12/21/2006

Madhava: the desi robot kid

Check out this clip. Its in top youtube clips today. Reminds me of some of my childhood friends who could repeat some slokas or mantras or the multiplication tables without having any f**ng clue as to what it means. In all these cases, some pushy parents were the culprits :)







Poor kid. I feel sorry for him and his childhood. Surely this kid has amazing capacity to byheart things just like some Jewish kids who can memorize the Torah or some Muslim kids who can memorize the Koran. But so can any computer or any number crunching machine. Someone please call the 911 :)

12/19/2006

Tribute to Prafull Goradia


Click here to see him in action or click here to read some of his stupid rants.

12/17/2006

Copy of M F Husain Bharat Ratna petition

Finally managed to get hold of a copy of the petition sent to the President of India, urging consideration of honoring M F Husain with the Bharat Ratna. Thanks to Shashi Tharoor and Ram Rahman for giving me a copy. Click here to read the pdf version. Personally, I don't understand his paintings very much and am no one to comment whether MFH deserves the Bharat Ratna or not. But the names in the letter are "big names" in their fields. There is a clip on CNN-IBN which you can watch by clicking on the image below. Pretty useless clip in my opinion and I wouldn't expect anything better from Ghose anyway. It was such a great opportunity to literally rip off this insane creation called Prafull Goradia and she totally missed it. I really wish Karan Thapar did this piece instead of her.



When Ram Rahman (himself an artist and photographer) wrote to me, I realized that the "Dashrath Jataka" exhibition which I had mentioned in my earlier article was infact designed by him. What a small world! The exhibition was part of "Hum Sab Ayodhya". You can read more about it here. I am attaching an excerpt below.
Meanwhile ‘Hum Sab Ayodhya’ was attacked in Faizabad by 15 Bajrang Dal activists looking for something to make an issue over. What they found was a text reference to the Dashrath Jataka, from the Buddhist tradition, the earliest known version of the Ram Katha, where the narrative and genealogy of Rama are at variance with the Valmiki Ramayan. A rumour was floated that we had made a ‘poster’ blaspheming Rama and Sita as brother and sister. Not having succeeded in scuttling ‘Mukt Nad’, the day after the programme, both in Parliament in Delhi and more effectively through the RSS machine, this rumour was spread across the country.
Btw, Ram Rahman is the son of Indrani Rahman (1930-1999) , who was India's cultural ambassador, a legendary dance performer in various styles including Bharata Natyam, Mohini Attam, Kuchipudi and Odissi. She was Miss India 1952 ( along with Nutan ) and the first Miss India to participate in Miss Universe Pageant in California in 1952 :)

12/11/2006

The decline of Mayans according to drunken Gibson

A nice funny re-cut of Apocalypto. Its so hard to think of the movie, think of Mel Gibson without thinking of the DUI incident when he made statements like

Fucking Jews...the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world

What are you looking at, sugartits ?
Here is the youtube clip:


Thanks Abraham for the clip :)

Why I chose the Nikon D50

After spending about an hour everyday for the last couple of weeks reading reviews on various Nikon and Canon digital SLRs, I landed up buying a Nikon D50 last night from ritzcamera.com. Its literallly a throw away price ( $450 and $430 if you use google checkout). I also ordered a Tokina 12-24mm wideangle lens from normancamera.com. The Nikon 18-200mm VR lens is out of stock and I have backordered it from ritzcamera.

Here was my strategy to buy these. It was literally a constrained optimization problem with a budget constraint and (feature+lens choices)/price ratio as the cost, or rather benefit. I would have gone for the Canon Rebel XT if Canon had a very good lens choice/variety. From the reviews I read, it appears like Rebel XT performed better (sharper) than Nikon at high ISO numbers. Also, Rebel XT is a 8MP camera, but this is something I am not really worrying about right now. A 8 x 10" printout at 300 dpi requires 8 x 10 x 300 x 300 = 7.2 MP image. For most eyes, even a 6.1 MP from Nikon D50 should be good enough.

Given that lens prices don't drop much ( if at all they drop ) but the body price drops a lot over a year or two, it made sense to me to invest in the Nikon D50, 6MP and buy very good lenses for it. Nikon D80 is about $500 more and the Nikon D200 is about a $1000 more compared to the D50. Both of the latter ones are 10.2 MP cameras with lots of extra features. But then, I really don't know if I will make use of these extras very much. I will use the D50 for a while and see how it goes and if after a year or two, I miss the D80/D200, I might consider selling off the current D50 and buy the D80/D200, which I hope will drop down to the current D50 price by then.

Here are some of the websites I used to make my decision. Inputs from MP and Sujiet were also quite useful.


Some other tips which helped me save about $100 are:
  • If you are buying two or more items above $50 each from buy.com or ritzcamera.com or any other site providing googlecheckout services, do separate checkouts and save $20 on each checkout.
  • If you don't have amazon.com card yet, get one. I got my Samsonite camera bag for free that way.

12/04/2006

Achappam and Chinese Pretzels


Its hard to find a mallu who hasen't heard of the crunchy snack "Achappam". It might actually be equally hard to find a chinese who hasen't heard of "Tong Wan/Chinese Pretzel" :) We got the chance to try this during our Hawaii visit in 2003. Looks the same and tastes the same. A google for achappam or chinese pretzel recipes also confirms it. Most of it has the basic ingredient as

1. All purpose flour or maida or rice flour
2. Milk or coconut milk
3. Sugar
4. Blask sesame seed

Most mallus tend to add eggs and some even add bananas. If I were making, I would also try experimenting with vanilla or cinnamon essence. If you are daring enough and want to make it yourselves, check out the recipes at the following links. You will need a achappam/chinese pretzel mould to fry it. If you don't have one, you can buy the Swedish rosette mould from amazon.com. See a picture below.


