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Showing posts from 2008

Pakistan May Want A War With India, But India Has To Avoid It At All Costs

Its been over four weeks since the Mumbai attacks, and news reports indicate that India and Pakistan may be slowly edging towards a war. War is expensive and not something either countries can afford. But while Pakistan may want a war, India must do everything to avoid it and find other ways of addressing its current fight against Islamists.

From India's stand point, the attack on Mumbai's landmark hotels was a signal that the divisive Islamic forces based in Pakistan have gained strength and are now capable of. The electorate has been shocked at the brazen attack and the inability of their government to prevent it from happening. Recent demonstrations on the Indian streets indicates that the Indian public is fed up with the string of attacks in major cities going on over last two years, and the government is under incredible pressure to do something - and do it quickly.

Even highest ranking politicians have voiced their concern that doing nothing sends a bad signal to the…

Strategic insight comes from keen observation

That strategic insight comes from keen observation of the market place is an oft repeated dictum that few follow. However, every once in a while one comes across an example that exemplifies it. Here is a great example courtesy India Today:
While coming back from Dalhousie last year, thanks to a cancelled flight, Deepak Puri, the chairman of Moser Baer, was forced to take a train. At Pathankot, two push carts were selling his CDs. Business was brisk, and they managed to sell quite a few. A few months later, at an upmarket store in Delhi’s Khan Market, Puri discovered that the shopkeeper stacked only two of his titles. The reason: he would make a fatter margin—Rs 150 on a Rs 300 CD compared to Rs 8 on Moser Baer’s Rs 28 CD.“To make the same margin, I’d have to sell 18 of these CDs”, he told Puri.

Back in office, Puri immediately called his marketing executives and decided to restrategise. This involved selling his CDs in push carts in high-cost low-space areas, a model that has become a…

Murdoch says this century belongs to India, China!

In the first of his Boyer Lecture series, Rupert Murdoch, the media maven who now controls the Wall Street Journal said that India and China will emerge from economic back waters to economic powers to reckon with.

Here is the link to download the lecture

Murdoch was one of the pioneers to see the opportunity in India. His company bought STAR TV when no one believed that there was money to be made in India and China. Today STAR TV Asia has more than 300 million viewers and is one of the largest media companies in India!

Useful Links For The Week

Here is a list of useful links that you should check out...

Partnerup: Use your skills to help other startup businesses! In tough times this site could help some of us find other new opportunitities, and others who are looking for help, find new help.

Seeking Alpha: A very active community of those interested in investments. Mostly useful stuff, but be careful though as some posters are quite crazy!

Venture Beat: The place to go for those interested in venture investments

Newser: For those of us who are more visually oriented, important news sorted out visually..

"Cut spending, recession is here...Its gonna be a rough ride"

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This is the guidance from Sequoia Capital to the companies they fund. The stuff in this presentation is enough to scare any body, and its not even Haloween! Goes a long way to explain why capital markets have basically completely evaporated.

Here is my summary for businesses...
Secure current business - keep current customers happy and don't loose them
Cut expenses - all those expensive fu fu events? Can 'em
Manage Cash flow - Credit market has evaporated and you'll need cash in bank to make next payroll!

Three key takeaways for personal life...
Hang on to your job - job cuts will be plenty and new jobs will be few
Cut back expenditure - save that cash! You may need it for survival
Reduce personal debt burden - that big SUV? Get rid of it and reduce your lease burden

Good advice in best of times, outstanding advice in today's environment. If what Sequoia says in this presentation is true, we will be suffering through this recession for a while.

Sequoia Capital on startups…

Saturday Night Live Does Governor of Alaska

Some really funny stuff about the Governor of Alaska!

When Citi says BUY, it really means SELL!

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If a picture is worth 1000 words, then this graph says it all!! Yes, let me spend some more money on buying Citi's "investment advice"!

Or may be, just because Citi says "sell" GM and Ford, I should spend my money on these two stocks!

Huge Win For India And For The US

Hurray!!

History may have a lot of awful things to say about Bush administration, but with last night's Senate vote in favor of the Indo-US Nuclear treaty, this treaty will go down as THE one "good" thing Bush administration did for the free world and for the cause of democracy.

