Category Archives: Warning

Ten or more steps of my own

Ten or more steps of my own

I have taken some bold steps (decisions) in my life from my childhood and that had come good, when I reflect on them. Some of them cannot be mentioned here.

I was a keen observer of nature and people around me and learned to be bold and fearless.

Most of my teachers except who taught me Sinhala and English were mediocre.
I often wondered how they ever became teachers especially science.

1. One bold step was not to believe teachers especially in science.
That was a very scientific decision by itself.
I had the knack and keen power of observation and problem solving ability. For example I believed anything can be grown on our be soil, be that it may, seeds or yam or runner provided I water them regularly. My father was not a farmer but he was a keen gardener (which he learned from a burger gentleman0. Except potatoes I could do that on my own but could not figure out why I could not grow potatoes (those days potatoes came from UK and I did not know that they put chemicals to inhibit sprouting and made sure seed potatoes were never given to us. I discovered this many many years later. This is how western countries help us).

2. I decided never to ask scientific questions (why potatoes could not grow) from my teachers (knowing very well they will give a wrong answer to shut my mouth).

3. I decided to do science and one day I decided not to go to the school I was attending abruptly (there were many other reasons and flashes of them I have expanded elsewhere) and that was a very bold decision. Finding a school teaching science was difficult but i eventually found one (there was another story behind this I would not enlarge upon).

4. I decided not to proceed with cadetting even though I was the leader in my old school (I was thrashed by the teacher / principal three times in the new school but I stood my ground). I took part in all other sports except cadettting (reason should be obvious and there is / was a worse form of ragging which included sexual for the young).

5. New school was no better in teaching science and I made the decision to do D.I.Y learning science (thank god there were two Foreign libraries stocked with old science books in Kandy then).

6. Due to harassing by teachers I decided to walk out of the science class and asked permission from the principal who thrashed me for not joining cadets. He eventually acceded (I still thank him for that help) to my demand (man with military training) knowing my will power.

Little he knew that others will join me later.

7. We decided to work towards a common (first exercise in group work) goal and entire university in the first attempt (both Bio and Maths). Eventually all of us did pass and none from the class who attended normal class.

They thought we (me especially) had gone bonkus.

8. Next decision was to get rid of all the science teachers in one go (Boomi Puthra was one of them) and get some decent ones. By this time I have forged some connections with science school inspector who was very helpful.
Proof of the pudding was that nobody from the normal class passed.
Some teachers feared me more than the principal and I was a good cohort for him.

9. We never went for tuition classes and we never got involved in giving tuition to others except my cousin brother who eventually became an engineer. He failed all his subjects in “O” Level and till he entered the university he was under my clutches.

10. Next decision was to get rid of the compulsory government service act that we had to serve (IMF would love this) for six years and never to join the government service except university (semi-autonomous institution and not a government per say).

The way things are happening and developing in the university now leaving that is also not a big decision for me.

Rest that followed is history.

I suppose nobody should try these methods now since all the systems including schools in this country are very poorly managed by over 100 of ministers and ministries.

There is no half way house for us now as the saying in English goes.

Advertisements

Forest Harvesting; Comparison of American Style and Sri-Lankan Style

Forest Harvesting; Comparison of American Style and Sri-Lankan Style

I was bit inquisitive why there are so many tornadoes and hurricanes in America.

I just went to Google Earth and had a little peep from above of North America’s, the West and the East.

There is hardly any difference in tree cover over the land, East or West.

Mostly farmland and build up areas.

That did not give me any clue to the state of the forest cover.

Then I went and searched deforestation.

Americans harvested 90% of the land in 70 years from 1850 to 1920.

Entire East was covered with Forest and fair proportion of the West was covered with primary forest. The deforestation continued to this century and America now has mainly secondary forest covering 10% of the land.

American knew that the CO2 problem started around 1920 and continues even today due to their exploitation of fossil fuel.

Did they tell the truth to the world?