Chinese Pretzel recipe at University of Hawaii

Achappam at hindu.com

12/03/2006

Petition to honor MF Husain with Bharat Ratna

Its been a year since I wrote my piece on M F Husain. Things have turned out so bad for the artist that he is now on a self imposed exile and resides in the UK. Here is what some of his critics want out of the whole issue:
  • The Hindu Personal Law Board had announced a Rs 51 crore reward for beheading the artist.
  • A local leader in Gujarat promised one kg of gold to anyone who gouged out Hussain's eyes.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, ex-Congress leader Akhtar Baig, offered nearly 20,000 euros to the person who would chop off Hussain's hands.
Sounds scary to hear these in 21st century India. Weren't we told that the Taliban is restricted to Afghanistan and Pakistan ? To his critic's surprise, there has been a petition floating around addressed to Abdul Kalam asking him to consider honoring the 91 year old artist with a Bharat Ratna. Some of the notable signatories are Tyeb Mehta, Ram Kumar, A. Ramachandran, K.G. Subramanyan, Jogen Chowdhury, Laxma Goud and Paritosh Sen, Shyam Benegal, Mira Nair, Ebrahim Alkazi, Amiya Bagchi, Irfan Habib and most recent being Shashi Tharoor. Here is what Tharoor has to say:

Looking at the Mahabharata-inspired work in this exhibition, it seems to me that Husain is simultaneously honouring and appropriating the epic. If there is a message to the work that features in this exhibition, it would be that of the continued relevance of the stories, issues and images he has derived from the Mahabharata. That, in turn, is a twofold message: first, of the need to re-examine the received wisdom of the epic in today's India, to question the certitudes, to acknowledge the weight of the past and face its place in the present; and second, to do so through a reassertion of the epic's dharma, defined not as religion but as the whole complex of values and standards — some derived from myth and tradition, some derived from our history — by which India and Indians must live. In offering his vision of the Mahabharata to India and the world, Husain has paid a fundamental tribute to his own civilisation, one which he has, through his reinvention of the past and his reimagining of the present, immeasurably enriched. He deserves the Bharat Ratna.

In my opinion, one of the main person behind the Hindu-Talibanisation of this issue is the former Rajya Sabha member, Praful Goradia, whose book "Anti-Hindus" has been used by hardliners like Sanatan.org and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti to smear MFH. In the interest of avoiding repetition, click here to know about Goradia's involvement. I have also been trying to get a copy of the peitition sent to Abdul Kalam. Will post it if I manage to .

Selvaraj Thevar: The Aircraft Engineer from Dharavi

BBC special reports has a nice piece on Dharavi, Asia's largest slum. If you are bored of the recent media obsession with Sanjay Dutt story ( or "saga" as they call it), you might want to read this instead. Click on the image below to read about their personal stories and struggles in life.


Name: Selvaraj Thevar (46)
Occupation: Aircraft maintenance for Jet Airways
Earns: $260 (£140) per month - sole earner in family
Home: One room tenement shared with wife and son
Time in slum: 27 years, but hopes to move out


I can kind of identify with them as I had a couple of friends from Dharavi whom I used to visit quite regularly until my undergraduate days, or rather until I had the time to passionately take care of my fish tanks. Yeah, there are lots of good, professional, "exotic fish" breeders in Dharavi. And many of them help maintain show tanks in luxury five star hotels for example. Hope to catch up with some of them once I return back.

12/01/2006

Kansas Outlaws Practice Of Evolution :)



Thanks MP for the link. Check out the "news" at The Onion by clicking here. Nice take on Intelligent Design movement in Kansas. It reads

"From now on, the streets, forests, plains, and rivers of Kansas will be safe from the godless practice of evolution, and species will be able to procreate without deviating from God's intended design," said Bob Bethell, a member of the state House of Representatives. "This is about protecting the integrity of all creation."

Also of interest is the theory of "Stupid Design", an alternative to the theory of Intelligent Design. The advocates of SD claim

Stupid Design is an extremely popular and scientifically advanced theory which is accepted nearly worldwide by all the people who matter.

The theory states that some forms of existence are simply too stupid to have come about by random chance. Ergo, they must have been designed to be stupid by someone at least equally as stupid as the stupidity that has been created, a Stupid Designer like God or Calvin Klein and not just any old mediocre designer.

You can read more at wiki. Also see this funny movie at youtube.


11/30/2006

The Vasundhara Raje kiss!


Here is the now famous kiss between the Rajasthan CM and Biocon India Chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. Coming from a male dominated state which gives handouts to tourists with lessons on "local Indian culture" like
a man must never touch a woman in public, even to help her out of a car, unless she is very elderly or infirm.
she definitely has the balls to kiss someone from the same sex in public. And as usual the ICCs ( Indian Cultural Crybabies ) are out crying, saying this is a very unindian thing to do. Yeah, get it right. Indians don't kiss or have sex. Our population explosion is still an unexplainable divine miracle. This time, it's not the usual RSS/BJP/VHP suspect who are crying, but the opposition Congress in Rajasthan. Hmm, who doesn't want to miss the opportunity to pose some selfrighteousness. State Congress Vice-President Raghu Sharma has asked her to apologise for "hurting" the people of her state. Raje has a very funny fitting response.
Raje had denied the charge and said the show was meant to promote the khadi weavers and spinners of Rajasthan.

The Satesman reports:
Activists of Women Congress staged a march and burned the effigy of the Chief Minister to protest against the photograph. They alleged that the CM has disgraced all women of the state by publicly engaging in such an act. Schoolchildren, under the banner of Citizens Forum, also staged protests.
Whats more funny about the whole incident is that, according to Economic Times, it was just air-kissing and the camera angle makes it appear like a liplock kiss. Raje was also in news a couple of days back. One for flying 341 times in 800 days on tax payer's money. And her response to this was also something straight and funny: "Do you want the CM to travel by bullock carts ?" The other time she was in news was for catwalking in Bangalore for a fashion show promoting Khadi.

11/27/2006

Come August 2007, shop in Walmart India

Yes, the Rs. 14 lakh crore giant is about to enter India in a tie up with Bharti group and plans to open "hundreds of stores" all around. The financial details haven't been released yet as India still doesn't allow FDI in retail sector, but only in the wholesale sector.

If you have some land in India which is potentially close to where Walmart plans to put up its store, hold on to it and wait for the prices to go up :)

Check out the following links.

Wal-Mart takes retail war to back-end
As foreign direct investment (FDI) is banned in multi-product retailing, the 50:50 Bharti-Wal-Mart agreement will focus on supply chain, logistics and wholesale business, leaving Mittal to manage the customer-facing storefront.
WalMart enters India in tie-up with Bharti
The joint venture will start opening stores in Asia’s fourth largest economy from 2007, and Bharti Enterprise chairman Sunil Mittal said he expected it will have several hundred stores across the country in the next four to five years
Deal worth billion dollars, says Mittal

Bharti Enterprises has signed an agreement with world's largest retailer Wal-Mart for a joint foray into India's retail space. The companies have inked an MOU and operations expected to kick off mid August.

11/12/2006

Domestic Violence Bill becomes an Act.

