Gujaratis are dumb and stupid

so thinks the Gujarat government.

The rest of India is smart and intelligent and can watch the whole Tehelka accusing Chief Minister Narendra Modi of inciting the 2002 Gujarat riots. The rest of India can also use his/her judgement and make its  own opinion after  watching the expose. Whereas the average gujarati is a dumbass. S/he cannot think for itself. The Almighty Gujarat government also knows they are born stupid and naive. Especially if you already had doubts about Narendra Modi. An average gujarati doesn't have the required IQ to see a story and make up its own mind. Their stupidity  behooves the Gujarat government to take the appropriate step  and ban the media altogether. 

This article is meant to be sarcastic and the only interpretation  I can give as to what the Gujarat government thinks about its own people and its subsequent blackening out of several TV channels  starting 19:30 IST on Oct 25, 2007.  The author is not in any way endorsing Tehelka or any other "stings" for that matter.  It might even be true that  it was a Congress sponsored sting as the BJP accuses it to be.  But it surely would have boiled my blood if I were in Gujarat last evening.  Click the image below for the relevant news article.

If you are pissed off  being treated like a donkey and with what happened, its high time you come to your senses and demand the government to treat you and your fellow citizens like grown up adults and not just some suckling cry babies.  Let them know that you are mature enough to make your own decision and abhor media censorship. And you don't need any "moral protection" from the government babus. There is no excuse for such a thing in a  21st century democracy. 


Paedophilia for dummies

Feel like abusing a kid ? Don't worry, help is on the way. Just volunteer yourselves for a church with "Sexual Abuse Insurance" coverage, or as they call it technically, the "Multi-peril Liability Insurance". First, I didn't even know such an insurance exists as it doesn't make sense. Isn't abusing supposed to be a crime with jail term ? The above link is from the Evangelical Alliance website with the title MOLESTATION/ SEXUAL ABUSE – STRATEGY AND INSURANCE. Yeah right, so the strategy to fight abuse is by taking an insurance which covers it, rather than allowing priests to marry and not get deprived. CNN has an article on $660 million "settlement" between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and around 500 alleged victims of the Catholic sex scandal. Quoting CNN,

The deal settles all 508 cases that remained against the archdiocese, which also paid $60 million in December to settle 45 cases that weren't covered by sexual abuse insurance.
I wonder what "cases that weren't covered by sexual abuse insurance" means here ? I will be happy to hear from you if you have details. Not surprisingly, a google for "sexual abuse insurance" shows up lots of church websites with details on how to take this particular insurance. For example, the Church Mutual Insurance states the following in their insurance booklet, under the multi-peril liability coverage section,

Reports of sexual misconduct and molestation, especially child sexual abuse, occur with frightening frequency at worship centers, schools, camps and day care centers.


Purchasing insurance for this exposure is a wise financial decision. It should not be viewed negatively...

Isn't it ridiculous that the Vatican idiots are content with paedophiles and happy excommunicating priests who perform gay marriage ? Organized religion and moral ethics, MY FOOT!


Here is a list of church insurers I came across
  1. GuideOne, a major insurer of Protestant Churches
  2. CatholicMutual, a major insurer for Catholic Churches
  3. ChurchMutual, another leading worship insurer
Here is a nice article in slate on tailor-made insurance policy for catholic church. Another website to get updates on church sex scandal is bishop-accountability.org.


Make Love, Not War

Pentagon finally admits to their "gay bomb" project. Check out CBS news website.

(CBS 5) BERKELEY A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.
Read the rest here. Meanwhile, I will wait for Jon Stewart for his funny take on this and gay organizations to start bashing this.


Victory for Mumbai homosexual school kids

Its a day for all gay and lesbian school kids in Mumbai to celebrate. In an apparent move to curb "bad" heterosexual touching and hugging amongst school kids, the Vibgyor School and Jamnabai Nursery School have specifically forbidden boys and girls from touching or hugging members of the opposite sex in the school premises. The rule applies ONLY to members of opposite sex. One of the very few cases in this world where one sees an explicit bias against heterosexuals. Usually, its the other way around. See the link below for this ridiculously funny decision by the school board.

