Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why is Greenpeace taking on Apple?

The environmental track records of Apple Computer and Lenovo Group have been singled out for criticism by the controversial group Greenpeace in a report on toxic chemicals used by the technology industry.

The Guide to Greener Electronics, published late last week, is designed to help consumers and businesses gauge how green tech companies are. Rather than focusing on recycling, customers wanting to buy green should focus on the toxic chemicals used by tech suppliers, Greenpeace claims.


Many who swear by Apple will say Greanpeace has gone mad. Others supporting the environment will to pledge to be guided by the Greanpeace findings.

A representative for Apple disagreed with Greenpeace's rating and said that Apple maintains high environmental standards.

Knowledge and Action

THE WORLD PINS NO MEDALS ON YOU BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT IT MAY CROWN YOU WITH GLORY AND RICHES FOR WHAT YOU DO.


Knowledge is an important component of success in any field.

To accomplish anything worthwhile often requires years of study. But knowledge alone is not power; it becomes powerful only when it is applied through positive action.

Study after study of successful people reveals that they have a bias for action. They gather the appropriate facts, relate them to their knowledge about the subject, develop an implementation plan, and then get into action. When in doubt, it’s far better to act too soon rather than too late.

This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. http://www.naphill.org/

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Power- A quote for today

"In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power;
but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities
that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning and cruelty."

-- Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi
(1828-1910) Russian writer

US Open starts off in spectacular style


The US Open has begun with fireworks.

The event started off by honouring Billie Jean King who has won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She is generally considered to be one of the greatest female tennis players and female athletes in history. The USTA National Tennis Center was officially renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in a special on-court ceremony during Opening Night festivities of the 2006 US Open in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

This US Open will also be remebered for Andre Agassi's farewell bringing a great champion's twenty year tennis career to a close.

On Monday night, Agassi managed to win the first match of his final tournament, coming back to beat Andrei Pavel, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, before an Open-record night session crowd of 23,736.

For Agassi fans, they know that each step that he takes forward here may also be his last. It must be physically and mentally exhausting for the 36-year old Agassi who has brought so much fun and joy to his fans during his long career.

Shahid Afridi & Co can overcome 'first-world hypocrisy'


Pakistan responded to the controversies of the last eight days with a five-wicket victory over England in their Twenty20 clash on Monday.

Pakistan's star all-rounder Shahid Afridi hammered 28 off 10 balls. Pakistan won the match and Afridi was named player of the match.

Such determined performances from Afridi and other Pakistan players with Inzamam-ul-Haq at their helm can crush the double standards of ICC.

Do double standards exist in this beautiful game?

It does and here is what Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler had to say about the ball-tempering that umpire Darrel Hair attributed to Pakistan team.

Michael Holding wrote in India Today, a leading weekly news magazine. Holding felt that most umpires would have said something to the fielding captain and given the offending team a warning of some kind. "Then if the tampering continued, they would have been totally justified in taking action.

"There is a double standard at work in cricket and this episode has only highlighted it. When England used reverse-swing to beat the Australians in the 2005 Ashes, everyone said it was great skill. When Pakistan does it, the opposite happens, no one thinks it is great skill. Everyone associates it with skullduggery."

This is disgraceful and ICC should be held to a much higher standard so that fair play can prevail without such double standards.

While pressure must be mounted on the ICC to put this situation right, players like Afridi and others should rise up to the occasion by playing unbeatable cricket so that ICC will be forced to end the 'first-world hypocrisy' that Holding says we have to live with.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Smart cloths- trendy future for the fashion industry

Photo courtesy MIT Media Lab researchers Josh Strickon, Rehmi Post, Josh Smith, Emily Cooper and Maggie Orth .

In the next few years, we might be filling our closets with smart shirts that can read our heart rate and breathing, and musical jackets with built in all-fabric keypads. How interesting will that be.

Using conductive fibers, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT Media Lab created the Musical Jacket shown above , which is being marketed by Levi in Europe.

The digital age will soon give us computerised clothes. You walk into a room and the room will light up. You can carry your laptop on your body without any extra weight if you will only wear your electronic shirt.

A treasure of worship from Mother Earth


In Hinduism, Ganesha or "lord of the hosts," also spelled as Ganesa and Ganesh, often also referred to as Ganapati is one of the most venerated representations of God (Brahman).

The ganapati festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion throughout India but in Mumbai, the financial capital of the Country, the festival assumes a special significance because of the scale at which it is performed.

In western Mumbai a seven member group holding regulars jobs earning a modest living, have also been crafting 60 to 70 made-to-order images each Ganesh season like the one seen on top.

Ganesh images are made by mixing river mud, molding it into clay and drying it after which the craftsman shape the final product. This job requires skill and a reverence to make the best product.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Time and Money

It is said that time is money.

Is this true?

There could a few answers; one is, how can time be money?

If time is money, then those who have more time should be more wealthy in money. This may not be the case for if a person has all the time in the world but does nothing other than to waste it, such a person can never be weathy just by having more of time.

So the question is what you do within a given time.

Be more productive, identify your goal, stay focused, remain flexible as you go along on your journey achieving your goals. Enjoy the process of doing it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ideals : Look for them

Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny.

Carl Schurz

Friday, August 25, 2006

'Survivor' decides to play the race card

Survivor is a popular reality television game show produced in many countries throughout the world. It is the mother of reality TV.

The US version shown on CBS is rolling out a new series. It will segregate its 20 new castaways into four groups - black, white, Asian and Hispanic for its 13th season, “Survivor: Cook Islands,”beginning Sept. 14.

Is this the start of a race war?

Many experts on race relations agree that it will not help in racial harmony by pitting one group against another in this type of competition even if it just a social experiment.

Last season, the reality show divided its players by age and gender, and while separating the sexes is typical reality fare, pitting people of different ethnicities against each other enters uncharted reality TV territory.

This is definitely a controversial matter and needs to be handled with kid gloves.

Xena has ousted Pluto

All this while we have learnt that there were nine planets, including Pluto.

But now Pluto has been knocked out and so we have eight planets. They are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

What crime did Pluto commit?

None it appears, but a group of astronmers and scientists have found that under a new set of rules , Pluto cannot be considered a planet. It is demoted to be a dwarf planet, a new category.

It seems Pluto's main problen is Xena , a recently discovered non-stellar object that’s not only bigger than Pluto, but also has a much sexier name.

So if Xena’s not a planet, then the smaller Pluto shouldn’t be either.

I guess Pluto deosn't care one bit about what these brainy folks do.

The price of commodities in labour

Adam Smith, in his book "The wealth of nations" wrote a chapter- OF THE REAL AND NOMINAL PRICE OF COMMODITIES, OR OF THEIR PRICE IN LABOUR, AND THEIR PRICE IN MONEY.

Adam Smith wrote, "Every man is rich or poor to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of life."

The real price of every thing, what every thing costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.

Labour was the first price, the original purchase money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased.

The value of any commodity to the person who possesses it, and who wants to exchange it for other commodities is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase.

Labour, therefore is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities.

In "The wealth of nations' published in 1776, Adam Smith explains "Practical Theory of Value" and the labor theory of value.

