Posts Tagged usa
Wow!!! This is funny…. I wonder what Himesh is thinking right now!!!??!!!!
Musicians Want to Know if They Were on the Guantánamo Playlist
By DAVE ITZKOFF
Hiromi Yasui for The New York Times
Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and Trent Reznor are among the musicians who have joined a campaign to close the prison at the American naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as they seek to learn whether their music was used during the questioning of detainees there, The Associated Press reported. The National Security Archive in Washington said it was filing a Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of a coalition called the National Campaign to Close Guantánamo, including an effort to gain more details about how loud music was used as an interrogation device. Based on public documents and interviews with former detainees, the archive said, Guantánamo prisoners were played loud music, including songs by AC/DC, Britney Spears and Marilyn Manson, as well as advertising jingles and “Sesame Street” tunes, in their cells and in preparation for interrogations. Thomas Blanton, the executive director of the archive, told The A.P., “At Guantánamo, the U.S. government turned a jukebox into an instrument of torture.” A spokeswoman for Joint Task Force Guantánamo, which handles the care and custody of detainees, said loud music had not been used with prisoners since the fall of 2003. [more]
I thought we had stupid morons only in India to be paying taxes for the politicians to do us in the rear. It looks like even Americans are doing it in the form of Aid and British are also into it in the form of VIP Executive Committee of crap!
LONDON: The British government is spending around 25,000 pounds (over Rs.20 lakh) a day to protect former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf,
who has made London his new home, a newspaper reported on Friday.
The Times said Scotland Yard’s Specialist Protection Unit, known as SO1, has assigned a round-the-clock team of at least 10 men and women to protect the former army dictator, who lives in a luxurious three-bedroom flat in an Arab quarter of West London.
Musharraf has been using the flat as his base for about four months and also has a team of retired Pakistani commandos to protect him. He is said to be paying the Pakistanis from his own pocket.
The decision to provide him further British security was reportedly taken at a meeting of the Royal and VIP Executive Committee held at the home office.
The Times said the elite unit is responsible for the personal protection of the British prime minister, former prime ministers, certain government ministers, some ambassadors and "high-profile persons considered to be under threat from terrorist attack in the UK".
The costs are thought to include the provision of a car plus security equipment such as alarms and closed-circuit television cameras fitted to his flat. SO1 is providing the security detail.
Lord Nazir Ahmed, a Pakistani-born member of the ruling Labour Party, has written to British home secretary Alan Johnson urging him to stop spending taxpayers’ money on protecting Musharraf.
"I think the government needs to review Mr. Musharraf’s security. There are people within Britain who could do with those extra police officers rather than a man who can afford private bodyguards," he said.
Summary: A UX guy – Dustin, totally frustrated about the usability of AmericanAirlines website, decides to create a simplistic usable design and publish it on his blog. A AA UX person who stumbles on this decides to sit and email Dustin about the story behind the screwed up design of the original site!
I saw your blog post titled "Dear AmericanAirlines," and I thought I’d drop a line. Sorry for the length of this email, but let me sum up the gist of what I’ve written below: You’re right. You’re so very right. And yet…
First, an introduction. I’m Mr X, and I work here at AA.com. I’ve been doing UX design and development for about 10 years with a variety of companies in a variety of industries, and I work with a team of other UX specialists on AA.com. I like to think I’m decent at what I do, and I know the others I work with here are all pretty good. The problem with the design of AA.com, however, lies less in our competency (or lack thereof, as you pointed out in your post) and more with the culture and processes employed here at American Airlines.
Let me explain. The group running AA.com consists of at least 200 people spread out amongst many different groups, including, for example, QA, product planning, business analysis, code development, site operations, project planning, and user experience. We have a lot of people touching the site, and a lot more with their own vested interests in how the site presents its content and functionality.
Fortunately, much of the public-facing functionality is funneled through UX, so any new features you see on the site should have been vetted through and designed by us before going public.
However, there are large exceptions. For example, our Interactive Marketing group designs and implements fare sales and specials (and doesn’t go through us to do it), and the Publishing group pushes content without much interaction with us… Oh, and don’t forget the AAdvantage team (which for some reason, runs its own little corner of the site) or the international sites (which have a lot of autonomy in how their domains are run)… Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that AA.com is a huge corporate undertaking with a lot of tentacles that reach into a lot of interests. It’s not small, by any means.
Oh how I wish we were, though! Imagine the cool stuff we could do if we could operate more like 37signals and their Getting Real philosophy (http://gettingreal.37signals.com/)! We could turn on a dime. We could just say "no" to new feature requests. We could eliminate "stovepiped" positions. We could cut out a lot of the friction created when so many organizations interact with each other. We could even redesign the AA.com home page without having to slog through endless review and approval cycles with their requisite revisions and re-reviews.
