Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wikipedia - A credible source?

Many of us look up definitions on Wikipedia. Last semester I was in a Multi-Agent Systems class; in my lab reports for the class, I often cited Wikipedia as a source for certain definition and descriptions. So it was interesting when I came across this article on College: Wikipedia Not Source for Papers . I think it should really depend on the professor or the teacher whether Wikipedia is acceptable for the particular subject matter. In my personal opinion one should not cite Wikipedia when talking about state of the art research matters, nor should one cite it in a technical document submitted at conference or journal. I see no harm in citing it in term papers for simple definitions like Condorcet Voting Methods .

Saturday, February 10, 2007

India, the next superpower -- why not?

I read an article on CNN
India the Superpower, Think again
. CNN's Cait Murphy puts forth an argument on why India should stop taking pride in its enormous economy growth and curb its enthusiam in its bid for being a superpower. The article contains a lot of correct facts but fails to convince me with his argument. The writer's source of considering India as a superpower is the number of results he got when he googled "India" and "superpower" and not some International study. I googled the exact same two words and looked at the articles that popped up. Even the most optimistic articles referred to it as a "potential" superpower. To see the futility of the source, google "Ghana" "superpower" and you will get a large number of hits claiming Ghana to be the next superpower (Based on the fact Ghana beat USA in the Soccer World Cup in Germany). But Ghana does not have 1 billion people and an 8% growth rate so the writer decides to talk about India.

He refers to the slow growth rate in the first 45 years after India's independence as the "a derisory Hindu Growth Rate". I found no basis for the term "Hindu Growth Rate". If the term refers to government policies, the first 45 years after India's Independence the Left-leaning "Congress party" has governed India and set socialist policies. Only recently we have seen a rise of right wing parties. If the term is referring to the majority of the population well then its derogatory and offensive. It takes a country time to stand on its own feet after gaining independence from another country. After 50 years of America's Independence they were mired in a Civil war. Women got a right to vote much later than 50 years after independence in the US. In that perspective 45 years is a very short span of time for a country to start making headway and post good returns.

The writer presents some facts on the number of children who do not have an education and are malnourished. The children in America battle obesity, guns and metal detectors in schools, and low Math and Science scores (compared to other developed countries). This hasn't stopped America from continuing to be a superpower. My point is, I agree things need to improve but it is not a strong enough argument to support the writer's hypothesis. There a lot of people in India who have a better standard of living than they did 1o years ago. There are no comparitive figures on what "has" improved in India along with the ugly "facts" of how poor and uneducated the people are in India. A booming economy will in turn help people of the country. It takes time for the benefits to trickle down to all stratas of society. So why not take pride in an enourmous growth rate? It has caused others world wide to sit and take notice. With 1/8 of the population residing in the same country, and where each person is driven to prove his worth to the world. To people who say India can't be the next superpower, I say -- why not?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I have returned to blogging after a long break. I saw the acclaimed movie "Guru" with the high profile, recently engaged couple: Abhisheik and Ashwariya. I had high expectations from the movie reading the great reviews, it being a Mani Ratnam movie, and more importantly it being based loosely on Dhirubhai Ambani's life. I was fairly impressed by the movie.

There were some flashes of brilliance in the movie that are typical of a Mani Ratnam movie. In a very non-bollywoodesque scene the protagonist is shown very eager to marry his friend's sister for her dowry. There is a very natural touch to the scene which makes you chuckle. Abhishiek's interactions with Mithun after things turn dour between them are also interesting. The sweeping background score makes it even more enjoyable. But sadly the second half loses steam. It does not contain as much punch as the first half. Abhishiek has truly performed at new level altogether.

Given that the Bachans are so close the Ambani family, Abhishiek grew up around Dhirubhai. That probably enables him to play with the role with such elan.