Big No.

In Sri-Lanka we had 90% forest cover until around 1850 and British started deforestation for coffee and tea cultivation. By the time they left in 1948 forest cover was over 60% but before they left they pass a law prohibiting encroachment of the Crown Land.

From 1948 to 2000 we have decimated another 40 percent especially after 1970.

We are now below the minimal threshold of 25% to maintain our rivers.

This land now can be called the People’s Land instead of the Crown Land and the tree felling and the development go on.

When the thermal power plant is operational we will be approaching 10% level which is the cut off point for desert classification.

Acid rain will do the rest even we stop cutting to Zero.

Then we can say we are better than America in case of deforestation and go for an IMF loan.

Very soon we will be no different from Dubai.

Regards to American tornadoes and hurricanes trees act as a wind breaks and control the water cycle better. They should reforest America back to 1920 or continue to have this cycle every year.

Problem is there is no country rich American can go to avoid hurricanes since rest of the world is no better including China.

This is what I call the development of the Earth Crisis.

The prediction that world ends in 2012 should be rephrased that irreversible loss of biodiversity is in full swing from now onward with global warming well established.

We Sri-Lanksn will be drilling oil with Indian help till sun goes down.

The cycle of destruction has begun and it is irreversible unless there is global consensus.

Next biggest crisis will be food crisis and that will be worse than 1973 (due to oil crisis and poor foreign balance) since this time it is related to failure of rain and land becoming desert.

We are at a cliff edge.

Problem is politicians obsessed with development and energy do not want to see that in that way.

We have no plan for food security but have a big plans for 100% energy supply which we will never achieve.

Children who are born today will see the consequences but we do not even have a population plan.

Nuclear Accidents,Fire Hazards, Electrical Supply and Global Warming

Now that the Cricket World Cup is over, it is time for me to concentrate on more important issues relevant to safety at home and on the road. It is with deep sadness I edit this page that one of my students died and other seriously injured, a motor bike accident. I always say more people die on the road than a death toll in a tsunami.
 

Before that I would like to make some passing reference to why we lost.

I should pen it down here since our journalist are the worst stooges of the politicians and won’t make the comments I make below as points of reference in their daily chores. 

I may become very unpopular but I am not a politicians vying for votes rigged or otherwise.

First reason is that in Sri-Lanka we never were united after the war whereas Indians were all behind the Indian Team and Sachin.

Indian papers were critical but were not destructive.

1. In our case one of the government channels run by political stooges raised a claim that Mahela played to the hands of Pakistan deliberately. What I understand now is that this was done by players rejected or not selected to the team with political intent.

Of course, Mahela answered the critics with his bat like Ponting and that was the very best of Mahela after his 167 odd runs in his first appearance against India in home soil.

What is important this time is, it is on Indian soil with nobody behind him except his team mates.

2. We were not ready for the world cup and we did not have a regular team up for the finals and poor Sanaga had to fiddle round and use his gut feelings. While playing on the round robin stage he had to select the players in best form from the makeshift team given to him by the selectors. There were only  five or six who were worth the mettle and naming them here is not appropriate and others were filling the numbers from 6 or 15.

3. Then come the crunch game and politicians get activated and like after the war they want to reap benefit at the expense of cricketers and bloat their image while failing in their duties at ground and grass root level.

4. Now come the big political manoeuvre and Randive catapults into World Cup stage and comes home wicketless.

5. I have my praise for Gary Kirsten, graceful South African opener who did all the ground work for the victory after 2008 debacle. There were no politicos influencing him. Similarly the praise should go to Alan Donald the South African fast baller lifting the New Zealand team up to the Semifinals.

The difference here is everything form ground construction to ground preparation to celebrations have to be sanctioned by politicos or their stooges.

Everything is politicized and corrupt.