The bill, which passed 86 to 13, goes to President Bush for his signature, handing the chief executive a rare victory that both advocates and foes say will reverberate for decades. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who conceived of the deal, have pushed hard for it from the earliest weeks of the president's second term. President Bush and Condoleezza Rice burned a lot of political capital, but the fact that they were able to pull this off in the last days of the administration is nothing short of amazing!

Likewise in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to be commended for staying steadfast on this issue, and even putting his administration's survival on the line to see thi…

Senate Should Ratify The Indo-US Nuclear Treaty

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The Indo-US nuclear treaty has many enemies, and now you can include the New York Times in it. In an op-ed piece, today's NY Times declares that the India-US nuclear treaty is a "bad idea" that senate should reject.

On the surface this seems like the logical thing to say. After all, the Indians have not agreed to any of the conditions imposed by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty on nuclear nations. But strategically, this is short sighted and misses a very important detail - India is the last bastion of democracy in a region plagued with violent undemocratic regimes.

Opposition to the Indo-US nuclear treaty comes from many sides, some ideological, some political. But there are very strong strategic arguments for supporting India.
The nuclear non-proliferation treaty has more or less outlived its usefulness. The fact that India has gained its nuclear capabilities outside of NPT demonstrates that NPT is no longer a useful instrument. World should acknowledge Indian…

Focus on Palin will destroy the Democrats chances of winning 2008 elections

David Brooks, the card carrying republican who shows up weekly with Mark Shields to debate the current issues on News Hour with Jim Lehrer, is one of my favorite political pundits. I like Brooks because he makes me think with his shrewd and often cunning arguments, argument which might seem to attract you but like the candle light attracting the moth, could end up hurting you. In this article in New York Times, Brooks quotes why he thinks Sarah Palin is wrong for US. Here is a quote from that article...
What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events — the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight.
He goes on to say...
Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be yo…

Blurb Discount Code

As I was posting the earlier post on Suchitra's wedding, I remembered that Blurb was offering a discount on printing books in September. Digging through the mail archives, I found this coupon for $15 off...

Use coupon code: encore

Some rules, use the coupon before Sept 30, 2008, and use it at the time of check out.

.

Words of wisdom

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© Sunil Joshi, 2008. From Blogger Pictures

Overheard in a conversation between Jaya and Priya during a play date....
Jaya: You know, we should practice and practice. Because practice makes perfect.
Priya: Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes gradual improvements.

What??? I am still picking up pieces of my jaw from the floor!

Suchitra and Kapil's Wedding

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Kapil filling Suchitra's maang as a part of the wedding ceremony. From From: Suchitra's Wedding, © Sunil Joshi

Our dear friend Suchitra got married to Kapil in a Hindu religious ceremony at Durga Mandir on Sunday September 7th. It was a beautiful autumn day with clear skies and golden sunshine. Being held outdoors, I was able to capture the mood of the event even inside the tent without need for any artificial light, although the "real" pro-photographer hired for the day was using flash extensively. In order to get out of the professional photographer's way I used a 80-200mm telephoto lens on Nikon D70. Tell me if you find these pictures fascinating.

Indian weddings are a family affair with every body jumping into the Mandap from time to time!
From Suchitra's Wedding, © Sunil Joshi

Our congratulations to Kapil and Suchitra, with best wishes for a very happy married life.

The Hindu rites are equall opportunity. For instance, in the phere ceremony, wife le…

Photographing a birthday party - tips for parents

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I have a six year old, so most of my weekends are spent going to birthday parties. Although I have never been formally asked to take pictures, being interested in taking pictures I always lug my camera with me and start shooting as soon as I get there. Lately I have been reviewing some of the old birthday photographs, and going through them brought some ideas to mind which might be useful to you in future. These suggestions are good not only for birthday parties, but for any large events involving a lot of people.
This kind of photograph of Dad and his daughter is not possible if Dad is the main camera man at the birthday party! From Jaya's Birthday 5/24/08 4:37 AM

If its your son or daughters birthday, then let some one else take the pictures. Otherwise you will be out of most of the pictures!! I know this because the above photograph is actually an exception. I am in very few of my daughters birthday photographs from last six years as I have been the main photographer for m…

Absolutely hilarious Wall Street video

Watch it.  You'll know what I am talking about!!

