Blood and Oil

Blood and Oil by Michael Klare gives a good insight into the dependence of America on oil and the resulting conflicts with other countries. The book starts with explaining the oil dependency and the dilemma about how and where to procure more oil from. And then the detailed explanation of how US got into alliance with Saudi Arabia for oil and how that dragged US into more regional conflicts there is very interesting. The author also explains how the growing resentment against America’s presence in Saudi resulted in increase of terrorism. The book also discusses the issues with Iran, Iraq and other Persian Gulf nations.
But after a few chapters, it kind of becomes repetitive when it comes to issues in the Caspian sea, Africa or other oil producing nations. Everywhere the issues are almost similar with the exception of names of places and people. Nevertheless the author drives his point home about the cost to be paid to get oil from these unstable and authoritarian regimes. And the cost is almost always blood of soldiers.
Apart from focusing on just America and it’s energy policy, the author also discusses about the growing competition from Russia and China to get cheap oil. Though these three nations do have a common goal of keeping the oil flowing without any interruptions, there is also a natural tendency to have more control than the other nations often resulting in tensions.
Towards the end I liked the solutions proposed and especially the first one which says that America’s energy policy should be separated from it’s foreign policy. The administration must stop getting into agreements that basically result in supporting the repugnant and undemocratic regimes thereby going against the basic human values.
On the whole, it’s a good read for people who are interested in knowing the details of at what cost the oil we use daily is procured and what lays ahead of us if something is not done now.

The sporty game

This book by John Newhouse gives a very good overview of the aircraft industry of the 60’s and 70’s. Though an old book, I liked it a lot as it dealt with the history of aviation industry and what all the manufacturers and the airlines had been through. I was surprised to know how big a player Pan am was in the early days. It was the launch customer of Boeing 707, the DC-8 and Boeing 747 😯 .
The most interesting part of the book was the introduction of Boeing 747 which almost took Boeing, Pan am and Pratt & Whitney to the verge of bankruptcy. I liked the way Boeing handled it’s troubles during the 747 period and how it learned from it mistakes eventually becoming one of the best and most productive manufacturers. This particular period in 60’s was when everyone predicted (of course wrongly) too much growth and went ahead unnecessarily with the wide-body planes. One key take away here for me is that mistakes do happen but the point is to learn from those and take some bold steps to come back (like Boeing did) instead of giving up.
The last chapter dealing with problems of American companies and the Japanese way of doing things was also good. The book slightly took away my respect for Rolls-Royce aircraft engines. Though it was good at cars, the way it could not stick to some of the promises it made for the Lockheed L-1011 was a bit disappointing and the way Haughton (the then Lockheed’s head) came up with a solution to save Rolls-Royce and eventually Lockheed by going ahead with L-1011 is appreciative. On the whole, the book ends with the rise of the Airbus Industrie and the beginning of the Airbus A-310 & A-320 programs. That’s the time when Airbus started posing a real threat to the American companies.The level of politics and the stakes involved in this industry is very interesting. It’s a good read for any aviation industry enthusiast and would definitely suggest it.

Bit Torrents

Was reading some news article today and from there landed up to a research study on bit-torrents titled “Is Content Publishing in BitTorrent Altruistic or Profit’Driven?“. It was an interesting study on content publishers and why they do it. The entire paper can be downloaded here. Was initially surprised to see the kind of topics that people take up for research. I liked the way they gathered the required data for their analysis and the tool they have come up with. Gives a good overall view about why people publish content on bit torrents.

Alaa Modalaindi

A great telugu movie after a long time….was laughing from the start to the end. Simple love story with good humor. A perfect no non-sense, low budget entertainer. Inspite of relatively new and in-experienced crew and casting, movie was really good (especially the last 15-20 minutes). I would definitely recommend this movie and that too it’s much better watching in a theatre. There were a few scenes where one can easily make out that camera work was not done perfectly but that’s definitely not a deal breaker. On the whole, it was one of the best telugu movies that I had watched in the recent past.

The caterpillar

As mentioned in my previous post, here is the ultimate one…..the monster….the Caterpillar 777D mining truck. It’s a 1:50 die cast scaled mode and got this one also as a gift πŸ™‚ . It’s oneΒ  of my most favorite trucks and the sheer size of the actual truck and every detail about it always excites me. Although I love lots of other trucks and earth movers, this truck is like my first love πŸ˜€ …….just like how Hoover dam never fails to enthuse me, the caterpillar mining truck is something I would never be bored with. Watched the caterpillar in the making multiple times in mega factories program in NGC and that will always be one of my most favorite ones in mega factories series. The other trucks that I like are the mammoets but still a long way to go before I can think of having one…..of course a scaled model πŸ™‚ . By the way, did I mention that being a caterpillar truck driver is my dream profession πŸ˜€ .