I wonder where this is all leading to. With a typical smuggish attitude, the Trustee of Vibgyor School, Rustam Kherawala argues that it is their duty to tell the kids what's right and what's wrong! I think this school will be a great factory manufacturing desperate, unsatisfied, frustrated and ultra curious boys and girls by the time they are in their 10th grade. Ofcourse, the homosexual kids, with no policing will graduate normal!


Virginia Tech massacre and gun politics.

It has been more than a day since the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech. It won't be long till the gun politics debate start again in US. Both sides of the debate will take this as an opportunity to further their views. Both the sides will proclaim aloud their opinions and convictions as though they were irrefutable god given facts.

It is surprising that the National Rifle Association has still not released any statement whatsoever. Not that they will change their stand, but it will be interesting to see how they exploit this incident to suit their "More Guns, Less Crimes" (MGLC) motto. Nothing substantial yet has been heard from the "Less Guns, Less Crimes" (LGLC) lobby either.

Personally, I wish gun control is the answer. But I doubt. Guns are going to be around, even if the NRA is dead. In an ideal world, we have "No Guns, No Crime" (NGNC). The moment you have some guns floating around, you have to choose between MGLC and LGLC. This is purely a subjective and political choice and there are no hard facts to opt for either one. The NRA is just making sure the Second Amendment stays.

Sure, if there were no guns, we would not have had 32 victims. But surely, the word is not ideal, there are some guns around, and if the others were armed well, we would probably have had maybe only a couple of victims instead of 32.


Happy Atheist's and Non-Believers Day

April 13th, the birthdays of Thomas Jefferson and Madalyn Murray O-Hair, are observed as Atheist's Day or the Non-Believers Day. Here is a snippet from www.americanatheist.org if you want to know the history behind it :)
Thomas Jefferson and Madalyn Murray O'Hair were both born on April 13. Jefferson was not only the author of the American Declaration of Independence from England, but he believed so strongly in the separation of church and state that he ended tax support of churches in Virginia and other colonies. Madalyn Murray O'Hair brought atheism to the forefront of American law, and founded our organization. Her departure is a mystery, but her vision and courage are history, quite clear enough to celebrate.
Personally, I will spend some time of the day reading proofs #108 to #149 of Hundred's of Proofs of God's Existence. At this point, I also plan to change my church. Effective 30 minutes past noon on the 13th day of the 4th month of 2007, I will consider myselves a proud member of the "Church of Reality". I severe all my relations from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which for some divine reason was never powerful enough to fill some of the low pressure vaccum in my life


Bajrang Dal monkeys should be in a zoo

I am not a big fan of putting animals in zoo, but this is getting out of hand. Click here to know about what these idiots did to a couple in Bhopal because they chose to marry each other, one being a Hindu and one Muslim. And the police, instead of protecting the couple as per law, instead tied up with those breaking the law.

In the landmark case Lata Singh Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh of 07/07/2006, the Supreme Court of India made the following strong remark.

The caste system is a curse on the nation and the sooner it is destroyed the better. In fact, it is dividing the nation at a time when we have to be united to face the challenges before the nation unitedly. Hence, inter-caste marriages are in fact in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system. However, disturbing news are coming from several parts of the country that young men and women who undergo inter-caste marriage, are threatened with violence, or violence is actually committed on them. In our opinion, such acts of violence or threats or harassment are wholly illegal and those who commit them must be severely punished. This is a free and democratic country, and once a person becomes a major he or she can marry whosoever he/she likes. If the parents of the boy or girl do not approve of such inter-caste or inter-religious marriage the maximum they can do is that they can cut off social relations with the son or the daughter, but they cannot give threats or commit or instigate acts of violence and cannot harass the person who undergoes such inter-caste or inter- religious marriage. We, therefore, direct that the administration/police authorities throughout the country will see to it that if any boy or girl who is a major undergoes inter-caste or inter-religious marriage with a woman or man who is a major, the couple are not harassed by any one nor subjected to threats or acts of violence, and any one who gives such threats or harasses or commits acts of violence either himself or at his instigation, is taken to task by instituting criminal proceedings by the police against such persons and further stern action is taken against such persons as provided by law. We sometimes hear of `honour' killings of such persons who undergo inter-caste or inter-religious marriage of their own free will. There is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal minded persons who deserve harsh punishment. Only in this way can we stamp out such acts of barbarism.
I think the more we let loose these self appointed, underemployed, moral policing idiots like RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP etc, the more encouraged they get. It is just hard to believe that in 2007, two adults in India, who love each other and marry, need to flee their hometown for safety because they didn't get a No Objection Certificate from some monkeys.