Download Free CEO Report

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CEOs report that while India, China, Brazil are indeed gaining importance to the companies as future markets, in the near future US will continue to be extremely important.  Following is the level of importance of various markets reported by CEOs in a research commissioned by NYSE Euronext.  You can download the CEO Report here.
Market    Level of Imp. (% crucial) US 90% (71%) Western Europe 61% (31%) China53% (24%) Canada47% (9%) India42% (12%) Brazil32% (9%)
What is impressive is the level of importance of the BRIC markets to their 2009 business.

What is limiting Michael Phelps ability to earn big dollars?

In today's Chicago Tribune, Mike Hughlett writes about the limitations of Olympians when it comes to turning their Olympic glory into dollars. Interesting article - read it here if you haven't already. Here is my assessment of what is limiting the Olympians economic potential.

The star power of an athlete is only as powerful as the ability of the star to keep his/her name in the news. Olympics are held once every four years which limits the ability of these Olympians to stay in news. This in turn limits the Olympians ability to earn more as once Olympics are over.

This problem is not of Olympics but any sport that has just a few major tournaments. Consider Cycling vs Golf, sports that have produced two greatest athletes, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods. A quick google search on these two names shows following statistic - Lance Armstrong - 4.3 million links, Tiger Woods - 17.2 million links (I know this is only a surrogate to earnings but it makes the point). Is this beca…

How trade union destroys industry

I came across this letter in a recent post by Mr. Pandya about the State of Tea Industry in West Bengal - Dooars region. Sadly, "go slow" and "strikes" are still the norm in Indian tea industry. Impact of trade unions has been horrible in India. It has decimated one of the most productive industries - the textile industry - in Mumbai, and it is close to destroying the tea industry.

Trade union is a great idea that gives workers a stake in the work they produce. But when trade unions become a political tool, they strangulate the very source of income that poor workers rely on. Just ask the workers of the US auto industry.

How to find a good use for your old photos

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Like any other amateur photographer, I take a lot of pictures which end up in my computer, to be looked at may be once or twice again. This time I decided I would do something with some of my interesting images. So, I was browsing through my old photos and found some pictures of Trimbakeshwar, a little town close to Nasik, India, and decided that I wanted some Ansel Adams like posters. 
A little bit of GIMP magic and viola! Here are the posters! The posters came out looking so beautiful that one of them became a gift to one of Madhu's uncle & aunt on their 50th wedding anniversary, and another set of three posters went to my dear brother in law in Ahmedabad, and brother in Mumbai.

As they say, if you have to hang bad art on your walls, it might as well be your own!

All told, the picture frames and posters ended up costing close to $100. About half of that was for the pictures, the other half for the frames.

Should parents be concerned about baby bottles?

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Glass bottles and containers have been more or less been completely supplanted by plastic bottles and containers. However, lately there have been growing concerns that the plastic bottles and containers may be contributing to earlier maturation of our young ones. When my wife learned that plastics may be involved in causing girls to attain premature puberty, the plastic containers in our house were quickly replaced with glass containers.

Today I read that Walmart is pulling plastic baby bottles containing BPA off the shelf because they are implicated in causing many problems including chromosomal abnormalities, developmental disabilities, mental retardation etc.


Photo: Egg on Stilts

Parents tend to be most cautious about their little ones, so I expect parents to start looking feverishly to replace the plastic bottles with something that doesn't contain BPA. Companies like Gerber and Avent are capitalizing on this by introducing BPA free plastic bottles. But how about the good…

Challenges of Developing and Commercializing New Pharmaceutical Drugs

The pharmaceutical industry is grappeling with a very serious problem - how to get the payers to pay for the drugs they develop. Increasingly, governments and other healthcare payers are refusing to pay for new drugs that took years to develop but add relatively "small" real value to the patients. An example of this is the recent rejection by NICE (the UK body that advices the Government on whether or not to reimburse a medicine) of Tyverb, a GSK developed HER2 inhibitor, on the basis that the drug did not meet their threshold of cost and effectiveness.

