Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Newsweek calls Night Shymalan the next Spielberg and puts him on the cover.

Have been a little busy off late. So there have been no updates. And this lapse of attention towards my blog may continue for a while. All my free time is spent playing Go. It's a deceptively simple game of conquest. I am hooked.

Meanwhile, it looks like Mumbai is catching the bug. Power cuts, and dead phones are becoming, well, common place in these neck of the woods...

Monday, July 22, 2002

Madman mailed me this:

Financial Theory:

If you had bought $1000.00 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it
would now be worth $49.00.

With Enron, you would have $16.50 of the original $1,000.00.

With Worldcom, you would have less than $5.00 left.

If you had bought $1,000.00 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the
stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for
the 10 cent deposit, you would have $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.


Saturday, July 20, 2002

Yahoo admits mangling e-mail

"One article in the online edition of the Hindu newspaper even talks about the "medireview" Mughal emperors of India seemingly unaware that the word has no proper meaning."


Thursday, July 18, 2002

A bizarre way to stay awake to study ends in tragedy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Cliches are a crime against language. Give them the short shrift.

My favourite cliche -- one I notice day in and day out, and try to avoid like the plague: Uneasy calm.

I will blog my list of cliches in the near future... you can add your mite to it...

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

New Scientist picks up NTK's Yahoo Mail story.

Man tries to make meal of live octopus, chokes and dies. Octopus, drenched in pepper paste, vinegar and saliva , lives.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Pulling G-strings

A man in South Florida was acquitted after he demanded a news trial because the previous jury had too many members with names starting with the letter G.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Look what came in the mail

A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
The next day the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died."
Kenny replied, "Well then, just give me my money back."
The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already." Kenny said, "OK then, at least give me the donkey."
The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?"
Kenny: "I'm going to raffle him off."
Farmer: " You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"
Kenny: "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he is dead."
A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"
Kenny, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $898."
Farmer, "Didn't anyone complain?"
Kenny, "Just the guy who won. So I gave! him his two dollars back."
Kenny grew up and eventually became the chairman of Enron.

Friday, July 12, 2002

What's happening here?!

I found this astonishing little Yahoo Mail quirk reported in NTK via MeFi

There are things you can't say in an html mail you send to Yahoo Mail

To test it, a friend sent me identical mails to my office and Yahoo Mail accounts.

Here's how I received them.

Office account:
This is a test mail. Checking out how the HTML version works
Is not javascript named after a mocha? If you evaluate the way some people use word expression you will be surprised !

Yahoo Account
This is a test mail. Checking out how the HTML version works
Is not java-scriptnamed after a espresso? If you evaluate the way some people use word statement you will be surprised !

Note the changes javascript has become java-script, mocha has become espresso and expression has become statement.

What's going on?

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Hit Wicket

My elder brothers had blazed trails of glory in their cricketing years, so I was almost an automatic selection to the school cricket team. Of course, the coach-cum-PT Master did see some merit in my batting talents at the nets to put me down at number six for our opening match of the league. My other cricketing talents being pretty meagre, I assumed I must be doing something right with my batting.
I was studying in Canara High School, Mangalore, and we were the defending champions, having a pretty strong batting line-up, including someone who later played Ranji for Karnataka (P V Sashikanth).
On the big day, I turned out with a newly gifted bat (I remember it being meaty, white, and heavier than I could wield), sparkling white flannels, and a new tennis shoe. One of my brothers and an uncle were in the stands to catch a glimpse of me making my debut.
We were fielding first. And, for some perverse reason, I was stationed at second slip. In the very first over, I heard something whiz past my ears. From the dirty looks my team-mates gave me, I realised I had dropped a chance.
Off I was sent to mid off. There was trouble pretty soon. I was dropping the new ball on its way back to the bowler from the wicket-keeper. Worried that the shine on the new ball would wear off pretty fast if I continued to remain at mid-off, I was banished to the countryside. I spent the rest of the innings twiddling my thumbs at Third Man.
But my moment was yet to come.
We lost our top order pretty quickly. At around the 50 mark, we lost our fourth wicket, and I walked out to the crease to join our captain. I never took guard. Just cast a perfunctory look around the ground, and got into my stance. The first ball was outside off, and I took a heave at it, and only managed a nick. The wicket-keeper, bless his soul, dropped a sitter. What's more, I scrambled across for the first run in my career.
The captain strode down the pitch and sternly warned me to defend. "Don't lift your bat," he said, "Let me do the scoring."
And score he did, belting the opposing bowlers all around the park. I defended solidly, shouldering arms to anything outside the line, and sticking my foot forward and bringing the bat in line with the ball to anything pitched on the stumps. Soon, fielders were crowding around my bat. I went down to the captain and wondered whether I could throw my bat around a bit. "No," he said.
It was a part time bowler that finally got me with one that pitched slightly short of a good length, took my gloves and landed in the hands of the fielder at silly point.
We had put on 79 runs and my contribution to the partnership was that solitary run off the first ball.
When I got home, my brother had already gleefully informed dad about my exploits. I was so embarrassed that I lied through my teeth and said I had scored 10 not one. Brother got a rap on his wrists for running me down (though Dad later discovered the truth himself, without any serious consequences to my health :)
At the team meeting the next day, the coach informed me that I would be sitting out the next match. I was so devastated by what I perceived as the unfairness of the decision that I vowed never to play cricket again.
And that was the end of my budding cricket career.

