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Category archive: India

Thursday August 27 2015

This combines two interests of mine, the use of containers to make buildings, and the use of colour, to make buildings look more colourful:


It a proposal for a bunch of skyscrapers in MumbaiFrank Gehry‘s influence is starting to spread.

But is it serious?  It shouldn’t be.  Making a skyscraper by piling containers on top of each other makes no sense, because the ones at the bottom have to be able to support the ones at the top.  And the ones at the top have to be very light.  The idea of having all the containers of the same structural strength and hence the same weight is foolishness containerised.  The ones at the top will be far too heavy for what they are doing and the ones at the bottom will be squashed flat.

And if you are not piling containers on top of each other, but are merely slotting them into an already constructed structure, then here’s a plan.  Why not save bother by not using big, heavy, lumpy old containers.  The simple fact is, containers are only useful for making regular old buildings of the sort of height that buildings used to be before they invented mechanical lifts and structural steel (even though containers are themselves made of structural steel) and reinforced concrete.

Besides which, it surely only makes sense to make a building out of containers if you can get some leftover containers on the cheap.  There’s no way they could get that many containers by just waiting for them to fall off a container ship.

Wednesday April 08 2015


Police in India have a new weapon for controlling unruly protesters in the world’s largest democracy: pepper-spraying drones.

Yashasvi Yadav, police chief of the northern city of Lucknow, said on Tuesday that his officers have successfully test-flown the newly purchased drones with a view to better crowd control.

So, when will BrianMicklethwaitDotCom be linking to a story about how the protesters have their own drones, to attack the police drones with?  Drones are not just the automation of aerial warfare.  They are the potential degovernmentalisation of aerial warfare.  I mean, how the hell will they stop this?  Drones are ridiculously cheap compared to regular airplanes.  It’s only a matter of time before no major political demonstratiion will be complete without a struggle for command of the air.

I wonder if people like Police Chief Yadav realise what they may be starting.

Sunday December 21 2014

Incoming from Michael Jennings:

As of this morning, thirteen successive Australia v India tests have been won by the home side. Seven of these matches have been won (and hosted) by India, and six by Australia. If Australia win the remaining two tests in this series (which may or may not happen) this will be the fourth successive Australia v India series to be a whitewash to the home side.

He was talking about this game.

Cricket has been a bit of a wasteland for me lately, what with county cricket being in hibernation and England playing nothing but one day cricket, which they are rather rubbish at.  They have been preparing for the forthcoming one day World Cup, by losing a one day series in Sri Lanka and then by replacing their captain.  But the feeling among cricket’s chattereres is that sacking Cook will improve England, and one day knock-out tournaments are such a lottery that I will live in hope, for as long as there is any.

Saturday October 18 2014

This funny letter posting got me googling for Viz, which has the best letters page bar none.  I found a clutch of Viz epistolatory masterpieces here, of which this is my favourite:

What is it with vegetarians and their veggie sausages and burgers?  I’m a meat eater, but I don’t go around making carrots and sprouts out of beef.

This is also a good one:

I work in a call centre in Norwich and we’ve just been told our jobs are moving to India.  I’m so excited!  I’ve always wanted to visit India and with the salary they pay me I’ll be able to live like a Maharaja over there.  Well done Aviva, keep up the good work.

Interesting piece about the rise and fall and rise of Viz, here.

Sunday July 20 2014

As of right now, late afternoon, there is rain and wind outside my window, and not long ago there was thunder.  That’s in London SW1.  And yet over in St John’s Wood, there is a test match going on, and there is no mention of any weather getting in the way of things.

Oh, as if to prove me wrong, Nasser Hussain has just talked about how the rain is staying “east of Regent’s Park”, in other words travelling northwards from me.  North east and Lords would be getting a little bit of moisture some time around now.

It’s very tense, with England 62/1 and chasing just over three hundred, with an hour and a bit this evening and then all of tomorrow, weather permitting.  Ballance and Cook have put on fifty, with Cook batting like his life depends on it.  Which it does.  He won’t die if he gets out soon, but how well he does today and tomorrow could have a big impact on how he lives from now on.

NOT MUCH LATER: 80/4.  Cook just got out, for 22.  Ballance and Bell already gone.  England are not playing at all well at the moment.

