Monday, 31 October 2011

90% lurk - 9% comment - 1% post - Ecademy

India need more infrastructure to produce champions: Stewart - The Times of India

Formula One might have made its debut in the cricket-crazy nation with the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Sunday but the country needs to build more motorsports infrastructure to produce world champions, feels legendary driver Sir Jackie Stewart.

The three-time world champion (1969, 1971, 1973) Stewart said India need to give more emphasis to the grass root level to produce champion drivers.

"You need to have more motorsports, more circuit to get drivers. You need to build more infrastructures," Stewart said.

"You have lots of young people playing cricket but until you have lots of young people in motorsports you can't produce champions," said Stewart, who was nicknamed 'Flying Scotsman' for his daredevilry during his hey days.

Referring to iconic Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who was present with his wife Anjali and daughter Sara at the Buddh International Circuit for the race, he said, "This man standing here started his career at the age of 16 and that's how he became a champion. You need to have more carting (in the country)."

Stewart, however, gave thumbs up to the brand-new BIC and said there is money in India for motorsports but it should be utilised in the right way.

"It is a first-class circuit. Presently, one of the best in the world. But you (Indian drivers) need to have more money to go to Europe to develop skills," the 72-year-old said.

PHOTOS: The world's 7 billionth baby - News

Midwives hold the newborn baby girl named Danica Camacho, the Philippines' symbolic seven billionth baby, as part of the UN's seven billion global population projection, in Fabella Maternity hospital in Manila October 31

Even as 23-year-old Vinita and Ajay from Uttar Pradesh have been giving interviews after interviews after having brought to the world the seven billionth baby, another mother is being cheered miles away at a hospital in Philippines capital Manila for the same feat.

A baby girl, named Nargis, at a local community health centre at 7.20 am on the outskirts

of Lucknow, was welcomed as India's seventh-billionth baby, Bhagyeshwari, executive director of NGO Plan India, which is conducting the exercise, said.


Weighing 2.5kg, Danica May Camacho was delivered just before midnight on Sunday amid an explosion of media flash bulbs in the delivery room at Manila's Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital. A thrilled Camille Dalura, Danica's mother, said, "I can't believe she is the world's seven billion."

Fixing India's broken education system - Business

Top engineering colleges have become pre-MBA finishing schools.

One of the reasons for this slide is that colleges have become more important as corporate job-placement centres rather than centres for learning - so their main role is to produce an assembly line of workers through mechanical rote learning rather than experientially develop young minds, encourage curiosity and independent thought.

"India's college system is broken - most engineers aren't good enough and many of those who are, don't want to use their repository of knowledge and work as engineers.

Top engineering colleges have become pre-MBA finishing schools. Young people are making inappropriate choices due to peer pressure and the liberal arts and pure sciences are being completely sidelined," says Founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani.

Waving chequered flag a memorable experience, says Sachin - Rediff Sports

Tendulkar, who witnessed the race along with wife Anjali and daughter Sara, waved the chequered flag after double world champion Sebastian Vettel [ Images ] crossed the finishing line to win the race at the Buddh International Circuit.

Sachin Tendulkar waves the chequered flag as Sebastian Vettel wins the Indian GP on Sunday"What an experience it was to wave the chequered flag!!! Got to keep it as well!!!," Tendulkar wrote on his Twitter account.

He also praised the organisers, Jaypee Group, for the facilities at the circuit and the successful hosting of the race.

"Wonderfully organised F1 event by Jaypee. A world class track with excellent facilities for spectators. Truly a memorable day for all of us," he said.

Tendulkar was the cynosure of all eyes as he mingled with the who's who of motorsports, including F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone [ Images ], who himself had invited the star Indian cricketer for the race.

Tendulkar also met seven-time world champion and 'dear friend' Michael Schumacher [ Images ] and Mercedes [ Images ] team's other driver Nico Rosberg [ Images ] before the race.

He later joined the F1 fraternity in observing a minute's silence as a mark of respect to Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli who recently died in tragic crashes in IndyCar and Moto GP races respectively.


Diwali lights

Not war -Indian Diwali



Sunday, 30 October 2011

17 Alternatives to Klout

Before I run through the services, let's discuss eight different issues with social media metrics and how the ideal metric should be constructed.

  1. There is no single number that can really be universally useful. It isn't like wining the World Series, where you have to score more runs by the end of the game. There are a variety of actions that you want to examine, and you can win in one area and be off elsewhere. My impression is that we place too much emphasis on the final number without really understanding the reasons for its calculation, as the recent changes in Klout have shown.

  2. You are also measuring two grossly different activities: giving and taking. This is more than just what you post and what you consume, and there are many subtleties to both. Just because you have tons of followers and friends doesn't mean that you listen to any of them, nor they listen to you. And some of us, such as myself, are more givers (in that we are focused on outbound actions) than takers (collecting information from our networks). Or vice versa. The ideal social media metric should understand both directions and make appropriate adjustments.

