The Vasundhara Raje kiss!

Here is the now famous kiss between the Rajasthan CM and Biocon India Chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. Coming from a male dominated state which gives handouts to tourists with lessons on "local Indian culture" like
a man must never touch a woman in public, even to help her out of a car, unless she is very elderly or infirm.
she definitely has the balls to kiss someone from the same sex in public. And as usual the ICCs ( Indian Cultural Crybabies ) are out crying, saying this is a very unindian thing to do. Yeah, get it right. Indians don't kiss or have sex. Our population explosion is still an unexplainable divine miracle. This time, it's not the usual RSS/BJP/VHP suspect who are crying, but the opposition Congress in Rajasthan. Hmm, who doesn't want to miss the opportunity to pose some selfrighteousness. State Congress Vice-President Raghu Sharma has asked her to apologise for "hurting" the people of her state. Raje has a very funny fitting response.
Raje had denied the charge and said the show was meant to promote the khadi weavers and spinners of Rajasthan.

The Satesman reports:
Activists of Women Congress staged a march and burned the effigy of the Chief Minister to protest against the photograph. They alleged that the CM has disgraced all women of the state by publicly engaging in such an act. Schoolchildren, under the banner of Citizens Forum, also staged protests.
Whats more funny about the whole incident is that, according to Economic Times, it was just air-kissing and the camera angle makes it appear like a liplock kiss. Raje was also in news a couple of days back. One for flying 341 times in 800 days on tax payer's money. And her response to this was also something straight and funny: "Do you want the CM to travel by bullock carts ?" The other time she was in news was for catwalking in Bangalore for a fashion show promoting Khadi.


Come August 2007, shop in Walmart India

Yes, the Rs. 14 lakh crore giant is about to enter India in a tie up with Bharti group and plans to open "hundreds of stores" all around. The financial details haven't been released yet as India still doesn't allow FDI in retail sector, but only in the wholesale sector.

If you have some land in India which is potentially close to where Walmart plans to put up its store, hold on to it and wait for the prices to go up :)

Check out the following links.

Wal-Mart takes retail war to back-end
As foreign direct investment (FDI) is banned in multi-product retailing, the 50:50 Bharti-Wal-Mart agreement will focus on supply chain, logistics and wholesale business, leaving Mittal to manage the customer-facing storefront.
WalMart enters India in tie-up with Bharti
The joint venture will start opening stores in Asia’s fourth largest economy from 2007, and Bharti Enterprise chairman Sunil Mittal said he expected it will have several hundred stores across the country in the next four to five years
Deal worth billion dollars, says Mittal

Bharti Enterprises has signed an agreement with world's largest retailer Wal-Mart for a joint foray into India's retail space. The companies have inked an MOU and operations expected to kick off mid August.


Domestic Violence Bill becomes an Act.

Imagine you call your brother-in-law an ass when you are having an argument with your wife. As per the "THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT ", this amounts to emotional and verbal abuse and you could be jailed! The Domestic Violence Act (DV) came into effect on Oct 26th, 2006 and is already causing quite an uproar. Karan Thapar in his Devil's Advocate interviews Renuka Chowdhury about this act and to be frank, she was the real scary devil and Karan just an advocate. The image below is Renuka doing a mix of roudra, bheebhatsya and adbutha. A cute satan, ain't she ? I think she is one of these feminists who are more men haters than real feminists.

Coming back to the topic, looks like this act will go down the Dowry Act road, IPC 498A. Just like many other Indian laws, it has room for infinite interpretations. Click here for a related post I had put up a couple of months back on ambiguity in Indian laws. Please note, I am not arguing against laws which criminalises abuse of women. But laws which are inherently loose with vague definitions are bound to serve little purpose. Probably the only little purpose they serve is to make silly, a serious issue. Here is an example of a situation which falls in the category of domestic violence according to the act.

Karan Thapar: Look, for instance, at economic abuse. It is defined by the Act as deprivation of any economic or financial resource, which the aggrieved is entitled to by custom and it includes disposal of household effects. Under that language, if a husband was to sell the family television at a time when his marriage was going through a bad patch, it should be deemed to be domestic violence. Now, that’s ridiculous, but it is very much a part of the Act.

