Nov 27, 2006

Renewable Energy in Pakistan

My friend wrote this excellent article entitled 'Adding fuel to fire' which recently got published in one of Pakistan's leading daily's. He presents arguments supporting ethanol as the next new renewable source of energy in the country. I was impressed to learn that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has been heavily encouraged in Pakistan and has been quite a success. I have included some excerpts from his article. I urge you to peruse the published version at your leisure.
By lifting import duties on CNG conversion kits, converting government vehicles, and liberally distributing licenses for CNG filling stations, the (Pakistani) government kick-started a cycle of CNG production that was then propelled by basic market forces and low CNG prices. As a result of these policies, CNG use has captured a large share of the petrol market over the last two years. There are over 1 million CNG-enabled vehicles in Pakistan today, constituting nearly 20 percent of all vehicles in the country. It is the third largest CNG fleet in the world.

That's great to know that Pakistan has the third largest CNG automobile fleet in the world. However, as my friend and author rightly points out, CNG, though clean, is not renewable. As a result of this, he proposes several measures whereby ethanol can be introduced as the source of renewable energy

According to the World Bank, the only potential renewable fuel anywhere in the world that can currently compete with petrol is ethanol from sugarcane. Pakistan produces the world’s 5th largest sugarcane crop, of which 20 percent is exported. In fact, until recently, Pakistan was the second largest exporter of sugarcane ethanol to the European Union — a preferential status we have since lost because of WTO obligations and dumping complaints. Several distilleries have planned to close down in light of this fact. Instead of curbing production of fuel ethanol, however, we should redirect it to the domestic market. Eventually, a domestic industry will grow, and the further development of sugarcane feed-stocks will accelerate rural infrastructure development and result in rural job creation from farms and processing facilities.

Experiences with fuel ethanol in Brazil and around the world suggest that government action is essential in the initiation of such programs to coax the market away from pre-existing technologies. A Pakistani fuel ethanol program, like its CNG predecessor, will need initial government support to develop an infrastructure in which the new industry can grow.

This entails providing incentives for both production and consumption of fuel ethanol. the fledgling industry will need fiscal support in the form of subsidies, tax incentives, and state-guaranteed credit, to ensure that it has a consumer base and a competitive price. As production increases, economies of scale will develop until ethanol production is cost-effective and self-sustainable.

This is an impressive article and quite eye-opening for me. I believe the ideas that he proposes are quite manageable. There is, after all, an infrastructure already laid down for CNG production. Thus the government is aware of the looming energy crisis. It's great that Pakistan is far ahead of other nations with regards to industrial and automotive CNG incorporation. It would be even more impressive if Pakistan can think to the future, utilize its renewable crop resources, and thus produce energy domestically.

Nov 22, 2006

Another amusing one from

Nov 21, 2006

Will Japanese rock be my musical saviour?

For the past few years, my musical tastes evolved towards hip-hop. And not even hard core rap, or really authentic stuff which most enthusiasts get into, but mainly popular styles. A little lame, I agree, but I wanted my music to be fun, entertaining and 'bumping. I guess it was a gradual evolution and it blended in with my lifestyle and my habits at the time. I still enjoy hip-hop in clubs and bars and prefer that to any other music when I go.

Rock took a backseat. I am not one to buy albums, or enjoy every song by an artist. I usually like a song here or there, maybe a few from one band or whatever. I have rarely gotten obsessed with a band ever.

I've been getting really bored with music for the past few months. Getting sick and tired of what I have and not so impressed with American rock.

So my friend sent a couple of her favorite Japanese songs over to me, and though i have no clue what they are saying, I found the music to be so refreshing. I love the beats, the enthusiasm and the riffs. Its pretty rocking and its inspiring stuff. I even picked up my guitar on my own accord after a few years and learned the songs. Admittedly, I only have 6 Japanese songs thus far, but I am exploring the field a lot more enthusiastically then I have in the near past.

Turns out, I am listening mainly to songs from a movie. The soundtrack belongs to a movie called Nana.

On a side note, it stars this chick called Mika Nakashima who is pretty attractive. Here is her picture for good measure.
I believe she is a singer too and one of her songs is called "Glamorous Sky" which I like. Anyway, I don't know if I am listening to J-pop or J-rock or just Vietnamese music. But I guess it makes me happy. That's the point

Nov 20, 2006

Sensible family planning advice

How to make the senior citizen's happy

No! It's not discounts at Denny's or more frequent bingo nights and ballroom's free Viagra. Too bad the elderly are becoming players though....Read on!
From Reuters...

The mayor of a small Brazilian town has begun handing out free Viagra, spicing up the sex lives of dozens of elderly men and their partners."Since we started the free distribution of sexual stimulants, our elderly population changed. They're much happier," said Joao de Souza Luz, the mayor of Novo Santo Antonio, a small town in the central state of Mato Grosso.Souza Luz said 68 men over the age of 60 had already signed up for the program, which was approved by the town's legislature and has been dubbed "Happy Penis," or "Pinto Alegre" in Portuguese.

But the program has also had the unforeseen consequence of encouraging some extra-marital affairs, Souza Luz said."Some of the old men aren't seeking out their wives. They've got romances on the side," he said.To discourage such illicit canoodling, Souza Luz said the city had decided to begin distributing the Viagra pills to the wives of the men who signed up for the program."That way, when the women are in the mood, they can give the pills to their husbands," he said.