Sometimes, it looks like the only way to keep RSS/Bajrangis happy is to buy them an isolated island somewhere in Antartica and dump them there along with Prafull Goradia and Ram Madhav. A perfect Shri Ram and Hanuman union.


Copycats in bollywood!

Check out this website www.itwofs.com

This guy Karthik has collected a huge list of old/recent/new songs from bollywood which have been outright plagiarised. Backed with a loose interpretation of the word "inspired" and no worries about being sued, this has been going on for a couple of decades. Shamelessly, they don't even acknowledge the source which "inspired" them.

Click here for a list of songs which RDB has copied. For example,

Mehbooba Mehbooba [Film: Sholay (1975)] Inspired from Demis Roussoss's Say You Love Me. Demis' original was released in 1974, while Sholay came out in 1975.

Click here for a list of songs partly copied by ARR.

CNN-IBN has this very interesting report at

Fantastic job Karthik.


The Almighty Central Board of Film Certification (peace be upon it)

"In a country where the lingam and the yoni are publicly worshipped and where a book on Kama Sutra has been written, what will happen if a couple is shown kissing as a mark of love and affection? Surely the Ganga will not be on fire!"
G. D. Khosla, former Indian chief justice and chairman of an enquiry committee on film censorship.

The above question by G. D. Khosla epitomizes the whole problem with Indian CBFC (peace be upon it) and the way it treats adults as nothing but nursery sheeps, incapable of deciding for themselves and always looking up at an higher authority for viewing tips. The underemployed at the CBFC (peace be upon it) proudly boasts on its website,
Film censorship becomes necessary because a film motivates thought and action and assures a high degree of attention and retention as compared to the printed word. The combination of act and speech, sight and sound in semi darkness of the theatre with elimination of all distracting ideas will have a strong impact on the minds of the viewers and can affect emotions. Therefore, it has as much potential for evil as it has for good and has an equal potential to instill or cultivate violent or good behaviour. It cannot be equated with other modes of communication. Censorship by prior restraint is, therefore, not only desirable but also necessary.

And who is this almighty deciding what is good for adult's emotions, morale, public order etc ? It's whoever is the current King or Queen of CBFC (peace be upon it). As of March 2007, its Sharmila Tagore (peace be upon her).

In a recent interview with Karan Thapar, she mentioned that "Indians are not ready for it (porn) ". IMHO, if Indians were ready for a two piece (gorgeous) bikini bomb in Evening in Paris in 1967, it is high time Vijay Anand is taken seriously and the Cinematograph Act of 1952 be revised and adult entertainment industry managed with a XA rating rather than banned outright. Click here for some other interesting story surrounding Vijay Anand's resignation from CBFC (peace be upon it). Coming back to our topic, this infallible Mother Lady (peace be upon her) now decides what is good taste and what is bad, what movies can potentially affect your wisdom, what can affect your subhuman sensibilities and what can deprave you of your morals, what words or actions cater to your inner Satanic subliminals and so on. Here is the complete requirements for a film from the CBFC (peace be upon it) website.

(i) anti social activities such as violence are not glorified or justified

(ii) the modus operandi of criminals, other visuals or words likely to incite the commission of any offence are not depicted;

(iii) scenes
  1. showing involvement of children in violence as victims or perpetrators or as forced witnesses to violence, or showing children as being subjected to any form of child abuse;
  2. showing abuse or ridicule of physically and mentally handicapped persons; and
  3. showing cruelty to, or abuse of animals, are not presented needlessly

(iv) pointless or avoidable scenes of violence, cruelty and horror, scenes of violence primarily intended to provide entertainment and such scenes as may have the effect of de-sensitising or de-humanising people are not shown;

(v) scenes which have the effect of justifying or glorifying drinking are not shown;

(vi) scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorise drug addiction are not shown;

(vi-a) scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorise consumption of tobacco or smoking are not shown;

(vii) human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity;

