Archive for May, 2017

Viet Nam War – A Viet Namese tells McNamara where he went Wrong …

Posted on May 28, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career, Personalities, Searching for Success |

This is Mr Xuân Thuỷ, Foreign Minister of North Vietnam (1963 to 1965), during a 1995 meeting with former US Secretary of Defense, serving from 1961 to 1968, Robert S. McNamara.

“Mr. McNamara, You must never have read a history book. If you’d had, you’d know we weren’t pawns of the Chinese or the Russians.

McNamara, didn’t you know that? Don’t you understand that we have been fighting the Chinese for 1000 years? We were fighting for our independence.

And we would fight to the last man. And we were determined to do so. And no amount of bombing, no amount of U.S. pressure would ever have stopped us.” 

From – The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara:

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A Wartime Civil Mil Relationship …

Posted on May 25, 2017. Filed under: Personalities, The English |

Gen Brooke commanded II Corps in the British Expeditionary Force and had a pessimistic view of the Allies’ chances of countering a German offensive. He was sceptical of the quality and determination of the French Army. This appeared to be justified when on a visit to some French formations he was shocked to see unshaven men, unkempt horses and dirty vehicles.

After Dunkirk,in his first conversation with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Brooke insisted that all British forces should be withdrawn from France. Churchill objected but was soon convinced by Brooke.

In July 1940 Brooke took over command of  Home Forces to counter any invasion. Contrary to his predecessor, who favoured a static coastal defence, Brooke focused on developing a mobile reserve which was to swiftly counterattack the enemy forces before they became established. A light line of defence on the coast was to assure that the landings were delayed as much as possible.

Brooke believed that the lack of a unified command of the three services was “a grave danger” to the defence of the country. Despite this, and the fact that the available forces never reached the numbers he thought were required, Brooke considered the situation far from “helpless” in case the Germans invaded.

“We should certainly have a desperate struggle and the future might well have hung in the balance, but I certainly felt that given a fair share of the fortunes of war we should certainly succeed in finally defending these shores”, he wrote after the war. But in the end, the German invasion plan was never taken beyond the preliminary assembly of forces.

In December 1941 Brooke became Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) and member the Chiefs of Staff Committee and in March 1942 its Chairman. For the remainder of the Second World War, Brooke was the foremost military adviser to Winston Churchill.

As CIGS, Brooke was the functional head of the British Army, and as chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, which he dominated by force of intellect and personality, he took the leading military part in the overall strategic direction of the British war effort.

His relationship with his Civilian boss was a turbulent one. He describes Churchill as a “genius mixed with an astonishing lack of vision – he is quite the most difficult man to work with that I have ever struck but I should not have missed the chance of working with him for anything on earth! “

Churchill on his part said about Brooke: “When I thump the table and push my face towards him what does he do? Thumps the table harder and glares back at me. I know these Brookes – stiff-necked Ulstermen and there’s no one worse to deal with than that!” 

It has been claimed that part of Churchill’s greatness was that he appointed Brooke as CIGS and kept him for the whole war.

A general complaint from Brooke was that Churchill often advocated diversion of forces where the CIGS preferred concentration. Brooke was particularly annoyed by Churchill’s idea of capturing the northern tip of Sumatra.

But in some cases Brooke did not see the political dimension of strategy as the Prime Minister did. The CIGS was sceptical about the British intervention in the Greek Civil War in late 1944, believing this was an operation which would drain troops from the central front in Germany. But at this stage the war was practically won and Churchill saw the possibility of preventing Greece from becoming a communist state.

 The most serious clash between the Prime Minister and the Chiefs of Staff, was regarding the British preparations for final stages of the Pacific War. Brooke and the rest of the Chiefs of Staff wanted to build up the forces in Australia while Churchill preferred to use India as a base for the British effort. It was an issue over which the Chiefs of Staff were prepared to resign, but in the end a compromise was reached

Despite their many disagreements Brooke and Churchill held an affection for each other. After one fierce clash Churchill told his chief of staff and military adviser, Sir Hastings Ismay, that he did not think he could continue to work any longer with Brooke because “he hates me. I can see hatred looking from his eyes.”

Brooke responded to Ismay: “Hate him? I don’t hate him. I love him. But the first time I tell him that I agree with him when I don’t will be the time to get rid of me, for then I can be no more use to him.” When Churchill was told this he murmured, ”Dear Brookie.”.

The partnership between Brooke and Churchill was a very successful one and led Britain to victory. According to historian Max Hastings, their partnership “created the most efficient machine for the higher direction of the war possessed by any combatant nation, even if its judgments were sometimes flawed and its ability to enforce its wishes increasingly constrained”.

Brooke’s diary entry for 10 September 1944 is particularly revealing of his ambivalent relationship with Churchill: ...”And the wonderful thing is that 3/4 of the population of the world imagine that Churchill is one of the Strategists of History, a second Marlborough, and the other 1/4 have no idea what a public menace he is and has been throughout this war! It is far better that the world should never know, and never suspect the feet of clay of this otherwise superhuman being. Without him England was lost for a certainty, with him England has been on the verge of disaster time and again…… Never have I admired and despised a man simultaneously to the same extent. Never have such opposite extremes been combined in the same human being.

The Alanbrooke diaries also give sharp opinions on several of the top Allied leaders. The Americans Eisenhower and Marshall, for example, are described as poor strategists and Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander as unintelligent. Among the few individuals of whom Brooke seems to have kept consistently positive opinions, from a military standpoint, were General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Field Marshal Sir John Dill, and Joseph Stalin.

Brooke admired Stalin for his quick brain and grasp of military strategy. Otherwise he had no illusions about the man, describing Stalin thus: “He has got an unpleasantly cold, crafty, dead face, and whenever I look at him I can imagine his sending off people to their doom without ever turning a hair.”

After the war, the Brookes’ financial situation forced the couple to move into the gardener’s cottage of their former home, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

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The Smart Kid …

Posted on May 23, 2017. Filed under: Light plus Weighty |

This kid will be a success ! He is brilliant!                                                                                    ..

