Content King, Creativity Queen

By Sunil Kumar

The last years have seen a proliferation of information available on the web. Most of us are now familiar with the jargon of “search engine optimization”; something that connotes ease of access. Naturally; the SEO expert has to step up his game and ensure that he is on top of the most important factor in the online world: content.

Search Engines frequently change their internal parameters revolving around this important factor. As digital marketing experts, Aglaia Interactive knows how important content is in the digital marketing sphere. Businesses need to focus largely on the relevance and value of their content to users. What is the kind of ideas that search engines look for:

a) Content should be new; fresh in simple words: original.

b) The topic should be comprehensively dealt with; without being repetitive.

c) Interesting, concise, capture the audience’s attention

d) Also, the content has to be available. This means interactivity and gauge reactions.

At Aglaia Interactive; our inhouse team of experts knows what to say; and how to say it. Our detailed expertise can help clients define rules of engagement with the online world.

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Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’M

A new study reveals that Britain is the most promiscous Western nation

By Sunil Kumar

British men and women are the most promiscous of all big industrial western nations, researchers have found. An international index that measures one-night stands, number of partners and casual sex, Britain is top of the league table ahead of Australia, the United States, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

The Sunday times article reports that the study was conducted by asking more than 14,000 people in 48 countries to fill in anonymous questionnaires. Respondents were asked about numbers of partners and one-night stands, and their attitudes were assessed by asking them how many people they expected to sleep with over the next five years and how comfortable they were with the idea of casual sex.

WOMAN ON TOP

“Historically we have repressed women’s short-term mating and there are all sorts of double standards out there where men’s short-term mating was sort of acceptable but women’s wasn’t,” said David Schmitt, a professor of psychology at Bradley University, Illinois, who oversaw the research.

The results were combined into an index of so-called “sociosexuality”, the term used by evolutionary psychologists as a measure of how sexually liberal people are in thought and behaviour. Most individuals scored between 4 and 65.

The country with the highest rating was Finland, with an average of 51. Taiwan came lowest, with 19.

Britain scored 40, placing it 11th overall, behind countries such as Latvia, Croatia and Slovenia – but it was highest among the major western industrial nations. The first tranche of research was published in 2005 but analyses have continued and Schmitt described the latest in this week’s edition of New Scientist.

WHY THE BRITISH DO IT BETTER

Britain’s ranking was ascribed to factors such as the decline of religious scruples about extramarital sex, the growth of equal pay and equal rights for women and a highly sexualised popular culture.

Schmitt says the ratio of men to women is one of the factors that determine a country’s ranking.

The high scores in many Baltic and eastern European states might be linked, Schmitt said, to the fact that women outnumber men and so are under more pressure to conform to what men want in order to find a mate. In Asian countries, by contrast, men tend to outnumber women slightly, so it is men who have to conform.

Schmitt’s findings are reinforced by earlier research showing that the British are more likely than other nationalities to have “stolen” other people’s lovers.

Schmitt said that in more liberal countries such as Britain women may even be becoming more promiscuous than men. Such trends are typified by the television series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, in which Billie Piper played a middle-class prostitute who relished her numerous sexual encounters.

It’s Raining Men
One of the most intriguing ideas emerging from Schmitt’s and others’ work is that when women are at their most fertile they become even more willing than men to consider one-night stands.

There are, however, still key differences in the behaviour of men and women, especially regarding the ages at which they are most sexually liberated. Schmitt found that men tended to have the most partners, and to think most about acquiring new ones, when in their twenties. Women’s promiscuity and lustful thoughts tended to peak in their thirties.

No Sex Please – Background Piece to Slam, Bam

By Sunil Kumar

Changing attitudes to sex have made Britain “Pleasure Island”.

The British penchant for sex is well documented, even more so for the kinky aspects. From Henry VIII, Elizabethan and Victorian England right down to the present day with sex scandals involving the royals, England has been merry with the romp.

So how did staid, conventional gentlemen transform into Italian lovers? Researchers “blame” Britain’s high casual rating on a few factors, including the decline of “religious scruples about extramarital sex”, a highly sexed up popular culture, and “the growth of equal pay and equal rights for women.”

British comedy has tended to be farcical, serious and “downmarket” at the same time. The “Carry On” comic series poked fun at British institutions in a humorous, underhanded fashion. John Cleese as “Basil Fawlty” in Fawlty Towers was the prude outraged by promiscuity in his “upright” establishment.

Aleister Crowley, supposed occultist and Satanist was one of the first people to spout “sexual nirvana” in conservative Britain. The decline in prudish morality has been gradual as England undid her knickers and inched closer to the G-string.

SPICE UP MY LIFE

Smack my Bitch Up!! How did sex become even more mainstream?

The 90s were the “wonder years” for the tabloid media as Britain’s royals kept the cashboxes ringing. Princess Diana and “Fergie- The Duchess of York” collectively became the merry wives of Windsor.

As Generation X became Generation Y, sexual mores transformed overnight.

