Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cracking the lottery system

An old article in Wired on beating the lottery system. 

I wonder if this source of "alpha" still exists or has been arbitraged away / fixed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Re: Marijuana and Marriage

yeah --- this was good !

On Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 9:59 AM, Qualiserve Janoos <> wrote:
I think this one is worth a laugh, even if it does come from Dr.BRP 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bharat Parikh
> > From a Baptist Minister, Missionary no less..
> >
> > For those who haven't heard, Washington State recently passed two  laws. They legalized gay marriage and legalized marijuana.
> >
> > The fact that gay marriage and marijuana were legalized on the same  day makes perfect Biblical sense.
> >
> > Leviticus 20:13 says:  "If a man lies with another man they should be stoned."
> > Apparently we just hadn't interpreted it correctly before!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Re: A great book - must read

LOL! Outstanding. This made my day. And I love all the other products
also viewed:

Simply awesome... The best reading I've done in a long time.

On 11/30/14 12:16 PM, firdaus.janoos wrote:
> If not the book, you have got to read the reviews.
> Inline image 1

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Fwd: A great book - must read

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Why are we fat ?

A nice article in Wired giving a round up on some of the latest research regarding the role of dietary fat vs. carbohydrates in obesity 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Fwd: Interesting but useless perhaps...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: firdaus.janoos <>

On <somedate> at 12:06 AM, <somebody> wrote:
Sherlock Holmes in Study in Scarlet states that he does not bother to
collect information that has no practical relevance. So he does not
want to know the height of tallest mountain or distance of the moon,
although this information may be useful to astronauts of today - and
to aspiring winners of KBC. Obviously Sherlock Holmes will never
become a rich man on KBC :)

Unless he participates in a KBC devoted solely to the British rail timetable (which many have remarked as an almost impossible feat for his day and age - given the chaos in the rail system then) - or tobacco.

Also - it's generally a good rule of thumb - that if you don't know the etymology of a word - say "it comes from old English or middle French or just French". Like in the cases below.

[6] NEWS refers to information from Four directions N, E, W, and S.

BULLSHIT comes from <insert your favourite bullshit expansion here>

[8] QUEUE comes from 'Queen's Quest'. Long back a long row of people
as waiting to see the Queen. Someone made the comment Queen's Quest...

comes from French cue meaning tail.

[9] JOURNAL is a diary that tells about 'Journey for a day' during
each Day's business.

this time french  - for daily

[10] TIPS come from 'To Insure Prompt Service'. In olden days to get
Prompt service from servants in an inn, travelers used to drop coins
in a Box on which was written 'To Insure Prompt Service'. This gave
rise to the custom of Tips.

reminds me of the etymology of fuck : "fornicate under consent of king" - again from the olden days when there were kings whose consent was needed for this sort of thing. 

[12] Coca-Cola was originally green.
the more veracious claim is that "Coca cola originally contained cocaine".

[13] The most common name in the world is Mohammed...

you surely mean "mammad"


[15] The strongest muscle in the body is the TONGUE.

how many kilos can you lift with your tongue ?

[16] TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters
only on one row of the keyboard.

if by the superlative form of the adjective "long" you mean as long as a dozen such words ? more interestingly- they all max out at 10.

[17] Women BLINK nearly twice as much as men!!

Men FLICK their ears twice as much as women. So hah - we're even ! 

[20] Wearing HEADPHONES for just an hour will increase the bacteria in
your ear by 700 times.
wearing a topi will increase the bacteria in your brain by 1203 times. exactly.

[21] It is physically impossible for PIGS to look up into the sky.

Maybe true - but again they can fly - so why bother looking up ?

[22] The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the
toughest tongue twister in the English language.

I found "the toughest tongue twister" to be pretty goddamn tough ... maybe even the toughest tongue twister

[23] Each KING in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history.
Spades - King David               Clubs - Alexander the Great,
     Hearts - Charlemagne
Diamonds - Julius Caesar.

Again - the dictum as mentioned applied earlier - if you don't know where something came from - blame the French. This time the  regime ancien
[24] What do bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and
laser printers all have in common?    [Ans. - All invented by women].

What do all "did you know?" lists have in common ? [Ans. - All created by and forwarded by morons]
[25] A CROCODILE cannot stick its tongue out.

