A lighter moment.

Tired and in bad need of more sleep, I was looking for quotes on numerical analysis and mathematical modeling for one of the main chapters in my Dissertation. Of course, everything I came across did not sound anywhere near perfect and so my search continues…

But, along the way, I stumbled upon another Dilbert gem. It’s on lateral thinking. I guess I’m so programmed these days to solving mathematical problems that as soon as I read the second cartoon, without even a forced thought, I’d already solved the puzzle in my mind. Then I read the next one and could not stop smirking for 10 mins. Literally.

I guess, I do need to loosen up a little. Even my marathons had some slow paced intervals. Only another week to go to D-day. And I’m not sure what will drive me this intensely, next …

Colbert Report nails it.

I was watching Colbert Report yesterday and he nailed the ‘Word of the day’ segment, targeting on the recent Christmas day bombing attack in Detroit. Here’s the video.

Colbert Report – January 5, 2010

If you are interested in getting to what I’ve got to say here, just move to 3.0 mins in to the video for “Night of terror: The crapification of American pant-scape”. Five minutes of that segment parodies on the recent reactions to the terror attack and what newscasters suggest we do to prevent further attacks.

Given that everyone here is scared even more because of the recent incident, the outcome of it in the news is just plainly retarded. I’ve watched enough segments lately about it but ‘Racial profiling’, ‘Religious targeting’ and plain disregard for rights in a country that hails itself as the greatest democratic nation seems much, to achieve what is necessary. My comments primarily stems from the fact that for 9 years since 9/11, Americans have been able to suppress any attack from bearing fruition and if anything, the recent incident is just a reminder that it took the terrorists this long to come back with a decent plan to break through the defenses.

The job is always easier for the attacker, whatever the cause, immaterial of the perspective since there is only one motive he needs to achieve. The preparation and tactics necessary to stop them is immense and it is important to keep the focus on what’s relevant and not to start waging wars on random nations again. Starting wars only makes America more of a pariah even if they can come up with thousand reasons to back it up. I abhor Gandhi’s non-violence movement and would have really liked to have given the British what they deserved for terrorizing the Indians with hundreds of years of oppression but my vision is clouded and for reasons I cannot understand, Ahimsa did work. May be a different approach might serve this nation better in the future. Of course, no one gives a shit about my opinion but this is just one man’s thought on a world in chaos.

I think it is apt to end my thought with a quote:

“Fighting terrorism is like being a goalkeeper. You can make a hundred brilliant saves but the only shot that people remember is the one that gets past you.”
– Paul Wilkinson

U.N. calls for nuclear disarmament

Finally, someone said it out loud and is getting everyone riled up on the idea of a world without nuclear weapons. Here’s the article. This is one of those things that might alleviate a lot of concerns for people in the proliferation policy realm but I think it is ineffective and serves a moot point on giving us a false sense of security that the world is safer, even if all the nukes are disarmed.

Why you ask ? Because we are humans. And unlearning physics that is a simple extension of a much more helpful application, i.e., the generation of power from reactors, is quite hard. In fact to quote from the article,

Chinese President Hu Jintao made clear that Beijing had no plans to scrap its nuclear arsenal.

“We will continue to keep our nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security, and make efforts to advance the international disarmament process,” Hu said.

If every country that already has nukes takes a similar stance, and by suggesting arbitrarily that “we will keep our nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security”, there is still reason for countries that want to get in to building nukes to get a nuclear status and respect from fear. And yes, I’m talking about North Korea, Iran and may be Brazil specifically.

But we strive, and that is probably a good thing. At least, we are heading in the right direction…

A.Q. Khan on Pakistan’s Nuclear Program

I just came across a very interesting and revealing interview with A.Q. Khan who was on house arrest till early February this year for his involvement in organizing one of history’s worst nuclear scandals. The transcript of the interview is available over here and is worth the time in gaining insight on the dynamics, timelines and even the budget involved for Pakistan’s nuclear program.

[Malik] When did you come to believe that now you had the weapons-grade uranium?

[Khan] In Kahuta, we achieved 60 percent result in our enrichment program; it was a
very difficult task though. We faced a lot of challenges in the ensuing stages but
successfully managed to overcome them, and we had achieved 90 percent result in the
//enrichment// program by the early 1983.

[Malik] So when was the bomb ready?

[Khan] It was ready by 1984. I wrote a letter to Gen Zia on 10 December 1984, telling
him that the weapon was ready and that we could detonate it on a notice of one week.

[Malik] Why did you not decide to test that device as soon as it was ready?

[Khan] We were allying with the United States in the Afghan war. The aid was coming.
We asked Gen Zia and his team to go ahead with the test, but they said they could not
conduct the test as it would have serious repercussions. They argued that, since the
United States had to overlook our nuclear program due to our support in the Afghan
war, it was an opportunity for us to further develop the program. They said the tests
could be conducted any time later.

Even though there is no value in pointing fingers at anybody, it is horrifying that repercussions of the US involvement in the Afghan region is still coming back to bite everyone, US included, in diabolical ways. Read the rest of the transcript to get a better perspective on things.

Link to the transcript in PDF via Secrecy News.

The new Russian bomb

I am sure you’ve heard the news already and seen the video of the explosion a million times. That is unless you are living under a rock. The new bomb is supposed to be completely free of nuclear materials but still delivers the “boom” that would be expected of a nuclear device. Quite interesting and a little scary considering that Putin has been sacking and [shuffling][1] his cabinet recently to fit the profile he wants. Is this an attempt by Putin to bring Russia back into a state of global power ? Time will tell.

Anyway, without diverging further, let me give you an excerpt from an article on the new Russian test. From [CNN][2]

The Russian military has successfully tested what it described as the world’s most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered bomb, Russia’s state television reported Tuesday.

The bomb’s detonation is shown in this image taken from videotape.

It was the latest show of Russia’s military muscle amid chilly relations with the United States.

Channel One television said the new weapon, nicknamed the “dad of all bombs” is four times more powerful than the U.S. “mother of all bombs.”

“The tests have shown that the new air-delivered ordnance is comparable to a nuclear weapon in its efficiency and capability,” said Col.-Gen. Alexander Rukshin, a deputy chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, said in televised remarks. Video Watch Russian bomb test »

Unlike a nuclear weapon, the bomb doesn’t hurt the environment, he added.

[Read more][3] …

YESSS ! It doesn’t hurt the environment ! That should keep the global warming fanatics quiet. You showed them Russia. Way to go.

Btw, also found a nice video of the test, an official release from the Russian government. I should say, the mushroom clouds get me all tingly every time I see it on video. Let’s hope I’ll never have to see that in person during my life !!

[1]: http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID=%7BD4D1CE98-0E9E-4D3D-B679-87653783A9E8%7D)&language=EN [2]: http://www.cnn.com [3]: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/09/12/russia.bomb.ap/

Trivia : Defense related