Saturday, March 31, 2007
The enforcement system includes database of registered vehicles, a number of cameras guarding the entrance and exits of congestion zones, apart from the inner roads in the zone and Automatic Number Plate Recognition Software.
This means that this system implementation is not an easy task, more so for an Indian city like Pune, where the traffic flow is extremely heavy during peak hours. But nonetheless, this can be one of the solutions for the menace of traffic jams and loss of precious time for a lot of office commuters. What needs to be done to implement this solution in Pune?
The first thing that needs to be tackled is the strengthening of public transport in the city. In Pune city, the public transport is monopoly of Pune Municipal Transport, a semi-governmental agency. If the high number of two-wheelers which ply on Pune roads is to be tackled, the PMT must be able to take that load. This would need large investments over the years in upgrading and increasing the fleet of PMT. These PMT buses can then take over from two-wheeler riders who don’t want to pay the congestion tax, at the tax collection posts.
This will also mean that there must be huge parking spaces, near the congestion tax collection points, to serve the commuters who want to opt for cheap public transport, instead of paying hefty congestion charge. The parking may be charged at a nominal charge. The PMT buses will take over from here to the inner parts of the city.
The investments in updating database of vehicle registrations and connecting it with an updated database of all Road Transport Offices in other districts will be an imperative. This is so, because, there is a high level of vehicle immigration into the city. Further, the use of ANPR software will also be needed.
The things that may derail this project include the resistance from commuters, who will resist any idea of paying a tax for entering into the inner city. Daily commuters will fight against this measure, tooth and nail. Chances of politicization are also vary high, for the issue-starving political parties will definitely take advantage of this. Another thing is more taxes, more rules means that more corruption. Simplification in Right to Information Act may be a cure for this.
Do you visualize any other problems that may arise from Congestion Tax?
Also, how should, the taxes collected, be utilised to the best benefits of commuters?
Friday, March 30, 2007
- This tells the irrational nature of human decisions. Human preferences can't be assigned with ascending/descending values. 'a>b' and 'b>c' means that 'a>c' in mathematics, but not in Human Life. Human choices vary from person to person and for a person, from time to time. I read it on website of American Mathematical Society.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Before the world cup started, like any cricket fan, we were very much sure that India would at least reach semifinals in W. Indies. It was as if India had the birth right to reach semis. But, luck falters. And Indian team falters more often. So, here we are. Super - 8 has started now with full force and anticipation, sans India. Australians have not shown any mercy to West Indies, in spite of being guests there. Hayden is never in a habit of thinking twice, before hitting ball beyond boundaries. Australia showed in that match, what champions are made of. No critic has any doubt that Aussies will reach finals and unless something unexpected happens, will also lift the cup.
However, the day was won not by Ponting's men; The day belonged to the South Africa - Sri Lanka match. Actually, S. Lanka's 209 meant that S. Africa was a sure winner. But full credit of the entertainment goes to Malinga. His 4 balls - 4 wickets haul actually showed why One Day Internationals are so entertaining, and why even after Yuvraj and Dravid are out, Indians still hoped a win from Zaheer and Munaf, against Lanka. Malinga's magic almost ousted Africans, before S. African tail showed the grit to still win.
Isn't it matches like this, that we love cricket?
1. Touchscreen - From video, it looks great, but we will have to wait to see how Apple has tackled issue of scratch resistance, unintended touches etc.
2. Internet surfing experience - This will be where iPhone's success will matter in long term, especially in the non-US markets like Europe and Far East, where use of cell phone for net-surfing is rising with leaps and bounds.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I actually had zeroed down on 3 persons in novel as possible murderers when I was somewhere in the middle of novel. And bravo! Here are the actual results - First one the pompous Lord is closely related to the murderer; Second, the lady - in whose case I failed - is not the murderer, but in fact becomes muse of the lead; the third one - the old lady once engaged to the Lord is the actual murderer.
Now, here is my formula of how to crack murder mysteries before Agatha Christie does that on
It is quite simple. Just remember following facts about the murder mystery -
- The murderers appear at the earliest stages of novel.
- They are delved upon to lesser extent inspite of being lead players
- Those, whose eccentricities, murderous sides are exposed again and again in the novel are NOT murderers. Stay away from them (and pray the hero doesn't waste much time on them)
- The investigators are silly fellows - ignornig obvious facts. You don't be silly.
- Inspite of this, if you fail, then don't be sad. The mystery novel is meant for that.
- Write a simplest murder story with all facts.
- Now you have characters - facts - character info; one murderer; one investigator
- Wipe down character info as much as possible, without making the character look suspicious by lack of info about him/her
- Now, make one more pseudo-murderer. He/she will come handy to create twists
- Your murder mystery is ready now. Just don’t tell the readers some facts here and there. Create small twists throughout [twist=suspect somebody-show that he is not the real one].
