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Friday, March 20, 2009

Watch Aero India 2009 webcasts

You can watch some of the recorded webcasts of the lectures delivered during the Aero India 2009 Air Show.

Aero India 2009 Webcast

Aero India 2009 webcast

Aero India 2009 Webcast

Though I’ve yet to watch the full lectures, some lectures that I found very interesting and am planning to watch tonight:

Indian AEW&C in the global perspective by Dr. S Chrisptopher

F-16 E/F Automatic Terrain Following Development by Mr. William A Flynn

New challenges in Aeronautics [TSAGI Technological Capabilities] by Dr. Sergey Chernyshev

Fghters in the long war by Bill Sweetman

Adaptive materials and Aero Structures : Revolutionising Aerospace systems by Dr. Ronald Barrett

Dr V.K Saraswat too had given a lecture whose webcast is available – it is a keeper IMO.

These webcasts are being streamed by 24 frames digital, a company that provides Video streaming service to different organizations.

You can also view some other webcast for which they had provided their services.

Note: Found some difficulty viewing the videos in Firefox and Opera. Solved it by using windows and opening the URL in Internet Explorer.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Handgun are you?


I am a: Heckler and Koch, Model P7 in 9mm
Firearms Training


Heckler & Koch P7 PSP 9mm

Some info from H&K website

The extremely compact HK P7M8 can be drawn, cocked, and fired accurately, faster than any other pistol. With an overall length and width close to many .380 pocket pistols, the full-power 9mm P7M8 has a full-length four-inch barrel enclosed in its low profile steel slide.

The unique HK cocking lever allows the P7M8 to be carried safely with a round in the chamber, yet it is ready to fire by the intentional squeezing of the fingers around the grip. Releasing the cocking lever decocks the P7M8 immediately and renders it completely safe.

The P7M8 gas system retards the movement of the recoiling slide during firing and eliminates the need for a conventional locking mechanism or heavy slide. The low profile slide contributes to the balanced center of gravity and compact size of the P7M8.

Made of high-grade steel, the low profile slide keeps the recoiling mass as small as possible. Combined with the optimal grip angle of 110°, the result is a compact, accurate, and low recoil pistol well suited to civilian and law enforcement users.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Create fonts from handwriting using Your Fonts

You can add a personal touch to documents you type out and print by using a font that replicates your own handwriting [provided you got a handwriting that that is legible – mine doesn’t quite qualify :D]

Your fonts

Your Fonts is a free online service that allows you to do just that. Take a printout of the template provided on their site and write down the letters printed on that template in your own handwriting. Once filled, scan the paper as an image and upload it to their site. Once done, within a few minutes it will prepare a new font that looks just like the handwriting you had submitted, which you can then download for use.

If you want, you can also fontify [??????] your signature, so that you can simply paste your signature onto the document [the signature is optional in the font creation process – I would advise against fontification [??] of your signature].

However one flaw that the service appears to have is that the fonts came out looking small for the given font size compared to the other fonts out there. Yet it, in my opinion, is a cool service to use.


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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

India’s Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft program : A comprehensive summary

“It’s the biggest fighter aircraft deal since the early 1990s.”

This is how Mark Kronenberg of Boeing described India’s Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft acquisition program for the purchase of 126 of the most revered/ feared aircrafts currently developed.

MMRCA courtesy Wikipedia

An acquisition program that had been lusted after by the Aviation industries since the time it was announced, it acquires added significance in these times of Economic recession, where budget cuts initiated by the countries around the world has resulted in cancellation or cutting back of purchases earlier committed to the companies.

Adding to the value of the already coveted program are whispers emerging from credible sources indicating that India has increased the budgetary allocation for the program from $11 billion USD to $16 billion USD.

The program, initiated in 2001, has seen more twists and turns than any Bollywood movie can ever dream of conjuring and one of media houses that has been following the developments and been providing us with a ring-side view of the program right from the conceptualization of the program has been Defense Industry daily.

Now with the aircraft having completed its technical evaluations, are ready to be flight tested and undergo user evaluations in the months of March April, the final precursor to the deal being finalized [touch wood].

Compiling together all the significant developments and highlights of the program, DID has put together a well-written article that contains its own valued opinions and also a well-prepared dateline. A must-read for every Aviation enthusiast.

India’s MMRCA Fighter Competition



Sunday, February 01, 2009

Pakistaniat - Fueling hatred towards India

Update: I have made a repost here 26th November 2008: Pakistaniat – fuelling hatred towards India

A few days back I bumped in to an old school friend near my place. He is currently pursuing his M.S in the US and had come home during the Christmas vacations. We sat down chatting at my place, reminiscing about the old, blissful [in hindsight :D] school days and getting updated on who amongst us is up to what.

