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Santanu's Blog Page

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I Don't like Rita

Period: Late Seventies, Media: Paperbacks.
Scene: London bombed by German planes in World War II. Just as people come out of bunkers, sirens sound yet another wave of bombers. People scurry back for cover in a darkened city.

I wondered in my tender mind what it felt like to be homeless and yet be bombed again!

Period: Late Eighties, Media: Television.
Scene: Mike Tyson vs. some forgotten fighter (Anon) in a floodlit boxing ring. Anon tries to hide his bleeding face behind gloved hands as Tyson sneers and moves in for yet another flurry of thunderous punches. The result of the fight is already obvious, but Anon clings to the last shreds of dignity by staying on his feet, while Tyson tries to enhance his career with a ‘KO’ from a beaten and battered opponent.

I winced in imaginary pain, imagining myself in Anon’s shoes, feeling the pain and the humiliation, wishing the misery to end.

Period: Late Nineties, Media: Cinema / Movies.
Scene:Bandit Queen” Phoolan Devi being gang raped. One rapist walks out of the cattle shed tying the cord of his pajamas while the silhouette of the next appears at the door. An evil grin is vaguely visible against the harsh sunny background, seen through the bruised, battered swollen eyes of the victim.

I grimaced. “When will it all end?” an anguished voice moaned inside my head.

Period: Present (2005), Media: Internet.
Scene: Weather forecast websites showing satellite pictures of Florida Keys. Rita slips into the Gulf of Mexico spinning in a wild orgy, gleefully eyeing the shattered and stunned New Orleans city which has not even begun to recover from the stinging blow of Hurricane Katrina.

I think about the hapless evacuees. The same old feeling washes through me. When will this end? Why beat the beaten? Tinglings of fear might crawl down their spines as they hear updates of Rita’s approach. Or maybe they will be too numb to notice!
I sit at the toe of the mighty Himalayas at the opposite end of the globe and think. I think and imagine and cringe. Restless, I recheck the weather websites, wishing away the winds. I wish I could …

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Mystic Mom

"There is no experience quite as profound as motherhood. When you give birth to another, you become that other. From the first kicks in a puffing-up stomach to the first moments after birth, you melt into the other. You are not one, you are not two, you are a blend -- something outside yourself yet in yourself. Nowhere in life are you given the opportunity to transcend yourself in quite the same way. When your baby lies at your breast drinking from your fluid, you are not two organisms, you are one of a new kind of organism."
Susan Smalley

There are some things that men can only read about. And add to their blogs perhaps. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Psychic Powers!

I might be overimaginative and too prone to impractical and wishful thinking, but would it not make the world a better place to live in if we had benevolent philanthropists with clairvoyance assisting the police! Seems we do not have to look far....

Truth Stranger than Fiction

I know it could be just another tall claim, but still.... :)

Friday, September 16, 2005

What a Bike!!!

This is an 8200cc Monster of a Bike. It's like riding a 2-wheeled Train Engine. Do read the specification below. Mindblowing...

  1. 500 bhp (372 kW) @ 5600 rpm ( 60.4 bhp/liter); 525 lb.-ft. (712 Nm) @ 4200 rpm
  2. 10-cylinder 90-degree V-type, liquid-cooled, 505 cubic inches (8277 cc)
  3. 356-T6 aluminum alloy block with cast-iron liners, aluminum alloy cylinder heads
  4. Bore x Stroke: 4.03 inches x 3.96 inches (102.4 x 100.6)
  5. Two pushrod-actuated overhead valves per cylinder with roller-type hydraulic lifters
  6. Sequential, multi-port electronic fuel injection with individual runners
  7. Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
  8. Max Engine Speed: 6000 rpm
  9. Fuel Requirement: Unleaded premium, 93 octane (R+M/2)
  10. Oil System: Dry Sump; takes 8 quarts Mobil1 10W30 Synthetic
  11. Cooling System: Twin aluminum radiators mounted atop engine intake manifolds, force-fed from front-mounted, belt-driven turbine fan.
  12. Takes 11 quarts of antifreeze.
  13. Exhaust System: Equal-length tubular stainless steel headers with dual collectors and central rear outlets