Q1.. In which battle did Napoleon die? …  * His last battle

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Q2.. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed? … * At the bottom of the page
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Q3.. River Ravi flows in which state? …  * Liquid
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Q4.. What is the main reason for divorce? …* Marriage
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Q5.. What is the main reason for failure? …* Exams
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Q6.. What can you never eat for breakfast? … * Lunch & dinner
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Q7.. What looks like half an apple … * The other half
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Q8.. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what will it become?… * Wet
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 Q9.. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ? …* By sleeping at night.
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Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand? …*   You will never find an elephant that has one hand.
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Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have? … * Very large hands
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Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it? … *No time at all, the wall is already built.
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Q13. How can u drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it? … *Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.
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CHEERS!
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Trumps’ WaterGate??? …

Posted on May 23, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Uncategorized |

From the NY Times

Now that Robert Mueller III has been appointed special counsel to investigate ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, Democrats and even a few Republicans are drawing comparisons between the present mess and the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon.

Senator John McCain of Arizona pegged the president’s problems at a “point where it’s of Watergate size and scale” after reports surfaced that Mr. Trump had pressed James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, to quash an investigation of Mike Flynn, the Trump loyalist and former national security adviser. David Gergen, who was a White House aide to four presidents in Republican and Democratic administrations, contended that “we’re in impeachment territory now.” A few other Republicans have broken away from their party’s blind defense of the president and called for deeper investigations.

The national interest and the integrity of the democratic process are undeniably at stake in the investigation. And it may turn out that the president and his associates have engaged in an attempt to obstruct justice; really bad stuff could turn up. But Watergate? We’re not there yet. That’s a word that summons obstruction on a monumental scale, with evidence to prove overt criminal acts — not least the White House conspiracy to burglarize the Democratic Party headquarters. Scores of administration officials were indicted or jailed when President Nixon had to flee from office on the eve of certain impeachment.

Mr. Trump has made the parallel easier to draw as he complains of a “witch hunt,” tramples ethical standards and shows no sign of the reasonable political behavior the nation sorely needs from him. Like Mr. Nixon, he regularly denounces real and imagined “enemies”; his White House is full of sycophantic assistants pressed to defend fantastic claims and policy distortions, as was Mr. Nixon’s. Like the Nixonites, Trump loyalists in the administration are clearly fearful of crossing their boss by attempting helpful criticism as the president plays daily with political fire.

Yet the differences are also worth noting. The public learned then that the Nixon team had plunged into rank criminality, discussing a million-dollar bribe for the burglars after they demanded ransom money for protecting the White House. And the political realities in Congress were of a different order. Back then, the Democrats enjoyed subpoena power through majority control of both houses so that, unlike now, they could freely investigate the scandal. Bipartisanship was such in 1973 that the Senate voted 77 to zero to create the select Watergate committee once the F.B.I. established the burglary’s connection to the Nixon re-election campaign.

In contrast, current Republicans revel in tooth-and-claw partisanship. Democrats remain a largely powerless minority as Republican leaders pretend they have no grave doubts about Mr. Trump, hoping to survive next year’s elections despite his unpopularity.

Most striking of all in the Nixon impeachment was the deus ex machina revealed unexpectedly in the Watergate hearings that gripped the nation on television and radio — Mr. Nixon’s supreme folly of crafting his conspiracies before the attentive microphones of a White House taping system to record his utterances for some imagined high place in history. When the Supreme Court ruled that the tapes were fair game for investigators, the nation finally grasped the extent of Mr. Nixon’s scheming. Denials from his “silent majority” base became pointless.

President Trump has hinted threateningly at the existence of tapes; so far it sounds like his characteristic bluffing. (Ironies abound. Mr. Trump’s complaints to the F.B.I. about damaging leaks recall that Deep Throat, the ultimate Watergate leaker to The Washington Post, was revealed to be W. Mark Felt, then the associate director of the F.B.I.)

Watergate remains a tall bar. The Clinton and Reagan scandals couldn’t come close. In President Bill Clinton’s case, an independent counsel capitalized on his writ to wander widely into the president’s sex life, elevating a sex-and-mendacity saga into a perjury trial in which the Senate calmly voted to acquit, finding it all insufficient reason to evict a popular president. In the Iran-contra affair, President Ronald Reagan was never convincingly depicted as the mastermind of the illegal arms-for-hostages scheme run by his aides.

For Democrats, too much indulgence of impeachment notions could prove a distraction from the more workaday and politically achievable challenge at hand. Their main job is to rouse the public to use Mr. Trump’s unimpressive polling numbers as leverage on Republicans, who already are citing the Mueller investigation as reason to slow down congressional inquiries into the Trump and Russia affair. Beyond that, they and other critics should be working hard to win back a majority next year in at least one house of Congress. This would secure them the subpoena power to shed far better light for the nation on Mr. Trump’s and his enablers’ sorry deeds.

COMMENTS

  1. Consider the Clinton Administration. A President of the United States has oral sex with an intern. At first he denies it, then he lies to… Cheekos

2. There is one final pint that I would make, but only after considering:1. Donald admitted that he had shared sensitive classified Intel,… Azalea Lover

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Twenty Techies Shaping the Future …

Posted on May 17, 2017. Filed under: Searching for Success |

20 TECH VISIONARIES WHO ARE CREATING THE FUTURE by WIRED staff 04.25.17

MICROSOFT WILL BUILD computers even more sleek and beautiful than Apple’s. Robots will 3-D-print cool shoes that are personalized just for you. (And you’ll get them in just a few short days.) Neural networks will take over medical diagnostics, and Snapchat will try to take over the entire world. The women and men in these pages are the technical, creative, idealistic visionaries who are bringing the future to your doorstep. You might not recognize their names—they’re too busy working to court the spotlight—but you’ll soon hear about them a lot. They represent the best of what’s next.

 

Put Humans First, Code Second –Parisa Tabriz –

As head of security for Google Chrome, Parisa Tabriz has spent four years focusing on a vulnerability so widespread, most engineers act as if it doesn’t exist: humanity. She has pushed her 52-person team to grapple with problems once written off as “user errors.” They’ve made key changes in how the browser communicates with people, rewriting Chrome’s warnings about insecure network connections at a sixth-grade reading level. Rather than depending on users to spot phishing schemes, the team is exploring machine-­learning tools to automatically detect them. And they’re starting to mark sites as “not secure” if they don’t use HTTPS encryption, pressuring the web to secure itself. “We’ve been accused of being paternalistic, but we’re in a position to protect people,” she says. “The goal isn’t to solve math problems. It’s to keep humans safe.” Tabriz, whose father is Iranian, has also made a point of hiring engineers from other countries—like Iran—where state internet surveillance is an oppressive, everyday concern. “You can’t keep people safe if you don’t understand those human challenges around the world.” —Andy Greenberg

 

Wall Street Can Run on Collaboration, Not Competition Richard Craib Founder | Numerai

Wall Street is capitalism at its fiercest. But Richard Craib believes it can also be a place for friendly collaborations. His hedge fund, San Francisco–based ­Numerai, relies on artificially intelligent algorithms to handle all trades. But the 29-year-old South African mathematician doesn’t build these algorithms himself. Instead, his fund crowdsources them from thousands of anonymous data scientists who vie for bitcoin rewards by building the most successful trading models. And that isn’t even the strangest part.