Yesterday, someone emailed or tweeted Test Match Special, saying that the Notts captain, Chris Read, could be drafted in, to replace Cook as captain and Prior (who is now dropping catches) as wicketkeeper.  It may eventually come to that.  Continuity of selection is all very well, but what if they continuously selected team keeps on continuously losing?

See this earlier piece.

Friday June 20 2014

One of my favourite computer functions is Screen Capture.  For years, I didn’t know how to do this.  How is “prt sc” screen capture?  I used to just photo the screen.  Then I got told, and more to the point, told at a time just before I found many uses for this procedure, and as a result, I actually got it fixed in my head.

So it is that I am able to capture fleeting moments like this one:


That was the passage of play that turned the game England’s way, today, on day one of the test match at Headingley.  Sri Lanka went from 228-5 and motoring to 229-9, in nine balls.  In among all this, Broad got a hat trick, but didn’t even realise and had to be told!  There was then a little last wicket stand and they got to over 250, but the big damage had been done.

Here is another interesting moment, which is the moment when they show me all the guys who worked on Adobe Photoshop, while I am loading Adobe Photoshop.

But, the trouble is, when I do a Screen Capture while that is happening, it doesn’t work.  What gets captured is the moment when Adobe Photoshop is finally loaded.  Until then, I guess my computer is too busy loading Photoshop to do a Screen Capture.  Either all that, or else I just wasn’t doing it right, as is entirely possible.

But instead of obsessing about what I might or might not be doing wrong, I instead simply photographed the moment, just like old times:


The reason I wanted to photo this was all the Indian names, in among the occasional regular American ones.  Interesting.  Where are they all based, I wonder?  I’m guessing somewhere in the USA, but what do I know?  Adobe seems to have a lot of places where they could be. And of course, if something like Adobe doesn’t know how to plug a global network of co-workers together, who does?  From where I sit, these Indian guys could be anywhere.  Even so, like I say, interesting.

A lot of the Americans I read on the Internet say that Obama is destroying America, and he seems to be doing as much as he can along these lines.  But there is a lot of ruin in a country, and a lot of ruin in American.  This screen shot suggests that at least parts of the good old American upward economic mobility ladder are working just fine.

Sunday May 25 2014

There was a truly terrific cricket game today, in Mumbai, between the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals.

Rajasthan got 189, which is a pretty damn good score in twenty-twenty cricket.  But the Mumbai Indians had to do better than do better than that.  They had to get their run rate above the Rajasthan run rate, by getting 190 in 14 overs and 3 balls.  Which is ridiculous, impossible, crazy.  So, they duly failed in their quest to get 190.  After 14 overs and 3 balls there were: 189-5.  They tried to run two off ball 14.3, to get 190, but instead they got just the one, and there was a run out.

Rajasthan Royals celebrate!  They’re through to the play-offs!

But no.  It then emerges - frantic messages and conferences on the pitch establish this - that if Mumbai’s new batsman hits his first and only ball to the boundary, the Mumbai run rate still climbs above that of Rajasthan, and Mumbai still can win through to the play-offs, at the expense of Rajasthan.  The new guy does!  He hits it for six!  And Mumbai do win through!

Shiva Jayaraman explains:

In the calculation of net run rate (NRR), the final score, and not the target, is the relevant number. For Mumbai Indians, the requirement to finish the chase in 87 deliveries was only subject to their final score being 190. The chasing team, if they take a few extra deliveries to get home, can still push their NRR up to the required fraction if they manage to achieve a final score that is sufficiently higher - by finishing things off with a boundary.

Mumbai Indians, despite failing to score that all-important extra run off 14.3, had already inched ahead of Rajasthan Royals’ NRR when they had drawn level on 189. At that stage, Mumbai Indians’ NRR read 0.078099, while Royals’ was 0.076821. Had Mumbai Indians just run the single they needed for victory off the fourth ball, though, their NRR would have gone below that of Royals’.

Since they were using the extra ball, they would have needed to get their score up to at least 191 off that delivery. Running two was not an option, as they needed just the one run to win. So their only option was to hit a boundary.

But the story doesn’t end there.

However, had they played out a dot ball, they still would have not been out of it. They could have hit a four off 14.5 or 14.6 and still finished with a NRR better than that of Royals. If they played out three dots, they would have needed to hit a six off 15.1 to bump their NRR up above Royals’. If this had happened, Mumbai would have ended with a NRR of 0.080519 against Royals’ 0.074163.

I watched all this, and I swear nobody knew this last bit at the time.