Did you not hear of the case of the deer who went up to a crocodile crying. When the deer was close enough the crocodile winked, stuck out its tongue -  and then proceeded to gobble up the  deer. Moral of the story : beware of those who shed crocodile tears.

[26] A SNAIL can sleep for three years.

Boy - would they need some pretty strong mouthwash !

[27] All POLAR BEARS are left handed.

This is a common misconception. This is only when they are batting or serving (tennis). They write with their right hands.

[28] BUTTERFLIES taste with their feet.

and wear their shoes on their mouths.

[29] ELEPHANTS are the only animals that can't jump.

neither can white men ( )

[30] In the last 4000 years, no new ANIMALS have been domesticated.

What about the snail that I domesticated just 3 years ? see how cutely he's been sleeping ..

[31] STEWARDESSES is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

Doesn't this depend on who's doing the typing?

[33] RATS multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have
over million descendants.

and by RATS he means INDIANS

Friday, July 11, 2014

"do you believe in the soul?"
"then where does it exist?"
"the soul is not a noun it is a verb"

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The parrot did it.

On 26 Feb 2014 23:04, "Qualiserve Janoos" wrote:
> AGRA: In a case that seems straight out of an Agatha Christie potboiler, a parrot turned detective and helped nab its mistress' killer.
> The question of who murdered Neelam Sharma, 45, and her pet dog, had been baffling the city police for almost a week till they got a clue provided by Hercule, the parrot.
> Neelam, wife of Vijay Sharma, the editor of a Hindi daily, was found murdered at her residence on February 20. Her husband noticed a change in the behaviour of the parrot whenever his nephew Ashutosh visited their house after the murder.
> "During discussions too, whenever Ashutosh's name was mentioned, the parrot would start screeching. This raised my suspicion and I informed the police," said Sharma.
> SSP Agra, Shalabh Mathur, told TOI that Ashutosh confessed to the crime on being interrogated.
> "We checked his call details and took him in custody. He accepted his crime and informed us that he was accompanied by an accomplice. They had entered the house with the intention of taking away cash and other valuables."
> Afraid that his aunt might recognize him, he stabbed her as well as the dog when he started barking. But he hadn't accounted for the parrot who was watching silently.

Quite credible - given its India.

And moreover, I'm quite sure that a parrot's testimony would be valid evidence in the monkey-courts that is the Indian judicial system.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Holy moly!

Facebook paid $19bn for whatsapp -- a company with 50 odd employees!?!?


Saturday, February 08, 2014

No country for athletes

An article in the New-Yorker regarding India's participation in Sochi.

And as with many articles about India - I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. As the fellow said "comedy is tragedy plus time" - and in my case "plus distance".

To quote:

Unless your discipline of choice is cricket, India is no country for athletes. Infrastructure is scant, government support is provided grudgingly, and sports associations are rife with politicking. (The marksman Abhinav Bindra, the only Indian to have ever won an individual Olympic gold medal, famously titled a chapter in his autobiography “Mr. Indian Official: Thanks for Nothing.”) 

Monday, January 06, 2014

89 Neat Life Hacks

A neat little list of engineering solutions to daily problems ...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

RE: We need to talk about TED


A great piece that articulates some reasons why all right minded persons should avoid TED and get strong urges to do unspeakable things to those who start conversations with "Did you see that TED talk where ...?"


In addition to TEDs oversimplification of everything - the main reason is its feel-good spiritual spin on every-god-damn-thing. Every bloody talk ends with a feel-good message of how the incremental work done by the speaker will uplift humanity into some divine realm, bring peace on earth, cure hunger, eliminated AIDS - all while mesmerizing  its audience with the illusion of knowledge and understanding.  Take for example the guy who spoke about auto-stabilized flying quadcopters - he didn't say anything useful or detailed about the technology - but instead spewed some gibberish about the transformative power of technology and how we can all achieve whatever we put our minds to.


Hey, if really you want the illusion of knowledge and understanding combined with a spiritual metaphysical experience- I know of a few pills that work much better with much less brain-hurt.


Although - the comparison with Gladwell is a bit low - TED doesn't even begin to scratch those depths of mind-mush.


