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Showing posts from April, 2008

"Recession is a time of great opportunity'

Warren Buffet said, "In times like this we get greedy."

Why?
"simply following the rest of the pack, whether it be in stock market investing or investing in the growth of your business, is not smart. The time to be buying is when everyone else is selling. The time to be selling is when everyone else is buying."Here is the "business model" for tough time:
In a recession, the key for achieving growth and sustained profitability is to focus on your core business. If your core business is not sound you will struggle. Once you’ve taken care of that, you’ll be positioned to exercise some real muscle in the good years. To do that you need to take a close look at your strengths and weaknesses and then formulate a simple strategy that embraces positioning, product definition and pricing, service protocols, team development and delegation, client selection (and de-selection) and most importantly, very focused attention on how to create value for your clients in a…

Another Sad Story of Honor Killing

Iraq is in great mess, initiated mostly by U.S. ill conceived invasion in 2003. Hundreds of thousands died from war, unknown numbers are wounded. When one hears constant barrage of tragic episodes unfolding in Iraq year after year, another sad story of honor killing of a 17 year old girl from Basra seemed to be so "insignificant" in the eyes of many. But is it really "insignificant"?

This story is heart wrenching. A mother's cry for help from her two sons while the father was beating the girl after learning of her "affair" with a British soldier, and the shock she received seeing her two sons instead was helping the father extinguishing the life from this poor girl for the purpose of keeping the "honor" of their family is hard to describe.

Here are a few extracts from The Guardian's article:
'I screamed and called out for her two brothers so they could get their father away from her. But when he told them the reason, instead of saving h…

What can tribal societies tell us about our need to get even?

State government is comparatively new phenomenon, arising only fifty five hundred years ago. Before then, local groups, tribes and chiefdoms played major roles organizing groups of people, and vengeance guided wars and competitions.

Jared Diamond's article in The New Yorker, "Vengeance is Ours" provides a parable, comparing between New Guinean Highland tribes' complex rationales in warfares, mostly based on revenge, and modern society's difference and similarities in the stately suppressed emotional feelings of hatred and vengeance.

20th century had witnessed so much devastations, brutality, and killings of millions of people in wars after wars, genocides after genocides, that it is considered the darkest one in terms of bloodshed scale. However, Jared Diamond observes, "this is because they enjoy the advantage of having by far the largest populations of potential victims in human history; the actual percentage of the population that died violently was on the …

Algorithm to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn

The story of Piotr Wozniak, his devising of computer algorithm and software to facilitate learning and retaining that learning in memories for long time is fascinating, and is written superbly by writer Gary Wolf in Wired Magazine.

Human beings' successes in this world are mostly due to the desire to learning and acquiring new knowledge. Piotr Wozniak's software SuperMemo promises to retain knowledge, "It predicts the future state of a person's memory and schedules information reviews at the optimal time."

Here is how SuperMemo works:

"SuperMemo is a program that keeps track of discrete bits of information you've learned and want to retain. For example, say you're studying Spanish. Your chance of recalling a given word when you need it declines over time according to a predictable pattern. SuperMemo tracks this so-called forgetting curve and reminds you to rehearse your knowledge when your chance of recalling it has dropped to, say, 90 percent. When you…

(Dis)honor Killings

Regardless of what any religion's wisdom filled jurisprudence may decree on equality between men and women in many parts of our world, the age old and antiquated "tribal" customs that are antithesis to modernity and tortured humanity, even in this sunlight of human beings' monumental achievement filled 21st century, women are being locked in jail, for their own protections, to keep them being murdered by their own family members, in the brutal macabre of "honor killings".

What honor is there to kill one's own siblings, daughters or other family members? Which religious or secular texts sanction such a cruel practice? NONE. But the customs prevail amongst zealous men, even female members in same family get involved.

A few decades ago, talking about honor killings in some nations were considered in the realm of "taboo", as Lina Nabil, a Jordanian journalist observes, “The subject was a taboo when I started writing about it. At first people were in…

Unleashing the Bugs of War

"Thank heaven for DARPA" -- Cheney's words are meaningful. "Thank heaven for DARPA" for the Internet age. It has also made warfare more vicious, tilting the balance toward technology savvy warriors and their strategists, but, this shifting of balance seems to be momentary, as like in evolution, competitive edge gets pressure from opposing forces, other methods gets into actions, like asynchronous warfare, etc., as if natural selection is in play that will sometimes in future may or may not weed out the "inferior" or losers, or the battle may continue for unforeseen ages.

