Archive

Archive for April, 2012

Cars & TVs that last 25-years

April 29, 2012 2 comments

Garbage mush, mostly plastic and paper, three times bigger than India in size, floats across the Pacific and Atlantic. Progress and development …

Purple crab 'discovered' at Palawan, Philippines  |  Image source & courtesy - blogs.discovermagazine.com  |  Click for image.

Purple crab ‘discovered’ at Palawan, Philippines | Image source & courtesy – blogs.discovermagazine.com | Click for image.

Bright purple crabs with big red claws were one of four species recently discovered on the Phillipine island of Palawan during a study by the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany and De La Salle University in Manila. Our Amazing Planet calls Palawan a “major biodiversity hotspot” and about half its species are found nowhere else on earth.

So of course the crabs’ habitat is threatened, in this case by mining activities.

Of course it is. When was the last time you read a story that said, “Wow, look at these awesome animals and people are leaving them alone”? (via 10 Amazing Discoveries You Missed This Week | Environment | AlterNet).

Is this worth dying for?

This dig-and mine, the strip-and-bare system of natural exploitation by our ‘development’ only comes out with cars that need to be replaced every 5-10 years.

Is our global cardiac problem due to excess nitrogen via fertilizers in our food? The link between nitrogen and cardiac functioning is known.

Our first family-TV worked for 15 years. The second lasted all of 6 years. The third TV is in its 5th year. I am told that these LCD panels do not last for more than 7 years. Is there is a big difference between these three TVs. Not worth the Rs.1,00,000 (US$4000) that was spent on these TVs.

All this becomes trash, garbage, waste.

Where is this garbage going?

The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" or "trash vortex"  |  Source & courtesy - cereplast.com; no creative details at source.  |  Click for larger image.

The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “trash vortex” | Source & courtesy – cereplast.com; no creative details at source. | Click for larger image.

A “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States.

The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world’s largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting “soup” stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “trash vortex”, believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. (The world’s rubbish dump: a tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan – Green Living – Environment – The Independent).

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch  |  Source: biglobe.ne.jp  |  Click for image.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch | Source: biglobe.ne.jp | Click for image.

It gets worse.

Billions of bits of plastic are accumulating in a massive garbage patch in the Atlantic Ocean—a lesser known cousin to the trash vortex in the Pacific.

“Many people have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” said Kara Lavender Law, an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. (See pictures of the Pacific Ocean trash vortex.)

“But this issue has essentially been ignored in the Atlantic.”

The newly described garbage patch sits hundreds of miles off the North American coast. Although its east-west span is unknown, the patch covers a region between 22 and 38 degrees north latitude—roughly the distance from Cuba to Virginia (see a U.S. map).

As with the Pacific garbage patch, plastic can circulate in this part of the Atlantic Ocean for years

Tiny pieces of trash, each less than a tenth the weight of a paper clip, make up most of the debris, Law said February 23 at the American Geophysical Union’s 2010 Ocean Sciences meeting in Portland, Oregon..

In some places the students found more than 200,000 bits of trash per square kilometer (520,000 bits per square mile). The vast majority of these fragments come from consumer products that were blown out of open landfills or were tossed out by litterbugs.

Similar surface trawls in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch have found as many as 750,000 bits of plastic per square kilometer (1.9 million bits per square mile), noted marine chemist Giora Proskurowski, also with the Sea Education Association.

But that’s only a portion of the total, he said, because waves often carry plastic as deep as 65 feet (20 meters) below the surface. (via Huge Garbage Patch Found in Atlantic Too).

Is this the only model?

Why can’t we have a TV or cars that works for a generation – 25-years?

We can have aluminum and stainless steel cars that will last 25 years. Or made of plastics that have to be recycled by the manufacturer.

Technology updates can be modular. We don’t have these products because of faulty tax policies.

Will our manufacturers come out with junk if they had to pay 25-year tax upfront?