Nov 19, 2006

PhD Comics

While waiting for my simulations to run...I was browsing the internet and found this incredible website.
This site is hilarious. Its basically an archive for a cartoon strip, but it focuses on graduate student life. I sent a couple of cartoons to my pals working in industry and they didn't get any of the jokes.

Anyway, I have included the comics on my blog and will probably post the amusing ones here....

Nov 17, 2006

Religion and Science

The never ending debate is in the news again. Both these cover stories are worth checking out. The Nature article discusses the lack of scientific research in the OIC countries. The Time article includes a debate amongst 2 eminent scientists. One, an athiest and the other a devout believer.

Then this week's cover for time talks about The Pope's visit to Turkey. Haven't recieved my copy of Time yet, but its clear to see, Islam is in the news.....

Nov 14, 2006

Red Sox bid over $50 million for the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher

That's right. Just to negotiate with this pitcher! Now they have to deal with Scott Boras, his mone-hungry price-driving agent. If they can figure out a deal within 30 days, then they would have to pay the Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, that ridiculous posting the $15-$20 million a year that Matsuzaka would probably make.


The next step in Matsuzaka's dream of pitching in the Major Leagues comes in the next four weeks as the Red Sox have 30 days to reach a contract agreement. If an agreement isn't reached before the 30-day window expires, the "posting" money would be returned to the Red Sox and Matsuzaka would return to the Lions for the 2007 season.

A 17-game winner for the Lions during the '06 regular season, and Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic played last March, Matsuzaka figures to receive an offer from the Red Sox that would make him one of the highest-paid pitchers in 2007 -- and beyond.

With quality starting pitching at such a premium, some baseball officials believe Matsuzaka could command a deal comparable to the five-year, $73 million contract that Houston Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt signed on Aug. 30.
This is just a disgusting amount of money. And its only for the rights to talk to the guy!! Can you believe it?

I hope Scott Boras is his usual self, waits till the 29th day to start becoming resonable, and the deal falls through. If the deal fails, then the posting fee has to be returned. The Red Sox need pitching, but not at this cost. $51 million dollars? Are you kidding me?

Nov 10, 2006

What a game!!! Rutgers beats Louisville!

I went to the game yesterday. 44,000 people. A sea of red! It was incredible. I had so much fun. I still can't belive we managed to beat Louisville. We were all over the news! ESPN, choppers, blimps, planes. Even the Empire State Building changed its colors!

Here are some cool stories!
Rutgers finally on college football map
What they are saying about Rutgers
State of Rutgers swells with Joy
Rutgers will remember this game forver

Here are some pictures from NYTimes...

They changed the colored lights atop the Empire State Building...From

With the national college football world converging on the Rutgers campus in anticipation of Thursday's showdown between the 14th-ranked Scarlet Knights and No. 3 Louisville, the rush of excitement and "Scarlet Fever" has reached the Empire State Building as one of the world's most famous office buildings. The Building's iconic tower will be lit in "Scarlet" Thursday evening.

Nov 7, 2006

Burger King selling pot burgers!

We have a Burger King on campus at our Student Center. I wish they would follow suit!


ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) -- Two police officers sued Burger King Corp., claiming they were served hamburgers that had been sprinkled with marijuana.

The lawsuit says Mark Landavazo and Henry Gabaldon, officers for the Isleta Pueblo tribal police, were in uniform and riding in a marked patrol car when they bought meals at the drive-through lane October 8 of a Burger King restaurant in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

The officers ate about half of their burgers before discovering marijuana on the meat, the lawsuit said. They used a field test kit to confirm the substance was pot, then went to a hospital for medical evaluations.

"It gives a whole new meaning to the word 'Whopper,"' the officers' attorney, Sam Bregman, said Monday.

"The idea that these hoodlums would put marijuana into a hamburger and therefore attempt to impair law enforcement officers trying to do their jobs is outrageous."

Three Burger King employees were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and aggravated battery on an officer, a felony. They later were indicted.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Bernalillo County, alleges personal injury, negligence, battery and violation of fair practices. It seeks unspecified damages along with legal costs.

Officials at Miami-based Burger King declined to comment, citing a company policy against discussing pending litigation.

Nov 6, 2006

Indian sex survey reveals interesting findings

I suppose anonymous surveys do probably have some truth to them. Reuters
NEW DELHI - Nearly two-thirds of young Indian men expect the woman they marry to be a virgin, but nearly half have had sex with prostitutes, according to a poll.

The survey of more than 2,500 men aged between 16 and 25 conducted by India Today magazine across 11 cities found that 49 percent claimed to have had sex with a sex worker while 37 percent said they had a homosexual experience.

But 63 percent of young men in conservative India said they expected the women they married to be a virgin.

The average age of their first sexual encounter appears to be falling -- to 18 years from 23 in a similar survey two years ago, but condom use is on the rise, the report said. More than half of the men surveyed said they always used a condom.

Fourteen percent of those surveyed said they had sex with a member of their own family.
According to IHT, these sorts of surveys are becoming more regular in Indian magazines....indicating a trend towards sexual liberalization and breaking of taboos.

Great! That's definitely the right road to go towards!

I suppose there will be a margin of error when it comes to these surveys, thought the poll did not mention any.