But-and I guess here’s the thing I most wanted to get across-simply doing a home page redesign is a piece of cake. You want a redesign? I’ve got six of them in my archives. It only takes a few hours to put together a really good-looking one, as you demonstrated in your post. But doing the design isn’t the hard part, and I think that’s what a lot of outsiders don’t really get, probably because many of them actually do belong to small, just-get-it-done organizations. But those of us who work in enterprise-level situations realize the momentum even a simple redesign must overcome, and not many, I’ll bet, are jumping on this same bandwagon. They know what it’s like.
OK, so it’s not all bad. The good news is that we have a lot of UX improvements coming down the line, most of which we’ll incorporate over the next 12 – 18 months as new projects go live. Some of our slated efforts include improved navigation; 16 column grid-based layouts; a lighter, more airy visual design; improved user interactions; and an increased transparency to fares and sales policies across the board. We’ll work it all in organically, as the site evolves to include new features. But it won’t be done via an explicit, massive redesign. Can’t be.
So, since it won’t all get done overnight, don’t give us a bad grade if you don’t see it happening fast enough for your taste. Even a large organization can effect change; it just takes a different approach than the methods found in smaller shops. But it’ll happen because it has to, and we know that. And we’ll keep on keepin’ on, even if most of us really and truly would prefer to throw it all away and start over.
Very truly yours (and hoping I don’t get fired for being completely incompetent),
There has been much speculation since Israel started bombarding the Hamas, questions have been asked as to why India does not follow suite and take it to Pakistan, I have asked my question myself but found it a bit difficult to understand, below is an article I found on Forbes which gives 5 reasons for a War agains Pakistan not being possible from an Indian perspective.
1. India is not a military Goliath in relation to Pakistan in the way Israel is to the Palestinian territories. India does not have the immunity, the confidence and the military free hand that result from an overwhelming military superiority over an opponent. Israel’s foe is a non-sovereign entity that enjoys the most precarious form of self-governance. Pakistan, for all its dysfunction, is a proper country with a proper army, superior by far to the tin-pot Arab forces that Israel has had to combat over time. Pakistan has nukes, to boot. Any assault on Pakistani territory carries with it an apocalyptic risk for India. This is, in fact, Pakistan’s trump card. (This explains, also, why Israel is determined to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran.)
2. Even if India could attack Pakistan without fear of nuclear retaliation, the rationale for “doing a Gaza” is, arguably, not fully present: Israel had been attacked consistently by the very force–Hamas–that was in political control of the territory from which the attacks occurred. By contrast, terrorist attacks on India, while originating in Pakistan, are not authored by the Pakistani government. India can– and does–contend that Pakistan’s government should shut down the terrorist training camps on Pakistani soil. (In this insistence, India has unequivocal support from Washington.) Yet only a consistent and demonstrable pattern of dereliction by Pakistani authorities– which would need to be dereliction verging on complicity with the terrorists–would furnish India with sufficient grounds to hold the Pakistani state culpable.
3. As our columnist, Karlyn Bowman, writes, Israel enjoys impressive support from the American people, in contrast to the Palestinians. No other state–apart, perhaps, from Britain–evokes as much favor in American public opinion as does Israel. This is not merely the result of the much-vaunted “Israel lobby” (to use a label deployed by its detractors), but also because of the very real depth of cultural interpenetration between American and Israeli society. This fraternal feeling buys Israel an enviable immunity in the conduct of its strategic defense. India, by contrast–while considerably more admired and favored in American public opinion than Pakistan–enjoys scarcely a fraction of Israel’s “pull” in Washington when it comes to questions of the use of force beyond its borders.
4. Pakistan is strategically significant to the United States; the Palestinians are not. This gives Washington scant incentive to rein in the Israelis, but a major incentive to rein in any Indian impulse to strike at Pakistan. However justified the Indian anger against Pakistan over the recent invasion of Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists, the last thing that the U.S. wants right now is an attack–no matter how surgical–by India against Pakistan-based terror camps. This would almost certainly result in a wholesale shift of Pakistani troops away from their western, Afghan front toward the eastern boundary with India–and would leave the American Afghan campaign in some considerable disarray, at least in the short term. So Washington has asked for, and received, the gift of Indian patience. And although India recognizes that it is not wholly without options to mobilize quickly for punitive, surgical strikes in a “strategic space,” it would–right now–settle for a trial of the accused terrorist leaders in U.S. courts. (Seven U.S. citizens were killed in Mumbai: Under U.S. law, those responsible–and this should include Pakistani intelligence masterminds–have to be brought to justice.)
5. My last, and meta-, point: Israel has the privilege of an international pariah to ignore international public opinion in its use of force against the Palestinians. A state with which few others have diplomatic relations can turn the tables on those that would anathematize it by saying, Hang diplomacy. India, by contrast, has no such luxury. It is a prisoner of its own global aspirations–and pretensions.
