Thursday, March 31, 2011

1.21 billion Indians, and counting

Good news is that the growth is slowing, but there are 1.21 billion Indians. The really bad news is that the gender ratio continues to get worse.

A gender breakdown among children showed fewer girls than boys are being born or surviving, with 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6, compared to 927 for every 1,000 in the last census.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sudarshan Patnaik - Official Site

The sand art of Sudarshan Patnaik is celebrated in the official site.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate: The Theory of Everything

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Holi!


Police rained on the parade of Hindus in Queens when they seized colored powder central to their religious celebration Sunday, community leaders said.
For some 25 years, Hindus in Richmond Hill have held a parade to celebrate the ancient religious holiday Holi - the Festival of Colors. Participants traditionally throw colored powder at one another, but Sunday cops seized loads of the powder from paradegoers. "They walked around and started grabbing from anyone they saw," said parade organizer Vishnu Mahadeo, 50, president of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council. "They said the law said you can't have powder.
"What law is that?" Mahadeo said the powder was harmless talcum powder. The Police Department declined to comment.
The Richmond Hill parade is one of the largest Holi celebrations in the country, attracting up to 25,000 people. Held during the last full moon of winter, the holiday celebrates good luck for the spring.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Civil War Scrap Book

Friday, March 18, 2011

Messenger to Mercury

Nasa's Messenger spacecraft has successfully entered into orbit around the planet Mercury - the first probe to do so.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Balu: Introduction to Dharma and Ethics

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part IV:

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Sometimes a song infects the brain.  One such for me.  Then too, I love the sound of Shreya Ghoshal.
This song is supposed to be from the movie "Black and White".  Here's the version I found on youtube.

PS: The male version is apparently what appears in the movie:

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Weaknesses leading to systemic failure

From Systemic failures: Challenges and opportunities in risk management in complex systems, Venkat Venkatasubramanian  (emphasis added)
Table 2. Some Typical Examples of Failures at Various Levels in a Systemic Failure
  •  Poor operator training or inexperienced operators leading to human errors
  •  Not enough personnel due to downsizing
  • Poor maintenance and wear-and-tear leading to equipment failure
  • Wrong material, capacity, or equipment
  • Standard operating procedures not followed, workers make up their own or perform short cuts
  • Past mini-accidents and warnings ignored
  • Process hazards analysis (PHA) not conducted thoroughly
  • Poor emergency planning and training
Safety Systems
  • Safety systems not tested and maintained properly
  • Back-up and/or emergency systems not on automatic but on manual
Management • Failure in communication between ranks
  • Safety is not made priority #1, cost cutting is
  • Senior management lacking the background to appreciate the risks inherent in complex process plants – too much emphasis on financial spreadsheets and not enough on process flowsheets
  • “Performance at all costs” culture encouraging excessive risk taking and unethical behavior among its employees
Corporate Board
  • Rewarding short term performance instead of long term
  • Setting up perverse incentives that are detrimental to the long term survival of the company
Government: Policies and Regulators
  • Laissez-faire regulatory policies, reliance on self policing
  • Policies not strictly enforced due to limited resources or inherent conflict of interests of the regulatory bodies (as seen in SEC and MMS)
National: Political
  • Anti-government or anti-regulations sentiment dominant
  • Sustainability warnings ignored
  • Celebration of greed