Unintentionally hilarious Bluffer's Guide to Sci-tech

My favourite topic: The newspaper business is going to die in 20 years, says this article. And I agree, though I won't wager a guess about the time-frame, it could be earlier, it could be later.

Newspapers as we know it, ink on paper, will be history. Of course you might have portable output devices that would work pretty much like a newspaper, in the sense that you could sit on a potty and read the news as it happens, in real time.

Besides the points covered in the article, what sustains the newspaper business today is habit. We are used to relying on newspapers as our primary source of information, and many of us are not comfortable reading news off a computer screen. But generations to come will be far more comfortable getting information from sources other than newspapers, like the Internet.

I would think that newspaper readership, on the whole, is already stagnating, and will eventually die out.

Despite the great success of -- and all round plaudits for -- the move to turn Dravid into a wicket-keeper-batsman in the one-dayers, I must say it looks like a bad move to me. What's worse is that it's not a stop-gap arrangement, but one they are looking at for the World Cup.
The argument is that it adds balance to the side, gives us more depth in batting. What crap! We bat six deep without Dravid, and have the likes of Ganguly and Tendulkar in the line-up, if this doesn't give us depth for a 50-over game, perhaps our top order needs to be replaced. We can't paper over the cracks in our vaunted batting with such ad-hoc measures. Maybe the top order needs to just play better than they have been playing.
Wicket-keeping can be a gruelling affair, especially keeping to spinners. It is understandable that Dravid wants to keep wickets, because that cements his place in the side. But, in the long run, it will surely take a toll on his batting, in both forms of the game, and we surely need him like hell in the Test side.
My take is that we should play a specialist wicket-keeper and Dravid should be played purely as batsman, even in the one-dayers. And he should ideally come in at one-drop.
The sooner the team management realises the errors of its ways, the better for both Dravid and the Indian team.
If the experiment succeeds consistently, then I will be more than happy to take back my words.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Why is it that the things that liberate you the most, also tie you down the most?
Is it because the liberate you in the first place?

Conspicuous by their absence on this Google Zeitgeist list are: sex and mp3.


Indian Express had two good stories on its front page. One about how Air India paid half a million dollars for a carpet it never rolled out.

The other, more interesting one, about how a Kochi doctor prescribed viagra to a dying child and saved its life.

Should he have? If the child hadn't been saved maybe the doctor would have become the butt of ridicule and opprobrium. Which is why we have to applaud his courage. Sometimes doctors have to make judgment calls that may seem unethical, but I think we should allow them the luxury when it comes down to saving a life.

And guess where he found the information for the innovative use -- as a pulmonary dilator, to be precise -- of viagra. On the Internet.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Building The Ultimate Running Machine

Machine, I think is the operative word here. "Inside a Soviet-style training camp, corporate scientists are reengineering neuro-mechanics, blood chemistry, and brain waves. Welcome to the Oregon Project, where Nike is rebuilding the US marathon team one high tech step at a time."

Approximating Life

A beautifully written article on the creator of Alicebot

Check this out:
"(Richard) Wallace has created an artificial life form that gets along with people better than he does."

It's not incompetence, it's not poor attendance, it's not failure to meet targets that's accounting for a large number of sacks in the UK. It's, hold your breath, surfing porn that ends in a pink slip.

Will the future really look like Minority Report?

Two of Spielberg's experts explain how they invented 2054.

If you like dogs, you will like Doggles

Monday, July 08, 2002

Can Computers Fly on the Wings of a Chicken?

"In late June, a chemical engineer from the University of Delaware filed a patent that described a new generation of microchips. The patent proposes to replace silicon -- which has long served as the basis for microchips -- with another material. And what might this mystery component be? Chicken feathers."

Has the American medical establishment been lying all along about the benefits of a low-fat, high carb diet.

An article that examines the alternative hypothesis that fat is harmless, it's the carbohydrates that are the culprit.

Saturday, July 06, 2002

The ordinary, regular, humdrum, routine existence is examined by this scholarly site called Journal of Mundane Behavior

Princeton bioethicist argues Christianity hurts animals

Friday, July 05, 2002

The Clothes Did It!

I am sure you won't find a better excuse for all those scandals troubling corporate america. A Washington Post writer makes a connection between dress codes and code of ethics?

Friday dressing gets a dressing down!

Has the Economic Times bitten off more than it can chew? Its article on hackers targetting Indian networks mentions the Cult of the Dead Cow as a bunch of extortionists. Here's what cDc thinks about it.

As Pakistani's Popularity Slides, 'Busharraf' Is a Figure of Ridicule

An encounter with a Jaish-e-Mohammed commander, Alim Khan, "right under the noses of the Indian soldiers hunkered down in hillside bunkers."
(Requires free registration)

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Tamil Nadu temple offers psychiatric cure

A six-week stay at Muthuswamy temple can produce the same improvement in people with severe psychiatric disorders as a month-long course of standard drugs, say researchers in India.

An good read on how books and travel make excellent companions.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Red Gold

A fascinating look at the science and history of blood.

Pledge of Allegiance History and Online Links Guide

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