q u o t e

Thursday, December 22, 2011


can a mosquito crawl walk or jump ? i think it can only fly . in that case why mosquito nets need to have such small mesh ? the mesh can be as big as the wing spread of the mosquito. in that case it will allow more air flow and make the nets  more comfortable.  experts please comment

Thursday, November 3, 2011

inflation and RBI policy

that inflation is dirctly linked to interest rates seems to be a classic distortion. in that case western economies where the interest rate is very low should have seen significant inflation. in our own country when the rates were low a few years back no run away inflation was noticed. so the real reasons of inflation are yet to be identified. and  without proper diagnosis no treatment can be effective. rbi policy will most probably keep its reputation and remain a damp squib

there should be other means of controlling inflation like market intervention. for example if the govt supply say onion at half the market rate in sufficient quantum thru adequate number of outlets for a reasonably long period the market price has to come down. no doubt about it. yes govt may suffer a loss but that is a different issue . whether that loss is comparable to the gain elsehwere should be studied . my point is that repeating like a parrot the simplest theory available in the oldest of economic text books is a little jarring . especially when it comes with the approval of a great economist  like our dear prime minister

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the right side of superstitions

i am plnning to cover superstitions  in detail  later some time. but right now let me share a story.

superstitions are lost kites.  some one  put it in the sky and with a purpose. but the string is broken. so we cannot trace the owner or know the purpose . here is the story.

in a remote village in bihar people believed that they should never dig a well anywhere in the village lest they would be ruined. a reformer group said this is superstition and dug wells all over. they thus solved the acute drinking water shortage in the village and became instant heroes.

a few decades later a medical team investigated the cause of a bone breaking disease ( i dont recall the name ) seen in almost every kid born after a certain year. they found that the water the villagers drank contained dangerous dose of flourides.

of course the wells were closed and future generations were saved.

but what a price to pay to learn the truth behind a superstition

m k mathai

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

vyttila hub

vyttila hub is finally taking proper shape. result of elaborate planning and immense hard work.
yet there are daunting issues to tackle like how to regulate the hub access in a better way .

here are a few wayward suggestions

1.  allow not direct passage for buses from tripunithura side to kadavanthara side at vyttila signal.
          allow only those buses going to alwaye side to turn right at the signal . let all other  buses turn left
          and cross the N H   just before the bridge .
2.  put up child signals at thripunithura , alleppey and alwaye sides to work in sync with the
     parent signal at vyttila junction.
            tripunithura side signal near the temple to regulate traffic to and from the hub. alleppey side
            signal near the bridge to allow city bound traffic to cross the  N H . alwaye side  signal  at
            the junction where buses are now  allowed to turn to go to the hub.
3. enforce lane driving in the area enclosed by the 3 child signals.
            physicall segregate the lanes  in this area.
4. allow  buses from tripunithura side  enter the hub from the temple side signal.
           alleppyto  ernakulam buses may be permited to avoid the hub for the time being.

debate on the suggestions is welcome either on this site , linkedin, by email or via skype


are we driving down the doomsday lane with failed brakes

in a state transport bus in kerala an young man gets killed. he is beaten to death by the co passengers .
on the preumption that he picked the pocket of a  passenger who claimed that he lost rupees ten thousand .

 the beating started in the bus . in the second round he was laid on a bench and beaten by three persons including a police constable ( not on duty ) till the poor fellow breathed his last. the poor victim never reacted at all . he was not given a chance.

it is now clear that he did not do the crime for which he was punished with death penalty. he was in fact returning home with a duck and  a few eggs and the money he got from the bank by pledging his ornaments.

let us ask ourselves  a few daunting questions

       have we become so brutal that we have  the capacity  to beat and kill a person in a public
                    place   in broad day light ?
       have we become so arrogant that  we believe we have the right to allege, to try , to decree , to deny   
                     appeal and  to execute the punishment  , all in one sitting ?  
       have we become so unruly that we do not believe in our legal system ,   trust our government
                    or respect the social  norms ?
       have we become so inhuman that we could not see  the man whom we beat up as some one
                    with a family, kids , parents , friends and  didgnity ?
       have we become so unresponsive that the rest of us can now sit back and enjoy the drama and foreget
                    all about it after a couple of episodes of  our favourite  t v serial    ?
      are we as a society driving down the doomsday lane with failed brakes  ?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