Any conversation that involves an Indian in incomplete without talking about the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai not being talked about – and here were two Indians conversing. Being currently located in the US, he naturally came in contact with and knew [or “sleeping with”, as he so eloquently put it] quite a lot of Pakistanis and his perspective and take on the matter was a matter of curiosity for me. On asking him about how well he got along with the Pakistanis [his “sleeping” claims notwithstanding], his reply was quite on expected lines. Spoke in the most flowery terms how they share the most commonality and how Indians were just like the Pakistanis [as opposed to “claiming” that the Pakistanis were just like Indians – it might just be me, but I think there is a big difference]. On asking him how do the Pakistanis respond when the question of Pakistani involvement in the terror attacks in India is raised, his answer was simple and escapist – they do not talk “politics” with each other. His definition of “politics” was quite all-encompassing – anything and everything over which Indians and Pakistanis could have a disagreement, including choice of movies to watch.

Therein lies the crux of getting along well with a Pakistani – do not raise issues of matter relating to hundreds of Indians being killed in Pakistan-sponsored terrorists strikes each year, do not raise the issue of the war of 1971, do not speak affirmatively and positively about anything related to the Indian Armed Forces and the yeomen service they are rendering to our country, especially in thwarting Pakistan-sponsored terrorist operations in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Follow these guidelines and you could be seen getting along with a Pakistani like a house on fire.

However raising issues that point towards the complicity and treachery of Pakistan in its relation with India brings out the true face and outlook of a Pakistani – that of despising India, harboring the most venomous and virulent form of hatred for India, what India stands for, what India has achieved and most importantly what it has lost due to India’s involvement in the affairs of Pakistan.

The very crux of Pakistan’s unity lies in the anti-India tirade that it has been whipping up and sustaining since the time it came into existence. The failure to develop a sense of nationalism and belonging among the disparate ethnicity residing in Pakistan has given strong roots to the separatist sentiments in the country -  Balochistan, Sindh, NWFP all harbor aspirations of breaking away from the rule of the Punjabi dominated republic and carve out their own niche as a nation. In face of Pakistan’s failure to hold itself together with reasons of nationalism and progress, it is left with no other choice but to promote anti-India sentiments among its people to maintain cohesion and control.

Pakistani is a nation that prides itself for being a “martial race” – a warrior class, the story of whose “military prowess” and “achievements”, should, in its opinion, alone be enough for its adversaries to lay down its arms & accept defeat. It was this belief, based on which Pakistan carried out its pogrom through the length and breadth of Bangladesh [Warning: Contains footage that may be disturbing] [then East Pakistan] from the time of its separation from India in 1947 till 1971. The unrestrained, gleeful massacre of Bangladeshi citizens and reign of terror that was being orchestrated by the masters sitting in West Pakistan, resulted in around 12 million Bangladeshi citizens entering in to India to create the World’s biggest refugee crisis, the likes of which has, fortunately never been replicated anywhere since.

Things came to its head, when after the 1970 election East Pakistani leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was prevented from taking over as the Prime minister of Pakistan, in spite of having achieved a clear victory in the elections. The aggressive and brutal subjugation of the Bangladeshis by the Pakistani establishment continued unabated.

It was at this juncture, that India under the leadership of the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi decided to liberate Bangladesh from the tyranny and oppression of the Pakistani brutality.

The resulting attack by India on Bangladesh produced the most unprecedented result ever achieved in the history of a military campaign – more than 90000 Pakistani Men of War [around 95000] – the pride of the “Martial Race” nation, layed  down their arms and surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Sovereign Republic of India.

This surrender of the pride of Pakistan dealt the most stinging blow to their awaam’s psyche, for whom their Military establishment had been their only source of pride for a nation who otherwise receives parity with the likes of Malawi and Afghanistan. It totally shattered their illusion of invincibility and their military was reduced to looking like a bunch of rag-tag thugs terrorizing the weak and unprotected but running of to save their own backsides at the first hint of a challenge.

No other military force, has ever surrendered in such an unprecedented number. India’s military campaign in Bangladesh under the leadership of Field Marshal Sam Maneskshaw [who was a General and India’s COAS at that time] and the subsequent decimation of the Pakistani Armed Forces is considered as one of the most brilliant examples of planning and execution undertaken and is considered for Case Studies in War colleges around the world.

Pakistan’s military history has been permanently scarred by the fact that the magnitude of their surrender to India has not been surpassed by any other nation.

Pakistan’s lack of any military achievement can also be gauged from the fact that while India celebrates its Victory Day on 16th December ever year, a day when India decimated Pakistan and paved way for the formation of Bangladesh, Pakistan, on the other hand, celebrates its National Defence Day on 6th September every year, a day during 1965 War that ended following a Cease fire agreement with India in 1965.

Any logical, pragmatic observer would be in a position to concur with the statement that a Cease-Fire Agreement is no victory for any military. Such is the deprivation of this “martial race’s” military’s achievements.

Redemption of this stinging humiliation of Pakistan in general and its military in particular would be sought by attempting to orchestrate a similar severance in India. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, which till then had been the object of a duel contested only within the boundaries of the U.N, would, in their opinion, be an ideal place to sever from India, owing to its majority Muslim population. What had been a battle being fought within the compounds walls of the U.N General Assembly building would now be taken out in to the open on the grounds of Jammu & Kashmir.

