Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New post? - throw a party!

Ever noticed the degree to which Indians are absolute havrats? They all seem to celebrate meaningless pieces of news by demanding a party. Passed in the exams? Throw a party. Got a new bike? washing machine? mobile phone? toothbrush? Throw a party. "Aye party de na" seems to be the standard reply for all pieces of information exchange. Grandma got admitted? Throw a party.




Not that I am complaining. I proud to be Indian, bad grammar and all, and am therefore an absolute havrat. Parties are good. Parties are healthy. Parties need to be attended.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Yeahah

Just happy about the fact that I woke up alive today...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Essel World

Have to post this right away for the fear that it might be too late. Anyway, so went to Essel world today. The maps they give out have become smaller so it is even more difficult to figure out where the rides are. Photos later, sat on almost all the rides, thunder around six times and enterprise at least thrice. The most amusing ride was probably the rainbow, where a girl was arguing right back at the staff... she was too short for the ride, and was not allowed... she started saying things like "you take the money outside, why have we paid you" and even screaming "shut up" in a pitch like someone scared shit on thunder. Her parents joined in, telling the attendant about her age (seventh standard) and the rest of us watched on. She got off, crying, the dad argued that the staff broke her heart, and the grand finale was the discovery of a slightly larger girl who got down after the ride was over, was used thoroughly against the staff because their child was not allowed, the parents of the other girl argued with the parents of the first girl over the fact that they dragged her into the whole thing without reason, and the staff were forgotten.




The staff, however did a very commendable job by being polite throughout. Even placidly bearing the screams of the kid, the angry threats by her parents and the requests of the other guests to start off the ride.




The only new ride I went to was the ship thingy where they screened a movie of the Indian Navy, proudly pirating scenes from Pearl Harbour and claiming it to be the work of the Indian Navy. Will probably write to them about this, dishonouring our own navy is a rotten thing to do.




The best thing however, was the ice skating. Had no idea what to do, which was probably why I fell down flat on my ear, had a concussion, and even lost track of things for a while. The first thing that comes to your mind when you have a memory loss is the word "amnesia". This guy fell of a bulding, went home, and died. My mom read it in the newspaper. His ears bled and he thought nothing had happened because he was conscious. As soon as I regained consciousness, one of the first questions I asked were "are my ears bleeding" and then explained the story above. I then narrated the fact that I was at Essel World, who I had come with, and where I live. Confident that I had not got amnesia, I continued to skate with a throbbing head and wobbly knees. Went to the first aid doc later, a really sweet lady, where I told her that I didn't have the typical syndromes of a headache, so she gave me glucose, and I was done. But I was somewhere else for a while... everything is pretty murky, and it takes a while to remember anything. Normalised after a while, and dared to go ahead and skate later on, when I was actually pretty good.



Had have a weird feeling that I might die today anyway, but my fears will probably be proved unbased (if and) when I get up tomorrow, alive.




The skating rink is the only one in Maharashtra, and since it will cost me only a hundred bucks to go there again, I probably will and soon. Nice place, but needs more rides.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Please do not sit

So some of us have the habit of using two wheelers as temporary seats, and some of the owners of the said two wheelers are irritated by this habit. One particular owner of an old Bajaj scooter, was so scared of alien asses on his seat, that he found it fit to place this between the seats:




2001: A Space Odyssey

"I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do."




Pretty nice movie, especially the choreography of the ape sequence, pretty realistic, and you do not realize many of the tricks well into the movie. Really really slow movie, but has that impact. Deviates a lot from the book, was waiting to watch the paradox of a sunrise on a sun, but that part was not included in the movie at all. Wondered why Kubrick would do this, but found out that the movie and the book were written siultaneously, and Kubrick was almost credited as a co-author for the book. Since I have read the book first, I think its better... nice movie though. Two and a half hours long, and there are no dialogues for the first and last half hours.