According to the Brand Science Institute, Generation Y E-Ethics term most illegal behavior as acceptable.

Shows like “Sex and the City” – ‘Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex’ and brazen feminists exporting their own brand of sexual nirvana may have contributed to the most interesting finding of the survey- “Women are more promiscuous than men”.

Coupled with an oversexed popular culture and easy access to video, it is no surprise then that Britain tops the sex league tables !!

I Did It For History!

By Sunil Kumar

India’s maximum city is a strange mix of fascinating contrasts; a brooding, industrial colossus on the throes of massive change. Intense thinkers can see the dark underbelly of towns; a churn, a ferment, and creative asphyxiation.

For most of us, the business of living keeps us engaged, mundane earthly affairs make abstruse ideas a mere fanciful representation. The crassness of a Third-World City can also limit freedom of expression, for a slang-spouting demographic is not the best of audiences. Ahem, I used a pejorative here, for the First World sometimes is no different.

A definition of creativity: relative representation of raucous reality. My business is my business, and your business is your business, but it’s all our business and our business. Is the individual more important or the collective? How do we define freedom?

Sixty-four years ago, we became independent. Nehru, educated in Harrow: just like me, nearly a century ago was a founding father of the modern republic. For all the unity in diversity, he saw fissures in the woodwork, the often contradictory impulses that drive our daily lives. For the 21st century native, it’s more a barrage of messages, bordering on insanity.

I do not limit this blog to history, philosophy or technology. As a free citizen of the world, speech cannot be limited. It can be transmuted, but never suppressed. Let us analyze open source: the panacea for a creative license. As marketers often reiterate, it is a platform that can be leveraged for intrepid thought.

To me, anything that is touted as free-to-use is to be viewed with healthy skepticism. For, as soon as it becomes mainstream, the vendor always comes up with elaborate riders, and an intricate mechanism to make profits.

Admittedly, anything that can be leveraged for healthy creativity is good, and should be used. But, the accompanying marketing pitch of pretentious nobility sometimes rings hollow.

Those who preach sometimes (many times) violate their own rules. Chauvinism in its infinite manifestations, and vicarious self-interest are more often than not couched to manifest in full force. The country’s biggest industrial empires, and its murky politics( in every state) are testament to the power or rugged individualism. Actively conniving with the ruler paved the way for the first industrial houses. Post-independence, we saw the rise of a new elite; educated, pretentious, urbane and not in sync with local tradition.

India recently hosted the First Grand Prix: touted as a show of the country’s renewed economic muscle. Admittedly, a rich man’s sport, it was hosted in a state that is low on all indicators. A lot of people could not afford the tickets.

The rationale may be clear for the planners, and for industrial houses who sponsor it with renewed vigor and overtly champion corporate and social responsibility without paying their bills. But, for all the people who profited from India’s entry into the global glam equation, I put in a healthy suggestion.

Encourage all sport in India, and not just one. We all know that cricket is our favorite passion. As Bernard Shaw famously put it, a game played by flanneled fools and watched by nearly two billion flanneled fools. Most of my countrymen are fond of quoting the West, and I am no exception. Anyways, where’s the infrastructure for other sport? Endless debate on television always irks me, as it seems to be a sparring match with no end in sight.

Every mofussil town in our country has aspirations, neglected by Central, State and local authorities. The endless blame game is a national phenomenon, and it has spewed a million insurgencies. But we still have to admire the resilience of a nation that has borne onslaughts in its entire existence with fortitude and some degree of divine providence.

Writing is a cathartic exercise, that can exorcise self-created demons. Step out into any bylane of any town, and reality stares at you blankly. The next moment, actually. Why so serious? A brave new world, perhaps? Continous narcissism can be good for health.

Binary Days, Jargon And All That Jazz

By Sunil Kumar

Today is November,11, 2011. So, what’s so significant in the annals of world history? It’s the last binary day in a century. So are you happy and jumping with joy? Hmm, I don’t even know what that means!

Life’s short, we need some peace and quiet, and all that technical jargon makes my head spin! Well, that’s no excuse for having fun any day of the week, month or year.

So, what’s a binary day! It’s a date that contains only 1s and Os when written in different date formats (dd/mm/yy, mm/dd/yy). Binary years have only 9 such days, meaning there are not only 36 such days in a century. Today is as rare as it gets, since all the six numbers in the data are 1’s. The next binary day is not until January 1, 2100.

The number 11 is associated with the paranormal, and a window to the subconscious, and some believe that unusual events happen when there is a conjunction of the number 11, such as today. For the mundane earth dweller, real life is often divorced from such esoteric arcane mumbo-jumbo.

At the risk of sounding like a condescending outsider, India has always believed in superstition and supernatural powers to the point of ridiculousness. As a country, we are a mix of rationalism, religious fanaticism, and a strange power of the spirit found nowhere else in the world.