Imagine you call your brother-in-law an ass when you are having an argument with your wife. As per the "THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT ", this amounts to emotional and verbal abuse and you could be jailed! The Domestic Violence Act (DV) came into effect on Oct 26th, 2006 and is already causing quite an uproar. Karan Thapar in his Devil's Advocate interviews Renuka Chowdhury about this act and to be frank, she was the real scary devil and Karan just an advocate. The image below is Renuka doing a mix of roudra, bheebhatsya and adbutha. A cute satan, ain't she ? I think she is one of these feminists who are more men haters than real feminists.




Coming back to the topic, looks like this act will go down the Dowry Act road, IPC 498A. Just like many other Indian laws, it has room for infinite interpretations. Click here for a related post I had put up a couple of months back on ambiguity in Indian laws. Please note, I am not arguing against laws which criminalises abuse of women. But laws which are inherently loose with vague definitions are bound to serve little purpose. Probably the only little purpose they serve is to make silly, a serious issue. Here is an example of a situation which falls in the category of domestic violence according to the act.

Karan Thapar: Look, for instance, at economic abuse. It is defined by the Act as deprivation of any economic or financial resource, which the aggrieved is entitled to by custom and it includes disposal of household effects. Under that language, if a husband was to sell the family television at a time when his marriage was going through a bad patch, it should be deemed to be domestic violence. Now, that’s ridiculous, but it is very much a part of the Act.

Another interesting scenario is the following. You can't even call the step-brother of your former girlfriend whom you parted 10 years ago an ass. Sarcasm and silly fights become offence. When Karan mentions a Supreme Court statement in July 2005 that the anti-dowry law is being terribly misused, she replies that its a minute percentage of the cases. But apparently its not. When Karan mentions:
Karan Thapar: The Centre for Social Research with regard to the anti-dowry law did a study after the Supreme Court judgment came out in August of 2005 and it concluded that of every 100 cases brought under the anti-dowry law, 98 per cent were false. Only two were correct. It’s not a minute percentage; the level of abuse that this could incur is phenomenally high.
Renuka replies: "It's okay." By this time, I am fully convinced that she is not only a men hater but someone who will go to any extent to defend themselves foolishly. Here is another instance of a ridiculous situation which is covered under the act.

Karan Thapar: You keep talking about direction. You keep talking about importance of setting a direction for society. Clause 17 of the Act gives divorced women and former separated girlfriends - and I use that language very carefully: divorced women and former separated girlfriends - the right to claim residence in the home of their former husband or their former partner even though the Act says they may not have any right, title or beneficial interest in the same.

You can read the rest of the interview or watch the video here. At the end, you might just feel like smashing your computer monitor. Hats off to Karan. Let me state some more retarded and funny soundbites from Renuka.

Karan Thapar: In other words, let men suffer first, then I will correct the wrong I have done.

Renuka Chowdhury: It is not such a bad idea, except that I have such pity for men.


Karan Thapar: You are saying to me that a bad law is better than no law at all?

Renuka Chowdhury: If you want to say it that way. Any law is better than no law at all.

Adobe Flash 9 for linux available.

Adobe Labs has released Flash Player 9 for linux. (The windows version has been available for quite some time now ). You can download it from here, unzip and copy it to your browser's plugins folder.

Many websites like CNN-IBN videos require atleast version 8 of flash player. You can now browse through them in linux without having to go through additional hacks like using wine etc.

Women on top in Kerala, lliterally, on coconut trees!

Check out this CNN-IBN clip on women in Kerala.

Etamanoor (Kerala): Women in Etamanoor, Kerala, can do almost anything, from driving auto-rickshaws to running hotels and even climbing coconut trees.

This is a village where women are on top and that is because of the Swasreya Sangham – a self-reliance initiative in the Kottayam district.



The initiative has designed a mechancial equipment enabling women to climb coconut trees which has traditionally been considered to be men's job.

11/10/2006

Happiest closed sets!

Here is a picture of a happy closed set sitting in a two dimensional plane. It has points with a zero, one and two dimensional "neighbourhood".

11/07/2006

Corruption Perception Index released: India ranks 70th

Just a follow up on my previous post "Indians bribe most". Transparency International relesed CPIs of various countries worldwide yesterday. India ranks 70th in the list (better than being at the bottom as was for the bribery index). TI reports:

The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), launched today by Transparency International (TI), points to a strong correlation between corruption and poverty, with a concentration of impoverished states at the bottom of the ranking.

“Corruption traps millions in poverty,” said Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle. “Despite a decade of progress in establishing anti-corruption laws and regulations, today’s results indicate that much remains to be done before we see meaningful improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest citizens.”


Click here for the complete report at TI website. The last index for the year 2006 is going to be released on Dec 7th and measures corruption in institutions like police, judiciary and executive.

Organized youtube with indextube.



Check out indextube.com. Its a nice website where most of the videos from youtube and video google are organized with a nice interface. Because its based on wiki, anyone can edit it or add new clips to it. The current links on the top of their TV Shows list are Ali G and Borat collections.

11/05/2006

Borat review

Just back after seeing Borat. Found it quite funny and interesting. I think opinions on this movie will turn out to be good or very bad. It is not for the faint hearted. Its a movie on racism, stereotypes and intolerance. You can read its CNN review and its ABC review before deciding to see it. Both are good reviews.




If you are the kind of person who finds certain jokes out of taste or certain kinds of sarcasm racial or hurting, this movie is definitely NOT for you. Whereas, if you are the kind of person who is potentially "open" to ANY joke, there are lots of stuff for you there. The movie reminded me of Dharmapuranam, a political scatological satire by malayalam novelist O. V. Vijayan (best known for his critism during Indira Gandhi's emergency). You will find lots of sex and excretion interspersed between politicians, prostitutes, power and filth. The opening of the novel is still fresh in my mind :) The Hindu sums it up nicely:

Dharmapuranam marks the completion of Vijayan's metamorphosis into a spiritual outsider. By then, he had travelled a long way from Khasak's Edenic countryside. He had perfected his language to articulate what is "too deep for verbal approximation". Dharmapuranam, while verbally exposing the excess filth, obscenity and horror in power politics, explores the "concept of the teacher and incarnation", which he carried forward to exalted levels in his subsequent works like Gurusagaram (Eternity of Grace), Pravachakente Vazhi (The way of the Prophet) and a number of short stories and articles.
You can read more about Vijayan at wiki and here. Some of my friends found the sarcastic jokes in Dharmapuranam very much "indecent" and "out of taste", whereas I enjoyed reading it. I am quite sure the same people will also find Borat out of taste. Also, don't go for Borat with huge expectations. The best of Sasha is really good and worst of him can be really really bad :)

For me, it was overall a good movie. Didn't get bored anytime, or rather, the times during which I got bored had measure zero!