We have come from the agricultural age through the industrial age during which time Smith wrote 'The wealth of nations' to the the present information age.

Labour was the most important factor in the early stages, capital became more prominent in the industrial age; knowledge is the key driver of progress in the information age. Knowledge belongs to the person who has it in him and it doesn't transfer to anyone else unless it is passed on.

The knowledge worker has taken precedence over labour, capital and land-the traditional factors of production and it looks like we have come a full circle to value the worker once again.

The dynamics of knowledge has complelled organisations to change, not only its structure but also in how business is conducted.

The relationship between the knowledge worker and his organisation is a relatively new phenomenon. The knowledge worker has become an empowered individual, he can work from home, he can telecommute, and submit his work online.

We are currently amidst a revolutionary change in how business is transacted and how societies adept to these changes in an interconnected global community.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cricket's Rules and Common Sense

Common sense is not so common these days and when rules made for common good at a certain time or to counter a certain problem are applied in a different context with no regard to common sense, the outcome could lead to more troubles.

I am referring to the ball-tempering incident in the 3rd test between England and Pakistan. One of the onfield umpires for this test appointed by the International Cricket Council, ICC is Australian Darrel Hair. Mr. Hair is an experienced umpire, but made some controversial decisions in the past including one against Pakistan team in a test against England played in Pakistan last year. The Pakistan team wasn't happy then and had expressed reservation about Mr. Hair to ICC.

ICC wanted Pakistan to give their reservation about Hair in writing. Pakistan hadn't done so and ICC conveniently appointed Hair to umpire the series in England, knowing very well that Pakistan felt strongly against him. During the third test in England, Hair changed the ball implying ball-tempering by Pakistan. Although there was no proof Pakistan cheated, the umpire applied the rule and penalised Pakistan.

Pakistan played on until tea. Pakistan's captain Inzamam-ul-Haq wanted to lodge a protest. He would have no shortage of advisors and his failure to lead his team back to the field was foolish. Hair applied the rule, England was awarded the match by Pakistan's forfeiture.

The problems have not ended there. Inzamam is to face a deciplinary hearing. Inzamam feels that he has been accused of ball-tempering unfairly and it affects his team and the honour of his country. If Inzamam is not cleared of ball-tempering, the Pakistan team may not play the 5ODIs. Meantime, Hair is holding his ground that he is right. However, he is willing to accept the outcome of the hearing.

The rigid application of the law above common sense has resulted in a messy outcome that may have far reaching consequences, let alone the pounds and pence, a price that may run into millions. After a period of relative harmony, the wrong outcome of the hearing could be disastrous for international cricket. This certainly is not the genteel game that it was meant to be.

A breakaway by Pakistan from the ICC remains possible, but only if the governing body is unable to demonstrate statemanship to settle this problem quickly. In the interest of sports and racial harmony, one would hope that it would not come down to this level.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An Emerson's quote

All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Value of Action

THE VALUE OF ACTIONS DEPENDS ON THE COURAGE THEY REQUIRE.

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things for others are those we later call heroes. When asked why they performed as they did, they often say, "It was nothing anyone else wouldn’t have done in the circumstances." Perhaps that’s their way of saying we all have the capacity for greatness.

It is only when we are severely tested that we rise to the occasion and perform at the highest levels of our competence. You become a person who does the right things when presented with great opportunities the same way you achieve success at anything: through force of habit.

If you make it a practice to take the appropriate action even when it seems unimportant and insignificant, you will do the right thing-without thinking-in important situations. If you let your actions speak for you, you will never have to worry about others recognizing your contribution.

This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation.

Writely is now free for all

Five months after being bought by Google, the Writely online word-processing application is now open for anyone who wants to sign up and use it.

Writely enables users to edit and publish documents online.

Click here for writely
.

Testing the power of the mind


Here are the placebos given to a 30-year old person being treated for depression.

For years, scientists have looked at the placebo effect as just a figment of overactive patient imaginations. They weren't sure that the dummy medications had curbed epileptic seizures, lower blood pressure, or soothe migraines.

Now with the application of better technolgy the scientists are seeing surprising results. Using PET scanners and MRIs to peer into the heads of patients who respond to sugar pills, researchers have discovered that the placebo effect is not "all in patients' heads" but rather, in their brains. New research shows that belief in a dummy treatment leads to changes in brain chemistry.

This is the control of the mind over the body.

"The power which a man's imagination has over his body to heal it or make it sick is a force which none of us are born without. The first man had it; the last one will possess it." -Mark Twain, 1903.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Hair-raising day for Pakistan cricket


The fourth Test between England and Pakistan has been forfeited in favour of England, after an extraordinary incident that brought the game to the brink of one of the biggest crisis in recent memory.

The notion of cricket being the gentleman's game has been a lie ever since WG Grace first replaced his bails upon being bowled.

Tampering with a cricket ball isn't a new phenomenon but it was only in late 2000 that the ICC decided to impose a five-run penalty if any side was found guilty of altering the condition of the ball.

Darrel Hair, one of the onfield empires is at the centre of a huge controversy. This is a man who has allowed controversy to stalk his every waking hour, from the no-ballings of Muttiah Muralitharan and Shoaib Akhtar to the run-out decision he gave against Inzamam at Faisalabad this winter.

The initial incident took place in the 56th over, when umpires Hair and Doctrove deemed that the quarter seam on the ball had been raised and would therefore have to be changed. This was deemed ball tempering; in other words Pakistan team cheated.

But the situation only really kicked off after tea, as the Pakistanis remained in their dressing-room in protest at the decision.

Hair's decision was unsubstatiated; it appears Hair has given way to his ego way beyond the larger interest of what is good for the game.

Inzamam should have protested immediately when Hair decided to change the ball, alleging ball tempering.

According to Cricinfo, of all the Pakistan series to have taken place in England since the start of the 1980s, this had been by a country mile the most harmonious.

What a shame that such a series has to come to this end. Pakistan have strenuously denied the ball tempering charge and whatever punishment that is meted out to the laconic Inzamam (in the picture), one would think that this incident casts doubt on the cricket governing body, ICC's abilty to appoint more level-headed umpires, given the two umpires involved here are known to stalk controversy.

Dress for Success

First impressions counts and even geeks using to wearing Ts must take heed.

Dress codes vary greatly from company to company, as different working environments demand different styles of attire.

Since the dot-com craze began, work clothes have become more casual. It started when many Silicon Valley firms found that their employees worked better in relaxed clothing, than in stiffer, more traditional work wear, and so they adopted this casual look as their daily work attire.

Most companies now have a casual Friday. At first, casual work wear meant a dress shirt and trousers with a sports coat. Then, just a shirt or sweater and pants, until it hit what is seen in many companies today: T-shirts and shorts.

Because there has been no clear defining of what 'casual wear ' meant, there has been some confusion.

Even if the modus operandi is to wear casual clothes, its time to get dressed up again- to stand out.

Spit-shined, high quality shoes and a professionally tailored suit are immediately apparent to anyone who must wear a suit every day.

Power and money and image is important. So an elegant look does count to be taken seriously.

Snappy clothes will also help you bestow a good first impression. This is crucial when meeting with clients, as well as new people within the company.

