Tuesday, December 26, 2006
So, without further ado, presenting one of the most awesome Line Rider video ever:
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The first one is titled Hindsight, by Guy Kawasaki and it's his advice to young people.
The other is a quite famous YouTube video about a man who traveled the world and did a silly dance at every place he visited. Set to an amazing background soundtrack. Watch on:
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Damien Martyn announced his retirement from test and one-day cricket today. Martyn was one of my favorite batsmen to watch when in full flow. His shots were a treat to watch, played with exquisite timing and lazy elegance. Very similar to the way Herschelle Gibbs and VVS Laxman play. Though he didn't possess the technique of a Dravid or even Mark Waugh, he made up for it with pure shotmaking skills. He made batting look easy, a lazy Sunday afternoon walk in the park.
I have practically given up watching cricket in the past couple of years, but I hope we have more like him, who make watching a whole day of cricket worth every moment.
Update: Now Warne also announced his retirement.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
The information technology and communication technology have already converged leading to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Information Technology combined with bio-technology has led to bio-informatics. Now, Nanotechnology is knocking at our doors. It is the field of the future that will replace microelectronics and many fields with tremendous application potential in the areas of medicine, electronics and material science. When Nanotechnology and ICT meet, integrated silicon electronics, photonics are born and it can be said that material convergence will happen. With material convergence and biotechnology linked, a new science called Intelligent Bioscience will be born which would lead to a disease free, happy and more intelligent human habitat with longevity and high human capabilities.He talks about emerging sciences like bioinformatics, nanotechnology, alternative energy sources etc. and even goes into details of futuristic applications like Nanorobots, Gene Chip and Carbon Nanotubes. He goes on to mention Richard Feyman (referenced earlier here and here), Eric Drexler and CNR Rao as some of the pioneers of these fields. What struck me here is the technicality of a speech coming from the president of a country. Of course him formerly being a scientist helps.
Convergence of bio-nano-info technologies can lead to the development of nano robots. Nano robots when they are injected into a patient, my expert friends say, will diagnose and deliver the treatment exclusively in the affected area and then the nano robot gets digested as it is a DNA based product. Convergence of ICT, aerospace and nanotechnologies will emerge and revolutionize the aerospace industry. This technological convergence will enable building of cost effective low weight, high payload, and highly reliable aerospace systems, which can be used for inter-planetary transportation.
He also makes a point which I find controversial:
[Economic prosperity] has to be complimented with the value systems and our five thousand years old Civilizational heritage which has genetically shaped the Indian people.I think 5000 years is probably too less a time to genetically imbibe us with any kind of a "civilizational heritage" given then fact that in the past 5000 years we were anything but an isolated civilization. But then being the president of a country, I guess he has to infuse some nationalism into his speeches.
Read the full speech here.
All in all it's an amazing speech coming from the head of the state of any country. Sadly for all of us he is but a titular head.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Federer won 6-4, 7-5 in a match that was way more competitive than the scoreline suggests. It featured some ridiculous hitting from both the players, and some of the rallies were just out of this world. Especially the last 3-4 points of the last game with Nadal serving at 5-6 were just incredible, given the kind of pressure these guys were under.
I have said this before and will say it again: We are looking at the best tennis EVER played. Better than Sampras, Agassi, Rafter, Becker, Edberg, McEnroe, Lendl, Borg or Connors.
With this victory, Federer has won the last 2 matches against Nadal, after losing 5 consecutively before that. I can't wait for next season and Federer's quest for the French Open and a place in history as the greatest tennis player ever.
Here are the highlights.
P.S: Federer went on to blow away Blake 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in the finals. As if anyone really had any doubts.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Does this describe you? Then you can be a "Bright". I think I am. So are some of the best minds in the world: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, James Randi, Steven Pinker among others. Are you one too?
Sunday, October 22, 2006
As time went by, the replicators became more and more efficient. Some of them roped in the elements and developed effective ways of prolonged survival. Some others found strength in unity and formed extensive colonies of similar replicators. The colonies evolved into complex survival machines. The replicators controlled everything that went on in these survival machines. Survival was easy for the ones better designed, others slowly died out.
