Archive for October, 2008

Obama could help with Gulf investment

October 28, 2008

Appears that America has hands out to the Gulf states looking for investment dollars:

A high-level Bush administration official told business leaders in the oil-rich Gulf Tuesday that the battered U.S. economy is open to more investment by the region’s government-owned funds and other wealthy investors.

Now, if Barack Obama indeed is an Arab Muslim, couldn’t he really help out with attracting Gulf investments?


Kurds vs Iraqi government (anyone paying attention?)

October 28, 2008

Apparently there is a very good possibility of the potentially breakaway regions of Kurdistan fighting the Iraqi army (purged of Kurdish units) for control of said Kurdistan. What would the US response be to such developments?

“It’s the perfect storm against the old festering background,” warned Brig. Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, who oversees Nineveh and Kirkuk Provinces and the Kurdish region.

Worry is so high that the American military has already settled on a policy that may set a precedent, as the United States slowly withdraws to allow Iraqis to settle their own problems. If the Kurds and Iraqi government forces fight, the American military will “step aside,” General Thomas said, rather than “have United States servicemen get killed trying to play peacemaker.”

FUD about BHO

October 21, 2008

Rob Enderle, infamous tech pundit, compares McCain vs BHO to Sun vs Microsoft. Good to compare, no? FUD means “fear, uncertainty and doubt.” Microsoft has been accused of (and judged to be quite guilty by its opponents) spreading FUD about open source, Java, and anything or anybody else that is a competitor. And so it goes with presidential campaigns.

BTW Enderle believes that the McCain FUD campaign won’t work for the reason Microsoft’s FUD didn’t work again Linux.

Moon over Mumbai

October 21, 2008

India will launch a lunar probe tomorrow in a bid to keep with China in the new Asian space race, which also features Japan and South Korea as contestants. At stake — national pride and billions of rupees or euros or yuan (will we speaking of dollars in the future??) in space businesses such as satellite launches. Satellite launches will become commoditized with NASA needing to outsource its lift capability the same way US corporations outsource database administration. 

The Chandrayaan-1 mission is aimed at high-resolution remote sensing of the moon in visible, near infrared(NIR), low energy X-rays and high-energy X-ray regions. Specifically the objectives will be
To prepare a three-dimensional atlas (with a high spatial and altitude resolution of 5-10m) of both near and far side of the moon.
To conduct chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface for distribution of elements such as Magnesium, Aluminum, Silicon, Calcium, Iron and Titanium with a spatial resolution of about 25 km and high atomic number elements such as Radon, Uranium & Thorium with a spatial resolution of about 20 km.
Click here to large view
Simultaneous photo geological and chemical mapping will enable identification of different geological units, which will test the early evolutionary history of the moon and help in determining the nature and stratigraphy of the lunar crust.


On the criteria of price, India has proven so far to be the low cost leader in lunar probes:

If successful, India joins the Asian powers China and Japan, which have already undertaken their own lunar missions.

But it’s doing it at a fraction of the cost – $80m compared to China’s $187m lunar probe launched last year and Japan’s $480m Kayuga mission.

And with a much smaller budget than NASA with arguably better results for the cash lately

Its budget is less than $1bn a year, compared with more than $17bn that Nasa spends. India’s remote sensing capabilities are almost legendary. Today there are seven Indian-made and operated remote sensing satellites in orbit, the largest number of any country in the civilian domain.

Can this translate in part to a higher standard of living for the Indian people? Looks like other flags will be joining Old Glory on the Moon in coming decades.

You can’t have it all, in IT

October 20, 2008

Women are making profound personal sacrifices to advance their IT careers, but their efforts to get ahead are largely for naught, a new study of mid-career women in IT finds.

At the risk of sounding contrarian, there’s no guarantee a guy will will advance either, but I take the point of the article. Interestingly, the article says that a perception that women are less technically competent than men is a reason for a lack of advance, assuming an environment where technical expertise is necessary for advancement in management. That may be so in tech companies, but arguably not in the rest of corporate America. In my experience (necessarily anecdotal) and of others I know, many people with no technical background at all move into IT management laterally or directly jump to management roles.

Obama likes Eastern N.C. barbecue

October 20, 2008

Obama got my hometown Fayetteville, NC into the news cycle yesterday and today because it’s there where he announced that Colin Powell had endorsed him. And some controversy, since election officials apparently opened a few early voting sites around Crown Arena where Obama had spoke.