A well put together outfit also delivers the subtler message that you pay great attention to detail. It suggests that if you put so much effort into your image, you're probably just as meticulous in your work.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bill Clinton at 60

Bill Clinton is a master of self-invention. His picture as a 16-year-old youth, worshipfully shaking the hand of president John F. Kennedy - symbolic of his teenage dream to live in the White House someday would have been seen by most Americans.

Today, six years after the end of his presidency, he has carved out a new role for himself- as a goodwill ambassador and humanitarian in the like of former president Jimmy Carter. His picture is everywhere - at the AIDS conference in Toronto with Bill Gates, in Southeast Asia with the elder president George Bush visiting the tsunami devastation, and soon, at a private concert with the rock idol of the 1960s - the Rolling Stones.

Bill Clinton turned 60 on Saturday, but the celebration will only reach its climax with the Rolling Stones' performance on October 29 in Manhattan's Beacon Theatre - three days after Senator Hillary Clinton's 59th birthday.

Between now and then, Clinton will roll out a series of events that will not only boost his fame and public image - but also make money for his good-deeds foundation that has brokered cheaper AIDS medications, clean air agreements and an anti-obesity programme in US schools.

Clinton was born at the start of the baby boomer generation, which began as birth rates started climbing along with economic prosperity after World War II and ended in 1964.

There are about 78 million baby boomers in the United States out of a population of about 298 million. The US Census Bureau estimated that about 8,000 Americans a day will turn 60 this year.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Walmart's PR move goes wrong

Andrew Young, the veteran civil rights activist who served as America's first black ambassador to the United Nations was hired to help Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to improve its public image.

Mr. Young, 74, also a former mayor of Atlanta, was forced to step down as an adviser to Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, after making the comments, in which he said that Jewish, Korean and Arab storekeepers had "ripped off" black communities.

There goes racsism again, coming from a prominent US civil rights icon. Mr. Young immediatley apologised following of his his interview where he made the comments.

In the interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel, Mr Young was asked if he was concerned whether Wal-Mart's dominance in the United States was destroying its competition and putting smaller stores out of business - an accusation that has long been directed at the retail giant that accounts for 20 per cent of US grocery sales.

Mr Young replied: "Well, I think they should. They ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighbourhood. But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs. Very few black people own these stores."

In a statement posted on the Working Families for Wal-Mart Web site on Thursday, Young apologized for his remarks and asked for forgiveness from those who he offended.

Walmart said Mr. Young's comments do not reflect their feelings.

This just shows how sensitive racial matters are.

Indians rush to drink 'divine sweet sea water'

Thousands of people have flocked to Mahim beach in Mumbai since Friday night after reports of sea water turning sweet spread all over the city. News spread overnight that the murky waters of this Arabian sea creek had miraculously turned sweet and could cure illnesses, police said on Saturday.

Mumbai is the commercial capital city of India. It is highly a populated urban centre and the creek's murky waters receive thousands of tonnes of sewage and industrial waste every day.

"Sweet seawater, this is a miracle. This water is divine," Sheikh Naseer, a Mumbai resident, told a local TV news channel.

There has been a mad rush to this creek. There is a dargah nearby and people felt this is something divine," said S. Kumar, a police officer, referring to an Islamic mausoleum in the area.

Police and city officials have warned that the water temporarily lost its salinity due to several reasons, including pollution and inflow of freshwater from a nearby source and drinking this water could be harmful.

Last year three people drowned in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai after thousands of people made a dash for a beach where diamonds were rumoured to be washing ashore.

Nigerian fraudsters sell UK bank account details

Nigerian criminals are getting hold of hard discs of old PCs from Britain and retrieving internet banking details and selling them out.

Second-hand computers from all over the developed world can be found in virtually every PC market in the Nigerian capital Lagos.

What was once your personal computer has become public property.

In order to combat this growing problem of ID fraud, experts are advising to use a programme to wipe the hard drive before they sell or give away their PC, or remove the hard disc from the computer before it is sold away.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Courage- Quote for today

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.

John Quincy Adams


Technorati tag: Quotations

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A tragic end to Sunil Kumar, the Champion Bhopal activist



The world has failed to help survivors of the Bhopal gas leak in India 20 years ago or to punish the guilty, says an Amnesty International report.

The report dated 29.11.2004 says- "Twenty years ago around half a million people were exposed to toxic chemicals during a catastrophic gas leak from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. More than 7,000 people died within days. A further 15,000 died in the following years. Around 100,000 people are suffering chronic and debilitating illnesses for which treatment is largely ineffective.

The disaster shocked the world and raised fundamental questions about corporate and government responsibility for industrial accidents that devastate human life and local environments. Yet 20 years on, the survivors still await just compensation, adequate medical assistance and treatment, and comprehensive economic and social rehabilitation."

Sunil Kumar, a survivor of the 1984 Union Carbide gas leak - and a victim, suffering serious mental illness in the 16 years since the disaster was found hanging from the ceiling of his modest home in Bhopal, the capital of India's Madhya Pradesh state, on the evening of 26 July.

The end came without him realising his dream of seeing anyone brought to justice over the world's worst industrial accident.

Satyanath Sarangi, president of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) and a close friend, says that Sunil felt strongly that people responsible for the gas disaster should be punished.

In an interview in 1985, Sunil said: "The people must know who was responsible for the gas disaster - who killed their loved ones?

"And those who are found responsible must be hanged. What is the use of all the money if those who have killed so many go scot-free?"

No one had faced trial over the leak by the time Sunil hanged himself.

The Bhopal Disaster
of 1984 is claimed by many as the worst industrial disaster in history.

Andy Murray ends Federer's winning run


Too much tennis, too little time off. The world's top player knew it was the perfect combination for a long-awaited upset, one that a disbelieving British teenager pulled off Wednesday.

In a mature and confident display, the 19-year old Scot Andy Murray took advantage of an out-of-sorts Federer, outplaying the holder of three of the four grand-slam titles and ending his run of 55 consecutive wins in North America, beating the world No 1, 7-5, 6-4 in the second round of a tournament in Cincinnati.

Well, what did it take Andy Murray to pull off this incredible win after he beat his mentor Tim Henman for the second time in a week?

Plagued by a sore playing hand and recurring blisters, he was advised by his new coach Brad Gilbert to soak the affected fingers in a pickle jar for five minutes to harden his young skin.

It isn't high tech medicine, but the folk remedy has produced the results this time for Murray, who is seen examining his hand in the photo.

Andy Murray paid tribute to coach Brad Gilbert after the stunning win over Roger Federer.

Gilbert steered Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick to grand slam titles, and the target is the same with Murray.

Murray is relishing their partnership and said: "He believes in me, I believe in him. We got the tactics right today.

"He stays positive all the time and has 100% belief I can become world number one and win a grand slam."


Technorati tag: Coaching, Motivation

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

PCB wants Kamran to rub off England's greats

Kamran Akmal, the young Pakistani wicket keeper is under the spotlight.

Rodney Marsh, one of Australia's greatest gloveman is quoted to have said that Kamran Akmal was the best wicketkeeper in the world last year.