Article Source| Tunku Varadarajan, a professor at the Stern Business School at NYU and research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, is opinions editor at Forbes.com, where he writes a weekly column.
[ source: Desinuts ]
One of the most amusing, hilarious and eye-opening posts I have come across…
NAKED LUNCH: Blow Daddy
By Nadeem F. Paracha
Are we going to have a war with India?
Oh, goody. We will thrash them, right? Like we did in 1857!
It wasn’t in 1857, son.
Oh, okay. But whom did we thrash in 1857?
The British, son…
And the Hindus too, right?
Did Quaid-i-Azam fight in that war along with Muhammad bin Qasim and Imran Khan?
No, son. The Quaid and Imran were born much later and Muhammad bin Qasim died many years before.
Then who ruled Pakistan in those days?
There was no Pakistan in those days, son.
But there was always a Pakistan! It has been there for 5,000 years!
Who have you been talking to, son?
No one. I’ve just been watching TV.
Daddy, why are all these people against us Arabs?
Arabs? But we aren’t Arabs, son.
Of course we are because our ancestors were Arabs!
No, son. Our ancestors were of the subcontinental stock.
Never mind.You seem to like wars, son.
Yes. I like to watch them on TV.
But real wars are fought outside the TV, son.
Really? How is that possible? What sort of a war is that?
Daddy, you look worried.
Of course, I am, you little warmongering punk!
Daddy! Why are you scolding me?
Because TV is talking rot and so are you!
Daddy, are you supporting Hindus?
Daddy, have you become a kafir?
Keep quiet! No more TV for you! Go watch a movie on DVD or listen to a CD.
Can’t do that.
But we have so many DVDs and CDs, son.
Not any more.
What do you mean?
I burned them all.
I burned them all.
I heard that! But why?
They spread obscenity.
Oh, God. Son, go do your homework. What happened to that science project you were working on?
It’s almost complete.
Good boy. What are you making?
I heard that! But why?
Because I am a true Muslim who hates America.
But only last week you wanted to go to Disney Land.
Mickey Mouse is Muslim.
No, he isn’t.
Is so. He converted when he heard azaan on the moon.
On the moon?
Yes. Because the earth is flat and…
The earth is…
I heard that!
Daddy, do you want to see my science project, or not?
Gosh, that bomb? But your science teacher will fail you.
No, she wont.
Yes. I plan to blow her up as well.
God, what is wrong with you? Go call your mother!
She can’t come.
I’ve locked her in the kitchen.
But what for?
A woman’s place is in the kitchen. I will not let her out until she covers herself up peoperly!
But she’s your mother!
She’s also a woman!
So she should be hidden.
Hidden from whom?
The whole world and Tony.
But Tony’s a cat.
Yes. But he’s male.
Son, have you gone mad?
No. By the way, I’ve made sure Kitto starts covering up as well.
But Kitto’s a cat!
Yes. But a female cat.
But she’ll suffocate.
Oh, she’s already dead.
She’s already dead.
I heard that! But how?
I buried her alive.
Yes. To avenge Tony’s honour. But now I will behead Tony.
To save mom’s honour!
Don’t say that. Always say Allah.
What’s the difference?
Daddy, do you want to be beheaded too?
Do you want to be stoned to death?
Do you want to be flogged?
Do you want to get your arms chopped off?
Then stop asking silly questions. By the way, I won’t call you daddy anymore.
What will you call me then?
Whatever that is Arabic for daddy.
I don’t know any Arabic, son.
That’s because you are a kafir.
Who the heck are you to tell me who I am, you little fascist twit!
What’s a fascist?
An irrational, violent, self-righteous mad man!
Why are you crying?
You scolded me.
Okay, I’m sorry. You have to be tolerant and rational, son. Now be a good boy and go read a book instead of watching TV.
I have no books.
Of course, you do. I bought you so many books.
I burned them.
I burned them.
They were all in English.
It’s a non-Muslim language!
But we are speaking English, aren’t we?
Zionists made me forget my Arabic.
But you never knew any Arabic, son.
W… aaaa… yes, I did until you and mommy gave me the polio drops… aaaaa…
Okay, tell me, can you do me a favour?
Can you blow up something for me?
Oh, goody! Of course, dad. What should I blow? A CD shop, a hotel, a school…?
No, no, something a lot more sinister.
The TV set!
Blow the TV set.
I heard that! But why?
Just do it!
I see. Dad?
You’re so unconstitutional!
An Iraqi-born resident of the United States who was ordered to cover a T-shirt with Arabic script before boarding a plane in New York has received $240,000 in a settlement with two officials of the Transportation Safety Administration and JetBlue Airways.
The Iraqi, Raed Jarrar, was headed for a JetBlue flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Oakland, Calif., in August 2006 when, according to court papers, he was told at a security checkpoint that his T-shirt, which said “We will not be silent” in Arabic and English, would have to go.