Ultimately, Craib doesn’t want these data scientists to get overly competitive. If only the best modelers win, they have little incentive to recruit fresh talent, which could dilute their rewards. Competitors’ self-­interest winds up at odds with getting the best minds, no matter who they are, working to improve the fund. To encourage cooperation, Craib developed Numer­aire, a kind of digital currency that rewards everyone when the fund does well. Data scientists bet Numer­aire on algorithms they think will succeed. When the models work, Numer­aire’s value goes up for everyone. “I don’t want to build a company or a startup or even a hedge fund,” Craib says. “I want to build a country—a place where everyone is working openly toward the same end.” —­Cade Metz

 

Microsoft Will Outdesign Apple Kait Schoeck Industrial Designer | Microsoft

Kait Schoeck wasn’t really supposed to end up at Micro­soft. She had enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009 with plans to be a painter, or maybe an illustrator. “I didn’t know industrial design actually existed,” she says. That changed in school, where she switched majors and even­tually caught Microsoft’s attention. The company liked her unusual portfolio—there wasn’t much in it about computers. Now she’s one of the designers working on Microsoft’s Surface products, helping the com­pany achieve what for decades has seemed impossible: outdesigning Apple. Because Schoeck and her team aren’t bogged down by decades of PC-­design baggage, they freely break with convention. And because their desks are a few feet from a machine shop, they can build whatever they dream up. “Being able to hold the products we make—that’s when you really know what works,” Schoeck says. Early in her time at Microsoft, she co­invented the rolling hinge that makes the detachable Surface Book possible; her team has also found ways to make touchscreen laptops feel natural, to build tablets that really can replace your laptop, and to turn the old-school desktop PC into something more like a drawing table. Thanks to designers like Schoeck, Micro­soft’s machines aren’t just brainy anymore—they’re beautiful too. —David Pierce

 

Frugal Science Will Curb Disease Manu Prakash Founder | Foldscope Instruments

While visiting rabies clinics in India and Thailand, Manu Prakash made a damning realization: In remote villages, traditional microscopes are useless. Cumbersome to carry and expensive to maintain, the finely tuned machines are often relegated to a dusty lab corner while medical providers diagnose and treat patients in the field. So the Stanford bio­engineer set out to build what he calls “the pencil of micro­scopy”—a high-­performing tool that’s lightweight, ­durable, and cheap. In 2014 his lab unveiled the Foldscope, an origami-like paper microscope that magnifies objects up to 2,000 times but costs less than $1 to produce. “We quickly realized that writing scientific papers about it wasn’t good enough,” Prakash says. He turned his lab into a mini Foldscope factory, giving away microscopes to anyone who asked. Within a year, the lab had shipped 50,000 of them to users in 135 countries, from Mongolia to rural Montana; this year it aims to donate 1 million. An eager army of DIY scientists has used the tool to identify fake drugs, detect diseased crops, spot counter­feit currency, and more. Earlier this year, Prakash’s lab introduced the Paperfuge, a 20-cent centri­fuge inspired by an ancient spinning toy, which can be used to diagnose diseases like malaria. Prakash’s cheap, cleverly designed devices prove that when it comes to public health problems, the high tech (high-cost) solution isn’t always the best fix. Consider his lab’s latest achievement, a method of identifying mosquito species by recording their wing beats. The apparatus required? A flip phone. —Lauren Murrow

 

TV Ad Dollars Will Get Snapped Up Jeff Lucas VP and Global Head of Sales | Snap

In March, Snap’s public stock offering became the third-largest tech IPO of all time, raising $3.4 billion. Now it just needs to make money. As of January 2017, the six-year-old multi­media app had lost $1.2 billion, nearly half of that in 2016 alone. Its growth rate is slowing too: After averaging more than 15 million new daily users in each of the first three quarters of 2016, it added just 5 million in the fourth quarter. So last summer, the company poached media industry veteran Jeff Lucas, former head of sales at Viacom. In the wake of Snap’s IPO, he’s been tasked with backing up the brand’s billion-dollar hype with measurable profits. To do that, he’ll need to ward off copycat competitors like Insta­gram’s Stories and WhatsApp’s Status—direct descendants of Snapchat Stories, a series of snaps strung together chrono­logically—and lure ad spending away from Facebook and TV networks. He’s reportedly in talks with marketing agencies like Publicis Groupe, WPP, and Omnicom Group to land deals of $100 million to $200 million. In a crowded industry competing for advertising dollars, Lucas will be instrumental in getting those gatekeepers to open their coffers for Snap. —Davey Alba

SOURCE: EMARKETER

 

Encryption Alone Is Not Enough John Brooks Programmer | Ricochet

Thanks to messaging services like WhatsApp, Signal, and Apple’s iMessage, end-to-end encryption isn’t just for spies and cypherpunks anymore; it’s become nearly as standard as emoji. But sometimes an unbroken channel of encryption between sender and receiver isn’t enough. Sure, it hides the content of messages, but it doesn’t conceal the identities of who’s writing to whom—metadata that can reveal, say, the membership of an organization or a journalist’s web of sources. John Brooks, a 25-year-old middle school dropout, has created an app that may represent the next generation of secret-sharing tools: ones that promise to hide not just your words but also the social graph of your connections.