But that was last year. In Pakistan's current tour to England, Pakistan has lost two of the three-test sries and Kamran Akmal has had a poor season, dropping some vital catches which could have made a difference.

This is the reason why Pakistan Cricket Board(PCB) chairman wants Pakistan's coach, to persuade one or other of Bob Taylor (174 dismissals in 57 Tests) or Jack Russell (165 in 54), two of England's best keepers of modern times, to work with Akmal and lift his faltering spirit.

These days players who are contracted to play for their national teams are expected to perform and win for the teams they play.

For players to succeed at the highest level, what is required is not only talent. They have to be dedicated to keep up fitness and practise on a regular basis.

Many of these young players have to grow up fast, so that they have a level of emotional maturity that can handle the demands of the game and the success, money and glory it brings.

To become such confident and self-reliant adults, they can benefit from the beaten track of great players like England's Bob Taylor and Jack Russel.

There is no doubt that Kamran Akmal is a gifted player but all players go through bad spells and they under perform for various reasons.

Kamran's fan will hope that he can get the guidance, motivation and self-confidence from the great English players.

Kamran may also require patience and time to turn his game around. But patience and time would be in short supply when there is stiff competition for regular places on the team.

So good luck. Kamran.

Technorati tags: Coaching, Motivation, Self-confidence

Boy George collects thrash


George Alan O'Dowd, better known as Boy George, (born June 14, 1961, in London, England) is an English singer-songwriter who gained fame with his group Culture Club during the 1980s.

George's striking looks inspired many Boy George look-alike contests around the world, and his face became the image of Culture Club. He also became a household name in many countries.

Boy George has struggled against severe heroin addiction for many years. He has also battled severe bouts of depression.

Boy George, was ordered to pick up trash in New York city as part of his plea bargain over drug charges stemming from his own call to police over a burglary at Boy George's New York apartment that never happened.

The picture above shows George beginning his 5-day community service of road sweeping and picking thrash.

Unless Boy George can turn his life around, he'll find this a fast descending path that other megastars like Maradona have tragically found out. Falling from grace is not nearly as bad as looking death in the face that Maradona, arguably one the best footballer has found out.

Clinton committed to fight HIV-AIDS

Former President Bill Clinton and Microsoft head Bill Gates came together to discuss issues around HIV/Aids at the International Aids Conference in Toronto on Monday.

One is the consummate politician; the other is the ultimate geek. The two Bills, as they are known - and both superstars in their own right — talked about what needs to be done to bring the HIV/AIDS epidemic to its knees.

The theme of the XVI International AIDS conference in Toronto (13-18 August 2006) is Time to Deliver. The focus will be on the promises and progress made by governments and international community to scale-up treatment, care and prevention.

In an hour-long address, Mr. Clinton said politicians and policy-makers need to commit more money to the cause but, more importantly, the dollars need to be spent effectively.

Stephen Lewis, United Nations special envoy for HIV-AIDS in Africa, introduced Mr. Clinton, and spoke of his work in glowing terms.

He said that most international groups in the field work with “supernatural acceleration – from inertia to paralysis” but Mr. Clinton was a man of action, who delivers programs as well as he speaks.

“What has filled my soul with admiration for the Clinton Foundation is their belief that in the battle against the virus, every minute lost is a life lost. That quality of urgently is desperately needed,” Mr. Lewis said.

The ex-president, who will turn 60 Saturday, said with fewer days ahead of him than behind him he realizes how incredible his life has been.

He told the crowd that his own family was poor - their income barely half the U.S. national average - but he had teachers, a community and a health-care system supporting him.

While intelligence, effort and dreams are distributed evenly across the globe, he said, opportunity is not equal.

The crowd gave Clinton a standing ovation as he finished speaking. It also sang Happy Birthday.

Asked later at a packed news briefing if people with HIV-AIDS could count on him to be around for the long haul, Clinton said "even my worst critics never accuse me of being a quitter. I tend to be a sticker.

"I can't conceive of anything that would divert me from this commitment, short of a life-threatening illness or success (in defeating HIV-AIDS)," said Mr. Clinton.

Technorati tag: HIV-AIDS

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The power of corporations

Business leaders today say their companies care about more than profit and loss, that they feel responsible to society as a whole, not just to their shareholders. Corporate social responsibility is their new creed, a self-conscious corrective to earlier greed-inspired visions of the corporation.

Joel Bakan an internationally recognized legal scholar and professor of law at the University of British Columbia, takes a powerful stab at the most influential institution of our time, the corporation; in his book "The Corporation, The pathological pursuit of profit and power."

He writes that corporations have always been philanthropic. They have donated to charities, sponsored Little League teams, and helped to build theaters. Traditionally, such generosity was quietly practiced and peripheral to their main goal of making money. Now, however, large corporations such as Pfizer have put corporate good deeds at the core of their business plans.

A sense of responsibility to society, not just to a company's shareholders, has come to define the very nature of the corporation, what it is supposed to be and what it must and cannot do. Corporations are now often expected to deliver the good, not just the goods; to pursue values, not just value; and to help make the world a better place.

But why do these corporations donate to charities and engage in environmental programs?

Their primary goal is still to make money for their shareholders. The world they operate has now changed; they cannot pay slave-wages to employees who are expected to deliver customer satisfaction. Customer is the king. Many of the biggest corporations are financially more powerful than the governments of some the host countries they operate in.

Therefore today, corporations sign up to abide by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and agree to uphold environmental standards in their own interest to continue making higher profits. These corporations need to be held accountable for the welfare of workers and the environment they operate in by demanding transparency and good governance from them.


Technorati tag: Social commentary

Will power and Personal initiative

WILLPOWER IS THE OUTGROWTH OF DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE EXPRESSED THROUGH PERSISTENT ACTION, BASED ON PERSONAL INITIATIVE.


Envious people sometimes attribute success primarily to luck. Nothing could be more wrong. As coach Darryl Royal once observed, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Success occurs when you have a definite purpose for your life and you take the initiative to follow through with action. You may make mistakes occasionally-everyone does-but any action is far better than doing nothing.


This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation at http://www.naphill.org/.

Technorati tag motivation

Self realization is authentic freedom

In "Your Sacred Self", Wayne Dyer says self realization is authentic freedom. He describes authentic freedom as, "... the freedom of knowing who you are, why you are here, your purpose in life and where you are going when you leave here..."

In "The sky's the limit", Dr. Wayne Dyer says: Being true to yourself primarily means being totally honest with yourself. It means getting back with your basic human instincts for justice and fairness to yourself and everyone else.

As far as conscience is concerned, a "good" or "clear" conscience can only come from your internal and external signals, in other words your personal integrity. Only you can be the creator of your integrity. Only you can conduct your internal symphony.

Technorati Personal Development

Monday, August 14, 2006

A quote for this day

Yesterday is but today's memory, tomorrow is today's dream.

Kahil Gibran.

Technorati tag Quotations

Microsoft unleashing DIY games for XBOX


Will this the next hottest emerging trend?

Microsoft has launched a set of tools that it claims will enable hobbyists, students, and others to develop games for the Xbox 360.