Another interesting scenario is the following. You can't even call the step-brother of your former girlfriend whom you parted 10 years ago an ass. Sarcasm and silly fights become offence. When Karan mentions a Supreme Court statement in July 2005 that the anti-dowry law is being terribly misused, she replies that its a minute percentage of the cases. But apparently its not. When Karan mentions:
Karan Thapar: The Centre for Social Research with regard to the anti-dowry law did a study after the Supreme Court judgment came out in August of 2005 and it concluded that of every 100 cases brought under the anti-dowry law, 98 per cent were false. Only two were correct. It’s not a minute percentage; the level of abuse that this could incur is phenomenally high.
Renuka replies: "It's okay." By this time, I am fully convinced that she is not only a men hater but someone who will go to any extent to defend themselves foolishly. Here is another instance of a ridiculous situation which is covered under the act.

Karan Thapar: You keep talking about direction. You keep talking about importance of setting a direction for society. Clause 17 of the Act gives divorced women and former separated girlfriends - and I use that language very carefully: divorced women and former separated girlfriends - the right to claim residence in the home of their former husband or their former partner even though the Act says they may not have any right, title or beneficial interest in the same.

You can read the rest of the interview or watch the video here. At the end, you might just feel like smashing your computer monitor. Hats off to Karan. Let me state some more retarded and funny soundbites from Renuka.

Karan Thapar: In other words, let men suffer first, then I will correct the wrong I have done.

Renuka Chowdhury: It is not such a bad idea, except that I have such pity for men.

Karan Thapar: You are saying to me that a bad law is better than no law at all?

Renuka Chowdhury: If you want to say it that way. Any law is better than no law at all.

Adobe Flash 9 for linux available.

Adobe Labs has released Flash Player 9 for linux. (The windows version has been available for quite some time now ). You can download it from here, unzip and copy it to your browser's plugins folder.

Many websites like CNN-IBN videos require atleast version 8 of flash player. You can now browse through them in linux without having to go through additional hacks like using wine etc.

Women on top in Kerala, lliterally, on coconut trees!

Check out this CNN-IBN clip on women in Kerala.

Etamanoor (Kerala): Women in Etamanoor, Kerala, can do almost anything, from driving auto-rickshaws to running hotels and even climbing coconut trees.

This is a village where women are on top and that is because of the Swasreya Sangham – a self-reliance initiative in the Kottayam district.

The initiative has designed a mechancial equipment enabling women to climb coconut trees which has traditionally been considered to be men's job.


Happiest closed sets!

Here is a picture of a happy closed set sitting in a two dimensional plane. It has points with a zero, one and two dimensional "neighbourhood".


Corruption Perception Index released: India ranks 70th

Just a follow up on my previous post "Indians bribe most". Transparency International relesed CPIs of various countries worldwide yesterday. India ranks 70th in the list (better than being at the bottom as was for the bribery index). TI reports:

The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), launched today by Transparency International (TI), points to a strong correlation between corruption and poverty, with a concentration of impoverished states at the bottom of the ranking.

“Corruption traps millions in poverty,” said Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle. “Despite a decade of progress in establishing anti-corruption laws and regulations, today’s results indicate that much remains to be done before we see meaningful improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest citizens.”

Click here for the complete report at TI website. The last index for the year 2006 is going to be released on Dec 7th and measures corruption in institutions like police, judiciary and executive.

Organized youtube with indextube.

Check out indextube.com. Its a nice website where most of the videos from youtube and video google are organized with a nice interface. Because its based on wiki, anyone can edit it or add new clips to it. The current links on the top of their TV Shows list are Ali G and Borat collections.


Borat review

Just back after seeing Borat. Found it quite funny and interesting. I think opinions on this movie will turn out to be good or very bad. It is not for the faint hearted. Its a movie on racism, stereotypes and intolerance. You can read its CNN review and its ABC review before deciding to see it. Both are good reviews.

