Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
"I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed, and that the guy sitting up at the counter weighs 215 pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half-mile before my hands start shaking. Now why would I know that? How can I know that and not know who I am?"
-- Jason Bourne
Friday, April 25, 2008
-- Opening lines from "Trainspotting"
-- Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line
A very interesting application of this principle came in Jared Diamond's very interesting book - Guns, Germs and Steel. Why is it that very few ancient cultures were able to master domestication of animals (especially horses) while almost all cultures had some form of agriculture? Because, to domesticate an animal, a long list of things had to go right -
-- Having surplus food to feed animals
-- Having access to animals with the right temperament (You cant domesticate bears)
Just like so many things need to be done right to create a happy family...
Thursday, April 24, 2008
If you are doing any serious amount of running, the best advice that I can give you from my experience is to get the right pair of Asics for your feet. Seriously. It is outrageously expensive, but totally worth it.
Long-distance running was never something I did before I came to Singapore for my university studies. Initially I adopted typical Indian cost-cutting strategies and got a pair of "Power" shoes from Bata. Gave it up after the first run. I could feel my feet pounding the pavement hard every single step.
Key thing to consider for running shoes (as well as for anything) is value. It is ok to spend a bit more on good running shoes as your legs are more important than the marginal extra cost you need to spend.
Next in line were Adidas and Nike. They seemed ok. No problems when running. Thats the problem here. They are good enough... So you never notice anything short term. But they never felt great. Over many years, they can do some damage to your knee...
Recently, I started getting a niggling pain in my knee every time I ran more than 50 mins etc. A colleague referred me to Asics. (My first comment was "Asics? I thought it was pronounced Basics??") Looking at the proce of S$220, I blanched initially. Then did some research on the web and found out that this was THE shoe for running.
But you need to get the right Asics for your feet. This will be based on normal-feet/flat-feet as well as a concept called Pronation/Supination. You have to find out what feet type you have based on these 2 variables. Each Asics model is meant for a particular feet-type. So before plunking down 200 dolls on a pair, please make sure you understand your feet type.
In Singapore, you can go to Federer Sports in Peninsular Plaza (Level 2). The proprieter - Jimmy - is somebody who is passionate about running, and will examine your feet and recommend the right Asics model. I have had some very good experience with him. Completely different from the fuckin businesswalla's in Queensway. Jimmy is more expensive by around 20$, but again, it is worth it. He will also provide a warranty, which is difficult from the assholes at Queensway. Also you can try out the shoes and run a short while in Peninsular Plaza to see if you like the initial feel.
I plunked down 220$ on the Gel-Nimbus 9. Jimmy had recommended a less expensive model, but LOL, I couldn't resist the lure of wearing the "World Shoe of the Year 2007". And believe me, these things are worth 500$ to me... Only when you run in an Asics will you understand what you have been missing all these years. You hardly feel any impact when your heel impacts the ground.
So in short, when getting a running shoe:
-- Know your feet-type
-- Don't go by aesthetics (Get another shoe for going out)
-- Get an Asics
Download the report here (pdf link on right side of page)
-- 66% of losses from CDO warehousing
-- 16% of losses from trading by Dillon Read (UBS-owned hedge fund)
-- 10% of losses from cash-collateral trading
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
via this site...
"The reusable condom dates back to 1640 and is completely intact, as is its orginal users’ manual, written in Latin. The manual suggests that users immerse the condom in warm milk prior to its use to avoid diseases. The antique, found in Lund in Sweden, is made of pig intestine and is one of 250 ancient objects related to sex on display at the Tirolean County Museum in Austria this summer."
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
-- Olympics promo trailer
One of the ads that really grasp at you to go out and do great things. The video had these words in a voice-over as a ski-jumper leaps off...
Posting about that F-16 scale model reminded me of this monster 1:20 B-52 scale model that I had seen on youtube quite sometime back. I first heard of it when reading an article about the miniature jet engines from Wren used to power this monster.
The B-52 is simply the most beautiful plane IMHO. It is graceful, elegant, functional and cheap. First deployed in 1952, it is planned to form the backbone of the US bomber command till 2040. There can be no better validation of an airplane than this.
Anyway, enjoy this masterpiece in scale model engineering. Too bad the pilot was not as good as the engineers :-(
Monday, April 21, 2008
via Jeremy Zawodny... A scale model F-16 with a miniature jet engine fitted with an afterburner!!
A few years back, when in London on business, I bought some scale model kits from the Imperial War Museum for my lil sis... To get her introduced to the creative side... LOL, she took one look at it and made it clear that I would be getting creative... In order not to waste the 40 pounds on these things, I spent the next 2 weeks carefully piecing together the HMS Ark Royal and a Lancaster bomber and slowly going mad. I have done a lot of tedious monotonous tasks in my lifetime, but this one took the cake. Since I wince every time I hear about a Lancaster bomber on the Discovery channel, I believe I haven't recovered yet...
So i salute the skill, dedication and concentration of the chaps who built, tested and troubleshooted this thing and managed to land it without crashing...
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
In 2003, oil prices were at US$25/barrel.
China's foreign reserves were US$ 400 billion.
China's foreign reserves in oil terms = 16 billion barrels
Today, oil prices are US$115/barrel.
China's foreign reserves are US$ 1.6 trillion.
Foreign reserves in oil terms = 14 billion barrels
Former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam : 'A Leader Should Know How to Manage Failure'
India Knowledge@Wharton: Could you give an example, from your own experience, of how leaders should manage failure?
Kalam: Let me tell you about my experience. In 1973 I became the project director of India's satellite launch vehicle program, commonly called the SLV-3. Our goal was to put India's "Rohini" satellite into orbit by 1980. I was given funds and human resources -- but was told clearly that by 1980 We had to launch the satellite into space. Thousands of people worked Together in scientific and technical teams towards that goal.
By 1979 -- I think the month was August -- we thought we were ready. As The project director, I went to the control center for the launch. At four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. My experts -- I had four or five of them with me -- told me not to worry; they had done their calculations and there was enough reserve fuel. So I bypassed the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure.
That day, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, Prof. Satish Dhawan, had called a press conference. The launch was at 7:00 am, And the press conference -- where journalists from around the world were Present -- was at 7:45 am at ISRO's satellite launch range in Sriharikota [in Andhra Pradesh in southern India]. Prof. Dhawan, the leader of the organization, conducted the press conference himself. He took responsibility for the failure -- he said that the team had worked very hard, but that it needed more technological support. He assured the media that in another year, the team would definitely succeed. Now, I was the project director, and it was my failure, but instead, he took responsibility for the failure as chairman of the organization.
The next year, in July 1980, we tried again to launch the satellite -- And this time we succeeded. The whole nation was jubilant. Again, there was A press conference. Prof. Dhawan called me aside and told me, "You conduct The press conference today."
I learned a very important lesson that day. When failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned that failure. When success came, he gave it to his team. The best management lesson I have learned did not come to me from reading a book; it came from that experience.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I used to be like this chap...
The Wolf: Jimmie, lead the way. Boys, get to work.
Vincent: A please would be nice.
The Wolf: Come again?
Vincent: I said a please would be nice.
The Wolf: Get it straight buster - I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you'd better fucking do it and do it quick! I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen.
Jules: No, Mr. Wolf, it ain't like that...
Vincent: I don't mean any disrespect, I just don't like people barking orders at me.
The Wolf: If I'm curt with you it's because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please... with sugar on top. Clean the fucking car!