Straight Angle™: October 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ass-ociated Press! 

How many ever times I remind myself not to get worked up with Journalistic standards, I somehow get to read stuff that simply blows me over with its, logic, reason, in-depth analysis and expert opinion.

Take for example, the recent news item from Associated Press, which announced that AT&T is scaling back St.Louis's Wi-Fi Plan. The story starts off with the news, then goes on to analyze the problem- the reasons why AT&T is unable to fully enable Wi-Fi in St.Louis.

The gem of the news item was when the article declared the reasons for the scaling down.
........initially planned to mount the transmitters on city streetlights, but some of those don't have power during the day. Utility poles didn't always provide the straight line of sight necessary to beam the Internet to a computer. Other unsuccessful options were mounting the transmitters on stoplights and buildings and even attaching a battery.

Mounting transmitters on streetlights seems to be a good idea, till you discover some of them don't have power in the day- thats understandable- afterall, who would leave the power on for street lights during the day- what intrigued me, is the word "Some"- let that aside- there are much greater things to note.

Read the next gem of a reason- Utility poles didn't always provide the straight line of sight necessary to beam the Internet to a computer- what?- You mean really- You need a straight line of sight to beam what? You mean Internet? The famous series of tubes thing?

I couldn't control the laughter when I read it. There are dumb people, dumber people, dumbest even. But this sort of reporting assumes, everyone is dumb. I wonder who would be sitting behind the desk and writing such stories. But sure, these sort of stories more than enlightening us on the news and happenings around us, does definitely crack us up for a while!!

It is now Ass-o-ciated press- it seems!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who Said that?? 

Modern monetary systems have fiat basis- literally money by decree- with depository institutions, acting as fiduciaries, creating obligations against themselves with a fiat basis acting in part as reserves. The decree appears on the currency notes: "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private". While no individual could refuse to accept such money for debt repayment, exchange contracts could easily be composed to thwart its use in everyday commerce. However, a forceful explanation as to why money is accepted is that the federal government requires it as payment for tax liabilities. Anticipation of the need to clear this debt creates a demand for the pure fiat dollar.
Know who said that??- If I had been asked this question a couple of days back, I would have blankly said, some conspiracy theorist, an extreme rightist, an anti-establishmentarian or an anarchist- but definitely an intelligent economist.

But today- only one of those is correct- intelligent economist- Unless you consider Federal Reserve Bank of St.Louis as all of those! The Fed says this in "Money, Credit and Velocity", Review, May, 1982.

Ways of the world!

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Monday, October 15, 2007

MK and KM!! 

Why is it that, this sort of news gets only into The Hindu?? It seems that, MK did all the fire-fighting, sort of the statesman kind of role to "solve" the crisis amicably- without taking sides- but if this news (his interview apparently) is to believe, he had "doubts" on the nuclear deal even before Left raised issues with the deal.

I wonder how can a person, who already had doubts about the deal not take sides, when speaking on the issue?- Is it a peculiar mental distortion for MK, that he can speak on something, even though he had doubts about it, without casting those doubts on to the proceedings?
At no point did the Left parties ask him to support their viewpoint, he said
I wonder why would MK want to do such gimmicks?- To stake a claim to the already crowded statesmen list of the nation?- It reminds me of Goundamani's dialogue in Mannan-

புண்ணாக்கு விக்கறவன் குண்டூசி விக்கிறவன் எல்லாம் தொழிலதிபர்ங்கராங்கப்பா.

Hopefully, Statemenship wouldn't go the "தொழிலதிபர்" way!!

It is not just that, MK is alone in this "Who Said What" comedy- just watch what his daughter had to say on the remarks that he intentionally hurt the feelings of Hindus.

You know what does that remind me of?

நாராயணா!! இந்த கொசுத் தொல்லை தாங்க முடியலப்பா!!

And that, my dear readers, is the MK and KM part!

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Yet another Foot in Mouth 

This is just another story of Foot in Mouth- but this time it is not just Indian news source- this time, the scale is global and a major goof. Read the following story of SAP buying Business Objects in Yahoo! news. It's an all cash and loan deal- though as the article says, this acquisition[I wonder why they wouldn't use that word- need to enquire with my financially more endowed friends on the exact legal difference between acquisition and buy-out]..that apart, this buy out would give SAP a good opening into the BI space- not that, it isn't there already- but truth be said, SAP is a bulky and bloated behemoth- what it needs is not a "One-size-fits-all" approach- as it is seen, what is good for big corporations needn't necessarily true for Small and Medium scale companies- the data volume, the turn around time, the decision making processes, needs and urgencies are vastly different in a SME than a traditional huge enterprise.

To be agile and nimble footed is a pre-requisite to survive in such a scenario- as also the ability to wage the price-war. SAP had been a very slow mover when it comes to acquisition and inorganic growth- Oracle had been in a buying spree for sometime now and had been lapping up promising and successful companies alike. As things stand now, almost all the independent BI vendors except Cognos had already been acquired- does that mean that it would be Cognos next? No one knows. Also, the question remains would Oracle make a competing bid to Business Objects?