Song dedicated to Ted Haggard.



This is the same guy who accused Richard Dawkins of "intellectual arrogance" in Dawkin's movie "The root of all evil". Click below to watch it at youtube.


He tells Dawkins:
If you only read the books I know or if you only met the scientists I meet, you would be great like me!

We can now add the following to it
If you only met the gay prostitutes I meet, you would realize that I am such a self righteous hypocrite scumbag!

Whenever you meet a poojari or sadhu or a priest, realize that they have tons of skeletons in their closets.

Stupid Ghose gets a company


If I were managing CNN-IBN, I would definitely stop her from hosting any shows. Even after being told so many times by Jethmalani that it is no business of her to question his right to defend someone, even after her own " national polls" show that a huge majority (80%) of the pollsters support Jethmalani, she goes on with next next segment Was Jethmalani's decision right ?. This time she invited another idiot to the studio room. One Kamini Jaiswal, who was "dissapointed" that Jethmalani is defending Manu Sharma. Note that Jaiswal herself is a lawyer.

I don't know if it was any Freudian slip, but she definitely said what I have in the image above.

11/04/2006

Plagiarism by Cao/Zhu paper on Poincare ?

Here is an update on my previous posting on the Poincare conjectures.

Click here for a pdf file Jeremy Morgan emailed me yesterday. Its quite clear that on reading it that not only did they copy the same argument/idea from Kleiner/Lott paper, but even the sentence construction is same at many places. In the pdf file, the left column is the stuff from Kleiner/Lott paper posted at www.arxiv.org and the right column is the stuff from Cao/Zhu paper posted at Asian Journal of Mathematics. Read it and form your own opinion.

Remember how the media was going boo-boo over Kavya Vishwanathan ? I don't know if there will be the same reaction this time. Kavya was a teenager, could be easily intimidated and hence a soft target for the media. Kavya claimed that the similaritites were "completely unintentional" and that she "internalized" the details. Cao/Zhu in their erratum claims that they had "forgotten" that they had studied and "incorporated" Kleiner/Lott work in their notes!

Personallly, I don't see ANY difference between Kavya and Cao/Zhu. If the former was bashed for plagiarism, so should the latter. Atleast the latter could have displayed some maturity gained out of age. I wonder what Yau's role is in all this. He definitely seems to be knowing Kleiner/Lott work and even comments on their work in his 24 page review article “Structure of Three-Manifolds — Poincaré and geometrization conjectures”. In the article, he mentions

In the last three years, many mathematicians have attempted to see whether the ideas of Hamilton and Perelman can hold together. Kleiner and Lott (in 2004) posted on their web page some notes on several parts of Perelman’s work. However, these notes were far from complete. After the work of Cao-Zhu was accepted and announced by the journal in April, 2006 (it was distributed on June 1, 2006). On May 24, 2006, Kleiner and Lott put up another, more complete, version of their notes. Their approach is different from Cao-Zhu’s. It will take some time to understand their notes which seem to be sketchy at several important points.
Yeah right, their approach is different from Cao-Zhu modulo a couple of arguments and sentences used to fill in Perelman's approach.

11/03/2006

Sagarika Ghose interviews Ram Jethmalani

Check out this interview on CNN-IBN of Ram Jethmalani by Sagarika Ghose. The title of the article is "Raging Jethmalani vows to save Manu, slams media". Firstly, the title is misleading. I would suggest changing it to "Raging Jethmalani forcefully tackles stupid and self-righteous Ghose". Secondly, Jethmalani only wovs to give Manu Sharma a fair trial, not to save him (atleast in this interview).



The interview didn't look good right from the beginning. The first question by Ghose itself was stupid in my opinion. She asks
SG: In defending Manu Sharma, are you in some sense defending or attempting to defend the indefensible?
What bullshit is this ? No one, whether it be Manu Sharma or even Saddam Hussein for that matter is indefensible. This is what differentiates a modern society from stone age trials. Everyone is considered innocent until a fair trial is over and proven guilty. It doesn't matter what the public thinks about the person. No wonder our old man is raged right from the beginning. Her second question is
SG: But sir, aren’t you worried that you are going against the tide of public opinion
IMHO, no lawyer should be worried of going against the tide of public opinion. A lawyer's job is to defend their client. Things would have been so nice if Galileo had a lawyer who was not afraid of going againts public sentiments!

SG: But sir, you have gone against your own family, tide of public opinion, against the citizens of India. The Press is merely reflecting…
Sagarika continues the same stupid question. Jethmalani's answer is the most fitting here. He replies,
RJ: I decide according to my conscience who to defend and please understand and tell those people who are asking this question that there is a statutory rule of the Bar Council of India that a lawyer who refuses to defend a person on the ground that people believe him to be guilty is himself guilty of professional misconduct.
Again, the same question in a different form.
SG: But as a criminal lawyer, don’t you believe there is a lakshman rekha that even all criminal lawyers have to work under?
RJ: Please don’t talk of this bull shit to me. I know what my lakshman rekha’s are.
SG: But what makes you so convinced about the innocence of Manu Sharma?
RJ: I am only convinced that the man is entitled to a fair trial. He is entitled to the services of a good lawyer. Courts will decide and no Pressman, no editor or television will crew will decide.
This question is one more reason why I feel the title is misleading. Jethmalani only wows to give the man a fair trial. Not to prove him innocent by any means. Ghose goes on with her next rant.
SG: But it’s not just the Press. It is your own family, which has said that they don’t want you to take this case.
Yeah right, lawyers should consult their spouses before taking up cases from now on. The next question is really really self righteous.
SG: But why don’t you search your own conscience. A young girl was shot in the presence of a hundred people.
RJ: I am searching my own conscience. All this bullshit won’t convince me at all. My conscience is mine and you are not responsible for it. And I don’t sell my conscience either to you or to anybody else nor will I change my professional etiquette because some chip of a girl comes and tells me that something is wrong.
SG: But why have you decided to take him on as a client?
RJ: I will because it is my right and my duty because you don’t know the duties of a lawyer. You have not read the statutory rules of the Bar Council. You don’t know a word.
I think CNN-IBN should give SG a crash course on how to ask questions to a smart and great lawyer. The media is all welcome to do their own "investigation", but if they start questioning rights of lawyers to defend people, they are bound to get trashed. And Jethmalani did a good job at that.

11/02/2006

On Kherlanji brutality

This happened more than a month ago but didnt get too much attention. Recently, some gruesome images showed up in blogs like www.shivamvij.com and atrocitynews.wordpress.com. WARNING: The second link has some very disturbing pictures. You can also read a DNA India article here.