Front: Outboard, single-sided parallel upper and lower control arms made from polished billet aluminum. Mounted via ball joint to aluminum steering uprights and hubs. Five degrees caster. Single, fully adjustable centrally located coil-over damper ( 2.25-inch coil with adjustable spring perch); pullrod and rocker-actuated mono linkage. Center-lock racing-style hubs.
Rear: Hand-fabricated box-section steel inboard swing arms, incorporating "hydral-link" lockable recirculating hydraulic circuit parking stand. Single fully adjustable centrally located Koni coil-over damper ( 2.25-inch coil with adjustable spring perch); pushrod and rocker-actuated mono linkage. Center-lock racing-style hubs

Front :
20-inch perimeter-mounted drilled machined stainless steel rotors, one per wheel. Two four-piston fixed aluminum calipers per wheel (16 pistons total), custom designed. Blue anodized caliper finish. Hand-activated.
Rear : 20-inch perimeter-mounted drilled cast-iron rotors, one per wheel. One four-piston fixed aluminum caliper per wheel (8 pistons total), custom designed. Blue anodized caliper finish. Foot-activated.

The Tomahawk is a Viper V-10 based motorcycle, a 500 horsepower engine with four wheels beneath it.
Chrysler will be selling the original Tomahawk concept and nine replicas through Neiman Marcus, for up to $555,000 each. The motorcycles cannot be licensed, so they cannot be legally driven on public roads. A Chrysler spokesman told Reuters they were meant as rolling sculptures.
Rumors had the Tomahawk selling for under $200,000, most likely at a loss or breakeven price, for publicity purposes - but still fully drivable. Wolfgang Bernhard, Chrysler's not particularly respected first mate, was said to be enthusiastic about that project, so much so that hundreds were projected to be built at under $200,000 each. They reportedly cost Chrysler over $100,000 to build (admittedly the work is outsourced).
The Dodge Tomahawk can reach 60 miles an hour in about 2.5 seconds, and has a theoretical top speed of nearly 400 mph. Each pair of wheels is separated by a few inches and each wheel has an independent suspension. Bernhard said four wheels were necessary to handle the power from the engine.
The Tomahawk remains on display at auto shows - though well out of reach of the general public, elevated on a special display.

0-60 mph: 2.5 seconds (est.)Top Speed: 300+ mph (est.)

Length: 102 inchesWidth: 27.7 inchesHeight: 36.9 inchesWheelbase: 76 inches Seat Height: 29 inchesWeight: 1,500 lbs. Track, Front: 8.75 inTrack, Rear: 10 inWeight Dist: 49F/51RGround Clearance: 3 inFuel: 3.25 gallons


Alternator: 136-amp high-speedBattery: Leak-resistant, maintenance-free 600 CCALighting: Headlights consist of 12 five-watt LEDs, front, with beam-modifying optics and masked lenses. Eight LEDs, rear. Headlamps articulate with wheels.


Manual, foot-shifted two-speed Aluminum-cased two-speed, sequential racing-style with dog ring, straight-cut gears Gear Ratios: 1st 18:38; 2nd 23:25Clutch: Double-disc, dry-plate with organic friction materials, hand lever actuated with assist Final drive: Dual 110-link motorcycle-style chains

Front Sprockets: 14 teeth Rear Sprockets: 35 teeth
Longitudinal, centrally mounted engine, rear-wheel drive layout; monocoque construction, engine is central, stressed member. Body of billet aluminum.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ashes to England

The English Summer looks positively brighter now. And why not!

A cricket win is a cause for celebration any day.
Test cricket, more so.
A series win, even more so.
Against Australia? Hats Off!
And when it is England doing it after 18 years..well! well!

The entire country celebrates and so do millions of cricket fans all over the world! Read on...