Da Vinci code is delayed, which is good, it means I get to watch it earlier than anybody else off the net.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

ST

Using the ST buses can be a real pain in the ass, mostly because the seat has been sat on so many times that the cushioning has become wafer thin and rock hard, but also because



1) People bring in luggage, sit on it, after carefully placing the said luggage in the most painful manner over your foot



2) Sometimes, the said luggage stinks, god knows whats in there, today, I had to endure a foul fish smelling something



3) The conducters are rutheless, changeless and shameless. They will take money and not give back change, push and shove you to get past, and scream at you for standing in the wrong place no matter where you are standing, and step on you and give YOU angry looks



4) The driver pretends the narrow pothole ridden gullies to be the Mumbai-Pune expressway. The result is plenty of visceral readjustment.



5) They don't stop at arbitrary stops in between



Have to endure this every friggin day. Thane to Mahape, or Khoparkhairane, whichever is easier to pronounce (the conducter also stresses on the right way to pronounce Mahape... although the spelling isma-huh-pay, its apparently MHA-PA) - resulting in disasterous consequences like getting stuck in the middle of nowhere and having to walk back all the way from Vashi, almost till Ghansoli. I have a shrewd feeling that most of Navi Mumbai is owned by the Ambanis. The Dirubhai Ambani Life Sciences centre and two other such institutions stretch all the way from Ghansoli to Vashi...



The resulting long walks sometimes allow me to spot some NewBombay sights, like:



Saturday, May 13, 2006

Share Rickshaw conversation

The last line is the standard reply to all of life's problems, including, apparently one of knee length skirts. So caught a share rickshaw from Vasant Vihar to the station, and there were four of us in it. One geeky guy, (not me, another one), one uncle, myself and the other driver. So the Uncle gets down midway, and there is a huge jam around talao pali. A rickshaw draws up alongside, the contents of which are a pair of pretty girly legs in a knee-length skirt. The driver and the other passenger are staring like hell and catcalling mentally, and then the signal breaks.



Till the station, they watched out for that pair whenever a rick went past, and got what they wanted a fair few times.



It was the conversation that followed (in marathi) that was funny.



Driver: "Girls nowadays have no decency whatsoever"



Passenger: "Yeah and it is getting worse day by day"



Driver: "What's the use of banning dance bars if girls go around dressed like this?"



Passenger: "The government is made up of sisterfuckers"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Too tired to blog

Working a lot and thoroughly enjoying my vacations. Anyway, when I am really bored, I click random links on the net, not even knowing what the fuck I am doing. So I wasn't really surprised when an email announced that I had won a lottery. I was, however, blown away, when it turned out to be replete with contact information, e-mails, phone numbers, fax nos, and claiming forms. The amount? Some two crores and eighty lakh rupees. Sweet I thought. Really great. Now I could afford a car, computer upgrades, and save up for bhudapan too.

Work came to my rescue, grabbing me from my dreams of the money, so i could not fax them the form. Then, I recieved another mail in my inbox today. Replete with contact information. Some guy has bullshitted me with a cock-and-bull story about someone dying in Africa and no kin of his claiming the money, he is willing to split with me if I claim that money as the dead fellow's kin. The amount? Some two crores and eighty lakh rupees.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Same old funny shit again

That was a comment by Chirag on my previous such post, but what the hell, here is somethinks again:



So some nutter prays his ass off, wears threads, charms and other religious adornments, indulges in rituals of whatever religion he belongs to, and finally gets peanuts out of it. Happens over and over again, everyone has seen it, the world goes on its own damn way irrespective of interference from God. A simple demonstration of this popular belief is this. Ahem.



DEAR GOD, I PRAY THAT YOU WILL PREVENT THIS POST FROM BEING PUBLISHED



So there. He does not care a heavenly fig for our prayers. Also, God cannot be omnipotent, he cannot do ANYTHING. He cannot, for instance, create a language that he cannot speak. Basically, he cannot do anything that puts a limit on his powers, and that itself is one thing he cannot do. Again, so there! You friggin theists! God, cannot taste light, navigate smell, or fuck time - actually - wait a minute... There are many things God cannot do, like do anything against the future he already knows. God also cannot be EVERYWHERE. That would mean he is EVERYTHING. Now a part of an infinity is also an infinity. So I am God, I am supposed to be able to do anything, I cannot, therefore my assumption is wrong, God is NOT omnipotent.



