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Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. - Jules Renard 

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Shazia Khalid in Musharraf's Pakistan

Another Face of Terror - New York Times: "Dr. Shazia's husband, Khalid Aman, was working as an engineer in Libya, but he finally was notified and rushed back 11 days later. Dr. Shazia, by then freed, couldn't face him, but he comforted her, told her that she had done nothing wrong, and insisted that they report the rape to the police so that the criminal could be caught.

That was, perhaps, naïve, particularly because there were rumors that the police had identified the rapist as a senior army officer and were covering up for him.

'When I treat rape victims, I tell the girls not to go to the police,' Dr. Shershah Syed, a prominent gynecologist in Karachi, told me. 'Because if she goes to the police, the police will rape her.'

That's the way the world works for anyone unfortunate enough to be born female in much of the world. "

Why are the educated people of Pakistan quiet ?? Why dont they raise their voices against this nonsense ? I thought they are much better than other middle-eastern islamic countries. Are they not

| posted by Rajan @ 10:28 PM


Tiffinbox: Rucksacks In Nottinghill

Tiffinbox: Rucksacks In Nottinghill: "You gotta love this. If you are brown, in or around London, don't carry a rucksack/backpack or wear a large coat. And definitely don't run with any of the aforementioned items in hand onto a bus or attempt to get onto a train. You are asking to be harassed.

I am apalled by this. The thing that gets me the most is about 'looking a bit foreign.' Hello! London is quite likely the most cosmopolitan city in the world [thanks to their colonial past, but that's another post]. Are they going to stop just everyone who isn't WHITE and interrogate them? I called this a long time ago when this whole Iraq mess was brewing; the civil liberties of brown and non-white people was going to take a major hit. And it's happening. Slowly but surely our travel will be restricted, our intentions questioned and lives rebuked."

| posted by Rajan @ 2:06 PM

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Greenply commercial :-)

Well., this is creativity in Advertising!

[Thanks Govkan]


| posted by Ramki @ 10:31 PM

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Iraq war, terrorism and cigarettes - a comparison


I am sure the percentage deaths will be very similar in the US as well.

[Via Dailybrowse.com]

| posted by Ramki @ 1:50 AM


3D Pavement drawings

Julian Beever is an English artist who is famous for his art on the pavements of England, France, Germany, USA, Australia and Belgium. It's peculiarity? Beever gives his drawings an anamorphosis view, his images are drawn in such a way which gives them three dimensionality when viewing from the correct angle. It's amazing !!!


More here: Link1 Link2

| posted by Ramki @ 1:41 AM


Magazines from the future..

View Magazine covers and ads of the future...

| posted by Ramki @ 1:38 AM

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It rings, it plays, it has TV | csmonitor.com

It rings, it plays, it has TV | csmonitor.com:
I saw a friend of mine with his Sony Treo. The only good thing I liked was the GPS which needs you to buy extra software and memory. How many of us really need a PDA device, I wonder ?
I guess the TV on Cellphone could make sense. "While standing in line at the ATM 'you might not want to watch an entire episode of 'Seinfeld,' ' Greengart says, 'but a 2-1/2-minute standup comedy routine could be compelling.' Some companies are creating serials told in one- or two-minute episodes. Dubbed 'mobi-sodes,' they are suitable for viewing in a spare moment, such as waiting in a supermarket checkout line or at a dentist's office.

A video-equipped cellphone can be a mobile baby sitter, too. 'I can tell you there's nothing better than sticking 'Sesame Street' in front of a 5-year-old,' Greengart says." Also Video chat with family might be nicer :)

The funny thing is my voice calls still get dropped, are they compromising on the basic radio design to get all this fancy stuff in.

| posted by Rajan @ 10:05 PM


Thermometer in a Pill

Former Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer is the only NFL player to die of heatstroke.

Four years after he collapsed during training camp, the Vikings are exploring the use of a "radio pill" that would allow trainers to monitor players' body temperatures while they practice.

A base CorTemp system consists of temperature pills and generally two or three data recorders, priced at $2,500 apiece. The data recorders allow a trainer to read a player's temperature with each recorder accepting up to 99 sensors.




[Via J-walkblog]

| posted by Ramki @ 9:55 PM

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Harry Potter Crash

A Dallas resident crashes into Barnes and Nobles store Potter crowd and breaks the suspense : Ron kills Hermione.

| posted by Shankar B @ 9:27 PM

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ambiguity!