The Pakistanis from the 80s initiated what was termed as their “bleed India” campaign. A systematic state sponsored support to extremist elements in India to engage in a campaign of terror and disturbance, killing innocent unarmed civilians in an effort to to compel India to give up its claim of governance in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, paving way to its annexation by Pakistan. A similar attempt had also been made in the state of Punjab by supporting the Khalistan movement, something that India has been able to successfully overcome.

The groundwork needed to ensure the success of this severance had started in the immediate aftermath of their 1971 rout. Pakistan, under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, undertook an systematic campaign of change to manipulate their History textbooks to cultivate in the minds of its people a pathological hatred for India. Its syllabus, which read more like a mythical fable than an objective discourse in the history of Pakistan, projected India [or more appropriately Hindus] as conniving deceiving entities who posses no ethics or principles and always seeking an opportunity to back-stab. Indians [Hindus] are always portrayed as devious cunning individuals who is not to be trusted and who time and again plotted for the destruction of Pakistan. Pakistan’s version of the war of 1965 shows India as a evil nation that tried to annexe Pakistan and make it a part of India, which was repulsed by its brave and strong military. This distortion of their Educational Syllabus, to project Pakistan as an overly strong nation with an impeccable reputation is an admission [PDF 513 KB] that has also come from within Pakistan itself.

To further fuel this anti-India sentiment, they incorporated its most potent of reasons – Islam. By associating India’s challenge to Pakistan as a direct threat to Islam, they ensured that this  sentiment of hatred that they were festering would never ever run out of fuel. To ensure that Islam would indeed be a strong enough reason, conditions were created in Pakistan to ensure that its citizens could no longer choose to disassociate the two. In fact the extent of incorporation of Islam in their curriculum and the teachings they are being asked to assimilate in the name of Islam has caused concerns even among the US for the falsification of its message.

Strengthening of the hold of Islam on Pakistan commenced with General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamization of Pakistani society. Under his rule each and every institution of governance and administration in Pakistan underwent a radical change in its operational objectives to incorporate projection & promotion of Islam as the underlying aim of their operation.

By associating their defeat with an attempted attack on Islam [the lakhs of Muslim officers and soldiers in the Indian Armed Forces notwithstanding], coupled with its lobotomized educational syllabus, Pakistan was able to formulate the perfect strategy by which every subsequent generation growing up in Pakistan would be indoctrinated with a deep-rooted hatred for India and everything India has achieved overcoming and still fighting the socio-economic challenges it had inherited at the time of its independence.

The extent to which Islam has been used to make people obey orders unquestioningly can be judged from the fact that a soldier inducted in to the Pakistani Army believes he is fighting more for the cause of Islam than the cause of the country whose Army he serves. Soldiers in their military serve in the belief that his fight against India is a holy war in which glory lies in sacrificing oneself for the cause of Islam which is being threatened by India. This act of seeking to be the one to die in place of the other in battle to achieve glory is called Shahadat – a concept that forms part of the idea of Jihad. This deadly mix of Religion, military capability and vengeance has given rise to citizens of a nation who care not for the progress and development of its own people as much as it is obsessed with its hatred for India with a desire to destroy the country.

This desire of Pakistanis to cease the existence of India on the map of the world finds voice through the Television shows of Mr. Zaid Hamid broadcast all over Pakistan. A gentleman with a questionable past, the self proclaimed defence analyst goes about his business of dispersing his anti-India views through his increasingly popular paid-for Television show. His popularity in Pakistan and Pakistanis around the may easily surpasses that of Paris Hilton by a fair margin or at least give her a serious run for her money. A look at his Facebook account stands testimony to his popularity among the young and upcoming of Pakistan.

The gentleman’s virulent diatribe against India each week without providing even the slightest hint of corroborative evidence is all lapped up by Pakistanis with enthusiasm and fervor. His confident claim to that fact that Ajmal Kasab is actually Heeralal/Amar Singh, an Indian R&AW agent collapsed like a pack of cards when his own government owned up to Kasab’s nationality. Flashing a picture of the aforementioned Kasab, his claiming that Kasab “does not look like a Pakistani” are the stuff of unforgettable Internet folklore and lampooning. This and other such execrable “analysis” about India and India’s evil plans for the strong and prosperous nation of Pakistan are presented with unabashed hatred and rhetoric, that finds no rooting in evidence and/or logic. His continual labeling of India as a failed nation in control of religious extremist bears more appropriateness when applied to his own country - the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. His forceful assertion of the idea that a nuclear attack on India by Pakistan is a strong possibility points to a catharsis of desires and feeling among the people of that country. His standing among the Pakistani citizens grows by the episode who take to defending his honor online with violent vigor, for Mr. Zaid Hamid has given voice to their feelings.

Officers of Pakistan’s military establishment have been quoted venting out their deep-seated hatred that they have harbored for India by suggesting launching of suicidal pre-emptive nuclear strikes on India in an effort to destroy the object of its hatred as well as end the lives of its own citizens whose welfare it has so successfully neglected in course of its hate-filled campaign against India.

Pakistan, whose own Industrial and Technological progress is a topic of restroom humor has also not been able to digest the progress made by India in these fields by overcoming immense challenges. The contempt and despise with which the powerful in Pakistan speak about destroying Bengaluru [formerly known as Bangalore] [of all the Indian cities – Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata etc, he had to mention Bengaluru, I wonder why], the symbolic face of India’s Technological progress is further reiteration of Pakistan’s despise for India.