(viii) such dual meaning words as obviously cater to baser instincts are not allowed;

(ix) scenes degrading or denigrating women in any manner are not presented;

(x) scenes involving sexual violence against women like attempt to rape, rape or any form of molestation or scenes of a similar nature are avoided, and if any such incidence is germane to the theme, they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown

(xi) scenes showing sexual perversions shall be avoided and if such matters are germane to the theme they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown

(xii) visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups are not presented

(xiii) visuals or words which promote communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national attitude are not presented

(xiv) the sovereignty and integrity of India is not called in question;

(xv) the security of the State is not jeopardized or endangered

(xvi) friendly relations with foreign States are not strained;

(xvii) public order is not endangered

(xviii) visuals or words involving defamation of an individual or a body of individuals, or contempt of court are not presented
EXPLANATION: Scenes that tend to create scorn, disgrace or disregard of rules or undermine the dignity of court will come under the term 'Contempt of Court' : and

(xix) national symbols and emblems are not shown except in accordance with the provisions of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 (12 of 1950)

I am wondering if there is ANY movie which does not violate atleast one of the above. The sad part is that the Indian CBFC (peace be upon it) is a certification agency, as opposed to say MPAA in USA which is a rating agency. If a film does not pass the CBFC (peace be upon it) litmus test, there is no way anybody in India can legally see it. Whereas, filmmakers in USA are not bound by any laws to get certified. Even the MPAA ratings are completely voluntary.

We are over 50 years old since gaining independence from British. But a long way from gaining independence from the underemployed at CBFC (peace be upon it) and deciding for ourselves, as adults, what to see and what not.


South Park says the nigger word!

South Park, known for its shock-valued take on contemporary events, used the nigger word 42 times overall in their latest episode With Apologies to Jesse Jackson, much less than the 162 times they used the shit word in their episode "It hits the fan".

Many blacks are glad that Comedy Central decided to air this. Even the founders of abolishthenword.com found the usage of n-word in this episode appropriate. See the CNN commentary below.

With its mostly intelligent, single-standard, sarcastic take on events and personalities, South Park has managed to piss off just about anybody on this planet including Catholics, Scientologists, Mel Gibson, Muslims, Atheists etc, I wonder who on earth is left for them. I just love it.


Questions of King Milinda

Nagasena: Well, O king, will sticks and clods and cudgels and clubs find a resting-place in the air, in the same way as they do on the ground ?
Milinda: No, Sir.
Nagasena: But what is the reason why they come to rest on the earth, when they will not stand in the air ?
Milinda: There is no cause in the air for their stability, and without a cause they will not stand.
The Questions of King Milinda

I just came across these verses mentioned at the beginning of a chapter on General Relativity in this book. The chapter continues:
Aristotle and Newton held that things fall because they are pulled to the earth; Nagasena the sage and Einstein, that they fall because nothing stops them from falling. The difference is a profound one.
Nagasena was a buddhist who lived around 150 BCE, whose answers to questions on Buddhism posed by the Indo-Greek king Menander I, a.k.a Milinda in Pali, are collected in Milinda Panha.

You can obtain a full copy of this beautiful text at sacred-texts.com. Ofcourse, Nagasena, more than 2000 years before Einstein was making a philosophical statement and not a quantifiable, verifiable, scientific law :) But that shouldn't make it less interesting.


Ravan hero and Ram Lakshman devil duos!

Check out this CNN-IBN video about a tribe in Melghat district in Maharashtra who celebrate holi by burning effigies of Ram and Lakshman.

Says a tribe member, Khanu Betkar, "Ram and Lakshman burnt Ravana, so that is why we burn them."

It's the biggest festival of the year for these villagers and celebrations go on for seven days. The tribe members dance all night and sing hymns hailing Ravana.
Holy cow! That's as blasphemous as it can get. Read the complete news article here. I am just waiting for our dear testosterone charged culture cops RSS/VHP to make some stupid funny statement like "these tribals are actually western/pakistani agents trying to spoil our innocent youth by spreading anti-Indian propaganda!"


Christians demand subsidy to Bethlehem!

Updates: Please see some updates at the end of this article.

