Monday, October 31, 2005

Seven and Oh

“A win is a win. A loss is a loss.
But no matter what, you better come with it or don't come at all,
Because it's 90 feet to first no matter where home is.”


Ended the fall cricket league yesterday, undefeated - seven wins no losses. We literally dominated the rest of the teams, and I ended up as the top scorer for the team :). Of course, it helps having a good team in a sub-standard league ;).

India on fire, "three and O" and Pathan and Dhoni have come good up the order. Great going.... Gibbs and Boje pull out of the Indian tour. This really sucks. I thought that I would get to watch Herschelle Gibbs bat after a really long time, but it wasn't to be. Gibbs is one of the most amazing players to watch when in flow, and the balance he has when he plays his shots is simply unsurpassed. He rates very highly among my "very watchable" list of batsmen, others being Damien Martyn, Sachin, Ponting, and lately Graeme Smith and Andrew Strauss.

Delhi bomb blasts. Sad... When is this going to end.... Terrorism is hurting Pakistan much more than India. Hope they realize this sooner rather than later. Of course I might be misinformed or biased when I say this.........

A nice link - The world according to Jose Mourinho, the manager of Chelsea and the self-proclaimed "The Chosen One".

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Underdogs

The "second team" from the "second city" are the champions of baseball. Today the Chicago White Sox took the World Series 4-0, by defeating Houston Astros. After years of being overshadowed by the more popular Chicago Cubs, they have finally achieved the ultimate.

Who would have put money on the White Sox at the beginning of the season? They came out of relative obscurity to win the World Series. That said, this has been the year of the underdogs, the unknowns. Who would have put money on Liverpool to win the Champions league? On England winning the Ashes? On Alonso winning the F1 drivers championship? On MSN search beating Google? (Oops, that one's for the future :) )

Anyway, here's a clip of how the gods deliver. And Graeme Smith's Super Series tour diary spoof (Part 1 & Part 2) make for a real funny read.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Asha for education

Asha for education is a charity for the education of underprivileged children in rural India. A friend of mine, Pravin is running a marathon for Team Asha in New Jersey. I urge everyone to help the noble cause. Here is the info about the marathon and here's Pravin's page regarding the same. Of course you can donate to any of the runners taking part in the event. And if you work for any of these companies, your employer will match your contribution penny to penny. Pravin has a blog on the marathon here, but I'd suggest he write more about the charity & the cause rather than his daily running log.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Grand Prix

Why MotoGP kicks F1's ass:
..coz there is more action happening on the track
..coz there are more overtaking maneuvers happening every lap than the 2/3 maneuvers which happen in an entire F1 race
..coz bikes are much cooler than cars
..coz the "doctor" Valentino Rossi is much more clinical than any Schumacher/Räikkönen /Alonso
..coz it is infinitely more edge-of-the-seat thrill than F1
..coz the driver’s skill is a more important factor than which car you drive
..coz it is much cleaner environmentally

Then why is F1 more popular around the world? Is it cause people are inherently stupid & just watch what the networks promote more?

P.S. - I am writing this while watching Chinese GP, so yeah, I do watch F1 occasionally.

And good luck George Weah (football great/world footballer of the year 1995), a nation turns its lonely eyes to you. You are a true winner.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Where do we go from here?

"We know what we are, but know not what we may become"

- William Shakespeare



Ray Kurzweil:
Yesterday I attended a talk by Ray Kurzweil, a visionary in the field of Artificial Intelligence and a pioneer in technologies for speech and character recognition. The talk was about his new book, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. The guy made some pretty interesting claims about where we are headed in terms of AI. He believes around 2030, we will be successful in building machines which will be able to replicate all the possible aspects of a human brain (will pass the Turing test too) and pretty soon go past it. No, this is not a trashy sci-fi movie story. His findings are based on very convincing arguments about the exponential growth of complexity and intelligence since the evolution of life. A very exciting and scary concept.

I am halfway through his earlier book, The Age of Spiritual Machines and I must say it is really overwhelming. None of his extrapolations seem out of hand. They seem to be simple extensions to the technological progress made so far. The book is pretty complete and exhaustive in a scientific perspective. I remember being similarly awed when I read Carl Sagan's Cosmos (which is an absolute must read for anyone and everyone who has cleared 12th grade. If you haven't read it yet, all I can say that is you haven't yet looked at life the way it is meant to be looked at.)

Stephan Wolfram:
On the topic of REALLY smart guys, I remember another talk I attended back at Rutgers, that of Stephen Wolfram, about his New Kind of Science. In the book, Wolfram proposes his fundamentally new theory explaining the Universe (or God, whichever way you see it). The main theme of his theory is that everything in the Universe - the matter, the energy, the forces, evolution, life, the transience, all can be explained using a very few number of simple patterns. A few simple patterns arranged differently lead to immensely complex systems. A parallel theory is an entirely more courageous and difficult thing to propose, but Wolfram does it with amazing lucidity. I don't believe his theory is widely accepted among traditional physicists, but then it could very well be the case of a genius not being recognized in his time.

Kudos to those brilliant minds who dare to dream.....

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Where have the bowlers gone?

It stuck me the other day. Where have all the classy bowlers gone?

Compared to the mid-90s, consider the number of match-winning bowlers the top 7 teams in the world now have:

Australia:
Then: McDermott, McGrath, Warne
Now: (Still) McGrath, Warne

SA:
Then: Donald, DeVilliers, A young fast Pollock
Now: A clearly underperforming Pollock

India:
Then: Kumble, (Srinath ??)
Now: (Pathan ??)

SL:
Then: Murali, Vaas
Now: Murali, Vaas

WI:
Then: Ambrose, Walsh
Now: none

Pak:
Then: Wasim, Waqar, Mushtaq, Saqlain
Now: Shoaib (Chucker)

England:
Then: Gough, Caddick
Now: Harmison, Flintoff (Flash in the pan types)

Most teams either have their old stars still chugging it out or have lost their bowling strengths completely (esp. SA & WI). I believe one-day cricket with its flat pitches, obsession with 300+ scores and a overall batsman oriented approach is the main reason for this decline. Good young bowlers are being smashed all over the park by mediocre batsmen. ICC will have to take definite steps to remedy this problem, which would seriously affect cricket enthusiasm in the long run.

On a similar note, check out Iqbal, a refreshingly nice movie directed by Nagesh Kukunoor. A great Hindi movie, for a change. Guess what? It is about a bowler.

(Too many blog entries on cricket......But I thought this one was worth it)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Another One Bites The Dust

On the occasion of a special day.........

Another One Bites The Dust (Queen)


Steve walks warily down the street,
with the brim pulled way down low
Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet,
machine guns ready to go

Are you ready,
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust

How do you think I'm going to get along,
without you, when you're gone
You took me for everything that I had,
and kicked me out on my own

Are you happy, are you satisfied
How long can you stand the heat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
There are plenty of ways you can hurt a man
And bring him to the ground
You can beat him
You can cheat him
you can treat him bad and leave him
When he's down
But I'm ready, yes I'm ready for you
I'm standing on my own two feet
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
repeating the sound of the beat