- Finally, twist before main exposure is extremely important for the ‘Orgasm’ at the climax. Here you make the reader believe that the pseudo-murderer is the real one. Obviously, you make reader think like that by making your investigator think like that. Readers will read it and draw desired conclusions.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
In an exclusive interview to NDTV BCCI chief Sharad Pawar said that there will now be two cricket teams for India - India Seniors and India Blue.
While the seniors will, as the name suggests, consist of the more experienced players, India blue will also get a chance at international games.
The Indian Cricket Team players majority of them r in the team b'coz they want to make more money, that is by being in the team and shooting for the advertisement and endorsements one player is such that he is made into a comic book hero so the stakes r high they have stick in the team hook or by crook using their political friends to get in is also a option. The fact remains the Men In Blue is kicked out of the world cup tournament even before it has warmed up so i would like my Indian cricket team to be young aggressive and who can win matches the coach and captain should be maintained.
One of the active readers of Sakaal Blog comments -
The extra-ordinary fan following as well the excessive importance given to cricket,the pre world cup hype & hoopla by all media in India too is partially responsible for the ignominious fiasco in the first league against underestimated opponents!While other contributor says -
Excessive cricket,too much money in many forms,too many distractions,iconic celebrity status took the toll.The all time greats are now jaded enough though despite our gr8 population,we are not producing good enough replacements!
Perhaps time to withdraw from the international scene for 2-3 yrs & high time for the tired & not young any more greats like sachin,sehwag etc to retire!
But we must still treat them with respect coz they have won great laurels for India in the past & winning as well as losing have to be taken with sportsman spirit though now with the proverbial pinch of salt!
Cricket is not just a game to play or enjoy. We Indians feel it from our HEART. Indian players are none other less than Bhagwaan to us. But after Panipat of Indian team in 2007 World Cup it’s time to rethink for us. This 2007 Cricket World Cup put lot of questions in the mind of Cricket fans. Bob Woolmer’s mysterious murder again gives rise to the Match Fixing issue. In olden days people used to say “Cricket is a Gentleman’s game”. But now it becomes just a money game.
After India’s defeat, World Cup just become No man’s Land for the entire nation. People are so irritated that they even don’t want to see Players faces, their ads. I am a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. World’s no.1 batsman unable to play in swinger of Fernando, it’s really shame for him. This defeat will change our Cricket fans minds. Now, I think no one is interested in World Cup. We refer seeing movies rather than cricket. I think days are over where “We think cricket, we eat cricket & we play cricket”. One thing is sure that Indian team totally lost their Spirit to win, since it doesn’t matter who you are? If you have such momentum to recreate something different you will become Idol for the nation. But with great sorrow I have to say, presently there is no one who can make it possible.
As a cricket lover I never forget cricket which is a team game & always teaches us “Let’s win together”. Now, there is no such enthusiasm to watch the matches, to shout for the players, to pray for them. ICC 2007 WC is unforgettable nightmare for me & I desperately want to forget it.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
"the law was ineffective, overly broad and at odds with free speech rights. Judge Reed added that there were far less restrictive methods like software filters that parents could use to control their children’s Internet use."The question here is the clash between our desire to protect our children from anything which may destroy the joy of childhood, and freedom of expression, which more or less all constitutions guarantee their citizens.
Let's have a look at the first of the two contestants of clash here, viz. 'our' desire to protect our children from anything that destroys their 'joy of childhood'. Now the interesting part is who is this 'our' here? And what exactly is 'joy of childhood'? My doubt is whether parents [if they constitute 'our'] or elders can decide really as to what constitutes 'joy of childhood'? I mean if I am a child, then I may genuinely please myself by watching the explicit material. Isn't it true that as children we all felt an invisible desire to be able to at least watch 'such' things? Offcourse, there is no chance that we might be knowing where we were heading or where we would end up by such desire, unless the parents are psychopaths. Now if on the other hand, I am a parent, a normal parent, then what I would wish? Hmmm. Here is the tricky part – I would want to protect our children from the same things for which I had craved as a child.If we go by this logic/ argument/ line of thought, then it is all a messy dilemma which leads us nowhere. Then what can be a plausible line of thinking for this question? Let’s look at it in this way – how about the child porn industry? Isn’t it the real issue? More than trying to protect my children from porn material, the important thing is protecting the children who are the exploited for quenching the carnal desires of some psychopaths by making them the unfortunate stars of third rate porn flicks. Earlier, on my previous blog, I had written a post about a story of frustrating battle with child porn. It seems to me that where the market forces enter the regard for humanitarian concerns is seriously and irreversibly undermined due to the complex web of survival that is woven around the illegal activities. A drug peddler supplies drugs, his business grows and turns into an empire and wealth is generated, a lot of people who support this illegal activity through totally legal professions [e.g. a transport man who doesn’t know what is inside those bags]. Now this does not remain a question of a drug peddler only. Along with him a lot of other innocent people are involved. Now magnify this situation to an international level where on one hand there is very high demand for child porn, on other there are all those innocent - guilty suppliers, and on the third side, there are thousands of children out there who have lost their human dignity even before they understand what exactly does that mean.