  3. How transparent is their algorithm, really? By that I mean can you understand how they get the results that you see, and does the scoring make sense to you? Of course, one issue is having something so transparent that the service can be easily gamed or fooled.

  4. Can you examine any time-series? Klout has time series data but doesn't label its axes very well, which can be very annoying. The others don't have as much here as I would like. Sometimes you can understand the algorithms better if you can see how they track you over time.

  5. How much does the service care if your content is original vs. copied? If you most of your Tweets are retweeted content, is that as good as someone who comes up with original thoughts? The ideal metric should take this into account, and most of them have focused in this area, generally because it is easier to measure than some other things.

  6. How many different social networks should be scanned to derive your total score, and how should they be weighed? Klout has done a decent job of expanding their sources beyond Facebook and Twitter, but some of the other services haven't gotten much beyond these two networks yet. Obviously, the wider the reach the better the view into how you are interacting across many networks.

  7. Does the tool provide qualitative suggestions in addition to just scores? The ideal metric should provide insight and suggestions for how to improve your engagement and increase your value to your chosen community. Some of them have overly general suggestions that don't really tell you what you really need to do to improve your use of social media.

  8. Does your audience really, really like you? Often called sentiment analysis, it isn't enough just to retweet your bon mots but approve of your point of view. There are tools that are beginning to measure this too.


So what alternatives to Klout are out there, and are any of them any better at capturing what you should be doing better for your social media activities?

Twitter-only metrics

  • Twitter Score gives you a single score (I got a 2 out of 10, which seems somewhat low).
  • TwitterGrader is another service that gives you a single simple score. I don't think the score is very meaningful: I got 97.5 out of 100, and I know I am not that good.
  • Tweetlevel was built by the Edelman PR firm and it gives some good explanations of its assessments and recommendations, although they could be more fine-grained. It tries to provide historical information but there is no way to manipulate the charts timelines.
  • Tweetreach shows who retweeted you and some summary stats, and is useful to search across trending topic areas and not just specific Twitter accounts.
  • TeraMetric Optimizer for Twitter. This gives you qualitative recommendations on what and how to Tweet. It costs $99/month and has a free trial but requires your credit card info up front.

Facebook-only metrics

Booshaka looks at top contributors to your Facebook page

Google-owned metrics

Google has been buying up lots of companies this year, and there are probably others that I missed that are in this space. Here are two important ones:

Multiple site focus

  • PeerIndex is probably the closest competitor to Klout and examines three areas: Activity, Authority, and Audience. They cover multiple sites but are slow to update their scores and don't have much in the way of time-series data.
  • Proliphiq which we wrote about earlier in the month has a wide array of measurements and explanations, trending hot topics and more.
  • Twitalyzer shows Klout and Peerindex values and costs $5 a month.
  • How Sociable is more a general search tool across many sites, and it isn't very accurate since it doesn't tie the search to a particular Twitter username.
  • Empire Avenue has lots of games and points for various activities, but underneath all this frilly stuff is some interesting analysis of multiple social network sites.

Sentiment Analysis tools

  • We wrote about Viralheat's sentiment analysis for Facebook and Twitter here.
  • mBlast mPact can monitor multiple networks and provide some sentiment analysis.
  • is still in limited beta but offers some promise in terms of looking at sentiment for Twitter initially.
  • Traackr is another sentiment analyzer and at $500 a month is one of the more expensive tools in this list.

Really, all of these tools are somewhat flawed, and we are just beginning to see some consolidation and improvements, such as what Klout is trying to do. And certainly, Google will help here, as they have purchased two companies this year alone in this space. If any of these tools can help improve your social media methods and increase your influence, then stick with what works and what will motivate you to become a better participant in this genre.

ebooks-vs-real-books.jpg (JPEG Image, 700x967 pixels) - Scaled (77%)


Time for performance reviews to go social [infographic] - Holy Kaw!

Globalisation: Extreme shipping | The Economist

I WRITE from the pilot’s cabin of one of the world’s largest container ships, the Eleonora Maersk, moving almost imperceptibly through the South China Sea off the Vietnamese coast. Eight storeys up from the deck, my windows just about clear the top of the thousands of containers that are stacked in 22 rows across the vessel. This allows me a view to the ship’s forward navigation mast, a full 250 or so metres away. But the rain is coming in now, and it will soon disappear from sight.

The accommodation section, and above it the bridge, is a bit aft of amidships, so the stern is another 150 metres or so behind me. Or, put another way, the whole is about four football pitches long and half of one wide. Or again: about two-fifths the height of Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England. This is “economy of scale” made steel…and the reason why the retailer Primark will be able to sell me a Chinese-made T-shirt for just a pound or two on my local high-street in Britain, just inside a month.