Bhaiyyalal’s wife Surekha, 44, daughter Priyanka, 18, sons, Roshan, 23, and Sudhir, 21, were first stripped naked, dragged from their hut to an open ground and hacked to death. He witnessed the killings from behind a hut where he was hiding. He now fears for his life too.

Surekha and Priyanka were beaten and gang-raped in full public view for an hour before they fell dead. “Sticks were pushed into their private parts,” says a policeman, asking not to be named. The sons were stabbed repeatedly and their private parts mutilated. Intriguingly, the post-mortem report says the women were not raped. “Doctors were managed and the police bribed,” alleges Rashtrapal Narnaware, a cousin.

Yet another gruesome upper caste landlord brutality against dalit farmers, just 800 kms from Mumbai! I think Shivam should put the pictures back, even if they are disturbing. Pictures have their own power to make people think and bring them to action.

Funny South Asian (almost) porn!

Check out this post at sepiamutiny.com. Quite hilarious :)


10/31/2006

White and Nerdy by 'Weird Al'

Check out this "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al. According to CNN, it hit top 10 in Billboard 200.



Here are the lyrics taken from www.lyricsdir.com.
They see me mowin'
My front lawn
I know they're all thinking
I'm so White N' nerdy

Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Can't you see I'm white n' nerdy
Look at me I'm white n' nerdy!
I wanna roll with-
The gangsters
But so far they all think
I'm too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
I'm just too white n' nerdy
We really white n' nerdy

First in my class here at M.I.T.
Got skills I'm a
Champion of DND
MC Escher that's
My favorite MC
Keep your 40
I'll just have an Earl Grey tea
My rims never spin to the contrary
You'll find they're quite stationary
All of my action figures
and cherries
I got Steven Hawkings in my library
My MySpace page is all totally pimped out
I got people begging for my top 8 spaces
Yo i got pie out of thousand places
Ain't got no grills but I still wear braces
I order all of my sandwiches with mayonnaise
I'm a whiz at minesweeper I can play for days
Once you see my sweet moves you're gonna stay amazed, my fingers movin' so fast I'll set the place ablaze
There's no killer rap I haven't run
A past gal well I'm number 1
I play with calcules just for fun
I ain't got a get but I gotta soldering gun
Happy days is my favourite theme song
I can sure kick your butt in a game of ping pong
I'll ace any trivia quiz you bring on
I'm fluent in Java Script as well as Klingon

They see me roll on, my sagway!
I know in my heart they think I'm
white n' nerdy!
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Can't you see I'm white n' nerdy
Look at me I'm white n' nerdy
I'd like to roll with-
The gangsters
Although it's apparent I'm too
White n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
I'm just too white n' nerdy
How'd I get so white n' nerdy?

I've been browsing, inspectin'
X-men comics you know I collect 'em
The pens in my pocket
I must protect 'em
all my ergonomic keyboard
Shopping online for deals on some writable media
I edit Wikipedia
I memorized holy grail
Really well
I can recite it right now have you
ROTFLOL
I got a business doing websites
When my friends need some code who do they call?
I do HTML do for them all
Even make a homepage for my dog!
Got myself a fanny pack
they were having a sale down at the GAP
Spend my nights with a roll of bubble wrap
POP POP! Hope no one sees me get freaky!

I'm nerdy in the extreme and whiter than sour creme
I was in AP club and Glee club and even the chess team!
Only question I ever thought was hard
Was do I like Kirk or do I like Piccard?
I spend every weekend
at the renaissance fair
I got my name on my under wear!

They see me strollin'
They laughin'
And rollin' their eyes 'cause
I'm so white n' nerdy
Just because I'm white n' nerdy
Just because I'm white n' nerdy
All because I'm white n' nerdy
Holy cow I'm white n' nerdy
I wanna bowl with-
the gangsters
but oh well it's obvious I'm
white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
Think I'm just too white n' nerdy
I'm just too white n' nerdy
Look at me I'm white n' nerdy!

10/30/2006

Indians bribe most!

May not be very surprising but atleast we can quantify these. Check out Economic Times article on the 2006 BPI released by Transparency International.
NEW DELHI: In a global recognition of a different kind, India has been ranked as the worst performer by Transparency International on its global Bribe Payers Index, which is based on the propensity of companies from the world’s 30 leading exporting countries in bribing abroad.
The complete ranking can be obtained here. I am listing it below for convenience. India shows up last in the list just behind China and Russia. Lets wait and see where India will be when the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and Global Corruption Barometer are released.

Stay tuned for the 6 November launch of TI’s flagship Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks over 150 countries on the basis of perceived levels of domestic corruption, and the 7 December launch of the Global Corruption Barometer, measuring popular perceptions of corruption in domestic institutions such as the police, judiciary and the executive.

Accordint to TI,
"The results draw from the responses of more than 11,000 business people in 125 countries polled in the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey 2006. A score of 10 indicates a perception of no corruption, while zero means corruption is seen as rampant. Leading the ranking is Switzerland, but even its score of 7.8 is far from perfect. The message: there may be variations here but there are no real winners. "

Rank

Country/ territory

Average score
(0-10)

Percentage of global exports (2005)

Ratification of OECD convention

Ratification of UNCAC

1

Switzerland

7.81

1.2

X


2

Sweden

7.62

1.3

X


3

Australia

7.59

1.0

X

X

4

Austria

7.50

0.5

X

X

5

Canada

7.46

3.5

X


6

UK

7.39

3.6

X

X

7

Gemany

7.34

9.5

X


8

Netherlands

7.28

3.4

X


9

Belgium

7.22

3.3

X



US

7.22

8.9

X


11

Japan

7.10

5.8

X


12

Singapore

6.78

2.2



13

Spain

6.63

1.9

X

X

14

UAE

6.62

1.1



15

France

6.50

4.3

X

X

16

Portugal

6.47

0.3

X


17

Mexico

6.45

2.1

X

X

18

Hong Kong

6.01

2.8


X*


Israel

6.01

0.4



20

Italy

5.94

3.6

X


21

South Korea

5.83

2.8

X


22

Saudi Arabia

5.75

1.8



23

Brazil

5.65

1.2

X

X

24

South Africa

5.61

0.5


X

25

Malaysia

5.59

1.4



26

Taiwan

5.41

1.9


**

27

Turkey

5.23

0.7

X


28

Russia

5.16

2.4


X

29

China

4.94

5.5


X

30

India

4.62

0.9

10/24/2006

Anti-interracial marriage act and homophobia.

