Tag Archives: Mritunjay

2010 Review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 55,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 7 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 8 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 101 posts. There were 12 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 314kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was April 22nd with 427 views. The most popular post that day was Maldives presents a glimpse of the scary tomorrow.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were, en.wordpress.com, search.aol.com, images.yandex.ru, and tumblr.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for maldives, pollution, usaf, sausage, and us air force logo.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Maldives presents a glimpse of the scary tomorrow October 2009


Rich-Poor divide leaves climate talks in a fix November 2009
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Germans eat out more than 1000 animals in 1 lifetime October 2009
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TEDxHitechCity – Karuna Gopal – The Truth about Indian Cities

Karuna Gopal from the Foundation of Futuristic Cities was the main speaker at a recent Tedx conference (TEDx: TEDx is a new program that enables local communities such as schools, businesses, libraries, neighborhoods or just groups of friends to organize, design and host their own independent, TED-like events.).

As always Karuna’s fiery talk was about Indian cities and their state. She highlighted the poor state our cities are in and the need for their development on our future.

The topic of Karuna’s talk was: The Truth about Indian Cities.

Watch her talk about the issues and how important they are:

Karuna’s organization the Foundation for Futuristic Cities has done pioneering work in the area of City Development and is determined to carry it forward.

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Major Advertisers Sit on the Bench of This Year’s Super Bowl – ABC News

The following article appeared in: ABC News.

<Future of Advertising: Ads That Stare Back and Interact: Companies Use Social Networking, 3-D and More to Reach Consumers>

Major Advertisers Sit on the Bench of This Year’s Super Bowl – ABC News

For advertisers, the Super Bowl is still the biggest game of the year. But in today’s marketplace, the buzz isn’t surrounding the ads during the game, it’s the advertisers opting to sit on the bench instead that have programmers shivering on the sidelines.

For the first time in more than 20 years, Pepsi will not advertise during the game.

“That was a real problem for the Super Bowl because they are one of the biggest advertisers,” says Suzanne Vranica, advertising columnist for the Wall Street Journal. “The economy is wreaking havoc with a couple companies. And you’ve got a couple companies, big companies like FedEx and GM, who are long-time Super Bowl fanatics, that have pulled out because of the economy.”

Instead of paying an estimated $2.5 million to $2.7 million per Super Bowl commercial, big brands are using social networking to connect with consumers — hoping to click in a more personal way.

“Social networking is the newest thing for marketers,” says Vranica. “You’ve got 60 ads fighting for attention, so if you use social networking as a marketer and drum up some excitement, you’ll have people specifically watching out for your commercial that night.”

Instead of buying pricey ad time, Pepsi is launching a reported $20 million digital campaign to support charity projects initiated by consumers. Not to be outdone, Pepsi rival Coca-Cola, which is running two Super Bowl commercials, will partner with Facebook to incorporate charity into their message.

“Every company out there has some kind of cause,” says Vranica.

In addition to philanthropy, companies like Doritos and CareerBuilder.com are crowd sourcing their ads through social networking. All of this year’s Super Bowl advertisers have Twitter pages, and Facebook users were tapped to create Vitamin Water’s latest flavor and ad campaign.

Ads are beginning to get plastered everywhere.

“Ad clutter is a big problem, so advertisers are bending over backwards to find the most bizarre places to advertise,” says Vranica.

Elevators, cars, garages, crosswalks and even breakfasts like Eggo waffles are getting branded.

Advertisers also are producing viral videos that seem to be captured by amateur photographers but surreptitiously advertise a product. RayBan, for example, released a video of a tattoo lover who appears to get a permanent pair of sunglasses tattooed on his face.

Advertisers Go High-Tech to Reach Audiences

Trading football for futuristic, companies are trying 3-D advertising, too. This month, Visa was the first company ever to advertise in an outdoor space using 3D.

“3D ads are the next gimmick,” says Vranica. “You’ve got a lot of technology out there, and advertisers realize the space they play in is very crowded, so they’re looking for technology to make something new. So if you make it in 3D, how could you go wrong?”

Advertisers also are stretching the limits of technology with touch screens, holograms, and “augmented reality.”