What should be done? Why there are no free and powerful apps that filter out / block out child porn content? Why there are no stringent sanctions on financial transactions which are related to this industry – this is possible, remember how effectively US has choked the finance channels of Al Qaeda. Is the question of child porn not critical enough?
[It would be interesting to see which ads Google Adsense throws up for this post!]
Thursday, March 22, 2007
जागतिक क्रिकेटला सामन्यांच्या निकालनिश्चितीचे (मॅच फिक्सिंग) लागलेले ग्रहण अद्याप सुटू शकलेले नाही, हेच बॉब वूल्मर यांच्या मृत्यूने सिद्ध झाले आहे. दक्षिण आफ्रिकेचा माजी कर्णधार हॅन्सी क्रोनिए, पाकिस्तानातील कुख्यात बुकी कॅडबरी यांच्यानंतर आता वूल्मर यांचाही काटा काढण्यात आला. "फिक्सिंग'च्या समुद्रातील "बडे मासे' बाहेर येऊ नयेत, यासाठी या व्यक्तींना हटविण्याचे काम योजनाबद्ध रीतीने होत असल्याचा संशय व्यक्त केला जात असून, हे सत्र कधी थांबणार, असा प्रश्न निर्माण झाला आहे. दक्षिण आफ्रिकेचा तत्कालीन कर्णधार हॅन्सी क्रोनिए याच्यासह विविध देशांच्या क्रिकेटपटूंचे सट्टेबाजांशी; तसेच बुकींशी असलेले लागेबांधे १९९९-२००० मध्ये उघड झाले. "फिक्सिंग' होते, या शक्यतेलाही त्या वेळी दिल्ली पोलिसांनी केलेल्या तपासणीत पुष्टी मिळाली होती. निकालनिश्चिती केल्याची कबुली देत क्रोनिएने त्या वेळी क्रिकेटविश्वात वादळ निर्माण केले. वूल्मर तेव्हा दक्षिण आफ्रिका संघाचे प्रशिक्षक होते. क्रोनिएबरोबरच हर्शेल गिब्ज, निकी बोए, तसेच भारताचा तत्कालीन कर्णधार महंमद अजहरुद्दीन, अजय जडेजा, अजय शर्मा यांचीही नावे दोषींच्या यादीत आली होती. विशेष म्हणजे तेव्हा प्रशिक्षक असलेल्या वूल्मर यांच्यावर मात्र एकही आरोप झालेला नव्हता.
१९९९ मध्ये दक्षिण आफ्रिका व ऑस्ट्रेलिया यांच्यातील विश्वकरंडक स्पर्धेचा "टाय' झालेला सामना, तसेच वूल्मर प्रशिक्षक असताना पाकिस्तानला बांगलादेशकडून स्वीकारावा लागलेला पराभव हेदेखील "फिक्सिंग' होते, अशी दबक्या आवाजात चर्चा झाली होती. या सर्व प्रकरणाची तसेच क्रिकेटपटू व सट्टेबाज यांच्यातील संबंधांची खडानखडा माहिती वूल्मर यांना होती. हा सारा तपशील त्यांच्या "डिस्कव्हरी ऑफ क्रिकेट' या पुस्तकात येण्याची शक्यता होती. कदाचित हेच पुस्तक त्यांच्या मृत्यूस कारणीभूत ठरले असावे. या पुस्तकाच्या माध्यमातून वूल्मर काही "बडे मासे' जाहीर करणार नाहीत ना, या भीतीने ग्रासलेल्या "फिक्सिंग माफियां'नीच त्यांचा योजनाबद्ध पद्धतीने काटा काढला असण्याची शक्यता वर्तविली जात आहे.
१८ मार्चच्या घटनेपूर्वी वूल्मर यांना धमक्यांचे दूरध्वनी आल्याच्या वृत्ताला जमैका पोलिसांनीच दुजोरा दिला असून, जमैकात आलेल्या एका पाकिस्तानी बुकीला ताब्यात घेऊन त्याची चौकशीही सुरू केली आहे.
... क्रिकेटमध्ये येत असलेला पैशांचा प्रचंड ओघ पाहता, सट्टेबाज या टोकाला जाणे शक्य आहे. एक तर प्रचंड पैसा अडकला किंवा हरला जाण्याची भीती प्रत्येक सट्टेबाजाला असतेच. त्यातच ज्या संघावर कमी बोली आहे तोच संघ हरला, तर सट्टेबाजाला कोट्यवधी रुपयांचा फटका बसू शकतो.