One federal employee, according to Mr. Jarrar’s account, told him that wearing a shirt with Arabic script to an airport was like going to the bank in a shirt that said “I am a robber.”
Ultimately, the JetBlue workers gave Mr. Jarrar another T-shirt to wear over the first one, and led him to a seat at the back of the plane, even though his original ticket had been issued for a seat at the front.
In an interview, Mr. Jarrar, 30, a legal resident, called the experience “very painful.” At the time, he said, he was a new immigrant to the United States and had been reading histories of discrimination and the civil rights movement, which he thought of as “things that happened in the past, and in this other place and time.”
“When it happened to me,” he said, “it was very much of a shock.”
As a followup on my previous post –
New Delhi: In what probably could be a boost to India’s investigation into the November 26 attacks in Mumbai, the FBI has confirmed that Ajmal Amir Kasab – the only terrorist captured alive during the terror atttacks, is a Pakistani national.
FBI investigators also say that the Mumbai attacks were planned by the leaders of Lashkar-e-Toiba based in Pakistan.
A team from the FBI was allowed to access to Kasab and questioned him for nine hours. Their conclusions corroborate the findings of Indian investigators.
The details of the FBI’s findings made public by diplomatic sources. The FBI pronouncements comes hours after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari accepted that non-state actors were his responsibility and said nobody would be allowed to use Pakistani soil for terrorist activities.
Last week, Kasab’s father also admitted that he was his son.
[ source: CNN-IBN ]
A really nice and informative post that I found here. Must read for anyone who is worried about the current global situation.
About ‘Exchange Rate’ of a currency:
The exchange rate of the currency of a country in relation to the currency of another country depends on the comparative trade advantages and economic strengths of the countries. If one US dollar is equal to 45 rupees, it simply means that in the US, if a dollar fetches 45 oranges while in India, a rupee would fetch only one orange of equivalent size and quality.
Just like any other commodity, the currency of any economy is based on dynamics of supply and demand, and its value depends on trading in currency exchanges all over the world. Higher the demand for a currency on an exchange, the stronger it becomes and vice versa. However, for currencies like INR which are not traded on exchanges, the value depends on capital inflows in the country.
Appreciation & Depreciation of currency:
A currency appreciates means its value has increased in relation to another currency. A currency depreciates means its value has decreased in relation to another currency. Eg. If 1 $ costs Rs 45 and if it now costs Rs 44, this means rupee has appreciated in its value (i.e. instead of Rs 45 you will get 1 $ in Rs 44, this also means the dollar has weakened). Similarly, if 1 $ costs Rs 45 and if it now costs Rs 46, this means rupee has depreciated in its value (i.e. instead of Rs 45 you will get 1 $ in Rs 46, this also means the dollar has strengthened).
Why do currency values fluctuate?
There are many participants in any foreign exchange market. These entities — like banks, corporations, brokers, even individuals — buy and sell currencies everyday. Here too the universal economic law of demand and supply is applicable: when there are more buyers for a currency than sellers, its exchange rate rises. Similarly, when there are more sellers of a particular currency than buyers, its exchange rate will fall. This does not mean people no longer want money; it only means that people prefer to keep their wealth in some other form or another currency.
Amazing…. I am going to print these out and clip it to my cube walls. Next time, someone tells me something is impossible… I am going to just lean back and point them to these pics!!!
This is a case of photographer photographs another photographer. The following photographs were taken by photographer Hans van de Vorst at the Grand Canyon, Arizona. The descriptions are his own. The identity of the photographer IN the photos is unknown.
I was simply stunned seeing this guy standing on this solitary rock in the Grand Canyon. The canyon’s depth is 900 meters here. The rock on the right is next to the canyon and safe.
Watching this guy on his thong sandals, with a camera and a tripod I asked myself 3 questions:
- How did he climb that rock?
- Why not taking that sunset picture on that rock to the right, which is perfectly safe?
- How will he get back?
This is the point of no return.
After the sun set behind the canyon’s horizon he packed his things (having only one hand available) and prepared himself for the jump. This took about 2 minutes.
At that point he had the full attention of the crowd. After that, he jumped on his thong sandals… The canyon’s depth is 900 meters here.. Now you can see that the adjacent rock is higher so he tried to land lower, which is quite steep and tried to use his one hand to grab the rock.
We’ve come to the end of this little story. Look carefully at the photographer. He has a camera, a tripod and also a plastic bag, all on his shoulder or in his left hand.
Only his right hand is available to grab the rock and the weight of his stuff is a problem. He lands low on this flip flops both his right hand and right foot slips away…
At that moment I take this shot. He pushes his body against the rock. He waits for a few seconds, throws his stuff on the rock, climbs and walks away.