Till now, Indian government has been subsidising Haj trip for muslims, Kailash Manasarovar trip for hindus, setting up facilities for Kumbh Mela etc. Infact, if you are a pilgrim to Manasarovar from Delhi, Gujarat or UP, you get an additional subsidy from your state. And now, christians have rightfully started demanding subsidy to Bethlehem. Let me break these down.

So how much does a Haj pilgrim get from the Indian government ? For 2005, it was Rs. 20, 000 per person on a Rs. 92, 000 Haj package by the government appointed Haj committee. The Rs. 20, 000 which the government subsidises is actually what the government pays to (again government owned) Air India already overpriced tickets. For the same year, the total government subsidy for Haj totalled to Rs. 225 crores for a total of 100,000 people. Click here for a pdf file of the Expenditure Budget 2005-2006, Volume I, from the Ministry of Finance website. Since the Air India tickets are overpriced compared to other airlines, it is reasonable that some feel it is a scam to make up for airline losses. Even BJP's muslim face, Muqhtar Abbas Naqvi shares this view. Here is an interview of Naqvi by hindu.com .

How much does one get for Kailash Manasarovar trip ? The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, when deciding on the Haj subsidy for 2006 asked Mr. Vahanvati how much the government spends per person on KM. For 2006, it was Rs. 3200. You can read more details here. This is slightly less than the Rs. 3250 per person subsidy for KM in 2001 according to Ministry of External Affairs website. On a per person basis, it is lower compared to what a Haj pilgrim gets. But, if you are from Delhi, Gujarat or UP, after adding state subsidies, you pretty much get more than what a Haj pilgrim gets. Gujarat gave Rs. 20,000 to its 198 Manasarovar pilgrimers. The trip usually costs around Rs. 80, 000 per person. This subsidy for 2006 was much higher if you were from Madhya Pradesh , which decided to give a 50% subsidy for the year 2006.

How much does a hindu get ? This is a tricky question, primarily because its hard to get facts and figures from government sources. If you add up the government spendings, both in terms of per person subsidies and facilities like sanitation, medical etc on Manasarovar, Kumbh Mela, it probably should add up to lots more compared to what muslims get. According to this blogger, the government spending on Kumbh Mela alone was around Rs. 1200 crore. But then, one also needs to take into account what various state governments get from temples like Sabarimala, Tirupathi etc.

How much does a Christian get for pilgrimage ?
Till now, nothing. On Dec 12, 2006, a delegation of Christian MPs met Manmohan Singh demanding a subsidy to Bethlehem to be added in the 2007-2008 Union Budget! Here is a snippet from Asian Age.

If the government can give Haj subsidy to Muslims, why cannot Christians get something similar for a pilgrimage to the holy city of Bethlehem? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who returned home on Saturday from Japan was confronted with this demand from a delegation of Christian MPs who wanted the subsidy included in the Union Budget for 2007-2008. Even Hindu pilgrims get a subsidy for travelling to Manasarovar. Hence it was pointed out that it would be discriminating against Christians to deny them a similar benefit. The MP delegation was led by Dr H.T. Sangliana and comprised George Fernandes, Dr P.C. Alexander, P.A. Sangma, P.C. Thomas, Seelam Jesudasu, Kharsiingh Robert, Silvius Condpan, Mabel Rebello, Sushila Kerketta and Shantaram Naik, a Rajya Sabha member from Goa. The Prime Minister was perplexed to find Naik, a Hindu, in the delegation but the latter told him that Goa had a 30% Christian population and he was echoing their sentiments.

Now comes the interesting part.

How much can I get from the government ? You could get quite a lot and it is actually doable. Here are the few easy steps.
  1. Form your own religion.
  2. Select a nice holy place for annual pilgrimage like Las Vegas or Maui.
  3. Demand atleast 50% subsidy from the government for your annual pilgrimage. If the government doesn't agree, threaten to file a discriminatory case at the highest court.
How did we get into this mess ? It probably goes back to the time when modern India was born in 1947. Our leaders were debating what kind of a constitution we should have. It finally boiled down to choosing between an exclusive secular nation (as practised in most Western countries) and all inclusive secular nation. India, unfortunately in my opinion, chose the latter. Check out Shashi Tharoor's Nehru for a detailed story surrounding this. It became obligatory for government to recognize and support and subsidize each and every recognized religious institutions. In my opinion, exclusive secularism as practised by countries in EU, USA is much better. The state does not and need not support any religion and is completely separate from the church. Personally, I don't want my tax money to feed some other random unknown persons spiritual cravings. An all inclusive secularism, in which state tries to support all different kinds of churches, cannot work without being discriminatory one way or the other. For example, newer religions or newer gods find it hard to get acceptance from the state.

