Thursday, September 30, 2004

game over for vioxx

merck volunatrily recalled its blockbuster $2.5B arthritis drug vioxx after longstanding concerns about increased risk of heart disease and stroke were confirmed in a study ... merck (Dow: MRK) shares went into a tailspin on wall street, sending the dow jones index down with it.

this puts pfizer's celebrex at the top of the market. i suppose this is good news for folks over at pfizer .... !! the stock (PFE) would probably do well in the short term because of this announcement.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A generation moving on ...

(Image taken from Mid-day)

Lata Mangeshkar turns 75 today - From Madhubala to Madhuri Dixit and everyone in between and close to 6000 hindi songs later, she is still going strong ...

On another note, Shobha Gurtu, the "Thumri Queen", passed away at her residence here today following a cardiac arrest. She was 79.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

journalism blunders ....

no i am not referring to Dan Rather and CBS ... here is a news article from indiatimes by soumitra mishra about the west indies winning the ICC champions trophy - the relevant line in the third paragraph is:
The Windies' clinched their first major title in over two decades. Their last remarkable win was the 1983 World Cup.
this coming from a journalist from india - where for many the only remarkable win ever was the 1983 World Cup!!

the BCCI also announced that the much talked about contract system for cricketers would be enforced from october. Here is what is surely a mistake - either by Rediff, or by Dalmiya:
Also, if any player is involved in 31 Tests or 10 ODIs during a year, he would be offered a Grade C contract, Dalmiya said.
There is no chance of anyone playing 31 tests during a year!! journalists (or the newspapers/websites etc.) have got to be more careful about what they publish ....

Saturday, September 25, 2004

India - the final frontier ...

the aussies arrived in india for conquering what steve waugh described as the final frontier - no aussie team has won a test series in india since 1969 .... the last time they came here in 2001 - they were knocking on the doorstep in kolkata - but laxman, dravid and harbhajan had other ideas ... and the rest is history - probably the greatest test series of all time ...

the aussies play 4 tests in bangalore, madras, nagpur and mumbai .... they also open the series with the only other first class game - against ranji trophy champions mumbai at the brabourne stadium. hopefully, the series will still be alive coming into wankhede stadium .... my gut feeling says this will be the one for the men of ozz ... ponting's place in history will be clinched (even though he is out for the first test - perhaps gilchrist may take his place in the record books instead) .... all india needs is to not lose the series in order to retain the border-gavaskar trophy ... yet, they dont stand a chance unless they play to win!

if the last two test series between these two are any indication ... its time get ready for a cracker ...

Friday, September 24, 2004

shwaas - indian for oscar ...

sandeep sawant's national award winning shwaas will be the indian nominee for the academy awards. a tremendous achievement for sandeep sawant considering that its his directorial debut.

hopefully that will allow an opportunity to see the movie here in the states.

on a totally different note, here is suketu mehta's new book Maximum City: Bombay Lost And Found - he is being interviewed in a bar(?) named Olive in Mumbai [somewhere in south bombay i assume!] - the description of the folks visiting the bar makes me wonder if it was the same mumbai i grew up in ... and then there is shanta gokhale's analysis of the psyche of mumbaichaa marathi manus... again makes you sit back and think hard about the completely different worlds existing in mumbai - the millworker on the one hand and the myriad of folks at Olive with too much money to spend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

equinox ... and the fall ....

the autumn equinox is about to end in an hour or so ... the fall season is underway - football is here, baseball is almost knocking at the gates of the post season - the red sox will probably endure the curse again ... and australia come to india to try and conquer the last frontier!! no steve waugh, no ricky ponting (atleast for the first test) ... but with mcgrath, and warne probably at their best ... and my gut feeling is that the aussies are going to kick butt this time ... the last two series were a cricket lovers delight ... but this one might be a heartbreaker ....

as for the equinox, the day and nights are supposed to be equal - sunrise here was at 6:35 am and sunset at 6.43pm .... i suppose 8 minutes is an acceptable error :) .....

check out the photolog equinox picture at the photolog ....