From: Matthew Creedican []
Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 3:16 AM
To: firdaus.janoos
Subject:  ....another hater of Gladwell and TED and simplification....article starts out a bit boring but he gets better in the economic part..well at least a more interesting point,

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Indian Feudal Service - Indian Express

Our Indian Feudal Service


Shekhar Gupta : Sat Dec 21 2013, 10:35 hrs


Of course, they have a right to fleece a maid, break the law — and claim immunity

Indian diplomacy has a well-deserved reputation for conservative understatedness. You've rarely seen a professional Indian diplomat grandstanding or headline-hunting. Not even Mani Shankar Aiyar, when he enjoyed diplomatic immunity. Probably no one after Krishna Menon's days of acid filibustery more than half a century ago. Not for any "proper" Indian diplomat the arrogant, stupid swagger of the occasional Pakistani — if anybody can recall an Indian insult to rival the unspeakable Munir Akram (later Pakistan representative to the UN) dismissing Salman Khurshid as a rented Muslim, and India as the sick man of Asia, please do let me know and I will stand corrected. To my recollection, the funniest Indian diplomatic comment came from K. Natwar Singh. When asked if he was a hawk or a dove, he said, "I am running foreign policy, not a bird sanctuary." For someone who represented Bharatpur in the Lok Sabha, that was really smart. And the most cutting in recent memory was also possibly the most subtle. As India and Pakistan seemed to be drawing close to war in 2001-02 following the attack on Parliament, Pakistan responded by test-firing several "new" missiles, all named after medieval invaders of India: Abdali, Ghazni, Ghori, etc. Asked for comment at her daily press briefing, Nirupama Rao, then MEA spokesperson, simply said, "We are not impressed". Just four brilliant, inoffensive words were enough to infuriate Pervez Musharraf.

What is to explain such a radical shift in the style and manner of such a classy, sophisticated and patient foreign service bureaucracy? Words like barbaric, despicable, inhuman, perfidy, betrayal, withdraw-all-charges-and-apologise and so on do not belong to the usual diplomatic vocabulary. These are the last resort of editorial writers and TV anchors always short of ideas or a clever turn of phrase. The same foreign service has handled three relatively recent incidents that amount to enormous perfidies — the torture and killing of Captain Saurabh Kalia and his patrol of five in Kargil (June, 1999), the beheading of an Indian soldier and disfiguring of the other on the LoC (January, 2013) and, in between, the greatest and continuing betrayal of all, the American double games over David Coleman Headley — with such mature equanimity.

It is not even as if Indian diplomats haven't been put through harassment and worse in the past. Ravindra Mhatre, our assistant high commissioner in Birmingham, was kidnapped and killed by the JKLF to free Maqbool Butt and much later, following the destruction of Babri Masjid, the residence of our consul-general in Karachi, Rajiv Dogra, was ransacked. But never did our hallowed foreign service reach for the holster as they have done now. Nothing, not the CIA, PLA or ISI has roused this country to come together against a common enemy as this. It took just one perfidious, conspiring maid to stand up and ask for her rights.

This paper hasn't been spared either for daring to advise against going overboard, and for pointing out the inconvenient fact that there is another person, a poor maid, also involved and probably (and I use this line with trepidation as it's been in bad odour lately) there are two versions of this story. Or put it another way. If you wanted to see an entirely new manifestation of journalism of courage, you should have been an Indian Express editorial writer walking through the lawns of Delhi's Hyderabad House on Thursday, peopled by a bevy of MEA officers at the minister's annual year-end lunch for the media. Having survived many sniper alleys in my career, my instincts recognise one almost immediately.

The Devyani Khobragade, or rather the Devyani-Sangeeta (remember, the maid?), case is complex as it involves three tricky factors: class, caste and caste. Wait a few moments for me to explain why I use "caste" twice. Class, because in a row between master and servant, class will always triumph and so Khobragade must be right. Caste, first because Khobragade is from a Dalit family and so the insult is compounded. And caste for the second time because, in the caste hierarchy of sarkar-i-hind, the highest caste of all, the Brahmins of Brahminism, is the Indian Foreign Service. If that upstart Preet Bharara dares to read his rotten Manhattan law to an Indian diplomat, he will be made to pay. Uski naani yaad dila denge. Or maybe even get some uncle of his in Jalandhar or wherever charged with atrocities under the SC/ST act and show him how effectively India's legal reform works. If only when it chooses to. Truth to tell, instead of cursing Bharara, we should try and import him as our first lokpal.

