Jul 20, 2007

capitalism vs socialism and democracy

its a documentary called 'wealth of nations', this is part 1, I would highly recommend folks to watch all 18 parts.

Ron Paul on American foreign policy

Jul 15, 2007

Dan Case

recently watched a youtube video on revolutionhealth.com the new Steve Case online venture and that made me think about Dan Case to whom all AOLers will always be indebted for believing in Quantum (AOLs predecessor) and introducing it to Steve Case who whirled it to such success in so little time. If you are in search of a role model for your kid (or yourself) Dan is the man, he was brilliant in every meaning of the word (not just academically), extremely successful in his investment banking career and even though, according to his friends, was always the smartest man in the room yet his legendary, down-home humility was nothing short of a miracle. We can all learn from him.

Jul 14, 2007

culinary delicacies

watched ratatouille, the new pixar animation, I think it was nice, though they some how managed to keep away from the more renowned French culinary exports, but then there is at least one delicacy for each living specie out there in the French cuisine and I guess it would have been really boring if the movie was to focus on the cuisine rather then the little chef. All and all the movie does make you want to go to Paris for you next vacation.

Escargot, de foie gras, cavier and truffles. I have my own theory about these delicacies, I think it was the chef's revenge on the French aristocracy, they came up with an ingenious plan that would not only work to satisfy there masters but also give them a way to get back right at them, this was executed so well that even today people happily pay a premium for fungus (truffles), now the interesting thing is that China is now the biggest truffle exporter, they are putting out more truffles then Italy and France combined, and so here is the dilemma, truffle prices are going down which again doesn't sit well with the Europeans, so they are saying that the Chinese truffle quality isn't as good, come on guys potato potata, big difference.

culinary dictionary:

1- goose liver (foie gras)

de foie gras (French for "fat liver") is "the liver of a duck or a goose that has been specially fattened by 'gavage'. Liver from a regular goose doesn't become foie gras, its the force feeding, that bestows that honor on the goose

2- truffles (fungus)

most decadent expensive foods on Earth, a pound of white truffles can sell in excess of $2000 per pound. Truffles are a fungus of which there are over 70 known varieties. The two most prized varieties are black truffles from the PĂ©rigord and Quercy regions in France and Umbria in Italy . The second most prized variety is the White truffle from Piedmont in Italy

3- cavier (fish eggs)

4- escargot (snails)

Jul 12, 2007

washington dc careers:lobbyist

legend has it (as popularized by Willard Hotel propaganda/marketing folks) that right around the time when the unionist were wining the civil war, Grant who was the Union army General use to smoke in the hotel lobby while visiting DC, since he was the leader of the winning side therefore a lot of people were conveniently found hanging around the lobby seeking favors from the leader, hence the term lobbyist, the job description of a lobbyist hasn't changed much since then, though it might be much more complicated now but then we are talking about the capital of the free world where free trade as preached by Adam Smith is on full swing, and as they say over here every thing is a marketable asset from the senator's robe to the senator himself, not to sound as if the senators take bribes, they do not, just that voting a certain way for causes that are dear to some corporation may well make the next campaign a well funded one. Anyways extending the earlier post 'Washington DC careers' Google 'lobbyist' and you will find the following traits desirable in a lobbyist:

1- should have the power to persuade
2- presentable personality
3- in most cases friendly demeanor (confrontational folks need not apply)
4- should have in depth knowledge of the cause they are pushing
5- should have the ability to cultivate a network of resourceful people

Jul 11, 2007

more walkable neighborhoods

if you live in the fairfax/loudoun county area you cannot help but notice folks riding there bikes on major routes such as route 7, route 50 and route 28 and that too at night. There is something fundamentally wrong with that picture, how can you end up with vast spreads of neighborhoods without any consideration for people with out cars? ok so you would imagine then there would be an extensive network of public transport right? wrong. I think these are counties that were probably designed with the oil and automobile industry folks leading the charge, the reason why I say that is because most of these areas are hopelessly not walkable, come on you cannot tell me walkable neighborhoods are a new idea, people have been living in bustling cities all around the world since last hundreds of years, you get down from your apartment and shop for everything you need with in a few blocks, but the problem doesn't end just there, most of these folks that you see on the road are not making any effort to be seen by the driver in the car whizzing by, specially at night pair of dark jeans and jacket are not a 'smart' thing to wear as it makes a bad situation worst, folks living in the Northern Virginia region are not even use to looking out for folks on motor bikes let alone on bicycles, this is one of the unsafe places to be on two wheels for that reason alone, sad part of the story is most of the folks on bikes are not casual bikers, they are riding there bikes to work and many of them are riding them late at night of them are our Hispanic brethren who may not be working jobs that provide health insurance which means if they get hurt they cannot afford the hospital bills.