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
These were the words opined by Judge Leon Bazile in a 1967 case when he sentenced to jail an interracial couple for commiting the "crime" of marrying. Yeah, whites marrying non-whites were made crimes supposedly to retain white "purity". The 1996 movie Mr. & Mrs. Loving is based on this infamous Loving v. Virginia case. Though this case was overturned by the United States Supreme Court, many states continued to carry on anti-interracial marriage acts. In fact, Alabama was the last state to abolish such laws in November 2000. As of now, no state in USA has any more of these miscegenation laws.

Dont we see similar sentiments in denying the right to marry to homosexuals ? The arguments used to deny homosexuals marriage rights all come from fundamentalist religious hardliners, just as it was for interracial marriages. Click here for a list of 1049 benefits which a heterosexual couple can enjoy and which are discriminately denied to homosexual couple.

Sodomy laws in many states in USA were used until very recently to harass gays and lesbians. The 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case made unconstitutional, the criminalization of homosexuality (though it doesn't put it on an equal protection ground). The US military has a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, where a gay or lesbian can be expelled if they disclose their sexual orientation. Quoting www.religioustolerance.org

A soldier can travel to Massachusetts or Canada, marry the same-sex fiancé to whom he or she has made a lifetime commitment, return to base, and be expelled for having sex with his spouse.
India too has its own way of harassing homosexual. The infamous section 377 of Indian Penal Code. It reads
377. Unnatural offences

Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation- Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.

By the way, in victorian times of 1862 when the IPC was written, "order of nature" meant sexual intercourse only to procreate and that too if I am not mistaken only in a missionary position! In that context, using contraception should be a crime. Vikram Seth wrote an open letter recently asking for repealing section 377 and Amartya Sen has released a statement in support of it along with signatures many many other prominent people. The letter by Vikram Seth and the follow up by Amartya Sen can be read at www.openletter377.com . There is also an articel by Vir Sanghvi at Hindustan Times. The arguments used by Indian "culture protectors" or rather "ignorant Indians protecting Victorian culture and morals" to criminalize homosexuality are completely debunked one by one in the Vir Sanghvi article. Here are some excerpts.

Most popular is the paedophilia argument: if homosexuality is legalised, then dirty old men will rape children. This is nonsense. There are several laws already in existence to protect children and to guard against all kinds of rape. And, in any case, most instances of paedophilia in India involve heterosexual sex. If this is an argument for anything, it is an argument for banning heterosexuality.......

Then there is the society-is-not-ready argument. This states that India is a deeply conservative society and harmless law-abiding heterosexuals will be deeply offended by the knowledge that somewhere, two consenting adults are performing homosexual acts in private. I don’t think this even needs a rebuttal......

And, finally, there is the what-does-it-matter argument. The law against homosexuality is not rigorously enforced. We all know homosexuals who are clearly not celibate. And yet, nobody puts them in jail. So, even if there is a Raj-era law on the statute books, why make such a fuss about it?.....
Nice read overall.

10/23/2006

Modi's speech after Mumbai blasts


Video google has a speech by Modi after the Mumbai blasts. Some of his lines included belittling United Nations, comparing Manmohan Singh to a coward drunkard and accusing him for givin up on POTA, bashing five star foreign activists (probably referring to foreign returned activists) and as expected Pakistan and Jihadi terrorism.

He starts off with a very lifeless and robotic "Bharat Mata Ki" with the audience flock responding with "Jai" and then

for i = 1 to 4

Modi_prompt ("Vande");
Audience_respond ("Mataram");
i = i + 1;

end

The audience mostly consists of middle and upper class people (the flashy sarees and kurta suits speaks out) and some swamis. Its quite amazing to see how he captivates his audience. They definitely seem to be enjoying it and you can see applauses every now and then. They also seem to be enjoying his jokes. Actually, even I enjoyed some. One of his first jokes is

Sardar sardar mein bhi pharak hein...

which he uses to compare Sardar Patel with our Prime Minister and convince the audience that Patelji was much better Sardar than Manmohan. Another one is when he compares metal detector at the security check point to a puja arti. Most of what he said sounded pretty dumb and beaten to death cliches to me and looked as though it was coming straight out of his Southern stomach through his vocal cord rather than his Northern brain. (No, I am not implying that Southies are dumber than Northies :). But I think thats exactly he is captivating. I myselves would fall asleep when Manmohan speaks :)

Anyway, I am reminded of the old saying: The tongue speaks, but the head doesn't know.

10/21/2006

Want to be a millionaire ? Go Vote!

Just the other day (Oct 18, 2006 to be more precise), I was having a discussion on American politics with some of my American friends. And no such discussion can end without mentioning voter turnout in America. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance has released a ranking of 172 countries by their voter turnout percentages since 1945. Click here for the report.

Some (obvious) omissions are Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Iraq. Some interesting observation are for example, women still cannot vote in Bahrain and (USA's close friend) Kuwait and that Switzerland included women in the franchise as late as 1971. India (60.7%) ranks 105th and USA (48.3%) ranks 139th whereas Palestine (75.4%)is at 52nd and Iran (67.6%) at 80th positions respectively. Also, I dont understand why Australia is at 16th position even though it has a compulsory voting system. Click here for a list of nations which have some form of compulsory voting.

Anyway, coming back to USA, I suggested to my friend that it might be a good idea to give a tax break incentive to get Americans to go out and vote :) It turns out that there is something even better proposed by Arizonian political activist Mark Osterloh. Click here for the official version from Arizona State Legislature website. Named the Arizona Voter Reward Act, the description reads
Proposition 200 would establish a drawing every 2 years for prizes to be awarded to individuals who voted in the statewide primary or general election. Subject to the availability of funds, first prize is $1 million with the potential for more second prizes. The $1 million first prize would be adjusted for inflation. Prize winners would be randomly drawn from lists of voters who cast valid ballots in the primary or general elections.
Sounds really funny, doesnt it :) 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Go Vote!' For more, visit the campaign website at www.voterrewards.org

The Christian Science Monitor also has a very interesting article on this issue.

10/20/2006

Kim Jong conveys Happy Diwali

I really can't understand the world obsession with Kim Jong II. This poor underprivileged kid wanted to celebrate Diwali with some lights and the world is going boo boo over it. I managed to get in tough with North Korean officials to check what other plans they had. To my surprise, they sent me this official Diwali greetings which Kim has been planning to send to world leaders.