If you are the kind of person who finds certain jokes out of taste or certain kinds of sarcasm racial or hurting, this movie is definitely NOT for you. Whereas, if you are the kind of person who is potentially "open" to ANY joke, there are lots of stuff for you there. The movie reminded me of Dharmapuranam, a political scatological satire by malayalam novelist O. V. Vijayan (best known for his critism during Indira Gandhi's emergency). You will find lots of sex and excretion interspersed between politicians, prostitutes, power and filth. The opening of the novel is still fresh in my mind :) The Hindu sums it up nicely:

Dharmapuranam marks the completion of Vijayan's metamorphosis into a spiritual outsider. By then, he had travelled a long way from Khasak's Edenic countryside. He had perfected his language to articulate what is "too deep for verbal approximation". Dharmapuranam, while verbally exposing the excess filth, obscenity and horror in power politics, explores the "concept of the teacher and incarnation", which he carried forward to exalted levels in his subsequent works like Gurusagaram (Eternity of Grace), Pravachakente Vazhi (The way of the Prophet) and a number of short stories and articles.
You can read more about Vijayan at wiki and here. Some of my friends found the sarcastic jokes in Dharmapuranam very much "indecent" and "out of taste", whereas I enjoyed reading it. I am quite sure the same people will also find Borat out of taste. Also, don't go for Borat with huge expectations. The best of Sasha is really good and worst of him can be really really bad :)

For me, it was overall a good movie. Didn't get bored anytime, or rather, the times during which I got bored had measure zero!

Song dedicated to Ted Haggard.

This is the same guy who accused Richard Dawkins of "intellectual arrogance" in Dawkin's movie "The root of all evil". Click below to watch it at youtube.

He tells Dawkins:
If you only read the books I know or if you only met the scientists I meet, you would be great like me!

We can now add the following to it
If you only met the gay prostitutes I meet, you would realize that I am such a self righteous hypocrite scumbag!

Whenever you meet a poojari or sadhu or a priest, realize that they have tons of skeletons in their closets.

Stupid Ghose gets a company

If I were managing CNN-IBN, I would definitely stop her from hosting any shows. Even after being told so many times by Jethmalani that it is no business of her to question his right to defend someone, even after her own " national polls" show that a huge majority (80%) of the pollsters support Jethmalani, she goes on with next next segment Was Jethmalani's decision right ?. This time she invited another idiot to the studio room. One Kamini Jaiswal, who was "dissapointed" that Jethmalani is defending Manu Sharma. Note that Jaiswal herself is a lawyer.

I don't know if it was any Freudian slip, but she definitely said what I have in the image above.


Plagiarism by Cao/Zhu paper on Poincare ?

Here is an update on my previous posting on the Poincare conjectures.

Click here for a pdf file Jeremy Morgan emailed me yesterday. Its quite clear that on reading it that not only did they copy the same argument/idea from Kleiner/Lott paper, but even the sentence construction is same at many places. In the pdf file, the left column is the stuff from Kleiner/Lott paper posted at www.arxiv.org and the right column is the stuff from Cao/Zhu paper posted at Asian Journal of Mathematics. Read it and form your own opinion.

Remember how the media was going boo-boo over Kavya Vishwanathan ? I don't know if there will be the same reaction this time. Kavya was a teenager, could be easily intimidated and hence a soft target for the media. Kavya claimed that the similaritites were "completely unintentional" and that she "internalized" the details. Cao/Zhu in their erratum claims that they had "forgotten" that they had studied and "incorporated" Kleiner/Lott work in their notes!

Personallly, I don't see ANY difference between Kavya and Cao/Zhu. If the former was bashed for plagiarism, so should the latter. Atleast the latter could have displayed some maturity gained out of age. I wonder what Yau's role is in all this. He definitely seems to be knowing Kleiner/Lott work and even comments on their work in his 24 page review article “Structure of Three-Manifolds — PoincarĂ© and geometrization conjectures”. In the article, he mentions

In the last three years, many mathematicians have attempted to see whether the ideas of Hamilton and Perelman can hold together. Kleiner and Lott (in 2004) posted on their web page some notes on several parts of Perelman’s work. However, these notes were far from complete. After the work of Cao-Zhu was accepted and announced by the journal in April, 2006 (it was distributed on June 1, 2006). On May 24, 2006, Kleiner and Lott put up another, more complete, version of their notes. Their approach is different from Cao-Zhu’s. It will take some time to understand their notes which seem to be sketchy at several important points.
Yeah right, their approach is different from Cao-Zhu modulo a couple of arguments and sentences used to fill in Perelman's approach.