In the mean time, in our world and time, new technologies are being born in laboratories, like cyborg type bugs. These bugs are being raised from their caterpillar and pupae stage embedded with mechanical components deep inside tissues, for "reliable" tissue-machine interface. The hope of the "strategists" is to employ these hybrid bugs into warfares, collecting inf…

Oil and Brazil

The Economist's assertion that "the gloomiest pundits" are wrong to predict that the world will soon run out of oil, seemed to be too rosy of a scenario peddled on sure declining of world's oil reserve and supply, that The Economist acknowledges in a few sentence down, saying "the number of mammoth discoveries is declining". The oil price jumped to $114 a barrel, and no sign of rescinding to earlier "comfortable" level in the forecast. Brazil's new discoveries of oil fields in deep ocean may bring a few crucial years for the world, but the time is indeed running out. Are there any other choices left except for cheaper production and supply of alternative energies?

Whipping Boy

We inflict pain and damage on fellow human beings, as if, violence creates "mystical cohesion" amidst us. "Indeed, hurt-induced mystical cohesion accounts in large part for why we humans are addicted to turning on each other with weapons. We find an infinite variety of victims, and their suffering serves a social purpose. African-American men subjected with wild disproportionality to the caged violence of prisons. Muslim "terrorists" in torture camps. Enslaved women. Death row. In case after case, threatened authority locates a victim on whom to unload.Whether the designated object of punishment is guilty (Saddam Hussein, say) or innocent (the American soldiers whose faces we see on the news each night) does not matter. This impulse to salve communal anxiety by inflicting hurt was the defining core", not only in America, but also increasingly so in rest of the world.

Read James Carroll's article on "Whipping Boy": Click here.

The Future Is Now

The pace of science in the fields of nano and biotechnologies, and computing power being increased in exponential terms, is staggering. For majority of world populace, this rapid change mostly occurring in laboratories and that eventually manifests in day to day activities like the spread of Internet from obscurity to widespread visibility. Most of these "miracles" are like "black box", most of us cannot decipher what all these technological marvels are really about or how do they work, as if "We're zombified by progress".

What's the future holding for us? Even scientists whose brain functions perhaps retain more advanced features than the commoners like us, sometimes, cannot comprehend and envision what the future will turn out to be. "Tomorrow's revolutionary technology may be in plain sight, but everyone's eyes, clouded by conventional thinking, just can't detect it. "Even smart people are really pretty incapable of envisio…

Lincoln and Obama - Two Speeches

They have startling similarities. Read the following extract from The New York Review of Books article:
Two men, two speeches. The men, both lawyers, both from Illinois, were seeking the presidency, despite what seemed their crippling connection with extremists. Each was young by modern standards for a president. Abraham Lincoln had turned fifty-one just five days before delivering his speech. Barack Obama was forty-six when he gave his. Their political experience was mainly provincial, in the Illinois legislature for both of them, and they had received little exposure at the national level—two years in the House of Representatives for Lincoln, four years in the Senate for Obama. Yet each was seeking his party's nomination against a New York senator of longer standing and greater prior reputation—Lincoln against Senator William Seward, Obama against Senator Hillary Clinton. They were both known for having opposed an initially popular war—Lincoln against President Polk's Mexican…

Military dictating no good for country, armed forces

Justice Habibur Rahman nailed the point that many others so called "intellectuals" dare to speak against the present military backed government in Bangladesh.
"The present government will have to shoulder the responsibility for the undemocratic situation it has created in the country by altering the democratic system"Corruption in Bangladesh is a reality. Holding the corrupted politicians, hooligans and "businessmen" who amassed ill-gotten wealth through their shady political connection with former parties in charge of Bangladesh, is a necessity for any future progress in this impoverished nation. The present military backed government might have good intentions in the beginning, but the very fact still remains that power is corrupting itself, and if not checked with democratic means, the anti-corruption drives may become thwarting political opponents for the benefit of creating another emerging political force or parties, like it happened when BNP came to…