Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two nice articles for Global Warming Skeptics

They are both published in BBC and I am just providing the links. They are fairly short and you must be able to read them quickly. Some of the points covered in these articles are the ones I have already covered in my previous articles on environment.

Unravelling the sceptics

Climate scepticism: The top 10

I still have to write in details on the effects of individual contributions on reducing Global Warming and other numerous environmental benefits. Keep checking this place.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Diwali 2007 at Virginia Tech

See this video for what Indian Students Association has to offer this year at Diwali celebration!


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Global Warming: An issue or just politics?

Background: Virginia Tech has come up with a campaign where each Virginia Tech member, faculty, staff and alumni will promise 10 hours of community service as a tribute to the victims of April 16, 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.  Different people have promised community work in several organizations in and around Blacksburg and elsewhere.  I also promised 10 hours of community work. To utilize these 10 hours, I wanted to set up a stall in a grocery shop talking to people about buying reusable grocery bags and stop using petroleum based plastic grocery bags. I also wanted to use that occasion to talk to people one to one about several environmental issues as well.

Now what happened: I chose Kroger grocery store for this place as they have started selling reusable bags recently and it generally has crowds of lots of young students.  I went to talk to the Kroger Manager today and he outrightly rejected the proposal. He did not like the fact that I was being supported by Sierra Club. He said the organization was too political.  He added on to that I will be talking about environmental issue specifically "Global Warming" which is a political issue.  He said this might (or definitely will) annoy some of their customers and he didn't want his customers to complain.

"Global warming, a political issue?"  I was really surprised to hear that.  I have always considered that to be an environmental issue.  As per as normal IQ goes global warming is a phenomena by which the greenhouses gases absorb heat which makes this planet inhabitable.  The balance of greenhouses is delicately maintained by several natural processes.  However, several human activities increase these greenhouses gases in atmosphere and are causing the increase in global temperature.  There are several serious repercussions of this increase in temperature and I have discussed some of them in my previous posts related to environment.

I have followed several discussions and read several articles but I am not convinced that global warming is a political issue and it should not be taken that way. It's an issue of screwing up the mother nature which inhabits us.

On a positive note, a grocery store at Blacksburg agreed to my proposal instantly.  They will get reusable grocery bags so that I will use this occasion and convince people to use them. The grocery bags will be sold at cost price as well. The store manager also gave me several ideas to organize that stall.  At the end of the day I was able to convince one store of my idea.  I will let you know how that goes.

Let me know what do you think,


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

When technology pulls us backward

Couple of years back wireless Internet became ubiquitous and it became available on airports, hotels, restaurants, cafes everywhere. With the widespread availability of Internet, businesses took it as opportunity and started to sell the usage of Internet at these public places.

Now, to get access to wireless Internet at most of these public places, you need to sign up for some monthly service or pay exorbitant amount of money through credit card. So, you have to pay upwards of $7 if you want to check your mail real quick on an airport or even Starbucks. In the hotels also, the Internet is getting extremely costly. We went to a conference in Minneapolis, MN in summers and the rate of Internet was as high as $15.00 per day. Although we are in highly advanced world most of the people were not using Internet until they really really had to. On a sidenote, however, there are still couple of places with free Internet without any registration and sanity. One of them is Denny's restaurants. You can find them on almost all the highways in US.

At Virginia Tech, we can buy licenses for many software to work. I wanted to buy the server edition of MATLAB but its annual license expires in couple of months. So whether I buy the software in Jan or Dec, I pay the same amount and need to renew it in January. How is that for technology? Now many a software are server edition, that means they will work only if I have Internet. So, if I get stuck in an airport or I am staying in a hotel with costly Internet and I want to work on my laptop, I have to pay for that costly internet just for my software to work.

To me technology means efficiency. If something is not efficient, its not advanced, whether its a car or a computer system. We have recently experienced many popular software like MS Windows, ESRI (ArcGIS), are getting bloated and inefficient.

Anyway, I went to a Starbucks few days back. Besides the fact that they did not have Internet at all, that place was supercold. I asked if they could do anything about it, they told me that the temperature was controlled by a central unit and they cannot do anything about it. Besides the fact that temperature outside was in upwards of 80, workers in that place were wearing warmer clothes, and I was not able to sit there for long because of that cold temperature. This technology of air conditioning is supposed to make us feel comfortable, or uncomfortable and blatantly waste huge amounts of energy. I have felt this central AC crap many a times before as well. I know in some offices people keep heaters to counter the cold AC. The most stupid way to waste energy.

In Virginia Tech library last week, the temperature inside was too high in the evening as it became a little colder outside. And since it was controlled automatically, people had no option than to feel hot. In my department there is a classroom with special air conditioning unit. And the AC switches on as soon as somebody enters in it. It also makes it colder than that starbucks. The whole time in that class you wait for it to get over, get out and feel better. How is that for technology?