6. I feel sorry for army man Ajantha and poor but Big Ball Boy Dilhara who was worse than a political stooge. He was the one who could have taken the wicket of Tandukar in a crunch game. Yes, he might give some extras and few no balls but we did not want him to ball full quota of 10 overs. Three overs form him would have been better than full quota of Randive.

This whole episode destroyed both the big boy Dilhara and new find Randive.

Who is to blame I leave it open.

Lesson from Dhoni is that he took the full responsibility of Srisanth’s selection and he managed him accordingly but did not break his backbone like what we Sri-Lankan do.
We win the war and then break the backbone of soldiers.

 

That is the way we go up the ladder.

It is cut throat politics, even in sports.

This one for the Indians.

In the built up to the semifinals there is a little consensus among few of the intellectuals that if we win the World Cup, the government will increase the price of petrol and with it all the other commodities and Sri-Lanka should not win.

I also subscribe to this especially as a teaser, something that I enjoy when spirits are high and I was the only one in Sri-Lanka who supported New Zealand on the day. I went on to say to irritate my close friends if we played on a neutral ground we would lose knowing very well New Zealand would not make it through.

This is like a Sri-Lankan government official who votes for the opposition on the day of the election and goes to work on the next day attired in a blue dress and a red or gray tie.

In my case if somebody volunteered money I would have put a bet for Sri-Lanka to win and support New Zealand in front of the TV.

Here money and win matters but usually it is the Santhosum or political bribes that do the job.

In India the commodity prices may not go up but cricket corruption and betting will surge with this win.
Even though I subscribed to the view that petrol will go up in price after New Year and before New year if we win the World Cup as a teaser for my friends, I was of the strong opinion that our politicians are only sensitive to the voter only before and during election, that they are so insensitive they will increase the prices whether we win or lose.

In that context it is better to support our team irrespective of political realities and that is what we should do come finals.

I am of the strong opinion politicians and religious dignitaries should not get involved in sports.

Leave them to sports specialists and the coach and pay them well and on results basis like top CEOs and not to political bum suckers.

And come win or lose be prepared to tighten our belts for another 5 or 10 years and the promised land may never come true with global realities and food prices going up by the minute and production not keeping up with the demand from banis, bananas to political bana.

Safety First.
That is almost like a lecture in point form but we never correct our mistakes but the one I am going to write below if you do not take notice one might lose everything including life.

It is the fire hazard that we go through in March to May.
There are two factors one is external and other is internal.

External one is global warming and Sri-Lanka included and exaggerated by our Coal Power Plant going into operation soon.

The other is lightening and fire crackers.

I was happy that we lost the Cricket and if we won the fire crackers would have ignited few fires burning even our precious forest reserve too.

I am the one for banning fire crackers in entirety.

It serves no purpose and many of our dogs die of fear during New year festivals when owners go out on holidays leaving vulnerable dogs to fire crackers and thieves (they poison dogs).

Other one is internal.

That is our Electricity Supply which fluctuate in voltage. This risk is increased with thunder that accompany rain.
One computer and two voltage stabilizers busted from the month of January to now.

This not the first time and some time ago I lost almost everything(electrical equipments that included a TV, a tumbler dryer and a washing machine) including 2o odd bulbs in one night and morning due to power surge going above 400.

The has become a perennial problem now. If not fire one can get electrocuted.
The only way I have saved few equipments is by using UPS not voltage stabilizers (two of the Sri-Lankan voltage stabilizers caught fire and there is no alarm. system). At least the UPS has the alarm that goes up and we cannot buy any imported voltage stabilizers in Sri-Lanka now.

This New Year I decided to work on reducing fire hazard.

1. I have three or four digital thermometers.
One is on top of the computer I am working now. The other is on top of the switched off computer. The temperature difference is 7 degree F and time is mid night.