Cricket meets The Onion.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the IPL games don’t mean anything.

In other cricket news, Kevin Pietersen had another horrible day leading his Delhi Daredevils to a crushing defeat, again.  But Pietersen himself batted effectively, and when he gets back to England to play for Surrey, not only will he be wanting to be proving a point, but he looks like he might be capable of proving it.  Especially given that he won’t be the captain of Surrey, and have to carry the can for Surrey now being so crap.

England, having recently dispensed with the services of Pietersen and then got an actual win in the first ODI against Sri Lanka, were today totally creamed, in ODI number two.  Pietersen would not be human if he didn’t smile, just a little.

Actually, Surrey may be bouncing back from total crapness.  Today, they had a half decent day, bowling out Essex for not much.  Now they’re talking about Gareth Batty, the ancient Surrey spin bowler responsible for this, as England’s replacement for Swann.  Well, Batty is.

Friday May 16 2014

Yes, Surrey just won a cricket match.  I know.  You don’t care.  All you care about is football.  But I have supported Surrey ever since I was a tot, while football doesn’t really grab me.  I am not totally hostile to it.  I like it when Spurs win, and I watch the World Cup.  But basically, I just don’t find the regular things that footballers do, when playing football but when not scoring goals, very interesting.  At school I was a goalie, rather than a regular football player, and I never became that interested in how the people out there in that big field contrived to make balls fly towards me and my goal.  All I cared about was stopping them, which is nothing to do with most of what happens on a football pitch.  It was more like fielding in cricket, or wicketkeeping (which I also did).

When I say I “supported” Surrey I don’t mean I actually went to any games, but I did follow them on the radio, and now I follow them on the Internet.  And this week, for the first time in about two years, and after being relegated from Division One of the County Championship at the end of last season, Surrey finally won a first class four day county match, against Gloucester.

Day one saw a clatter of wickets, with Surrey, having bowled Gloucester out cheaply, throwing away the chance of a first innings lead by losing six cheap wickets themselves.  On day two, Surrey’s first innings having ended with its customary ignominy, Gloucester were building a big lead, and I went into “only a game” mode.  I forgot about it in other words.  Later I remembered, and by then Gloucester’s second innings had been ripped to bits by Chris Tremlett, the fast and very tall bowler who went on tour with England to Australia last winter but was hopelessly ineffective.  On Tuesday, for the first time in ages, he stopped being ineffective.  If he carries on bowling like this, Surrey could end up doing as well as people said they would at the start of the season.

So, by the end of day two, Surrey were already starting their fourth innings, chasing 267 to win, and then came another huge surprise.  I assumed they’d be four down by the close and would lose by over a hundred, such has been the awfulness of the post-Ramprakash post-Maynard post-that-other-South-African-bloke Surrey batting.  Instead, by the close, Surrey were forty four without loss.  Astonishing.

The next day was almost entire rained off, and Surrey made it to forty seven, again without loss.  The final day, Wednesday, was sunny, and Smith, Surrey’s ageing guest worker captain who until recently captained South Africa, also come good at last with the bat and got a hundred.  Steve Davies, after abandoning his wicketkeeper’s gloves in this game to concentrate on batting (thereby kissing any chance of an England return goodbye), and after a disappointment in the first innings, got sixty, only getting out in a final little clatter of wickets just before the end.  The end was actually quite funny.  Jason Roy and Davies both got out with only one more good clout needed to win it, and then the dot balls started piling up, as if speed of scoring was proportional to the number of runs still needed, with the Surrey score becoming ever more static even as victory beckoned.  Asymptotic, I think this is called, as when a graph nearly gets to a particular point, but never quite gets there, even as it keeps getting ever closer.  But a single occurred, and then a two was finally managed, and all was well.  So.  Hurrah.

In other cricket news, it seems that England’s cricket bosses continue to take their time about adjusting to the IPL.  I have been telling these people that the IPL is something else again for years, but although I am sure that they are aware of my views, they still choose not to act on them.  This guy agrees with me.  Of the relations between the IPL and England’s cricket bigwigs, he says this:

If the hand of friendship is being extended there, it’s being extended on the quiet, far from public view. A cold-war chill persists publicly, perhaps hardened by the presence of the establishment’s own Voldemort, Kevin Pietersen, in Delhi. One of the many irks that led to his estrangement was his ardent advocacy of the tournament.