Coming back to the Foot in Mouth, this is how the news report ends as of 11:17 PM, Oct 7, 2007[This is just for a time stamp- may be they will realize this and correct it later]
SAP also bought management software producer Hyperion in March for 3.3 billion dollars.
Like I said, my foot- It was Oracle that bought Hyperion, not SAP. Proof read please.

[Update at 11:42 PM]- Seems like it is an agency news...from AFP. This is not an error on the part of Yahoo! but on the part of AFP. Now, this is much more interesting because, the same news would be reported by multiple sources- in this case, like the Google News. There should be more careful editorial oversight.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Hindu and Editorial Balance 

There seem to be a fair amount of heat generated by the observation of Justice B.N.Agarwal while hearing the petition by AIADMK on the recent Bandh-against-Ram Sedhu by DMK and its allies. While it does appear that the Judge had indeed stepped off the line by his remarks, the editorial by "The Hindu" is even more off the line.

Out of no where does this paragraph appears:
For example, in recent years the Bharatiya Janata Party and the saffron brigade have called for, conducted, and got away with several attempted bandhs. A case in point is the August 27, 2007 Hyderabad bandh protesting against the terror strike at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat. And what about other forms of protest actions? Will the Supreme Court rule on what kind of constitutional animal is a ‘rail roko,’ of the kind the BJP State unit staged in Hyderabad in September 2007 against the Sethusamudram project? Does it fall under the definition of a general strike or a hartal or a bandh? Is it constitutional? As political leaders have observed, the logical consequence of the Supreme Court’s unevenly implemented ban on bandhs will be a ban on all protest actions and the right to strike. If that happens, the highest court in the land will itself be responsible for the trampling on fundamental rights that its 1998 judgment warns against.
I mean what is the need for the editorial to name any one party, when the entire political spectrum- including the Commies indulge in these activities. This is very typically childish attempt at scoring brownie points with the ruling establishment in TN.

All said and done, we need to ask ourselves a question, if a Judge makes such remarks, and we feel that Judiciary is overstepping its reach, why are they doing so? How had the executive and the legislature been delivering their duties for the past 60 years- what is the confidence we have over the other two arms of the constitution? Can we, in any earnest thought, think highly on the Legislature or the Executive?- What is our experience with them- are judges any different from the common man living in this country?- they too have to face the same executive and the legislature day in and day out- may be in a bad light than the worser light that millions get to face them daily.

Had they been delivering their duties properly, may be we wouldn't be going to the judiciary for everything -from stopping disruption of normal life, because the executive that is supposed to guarantee the normal life is the only trampling on it, deciding on the affirmative action that the executive is supposed to deliver without harming everyone else in the process, clearing of garbage and restricting pollution in big cities- we need not just Judicial overview- but Judicial direction for our own duties! The executive sights Judicial direction to deliver on the rightful work that it is supposed to be made for. In these conditions, it would be impractical not to expect anything unpleasant about us to be told by the Judiciary.

In a recent "Reader's Editor" section, the same points were raised by the readers, who have been pained by the blatant partisanship of "The Hindu" editorials, news reporting and coverage in general. The Editor's response is as usual the wishy washy stuff, which gives you a yawn as you read it and say, shut up!
It is not our practice to reproduce “indecent remarks” (as one reader described it) by anyone. Often it is best to allude to them. We don’t reproduce all the remarks made by Narendra Modi or Uma Bharati against Muslims or Christians or the unrestrained attacks on individual political leaders by Subramanian Swamy.
While not publishing the wounding remarks made my anyone against Christians or Muslims and thus being the ever decent newspaper, The Hindu would definitely have published an editorial the first thing next morning condemning in the strongest possible terms the trampling on- "Oh-So-Sacred-Secularism" by the Saffron Brigade- but not so surprisingly, this time there was not even a mention of the remarks made by the Chief Minister in very specific and pointed terms to the religious beliefs of the Hindus. Oh- trampling on Hindu sensibilities is secularism- as it had always been practiced by the Secularists! This was succintly pointed out in the same page, with these words by the Reader's Editor!
The policy of not publishing abusive or wounding comments is laudable. But it needs to be followed uniformly, whether it is a Chief Minister or an unknown BJP ex-MP (whose remarks were published with the Hindi words and English translation). The clarification makes it clear that some of Mr. Karunanidhi’s remarks on the Ramayana were highly sensitive. The editorial was an opportunity to make this point. Readers noted that there was no disapprobation. On the other hand, the editorial said the remarks were “wildly misrepresented.” Mr. Karunanidhi had not said so but had made further comments.
After a long time, I did feel good about reading The Hindu- and this time, none of it came from the people who matter in there!

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