I think we need the following to happen to make things better:
1- make a 2 foot wide dedicated bicycle lanes on all routes (ALL ROUTES)

2- educate bike commuters to wear bold flashing headgear/clothes, this education needs to come from the church, the employer, the Hispanic TV and radio stations, schools shouldn't be the only place for this kind of education because mostly people I see doing this are not teenagers but grown men, who seem to be recent immigrants

3- start a dialog between employer and employee, so that if the employee's only transport is his bike the employer can put him on a day time shift

4- driver-ed should include a comprehensive section that puts an emphasis on looking out for bikers.

5- enforce a universal health care system at the county level. There are too many rich folks paying too much tax, Universal health care shouldn't be a problem here.

An atmosphere that encourages less cars on the road is
1- good for the environment
2- good for the general health of people and
3- its a good way to tackle the traffic problem,

how many council members does it take to figure that out.

by the way those of you who would like to attend a conference related to environment here are a few happening in/around Washington DC in the near future:

www.eesi.org free day seminars
www.energyconversation.org DOD sponsored, free
www.greendrinks.org - International Group with DC monthly bar meeting
http://www.2020vision.org/ July 12 program in DC full day $100

Jul 10, 2007

washington dc careers

this is a good time to be in the greater DC metro area as the career choices that are available here right now are simply splendid. A few that come immediately to mind are:

1- lobbyists
2- Non-profit/Social worker
3- career diplomat
4- authors
5- doing business with the govenrment
7- homeland security
8- aviation industry (3 airports)
9- investment banking
10- management consulting
11- tour guides
12- technology workers (contractors and full time employees)
13- chefs
14- event planners

some might be surprised to see chefs on this list, well Washington DC is quickly becoming one of the top spots on the list of culinary tourists, the proof of which is that Last year in the District alone, $2.3 billion was spent on food and drink, according to Lynne Breaux, president of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington! arguably some of the most prominent chefs in the East coast (Michel Richard (Citronelle)) run a kitchen here.

Jul 9, 2007

big company life

the flip side of working for a big company is the risk averse nature of job for most employees, Adam Herscher an ex-Microsoft employee blogged on his reasons for leaving that life to tryout something different, I find his reasons interesting and agree with the timing as there couldn't have been a better time, the economy is doing good, job market is fine and as he puts it he is still young and dependent free, its better to start out sooner then later.

The things that he lists as reasons for him to leave the job:

1. lack of work hard-play hard culture
2. not much room for individuals to take big risks and reap big rewards

his solutions:

provide a risk/reward system in which one's work can have a direct impact on their stake in equity.

he makes a lot of sense, you should read his blog too.

Jul 3, 2007


1986 is when I first came to know of the Transformers. I was visiting some family friends in Queens, New York and like all the other larger then life things that New York has to offer, I instantly associated them as being New Yorkers. Although, later on I came to realize they were from Cybertron but that didn't make me doubt even for a minute that had they been Earth natives they would most definitely be from New York.

I didn't like the way they killed Optimus Prime in the original animated movie, however the trailers make me think that Optimus Prime is back, giving proof to the saying 'Empires Rise and Fall, But Heroes Live Forever'.

I really like the theatrical trailers of Transformers, I just hope those aren't all the key moments of the movie, I don't wanna go to the theater just to see how a movie ends, I don't even mind if people tell me the ending, that doesn't spoil the movie for me, I enjoy the whole journey to the end, so what spoils the movie for me is when all the key moments have already been shown in the promotional trailers, my beef with the movie studios has been that now a days many of these sci-fi movies aren't based on a solid story all they have going for them is these glorious moments, these outrageously beautiful cinematic effects that are sprinkled (often sparingly) here and there, and since the only way the distributors can make any money is to literally get the customer's foot in the door, so more often they just give away all glorious moments in the 1 minute trailer which in turn takes the air out of the whole movie watching experience for me, if you have seen the trailers then you have pretty much seen any thing noteworthy in that movie.

I have a feeling this is not the case with Transformers, but then you never know, I don't think War of the Worlds was anywhere near what I had hoped for it to be or maybe, at least in my opinion, Steven Spielberg has become a victim of his own success, I have such great expectations from anything associated with him that no matter what the final product its never good enough.

Transformers has a legacy and an existing fan base (in-there-late 20s/early 30s which is a very lucrative market demographic), what remains to be seen is if Micheal Bay/Steven Spielberg will deliver what that fan base expects, they sure seem pretty confident about it, there are already talks of a sequel slated for a release in 2009, but then as they say in Hollywood You don't really choose a blockbuster, it's the blockbuster that chooses you.

Jul 2, 2007

David Pogue on New York Times

David Pogue is a technology columnist for the New York Times, he posts his video reviews on the NYT website every now and then, I find his analysis more consumer centric, like he would tell you not how many pixels a certain camera is or whats the advertised network capability of a particular wireless router, rather he will synthesize all that information and tell you how good the picture looks or how quickly can you transfer large files over a network using that particular router, as I learn the hard way, numbers don't always tell the whole story in todays Digital World.