Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Select Twitter Postings (Tweets) – Week of Aug 24 – Aug 31

Posted in Select Twitter Posts by Amit Paranjape on August 31, 2009

RT @CNETNews High-end server chips breaking records

RT @indianomics SMSGupShup has 22 million users in India. Much more than facebook, Twitter and orkut combined

A friend’s crossword got published in the premium puzzles section of the Sunday New York Times…!  

RT @googlenews Cheney says he would have attacked Iran over nukes, but Bush said no – New York Daily News 

Finally watched #TareZaminPar Agree with most reviews – it’s a great movie by Bollywood standards. Though just a ‘good’ movie globally. 

Nice article by Vivek Wadhwa. Doubt with 9.5% unemployment in US, Obama will listen 😦 Free the H-1Bs, Free the Economy

Funds between $ 500 billion – 1.4 trillion, belonging to Indians parked in safe havens abroad 

RT @HarvardHealth Fatigue may be a sign of depression. 20%-40% of people who seek help for ongoing fatigue suffer from depression or anxiety 

Good question! A decent amount..I think. RT @Cleartrip How much extra would you be willing to pay to watch television with no advertising? 

RIP Chandrayaan – India’s first moon mission was a great first step! RT @ndtv Radio contact with Chandrayaan-I spacecraft lost CNET: US Bill would give president emergency control of Internet A planet 10x of Jupiter and 50x closer its star, than earth-sun distance: Is it violating the laws of physics??

#punetraffic Really, Pune drivers need a crash(no pun intended) course in lane discipline! With the JM/FC Rd oneways, this is urgent.

Shikimic acid: found in a plant in China – main ingredient for producing Oseltamivir, active ingredient of Tamiflu

From that first oil well in Pennsylvania, we have come a long way… Happy 150th Birthday, Oil Drilling!

Test drove the New Laura 2.0 lt. Terrific car. Deriving from a @d7y quote – ‘its an epitome of understated luxury’

Only Onion can do this! RT @TheOnion ‘Kennedy Curse’ Claims Life Of 77-Year-Old Tumor-Riddled Binge-Drinker

Pune’s police commissioner started his blog on August 20, 2009:  via @punemirror

Comparing specs of @Toyotafortuner with Innova. No major difference except the 3L engine, 4W drive. Is it really worth nearly 2X price??

Good stats on oil consumption by country(2007)  India is at #6. US consumes nearly 25% of global demand

Interesting stats on the i10, City and other A/T models – Indians Opt for Automatic Variant  via @carazoo 

Amar Bhide (IIT Bombay Class of ’77) vs Roger Altman on CNBC debating the merit of Bernanke’s reappointment –

Great article – also very relevant to India ‘s healthcare system “Why primary care doctors are fed up”    

IISc is India’s No. 1 tech institute  followed by IIT Kanpur and IIT Bombay.

Agri Min.Pawar interview on CNBC. Irrespective of what one thinks of his politics…He is really impressive with statistics and his facts.

Staggering sugar statistics in India (annual) – Demand: 24 Million Tons. Domestic Supply this year: 15 Million Tons.

$1.15 billion Dallas Cowboys Stadium  Biggest stadium -accomodates 120,000 and has start-of-art 73 ft X 160 ft HDTVs

Arun Shourie: ‘..there’s a need for a resposible voice that respects intellect and stays away from sound-byte journalism..’ great interview!

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Select Twitter Postings (Tweets) – Week of Aug 17 – Aug 24

Posted in Select Twitter Posts by Amit Paranjape on August 24, 2009

Nokia joins the netbook race with the Booklet 3G: 10 inches, 1.25 kg, 12 hour battery life, HDMI out

Latest WHO stance puts them at odds with various countries RT @Naturenews WHO: no drugs for healthy H1N1 victims

@PritishNandy Air India is in a huge mess. Only positive ending for it would be if Tata buy it back for Rs.1…and turn it around!

CNBC – Fortis to acquire 10 Hospitals (total apprx 2000 beds) from Wockhardt for around 900 Crores.

Pune, doesn’t showup. Delhi at #1 RT @ Cleartrip India’s top 10 hotel destinations:

Interesting stat ! RT @AlooTechie 34% of reserved rail tickets in India are sold online: IRCTC

Don’t come fishing for account details: Swiss banks to India

 #punetraffic Large number of vehicles breaking the JM Road oneway rule at around 11pm tonite. Very dangerous!

 #punetraffic Always impressed by the NH4 highway stretch from CME to Akurdi in PCMC. IMO, Pune needs such highways; and not BRTS!!