XNA Game Studio Express will be available for free to anyone with a Windows XP-based PC, and will provide them with what's described as "Microsoft's next-generation platform for game development." In addition, by joining a "creators club" for an annual subscription fee of $99, users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360, as well as access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress.

Microsoft is working to create a community of user-created games on Xbox 360.

Liverpool beat Chelsea in curtain-raiser

FA Cup winners Liverpool wasn't charitable to the big spending Premiership Champions Chelsea on Sunday in the season opener played in Cardiff.

Jose Mourinho's high-flying Chelsea side, who spent more on one signing (John Mikel Obi) than Liverpool paid for their four new players Jermaine Pennant, Craig Bellamy, Gabriel Paletta and Fabio Aurelio was beaten 2-1. The goals for the Reds were scored by Jan Arne Riise in the ninth minute and Peter Crouch in the 80th.

When Andrey Shevchenko had equalized for the Blues a minute from the break, it is said that Roman Abramovich celebrated as if it was the killer touch of a Champions' League final. Maybe, come next May, the Ukrainian will be executing just that. But for Chelsea's owner, it was delicious vindication of his relentless pursuit of the striker.

Though this was a friendly and Mourinho would be fuming, it more importantly proves that Chelsea can be toppled from an almost unbeatable position that Roman Abramovich and his unlimited stash of money has given this club it over the last two years.

In the last nine years only one side that has won the Community (Charity) Shield, has gone on to win the Premiership in the same season. It was Chelsea that bucked the trend last year.

Now we can look forward to the new EPL season's spills and thrills and everything in between when the campaign starts soon.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bill Clinton forms alliance to combat global warming


Former President Clinton and mayors of some of the world's largest cities have announced an initiative to combat climate change and increase energy efficiency in everything from street lights to building materials.

The partnership joins Mr. Clinton and the resources of his presidential foundation with the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group — an alliance of Rome, London, Mexico City, Los Angeles and other cities that have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Urban areas are responsible for more than 75 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, making reduced energy crucial in the effort to slow the pace of global warming.

Energy-efficient traffic lights, street lighting, the use of biofuels for city transport, and traffic congestion schemes were some of the practical steps that cities are expected to take to reduce greenhouse gases.

"The world's largest cities can have a major impact on this. Already they are at the center of developing the technologies and innovative new practices that provide hope that we can radically reduce carbon emissions," said London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who launched the initiative in Los Angeles with Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mugabe offered human feaces in a comedy of error


A hugely embarrassing typographical error on a menu issued to President Robert Mugabe during his return flight from Malaysia this week led to four senior Air Zimbabwe officials being suspended from their jobs.

Whenever Mugabe travels, special onboard menus are also prepared. Mugabe is known to favour traditional Zimbabwean dishes. But Air Zimbabwe management seem to have slipped up badly this week with an unfortunate typographical error on a special menu for Mugabe written in the vernacular Shona language.

The menu written in Shona should have read "Chimukuyu and Dovi", which means dried beef meat cooked in peanut butter - a delicious Zimbabwean meal. However, the typographical error replaced the "v" on the word dovi with a "d" to form the word "dodi", which in Shona language means human excrement.

A furious Mugabe would have certainly blown his top, but he has son Chatunga to thank otherwise the meal could have been served had Chatunga not noticed the error, thus avioding a stink and a sour taste in the mouth this time.

Chelsea beats United even before the campaign begins

Buying and selling football players in the transfer market is big business. The top players in the industry are rich millionaires. They are branded products and scores of merchandising items from tee shirts to drinking mugs are sold on their names. They have agents who charge million dollar fees to buy and sell their players to the highest bidding clubs. That's how the game works.

Sir Alex Fergusion has just realized this, perhaps rather belatedly. Fergusion has eaten the humble pie. Michael Carrick's move from Tottenham Hotspur in a deal that could add up to 18.6 million pounds ($35.48 million) has proved that United, under the Glazer family, can still spend big.

The 25-year-old will fill the holding role left vacant by the departure of Roy Keane last year, following a number of disappointing midfield buys, and United should be defensively sound, especially if Gabriel Heinze returns to full fitness.

Fergusion is quoted to have said, "Perhaps it is the cavalier amounts of money Chelsea have been spending which has upped the ante because the asking prices these days have soared to ridiculously high levels." It is as if the thinking is that if Chelsea can afford such-and-such then we can expect Manchester United to pay through the nose as well.

Big-spending Chelsea, who have again invested heavily over the close season on Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko and United target John Obi Mikel, will take some catching as they pursue a hat-trick of championship wins.

The time has come for manager Alex Ferguson to deliver again or face fresh questions about staying on beyond his 20-year reign at Old Trafford.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Is alchemy a real science?

Alchemy refers to both an early protoscience and an early philosophical discipline, both combining elements of chemistry, metallurgy, physics, medicine, astrology, semiotics, mysticism, spiritualism, and art. Alchemy has been practiced in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Persia, India, and China, in Classical Greece and Rome, in the Islamic Caliphates, and then in Europe up to the 19th century - in a complex network of schools and philosophical systems spanning at least 2500 years.

More about alchemy here.

Be wary of fascism

Fascism, this word is freely thrown around nowadays, especially after the wake of 9/11 in the United States and the recently foiled attempt of muslim extremists who were plotting to blow up some transatlantic fights from the United Kingdom by using liquid explosives.

So here is my effort to understand fascism and its roots.

According to the free dictionary, fascism is a totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.

The name was first used by the party started by Benito Mussolini , 1883–1945, Italian dictator and leader of the Fascist movement.

"Fascism is reaction," said Mussolini. So fascism is a reactionary a movement and a system of rule, in its historical context --it is a form of counter-revolutionary politics that first arose in early twentieth-century Europe in response to rapid social upheaval, the devastation of World War I, and the Bolshevik Revolution.

The famous British author George Orwell who wrote 'the animal farm' has asked "what is fascism?"

Orwell says the term fascism is used more wildly in coversation than in print.

"I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.

Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning. To begin with, it is clear that there are very great differences, some of them easy to point out and not easy to explain away, between the rĂ©gimes called Fascist and those called democratic. Secondly, if ‘Fascist’ means ‘in sympathy with Hitler’, some of the accusations I have listed above are obviously very much more justified than others. Thirdly, even the people who recklessly fling the word ‘Fascist’ in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it.

By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come."

Nowadays one frequently hears from the Christian right in the United States that Islamo-fascists or Islamic fascists are fighting an asymmetrical, global war of terror.

In World War II Nazi Germany and Japanese imperialism was defeated. Not everyone in those societies can be called as fascists. Today, when we say that we are fighting against Islamic fascism, it doesn't accurately describe who the enemy is. The enemy is not the religion of Islam. The enemy is a muslim minority who has taken up violence to cause death and destruction.

The British know what terror is, they've had to face IRA and their ferocious violence, until a political settlement was reached to end hostility. They were not called catholic terrorists.
Muslims who belong to terror organizations such as alqaeda or hizbollah should be referred to by their affilated party name or group name instead lumping them all together with every muslim by calling them islamic fascists.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Racial profiling-a tool against terror.

