Friday, March 30, 2012

So good to be back at IITB ...

So good ......

Vodafone, E&Y and Justice Kapadia .. conflict of interest ..?

Did the Supreme Court Chief Justice Kapadia led 3 judge bench exercise an error in judgement in deciding on exempting Vodafone from a Rs 11,000 crore ( $ 2.2 billion) tax demand by the Tax Dept by taking into cognisance a Due Diligence Report filed by Ernst  & Young (UK) report, when the Chief Justice's son was employed with E&Y (India) ?

Did Vodafone influence the E&Y (UK) report in the first instance ? The CJ taking into account this report while considering exemptions for Vodafone gives enough cause of reason to doubt the settlement of such a very big tax exemption issue. Vodafone claimed the transaction to be a structured FDI into the country, but in reality not a single penny had entered the country as FDI. Smells fishy !!

Quote : The government listed 121 grounds, each pointing to an error in judgment, to seek review of the January 20 order and said it was surprised by the apex court's decision to give relief to Vodafone on the ground that its offshore transaction was a structured foreign direct investment into the country when in reality not a single penny came as investment into India. : Unquote 

Should the CJ have recused himself from hearing this case given the conflict of interest in his son being employed by E&Y India ?

Will the common man get to know the truth behind this ?


Thursday, March 29, 2012

The rags to riches story of the richest Indian, documented through houses ..

Old living quarters of Dhirubhai and family
House of Anil Ambani, Seawind ..
Mukesh Ambani's Antilla on Peddar Road,
Mumbai ..

Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar
                                                            - Ralph Waldo Emerson,

Some time back in March 2012, I was passing by Mukesh Ambani's residence "ANTILLA" on Mumbai Peddar Road. Could see a blot on the Mumbai skies rising like an awful creature from around the slums nearby ..

The $ 1 billion ( approx . Rs 5500 crore ) house which has 840 maidservants spread over 27 floors and app 400,000 sqft, living space ( bigger than the Palace of Versailles, near Paris) is presently LYING UNUTILISED. (third one..)

The reason .. VAASTU (superstitions related to the orientation / alignment ) OF THE STRUCTURE IS NOT CORRECT ..

So, THE WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE, LARGEST AND COSTLIEST RESIDENCE is presently lying vacant ( except for the maids) and will continue to do so ..

Let not Ambani forget his early humble beginnings , (.first pic, second floor, dirtiest quarter..)

Anil Ambani's Seawind, at Cuffe Parade ($700 million) is the other pic ..

Leaves our conscience really hurt ..! iS THIS the house of just one person from among the 1200 million inhabiting our country ??  Never in its history have we seen such a splurge of wealth, put to such great waste .. When Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal , 300 years back, he had a firm purpose in mind !

This is the wealth Mukesh made / inherited, but does that mean he can splurge it the way he wants to ? Let us not forget that the society has played a major role in seeing that the wealth remains with him and it is but natural for the society to expect the money handed over by it to him as its custodian, be put to good use ..

When I met him on a couple of occasions in IIT Bombay in the late nineties, he had a composed, cool and dignified persona. Now, I do not know if it is the same person exhibiting this haughtiness with this towering, blotting concrete structure across the South Mumbai skyline .. because he could afford to do so ..!

Is it the outward demonstration of a narcissist mind ?? The darling of the moneyed class of Mumbai, does he make himself, through this senseless act, worthy of respect by the rest of the country ?

Story of Rockefeller and Mallya, Bangalore


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Afghan misadventure, a relook over 3 millenia - any lessons ? ..

Alexander , the Great tried to annexe Afghanistan around 200 BC and he had to withdraw on the rebellion of his soldiers, fell sick, went back and died in Greece.

Genghis Khan, tried a misadventure in Afghanistan around 1200 AD, again had to pay with his life. He was cremated in an unknown place in Mongolia, unknown even to this day !

The British empire, the land over which the sun never set, had to beat a hast retreat from South Asia, after a misadventure in Afghanistan, never ever to rise again .. meoooowing all the time ..

The misadventure of Russians in Afghanistan was paid for by their having to flee from the Hekmatyars and finally the breakup of the USSR into many small republics, only Russia can even come remotely near to its former glory ! Pop !!

The spoiled game of US in Afghanistan is waiting to unfold - history will tell what will happen.

The old confucius saying - Afghanistan is the place where empires go to die, could probably be true !


$ 2 trillion a year - damage to the oceans ..

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute have come up with figures that if climate change is not acted against now, the world will end up paying $ 2 trillion annually for damage to the oceans .. By 2010 AD, global average temps will rise by 4deg C. 

Possibly this monetary figure will get more heads to turn and take notice !!