Monday, September 20, 2004

50 .....and not so strong ...

today is the fiftieth anniversary of the first fortran program - this info comes from the Wikipedia - yet sometimes i wonder how exact can such information be ...

nevertheless, its a historic day for guys who like me who have written fortran code (and continue to do so) ... and for a long time, that was the only language i could program in .... fortran has come a long way since the days of fortran 77 - with the evolution of the fortran 90 and 95 standards. but its days seem to be winding down ... nagware, i heard has stopped making compilers, and others might follow suit. the next stage would be the end of support for existing compilers, and following that would be the end of the world for the language ... in terms of evolving further. there will continue to be thousands of programmers who will continue to use existing libraries and numerical recipes for formula translation ... and hopefully keep the legacy alive ....

as for me, i have no qualms about letting go of it ... personally, i think C++ will kick its ass anyday ....

Friday, September 17, 2004


Ivan passed without causing nearly as many problems as were expected of it .... but left a lot of broken twigs, and leaves all over the place. a tree got uprooted in my apt complex and fell on a swing that kids played on ... no one was there at the time ofcourse, but the steel frame broke into two from the fall of the tree on it. here are some images:

Fallen tree

The snapped swing frame

Uprooted remains

The snapped steel frame

the richest cricket club in the world ....

here is an indiatimes article about the BCCI. deals with the problems that come with the BCCI being the ultra affluent private organization that it is. the last para hits home the message
Watching cricket in India is a misery that the BCCI’s immense wealth has been unable to resolve but it has certainly made cricket a very rich game in a country where all other sports languish in poverty. Need we even say that Indian hockey players cannot afford to go to Tendulkar’s restaurant in downtown Mumbai?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

a tribute to bloggers ....

today's marketplace edition on NPR talked about the role of bloggers as the new journalists of the day - their unbiased attitude towards news, and the ability to analyze and carefully break down the news ... and ask the right question - something real reporters and journalists (esp tv networks and newspapers) are struggling (or are unable) to do - attributed to the various vested interests that control networks and newspapers. the story in question was the role of bloggers in bringing to light the negligence of CBS in making sure of their evidence in Bush's national guard service report.

Ivan - not so terrible after all ...

The dark cloud almost resembles the satellite image of Ivan that we have been used to seeing ... it rained hard, and there were strong winds .... you can see the rain drops rippling across Lady Ann Lake. There is still a flood watch on ... along with a wind advisory.

but tropical depression (yeah, downgraded from a storm by now) Ivan has caused minor flooding, and a few trees down so far in my corner of the world ... but trivial compared to what we saw on the gulf coast. a lucky break i suppose ... folks down in mobile or panama city or pensacola wont quite appreciate the title of the post ... my apologies to them.

Ivan the terrible .....

we have all reading about the damage caused by Hurricane Ivan ... well, tropical depression ivan has arrived in my neck of the woods ... its very dark outside, very heavy rain, and very windy (ofcourse nothing like the 120 mph from last night). here is latest picture from the national weather service:

the eye of ivan is within 100 miles of us (almost sounds like the eye of sauron doesnt it!), its going to be a very interesting next few hours .... time to shut down all workstations, and head home ....

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

president promotes nanotech ...

i aint referring to mr. bush, but our very own dr. apj kalam - has been promoting nanotechnology as the vehicle for increasing wealth and improving the quality of life in the impoverished nation of more than a billion people ( check here for details.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

chowk and shwaas

shanta gokhale reviews a new marathi play presented by Rangasanga, a new initiative by the sahitya sangha mandir to promote experimental plays. Chowk, written by Makarand Sathe, and directed by Sathe himself, along with Atul Pethe, sounds like a very interesting experiment about interactions and sensitivities of folks from different points of view and walks of life ... who come together in a chowk. its kinda weird, writing about a review of a play, rather than the play itself. but for a lack of opportunity to actually go see the play, this is the next best thing. shanta gokhale does describe the play in a fair bit of detail (particularly the idealogy, and performances) - and certainly managed to generate some motivation for me to go watch the play. hopefully there will still be a chance to do so, the next time i am in mumbai.

