Tuesday, February 06, 2007

R.J. Reynolds - beware!

New York times reports on a region of the brain called the "insula"  or the "insular cortex", that if tweaked can make people quit smoking altogether! Well, the insula is also believed to govern our ability to empathize with music, sense the progression of time among other important things.  A small part in brain's netherland that does so much and has been largely neglected.

Big Tobacco - lead by R.J.Reynolds beware - here come the neurosurgeons with their scalpels and their ability to tweak the insula pretty soon!!  I guess, you must have figured out the reaction by now - Big Tobacco funds research on insula and ensures that the good things never get done.  We are all aware what Big Tobacco does with its anti-smoking campaigns - they never are totally successful.  there lies the catch - of incentive alignment!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Weapons deals for India - on a platter

I always take great pride in telling some of my non-Indian friends that India never invaded a country in all her history. The only military skirmishes that India had were to fight for contested territory and not for occupation.

A recent news article on TOI, caught my eye. I suddenly realized that India's budget is close to 30 Billion in USD, the seventh largest in the world. By no means am I suggesting that India is suddenly seeming more war-mongering because of this budget. However, it is indeed becoming more obvious that India is being courted by nations which sell deadly weapons and other military equipment by convincing us that we need to be armed in our own national interests. And, we are falling to their ploy. These are the same nations that try to engage us in debate, and stop us from using deadly force on our enemies. I cannot fathom the depths of this hypocrisy ! We don't need to spend so much on weapons. The entire GDP of Pakistan was 90 Billion in 2005. Do we need to spend an amount that is 30% of the total output of our most probable enemy? Our fears are being exploited by defense cartels which have always stood to gain through fear.

I also realized that US - the world's largest arms dealer and buyer has weapon systems that are so advanced than what other countries can even dream to develop in the next 2 decades.

I do not see any reason why this huge gap in military spending should be maintained by the US administration. The wars that US really fights now are not traditional wars, as is evident from its current presence in the middle east. 500 billion USD every year has not brought lightning victory to the US. Maybe it is a time to rethink what US should really be investing in.