Our erudite ministers often insult native tradition, and conveniently adopt it when it suits their ends. From the North to the South, the East to the West, the country is a strange mix of rational modernism(read an Anglicized pretentious elite oblivious to its fellow man) and radical revolution: an eclectic mix of a strange fire in the underbelly, unjust displays of power, and just grievances detrimental to the country’s interests.

After that digression, we veer again towards binary days, numerology and all that jazz. So, 10.10.10 was also a binary day. For anyone who was an avid reader of the “Hitchhiker Guide’s to the Galaxy”, when converted to binary, it produces 42, the answer to everything according to the series.

Cyberwar: The United States Vs. China

The spectre of a cyberwar is chilling. The 21st century is a cataclysm of sorts, with the wheel turning full circle. The Middle Kingdom is now the world’s fastest growing economy; and increasingly belligerent. America’s Slav foes are now resurrected in a new avatar, a moth-eaten Russia.

So, why is it that a country with the greatest technical infrastructure, scientific knowhow, and financial resources losing the cyberwar to a nation hitherto lost in the sands of time?

The United States has faced challenges often in its history. 1941: the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam war in the 60s and the 70s, the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, and the Persian Gulf conflict: Part I and II. Armed conflicts come riddled with a sense of machismo, and an unholy alliance of men and machines.

The digital age is transformational in more ways than one; not only are wars more dangerous, they are stealth-driven, with consummate professionals orchestrating worldwide mayhem. Drones are America’s weapon of choice against its enemies, used in conventional and shadow wars, allowing it to strike at will.

There were multiple security breaches last month: on satellites, drones as well as public accusations from government officials and intelligence agencies, accusing Russia and China of complicity in cybercrime.

The National Science Foundation puts the value of public and private research and development at $400 billion in 2009, and estimates that $50 billion was lost to espionage.

Cynics may argue that the United States has a chequered history; selectively distorting the truth, planting puppet dictators, as well as indulging in subtle and overt theft. But the reality of a cyber war is imminent, as the world moves into maximum overdrive.

The U.S drone attacks are classified, top secret, and are overtly used for conventional surveillance duty. Air force pilots stationed at Creech, in the Nevada desert guide the drone as it flies over warzones all over the world. Despite intense secrecy, introduction of worms in the system crippled Department of Defense computers and generally wreaked havoc.

State-sponsored hacking is a smart, effective way for governments to improve militaries, incentivize infrastructure, and foster a sense of superiority. China is increasingly brazen in its intentions globally, as it threatens every neighbor in the vicinity and aids rogue states around the world.

Grand Periphery Military Strategy’ (da zhoubian guojia junshi zhanlue) is a new cliché Chinese think tanks use very often. Strategic deception(Zhanlue Zhali) is part of military psyche; following the general doctrine of yi zha lie (war is based on deception).

The Chinese are now attempting to hoodwink the world as part of a grand imperial design; of world domination. Defeating India in a 1962 border skirmish was just the beginning of the rise of a covert, stealth-driven country rising like a phoenix from the ashes.

Investments globally are reflective of Chinese status and its aspirations to be a superpower, eventually overshadowing the United States. It has already surpassed Japan to become the second largest economy in the world. Internally decision-makers are aware of their increased world stature, and consequent recognition.

Waging war against the world’s most powerful nation is an obsession globally. Angst can be inherently constructive, but as we have witnessed many times in history; is tinged with red, innocent blood.

Information-based warfare has strengthened China’s hands; giving power to a culture that historically wants a “victory without war”. As America gears up to face global challenges, we have another version of the great game: the dragon v/s the eagle.

Let There Be A Mac Pro!

And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. Most of us know the Biblical verse from Genesis, but is the Macbook Pro a shining beacon in the world of technology? Or, as a die-hard Star Trek fan would put it, a requiem for Methuselah? Are better days coming, or is it the end of the world as we know it!

Skeptics, technophobes, naysayers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but a few dollars more. As Apple upgraded its Macbook Pro lineup in October, there is increasing debate on the efficacy of the Cupertino, California based company’s high-end workstation.

Although the Pro has been refashioned with faster processors, and increased speeds, some enterprise users believe that the Mac is just an expensive anachronism, and other svelte models may just be the answer to their needs.

Content creation, design and high-performance computing professionals opine that the Mac Pro offers significant benefits over Apple’s other product offerings. Dual multicore processors, making slots for exponential RAM increases, an ability to add internal RAIDs, customizable GPUs for accelerated processing, and PCI express cards for faster graphics and increased system performance.

The dual processor on the Mac Pro is another advantage vis-a-vis the desktop version. More power is needed for some high-end computing tasks, such as, HD video rendering, supercomputing etc. The Pro can also be used to build customized Mac development applications with XCode as well as numerous other web development tools.

With the obituary of Steve Jobs now a talking point across the globe, Apple has to reinvent the self-created wheel. The debate on the Mac vs other technology platforms in unlikely to end. For the creative professional, there are a lot of technology majors waiting to usurp pole position and occupy what was hitherto exclusive mindspace.