Foreigners Attending US Grad Schools Way Down: Wake Up, Xenophobes via @TechCrunch

 #ashes @BumbleCricket ‘s nickname for Nassir Hussain is Putin 🙂 Uncanny resemblance! Checkout: Putin looks at pitch

 Humans And Chimpanzees Genetically More Similar Than One Yeast Variety Is To Another

 Pune Media: For once, you can print something positive about #punetraffic – JM/FC Road oneway plan(its great!) instead of finding flaws…

 #h1n1 Lot more people die of TB in India. Precaution list is same! (Hand-washing, masks when near patients, etc..etc.) How many follow it??

RT @PritishNandy If Indira’s Parsi husband was a Toddywalla, not a Gandhi would India’s political history be different? Shashi Tharoor(1997)

Rediff – How India secretly helped Lanka destroy the LTTE via @amahajani

Jon Stewart and Asif Mandavi at their best 🙂 …. cover the #SRK incident at Newark Airport via @adityakuber

I was worried about hypochondria, now add OCD to that list 🙂 After swine flu, is OCD gripping Pune?

Has anyone noticed that these ‘luxury’ Mumbai-Pune private busses are often the most polluting, and probably really badly maintained!

RT @PritishNandy The way the BJP’s going, soon there’ll be no Opposition in Parliament.There will only be 2 parties: Pro-Mukesh vs Pro-Anil Warren Buffett’s oped in NY Times – ‘The Greenback Effect’ – Strikes a cautious note…

 Mumbai, Pune make it but some startling omissions RT @trakin 10 Wealthiest Cities in India: Any Guesses?

 Wondering – In future, what would you rather have from the Mulshi reservoir: 150 MW of power, or about 80% of Pune’s water needs?!

 Was suspected for a while, but now some proof? ‘Found: first amino acid on a comet’

 Just CANNOT imagine Favre playing AGAINST Packers on Moday Night! Why?? Source: Favre to sign with Vikings

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Select Twitter Postings (Tweets) – Week of Aug 12

Posted in Select Twitter Posts by Amit Paranjape on August 18, 2009

Twitter is a great medium for sharing interesting thoughts, ideas and links. It is increasingly becoming the ‘micro-blogging’ platform of choice (Twitter postings are limited to 140 characters). However, I still see that many of my friends, colleagues and other readers who subscribe to my blog feeds, are not on twitter.

I am trying this new format on my blog, where I put up some of my select twitter postings (also called as ‘tweets’) as a weekly blog article. The topics will be across the board – but mostly along the lines of what I have in my blog – Random Thoughts, Technology, Pune, Current Affairs, Science, Cricket, India, Humor, etc.
Today, I am publishing the first such weekly article. Please provide your feedback on this new format and content. I will also continue to publish regular blog articles. If you are interested in learning more about twitter – please checkout and my brief article: What is Twitter? And why should one start using it?
Once you are onboard twitter, you can follow me at –
Note –  The normal web links are also stored in a smaller format (to save number of characters) in twitter posts. Simply click on those short links, and they will take you to the original link & webpage.
Here are some select twitter postings (tweets) from this week:
Imagine 200 people dying everyday from flu in Pune! Was a reality in the 1918 epidemic. Great article by Mandar Lawate in today’s Sakal #Marathi.
#pune #mumbai In not too distant future, its conceivable – Pune will use water from Mulshi (9 TMC) and Mumbai from Koyna (80 TMC storage).
#punewatercrisis Believe water from Mulshi, Koyna hydel projects goes into the sea – no significant irrigation use..?
#punewatercrisis Tough questions regarding water distribution – White paper on water supply demandedabout 
Know quite a few people in this category 🙂 ‘Mutation Tied to Need for Less Sleep Is Discovered’ via @nytimes
IBM looks to DNA to sustain Moore’s Law
A massive storm spotted on Saturn’s Moon – Titan…Presence of water? via @naturenews
Energy-Aware Internet Routing: Software that tracks electricity prices could slash energy
RT @TIME Nearly 90 percent of U.S. money contains traces of cocaine |
Wikipedia isn’t dying! Today, the English version published its three millionth article. via @NiemanLababout 20 hours ago from web
2009 H1N1 Pandemic – Global Statistics. Take a look at where India stands (especially proportional to its population)about 20 hours ago from web Great article by Dr T Jacob John – ‘India’s amateur handling of the H1N1 pandemic’about 23 hours ago from web
#pune Trivia – The Mulshi dam is owned by Tata Group and generates 150 MW of hydro-power at the plant at Bhira. It was built in 1927.2:09 PM Aug 17th from web
Didnt know that the great international architect Christopher Benninger, has been based out of Pune for nearly 3 decades! PM Aug 16th from web
Seeing this h1n1 induced hysteria in Pune, feel vindicated about my stand on the “Illiterate 21st Century Consumer” PM Aug 15th from web I wrote this last November…as relevant as ever! “Is TV News Making Us Dumb” also add print media to it!11:05 AM Aug 15th from web
Prices near 30 year highs… RT @TheEconomist Why the sugar price is soaring
Radical new simplified tax code draft unveiled by the Indian Govt:
WiMAX not really 4G: Ericcson CTO via @om
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Is the paranoia around H1N1 in Pune / India justified? – A look at some factoids & information resources