Certainly something ambiguous about this creative work ...

| posted by Ramki @ 3:56 PM


Time for innovative experiments in space

China is planning to study the effects of space on pig sperm, by sending the semen from pedigree pigs into orbit.

Some 40 grams of pig sperm will be taken on board the Shenzhou VI spacecraft for its October launch.  Agricultural experts hope to use the sperm to fertilise pig eggs back on Earth - to see what effect a period of microgravity will have had on the sperm's activity.

| posted by Ramki @ 3:48 PM


Car Trap :-)

| posted by Ramki @ 2:57 PM


The Most Beautiful Machine!

| posted by Ramki @ 2:53 PM


Good movies in public domain

Often billed as the worst movie ever made, and not entirely undeserving of the title, "Plan9 from Outer space(1959)" is a masterpiece of Ed Wood's making. Numerous plot inconsistencies, horrid acting, and masses of stock footage - some of which are repeated several times makes it a terrible but funny movie.

The Plot: A highly advanced alien culture is determined to destroy Earth before our scientists discover a bomb which will explode sunlight, the description Eros gives of this is quite funny. In order to destroy our world, of several billion people, they raise three zombies from the dead. :-)

This movie is available under Creative commons license in public domain and is available at archive.org.

One more movie in public domain is "911: the road to Tyranny", which gives a totally new angle to the 9/11 WTC attack.

| posted by Ramki @ 2:47 PM

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Annual Free Credit Report: Beware

Imposter sites plague free credit report site.

A Web site created by federal mandate last year to help consumers spot identity theft is opening up new avenues for fraud, according to a privacy watchdog group.  

The site, AnnualCreditReport.com, offers consumers free copies of their own credit reports. It was launched in December by Equifax, Experian and   TransUnion, the three major credit reporting agencies in the United States, in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. The federal law aims to quell growing concerns over privacy and disclosure of sensitive financial data.  

However, the online service has quickly fallen prey to imposter sites, which are designed to lure traffic from a legitimate Web site by adopting a   similar domain name. Imposters targeting the AnnualCreditReport.com site now number 112, according World Privacy Forum...

| posted by Ramki @ 11:58 AM


Operation Teddy Bear Drop

Isn't this total waste of time and money? : Teddy Troopers 'Jump' Into Arms of Iraqi Children.  

They can be seen parachuting into various areas around Baghdad -- specially  trained individuals recruited during Operation Iraqi Freedom 3, whose primary  mission is to bring smiles to the faces of Iraqi children.  

These airborne "soldiers" are actually "Teddy Troopers" or "Para-Bears," stuffed animals with makeshift parachutes jumping into the arms and hearts of children during Operation Teddy Drop.

[Via J-walkblog]

| posted by Ramki @ 11:54 AM


Roy Calls Iraq War "Cowardly"

In her opening speech to the World Tribunal on Iraq, Arundhati Roy represented the Jury of Conscience (???) and spoke about Iraq war. She calls it "one of the most cowardly wars ever fought in history, a war in which international institutions were used to force a country to disarm and then stood by while it was attacked with a greater array of weapons than has ever been used in the history of war". She wants all the evidence to be used against the powers-that-are and try them in ICC. She further exclaims, " The assault on Iraq is an assault on all of us: on our dignity, our intelligence, and our future."

| posted by Shankar B @ 6:37 AM


Coca-Cola Threatens Indian Photographer with Lawsuit

Mr. Haksar, has placed a large billboard in one of Chennai's busiest areas that features the ubiquitous red Coca-Cola wall painting, commonly found across India. Directly preceding the Coca-Cola ad, and part of the billboard, is a dry water hand-pump, with empty vessels waiting to be filled up with water - a common scene in India, particularly in Chennai.

| posted by Ramki @ 12:22 AM


Sticky Frog

One more story of an invention (discovery?) from nature:
The glue secreted by a rare species of frog was found to be non-toxic, set rapidly and adhered to a range of materials including flesh, cartilage, wood, plastic, glass and even beer cans.Scientists hope to create a synthetic version of the glue.

| posted by Ramki @ 12:16 AM


Fedex: Just in Time


More Cannes Lions award winning animations and commercials at their official website.

| posted by Ramki @ 12:10 AM

Friday, July 15, 2005

BBC NEWS | UK | Muslim leader assesses Leeds mood

BBC NEWS | UK | Muslim leader assesses Leeds mood: "Firstly, communities were agreed that more had to be done to get young people into mosques to keep them on the straight and narrow."

