Why Pakistan violates ceasefire shelling Kashmir

The conventional wisdom is the Pakistan Army is whipping up India-border-paranoia to divert attention from its own terrorism troubles.  But let us take a little cockeyed look.
  • The most out-dated explanation is the Pakistani’s are feeling frustrated.  Like a child throwing a tantrum, they resort to firing across the border.
  • The media have cottoned on to another explanation that they fire to distract our attention, while they attempt to push terrorists across the border.
  • Some of my shipmates used to speculate with a wink and smile, that they are expending their ‘expired’ ammunitions. 
    • All those bullets, mortar, and cannon shells do have an ‘expiry’ or ‘use-by’ dates, which vary between 5 to 20 years.  The developed countries, who are also the weapons manufacturers, have a well established procedure to decommission and recycle those ammunition.  Pakistan is an arms importer and has no economical way of dismantling or recycling them.  So, the reasoning is they are destroying the ‘expired’ ammunition in the most economical, and at the safest place (for them) to do so – by lobbing them across the border.
  • Of late, as the capabilities of an audit to expose corruption became apparent, the next step of awareness is being brandished.  The Pakistan Army is actually fudging its ammunition inventory, by claiming to have fired far more than they have actually done.
    • The Generals are feathering their nests, by placing orders – on paper – for huge number of ammos, but what actually comes in is very little.  To makeup for the shortfall, they routinely create a big tamasha on the border, and account for all the ‘missing’ ammo as fired across the border.  If at all there is an audit, they can well tell the bean-counters to go and count the shells on the Indian side!
Seeing the way Pakistan is run, I can well believe it.  I only hope they have better control of their nukes.  Else the reality of this Mike Keefe cartoon of 2002 is chilling.


(image courtesy Mike Keefe)

Tropical Cyclone 03B HUDHUD landfall near Vishakapatnam

As the Tropical Cyclone 03B, named ‘HudHud’, approaches the Indian coast off Vishakapatnam, reports say that more than 514,725 people have been evacuated in Andhra Pradesh alone.  Considering the reluctance and the ‘karmic’ acceptance of the Indian population, it indeed is a fantastic effort.

The cyclone, classed "very severe" by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), will hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states in the next few hours, with winds of upto 195 km/hr.

In many ways HUDHUD reminds me of Tropical Cyclone PHAILIN, which made landfall, almost to the day, an year ago, which left around 30 dead. 

Hudhud is forecast to maintain its intensity for 6 more hours after landfall, and then will gradually weaken into a cyclonic storm while moving across the interior areas of  southern Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

Here is the satellite/IR picture of Tropical Cyclone 03B HUDHUD approaching the Vishakapatnam coast, about to make landfall.

cyclone-03B- HUDHUD-making-landfall

(image courtesy wundermap)

What Enterprise donated to Abe Lincoln

When I read that the 54 year old Nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) donated something to one of their Nimitz class carrier - USS Abraham Lincoln - my curiosity was aroused.  After all, I cannot imagine what a carrier launched half a century ago will have in common, and usable, with a cousin 28 years younger.

USS Enterprise was launched in 1960, and was inactivated in 2012.  She is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016, after her nuclear fuel and reactors are removed, and cut up for scrap. She is at present at the Virginia shipyard for the de-fuelling process. 

USS Lincoln (CVN-72) is in the same shipyard for what is called a refuelling and complex overhaul.  That’s when they found that one of the USS Lincoln's 30-ton anchors needed to be replaced.  They took a look at USS Enterprise, which had an exact match.

So, that’s what USS Enterprise is gifting away to USS Abraham Lincoln. 


Trivia:  The CVN-65 is the sixth American warship to carry the Enterprise name. The next Enterprise will be the proposed – but not yet funded - hull number CVN-80.  Of the previous five Enterprise, 3 of them were sailing vessels in 18th & 19th centuries, and one Patrol Boat SP-790 (1917-19).  The 5th was CV-6 – the most awarded ship in the World War II. 

Trivia 2: The British Royal Navy have had not less than 15 vessels – from boats to light cruisers - named Enterprise!

MAVEN, MOM, Curiosity meet, greet, tweet on Mars

September 24, 2014 is a red-letter day in the annals of India’s space exploration exploration efforts, as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully inserted the country's first Mars Orbiter Mission, popularly known as Mangalyaan, into the red planet's orbit.

The mission is the cheapest yet to Mars.   India’s Mars mission has a price tag of about $74 million (Rs 450 crore) and costs even less than the 2013 Hollywood sci-fi film 'Gravity', which had a production cost of $100 million.

It has an as yet unbeaten first.  ISRO achieved which no space agency in world including managed to do in their first attempt – reach Mars.

There is another unbeatable first.  This must be the first time ever, three space crafts – okay 2 space crafts in orbit, and one rover on ground – from Earth meet each other on another planet – and greet, tweet each other.

Twitteratti saw a fun exchange of tweets between NASA's 2012 Mars mission Curiosity, ISRO's Mars Orbiter, and NASA's 2014 Mars mission Maven.

While Maven congratulated ISRO for the Mars Orbiter, Curiosity welcomed it on the red planet with "Namaste, @MarsOrbiter! Congratulations to @ISRO and India's first interplanetary mission upon achieving Mars orbit."  To this, Mars Orbiter replied, "Howdy @MarsCuriosity? Keep in touch. I'll be around."



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Sign a petition on Net Neutrality to President Obama

In his own words: here's what Obama said about net neutrality *before* he became the President of USA- "Facebook, Myspace, ... Google, might not have been started if you had not had a level playing field for whoever has got the best idea. And I want to maintain that basic principle in how the Internet functions. So as president I'm going to make sure that that is the principle [net neutrality] that my FCC commissioners are applying as we move forward."

And an year before, Senator Obama said "A producer­ driven market with barriers to entry for website creators and preferential treatment for specific sites based not on merit, the number of hits, but on relationships with the corporate gatekeeper. We can't have a situation in which the corporate duopoly dictates the future of the internet and that's why I'm supporting what is called net neutrality."

Since he took office, president Obama has made a few vague statements about net neutrality. He says he supports the Open Internet, but then again so does Comcast, and others who want pay-for-speed profits.

Obama maintains that the FCC is an independent agency and his hands are tied. That's just not true. Obama appointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the "dingo" who has proposed rules that would destroy net neutrality -- and he has the power to fire him. Obama could demote Tom Wheeler as chair of the FCC and promote one of the other commissioners who are actually willing to stand up for net neutrality by using Title II to prevent cable companies from selling off the Internet to the highest bidders.

So this is the time to petition President Obama to remind him of his promises, and ask him to act with his conscience on net neutrality.  Go to this page, sign the petition and spread the word. [https://cms.fightforthefuture.org/obama/]

If I can do this (mostly cut & paste job) with a dislocated shoulder, anyone can do it too!

reminder to obama on net-neutrality