His chat app, called Ricochet, builds on a feature of the anonymity software Tor that’s rendered sites on the dark web untraceable and anonymous for years. But instead of cloaking web destinations, Ricochet applies those stealth features to your PC: It turns your computer into a piece of the darknet. And unlike almost all other messaging apps, Ricochet allows conversations to travel from the sender’s computer to the recipient’s without ever passing through a central server that can track the data or metadata of users’ communications. “There’s no record in the cloud somewhere that you ever used it,” Brooks says. “It’s all mixed in with everything else happening in Tor. You’re invisible among the crowd.” And when invisibility is an option, plain old encryption starts to feel awfully revealing. —­Andy Greenberg

 

Silicon Valley Can Spread the Wealth Leslie Miley President, West Coast | ­Venture for America

Silicon Valley generates astronomical levels of wealth. But you’d be hard-pressed to find the spoils of the tech industry extending far beyond the Bay Area, much less to ­Middle America. Leslie Miley wants to change that. Early this year he left his job as a director of engineering at Slack to launch an executive-­in-residence program at Venture for America. The project is designed to foster the building of tech businesses in emerging markets like Detroit and Baltimore. Starting this September, the residency will place Silicon Valley execs in yearlong stints in several of the program’s 18 innovation hubs, where they’ll advise area startups. The idea is that having well-connected leaders in such places may give local talent ties to Silicon Valley and inspire startups to set up shop in those cities. According to Miley, the program was fueled by industry-­wide anxiety following the 2016 election. “Tech enabled people to stay in their echo chambers,” Miley says. “We’re partially responsible.” Not just by building non-­inclusive platforms, he says, but by overlooking large swaths of the country in the hunt for talent. Davey Alba

 

Our Robots Are Powered by Poets and Musicians Beth Holmes, Farah Houston, Michelle Riggen-­Ransom

HOLMES Knowledge Manager | Alexa Information team HOUSTON Senior Manager | Alexa Personality team RIGGEN-­RANSOM Managing Editor | Alexa Personality team

Behind your high tech digital assistant is a band of liberal arts majors. A trio of women shape the personality of Amazon’s Alexa, the AI-powered device used by tens of millions of consumers worldwide: Michelle Riggen-­Ransom, who has an MFA in creative writing, composes the bot’s raw responses; Farah Houston, a psychology grad specializing in personality science, ensures that those responses dovetail with customers’ expectations; and Beth Holmes, a mathematician with expertise in natural language processing, decides which current events are woven into Alexa’s vocabulary, from the Super Bowl to the Oscars. “The commonality is that most of us have been writers and have had to express humor in writing,” Houston says. Riggen-­Ransom oversees a group of playwrights, poets, fiction authors, and musicians who complete weekly writing exercises that are incorporated into Alexa’s persona. (The bot’s disposition is broadly defined in a “personality document,” which informs the group’s responses.) The content is then workshopped among the team; much of it ends up on the cutting room floor. Alexa’s temperament can swing from practical and direct to whimsical and jokey. The art is in striking the right balance, especially when it comes to addressing sensitive topics. “Our overall approach when talking to people about politics, sex, or religion has been to divert with humor,” Houston says. But thanks in part to her female-led team, the bot won’t stand for insults. “We work hard to always portray Alexa as confident and empowered,” Houston says. It takes a village to raise a fake lady. —­Davey Alba

 

Hard Data Can Improve Diversity Laura I. Gómez Founder | Atipica

Three years ago, Laura Gómez was participating in yet another diversity-in-tech panel, alongside representatives from Facebook and ­Google, when she snapped. “This is not a meritocracy, and we all know it,” the Latina entrepreneur announced. “This is cronyism. A Googler gets hired by Twitter, who gets hired by Facebook. Everyone is appointing their friends to positions of authority.” (As someone who has worked at Twitter, YouTube, and ­Google, she should know.) The breakthrough inspired Gómez to found Atipica, a recruiting software company that sorts job applicants solely by their skill set. That policy may seem obvious, but recruiters are prone to pattern-­matching in accordance with previous hires—giving preference to, say, Stanford-schooled ­Google engineers. Atipica isn’t designed to shame tech CEOs about their uber-white open offices; rather, it presents hard data, judgment-free. The company’s software—which draws on information from public, industry, and internal sources—reveals the type of person most likely to apply for a job, analyzes hiring patterns, and quantifies the likelihood that certain kinds of candidates will accept job offers. It also resurfaces diverse candidates for new job postings they’re qualified for, a strategy that has led thousands of applicants to be recontacted. Last fall, Atipica raised $2 million from True Ventures, Kapor Capital, Precursor Ventures, and others. For Gómez, a Mexican immigrant who was undocumented until the age of 18, the work is personal. “My mother was a nanny and a housekeeper for people in Silicon Valley,” she says. “My voice is the voice of immigrants.” Her company’s success shows that the struggle to diversify tech will be won not by indignant tweetstorms but by data. —Lauren Murrow

 

Music Will Leave the Studio Behind Steve Lacy Musician

Most musicians work in studios, with engineers and producers and dozens of contributors. Steve Lacy works in hotel rooms. Or in his car. One time at a barbershop. Anywhere inspiration strikes, really. And with every unconventional session, Lacy’s proving to the industry that good music doesn’t have to be sparkling and hyperproduced. He dropped his first official solo material in February, a series of songs (he won’t call it an album) made entirely in GarageBand. Lacy plugs his guitar into his iPhone’s Lightning port and sings right into the mic. The whole thing’s a bit shticky, sure, but the point is to show people that the tools you have don’t really matter. He’s no musical lightweight, though. Just 18, he’s already a sought-after producer, making beats with the likes of J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. Lacy’s own style is a little bit pop, a little bit soul, and a little bit R&B. He calls it Plaid, because it’s a lot of funky patterns you can’t quite imagine together—but somehow it all works. Even he doesn’t always understand why, but he knows it does. Kendrick Lamar told him so. —David Pierce

SOURCE: RIAA

 

Microbiology Gets a Little Intelligent Design Christina Agapakis

Creative Director | Ginkgo Bioworks

For a biologist, Christina Agapakis has an unusual role. At Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston biotech firm that tweaks yeast and bacteria to create custom organisms for everything from fermentation to cosmetics, Agapakis is a bridge between the technical and creative sides of the business. She works with clients like food conglomerates to figure out how they can use engineered microbes to make their products better, cheaper, and more sustainable. Recently, French perfumer Robertet enlisted Ginkgo’s organism designers to create a custom yeast that could replicate the smell of rose oil. To do that, the designers inserted the scent-­producing genes from roses into yeast, which produced floral-­smelling compounds—no expensive rose petals necessary. Agapakis then worked with the company’s perfumers to develop new fragrances using this novel substance. “A lot of what I do is think about what this new technology can enable creatively,” she says. Biotech companies are learning that success requires more than good science—it takes imaginative thinking too. —Liz Stinson

 