2. I do not switch on any equipment if the outside temperature is above 88 degree F except the fridge.

3. I use the computer in the night and who is going to go for air conditioning with electricity bill above Rs.6000/=

4. I use UPS. Recent ones have better quality internal circuits and integrators.

5. Check all the connectors and replace them with sturdy not cheap ones.

6. Be vigilant and safety first from kitchen to to bed room to living room.

7. No fire crackers.

8. Switch off all the equipment not in use.

9. Emergency lamps with all diodes and keep them charged for an emergency.

10. Keep an eye on the meter and the monthly bill which is going up by the minute.

The Hassle one has to go through when you buy a new Laptop / Netbook-Isn’t it pain in the neck?

The hassle one goes through when one buys a computer with Microsoft installed is something that I never wondered for the past 3 to 5 years or so.

It is mind boggling for a Linux guy.

Once a year I format the root partition and sometimes leaving behind the home partition for a while and install the Old / New version of the Linux distribution in that partition.

This time I had to delay it till March (including Mageia) since most of the distributions including Debian delivered or released the distribution (except PCLinux which was right on the button during December) in late February or March.

The slowest and the laziest was SuSe, though.

My work and cricket world cup were other distractions.

Mind you I install many distributions for various reasons and for testing and not because I lack anything on PCLinuxFullMonty.

Other reason is I need to fill the hard disk so that it is not left idling and rotten.

I will list the hassle a Microsoft guy has to go through.

1. S/He has to backup the data.

2. S/He has to remove the crap the OEM guy install

3. S/He has to download the free software

4.Then has to install the paid software

5. Then anti-virus software

6. Then he has to get Firefox, Opera or safari

Suffice is to say in this time I will install 15 (3×5) distributions in my main computer and two other spare ones I use for testing.

One of the major benefit of Linux is I save lot of time and do other interesting things like watching cricket or water the plants or feed the fish and testing distributions and this time additionally Sinhala Linux distributions.

This list is endless and I will stop at this point and give you a list Linux Free (point number 3 expanded) software that one get FREE

Please go to NiNite web site and get them free if you are a Microsoft user.

If you have chosen the right Linux distribution of your choice you will get all this and more in one go except perhaps Flash.

1. Web Browser Group- Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera

2. Messaging Group-Skype, Pidgin, Google Talk, Yahoo, Messenger, Thunderbird

3. Media group-iTunes, audacity, KMplayer, HULU, Songbird and many more

4. Runtimes – Flash, Java

5. Imaging Group- GIMP, Picasa, Inkscape

6. Office Group-LibreOffice, OpenOffice,Adobe PDF Reader, CutePDF, SumatraPDF, Foxit reader

7. File sharing-uTorrent, eMule

8. Security- What a medical problem for sick machine?

9. Cloud computing-Dropbox, Google earth

10. Image Burners-Nero

11.Compression- win 7, winzip

12. Utilities

13. Developer tools-Putty, Python, Filezilla

14. Others I may have missed

You do not have to do any of these if you select a Linux distribution and all are packed in one and installed in one go.

What a waste of time trying to run windows 7.

That is why Windows users do not have any creativity and continue to lack creativity at work place or on the go.

They are Potato (not hot potato) Guys bloated with Image of Crisis.

Would you pay more money and go the Exrta Mile or is it pain in the neck?

There is so much hype about Windows 7 and on my daughter’s request I went and bought a Windows 7 Starter Pack but kept on delaying opening of the pack to install it since the netbook I bought her already had Windows XP.

She has a working knowledge of Linux with  the desktop she had and I bought the netbook stating that if it started giving problems she has to go back to Linux for her work.

Something simple like Lubuntu or Meego or something advances like Sabayon, PClinux or Mepis or even Decian.

Then I wanted to repartition (re-size) the hard disk but the XP installed did not allow me to repartition unless I delete the operating system with it.

Since I have paid for the operating system, I realize it is not a wise thing to do since if she wants there are enough computers at home to try Linux including her desktop.

Then everything went into cold storage and she was down with some illness and Windows 7 was completely forgotten.

Today as part of my full reformatting exercise, I deleted all my partition and booted this Windows 7 Starter Pack to see what it has.

