Friday, October 27, 2006

The Art of Failure

Failure is one of the most important yet underrated and misunderstood happenings in our life. Throughout life, we are told that success is important and passing the exams is more important than anything else. Yet, schools and teachers pass students to next classes, since they are unable to take the pressure of competing and studying in an environment that pushes them to the limits. Winning and losing is important, but we are told "it is the participation that matters" - sure it matters, but does it mean that winning does not matter? Or for that matter failure does not matter? The fact of the matter is that they do.

There is a new and disturbing trend of trying to protect the young ones from competition. The thinking is that they are too young to understand winning and losing. Far from true! Children, not only understand win and loss, but also appreciate the difference; because that shows a strong causal relationship between effort and reward.

In the long run, all this culminates into a strong fear of failure. Academically, how many children pass, when they should be failing. Grace marks, compulsory passing, no-exams policies all induce various pushes in the system, which ensure that even the most incompetent students are able to beat the system. That also leads to decline in the standards of of higher education.

We should realise that life is full of failures. For every 5 efforts made in real life, only 1 succeeds. However, in our cocooned lives, we pass almost 100% of the times. And thus, when one enters the workforce, after 15 odd years of schooling and college education, we are strongly ingrained with this no-failure system; the 80% failure rate comes as a big shock to people!

Instead, we should encourage more sports or other such activities at school level, where people win and lose, so that they understand what is losing. That is when they get the life skills of coping up with failure.

Michael Jordan puts it aptly in this lovely poster!

Be thankful for your failures. They teach you 100 times more than successes!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Numbers Of The Beast

660 -- Approximate number of The Beast
-666: Negative number of the Beast
DCLXVI -- Roman numeral of The Beast
666, 1332, 1998 -- Years of the Beast
666.0000000000 -- Number of the High Precision Beast
0.666 -- Number of the Millibeast
/ 666 -- Beast Common Denominator
0.005015 -- Reciprical of the Beast.
666i -- Imaginary number of The Beast
1010011010 -- Binary number of The Beast
-0.80902 -- The Sine of the Beast
443556 -- Square of the Beast
25.807 -- Square root of the Beast
295408296 -- Cube of the Beast
0.58779 —- Cosine of the Beast
-1.37638 -- Tangent of the Beast
2.8235 -- Log of the Beast
6.5913 -- Ln Beast
1.738E289 -- Anti-log of the Beast
6.66E2 --Scientific number of the Beast
29A -- Hexadecimal number of the Beast
666! -— Factorial of the Beast
2, 3, 111 -- Factors of the Beast
665.5-666.5 -- Range of the Beast
669 -- Sexual Position of the Beast
660: Beast rounded down
670: Beast rounded up
6, uh... what was that number again? -- Number of the Blonde Beast
1-666 -- Area code of The Beast
00666 -- Zip code of The Beast -- E-mail address of the beast -- web-page of the Beast
1-900-666-0666 -- Live Beasts! One-on-one pacts! Call Now! Only $6.66/minute. Over 18 only please.
1-888-666-6666: Toll free number of the Beast
$665.95: Retail price of The Beast
$399.96 (net) $359.86 (30 days): Wholesale Price of the Beast
$55.50: Monthly cost of the Beast in twelve easy equal monthly installments $699.25: Price of The Beast plus 5% state sales tax
$769.95: Price of The Beast with all accessories and replacement soul
$656.66: WalMart price of The Beast
$646.66: Next week's WalMart price of The Beast
Phillips 666: Gasoline of The Beast
Route 666: Way of The Beast (Highway to Hell)
666 Minutes: Weekly news program about the Beast
666 F: Oven temperature for roast Beast
66.6 mHz: F.M. station of the Beast
666 kHz: A.M. Station of the Beast
664 & 668: Neighbors of the Beast
666k: Retirement plan of The Beast
666 mg: Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of the the Beast
6.66%: 5 year CD interest rate at First Beast of Hell National Bank,
$666 minimum deposit.
999: A Beast and a half
Lotus 6-6-6: Spreadsheet of The Beast
Word 6.66: Word Processor of The Beast
i66686: CPU of The Beast
666-I: BMW of The Beast
665.99996973: Intel Pentium number of the Beast
666 Sunset Strip: Old T. V. series about the Beast soon on Nick-At-Nite
DSM-666 (revised): Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of The Beast
66.6: A Mini-Beast
Windows 666: Bill Gates' personal Beast
665.9999...: The Beast's Twin
WD-666: Spray Lubricant of the beast
IAM666: Licence Plate of the beast
333: Half brother of the Beast
Formula 666: All purpose cleaner of the Beast
666 lb CAP: Weight limit of the Beast
666(-1)1/2: Imaginary number of the Beast
6-6-6: Fertilizer of the Beast
6.6.6b6: Version of the Beast
451 ºF.: Temperature of the Beast
666-66-6666: Social Security number of the Beast
6666 6666 6666 6666 EXP 6/66: Credit card of the Beast