Tech Workers, Not CEOs, Will Drive Real, Positive Change Maciej Ceglowski

Founder | Pinboard

A tweet by @Pinboard reads, “Silicon Valley lemon­ade stand: 30 employees, $45 million in funding, sells $9 glasses of lemonade while illegally blocking sidewalk.” The account belongs to a bookmarking site founded by Polish-born web developer Maciej Ceglowski. Though he established the handle in 2009 intending to offer product support, Ceglowski now uses the account to gleefully skewer Silicon Valley to 38,700 Twitter followers. Since the presidential election, the developer’s criticism of his own industry has taken a more trenchant tone, energizing a new wave of tech activists. (On Facebook’s refusal to cut ties with Trump supporter Peter Thiel, he tweeted: “Facebook has a board member who heard credible accusations of sexual assault and threw $1.25M at the perpetrator. That requires comment.”) In December, thousands of tech employees signed an @Pinboard-championed pledge at Neveragain.tech, refusing to utilize their companies’ user data to build a Muslim registry. Last year, Ceglowski founded Tech Solidarity, a national group that meets to devise methods of organizing. The effort has become high-profile enough that even C-suite execs, like Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, now attend. For all his trademark snark, Ceglowski maintains that his goal is to foster a more conscientious tech indus­try. He hopes that Tech Solidarity can develop an industry-wide code of ethics in the coming months—“move fast and break things” needs an update, he says—and eventually lead employees to unionize. He believes the best way to exert influence over powerful tech companies is from the inside out: by empowering their workers. —Davey Alba

 

China Will Lead the Tech Industry Connie Chan

Partner | Andreessen Horowitz

Connie Chan has a master’s degree in engineering from Stanford, where her classmates were Facebook’s future first employees. She thought that she knew what tech’s leading edge looked like. Then she went to China and discovered she had no idea. On massively popular messaging apps like WeChat, people did way more than just talk. They got marriage licenses and birth certificates, paid utilities and traffic tickets, even had drugs delivered—all in-app. Tech companies in the US, she realized, could no longer take it for granted that they led while the world followed; the stereo­type that China’s tech companies are just copycats is obsolete. “If you study Chinese products, you can get inspiration,” Chan says. As a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, she now specializes in helping American startups understand just how much they have to learn as China’s tech industry races ahead of the US in everything from messaging to livestreaming (now a $5 billion market). No matter the protectionist rhetoric coming from the Trump administration, US tech firms see billions of dollars to be made in China, and vice versa. As these two financial giants play overseas footsie, Chan acts as a facilitator. “I spend so much time teaching people what they can’t see,” she says. It won’t stay invisible for long. —Marcus Wohlsen

SOURCES: RHODIUM GROUP; 2016 U.S. DATA: XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

 

Need Help Choosing a Wine? There’s a DNA-Based App for That.

James Lu Senior VP of Applied Genomics | Helix

Advances in genetic sequencing mean that labs can now—quickly and cheaply—read millions of letters of DNA in a single gob of spit. Genomics researcher James Lu and his team at Helix (buoyed by $100 million in funding led by Illumina, the largest maker of DNA sequencers) are harnessing that information so you’ll be able to learn a lot more about yourself. How? There’s an app for that. First Helix will sequence and store your entire exome—every letter of the 22,000 genes that code for proteins in your body. (The technology uncovers much more data than genotyping, the process used by companies like 23andMe, which searches only for specific markers.) Then Helix partners will create apps that analyze everything from your cancer risk to, they say, your wine preferences, ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars a pop. “Where one person may be interested in inherited diseases, someone else cares about fitness or nutrition,” Lu says. “We work with developers to provide better products and context for your genetic information.” Helix’s first partners include medical groups like the Mayo Clinic and New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, which are developing genetic-education and health-­related apps, and National Geographic, which offers an app that uncovers your ancestors’ locations and migration patterns going back 200,000 years. Lu imagines future collaborations with, say, a travel service that plans your vacation itinerary based on your genealogy or a food delivery service that tailors menus to your metabolic profile. The project opens new markets for genetic research—and entirely new avenues of self-absorption for the selfie generation. —Lauren Murrow

SOURCE: NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE

 

Techies Should Serve Their Country Matt Cutts

Acting Administrator | United States Digital Service

Matt Cutts could easily have left his job at the US Digital Service after Inauguration Day—as many other Obama staffers did. His wife wasn’t in Washington, and neither was his main gig as Google’s chief spam fighter. But when the time came, he couldn’t walk away. “My heart says USDS,” he wrote to his wife, who eventually joined him in DC.

As a member of the govern­ment’s tech task force, Cutts oversaw a team that worked on an online portal for veterans. Had he quit in January, he wouldn’t have seen two USDS initiatives—services for the Pentagon and the Army—through to completion. “The organization deserves to have someone who can help preserve its mission,” Cutts says. It also needs someone who can convince Silicon Valley types that managing the president’s Twitter feed isn’t the only tech job in government. Cutts, who avoids talking politics, has begun recruiting friends in the industry, telling them that no matter whom they voted for, “once you see the sorts of issues you can tackle here, it tends to be pretty addictive.” And you really can change the world (slowly). —Issie Lapowsky

 

Robots Will Make Fast Fashion Even Faster

Gerd Manz VP of Future Team | Adidas

Cookie-cutter kicks aren’t good enough for Gen Z sneaker­heads. They want custom­ization, and they want it fast. “They get annoyed if it takes three seconds to download an app,” says industrial engineer Gerd Manz, who oversees technology innovation at Adidas. So he is heading up the company’s ambitious new manufacturing facilities—pointedly dubbed Speedfactories—staffed not by humans but by robots. The sportswear giant will start production in two Speedfactories this year, one in Ansbach, Germany, and another in Atlanta, each eventually capable of churning out 500,000 pairs of shoes a year, including one-of-a-kind designs. Thanks to tech like automated 3-D printing, robotic cutting, and computerized knitting, a shoe that today might spend 18 months in the development and manufacturing pipeline will soon be made from scratch in a matter of hours. And though the Speedfactories will initially be tasked with limited-edition runs, Manz, a sort of sneaker Willy Wonka, predicts that the complexes will ulti­mately produce fully customizable shoes. (You’ll even be able to watch a video of your own pair being made.) “It doesn’t matter to the Speedfactory manufacturing line if we make one or 1,000 of a product,” Manz says. The robot factories of the future will fulfill consumers’ desires: It’s hyper-­personalization at a breakneck pace. —Lauren Murrow

 

Artificial Intelligence Will Help Doctors Do Their Jobs Better

Lily Peng Product Manager | Google Brain

In 2012, Google built an artificial intelligence system that could recognize cats in YouTube videos. The experiment may have seemed frivolous, but now Lily Peng is applying some of the same techniques to address a far more serious problem. She and her colleagues are using neural networks—complex mathematical systems for identifying patterns in data—to recognize diabetic retino­pathy, a leading cause of blindness among US adults.