This pathological hatred for India and deep-seated anger resulting from the shame of Pakistani defeat continues to burn within every Pakistani citizen. The fuel for the continual hatred for India is provided in almost every aspect of the Pakistani society. Every time a mishap occurs in their country, it is first blamed on India fanning the hatred, only to be later claimed by one of their own home-grown proteges. Repeated allegations are made by their media accusing India of supporting the separatist sentiments simmering in their country and involvement of Indians in these struggles. Yet never has an Indian name been mentioned or an alleged captured Indian been produced in their court to stand trial or shown on television for the world to see this Indian who is wrecking havoc in their beloved nation. Yet such news are sufficient to make people’s stand about India even more bitter and hate-filled.

Unfortunately for India, Pakistani citizens for generations to come will continue to seethe with this hatred for India, for it shall never be able to achieve this decisive victory over India in a battle they have been seeking for the past many generations. Any war between Pakistan and India will end in a cease fire forced upon us by the countries of the world who stand to lose a lot by letting the 2 nuclear-armed nations continue with the war, long before any Nuclear misadventure can be attempted by the Pakistanis.

This Pakistani anger and insecurity has effectively impaired its National vision. Its hatred for India outweighs its love and welfare for fellow Pakistani citizen by an unassailable margin. While to try to acquire Weapon Systems, its medical system has languished and is in tatters. Its inability and lack of competency to treat the innocent Pakistani girl who was forced to travel to India to be treated by the very people whose destruction an annihilation is the sole purpose of the rest of the Pakistani citizenry, points to India’s humane and also ineffective approach adopted by India while dealing with Pakistan.

India has always welcomed such (w)hole-hearted Pakistanis and will continue to do so to the people of Pakistan, whose Government is in no position to take care of them and does not have the infrastructure in place to care for its own.

As long as Pakistaniat [everything Pakistani] is geared towards hating Indian and desiring its end, India continues to remain under the very real shadow of threat of a Pakistani misadventure resulting from its diabolic hatred for India.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Twitter playing activist

Take a look at the screenshot of an average Twitter page.


Now take a look at this screenshot.


It is standard practice for Twitter to enlarge the font of the last tweet you post, so that the tweet on top has a larger font than the ones below it [picture 1]. However as seen, if your tweet contains some specific keyword, such as Gaza in this case I suppose, the tweet remains with enlarged fonts even after a newer tweet has been posted above it [picture 2].

The misery that Hamas has brought upon its own people who had elected them to power in Gaza by continually provoking and launching attacks on Israel should be highlighted and brought to the notice of more people for increasing the awareness and opposition to Hamas terrorism.

Small changes such as the one made by Twitter could play an important role towards coming up with a viable solution to the problem facing Israel from Islamic terrorist outfits like Hamas and Hezbollah by generating awareness.


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Raju ban gaya Con man – seek your revenge

So you are po’d that while you are handed out crappy Sodexho coupons, he was buying land like no tomorrow. All that anger in you for being made to do the work of three people and yet receiving the salary of just one. While on the other hand Raju doing absolutely no work took home the salary of 6000 people.

Well you can take out all the anger by splattering his face with raw, rotten eggs – well not literally [duh!!] but at least in this online game created by someone who might just turn out to a frustrated [ex]Satyam employee.

Nail the thief is an online game where you get to throw eggs on the face of a randomly popping up face of Ramalinga Raju. The splattering sound made when the egg strikes the face is music :D

Nail the thief

Try out the game - its fun. If you one of the top 10 scorers, then you get your name displayed on the page showing how po’d you are with this con man Raju.


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Monday, January 19, 2009

Synchronize your Thunderbird and Gmail Address book using Google Contacts

If your in the habit of using Thunderbird at home and a web browser in College to access your Gmail account, then keeping your Address books synchronized can be automated using this Thunderbird add-on.

Google Contacts Google Contacts add-on adds bi-directional syncing for your Thunderbird and Gmail Address Books. Any change you make to your Thunderbird Address book will reflect accordingly in the contact list in Gmail and vice versa.

It creates a new Address Book for each Gmail account and synchronization takes place between that Thunderbird address book and the corresponding Contacts list in Gmail only, leaving the other Address books unaffected.

Google Contacts also works with Google Apps email account.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Turn shortened URLs into original links using Long URL Please

Long URL Please

Started using this nifty little Firefox addon recently. Long URL Please automatically expands all shortened URLs into their original links. This addon can replace the shortened URLs in all Webpages and is especially useful if your are a Long URL please Twitter user. If you prefer Opera then you can just drag Long URL please bookmarklet available on their website to Opera’s bookmark bar  [also applicable in Firefox] .

The conversion of the URL is performed using by routing the page request through Google App Engine. It currently supports up to 32 URL shortening services and has also released its API. One of the neatest Firefox addons IMO.

If you are a fan of Greasemonkey, then you can use the LongURL Mobile Expander script that shows you the original URL when you hover your mouse over the shortened link. It also has a Firefox addon version.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Get free copies of Aviation Week magazines

Aviation Week, publishing arm of the McGraw-Hill Companies devoted to Aerospace News is giving away free trial e-copies of some of its magazines. Click on the links below to order your copy.


5 Free Trial Issues of Aviation Week's Aerospace Daily & Defense Report


5 Free Trial Issues Aviation Week's Aviation Daily


2 Free Trial Issues Aviation Week's The Weekly of Business Aviation


4 Free Issues of Aviation Week & Space Technology


Note: The mail they send you may find its way in to your spam folder. Take a look there if not found in your inbox.

Though the URL provided does not belong to Aviation Week or McGraw Hill, these URLs appears on their website. For example this article has the URL to receive free copies of Aviation Daily, marked in orange.


Monday, January 05, 2009

World’s Air Forces and their Flying Machines

Flight Global, publishers of the Flight International magazine have come out with a handy booklet containing the numerical strengths of all the Air Forces of the world.

Neatly arranged in alphabetical order of the Countries, the flying machines have been categorized on the basis of their operations – Combat Aircrafts, Transport Aircrafts, Choppers etc.

It also tells you how many are currently in operation, how many in storage and how many more have been ordered by each country.

The 20-page booklet can be downloaded for free as a PDF file.

Download link – 2.36 MB


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Tata Capital ad - What are you trying to imply Mr. Tata?

Take a look at this ad for Tata Capital Limited, a financial service company. Being bombarded on the Indian airwaves right now.


In case you were unable to make out the details in this video, the premise of this ad goes something like this – Two little girls, probably siblings discover an antiquated coin in the house. Taking the coin, they rush to the neighborhood streetside ice candy outlet and ask to purchase 2 candies for themselves. However owing to the antiquated nature of the coin, the stall owner refuses to sell them the candies, without realizing the true value of the coin.

A little while later appears another, slightly older kid who takes the coin and goes to an antique shop to exchange the coin for money that is in circulation. The boy goes back to candy outlet, buys two ice candies and hands them to the two sitting girls who are shown consuming it with relish.

The ad, prepared by the Indian arm of Leo Burnett Worldwide, looks cutesy and endearing. However any message of uprightness and judgement of Tata Capital they might have been trying to convey, IMO, was not achieved through this ad. If at all anything, it conveys a message to the contrary.

Consider this – the kid who takes the coin to the antique shop, is only able to sell it for enough money to buy 2 measly ice candies. In a world where antique anything is purchased by giving premium price, the kid’s deal reflected his poor judgement and lack of knowledge in matters pertaining to this field.

If the kid did indeed struck the right deal and chose to keep the rest of the money to himself, it shows his malicious intentions and devious nature.

Quite clearly the makers of this Ad intended the 2 little girls to symbolize the citizens like you and [not]me, who are looking to ensure the safe and profitable investment of their money. The older boy on the other hand stood for Tata Capital Limited who would manage the money for us. They were unable to draw up a correct analogy – maybe if they kid was shown to buy out the whole ice candy outlet for the girls it would have justified giving away the antique coin [though the concept would have been just as ludicrous].

I’ve always been an ardent fan of the Ads coming out of the Leo Burnett stable in India [though Ogilvy and McCann-Erickson comes second by a whisker for me]. However with this Ad Leo Burnett has handed the Tatas a lemon.


Ushering in Year 2009

Happy New Year 2009

Wish you all a very happy, peaceful and a prosperous New Year. A new year – a new beginning. Let us all begin to work towards building a strong, progressive, technologically and economically advanced nation – the truest indicator of a developed nation.

I also take this opportunity to salute the brave soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces, who in spite of being continually subjugated by the political and administrative class of the country continue to serve with the highest degree of professionalism & dedication of any Armed Forces in the world.

I am eternally indebted to you for my continual existence and way of life.


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An inside look at Britain’s Aircraft Carrier program

British Aircraft Carrier
Every self-respecting Navy of the world is currently acquiring Carrier capabilities – India, France, China, Russia. India for its part has acquired the carrier Admiral Gorshkov [re-christened INS Vikramaditya] and will commence building of the second indigenous Carrier once the first carrier is completed. India by 2025 will be a Navy with three Carrier Groups – one for the Eastern Naval Command, one for the Western Naval command and the third would be sent for servicing and upgrades [usually takes around 1.5-2 years to complete].
Britain too has its Aircraft Carrier building program as part of which it plans to build two Aircraft Carriers - HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince Of Wales.
Of notable interest:
  • The Carriers are to be built in modular fashion with different sections being built in different parts of Britain and then put together at a Shipbuilding yard.
  • Extensive use of Computer Aided Designing [CAD] to design the Carriers. [Though now such  thing is the norm rather than exception – still it feels awesome to read about the power of CAD being put to use on such a massive scale]
Read the full article:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Posse Don’t Do Homework

LouAnne Johnson Yet another gem of a story published in one of the editions of the Reader’s Digest magazine, a stack of which I found in one of my cupboards a few days back.

My Posse Don’t Do Homework is an inspiring true story of a High School teacher, LouAnne Johnson, who after retiring from the US Marine Corps takes up the job at a teacher’s position in a High School located in one of the rough neighborhoods in America.

