October 27, 2005
Museums Set to Sell Art, and Some Experts Cringe
Museums Set to Sell Art, and Some Experts Cringe
By CAROL VOGEL
Published: October 26, 2005 in The New Work Times
Undaunted by the tempest over the New York Public Library's sale of a prized painting, arts institutions across the country are cleaning out their closets for auctions starting next week, stirring fresh unease among art historians and curators.
Artworks going on the block include paintings by Picasso, Modigliani and Chagall, and rare photographs by masters like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston. In December, the public library is moving ahead with the sale of two portraits of George Washington, by Gilbert Stuart, and 16 other paintings.
October 19, 2005
Headlines from year 2029
source: yahoo message board ticker AAPL
Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia formally known as California.
White minorities still trying to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language.
Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crop and livestock.
Baby conceived naturally--scientists stumped.
Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.
Last remaining Fundamentalist Muslim dies in the American Territory of the Middle East (formerly known as Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon).
Iraq still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 100 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.
France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica.
Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.
George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.
85-year, $75.8 billion study: Diet and Exercise is the key to weight loss.
Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.
Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.
Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed, they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.
Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.
Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.
Average height of NBA players now nine feet, seven inches.
New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2036.
Congress authorizes direct deposit of formerly illegal political contributions to campaign accounts.
Capitol Hill intern indicted for refusing to have sex with congressman.
IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75%.
Florida voters still having trouble with voting machines.
October 16, 2005
Merely Following a Megatrend
Merely Following a Megatrend
By ZUBIN JELVEH
Published: October 15, 2005 New York Times
Is your job at risk? If it's the type of work that can be done over a wire, then probably yes, says Nandan M. Nilekani, the chief executive of Infosys Technologies.
Infosys is India's second-largest outsourcer. After achieving success in software engineering and back-office service, it has now begun to compete with companies like I.B.M. for more lucrative consulting work. This week, Infosys reported that its second-quarter earnings rose 36 percent. It raised its earnings forecast for the full year on stronger demand and a weaker rupee.
In a recent interview, Mr. Nilekani, a chief executive who makes $60,000 a year at a company worth nearly $20 billion, spoke about Infosys's success and the danger that it and other companies like it pose to American competitors.
Q. Are you worried about the outcry over outsourcing in America?
A. What's happening is pretty fundamental. If you go back to the 1830's, India and China were 50 percent of the world's G.D.P., and then they missed the entire revolution of industry. So if you take a long view of this game, it's just part of the process.
Q. Is there anything you realistically fear from Western policy makers?
A. No. I think politicians have to win elections. But underlying secular trends like technology and demographics - you can't stop these things, they're all megatrends. They're going to happen whether you like it or not. In fact, the guys who are going to win are the ones who say, "It's going to happen anyway; let's figure out how we can take advantage of it."
Q. Why did you branch out from just doing back-office work and add consulting to the mix of services you offer?
A. Our customers want us to be good at sitting down with them, understanding their business challenges, helping them devise a solution and then implementing it. They expect us to go up the chain in terms of relationships and business value. We're not trying to be strategy consultants. We're not sitting there and saying, "Buy this company."
Q. So now you'll be competing with the likes of I.B.M. and Accenture. Do you think you'll change the cost structure of the consulting business?
A. This is a battle of business models. We believe that at the end of the day we have a disruptive business model that is a threat to the existing business model and older companies will have to reconfigure themselves to look more like us if they're going to be globally competitive.
Q. What would that mean, to look more like you?
A. In any software project, we do 30 percent of the work in the U.S. and 70 percent in India. Our competitors do 100 percent of the work in a particular location. We have sort of become masters of delivering high value and high quality at lower cost, and on top of that we're trying to add consulting. Their challenge is to retain their relationships and business knowledge while reconfiguring their internal operations to become as efficient as us.
Q. Do you think you will be able to accelerate your consulting services as fast as companies like I.B.M. ramp up their operations in places like India to lower their costs?
A. I think the challenge is fundamentally different. For us it's about hiring and growth and building a brand; for them it's about restructuring the work force and I think, frankly, I wouldn't want to do that job because it's very painful, whereas this is exciting.
Q. What do you say to people who think that globalization will inevitably harm the United States work force?
A. Every time Wal-Mart replaces a person at a checkout counter with an automatic machine they're eliminating thousands of jobs. This is one more facet of that, except it's more emotional because instead of a checkout counter machine replacing Steve Smith, some kid in Bangalore is replacing Steve Smith. You can point to that kid and say, "He took my job."
Q. Does it feel odd to find yourself lecturing Americans on the joys of capitalism?
A. You guys told us for so many years to cut out this socialist rubbish and go to free markets. We came to free markets and now you're telling us, "Stop, don't come."
October 15, 2005
The Blogger and IIPM
(via Atanu Dey's blog)
Here are the facts, very briefly. A magazine called JAM, did a story on a management institute called IIPM. The story said that IIPM makes tall claims. Many Indian newspapers carry full page IIPM ads. A blogger, Gaurav Sabnis, blogged about that and basically called IIPM claims fraudulent. IIPM served a legal notice threatening to sue Gaurav for a huge sum of money. They also contacted IBM, from whom they buy laptops for their students, to convey to them that they may stop that business relationship. Why? Gaurav works for IBM. So Gaurav resigned from IBM. The word got around and everyone and his brother is now blogging about the story—a rich corporation threatened a blogger and somehow managed to coerce him into quitting his job.