This picture is very symbolic. The sunglasses that Kim is wearing symbolises darkness or untruth or Ravana or Saddam or Satan. He can't see objects of truth because of this and keeps stumbling here and there. Hence, he needs to flare up some light to remove the darkness due to his sunglasses and see light or truth for himself. The yellow and orange colors next to him denotes exactly this. Once the lights are up, he can see everything. Victory of good over evil, truth over untruth, Rama over Ravana, Bush over Saddam, Jesus over Satan. What better occasion than Diwali to spread this philosophy ?

10/17/2006

Yau-Perelman affair and Kaavya Vishwanathan

It all starts with the elusive proof of Poincare conjecture posted in a set of three papers by Perelman.


Then came the surprise that Perelman plans to reject the Fields Medal and everyone starts putting up their own conjectures as to why he declined. One such attempt to "explain" is a New Yorker article by Silvia Nasar. Click here to read an online version of the article or click here to download a scanned copy of the print version in pdf format. Do check out the cartoon on the second page of the print version. Among many things, the Nasar article points out that Yau is probably the main reason as to why Perelman rejected the Fields Medal and why he is unhappy with the mathematics community in general.


An obviously infuriated Yau starts his website campaign at www.doctoryau.com.
In a letter, Dr. Yau’s attorney has demanded that the New Yorker and Nasar make a prominent correction of the errors in the article, and apologize for an insulting illustration that accompanied it.




Yau claims that his reputation in China has been vastly tarnished because of Nasar's article. Surprisingly, New York Times now has an article titled
Scientist at Work: Shing-Tung Yau. The Emperor of Math, probably a step towards rebuilding Yau's reputation.

Another paper at the center of all this is one by Cao-Zhu, which Yau is being accused of promoting too much in Nasar's article and also of "pressurising" Asian Journal of Mathematics to publish it at a short notice. This is a 328 page paper, was submitted to AJM on December 12, 2005 and published on April 16, 2006, apparently after the editorial board received an email from Yau on April 13, 2006 stating that they had three days to comment on the paper. No wonder many feel it was not reviewed well to begin with.

Anyway, Nasar might feel a bit relaxed on learning that a flaw has been found in the Cao-Zhu paper. One of the arguments that the authors used to fill in Dr. Perelman’s proof is identical to one posted on the internet in June 2003 by Bruce Kleiner and John Lott. The thing I find totally shady is the erratum by Cao and Zhu which reads
In an erratum to run in The Asian Journal of Mathematics, Dr. Cao and Dr. Zhu acknowledge the mistake, saying they had forgotten that they studied and incorporated that material into their notes three years ago.
Does it ring a huge Kaavya Vishwanathan bell ?

10/13/2006

Christians find Slayer "offensive"


BBC's South Asian section reports that EMI had to recall Christ Illusion after some Christians protested.

Joseph Dias, of Mumbai's Catholic Secular Forum, said the album was "offensive and in very bad taste".

Firstly, "Catholic Secular" is as oxymoronic as it can get. Second, if I were ever to meet Joseph Dias, I would tell him that I find the first Catholic Commandment in the bible "extremely offensive and in extremely bad taste". Here is how it reads:

  1. "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments."

You can read the remaining commandments here. I am quite convinced that our "secular" Joseph Dias will not even consider my proposition to censor the bible a sane one, let alone act on it. Getting back to the issue, I dont know if there was any political pressure to censor the album, but if there was, its plain pseudo-secularism at its best and the Hindu fundamentalist will be right to point it out :)

And what about the rights of people who want to buy and listen to the album ? Makes me think that westerners should be proud of themselves. They are lucky to live in a society where some stupid people (minority or otherwise) dont dictate what others should watch or buy or read or listen or do in their private lives.

10/12/2006

Caltech Physicists Split The Bill

A funny article by the Science and Technology team at The Onion. It describes in great details how a group of eight Caltech physicists successfully split their bill at a Cheesecake factory in Pasadena. Here is a sample. Visit their website for the complete news. Its a nice funny read after half a day's work!

The team of physicists decided to test Dreyfuss's Pay For What You Ordered Algorithm, which hypothesized that it was possible to determine what each individual owed by defining variables such as the cost of one's entrée, the total number of beverages one consumed, one's percentage of the sum ingestion of the component parts of the Firecracker Salmon Rolls and Buffalo Blasts, and "six bucks toward the birthday boy's meal."

The process, however, was hindered by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, as group members failed to document how many drinks they ordered, and those sitting in the vicinity of graduate student in particle physics Susan Politzer suspected that she deliberately falsified her findings regarding the resonant frequency with which she consumed the $7.95 El Diablo margaritas.

10/11/2006

Russell's Teapot and Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster

Many of us have heard of the "Barber's paradox" introduced by one of the most influential logician and mathematician in recent times, Bertrand Russell, to demonstrate a logically impossible scenario and contradictions in set theories prevalent in his times. But there is another interesting construction by Russell called the "Russell's teapot". Here is its statement:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

In other words, argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy.

Similar but more funnier recent construct is the church of Flying Spaghetti Monster , of which the members are called Pastafarians. Please do read the open letter by the FSM church members to Kansas School Board on teaching all "theories" along with evolution. In addition, Pastafarians also has a huge collection of evidence and endorsements from academicians to support their theory.

Touched by His noodly appendages

10/07/2006

CNN India online TV for FREE

If you are an underpaid graduate student who cannot afford to have a desi cable channel, there is a nice free alternative. Go to http://www.ibnlive.com/videos/ and you land up with a page like this.

You will see a "Live Streaming" link at the location circled above. Click and enjoy. I just happend to see this week's comedy segment "The week that wasn't" hosted by Cyrus Broacha. Quite hilarious and a bit closer to Daily Show theme (which is another show I happen to view online everyday very religiously) . His fake interview with Musharaf was quite funny.


And if you are missing all the desi ads, you are in for a treat. Especially these days with lots of Diwali Festival ads.

10/04/2006

Munnabhai tips to deal with astrologer nuts.

Probably the best way to deal with astrologers is to do what Munnabhai did. Ridicule them in public by asking them to "predict" whats going to happen in the next one hour. I think Bollywood will be doing a great social service if they can get rid of peoples superstitions. Its really a shame that astrologers are able to feed themselves on peoples financial and emotional insecurities even in todays age. They will put hyenas and vultures to utter shame :)

Though astrology probably had its origins in questions related to astronomy, it is no science. Neither do they have good definitions nor do they propose experiments nor do they have empirical data. I guess if Aryabhatta were alive today, he might revoke his Indian citizenship to protest such a degraded form of astronomy.