Babus ruined higher Education in India - Dr. P V Indresan

The floating bureaucrats ( IAS officers..)  with no accountability and loads of authority have actually ruined Higher education in the country.

For a faculty  an encouragement at the right moment in the form of grants, attending conferences etc.. is a good motivational tool.

Let us hope the govt realises its folly and let only committed faculty members take decision relating to education in the country henceforth.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Politicians unite to hit back at team Anna - a blot on Indian Democracy ..

An open letter to our respected elected members of Parliament ..

It is very sad and a black day for Indian democracy to find our MPs, irrespective of party affiliation, have become intolerant of any criticism of their functioning.. The politicians realise that they get their powers only from the people. By getting elected they are not insulating themselves from the common man and deciding to do whatever they want for five years. If they think that way, I am really sad, our democracy and our representatives have not matured to represent the people. 

People are supreme, then comes the constitution and then comes whatever else.. Any criticism of how political parties nominate criminals for elections and to represent them, does not mean that the Indian public is against the political parties. It is giving them a chance to clean up their stable and get good people to represent them.. Let politicians take it as a corrective criticism from the people and the civil society, there is no reason whatsoever, to feel hurt or have umbrage about.. 

It is not only the elected representatives who are worried about the country, it is each and every citizen of this country .. If we do not correct our elected representatives, and if they go astray, who is to be blamed - only the people .. You are our creation, you get your rights from us, the people, if and only if and when we decide to give them to you. .

So our dear representatives, be cool, it is just another corrective action, just another control measure of the feedback mechanism installed by us to keep a tab on you. Please do not get upset and do not feel offended, we will control all your actions, we will advise you when you go astray, it is our bounden duty as a citizen of this great country to correct you. We cannot allow this great country to go to dogs because of some irresponsible people amongst you. Pl do not misunderstand our good intentions, we are there to guide you and correct you in your chosen duty ( out of your volition) to help run this noble country of mine .. Nobody has thrust this duty and task on you against your wishes, I am sure ..

Our vote to allow you to represent us do not in any way  give you the right to take the country down the drains.. Pl do not carry any such misconceived notions and thoughts in your brains. If we have elected you, we also know how to control you .. Pl for the country's sake, listen to our voice, the common man's voice. You will finish your loot, run to swiss banks and the like and get away scotfree, only we are there left to suffer your misdoings. How can we let that to happen to our great, noble and pious country .. 

Please do not misunderstand our good intentions, we will never ever allow you to go astray and permit such loot and indiscipline to happen ever again in our country !!

please for the sake of our country and its 1.2 billion people, at least start behaving now. No time is too late ! Do not be crybabies ..!!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Afghanistan is where empires go to die - old Confucius saying ..

The old Confucius saying that "Afghanistan is where empires go to die" is so true ..

The prophesy is working to such precision .. We are all seeing the collapse and disintegration of of US facilitated by Obama .. ( how much a brave face Americans would put to salvage their hurt pride and ego ..) ..

Afghanistan has the uncanny ability to suck in empires and emperors over the years. Take the case of Alexander the Great in ancient history and Russia and US in modern history .. How much resources, people, money and material and armaments any country puts in Afghanistan, it sucks in everything and waits for more and more as if nothing has happened ..

Even Genghis Khan , just 800 years back, repeated the same mistake and he could not hold onto Afghanistan ..

Let India and China the new empires of the 21 st century not repeat history and make the same mistakes ..

ge ..

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Books ..

Here I am giving some quotations on books from the famous Unitarian Theologian, Dr William Ellery Channing, US (1780 - 1842)

It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. 

William Ellery Channing  

How true is the above quote from Dr William Ellery Channing who lived in the eighteenth century ..

Reading books, of any kind, it does not matter - another quote :

The best books for a man are not always those which the wise recommend, but often those which meet the peculiar wants, the natural thirst of his mind, and therefore awaken interest and rivet thought. 

William Ellery Channing 

Even though Channing is considered a great Unitarian theologian and a thinker of his times, it is indeed surprising to find why he never opposed slavery and bondage of the people from Africa who were brought to US to work on tobacco and other farms.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An electric car soon from Chennai ..

Recently at the Renewable Energy exhibition at Chennai which I attended on 13 March 2012, I saw this electric car, indigenously developed in Chennai, called Carrieall, to hit the Indian markets by July-August, running at max speed of 80 kmph, working on 4-5 units of electricity to run a distance of 120 kms on a single complete charge of the batteries.. Costing 7- 8 lakhs INR, modeled on Santro Zing style, easily carries 4 people.

All standard accessories like AC, power steering, power windows, 2 gears ( not sure..), with standard tyres, and other consumables like lighting, brakes, brakes etc ....

