Sunday, September 18, 2011

Even Harvard couldn't protect me

Neither my degrees nor my prestigious jobs prepared me for the endless anxiety of job hunting

"We live in a society where it's hard to maintain self-respect if you don't have a job," Kwame Anthony Appiah, philosopher at Princeton, said in a recent radio interview, and I can certainly identify. All of my life I've been an achievement junkie. I have two Harvard degrees, practiced law at elite Manhattan firms, and wrote and published two novels, among other things. But of all my accomplishments, by far the most impressive is absent from my résumé: It's my more than two-year stint of job searching and unemployment.

If you've been unemployed you already know this, but if you haven't, here's a news flash: Coping with prolonged joblessness is hugely demanding. It requires deep reservoirs of fortitude, faith, patience, courage and self-control, traditional virtues generally accorded high regard in our nation's pantheon of values. Of course, we're a country that values hard work, and that's as it should be. But don't our values also dictate respect for the efforts of the struggling unemployed?

Two years of job hunting has required infinitely more of me than any of my lauded past achievements. And I, of course, am among the relatively fortunate, with a cushion of savings and a supportive group of friends. And here is what I think: If the experience is still this hard for me, how much harder must it be for the millions who lack these things?

There is a distinct Groundhog Day quality to days spent looking for work: Write letters. Prepare résumés. Search job boards. Make phone calls and brainstorm over coffee. Sleep. Get up. Repeat. After sending off my materials, I often hear nothing back. I've long since lost count of the number of jobs I've applied for.

As an "older worker" -- When did that happen? -- I try to ignore a drumbeat of statistics telling me I face an uphill battle. It's hard not to feel worn down, to succumb to "learned helplessness," our innate tendency to give up when our efforts fail to yield results. Still, like millions of others, day by day I keep going.

My exertions often seem strangely invisible, not only to my family and friends but increasingly to me -- an experience that turns out to be widely shared in job-loss land. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. As Atlantic journalist Don Peck recounts in "Pinched," his sobering account of the changes wrought by the Great Recession, studies show "a growing isolation, a warping of family dynamics, and a slow separation from mainstream society" among the long-term unemployed. Strikingly, no other circumstance triggers a larger decline in well-being and mental health than involuntary joblessness. Only the death of a spouse compares.

Such findings are all the more disturbing given that unemployment is a fact of life for a fast-growing segment of the American population, as reflected in last month's 0 percent net job growth. As has been widely noted, this is some 150,000 shy of the number needed simply to keep up with the growing population. By the middle of last year, 55 percent of American workers -- that's a majority of the workforce, in case you missed it -- had either lost a job, had their hours cut, been forced to go part-time, or been hit with a cut in pay. At the start of this year, the average unemployment duration of more than nine months was longer than it's been since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the figure in 1948, according to Peck.

And yet, daunting as these numbers may be, they only hint at the human suffering that they reflect. In his 2010 book "The Honor Code," Appiah places honor at the heart of what it takes to lead a successful life, noting that throughout history, societies have adopted guidelines for how people "can gain the right to respect, how they can lose it, and how having and losing honor changes the way they should be treated." The result: "[P]eople in an honor world automatically regard those who meet its codes with respect and those who breach them with contempt."

This stark dichotomy -- between respect and contempt -- got me to thinking. You don't have to be a mathematical genius to see that when there are six job seekers for every job, it's simply not possible for everyone to find work. And in fact, as others have noted, the reality is even tougher on the unemployed than these numbers suggest. For one, they (we) are competing for positions not only with other unemployed workers but also with applicants already in the workforce who are looking to move on. They (we) are also contending with subtle -- and not so subtle -- biases against the unemployed, including the proliferation of "unemployed need not apply" caveats on job ads for positions ranging from electrical engineers to restaurant managers. Thanks to my legal background, this shocked me less than it did some of my friends. I knew that current laws don't prohibit discrimination against the jobless.

So how is it that so many have come to disdain the unemployed? To equate unemployment with failure and shiftlessness? If the barometer of popular culture is any indication, this wasn't always so. In the 1962 film classic "A Touch of Mink," plucky all-American Cathy Timberlake (aka Doris Day) is on the way to collect her unemployment check, when a chauffeured limousine splashes her with mud. It's Cathy Timberlake -- not the feckless industry titan played by Cary Grant -- who represents the traditional American values that in the end carry the day. Firmly planted at the dark pole of the film's moral compass is the creepy unemployment office bureaucrat who alternately taunts Timberlake for taking government money and hits on her. The film has plenty of disdain for the titan and the bureaucrat and plenty of sympathy for Timberlake.