Following the mass murders of September 11th, many who questioned or condemned the practice of racial profiling in the United States would agree that it is a necessary tool for police and internal security agencies to maintain public safety. Such profiling is also followed in the United Kingdom, which has just foiled a radical muslim group plotting to blow up transatlantic flights in mid air using liquid explosives.

In the United States, the term "racial profiling" has often been paired with accusations of racial discrimination against blacks and Hispanics, particularly by police. It is one type of racially biased policing.

Crime cuts through all races. However, what is yet to be acknowledged is the international generalizability of the race/crime relationship.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that racial profiling is as flawed an approach to the war on terrorism as it was to the war on drugs. But the present American administration has embraced this approach in order to defeat terrorism and in the wake of 9/11 this is understandable and most Americans would accept it.

Racial profiling takes different forms. On March 10, when Dubai Ports World announced that will acquire from Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. which operates some US ports, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee quickly moved to block the acquisition. This is a far-reaching reaction which some people considered as xenophobic. Many others felt that since two of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE, Dubai Ports World should not operate any US port.

After 9/11, U.S. authorities incarcerated and questioned people based on their Arabic nationalities and Islamic religion. While the vast majority of Arabs and muslims do not support terror, racial profiling does cause inconvenience to them due to the terror unleashed by a small minority of fanatical groups who are bent on wreaking havoc . Hence whatever action that is necessary has to be taken to ensure public safety.

Liquid explosives may be the next terrorist weapon

Britain is still on red alert after thwarting the terrorist plot to kill thousands of people by detonating explosions on up to 10 transatlantic flights from UK airports yesterday .

The plotters who are now in British custody had planned to carry the components of the bombs disguised as beverages, electronic devices or other common objects.

If 10 planes had been targeted, it would have been by far the most ambitious terror plot since the September 11 2001 attacks in the US killed more than 2,700 people.

The liquid explosives thought to be at the centre of the foiled terrorist plot to down aeroplanes between the UK and the US can be detected by high-tech scanners that can produce the kind of images shown here are already in use at London’s Heathrow airport.

The Rapiscan Secure 1000 is unlike traditional airport scanners in that it can detect organic materials, such as explosives, narcotics and ceramic weapons, as well as metal items. Experts familiar with the device says it is easily capable of detecting liquid explosives such as triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and nitroglycerin.

The British authorities have done a superb job nabbing the homegrown terrorists .

Thursday, August 10, 2006

India bans US Coke and Pepsi

The sale and production of US Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola were banned in southern Kerala State on Wednesday, due to alleged pesticides in the drinks. The country's highest court told the US beverage giants to reveal the ingredients of their products.

Five other states have already announced partial bans on the drinks in schools, colleges and hospitals.

But Kerala is the first to completely ban their production and sale.

Both companies, in a statement issued on Wednesday by the Indian Soft Drink Manufacturers' Association, said their drinks were safe and they held consumer safety paramount.

This is not the first time Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have faced charges in India of excessive pesticides in their soft drinks.

Three years ago, the Center for Science and Environment made similar allegations. At the time, Coke and Pepsi sales declined for a while, but then recovered as the controversy waned.

"For three years we have looked very hard at this and engaged the best scientific minds in the world, and all of the data and all of the science point to the fact our products in India are absolutely safe, just as they are elsewhere in the world," said Dick Detwiler, a New York-based spokesman for PepsiCo's international division.

Despite the huge popularity of the drinks, the companies are often held up as symbols of Western cultural imperialism and the New Delhi-based Center for Science and Environment report has been seized on by nationalist groups, as well as environmental campaigners.

Coca-Cola pulled out of India in 1977 after the government insisted that it reveal the formula. It returned 16 years later.

We will have to wait and see what happens this time.

Changing of guards for British tennis


Andy Murray the 19-year old Scot fended off a Tim Henman,31, fightback for a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) victory in the second round of the Toronto Masters Series event.

Murray, the new British number one, held on against his famous Englishman, who found the going tough against his up and coming younger opponent.

It was not Henman's day and so the younster Andy Murray continues to shine.

Murray also defeated Henman at the Swiss Indoors last year in their only prior ATP meeting prior to this tournamnet.

Environmental disaster in Lebanon


The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) has expressed its "grave concern" about oil pollution in Lebanese coastal waters.

The oil slick caused by Israeli bombing of a power station now covers 120km (75 miles) of the region's coasts. Experts estimate the spill caused by the Israeli bombing of the Lebanese power plant could be around 45,000 tonnes. By comparison, the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker slick in Alaska was slightly under 40,000 tonnes which led to widespread ecological damage.

Local environmental groups describe the slick as an "environmental disaster." Lebanon's coastline could take up to 10 years to recover from this massive oil spill, say local experts. The damage to human health, destruction to fisheries and tourism will add to unfolding death toll and misery as the fighting ravages on unabated.

Gates Foundation donates $500 million to AIDS

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest charitable foundation, endowed by Bill Gates, chairman and founder of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda Gates. The foundation is donating $500 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next five years.

The contribution is by far the largest from a nongovernment source since the Global Fund was created in 2002.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria holds the nations and organizations it assists to high performance standards — an approach the Gates Foundation advocates in all its giving.

The Geneva-based Global Fund pulled the plug on programs in Uganda, Ukraine and Nigeria when it discovered money was being misused or progress was trifling.

That hard-nosed attitude has led to significant gains in the number of poor people around the globe who are sharing in medical advances that long ago eased the burden of disease in developed nations, the Global Fund's executive director, Richard Feachem, said Wednesday in announcing the donation.

Countries and their institutions seeking financial assistance should be held accountable for the funds provided to them. Providing the poor and the needy with tools and knowledge and the incentives for them to work and improve their lives is the solution to bring them out of the trap of poverty.

Dean Jones and his terrorist joke...Is it racism?

A racism controversy has hit international cricket again.

When the Australian commentator Dean Jones labelled Hashim Amla, a coloured South African batsman and devout Muslim, a "terrorist" on air this week- well Jones did not know when he uttered the fateful word but he discovered later that while Sri Lankan viewers were watching ads, the cricket was still being viewed live in South Africa, where the comment was clearly heard.

Jones used the word in jest, but it wasn't taken the same way. Cricket South Africa immediately demanded an apology and they got it. Jones apologized profusely in verbal and written form to Amla, the South African team and Muslims in general for good measure, pointing out that some of his best friends are Pakistanis who are all Muslims.

Australia is a country that carries poignant reminders of how its early settlers treated the idigenous aboriginal population. Australia does have a troubled history with race relations. Sports are just a small part of society and racism in sports cannot be denied.

Many of us remember the falling from grace of the French caption Zinedine Zidane when he head-butted Marco Metarrazi of Italy who apparently called his mother , a “terrorist whore.” And, of course, there’s Mel Gibson for his anti-semitic remarks made in his drunken tirade.

All this goes to show how sensitive and serious race relations are. They should not be the subject of jokes. They should be taken seriously so as not to offend other people.

Dean Jones has asked for forgiveness. Amla’s father Mohamed said he would forgive Jones for his insensitive remark. “What he said is unfortunate but I think I will forgive him,” he told South African daily ‘The Mercury’.