Snaps are enclosed here..


Monday, March 19, 2012

Malayalam Wiki Sangamotsavam 2012, April 28,29, Kollam Chinnakkada Jilla Panchayat Hall ..

Malayalam Wikipedia contributors Annual Conference ... 

Click here for the link .. or here

inviting papers till march 21 for the mega 2 day event on April 28,29 at Kollam.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

How True, Bharat Ratna does not deserve Sridharan ..

How true, Bharat Ratna does not derserve Sridharan ..!! I do not know who has written this piece of material, but definitely it is worth its weight in gold ..

56 years in Govt service and to do some of the best, state of the art, impossible projects, which even the British dare not do even now.., were completed by Sridharan in record time, without any shred of corruption or favouritism,  bringing name, fame, laurel to the country besides helping it save thousands of crores of INR in penalties, delays and loss of opportunity costs does not deserve a Bharat Ratna .. ..

Instead, scoring a hundred centuries, playing for personal fame and money deserves Bharat Ratna .. ??

Pl read on ...


 Dr Elattuvalapil Sreedharan…..


The Bharat Ratna no one talks about

Dec 31st 2011
India had just lost the boxing day test match, with a day to spare. Star News was deciding who was the 'Match Ka Mujrim'. Others were wondering when Sachin will finally score that created in the boardroom, 100th hundred. If an alien visited India around that time and switched on the tele, he/she would have thought our world started and ended with cricket.
Pretty sad, considering an event that slipped  completely under our radar.
Dr Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, affectionately called the 'MetroMan of India', bid adieu to his 56 year long career of creating 21st century monuments. His exit was a reflection of how he lived; simple, elegant and completely inconspicuous.
Just pause for a moment and think.
 56 successive years, in a single job, without a break.
 56 Years.
 In other words, Dr Sreedharan, worked continuously for a duration, in which an average Indian generally goes from the cradle to his/her grave.
And no one in the media was paying a tribute to this great man. They were not even talking about it. All they had was a silly ticker at the bottom of the screen, that said 'Dr Sreedharan Retires'. No ten thousand word articles, no special Dr Sreedharan shows, nothing. It was like, it didn't even happen.
 Fundamental question is, Why?
Is it simply because, Dr Sreedharan, is not your quintessential Indian Success Story?
 I mean, he is not a IITian, nor is he from an IIM. He is not from a minority community. He did not surmount racial and casteist prejudices imposed by the society. He did not fetch water at 4 in the morning and did not study under street lamps. He did not milk cows to pay for his education. He is neither an actor nor a singer. Neither is he a cricketer nor a cricketer who claims to be an actor.
He was just a simple middle class Indian, who went about his job.
In other words, he does not fall under any bracket that our media terms as 'an Indian Success Story'.
And according to the media, not an 'Indian Success Story' meant 'No tribute'. And this in a day, when even a guy like Chetan Bhagat will get a glowing biography on his life and times, the day he finally decides to stop writing.
OK, sod the the media. They have TRPs and paying news customers to take care of. But what about the government? They don't have to answer to anybody. And this guy dedicated his entire life to them. At least they can do something.
But No.
When names were being bandied about for the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor, everyone, from politicians to Dhanush,  had only one name, 'I am stuck on 99′ Tendulkar. Infact lobbying for that guy reached such epic proportions, that the government actually changed the award criteria to accommodate that actor.
And Mr Sreedharan, who triple checks all the existing criteria, was not even being mentioned.
The travesty is all the more acute if you consider what Dr Sreedharan has done for our nation.
Date: 22nd of December in 1964,
Location: Rameshwaram town
For most of the non south-Indians, Madras and South India are interchangeable terms. But what you do not know is, South India also happens a favorite holiday spot for various cyclones brewing in the Bay of Bengal. And this South India is not Madras alone, but the entire states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
This geographical part of India has been hit by so many cyclones that nowadays meteorologists have run out of names.

For most of us, This is THANE
One such cyclone, hit the coastal town of Rameshwaram on 22nd of December, 1964. And it was a deadly one.
Not so long ago, south of Rameshwaram, there used be a bustling town called Dhanushkodi. It had its own post office, customs office and even a Railway Station. My bet is most of you wouldn't have heard about it. Why?
Because on that fateful night, the Indian Ocean swallowed the entire town. More than 2000 Indians were killed. The ocean even ensured that, a passenger train which was beginning its last journey of the day at 11.15 P.M, made its last journey ever. If you still can't imagine the ferocity of this cyclone, let me help you