The vessel is specifically designed to ply the world’s most important trade route, the Asia-Europe run: this is now (euro-area debt crisis notwithstanding) the main artery of globalisation. Having started its homeward-bound voyage in South Korea and having picked up most of its cargo in Shanghai, the Eleonora is due to dock in Rotterdam in a couple weeks’ time. I joined the vessel on October 26th at the container terminal of Yantian, the port of Shenzhen, just inside mainland China north of Hong Kong. I will disembark on October 30th when we reach another massive port, on the southern tip of Malaysia, just north of Singapore. Even if I wanted to stay on board for the next leg, non-stop to Europe, I wouldn’t get very far. As was explained to me in “the citadel”, a secure room in the bowels of the ship where everyone has to gather in the event of a boarding by pirates, no guests or even family are allowed on Maersk vessels past Sri Lanka, because of the threat from Somalia. In truth however, this ship is just too big (and fast) for pirates to grapple with.

So, what are we carrying? This boat will be fully loaded after Malaysia, with about 7,500 containers (or 100,000 tonnes) of European Christmas presents, mostly—and a New Year treat. For we must be shipping much of the continent’s New Year celebrations as well: 1,850 tonnes of fireworks, including 30 tonnes of gunpowder, probably from Hunan province, where most of these things are made. Oh, and about 28 containers (290 tonnes’ worth) of plastic cigarette-lighters, destined for the Danes, Swedes and Poles.

To make it worth one’s while to ship cigarette-lighters and sparklers most of the way round the world, it is best, of course, to have a ship as big as the Eleonora Maersk. Only with such behemoths can shippers and retailers achieve the economies of scale that are necessary to make the Asia-Europe trade pay. Maersk lines, the world’s biggest container-shipping company, has eight such E-Class ships—and has just ordered 20 even (slightly) bigger ships from Korean yards. High oil prices are now forcing all the main container-shipping firms to order ever bigger ships. They might be awesomely expensive (Maersk’s new ones will cost almost $200m each), but with fuel costs making up such a large part of their bills, all the shipping lines are looking to reduce the cost per mile per container on the Asia-Europe run. The only feasible way to do that is pile more containers on one ship.

So almost everything about the Eleonora, which was built in the mid-2000s, is quite simply—The Biggest in the World, Ever. It is not just the biggest kind of container ship, but the biggest ship of any sort in service. To move its load through the water, it boasts the largest combustion engine ever built—generating horse power equivalent to 1,000 family-sized cars. The 14-cylinder engine turns the longest propeller shaft (130 metres) ever built, at the end of which is the largest propeller, weighing in at 130 tonnes. Yet so efficient is the engine, says the Danish chief engineer, that cruising at an average of 17 knots the ship consumes just 3 grams of fuel per tonne per nautical mile—which certainly sounds low. This sort of calculation, above all, makes a sophisticated laptop or iPad made in China affordable in Copenhagen.

Alarmingly, at least for a container-ship neophyte like myself, the world’s biggest ship seems to have a crew of only 19. But that’s a few too few, surely? In fact, the Danish captain explains that, strictly speaking, the boat is designed to be run by just 13 people; but he likes to have some more on board, for maintenance and repairs…Sensible chap. Together with some cadets, that brings the full complement to a gangway-shoving 24.

But then the ship is so automated that the captain appears to exercise full mastery over everything in sight with only the slightest touch to a half-ball, the size of one hand’s palm, which protrudes from a control panel. I can see all the traditional signalling flags neatly stowed on shelves on the bridge—so neatly, in fact, that I suspect they might never have been used, together with the sextant, the flares.

(Picture credits: Wikipedia and Maersk Line)

STRATFOR - Geopolitical intelligence, economic, political, and military strategic forecasting | STRATFOR

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Infographic: Job Market of The Apes

World's 25 best firms to work for, Microsoft No.1 - Business


7. Marriott

Employees: 129,000
Industries: Hospitality, Hotel/Resort
Headquarters: United States
Employee Growth in 1 Year: -5.8%
Global Revenues: $11,691 million
Women in Management: NA

More Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees - Flexible Work After Retirement - AARP

5. Convention Center Jobs

The nitty-gritty: Convention centers in major cities can be wellsprings for a wide range of part-time jobs with various skill requirements. The panoply of shows rolls in and rolls out. Set 'em up and tear 'em down. Each week, the venues play host to various industry events from exotic food to car and boat shows, as well as concerts and even sports competitions. The demand for workers is a moving target — the perfect scenario if you're looking for the occasional paycheck. Some part-time jobs include nurse, parking lot attendant, parking lot cashier, set-up worker/cleaner, usher and information booth attendant. Many of these jobs have little to no physical labor. There are also food service opportunities for banquets and special dining events. The center's kitchen facility often hires line cooks and servers on an as-needed basis. In some towns, outside vendors will lease space inside a convention center and staff-up for each event. These positions can range from being a barista for a coffee stand to working at a concession stand. Sign on with one of these businesses, and the vendor will call and ask your availability depending on weekly needs.

