Four Stray Thoughts : November 29, 2009

Here are my Four Stray Thoughts for the day:

1. Sabotage at Indian Nuclear Site: There was a news item about radioactive material leak that happened at a nuclear site in India. It said that drinking water got contaminated with radioactive material. I am happy to learn that within a day or so, Mr. Kakodkar, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission put to rest all doubts and made it clear that it was a case of sabotage. Good, once you state the obvious and accept it, something concrete and positive can be done and that needs to include assertive action. What action gets done is something that I cannot comment on but this incident brings to light what most experts in warfare have been talking about in the last decade. They clearly state that modern wars will not be fought on a battlefield but in hideous manners, as this case of sabotage indicates. It is a good reminder to all of us that we should stop harping about whether we are safer or not? The need of the hour is to accept how vulnerable we are and come together to collectively address how we can face (forget trying to prevent) incidents like this. It will require a great change of mindset in us and our institutions to be ready to face these acts.

2. What is the cost of education? : I read an article in the Times of India that clearly confused me. The title of the article states that the Planning commission needs 7,50,000 crores to create an educational/skilled workforce of 50 crore by the year 2022. Please read it here. So on an average, it needs Rs. 15,000 /person over here. I think these folks have factored in inflation too since the plan is till the year 2022. They also claim that so far they have spent 32,000 crore on it. I tell you what: a) Considering the cost of quality education, Rs. 15000 is peanuts. b) No one has a clue where the 32,000 crore has already been spent and where we can find those skilled workforce. With planning commissions like this, it is no wonder we are all confused if any plans exists and if they exists, where are the results?

3. Castles in the Air:So the Al Burj Dubai is finally Al Broke! I am not surprised at all and I only wish I had made myself heard more clearly nearly 2 years back when I visited the country for a week. They boasted to all that half the world’s cranes are in Dubai. As you move around the city, the only thing that you see is construction and what sort of construction. To even the most unartistic of humans, it was an ugly sort of construction with skyscrapers actually jostling with each other to reach out and be seen. Every single structure was man made and at many times against the laws of nature and aesthetics. And to be frank, unless you are in a helicopter there is no way you can even make out those engineering marvels like the World, Palm, etc. If you were on the ground, you had no way of knowing if you were in the trunk , branch, twig or a leaf of the Palm. Well, it does not matter anymore …

4. Where are the board games? : Change is the only constant in this world. Remember the board games that we used to play as children: Snakes & Ladders, Ludo, Monopoly, etc. How many kids today play them? With the advent of video games and other forms of entertainment, board games are slowly being relegated to belonging to a different era. I love board games but at the same time have not been playing them at least in the recent past. But it is encouraging to note that there is a following of board gamers every now and then that I come across on the Internet or via individual tweets. If you were looking for a board game resource on the Internet, you can look at Board Game Geek, which should be a delight for anyone who loves board games. Playing a board game, I think is wholesome entertainment but with the focus on the individual form of entertainment now, it will be tough to see them being played in forms other than a video game. I can tell you one thing for sure, there is no greater joy than to knock someone out in a board game. In a computer game, there is no way you can get that feeling. So bring out the board games and roll that dice…

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