Dhanushkodi, before and after
So where does Dr Sreedharan come in all of this?
As a sideshow, the cyclone destroyed the Pamban Bridge, the only bridge connecting Rameshwaram to mainland India. And this meant Rameshwaram was completely isolated. Considering the above cyclone something had to be done, and fast.
At that time, Dr Sreedharan was a Deputy Engineer in the Southern Railway. And this piece of wreck was in his territory. Indian Railways, gave Dr Sreedharan six months to restore connectivity to Rameshwaram. Which was asking a lot considering
Dr. Sreedharan, had to convert this


Dr Sreedharan finished the job in ..FORTY SIX 1962 DAYS.
He took one month and 15 days to restore, THAT bridge, back to full operation. The bridge which was India's longest sea bridge for 96 years, till the Bandra Worli Sea Link was inaugurated in the year 2008.
Forty six days to restore this 2.3 Km bridge in a state where

took six effin months to restore after being washed away by a flash flood, in 2006.
There are some achievements that look cool, but once you get an award, you completely forget about them. And then there are some you won't forget, even if you suffer a total memory loss.
This was one of those things.
For all this trouble, Dr Sreedharan got a Railway award consisting of Rs 100 and an awful looking plaque.
The process of short-changing Dr E Sreedharan, began in 1962.
Even If Dr Sreedharan, sat and twiddled his thumbs for the rest of his life, he would have been considered a superhero for his bridge-building awesomeness alone. Fortunately for India though, he did not like twiddling thumbs. Packing his bags for his next assignment, he set off to Calcutta, where he became the chief designer of the Calcutta Metro. And then, getting bored of railways in general, he took charge of India's largest Ship building company, Cochin Shipyard. There he designed, built and commissioned India's first indigenously built Merchant vessel, the Rani Padmini, in 1981.


After building everything from trains to ships, Dr Sreedharan according to government rules, had to retire in 1990 when he completed 60 years of age.
But, when you are Dr Sreedharan, you don't have the plebian privilege of retirement.
He was asked to go to Mumbai, to take charge of what was then deemed to be India's toughest project since independence. It involved burrowing through basalt mountains, spanning kilometer long marshes and rivers and taking railways to a place where even the Britishers thought it was impossible. This region was the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, affectionately called, the Konkan.
The railway babus simply called this herculean venture, Konkan Railway. Naming things is not really their forte.

                          And slapped it with a pathetic logo
This is what Dr E Sreedharan had to do,
Lay 760 Kms of railway track, through a terrain
that had

and this

infested with

and perennially at the risk of

And to do that, Sreedharan had to
1. Acquire 5000 hectares of land from 42,000 assorted land owners.
2. Build 2000 Bridges, both major and minor, across Marshes, swamps, rivers and backwaters.
3. Blast 92 tunnels, totaling 83 kilometers in length through Basalt, nature's adamantium and soft soil, nature's china clay. You need nuclear weapons and Arnold to bore through the former while the latter generally collapsed on itself, if someone as much as farted.
And then came the most difficult task in the Indian Index Of Difficult tasks
4. Dealing And Negotiating With The Chief Ministers, Home Ministers, Other Ministers And Their Chelas Of Four Different States.
And to complete all of the above tasks, Dr Sreedharan, was given 8 years.
It would be like Hercules being asked to accomplish his twelve tasks, blinded and with one hand tied to his back, in three days.

Needless to say, he would have failed.
Dr Sreedharan, supposedly retired and who qualified for Indian Railway's senior citizen quota, finished the job in 7 years.
Konkan Railway to me, is the second biggest achievement of Independent India, with the first being India remaining India. New standards will have to be invented, to realistically measure the impact of Konkan Railway on the Indian economy.
For starters
1. For the first time ever, three largest ports on the Indian coast, Mumbai, Karwar and Mangalore have a direct connection.
2. Travel time from the southern states to the north, have been reduced by upto 40 percent. The crummy old Nethravathi Express, used to take 38 hours to travel from Trivandrum to Mumbai.
Now, thanks to Dr E Sreedharan and the

the same train takes 22 Hours. A 16 hour reduction in travel time. And a 16-18 hour reduction in travel times of all trains going from Kerala,Karnataka, Goa to the North.
All the trains.
Try measuring the impact. Don't bother, you can't.
And new levels of difficulty need to be established to measure the difficulty of this task. The sheer number of architectural impossibilities overcome by Dr E Sreedharan and his team in making this wild dream a reality, is mind boggling. All I can do is suggest you to go here, here and here.
However, there is one thing that encapsulates what all the above links have to say

Which basically is a Marsh

Between two Hills

And to traverse it,
The train has to travel at a height, which is as tall as

In other words,
Dr Sreedharan and his team, built a goddamn Qutub Minar, over a marsh, between two hills, just so that, a train could chug over it.
Need I say more?

