Cerebral Shangrila

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rainbow Quiz - Week # 69

Anna Hazare has galvanized an entire nation through his hunger strike. Here is a quiz dedicated to him and numerous others who have used fasting as a tool for social change.

1. The act of hunger strike dates back to Hindu mythology. “X” went to ask the exiled Rama to come back and rule the kingdom. “X” tried many arguments, none of which work, at which point he decides to do a hunger strike. Rama, however, quickly persuades him to abandon the attempt. Who is X?
2. “X” started fasting for attaining statehood for Andhra in Madras on 19 October 1952. After 58 days of fasting, he died on the 16th December. X’s death started mass protests and led to Nehru announcing the formation of a new state 3 days later. Who is X?
3. The British arrested him in 1929 for revolutionary activities and X was imprisoned in Lahore jail. In the Lahore jail, “X” started a hunger strike along with other revolutionary fighters, demanding equality for Indian prisoners. His fast lasted 63 days and he died as a martyr in the end. Who is X?
4. An American suffragette, “X” fought to get women the right to vote with passion and tenacity. “ X” went on a hunger strike while imprisoned in 1917 at Virginia’s Occoquan Workhouse to protest the poor conditions. Her hunger strike got her a ticket to the psych ward, where she was force-fed raw eggs, but her protest served a larger purpose by helping fan the flames of public opinion. In 1918, President Wilson spoke of the need for suffrage, and women earned the right to vote in 1920 with the Nineteenth Amendment. Who is X?
5. In 2009, actress and activist “X” began a hunger strike to protest the conflict in Darfur. She also blogged about her experience and posted video updates to YouTube. Before beginning the fast, she wrote that she planned to go for three weeks without food, but a doctor put an end to her strike after 12 days, citing severe health risks. With her blood sugar plummeting, she passed off the hunger strike to Richard Branson, who took over for three days. Who is X?
6. “X” went on a fast unto death to protest against illegal mining on the bank of the Ganga in Haridwar. X, who was on fast beginning February 19, 2011 was declared dead the following June 13, after being on a hunger strike for 115 days. Who is this great patriot?
7. “X” also known as the "Iron Lady of Manipur" is a civil rights activist, political activist, and poet from the Indian state of Manipur. Since 2 November 2000, she has been on hunger strike to demand that the Indian government repeal the Armed Forces Act, which she blames for violence in Manipur and other parts of India's northeast. Having refused food and water for more than ten years, she has been called "the world's longest hunger striker".

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Monday, August 15, 2011

I am @ Seoul

I am in Seoul this week on business. First visit and mightily impressed with the way Koreans use technology in day-to-day life.

Here are some first impressions:

a) Internet access is a roller coaster. Average speeds even in hotel rooms surpass 75 mbps (Almost 10X times faster than most parts of the world).

b) The audio guide tour at Korean palace museum relies on infra red to automatically recite the relevant information. Cafes use IR tokens that buzz when take-away food is ready.

c) Sub-way is efficient, ubiquitous and a great way to get around.

d) The palaces and cultural heritage centers have been very well maintained and most of them either have free admission or very low entry fees.

e) A big minus is the air pollution. Friends tell me it has now reduced but it is still very visible and casts a bad shadow over the city.

f) Today is the "Liberation day" in Korea and a national holiday. Coincides with our independence day.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Rainbow Quiz - Week # 68

Trying to revive my now defunct Rainbow Quiz. This quiz is inspired from a book that I just finished reading - 100 Great Businesses and the Minds behind them".

Take a stab.

What am I talking about?

1. Mr.X, while studying economics at Yale, wrote a paper about the growing number of uses for computers (This was way back in the 60’s). He reckoned that as people become more reliant on computers, repairing them in a timely manner will be critical for the manufacturers. Legend has it that he received a “C” grade for the paper. Which company am I talking about (that was born out of this idea) and who is Mr.X?

2. While working in Asia, Mr. X came across caffeine filled drinks with foul taste that were sold in small vials at exorbitant prices (primarily as a cure for Flu, impotency). He set about finding a formula that he could take back to Europe. He found the answer in Krating Daeng (a Thai drink). He licensed it from the founders and gave a sporty makeover to the health drink. What am I talking about?

3. “Across Asia on the Cheap” was first printed in 1970’s and enjoyed modest success. Not many realized then that the publisher would become a cult brand that would forever change an industry. Which brand am I talking about?

4. An entrepreneurial streak pulsed through Mr.X since an early age. At 5, he was selling matches to family members and at 17, he was selling pencils in the neighborhood. The pencil selling was successful that X decided to change it to a mail order business by including other merchandise such as soaps, seeds and stockings. He decided to coin a name for the company with an acronym that stood for the first letters of his first name, last name, farm name and village name. Who is X and what company am I talking about?

5. In 1930 Japanese scientist Dr. Shirota discovered a strain of bacteria that was both good for the human intestine and tough enough to survive the digestive process. What sweet, skim milk based drink, named after “yoghurt” in Esperanto, emerged due to this invention?

6. Fashion retailing isn’t known for shy, retiring types. Yet this Spanish billionaire has created one of the largest fashion retailing empire in the world, though he has rarely granted interviews or been photographed. He believes advertising to be “pointless distraction” and the company spends less than 0.5% of its revenues on advertising. Who is this maverick, reclusive billionaire and which company am I talking about?

7. What started in 1979 as “Graphics Group” as part of Lucasfilm? Amongst other things, the group tried selling high-end graphics computers which were a disastrous failure. The company eventually stumbled into film-making after making a few successful commercials. In the fickle world of filmdom, the company till date has never produced a flop. Which company am I talking about?

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