Sagarika Ghose interviews Ram Jethmalani

Check out this interview on CNN-IBN of Ram Jethmalani by Sagarika Ghose. The title of the article is "Raging Jethmalani vows to save Manu, slams media". Firstly, the title is misleading. I would suggest changing it to "Raging Jethmalani forcefully tackles stupid and self-righteous Ghose". Secondly, Jethmalani only wovs to give Manu Sharma a fair trial, not to save him (atleast in this interview).

The interview didn't look good right from the beginning. The first question by Ghose itself was stupid in my opinion. She asks
SG: In defending Manu Sharma, are you in some sense defending or attempting to defend the indefensible?
What bullshit is this ? No one, whether it be Manu Sharma or even Saddam Hussein for that matter is indefensible. This is what differentiates a modern society from stone age trials. Everyone is considered innocent until a fair trial is over and proven guilty. It doesn't matter what the public thinks about the person. No wonder our old man is raged right from the beginning. Her second question is
SG: But sir, aren’t you worried that you are going against the tide of public opinion
IMHO, no lawyer should be worried of going against the tide of public opinion. A lawyer's job is to defend their client. Things would have been so nice if Galileo had a lawyer who was not afraid of going againts public sentiments!

SG: But sir, you have gone against your own family, tide of public opinion, against the citizens of India. The Press is merely reflecting…
Sagarika continues the same stupid question. Jethmalani's answer is the most fitting here. He replies,
RJ: I decide according to my conscience who to defend and please understand and tell those people who are asking this question that there is a statutory rule of the Bar Council of India that a lawyer who refuses to defend a person on the ground that people believe him to be guilty is himself guilty of professional misconduct.
Again, the same question in a different form.
SG: But as a criminal lawyer, don’t you believe there is a lakshman rekha that even all criminal lawyers have to work under?
RJ: Please don’t talk of this bull shit to me. I know what my lakshman rekha’s are.
SG: But what makes you so convinced about the innocence of Manu Sharma?
RJ: I am only convinced that the man is entitled to a fair trial. He is entitled to the services of a good lawyer. Courts will decide and no Pressman, no editor or television will crew will decide.
This question is one more reason why I feel the title is misleading. Jethmalani only wows to give the man a fair trial. Not to prove him innocent by any means. Ghose goes on with her next rant.
SG: But it’s not just the Press. It is your own family, which has said that they don’t want you to take this case.
Yeah right, lawyers should consult their spouses before taking up cases from now on. The next question is really really self righteous.
SG: But why don’t you search your own conscience. A young girl was shot in the presence of a hundred people.
RJ: I am searching my own conscience. All this bullshit won’t convince me at all. My conscience is mine and you are not responsible for it. And I don’t sell my conscience either to you or to anybody else nor will I change my professional etiquette because some chip of a girl comes and tells me that something is wrong.
SG: But why have you decided to take him on as a client?
RJ: I will because it is my right and my duty because you don’t know the duties of a lawyer. You have not read the statutory rules of the Bar Council. You don’t know a word.
I think CNN-IBN should give SG a crash course on how to ask questions to a smart and great lawyer. The media is all welcome to do their own "investigation", but if they start questioning rights of lawyers to defend people, they are bound to get trashed. And Jethmalani did a good job at that.


On Kherlanji brutality

This happened more than a month ago but didnt get too much attention. Recently, some gruesome images showed up in blogs like www.shivamvij.com and atrocitynews.wordpress.com. WARNING: The second link has some very disturbing pictures. You can also read a DNA India article here.

Bhaiyyalal’s wife Surekha, 44, daughter Priyanka, 18, sons, Roshan, 23, and Sudhir, 21, were first stripped naked, dragged from their hut to an open ground and hacked to death. He witnessed the killings from behind a hut where he was hiding. He now fears for his life too.

Surekha and Priyanka were beaten and gang-raped in full public view for an hour before they fell dead. “Sticks were pushed into their private parts,” says a policeman, asking not to be named. The sons were stabbed repeatedly and their private parts mutilated. Intriguingly, the post-mortem report says the women were not raped. “Doctors were managed and the police bribed,” alleges Rashtrapal Narnaware, a cousin.

Yet another gruesome upper caste landlord brutality against dalit farmers, just 800 kms from Mumbai! I think Shivam should put the pictures back, even if they are disturbing. Pictures have their own power to make people think and bring them to action.

Funny South Asian (almost) porn!

Check out this post at sepiamutiny.com. Quite hilarious :)