Dean Jones has paid the price, he lost his tax-free $US2000 -a-day contract with his Dubai-based employer Ten Sports. He should be forgiven and this matter should be put to rest.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Michael Jackson.. A poor role model



Michael Jackson began his musical career at the age of seven as the lead singer of The Jackson 5 and grew up in the public eye ever since.

From 1988 to 2005, Jackson lived on his Neverland Ranch property, on which he built an amusement park and private zoo for economically disadvantaged and terminally ill children. His frequently held sleepover parties received disparaging media coverage after it was revealed children frequently shared his bed. These occurrences came to light first when he was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993. His sleepover parties were brought into the spotlight again in 2003 during the infamous Living with Michael Jackson TV Documentary.

Inspite of his phenomenal music talent and the much acclaimed success which led him to be called the "King of Pop," controversy was never far from him. His sleepovers came under scrutiny in 1993 when allegations of child molestation were brought against Jackson. He was accused of child abuse and though he claimed to be "totally innocent of any wrongdoing, Jackson settled out of court with the accuser for an undisclosed sum, reported to be $20 million, and the charge against him was drppoed.

In 2006, allegations of sexual assault were leveled against Jackson by a man who claims Michael Jackson molested him, intoxicated him with drugs and alcohol, and forced him to undergo unnecessary cosmetic surgery. Jackson hired the best lawyers and though he won this legal battle, it was a permanent dent on the 'kings' reputation.

After these troubles Jackson moved briefly to Bahrain. Now he claims to have discovered a conspiracy by his former employees to force him into bankruptcy.

Why would anyone want to put Jackson in bankruptcy? Maybe they want to get paid. Last week a judge granted some of Jackson's attorneys permission to withdraw from defending him in a law suit when they showed Jackson had been both uncommunicative and had refused to pay the fees he owed them. Bankruptcy could possibly force him to pay debts he owes by liquidating assets.

Michael's spokeswoman Raymone Bain said this "could be one of the biggest conspiracies in entertainment history." Raymone Bain could be wrong. As they say, "there is no smoke without fire." How Michael Jackson amassed huge wealth and managed to squander it into bankrupcy shows that he is a flawed musical genius.

Madonna crucified



Madonna staged a mock-crucifixion in the Italian capital on Sunday, ignoring a storm of protest and accusations of blasphemy from the Roman Catholic Church.

What is Madonna trying to prove to a sold-out audience in a stadium just a mile from Vatican City, the bastion of the Roman Catholic Church?

It is not the first time Madonna, whose father is a Catholic Italian American, has caused religious anger for her controversial religious and sexual imagery.

In 1989 she released a video featuring the hit song "Like a Prayer", showing burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna seducing a black Jesus.

The self-styled "Queen of Pop" went on to pepper her two-and-a-half hour show in Italy with more controversial imagery, at one point showing photographs of the pope after those of former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

The Vatican had accused her of blasphemy and provocation for even considering staging the sham crucifixion on its doorstep, anger Madonna further enflamed prior to the show by inviting Pope Benedict to come and watch.

Madonna is an icon in the music industry, but to show a mock-crucifixion in her concert reflects arrogance and a don't-care attitude, probably just seeking publicity. It is unnecessary and depicts poor taste of a highly talented individual who has chosen to ignore the deep-held beliefs of a global religious community.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Starbucks to enter India in 2007

The US coffee giant Starbucks is currently in talks with a number of potential joint venture partners and is in the process of finalising the locations for opening its retail outlets in India.

Starbucks' spokesperson T May Kulthol, speaking from seattle said the company is excited about the great opportunities that India presents to the company.

The company is looking at Delhi and Mumbai for its first retail outlets in India, while it was scouting for other locations as well for a grand foray into the country.

Starbucks plans to target the young adult of the country for expanding its presence into the country and also aims to reap the benefits of a growing coffee culture in a traditionally tea-drinking nation.

Google's spyware to stop the badware

What a nightmare this is turning out to be.

A recent study showed that 4-6% of sites on the web contain harmful content. Now Google is coming to rescue. Google has launched a service that tells a user when the site they are about to visit contains spyware or other malicious coding that could hurt a user's computer. The warning is given as a pop-up if users click on a URL to a harmful Webpage.

The warning will be given if the user is clicking on the Web site through Google's search engine and it has been catalogued by the Stop Badware coalition as malicious. The Stop Badware coalition is made up of Google, Sun and Lenovo.

Experts are warning that viruses are crawling the net and it is better to precautions.

Oil prices surge after BP closes Alaska oil field

BP, the world's second-largest oil company, began shutting down the pipelines on Monday and said it would replace 16 miles of the 22 miles of transit pipeline it operates in the Prudhoe Bay field following a leak discovered Sunday.

Crude prices flared today with Brent futures soaring to a new record high of $US78.64 after BP started closing production from America's biggest oil field.

The incident in Alaska came with prices already on the boil because of supply concerns in major producing countries Iran and Nigeria, violence in the Middle East and strong global demand.

U.S. stocks fell on Monday as surging oil prices fanned worries about inflation and slower economic growth, a day before the Fed's interest-rate meeting.

Traders said the rise in crude could outweigh the positive impact of a much anticipated pause in the Fed's rate-hike campaign at the central bank's policy meeting on Tuesday.

Higher crude oil prices could bring more uncertainty into a volatile stock market.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Inzamam's uncanny ability


The caption under these photos in Cricinfo read "It's unfortunate but you take it as part of the Inzamam experience - mostly a lot of class and occasionally a little comedy"

The above pictures reflect a light-hearted moment of the popular Pakistani captain Inzamam-ul-Haq's dismissal. But take nothing away from Inzamam.

Imzamam, 36, is a tower of strength and his batting style has brought him fans from all over the world. It is said that he loathes exercise and often looks a passenger in the field. He keeps a cool head in a crisis and has succeeded Javed Miandad as Pakistan's premier batsman, but his hapless running between wickets is legendary and most dangerous for his partners.

Inzamam has scored 25 Test 100s and Pakistan has won 17 of the matches in which he has scored 100s. That can be contrasted that with some other modern day great players, like Sachin Tendulkar, who has scored only 11 100s in won matches out of his overall 35, and Brian Lara who has only 8 out of his 29 hundreds in won matches. Inzamam's average in won Test matches is over 80 which is second best only to Don Bradman. His ability to play at his best under pressure is widely accepted among critics.

Hiroshima marks 61st anniversary of atomic bombing


The above picture from BBC News says between 2,000 and 6,500 children are believed to have been orphaned by the atomic bomb, although the exact number may never be known.

Sixty one years after the United States bombed Hiroshima that killied an estimated 140,000 people, a moment of silence was observed at 8.15 am yesterday, the time that the deadly atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, Japan.

Marking the occasion, some 45,000 people including Japan's prime minister Koizumi recited silent prayers, renewing calls for a nuclear-free world. This anniversary comes at a time when there is international concern over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and the Middle East crisis, which has claimed the lives of a growing number of people.

The world needs more than moments of silence to rid itself of the scourge of nuclear weapons and terrorist attacks.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Young entrepreneurs taking the lead

It is said that the Industrial revolution has given way to an Information age. Whereas raw materials, capital and labour were the drivers of the industrial economy, the new economy is driven by knowledge.