The hours: The work schedules are irregular and no minimum number of hours is guaranteed. Work is typically available on all days of the year, including holidays. Evening and night hours may be required depending on the job.

Median pay range: Typically $10 to $20 an hour.

Qualifications: This is showtime. It's all about the customer, so people skills matter. Working knowledge of the event industry — including trade shows, conventions, consumer shows, concerts, athletic events and meetings — is a plus for some positions. Pre-employment drug screening and background checks are common. Many convention centers outsource their personnel management to companies that specialize in doing this for large convention and event centers, and hire locals to come in and do specific jobs for individual events. You might stop by at an event and ask booth operators about future openings. Your local convention, sports and entertainment agency should be able to provide employment information. Other job hunting sources: Tap into or event management companies such as SMG World, a firm that manages convention centers, exhibition halls and trade centers, arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, theaters and specific-use venues such as equestrian centers.

Cotton candy, anyone?

Kerry Hannon is a contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report and the author of  What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.

I liked these articles by Kerry Hannon.
Wish there was something like AARP in India too.

More Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees - Flexible Work After Retirement - AARP

4. Tour Jobs

The nitty-gritty: Imagine steering a group of curious tourists around historical monuments in Washington, D.C., on a sunny, cherry blossom-bright day in April. That's particularly true if you're a history buff and have a knack for storytelling and showmanship. You need to have a mind for remembering dates and historical facts. You also must interact easily with everyone — from excitable school kids on a field trip to seniors hailing from all over the globe. Tour guide jobs pop up in various places that attract visitors. You might lead visitors through points of historical or local interest, pretzel factories, wineries, breweries and more, doling out tidbits of information in a narrative format. The downside is that it can be hard on the feet and the vocal cords, and the patter can become stifling rote. Your job is to dig down for a fresh and energetic performance each round. Many of these jobs are walking tours, although you may land one where you drive a vehicle, or go with a group on a park shuttle or monorail system. Depending on the assignment, you might have to stand up to eight hours per day or walk and climb stairs. Plus, you'll need to be sharp-eyed to visually monitor guests to ensure compliance with security and safety rules. Less demanding openings, such as ticket-takers, program sellers or cashiers, are also generally available.

The hours: Varying schedules including days, evenings and weekends. It might be difficult to receive time off around peak tourist times, such as holidays and school vacations.

Median pay range: Hourly wage: $7.72 to $18.87.

Qualifications: Tour guides often receive on-the-job training from employers. The academic background required for a position varies according to the venue. Best skill: The ability to hang on to historical facts, dates and anecdotes and relate that information to visitors in a compelling way. Some cities require licensing, and applicants may have to pass a written exam covering factual knowledge of specific locations and city history. Some community colleges offer short-term courses in tour and travel-related occupations. Certified Tour Professional (CTP) certification is offered through the National Tour Association.

Your hidden gem: Knowing where George Washington really slept.

More Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees - Flexible Work After Retirement - AARP

3. Teacher's Aide

The nitty-gritty: Kid-central. This post can take some nerves of steel and patience, but the rewards are plentiful. It can be frustrating for some aides to have to defer to the guidance of the teacher in charge, so you need to have a good rapport and working relationship. The teacher needs to respect and value what you bring to the classroom. If not, it's a bust. Be prepared for some grunt work — clerical duties such as grading papers, recording grades, setting up equipment, entering computer data. One of the best aspects is one-on-one tutoring for a student who needs special help, or has a disability that requires individual attention. These are bonding moments of giving back that are worth more than a paycheck. While some of the school day is spent standing, walking or kneeling, most of it is sitting while working with students. Teacher assistants also supervise students in the cafeteria, school yard and hallways, or on field trips.
The hours: Three to five days a week, six to seven hours per day during the traditional school year (eight to nine months). Summer school hours may be available in some districts.

Median full-time pay range: Annual wage: $15,870 to $35,350.

Qualifications: On-the-job training combined with a high school diploma. Some states or school districts may require additional education beyond high school. A college degree, related coursework in child development and previous experience helping special education students can open up job opportunities. Self-starters who can multitask and work independently are highly valued. Fluency in a second language, especially Spanish, is in demand. Many schools require previous experience in working with children and a valid driver's license. Most require you to pass a background check. For more information, go to American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, and National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals.

More Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees - Flexible Work After Retirement - AARP

2. Athletic Coach/Umpire/Referee

The nitty-gritty: This one's for the kid in all of us. Check into a coach, referee, umpire or scorekeeper post in high school programs, or various youth and amateur leagues. Stress and plenty of time standing go with the territory. And for outdoor sports, prepare for the elements. Travel is usually part of the job, but it's probably a scoot across town. If you're blowing a whistle, you better brace yourself for the possibility of verbal strip downs (parental ire).