Fifty years later, the world feels grimly different. Contempt and shame are becoming inseparable from the fact of unemployment. Fueling such attitudes are multiple strands in American culture -- not only the Protestant ethic pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps philosophy so widespread among conservatives but also the if-you-believe-it-you-can-have-it philosophy espoused by self-help gurus and skewered by cultural critic Barbara Ehrenreich in "Bright-Sided," an impassioned attack on our nation's dysfunctional love affair with positive thinking.

Not everyone will agree that the nation's unemployed are entitled to be treated with respect. To skeptics, I have this to say: Consider your self-interest. Things are likely to get worse before they get better for the U.S. economy. More jobs will be lost; your turn may be next. And if not you, then someone you care about: your child. Your parent. Your friend. Honoring the unemployed will enhance our collective well-being. An encouraging word, a phone call: Small things make a difference. Try making these connections. Then watch the ripple effect.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why India Hesitated to Develop its Chinese Borders?

Another Chinese intrusion along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and old questions creep up again. How secure are our Chinese borders? Why has India over the years ignored development along Chinese borders? India will lose a lot if the dragon army penetrates along its Northern border. If China attacks India, lack of border infrastructure could largely be responsible for its second defeat.


page1


India cannot forget the 1962 debacle with China. China had then unexpectedly attacked India. It is interesting to know the history of the conflict between these Asian giants. The history of conflict (Past Hostility)

The border claims between India and China has a long past. Nothing has changed much. The hostility took root in 1950 after China captured Tibet. India was not so supportive or impressed. The tensions slowly began and nationalist feelings against China became rampant as the Indian Government released white paper against the border transgressions committed by China along its border.


page2


In 1959, there was an up rise against China by Tibetan leaders and civilians which led to the escape of Dalai Lama to India. India readily gave him refuge which again angered China. India further built 40 check posts along the northern border. This led to the arousal of nationalistic feelings among the Chinese.
The War

page3


In November 1962, China decided to permanently settle scores with India. The Chinese army unexpectedly intruded into the India territory and began capturing major areas along the North and North eastern border. Indian forces were not able to respond appropriately due to the sudden nature of the attack and were thoroughly defeated by the Dragon forces. Luckily for India, the Chinese army withdrew from the major captured territories for mysterious reasons, as unexpected as the attack itself. China, however, captured a part of Ladakh, and other areas along the Himalayan terrain. The suspicion on each other has since remained.


Now coming to the crux question, why did not India over the years actually develop its LAC border knowing well the unpredictable nature of the threat from China? India may have recently started some work along the border, but the Chinese for long have done their homework. They have built an airport, laid railway line and built roads in Tibet along border which allowing swift movement arms in the event of a war.
Why did not India develop its Chinese borders? (Amusing Reasons)

page4


Amusing as it may seem, Indian government, including the Army and the bureaucracy, were reluctant to the idea of dev
eloping infrastructure along Chinese borders for two reasons. Firstly, an improved infrastructure will be taken advantage of by Chinese troops and secondly, because having infrastructure in border areas also meant they have to defend the infrastructure. This cowardly perception is, however, gradually changing today.
Why India should start developing its borders? (The Present Priority)

page5


India is beginning to realize the advantages of a good infrastructure along the border. The Chinese are reporte
dly occupying Arunachal and other areas inch by inch and a good infrastructure will help take note of any little occupation. In a different context, developing the borders could also encourage trade and people to people contact between the two countries and shed the antagonism which has been prevalent in the collective consciousness since 1962.
Neither 'Bye Bye' nor 'Bhai Bhai' (Adopting The Middle Policy)

page6


India should consider the northern and north eastern borders as bridge and not a barrier for better relationship with
China. At the same time it cannot adopt the 'bhai bhai' policy of Nehru. India should approach the middle path of neither 'bhai bhai' nor 'bye bye'.
Source: http://bit.ly/pjuxpq By SiliconIndia

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of services) Act, 2011 Read more: The Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of services)

Salient Features of the Act

· Govt. services to be provided in a time bound manner
· Govt. Servant who fails to deliver related services within stipulated time is liable to fine Rs. 10 per day subject to maximum of Rs. 200 per application
· Competent Authority appointed within the department to oversee the matter and impose the amount of penalty on the officer concerned
· Administrative action may also be taken against habitual defaulter