on another note, the marathi movie shwaas won the national award for best movie. its a tremendous achievement, in an era where the marathi film industry is almost extinct, and the only marathi actors/actresses to be seen are in hindi movies, playing character roles, speaking hindi with a marathi accent that would make any marathi guy (read punekar) proud. in spite of a thriving theater and literary circuit, marathi cinema has lagged behind other regionals (malayalam/bengali) in making quality productions. shwaas, directed by sandeep sawant, is the story of a boy, suffering from a rare eye cancer, and about to lose his sight to surgery that would save his life though. ashwin chitale plays the young boy Parshya, and shared the award for best child artiste with Kalidasan for the malayalam film Ente Veedu Apoontem. producer arun nalawade also plays the boy's grandfather, who tries to fill the boy's mind with lasting images of the world and sneaks hiim out of the hospital, a day before the surgery. the movie is largely based on the real life experience of pune based oncosurgeon, dr. shailesh puntambekar.

shwaas comes exactly 50 years after a marathi movie, acharya atre's shyaamachii aaii, based on the novel by sane guruji, won the national award with child artiste madhav vaze as the main protagonist. again, look forward to an opportunity to see the movie on the big screen, perhaps here in the states or else atleast on the next trip back home ... hopefully there will lead to a resurgence in quality marathi cinema ...

Thursday, September 09, 2004

the desi grad student romeos .....

hi all ... am back after an extended hiatus, took some time off for the labor day weekend, and had to fight off some major deadlines at work ... but am finally back with more transport phenomena (whatever that might mean!) ....

here is something i had received as a forwarded email when i was a graduate student .... it was hilarious, and you could certainly identify someone of almost every type. the fall semester/quarter is underway at almost every university in the US, and as a new batch of graduate students is in ... it was fun to come across this again ..... i do not know the source, but i would like extend due credit to whoever wrote it ..... there is ofcourse plenty of stereotyping, exaggerating, sometimes its gross, and a bit painful at others .... but quite enjoyable all the same

Since the annual induction of new recruits is under way, let me start the ball rolling on the touchy topic of the intrepid romeo's courtship ritual... I would love to say that any resemblance to people living or married is a coincidence,but unfortunately that isn't really the case. It has been my misfortune to come across despos who fit at least one description very well.Some of the descriptions here are based on the outrageous opinions expressed y our dudes in private in an all-male environment, usually in a stag party while consuming egg-curry and the
ubiquitous 'chole' and raita, and chugging cheap beer.They probably did not expect these clandestine details of the courtship ritual would become public knowledge... so sue me.

SMOOTHIES :The Smoothest, The Slimiest:
We begin with the SMOOTHIES...those who have been ere for a year or two, some of whom are resigned to spending a couple more years on their Ph.D., and have that magic phrase "I have a car".Having thus established their solid gold credentials with the new girls as the "guys-to-be-smiled-at-so-that-they-can-be-asked-for-rides-to- roceries", they are the elite of the desi student circle.
Common come-ons used by the Smoothies include: [THIS PART SEEMS TO BE INCOMPLETE]

THE TALENT AGENT: (Romeonensis Recruitus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hello,I am Dr. Breslauer's RA."
The romeo who uses this line usually has been working for 3 years with a well-funded prof in the epartment, whose RA'ship offers are being actively sought after by the freshies.He really has NO say whatsoever in the decision, but until the RA'ships are decided, this guy is sitting pretty.We would advise him to move quickly and snare a naive new student before the RAships are assigned.His answering machine usually gets a lot of messages in the month RA'ships are assigned... he only calls back the female callers... the guys will just have to call him again...