The hours: These fluctuate widely by sport and organization. Coaches can figure three hours or so for late afternoons, five days a week; plus weekend days in season. Umpires, referees and scorekeepers usually work two to three hours per game. Figure on once a week for two or three games in an afternoon or evening.

Median pay range: For a coaching position at a school, $3,000 to $5,000 per season is possible. Umpires and referees can make $30 to $50 per game. Independent leagues or private travel teams might pay $50 to $75 per game.

Qualifications: You need to be good with children, possess moderate physical fitness and have an overall knowledge of the game. Specific education, training and licensing requirements for coaches and officials vary greatly by the level and type of sport. Some entry-level positions for coaches require only experience gleaned as a participant in the sport. Umpires and referees usually are required to attend a training course and pass a test. You can gain experience by volunteering for intramural, community and recreational league competitions. If you have a hankering to umpire, check out your local umpire association. For American Legion (high school age), you will need to contact your local division and attend a certifying clinic. There are one-day refresher classes and full courses with several sessions, plus an exam. Some leagues require that certification be renewed periodically. Estimated Cost: $50 application, plus $7.50 for a rule book, $5 for a flipping coin. You may need to pass a background check and applicable drug tests. Additional resources: National Association of Sports Officials and State Association Referees. Look to your local high schools, parks departments, recreational and church leagues, and soccer clubs for openings. Ask if they offer a club-certified referee or umpire class. For soccer, you might need FIFA certification.

Part Time Jobs - Retirement - Job Hunting - Careers - Retirement Planning - AARP

Whatever your motivation for working after retirement, here are five great part-time jobs to consider. Pay ranges, which will vary based on factors such as experience and where you live, are derived from U.S. Department of Labor data.

1. Librarian Assistant/Aide

The nitty-gritty: Duties might include fielding questions, shelving books, helping patrons check out, tracking overdue material and sending notices, as well as cataloging and keeping an eye out for lost and damaged items.
The hours: Schedules vary widely. Big libraries, or those on university campuses, tend to keep the doors open 24 hours a day, while small, local libraries might offer limited day and evening hours.
Median pay range: Small libraries can be cash-strapped and rely on volunteers, but at colleges, large city locations and specialty niche libraries, pay can range from $7.69 to $17.82 per hour. Those figures can more than double, depending on experience and where you live.             Qualifications: Experience working in libraries is desirable, as is an undergraduate or master's degree in library science. Larger libraries favor research skills using library resources, databases and other tools, along with the ability to get along with the various denizens of the library. Some skills that will help: Knowledge of word processing, data entry and online searching, ability to keep accurate records, understanding of library operations and general secretarial skills. Love of books is a given.

More Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees - Flexible Work After Retirement - AARP

1. Blogger

The nitty-gritty: Most bloggers are making very little per month. Little wonder. There's lots of competition out there for eyeballs. An estimated 126 million blogs were up and running on the Internet in 2009, the most recent figure available, according to, which tracks Internet growth. It is possible, though, to break through. An income stream comes from steadily building a following through referrals and generating income from the ads on your page. You can also make money by selling merchandise directly — from books to T-shirts. Developing traffic flow (and money) to your blog is time-consuming. You can't just come up with a few pithy posts on a whim every so often and expect visitors to show up with any consistency. It takes discipline. Use Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

The hours: Flexible. It's tough to measure how long it takes someone to write a post of around 800 words. It might take three or four hours. The real money-hungry bloggers log in full-time schedules of 40 hours or more a week managing their blogs. While that's heavy duty, you should plan to blog at least three times a week. You also need to keep tabs on the business side — managing display ads and product sales adds up to a few hours a week.

Median pay range: The majority of bloggers make less than $100 a month from their sites. Some bloggers produce more than one blog, which antes up income. There are bloggers who pull in more than $100,000, but they're the exception. Google AdSense, Amazon's affiliate program and Chitika are three income streams to check out. How much income they produce varies by blog. The key is to try out a few.
Qualifications: At the heart of it — passion, a micro-niche that you really know something about, decent writing skills and the commitment to keep feeding your site with fresh content. A successful blog is built on subject matter that's valuable to people interested in the precise topic. Computer skills are a must and knowing how to post photos and YouTube clips is helpful. You have an edge if you know how to use keywords and other online links to lure people to your website via search engine results such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. If you're interested, start with File this under labor of love.

Business in India: Building India Inc | The Economist


I liked the article.

Indian firms jolted by China's social security plan - The Times of India

Indian businesses operating in China are shaken by China's decision to impose social security obligations for foreign employees, which will push up the wage bill by over 40 per cent. It has put expansion plans of some companies in a quandary while new investors may have to reconsider their plans.

"It will upset our cost calculations and affect business prospects. This will be on top of our existing expense on medical insurance," MVRabade, chief executive officer of Adani Power China, told TNN.