“Interactive advertising is a big draw for marketers because it proves that people are engaging with your ad rather than sitting back,” says Vranica.

A fitness center ad at a bus stop in the Netherlands, for example, weighs people as they sit down. Sharpie markers encourages consumers to write on a virtual “eCast” on low-hanging electronic billboards, and the Mini Cabrio car’s “augmented reality” campaign allows users to hold up a Mini Cabrio convertible magazine ad to a webcam and watch as the computer screen displays a 3-D model of the car.

As for what everyone will be watching by next year’s Super Bowl, commercials could be similar to the high-tech personalized ads from Steven Spielberg‘s 2002 movie “Minority Report.” “Smart signs” from tech companies like Quividi and TruMedia are in test phase now and could scan consumers as they walk by, telling advertisers the age, height, even clothing size of potential customers.

Not every company is pinching pennies during the Super Bowl. Even at nearly $3 million for a 30 second spot, the game is sold out with commercials from big brands like Anheuser-Busch and Unilever, and lesser known companies like HoweAway.com and Boost Mobile, which both are making their Super Bowl ad debuts.

“There is no way in today’s universe with such audience fragmentation that you can reach 90 million people with one ad,” says Vranica. “That’s why you see companies that you’ve never heard of advertising in the Super Bowl. So $3 million for 30 seconds is actually a bargain because they could never reach that kind of audience.”

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How Livable is Hyderabad?

How Livable is Hyderabad? The city which packs a rich tradition and is an icon of the developing India, faces some of the same problems that any other cities face. As the city develops, the pressure on resources grow and need more support. The importance of the perspective of the citizens towards the state of affairs grows.

An article discussing the state of the city of pearls, titled “Can Hyderabad be made livable” written by Karuna Gopal, which was invited by The Times of India – published in the edition dated: Nov. 23′ 2009. Karuna Gopal is the President of the Hyderabad based Urban Planning and Advisory organization, Foundation for Futuristic Cities. She is a distinguished authority in this field and has worked with national and international organizations in the areas of City Development, Visioning, Planning and E-governance among others. The article presents the view from a citizen’s perspective coupled the expertise of a urban planning expert.

If livable cities give all citizens equal opportunity to lead healthy, comfortable and safe lives, how livable is our metropolis? Here’s a citizen activist’s perspective.

Doctors prescribe half-an-hour walk everyday, among other things to stay healthy. For those who cannot afford the luxury of a gym, walking to offices is an option. How pedestrian-friendly are our Hyderabad streets? Fast food is fast becoming a pass time for children. How many outdoor choices can we show them in parks, municipal swimming pools and skating rinks? For teenagers who started relying on the Facebook for facing life’s challenges, what are the city avenues for adventure learning and sport facilities?

The footpath to road ratio is poor in Hyderabad and the walkability index is a mere 0.68, making it one of the worst cities in India for pedestrian friendliness. With 30 lakh vehicles plying, Hyderabad has the highest density of traffic in India. Vehicle to road length ratio is bad, respirable particulate matter (RPM) several notches above the acceptable levels, 50% of the road accident victims are pedestrians and billions of working hours are lost with people stuck in traffic. Captive walkers may not be walking by choice; they have no access to public transport!

My 65-year-old neighbour became healthy after a neighbourhood park appeared. He walks daily, made friends, does yoga and laughs his way to health. Studies on SROI (Social Return on Investment) show that parks also serve as instruments to forge communal, community bonding, resolve family conflicts, encourage informal official meetings reducing pollution.

KBR Park that has been put in the league of Central Park of New York and Hyde Park of London is accessible only to Jubilee Hills residents. The rest of the city has not been so lucky. With just 600 parks developed in an inequitable fashion for eight million, citizens are desperately waiting to see parks in the 2,200 open spaces meant for that purpose. Currently, most colonies house fenced open spaces with faded boards declaring GHMC’s ownership!

My maid who lives in a slum, fed up with contaminated water, disease burden and mounting medical bills asked me how much we pay for water. After quick calculations announced that she is willing to pay at the same rate! She just educated me about opportunity cost and her coping costs, technical term for lack of services and coping mechanisms used by the poor! In fact, all WTP (willingness to pay) studies prove that slums want basic services like water and sanitation and they are willing to pay for those. It is the government that is unwilling to charge!