THE SLIMEY GROPER: (Romeonensis Gropius) ( Also known as the DANCE MASTER )
Favourite Pickup-lines: "Hi, would you like to take the ballroom dancing class with me?"
The oldest sleaze-bucket trick. Ulterior motive: To grope and fondle forbidden flesh. This is the smoothie who religiously attends all the new-student orientation parties...scopes out all the 'fast' ones who venture out on the dance floor... generally goes for quasi ABCD's or Bombay types ..The only species of romeo who is sleazy enough to even hit on married women. A standard approach is to pay a shallow compliment to half a dozen girls (one at a time, of course!) such as: "Hello, you have very nice voice.Just like MS Subbulakshmi." OR "Hello, you dance very well.Did you take dance lessons?"
Our lady-of-the-dance-floor invariably giggles and says: "No, I only took bharatanatyam when I was little." Hmmm...Excellent candidate for hitting upon later.So our groper invites her over (with some other friends, of course) to his house a couple of evenings for dinner...and then pops the question... "There is a ballroom dance class every Tuesday evening. Would you like to be my dance really well (yeah, of course!)" . Some of the intended victims see the slime dripping all over him, but there is always one innocent girl who falls for the oldest trick in the desi-lothario's repertoire... and our groper-friend is all set to get his paws ready for a semester's groping and fondling,all for just 45 bucks registration fee (split 22.50 each, of course...). Plus he can look forward to being taken out to Pizza Hut by drooling roomies and wanna-be-slimeys who get their kicks by his serious XXX-rated description of each dance-class. He struts and brags, and within a day, the entire romeo community is aware of his conquest.A couple of his cronies call him up (even long-distance!) to "congratulate" him on his success at luring yet another freshie with the old trick: "saale, hat-trick maar diya, last year Pooja ko pataaya, last sem Rajni ko, aur abhi isko bhi thokne ka plaan bana raha hai kya? Kya class le raha hai, saala, Lambada sikha na usko!!Heh heh heh, Saala, congrats yaar!*sneer* *smirk* *nudge*". All his friends snigger in the background and start making plans to hit upon the poor girl who, of course, is absolutely _thrilled_ at being the "popular" girl...

Poor chick (who may still be in denial of having fallen for such an obvious trick) gets the reputation of being "fast", "dumb" and an easy lay;is doomed to fighting off sleazy advances from every desi desperado in town for the rest of her sojourn at the Univ.After she graduates and leaves, she becomes a legendary figure, the yardstick for measuring "fastness", and the stories just get embellished more for the entertainment of new students for years to come.

THE SLIMEY SCOPER: (Romeonensis Scopius)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi, I have olympic size swimming pool in my apartment. I can teach you swimming...?"
The lesser twin of the Slimey Groper.Moves 17 blocks away from the University just because the apartment has a swimming pool.Always plans elaborate "pool-parties",which invariably end up with a dude-dudette ratio of 14-to-2(one of them being the ever popular "dance class" victim who is always invited to parties for all the wrong reasons...).

THE CHAUFFEUR: (Romeonensis Mobilus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi, I am going to K-Mart.You want ride? I have one extra seat..."
Actually, there will be two extra seats vacant,three if you count that ragged one with the funny oil-stain...but of course, the chances of a freshie saying yes to going anywhere alone with him would be slim ... so the reassuring "one seat is vacant..."implying that there will be other people present...

THE CHAUFFEUR DELUXE: (Romeonensis Mobilus Ultra) (Romeonensis Mobilus Alpina/Pioneera/Aiwa/Audiovoxa)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi, I am going to K-Mart.You want a ride? I have a car stereo..."
A sub-species of the common-or-garden Chauffeur. The distinguishing mark being that funny noises bearing a passing resemblance to an old Dire Straits song occasionally emanate from a wheezy speaker hidden in the recesses of his automobile.