China has extended the social security system to cover foreign companies and their employees. Under the law, employers are expected to contribute 37% of salary and employees 11% into the social security pool. The maximum amount to be paid per month varies between 9,000 yuan and 11,600 yuan ($1,415 to $1,837) in various cities.

The plan has several components with employers and employees expected to contribute towards pension and insurance for medical, unemployment, maternity and work related injury.

"Indian companies will think twice before bringing in more personnel at senior levels. This will affect knowledge transfer between both Indian and Chinese staff," EB Rajesh, head of China office of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said.

The increase in cost is both sudden and sharp. It will force companies to redo their budget outlays, he said. Besides, the benefits offered under the social security system are not attractive for employees of Indian firms. "Indian employees prefer foreign-owned hospitals rather than government-run facilities because of the language barrier," Rajesh said.

Rabade of Adani Power wants the Indian government to try to convince China that Indian employees are covered by medical insurance, and deserve to be exempted. China has said it is prepared to exempt employees of countries that sign a reciprocal agreement provided they are making contributions to a similar scheme in their home country. Unfortunately, only three countries have come forward to sign such agreement with China, Xu Yanjun, deputy director general of National Social Security Management Centre under the Chinese ministry of human resources, told journalists on Friday.

Most Indian businesses see little hope in this area because India does not have a similar social security arrangement. Besides, New Delhi may not be keen to sign a reciprocal agreement with China on a sensitive labor issue.

Rabade also questioned the pension scheme, which offers pension payments after an employee has lived in China for over 15 years. Most foreign workers, who usually live in China for two to five years, would not be avail of it, he said.

I wish India follows suit with and Indian Social Security Plan. I do not think it is a Market Access barrier issue. It is labour friendly.

Indian-American gets job, USD 295,000 in discrimination case in US - The Times of India

Six years after he was denied prison guard's job in California as he refused to shave off his beard required by his Sikh religion, an Indian-American has finally been appointed as a correctional officer in the prison and won USD 295,000 in damages.

Trilochan Singh Oberoi, 63, has reached a settlement in this regard with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) as a result of which he would start his duty as a correctional officer from November 1.

"Oberoi's legal battle exemplifies the challenges many Sikhs face in the US in seeking private and government employment after 9/11, as widespread ignorance, prejudice and hate pose serious challenges to equal opportunity for South Asians, and particularly Sikh Americans, who are often mistaken for Middle Eastern terrorists," said attorney Harmeet K Dhillon, who represented Oberoi.

In 2005, Oberoi applied for a position as a correctional officer with the CDCR, according to a statement issued on Friday.

Oberoi advanced to the final stage of the application process, which involved being fit-tested with a particular model of tight-fitting respirator mask, and was told that he could not take the test unless he were to shave off his beard.

Oberoi requested that the CDCR accommodate his religiously mandated beard, but was not granted such an accommodation and was not hired by the CDCR in any capacity.

After making numerous attempts over the next year to ascertain the status of his accommodation request, in February 2007, he filed an appeal with the California State Personnel Board (SPB) concerning the CDCR's denial of his opportunity to complete the correctional officer application because of his religiously-mandated beard.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Sparrows are tough but Mumbai is tougher | Firstpost

Sparrows are tough but Mumbai is tougher

Although, sparrows are tough birds, in Mumbai they have been subjected to an unholy combination of challenges that has broken their hardy backs. AFP Photo

When was the last time you saw a sparrow? They no longer flit around window sills, peck at grains or chirp noisily in the backyard; sparrows seem to have disappeared completely.

Over the past decade, Mumbai has seen a stark depletion in the number of small-sized common birds; birdwatchers say the number of sparrows in the city has dropped by a shocking 90 percent in the last couple of years.

The cause: our love for cellphones and fascination for Blackberrys, Androids and iPhones that has become one of the major threats to birds. Ditto for bees.

Scientists suggest that the radiation form mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world; the abrupt disappearance of sparrows and the bees is just the beginning.

A 10-member expert panel headed by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Director, Dr Asad Rahmani, submitted a report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests on 12 October this year with a list of recommendations to minimise exposure levels of wildlife to electromagnetic radiations.

Sparrows are now making their winged presence felt in the city's list of endangered species. Reuters

The issue of ‘disappearing birds and bees’ was raised in the Lok Sabha in August last year, following which the expert committee was asked to study the ‘possible impacts of mobile towers on wildlife including birds and bees’.

Although, sparrows are tough birds, in Mumbai they have been subjected to an unholy combination of challenges that has broken their hardy backs.

Where have all the sparrows gone?

Sparrows are now making their winged presence felt in the city’s list of endangered species. “The disappearance of the highly adaptable sparrow is the first warning signal for humans,” says Rahmani, the director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). Sparrows being very sensitive to the environment are one of the most preferred indicators of the urban ecosystem. A declining population of the bird is a clear indicator that something is wrong with the water you drink and the air you breathe.