Inside Google Brain, the company’s central AI lab, Peng is feeding thousands of retinal scans into neural networks and teaching them to “see” tiny hemorrhages and other lesions that are early warning signs of retinopathy. “This lets us identify the ­people who are at the highest risk and get them treatment soon rather than later,” says Peng, an MD herself who also has a PhD in bio­engineering.

She’s not out to replace doctors—the hope is that the system will eventually help overworked physicians in poorer parts of the world examine far more patients, far more quickly.

At hospitals in India, Peng is already running clinical trials in which her AI analyzes patients’ eye scans. In the future, doctors could work with AI to examine x-rays and MRIs to detect all sorts of ailments. “We want to increase access to care everywhere,” she says. By sharing the workload, machines can help make that possible. —Cade Metz

SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF ROBOTICS

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Out Reach by the Supreme Court …

Posted on May 16, 2017. Filed under: Indian Thought |

Aditi Kumaria Hingu

The Republic of India has a federal government, comprising of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.  This structure is based on the Constitution of India. 

The Constitution framed a system of governance in which the powers conferred by the people are not vested in either a single person or a single institution. Therein came the principle of ‘Separation of Powers’ among the three pillars of democracy – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.
The Executive comprises the Prime Minister and his council of ministers (the temporary executives) and the Civil Servants and other officers (the permanent executives). They have the sole responsibility to ensure daily administration of the nation/state. They propose policies, and once approved, ensure that policies are implemented in a timely and effective manner.
The Legislature comprises the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). It is the policy making body of the country where all bills proposed by the Executive get discussed, debated, amended, approved or rejected.
The Judiciary is the adjudicating body which is independent of the Executive and Legislature. The bills proposed by the Executive and the laws passed by the Legislature are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of India. The Judiciary has the power to declare a law null and void if it violates the constitution. 
However it is a matter of national shame that the very Judiciary which is tasked with ensuring that the Constitution is followed is now flouting its principles on a regular basis with impunity.
Three recent judgements made by the Supreme Court of India come to mind –
In November 2016, the SC mandated that the National Anthem must be played in all theatres prior to screening of movies. Neither was the ruling well thought through, nor was it made clear as to how would this be enforced.  Movie-goers were confused whether they should stand up in case the National Anthem is played as part of a movie. Physically disabled members of the audience were assaulted for not standing up when the anthem was played. It took clarifications and notifications from the Ministry of Home Affairs to clear the air on this issue.
The Honourable SC seemed to have forgotten the fact that patriotism cannot be enforced. If at all, it does need to be enforced, who will be the enforcing agency? Should the Indian Police Force, which is under-staffed and over-worked, be asked to let go of their current duties during movie times?
The second judgement was the April 2017 ban on all liquor vending outlets, including Hotels and Restaurants, within 500 metres of National and State Highways. If people drink and drive, accidents will happen. The source and distance of liquor purchase is not a variable that impacts the casualty rate. It will be worthwhile to monitor road accidents for the period of April 2017 – March 2018 and compare it to the same period, a year ago. There is very high probability that there will not any significant reduction in the casualty rate.
However there would be another metric that would have dropped significantly – the rate of employment.  It is estimated that around 1 million jobs will get impacted in the hospitality industry due to this law. Assuming an average family size of 5 members, this law directly hits at the livelihood of 5 million people. Not only is this a silly order, it is also a clear case of judicial overreach since the prohibition of consumption of intoxicating drinks is a directive principle which is under the aegis of the duly elected government.
Lastly and the most dangerous example of judicial overreach has been the SC’s decision to reject the curative petition of the government and uphold its earlier direction of 8th July 2016, wherein registration of FIR against Armed Forces Personnel has been made mandatory for every encounter death. This includes disturbed areas where Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) is in place.
The Army and paramilitary forces are deployed in sensitive areas due to the breakdown of civil machinery. Apart from helping maintain order, they also serve a humanitarian role – hospitals in the Himalayan region, the Goodwill schools in Ladakh, the roads maintained by Border Roads Organisation are just a few examples. Yet, our Honourable judges chose to paint the soldiers with the same brush as they would a common criminal.
No soldier wants to kill his own countrymen. But if there is a threat to the country’s sovereignty, he will risk his all and fight. He will either kill or get killed. Now, with this judgement passed by the SC in its hallowed portals at New Delhi (far away from the harsh realities of Siachen and Sukma), the soldiers have no option but to either let the terrorists escape or get killed themselves.
It is indeed a sad day for the Republic of India when one of the pillars of democracy, the Judiciary, itself becomes an enemy of the nation. Not only does it break the norms established by the Constitution by its acts of judicial overreach, it also harms the country’s freedom of expression, economy and security.
The enormity of the Judiciary’s misplaced zeal becomes even more obvious when one considers the abysmal track record of justice dispensation in India. There are 30 million cases pending in India. Even if one assumes that a case involves only two people, it is tantamount to 60 million people waiting for justice. Despite these millions of people waiting for justice related to criminal and civil matters – murders, rapes, criminal intimidation, property disputes, cheating – the highest court in India, decides to focus its energies on when the national anthem should be sung, where should liquor not be dispensed and how should soldiers fight wars. If this is not a mockery of justice, what is?
(Aditi Kumaria Hingu is a marketing graduate from IIM Calcutta, currently she works in the corporate sector. She comes from an army background.)


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Gen KS Thimayya or Just Timmy …

Posted on May 15, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Pakistan, Personalities, Quotes |

Gen KS Thimayya remains one of the Three Greatest Chiefs of the Indian Army along with Field Marshals KM Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw.

Timmy’s  misfortune was that Nehru’s blue eyed boy – the machiavillian V K Krishna Menon was the Defense Minister whose sole aim was to belittle the Chief and destroy the moral fabric of the Nations’ Army. Menon had even gone to Sam when he was GOC 26 Div, to enlist his help to bring down Timmy. Sam had of course point blank refused to be dragged down to such heinous villainy. As a consequence an enquiry was instituted against Sam when he was Commandant the Staff College and his promotion delayed by a year and half.

Timmy had foreseen the 1962 War and had got Gen SP Thorat to do an Appreciation to evolve a plan for the defense of NEFA. Gen Thorat had in the event recommended that we fight at the existing Road Heads in view of the poor communications and our lack of wherewithal. Gen Thimayya agreed with Gen Thorat and went on to recommend to the Govt that Gen Thorat take over as Chief after he retired.