Everything you ever want to know about this affair and more is at Desipundit’s IIPM Blog Wars Redux.
October 10, 2005
October 07, 2005
A mail from Vijay Kranti. Dean - IIT Madras
Here is a personal experience, as well as a moment of national pride, which I want to share with you. Hope you find it worth the time you put in reading it :
"In the middle of 1965 India-Pakistan war, US govt - then a close friend of Pakistan - threatened India with stopping food-aid (remember "PL-480"?). For a food deficient India this threat was serious and humiliating. So much so that in the middle of war, Prime Minister (Late) Lal Bahadur Shastri went to Ram Leela Grounds in Delhi and appealed to each Indian to observe one-meal-fast every week to answer the American threat. As a school boy, I joined those millions who responded to Shastri ji's call. I continued the fast even when the war was over and India became self sufficient in food. Hurt deep by the national humiliation suffered at the hands of the US govt, I had vowed to stop my weekly fast only when India starts giving aid to USA.
"It took just 40 years. Last week THE day arrived. When Indian ambassador in Washington DC handed over a cheque of US$ 50 million to the US govt, two plane loads of food, medical aid and other relief materials were waiting to fly to the USA. Time to break the fast? With no bad feeling about the USA, and good wishes for the Katrina victims, this humble Indian feels proud of the distance India has covered in 40 years. Let's celebrate a New India!"
- Vijay Kranti. Dean - IIT Madras
October 04, 2005
Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."
"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"
His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.
Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"
September 28, 2005
Marie La Coste: Somebody's Darling
MARIE LA COSTE
1845 - 1935
After the death of Marie's unnamed fiancée, a captain in the Confederate Army, apparently in 1862, the young French teacher became nurse and visitor at local hospitals for wounded Confederate soldiers. Her poem, which is sung at historical events today, is a distinctive memorial to those soldiers.
Into a ward of the white washed walls,
Where the dead and dying lay,
Wounded by bayonets, shells and balls,
Somebody’s darling was borne one day.
Somebody’s darling so young and brave
Wearing yet on his pale sweet face,
Soon to be hid by the dust of the grave,
The lingering light of his boyhood’s grace.
Matted and damp are the curls of gold
Kissing the snow of that fair young brow;
Pale are the lips of delicate mold -
Somebody’s darling is dying now.
Back from the beautiful blue-veined brow
Brushed all the wandering waves of gold;
Cross his hands on his bosom now;
Somebody’s darling is still and cold.
Kiss him once for somebody’s sake,
Murmur a prayer soft and low;
One bright curl from it’s fair mates take;
They were somebody’s pride you know.
Somebody’s hand has rested there;
Was it a mother’s soft and white?
And have the lips of a sister fair
Been baptized in the waves of light?
God knows best! He was somebody’s love,
Somebody’s heart enshrined him there.
Somebody wafted his name above,
Night and morn on the wings of prayer.
Somebody wept when he marched away,
Looking so handsome brave and grand;
Somebody’s kiss on his forehead lay;
Somebody clung to his parting hand.
Somebody’s watching and waiting for him,
Yearning to hold him again to her heart;
And there he lies with his blue eyes dim,
And the smiling child-like lips apart.
Tenderly bury the fair young dead,
Pausing to drop on his grave a tear;
Carve on the wooden slab at his head,
“Somebody’s darling slumbers here.”
Written by Marie La Coste
and subsequently published by
J .C. Schreiner & Son of Augusta, Georgia in 1864
(click here for Gujarati translation by Jhaverchand Meghani)
September 23, 2005
Psychopaths could be best financial traders?
LONDON (Reuters) - "Wanted: psychopaths to make a killing in the markets."
Such an advert will not be appearing in the world's newspapers any time soon, but it may have a ring of truth after research revealed the best wheeler-dealers could well be "functional psychopaths."
A team of U.S. scientists has found the emotionally impaired are more willing to gamble for high stakes and that people with brain damage may make good financial decisions, the Times newspaper reported Monday.
In a study of investors' behavior 41 people with normal IQs were asked to play a simple investment game. Fifteen of the group had suffered lesions on the areas of the brain that affect emotions.
The result was those with brain damage outperformed those without.
September 20, 2005
Well, if you can't even trust a hitman..
TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese woman called in the police after a hitman she paid to kill her lover's wife failed to carry out the job.
The 32-year-old Tokyo woman was arrested Wednesday for incitement to murder, the Daily Yomiuri newspaper said Friday.
The woman contacted a private detective through a Web site last November and paid him 1 million yen in cash to murder her love rival, the paper said.
The 40-year-old detective accepted the money and suggested he could carry out the job by chasing the victim on a motorcycle and spraying her with a biological agent in a tunnel.
Police also arrested the private detective and found the alleged target safe and well, the paper said.