Followup: OK, now this happened in the arena parking lot while Obama was speaking. AFAIK they could have put the voting inside the arena.

He got to eat Eastern NC style barbecue at Cape Fear Bar-B-Q on Grove Street in Fayetteville, only a few miles from Crown Arena. They don’t cook with charcoal or wood chips, I believe they must gas the hogs in the back. Anyway, it’s a good place to eat. In North Carolina you get cole slaw, hushpuppies (fried corn meal and flour dough shaped into balls or elongated pieces, often sweetened) and potato salad, boiled potatoes or fries.

Someone named Diane Fanning shouted ‘Socialist!’ in the restaurant.

As for the title of this post, I don’t know whether Obama actually ‘liked’ his barbecue. I am just making assumption.

God blessed America with oil and natural gas

October 18, 2008

So says Gov. Palin. But unfortunately, while our God blessed us with some 4% of proven or known oil reserves, some other God (probably one that favors Obama) blessed the Middle East and Central Asia with around 2/3 of known reserves. That God also blessed Hugo Chavez and our friendly neighbors the Canadians. At least with Canada we could claim their oil the way we say poo on their claims to the Northwest Passage.

Bulls on Monday got gored

October 15, 2008

What was that about the advice to buy now? Seemed golden on Monday, what about today.. we are just about even for the week.

H1-B fraud

October 15, 2008

You shouldnt miss this. A random sample of H1-B applications pulled out and reviewed found that 21% of the sample contained fraudulent info, such as fake degrees, etc.

Still want to move to Canada?

October 15, 2008

After yesterday’s polling in the frozen tundra of Canada, the citizens of the Maple Leaf has seen fit to re-elect their current leader Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party. I thought about all the attention last year to people of the leftist persuasion who would so disgusted with the Land of Bush that they sought ways to leave for the more ‘enlightened’ climate (certainly colder) of Canada. Well, going by the results from yesterday:

  • Harper was accused by his opponents of being a ‘W’ clone. Actually over half the electorate thinks so too. Not so fast said his supporters, Harper isn’t a Bush MiniMe of the North. He stands up to Bush, on occasion.
  • Canada spent $300 million (US I believe) on the third election in four years. Harper called it because wisdom holds that he needed to be re-elected before the US election because Harper is afraid of an Obama victory.
  • Harper got about 37% of the popular vote (en Français) , resulting in 46% of the parliamentary seats (the first past the post system like in Merrie Olde England), giving him less than a majority of seats in the Canadian Parliament. He gained more seats than before, but is still a minority government. How do these coalition things work again?
  • His main opponent of the Liberal party, Stephane Dion, had three strikes against him. One, he is considered by the Conservatives to be an eco-freak who wanted Canada to adopt a carbon tax to reduce  fossil fuel (but not on gasoline) usage. This in a petrostate. Second, Dion is a “foreigner” to most Canadians. Along with his namesake Celine, he is a Francophone who sounds like a Francophone when speaking English. Québécois have served as PM before certainly, but not ones who sounded too “foreign.” Don’t know enough about politics to the North to say if that’s what did him in (give me credit for being an US citizen who even knows who the Canadian PM is!). Lastly, he comes across as an egghead. Canadians have as much use for an egghead as Americans do. Taking a leap, think Al Gore of 2000 with an unintelligible Southern accent.
  • I’ve noticed that Canadians take no offense in people in the US referring to themselves as ‘Americans.’
  • Canada is a multiparty parliamentary democracy. There are more than two parties in other words. The Conservatives’ four main opponents if you do the math got more votes collectively. Could they form a coalition government and toss out Harper? Legally and technically, yes. Practically speaking, not a chance from what I read. Think of all of these parties collectively as the “Democratic” party of Canada.
  • In Alberta, the Conservatives got over 96% (all but one) of their parliamentary seats. Alberta is actually the petrostate.
  • Le Bloc Québécois did well in Québec as usual. One of these days, one of these days.. Québec will become a member of the UN.
  • Assuming that Obama wins the election in a few weeks, that will mean that the US will have a leader who opposed the Iraq War, while Canada will have one who strongly supported it.
  • Yukon voted Liberal, while its cross border neighbor Alaska, doesn’t and wouldn’t.
  • OK, maybe the election came down to personal charisma, you know, like in America.
  • Harper has claimed that his government has weathered the global economic crisis better than those people further south. Canadians politicians have to distance themselves from ‘W’ too… Now wait for falling oil prices to hit Alberta.