GSK is clearly concerned about this. In an interview to the Wall Street Journal Andrew Witty, the Chief Executive of GlaxoSmithKline PLC said that GSK recently invited a group of health care officials from UK, France, Italy and Spain to comment on the drugs being developed in the GSK labs. While it is not uncommon for pharmaceutical companies to interact with regulatory authorities about a particular drug, it is quite unu…

Nikon D700

Photographers world wide have something new to drool on!

A full frame camera at half the price of D3

Learn how to make an improved stove

Even in this 21st century over a third of the population is dependent on wood and dung to keep the fires burning in their kitchen. This use of biomass is often associated with excessive smoke production which is harmful to health. I remember my summers spent in Malkapur where we had a traditional wood burning stove in the kitchen. My mothers eyes would often turn red from smoke exposure. Its amazing that while the problem of smoke exposure has been in front of India for centuries, no one has done any thing to improve the design of the stove in such a way that it reduces the exposure to carbon monoxide and smoke, while improving the cooking efficiency.

Today while browsing Boing Boing, I learned about this research organization called Aprovecho Research Center that has been conducting research to improve the traditional stove. My kudos to the research scientists at Aprovecho for their new stove design which I am sure will help many a housewives in India. The video below demonstra…
In case you are wondering what Modern Mumbai looks like, check out the photo essay in NY Times by Ruth Fremson.

Indian impasse over civilian nuclear deal

We all know that blaming the "Foreign Hand" for internal ills is a crutch commonly used in India. But Indians can not blame everything wrong in the society on "Foreign Hand" - there are plenty in India to stand in the way of progress. Take the example of the status of the nuclear treaty with US. For energy starved India currently on an incredible growth spurt, this nuclear treaty, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has signed with Bush Administration, is God send, not only because it helps India overcome its energy needs, but also because it allows India to enter into a strategic partnership with the US as a counter-weight to the Chinese ambitions in South Asia.The nuclear agreement, which would give India access to US nuclear fuel and technology even though it has not signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, is at the heart of a new strategic partnership between India and the US.The treaty has plenty of enemies on the US side, mostly senators and congressme…

Creative Logos

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Logos are such an important part of brand identity that I am always looking for new ones that stand out. Unfortunately, most logos are rather insipid and lifeless yet they play such a central role that one wonders how the brand survives despite a bad logo. So its nice to see a selection of really outstanding logos. Adelle Charles on "Fuel Your Creativity" has identified 50 kick ass logos, and in my opinion most of them do appear inspirational. Check it out here

My own favorite is...



Reasons: Besides being very attractive, the logo clearly communicates the HIGH END nature of this establishment. The wine glass design, the color (red wine) and the attractive font type all communicate class and exclusivity. In the restaurant business, I am sure this logo helped this Bistro to stand out. I just wish I could see the other elements of the brand identity.

Addendum: A search on the web indicates that the Bistro in question is now Closed!! Goes to show that no amount of good br…

India, China lead in number of millionares

If growing wealth is a metric of success, then India, China and Brazil are making their mark. The number of millionaires jumped 22.7 percent in India last year, 20.3 percent in China and 19.1 percent in Brazil. By region, the greatest increase came in the Middle East, 15.6 percent, Eastern Europe, 14.3 percent, and Latin America, 12.2 percent.
As if there was any doubt about this, Merrill Lynch has published a report that indicates that emerging markets will continue to be growth drivers despite the current world wide economic instability.

...But is it worth living there?

Not according to the Mercer Quality of Life survey. According to this survey, no city in Brazil, China or India comes even close to the top 50 most livable cities in the world. In the most livable category, the continent that takes the cake is Europe. Switzerland alone boasts three of the top ten best cities to live in terms of quality of life with Zurich topping the list followed by Geneva in third spot and Bern in the ninth spot. All three tied for second spot in terms of Personal safety.

Where is Sao Paolo? Sao Paolo ranks 119th, behind Rio de Jeniero which stands at 114th. Mexico City moved up one spot to 124, and while Bogota improved its ranking to 138th, Caracas fell to 152nd. The best places to live in Latin America is Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Panama City and Monterrey in Mexico.

