Thursday, March 31, 2005

A quizzing blog

I have been sending out a weekly quiz on a variety of topics to a bunch of my friends for the past few weeks, and on the suggestion of one of them, I decided to put the weekly quiz on the web. I thought it was a swell idea, and no better way to do it than through a blog. I have been using blogger for several months now, and am quite familiar with the interface, so it was a piece of cake. Besides it allows me to add some more spice to the quiz such as visual questions.

I have started by posting all previous quizzes. This week's quiz is on Chemistry, while previous quizzes were on Academy Awards, Cricket and Bollywood. In case you are interested in sending in your answers, you can email me. Ofcourse, a honor system is in place, and it is hoped that you did not use the web or other sources to get the answers.

Generally, I send out the questions every Monday, and you have till the following Sunday to send in the answers. I will post the answers in the following week.

So, without much ado, here is the link to Quizzeria

Happy Quizzing ....!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Misunderstandings in software development

via About Kim

more than 450 authors for single paper

Here is a paper that appeared in this month's Physical Review Letters with more than 450 authors (i have not counted this number myself, but guessed it based on the number of lines, and an average number of names per line).

V.M.Abazov et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 091802 (2005)

The complete list of authors is below

I thought it would not be fair to just copy and paste it, would not have given a true idea of this monstrosity. but it seems rather ridiculous. i need to acquire this paper and find out what its about, sounds more like the entire authore list for the human genome or something like that.

Monday, March 28, 2005


Prem Panicker called it Doomed by defence. I just called it a good old fashioned choke. A complete disappointment considering the position they were in when Sehwag got out. And the bad performance was at its ultimate worst when skipper Ganguly got out. To quote Panicker
"There was one moment in play that summed it all up for me. Afridi, around the wicket in the 56th over, bowled a delivery pitching about 2 feet outside leg, and a touch short. The batsman lunged forward, to a ball the length of which called for back foot play - the ball turned sharply in, beat the bat and hit the stumps.

Ganguly, the batsman in question, refused to move. He stood there, after Simon Taufel twice indicated he was out - apparently, the Indian skipper thought the keeper had taken the stumps off, or the ball had rebounded from the keeper; anything, in fact, but that he had made a fatal error of judgment.

Make no mistake, the ball was good - it turned in a good two feet from outside the left hander's off stump. But it was short of good length, a front foot prod was fraught with the risk of pushing into the close cordon's hand, or, as actually happened, got bowled.

Ganguly stood there, feet frozen, mind frozen, like a deer caught in the headlamps - a perfect analogy to sum up the day's play."

On a completely different note, there are other brighters spots on the horizon than the bangalore debacle. Ed Viesturs, who was the leader of the IMAX Everest expedition, and one of America's greatest mountain climbers will attempt to climb Annapurna in May this year. It is the last of the world's 14 greatest mountains that he has not yet conquered, and he has climbed Everest 6 times .... talk about having an adventurous life!! Everest (the IMAX movie) was a spectacular experience that brought the Himalayas and the mountain known as Mount Everest to life for viewers around the world, thanks to Ed and his expedition. Lets hope that Ed is successful in this adventure (after two previous failed attempts in 2000 and 2002). His complete journey to climbing #14 can be found here.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Cricket fever ....

While March madness continues with the mighty Duke BlueDevils falling today, cricket fever has raged over the subcontinent and the diasporia across the world, especially with the win over Pakistan last week. And to answer Parag - I certainly did not forget about it, merely been lazy at times to write about it and very busy at others. While the third test is underway right now, with India trying to achieve the first task of avoiding a follow-on, here are some very interesesting facts [Thanks to Ninad Joshi aka Nandya for providing these statistics]

To quote Nandya:
prior to the Bangalore test, an amazing 15 of Inzamam's 20 test centuries have resulted in wins for Pakistan? (Of course only 5 of them came on away locations but nonetheless). It will be interesting to see if the trend continues at Bangalore. While we acknowledge Rahul Dravid as the best Test batsman of India of this decade (and perhaps one of the 3 best in the world for the same period), it is interesting to note that in the past 4 years, India has NOT lost a single match when Dravid has scored a ton. His last 12 test centuries have resulted in an amazing 9 wins and 3 draws for India.

From a career point of view, however, Inzamam surpasses Dravid in the success factor. Prior to the Bangalore test both had 20 test centuries, but Inzamam saw glory in 15 of his 20 hundreds while only 10 of Dravid's 20 centuries gave India the win. However dravid excels in the fact that just 1 (!!) of his 20 centuries actually failed to prevent defeat for India.... I doubt if there is a more successful batsman today whose 'efforts-gone-waste' factor is so less. It would be fn to see Hayden and Ponting's records from that angle. Tendulkar in the same period has scored the exact same number of centuries as Dravid (12), of which 7 came in wins, 4 in draws and one in defeat..... fairly good performance, though not as 'result oriented' as Dravid's !

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

LS passes Patents Bill

A key development in India's commitment to the World Trade Organization - the Patents Bil was passed by the Lok Sabha today. This has far reaching implications for Indian industry - particularly in the areas of pharmaceuticals, agriculture and software. The indian pharmaceutical industry, long protected by the Indian Patent Act of 1970 - which did not recognize product patents for drugs, has now been exposed to open competition from the heavyweights of the world. Hopefully, a 30 year cushion was sufficient to be able to compete in the intensely competitive pharma market.

