makes the movie the most successful by far in the history of Indian movies. Normally, earning Rs.100 crores is enough to earn a title of successful blockbuster - but Rs.1000 crores is absolutely unheard of. Some are speculating the movie may even reach the Rs.1500-crore mark, as director Rajamouli is teasing the possibility of a 3rd movie, whose story he says would be substantially different from the 2 preceding films.

Macron Defeats LePen in France

Nationalist Marine LePen has been defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the French elections:

Macron has been called the 'Useful Infidel' or 'Useful Idiot' of Islamism:

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Republic TV and the Return of Arnab Goswami

Arnab Goswami, who was forced to leave Newshour due to controversies, has now made his return to primetime news with the launch of Republic TV. We've talked before about the need for a FOX News Channel, and maybe now we'll have that chance.

I think that Republic should try to emulate some of the ideas which FOX News Channel has pioneered. For instance, their business model encourages their guest commentators to also become authors, allowing them to supplement their revenue stream by promoting their books as part of their TV appearances, and this also allows these multiple media streams to simultaneously reinforce each others' messaging.

Rajeev, I think you should bite the bullet and put a book together, so that you can take this route. Get a ghostwriter involved if you have to. You have a lot to say on a variety of crucial topics, and you know how to say it well. The Sun is starting to break through the clouds, and a new phase of battle is now looming. The Shadow Warrior should strive to become a Sun Warrior.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Quick notes: GSAT-9, Kalpit Veerwal...

GSLV Launches 'SouthAsiaSat'

ISRO has launched GSAT-9 (aka.'SouthAsiaSat') in the GSLV-F09 mission.

Annoying narrator voice aside, it's good to see that onboard camera footage is now a regular part of ISRO launches.

The 'SouthAsiaSat' was originally called 'SAARC Sat' until Pakistan decided it didn't like being under India's satellite coverage.

Considering that the global space market’s future will be defined by heavy lift boosters, it is imperative for Isro to develop the GSLV’s advanced avatars as soon as possible. The international launch scene is changing rapidly with newer launchers constantly pushing the bar higher on payload capability.

Isro scientists seem ready for the challenge and have set their sights on leapfrogging to GSLVs powered by semi-cryogenic engines. Fuelled by kerosene and liquid oxygen, these engines would be capable of lofting ten-ton satellites into space, cutting launch costs dramatically. “We expect to test the prototype of a semi-cryogenic engine in a year’s time,” says Somnath. “And we may fly it by 2021. Engine development takes a very long time, at least 10 years for realisation.”
The GSAT-9 which has just been put in orbit is also the first Indian satellite to feature Electric Propulsion, specifically a xenon-thruster in this case, which is much more reliable than a standard chemical propulsion motor, and lasts longer using less fuel.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Are Local Elections Going Global?

The French elections are now becoming a proxy war between pro-nationalist forces (Trump) and
anti- nationalist forces (Obama) worldwide. This indicates that both sides see things as a zero-sum game:

Just as the Spanish Civil War was supposed to have drawn in young Leftists from around the world, likewise the battle for France's election seems to be bringing in activists from far and wide:

If this is a rising trend, then it's one that Indians had likewise better prepare for as well.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Bahubali 2 Breaking All Records

"Bahubali: The Conclusion" the sequel in the movie franchise, is breaking all Indian film records, having in just 5 days achieved Rs.720 Crores in box office earnings worldwide (Rs. 450 Crores of it in India alone). This makes it the most successful movie in Indian history by the widest of margins.

One of the most famous landmark movies in Hollywood history, was The Ten Commandments, which made a huge impact when it came out. With Bahubali, film maker Rajamouli has given India its own version of The Ten Commandments. Now we need to see more follow-ups in the same genre released at regular intervals, like Ben Hur, etc.

Hopefully these high-quality epics will raise the bar on Indian film-making. India's film industry already churns out so much junk. For very high-quality movies, perhaps the idea of elevated ticket prices can be justified in the marketplace, as this will result in elevated earnings for such movies, which will in turn spur the industry to invest more into high-quality filmmaking.

BBC covers the film with its own divide-and-rule drainpipe angle, as usual:

But someone has given their evaluation according to a theory of 'Natyashastra':

Capsule Hotel Comes to India

The Japanese-style capsule hotel has come to India. A company called UrbanPod has started a capsule hotel in Mumbai:

At $30-$50/night, it doesn't really seem like a bargain compared to conventional lodgings. Compare with a Chinese capsule hotel that charges $7/night:

Meanwhile, other countries are moving this niche toward the high end of the market.

Monday, May 01, 2017

2 Jawans Beheaded by Pak Forces

A BSF trooper and an Indian Army soldier were beheaded near the LOC by Pak forces:

I don't know why we merely use the word "mutilation" - these were beheadings.

Musk Proposes Underground Transport Tunnels

Elon Musk has proposed the idea of underground tunnel transport networks to alleviate urban traffic congestion:

That sounds a little fanciful - but even disregarding the transport congestion issue, imagine the idea of building city levels that extend deep below the ground, just as they already extend above the ground with highrise buildings. An efficiently designed Vertropolis city of this type could then very densely pack a lot of office and living space into a small area. This in itself could minimize urban sprawl and commute challenges by packing everyone within shorter distance from each other.

Sure, it might not be the ideal lifestyle role model for the country as a whole, but it might help to have at least a few such highly-efficient super-dense vertical cities in order to compete globally against other major international metropolitan commercial centres. India's lack of existing infrastructure offers the opportunity to build its infrastructure according to the newest design principles and ideas.