At the same time, the abnormally high population of house crows that thrive on the garbage generated in the city, preying on eggs and nestlings of small birds has turned Mumbai into “a city of crows and no more of sparrows,” sulks birdwatcher Janardan Iyer. Echoing him is another Mumbai resident Chris Valentino, “I remember I used to feed them pulses when in school; over the years they are nowhere.”

This is what the committee has suggested:

Mobile phone towers are being installed in a haphazard manner across the urban area without any guidelines whatsoever. With nearly 800 million Indians using mobile phones, making it the second largest mobile phone subscriber population in the world after China, it is estimated that by 2013, India will have over one billion cellphone connections. In the absence of any policy on infrastructure development, that will spell destruction for urban flora and fauna.

The study says that radiation from mobile towers affects the reproductive and nervous system of sparrows and bees. The Electro Magnetic Radiation (EMR) from mobile towers acts as an irritant to the birds and bees, making them shy away from mating. The babies are often born with deformities due to the EMR interfering with their biological system.

Anna Hazare must replace his team forthwith - News

Vinod Khosla's Five-Second Rule - Forbes

A Sanity Check for Every Presentation

By any measure, Vinod Khosla is one of the most influential people in business today. In his long and distinguished career, Mr. Khosla has contributed to the growth of hundreds of companies, primarily in his role as a venture capitalist; first at the renowned KPCB, and then, since 2004, at his own firm, Khosla Ventures. Among his notable successes are Sun Microsystems, Nexgen/AMD, Excite, and Juniper.

Get It While You Can

On their way to maturity, each of the many companies Mr. Khosla touched came under the scrutiny of his expert eye, assessing their business plans, balance sheets, strategic relationships, marketing materials, and especially their presentations. During his 25 years in venture capital, Mr. Khosla has seen as many—if not more—presentations than a presentation coach. Most of them were on Mondays, the day Silicon Valley venture firms traditionally allocate to screening pitches from new companies. Then, once the companies make it into the portfolio, Mr. Khosla continues to monitor and critique the presentations they develop to pitch to their potential customers and partners.

For each of them, he applies his five-second rule: he puts a slide on a screen, removes it after five seconds, and then asks the viewer to describe the slide. A dense slide fails the test—and fails to provide the basic function of any visual: to aid the presentation.

By applying his simple rule, Mr. Khosla is addressing two of the most important elements in presentation graphics: Less is More, a plea all too often sounded by helpless audiences to hapless presenters; and more important, the human perception factor. Whenever an image appears on any screen, the eyes of every member of every audience reflexively move to the screen to process the new image. The denser the image, the more processing the audiences need. At that very moment, they stop listening to the presenter. Nevertheless, most presenters continue speaking, further compounding the processing task. As a result, the audience shuts down. Game over.

The simple solution to this pervasive problem is one that readers of my books will recognize: use television news programs as a role model. With vast high-tech graphics resources at their disposal, all the broadcasters show is a simple image composed of a picture and one or two words to serve as a headline for the story that the anchor person tells. In presentations, consider yourself as the anchor person, and design slides that pass Mr. Khosla’s five-second test to serve as the headline for your story.

Game on!

Everest Base Camp & Island Peak Expedition Success - Nick Farr at Trek Climb Ski

Oct 27 / 9:49pm

Everest Base Camp & Island Peak Expedition Success

News just in from our Everest Base Camp and Island Peak expedition and they too have enjoyed a successful trek to Everest Base Camp and climb of Island Peak. Well done to Tui, Peter, Kirsten, Tika and Dor on a great result. No photos as yet but I'll post some images through as soon as the team send me some! A few images below from a recent Trek Climb Ski expedition to Island Peak so you can appreciate what they've just achieved. Congratulations again to Tika and the crew and that rounds us out with a 100% success rate for all our 2011 trekking and climbing expeditions in Nepal. Visit our website to learn about our range of trekking in Nepal and climbing in Nepal adventures for all ages and abilities.

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Aakash Tablet (Ubislate) - Full Review : Cheapest Tablet

“The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide” – Mr.Kapil Sibal

The most talked about ‘Made-in-India’ tablet, Aakash Tablet developed by IIT-Rajasthan (Indian Institute of Technology, Rajasthan) and DataWind (a UK-based company owned by a Suneet Singh Tuli, a Canadian of Indian descent) is finally out for testing and will be available for purchase at retail stores shortly. It is commercially known as “Ubislate.” Check out its features, technical specifications, full review and price in India.