Unfazed by the initial intimidation posturing of the students, she goes on to to break down their hostility and also slowly get them to appreciate the value and importance of education.

Reading about these adolescent students with potential, but misguided by their surrounding and lack of appreciation slowly taking to studying, working hard to achieve those very things that society had assumed they would never be able to acquire was fascinating indeed.

LouAnne’s teaching methodology, her connecting with the students and their family, the manner in which the students looked up to her with respect and humility – a first for them, growing up in a surrounding where showing any signs of weakness could often mean death, all makes for a great reading experience. Her crowning moment is the day when the students of her class receive their High School diplomas, performing exceedingly well and then going on to pursue greater feats.

The article was a condensed version of the book written by her of the same name. I was unable to find an online edition of the article.

If you too are unable to get either the condensed edition or the actual book, then you may also watch the movie that had been made based on this book – Dangerous Minds. Starring Michelle Pfeiffer, it was a well made movie, though watching the movie after having read the original may not be that good an experience. The makers of the movie have also taken a great deal of creative liberties with the movie, which though did not harm the story of the movie, made it a little different from the original book.

If you are unable to lay your hands on the movie, then watching the movie comes a close second.

HBO had screened a similar movie based on another true some years back where students coming from economically weak families, went on to excel in their High School studies because of their Maths teacher who got them to take a liking for Calculus and ace it. A little Googling revealed that the name of the movie was Stand and Deliver. Incidentally one of the results I came across was another blog post that had written about both these books and movies in the same post, just as I am doing – pleasant coincidence :)


Monday, December 29, 2008

Why Pakistan will never be declared a Terrorist State

Off late there has been a clamoring among every hue & sundry individual in India - from bimbette socialites to pseudo-secular intellectuals to self-appointed guardians of “India’s moral fabric” [WTH....on Earth is that even supposed to mean] – asking for the “World Community” to get together and “declare Pakistan as a Terrorist Nation”.

Ask them what entails the declaration of a country by this “World Community” as a Terrorist Nation, and you would see them scurrying back to seek refuge amongst their own kind at the nearest Autobiographical book launch party of a 60-year professional wannabe Junior Artist.

Sorry to break your notion of World Community rising up in defiance of tyranny to declare Pakistan a State Sponsor of Terrorism [the right term as opposed to “Terrorist Nation”], the imposition of the title & honor of State Sponsors of Terrorism is essentially based on the sole discretion & prejudices of the towering [and the others cowering in front of it] United State of America....Hoooolaaaalaaa!!.

“Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors.”

If you argue with all the conviction, of POTUS accusing Iraq of developing WMD prior to its invasion, that the UN is a powerful body and can impose similar sanctions, then all I’d like to say Please go back to your knitting. that I have thrown enough jargons and quoted sections of law to [hopefully] establish my heightened level of intelligence and intellect, it would be wiser to state some of the most obvious implications of this imposition of this much un-coveted title on the target state.

  1. A declaration of a nation as a Terrorist State is accompanied by innumerable sanctions being imposed on that country - Economic, Trade, Social [restriction on the movement of authority] and the most important Military restrictions [No UCAS’s for you honey].

  2. These sanctions are placed in an effort to weaken governance of the ruling authority of the Terrorist State, and force it to stop supporting the activities of the terrorist operating from their country or refrain from themselves performing activities perceived as acts of terrorism by the International community.

  3. Having being under these sanctions and facing deepening overall crisis in face of being virtually cut-off from any significant aid, the idea is to compel these Terrorist States to re-evaluate weather to continue spending their scarce resources supporting terrorist and continue to languish under sanctions or repel terrorism and resume getting the help that would benefit the ordinary citizenry of the country.

Please note that this misery being heaped on the target state is solely due to the efforts and coercive policies of the USA. Subject to the independent nature of a country’s foreign policy w.r.t to Uncle Sam, any country may continue to maintain bilateral ties with the Terrorist State [as determined so by Yankee nation]. As a proof of my statement, you only have to open your Newspaper to read how the Russians and most importantly the Chinese continue to Tango with these State sponsors of Terrorism earning a handsome profit selling them military hardware that terminate life with absolute impunity and disdain. [Their denial notwithstanding, the news of Russia’s sale of the S-300 missile system is indeed an alarming development for the region]

Taking these parameters and criteria in to consideration, one may rightfully argue that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a perfect country to become a poster child of State Sponsor of Terrorism.

However when it comes to bestowing similar titles on Pakistan and awarding it with socioeconomic and military sanctions, things becomes a little [rofl..lmao] tricky.


America’s War on[of] Terror [WoT]

Pakistani troops are being used by the US+NATO coalition to occupy the ground in the NWFP – the haven of the Al-Qaeda+Taliban militia [imbecile hoodlums – a more appropriate description] that are engaged in a sustained and and intensely demoralizing assault on the established apparatus in Afghanistan and US+NATO assets stationed there, not to mention the Pakistani troops themselves within their own country. Any imposition of sanction, will immediately result in Pakistan withdrawing its troops from the region and refuse to co-operate any further. If at all anything, they might just decide to act against the US+NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan.