With 1,485 slums and more being created, our city has to act fast or Hyderabad while legitimising the illegitimate may well morph into a mammoth slum! Is it just insipid institutions, defunct departments and procedural pains that are responsible for this state of affairs?

With a build-now, regularize-later culture, jurisdictional schizophrenia making a municipal ward nobody’s baby, multiplicity of agencies, conflicting executive and political interests, lake encroachments, lopsided development, rusted water pipes, gushing sewers, our greater city has to deal with systemic problems to get anywhere near livable status. Those, who expressed concern when Hyderabad became “greater” that it will have greater challenges of integration, providing equitable services and staying accountable to a larger population stand vindicated today! Why, the much hyped up Hi-Tech City has a maze of optic fibre lines, but sadly no sewerage lines!

Governance framework is partly responsible for this state of affairs. Hyderabad, though a metropolis now is still a state’s baby. Despite the 74th constitutional amendment Act, it is not the city but the state that decides the urban infrastructure projects, levies and collects taxes. The state also interferes with the local governments property tax by deciding the tax base, rates and modes of assessment leaving the city government disempowered and financially weak. Though JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission) aims to rectify that, shuttle negotiations with the state have been leading to delays and sub-optimal development of Hyderabad.

The City Development Plan of Hyderabad (CDP) that accessed the JNNURM funds for the city was sent without the mandatory stakeholder consultations. There is also a community participation law for urban projects just as there is a JNNURM framework for citizen participation. Citizens do not question enough. The government does not share enough. Town hall meetings that are the purest form of democratic governing are missing in our city. Citizens have to participate actively in city development. We must realize that managing cities is not just government business alone. It is ours too.

We can make Hyderabad a livable city if citizens wear a reformer hat to cleanse institutions, an activist hat to question investment decisions and a partner hat to accelerate equitable development!



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Germans eat out more than 1000 animals in 1 lifetime

Sausage - Healthy?

Sausage - Healthy?

While it may be still debatable whether Adolf Hitler was vegetarian or not, a study by German Vegetarianism Association in a latest study claimed that an average German eats more than 1,000 animals in his/her life. The British newspaper, Daily Express reported that as per the estimates of the German body, on average individual Germans consume four cows, four calves, four sheep, 46 pigs, 37 ducks and 46 turkeys as well as 12 geese and 945 chickens in their lifetime.

The organisation wants Germans to have one meatless day a week which would save 157 million animal lives a year, according to spokesman Sebastian Zosch.

The real Chicken Sandwich!

The real Chicken Sandwich!

The research estimated that more than one billion animals, which does not include fish or sea creatures, were eaten in Germany every year.

It also stressed the point that raising plant products for food has lower emission of “greenhouse” gases when compared to raising animals. It reported that between five and six million Germans are vegetarian in a population of 83 Million.

Save The Seals - Canada Campaign (Peta)

Save The Seals - Canada Campaign (Peta)

Peta and GoVeg.com also make claims about effects “factory farming” of animals have in countries like USA. They claim various effects for human and animal health as well as environment in general.

America’s meat addiction is poisoning and depleting our potable water, arable land, and clean air. More than half of the water used in the United States today goes to animal agriculture, and since farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than the human population, the run-off from their waste is fouling our waterways. Animal excrement emits gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, that poison the air around farms, as well as methane and nitrous oxide, which are major contributors to global warming. Forests are being bulldozed to make more room for factory farms and feed crops to feed farmed animals, and this destruction causes soil erosion and contributes to species extinction and habitat loss. Raising animals for food also requires massive amounts of food and raw materials: Farmed animals consume 70 percent of the corn, wheat, and other grains that we grow, and one-third of all the raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S. go to raising animals for food. In short, our country’s meat addiction is wrecking the earth.

Though a matter of personal discretion vegetarianism has seen support from various sectors and segments ranging from celebrities to rights groups.


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China To US: BACK OFF!

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has asked the U.S to stay away from it’s internal matters after the U.S. Congress presented Dalai Lama the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, an award, which was in honor of the late U.S. human rights activist Tom Lantos, on Tuesday.

