March 20, 2006

Save the Earth

Kudos to the court that turned down the Bush administration's four-year effort to loosen emission rules for aging coal-fired power plants! The ruling said that the changes "violated the Clean Air Act and that only Congress could authorize such revisions". This ruling will "encourage industry to build new and cleaner facilities, instead of prolonging the life of old, dirty plants," said Spitzer, New York's Atty. Gen. who led the court fight to block the administration's new policy. He saw this as "a major victory for clean air and public health" and a "rejection of a flawed policy."

I seriously feel that the EPA (envronmental protection agency) needs a name change. How about EJA (environment jeopardizing agency)!

Here's a poem I wrote sometime ago to give a voice to this wonderful but mute abode of ours:

Save the Earth

I am old
Been there since time eternal
Mother of all species
Respected, revered, restored, and reaped
in times forgotten, or did they exist?
Eroded, evacuated, embedded, and exploded
Droughts and earthquakes are worries no more

Bosnia, Iraq, Kashmir, and Hiroshima
All but parts of me
dented and cracked irreparably.
I cry, weep, hurt, yell, and scream
Divided, amputated, suffocated, and mutilated
Searching a lebensraum
in my very own universe.
The umbilical chord's become my noose.

March 17, 2006

The Immigrant Experience

Rootless, yet I exist.
Barren, though in soil fertile
and bathed plenty in sunshine.

Plucked out of soils akin
with promises of greener pastures.
Alas! a view from afar.

Planted amid suspicion
as to whether I belonged.
Believing I was one of them afterall!

Struggling for survival
and determined to succeed.
They call us the new breed...

the rootless wonder!

Living the faded memory of a lost home
amid a dying dream of some promised land.

What seek I yonder?

March 09, 2006

Plagiarism - A lesson learned

A friend of mine went through a traumatic episode this past month involving a reflective essay she wrote in a creative writing course; a required course in the program where she is enrolled as a foreign student.

Here's what happened: she was assigned to write a reflective essay comparing a 70s film and its 90s remake and to focus on the portrayal of changed family dynamics in american society. This friend had never heard about this movie let alone see it! Given that she grew up on a different continent and that she'd been in this country for just about six months, that didn't come as a surprise. Faced with this roadblock and having no support system to turn to for guidance, she turned to the only resource she had, the internet. Here's where she committed a grievous fault; she took the easy way out by doing a 'copy' 'n 'paste'!

Lo and behold! She was caught! The professor brought her to task by showing her the very piece that she'd copied from. My friend pleaded guilty to having copied the article but claimed ignorance to the fact that she had committed any sort of a crime. Her defense was that the country she grew up in did not view plagiarism as seriously as the USA did, and that students in her country 'do this all the time'. The professor then referred her case to the 'grade appeal committe'. After a torturous wait of ten days during which friends, including myself, told her of all the possible consequences that she may have to face, she feared the worst. Short of packing her bags, she was all set to go home when lady luck smiled down on her, and she breathed a sigh of relief! She would not have to go back afterall! However, she lost credit for the course($1300/-); she would now have to enroll for another remedial course ($1000/-) and then take the creative writing course ($1300/-)over. Frankly speaking, she got a sweet deal. People have fared far worse!

Here's what she learned from this harrowing experience, and she wanted me to pass it on to other students, especially foreign students, so that they don't find themselves in a similar situation:
If you have nothing to say, then say nothing. Don't copy someone elses thoughts and pass them off as your own! That's termed 'plagiarism', a punishable offense in the USA, and your ignorance of the law will not be an admissible excuse. Plagiarism could cost you a course, a semester, a year, and even an entire degree of your academic career! Now that's one costly mistake, and none of us, certainly not a foreign student, can afford the luxury of making that mistake.

March 02, 2006

India am'bush'ed?

"As he prepares to travel to South Asia next week, US President George W Bush has said one of the primary reasons of reaching a civilian nuclear deal with India is that the country is in need of "diversification away from fossil fuels," but he was non-committal about a similar arrangement with Pakistan." (Times of India)

Fossil fuel has been a major source of energy in India for generations! A fact not hidden from the outside world. However, it is only now that the US wakes up to it! Furthermore, the US now agrees to share its nuclear technology with India in order to rid the world of some air pollution! How grandiose!

Some astute politicking here! Killing three birds with one stone Ms. Rice?

Increasing India's nuclear capability-

a. will keep China at bay

b. will reinstate the ageold volatility between India and Pakistan; an immediate dissipation of the developing bonhomie between the two

c. will assuage public opinion about USA's concern for the environment despite its stance on the Kyoto Protocol