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picture zoom Full Review   Aakash Tablet (Ubislate): Worlds Cheapest Tablet, Designed for Students   Price in India aakashubislate tablet pcs worlds cheapest tablet ubislate tablet for students tablet suneet singh tuli made in india tablet kapil sibal gadgets datawind affordable aakash

Features and Technical Specifications:

Dimensions: 190.5mm x 118.5mm x 15.7mm

Weight: 350 grams

Display: 7-inch Resistive Touch Screen (800 x 480 pixels)

Video Playback and Streaming: Full HD (1080p) support

Operating System: Android 2.2 (Froyo)

Storage: 2 GB Internal (Expandable upto 32 GB vi MicroSD card)

CPU: 366 MHz Connexant Processor

RAM: 256 MB

Battery Backup: Upto 3 hours/180 Minutes (1.5 to 2 hours while playing HD video) (2100 mAh Battery)

Data Connectivity: GPRS, Wi-Fi (802.11 IEEE a/b/g) and 3G (via Dongle)

USB Ports: 2 full USB ports

MarketPlace: Getjar



“Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access” – DataWind CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli.

– Affordable

– FHD (1080p) video playback/streaming

–Video Streaming (Video Download also supported for YouTube)



“The thing with cheap tablets is most of them turn out to be unusable,” – Technology Reviewer BGR India, Rajat Agrawal

– Very Poor Battery Backup

– Slow Performance

– Bad Touch Experience (Resistive Touch Screen)

– Big & Weird Stickers at the back



This tablet is basically designed for students and those who can’t afford high-priced gadgets. If you’re not one of those then, Move On. There are many other, better options available like, iBall Slide, Reliance 3G Tab, etc. or if you can go for a bit higher amount then, Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 is the best option (iPad is not considered in this comparison so..)


Price and Availability:

“As a business, we need to make profit, and our distribution channel needs to make a profit, which is all covered in the MRP of Rs.2,999″ – Mr.Tuli

Aakash Tablet (Ubislate) will be launched in the commercial market at a price of Rs.2,999 (Mr. Tuli said). If you’re a student, then you may get it at 50% less price (Govt. subsidy).

$6.6 billion in lost Iraq cash now accounted for, inspector says | The Envoy - Yahoo! News

46 Tips to Show up at the Right Field in the Social Business Game | The Marketing Nut

Check out this website I found at

repplerinfographic.jpg (JPEG Image, 560x1235 pixels)

14 Punctuation Marks That You Never Knew Existed



Also called an Obelisk. This bad boy (on the left), and its two-headed friend (on the right) the Double Dagger or Diesis, represents a javelin, which is cutting out extraneous stuff from your text. Its primary use through the ages has been to mark out superfluous repetitions in translation, though nowadays it mostly just stands in as a kind of footnote.

2. Caret


Also called a Wedge, an Up-Arrow, and a Hat, which is cute. The word caret is Latin for "it lacks," which is convenient, because the caret is primarily used to indicate something that's missing from the original text.

3. Solidus


Not to be confused with a slash! The Solidus is also called a Shilling Mark (presumably by old British dudes in top hats) and it is at a much steeper angle than a boring old backslash. Back before decimilization took the world by storm, the Solidus was used to set apart different values of currency from each other.

4. Asterism


The Asterism has an awesome name, a cool look, and a really lame usage. It's for indicating minor breaks in text. It can also mean "untitled," apparently.

5. Guillemets


Guillemets means "Little Williams," which is interesting but unhelpful. They're named after a 16th Century French printer. Their primary role is in non-English languages that use them as quotation marks.

6. Sheffer Stroke

Sheffer Stroke

Mainly used for Boolean functions and propositional calculus. Truth tables. Stuff like that.

7. Because Sign

Because Sign

This one's so cool. It's like the "Therefore" sign, but upside-down, and it means because.

8. Section Sign

Section Sign

To indicate sections in a text, mostly by lawyers, who are too good for regular punctuation marks. You probably knew this one, but it's cool-looking, so.

9. Exclamation Comma

Exclamation Comma

Just because you're excited about something doesn't mean you have to end the sentence.

10. Question Comma

Question Comma

The interrogative version of its best friend the Exclamation Comma.

11. Interrobang


It's a combo-Exclamation/Question mark, and it's awesome. It is the glorious punctuational equivalent of saying OMGWTF?!

12. Hedera


Hedera is Latin for ivy. Why that is relevant here is not very clear at all, but this little glyph was used back in the day to mark paragraph breaks. Seems like it was probably really hard and annoying to draw, but it looks nice.

13. Pilcrow


This one's also for paragraph breaks. Most people will be familiar with it, though not with the fact that it's called a Pilcrow. It's also referred to as "The Blind P," which sounds like a good name for some hopelessly twee indie band. "Pilcrow" is the Middle English word for "Paragraph." You will never be able to use that fun fact in real life.

14. Snark


Also called the Percontation Point and the Irony Mark, this one's used to indicate that there's another layer of meaning in a sentence. Usually a sarcastic or ironic one. So it is essentially a tool for smart people to use to make stupid people feel even stupider. Which makes it the best punctuation mark of all.

Mentoring isn't a Sweetener, it is Brutally Honest, Bitter Truth Pill and KickAss, Stickler Mentor . Many Crack. Few WIN!

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