We urge some members of the U.S. Congress to respect the history and the facts, recognize the true face of Dalai Lama, stop using the Tibet issue to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement posted on the ministry’s Web site.

President Obama is already facing severe criticism from several quarters after he earlier skipped a meeting with the Tibetan leader. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation called China’s criticism unwarranted and commended Congress members for supporting the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama and Obama will not meet until after Obama visits Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing in November of this year.

Meanwhile Dalai Lama wrote a letter congratulating the U.S President on receiving the Nobel prize which was presented to Dalai Lama in 1989 calling Obama to champion “freedom and liberty“.

I have maintained that the founding fathers of the United States have made this country the greatest democracy and a champion of freedom and liberty,” the Dalai Lama wrote.

Obama administration is seeking Chinese support for pressing with its foreign policy, economic and environmental goals and thus needs to balance efforts to establish friendly ties with China with the desire to support the Dalai Lama, who has called for more autonomy for Tibetans. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, on the other hand said at the ceremony that “unless we speak out for human rights in China and in Tibet, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere in the world.”

China claims Tibet to be part of its territory for four centuries, and it has aggressively governed the Himalayan region since communist troops took control there in 1951. The Tibetans on the other hand say that they had been effectively independent for most part of their history and Chinese rule and economic exploitation are eroding their traditional Buddhist culture.

The Dalai Lama is one of the most highly honored peacemakers of all time, and we are proud to present His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the inaugural Lantos Human Rights Prize,” Swett said in a statement. “We can only hope that this award brings into public light the continuing human rights violations in Tibet, so that they can be addressed.”

China has often pushed its demand of other nations to stay away from intervening in matters of Tibet claiming it to be a Chinese internal matter.

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It’s an all-out against Naxals in India

The "Red-Corridor"

The “Red-Corridor”

uploaded by Mritunjay

The pressure was building up. With the recent beheading of Intelligence Officer in Jharkhand and yesterday’s attack on police party which killed 18 police personnel, Govt. of India has decided to go all out against naxalites. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has finally given the go ahead on the decision to strike the maoist terrorists.

Full-scale security offensive, coupled with equitable development, will be the guiding principle, while taking the state governments fully on board,” said a top official

The center plans to deploy around 70,000 paramilitary personnel in naxalite infested areas. The forces will take the battle to the hideouts that these militants bank upon as these areas are in deep forests and ravines. Due to the fact that the areas are tough to reach and normal police force is not used to carry out such intricate operations the highly trained personnel of specialized forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP), Border Security Police (BSF), Sashatra Surakhsha Bal (SSB) and the elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA). While 33,000 security personnel are already deployed in these states, another 37,000 will be drawn from various paramilitary forces soon after the forthcoming assembly elections in the three states. CoBRA is a specialized Anti-Naxal force raised last year to combat naxal problem and has been very effective in areas it has been deployed. While currently its majority composition is that of CRPF personnel the plan is to raise separate battalions through new recruits over a period of three years.

The Indian Air Force will also be involved in the operations but basically for logistic and tactical support like reconnaissance, logistical and casualty evacuation duties. They will deploy there special commando personnel, Garud in helicopters to support the ground forces. The IAF is also planning to deploy its Garud commandos and mount machine guns on its helicopters to protect its aircrew and aircraft.

Paramilitary forces under the home ministry, along with the state police forces, will instead drive the anti-naxal battle. “The aim is to confront the Maoists simultaneously in all affected states to eliminate the menace,” said an official.”Although operations against the ultras are already in motion, they will be stepped up once polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh are over…it will free around 25,000 central paramilitary personnel,” he added.

The operation with have special focus on the red-zone of two tri-junctions of Jharkhand-West Bengal-Orissa and Chhattisgarh-Orissa-Andhra Pradesh to prevent any attempt by the Maoists to sneak from one zone to another. As a senior official explained “the aim is to confront the Maoists simultaneously in all affected states to eliminate the menace”.

Hopefully this will help wipe-out the naxal menace from the India which has blown out as a grave security threat in recent times. The fact that 90 security personnel have lost lives fighting against militants in Jammu & Kashmir while over 270 have been killed by naxals this year, speaks volumes about the threat level.

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