Tuesday, March 25, 2008

India: Country of Billionaires!

I was quite pleasantly surprised to find 4 Indians in the top 10 billionaires of the world. Indians have been making a distinct mark in the world economy and things are looking up for India.
As much as I am happy about seeing a lot of Indians making more wealth, I am just as much concerned about increasing divide between the richest and the poorest in India. I also hope that more wealth percolates down to the poorer people of India over time.

Here is the list of billionaires from the most 'trustworthy' Wikipedia:


Name Net worth (USD) Citizenship Residence
Sources of wealth
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&01.&&&&&01 Buffett, WarrenWarren Buffett $62.0 billion Flag of the United States United States Flag of the United States United States Berkshire Hathaway
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&02.&&&&&02 Slim Helú, CarlosCarlos Slim Helú $60.0 billion Flag of Mexico Mexico Flag of Mexico Mexico Telmex, América Móvil
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&03.&&&&&03 Gates, BillBill Gates $58.0 billion Flag of the United States United States Flag of the United States United States Microsoft
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&04.&&&&&04 Mittal, LakshmiLakshmi Mittal $45.0 billion Flag of India India Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom Arcelor Mittal
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.&&&&&05 Ambani, MukeshMukesh Ambani $43.0 billion Flag of India India Flag of India India Reliance Industries
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&06.&&&&&06 Ambani, AnilAnil Ambani $42.0 billion Flag of India India Flag of India India Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&07.&&&&&07 Kamprad, IngvarIngvar Kamprad and family $31.0 billion Flag of Sweden Sweden Flag of Switzerland Switzerland IKEA
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&08.&&&&&08 Pal Singh, KushalKushal Pal Singh $30.0 billion Flag of India India Flag of India India DLF Group
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&09.&&&&&09 Deripaska, OlegOleg Deripaska $28.0 billion Flag of Russia Russia Flag of Russia Russia Rusal
&&&&&&&&&&&&&010.&&&&&010 Albrecht, KarlKarl Albrecht $27.0 billion Flag of Germany Germany Flag of Germany Germany ALDI, Trader Joe's

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Scientific Temper

The biggest challenge of the 21st century would be inculcating scientific temper in students. Why so?

There are a number of parties have vested interests in preventing the scientific temper from spreading. The recent and still on-going saga of Evolution vs Intelligent design is only a precursor to other stumbling blocks that that are expected in the path of expanding our scientific knowledge.

Why are people with no scientific backgrounds allowed to propose theories and also expect them to be taught in schools? If the few who are are so convinced of Intelligent design theory, why can't they come up with evidence to validate such a theory? Why don't such people publish in scientific journals so that the rest of the scientific community can scrutinize and evaluate the theory? But instead the Intelligent design community discusses the postulates and theories in the media with pundits who have absolutely no knowledge about biology or science. These people want science textbooks to add a note saying Evolution is only a theory and there are other plausible theories that could explain the diversity in the living organisms. I do not dispute the fact that there could be other theories, but why do they only stop with Evolution? How about Newton's theory of gravitation, Relativity, Quantum mechanics and on and on. The fact of the matter is that science is always finding a better theory or model that can explain the observations. None of the theories: gravitation, relativity, quantum mechanics have all been accepted as sacrosanct, but instead there are a number of scientists who question each and every aspect of these theories and try to prove them wrong using observations and experiments. That is why we have had so many models for the atom: Rutherford's model was superceded by Bohr's which in turn was improved by Schrodinger. Do we finally have a perfect model of the atom? No. Everything is not explained, but now we do have a way better idea of how the atoms work compared to what we knew about them 80 years back.

Why don't the few who dispute intelligent design also start disputing other scientific theories? The answer is they don't have to. They can achieve their main goal by just sticking with opposition to evolution. What is their main goal: to discourage scientific temper and thinking. Are they achieving their goals? YES. They are getting more and more people into believing what ever they proclaim and the herd is growing. Not only have all the republican candidates rejected the theory of evolution (to pander to their constituents), I have seen very educated people coming from very diverse backgrounds from various countries now starting to question evolution and believing in Intelligent design. This is tragic.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Chinese Media

After all the protests in China and also many concerns expressed from many countries all over the world about human rights violation by China in Tibet.... This is what China had to say on its official (and probably the only) news agency:

"Countries around the world have expressed their support to the Chinese government on its handling of the recent riots in Lhasa, capital city of China's Tibet Autonomous Region" (Link)
How can a government keep fooling a billion smart people?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gun culture in US

The second ammendment gives the citizens of US the right to bear arms for the security of a free state. This freedom to own guns has given rise to the phenomena of shoot-outs in schools and colleges and a very high crime rate in many cities of USA. The US has the highest number of guns per capita (90 guns per 100 people). Is it a coincidence that US also tops the firearm related death rate? I personally do not think that average citizens of the US will be able to secure the country better than the armed forces of US which is well trained and has superior technology.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Multiculturalism

I was quite surprised by the number of people not liking Multi-culturalism. Why so? (Link)

I am surprised because most people who were making the comments on the BBC WHYS blog were from places that were very multicultural (like US). I also got a feeling that the host on the radio show that discussed this topic on air was also a bit biased against multiculturalism.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Manjunath

Just got to know about Manjunath (News article: Link His Blog: Link) Wish him all the best and hope that things will change for better for him.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

124,000 roses as dowry !

I did not know that in Iran the groom pays the dowry to the bride. Someone owes a 124,000 roses to his bride (Link).

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Taking virtual breaks

I think getting away from the cell-phones and the internet would itself be the ultimate way of achieving nirvana. I am not sure I can even stay away for half a day. I bow to those who can even do that for 24 hours ... Orz !!! ( Link )

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gas Prices to hit $4 (per gallon) soon

The gas prices are predicted to reach $4/gallon very soon (Link). I am extremely happy about this. I wish this will encourage people to use public transportation. For people in the bay area, check out the trip planner (Link) . It charts your trip from any point A to B completely using public transportation.