The old foundations of success are gone. For all human history upto now, the source of success has been the control of natural resources-gold, land, and oil. Suddenly, it is now 'knowledge.'

The wealthy oil sheiks are no longer on top of the wealth pyramid. The American billionaires have replaced them. Bill Gates is the richest man in the world and he doesn't own land, oil, or factories. He is the software genius, the epitome of the present information age.

Microelectronics, computers, telecommunications and robotics is transforming every aspect of how business is done. Biotechnology and genetics is changing the charactersitics of life itself.
Breadth-taking changes are sweeping across the globe at amazing speeds.

The up and coming younger generation is leaping forward creating rags-to-riches stories never like before. It took two years for Kevin Rose, 29 to put up digg.com with all his savings, a project that is now worth $60 million.

Rose digs up the most interesting stories on the Web and allows the masses to vote them onto his online "front page" on Digg.com. Digg is now the 24th-most popular Web site in the U.S., nipping at the The New York Times' (No. 19) and easily beating Fox News (No. 62), according to industry tracker Alexa.com.

More than 1 million people flock to Digg daily, reading, submitting, or "digging" some 4,000 stories.

Good for Rose for believing in himself and holding back his girlfriend. The traditional giants must be looking in wonder.

Don't drown in debt!

Hold your financial breadth, according to this reuters article, one person every five minutes in England and Wales is buckling under a mountain of debts. The British public has put £54bn on credit cards and taken billions more in personal loans. If interest rates continue to rise, repayment may become a nightmare for many people who have made it a life style to brandish their cards.

Britain has a trillion-pound debt mountain, a figure which suggests a nation with an unrelenting addiction to debt.

The quarter point rise in Bank of England interest rates to 4.75 percent announced on Thursday will raise the amounts of interest people have to pay on credit cards and mortgages as they struggle with soaring household bills and flat wages.

USA, the world's largest economy is also sitting on top of a debt mountain. When the rich and powerful met in the Davos Economic Forum this year, alarm bells have been rung about the global economic imbalances. Uncle Sam has to put his house in order. Low savings and high consumption in the US, its large current account, and budget deficits are indications of the imbalances which will require some adjustments in the next few years.

If the US sneezes, the rest of the world will catch a cold so we need to watch out for the swell of the increasing tide.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

If life is a game...

Then here are ten rules given by Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott, international life coach, that may be helpful.

These are common sense rules which this entrepreneur and coach explains in an interview.

1. Establish a relationship with your body, for it is yours to respect or abuse.
2. Take ownership of whatever happens to you in your life and learn from it.
3. There are no mistakes, everything is a lesson that leads to an opportunity.
4. If you keep doing the same thing, you keep getting the same outcome.
5. Become a continuous learner.
6. live in the present with goals, with expectations, dreams, wishes and hopes—and not deferring your satisfaction until those are achieved.
7. In other people you see that which you’re aspiring to do, that which you want to become.
8. What you make of your life is up to you.
9. All your answers lie inside of you.
10. You will forget all of this at birth. Remembering and forgetting are the dance of
consciousness.

Read the full interview, if this is of interest.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Zidane's red card given to Argentine President

The red card that spelled the premature end to Zinedine Zidane's glittering career was presented to Argentine President Nestor Kirchner here yesterday.

Horatio Elizondo, the Argentine referee who plucked the red card out of his pocket after Zidane's infamous headbutt on Italy's Marco Materazzi, handed over the item of World Cup memorabilia after a one hour meeting with Kirchner at his presidential office.

Kirchner was evidently thrilled with the gift, playfully brandishing the tool of Zidane's downfall .

Can this be considered as a case of gloating over the misfortune of another person?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Should Mel Gibson be forgiven for his drunken tirade?

Actor and director Mel Gibson was officially charged Wednesday with drunken driving after being arrested on Friday for speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway near his swank Malibu estate.

The incident sparked a worldwide furore after a drunken Gibson launched a curse-ridden anti-Semitic tirade at his arresting officer, and the comments were left out of the official police report issued to the public.

Mel Gibson has issued a formal apology for his 'moments of madness.'

Should he be forgiven?

The officer who arrested him, a jew who faced the brunt of a drunk Gibson has forgiven him.

There are others who say Gibson's drunken rant that the Jews are responsible for all the wars should not be forgotten and forgiven. According to them, he is an anti-semitic and he shows this in his film The Passion of the Christ which some criticized for portraying Jews as responsible for the death of Jesus. Supporters say the movie merely followed the Gospel story.

Gibson, a devout Catholic has apologized twice. In the latest he addressed the Jewish community, apologizing for his"vitriolic and harmful words."

He should be given the benefit of the doubt. Compassion, love and forgiveness are high values in all religions. Instead of beating up a man that is down, seeking treatment for alchoholism, isn't it time to accept his repeated apology and move on to enhance communal harmony?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Successful people are optimistic


WHO TOLD YOU IT COULDN’T BE DONE, AND WHAT GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS HAS HE PERFORMED THAT QUALIFIED HIM TO SET UP LIMITATIONS FOR YOU?


You will find as you go through life that those who give advice most freely are precisely the individuals who are least qualified to do so. Busy, successful people don’t have an interest in telling you how to live your life. They are busy living their own. Failures or mediocre people have all the time in the world. They also delight in seeing you fail, and are quick to say "I told you so" when you experience a temporary setback. If someone tells you that what you are attempting to achieve is impossible or not worth the effort, take a close look at them and what they have accomplished with their lives. The chances are good that you will find they haven’t done much. Successful people are optimistic people. They have the habit of success because they learned long ago to listen to themselves and not to those who would like to see them fail.


This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation at
http://www.naphill.org

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Is 'Workaholism' an addiction?

It is, as stated in the book "Managing The Unknown" in chapter 11 by Roger Harrison who writes under the bias for action as an addiction, "After years of observation, I have become convinced that the frenetic action and local problem solving that goes on organizations today is only partially driven by rational work considerations, and is largely part of the addictive syndrome that has been called 'workaholism'.

It seems it is the addictive quality of action and problem solving that makes them so difficult to change.

The author does not imply that hard work, high energy and dedication to task are in themselves negative or unhealthy, either in organizations or individuals. It is the meaning and purpose of these patterns that needs to be questioned and confronted, not its existence.

I'm not sure how much I agree with these findings, but will leave this post for future reflection and thought.

From manual workers to knowledge workers

Manual workers are concerned with efficiency, that is, the ability to do things right rather than to get the right things done.

The manual worker is judged by the quantity and quality of an output. He follows set guidelines on how to get his work done.

A knowledge worker uses his knowledge, and by definition his job involves the tasks of planning, acquiring, searching, analyzing, organizing, storing, programming, distributing, marketing, or otherwise contributing to the transformation and commerce of information and those who work at using the knowledge so produced.

Knowledge workers cannot be supervised closely and so they have to be individuals who are self-driven to perform and contibute.

A knowledge worker produces knowledge and his motivation depends on his being effective, and being able to achieve.

Knowledge work is defined by its results, not just by quantity or costs.