Mani Shankar Iyer’s comments

It certainly helps to have well educated qualified individuals as ministers. Check out this article with interesting quotes (from Tom Friedman of NY Times book release function) from Mani Shankar Iyer, Union Minister for Petroleum in the Manmohan Singh ministry. The current government in India a strange mix of extremes, especially when it comes to the ministers and there pedigree.

Cricket: Unpredictable WI strikes back

West Indies, the ever unpredictable cricket team swung back to thrash the resurgent Pak. Its a great victory for a team in the dumps. WI have also ensured that they can’t loose the test series. Lara once again proved that he is still very much a force to reckon with. His spate of recent centuries should maker the injury prone Sachin wary of his max 100s record. Hats off to Chanderpaul for leading from the front.

This test also proves that Inzy and Youhana are too critical to Pak. Shahid Afridi played a belligerent knock as always. Opening with him might have given the fight back a different flavor. But again, you can never predict.

Younis Khan had a lousy debut as captain. More than its bowling, it was Pak’s batting that caused them the test. Bazid Khan blew a good chance to make an ompression while Yasir Hameed continues to prove his unreliability. Salman but is still very much an India specialist (batsmen who scores mostly against India!).

Bangladesh-England Test Cricket

What a pathetic show by the Bangaldeshis! The test match was almost over in 2 days! The ICC is doing a great disservice to Test cricket by granting test status to countries that are simply not ready for it. It destroys the confidence of the team and the much stronger opponents loose interest. Test cricket being the big loser in the process. As for England, this is hardly a preparation for the upcoming Ashes (which incidentally should be an exciting series. I don’t think England has had a stronger team for a long time)

As a part of the qualifying process teams should be forced to play against local teams in other countries to prove a certain level of proficiency. For instance, Bangladesh should have played more cricket in the domestic circuit in India (Ranji, Duleep and other trophies) before being granted test status.

I certainly hope Bangladesh perform better in the rest of the England tour!

Bay Area Traffic

Ever since the toll on Dumbarton bridge was increased, I have noticed a significant decrease in traffic along this route! I wonder if there is any data available on this. 880 on the other hand continues to be a nightmare in rush hour. The mess at the 237 junction has been fixed for the most part (the exit for the car pool lane will ease things more when completed). The 880 bottleneck happens now between Warren Ave and Dixon Landing exits. There seems to be stop and go traffic between these points at virtually all times (especially peak hours). Wonder why? I don’t think its 680 off Mission that is the cause. In general, Bay Area traffic is no where close to the way it was in the hey days of the valley (late 90s). The only reason not wish for the return of the hey days!! Oh well…

Quote of the day!

“There is only a veneer of democracy in the United States, and we have a real democracy,” he said, brushing aside suggestions that Iran’s election rules unfairly favor the hard-liners who control much of the government. “Election laws are so complicated in your country that people have no choice but to vote for one of the candidates who are with one of the two parties.” Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran. Check out the complete article in NY Times. (registration required)

While there might be some partial truths in this, its ironical that it has to come from a politician in Iran!

Diluting the IIT brand?

On the one hand you have events such as the recent pan IIT meet to improve and enhance the IIT brand at a global level. But on the other you have a rapid increase in number of IITs, unfortunately driven by partisan government proposals. Will the next government release a new list of universities to be blessed with the IIT brand? Will fake IIT degrees soon be available? Does India have the resources to upgrade so many universities in a short period of time? The existing IITs are already struggling without quality new faculty to replace retiring faculty. How are these new IITs going to cope with these challenges?

Is the Govt. diluting one of India’s best brands? The ominous signs of it are certainly there.

India Cricket Team: Opportunity to experiment

Sachin is going to be unavailable. Ganguly will be serving a ban. This opens up two slots in the playing eleven in the Indian team for the WI-India-SL ODI series. Great opportunity to try out some newcomers. I hope the selectors don’t fall back on the discards like Mongia, VVS and others but instead give some newcomers proven in the domestic tournaments, a chance to prove themselves at the international level. This will help expand the talent pool when it comes to selecting the team for the next World Cup.

Google Custom Home Page

Tried out the new Google custom home page feature. As always, simple, yet cool. The drag and move feature is way cool. Unlike my Yahoo (where there are simply too many options), I like the fact that the options are relatively few to start with (I’m sure they’ll expand over time!). The ability to have Gmail on the home page saves a few extra clicks. It will be really cool if Google adds Blogger and a couple of other common applications (say a spreadsheet, and presentation software) to be run online.

The Google News page customization was a little annoying. I customized it a couple of times (I saved it too!), and yet when I re-started Firefox, the customization was gone! Oh well…the price (not quite, mostly frustration!) you pay for being an early adopter.