A pollution tax paid upfront for 25 years on all industrial products. Future payments could adjusted against 25-year warranty fulfillment or when producer takes the product back from the consumer and recycles it.

In the meantime, maya rules.

We may be dying of myriad cancers, with our diabetic lifestyles – if we are not dead due to cardiac arrest.

But we are getting technology and progress.

Is that not good?

Great Pacific Garbage Patch infographic  |  Source & courtesy - webecoist.com  |  Click for image.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch infographic | Source & courtesy – webecoist.com | Click for image.


Advertisements

Iraqi vs American Lives: Comparing Relative Value of Lives Lost

April 28, 2012 2 comments

Are American lives the only lives that are of value? The most valuable? Do the deaths of other peoples, count? At all …

After 100 years of malintent towards the Islamic world, what does the US expect? Milk of human kindness from Pakistan?  |  Cartoon by Daryl Cagle; source and courtesy - msnbc.msn.com  |  Click for image.

After 100 years of mal-intentions towards the Islamic world, what does the US expect? Milk of human kindness from Pakistan? | Cartoon by Daryl Cagle; source and courtesy – msnbc.msn.com | Click for image.

Rhetoric apart

Is there is a difference in the value of a life?

Is an African life less valuable than an Asian life? Is a European life worth more than an Asian life? Are South American lives of no consequence, compared to US lives?

It appears so!

Lives less valuable

Thirty years after the Vietnam war ended, and forty years after the Vietnam war became serious, American media counts only 60,000 Americans killed. American media conveniently glosses over the 20 lakhs Vietnamese killed.

US soldiers trying to prop up the house of cards that Bush made  |  Cartoon by Clay Bennett; taking off on the iconic Joe Rosenthal’s Iwo Jima Pulitzer Prize photograph taken on February 23, 1945, of US Marines raising the US flag  |  Click for image.

US soldiers trying to prop up the house of cards that Bush made | Cartoon by Clay Bennett; taking off on the iconic Joe Rosenthal’s Iwo Jima Pulitzer Prize photograph taken on February 23, 1945, of US Marines raising the US flag | Click for image.

In Iraq, after 10 lakh dead Iraqis, the US Empire counts, its’ own less than 5000 dead.

Below is an excerpt from an interview with George Bush Jr., and Oprah Winfrey. Both Bush and Oprah talk of only the American dead.

What of the Iraqis? Libyans? Or the Viets!

Vietnam, Iraq or Libya did not invade USA.

As the invader, the responsibility of all killings and deaths in the war is with USA.

Although weapons of mass destruction were never found, President Bush says inspectors reported that Hussein was still very dangerous. “We may not have found the vials, but he had the capacity to make weapons,” he says. “The point I make is that Saddam Hussein in power today would mean the world would be less stable and more dangerous, and 25 million Iraqis would be living under the thumb of a brutal, ruthless dictator. My point is the world’s better with him gone.”

In 2007, President Bush made another controversial decision and ordered the deployment of more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq. Since the war began, 4,421 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives—a fact the former commander in chief says weighs on him.

“It weighs heavily because I know that the decision I made disrupted somebody’s life in a big way,” he says. “It would weigh more heavily on me, however, if I had cared more about my political standing and less about completing the mission.” (via President George W. Bush Talks About the Iraq War – Oprah.com).

For the last 30 years, US has been placing zero value on Afghan lives - starting with President Reagan  |  Cartoonist Kevin Siers / The Charlotte Observer (March 20, 2012); source: McClatchy   |  Click for image.

For the last 30 years, US has been placing zero value on Afghan lives – starting with President Reagan | Cartoonist Kevin Siers / The Charlotte Observer (March 20, 2012); source: McClatchy | Click for image.

Invasion of Iraq and Libya would have been justifiable if killings were to lessen.

Measured by numbers of people killed, Saddam and Gaddafi killed fewer people than the wars initiated by Pax Americana.


Can I ever live this down …

April 23, 2012 1 comment

Was Manmohan Singh badly advised. At that level, unlikely.