THE MOVIE MOGUL: (Romeonensis Cinematicus)
He doesn't have a car.He doesn't have the Slimey Groper's ability to cheat and deceive.He has tried asking newbies out to ballroom class, but somehow, all of them have seen through him, and the really dumb ones have already been snapped up for "ballroom-dance-classes" by the Slimey Groper. But he does have that master ace up his sleeve, or more accurately, perched precariously atop his tv... the magic box that has the power to induce women to stay past midnight in his apartment... the VCR. Manages to get some newbie dudettes into his apartment to watch "Nayagan" or "Roja", or that old reliable, "Sholay". (editor's note:This was first written in 1992.Hence the Nayagan/Roja reference.I dunno which movies are currently in vogue for this purpose.) Ten minutes into the movie, Movie Mogul changes into his lungi.His roomie plays the good host with nachos & cheese dip. He makes coffee with his lungi hitched up in half & a kitchen towel on his shoulder. These dudes try to impress their guests by shouting dialogues a good two minutes before the scene.Sonia, from Delhi, has no clue what is going on.The next time she visits, it will only be for help with Math 805 assignment.

THE FATHER FIGURE: (Romeonensis Paterfamilias)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hello...No, no! Don't call me uncle."
He is the one person on campus who has the one quality all other lotharios envy: an aura of harmless trustworthiness... Full sleeve tericott bush-shirt (Amba Tailors, Rajajinagar), tight dress pants, Bata shoes recently replaced with black Reeboks, same nylon socks - all 4 seasons. Need I mention Brahmi Amla Hair Oil? Has lots of "Platonic" friendships.Hates Plato.Wishes Plato had never been born.
He is usually on excellent terms with the veteran desi females on campus.This gives him instant respectability among the newbies. Always trust-worthy, courteous and helpful. Other desi guys hate his guts, because newbies soon learn that it is far better to ask him for a ride than one of the other desperadoes...Keeps an umbrella in his office. Walks chicks home on rainy days.Of course, he dares not try anything for fear of losing his reputation...Always afraid someone will discover his stash of porno magazines hidden under the bathroom sink.

THE INTER-RACIAL: (Romeonensis Miscegeneticus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi, this is Debbie, my date."
The guy who is on top of the world.For the moment.The one with the "gori" girlfriend "Debbie".He speaks not of Diwali, but of Thanksgiving. He has the respect and admiration from all the juniors. "Saale ne gori ko pataa liya yaar." His seniors don't particularly care because they know that Debbie was a drunken loser the semester before he turned up. He dreams of getting a green-card through Debbie, the US Citizen. This dude has never been south of Chicago, but has contracted the Southern Drawl from his g.f. Tries to convince everyone that Debbie was really a virgin until he met her.He has tried to convince others so hard of this that he almost believes it himself... Debbie Dumps Desi when she gets a real job and moves to another town.

THE ECLECTICUS: (Romeonensis Eclecticus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Like, hi man, what a scene.Like I was totally lubed man... totally like an Ephemeris video dude... like blow me man."
Very, very rare - this dude listens exclusively to new age, drives a beat up Bug with psychedelic murals on the fenders and a stained glass rear-window... has Dali posters in his living room, a nude he sketched himself in his bathroom, an open condom pack on the counter. This dude actually brews his own beer. Long hair and an earring seems de riguer. Never tries to pick-up desi chicks...usually accompanied by a pale, skinny, raggedy blonde with a nose-ring and a tattoo, and a couple of pot joints in her pocket...

The "Seniors":
This is the underclass of the desi lothario heirarchy. Those who have been here a scant one or two semesters, and have not yet acquired a car.Some of them purchase a VCR and turn into wanna-be
movie-moguls. But they haven't yet acquired the smoothies' savoir faire, and the easy sense of 'I belong here' that distinguishes the sleazemen from the sleazeboys.

THE TOURIST GUIDE: (Romeonensis Peripateticus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Last month, when I was in Grand Canyon..."
This is the guy-on-the-move, the going-places dude... or that is the impression he gives. Overrates the already over-rated. Doesn't mention that he had never left the premises of the campus until that big trip to the edge of the Grand Canyon.Drove a rental subcompact crammed with 5 desis singing to Kishore Kumar songs on the tape player all the way. Always argues about whether Yose-might or Yose-miti is the right pronunciation... although he hasn't really ever been to Yosemite. His main drawing power is the tale about how his co-driver was caught speeding on the highway.Feels smug until someone mentions the ticket he got for reversing into the freeway from an exit-ramp. Will try to pick up newbies by talking about how he can rent a car with his American Express Chaarj card. Fails spectacularly.