The quest for perfection continued. The replicators became sufficiently ingenious to build the most complex machine ever built. They built the "Brain". Deeply embedded in the survival machines, the brain created a process called "thought". Thought was a complex process, which lead to formation of other forms of replicators, such as the memes. They made the machines ignore their real masters, the replicators and made them worship the new ones, the memes and their derivatives. Chaos reigned. The machines misconstrued it as Order......
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
Anyways, I digress. Check this video out. Especially interesting are his views after the A-bomb explosions at Hiroshima & Nagasaki, the bombs which he helped develop.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
So I went skydiving over the weekend out in Shelton. It is an hour and half from Seattle on the edge of the Olympic National Park. I had been wanting to do it for some time now, but couldn't find anyone who was ready to skydie.... oops, I mean skydive.... with me.
For those of you who think its scary, believe me, it's not. It mindblowing. Well, when you are freefalling from 13,500 ft you have no idea how quickly the ground is rushing up to you. It's just like flying. Or being in a zero gravity environment (excluding the air resistance), whichever you prefer. That's the best part about in. Unfortunately the freefall is over very quickly, in less than a minute. But then the 4-5 minute parachute ride is not too bad either. Being a sunny clear day, the view was amazing and I could catch spectacular views of Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, Mt Baker, Mt Adams, the Olympic Mountains, the Seattle bay and the Pacific ocean. Is there a place in US more naturally beautiful than Washington (when sunny ;))?
Bottomline, this is one of the things that you should do at least once in life. (That's coz doing it often is gonna burn a deep hole in your pocket)
Anyways, enough talk, here's the video & pics:
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
- Infrastructure: The first impression you get of the city is that it is overcrowded. There have been some positive steps taken lately with the Bandra-Worli sealink going strong and the Mumbai subway project underway. But considering the fact that Mumbai is filled to the brim, there is no great potential for growth. The only open spaces are far off from the city and hence weakly connected. Add to that the bloated property rates and this makes Mumbai unattractive for large corporations and multinationals to set their base at.
- Technological growth: Technology is the new superpower. With technological advances just hitting the knee of an exponential growth trend, we are in for a technological revolution in the next few years. Unfortunately as mentioned above, due the infrastructure (or the lack of it) and less potential for growth, most of the technology companies (especially the multinationals) have kept away from Mumbai.
- Weather patterns: Another reason is the unpredictable weather patterns that Mumbai has experienced lately and the inability of Mumbai's infrastructure to cope with it. This was seen during the heavy rains last year on July 26th and this year in early July. If the unpredictable rains are indeed due to global warming (hence human activities), we can only expect more in the years to come.
- Political instability: The political scene hasn't been helpful at all with vote-bank politics ensuring that reforms occur only at a cosmetic level and before election times. Lack of political stability has lead to the ruling party systematically looting the treasury in the name of reforms. The bomb blasts and the looming presence of the underworld doesn't help either.
Every great city in the world experiences a peak after which it goes into a rut and then slowly fades into a has-been. Mumbai is at this peak, waiting slowly for the fall.
I sincerely hope I am wrong......
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
This is where I live in Mumbai: http://wikimapia.org/#y=19099547&x=72853228&z=18&l=0&m=a
What a site!!! Wikimapia is a wiki + maps, a Google maps mashup which anyone who visits the site can edit. You can mark your home, your school and all the important landmarks you have known and visited. So click away & Enjoy!!!
Another feather in the cap for user-generated content. It is changing the face of Internet for good, and boy it's happening quickly.
Monday, June 26, 2006
"Humanity is on the verge of an incredible future. Technologies that seem like science fiction are already becoming science fact as researchers develop innovations that will transform the very essence of what it is to be human.
"The pace of change is exponential, not linear," says inventor, entrepreneur, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil. "So things fifty years from now will be very different. That's pretty phenomenal. It took us fifteen years to sequence HIV, we sequenced SARS in 31 days."
Nanotechnology, genetics and cybernetics will mean that we will become faster, stronger and more beautiful; we will live longer and banish disease; we will be more intelligent and quicker-witted with photographic memories and the ability to go days without sleep.
"We're doubling the power of computers every year for the same cost," says Kurzweil. "In 25 years, they'll be a billion times more powerful than they are today. At the same time we're shrinking the size of all technology, electronic and mechanical, by a factor of a hundred per decade, that's a hundred thousand in 25 years."