Al Gore and IPCC won the Nobel prize for peace, for their efforts in raising awareness about Global Warming. I take this space to congratulate IPCC and Al Gore both and I hope it will raise some more awareness.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Those five minutes of wait at the parking lot today...

I was waiting at the parking lot in front of my department today. There was a lady sitting in a Jeep Cherokee (which is already a gas guzzler) with engine on and was talking to somebody on phone. I was there for five minutes and I am sure that lady was there before I came and she must have been there for sometime after I left.

All those five minutes, I was about to go and ask her to switch her engine off, but I didn't do as she was talking on phone. I kept thinking, what would make people realize that we waste too much; "An inconvenient Truth?" information pamphlets? exorbitant price of energy (gas, electricity)? rationing? a morality class...

I was at a party at my friends place few days back. The party was a lot of fun no doubt, but one thing really disturbed me was that everybody was throwing the bottles and cans of beer in trash. I believe we could have had as much fun if there were boxes for recycling those cans and bottles. I realized that talking about something like this at that party would not have been welcomed, but should I have said something there? What do you think? Should I have said something to the women in incidence above? Would you have said something if you were there?

From what I believe; in this arrogance of money, power and youth, we must not forget our responsibility to our Mother Earth.

On a positive note, I started using Kroger Canvas Shopping Bags for shopping and I think I saved about 100 plastic bags in last couple of months. Also, in the Graduate Student meeting today in my Department I suggested students to bring their own cups for drinks to reduce wastage, and the suggestion was well received. I hope it will help :).


To read my other posts on Environment, click here.
Join me on Change.org if you wish

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Email is an important tool - Use it wisely

I have been thinking to write on this topic for a long time because I realize that emailing habits and its use is changing rapidly which has its good and mostly bad effects. Emails have become so ubiquitous that some people have stopped realizing its importance. I believe there are several points regarding emails that people must know for a better experience with such a great tool.

1. Subject of Email - Always give a subject to your email. Long or short-but it should tell what a person should expect in the email. 'No Subject' emails can be more often considered as spam by spam filters. Never capitalize all the letter of email subject, it will increase the chances of your email be considered a spam.

2. Mail Forwarding - Avoid this temptation as much as you can. Do not forward the mails which say 'Forward this mail to so many people, else xyz will happen.' If the mail is interesting and you really want to forward it, remove this line and other stuff which adds because the mail comes through so many places. Add the addresses in BCC, so that it will be difficult for unscrupulous program to harvest email addresses form your mail. If you keep on forwarding emails regularly without cleaning as I mentioned earlier, you might be flagged as spammer by many servers. Even if servers do not flag as spammer, many recipients will. I know I would.

3. Emails are not instant messaging - The person might be reading your mail at the instant you wrote or may be few days later. Try to be a little explanatory in your emails. Make sure there are few (no) spelling mistakes and not many acronyms are used. Write the emails in a structured way unless they are a quick reply to a question. Especially when you are writing emails to a professional contact, you must maintain proper structure of the mail without spelling mistakes.

4. Proper mail structure - Proper mail structure means; clear subject of the mail and the mail should start with Dear/Respected, then subject matter and end with Sincerely or regards with proper contact information as signature. A mail with improper structure may be flagged as spam and that happens quite often.

5. Mail management - My suggestion is that if you do not know how to manage emails or cannot do that, do not use email. It is extremely frustrating when somebody says that they didn't receive emails (If I send email to you then you will receive it). In rare chance it might be considered a spam, and so it is important to check a list of your spam emails regularly and block unnecessary emails. Filter your mails to proper label or folder for proper viewing and management. Set up a fixed time to reply to mails.

6. Be careful what you write in email - Emails are pretty much a proof and do not destroy themselves. So, if you badmouth about someone on an email, be ready for that email to be used against yourself at the worst of times. This lesson is mostly learned the hard way, unfortunately.

7. Orkut/Facebook are different than email - People forget that quite often. Orkut/Facebook are for writing short messages and wishing at the right occasions, may be forming some group or collaboration. Scraps are not for writing long, detailed and/or personal messages for the world to see. Do not use very personalized words like abuses as well in scraps. Scrapbook is the worst place for that.

8. Maintaining multiple email accounts - Many people maintain multiple email accounts with one as a work email, one as contact email and one for signing up for subscriptions and spams. It is important then to give correct email address to people whose emails you want to read and reply. If you have somebody's work email, do not forward funny or viral mails to that account at all.

If the mails are managed properly and attended to regularly, you can accomplish several important tasks through the emails itself. In the following post, I would talk about managing emails in a little more detail.

Let me know if you find above tips useful.

My other posts related to computing.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Global Warming and so called severe effects on our life style

I wrote following article for Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech. The articles was published in its edited form and the online version was not published either. Following is the original letter.

It has been amusing to see how Collegiate Times chooses its article and letters. I wrote one article for Collegiate Times on “Global Warming and Scientific Uncertainty,” which talked about how a familiar term in scientific literature is constantly being abused by people who want to negate the concept of global warming. I wrote another article about how Oil and Gas companies are using the Global Warming in their benefit by starting to drill in pristine Arctic. Later, I published both of them in my blog. Collegiate Times didn’t find both of them worthy enough to publish, but they definitely found the article by Tim Edison “Global Warming doesn’t tell the whole truth.” I am not expecting this article to publish in Collegiate Time either, but it might be worth a try.

There are several holes in Tim’s article, but I want to discuss the most ridiculous statement by Tim Edison “..before enacting policies which will inexorably alter our way of life and damage our economy.” I cannot understand how anything you do to reduce global warming can affect your life style and American economy. I am trying to list some changes which I did in my life and want you as a reader to analyze if it can affect anybody negatively. I am listing their positive effects except their effect in reducing global warning.

1. Recycle: I recycle most of the waste generated in house and office, (although feel bad that there is not good way to recycle biologically decomposable waste in Blacksburg). By recycling I feel happier for needing lesser space in land fills, lower number of cut trees, and reduced pollution.

2. Reduced Wastage: I have called the companies to stop sending me mail marketing offers and catalogs. That saves some trees, my time, space and wastage.

3. Using less electricity: By switching off devices when they are not required, using low power bulbs, increasing AC temperature by couple of degrees, making my apartment complex to replace my windows with double pane glasses, I save something on electricity. I feel good for lower electricity bills, lower coal usage, cleaner air and lower pollution. I hope it will result in future generations with lower breath related problems and other side effects.

4. Reusable grocery bags: I got them from Kroger, and feel very great to use less petroleum based grocery bags. Again they are product of petroleum and we all know its story. In last month, I think I avoided about 100 grocery bags by using reusable canvas bags.
5. Higher mileage car and maintaining it properly Lower gas bills, cleaner air, reduced dependence on non-renewable energy source and I hope not another war for oil (Hold your breath for Iran and Arctic area).

These and several other small things, I and some of my friends practice and I don’t think these are affecting our life style severely. These changes in life style will definitely give positive feeling and help you solve several global problems. Reducing wastage is the key to survive. These adjustments in your life style can at least save you some money, and in the time where every American is born with a debt of $8000, I think it is wise to save a little bit of money. Not changing the life style will only affect the economy of those companies who do not want their consumers to get intelligent and want them to consume and waste as much as they can.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Story of Bhasmasur

In Hindu scriptures, there is a story of a person who became demon named Bhasmasur.That person did a lot of praying to “Lord Shiva” (a Hindu God) for long time.Lord Shiva became happy and asked him what he wished for. The person requested for a power to destroy (Bhasma) anybody he wished for, just like we want to have more and more arms and weapons. Lord Shiva fulfilled his wish and said he can destroy anybody by putting his hand over their head, and that person’s name became “Bhasmasur” (Bhasma = Destroy, Asur = Demon). Just like we can aim and shoot anybody whom we like using guns, airplanes, may be satellites.

Since Bhasmasur had power to destroy anybody he grew stronger and stronger and in the lust for more power he planned to destroy Lord Shiva himself to become more powerful. Just like when we arm another country or group who comes back to us after some years. Anyways, Lord Shiva got scared and ran to another God “Lord Vishnu” and requested his help. Lord Vishnu said Bhasmasur has become very strong and now he can be killed with his own power only. So Lord Vishnu made a plan and disguised himself as a beautiful seducing woman and went to Bhasmasur.

As soon as Bhasmasur saw this woman he proposed her. The woman (Lord Vishnu) said that for her to accept his invitation, he will have to dance with her. Bhasmasur accepted and started dancing with the woman. While dancing, the woman kept her hand over head, Bhasmasur - lost in the intoxication of extreme power and lust, in an attempt to copy her, kept his hand over his own head and destroys himself.

I have heard this story from my parents a few times since childhood, and it’s interesting to see so many of its live practical examples everywhere. We can relate it to the amount of weapons on Earth which can destroy all life on earth multiple times, we can relate it to arming the groups or countries who come back to us, we can relate it to a concept of arming each and every person with a handgun, or rifle as a measure to protect human life (we forget that the soldiers in Iraq are far more equipped, still close to 4000 of them have died and many after Iraq lost the war), we can relate it to the amount of pollution human being has created to destroy Earth’s natural processes (and not accept it) and so forth.

The story has been repeated since human civilization for ages and being repeated again. One of the latest example is the "mistaken" flight of nuclear bomb all over the US in B52 bomber. Although, the science and knowledge has improved a lot since human being appeared on this earth - our dressing style has changed, we use internet, we fly airplanes, but have we become really civilized since then? I wrote an article in Collegiate Times long back and said that may be it’s a right time to watch an old movie called “Gandhi,”I think it will always be right to time watch it once more.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oil and Oil everywhere

EDIT on Sep 12, 2007: Arctic sea ice cover at record low

It has been amusing to see several lobbies trying to make us believe that Global Warming is a hoax, and it is more amusing to see many of these lobbies are partially or fully funded by Oil Giants. Their effort against the concept of Global Warming and the impact of human being on Global Warming did show some results and there is still a good amount of confusion regarding this concept. As a result of this confusion, many people do not take this concept seriously and some who started conservation as a part of their life are not so serious about it or are dubious about it. Although there is a good amount of people who are trying their best to reduce their footprints on Earth, this problem needs attention from each one of us.

There has been news for quite sometime regarding the conflict we are starting to see in Arctic Circle of Earth. Arctic is on extreme North of Earth and it used to be covered by ice mostly until recently. As a side-effect of Global Warming though, the ice in the Arctic area is melting. Due to the melting and reduction in ice cover of this area more and more sunlight is being absorbed instead of reflecting back to atmosphere, which is further increasing the rate of melting of ice. The temperature in this area is increasing at double the rate of rest of the Earth.

So what?

Arctic is extremely rich in oil and gas. And now that the ice is melting fast it is feasible to extract these resources from Arctic area. But who owns Arctic? Russia always claimed it to be its part, Canada is there too, USA always had an interest in Arctic and then we have Denmark. The thirst for Oil is deadly, and we have already seen it in the form of Iraq war. And to get an idea of the amount of the resources in Arctic for which the world is thirsty, "It contains about 40% of the world's requirement of Energy."

Also, now that companies are trying to fetch the resources from Arctic, they are going to ruin that place as well. God Forbid, if we see a war for that area then I don't think we will have the Earth or Environment to save.

Let’s hope for some sane policies for the whole humanity in coming days. Do your best to save the environment and pray that these companies do not spoil some more of Earth's pristine areas in Arctic.


Relevant Links:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Broken Drinking Water Fountains at Public Places

I am the kind of person who hates to pay to buy a small bottle of water and increase waste. I always carry a bottle of water with me and refill it whenever possible. However, I notice that the public drinking water fountains at most of the rest areas, malls and other public locations in United States do not work properly or do not work at all.

Nonfunctional drinking water fountains appear so systematic that I think they are kept nonfunctional under some scam. It may be that the companies which sell bottled water make sure that these fountains do not work so they can sell more and more of their bottled water. I have taken road trips more than 1000 mile long in a stretch and I rarely found a good water fountain even at State Welcome Centers. If they work, they take forever to fill a small water bottle, or the flow is so small that you cannot fill bottle completely.

I went to San Francisco Center (Westfield Mall), and the water fountain there was not working at all. This place as its name suggests is the center of major activities in San Francisco, and always has lots of tourists in its vicinity. Nonfunctional water fountain at such a major location do need an explanation. I found the water fountain at Mall of America, Minneapolis not working properly either. At Squires Student Center, Virginia Tech, the water fountain at the most prime location is real bad. The water comes out of it, but neither can you drink it nor can you fill it because the flow is small. That fountain has been broken for at least last five years, and I have complained couple of times about it.

The other place where I saw poor drinking water fountain was in an Amusement Park, Great America in Santa Clara, CA.

I think there must be some kind of inquiry to find out if this is really a scam, or at least these water fountains must be repaired for people who want to use these fountains. Did you see a non functional water fountain at a place you didn't expect? Do comment about that.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Repeal the VA "Civil Remedial Fees" for Traffic Offenses Petition

Please sign the petition against the ridiculous traffic violations fine in Virginia. To read more about these new fines, read here.

To sign the petition, click on the link below.
Repeal the VA "Civil Remedial Fees" for Traffic Offenses Petition


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lets Try and Act like Human, For a Change

I have noticed on many occasions that we always try to subscribe to a set of theories or theorists while we discuss or analyze an issue. More often than not we also assign the person to be a subscriber of a theory or theorist while we discuss something.

We become liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, christian or hindu or Muslim or representative of some other religion, we become ardent supporter of Global Warming concept or go totally against it, we talk about extreme gun control or providing everyone with guns, and so forth. In essence, we tie ourselves to many chains of prejudices or theories before getting into the ring or discussing or resolving any issue.

The point of discussion becomes "how to convince other with my thoughts," and then nobody listens to anybody. We always think our theory is important than anything else in this world. The people who lobby strongly in support or against of any issue are politicians and media and then they always make left or right of an issue to be more important than issue itself.

Then we either follow Bush or Al Gore, Glenn Beck or Michael Moore, CNN or FOX, BJP or Congress. I also think that's how the choices are presented to us as well.

Surprisingly small interests start playing major role in big problems. It can be easily observed that we rarely see any consensus or resolution in solving big problems of world, country or region(s). Be it poverty, hunger, AIDS, deteriorating environmental conditions, increasing world population etc.

The next tome you try and discuss anything or resolve anything, try and act like human, untie the shackles you are bound with, free up your prejudices, just think what your contribution is or what your contribution should be towards a better world. Just be humans, for a change.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Letter to Blacksburg Mayor - Ban Plastic Bags

As a resident of Blacksburg, I wrote the following mail to Mayor of Blacksburg. The vice mayor promised me to look into the matter. I hope they do. I would suggest you to do the same in your home town and city and country. Its the pressure from common people like us that will help in tackling the issues like this.

Letter Starts here---

Mr. Ron Rordam
Blacksburg Mayor
Blacksburg, VA.
Dear Mr. Rordam:

I have been a proud resident of Blacksburg for nearly 5 years now. The town has long had a reputation of being technology savvy, and has been quite ahead of its time in many ways. The town boasts a wealth of educated people from diverse backgrounds, one of its major strengths.

I recently stumbled upon a CNN news article that described how San Francisco has banned the usage of plastic grocery bags. They estimate saving more than 450,000 gallons of oil, as well as the massive waste of grocery bags that are not recycled--it's a known fact that less than 2% of grocery bags are recycled. I feel it is important for Blacksburg to follow this idea as well. This would definitely be a great service to the earth, and contribute to reducing our carbon footprint. Blacksburg has residents from all around the world, and anything positive in Blacksburg will definitely affect the thinking of people around the world.

I have also noticed that several Blacksburg showrooms, banks, and shops have a lot of their lights switched on even after they are closed. I believe that these commercial places must be somehow regulated or requested to use only a small and specific amount of electricity when they are closed. Reducing this wastage at idle hours will definitely affect the environment, and I believe that it would be easy to convince businesses to do that.

It would be great to see the town of Blacksburg coming with some other initiatives as well (like phasing out incandescent lamps in the next two years, planting extra trees on a monthly basis or having an aggressive recycling program). It's important for us to act today as we are damaging the environment every day.



--Letter Ends here

Relevant News Articles
English Town Bans Plastic Bags
Paper or Plastic

"What are you waiting for?"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Global Warming and Scientific Uncertainty

Recently with the global warming issue getting hotter and hotter, a term which is being used and misused a lot to prove or mostly disprove the global warming concept is "Scientific Uncertainty." This term has been in use in the scientific world ever since scientist started to predict anything. Mathematical models are very popular tools to simulate most of the physical processes. These simulations are conducted to predict how a system will behave in future under different conditions. Now, these predictions always have some amount of uncertainty in them and it is very different than being wrong or inaccurate. There are several reasons for this uncertainty but the major reasons can be classified as knowledge uncertainty and stochastic variability. The knowledge uncertainty is due to the improper understanding of the system and stochastic variability is the natural property of the system being modeled.

The knowledge uncertainty can be decreased with improved understanding of the system, whereas stochastic variability can only be quantified. In the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, we work on several hydrologic and water quality models. The predictions from all of these models have some inherent uncertainty due to above stated reasons. The scientific community acknowledges this uncertainty and a lot of research are conducted to reduce it and/or quantify it. The truth however is that a scientist, especially working with natural systems, cannot take into account all possible reasons of uncertainty. In spite of this uncertainty in predictions from these models, these predictions are widely used. For example, the predictions from hydrologic models are used in designing hydraulic structures, the predictions from water quality models are used in preparing watershed management plans and so forth. The hydraulic structures help in water management, flood control, water supply and so forth. Watershed management plans help in reduction of pollution, improved ecological conditions, increased productivity in watershed etc. If we start giving more thought to the uncertainty in modeling and stop building these structures and making plans, where would world be? As an example, if we had given more weight to the concept of scientific uncertainty than its worth then the waters in United States would be still be polluted.

Similarly, if we give more weight to uncertainty of ten, twenty or thirty percent in the predictions of global warming then we will miss the big picture। The truth is "Globe is Warming," and there are higher chances of humans to be responsible for that. I would go for that higher chance and act as if I am responsible for Global Warming, and I need to fix it no matter how miniscule my effect may be. Moreover, whatever needs to be done to reduce our carbon footprint in nature falls in the purview of common sense as well. Doesn't it?


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Accessibility to Guns: Lets Talk About It

This is the copy of my article published in Collegiate Times at Virginia Tech. To read the article in collegiate times, click here.

After the tragic incident of shooting at Virginia Tech, I heard lots of views in support and against of "Gun Control". As an international student at Virginia Tech, my view is affected by this incident as well as my background. In any case, I think whenever the discussions regarding Gun Control starts, people try to be in support or against of it, the focus of discussion moves to counter other person’s argument and the main issue stays unresolved. While still shocked with the incident, I was listening to a radio show where the host very aggressively said that, if more people had gun in the campus, they would have shot the killer before he could wreak such havoc. Such kind of argument influenced by one line of thought without proper analysis is extremely disturbing.

The major point to discuss here is that Gun Control doesn't mean snatching the gun from every person who has it, it rather means that how to make sure that a weapon like gun which can kill so many people stay with only those people who really have concerns regarding their safety. The current gun law allows the citizens to bear arms for their safety and to fight against tyrannical government. Most of us know today that citizens cannot fight their government today with the kind of weapons citizens can get hold of. As far as safety is concerned, it is a valid point.

Now, to be able to drive a vehicle, a person has to demonstrate his/her ability to handle the car by theoretical and practical tests, because improper use of a vehicle can be dangerous to the person using it and other on the road as well. However, to get the gun you just need a state ID, and you do not have to demonstrate your ability to handle the gun. To get a hunting license, a person needs to pass a test, but to get a gun you do not need to go through any of these formalities. As far as background checks are considered, they are conducted only if you buy gun from a shop, but not if you buy it from a gun fair or from your neighbor.

The guns for hunting and guns for safety should be segregated completely and also the kind of ammunition that can be used in each case. The next point of talk is the availability of ammunition. You all have the idea of the amount of ammunition the killer could buy for this Virginia Tech rampage. For safety, the amount of ammunition needs to be rationed, and extra ammunition should only be supplied if approved by the police. For shooting practice, a person should be able to buy ammunition only at the shooting range and unused ammunition must be returned back to the facility where shooting practice is done.

Now when somebody says that everybody should have gun and that way the society will be safe is a baseless argument Picture this, how safe all the international community and small kids (who cannot have gun, legally) will feel if everybody in Blacksburg had a gun. Now extrapolate it for the whole country. There is a brawl in downtown every other weekend, what would the end result be if everybody had a gun? Personally, I would not like to carry a gun, because I will have to take care of gun's safety more than the safety it will provide to me.

There could be several more arguments in support and against of gun law, but most of the argument are manifestation of people's personal opinion and experience. I think its time to move towards a more non-violent society and enjoy the comfort of safety in non-violence.

I think this is the right time to watch an old movie "Gandhi."


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mumbai Deluge: Are we going to see more of that in future


Not probable, but a definite yes.

The current IPCC report mentions that due to rising sea levels drainage in Mumbai will become a big problem, which will result in more floodings with smaller storms. The groundwater is expected to become saline as well. The exceprt from a report in NDTV are below.

"It could be a city of catastrophe with 30 years from now the sea could begin its reclamation of Mumbai."Water in the city will become more saline, especially ground water. The drainage system will also bear the brunt. We have seen in the past during the Mumbai floods that the drains were completely clogged, because of which there was serious damage to life and property," said Dr R K Pachauri, Chairman, IPCC."

Link to the report

The effects of global warming are becoming more and more certain but we cannot do anything, because we "CANNOT" change our lifestyle. We don't have time to recycle, don't have patience to reuse the paper printed on one side, we do not have enough time to bike, or go by bus or walk, we cannot change our bulbs to CFLs, we cannot wash our clothes with warm water rather than hot water, we cannot put proper insulations in our house, we cannot switch off appliances when not needed, we cannot carry cloth bags to grocery store and there are so many things we cannot do.

Still, if you are one of few who would like to reduce your waste contribution to the environment, there are number of things you can do. Need ideas, visit http://change.org, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6532323.stm

Lets not be "So Much" responsible for screwing our only Mother Earth.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

BPD ready to contest election in UP

Edit: This is the announcement on BPD's site regarding UP elections.

Bharat Punarnirman Dal contesting election for more than 20 seats in UP
Some of you might know that BPD launched somewhere this year as a new political party with fresh ideas and young blood. I took an interview of Its Vice President and acting spokesperson Mr. Ravi Kishore. During the interview we discussed a lot of things from the meaning of name of BPD, its vision, IIT Tag, inspiration and so forth.

The party recently announced their plans for upcoming elections in UP. I am really hopeful of their good show during these elections. I hope to see a fresh breeze especially for UP. The current and last few governments at UP (mostly true for whole India as well) have worked on small objectives driven by smaller interests. The state and country needs some radical changes in its thinking, expectations, vision and consequently its work.

The new party may not have a panacea for every problem out there but an overhaul of the work culture, missions and objectives will definitely solve majority of the issues for India. Following are some quotes by Ravi during the interview, I thought were interesting.

"The country itself has not really evolved very strategically from the beginning."
--Answering the question regarding the meaning of the name of BPD

"Its not difficult to get inspired to get into active politics .............The inspiration to get into politics comes very easily. This is a one billion population country, and you just see the profile of the 543 people sitting in the Indian parliament or you look at the profile of any assembly of any state in India. It is easy to convince yourself that we definitely can put a far better kind of individuals in those houses."
--When asked about inspiration to get into politics

"That the system is corrupt and nobody is doing anything about it is probably also a factor that contributes to our inspiration."
--When asked about the motivation about fighting into a rotten system.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Could you please switch off your computer monitor when not in use?

I asked my colleague few days back. In response, he immediately changed the settings on his computer such that, his monitor switches off after five minutes of inactivity. Convincing a colleagues to do a little to save energy and hence environment was quite easy. It took my two minutes only.

People in general want to save energy and environment whenever possible but they are generally careless. We have to be really careful and make sure that we do our best to save energy (which helps environment) whenever possible. If you want to change the settings of your Windows computer to save energy, follow these steps.

Right click on your desktop --> Click Properties --> Click on Screen Saver --> Click on Power -->
On this tab you can do several things to save power. You can time switching off monitor, switching off hard disks, system standby, and system hibernation at set times. Choose what is best for you, and feel happy for saving energy and environment. Its that simple.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

India: Students getting ready to revolutionize the political system

Some of you must have heard about a new political party being floated in India, called "Bharat Punarnirman Dal." In this post I want to tell you about this new political party and why I am excited about its formation.

The view of the party is that the the root of the problems in the country is corrupt politics, which I believe as well. It is a common occurrence that a common man with visions for his country generally do not opt for politics. A common man generally doesn't see politics as an option for his career at all. Even if somebody is really interested in politics, he would not attempt to get into it due to dirty nexus with criminals.

The primary reason I am excited about its formation is that it has been formed by students, and students from reputed institutes of India. Students who are young, educated and with visions can do wonders for their country. As far as I see the party is not being covered in media very much, because it's new and the media might not find enough "masala" to talk to them, but I hope they get their due. It is important for us to encourage these students. Following are couple of links of their media coverage.
The Times of India

I am planning to invite them on my radio show so that I can introduce these students and new politicians to you as well. They also interact through several communities in Orkut, unofficially.

EDIT: I have invited Mr. Ajit Shukla, President of BPD on my radio show for Feb 17. The details will be updated in couple of days.

History proves that major revolutions and changes in the system always start from Students. Enjoy the clipping below which proves the point.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

जनवरी 27 रेडियो पर हिन्दी चिट्ठाकारी

जनवरी 27 को अपने रेडियो कार्यक्रम में मैं हिन्दी चिट्ठाकारी पर चर्चा करूँगा। यह कार्यक्रम यूएस में दोपहर 1 बजे और भारत में रात के 11 बजे सुना जा सकेगा। इन्टरनेट पर सुनने के लिए इस पते पर जाएँ http://www.wuvt.vt.edu/main.html और "Listen Online" पर चटका लगाएँ। फिर "Available Web Streams" में जैसा आपका कनेक्शन हो उस हिसाब से चटका लगाएँ।

इस कार्यक्रम में मैं श्रोताओं को हिन्दी चिट्ठाकारी के कुछ खास लोगों से मिलवाना भी चाहूँगा। मैं प्रयास करूँगा कि skype से मैं कुछ लोगों से उस दिन जुड़ सकूँ। मेरा skype प्रयोक्ता नाम है mishranurag । यदि आप मुझसे उस दिन जुड़ना चाहते हैं तो कृपया मेरे स्काइप नाम को अपने मित्रों में जोड़ लें और मुझे सूचित करें।

आशा है आपकी प्रेरणा से ये कार्यक्रम सफल होगा।

रेडियो के भारतीय कार्यक्रमों के बारे में मेरा चिट्ठा यहाँ है।

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kissa Kiss ka

This is one hell of video made by Mika over the "Kiss" Controversy between him and Rakhi. This guy is amazingly shameless, I am his fan now.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

न्यूयॉर्क और न्यू जर्सी की एक दिन की यात्रा

पिछले रविवार को एक दिन के लिए न्यूयॉर्क और न्यूजर्सी की यात्रा पर जाना हुआ। ब्लैक्सबर्ग जैसे छोटे शहर में रह कर न्यूयॉर्क और न्यूजर्सी जैसे बड़े शहर एक अलग ही अनुभव होते हैं। पहले आठ घंटे की कार यात्रा भारी लग रही थी, लेकिन अपनी पत्नी और बहन का साथ और रास्ते भर बकर बकर में रास्ता पता ही नहीं चला। हमारा पड़ाव मुख्यतः न्यू जर्सी था जहाँ हम शाम चार बजे कार से पहुँचे। होटल से हम पास के ट्रांज़िट स्टेशन कार से गए। कार से जाने का लिए सड़क मानचित्र एसी जगह पर बहुत ही ज़रुरी होता है। आश्चर्यजनक रुप से होटल में मुफ्त मानचित्र नहीं थे, तब समझ आया कि यहाँ कुछ भी मुफ्त नहीं मिलता। होटल की दुकान से मानचित्र खरीदने की कोशिश की तो सेल्स गर्ल का मानचित्र दिखाने से पहले दाम बताने का, और बात करने का रवैया अच्छा नहीं लगा और फिर हमने एसे ही सबवे स्टेशन जाने की कोशिश की जो कि न्यूजर्सी में एक बड़ी गलती है। एक और दुकान में खैर मानचित्र खरीदा मगर अनुभव वही रहा। लगा कि न्यूजर्सी में लोग खुश हो के बात करना नहीं चाहते। खैर ये भ्रम भी बड़ी जल्दी टूट गया जब कुछ लोगों ने बड़े उत्साह के साथ पूछने पर रास्ता बताया। वैसे न्यूयॉर्क और न्यूजर्सी पहुँचने से पहले मानचित्र ले लेना चाहिए, सस्ता भी पड़ता है।

सबवे स्टेशन पर मैं और मेरी पत्नी विनीता

सबवे स्टेशन पर मैं और मेरी बहन रूपल

खैर नेवार्क शहर के पेन्न स्टेशन से हमने पाथ ट्रेन पकड़ी और वर्ल्ड ट्रेड सेंटर (न्यू यॉर्क) पहुँचे। उस जगह पाथ का स्टेशन था और 9/11 हादसे का स्मारक भी। हादसे के कई सारे चित्र वहाँ लगे थे। वहाँ से हमने सबवे पकड़ी और टाइम्स स्क्वायर गए। सब वे में बैठना अपनेआप में एक अनुभव है। एक के उपर एक कई तलों पर कई दिशाओं में चलती हुई ट्रेनें आश्चर्यचकित करती हैं। खैर, टाइम्स स्क्वायर की भव्यता चकाचौंध करने वाली थी। बड़े बड़े चमकदार डिजिटल होर्डिंग, बेहतरीन कैफे, थियेटर, खूबसूरत पोशाकों में सजे हुए खूबसूरत लोग। वहाँ के शोरूम और कैफे दैखने लायक थे। बग्घी में बैठने की इच्छा थी, मगर बारिश होने वाली थी। खैर एक बेहतरीन रेस्तरां (BOND 45) में बहुत महँगा और स्वादिष्ट खाना खाया, और बढ़िया कॉकटेल पी। रात को फिर सबवे से वापिस। यहाँ कार से चलना ठीक नहीं है, कई वन वे और भूल भलैया रास्तों में खोने से बेहतर है सस्ती सबवे में निश्चिंत घूमना।

टाइम्स स्कवायर में मेरी बहन रूपल

सबेरे नेवार्क में नेवार्क एवेन्यू गए, जो कि देसी इलाका है। एक बढ़िया मीठा पान खाया और दो तीन बार चाय पी। पकौड़ों और बटाटे बड़े से पेट भरा। घर के लिए सस्ते देसी सामान खरीदे। नेवार्क भी काफी बड़ा और व्यस्त शहर है और वहाँ घूमना भी अच्छा लगा। समय कम था अन्यथा लिबर्टी पार्क भी जाते। शाम साढ़े पाँच बजे निकल कर ब्लैक्सबर्ग पहुँचे रात साढ़े बारह बजे। चित्र संलग्न हैं।


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

नए साल की शर्मनाक शुरुआत

बहुत दिन पहले मैंने हम हिन्दुस्तानियों के विनय और आत्मसम्मान की कमी के बारे में चिट्ठा लिखा था। हर कुछ दिन बाद कुछ ना कुछ एसा होता है जो कि मेरी बातों को सच करता है। अब ये मुम्बई की ताज़ातरीन घटना देखिए। नये साल के स्वागत की पार्टी और शराब के नशे में धुत्त लोगों ने एक महिला के लाथ अभद्र व्यवहार किया। कारण कभी क्षणिक उत्तेजना या किसी महिला के भड़काऊ वस्त्र नहीं होते, बल्कि कारण समाज, कानून और महिलाओं के प्रति घटिया और छोटा नज़रिया होना होता है।

जिनमें आशावादिता अब भी है, "उनको नया साल मुबारक हो।"