BBC SPORT | Cricket | Ashes 2005 | Fans to hail Ashes-winning heroes: "The tour will proceed from Mansion House to Queen Victoria Street, Cannon Street, St Paul's Churchyard, Ludgate Hill, Fleet Street, Strand, Duncannon Street and Trafalgar Square, where the presentation will end at 1300 BST. "

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Exposed and humbled

A boat sits wedged in a tree by a Pearl Street home in Biloxi which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. -www.nola.com(Times-Picayune)

It was a surprising sight on television -- the spectacle of the world’s mightiest power laid low and humbled by the elemental forces of nature.

The winds and rain of Hurricane Katrina killed thousands of people, devastated about US$100 billion in public and private property and flooded a vast area of the American South.

What has been called America’s deadliest natural disaster in a century also brought out the lack of preparedness of a superpower that could invade and overrun another country thousands of miles away in a matter of days.

Food, water and medicines were unavailable for days for tens of thousands of evacuees in crowded, sweltering evacuation centres. Law and order broke down, and looters, killers and rapists, particularly in New Orleans, roamed and operated at will until the National Guard belatedly stepped in and restored some semblance of order.

The entire debacle saw the United States failing its first major test after putting up new security arrangements since 9/11.

What are the lessons of Katrina?

The first is environmental:
One cannot fool around with the environment and not expect it to hit back with destructive fury. It’s the law of ecological karma.

American columnist Ross Gelbspan said, “The hurricane that struck Louisiana and Mississippi was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service (but) its real name was global warming.”

The unabated use of polluting fossil fuels has caused global warming and many scientists fear that the world may have entered a period of irreversible climate change.

We can feel it here in the Philippines where typhoons have become stronger and more destructive, where the level of floodwaters is constantly rising and where sometimes the weather is reversed, with rains falling in usually dry months and drought occurring in usually wet months.

The second lesson is the need for preparedness.

It cannot be said that the United States was not warned about the coming of Katrina. Days before it finally struck land, TV stations were running hourly bulletins about Katrina.

In the meantime, very little was done to shore up installations or board up buildings.

Ultimately, in some areas in the direct path of the hurricane, boarding up would have done little to mitigate the damage. The hurricane was so fierce and powerful that it mowed down everything in its path.

But the death of thousands could have been prevented had they been evacuated before the hurricane. Some people thought evacuation was not necessary.

In the face of an impending natural disaster, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

The US government should have been prepared to cope with the logistical nightmare of moving tens of thousands of people, feeding them, providing them with clean water, clothing them, giving them temporary shelter and ministering to their medical and health needs.

New Orleans pointed up the lack of preparedness of the government.

The third lesson of Katrina is the need to study scenarios of the aftermath of a disaster, prepare for the relocation of people and the reconstruction of their homes and infrastructure.

In this regard, American officials would do well to study the rehabilitation and reconstruction work being done by Indonesia in Aceh and Nias, two of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami last December.
You can read the full article in ANN

Monday, September 05, 2005

Water crisis looms as Himalayan glaciers melt

A view of the Kanchenjunga mountain along the Himalayan mountain range on the frontier between Nepal and Sikkim. Scientists say the 40 percent of humanity living in South Asia and China could well be living with little drinking water within 50 years as global warming melts Himalayan glaciers, the region's main water source. (Source Reuters)

Read on...

Katrina Call

Hurricane Katrina -- Online Resources and How to Help

* U.S. Government Katrina Help Resource List
* National Next of Kin Registry
* Salvation Army Health and Welfare Information Request Form
* FEMA Disaster Assistance Process
* NowPublic Missing Persons Board
* Nola.com Missing Persons Board
* Nola.com "I'm Okay" Board
* Nola.com Homes Available Board
* WDSU-TV Safe/Missing Persons Boards (By Parish)
* WWL-TV Missing Persons Forum
* WWL-TV Post If You're Okay Board
* Houma, La., Courier: Storm Forum
* Sunherald (Miss.) Missing Persons Board
* The Mississippi Press Missing Persons Forum
* CNN.com Safe List
* MSNBC "Looking For" List
* Yahoo Hurricane Katrina Message Boards (Broken out by city)
* Housing Offers on Houston Chronicle
* Craig's List Lost and Found
* Katrina Family and Friends Forum