It immediately recognized the 20 GiB ntfs partition  (I made as an extra storage facility), the hard disk had and it started giving me instruction that it can be installed in one computer only and the blah blah.

It pulled out the internet wire fearing it is going to note my laptop machine number and the details and it’s identity and then allowed it to install.

Mind you this was the computer I bought in Singapore after big fight with the vendor stating that I did not want windows installed in it and I only want the machine and I know what to do with it.

Then I booted Linux while waiting in lounge of the Changi Airport with Linux a DVD I downloaded in Singapore (in one of my relative’s residence in Singapore).

After installing it goes up several times rebooting and this is the time it gives all your details to the Microsoft head quarters to subsequently send warning after warnings to lure you to buy all the extra utilities.

Finally it booted up and this one lets you have a password facility and the system has nothing at all to work with.

I told my daughter how stupid was to buy it and booted up and showed her the latest 10th anniversary Knoppix 6.4 live with compiz graphic and Pingus game in it and amazingly beautiful graphics.

It has enlightenment effects and LibreOffice and over 6000 t0 10,000 packages in it’s DVD.

Who is stupid Microsoft or little Me I will let you decide it.

Mind you I installed Knoppix and Sabayon KDE while typing this bloggy blog and tested PCLinuxfullmonty has 64 bits capability also, in between watching the last stages of the Sri-Lanka New Zealand cricket match too.

I must tell you Win 7 took a longer time to install and restarted several times.

Sabayon has a media center called XBMC and it is something windows users will never have the luxury of using.

PCLinuxfullmonty has blender and with these three distributions in my laptop I have amazing rich collection of graphic utilities.

I did not have to pay a red cent but had to spend some time downloading the 3 DVDs with K-Torrent.

Only limitation was the slow download speed of Sri-Lankan Telecoms.

Putting on Top of a Murunga Tree

I manage to find a two Murunga saplings and wanted to look after them till big enough and relocate them in a suitable place. I could not water them for three days and one wilted and whithered away. The other survived and started blooming prematurely. I resisted taking the flowers for a vegetable curry. I let them pollinate (which is rare with no bees around) and only one flower produced a pod.

Side by side there were two cocoa plants which germinated out of over 100 rotten seeds.
Similar fate descended one of them and I kept on watering it in spite of its stem looked like fire wood.
Murunga sapling disappeared but the stem which looked like tiny black wood after about 3 months started sprouting and few leaves appeared.
My gut feeling was correct. I thought this would happen because it is not a native plant but that comes from mid Africa.
African plants can stand adverse weather for long period of time.
Our slender plants cannot withstand adverse weather. Murunga was an example.

So my prediction is that we will lose lot of our biodiversity much more and faster than Africa loses.
Come coal power plant when operational that will aggravate the context much faster and swiftly.
I heard our energy minister thinking of a nuclear plant here.
I wish he looks at pictures of Hiroshima first and the current pictures coming from Japan.

Real reason for writing this is not for that reason.
I cannot go to sleep without a swipe at the local elections.
We have a saying in Sinhala put a man on a Murunga Branch (unfortunately not on the moon to bring rice some of them promised to bring) to mean let him eventually tumble down quickly.
I wish all the present candidates land on Murunga Branches.
Then we can see them falling off quickly with the cost of living going up by the minute.

Actually when we elect them that is what we want them to be (on a Murunga Branch) but they have devised and engineered some other methods to stay longer on the Murunga branch and unfortunately we cannot have the last laugh.

This one chance we have that we can give them a Murunga Treat and it will be a Maru or Mara (Devil) Treat.

Sri-Lankan Cricket and Weather

One of my predictions for the Cricket World Cup is coming good.

That prediction is weather is going to be a spoiler.

Another prediction is that the ground preparation is going to be a key factor.

What ever the inspections done prior the commencement of the tournament and whatever reports may suggest and what ever the officials in charge may say we have prepared poor wickets.