LIST OF SERVICES CURRENTLY COVERED UNDER E-SLA PROJECT
Service Name
SLA Disposal No. of Days
Department/Organization
New Electricity connection (Domestic)
35
BSES Rajdhani Power Limited
New Electricity connection (Domestic)
35
BSES Rajdhani Power Limited
New Electricity connection (Domestic)
35
North Delhi Power Limited
Registration of Eating House
55
Delhi Police
Work Plan for Financial Assistance
30
Delhi Park and Garden Society, Department of Environment, GNCTD
Grant of License to Chemist
35
Drugs Control
Eco-club Grant for Schools and Colleges
30
Department of Environment, GNCTD
Issuance of Ration Card (APL)
45
Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs
Issuance of Birth Certificate
7
Municipal Corporation of Delhi, MCD
Issuance of Death Certificate
7
Municipal Corporation of Delhi, MCD
Issuance of Birth Certificate
7
New Delhi Municipal Council, NDMC
Issuance of Death Certificate
7
New Delhi Municipal Council, NDMC
Issuance of Domicile Certificate
21
Revenue
Issuance of Income Certificate
21
Revenue
Issuance of Nationality Certificate
21
Revenue
Issuance of OBC Certificate
60
Revenue
Issuance of SC/ST Certificate
60
Revenue
Issuance of SC/ST Certificate-other State
60
Revenue
Issuance of Solvency Certificate
21
Revenue
Registration Under Delhi Value Added Tax (DVAT) and Central Sales Tax, Act
15
Trade and Taxes
Issuance of Learner’s Driving License
1
Transport
Issuance of Permanent Driving License
1
Transport
Renewal of Permanent Driving License
1
Transport
Transfer of Ownership of Vehicle
21
Transport
Issuance of Certificate of Vehicle Fitness
15
Transport
Issuance of Registration Certificate of Vehicle Fitness
21
Transport
Grant of License as Manufacturers of Weights and Measures
45
Weights and Measures
Grant of License as Repairer of Weights and Measures
45
Weights and Measures
Grant of License as Dealer in Weights and Measures
45
Weights and Measures
Renewal of License as Manufacturers of Weights and Measures
45
Weights and Measures
Renewal of License as Repairer of Weights and Measures
45
Weights and Measures
Renewal of License as Dealer in Weights and Measures


Source
Read more: The Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of services) Act, 2011 | Income Tax India http://www.itaxindia.org/2011/09/delhi-right-of-citizen-to-time-bound.html#ixzz1Y0MQ846u

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Border between India and Pakistan is so brightly lit it can be seen from space

The dramatic picture shows a bright orange line jutting across the earth, indicating the border between India and Pakistan.The stunning image of the earth, taken from the International Space Station last month, also shows busy cities show up as bright clusters hundreds of miles apart.Snaking for hundreds of miles across the earth's surface, this spectacular picture shows one of the planet's land borders like never before.
Spectacular: The International Space Station image captures the floodlit border between India and Pakistan in amazing detail

Spectacular: The International Space Station image captures the floodlit border between India, above the orange line, and Pakistan, below the border in the picture

The border between India and Pakistan, shown here on a conventional satellite image, is now under heavy surveillance through floodlights and fencing

The border between India and Pakistan, shown here on a conventional satellite image, is now under heavy surveillance through floodlights and fencing

In previous years the border has regularly seen attempts at infiltration by terrorists, as well as the smuggling of arms, ammunition and contraband.In total, the Indian government hope to cover 1248 miles (2009 km) of the 1800-mile (2900 km) India-Pakistan border with floodlights.

The Indian government sanctioned a move to erect floodlights along the terrain separating India and Pakistan in the Gujarat sector in 2003 to prevent smuggling and arms trafficking.

Officials have so far erected floodlights along 286 miles (460 km) of Indian border with the Pakistan state of Punjab.

The extensive floodlighting continues for 635 miles (1022 km) across Rajasthan, 109 miles (176 km) across the Jammu international border, and 125 miles (202 km) through Gujarat.

So far 1156 miles (1861 km) of the border have been floodlit.

Plans are in place to erect a total 1269 miles (2043 km) of fencing along the nation's border.

The Indian government hope to have completely finished the floodlight operation by March 2012.

A similar fenced border zone operates along India's eastern border with Bangladesh, although it cannot be seen as vividly on images like this.

The Gujarat border region was notorious for being infiltrated until officials erected the floodlit border in 2003.

The spectacular image showing the floodlit border was taken by Expedition 28 International Space Station Crew on August 21.

Also visible on the picture as bright clusters is Lahore, Pakistan, nearest to the orange border line.

Islamabad, Pakistan, can also be seen towards the bottom of the picture, as well as New Delhi, India, at the top.

The floodlit border fencing built through the Indian government since 2003 is so bright it can be seen from space

The floodlit border fencing built through the Indian government since 2003 is so bright it can be seen from space.

Courtesy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033886/India-Pakistan-border-visible-space.html




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033886/India-Pakistan-border-visible-space.html#ixzz1XKf2afnN

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Why We Crave Creativity but Reject Creative Ideas

Most people view creativity as an asset -- until they come across a creative idea. That's because creativity not only reveals new perspectives; it promotes a sense of uncertainty.

The next time your great idea at work elicits silence or eye rolls, you might just pity those co-workers. Fresh research indicates they don't even know what a creative idea looks like and that creativity, hailed as a positive change agent, actually makes people squirm.

