Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mumbai Metro to the Fore

Mumbai's urban railway network is notoriously clogged with bodies. While around 13 people die every day from accidents, the city strives less-than-wholeheartedly to construct a thorough metro system. I wish India's largest urban agglomeration the best of luck in this enterprise, but I am fairly certain that the metro will not be completed for many years. I'll be supremely gladdened when the system finally does take off the ground. For the 6+ million people who grace the rails each waking day, any and every improvement is overdue.

Here are some links that deal with the Mumbai train system and the construction progress. This process surely takes some time!

Death Trains


Mumbai Matters

Two conferences that I attended in Bombay, Urban Age Mumbai and the 5th International Conference of Critical Geography, presented very different approaches to urban development, but both undoubtedly would laud the speedy completion of the planned Mumbai metro. While neoliberal development advocates might be more at peace with the rapid influx of motor vehicles, the automobile's pathways cannot keep pace with the increase in car ownership. The public infrastructure of Mumbai just cannot meet the demands of the demographic increases that will not cease at any point in the near future.

There is no practical way of capping the density of Mumbai, but this should not discourage critical investments in infrastructure. It's just that the burden on any new infrastructure quickly wears away at the newness. There's no end in sight to the population explosion in 3rd World cities such as Mumbai. We can merely hope and beg for more expedient development of public transport so that the morass of motoring metal, bodies, and fumes does not spontaneously combust...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Top 10s

Here are a few Top 10 lists that I've generated. Thoughts?

Most attractive people:

1. Venezuela
2. Italy
3. Thailand
4. Lebanon
5. Israel
6. Brazil
7. Czech Republic
8. India
9. Ethiopia
10. Sweden

Best Indian States:

1. Kerala
2. Rajasthan
3. Jammu & Kashmir
4. Tamil Nadu
5. Maharashtra
6. Himachal Pradesh
7. Goa
8. Uttaranchal
9. Mizoram
10. Pondicherry

Favorite Indian Gods & Quasi-Deities

1. Ganesh
2. Buddha
3. Nandi
4. Shiva
5. Durga
6. Gangamma
7. Brahma
8. Ahura
9. Garuda
10. Satya Sai Baba

Most Agreeable Religious Denominations:

1. Mine
2. Buddhist
3. Rastafarian
4. Unitarian
5. Bahai
6. Sufi
7. Jain
8. Quaker
9. Shamanist
10. Druze

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

State of the Strong Union

This is the new South America. No longer will South America will be the bastion of just the drug barons, petro-hombres, and beautyqueens. This is the new half of the western hemisphere, and the northern parts of the New World aren't expecting that the South Americans can pull through with this type of unity. When it comes to freedom of movement, customs union, energy cooperation, and diplomatic unity, this supranational federation just might come together enough to send shock waves into the dis-unified international community.

This time around, the unified bloc will take some time to ensure that the countries involved truly want to create the sort of union that can not only last but that can be a formidable player on the international circuit. But, the union must stand up to the competing supranational blocs - in the sense that some pundits could be expecting the union to swing too far pro-Yankee, while others would expect the Chavista section to dominate. But, the Andean and Mercosur components will likely balance out to produce a more or less even union of more pro-"Western" countries and the more rebellious lefty regimes that continue to believe earnestly in the Bolivarian dream. Though French Guyana cannot take part and Suriname & Guyana seem only to be able to participate as associate members, this club is well-rounded and destined for greatness.

The Bolivarian dream has not died. This newborn South America is an ethnically heterogeneous amalgam of nation-states that bring to the table a Latin paradigm for the future. Futbol, Spano-Portugese, and ceviche will triumph over the demons of the hegemonic norte. Hasta siempre el UNASUR!!!
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