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Comment: Trains - high and low speed (Score 1) 189

by bayankaran (#49524335) Attached to: Maglev Train Exceeds 600km/h For World Record
I have been a train traveler for more than three decades. I have used extensively four networks - (one of the biggest) Indian Railway, Amtrak, Japan Rail and China Railway.

I feel the marginal improvement of 40 minutes via a new maglev line for 280KM costing $100 billion is sort of a boondoggle project...and may be a vanity project. The Shinkansen aka Bullet trains are already a costly mode of transportation, tickets frequently costing as much as a regular flight ticket. For the 40 minutes of saving in travel time what will be the hike in ticket price for a project costing $100 billion?

The other end of the equation is Indian Railway - frequently derided as slow, archaic, unsafe etc. by armchair analysts who has never set foot in a train.

A few weeks back I traveled 1800 KM, point to point on a second class ticket which took 22 hours and cost Rs 800 ~ $12 on an Indian train. The ticket was booked online, I produced only a confirmation text message (the website of Indian Railway has improved a lot and is better than AMTRAK.) The summer heat made for a roasting day, but it was safe - probably the cheapest and safest option point to point anywhere in the world. (Indian Railways are super safe compared to driving in an Indian road.)

The same travel will take may be six hours on a high speed line, but will cost $120 or more - which is what a flight ticket will cost in that sector. A majority of Indians who travel by trains will not be able to afford an extra zero in their ticket. (This is what the current proponents of high speed train travel in India ignore or do not understand.)

A version of the above exists for developing countries too...a few months back I was traveling between Washington and Philadelphia on AMTRAK. Only the wealthy - or a professional who gets reimbursed via his office - can afford an ACELA...the tickets were close to $100. Luckily there were enough "Northeast Regionals" for $40 - comfortable and faster than a Greyhound and only $10 more.

What a country like America requires is (arguably) a much more denser railway network (not as slow as the Indian network) but not necessarily a super high speed network where a majority of the population - the lower class, the lower middle class and even the middle class - is priced out. We always forget Japan Railway and China Railway has enough regular trains which are slightly slower but cheaper.

May be I am wrong...automobiles are the preferred mode of commute and the drop in oil prices means flight tickets - and driving - will stay cheaper. So the age of trains in US may be over, purely for economic reasons.

Comment: Re:Autorickshaws market is tough (Score 1) 62

by bayankaran (#49444611) Attached to: Uber Finally Accepts Cash -- For Autorickshaws In Delhi
The situation has changed in most urban centers of India as far as auto-rickshaws are concerned. Most have electronic meters which are resistant to tampering.

About policemen owning auto-rickshaws - you may find some outlier cases in certain areas of India, but the way you generalize a whole country is illogical and untrue.

There are enough problems in India...but there is no need to exaggerate or generalize such a vast country in broad strokes.

Comment: Re:Out of touch with the world she lives in (Score 3, Interesting) 538

Feinstein, the late senator Ted Stevens (Internet is through tubes) are senior citizens who are behind the times when it comes to technology. They may not be able to comprehend "internet" not because they are stupid, but because its a truly radical idea which is impossible to fathom for the many who did not grow up with it. This is one of the reasons you still have senators or congress members - mostly old - who does not use even email.

Recently Indian government tried to ban the documentary "India's daughter." The Indian home minister is a seventy plus Rajnath Singh. His first reaction is to "ban" the documentary. He knows "ban" worked in the nineteen fifties, sixties and seventies.

Comment: Re:I Don't Understand (Score 5, Interesting) 233

The explanation is that there is no 'plausible explanation'.
Bihar is THE poorest state in India by many metrics. The way out of poverty and squalor for a majority is getting a good score in the Secondary School leaving exams - or minimum pass the damn exam - where you qualify for state / central recruitment, military, admissions to college and so on.
Just like BRICS, India got BIMARU states - Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh to signify 'sick' states - BIMARU in Hindi means 'unhealthy condition'. Think of a BIMARU state as Appalachia or Louisana, but more downtrodden and poor.
Here is an anecdote from my uncle - who did his MSc in Physics way back in the late 1980's from Kanpur, a big city in Bihar's neighboring state Uttar Pradesh - another basket case. The college he studied is DAV College, Kanpur, next to the big cricket stadium Green Park.
During the exams students were three types of service by the local strongmen - mostly wannabe politicians, with support from the caste based political parties...the cheapest tier will allow you to copy from your notes during the exams. The middle tier will allow you to write the exam from your hostel room. The topmost tier they will find someone else who is an expert in the subject to write the exam for you.
These wannabe politicians later represent the state and its constituents in the local and central governments. And now you can understand where are how the criminality of the typical North Indian caste based politician comes from....its inbred. Only the toughest and the most criminal will survive.
I am from Kerala - an entirely different world from the BIMARU States. Think of upstate New York or Pennsylvania - but more tropical. The world described above is alien to us...just like its alien to you.

Comment: Re:While you're at it... (Score -1) 109

by bayankaran (#49137393) Attached to: Intel To Rebrand Atom Chips Along Lines of Core Processors

Outside of power users like gamers, developers, CAD, Video editing, and other high end users a Pentium is more than good enough.

You are incorrect. At least on Windows 7, try to open a few tabs on a Netbook running an Atom processor, or a laptop/desktop running a Celeron or even a Core 2 processor and you will realize its going to behave like a fully loaded Geo Metro. Forget about running any HD content. May be they will work slightly better running XP or a variant of Linux.

Comment: Two cents... (Score 1) 176

by bayankaran (#48442043) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?
The most important part of any business is "cash-flow". You get that right and your business will be a success in conventional terms.

Your questions on different tools/languages do not really make sense unless you are clear about the product you are pursuing. The same about senior/junior programmers.

Though you don't want a take on Agile/Waterfall, from my experience any project which involves serious "design" works better in a waterfall approach because most of the phases of "design" may not be flexible to be accommodated in a two week sprint cycle.

Comment: The best photo... (Score 5, Interesting) 113

by bayankaran (#47999165) Attached to: Indian Mars Mission Beams Back First Photographs
The best photo is not of Mars...but the women workers of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) handling the Mars mission celebrating.

BBC has a good report and the photo...http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-29357472

As a tweeter asks..when was the last time we saw women scientists celebrating a space mission?

Comment: Questionable ability!!!! (Score 1) 546

by bayankaran (#47822259) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?
What exactly is this "questionable ability"?
Most of enterprise software development is working on some code base which is a huge hairball and you do not need any "advanced degrees" to do the job. If you are an excellent / above average programmer you are probably wasting your life in such environment.
You should not equate the skills needed to do the above with ability to write "elegant code".

Comment: Hippie Commune... (Score 1) 299

by bayankaran (#47701071) Attached to: WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"
The last person you want running an organization that might draw negative attention from powerful entities is a guy who grew up (for a period, at least) in a white supremicist cult and then was pursued by them for years after he and his mother fled.
Assange might be paranoid and an ass, but the White Supremacist Cult which you describe is anything but that. Its a relatively harmless hippie type commune. Please do not to resort to falsehoods to bolster your case.

"America is a stronger nation for the ACLU's uncompromising effort." -- President John F. Kennedy

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