Cannot our health ministry please prioritize … ?

Gayathri has this heart-wrenching post (also named so), about her visit to the Stanley Hospital, Chennai. It is indeed gut-curling, to see the mass of humanity, who cannot afford anything more, be treated so badly. As she aptly says, rather than make media-arresting statements such as ‘stopping alcohol and smoking on screen’, could not our dear health minister (who happens to be from the same state of Tamilnadu), stop for a moment, prioritize, and see if anything could be done for our public health care system. It is going to dogs. If you read Gayathri’s post, you will see that, it is literally going to dogs.

An excerpt:

Another patient was lying down on one of the row cots that had a green sheet covering it. The sheet seemed uncared for and almost cursed. The green was just desperately clinging on to the sheet as if for mere presence. Just then, i saw a dog sleeping on the floor next to his wife and i knew it was not the sheet that was cursed.

Read the full post here.

And those readers who do own blogs, please do link to this article. Let us do our bit (however small it may be) to raise the awareness.

Memorial for the veterans …

(photo source:

This weekend is memorial day weekend in the United States – to honour the veterans who died in the ‘many’ wars that the US has been fighting. The SFGate has a startling article on the spoils of war – particularly the Iraq war. It was disturbing even initially to see all those young lads go out there in the desert killing people – much like first person shooting games. Infact, they had been trained using such games only. The article says that there are a large number of these kids who are mentally disturbed when they come back (naturally !!). The numbers quoted are pretty bad – 1000 people end up attempting suicide every month. And apparently the VA (the government hospital chain for the veterans) is not able to cope with this large influx of psychologically affected patients, in settling their claims etc. This is very sad, and reminds us that, spoils of war are just not on the battlefield, but the scars remain even after.

Who are the observers?

The last time, I read Sufia Tippu’s article, I resolved never to read her article again (atleast first thing in the morning). I made the mistake again today. I cannot imagine how negative this author can be. The latest in her pessimistic repository of articles can be found here – titled “With Chip hopes fading, India looks to system manufacturing.”

In this article, she writes so hopelessly negative about the inability of India to have a semiconductor fab. It used to be, at one point in time, that India did not have a fab because of the ginormous amount of ultra clean water and air that is needed for a fab. We have come so far now, that all these hurdles can be tackled using technology, and is feasible. She now turns to unavailability of capital, for this industry to ever come up in India. Why cannot she think, that we will overcome this too, soon? Why is it, that we should look only for the tallwoods and the sandalwoods for venture capital?

And oh by the way, she makes a slew of negative statements, and claims that these are from observers (close to the industry)? Who are these observers? Pray tell me. If they are so top-secret, that they cannot reveal themselves, I do not want to trust their views either. Or, hmm, is she making up these statements, and pointing the blame on ‘observers’.

Whatever said and done, the author has one thing to her credit. She has made a very placid writer like me to write caustic posts like this one and the previous.

What’s the point?


I read this EE times article today morning, titled “Indian IT returns to roots”.

  • The article starts talking about India winning independence in 1947. And how the nationalist government in 1970 threw out multinationals like Coca-cola. It then states that CMC was setup to manage the mainframes in the country. Then companies like WIPRO and DCM sprung up.
  • It then states that TI came to India in 1984, and the government spent 3 years deliberating whether to give it a 64 kbit/second telecom line. I heard it totally different from Wally Rhines, the then chief of TI, who helped setup TI India. In a recent international conference (VLSI India) keynote, he said, through a wonderful twist of fate, they got the connection in a jiffy. Not sure whom to believe here. But that is a different story. It then says that, it has changed now, and a big software company recently obtained a 90 Mbits/second telecon line.
  • The article then suddenly does a dive, and says that, not all of India is that fortunate, and that 2/3rds of India still live in villages, and Prof Jhunjhunwala of IIT Madras fame, giving a brilliantly negative statement –

“There are 700 million people who still have no access to any kind of IT automation. We have a few startups here and there, but nothing much has come up by way of any disruptive technology that could change life for the huge rural population in India”

  • And the article ends with a luke warm statement from Mr. B.K.Naidu, of SemIndia fame, trying to make an advertisement to his line of work –

“Earlier, when we used to speak of IT products, it was always in the context of what we could do for outsourcing partners, but the scenario is changing. The domestic market is attracting manufacturers as well as design companies. There is an ecosystem that is being created, and if we could get the hardware manufacturing piece right, it would complete the entire food chain.”

I dont see the point in this article at all. Why is there such a negativism in the media? What is the point? Is the author trying to undersell India? (I do notice that she is Indian). And to think, I read this article first thing in the morning, it left me bitterly disappointed.

PS1: The sad part about this is, the article itself seems to be factually inaccurate too.

PS2: I have rewritten this portion of my post three times. I cannot really find the right words to express my disappointment. It always ends with a few expletives for either the author or EETIMES, which I am refraining from publishing.

Fleeing Computer Science

We have been hearing for some time now about students not choosing computer science as a major in the United States. Now, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and IEEE-CS have teamed up to prepare a brochure aimed at high school students to gear them up and encourage them to take up Computer Science.

Two interesting points I saw in this article:

  • At Stanford, CS has dropped from being the second largest major to the seventh. Often they end up in the economics or biology departments instead, not necessarily because they want to become economists or biologists, but because they’re following the money. Finance and health care are seen as more cutting edge.
  • The work of computer scientists is highlighted as finding solutions to “real-world problems” in fields from robotics to digital forensics.

Does this study include only American citizens or does it involve the score of Indian students who go to the US of A for graduate studies. Also, it is very interesting to see the ‘booming’ of engineering colleges in India, and the number of CS majors in the country increasing.

No more TNPCEE

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has given his assent to the Tamil Nadu Bill that seeks to abolish the common entrance test for admission to professional courses in the State. According to Higher Education Secretary K. Ganesan, the next step would be for the government to issue a gazette notification, which would contain the date from which the new Act would come into effect. For the past three years, the State government has been trying to abolish the the Tamil Nadu Professional Courses Entrance Examination (TNPCEE) on the ground that rural students found it difficult to cope with the test. They were unable to either pay for or compete with students in urban areas, who had easier access to coaching centres.

(excerpt from The Hindu)

The Tamil Nadu Government (India) has been pushing for abolishing the state wide entrance exam for engineering colleges in the state. Apparently a couple of days back, the President of India, gave his approval to this. So now what ?

The state of affairs in getting admission into engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu is screwed up enough already. Now nepotism and bribery will reign supreme. What is education going to these days ?

Two points I am ticked about:

  • Notice what the politician dude said, the next step is more of informing the press and a gazette notification etc. There is no mention of what the ‘real’ next step would be in, in terms of reform
  • The TNPCEE is based mostly out of the Class XII syllabus. I know, because I prepared for it. Why would someone have to ‘pay’ or ‘have access to tuition classes’ for this. Ideally, doing well in the XII boards in a state board school should qualify enough to get in.

Big brother is watching

Yup. Big brother is defenitely watching. It is very frightening to see what is happening in Britain. The Britons are being watched by the Government like never before. There is a camera for every 14 citizens apparently watching them 24/7.

The cameras are also talking now! Some of these cameras are being fitted with loudspeakers, so that the government can chastize wrong doers instantaneously. This is not a sci-fi movie.

Read the following bloomberg article.

George Orwell Was Right: Spy Cameras See Britons’ Every Move by Nick Allen (bloomberg)