Kurzweil argues that the growth of computing power, miniaturization and increased technical prowess will turn the world into an incredible place -- free from the conflicts over resources and wealth that have plagued it and in the last century and almost led to our obliteration in the fires of global thermonuclear war.
That is, if you believe one particular school of thought.
Other, equally eminent, minds believe we are on the cusp of an incredible disaster -- possibly even our own extinction -- as the technology we are so rapidly giving birth to moves beyond us, and self-replicates, casting us aside or even exterminating us."
What kind of future do you envision? Where do we go from here?
Friday, June 16, 2006
French Open is over and Rafa ruled all over it, again. Wimbledon is just around the corner. India-WI cricket test series is midway through, India coming very close to winning both the tests, but WI holding on to draws in the end. NBA finals between Dallas & Miami is tied 2-2. And the biggest event of them all, the World Cup of football (the one played with the foot) is well underway. Teams like Spain and Czech Republic are off to dream starts, while pre-tournament favorites like Brazil and Argentina have looked less promising.
So I am gonna make some predictions of my own about whats gonna happen in the next few weeks:
1. Fed-man wins Wimbledon. Neither Rafa nor Roddick make it to the finals. Nadal falls in the 3rd round.
2. India win the test series 1-0. They come close to losing the other test, but hold on.
3. Mavericks win 4-3. It is a tight contest till the very end.
4. Brazil wins!!!! OK so this one is a real toughie, and by the law of averages, Brazil is not winning this year, but hell it's my prediction.
BTW, ICC is considering Hawk-eye for LBW decisions. As I mentioned previously here, Hawk-eye for LBWs will not be exact. But the question we care about is: Will it be more correct that the human umpire?
Update: Spoke too early. Argentina just blasted Serbia and Montenegro 6-0.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
This was possibly the greatest match of the year (so far). At 5 hours and 5 minutes, it was the longest match of the year. With the win, Nadal equals Guillermo Vilas' record of 53 consecutive clay court wins. Barring a first round upset in his next tournament, he will go on to break it. You can find the highlights of the match here.
But with this one, Federer also proved that he is capable of going the distance with the best player in the world on clay courts. Every game they play, Federer is inching closer to matching Nadal on clay. Now I wouldn't be surprised if Federer actually wins against Nadal at the French Open and proves himself as the greatest tennis player... EVER.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Come to think of it, 2000 years ago, India (and by India, I mean the Indian sub-continent) and Europe were very similar to each other. They were (are) roughly the same size. They had similar political structure (warring states), which should theoretically encourage similar patterns of innovation by competition.
So what went wrong?
Was it the rigid, socially ingrained caste system, which essentially isolated chunks of people into predefined roles which they could not break apart from? The Europeans came to adopt a single religion, Indians essentially had 4 (castes). Was it the agricultural self-sufficience, which meant that Indians essentially never had to look for greener pastures? Did the sedentary life leave Indians under-prepared when the Mughal conquerors and eventually the Europeans came? Most probably the answer lies in a combination of this and a number of other social/political/environmental factors.
I guess Indians had made their peace with the world, way before the world had even heard the term.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Sunday, March 26, 2006
There were talks of using hawkeye for LBWs in cricket. But that one's a bad idea, as unlike tennis, in cricket you have to predict the path of the ball after it hits the pads. And since we still do not know the exact physics behind the swing of the ball, any technique will essentially be non-deterministic. There are just too many variables for it to be an exact system. Also it will introduce unnecessary delays in the game as the third umpire will have to make decisions in this case.
Technology is useful... but we should take care it does not make us stupid.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
- A million years ago humans lived as hunter-gatherers. We foraged & hunted for food. Humans lived in tribes, each tribe going up to a maximum of 50 to 100 people.
- Sometime around 10,000 ago, we had advanced to an agricultural lifestyle. Agriculture gave humans more control over their food supply, required settled occupation of territory and encouraged larger social groups with the emergence of towns & city-states.
- From couple of thousands to hundreds of years ago, the world progressed to having kingdoms & territories. Mostly imperialistic, a king or queen ruled over a certain territory exercising absolute control.
- Kingdoms evolved into nations. With a few exceptions, most of the present day nations are a collection of kingdoms we saw in stage 3. A perfect example would be that of India.
- Some years from now we will have even larger political groups. Power could be distributed among continents or some other larger divisions. We are seeing this effect already in some cases such as the European Union.