However Nehru and Menon had different plans which was to make an Army Service Corps officer, Gen BM Kaul, a Kashmiri related to Nehru, Chief after Timmy retired.. The result was that toe indian Army touched the Nadir of its Great History.

\Bare bone facts re Timmy – a military legend in his own right and by any standard.

Born 30th Mar 1906. Died 17 Dec 1965 after he had seen the Debacle of 1962 and the 1965 War.

He was the first Indian to command an Infantry brigade during WWII.

His elder brother Ponappa served in the INA, while his younger brother Somaiah was killed in action  in Kashmir.

In the army he had a running feud with British officers over their snobbery/racism.

He wanted to quit the Army and join the Freedom Movement  but was dissuaded by Motilal Nehru – father of Pandit Nehru.

During the Quit India movement he ordered troops not to fire on the protesters.

He oversaw the surrender of INA at Rangoon, his brother was one of the POWs.

After the Korean War, he played a major role in repatriation of POWs winning plaudits from Gen Douglas Mc Arthur.

During the Kashmir War in 1947, he personally led from the front in a tank for ohe capture Zoji La Pass.

He asked Nehru for just thoree months to retake the whole of J and K but Nehru referred to the UN.

Had a running feud with the Def Minister V.K.Menon over his undue interference in the Army.

Had the foresight to recognize the dange from China along with Sardar Vallabhai Patel much before any one else..

His proposal to appoint Lt.Gen Thorat as Army Chief was shot down by Nehru, who instead appointed Pran Nath Thapar to ease the way for Biji Kaul.

He spent his last days in Cyprus, as part of UN Peacekeeping Force during their Civil War. Passed away in Cyprus on 17 Dec 1965, aged 59. No important person from India attended his Funeral. He was buried in the  Wilson Garden cemetery.

When General Thimayya died in Cyprus, the Cyprus Govt. declared a 10 day mourning and the their Flag flew at Half Mast.

When the President of Cyprus, came to India, specifically to Honour him, our government, woke up and hastily erected a memorial, in ASC Center, Bangalore.

Jai Hind

Gen KS Thimayya remains one of the Three Greatest Chiefs of the Indian Army along with Field Marshals KM Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw.

Timmy’s  misfortune was that Nehru’s blue eyed boy – the machiavellian V K Krishna Menon was the Defense Minister whose sole aim was to belittle the Chief and destroy the moral fabric of the Nations’ Army. Menon had even gone to Sam when he was GOC 26 Div, to enlist his help to bring down Timmy. Sam had of course point blank refused to stoop to such a despicable. As a consequence an enquiry was instituted against Sam when he was Commandant the Staff College and his promotion delayed by a year and half.

Timmy had foreseen the 1962 War and had got Gen SP Thorat to do an Appreciation to evolve a plan for the defense of NEFA. Gen Thorat had in the event recommended that we fight at the existing Road Heads in view of the poor communications and our lack of wherewithal. Gen Thimayya agreed with Gen Thorat and went on to recommend to the Govt that Gen Thorat should take over as Chief after he retired.

However Nehru and Menon had different plans which was to make an Army Service Corps officer, Gen BM Kaul, a Kashmiri related to Nehru, Chief after Timmy retired.. Incidentally Gen Kaul was the first recepient of the PVSM.His citation read

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1962 War – Gen BM Kaul …

Posted on May 14, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Timmy had foreseen the 1962 War and had got Gen SP Thorat to do an Appreciation to evolve a plan for the defense of NEFA. Gen Thorat had in the event recommended that we fight at the existing Road Heads in view of the poor communications and our lack of wherewithal. Gen Thimayya agreed with Gen Thorat and went on to recommend to the Govt that Gen Thorat take over as Chief after he retired.

However Nehru and Menon had different plans, These were to make an Army Service Corps officer, Gen BM Kaul, a Kashmiri distantly related to Nehru, Chief. As a stop gap, Gen Thapar was made Chief after Gen Thimayya retired.

General Kaul was well known in Army and Political Circles to be a “personal favourite” of Jawaharlal Nehru since his junior officer days. He reportedly received a number of undue professional favours throughout his career due to this personal connections. He made full use of this opportunity with utter disregard to the Army organisation.

He managed to keep himself away from hardship and learning the nuances of a ‘fixer’ rather than as a Commander since his days as a junior officer and also later in service, he managed to grab important Army senior command appointments due to his “pull”.

Gen SK Sinha, the noted historian, who was a G-3 when Sam and Yahya Khan were G-1 and G-2 respectively, also served as a junior to Gen Kaul. He candidly and admiringly writes of Gen Kauls energy and ‘Go – Getter’ abilities to get things accomplished as long as things pertained to administration and with dealings with the civil and political sectors.

Leading men in battle is the forte of the Thimayya and Manekshaw types of this world!

His involvement with Jawaharlal Nehru later turned out to be the major reason for the shameful loss and massacre of Indian troops at the hands of the Chinese in the 1962 War.

During the 1962 War he was GOC iV Corps and at critical stages of this barely month long war, he fell sick and had to be evacuated. At the Battle of Walong, he insisted that 6 Kumaon attack on 14 Nov as it was Nehru’s Birthday and a Gift had to be given to the PM. The CO had remonstrated that the unit had barely arrived by late evening of 13 Nov and needed tome for recce and preparation. The CO was told that he would be sacked if he did not attack. As a result the unit lost over 200 men and was itself attacked on 17 Nov. It ceased to exist as the routes to the rear had been cut. A full account is given in  the Post tittled ‘Battle of Walong’.

The War ended Gen Kaul’s career as it did to the power play of Krishna Menon. Nehru too became a broken and shattered man and died barely a year and half later.

Earlier on Gen BM Kaul was the first ever recipient of the Param Vashisht Seva Medal instituted by the Indian government in 1960. His citation reads –

‘For successfully completing the project ‘Amar’ which entailed the construction of 1,450 quarters for troops in Ambala. This was the first project of its kind and was completed through hot weather and the monsoons in the face of numerous problems. Lt.-Gen. Kaul overcame these difficulties by dint of hard work and initiative of the highest order. He displayed organising ability, drive, and resourcefulness. It was by his determination, leadership and personal example that the task was completed by due date’

What can be sillier or sadder!