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Movie Seen

I don't watch horror movies as a matter of principle. I mean why should I pay someone to scare me? One look at my tax bill and my work schedule are more than enough to do that, thank you very much!

However, I chanced to see a movie called "SAW" recently. Not exactly a horror movie, it was more of a Thriller-Horror and I enjoyed it immensely. I was casually flipping through the telly the other night and somehow got stuck on Star Movies which had just started this flick. Man! It was awesome! The photography and the suspense are really nerve-tingling!

Watch it! IMDB agress with me!

Of surveys, loss of youth and heartburn

I completed 30 years of my mortal existence last December. And since then I have been plagued with a malaise that is impossible to wish away - I am over 30!

Nowhere is this more pronounced than online/offline surveys/forms that I keep filling. Till recently, I was happily placed in the range of "24-30 years" in the age column. Sometimes, someone did manage to infuriarate me with the upper limit of a preposterous "25-35 years" entry, but life was mostly happy. But with this 30th budday behind me, I am suddenly in the "30-35 years" category, or worse, "30-40 years". But the real trouble is "30 years or more"! This one assumes that everyone is the same after the Golden Age of Thirty!

I feel like not filling in the survey properly, if I get an entry like that. These marketing guys had better make better surveys or they had it! It is like the shopkeeper who knows never to to call an older woman "Auntyjee" or worse "Ammajee". He calls her "Didi" or else the woman takes her business elsewhere! :-)

Of course I am not vain about my age and do not hide it, but it does open for me, yet another window to my mind! :-)

Jaane Kahan Gaye Woh Din...........................

Saurav Ganguly and the Height of Sorriness

The new Pepsi ads by Saurav Ganguly, which have him proclaiming, "Hi! Main Hoon Saurav Ganguly." are sorry at the best. He looks old and unfit to come back in the team, let alone, be captain. And by association, Pepsi is making a fool of itself by banking on an old and decaying tiger. He may have been the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Maharaja and the the Prince of Calcootta, earlier; but is now merely a shadow of his former self.

I wonder what kind of marketing thinking and logic went into this ad. The campaign is good, what with the "Blue Billion" and the "Ooh Aah India, Aa Yaah India" etc (btw, this line reminds me more of Iodex). But Ganguly is a misfit in this. Had they had other retired oldies like Gavaskar or Kapil Dev, that would have lent grace but Ganguly only manages to backfire.

Lots of One-Liners

  • A friend in need is a pest indeed.
  • Marriage is one of the chief causes of divorce.
  • Work is fine if it doesn't take too much of your time.
  • When everything comes in your way you're in the wrong lane.
  • The light at the end of the tunnel may be an incoming train.
  • Born free - taxed to death.
  • Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film.
  • Life is unsure; always eat your dessert first.
  • Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.
  • If you keep your feet firmly on the ground, you'll have trouble putting on your pants.
  • It's not hard to meet expenses, they are everywhere.
  • I love being a writer... What I can't stand is the paperwork.
  • A printer consists of 3 main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray & the blinking red light.
  • The hardest part of skating is the ice.
  • My phone number is 17. We got one of the early ones.
  • The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, now he was the genius.
  • The trouble with being punctual is that no one is there to appreciate it.
  • In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?
  • If you tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe, he'll believe you. But if you tell him a park bench has just been painted, he has to touch it to be sure.
  • I had a friend once. Then the rope broke and he got away.
  • If you cannot change your mind, are you sure you have one?
  • Beat the 5 O'clock rush, leave work at noon!
  • If you can't convince them, confuse them.
  • It's not the fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop at the end.
  • I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.
  • Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups.
  • The cigarette does the smoking; you are just the sucker.
  • Someday is not a day of the week.

Strong Nostalgia

I have written about Johnny Sokko and the Giant Robot here before.

Youtube is another blessing for emotional fools like me, who are in love with things past. I found two videos of this fabled Japanese series.

Have a look!

Opening Credits

Johnny Meets the Robot

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Information Please

When I was very young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well, the polished old case fastened to the wall and the shiny receiver on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone but used to listen with fascination when my mother would talk to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person and her name was "Information Please"and there was nothing she did not know.

"Information Please" could supply anybody's number and the correct time.

My first personal experience with this genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible but there didn't seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give me sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and held it to my ear.

"Information Please," I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
"I hurt my finger," I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.
"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.
"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.
"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.
"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with a hammer and it hurts."
"Can you open your icebox?" she asked. I said I could.
"Then chip off a piece of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.
After that, I called "Information Please" for everything.

I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me that my pet chipmunk, which I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called"Information Please" and told her the sad story.
She listened, then said the usual thing grown ups say to soothe a child. But, I was inconsolable.
I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"
She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "You must remember that there are other worlds to sing in."
Somehow, I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone. "Information Please."
"Information," said the now familiar voice.
"How do you spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and somehow I never thought of trying the tall, new shiny phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often in moments of doubt and perplexity, I would recall the serene sense of security I had then.

I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half-an-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister who lived there now.

Then, without thinking about what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."
Miraculously, I heard the small clear voice I knew so well.
I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"
There was a long pause.
Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must be healed by now."
I laughed, "So it's really still you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"
"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."
Three months later, I was back in Seattle.
A different voice answered, "Information." I asked for Sally.
"Are you a friend?" she said.
"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part time in the last few years because she was sick.
She died five weeks ago."
Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute. Are you Paul?"
"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called when she was too sick to work.
Let me read it to you." The note said,
"Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in.He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant. Never underestimate the impression you make on others.

~Author Unknown~

Meaningful Misconceptions

Abdicate--v., to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Carcinoma--n., a valley in California, notable for its heavy smog.

Esplanade--v., to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Willy-nilly--adj., impotent.

Flabbergasted--adj., appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Negligent--adj., describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.

Lymph--v., to walk with a lisp.

Gargoyle--n., an olive-flavored mouthwash.

Bustard--n., a very rude Metrobus driver.

Coffee--n., a person who is coughed upon.

Flatulence--n., the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

Balderdash--n., a rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle--n., a humorous question on an exam.

Semantics--n., pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood, including such things as gluing the pages of the priest's prayer book together just before vespers.

Rectitude--n., the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.

Marionettes--n., residents of Washington who have been jerked around by Mayor Barry.

Oyster--n., a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.

Circumvent--n., the opening in the front of boxer shorts.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Married couple households outnumbered by unmarried ones in USA

In a fairly revealing article, New York Times, says that married couple households are now outnumbered by unmarried ones. Demographic changes such as these are primarily triggered by an all-time high divorce rate, which prompts live-in as a sort of a "test-drive" before "purchasing the car"!

The article says, and I quote :
“Cohabitating is our choice, and we have no intention to be married,” Ms. Lynch said. “There is little difference between what we do and what married people do. We love each other, exist together, all of our decisions are based upon each other. Everyone we care about knows this.” If anything, she added, “not having the false security of wedding rings makes us work even a little harder.”

Read it here!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Earth witout human beings

An absolutely smashing article, discusses at length, what-if human beings (all 6.5 billion) of us were to disappear suddenly? How long would the earth have traces of our being here. Will a future alien race or a future species of earth based animals, provided they are intelligent enough, be able to discover traces of us? If yes, what?
The last few lines of the article aptly sum it up:

"Finally a brief, century-long pulse of radio waves will forever radiate out across the galaxy and beyond, proof - for anything that cares and is able to listen - that we once had something to say and a way to say it. But these will be flimsy souvenirs, almost pathetic reminders of a civilisation that once thought itself the pinnacle of achievement. Within a few million years, erosion and possibly another ice age or two will have obliterated most of even these faint traces. If another intelligent species ever evolves on the Earth - and that is by no means certain, given how long life flourished before we came along - it may well have no inkling that we were ever here save for a few peculiar fossils and ossified relics. The humbling - and perversely comforting - reality is that the Earth will forget us remarkably quickly."

A thought provoking article, to say the least! Rarely am I so mesmerised by an article. Kudos! Read it here!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Will the real Lola Kutty please stand up?

For those of you who are big fans of Lola Kutty, here is something to enjoy!

First - Lola Kutty on Orkut - The description is simply fabulous -
"May I haouve your yedention pleez?", The Real Lola Kutty stands up in this space..One Man's Terrorist is another Man's Freedom fighter and One man’s beard is another man’s Velcro, So if u dig Lola like Alex digs his nose, come on in and "Yenjoooy" If ur not a Mallu, thats ok, Nobody is Perfect.."

Second - This is a lovely video.

Winning a cricket match in 2 balls?

Err...umm.....looking for the definition of the word farce? Head here, and capture international cricket matches being won in 2 legitimate deliveries!

India pricing itself out of the global market

In an incisive article, Janmejaya Sinha analyses the cost angle to India's leadership in the global services market, and how spiralling costs are going to hurt this, if it is not checked in time. I agree with him broadly, however, do feel that talent can be attracted at salaries that are commensurate with the price of the talent, and in the race for humanware-dominated industries' leadership, the price may have to be paid by companies. Plus any fixed-pricing regime will backfire, leading to babudom and blackmarketing, leading to disincentive for private industry to grow.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good game

A standard shooting game, that is attractive for two reasons; Robin Hood and the associated marketing gimmickry of the Ye-Olde-English-Countryside-Rustic-Charm-And-Daredevilry and of course that the game is hard to win!

Head to the BBC site for some adrenalin pumping!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Two Jokes

A property manager of single-family residence was showing a unit to prospective tenants and asking the usual questions.
"Professionally employed?" he asked.
"We're a military family," the wife answered.
"Oh, yes, ages nine and twelve," she answered proudly.
"Oh, no," she said earnestly. "They're very well behaved."
Two fellows stopped into an English pub for a drink. They called the proprietor over and asked him to settle an argument.
"Are there two pints in a quart or four?" asked one.
"There be two pints in a quart," confirmed the proprietor.
They moved back along the bar and soon the barmaid asked for their order.
"Two pints please, miss, and the bartender offered to buy them for us."
The barmaid doubted that her boss would be so generous, so one of the fellows called out to the proprietor at the other end of the bar, "You did say two pints, didn't you?"
"That's right," he called back, "two pints."

Things I Hate - Contd..

Just realised that this thing falls in two categories; things I hate as well as things about which I really feel sorry for others!

WWF Wrestling. I mean come on, gimme a break. Can't you see it's fake. If you can't then I feel sorry for your powers of perception. And if you can and still watch it, then I feel sorry for your life that you have nothing better to do!

These are the good old days

These are the good old days.

That’s a phrase I repeat to myself often. It makes me realizethat whatever I am going through, whatever kind of day I’m having, that someday I am going to look back on this time of my life and remember it as a special, important time.

I thought of it again this morning. My 19-year-old daughter and I were both up in the wee hours of the morning, getting ready for work. We had a nice conversation, and I told myself, “These are the good old days,” because someday she won’t be here. She’ll get married and have a family of her own; and I’ll look back on today and say, “I remember the good old days.”

Just like I remember doing the morning show at a radio station back in the 80s. I would be up at 4 a.m. and here would come that same daughter, in her little footed pajamas. I could have told her to “Get back in bed!” Instead, I would take the time, fix her a bowl of cereal, and there we sat, father and daughter, at our little table in our little apartment, while mom slept unaware of the sugar I was pumping into her baby’s body.

Today is the day! Soak it up and live it for all it’s worth. Feel the life in every moment and thank God for it.

We have a little family of Cardinal birds that have nested right next to a window at our office here. It’s so cool. You can see right into the nest. First they were eggs. Then they were little fuzzy babies. Little kids like Abby and Isabel come in and are fascinated by the birds, just an inch or two from the window.

I thought of a line from Psalm 119 that says, “I will meditate on Your wonders.”

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer so I spent a lot oftime in prayer. I went to the Senate chambers and prayed as the Senators discussed and voted on bill after bill. I went to the House. I watched the lobbyists, the aides and everyone in their power suits rushing here and there. Then I went to the top of the capitol building and quietly pondered the panoramic view of Tallahassee. FSU. Florida A & M. The Supreme Court. Apalachee Parkway. The civic center. Jets flying by. Thousands of people jamming the highways.

I pondered and prayed and soaked it up. Governor Bush took time out of his busy schedule to join us in prayer. I observed all the nameless volunteers who helped with the nitty-gritty of the prayer event. I watched hundreds of tiny children parade past with their “prayer passports” and wondered about each of their little lives, their daddies and mommies and their own little footed pajamas. All of them are loved by God.

Later I sat down exhausted, thankful for my little sandwich and bag of chips, on a concrete ledge in the shade. And I watched the ants marching with order and discipline, making strategic plans for my oatmeal cookie.

What a big and busy world. “I will meditate on Your wonders.”

Why get hung up on the past? Why worry about the future? There is so much to life today. Grab hold of it! Notice it, don’t rush past it.

I like this old phrase, “Wherever you are, be there.”

That means, participate in this moment. Don’t have your mind off somewhere else. Don’t miss the joys of the day just because you weren’t paying attention. Remember, “These are the good old days.”

~A MountainWings Original by Doug Apple, Tallahassee, FL~

I really like the above article for two reasons.

Firstly, it reaffirms my belief in what I do. "Carpe Diem" has been my cry too. Too many people are too hung up on the past and that hampers their performance and happiness in the present. Worry about the past will not change it. Or they are too worried about the future. I once read that worry about the future is interest accrued on troubles one is yet to encounter! I couldn' t have put it better myself. However, Carpe Diem does not mean that one cannot learn from the past or plan for the future. Au contraire, one should do both. But that should not prevent one from living in the present.

Secondly, this article makes me realise that there are millions of things around me that I will cherish 10 years or 20 years from now. Writing a blog at leisure, listening to RD Burman songs, dancing in an office party while suffering from Dengue (probably!!), making tea with neembu and tulsi from our kitchen garden, sharing that cuppa tea with my mom, while talking about Diwali preparations, talking over the phone with my 4-yr old nephew and 3-yr old niece, enjoying a good joke, reading scraps , emails and SMSs from students/friends concerned about my health are just some of the things that I can think of, which I enjoyed immensely in the last 24 hours. It is not there are no troubles in today's life, but how can I let them overshadow the good things in my life?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Open Office

An intiative - now supported by Google - to liberate the world from Microsoft Office, Open Office is worth a download and a try. It was originally called Star Office from Sun Microsystems. In its new avatar at less than 100 MB, it is not bloatware and since it is definitely freeware, you are also free from exhorbitant prices of software monopolies or the sin/crime of piracy!

Read more here and download here.

Mast Video

This is hilarious :D - A fantastic spoof on Beedi Jalayee Le Jigar Se Piya!

Watch it!

Gabbar and Samba - Updated

Gabbar: Kitne admi they?
Sambha: Sardar 2
Gabbar: Mujhe ginti nahin aati, 2 kitne hote hain?
Samba: Sardar 2, 1 ke baad aata hai
Gabbar: Aur 2 ke pehle?
Samba: 2 k pehle 1 aata hai.
Gabbar: To beech mein kaun ata hai?
Samba: Beech mein koi nahi aata>
Gabbar:: To phir dono ek saath kyun nahin aate?
Samba: 1 k baad hi 2 aa sakta hai, kyun ki 2, 1 se bada hai.
Gabar: 2, 1 se kitna bada hai?
Samba: 2, 1 se 1 bada hai.
Gabbar: Agar 2, 1 se 1 bada hai to 1, 1 se kitna bada hai?
Samnba: Sardar maine aapka namak khaya hai, mujhe goli maar do

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I think I am too good for my ownself. Always having been taught to be good to others, do unto others as you want others to do to you, I think I lost somewhere the basic human instinct of self-preservation and self-interest. It has been repeatedly diagnosed by various people as lack of assertiveness and aggression.

I myself thought about this earlier too, in this blog entry, where I said "It's not that I have given up on "Angry Ganeshan" - I still admire him and his unique antics, his choleric and wrathful outbursts, his unique perspective on most things, and his shameless avarice and self-promotion. I am not looking for a complete role-model, but sometimes admire the brazen and bold manner in which he puts across his point, something that I sometimes feel, I need to develop more."

