Saturday, July 19, 2008

A "Fine" way to enforce language

I had blogged about lingual conflicts in the US due to a heavy influx of legal and illegal Spanish speaking Mexicans. I read this bit of news online which gives a new twist on how the authorities/ government of US is dealing with the lingual conflicts. The enforcement of English language is now being done by levying heavy fines on people who don't speak well.

According to the article Manuel Castillo, a truck driver ferrying onions through Alabama was fined $500 for not speaking properly. He was not speeding or didn't break any law, his only crime was that he couldn't speak proper English. Quite expectedly Castillo is outraged and thinks this fine is not fair but since he doesn't have the time or resources to travel to Alabama and fight the case he is paying the $500 fine. The article further states that last year 25,230 tickets for language violation.

Of course this fining is debatable and I am sure lot of people are not pleased with this system of language enforcement. But as far as I am concerned I think this is a fantastic system to ensure that people learn the local language. I was born and brought up in Bangalore which, in the recent has experienced massive influx of outsiders, especially from neighboring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and of course from several north Indian states too. These immigrants have not only made Bangalore their homes but have established their own ghettos.

Whenever I have travelled and met people the first thing they say when they hear I am from Bangalore is that "You don't have to know Kannada to live in Bangalore." This statement always was like a tight slap across my face. When we go to other cities in the country it is almost impossible to do anything without knowledge of the local language. In some places people just ignore you when you try asking them for directions in English. And in Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka, I have had people approaching me and asking for directions in an array of languages such as, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi etc.

It it frustrating to see this happening. To see the city I was born and brought up in being consumed by people of other languages who have scant respect and show little regard for local culture and history. I had been to a panel discussion organised by Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore where the panelists were all people who didn't speak a word of Kannad and had come to the city seeking fortunes. And a common sentiment echoed throughout the discussion was "Bangalore is a boring place, with no history, culture or character." And of course they complained about bad roads, Kannada speaking locals who insist on speaking their language as opposed to English or Hindi or Tamil.

If this was the case why the hell do they continue to live and thrive in Bangalore. They can go to their native places and live there. Millions of people have come to Bangalore from all over the country seeking fortune and great weather. Kannadigas by nature are very friendly and adjusting and as such we welcomed everyone into our state expecting that they would become part of us. But they come with their own agendas of making us part of them and to kill the local culture.

This is the same thing that is happening in the US. An increase in the number of Hispanics residing in the country has ensured that Spanish is the fastest growing language in the US. And now the problem is so much that the federal government has had to put in place regulations and fine people who are in violation of it. I wish this kind of regulation could be put in place in Karnataka to ensure that everyone in the state speaks the local language.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hurtling down the slide into Guadalupe river

Last weekend I had gone caving with a group of avid cavers from DFW Grotto. After a day under the earth's surface exploring underground passages and marvelling at the amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations we decided to head back towards Dallas. And enroute Bill Steele suggested that it would be a great idea to stop at Mo Ranch and enjoy a swim in the Guadalupe river. When I heard the name I didn't give much thought to it.

But when I reached there, I was pretty impressed by the facilities and features of the ranch. The management describes itself as a camp and conference affiliated with the with the Synod of the Sun of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The ranch was founded in 1949 and its full name is Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly. Sprawling across 500 acres of lush green countryside complete with rolling hills with the river Guadalupe slicing across it, Mo Ranch presents a idyllic picturesque setting for a great family holiday.

The reason we went there was to enjoy a dip in the waters and to enjoy rolling down the 50 ft tall water slide into the cool waters of the Guadalupe. Here is the video of each one of us plummetting down the slide and splashing into the waters.

Power Steering: One of the most important parts of your car

Most of the cars available in today's market come equipped with Power steering which makes driving very easy by reducing steering effort. How does the power steering system work? And how does it derive power? Writing about this will take a little complicated explanation. To put it in one line I would say "Power steering using an external power source to assist in turning the roadwheels and makes it easy on the driver".