That was attributed to money, and only a fool would deny its role, yet Pietersen’s sharpened cricketing instincts also recognised other values: the chance to deliver under pressure in front of hysterical crowds; the opportunities it provided as a learning experience and an information exchange; the way it was driving the patterns and techniques of the sport forwards. To be isolated from the less attractive elements of IPL cricket was also to be isolated from its benefits. The other day Chris Gayle tweeted news of a dinner he’d had with Pietersen, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh. Maybe they didn’t speak about cricket at all, but maybe they did too, and imagine what a conversation that would have been.

Actually, Pietersen is having a wretched time of it in the IPL right now, captaining the Delhi “Daredevils”, who are now bottom.  Well, someone has to be.  Gayle is also not doing well this year, so far, because he is hurt.  One of the ITV4 commentators recently described him as a liability to his team.  Ouch.

Next year, apparently, the IPL will stop being free-to-view on ITV4 and will instead by on Sky.  So, finally, I will stop recording all the games, as I have been doing, and can settle down to mining these past games for blogging purposes, on an “end of an era” basis.  And apparently, it being a well known fact that Sky TV is the nearest thing to a World Government that the world now possesses, this means that the England cricket panjandra will be told to fit English cricket in with the IPL, and they will obey.  That way, England players will be in the IPL, instead of just Pietersen, Sky will make more money.

Perhaps I’ll get out more and watch the IPL in pubs.  Maybe I’ll get Sky, although my understanding is that Sky don’t do what they blitheringly obviously should do which is sell me all their cricket and nothing else for ten quid a month, or perhaps all their cricket and all their rugby union for fifteen quid a month.  (Ten quid a month for one sport, five quid more for each extra sport.) I refuse to pay forty quid a month for sport the majority of which is of no interest to me.  I can’t be the only one who doesn’t want football but wants other Sky stuff, but at present people like that are just not catered for.

This afternoon, the Big Bang or Big Blast or whatever, the rejigged English county cricket version of T20, begins.  Instead of concentrating all the T20 games in one concentrated burst IPL-style, the Big Whatever will see T20s every Friday evening throughout the summer.  It might work.  Trouble is, it will be harder to get the best foreigners involved, if they have to be here all summer long just for one little tournament.  We shall see.  Aaron Finch, recent T20 tormentor of England, will be playing for Yorkshire, presumably only after he has completed his duties at the IPL.  And a chastened Pietersen will have “a lot to prove” with Surrey, but is he now getting past it?  With luck, greed will kick in, and he will want to hang on in there for the sake of his bank balance.  If his mate Yuvraj Singh can do it, he will even now be telling himself, so can he.

(In the first edition of this posting I erroneously claimed that Finch would be playing for Surrey, when actually he will be playing for Yorkshire.  Apologies.  It tells you something about my subconscious that I began by spelling Yorkshire as “Yorkshite”.)

Cricket news: Surrey win – IPL – The Big Wosname
Wedding photography (6): The Wedding and the Reception
IPL thrills
Michael Jennings - pictures of globalisation
Dream and reality in Mumbai
AB-solutely fabulous!
James Tooley discovers private schools for the poor in the slums of Hyderabad
Thrashing India
Today there is cricket and there is cricket
Friday link dump
Meaning in sport
The fluctuating fortunes of Praveen Kumar and the devastating impact of Lasith Malinga
The most celebrated sporting win ever
Subconscious cricket
Mmmmmm … Asian skyscrapers!
Twenty ten twenty ten
Surrey are now crap at cricket but they are sitting on a gold mine
Watching IPL cricket beats watching England play rugby
Cricket talk tonight
India looking good against Sri Lanka
More recorded cricket chat and some further Oval hindsights
Indian Premier League trumps test cricket
Lang Lang crushes Yundi Li!
Dongling at Michael’s
Tom Burroughes on the banking crisis
Africa is big
Cricket misery
The IPL is a new face for India but Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth is no big deal
News Media Coalition versus Indian Premier League
Flat pictures for flat screens
Michael Jennings on telecoms at Samizdata
At the dogs
City Cat runs on air
Toy train to Darjeeling
Cricket is ruining the youth of India!
Gandhi on equality for all … except …
Ethereal India photo
Cricket with landmark
At last - the latest mp3 from me and Antoine
Election Watch is postponed
Pauses - Indian accents - English names
Changing the names of cities
Capitalism sermons and Bentley wings