With the collapse of Soviet Union, the US became the single global power. With that position came adulation fro client states.  |  A 1992 cartoon By David Horsey  |  Published December 27, 2011  |  Click for image.

With the collapse of Soviet Union, the US became the single global power. With that position came adulation from client states. | A 1992 cartoon By David Horsey | Published December 27, 2011 | Click for image.

Looking back

Over the last 65 years, Indian foreign policy has been a remarkable record in response to global realities.

Broadly Indian foreign policy has gone through 3 different phases, based on the shifting situations and power balances. Remarkably independent, it has been attacked usually without complete understanding.

But even to the most accommodating analyst, this incident has left most people puzzled.

Manmohan Singh leads the largest democracy on earth. But India’s prime minister is gentle of manner and speaks in whispers. One struggles to imagine him professing love without shyness to his own wife. And so it meant something when he recently laid the L-word on a little-loved man: George W. Bush.

“This may be my last visit to you during your presidency,” Mr. Singh told Mr. Bush in Washington in September, “and let me say, Thank you very much. The people of India deeply love you.”

Laura Bush is not alone, after all. (via India Has a Soft Spot for Bush – NYTimes.com).

At such levels, leaders are well-advised – and are unlikely to behave like loose cannons. One day, I would like to understand this ‘incident’ better.

Till then …


Pakistan: The Hidden Chapter

Pakistan and Bangladesh, both have difficulty in dealing with the reality of the Bangladesh War of 1971.

US and Pakistan foreign policy were smashed to bits during the Bangladesh War of 1971.  |  Cartoon by RK Laxman; source & courtesy: stateofpakistan.blogspot.in  |  Click for image.

US and Pakistan foreign policy were smashed to bits during the Bangladesh War of 1971. | Cartoon by RK Laxman; source & courtesy: stateofpakistan.blogspot.in | Click for image.

Q: You once said people are taught to forget history. Did you have the subcontinent in mind?

Tariq Ali: I think people are not taught history. I am always shocked when I meet young Pakistanis – apart from the very educated ones – and they have no idea that Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan. It’s quite shocking to me, astonishing. (via South asia’s dynastic politics is grotesque – The Times of India).

March 1972: Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman signing an India-Bangladesh agreement  |  Image source & courtesy - thehindu.com  |  Click for image.

March 1972: Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman signing an India-Bangladesh agreement | Image source & courtesy - thehindu.com | Click for image.

Can’t forget

Pakistan has erased the Bangladesh chapter from its history books – as a 2ndlook reader from Pakistan wrote in a few days ago.

Just what credibility will State education have, when a Pakistani child comes to know that the State has hidden facts?

Big, elephant sized facts.

Can’t remember

Equally curiously, Bangladesh has completely erased the fact that India fought a war for Bangladesh– at considerable risk and cost to itself.

After thirty years, a determined government in Bangladesh is clear about its relationship with India. Will this last?  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; image source & courtesy - bangladeshwatchdog.blogspot.in  |  Click for image.

After thirty years, a determined government in Bangladesh is clear about its relationship with India. Will this last? | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; image source & courtesy - bangladeshwatchdog.blogspot.in | Click for image.

India had its own reasons to fight this war. But for Bangladesh to erase the Indian role in the birth of Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, there is no public commemoration or memorial for Indian army and soldiers who died for Bangladesh. .

Don’t understand this.


Unholy Trinity: Retail, Food, Chemicals

April 12, 2012 1 comment

Chemical & seed companies working ‘closely’ with food corporations & Big Retail are creating products that are public hazards.

Chemical-Food-Retail corporations are joined at the hip - with the State acting as though in control of this Three-Headed Monster  |.   Cartoonist Clay Bennett  |  Click for image.

Chemical-Food-Retail corporations are joined at the hip - with the State acting as though in control of this Three-Headed Monster |. Cartoonist Clay Bennett | Click for image.

The Big Story

Over the last 100 years, agriculture in the West has become more capital-intensive, more chemical oriented – dominated by a few buyers.