It would also be accompanied by refusal to let the US+NATO alliance use its territory as the supply line to replenish its troops stationed in Afghanistan. Although they have launched a hunt to establish alternate supply lines, the Geo-politcal relation with the countries through which it is expected to pass is so mired in complications and skulduggery that it is far more convenient to pay the ruling Pakistani Military establishment [anybody believing the authority of the civilian government is living in la la land] and continue with their arrangement, recent events notwithstanding.

In the event of an eventual Pakistani withdrawal, the US+NATO alliance would be faced with two options to tackle the menace operating from Pakistan’s NWFP as also the FATA and Swat Valley regions [for some unknown reasons, Pakistanis take severe offence to equating the presence of terrorist in these three regions in the same breath and insist on stating them separately. This in spite the Swat valley being inside the NWFP and the FATA bordering NWFP and Afghanistan].

  • Conduct massive carpet bombings on these regions using B-52 Stratofortress/B-2 Spirit [latter not likely] operating out of Diego Garcia.
  • Put American+NATO troops on to these regions and perform the very tasks, they have currently outsourced to the Pakistani Army to perform.

Massive Carpet bombings

Predator drones operating out of American-occupied Airbases in Afghanistan crossing into Pakistani territory and launching their Hellfires at their designated targets is a matter of routine occurrence. Not only do they succeed in terminating the lives of the designated targets, they also end up causing some serious collateral damage. The resulting protest by the ordinary Pakistani citizenry is extremely aggressive, and if I may add, heart wrenching. However owing to the massive influx of resources being pumped by the Americans in support of the Pakistani military establishment in order to seek their continual support for placing boots on the ground being pounded, the Pakistani establishment chooses to respond with inaction to these killings of innocent lives, responding with statements of blustering bravado but never taking it to its logical conclusion.

However once the hullabaloo over these death die down one realizes that these are essentially tactical precision strike being carried out with damage not extending beyond 30-50 meters from the point of impact. The fact that the innocent lives were present in close proximity to the designated target of termination is an unfortunate coincidence.

In the event of no possible involvement of the Pakistani military establishment forthcoming, one of the most horrendous options that the US administration may choose to exercise would be to fly sorties after sorties of the American B-52 Stratofortress [the B-52s have a larger payload carrying capacity than the stealth B-2 Spirits. In absence of a credible Air Defence capabilities of the Pakistanis against the B-52s, no reason why the Americans must deploy the B-2s], performing carpet bombing runs through the entire NWFP and its surrounding regions.

Not only would such an action not kill all the holed up terrorists in that region, but these murderous sorties would also be accompanied by Collateral damage on near Biblical proportions.

The death toll of innocent lives in such a Strangelove-sque action would easily be in many lakhs. Pictures of a 6-year old Muslimah, with dismembered arms and legs writhing in pain as she is left unattended at a Rawalpindi Cantonment Hospital, beaming into every home across Europe and American would be the ultimate death knell to American campaign of terror. Rightful comparisons would be drawn to equate America to a War criminal and their campaign as Genocide. [America’s presence in Iraq is quite rightly termed as the War of Terror].

With Pakistan being declared as a State sponsor of Terrorism and no military aid forthcoming to the Junta, any pretext of the Pakistani Military might have to hold back would all be gone and retaliation would be a forgone conclusion. Having no delivery system to attack mainland USA, they would resort to the next best option – American troops stationed in Afghanistan. With nothing to lose [considering the abysmal state of their economy], a suicidal no-holds barred retaliation from the Pakistani side would very much be expected.

Consider the absurdness of this – USA bombs Pakistani territories. Pakistan retaliates by attacking Afghanistan killing an equal lakhs of innocent civilian Afghans solely due to the presence of US+NATO troops in the region.

Not only would America be viewed as a pariah nation [if at all such a thing were possible for the American] in light of the bombing runs, but it also has to pull out all its troops out of Afghanistan prior to carrying out the mass murder.

With troops out of Afghanistan, it falls back in to the hands of the religious zealots of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda – a throwback to the pre-2001 situation. The carpet bombings in the Pakistani areas would only make the people of Pakistan a much easier recruitment ground for the terrorists as also the other Muslim nations aggrieved by this act of barbarism.

An effort to rid Afghanistan of its terrorist elements would all but be reversed with the religious zealots and fanatics reigning supreme over the land.

By engaging in such an operation, the Americans would only be playing into the hands of the Pakistani terrorists [who in turn have always received the tacit and often overt support of Pakistan’s military establishment]

US+Nato boots on ground

Any military force can clear a region of enemy forces by massive aerial campaign [with immense collateral damage, when we consider the NWFP]. However to continue to maintain your hold over that region, you need to have your actual physical presence on the ground. This would invariably be accompanied by large casualty figures of the military personnel standing on that ground [retaliatory attacks by the remanent of the enemy force followed by eventual reinforcements to their cadre – no amount of carpet bombing will ever rid the region of its people in a complete manner]

Body bags flying back to the US and the other NATO countries is a serious cause of domestic tension in those countries - a throwback to their memories of Vietnam. Even now with limited US+NATO troop presence in the region any death of a soldier is accompanied by intense pressure on the Governments to take action to withdraw their sons and daughters from the devil’s lair they have been thrust in to. So to prevent a recurrence of the experience of Vietnam for the US+NATO, Pakistan is being paid to field its troops in the region, so that any military casualty [a lot, as being reported] is associated with Pakistan and the body bags fly to places with names like Sialkot and Peshawar as opposed to places like Sacramento or Philadelphia.

