Hello, Flickr!

Hello, Flickr!, originally uploaded by pangalactic gargleblaster.

As can be seen from the above photo, much fun was had in Bangalore, on a rainy night with lots of drinks and delicious food. Thanks go to the wonderful folks of Bangalore, (who have more hair on their head than the people of Hyderabad – Hyderabadis of course have more facial hair.)

in other news, there is a lot more to Bangalore in the back streets :)

Hidden Treasures

Bangalore Back Streets

all i want for christmas…

is a Nikon D3, but that’s not what this post is about. I spent a substantial part of the day shooting a Canon 1D MkIII. it’s what news and particularly sports photographers generally tote around, hidden behind their monster lenses. one of my classmates happens to own one. i had a damn near religious experience. shooting was a joy (not that it isn’t with my D200, but even more so than usual) and there were no niggles whatsoever.

it’s almost instant focussing(it helped that he owned 2 dead sexy lenses) and that big fat vertical grip make it a joy to use… and the image quality is expectedly awesome(better be at those prices). oh, and you should hear it fire away at 10frames-a-sec.

while the 1D MkIII is many kinds of amazing, i dont get the canon interface paradigm at all. the ferris-wheel took some getting used to and for some reason it was setup so that you had to change both aperture and shutter values with the same dial and a button-press. why is this even possible? also the custom function menu interface is so 2001. please canon, implement a nice little ‘help’ button like nikon does on all it’s cameras so that there is a decent explanation of what exactly the function is supposed to do.

oh, my point is that if i can have so much damn fun with a canon, i can only imagine what it would feel like if it was actually a nikon :-D

help a photographer out, buy me a D3! or at least a battery grip so i can pretend to roll with the big boys:-p

Don’t play with your food (futures)

How did William Pfaff get this article into the op-ed pages of the NYT?

The food crisis is a real one, with rice – basic to the diet in much of Asia – rising in price by 75% in two months, and the rise in wheat, equally important to most western countries, rising by 120% over the year. This risks famine in vulnerable countries.

Already 100 million additional people are considered by the World Bank to have been forced into extreme poverty, and there are food riots in Egypt, Haiti and elsewhere. Hence the urgency in proposals for new funds to support food aid programs.

The conventional explanations for the flare in prices are population growth, (misconceived) diversion of corn and soybeans to bio-fuel production, rising Asian and Middle Eastern demand for high-value foods, higher transport costs, and crop failures. Oddly little has been said about the role of speculation in the rise in commodity prices generally and specifically in food.

On the Chicago CME Group market, which deals in some 25 agricultural commodities – it is a merger of the former Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade – the volume of contracts has increased by 20% since the start of the year and now has reached the level of a million contracts a day. This will soon exceed the rate of growth reached in all of 2007.

The hedge funds are now active in commodities and are playing the futures contracts, where upwards of 30 million tons of soybeans for future delivery are contracted for every day. They are also buying the companies that stock grains.

Speculative purchases have no other purpose than to make money for the speculators, who hold their contracts to drive up current prices with the intention not of selling the commodities on the real future market, but of unloading their holdings onto an artificially inflated market, at the expense of the ultimate consumer. Even the general public can now play the speculative game; most banks offer investment funds specializing in metals, oil, and more recently, food products.

It is astonishing in the present situation that the international financial institutions and government regulators have done little to control or banish this parasitical and anti-social practice. The myth of the benevolent and ultimately impartial market prevails against all contrary evidence.

Openly questioning FREE MARKET capitalism on the same pages that Thomas L Friedman and William Kristol ply their trade? Is the NYT tryin to create the earth-swallowing black hole, knowing that CERN never will?

Apparently, i misread the credits in our local newspaper. this was actually in the IHT.

US of AIPAC-MIC-Bomb Brownie

the Obamagic begins now!

(courtesy the good Michael J Smith)
Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel…. we must help the Israelis identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability….

We should expand our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the army and 27,000 marines….

I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened….

We must also consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability….

…. we must develop a strong international coalition to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program…. In confronting these threats, I will not take the military option off the table.

…. we must strengthen our homeland security….. checking all passengers against a comprehensive watch list.

shorter Obama: Watch me prove Ralph Nader right after all!

down down down, and the flames get higher…

Bear Stearns, pushed to the brink of bankruptcy by what amounted to a run on the bank, agreed late Sunday to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase for a mere $2 a share, narrowly averting a collapse that threatened to cascade through the financial system.

The price represents a startling 93 percent discount to Bear Stearns’ closing stock price on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bankers and policy makers raced to complete the deal before financial markets in Asia opened on Monday, as fears grew that the financial panic could spread if Bear Stearns failed to find a buyer.

i dont see how a (quite literal) decimation can be viewed as anything but a collapse. i’d recommend you all to start stashing away some canned food and lots of drinking water.

on a side note: anyone think that the Fed and various large Wall Street firms are now running around like chickens with their heads chopped off?