Screw you if you believed the last argument. One is a part of infinity, but it is not an infinity.



Screw you if you got waylaid, the original argument stands. Think again.



Hell screw you anyway, but that's not exactly the point. God inflicted you with lesser brains that what you could have got. God also probably inflicted you with a bad love life, bad orientation, and bad toenails. God, in short, was not kind to you.



And you still believe in God? Why do you?





1) God does not answer our prayers


2) God is not omnipotent


3) God is not omnipresent


4) God is not benevolent





However, the universe was a reaction to SOMETHING. There is SOME reason why there is SOMETHING instead of NOTHING. This means there is something beyond the confines of the physics of our universe, something we probably cannot measure with the tools designed to measure physics in our universe, and therefore we may never get proof, but the fact that a universe exists is proof enough. God may not be benevolent or omnipotent or omnipresent. God in short, may not deserve our respect or worship, but definately, our belief.



cheers





__ ___ __ ____ _ _ __ __ __ __
( ) ( \( )(_ _)( \/ )( ) ( \/ ) ( )
/__\ ) ) ))( )( \ / /__\ ) ( __)(
(_)(_)(___/(__) (__) (__/ (_)(_) (_/\/\_)(___/

Sunday, May 07, 2006

HG2G

Sometimes you sit back and go into deep thought wondering what life is all about and you question the meaning of existence. Now is definately NOT one of those times. Life is about as senseless as it could be right now. Don't Panic! After the wildly self-contradictory radio series, a record album (of a storyline modified from the radio series), a novel (actually five novels forming the Hitchhiker's triology, with completely different storylines following some aspects of the radio series, some of the record album and some new ideas that few agreed were not exactly great), a television series (now it gets to complicated to track or explain), a computer game (dysfunctional to the same extent as the others), a stage show, a comic book and - get this - a towel, the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy has finally arrived as a movie.



Not that the movie is released in India, got it through the torrents, but it is hilarious! There are guide references that only fans can pick up, some even devout fans won't, and others to keep petunias happy by attributing the fabric of cosmos to their thoughts. I KNOW WHY! Lightsabres become "knives that toasts while slicing bread", "Deep thought II" becomes "iDeep thought" (Actually just "deep thought", but it has a mac logo on it)... a lot of the story elements have changed, Margathea is the planet the mice live on, not comission, Hulla Kalluva comes on board as another char that will further be explored in other versions (if only Adams would have been alive). They have found a better choice than Jim Carrey for the role of Beeblebrox. Pretty damn funny movie actually, after a production phase of twenty three years...




and guess what, Dawkings and Adams were friends! Dawkins too was an Adams fan - and I follow the works of both these people, so its nice to read. Adams also named the Pink floyd album Division Bell, and people with the video of the 1994 London Pink Floyd concert will spot Adams on the rythm guitar. Disaster Area in the guide, is actually Pink Floyd - said to be the loudest sound ever generated in the galaxy - a reference to the spectacly of Floyd shows.

Great man. Wish he were alive.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Æon Flux





Just saw the movie. Sure the movie is set 400 years into the future, but anyone who watches it would not refer to it as a Sci-Fi flick. Its about the choices humans will have to face once technology catches up with them to such an extent where the basics of reproduction have changed.




So Bregna is the only surviving city on the planet, 400 years after a virus wipes out most of the human population on the planet. (Incidentally, this virus occurs in the year 2011, around the doomsday prediction time of the Hindu, Bible and not in the same league, but Nostradamus. After this plague, a perfect civilisation is supposedly born) Anyway, so a scientist discovers the cure for the disease, and ofcourse, his descendants rule the last surviving city. 400 years later, a bunch of Rebels called the Monicans are attempting to overthrow this regime.