Result?

Western agriculture is now controlled by around 5% of the population. This concentration of production has been possible through State subsidies that total US$100 billion.

3-headed Monster

There is now a unholy nexus between buying corporations (like, say ConAgra) that have huge capital at their disposal – with which they buy all farm production, in say wheat. This is now sold to mega-retail chains like Walmart. Monsanto another huge chemical producer, works ‘closely’ with (say) Walmart and (say) ConAgra. Between these three, they decide what we eat, what is safe – and what we know.

Assuming that the State is on our side (a big assumption), it still means that the State depends on these same companies for ‘disclosures’. Based on what this oligopoly ‘discloses’, the State decides.

And we consume.

The plaintiffs in the suit — growers from mostly small, family-owned farms in Misiones Province, Argentina — say they were asked to use herbicides and pesticide produced by Monsanto that were proven to be poisonous. Many farmers insist that they were driven to replace native tobacco crops with a variant favored by Philip Morris which required more pesticides to harvest. From there they were pushed to use Roundup, a Monsanto-made herbicide that, while successful in killing weeds, has ghastly side effects due to its large concentration of the chemical glyphosate.

“Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants promoted the use of Roundup and other herbicides to tobacco farmers in Misiones even though they were on direct and explicit notice that at all relevant times farmers in Misiones, including the instant plaintiffs, lacked the necessary personal protective equipment and other safety knowledge and skills required to minimize harmful exposures to Roundup,” the complaint claims.

Also in the filing, attorneys argue that both Monsanto and Philip Morris “actively recommended and/or required that contracted tobacco farmers, including the instant plaintiffs, purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides” while failing to recommend protective measures necessary to combat the health risks that were not made available to the farmers.

“The plaintiff tobacco farmers’ lack of training and instruction on the safe disposal of unused Roundup and other pesticides caused further exposure,” the complaint states. “Leftover pesticides were discarded in locations where they leached into the water supply.”

The farmers insist that that exposure to Monsanto’s pesticides, which they were compelled to use after urging from both the corporation and Big Tobacco firms, caused an array of defects in area children. The legal filing is asking for financial compensation, as well as punitive damages for negligence, product liability, breach of warranty, ultra hazardous activity, aiding and abetting, willful and wanton misconduct and violations of Argentine laws, reports the Courthouse News Service. (via Monsanto sued for poisoning farmers — RT).

The price we pay for buying this industrial food system is what funds the media that feeds us with half-truths  |  Cartoonist Cathy Wilcox' source & courtesy - coreybradshaw.wordpress.com  |  Click for image.

The price we pay for buying this industrial food system is what funds the media that feeds us with half-truths | Cartoonist Cathy Wilcox' source & courtesy - coreybradshaw.wordpress.com | Click for image.

Do we have options?

Of course.

We can wait for thirty years. Wait for ‘activistas’ to take up our case. Spend millions, research for years, to build a case against this oligopoly.

And sue them.

Cases that will take years, cost hundreds of millions – with an uncertain outcome.

These same corporations are promising us Indians, low prices for consumers, and higher incomes to farmers – and better tax return to the State.

Progress, I believe, is the term used to describe this system.


Why Britain lost the Indian jet deal

April 10, 2012 2 comments

The British are so busy admiring themselves, that even crucial business is given short shrift.

Is tabloid journalism the only thing that the British excel at?  |  Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte; source and courtesy - genevalunch.com  |  Click for image.

Is tabloid journalism the only thing that the British excel at? | Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte; source and courtesy – genevalunch.com | Click for image.

Narcissism …?

65 years after British eviction from India, reality has still not sunk into the British minds. Consider the British reportage on the Euro-fighter Typhoon loss to the French Rafale for Indian business

By preferring the French Rafale jet rather than the British-built Typhoon, they rejected, according to the Prime Minister, a “superb aircraft with far better capabilities”.

Mr Lake said: “I would suspect when the Indians probe hard into the French price they will find that it is not satisfactory and hasn’t included things.”

