Tuesday, February 07, 2012


This is an incredible comic. (via @mantaraycomics)

Kapil Sibal's super amazing plan to boost social science research that will change everything and lead to more enlightened policy, etc.

Giving them awards.

(Poetry, tablets, taming the internet, and now this. Seriously, is there any problem Sibal can't solve?)

Rights for votes

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Eric Bellman reports on developing countries demanding more rights for their overseas laborers.
The millions who go abroad to take jobs as domestic workers - mostly women employed as maids, but also including such traditionally male jobs gardeners and cooks - are a crucial source of foreign currency back home, and are emerging as an important vote bank.
Read the full story here.

Obituaries deserve better

The first paragraph of Mumbai Mirror's remembrance of Sharada Dwivedi:
It is rather ironical that writer-historian-author of several books on Mumbai, who was instrumental in forming the Kala Ghoda Art District, passed away on February 6 - that time of the year when the city is abuzz with its annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
It is indeed fascinating to see the dizzying number of books Dwivedi wrote on Mumbai's myriad aspects.
I read obituaries as much for the dead as for life in the writing. In this case, I can't help but feel Dwivedi deserved a better piece. The reporting swings in to her life and out with a quote to sum up the things she did. Quotes are easy. They're fast. But they can only do so much.

An obituary is a story of a life - even a normal one - with a beginning, a rich middle, and an end. It takes readers along, telling them of who this person really was, what they did, who they liked, what they hated, and perhaps even why they will be remembered. But this piece does nothing of the sort. The city's best newspaper could have given its finest chronicler a better sendoff.

Monday, February 06, 2012

How can I invest in Rohit Shetty?

I just realized that Rohit Shetty has directed five movies in four years. And if all his announced projects come to fruition, he will have eight movies in six by the end of next year.

Shetty doesn't just make money, he does it faster than anyone else.

Not as global as kabaddi

In one devastating paragraph, Sambit Bal tells you why cricket isn't a global game:
Only notionally is cricket a global game. It is a mainstream sport only in ten countries. Of these, nearly half can't generate enough resources by themselves to even pay their own operating costs. Only three cricket boards can genuinely call themselves profitable. And one of them generates nearly three-fourths of all global revenue. Even at the peak of America's superpowerdom in global politics, the scales were not remotely as lopsided.
Connoisseurs of kabaddi will no doubt point out that with 16 participant nations, their world cup is bigger than our world cup.

Ps. Sambit's piece was provoked by the Woolf/PWC governance review of the ICC.

What liberty should be

Like me, a lot of you probably haven't heard about the Whitney v California case from 1927. I just stumbled up on the case, and can't help but envy the society that benefits from it. The judgement is a dream, for it defines free speech in all its fullness, and treats it as the thing from which all other things grow.
Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that, in its government, the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end, and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness, and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that, without free speech and assembly, discussion would be futile; that, with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies, and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones. Believing in the power of reason as applied through public discussion, they eschewed silence coerced by law -- the argument of force in its worst form. Recognizing the occasional tyrannies of governing majorities, they amended the Constitution so that free speech and assembly should be guaranteed.

Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To justify suppression of free speech, there must be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil will result if free speech is practiced. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the danger apprehended is imminent. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the evil to be prevented is a serious one. Every denunciation of existing law tends in some measure to increase the probability that there will be violation of it. Condonation of a breach enhances the probability. Expressions of approval add to the probability. Propagation of the criminal state of mind by teaching syndicalism increases it. Advocacy of law-breaking heightens it still further. But even advocacy of violation, however reprehensible morally, is not a justification for denying free speech where the advocacy falls short of incitement and there is nothing to indicate that the advocacy would be immediately acted on. The wide difference between advocacy and incitement, between preparation and attempt, between assembling and conspiracy, must be borne in mind. In order to support a finding of clear and present danger, it must be shown either that immediate serious violence was to be expected or was advocated, or that the past conduct furnished reason to believe that such advocacy was then contemplated.

It was some coincidence that as I read this, this news came in:
Facebook, Google fall in line, remove content
Maybe it isn't a coincidence anymore, given that our liberties dwindle everyday under the wooly notion of a greater good.