THE PHOTOOO-JOURNALIST: (Romeonensis Autofocus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "This is me in front of Universal Studios..."
Carefully documents his summer vacation with the photooos taken in front of prominent landmarks,including uncle Chunnibhai's motel in Bakersfield. These photoos are commonly referred to as "Patel-Shots". His approach is not "u have to see to believe it", it's more like "look at this foto, yaar, I have been there" showing a patel shot. Invites people to his apartment to see the pictures. Hardly any success...

THE NOT-SO-GOOD SAMARITAN: (Romeonensis Nefarius)
Favourite Pickup-line: "You are taking 'Advanced Computer Calisthenics'?No problem.Friend took it last semester. Will get you the book. It costs 40 dollars."
Freshie giggles and simpers a thank you, thinking, "what a nice guy!", and our samaritan extrapolates this into a wild fantasy. "She wants me!I bet she wants me baaaad!", he keeps telling himself as
he runs to the university book store through the pouring rain and buys the book (sorry, no used version available). Two weeks later, ladki bhee gayee, paisa bhee gaya.How does he manage to
afford this? Well, he takes the book back from the freshie at the end of the semester and returns it for a 60% refund at the bookstore.

THE FRUGAL GOURMET: (Romeonensis Gustatus-Parsimonius)
Favourite Pickup-line: "No, no.Taco Bell doesn't use lard.And Taco Bell has unlimited Pepsi refill macha!! But MacDonald's has good milkshake."
Apart from being the fast-food aficionado, he has also mastered the art of making tostadas at home.Expert on cooking advice, though most of his dinners comprise of two burritos to go and unlimited small pepsi. Gets one and only one "date" to go to Taco Bell.She doesn't talk to him again for the rest of the semester.When questioned,he only says, "oh, she wants to go out again, but she is too busy. "She, on the other hand, usually changes the subject when the topic comes up.

THE WANNABE MOVIE MOGUL: (Romeonensis Cinematicus Minora)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi.I have VCR."
Has very little success with that pick-up line.Wonders whether he should not have spent that 150 bucks on the Korean VCR...Has got into the habit of eating Doritos and Coke for dinner while sprawled in front of the telly. Uses room-freshener and cologne inter-changeably.Generally dejected at not havin' "patao"ed a single chic in spite of the VCR.Doesn't realize it may have something to do with the fact that he tried to trick a freshie dudette into getting "hot" by watching a XXX-rated movie...

THE ASPIRING INTER-RACIAL: (Romeonensis Miscegeneticus Minora)
Cut-offs, "just do me" T shirt, coasters from payless shoes, $2 reflecting sunglasses with neon threads, baseball cap worn backwards, just like Puke-Daddy-MC on MTV. He hangs out with the smoothie interracial (refer to description above) all the time, and picks up enough skills to have moderate success in the ABCD crowd.Has hopes of someday getting out of his relationship with the ABCD, but chances of survival are pretty slim. He is usually married to the ABCD by the time he graduates, or very shortly thereafter. The juniors, of course, marvel at his girlfriend, and try to hit on her so
that she can get _them_ dates.

THE IIT-ian: (Romeonensis Clanicus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi. I am from IIT-B.I was 247th in JEE.My name is Raj."
Has even lesser success with that pick-up line than the wannabe-mogul. None of the "smoothies" use this line because they have realized no one gives a damn.Our IIT-ian still clings on in the fervent hope that the cachet of his undergraduate institution will make nubile young things swoon with awe. Sure,ex-IIT-ian chicks hang out with him, but hey, we all know that ain't worth squat... Faded blue Levis, round-neck Tee, mostly wears bathroom slippers from hostel days. No wrist watch.Hasn't given up smoking yet. Main source of entertainment:the e-mail list of all his IIT batchmates... Can't understand how that other guy, a non-IITian (gasp), gets all the dates. Drowns his loneliness by hanging out with wing-mates from IIT-B and reminiscing about old Katre, the Taklu tutor at Agrawal's.
When introduced to new IIT-M arrivals, always asks them which hostel they they were from: Goda or Mandaks?

