India Vs United States

No, unlike what the title suggests, this ain’t a war or a competition. It is just a comparison that caught my eye. Literally. Here’s one of the comparisons.

India Vs US Economy

Some of the comparisons are quite interesting and mind boggling. But it is unfair in many cases due to the fact that the results are not normalized based on available land area and/or total population. I mean literacy rate, murder rate and beer drinking capita seem way off, just to name a few. No but seriously, the results are informative and if truly factual, gives a nice overview of avenues for India to improve.

Link via India Vs United States: Economy, People, Environment & Military.

I am very proud on how far we have come and maintained the stability and growth with more than a billion people in a land that’s only twice the size of Texas. And all that, without leaving behind much of the cultural heritage and the vagaries of languages and religion omnipresent in every corner. There is so much I want to do for her, but so little time, before I go to sleep…

More dirty jobs, in science

I am a big fan of Mike Rowe, from the “Dirty Jobs” fame and have a fascination to really weird jobs that people have to do, every day, while I sit here in front of my computer, complaining about the compiler spewing out unrecognizable error messages, in a nice air-conditioned room, with a cup of hot coffee by my side. Of course, people do these jobs, not because they entirely like it but most times, these jobs are so specialized that the bang for the buck is usually high. This might particularly true for the weird jobs you encounter in scientific fields.

And yes, all that rant does lead to something sensible. I stumbled on to this video with a description by the assistant editor of Popular Science Magazine. He lists a few of these kooky professions and what it takes in a honest day’s work. Watch it below.

And I remembered, during one of my tours of a nuclear power plant, someone mentioned how they had a problem in one of their spent nuclear pools and a nuclear pool diver came to the rescue to set things straight. I was of course, baffled by this whole idea of a human being submerged in such a hostile environment but later realized, this was another one of those “on a need to do” professional occupations. Here’s are couple of sites that gives more information about the the nuclear divers.

1) Life of a Nuclear Diver.
2) Nuclear Divers, A Definite Breed
3) And to end this post, another great video of a dive walk through inside the Phenix nuclear plant, in France. The audio is in French but the video is worth a thousand words.

Very interesting and that is just way too cool for words !

I salute Team Hoyt

There are several inspiring moments that motivate me everyday, to run and push myself, greater and beyond what I thought was physically possible, for me. But this story about a father and son, who have run 60 marathons (25 of them the Boston Marathon), 6 Ironman Triathlons (composed of 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 116 mile bike ride and then a 26 mile maraton), and other races for a total of nearly 1000 events, takes pushing the limits, to a whole new level.

Kudos to Team Hoyt.

Most Powerful Supercomputers: Brains and Beauty

A very impressive collection of photos about supercomputers, from Konrad Zuse’s apparatus to few of the rather not-so-famous flop burners of the recent years… Interesting. I was wondering why they had left out RoadRunner of recent fame but then a quick search on google yields the updated full list for anyone interested.

“Is there a God,” and said machine answers, “There is now.”

via Dark Roasted Blend: Most Powerful Supercomputers: Brains and Beauty.

PS: On a side note, I stumbled upon a list of the fastest supercomputers in India.

I probably evolved from Cockroach

I am not sure if I should be happy or sad about this recent finding. Apparently, Cockroaches are quite intelligent during the night while are quite retarded during the early hours of the day. Well, the article reminds me of someone I know. ME !

Yes. I would like to think that I am probably one of those weird offsprings in the evolution of nature, adapted to live quite contended during the night while needing adequate amounts of caffeine to keep myself awake during the day. And hence, productivity suffers as a function of my clock.

Sadly, most people around me are quite happy working during the day, causing me great distress. If only everyone didn’t evolve individually, they’d all be just like me, loving their wonderful nocturnal life. But then, where will the vagary in nature come from 😉

A gesture unlike anything i’ve seen before

Most of you probably have read the news that Warren Buffet has given the Gates foundation over 32 billion $, around 80% of his wealth to help and improve the charity work the foundation is involved in. I am just overwhelmed by the beauty of the gesture, not just because it is 32b $ but primarily because of the fact that for someone in that position, giving out more than half the life’s earnings, an empire, away as donation needs a lot of understanding, benevolence and thought.

Some might argue that when somebody has 40b $ as assets, it should be easy to give away 32b $. But in my opinion, that is one of the best philanthropic action i’ve seen in my short life till now. I personally respect Gates for the huge effort and involvement in the foundation and all the support he has provided to eradicate diseases in the different third world countries. I am glad to see that someone is willing to spend time, money and effort to accomplish this when even the respective governments are having a hard time to stay afloat.

Kudos to Buffet for the thought and i pray that the Gates foundation will make an impact and improve the overall human lifestyle, all over the world !

Here’s an excerpt from one of the articles i’ve read on the news. Read on.

Warren Buffett, 75, known as the Oracle of Omaha for his stock-picking ability, is a quintessential capitalist and the world’s second-richest man. He’s also no fan of greed, or of inherited wealth.

Rather than pass on his $44 billion fortune to his adult children, whom he notes are already quite well-off, Buffett announced Sunday that he is giving away the bulk of his assets to a foundation run by his friends, Bill and Melinda Gates. This will double the $1.5 billion that the world’s richest foundation spends annually — mostly on health and education programs.

The gift is notable in several ways.

First, its sheer size. The donation makes industrialist benefactors such as John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie look almost stingy and is rivaled only by the Gateses’ own gifts of $25.9 billion. Calculating the impact that money might have is impossible, but neither Buffett nor the Gateses think small. “There’s no reason we can’t cure the world’s 20 deadliest illnesses,” Bill Gates said Monday.

They might.

The gift also underscores a little-noticed trend: a renaissance in philanthropy. In 2004, the latest year for which data exist, the USA had 70,000 foundations — double the number a decade earlier. They gave away $33 billion.

But perhaps most striking is the way Buffett’s decision stands out in this greed-is-good era, in which, to cite one example of gross excess, the average pay for top hedge-fund managers last year exceeded $360 million.

To a large degree, of course, wealth-building — if not outright greed — is good. Before they gave away a dime, Buffett and Gates created jobs and raised people’s living standards by building spectacularly successful companies. But when should the wealth-building stop?

“I don’t believe in dynastic wealth,” Buffett has said, likening inherited wealth to choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold medal winners in the 2000 Olympics. That’s why he opposes efforts to repeal the estate tax, saying that without it, America would have an aristocracy based on inherited wealth instead of a meritocracy that rewards ability and drive.

As Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism, said in 1759 of generous capitalists, Buffett feels it’s in his self-interest to help others “though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.” Here’s hoping others heed the message.