It is obvious even Kumar and Mahela are finding difficult to bat in home conditions at Colombo. Because of their shear skills, cricketing knowledge and determination we are surviving the hiccups.

Please do not blame the players.
They are a good lot and determined it is our politicians and officials who are killing the game.
There fellows who have no understanding of the game and the ground situation are waiting for the kickbacks to pocket which the players deserve and should get.

It is obvious that because of the political will more money was channeled to Hambantota and less money was spent on Colombo and Kandy.

These grandiose dreams of politicians are killing the game and in the long run real cricket lover’s dreams and players welfare.
Coming back to weather playing Day and Night Cricket in Sri-Lanka was an extremely bad decision going by the prevailing weather conditions.
The team playing second is always at a distinct disadvantage and the history speaks itself.

I cannot agree with the argument more crowd will come for the Day and Night game (it may not be true for poorly attended games, too. Nobody will come for those games in any case).
In any case tickets are sold well in advance and a real cricket lovers have to buy tickets in the black market.
The Day and Night games are for the arm chair pundits who engage in their daily activities and return home bit early and after shower sit in front of the TV.
They are not the real cricket fans.
Poor people cannot come anyway. Tickets are priced to discourage them. Even if they come there is no way to return home after the day and night game. There isn’t a proper public bus service at night in the entire country.
Politicking’s should know it better.
We see them prior to elections and never see them till the next round comes.
They go to Colombo or to the nearest city and make money for them and their kith and kin.
That is the name of the game and cricket and other games included.
The sports administration has been worse than political administration over the past 15 years and especially during the last decade.
Please do not blame sportsmen and sportswomen for their poor performance.
The Common Wealth game was the best example.
We get a kick out of demoralizing the players but never the politicians who have got into sports!

I have written about weather pattern, global warming and how weather men keep bogus records (one month record is done in 2 to 3 days-cooked up records) elsewhere and the reader can refer them at leisure.
Many of them do not know how to make a weather balloon and if they have relevant data, they do not know how to report or interpret them.

Most of the seniors in administration are arts graduates who have done geography (without science subjects or background) and have a cushy job in Colombo without the will to run the affairs.
If the Cricket Administration got reports from them (Weather Men) and decided (I do not think-there aren’t any brainy ones there but crooks in Cricket Administration) and decided the time and venues, they are in for run.
The fact of the matter is with global warming has drastically changed over weather.
Unless we keep accurate record for the next decade or so we won’t be able to predict the trends.

I will illustrate few points that are my personal observation in Kandy.
1. Kandy weather is like Kurunahgla (when I was a kid we briefly stayed near Kurunagala) now.
2. Kurunegala must be like Pollonnaruwa now.
3. Inter monsoon rain that used to come in 10-14 days on a regular basis do not come.
4. When it comes the amount of precipitation is 3 to 4 times and the volume has increased.
5. That is why we have earth slips in the hill country.
6. Temperature hits 90 to 95 Fahrenheits in between rains.
7. Rain only brings cooling to Kandy.
8. If I do not water plants for three days, they whittle away.
9. Plants that never able to germinate in Kandy are germinating
10. Mosquito menace is no different to Colombo.
11. Monsoon rain comes at odd times of the day and there is a mixture of Monsoon and inter-monsoon rain.
The list can go on.

There is no way one can predict weather without accurate data.
Do not believe our weather men. They are like any other government servants, stooge to politicians and survive.
Only thing they never become a laughing lot like our politicians in sports.

What I am raising here is there is no place for Day and Night game in this Island unless we are able to predict it accurately in advance.
It is a disservice to foreign team visiting us.
We did that to West Indies.
Now we are doing it to Australians and out team.

There is a strong case against Day and Night Cricket in Sri-Lanka.

Vising teams take a note of what I say before agreeing on the time and schedules in future.
Cricket is your life and you are paid for that.
Do not say yes to our administrators without studding the pros and cons.