You will see this wonder of Modern India immediately after Ratnagiri on the Konkan Railway. In the 15 kilometer stretch between Ratnagiri and Nivasar, there are 3 tunnels and 5 viaducts. The third viaduct is the Panval Nadi viaduct, immediately after the first tunnel. The exact sequence will be —->  Big Tunnel, Massive Gorge, Big tunnel again.
Dr Sreedharan though, never had the chance to taste his success. In December 1997, one year before the Konkan Railway was thrown open to traffic, he was shunted to New Delhi to head a new organization. It was created to find a viable solution to the traffic woes of the aam aadmi in the national capital.
This organization was called the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation.
Of all the railway systems in the world, building a metro is the most difficult in the world. Most difficult, becomes impossible, when you have to build that damn thing under and over a megapolis.
Impossible reaches 'You must be kidding me' levels, when that megapolis in question is Delhi and the country in question is India.

There are more people in this pic than there are in Canada.
Delhi Metro was not India's first metro. Calcutta has that honor. But Calcutta's 'I built my own metro' story, was one sorry tale
Sample this
1. It took 22 years to build the Calcutta Metro, A metro whose total length was 16.75 kms. In other words, Calcutta Metro construction dudes managed a grand average of, .76 kms a year.
2. The Calcutta metro suffered from debilitating shortages in almost everything. Shortages of funds, shortages in labour and shortages in everything else. The only they had in plenty was those damn shortages.
3. And it was harried by the parent, the Indian Railways, every step of the way.
If the Calcutta metro was any indicator, the 168 Kms long Delhi Metro would have been beset with shortages, harassed by the Railways and would have been completed in A.D 2083.
If ever there was a movie made about Dr Sreedharan's job, it would have looked something like this

But this was Dr E Sreedharan.
When he started off, he put in place some things that were never before done in the history of Indian mega construction projects
1. His appointed himself as the judge, jury and the executioner as far as the Delhi Metro was concerned. No external influences were tolerated. And he took no prisoners. There have been stories were, people walked in with the traditional M.P recommendation letter, walked out of his office, with the paper in two different hands.
2.  After giving himself the power, he changed the tendering process, upside down. In a country, where opening a single tender on an average, took six to nine months, Dr Sreedharan got the job done in 19 days. YES, 19 Days.
3.  When confronted with the standard Government 'I am short of money' rigamarole, Dr Sreedharan did what any sensible government servant would do. He simply cut out the Government from the funding.
He single-handedly went and got a loan of USD 5 Billion sanctioned from the Japanese Bank of International Co-operation to fund the Metro. Now, 60 percent of the necessary finance secured, Government shut up and stumped up the remaining cash.
4. He then hired top International consultants from an assortment of countries, to cover for the lack of local talent, to supervise and execute the project.
For the first time in the History of India, the entire Delhi Bureaucratic circle was completely circumvented. That too, by one 74 year old dude from Kerala.
As a result
Phase one of the 5 billion dollar metro, was completed three years before schedule, entirely within the initially stipulated budget. And there was not even a single shard of corruption.
In India, that is the closest we can get to walking on water.
If someone had in 1998, said that such a thing would happen in India, He would have been given a priority ticket to Agra/Alibaug/Kilpauk or the nearest mental asylum.
Today, the Delhi Metro is complete and for the first time, Dilliwalas are enjoying the benefits of a full fledged suburban rail system that has a punctuality factor of 99.999 percent. All thanks to this man

Next time, any Dilli boy/girl tries to mock you or anyone with the moniker Madrasi, just mention the words, Metro-Sreedharan-Madrasi in the same sentence. The other side will shut up.
The successful execution of the Delhi Metro, made Dr Sreedharan the Tom Cruise of the Metro Rail universe. Every Indian city worth its salt, now wanted its own metro and Dr Sreedharan as its consultant.
One such city was Hyderabad. And the company executing that metro was a company called, MAYTAS INFRASTRUCTURE.
You know where this is going.
In September 2008, Dr Sreedharan, after observing as a consultant, sent the following report to the Planning Commission, Government of India
Making available 296 acres of prime land to the BOT [build, operate and transfer] developer for commercial exploitation was like selling the family silver. I fear a big political scandal some time later, as it is apparent the BOT operator has a hidden agenda which appears to be to extend the metro network to a large tract of his private land holdings so as to reap a windfall profit of four to five times the land price.
Planning commission, that plans little and develops less, as usual did not pay heed to this report. In fact they chastised Dr Sreedharan, for not backing up his allegation with necessary proof.
This is what happened, three months later