THE SUPER-TECHIE: (Romeonensis Esotericus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "then you issue an asynchronous sigint to the child process through the named pipe which induces it and fork a subcommand in the same kernel thread which..." As expected, he has little success with anyone, except newbies who need help figuring out how to log into their accounts.Needless to say, these newbies don't understand the detailed login instructions our Super-Techie gives them. While "helping" them, he manages to get their passwords and reads all their personal email for the next two semesters.If this doesn't work, he can break into their computer
anyway.Generally considered a reliable source for gossip about the freshies' private affairs. Freshie guys always come to him for info on how to decode the gifs on When officemate asks about lost car keys, helpfully suggests grep-ing for them iteratively in /usr/office/desk -drawer and /usr/pants/pockets. Usually seen in plain shirt (or whatever mom sent him), pair of jeans, unkempt hair, didn't-shave-or-shower-in-2-days-look.A bold HMT (grandpa's high school graduation gift) adorns the wrist.Survives on pizza, Cheetos and Jolt. Has programmed the vending machine into selling
him candy for a nickel.

The "Freshie" Dudes:
Pretty much nothing to say about the freshie guys.Most of them are preoccupied with settling into graduate student life.So their Romeonating characteristics have not yet come sufficiently to the fore
to enable classification. And since they have not been accepted by credit card companies yet, their ability to go out on dates is somewhat hampered. Which is not a problem, because with the standard opening line: "Hello, I am from Gowripalya in Ramnagar, where you are from?", or the ever popular: "What is your mother tongue?" , they really don't have much luck in getting a date. And the fact that these guys were fighting bitterly over a dog-eared three-year-old issue of Penthouse in the T.A.lab last Tuesday doesn't help their chances...

THEDEHAATI: (Romeonensis Rusticus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "yhou know what haapined when I came out of airport? I got taxi, and yhou know, taxiwala was Indian!"
Always speaks about a couple of octaves higher than necessary.Responds to the name "Babloo".Just arrived from Gorakhpur.Absolutely thrilled that the taxi he took from the airport was driven by a Jat dude from Faridabad. Exchanges phone numbers with taxi-dude and resolves to keep in touch with the fellow.Writes to mom about it. Contacts relatives in "Buphalo", "Peetsburg" and "Batlimore" (no, not a typo) on the first day to inform them that 'he has arrived'.Gets confused by the answering machine at his cousin's number in "Arijona" and leaves a completely undecipherable message. Buys a large economy size bottle of Brut on his first grocery trip. Before stepping out of the apartment, BRUT goes under arms, on shirt, back side of shirt, inside shirt, inside the VIP brief... While some desi romeos buy Aqua Velva (utmost parsimony),the Dehaati pays a few cents more for "achcha khaasaa boo". Suitcase filled with latest line in safari suits from Gorakhpur. Wears kurta-achkan and shiny new Reebok sneakers to orientation. Wants to buy Haanda Civeec. Wants to patao sitijen or haraa pathey waali. No wonder, dude is chasing our younger cousins (aka undergrad ABCDs).

THE SLIMEBALL: (Romeonensis Mucus)
Silently scopes out all the 'chicks',with help from his mentor, the Slimey Groper.Tries to score but strikes out because the slime is still a little too obvious.Hits on other people's wives/girlfriends at the
orientation.Tries to hit on every American girl who smiles at him. Backstabs to get assistantships. Insists on walking girls home from department at night. "Arrey, very dangerous, you know, not like Mylapore.Last week only my friend Rick got mugged on Maple Avenue...Chalo, chalo, let me walk you home...Oh you want to work in lab for two more hours? No problem, I can wait..." In the end, the poor girl ends up calling our trustworthy Father Figure (see the smoothie section for description) to escort her home. Father Figure smoothly whisks the maiden away, ignoring our slimeball's scowl and flashing him a cordial smile... Consummate geek that he is,recycles centuries old jokes he reads on rec.humor.Every alternate sentence is punctuated with a reference to beer.Has practically memorized the list of reasons "Why beer is better than women".But two cans of pissweak lager make him tipsy. Manages to hitch his wagon to his idol, the Slimey-Groper and begins to try out some tricks but without immediate success...shows promise... If people still trust him in two years, he may turn into a successful Slimey Groper.Until then, he organizes pot-luck parties.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

google ads ....

this was an ad i saw in the google ads frame, while checking my gmail account ...