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Gen Giap and the Media …

Posted on May 14, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, From a Services Career, Personalities |

General Vo Nguyen Giap. was a brilliant, highly respected leader of the North Vietnam military. He is credited with defeating the French and then the US. This quote from his memoirs is seen in the War Memorial in Hanoi:

‘”What we still don’t understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for a little longer, we were ready to surrender!  It was the same at the battle of TET. You defeated us!  We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was helping us. They were causing more disruption in  erica  than we could on the battlefield. But for your media we were ready to surrender. You had won!'”

General Giap confirms what most Americans knew. The Vietnam war was not lost in Vietnam — it was lost in the US. A biased Media can cut the heart and destroy the will of a  Nation.

A truism: – Do not fear the enemy, for they can take only your life. Fear the media,  for they will distort your grasp of reality and destroy your honor.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sam Manekshaw – Background to the 1971 War …

Posted on May 11, 2017. Filed under: Pakistan, Personalities, Uncategorized |

Again from Sam’s lecture at the DSSC –

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal and being dismissed. There was this Cabinet Meeting and when I was asked to attend, I thought that now they have sent for the Prince while so far  they were playing Hamlet with out him.

A very angry Prime Minister read out messages from Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. All of them saying that hundreds of thousands of refugees had poured into their States and they did not know what to do.

The Prime Minister turned round to me and said: “I want you to do something”. I said, “What do you want me to do?” She said, “I want you to enter East Pakistan” and I said, “Do you know that means War?” She said, “I do not mind if it is war”.I, in my usual stupid way, said, “Prime Minister, have you read the Bible?”

And the Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh (a Punjabi Sikh), in his Punjabi accent said, “What has Bible got to do with this?” and I said, “In the first Book, the First Chapter, the First Paragraph, the First Sentence, God said, ‘Let there be light’’ and there was light. You turn this round and say ‘Let there be war’ and there will be war. What do you think? Are you ready for a war? Let me tell you – It’s 28th April, the Himalayan passes are opening, and if the Chinese gave us an ultimatum, I will have to fight on two fronts”.

Again Sardar Swaran Singh turned round and in his Punjabi English said, “Will China give ultimatum?”  “You are the Foreign Minister. You tell me!”

Then I turned to the Prime Minister and said, “Prime Minister, last year you wanted elections in West Bengal and you did not want the communists to win, so you asked me to deploy my soldiers in penny pockets in every village, in every little township in West Bengal. I have two divisions thus deployed in sections and platoons without their heavy weapons. It will take me at least a month to get them back to their units and to their formations.

Further, I have a division in the Assam area, another division in Andhra Pradesh and the Armored Division in the Jhansi-Babina area. It will take me at least a month to get them back and put them in their correct positions. I will require every road, every railway train, every truck, every wagon to move them.

“We are harvesting in the Punjab, and we are harvesting in Haryana; we are also harvesting in Uttar Pradesh. And you will not be able to move your harvest. I turned to the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, “If there is a famine in the country afterwards, it will be you to blame, not me.” Then I said, “My Armoured Division has only got thirteen tanks which are functioning.”

The Finance Minister, Mr. Chawan, a friend of mine, said, “Sam, why only thirteen?” “Because you are the Finance Minister. I have been asking for money for the last year and a half, and you keep saying there is no money. That is why.”

Then I turned to the Prime Minister and said, “Prime Minister, it is the end of April. By the time I am ready to operate, the monsoon will have broken in that East Pakistan area. When it rains, it does not just rain, it pours. Rivers become oceans. If you stand on one bank, you cannot see the other and the whole countryside is flooded. My movement will be confined to roads, the Air Force will not be able to support me. And, if you wish me to enter East Pakistan, I guarantee you a hundred percent defeat.”

 “You are the Government”, I said “Now give me your orders!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seldom seen a woman so angry, and I am including my wife in that! She was red in the face and I thought, “Let us see what happens”. She turned round and said, “The cabinet will meet four o’clock in the evening”.

Everyone walked out. I being the junior most man was the last to leave. As I was leaving, she said, “Chief, please will you stay behind?” I looked at her. I said, “Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, would you like me to send in my resignation on grounds of health, mental or physical?”

“No, sit down, Sam. Was everything you told me the truth?”

“Yes, it is my job to tell you the truth. It is my job to fight and win, not to lose.” She smiled at me and said, “All right, Sam. You know what I want. When will you be ready?” “I cannot tell you now, Prime Minister, but let me guarantee you this that if you leave me alone, allow me to plan, make my arrangements, and fix a date, I guarantee you a hundred percent victory”.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, as I told you, there is a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal and being dismissed.

Now, those of you who remembered what happened in 1962, when the Chinese occupied the Thag-la ridge and Mr. Nehru, the Prime Minister, sent for the Army Chief, in the month of October and said, “I want you to throw the Chinese out”.

That Army Chief did not have the moral courage to stand up to him and say, “I am not ready, my troops are not acclimatized, I haven’t the ammunition, or indeed anything”. But he accepted the Prime Minister’s instructions, with the result that the Army was beaten and the country humiliated

A word or two re leadership; men and women like their leader to be a man, with all the manly qualities or virtues.

The man who says, “I do not smoke, I do not drink, I do not ….. (No, I will not say it)’, does not make a leader. Let me illustrate this from examples from the past.

You will agree that Julius Caesar was a great leader – he had his Calpurnia, he had his Antonia, he also had his Cleopatra and, when Caesar used to come to Rome, the Senators used to lock up their wives.

And you will agree that he was a great leader. He was known in Rome as every woman’s husband yet he was a great leader. Take Napoleon, he had his Josephine, he had his Walewska, he had his Antoinette and Georgettes and Paulettes. And you will agree he was a great leader.

Take the Duke of Wellington – do you know that the night before the battle of Waterloo, there were more Countesses, Marchionesses and other women in his ante – chamber than staff officers and Commanders. And you will agree he was a great leader.

Ladies and Gentlemen, a thought has just struck me. All these leaders- Caesar, Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington- they had one facial feature in common, all had long noses!

And now about the end. After the 1971 conflict with Pakistan, which ended in thirteen days and we took 93000 prisoners, my fans, the ‘yes-men’ around me, the sycophants, kept on comparing me to Rommel, to Field Marshal Alexander, to Field Marshal Auchinleck, and just as I was beginning to believe it, the Prime Minister created me a Field Marshal and sent me packing to the Nilgiris.

And then a hard-headed, no-nonsense wife deprived a psychiatric home (what we in India call a lunatic asylum), of one more inmate.

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