Blackberry bold

After selling my Nokia E-72, I ordered a used Blackberry Bold 9700 from amazon and got it to India through a friend. Apart from those extra scratches on the phone which were not mentioned by the seller and no headset & memory card, the actual phone itself is in a good condition and am pretty much happy with it. Got the BB services also enabled and it’s all working fine. So, finally goodbye to Symbian πŸ™‚ . The next phone….????…..lets see πŸ˜€ .

Wayanad Trip

This was my first ever trip to Kerala,Β  first long road trip in my car, the first trekking trip after a long gap of 2 years and first sun burn experience. The picturesque mountain peaks, forests, tea estates were really mesmerizing and the fish curry in kerala was awesome πŸ™‚ . The drive through Bandipur and Nagarhole wild life sanctuaries was great. It was a 5 day trip and I will be writing a series of detailed posts about the trip later. Our itinerary was something like this – Started off from bangalore in the morning at 7 am. Reached Kalpetta (Wayanad) by 2.30 pm. Spent the evening at pookot lake and Lakkidi. The next day was trek to Chembra peak. On the 3rd day, we went to Banasura Sagar dam and Kuruva Island. On the 4th day, we went to Meenmutty and Soochipara falls. On the 5th day, we went to Tirunelli temple (supposed to be a very old temple and the drive is through Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary) in the morning on our way back and reached Bangalore by 6.30 pm via Kutta, Nagarhole wildlife sanctuary, Mysore.
In Kalpetta we stayed in a nice home stay surrounded by lots of greenery which appeared to be the normΒ  everywhere in Wayanad. On our first day when we went to our homestay in the night, we first thought it was in the middle of a jungle πŸ™‚ . The next day morning we realized that it was in a normal neighborhood but surrounded by lots and lots of trees giving a feel of staying in a jungle.
The only disappointment was the hot sun during the day and after our trek to Chembra I had a very bad sun burn. By the end of the trip when I reached Bangalore, I realized that I had real bad skin tanning and parts of the skin was peeling off from the face πŸ™ .

On the whole, it was a very nice trip and had a nice break after a long time. A good way to welcome the new year πŸ™‚ .

Goodbye E-72

I thought I actually made a post about my new E-72 and was trying to link to that but then realized that I never wrote about it πŸ™‚ . Anyways bought a new nokia E-72 this august and finally I sold it off today. Though I bought it after a lot of research, somehow did not appeal to me much. So, at last took the decision and bid goodbye to it today. Now the search starts all over again. Whether android, rim or apple is the question but no symbian again for sure. Good bye to nokia forever.

My experiments with cooking – mutton curry

Thought of starting a series of posts with all my cooking experiences. Here is the first one starting with my favourite mutton curry. I never liked cooking but somehow yesterday I just felt like making something and then immediately decided to try mutton curry. It was a big risk considering the fact that I never cooked in my life except one previous experience that I posted here before πŸ™‚ . I called up my mom and asked her the recipe. She explained everything over phone and after a few phone calls and cooking time of one hour, I was done with making the curry.
First good thing was that the pieces were cooked properly. But coming to the taste, I think I did not add enough masala, chilli powder, salt and the tomatoes & onions were more than required. Nevertheless, it was not bad at all given that it was my first try. Now, I know what ingredients were missing and how to get it right the next time (provided I cook again which seems to be highly unlikely πŸ™‚ ).
Thinking of trying out something else next time but definitely a non-vegetarian dish only πŸ˜€ .

Btw, recently found a lot of monin syrups (strawberry, caramel, mojito, etc) in the supermarkets here. Looks like time to make some nice beverages.

And here comes the boeing-747

Got my first scaled model of a boeing-747 as a gift recently πŸ™‚ . Looks really cool and a perfect time to get it when I recently got two more books on air planes. Just started reading the book The Sporty Game: The High-Risk Competitive Business of Making and Selling Commercial Airliners. Have another one lined up.And just around this time downloaded a few air crash investigations episodes and also a series on building the airbus A380. Right now its all air planes….air planes and more air planes πŸ˜€ .

But the real big thing is about to come πŸ˜€ ……will be posting about it the coming weekend and when I say big, it’s really big and the ultimate one I always wanted to have. So, keep watching this space for the monster πŸ™‚ .