If you dont have the balls to deal with astrologers in public, here are some tips to deal with them in private.

  • Try to extract precise statements from them and ask them for precise definitions. Astrology is full of mumbo-jumbo as far as I can tell. Realise that loose statements which can be interpreted as one likes are its plus points. One astrologer told my parents that I will become "famous" later in my life. Its about time for my midlife crisis to approach and I am still wondering why most of the humanity doesnt know me! Another example, when they ask you for your birth time, ask them what exactly is birth time ? Is it the first appearance of a child from its mothers vagina ? Is it the time when the child is completely out ? Is it the geometric mean of these two times ? What if the child is born out of C-section ? What if the child is born premature and in an incubator for a while ? At this point, if that guy is not a dumbo, he will realize that you are being a difficult person. He will start throwing shit like:
Well, its okay even if its not that accurate. As long as its within a range, it should not matter.
Well, this is quite opposite to what many astrologers will tell. Whenever they are questioned about their predictions, their usual reply is that they didnt get enough accurate data to begin with. Or that you did not follow their advice exactly. Or that you did not do the poojas he asked you to do at a temple he recommended! (Yeah, these guys have a very well established referral program with comissions). Some might try to use some crude epsilon-delta argument from freshman calculus to convince you that their predictions are robust enough and that an epsilon variation in "birth time" will only produce a delta change in their predictions :) Well, your task is to pester them into telling you what the epsilon-delta is! You wouldnt want to travel in an airlines which will drop you off at Delhi instead of Chennai because they are in a delta neighbourhood for some delta, would you ?

  • The prime reason in my opinion that astrologers get away with any bullshit is that there is no concept of accountabiliy in this field. If a doctor doesnt diagnose you correctly, his/her medical license is revoked. If your automotive safety system doesnt work as advertised, you sue the company. If your purchase item is not satisfactory, you return it. From these example, we see that there is no reason to be accountable as far as astrology is concerned. If Murli Manohar Joshi really thinks astrology is science, I would strongly urge him to make it accountable as well. Lets have a system where an astrologer can be sued if their "predictions" dont come out right. Lets have a money back guarantee (with 1500% interest) if they mumbo-jumbo doesnt work. Lets stone them in public :)

At a time when people listen to what Bollywood movies say rather then their sensibilities and rationality, at a time when sweet sewage is considered holy water and allah's miracle, at a time when hindu idols "drink" milk and images of mary appear on a highway, at a time when our scientists at ISRO have to visit dharmasthala before a shuttle launch to boost their confidence, I think the only hope is the film industry. The concluding astrology-trashing scene in Lage Raho is what is much needed in todays times.

I hope I am doing my bit to "foster" scientific temper as enshrined in our Constitution, Article 51A (h) which reads:

[FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES of every citizen of India is:] to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform

10/03/2006

Deadline Deadline Deadline...

Paper deadlines... Visa paperwork.... Havent been able to blog for a while. But atleast I have a new look to my website and an updated academics link :)

9/30/2006

India's African Communities

Just came across an interesting article by BBC on the forgottern India's African Communities. Check out BBC 's website for some pictures.

"The children don't know anything about Africa because those who knew about Africa have died," Hassan says.

Many of them were brought as slaves, but some were merchants, travellers and sailors.

Wiki mentions the following regarding the history of slavery. .

The Arab or Middle Eastern slave trade is thought to have originated with trans-Saharan slavery, though it soon became centered around settlements and ports in East Africa. It is one of the oldest slave trades, predating the European transatlantic slave trade by hundreds of years. Male slaves were employed as servants, soldiers, or laborers by their owners, while female slaves, mostly from Africa, were long traded to Middle Eastern countries and kingdoms by Arab, Indian, or Oriental traders, some as female servants, others as sexual slaves. Arab, Indian, and Oriental traders were involved in the capture and transport of slaves northward across the Sahara desert and the Indian Ocean region into Arabia and the Middle East, Persia, and the Indian subcontinent. As many African slaves may have crossed the Sahara Desert, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean as crossed the Atlantic, perhaps more. Some sources estimate that between 11 and 17 million slaves crossed the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara Desert from 650 to 1900, compared to 11.6 million across the Atlantic from 1500 to the late 1860s. The Arab or Middle Eastern slave trade continued into the early 1900s.

9/21/2006

Gandhigiri websites :)

Just came across these links on Lage Raho Munna Bhai inspired Gandhirigi. Check out these if you are curious about what exacltly it means.



Another link is www.gandhigiri.co.in. If you are inspired to know more about Gandhi, the best source to start with is Gandhi @ Wiki. Gandhi's autobiography is also available online at wikisource, though I would recommend buying the book. Its not easy reading a whole book online.

Though I do not agree with many of Bapu's views, especially on the role of science and technology, lawyers and doctors in society, I would highly recommend reading his Hind Swaraj. Also keep in mind while reading this that this was written way back in 1909. Things were very different then and you need to see it in context. Maybe I am wrong, but I doubt if Bapu ever saw his charka as anything but a machine!

9/08/2006

WARNING: BJP men singing Vande Mataram.

Warning: This video is so funny you might die of laughter!!!

Check out CNN-IBN. Many of them dont even know its meaning and keep dodging questions :)




BJP's senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad was asked by the reporter to translate "sujalaaM suphalaaM malayaja shiitalaaM". To everybody's surprise, his ultra retarded (counter question) answer was:

I will definitely give an answer to this question. But before that, I need you to answer my question. When did color television first come to India ? (Translation by me)

I have no clue what his "answer" has to do with the question. Remember, this is coming from a senior BJP leader. The funnier part is still to come. BJP's national secratary, national spokesperson and more importantly, the Muslim face of BJP, Mukthar Abbas Naqvi is asked to sing this song.



He starts off funny and his last line is just hilarious. He ends Vande Matarm with

Kulnikusumathe Madhumati Shobhinim

The actual verse is pullakusumita drumadala shobhiniiM. What is Kulnikusumathe ??? Who is Madhumati and what is she doing here ??? I am glad that he didn't say "Madhumakhi". Maybe someone by the name Madhumati was his ex-girlfriend whom he can't forget. It is sad that we have these politician monkeys monkeying around stupid issues. Anyway, they make good subjects for comedy shows.

The clip reminds me of an interview by Steve Colbert of US Congressman Lynn Westmoreland who sponsored the bill to display the ten commandments in Congress.



This guy was asked to name the ten commandments. Not very surprisingly, he could list only three of them, with one of them being "sort of" right. You can see Steve counting them in the above pic :) Check out that funny clip here.