Fake Mailz
Send fast, anonymous, fake email and also receive replies. $4.95/Mo.

Intrigued by that ad, i explored the website a little further ... here are some interesting snippets from their FAQ:
Why would I want to be anonymous?
There are many reasons one may want to protect their real identity. Quoting simply, we all have the right to privacy and anonymity as long as we are using for ethically correct and resonsible reasons. Being anonymous always help in many circumstances, take for instance of sending some clues to a journalist, Communicate with a self-help organization, or just want to post all those politically incorrect thoughts.

What other things do I have to consider when sending anonymous emails?
Few things that Fake Mailz suggest you as precautionary measure are:
# Do not put your personal details on the email or the attachment.
# Do not put information in the email that may narrow down the possible senders.
# Use different writing techniques than your own when sending emails.

Is it possible for the recipient to know my original information?
Under normal circumstances, you don't run the potential risk of hurting your privacy. But well, Fake Mailz do cooperate with recipient in case of legal hassles. Therefore it's always a good practise to ensure contents of email to be in compliance with terms and conditions.

And ofcourse the most important one of them all:
What if I wish to use your services for SPAM?
Spaming is prohibited at Fake Mailz. If a user account is found to violate our terms and conditions, original information will be disclosed to recipient and account banned.

pretty hilarious ... and yet kinda scary stuff ... it is easy to imagine more sinister uses of such services than just to remain anonymous on a public BB ..... now as i post it, i wonder if perhaps i should be doing it at all ... doing my bit in bringing such services to those who want em ....

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

a village named kuppam ....

HP's chief executive carly fiorina gave the commencement address earlier this summer at caltech. here is an excerpt from the transcript of her speech titled Dare to dream
Let me tell you about two women named Saraswati and Gowri. They live in a rural community called Kuppam, India, and it is about 100 miles from Bangalore. It is a place where one in three citizens is illiterate; more than half of the households have no electricity, and most of the able-bodied adults are HIV-positive.

These young women were forced to leave school after the fifth and seventh grades respectively, because their families could not afford their schooling.

Now, one of the questions we ask at HP is, “How do we use technology to bring opportunity to places like Kuppam, India?” And we had a number of inventors, probably including some Caltech grads in this village in India, and they came up with the idea in observing the village around them of a solar-powered digital camera, and a solar- powered printer, and this equipment fits into a backpack.

So Saraswati and Gowri were chosen among 10 young women to be trained as village photographers and given this digital, solar-powered camera and other equipment, and after two weeks of training, they were able to serve as official photographers for a launch event that we did that was overseen by the region’s Chief Minister. And seeing how people loved having their pictures taken with their elected officials, these two young women seized on a business opportunity: they decided to follow the minister on his rounds, selling inexpensive photo opportunities. In less than a week, they had earned the equivalent of a month’s income. For both of them, it meant that they would be able to better educate their children and finally bring tap water into their homes.

And today not only do they photograph engagement ceremonies and many other important family occasions – occasions that in the past were not recorded because it was too expensive – they are now working to set up a fund so that other young women in their village can use it to start up their own businesses. And these two young women have become so successful in their villages that their husbands now tag along with them.

To me, this is just a tiny, perhaps even prosaic example of the billions of ways that science and technology can and will change lives and solve problems in the 21st century. As science moves to the mainstream of peoples’ lives, scientists and inventors have to move to the mainstream as well. Technology cannot be mysterious to people any more. Science cannot just be an experiment; something cloistered in a back room or a dark lab. Science and technology need to be understandable and you need to our guides.