It is early for us to pronounce on the merits of the case yet, except that you cannot deny that there is a case, there are two sides, two versions and two victims. The maid, prima facie, is a victim of awful, callous exploitation, and the diplomat of being subjected to the horrible indignities of America's arrest procedures. We, by the way, are a nation of other extremes. We can't handcuff anybody, not even Ajmal Kasab, so you see these curious pictures of dreaded terrorists and policemen walking to courts hand-in-hand as if in some Jai-and-Veeru bonding. But of course, we make up by routinely torturing, raping and murdering in custody.

It will not be out of place to quote here a comment that New York Times columnist Roger Cohen made to me on a visit to Delhi last week. "Please explain your country to me. You have a Scandinavian rape law and the Russian homosexuality law." But then all our awful laws, sick thana culture, abusive policemen and creative FIR writers are not for PLUs. Definitely not for those on the top of the PLU pyramid. All these are for Sangeeta Richard and her type. Stupid, thieving, lying, free-booting maid types. India's original, and sadly most enduring, idea of our below-stairs class. At least that much that clown Bharara should have known! What happened to his Indian DNA? That is what we are so angry about. Just because they got away with arresting Dominique Strauss-Kahn moments before take-off, in spite of his high diplomatic status, they thought they could touch an Indian. We aren't the bloody French.

Of course, as an Indian, I would also wish that Khobragade is brought back to India, but made to face charges here of allegedly cheating her maid and bringing disrepute to her country by lying on the maid's visa form, if she did that. Chances are, in today's primetime-fuelled hyper-patriotism, she will be hailed as some kind of Jhansi ki Rani. We all know the oft-repeated truism that diplomats are sent abroad to lie for their countries. But are they also paid to lie to their maids, the visa authorities, and then claim immunity? Please tell me another. And please think twice before you can accuse an honest taxpayer like me, armed with no immunity other than what Article 19 of the Constitution gives 120 crore Indians, of carrying a chip on the shoulder about the IFS ('It's a chip', Rajiv Sikri, IE, December 19) for raising these simple points. Sangeeta Richard is Indian too, and poor or rich, must have the same rights as Khobragade.

This case has stumped the political establishment as well. The UPA displays so much fake anger, you wonder when will it rescind the nuclear deal. Khurshid said he won't come to Parliament until Her Excellency the Acting Consul General's honour is restored. Did he think of making some similar sacrifice to restore the dignity of 50,000 Muslims in the camps of Muzaffarnagar, 150 km away? Particularly when he represents Farrukhabad, not so far from there. As for our left-liberal bleeding hearts, they still can't figure out whether to fight for a poor member of The Great Unwashed or take on The Great Satan. And, since I am being so reckless, let me also ask another trick question. Where did your Indian pride and self-respect go when you silently congratulated the same Americans for denying a visa to Narendra Modi? Whatever your political differences, he is a leader elected to a high political office in India. If he can visit 7 Race Course Road or Vigyan Bhawan, he cannot be barred from visiting Washington. And if he is, we should at least make the pretence of protest. So let's not talk again about national pride and diplomatic propriety. Let's also not kid ourselves into believing that employing house maids is some kind of universal human right.

In a conversation the other night with a greatly respected former Indian civil servant, I learnt the history of the barricades in front of the US embassy in Delhi. A security review was carried out after the US embassy in Nairobi was bombed on August 7, 1998. The Delhi mission had no protection from such an attack, so a joint India-US team suggested putting up "Jersey" barriers, the heavy but movable concrete blocks so called because they were first used on the New Jersey turnpike. The MEA objected because it feared that every embassy would demand this. But L.K. Advani was advised by his key aides to overrule it, and he wisely did. Sushilkumar Shinde should have checked the files before getting these removed. And our churlish incompetence is only matched by America's stupidity. Why didn't they simply retaliate by shutting down the visa section until security was restored? The tone of primetime discussions would have changed overnight. How would you keep all those mummyjis, daddyjis and auntyjis away from their betajis in Christmas season?


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RE: connected devices search engine ...acoustic hacking and covert communications

The article on Shodan was really interesting article - a search engine that crawls all the various non-www stuff connected to the Internet.  I wonder if there any big-data opportunity / potential here ?


Regarding the acoustic thing - the cartoon below perfectly captures what I think of all these super-sophisticated hacking technologies ....




From: Matthew Creedican

Subject: connected devices search engine ...acoustic hacking and covert communications remotely breaking encryption with a cellphone and a covert method of communication command and control...

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