Posted in Current Affairs, Healthcare & Medicine, Pune by Amit Paranjape on August 12, 2009

Honestly, I don’t have the exact answer. Only time will tell whether we, the citizens of Pune (and India) over-reacted, or should have done a lot more. All we have right now are statistics, data-points, examples from other regions of the world, and expert advisories to look at and  learn from. 

In this article, I am listing out the various relevant factoids, observations and information resources that I have stumbled upon over the past few days. I will let the readers draw their own conclusions.

What is painfully clear though is that we don’t have enough data, and we often don’t rely on credible sources of information. In absence of data and facts, the common population is always swayed by ‘headlines’ and ‘sound bites’ – Sadly, this is true even in the 21st century. Thanks to the latest technology, data can be accessed easily; yet this same technology can also help in spreading rumors a lot faster as well.

Here are some factoids and observations:

1. According to WHO and other estimates, there are nearly 1 Billion cases of normal flu (influenza) each year.  Around 3-5 Million of these are severe and 300,000 – 500,000 of these result in deaths.

Statistically speaking (based on a simple extrapolation that India’s population is apprx 1/5 of World Population) that translates to 200 M cases, 600,000 – 1 M severe cases, and 60,000 – 100,000 deaths.

For a city of Pune, that translates to 500 deaths/year or 10 deaths/week.

All these are huge numbers. And yet, until a few weeks back, we hardly even thought about ‘influenza’ as something serious! 

2. On a related topic – Pollution levels in Pune and in all major Indian cities are at very dangerous levels. Yet very few perceived the need to wear masks over all these years. Do we know the statistics of upper respiratory problems in major Indian cities?

3. According to WHO (World Health Organization), the recommended mask to protect against H1N1 infections is the one that meets the N95 standard. Yet, these constitute a miniscule amount of the ones being worn around in Pune. The others don’t really offer any significant help. For a complete list of Do’s and Don’ts regarding masks – please refer to the next section.

4. Commonsense tells us that it is better to wear masks in crowded places; but they are not very critical when walking or driving on uncrowded, open roads. Yet, what we are seeing around in Pune is quite the opposite. It is also amazing to see so many people wearing masks that are covering their mouths, but not their noses?!

5. Last year, over 200 riders lost their lives in 2-Wheeler Accidents in Pune – many of these deaths could have been prevented had the riders been wearing helmets. Yet I see so many people on Pune roads today wearing masks but not helmets!

6. According to what I have read thus far, the H1N1 strain is not significantly more virulent than the traditional influenza virus. The prescribed treatments are also very similar to normal flu.

7. Most individuals who get infected with H1N1 will get back to normal in a few days (similar to the normal flu). This is not a virus like HIV that an individual will carry with him / her for the rest of their lives!

8. Apparently, a vast percentage (by some accounts, up to 90%) of the Indian population tests +ve on the skin test for TB (Tuberculosis). Majority of these tests yield a –ve result on a follow-up (and more reliable) X-Ray test. Disease causing germs (viruses and bacteria) are present everywhere – in most of the cases, the immune system should be able to take care of them! It is only when the immune system becomes weak (in case of old age, young children, patients suffering from certain chronic ailments, etc.) do these germs present any significant danger.


Here are some useful information sources:

1. Flu related statistics (from Roche Laboratories – makers of Tamiflu)

2. Comprehensive Flue Related Information from US Dept of Health & Human Services and CDC (Center for Disease Control)

3. Comprehensive Flue Related Information from WHO (World Health Organization)

4. A map based depiction of Flu cases across the globe

5. WHO – FAQ about H1N1

6. WHO – Document regarding use of masks

7. WHO – Document regarding cleaning hands as a key preventive measure

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