My choice of Langda Tyagi, Don etc. as Orkut avatars, also indicates tendencies in that direction. Have I started to admire their chracters' personalities completely? No. Thankfully I can recognise this on my own. And thus the remedy is easy to find. I should become more assertive in life, so that people do not tread on my toes and my pent-up frustrations do not get expressed as Orkut Avatars!

Time to take out my dust-covered copy of "How to say no when you don't want to say Yes!"

Buy your own Warne or Muralidharan

With the perfect bowling machine being created, match practice is no longer child's play. Read the details here.

Solar alchemy turns fumes back into fuels

I am sure you have seen fuels turn to fumes (and the money in the wallet go kaput!) . What if you could reverse this and turn the fumes back to usable fuel, of course with a little help from the sun!

Read about this interesting development.

D-Company Strikes!

D-Company Strikes! Not the Dawood one, but the Dengue one, which is supposed to be deadlier. I may have it, I may not have it. That is not for sure and will be clear after more blood tests (the first ones were too early and therefore inconclusive), but in the meanwhile, I am on bed-rest with limited access to the internet!

MSN Live Search better than Google for Searching?

If you want to search for a search engine, and trust that google is the best; think again. Google thinks MSN is better than their own search engine. At least that is what the theory is, if you believe this link.

Read complete article.

Oetzi - The 5000 year old Ice-man

When he last walked, the Pyramids had not yet been built. Such is the age of the Oetzi, the legendary Iceman, whose almost perfectly preserved body was found in 1991 in the icy Alps. It offers a fantastic peek into the life and times of a man, who died in 3300 BC.

The net is full of good websites that offer accurate information about him. A good place to start exploring about him would be here.

The Oak Island Mystery

A lonely island, a pit in the ground, a putative treasure, a 211 year old history. All the ingredients of a successful legend! I first read about Oak Island in a book in college and have followed up my interest on the net. It is too good a story to pass up.

Read more about the Oak Island here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Chinese Name confusion

Caller: Hello, can I speak to Annie Wan?
Operator: Yes, you can speak to me.
Caller: No, I want to speak to Annie Wan!
Operator: Yes I understand you want to speak to anyone. You can speak to me. Who is this?
Caller: I'm Sam Wan. And I need to talk to Annie Wan! It's urgent.
Operator: I know you are someone and you want to talk to anyone! But what's this urgent matter about?
Caller: Well... just tell my sister Annie Wan that our brother Noe Wan was involved in an accident. Noe Wan got injured and now Noe Wan is being sent to the hospital. Right now, Avery Wan is on his way to the hospital.
Operator: Look, if no one was injured and no one was sent to the hospital, then the accident isn't an urgent matter! You may find this hilarious but I don't have time for this!
Caller: You are so rude! Who are you?
Operator: I'm Saw Ree.
Caller: Yes! You should be sorry. Now give me your name!

Lucrative store locations pinpointed by new mathematical model

The old mantra about the three most important factors for a shop's success - location, location and location - has been borne out by a new mathematical model. It could help retailers pinpoint lucrative sites for their stores.

Interesting work; seems like a simple application of factor analysis to me! Read more here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Trains - Interesting Logic

A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the other disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the rest on the operational track. The train came, and you were just beside the track interchange. You could make the train change its course to the disused track and saved most of the kids. However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the train go its way?

Let's take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make.

Go on, think well and make a good decision.

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. You might think the same way, I guess. Exactly, I thought the same way initially because to save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally.

But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was. This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are.

The child who chose not to play with the rest on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for him. The person who wrote the story said he would not try to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use, and that they should have run away if they heard the train's sirens.

If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that track! Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the lives of all passengers on board at stake!

And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child, you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one.

"Remember that what's right isn't always popular... and what's popular isn't always right."

Everybody makes mistakes; that's why they put erasers on pencils.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hilarious Review of Indian Superman

You got to read this. An abso-smashing-lutely review of a movie which stars Puneet Issar as the Indian Superman. The review is good, but the footage and the stills are even better!

Hanste Hanste Pet Mein Bal Pad Gaye!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Invisible drones

Can a surveillance drone be made virtually invisible? A US company thinks so, and their patent application explains how. "Persistence of vision" turns the fast-moving rotors of any helicopter into a near-transparent blur, while the slow-moving body looks solid. So why not make the entire aircraft spin as it flies, turning it into a single faint blur in the sky?

Details here.