Enter Æon Flux, with an ability to catch a fly with her eyelids (would be outrageous if apna Rajnikanth did it), kill people by twisting their heads, and walk in ways Rajnikanth wouldn't dream of.




She finds out that the survivors of the virus had one problem - they were all sterile (is this an allusion to the virus being AIDS?). Everyone in the city are clones - cloned over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Not more, exactly seven times that is, 400 years in the future. Aeon is hunting down Goodman, the scientist-leader, and 400 years is sufficient time to justify her roaming around in a severely underclad fashion. A couple of more centuries would have led to a lot of sperm wastage.




Goodchild (the cloned scientist) discovers a cure for the sterility, but his younger brother wants control over this Utopia, and kills off all the people whom he cures. He cannot control this longer, as more and more females become pregnant on their own.




Aeon's observation at this point, must be noted:




We're meant to die. Its what makes everything about us matter.





Well, Æon destroys the clone banks (excellent reasoning - all clones are but ghosts), the evil brother is killed, and people can reproduce, so happy ending.




Brilliantly done movie, don't even want to analyse THAT, was too taken up by the story, but Charlize Theron doing her own stunts, and that too in THIS seemingly Rajnikanth inspired movie, is something that must be appreciated.




Somehow, I feel that the whole story is inspired from Arthur C Clarke's "the city and the stars" where Diasper is the only city on the planet, where human beings are cloned from a clone bank. The only difference is, unlike Bregna, people in Diasper know that they are cloned, and on reaching puberty, recall everything from their past lives. The city, the cloning banks and the organisation, a sort of "perfect city" with a deeply set fallacy - one of eternal life, is the same.




Again, the future of reproduction is scarier than it seems. Cloning is only one facet, we are already headed that way with Caesarian sections (a natural birth is nature's way of making us strong), and test tube babies are already rampant - imagine technology 400 years in the future. Cloning is the least of our worries actually, people can have kids with anyone as long as they get a DNA sample from anywhere (imagine the paternity suits in the transition, when this technology is new) (theoretically, we have that technology even now), people can have kids with other people of the same gender, people can be engineered to have two heads, eight eyes, four hands (another aspect covered in Aeon Flux) - almost anything that we posess the genes to, and we have a large amount of possible variations in THAT.



Scary, really scary, but life will find a way.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bunch of unrelated stuff mostly...




Watched ICE Age 2. Liked the Mammoth with the psychological promblem - one where she thinks she is a possum. The funny bits are when she hangs from a tree with her tail and goes to sleep... amazing animation, especially when the ice explodes. Better than the water in the ants. Mind you, this is technically a very difficult thing to pull off - water, hair, fur et cetera.



Also reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone right now. Always pick up wonderful little details that you miss out the last time you read it for the nth time. Working my way sluggishly through many versions of ramayana too, and a book on the sony Walkman as a cultural artefact.



Was listening to an amazing guitar piece right now, turns out to be Joe Satriani. Nothing else o be said really, or as a friend Chirag would put it, "once you say Joe Satriani, the rest follows."



Downloading a movie a day now, and recently acquired V for Vendetta. Will watch it tonight. saw American Pie 3 yesterday/today. Amazingly funny... especially the the destiflering of Steven.



Also took a test to see how angry I was. Turns out, that
"When it comes to anger... you are the "whatever" type of person. You realize that, for the most part, people suck, but you don't let it bother you. You shrug it off and continue with your day. We don't know how you put up with most people to be honest, but we wish we were more like you"

Rss

Bit weird posting this on a blog, where everyone knows about syndication, but what the hell, this is a semitech article:




RSS is the standard mode of web syndication – that is keeping other sites updated with content from web pages with frequent updates. This is commonly used by blogs, podcasts and news websites. While third party sites use RSS feeds to keep people updated with relevant information, the most common use is by feedreaders and aggregators. This means that instead of visiting all the blogs and news sites that you frequently read, or using bookmarks over and over, you can simply go through your favorites from one website or program. Basically RSS feeds supersimplifies the process of keeping yourself updated with blogs, forums, news, vlogs and podcasts.