Remember how the scandal started? It started by Satyam Computers, arbitrarily taking over Maytas infrastructure, a company that was neither in IT, nor was a competitor. In fact the only link between Satyam and Matras was that it owned by Ramalinga Raju's sons.
And sensing that Maytas was in big trouble, he 'bought' the company to save it.
And Dr Sreedharan, predicted that the company was in trouble, three months before the world knew it.
So let me just encapsulate, if that can be done, on what Dr Sreedharan has done for the country
1. He restored India's longest sea bridge which was completely destroyed, in 46 days.
2. He designed India's first Metro.
3. Supervised the building of India's first indigenous Merchant vessel.
4. Executed India's most difficult project since Independence.
5. Gave Delhi wallahs, something called the Metro.
6. Predicted India's biggest corporate fraud, three months before it happened.
I don't know how the Bharat Ratna nomination thing works. But I believe you stand a chance if you have done something good for the country. Now tell me, what has Dr Sreedharan not done for the country?
I mean when you can consider a guy who sells a computer anti-virus on prime-time television for India's highest civilian award, Why is there not a whisper about a guy who has ensured 400,000 people on the western coast of India saw a train for the first time?
Or, was responsible for a sharp drop in road-rage killings in Delhi?
Come to think of it though, I really don't want Dr Sreedharan to get the Bharat Ratna. I mean, he will then join a club that is populated by people like Bismillah Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, Bhimsen Joshi etc. No disrespect to them, but they were at best, paid performers who had negligible impact on the population of India. (Lata Mangeshkar in fact has had a negative impact. A flyover which will bring respite to thousands, if not lakhs, of Mumbaikars is not being constructed solely due to her 'privacy' concerns).
Dr Sreedharan should not be given the Bharat Ratna. Because the Bharat Ratna does not deserve a man like Dr Sreedharan.


Sachin who earned crores for entertaining sports lovers (only cricket) deserve a Bharat Ratna?



Always th ink positive ...








Friday, March 16, 2012

Should Dharun Ravi escape 10 years in prison ?

The suicide of Rutgers Uty, NJ student Clementi over his Indian-born roommate Dharun Ravi webcamming his encounters with an elder male in their common shared dorm room, and tweeting over it, has landed the judges in a very piquant situation.

A very private incident which could have been settled at the Hall manager level in Rutgers, got blown up after the suicide of Clementi. It has ruffled many a feather among all parents of students of similar age.

The case of the delicate, sensitive nature of Clementi and the fact that he wanted to "cover up his gay nature" from Ravi, which Ravi knew beforehand and wanted to publicise with his friend Wei and others, was what aggravated the matter.

Will the judge indict Ravi to prison or not ? The next few days will be crucial if Ravi's defense is able to prove Clementi's suicide was not related to this issue..

More than whether the grounds of Invasion of privacy or hate crime will be used against Ravi and Wei, this case raises more issues on what constitutes "proper" Internet usage, "what" constitutes acceptable social behaviour and how modern technology has a very deep inseparable impact in the life and behaviour of our youngsters, both boys and girls ..


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Great resource for educators of the world from johnathan Chung ...

Johnathan Chung
Over 200 Free Online Educational Resources (v.2.3)

Warning: Very long post. Please open in a new browser tab.

Here is decades' worth of knowledge freely available online for those who love to learn. Links that fit under multiple categories are listed only once.

What are your favorite sites to learn from? What sites would you add to this list?

(View the original post for any future updates:


I. Top Picks
II. Universities and Higher Education (updated to v.2.0 on 1/27/12)
III. General Collections (updated to v.2.3 on 2/10/12)
IV. How-to & DIY
V. Studying with Peers
VI. Online Books, eBooks, & Journals
VII. Computers, Software, & Programming (updated to v.2.2 on 2/6/12)
VIII. Science & Math (updated to v.2.3 on 2/10/12)
IX. Logic, Words, & Memory
X. Languages
XI. Music (updated to v.1.2 on 1/26/12)
XII. History
XIII. Business, Economics, Finance, & Investing (updated to v.1.2 on 1/26/12)
XIV. Food, Nutrition, & Cooking
XV. Survival Tips
XVI. Documentaries & Film Studies (updated to v.2.3 on 2/10/12)
XVII. Other



Khan Academy

Academic Earth - Online courses from the world's top scholars

TED - Technology, Entertainment, & Design

MIT Open CourseWare

Stanford Engineering Everywhere

Open Yale Courses

About U. - Collection of free online courses from


YouTube EDU

The Open University - Study at the OU

University of the People

University of Reddit

Open Culture - The best free cultural & educational media on the web

VideoLectures - Exchange ideas & share knowledge

CosmoLearning - Free educational website with thousands of courses & documentaries



Lecture Fox - Free university lectures

Faculty Project - The best professors from the world's leading Universities

Google in Education

More Open Courses:

OCW Search - Find free university courses online

Open Courseware Consortium

Harvard Extension School - Computer Science & Technology

Johns Hopkins University

Kaplan University

Notre Dame

Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study


Utah State

ArsDigita University - Computer science and math lectures

UC Berkeley Webcast - Central service for online video & audio for learners around the globe

UC Berkeley Video Courses - Free education online

Capilano University

Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Delft University of Technology

Rice University Connexions - A place to view and share educational modules

Stanford on iTunes U - Stanford-related digital audio content

UC Irvine

UC San Diego Podcasts

University of Chicago's Mind Online - Thought-provoking samples of critical thinking & debate

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

University of Massachusetts

University of Michigan

University of Southern Queensland

University of Sydney - Podcast episodes

University of Virginia - Podcasts & webcasts

University of Washington - Computer Science & Engineering

Utah Valley University - Online courses & open educational resources

YouTube Channels:


Stanford Class Central - YouTube summaries of Stanford's online courses

UC Berkeley

University of New South Wales


India's NPTEL



Udemy - Take and build online courses on any subject

Free Video Lectures - 800+ Online Courses and 19,000+ Videos from Top 30+ Universities on 35+ Categories

100 Intro Open Courses on Everything You've Ever Wanted to Learn

Annotum (formerly Google's Knol)

InfoCoBuild's Free Education - Audio/video lectures for academic courses

IncrediCampus - Lectures and preparation/admission advice for college & graduate schools

Learners TV - Thousands of downloadable video lectures on liberal arts, science, engineering, and more

Online Education Database - 200 free online classes to learn anything

Infoplease - All the knowledge you need

MERLOT - Multimedia educational resource for learning and online teaching

Internet Archive

101 Online Self-improvement Resources

Alison - 300 free online courses at certificate or diploma level (sign-up required)

Teaching Resources:

The Orange Grove Digital Repository - Online library of openly available instructional resources for Florida's educators - Browse teacher resources

Google in Education - Teacher Resources



WikiHow - The how-to manual that you can edit

How Stuff Works

Wonder How To


Make Magazine

How-to Help & Videos for Dummies

VideoJug - Get good at life

How to Create a Book in Wikipedia

Let's Make Robots



Open Study - Study together

P2P University - Learn anything with your peers

Study Blue - Your digital backpack



Google Books

WikiBooks - Open-content textbooks collection that anyone can edit

Project Gutenberg

Planet eBook - Home of free classic literature

Open Book Project

The Free Library

Many Books - Ad-free eBooks

WorldCat - Collections & services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide

iBiblio - The public's library and digital archive

LibriVox - Free public domain audiobooks

The Assayer - Web's largest catalog of books whose authors have made them available for free Free eBook Collection

Scribd - Reading and publishing evolved

Textbook Revolution - Student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials

Directory of Open Access Journals

eReaderIQ - Recent non-public domain freebies & price-drop alerts

Longform - New and classic non-fiction articles curated across the web

Flatworld Knowledge - The first and largest publisher of free & open textbooks



Google Code University

The New Boston - Step-by-step tutorials for multiple coding languages

UDacity - CS 101

PHP Academy

Better PHP

Programming eBooks

W3Schools - The world's largest web development site

Wired How-to Wiki - Teach a kid to program

NetTuts+ - A large collection of coding tutorials

Tutorial Guide - The site for all your tutorial needs

Codecademy - Fun & interactive way to learn how to code

Free Technology Academy - High quality educational material based on free software & open standards

Higher Computing for Everyone - Writing basic programs

HTML 5 Please

Rails for Zombies

Ruby Warrior - Open source game to teach Ruby language

Got API - Documentation search engine

Coding Bat - Online code practice in Java & Python

PySchools - Python programming language tutorial

Python Learn - Provides materials to learn Python on your own

appendTo - Learn jQuery and Javascript for free

Professor Messer - Free CompTIA A+ Certification Training Course

Lynda - Online software training videos

Intro to Linux

Stack Overflow - Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

DZone - Fresh links for developers

Project Euler - A series of challenging mathematical & computer programming problems

Photoshop & Graphics:

Tutorial Hero - Photoshop & Flash tutorials

PSD Tuts+

Photoshop Tutorials

Graphic Tutorials

Photoshop Pack Graphic Design Resources

PSD FanExtra Tutorials

Vandelay Design - Photoshop Tutorial Hall of Fame

Grokking the GIMP

Video CoPilot - Tutorials for VFx & motion graphics



Google Scholar - Stand on the shoulder of giants

Scirus - The most comprehensive scientific research tool on the web

Cite Seer X - Access scientific and scholarly knowledge

getCited - Academic database, directory, & discussion forum - A place to share and follow research