In Asia Pacific, Australia boasts some of the most liveable cities with Auckland at 5 boasting the highest quality of living, followed by Sydney at 10 and Wellington at 12. Beijing st…

Drawing on iPhone

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iPhone Art by Jaya

The Tamarind of My Memory

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The joys of summer
Playing outside
Still with me,
In my memory
Of the tamarind tree
In Dombivali.

No Tamarinds in New Jersey,
but Maples abound
A swing on the Maple
Serves for now.

This Maple,
Barely big enough to carry
A little person
Swings wildly
With every push

"Whoooooaaaa"
Cries my girl
Giggling, laughing
Like me
On the Tamarind of my memory
Swinging wildly

I guess its not important
The tree of the swing
The memory of careless abandon
Is what matters.

Online Resources For Learning Spanish

These days, if learning a foreign language is your thing, then you are in very good luck! With the advent of online services like podcasts and online course work available from many universities it is easier that ever to learn a foreign language.I discovered this recently when I felt the need to learn Spanish. Recantly I took on the responsibility of managing sales and marketing for the Latin region of Americas. Its a great job that requires lots of one on one interaction with people from Spanish speaking countries. Although most people I work with know and speak English very well, I feel learning Spanish will demonstrate my commitment to the people of this sub continent. So I decided to set myself a goal of learning  Spanish in six months.Having had some experience using podcasts I knew that podcast was an excellent medium for language teaching. So, the first place I went looking for a Spanish language podcast was iTunes, the Mecca of podcasts. Within a few seconds of searching …

Drinking Rohini

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Rohini is one of the few organic gardens in Darjeeling region but is also known for producing nice aromatic teas. This tea is FTGFOP grade second flush which produces a lovely sweet smelling golden brew.  There is narry a hint of astringency which is good because it helps settle my stomach. Rohini Estate tea can be ordered online from Jayateas

An Advertising Agency That Sells

When I was in my Communications class at Xavier Institute of Communications, the creative director from Satchi & Satchi decided to spend a full class showing us some very creative advertisements from around the world to show us the power of the "creative". Several years later, when I was taking a marketing class at Akron U, our marketing professor did the same thing! She decided that the team could benefit from viewing a selection of the most hilarious, and a few poignant advertisements from around the world.

Both Professors no doubt thought that the students would benefit from learning how to communicate a message creatively. And, in fact both of them succeeded in demonstrating to us how complex messages can be communicated creatively.

But the questions that has always nagged me is, how useful are these advertisements in doing the job they were designed to do - sell the product?

In my job as a marketing guy, I have heared a fair share of pitches from agencies. Ag…

Teesta Valley Tea

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So, here I am, wide awake at 3.40 AM getting ready for my trip to Mexico City, sipping a cup of Teesta Valley Tea. If you haven't tried this tea, I say you are missing some thing!! This is one of the most floral, most delicious teas I have had the pleasure of drinking. Its just a joy to brew a pot, and then re-brew the same tea again. I love this tea so much that after I finish second brew, I save the leaves for use in my bread making machine!

You can find this lovely tea here.

Happy Birthday, Birthday Girl!

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Life is so beautiful around this time of the year. And more so today because its my baby's birthday! Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!

Spring Shadows

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Long shadows
of spring remind me
Its time to step out

Walk the dog
Take a hike
Play with kids
Picnic in the park
Swimming lessons.

Chores can wait.

Days will be long now
But time is fleeting
Spring or Summer
It never lasts

And soon it will be gone.

Persuasion—a Powerful Tool

Without the ability to persuade people to agree with your ideas and propositions, your attempts to influence others will be ineffective and your success will be unpredictable. In order to get the end result you desire from a given situation, seek to further your knowledge of the art of persuasion. Whether you want to influence others in business or personal matters, the power to persuade is the most important tool you can add to your arsenal.

In my many years in the sales profession, I have observed human behavior, a subject that fascinates me greatly. I learned that a deep understanding of people’s motivations is the most powerful tool anyone can use to persuade others. My experiences so far have led me to record and document a process that has created repeatable and predictable success for people who desire to get YES.