Should have probably said what RSS stands for by now – Rich Site Summary – not that it really tells you anything, but now you can show off to people who think it stands for Really Simply Syndication, which is so common a usage that it is also half true. Just realized that full forms are absolutely useless.




My spaces



My Yahoo! Or My MSN spaces of the web are the easiest way of using syndication. Most websites that use feeds have an 'add to My Yahoo!' or 'add to My MSN' buttons, that you simply need to click. If these websites don't have the buttons, you copy paste their feed address into the 'add content' link in your space. The feed address is available when you click on any one of these two familiar buttons – the orange broadcast square or the orange RSS rectangle. All the other features of the service that you use apply, this means formatting and positioning the content on the page. By adding a number of sources in your space, you do not need to wade your way through individual webpages in turn, and can browse through the websites you regularly visit from one place.



You can also create a custom feed by feeding in a search term, like "technology" or "Cricket India". Any updates related to the search term gets automatically syndicated and added to your space.



Yahoo! Offers an innovative service of feed/blog alert beta (don't worry about the beta, that's just an excuse for the probable bugs in the service, and an easy way to get customer feedback). Feed/blog alert sends a message to your IM, to your inbox or even your mobile phone whenever a website you are keeping track of gets updated. Pretty convenient eh? This means that every time a friend updates his or her blog, you get to know of it in real time!





Aggregators



Aggregators are basically third party sites or programs that keep track of feeds. These are also called newsreaders and feedreaders. There are two kinds of aggregators, web based aggregators and desktop aggregators. Services discussed here are all free of spam, free of adware and free of cost.





i) Web based aggregators: Like My Yahoo! or MY MSN, web based aggregators provide an online information space where you can read an accumulation of syndicated content. Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/) is a popular service that not only allows you to gather content in a very simple to use and customizable directory structure (categorize different feeds in different directories), but also lets you share your feeds with others. That way other people can read what YOU are interested in. This service also automatically detects RSS feeds if you simply type in the url of the website. Google has a feedreader service too, called google reader (and again) beta (http://www.google.com/reader). It has a simple interface, with brief summaries of feeds available in rows, a no-nonsense navigation, and an option to keep track of your favorites amongst your favorites with a star (the same gmail one). Feedreader (http://www.feedreader.net) is another good online service. Some online aggregators have preselected feeds and do not let you customize them. These are basically websites which keep you updated with relevant information from various sources. Take for example http://www.indianews.infoindia.in/, which is an aggregator of all India-related news.





ii) Desktop aggregators: Feedreader from http://www.feedreader.com/ is a three and a half megs download. A highly configurable feedreader, you can organize your feeds in a directory structure. Not much different from using Microsoft explorer. Snarfer from http://www.snarfware.com is another popular offline feedreader, and is just a 250 kb download. Comes preloaded with a lot of popular feeds, so you know whats in and what to read right away. Highly recommended. Another good feedreader is feed explorer from http://www.feedexplorer.net/. Has a nice tabbed interface, and an integrated search feature. Some feedreaders you have to pay for come bundled with powerful features such as directly updating your ipods with podcasts and automatically printing out updates.



Linux users will like the simple rawdog newsreader available from http://offog.org/code/rawdog.html.





Web Browsers



Browsers like Opera, Firefox and Safari have built-in feed reading capabilities. These are easily customizable, and websites with feeds are automatically detected with the orange icon appearing in the address bar, and an option to "add live bookmark". This means that your browser can update you when the website is updated, unfortunately the more popular browsers do not have this feature. If you do not want to get involved with all the messy business of tracking RSS feeds and using them in aggregators, then Opera and Firefox allow you to end up with the same results anyway by opening a bunch of bookmarks together. Save all the sites that you visit regularly in one bookmark folder, and then open it as a group or opt to open the group automatically every time the browser starts.