Please feel free to add/correct figures to this article in your comments quoting your source as well.

Update1: The Union Budget for 2007-2008 has set aside Rs. 374 crores subsidy for Haj Charters. You can obtain the pdf file from the union budget website by clicking here.

Update2: I wonder what the constitutionality of all these state subsidies for religious promotion is given that article 27 of Indian Constitution reads:
27. Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion.-

No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination.

American held responsible for food wastage.

The Puri temple board, after hours of debating, decided to throw away food cooked for 7000 devotes after a white American "descecrated" the premises by entering the temple. In a country where around 20% of the population hover around the poverty line, this is an awful lot of wastage coming from a temple. I wonder why the temple board couldn't have asked some random priest to just shower the "defiled " food with some slokas and cleansed it instead of burying the whole thing. That surely should have pleased the gods.


Fair and lovelies and dark and uglies

Check out this short documentary made by 17 year old Kiri Davis of Manhattan's Urban Academy. In this movie, 21 black preschool kids we shown two identically but differently colored dolls and asked to pick up the "nice" dolls. Of the 21 kids, 15 chose the white doll and when asked why they liked it, the answer was simply "Because its white". One of the kids is then asked to pick up the doll which looks like her, to which she initially hesitates and then picks the doll she just thought was ugly! Check out the Baltimore Times article for the complete story with some background information.

The clip reminded me of those "Fair n Lovely" ads on TV. For those who don't know what that is, its a facial "power wash" cream made by Hindustan Lever to get rid of your dirty dark skin. The ad shows a dejected dark skinned woman without a boyfriend and a cheerful light skinned woman with a boyfriend. The lucky one then advises the dark one to try "Fair n Lovely" to wash her dark skin to a lovable light one. And lo and behold, the dark skinned turns light and she manages to get guys drool over her.

I don't know if it is in human genes to get attracted to light skin or whether its social conditioning. But there definitely seems to be a preference to light skin. A quick glance through any desi matrimony site will confirm, or atleast corroborate this conjecture. There definitely is an obsession for fair or wheatish ( read white ) skin. There is a phrase in malayalam, "velutha sundari". I have never heard anyone say "karutha sundari". Do check out the article on beauty obsession at indiatogether.org by clicking on the image below.

To end, (many) Indians deserve to be called coconuts. Brown from outside, (aspiring to be) white from inside.


Aishwarya Rai: Almost a modern Paanchali!

How many husbands does Ash have ? Here is the list ( source here ) :
  1. A peepal tree at Benaras.
  2. A banana tree at a Bangalore temple.
  3. A god's idol in Ayodhya.
She is currently engaged to Abhishek Bachchan and hasen't filed for a divorce from her current three husbands. In which case, once they marry, Abhishek will be her fourth husband. Wow, thats pretty impressive for a woman, who Amitabh Bachchan believes is very "domesticated" and "a simple girl". Marry one more without divorcing Abhishek and she will set her own standard.

It's ironic that this same Abhishek showed up in Munnabhai and dared to marry his love without an endorsement from the heavens and an astrologer.


So how much did Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti weigh ?

Given how much hatred there is between Shiites and Sunnis, this could well qualify for a basic physics problem in Shiite science textbooks. Or maybe our Cartman dude from South Park will be delighted to hear a lecture on the cold science of hanging by Ms. Garrison.

It is actually quite easy to explain why Barzan was decapitated while hanging and there is no need to invoke some "divine act" theory as Basam Ridha, the spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office did. My guess is that the hangman didn't take the Official Table of Drops seriously.