- And very soon after that, we will have the world as a single political unit. Of course, it sounds absurd and preposterous at this time, but the time will come.
If countries themselves are so ephemeral, most of them not more than a hundred years old, where does this put concepts like “pride for my country” & “greatest country in the world” & “country with a rich culture”?
Thursday, March 02, 2006
- Bloglines: RSS Aggregator. All my news, blogs, photo-feeds, weather at one place. Probably my most visited site of the day. Cons: The site could do with a visual makeover.
- Rememberthemilk.com: It's a very cool, online todo list. Very helpful since I don't have to bother remembering chores anymore. It has a whole lot of keyboard shortcuts which makes using it a breeze.
- del.icio.us: Bookmarks manager. Anyone adding sites to browser bookmarks (IE Favorites or Firefox Bookmarks) will know how quickly it becomes bloated & unwieldy. With del.icio.us, your bookmarks are stored online & you can associate tags with them, so storing & searching them becomes so much easier. You can also search through other people's bookmarks & check out the most popular ones.
- Zoto.com: Online photo storage. It doesn't have the upload restrictions that Flickr has. It also has an option to view full size pics which most of the other sites lack. Other features include a multiple photo uploading tool, tagging & feeds.
- Librarything.com: A social book manager. For each book you add to your catalog you can add one or several tags that describe the book. You can then compare tags with other Library Thing users, search across tags, books, authors, see who else has read the books you have, which books are most popular among users etc.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Staying on the topic of Mumbai, here is a nice aerial view of the heart of Mumbai. Click to enlarge & view the details. Link via Nandan.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Quoth the Matrix:
Neo: It's impossible...!
Bane/Smith: Not impossible. Inevitable.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Australian Open is underway at Melbourne. As always Federer is on a roll. And none of his main competitors remain. Nadal & Safin backed out due to injury, while Roddick & Hewitt crashed out. Now I can see just two tough matches for Federer: the next one against Tommy Haas, who is capable of pulling up some surprises; and David Nalbandian, who is one of the only three guys to defeat Federer in 2005 (in the season-ending Masters).
On the other hand the women's draw is pretty open. Any one among Davenport, Henin-Hardenne, Clijsters, Sharapova can come through and win. Go Maria!!! Or will it be the "Swiss Miss" Martina Hingis who's making a comeback? Hmm, unlikely, but if it happens it would be like a dream comeback for her.
Skiing is fun!!! I tried it today and WOW!!! If you are up for some thrill, you should definitely try it. But be prepared to take a fall or two along the way :).
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Turns out [Rahul Saurav] were arguing about the opening position, but not in the ways earlier speculated. Ganguly was upset because he was apparently told only on the morning of the match that he would have to open, and he said that he should have been told about it and given time to prepare. Dravid then apparently offered to open himself. And so on.Now that's something.....
Also showing great courage was Graeme Smith in the last test against Aussies. SA were down 1-0 in the series when he set the Aussies 287 to win in 76 overs in the last innings of the last test. Now of course his decision to declare at that point looked stupid after the Aussies ambled to another victory. But I think 1-0 is as bad as 2-0. A loss is a loss. A 1-1 result would have proved a lot of things about the character of the SA team and I thought it was an extremely brave decision, a decision deserving respect as opposed to the ridicule it eventually received.
And congrats to Nandan for winning the Indibloggies award for the best Marathi blog for his blog Marathi Sahitya. Now I can brag that I have a friend who is an A list, award winning blogger. :)
Monday, January 16, 2006
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
From childhood we are influenced by a number of factors. By our parents, by our friends, by our sphere of such influencers. All the decisions we take all through our life are influenced by these influencers.
So the question is: How much of the decisions we make, are our own? How much is free will? Or is there any? Does the concept of free will only exist in our minds so that we can feel good about ourselves? Do we have any individuality of our own? Or are we a sum of individualities we have learned through our lives, each of such individualities also a sum of some other individualities, ours being one of them.
Why do most people in the world follow the religion of their parents? Why are people willing to follow the leaders of their nations, ready to kill other people to defend their "country"? Why do we take similar decisions that our influencers took and then say that it was "my own" decision? Think about all the beliefs you have ever held in life. Aren't these beliefs that of your influencers rather then your own? Where is your free will? How much difference really exist between you and the people you call 'blind followers'?