...हे सगळे लक्षात घेता, बॉलिवूडला जसे गुन्हेगारी टोळ्यांनी घेरले आहे; तसेच आता क्रिकेटला सट्टेबाजांनी घेरल्याचेही स्पष्ट झाले आहे.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
However, when there is DRM, there is piracy. Because supply reaches to demand (and not vice-versa). This happened in this case also.
Some very intelligent traveller (and in Mumbai everybody is a local train traveller), came up with this brilliant idea. What he did defied this model of random checks. It works like this - if you are a daily traveller, then become a member of this organisation of local train travellers (or was that ticketless local train travellers?) by paying a sum of around Rs. 500 or so. By becoming a member, you receive a guaranteed ticketless travel. What you will have to do is just pay whatever fine authorites charge - IF YOU GET CAUGHT WHILE TRAVELLING WITHOUT A TICKET. Once you pay the fine, go to the organisation's office(?) and show the receipt. You will get 100% refund.
Now, what can be the chances that a passenger who travels for 365 days getting caught in a random check, if he is among 6 million or so fellow passengers?
Update: A few years ago, the fine for travel without ticket was just Rs. 50 [about a US Dollar], plus the charge of ticket, which is minimum - about 0.2 $ for almost 30 km of travel. Around 2002, the fine was increased fivefold, to Rs. 250.This is a considerable increase, for the passengers who are habituated to a Rs. 50 fine. However, what minimizes the disincentive of the fine is the system of random checks. For the passengers who are travelling daily, in these trains, for years, it is extremely difficult for ticket checkers to catch them unaware. One of these daily travelers told me that the passengers even know when the TC’s [that’s what the ticket checkers are called] would be coming. The dates are around middle of the month – from 14 to 17, and at the end of month- around 26 to 30/31. Further, the coaches being extremely crowded, the ticketless travelers can easily escape, when they come to know that the TC’s are there. On these occasions the passengers even enter into rather rare camaraderie against the system and help fellow passengers.
This all actually means that a passenger would say that he even doesn’t need the Rs. 500 membership of the so called ‘ticketless travelers’ association’, because he just would never be caught even in random checks. This can be the reason, why this association, fortunately, never achieved its true menacing potential.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Do the '9%' win?
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Highest world cup total by a team - 413 runs;
Highest number of sixers by a team in a world cup match - 18
Widest margin of win in not only World Cup but in any One Day International - by 257 runs
Virendersahib Sehwag scores his first 100, after 2005 (!) - that too in 87 balls (!)
Can this Indian team thrash Australia & South Africa?
Is India destined to win the world cup?
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This is a really good podcast. Listen to it here.
Unfortunately, I could not embedd the podcast video here...Hmmm. I will try and see if I can.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Listen to what Sunandan Lele says about it from West Indies, here.
Now the BCCI needs to answer this - Why Sehwag is in the world cup squad in first place? He has not shown any flicker for a long rememberable past. So..why is he in West Indies and not in Najafgarh?
Should he be given a ticket back to home?
Friday, March 16, 2007
This is the technologically advanced Nobel Peace Center. Though the Nobel foundation is in Sweden, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo in Norway. Here all the peace prize winners are displayed through human sensitive devices. When somebody stands infront of a display, the display is set to 'Play' mode automatically.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
When I started for Oslo, from India, on a business visit, my image of Oslo was nothing more than a chilly & windy place, with may be northern lights and midnight sun. And yeah nothing much for sightseeing. But being on Oslo now, on Day 4, I know how dead-wrong I was. To say simply, Oslo is the most beautiful city I have seen.
When I landed in Oslo on 6th March, it had snowed here and was pretty cold by Indian standards. However, our arrival day was the last chilly day we encountered. The weather has turned from chilly to cool to pleasant. We did not ask for more!
What was most striking feature for me in Oslo was her love for sculptures. There are so many of them around the city center area, where I frequented during my stay. The beautiful statues are located at very appropriate positions besides being beautiful.
Watching these statues & sculptures was really a feast to eyes and mind. The photo above is of a sculpture of 2 birds at the Oslo City Hall. Incidentally, this is the same hall where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented each year. Another place, which I would rank amongst the most beautiful places I have visited, is Vigeland Sculpture Park. Gustove Vigeland was a great sculpturist who promised to donate all his works to Oslo city in exchange of a place to live and work. Vigeland worked for 20 years, on his sculpture park project, which was intended to be a public display of his works. What resulted from his toil is the Vigeland sculpture park with thought provoking portrayal of common life instances.
What I liked most in the park was an abstract theme which would be open to debate and individual perceptions. It is a like a beautiful poem - each time you will discover a new thing and you will know that there are least chances of perceptions of two persons being the same.
My personal favorites in the park were the following:
Not included in this post are some more beautiful sculptures including the famous Monolith. More about that later.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Thursday, March 1, 2007