Wow is that the solution ??

| posted by Rajan @ 3:17 PM


CNN.com - Web sites change prices based on customers' habits - Jun 24, 2005

CNN.com - Web sites change prices based on customers' habits - Jun 24, 2005: "According to a recent study, many consumers are unaware that price discrimination occurs over the Internet. But apparently, it does.

The Internet allows shoppers to easily compare prices across thousands of stores. But it also enables businesses to collect detailed information about a customer's purchasing history, preferences, and financial resources -- and to set prices accordingly

"

| posted by Rajan @ 11:59 AM

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I work for Bill Gates..

This 18-year-old boy from the city claims he works for Bill Gates! And, the Microsoft honcho chats with him whenever either is in trouble!

| posted by Ramki @ 10:17 AM

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Coolest Picture of the Week

This is possibly the coolest picture you will see this week - several dolphins surfing together :




A cool Panorama view of Dolphin feeding at Monkey Mia.

| posted by Shankar B @ 8:44 AM

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Animal Intelligence

What a human toddler can't do with the biggest brain in the animal kingdom, a bird could do with its walnut sized brain : understand the concept of zero or nothing. A parrot from a research lab at Brandeis University can identify if there are no items on a tray and say "none".

As an aside, watch Einstein imitating animal sounds in this classic episode of Animal Planet's Pet Star. In this program, people bring in their trained pets and make them do various crazy things. The pets are judged by celebrity judges. Einstein was an alltime star in the program. He also made an apperance in The Tonight Show with Leno.

| posted by Shankar B @ 8:09 AM

Friday, July 08, 2005

Blogging + Academe

Many companies are careful about what their employees blog about. But the higher pedestals of academe are also careful in choosing their new hires. An anonymous writer to Chronicle of Higher Education writes about how the academic search committees look for things beyond the CV when it comes to new hires. He/She argues that if you are blogging, then you are automatically responsible for what is on it and any content will be read and used in judging you as a candidate. There are a few places where the writing is scary. An example :

Professor Turbo Geek's blog had a presumptuous title that was easy to overlook, as we see plenty of cyberbravado these days in the online aliases and e-mail addresses of students and colleagues.

But the site quickly revealed that the true passion of said blogger's life was not academe at all, but the minutiae of software systems, server hardware, and other tech exotica. It's one thing to be proficient in Microsoft Office applications or HTML, but we can't afford to have our new hire ditching us to hang out in computer science after a few weeks on the job.


WTF? And if he is arguing against wording personal thoughts and have it easily accessible to anyone, anytime, then why is this person writing at the Chronicle. What happens when he/she is outed, will he/she bite the bullet and claim responsibility to all that is written. This kind of myopic view from an academician makes me sick. After all, you are supposed to teach the younger generation to be more confident, opinionated and outspoken.

| posted by Shankar B @ 11:18 PM


Crazy Frog

17 year old Daniel Malmedahl had interest in imitating sounds from automobiles. His friends persuaded him to do something about it : The Annoying Thing was born in 1997. Watch that with your sound ON and try not to laugh. Thats a test.

In 2003, Erik Wernquist used the sound in his 3D animation that is a mix of the Annoying Thing and the legendary Axel-F. He called it the crazy frog.








A German company made a ring tone out of this and made an estimated £14 million out of it in 2004. Come 2005, the remix is the number one in the pop charts in UK.

[Thanks Manu]

| posted by Shankar B @ 4:34 PM


Confessions of a Lazy Mind

Two lazydesis committed several crimes this week that are punishable with graduation : first, we got up from the couch; two, we trespassed into a conference room; three, we defended our theses.

We were playing this game for a long time :


and then we found the cheat codes. Cheating is no crime, we argued. Our advisors felt that if we do the crime, we should do the time.

I defended my Ph.D. thesis on Wednesday and Ramki defended his Master's thesis on Thursday. On August 6th, we are going to do the walk of shame and receive our degrees.

| posted by Shankar B @ 11:17 AM

Monday, July 04, 2005

4th of July Fireworks

Some nice pictures from the NY Times coverage of the July 4th Celebrations :














| posted by Shankar B @ 10:14 PM


Harassment in Indian Trains

Hemangini Gupta is a journalist with The Hindu. She was traveling from Delhi to Chennai and she was felt up in the night during the travel. She was brave enough to call the cops on the guy. What surprises me more is she never backed off, registered a formal complaint with the police and more importantly wrote about it in her blog. What shocks me is the audacity of the guy and the silence of the crowd traveling with her. Many travel companions were stupid enough to come to Hemangini and suggest that she should let the guy go and nor ruin his life.