Your feeds



Have a weblog? In a band and want to start a podcast? (Bodhi Tree's blog acts as one: http://xlkikudiyan.blogspot.com/) Want to syndicate your content? Well, all blogs service automatically generate syndicated content in both RSS and Atom formats, but you can make it easier for regular visitors to use the feeds by adding RSS button to your blog. Adding the "add to my yahoo!" or "feedreader" buttons, will be an added advantage. To do this, visit the website of the aggregator you want to add a button to, and follow the instructions. It will usually be a simple block of coding that you will have to copy paste into your sidebar. Don't worry, it's a pretty simple trick.





There are many kinds of RSS variants for web syndication as well as the XML and Atom formats. Most of this article applies for these kinds of syndication as well, and you can use the newsreaders, aggregators and websites with these formats.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Unbreak my heart

So the big bang (supposedly) happened, and the universe blossomed. For a long time, or what we can safely refer to now as “normally”, is that the universe went into expansion in the three dimensions. When time turned out to be a dimension too, it was logical that it was expanding, in other words we are traveling one way through time. Do the other ultra-minuscule space dimensions expand too? I donno, but if it is true, the detection of Kaluza-Klein particles would become progressively difficult, outstripping the growth of technology at CERN. Someone should pay attention to this. Anyway, so basically we are on a one way ticket through time, but some theorists say that gravity will eventually overcome the insane expansion, resulting in a big crunch where the universe contracts. This means that the space dimensions will begin to shrink too (Kaluza-Klein particle detection will be easier then, if CERN waits long enough ;) - alternatively, they can wait longer, long enough for them to be undiscovered) and probably time – which will then run backwards. Politicians will contest like hell after they win, our culture will continually improve, we’ll all keep growing younger and best of all, excreta will crawl back in, get undigested and uningested (which is different from unvommiting).


Now comes the crazy-enough-to-be-true part: Imagine localized areas of the cosmos in which this has already happened. Marcus Chown explores this possibility in his book, the universe next door, a replica of the article can be found here.
Now dead, defunct galaxies living out in backward time would explain dark matter, but this theory says that backward time areas and forward time areas can co-exist. Got me thinking…


So there is a thought experiment. Imagine a balloon tied to a weight. The weight does not fall because of the balloon which does not rise because of the weight. Imagine the tension on the string becomes so much that it breaks, the balloon falls, the weight rises. In backward time, the balloon falls, the weight rises, the string unbreaks and the tension decreases. Now here comes the part where backward time and forward time co-exist. The balloon is from forward time, the weight from backward time. What happens?



A computer simulation, might give the answer:



The balloon-weight on the left is in forward time, on the right is in backward time, and the center one is one element from each, the balloon from forward and the weight from backward.








Around midway:







And the end:







This does not seem to make sense. The weight should only rise if it meets tension in the end, but the balloon is allowed to rise without being released in the first sense. Gravity should not let the weight stay in the air, but it should rise because it falls, and that is probably why it rose, but it wouldn’t fall if the string didn’t break. In short, there is no final condition for the balloon to rise, and stay there. What happens before/after is not open for contemplation.



Is it impossible for time running in two directions to exist then?



Racked my brains for other thought experiments at this point of forward time. Two pendulums in different time directions bumping into each other and going back would make perfect sense from either and both perspectives, a handshake is unimaginable one would have already met the other… so two time directions looked like they could not exist together at all, and it would result in a matter – anti-matter type explosion.



Apparently, not really. Two Ford Thunderbirds, pitted against each other.







One catch… the blue one is in backward time, the red one in forward.






















So the blue one has crashed because it had grazed the red one, the red one will crash because it will graze the blue one. No problem, nothing wrong with this scenario. Totally possible. In backward time, the blue Thunderbird gets uncrashed, (ungrazes) a passing red Thunderbird, and (un)goes on its (un?)happy backward way. The red Thunderbird hits a blue Thunderbird and crashes. Therefore, it is perfectly possible, in this case for two objects in backward and forward times to co-exist.



Not as simple as that though – what about a head on collision? So are forward time-backward time interactions possible only to a very limited degree? Imagine, the blue car facing the other direction. A grazing crash is still imaginable. Increase the amount of contact… only possible as long as each car does not restrict the direction of travel of the other car.