National Science Digital Library - Explore, share, create

Science Magazine Podcasts

National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning - Science, Engineering, & Technology

KQED's Quest - Explore science, nature, and environment stories from Northern California and beyond

Freelance Teacher - Videos on physics, chemistry, math, & biology

FHSST - Free high school science texts in physical sciences & math

Free Science Lectures - Free Science Videos & Lectures

Minute Physics on YouTube

Physicist TV - Collection of science & documentary videos

Educated Earth - Videos on astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, math, physics, and more

The Science Network - Videos about science meetings and general science discussions

cK-12 Flexbooks

Paul's Online Math Notes

Reddit's List of Useful Online Math Resources

Math, Better Explained

Astronomy & Outerspace:

Space Engine - Free space simulation software

Google Sky

NASA for Students

Scale of the Universe - Interactive Flash Animation


Vassar Stats - Concepts and applications of inferential statistics

StatSoft Electronic Statistics Textbook

Connexions Collaborative Statistics

Handbook of Biological Statistics



Mind Tools - Memory improvement techniques

The Nizkor Project - List of logical fallacies

Wikipedia's List of Logical Fallacies

Wikipedia's List of Figures of Speech

Tool Kit for Rhetorical Analysis

KnoWord - Expand your vocabulary - Learn new words & explore language

Brain Workshop - A Dual N-Back Game

Argument Mapping Tutorials

Philosophy Bites - Podcasts of top philsophers



Basic Composition - Reading & Writing

BBC Languages - Beginner courses in multiple languages

Foreign Service Institute Language Courses

Language Guide - Foreign language vocabulary, grammar, & readings

eLanguage School - Free foreign language lessons online

Free Online Language Courses via

DuoLingo - Learn a language for free & simultaneously translate the web

Babel Nation - Learning languages online for free

Transparent Language - Language learning software & resources in over 100 languages

Survival Phrases - Learn essential travel phrases, tips, and insights

Talk to Me in Korean

Chinese Toolbox - Software for learning Chinese through reading

LiveMocha - World's largest language learning community

American Sign Language (ASL) University

Handspeak - Sign language

Signing Savvy - Your sign language resource



Berklee Shares - Free music lessons from Berklee College of Music

Music Theory - Lessons, exercises, & tools

Ear Training & Music Theory Software

Basic Music Theory Music Education - Music theory

Teoria - Music Theory Web

Ultimate Guitar - Lessons, techniques, & styles

Justin Guitar - The best guitar instruction on the web

Chorder - Chord fingering and guitar resources

Funk University - Assembly of Music's Finest

Play Bass Now - Lessons, licks, and low notes

How to Play Piano



Teacher Resources - Western Civilization (52 half-hour video programs)

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Timeline of Art History




Google Advisor

Google Finance

MarketWatch by WSJ

Main Street - Business & financial headlines & advice

Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Corner

Value Based Management - Methods, models, and theories

Ludwig von Mises Institute - Austrian economics and praxeology

Foundation for Economic Education

Library of Economics and Liberty



Good Eats Fan Page

Jamie's Home Cooking Skills

Chef Todd Mohr's Web Cooking Classes (YouTube)

Nutrition Data - Self nutrition data; know what you eat - Smart nutrition & practical tips

Choose My Plate via USDA

The World's Healthiest Foods

Calorie King

Start Making Choices - Simple ideas for living healthier on a budget

Eat Right Nutrition Tips



Off Grid Survival - Wilderness and urban survival skills

Backwoods Magazine - Self reliance and self sufficiency

Survival Topics - Your online survival kit

Wilderness Survival - Free info covering all aspects of survival

Discovery's Worst-Case Scenario Video Clips



Documentary Wire

Factual TV - The documentary film video store

Documentary Heaven - Food for your brain

Surf the Channel

DocuWatch - Free streaming documentaries on Art, History, Science, and more

Documentary Tube - Watch full-length documentaries online for free

Documentary Log - Watch hundreds of the most interesting, popular, and full-length documentaries

Documentary Stream

Documentary Storm - Free streaming documentaries

Top Documentary Films - Watch free documentaries online

Movies Found Online - Free movies & documentaries

Quick Silver Screen - Movies & documentaries

MVGroup Forums - An education in P2P (sign-up required)

InfoCoBuild's Books and Films - Science and Technology

Film Studies:

Film Studies for Free - Web archive of notable film studies resources

Online Film and Movie Image Studies, PhD and MPhil Theses

Online Film and Media Studies Journals


Advanced Yoga Practices - Directory for Main Lessons

Creative Live - A live, worldwide creative classroom


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