Take the following example: I recently helped a colleague create some promotional material for a community organization that she runs. In need of funds, she had decided…

Umbrella Branding

Martin Lindstrom has a nice story about Brands and sub brands on Ad Age wite. Check it out here. Moral of his story is that if one is creating a brand family, it benefits the family if there is some link between the mother brand and the baby brands. He gives examples of the iXXXXX brand names adopted by Apple.

While this can be positive in most cases, there can be a downside to umbrella brandin. For instance, an ill advised product launch with a connected name can end up tainting all the other connected brands.

Photo of the day

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Forsytheas in full bloom

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Flood of Ideas - Starbucks

Whoa! Did you see that? If you haven't its worth the trip to the MyStarbucksIdea website. They have received a flood of great ideas from customers. Most of course are simple requests for improvement of service, but some are great! I especially like the one about a round condiment center with a refrigerated well for cream and milk. Now, this idea is so worth while I am surprised no one came up with it before - I mean, no supplier of furniture to Starbucks came up with it before.

But thats the thing about tapping into your customer insight. Let the customer tell you what they want, and help them make your service better.

Kudos to Starbucks for doing this. The flood of ideas is an indication of the power of Starbucks brand. Their customers want them to succeed and don't mind sharing their great ideas with them.

If you are a company with customers, this should be replicated in your company.

Strategy To Save Starbucks

Have you noticed a change at Starbucks?

We already know the story - company looses its focus and expands into categories it has no business being in, and market punishes it by taking away the business. Starbucks board has wisely decided to put their faith once again in their chairman and chief entrepreneur, Howard Schultz who was responsible for the franchise becoming a household name. Well, Mr. Schultz talked to Maria Bartiromo from Business Week, and you can read it here. From marketing perspective, Starbucks is doing a few things right. But a few more need to be done. Here are my suggestions on this matter.

Problem: Brand dilution: If Starbucks stands for coffee and a community ambiance, get rid of all that crap in the stores. You want to sell music, fine. But lets not have that get in the way of a great coffee experience. You want a community like feel, offer free internet and people will stay longer. You want to sell a few t-shirts? Fine, sell them. But put a limit …

Learning Spanish - At the bank

Spanish pod



Quero haser un deposito > I want to make a deposit
(sounds like quero aaser un deposito)
Quero > I want (comes from verb querer)
Haser > to make
Un > a
Deposito > deposit

Llene esta formulario > Fill out this form
(sounds like jiene esta forma)
Liene > To fill (llene el tanke, llene esta forma)
esta > this
formulario > form

Me presta su pluma? > can you loan me a pen?
Pen > pluma
Su pluma > Your pen
you loan > presta (to loan > prestar)
Loan to me > me presta

Claro > sure, Of course
Claro actually means clearly

Photo of the day

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Daddy Love

Woodworking Question On Making A Trellis

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Hi woodworkers, got a novice woodworking question.

I am planning to build a trellis in the back yard to cover a patio about 22 feet in length and 16 feet in depth (width). Although the patio touches the house, I want to make the trellis free standing. The question I have is this... Can I support 24 foot boards without really needing any more than four posts towards the ends?

Will the trellis be strong enough to support a swing on one end? A swing that can support two grown ups? If you have any ideas, I would welcome them!

Update: OK got some feed back from some wood workers, and first, this would not be called a trellis, but a pergola. And their recommendation is that that there would be a need for additional support posts in the middle. But I have decided to attach it to the home just to make it easy and more elegant pergola.

Happy Gudi Padwa!

"Gudi Padwa, Neet Bol Gadhawa" to all my Marathi friends! Uday, Medha, Minal, and others will recognize this because this festival is celebrated widely in Maharashtra. The beauty of Hinduism is its flexibility, allowing individuals to adapt the religion to their own interests. So, while Hindus celebrate new year around Diwali, in Maharashtra Gudi Padwa is considered to be start of the new year, the start of the Marathi calendar, and a very important festival. Abhi has written a nice summary of the festival here. As is expected, wikipedia has a very nice entry too!