John F Burns from New York Times reports that Barzan was dropped about 8 feet (or 2.43 metres) while his hanging. (Btw, according to the drop table, in modern times, a person weighing 51 kgs is given a 8 feet long drop hanging. I find it hard to believe Barzan was only around 51 kg to be given this much drop ). That means, his velocity just before his neck snapped was about 7m/s ( = sqrt(2gh) ). The science of hanging tells us that the amount of force required to snap the neck is about 4,400 Newtons. So, its safe to assume that Barzan probably felt a force of about 5,000 N. Witnesses from the execution chamber claim that just as Barzan was falling, they heard a snap and saw the noose rope fly up "instantaneously". So , lets assume that he was decapitated very quickly and took place in about 1/10 sec. Therefore, the impulse on Barzan was about 5000/10 = 500 N-sec. This impulse is the change in momentum because of the snap. Lets assume that right after the snap, his body velocity decreased to about 1/10th of what it was before the snap, i.e., to about 0.7m/s. That means, if his mass was M, his change in momentum was about 6.3M Newton-sec. This is also equal to 500 Newton-sec. So a reasonably good and crude estimate for his body mass is about 80 kg ( even though lots of assumptions were made in the calculation ) !

In any case, I would argue that Barzan probably has the most painless execution amongst the three who were hanged recently in Iraq even though decapitation "looks" more cruel.

Isn't science cool ? Many times, it definitely is very cold. If you think this calculation is in bad taste, you probably need to face reality and think the same about lots of other stuff including the death penalty.


I did not discover Cao/Zhu and Kleiner/Lott similarities

One of my friends pointed me to some writings floating around in wikipedia, ars mathematica, optimization news, etc with my name as the "discoverer" of plagiarism in Cao/Zhu paper on Poincare conjecture. This blog is to clarify what really happened. Whoever made the original wikipedia entry probably read this blog of mine where I clearly state in the first line itself that the pdf was emailed to me by Jeremy Morgan. I really don't know if the pdf was made by Jeremy Morgan or someone else. Neither do I know who first noticed these similarities. I would like to guess it was Kleiner and Lott themselves. All I did in my blog was to post the pdf file.

In any case, Cao/Zhu have finally published an erratum in the Asian Journal of Mathematics and can be read by clicking here. If you want to read a more detailed version, click here to read the recent arxiv.org posting by the same authors. This time, they renamed their paper to "Hamilton-Perelman’s Proof of the Poincare Conjecture and the Geometrization Conjecture" and clearly state in the beginning of their introduction that the full credit of proving the Poincare conjecture goes to Hamilton and Perelman.


The Ashley Treatment

One of the best "ethics" blogs I have come across. Check out Ashley Treatment. The blog is maintained by parents of Ashley X, a girl child with static encephalopathy. Her parents decided to check her growth, i.e., her height and weight using hormonal treatment. And as expected, the e-moralists have showered them with insults and slander denouncing them as lazy cruel parents who have spayed and stunted her. Remember all the rants by these moralists during the Terri Schiavo incident ?

I read the complete Ashley blog and must admit was quite impressed with its depth and rationality rather than emotional outburst. The only place I felt her parents were becoming a bit defensive was when they state
A fundamental and universal misconception about the treatment is that it is intended to convenience the caregiver; rather, the central purpose is to improve Ashley’s quality of life.
I personally would have no problem even if the intention was to convenience the caregiver and to improve Ashley's life with an equal weightage. Regarding the debates started on this issue, here is what her parents have to say:
We want to avoid sensationalism or philosophical debates about what we did and why we did it. We’d rather care for and enjoy Ashley than get into endless debates. In our opinion, only parents with special-needs children are in a position to fully relate to this topic. Unless you are living the experience, you are speculating and you have no clue what it is like to be the bedridden child or their caregivers. Furthermore, in the case of the female aspects of the treatment, women are in a better position to relate to these aspects and the benefits for which they are intended.
A very frank and sensible position to take. If you enjoy reading stuff on bioethics etc, I strongly recommend reading the complete Ashley Treatment blog.

On a lighter note, the complete South Park episode on heaven, hell, Sony PSP and Terri Schiavo can be seen by clicking on the video below. It won't last long. So see it soon :)


Onion celebrates 6 courageful years of G. W. Bush

Nice, funny interesting collection of "The Onion" news articles on Bush. Healthy way to laugh out and start your new year. Do check out the "Bush Finds Error In Fermilab Calculations" :)