Wednesday, October 22, 2008

i-TFTD #165: Sometimes Newspapers Have Good Stuff

i-TFTD #165: Sometimes Newspapers Have Good Stuff

Some interesting snippets from contemporary events.

#165-1. (The Chandrayaan-1 mission) will also be a precursor to India's manned mission to space And it's just the right thing for the younger generation — it will get them out of a certain mundaneness. If the youth needed something exciting, this is it.

-U R Rao, Former chairman, ISRO in The Economic Times 22-Oct-2008

(Full interview at

#165-2. Can it really be a coincidence that within weeks of the Large Hadron Collider being switched on for the first time a financial black hole has appeared in the universe?

-Barclay Price (Letter to the editor published in The Economist dated 16-Oct-2008)

#165-3. Some mortgage broker in Los Angeles gives subprime "liar loans" to people who have no credit ratings so they can buy homes in Southern California. Those flimsy mortgages get globalized through the global banking system and, when they go sour, they eventually prompt banks to stop lending, fearful that every other bank's assets are toxic, too. The credit crunch hits Iceland, which went on its own binge. Meanwhile, the police department of Northumbria, England, had invested some of its extra cash in Iceland, and, now that those accounts are frozen, it may have to reduce street patrols this weekend.

-Thomas Friedman in The New York Times 18-Oct-2008

(Full article at


I found it interesting that the space scientist has chosen to highlight the impact on youth in terms of excitement. Bright young people always look for getting out of mundaneness so the onus of guiding them to achieve that clearly falls on the experienced folk who either succeeded or failed in achieving that in their youth.

Funny remarks apart, there are no easy answers to the dilemma of letting scientific research venturing into risky territory (such as cloning) and peoples fear about damaging consequences. Even if laws do not permit certain experiments, what prevents a rogue scientist to pursue a purely scientific, morals-free action?

Tom Friedman has a way of describing trends that helps make sense of disparate items of news. His article starts with, Who knew that Iceland was just a hedge fund with glaciers? And goes on to say, We’re all connected and nobody is in charge. The award-winning journalist and author has written a few bestseller books. I enjoyed From Beirut to Lebanon and The World is Flat though some might find his American-style, breathless bombardment irritating.

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