"How is it that people say they want creativity but in reality often reject it?" said Jack Goncalo, ILR School assistant professor of organizational behavior and co-author of research to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. The paper reports on two 2010 experiments at the University of Pennsylvania involving more than 200 people.

The studies' findings include:

(1) Creative ideas are by definition novel, and novelty can trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable.

(2) People dismiss creative ideas in favor of ideas that are purely practical -- tried and true.

(3) Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it.

(4) Anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it, which can interfere with their ability to recognize a creative idea.

For example, subjects had a negative reaction to a running shoe equipped with nanotechnology that adjusted fabric thickness to cool the foot and reduce blisters.

To uncover bias against creativity, the researchers used a subtle technique to measure unconscious bias -- the kind to which people may not want to admit, such as racism. Results revealed that while people explicitly claimed to desire creative ideas, they actually associated creative ideas with negative words such as "vomit," "poison" and "agony."

Goncalo said this bias caused subjects to reject ideas for new products that were novel and high quality.

"Our findings imply a deep irony," wrote the authors, who also include Jennifer Mueller of the University of Pennsylvania and Shimul Melwani of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "Revealing the existence and nature of a bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle scientific advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary."

Uncertainty drives the search for and generation of creative ideas, but "uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most," the researchers wrote. "Revealing the existence and nature of a bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle scientific advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary. ... The field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more creative ideas to identify how to help innovative institutions recognize and accept creativity."

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Cornell University. The original article was written by Mary Catt.

Cornell University (2011, September 3). Why we crave creativity but reject creative ideas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 4, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2011/09/110903142411.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29


Friday, September 02, 2011

India's National Security and the Chinese Challenge

China has been toying with the Indian borders for long, which even lasted in a bitter war, the wounds of which are not healed yet. There is an increased tension off late between both the countries despite a series of talks on the decades-old boundary dispute. However, the guiding principles and political parameters to resolve the boundary issues have not yielded the results so far.


India-china


India has been irked by the Chinese stand on stapled visas and construction on Brahmaputra dam. Moreover, the security breaches by the Chinese forces and their attempts to destabilize the borders are alarmingly increasing day-by-day. India's defense establishments are taking these threats very seriously - both from China and Pakistan and are planning to have a missile missile-defence shield to safeguard the capital from missile-borne nuclear attacks.
cHINA


The ongoing battle of supremacy over the Indian Ocean region between India and China has taken a new twist as Indian security agencies have reportedly spotted a Chinese spy ship floating on the Indian Oc
ean disguised as a fishing trawler. The Indian radars could not find the ship until 22 days of its presence and it was located off-the cost of Little Anadaman, a strategically crucial and sensitive island for both the countries. It's learned that the spy ship has as many as 22 laboratories on board. According to a report sent to government, the mission was to map the Indian Ocean and pick up vital bathymetric data, which is crucial for submarine and carrier operations. The other laboratories on board were involved in collecting data on underwater obstructions and obstacles. Indian security agencies also have spotted many Chinese fishing trawlers along Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast which they doubt are spying our missile programs to collect telemetric data of the missiles.
Chinese Missiles


In an alarming revelation, it was revealed in Pentagon's annual report on Chinese military buildup that China has deployed very advanced and survivable solid-fuel nuclear capable CSS-5 MRBM mi
ssiles on Indian border. It reveals that a high degree of mistrust continues to strain the bilateral ties between both the countries. According to the report, China has replaced liquid-fuelled, nuclear-capable CSS-2 IRBMs with more advanced and survivable solid-fuelled CSS-5 MRBM systems on the Indian borders. However, Indian Air Force Chief Norman Anil Kumar Browne showed no panic over the Pentagon report. Dismissing the finding, he said New Delhi has its own plans to counter such situations. "These (threats) are all known, it is nothing that we are worried about. We have our own plans and we are moving ahead with our own plans. These are the realities we have to deal with," Browne told the reporters, quotes IANS.
The communist nation is desperately looking for ways to make inroads along our borders. U.S. has also revealed that China is pumping in huge investments along the Sino-Indian border on infrastructure developments to build more roads and rail network. India had earlier lodged an official protest over Chinese troops damaging a retaining wall built by Indian Army in Yangtse in Arunachal Pradesh. There were several attempts by the Chinese army to violate the Line of Actual Control (LAC) over the last couple of years.


chinese rail


It is reported that China is looking forward to launch aircraft carrier operations in the strategically crucial Indian Ocean region and the spy work is directly attributed to this. Presence of Chinese Carrier Battle Group in this region will be a major threat India and the Chinese ground forces already enjoy a military supremacy in the land borders. India has strong reasons to be concerned about the Chinese moves as the communist nation is increasingly strengthening its foothold on the Indian Ocean, Central Asia and Africa and its alarmingly close military ties with Pakistan.
Courtesy: http://bit.ly/q0wf3j