What should India's role be in the Tibet situation?

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I am surprised it took this long, but China has finally reacted to the Tibetan refugee led anti-Chinese demonstrations in India, and summoned India's envoy to read her the riot act. In return, India has cancelled the trip of Mr. Kamal Nath, the minister of Commerce and Industry.

There are already loud voices within India asking the government to chance its stance towards China, a stance that has historical significance as India gave refuge to Dalai Lama after the uprising of Tibetan monks against the Chinese failed. Now, on one hand India has a lot to gain from friendship with China but on the other, India has the responsibility as the World's largest democracy, of promoting democracy in the region and supporting the Tibetan cause.

What a dilemma! The world is watching and the way India responds to this situation will say a lot about the maturity of Indian democracy.

What, do you think, should India's role be in this evolving situation?

Bhutan Celebrates The Birth of Democracy

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There are rulers, and then there are enlightened rulers. On one hand we have the Kind of Nepal who had to be deposed, and on the other hand we have King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan, an enlightened ruler who decided that in today's modern world his country needs democracy, and abdicated in its favor. And so, yesterday the kingdom had its first democratic election, over seen by the educated son of King Wangchuck.

This is a huge statement in a region that is rife with people's unrequited desire to define their own government, a region that could aptly be called "rough neighborhood". To the north is Tibet currently in news for the violent crackdown of a repressive and authoritarian Chinese communist regime. Further to the east is Burma, a country ruled by military junta famous for its own excesses, and of course to the west is Nepal, where the people had to throw the Royals out! Only to the south does Burma see any hope - in India, its much larger neighbor.

The…

Kailash Flower

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Dear friend Alok sent this image of Kailash flower growing in his back yard in India. Marvel how the filament and the anthers of the Stamen hang over the Stigma, resembling the hood of Cobra snake. Alok wrote in his email that the reason why the flower is called Kailash (another name for Shiva) is that the Stigma looks like Shiva linga, and the Stamen like the cobra with its spread hood over the linga. So true! But I wonder what the botanical name of this flower is!

Last Day of Santa Semana

Today is the last day of Santa Semana. Although I have lived in United States for many many years, the Holy week is something new to me. In college I used to have a Catholic roommate, but I never got the sense of how big this event is for some people of religious faith.

In my new job with the Latin American markets, the realization hit me that this may be a very important event to many of our markets when several colleagues emails auto-responded with reference to the "Holy Week".

Wikipedia has a nice overview of Santa Semana. But there are regional differences, such as the difference indicated by this blog entry.

Nevertheless, I am happy that my new job has already made me a better person by introducing me to an aspect of the World religion that I wasn't aware of. Usually this is what travel does to you, expand your mind by exposing one to different cultures. Funny thing is, I haven't even step my foot outside US yet and I am already learning!

Many good wishes t…

Happy Holi!

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Holi, the festival of colors was celebrated all over India today, but we celebrated Holi last week in Edison with a large group of Uttrachal people.
Click For More Holi Festival Celebration Pics

Innovating a Chisel

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Talk about a tough problem, but guys at Baltimore Toolworks have solved it! Baltimore Tool works, with the help of some Engineering students, have improved upon the age old chisel to make it safer and more effective! Read the story here. Goes to show that regardless of the product age, there is still room for innovation. Now on to solving the other problem - "marketing" a better chisel. Here is how to solve the marketing problem using guerilla tactics.
Safety studies: A randomized safety study that demonstrates reduction in number of injuries should create demand from workmen. The insurance company should be interested in funding the study and disseminating the results!
Demonstrate cost effectiveness: An outcomes study that shows that the incremental $3 invested leads to improved efficiencies will go a long way convincing construction companies to buy the product.
Product demonstrations at workers sites. A couple of attractive gals that take the chisel to the worksite…

Thrift Store Worker Returns $30,000

There is still hope for this world!
Barbarita Nunez was sorting clothes on Tuesday at the Veterans Thrift Store when she found a small box. Inside was an envelope of cash. Nunez said at first she thought the money was fake. But just in case, she gave it to her supervisor.
This woman needs to be lionized for her actions.