The land practicing outsourcing has outsourced Shahadat.

Without the presence of the Pakistani infantry in the region the US+NATO will be compelled to field its own. The resulting large casualty figure that will occur is something that the US+NATO nations can simply ill-afford.

But the most critical implication of such an action would be the Pakistanis perceiving the US+NATO action as an invasion on the sovereign territory of Pakistan [lol!!]. Hence this would justify Pakistan’s declaring war on these foreign troops operating within the territory of their country.

Can you imagine the madness.......under-strength US+NATO troops facing off against the 7th largest military of one of the most impoverished nations of the world. As if this wasn't enough, this nation enriched with all the factors of impoverishment also has in its possession Nuclear Weapons - the only Islamic country on Earth to have so. What Hollywood script writer could come up with a situation as twisted, as macabre and as doomsday-ish as this fact about a nation with whom India has had the misfortune of sharing its border with.


A military dictator with the worlds only Islamic Bomb

Declaration of Pakistan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism would severely undermine the pretence of Pakistan's joke of a democratically elected government to put up with the facade that it is in control of the governance of Pakistan.

An overtly weakened democratically elected [loolooloo!!!] Govt. of Pakistan leaves it extremely vulnerable to its governance being terminated by yet another military coup. The specific mention of an overtly weakened Government carries significance as no individual with a functional brain believes  any of the continual statements made by the government pointing to the contrary. In a nation where the military has been in power far more than any elected body, such a development would spell catastrophe. A nuclear nation with its history of supporting the scum's of the Earth, ruled by a military dictator, is the perfect recipe of a global catastrophe that no nation would like to be at the receiving end of.

One may argue to the contrary, pointing to the reign of General Musharraf, where the Pakistani nukes did not fall into the hands of the terrorists. However what one should not forget is that the officers inducted into Pakistan's military during the reign of governance of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who undertook the process of Islamisation of Pakistani society including its military were all junior officers during General Musharraf’s rein. It is only now with General Kiyani at the helm of affairs, that these radicalized officers have acquired the seniority to assume Command posts. An unelected military dictator at the helm of affairs – that would be the natural outcome of the declaration of Pakistan as a State sponsor of Terrorism – would provide the ideal opportunity to these religiously indoctrinated Military personals to give up their facade of restraint and do the unthinkable.

Hence the collective efforts of the world community to prop up the facade of a civilian Government by providing it with incentives and holding back any significant criticism and making it appear that it indeed is in control.

Declaring Pakistan a terrorist nation state will undermine this effort.

History is replete with instances of despots and tyrants who have held the World to ransom with threats of harming the innocent civilian population of neighboring country if any steps are taken by nations that it may perceive as threatening with its deluded sense of threat perception. In each of these instances, the countries of the world have cowered down in fear of such threats being acted upon and have complied and danced to the tunes of the whims and fancies of the despot. [Is it any surprise that the 2 nations are the best of buddies.]

Unfortunately for the world, Pakistan[iat] is yet another example of such a despot, a disease that seeks to afflict the very core of humanity and poses a clear and present danger to human existence.

Instead of weeding out this cancerous entity we continue to feed it, nourish it in the foolish hope that somehow the fodder and nourishment provided to it would make it see the light of the day. All this pampering and mollycoddling has only promoted the feeling of grandeur and megalomania in this devil’s incarnation.

Declaration of Pakistan as a Terrorist State....not in a million year.

Note: The scenario of a 6-year old Pakistani Muslimah with severed arms and limbs lying in a Pakistani hospital is an actual occurrence. Her picture is available for viewing on the Internet. Owing to the extremely graphic nature of the picture and to a lesser extent copyright issues, I have refrained from posting her picture on my blog. But I do earnestly encourage you to take a look at the picture to truly comprehend the enormity of such attacks on Pakistani soil by the Americans with the tacit compliance of the Pakistani military establishment.


Some articles of interest

Media bemoans fall of 'Switzerland of Pakistan' to Taliban

Taliban Hit Pakistan Town That Fought Back

Taliban ban female education in Swat district

As of December 29th 2008, Pakistan has lost all control over the picturesque Swat Valley region. It has fallen back into the hand of the Taliban from whom they had reclaimed the region around 8 months back. It is as independent of Pakistan as any independent country you might need a passport to visit to.

Hate speech – II – An article about Mr. Zaid Hamid, official standup comedian of Pakistan military’s Junta Government [the guy gives Russell Peters an inferiority complex]

Hate Speech - Response to Fasi Zaka regarding Zaid Hamid of BrassTacks – A response from the comedian’s sycophant to the above article

Pakistan stalls, obfuscates and erases evidence