Harassment happens more often than you can imagine. Every woman that you know probably has a silent story like this. With piss poor laws against harassment and almost nobody following it all the way through with the law, I think this is a good first step : take those that falter one at a time. Read the comments section too where more women come in support of the journo and share some of their stories too.

| posted by Shankar B @ 8:18 AM


Third Wave

A world history class in Cubberley High School asked their teacher, "How could the German populace claim ignorance of the slaughter of the Jewish people. How could the townspeople, railroad conductors, teachers, doctors, claim they knew nothing about concentration camps and human carnage. How can people who were neighbors and maybe even friends of the Jewish citizen say they weren't there when it happened". The teacher, Ron Jones, did not know the answer. He had lots of time that semester and he decided to conduct a little social experiment.

In this wonderful story, Jones writes about what happened in one week of experimentation and how the student community responded to it. By formulating simple rules to be in their exclusive club called the Third Wave, and by demanding strict adherence to rules, the student community turned into what they were questioning : Germans in the Nazi regime.

I wish I were in classes like these which stimulate your thought rather than just learn from a book. I sure would have liked history more in school. This experiment was done more than 20 years ago, I don't know how parents of today would have reacted to this. My best guess is that the teacher would have been called a Neo-Nazi and would have "resigned from his job due to personal reasons".

| posted by Shankar B @ 7:49 AM

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sethusamudram project gets the green signal

The project proposes linking the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar on the east coast of India by creating a shipping canal through Rameswaram Island, which would provide a continuous navigable sea route around the Indian Peninsula. ..The project was originally conceived in 1860 by the British Commander A.D. Taylor of the Indian Marines..



Construction for this ambitious Rs.2000 crore project kicked off today and has sparked lots of controversities on the need for it and side-effects of such construction in a "marine-biosphere". Even though there are environmental concerns and life of fishermen might be affected, this will give a major boost to trade in South India and it is perceived that Tuticorin port can directly compete with Singapore and Colombo ports for port activities. More on this from Deccanherald and another news website.

| posted by Ramki @ 3:23 PM


A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling

The following prose is from Mark Twain it seems... however could not check its legitimacy though!

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould
doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

| posted by Ramki @ 2:26 PM


Think about it : Visually Impaired acess Web


The Net is revolutionizing how we access information. I wonder how the visually handicapped are impacted by this. Technology should help them access this beautiful resource. This thought occured when I was reading something on spam-blogging leading to 'captcha'  technique to prevent spamming.

More :
" Captchas based on reading text — or other visual-perception tasks — prevent visually impaired users from accessing the protected resource. However, captchas do not have to be visual. Any hard artificial intelligence problem, such as speech recognition, can be used as the basis of a captcha. Some implementations of captchas permit users to opt for an audio captcha. The development of audio captchas appears to have lagged behind that of visual captchas, however, and presently may not be as effective."

" A Screen Reader software application reads aloud information displayed on a computer monitor screen. The screen reader reads aloud text within a document, and it also reads aloud information within dialog boxes and error messages. Screen Readers also read aloud and menu selections, graphical icons on the desktop. Recent upgrades are much better reading aloud information on the World Wide Web. "

" What is a braille display ? [ link]
A braille display is a tactile device consisting of a row of special 'soft' cells. A soft cell has 6 or 8 pins made of metal or nylon; pins are controlled electronically to move up and down to display characters as they appear on the display of the source system - usually a computer or braille note taker. Soft braille cells have either 6 or 8 dot pins depending on the model. Advanced braille code features 8 dot braille, but most will probably only use the 6 dot code. Dots 7 and 8, if present. can be used to show the position of the cursor in the text or for European 8 dot braille. They can also be used for advanced maths work and for computer coding. "


| posted by Rajan @ 9:26 AM


Largest fresh water fish caught!

Fishermen in northern Thailand have netted a fish as big as a grizzly bear, a 646-pound Mekong giant catfish, the heaviest recorded since Thai officials started keeping records in 1981. The behemoth was caught in the Mekong River and may be the largest freshwater fish ever found.


[Via Slashdot]

| posted by Ramki @ 8:53 AM

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