According to Wikipedia, power steering was invented in the 1920s by Klara Gailis and George Jessup in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. But they didn't patent the technology and in 1932 Francis W. Davis patented this in the US. But it was only in 1951 that Chrysler Corporation introduced the first commercially available power steering system on its 1951 Chrysler Imperial under the name Hydraguide.

Let us come back to knowing about the basic parts of a power steering system. The basic parts of a power steering system includes a steering rack and steering box. These two parts functioning properly will ensure your car running smoothly. But then these parts are subject to wear and tear and you will need to buy new parts to replace and rejuvenate the system.

There is a brand new online store which has all the power steering rack parts you need. They offer full warranty and free shipping on all orders. The array of parts is simply amazing and every product is passed through the most stringent quality tests before putting it up for sale. Especially the steering box and steering rack. There are other parts of the steering system including the rack and pinion, rack and pinion assemblies, rack and pinion units or gearbox. If you take good care of these parts, the car will never give up on you.

This is one store to buy all the parts of steering systems such as racks and boxes at affordable prices. These parts are the same high quality ones as the dealers use and there is no compromise on quality. But price yes, you get better rates than at dealerships and you get free shipping too. There are moder technologies such as Magna Steer, Servotronic, Speed Proportional Steering, Variable Assist and the resurgence of the Center Steer design. All these systems use racks and boxes but each with an highly evolved design and high technology components. You just need to visit the online store of Power Steering Pros and you will get all the parts.

India related events this weekend

Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is a happening place... at least as far as the desi community is concerned. Every weekend something or the other is happening, film screenings, concerts, dance programmes, charity events, cricket matches etc. I am not too much into Desi socialisation and as such I have attended few events and missed lot of them for obvious reasons.

Anyway there is this upcoming event during the coming weekend July 18-19, 2008 which I hope to attend. The theme of the event is rather close to my heart. The event is titled "Hindu Unity Day", something that is vitally needed in order to make the world a better place for not only Hindus but for everybody.

The schedule of the event which will be held at the DFW Hindu temple at Irving promises an action-packed weekend. There are group discussions, lectures on the Rama-Sethu issue; history of Sanatana Dharma etc. I have been listening to their radio programmes since the past couple of months and they are very informative and insightful. It is great to know that someone is doing something to uplift the image of Hinduism at the global level.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Social Spark: Providing Earning Opportunities to stay-at-home moms

One of the most testing and happy phases in a woman's life is when she becomes a mom. Life gets completely transformed by this event and things are never the same again. At this point in life several women give up their careers and become stay-at-home moms so that they can spend quality time with children and take care of them. But this leaves a great void in their life and now suddenly they have to ask their husbands for money even for the smallest of their needs. This can be quite a pain.

Thanks to the advent of SocialSpark, stay-at-home-moms can now stay at home, raise children, spend time with family and still make some money, by working at home. The rationale of this social marketing website is simple: stay-at-home moms make great bloggers and produce wonderful content and this content attracts several readers. The blog can be monetised by featuring sponsored posts, advertising etc. Blogging gives flexibility, money and a sense of achievement to moms.

So if you are a stay at home mom and are looking for money making opportunities on the internet, I'd suggest you try SocialSpark, the newest and most well organised social marketing community on the internet. Establishing an account on SocialSpark is pretty simple, all you need is a blog which is atleast 30 days old and which has been regularly updated. And once registered you have access to so many opportunities that you will be able to make money everyday just writing about your favourite topics.

Don't you all think it is a great opportunity for stay-at-home-mom's who are wanting to do something but can't go out of the house. I think this is the best thing to happen on the internet for a long time.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Caving Pictures

Unfortunately Bill Steele was only person with the camera and I was usually quite far from him in the cave. So these pictures depict different people doing different things in the cave. He just sent me some more pictures of the caving trip.. here they are...