Sunday, October 29, 2006

Child Labor

NYTimes article: Africa’s World of Forced Labor, in a 6-Year-Old’s Eyes

The International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, estimates that 1.2 million are sold into servitude every year in an illicit trade that generates as much as $10 billion annually.

Studies show they are most vulnerable in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Africa’s children, the world’s poorest, account for roughly one-sixth of the trade, according to the labor organization. Data is notoriously scarce, but it suggests victimization of African children on a huge scale.


Exhaust and Asthma

A Study Links Trucks’ Exhaust to Bronx Schoolchildren’s Asthma

Asthma, which causes wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, is the most common chronic disease among children. In the Bronx, the borough with the highest percentage of children, the asthma hospitalization rate for boys and girls under 14 is 9.3 per 1,000 children.

New York State must submit a plan to the E.P.A. by April 2008 detailing how it will bring its fine-particle pollution levels into compliance. States that fail to submit or implement their plans risk losing federal highway money. All states must bring their levels of fine-particle pollution into compliance by 2010, though they can ask for an exemption seeking more time, E.P.A. officials said.


Condoms, USAID and Jobs

NYTimes article: U.S. Jobs Shape Condoms’ Role in Foreign Aid

Britain, Ireland and Norway have all sought to make aid more cost effective by opening contracts in their programs to fight global poverty to international competition. The United States, meanwhile, continues to restrict bidding on billions of dollars worth of business to companies operating in America, and not just those that make condoms.

The wheat to feed the starving must be grown in United States and shipped to Africa, enriching agribusiness giants like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill. The American consulting firms that carry out antipoverty programs abroad — dubbed beltway bandits by critics — do work that some advocates say local groups in developing countries could often manage at far less cost.


NCERT Textbooks online

Dr. Vishal pointed me to this:

Once you select a book, it opens a clickable PDF. Those of you who want something to criticize can take a look at that. NCERT is kind enough to host the critiques on their site. Take a look at Educational Debate and Discussion and Suggestions on National Curriculum Framework Review.

There is some useful information online, for example educational survey.

Learning Resources

Just found this link: Need to investigate.

Update: NPTEL by IISc and IITs

To be continued..

Groups with largest membership

Job groups and porn groups.

Here is an example of the former.

Internet News, Censorship and the Pope

I guess it is time to start reading a newspaper. Here's why..

Oh we think we're so smart, with our Google News homepages and our online subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal. More and more of us are getting our news from the Internet and that's hurting newspapers and ultimately hurting us, too, because we are getting less news overall.
And where are those vaunted bloggers? They are waiting for the newspapers to write about it so they can read about it on the web and then comment. Now THERE's a public service.
If it's a big story that's important to a lot of people, the Internet either beats it to death or misses it completely. This is the nature of the beast and it makes me sad because I sit here on the third floor of an old house in Charleston, South Carolina banging out these columns and people ask me "Where do you GET this stuff?"

As is my wont, going through the posts on Atanu's, was reading a post on Friedman, The World is Mad Followup. Poking a bit at the links lead me to these:

In March 2005, Taibbi wrote a column for NY Press, entitled "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope". The column was denounced by Senator Hillary Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Matt Drudge, among others, including Congressman Anthony Weiner, who suggested that New Yorkers take copies of that issue out of their news boxes and destroy them.

What is the difference between this and a fatwa? Discuss.

As an aside, a lotta bloggers made a huge noise over the Prophet cartoons and censorship. I haven't seen anyone blog about this. There could be two reasons, the first that I am not reading enough blogs or that the bloggers missed it.

A very important thing to know

Mark Shuttleworth says..
It’s a very important thing to know that an inability to agree on something - even if that thing turns out to be a dealbreaker - doesn’t mean that the other person is a bad person. Give credit where it is due, state your differences simply and without prejudice. Debian and Mozilla should be able to work together effectively on a browser, even if they can’t agree on a way to call it Firefox.

Plastic Bag Reuse

Am too lazy to read about them. I use them as packing filler instead of foam. Perhaps not a very efficient way, but...

I used to return them at WalMart, but they no longer have those containers at the front door.

The many uses of forged boarding passes

I don't think airlines allow free transfer of flight tickets to our friends. Here is a workaround:
For starters, the airlines don't want you forging boarding passes, since they don't make tickets transferable, and they want to make sure the person buying the ticket is actually the person flying. If your friend wanted to fly on your ticket, you could check yourself in, give your friend your real boarding pass AND a fake one in his name. He would use the forged pass at security and the real pass (with your name) at the gate.

Please expect unpleasant results when using the above strategy on international flights. Their procedures are different. Should be ok for domestic ones though. YMMV.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Occupational Projections

Average annual openings for IT jobs in US till 2012: 100,000.

Area Title 2002 Employment 2012 Employment Numeric Employment Change Percent Employment Change Average Annual Openings
United States Computer Programmers 496,150 568,930 72,790 15 19,000
United States Computer Software Engineers, Applications 389,760 569,260 179,500 46 21,800
United States Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software 278,040 405,950 127,900 46 15,540
United States Computer Support Specialists 506,800 660,230 153,430 30 21,580
United States Computer Systems Analysts 461,000 645,590 184,590 40 23,680


Also look at this and this.

Is ColdFusion hot?

These guys say ColdFusion is booming. I wonder what the billing rate is.

The ColdFusion market is BOOMING right now. Look at Monster, HotJobs, etc. Everyone wants a ColdFusion developer right now. A lot of people want an entry level developer, or a junior developer. Who, but someone fresh out of school, is going to call themselves a junior developer? Most people who have been in the game for a few years consider themselves senior-level, or highly experienced ColdFusion developers. But are they really?

It doesn't take long for a ColdFusion developer to ramp up. I believe that someone who has a decent grasp of programming concepts (procedural or OO) can become a decent ColdFusion developer in 2 months. The problem comes when they reach a certain plateau of their skill set. At this plateau, they can use the basic functionality that makes ColdFusion viable and make a decent living. They do not much more with ColdFusion than your rudimentary database tasks.

Babies, Free Will and Agency

What is free will, btw?
Look at babies. Aw, how cute. Again, scientists have proven that we are hard wired to like the way babies look. The sight of large heads relative to body size coupled with small ears, noses and mouths triggers flows of endorphins in our brains, whether we are looking at baby humans or mammals of any sort. It makes us feel good due to the flooding of feel good chemicals it generates.
People in a good mood process things less deeply than those in a bad mood so if the store can change its lighting, odor, music to pleasure inducing stimuli- then you in your good mood are less likely to think deeply and therefore decide against that impulse buy.
And Agency..
So I think we all have Agency- or the ability to choose. I believe this to be an inalienable right- even with a gun to your head you still have a choice. The catch is that you can't choose how the guy holding the gun to your head is going to react and thats where the situation starts appearing to be 'forced'. You might be between a rock and hard place but its still up to you to pick 'Rock' or 'Hard Place'.