save electricity campaign

good initiative by the kerala electricity board to prevent overuse of electricity.
a series of sensible advertisemensts highlighting steps to rationalise use of electricity.
good step indeed.
but why stop there? why not subsidise the so called wonder lamp  the  CFL  spending
a fraction of the expenditure on these advertisments?  is it not better to make the CFL
affordable rather than repeat the advise like a parrot to buy  them paying almost
10 times the price of a normal bulb ?
also what is happening  to LED bulbs ? much more energy efficient and long lasting than
CFL , but costlier as well , may be 30 times. why not offer a one time subsidy and
popularise  LED bulbs ?
what is happening to SOLAR alternative ? in  a country like india sun power  should be
the cheapest source. but look at the price of solar panels . unaffordable by any reckoning.
not even tax cuts there. with the inherent inefficiency of the battery system and the prohibitive
cost of the solar panels  no sane person would think of shifting to solar lighing his house .
but why not make the panels which is used only for tapping solar power (uinlike the battery
which is used for many other purposes) affordable by subsidising them ?
may be the answer to all questions lies in the fact that thinking straight is not that simple .
 thinking  straight and simple doesnt pay . yielding to lobyyiung probably does.   


Saturday, February 26, 2011

power line deaths

unbelievable but true. linemen repairing power lines get
electrocuted at alarmingly regular and short inervals in kerala.
authorities say it is becoz the linemen do not follow procedure.
like carrying a pole to short circuit the line to earth before
working on the line.

it is cumbersome and and not easy to carry these shorting rods
every time one goes for repair. that too on urgent calls and thru
busy streets and lanes obstructed by tree branches.

why not attach these shorting rods to major electric posts
at the time of erecting these posts . linemen can pull a lever
and short the lines before starting the repair work.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


1.   video calling
     without video calling what use is 3g ?
     but many of the low cost mobiles come with just one camera.
     may be they want to save on the cost of the second camera.
     but why cant we think of a swivel camera , which can face you
     when u r on video call and face the object when u r shooting ?

2.  mobile as computer
     mobiles are expected to replace computeres at least in india.
     but what to do for the typing without a proper key pad ?
     why not think of a key board (  rubber based , foldable ) which
     can be  plugged into the mobile thru a  usb port ? so what is
     required is a usb port in the mobile which should not be a big deal .

Sunday, February 13, 2011

frogs in the well--time to revisit them ?

are there aliens ? do we have cousins elsewhere in the universe ? god alone knows.

the problem is with the space-time barrier .

think of the frog in that fabled well. he thinks that his well is the only palce in the whole universe at least for frogs. there may exist aliens like human beings , flying objects like birds, crawling things like snakes elswehere; becoz he has felt their presence , if not seen , ccasionally in his well . but no other well with frogs any where else.

his problem is that he cannot get out of his well. unless he comes out he can never see or imagine the topography with another similar well just a jump away. but that leap is blocked by solid earth which is beyond his comprehension. if only he knew how to drill a hole thru the rock he will reach another well quite similar to his.

are we all in a well ? unable to break thru the barrier and unaware of it . is it the reason why we use light years and such incomprehensible jargons when we talk about stars and galaxies. they could be just a leap away if only we knew how to break the barrier.

but a frog is destined to remain a frog in the well. and we are to remain in our own large well.

concept of god becomes relevant here.

Monday, January 17, 2011


can any one be confined , in the real sense ? or is any one really free ?
one of the famous poets in malayalam said

കാഞ്ചന കാഞ്ചന കൂട്ടിലാണെങ്കിലും
ബന്ധുര ബന്ധുര തന്നെ പാരില്‍

which means even if the cage is made of gold the bird remains confined
confinement means freedom of movement is restricted. if you are in a
prison cell  you cannot move beyond the four wall of the cell.
but arent all of us confined ? can any of us move beyond the earth
and say, go to the moon ? so we are all caged but the cage is so big that
we do not see it. so confinement can be redefined as a cage small enough to
restrict our day to day movements . but that is about physical movement and
probably material things. but no one can restrict your thought process .  no one
can control your emotions beyond a limit , that is . so who can confine any
 one in the real sense ?
but the catch is how do you find out  if the cage you are in is big enough or not.
for that you should test the  boundaries . you should go farther and farther till
you see the barbed wires.
see the cow tied to a pole. she tries out the boundaries first . she then settles down
to grazing with in the permitted area. if the rope is long enough it doesnt mater.
test your boundaries . go to the end of the rope and pull it  a bit. it is a satisfying