How dare they, asked MPs, snub Britain, which had given them £1.2 billion in aid? One newspaper even blamed the decision on the Gandhi family.

The truth about Britain’s “failure” to land the £6.3 billion Indian military jet deal — and the thousands of jobs it will sustain – is different. The game is not yet over.

But if we do lose, it will have nothing to do with the Gandhis, or the aid — which, as we report today, the Indians simply do not care about either way. It will be because of our own mistakes.

“For the Indians it’s all about credibility,” said Mr Lake. “If they believe what the Typhoon consortium told them, then by 2018 Typhoon will do everything that Rafale does now. But they clearly don’t believe it, and I don’t blame them, given the programme’s history of delays and cost overruns.

The Indian marketing campaign was led by the Germans, a decision which Mr Lake described as “clearly mad” given India’s historic ties with Britain.

The culture and structure of the Indian Air Force is still heavily influenced by its British origins, with identical ranks and near-identical Air Force blue uniforms.

“The Typhoons they sent to India [for evaluation] were German, flown by German aircrew, but the Germans have a completely different culture,” said Mr Lake.

“It was mindblowingly inept.”

The British Typhoon contractor BAE was later brought in to partner the bid in apparent acknowledgement of the mistake.(via Turbulence ahead with Indian jet deal – Telegraph).

Wakey … wakey

Whatever maybe the logic – Indians cannot be logical. Or acting in their self-interest.

Effective ‘marketing’ will do the job. Indians can be managed by using ‘historic ties with Britain’.

The truth?

If at all, Indians hold Germany in higher regard than Britain.

My guess?

Ceteris paribus, Indians will buy German product instead of a British.

And that has been true for the last many decades.

Stupid Indians

It must be the Gandhis.

It assumes that Gandhis have interests different from India’s.  If true, it also assumes that the whole of the government, defence establishment, opposition, vigilance, judicial will be pliable.

If not the Gandhis … the British lost the deal because it is the Indian character.

Ungrateful Indians.

In spite of all the aid that Britain gave to India! Even after this aid, they do business with competitors to the British.

Demmed Indians.

If it is none of the above … corruption is a non-issue.

I am assuming that the French, Swedish, American defence contractors will match bribes given by any competitor. So, that cannot, will not, be the differentiation.

Of course, Indians must be taught how to calculate ‘true’ costs, suggests Mr.Lake.

Smell the coffee

Maybe it is time that people (especially in Britain) did a reality check. Maybe the British need to learn a basic thing about customers.

Such a low opinion of your customer is not likely to win you many customers.

Looking back …

In the last 65 years, India has left behind many countries. Over the next 65 years, while there will be many competitors and challengers, no one seriously doubts that India can handle the future as well as any country.

If not better.


Yummrika: Hoodie Justice

Statistics on bias and prejudice in the New York Police Department.

Getting crushed between a biased police and a Big Brother State are a whimpering mass of protestors, unemployed, struggling businesses  |  Cartoon By Andy Singer in Politicalcartoons.com  on 11/20/2006 12:00:00 AM  |  Click for image.

Getting crushed between a biased police and a Big Brother State are a whimpering mass of protestors, unemployed, struggling businesses | Cartoon By Andy Singer in Politicalcartoons.com on 11/20/2006 12:00:00 AM | Click for image.

Statistics help tell the story of race and American justice. According to police figures obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the New York Police Department stopped and interrogatedpeople 684,300 times last year. Some 87 per cent of those stopped were black or Hispanic.

While African-Americans comprise only 12 to 13 per cent of the population, they make up 40.1 per cent of the United States’ 2 million male prison inmates. Another statistic that Jamal Joseph, who works extensively with black youths, cites is that young African-Americans, if they graduate from high school, have a one in four chance of going to university but a one in three chance of going to prison. “This is what we are up against,” says Joseph. (via Justice Hidden In A Hoodie | The Global Mail).


%d bloggers like this: