Sunday, February 25, 2007

How the west was won over by utter irrelevance

The year was 2012 and the Americans were about elect a candidate from the L.A.U.G.H Party president. His name was Jay Letterman - and is now Jay Brown (after a divorce).

This is his story - and an inspiration to one and all. To all those people who feel ashamed that their beloved media is spending too much time on frivolities such as bald musicians (and I use the term "musicians" loosely). To all those people who feel disappointed that the most important news story in the world is the untimely death of one B-grade (grotesquely voluptuous) model - when gazillions of people are perishing in a humanitarian disaster perpetrated (on flimsy grounds) by their beloved government. To all those people have not even heard of the recent terrorist attacks on the train in India from their media outlets - but would have wanted to hear about it. You might be non-conformists right now - but you can conform. There is still hope for you: you can still lower your standards substantially and pander. And then, you can be president of the "free world". A world where you are free to talk about bald actresses and celebrities behaving badly.

Jay Letterman wasn't doing anything right earlier. He was the president of International Red Cross, he was the director of Green-Peace (American Chapter). He was actually wasting time in Iraq by sending food to the starving population of that country. And when he was in the US, he was negotiating with the auto-companies a significant reduction on the numbers of SUVs. He was letting himself atrophy with these politically irrelevant activities. In the meanwhile he missed Paris Hilton's public embarrassment when she wore the wrong shoes on the wrong feet. He missed Britney spears forgetting to brush her teeth. It was almost as if there was no hope at all.

And then one fine day realization dawned. He saw God in a dream. God reportedly chastised him for not doing something that the American People really cared about. He told him that he (Letterman) was a prophet and his sole job was to tell the American people about what really mattered: bald Britneys and the like. He told him that the rest of the world was a mere barn for America to milk. Just like cows are inferior to man (in that men eat cows), the rest of the world was inferior to anything from America - even bald actresses.

So, the next day, Jay Letterman stopped all his follies in Iraq and at home. He spent his life talking about bald actresses and gay marriage. He debated with finesse. He was both clean and articulate. He formed a new political party called the LAUGH. (League of Adventurous, Useful and Great Homo-erectusses (sic)) . The American people found the issues put forth by the party particularly germane to their way of life. The Laughs' take on the number of brush strokes per tooth brushing session (32 - one per tooth!) was found to be exactly what the people wanted.

And with all American "conscience" focused on Bald Britneys, Ballihurton ( a firm CEOod by Cick Dheney) Conquered the entire middle east and charged exhorbitant rates for a gallon of oil. Their reign was cut short by an intellegent Indian inventing a solar cell with 80% efficiency. Though they (Ballihurton) managed to get the Indian killed, he had posted a blueprint on wikipedia.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Entropy Decreasing?

A few days ago, I had a big scare. The scare came from the home of the Loch-ness Monster, Scotland. The scare almost destroyed me.

My career looked like it was going to go drown the drain. The middle east looked like it would not be in so much trouble anymore; and Exxon Mobil stocks would be on the verge of plummeting. And global warming looked like it was about to stop happening.

You see, I work on Energy Technologies. My guide makes his $$$$ by helping incrementally increase the efficiency of gas turbine engines by the order of 0.0000001%. My entire career depends on two things:

  • Energy Scarcity
  • Bitchiness of Navier-Stokes. (this will be discussed later).
So, when I read that some people invented a genuine microscopic Maxwell Daemon, I was shell-shocked. (The U.S government invented the macroscopic Maxwell Daemon. I have scrutinized it here a long ago). Doing some horribly complicated nano-molecular chemistry (in the description of which the term "rotaxane" is employed), a molecular ratchet has been developed by Serelli . in Edinburgh, Scotland. Undoubtedly, they developed it to keep the Loch Ness monster company.

A real Maxwell Daemon will destroy energy scarcity. Here's how.

  • Suppose you have a room filled with slow molecules colliding with each other. They form the "cold fluid".
  • Suppose you then introduce some really fast molecules to the room. This would be the "hot fluid".
  • These fast molecules will collide with the slower ones - and they will keep colliding forever- eventually each and every molecule has the same velocity on average. The system attains a state of equilibrium. The molecules still keep colliding, mind you. But they do not transfer any energy on the net to each other. The gas it as the "equilibrium" temperature.
  • Though the odd molecule might get as fast as the one of the original "hot fluid" molecules, it will be a statistical anomaly. You won't be able to extract a set of "fast" molecules. The introduction of the "hot" gas is an irreversible process.
  • A Maxwell Daemon would do the needful, actually.
  • Suppose you introduced an "impenetrable" barrier dividing the room into two. Suppose, you then employed the aforementioned daemon to let only the faster molecules across. Presto! You have hot fluid on one side - and cold fluid on the other side. Build an engine and you can generate electricity.
  • The Edinburgh daemon does something like this.
  • A PMM2 could have been achieved. No more energy scarcity.

You can imagine how scared I was on reading the Nature article. Scared, I was, until I realized that the Daemon sought photons as renumeration. The Daemon is light powered. You need to expend energy in ensuring that the Daemon does what it is supposed to.

The second law comes across unscathed - at least for now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Superpower India

The Indian press seems to be saturated with deplorable and delusional reports of India's immediate future as a superpower. Some joker always writes an article in Rediff touting India's "rapid" rise to prominence; NDTV carries an opinion poll on whether India is already a superpower - and all this happens when 60% of the country lives below / near a poverty line. (near enough for discomfort).

While I do not doubt as much that India will rise in power [
There's a caveat of course: global warming] in the decades to come - I do not see it happening right now. Such irresponsible banter about "Superpower-dom" shifts the focus from the real issues: hunger, poverty and misery. So, I just had to write the following article.


Yes, India is a superpower. And it will become a superer power soon. As a matter of fact, it is the Indians who will protect the planet from the green men from outer space who will (presumably) attack us with the intent to terminate all life on planet earth.

Taming the Colonizers

The seeds of superpowerdom were sown by the reverse colonization of the United Kingdom. It is common knowledge that Pt. Ravi Shankar introduced Lennon & Co. to LSD. Do you know what Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds actually stands for? L.S.D as in Lennon - Shankar - Dope. One can therefore say that behind the origin of western pop-culture is a significant Indian hand.

Ethnic Indians, for all vaguely practical purposes, annexed Birmingham (a nondescipt Punjabi city slightly to the northwest of London). They then furthered their reverse colonization cause with the movie "Bend it like Beckham" and by inflicting with Chicken Tikka masala all McDonaldses in the UK. And finishing the job was Ms. Shilpa Shetty's miraculous victory in something called the Celebrity Big Brother (more due to the Indian media throwing a tantrum than anything else). The destruction of one Jade Goody's career and her subsequent presumable conversion the Hinduism seemed to have almost made the sun set on the British Empire.

Then the Tatas took over Corus for $12 billion. It looked like it was all over for the British - even their cricket team was being humiliated down under. The proverbial "last nails" in the coffin. [We will conveniently forget Indian misadventures in South Africa]. But UK still seems to be putting up some sort of fight. Vodafone (a British phone company) procured Hutch for $19 billion. Looks like the Indians will have to crush England mercilessly - just like the British Crushed India in 1919 in Amritsar.

Taming The Empire

Since the neo-natives of the North American empire are extremely jingoistic, the Indian invasion of North America has been far more subtle. Cavalier impositions of Chicken Tikka on McDonalds restaurants will come under attack by Bill O'Reilly or someone - so they won't bring the US to its knees, unlike Britannica. So, the Indians have used a more careful approach. Indians have surreptitiously landed in control of 17% of the US economy (larger than India's economy!). South Asians (another term for Indians) more or less run silicon valley and dominate academic institutions.

India tries to paint a pathetic picture of itself by buying decades old naval vessels and second hand military aircraft. Talks, presumably, are on to buy used American Toilet paper.

But all this is to catch the Americans off guard. To divert the world form the real issues. Indians are ready to conquer this land. And proof of the pudding will be when Abhijit Sawant wins American Idol.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Farce called "Going Green"

US President, George Bush grudgingly acknowledged that global warming was real in a recent, nationally televised speech ("The State of the Nation"). He suggested a 20% reduction of oil consumption by contemplating "mandating" certain "mileage standards" that automobile manufacturers have to adhere to. And consequently, the American media is saturated with incredible stories of the "oil" president becoming the "green" president.

Companies such as Walmart are trying to do their bit for the environment by stocking more energy efficient lights and "increasing the efficiency of their vehicle fleet by 30%". [A story from CNN]. Oh, and Hybrids and "flex-fuel" vehicles are being sold by everyone from Toyota to GM. Watching the TV here, you would get the feeling that the world is in safe hands.

The bottomline is that all this is a mere pittance. A nothing which shall only delay Armageddon by a couple of years, if at all. [If one were to go by certain estimates]. Perhaps from 2050 to 2052. I might conk off in 2051, but most people won't be so lucky. Let us get this very, very straight: If at all there is a climate change problem facing the world, It's the Americans, the British, The Japanese, the Germans, the South Koreans etc... (the first world, essentially) who are responsible for it. The Americans, more so than anyone else - they have the highest per capita emissions in the world. The average American pollutes the world more than any living entity has ever polluted the earth until now. [Take this wikipedia article with a pinch of salt. Kuwait and Quatar etc. are small export (to the US) oriented industrial countries. And the Virgin Islands is a US colony] The Americans, essentially got the planet into this mess.

They got us (humans and all other living species on this planet) into this mess. They should help get us out of this. But the Americans are actually making money out of it. The American people are nice, well intentioned people. They feel for the planet and they will do anything to save their planet. So, when they are sold eco-friendly products priced slightly higher, they go ahead and buy them. They get that warm feeling in their heart: they believe they are helping make the world a better place. The capitalists have realized that "green" is actually a selling point. They have realized that putting a price tag on that warm feeling is actually profitable. So, they are making more green products.
Corporate America voluntarily going "green" makes a token difference in actuality. It makes a larger difference in perception. The people perceive Walmart as a green company and give it a larger business.

The solution to this mess lies, to a great extent, in the Hands of the spineless (in this respect) US administration. There is only one solution. It is the most obvious solution - a solution that Al Gore dares not dare mention in his documentary ( An Inconvenient Truth). The solution is to impose a significant "green" tax on petrol (or Gas, as it is known in the US). If fuel were priced at $4.50 a gallon in the US (double the current rate) - then emissions would plummet. Innovation in efficiency would get an incentive, as would innovations in alternative energy technologies. That's how to use markets to keep tabs on pollution.

One can see why Mr. Gore dares not suggest this - he would be committing political suicide if he did . No more "Gore for president" ever. How dare someone try to raise taxes in the US? How dare some conscientious soul ever force the Americans to stop stealing the future of the planet?

The west (this applies more to the US than to Europe) is not serious about actually doing anything about Global Warming. It is serious about looking like it is doing something about global warming - so that its people can think that it is doing something about global warming. And if the West can get the people to think it is doing something about g.w. without actually doing anything - then, bully for it. Because, in a real democracy, it's what people think that matters - and not what is really happening. You see, Gore might go ahead and win the damned Nobel Peace prize - despite skirting the real issue - the hedonistic overindulgence of the west.

You know what I think? The world will go "token green". Global warming will change the world as we know it. And Fox News will still deny it.
We all know democracies are not perfect. The response of democracies to this crisis shows us again how imperfect they are.