Monday, March 21, 2005

US India - Defense and Strategic Affairs

THere are tons of interesting indian blogs out there - here is one focused on Strategic Defense affairs concerning India and the US - US India - Defense and Strategic Affairs. The authors are certainly an interesting bunch: Lt. Col Anil Bhat is a former spokesperson for the Defense Ministry and the Indian Army and then a defense analyst as well as an expert on India's NE security; Lt. Col. Sahukar is a former Indian ARmy paratrooper and a veteran of anti-terrorism operations in J&K; Jehangir Unwalla and Nikhil Khanna are affiliated with USINPAC, the US India Political Action Committee - which essentially seems like a lobby group for New Delhi on Capitol Hill - although their mission statement says that they want to ensure that we impact policy on issues of concern to the Indian American community.

Nevertheless its quite interesting and refreshing to note that those with exposure and experience to the goings-on in the world of India's defense are actually making a proactive effort to disseminate more information to the public and increase the awareness of the population at large regarding defense policy issues.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The madness is too much ....

March madness is well and truly here ... and my brackets are in complete disarray. Pitt disappointed by going down to Pacific in the first round. And all the big guns are falling like crazy - Kansas, Syracuse and now Wake Forest. The double O/T game between the WVU Mountaineers (yes those hated mounties) and the Deamon Deacons of Wake was a great one ... and finally those 3 pointers pulled the mounties ahead. Boston College also fell - but their star was fading anyway, would have lost to 'Bama if not to Wisonsin Milwaukee.

With things really heating up in the NCAA tournament, look forward to more cinderella stories from the most unexpected of teams.

Monday, March 14, 2005

News channels in india - taking the whole screen

One thing i noticed about news channels in india - there is just too much information scrolling across the screen. Check this screenshot - there are headlines scrolling at the bottom, headlines changing right above it ... and then there is the translation into english (this news is in english, while the speaker is using hindi) which is again continuously updating. for a viewer, it is extremely annoying and distracting. even in the US, news channels such as CNN have scrolling news bars at the bottom - but i dont think occupy about 40% of the entire screen (including the captions etc.)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

12 years to the day

12 March, 1993 - exactly twelve years have passed since the horrific bomb blasts of mumbai. it was right in the middle of SSC examinations in mumbai ... and the day is still vivid in my memory. key accused dawood ibrahim and tiger memon have still not been caught - nobody in india doubts where they are.

spare a moment and a prayer to remember those innocents who died needlessly that day.

reminders of the horror (two of the deadliest blasts took place here):

The Bombay Stock Exchange building

The Air India building at Nariman point


i ran a 5K race (the Edgewater 5K Fun Run/walk) today, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life - posted my worst timing (unofficially 29:50) in a 5K race - but its not one i am disappointed with, considering there has been little training, and that the 20mph wind made the 47 degree temperature look a lot worse.

i am hoping to run a couple more 5Ks this summer - with the eventual finish time target of 25 minutes (~8min/mile or 7.44mph - easier said than done ofcourse, but certainly not unrealistic i think).

It turns out that my official time was 27:57! I find that rather hard to believe, but i guess it must be correct.

Friday, March 11, 2005

madhuri ... one more

this blog has had an obscene number of hits on just one particular post - a photo of Madhuri Dixit with her husband and son. Turns out she gave birth to another son yesterday ... guess that will increase the number of hits some more .... not that i am complaining, but its just amusing how much that photo seems to catch everyone's attention when they search for madhuri dixit in the google image search [that photo currently shows up at number 3 in the search].

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Parenting today's kids

in response to parag's comment: looks like he is already dreading the day ashwini will come to him and say this!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Calvin's snowmen

I saw Parag's snowman and was immediately reminded of the Calvin and Hobbes snowman collection. With the spring just about ready to burst forth, the days of the snowman are certainly numbered. Ofcourse, in my neck of the woods, there is no snow ... so thanks to Parag for reminding me of its existence :)

Here are a few more masterpieces from Watterson:

Parag: here is your favorite, it is available on the link that I mentioned above

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Balaji ...

Laxmipathy Balaji made a successful comeback to the Indian cricket team with a 5-wicket haul against Pakistan in the first test. And yet, I am convinced that Balaji is a chucker - and I am not sure why the ICC is being so lenient about chuckers. It certainly has to do with big money in the game ....

I had a chance to see Balaji live at the Wankhede stadium during the Challenger tournament last month, and i have no doubt atleast 50% of the audience that day who agreed with me ... but then after today's performance, its not that bad after all. If Mutthaih can go past 500 on the basis of a congenital defect (absolutely bull IMHO!), and Akhtar and Lee and bounce out even frontline batsmen by straighening their arm, why should India lag behind. Thats why we have Harbhajan Singh and Laxmipathy Balaji ....

here is a column that appeared on Rediff by Shekhar Gupta. Read the last suggestion:

"The section on chucking, currently covered under Law 24.2, should be moved to bring it within the purview of Law 42 (Fair and unfair play), and punish every such unfair (chucked) delivery by awarding the same 5 penalty runs to the batting side as is done in case of other unfair actions under the Law. There is no reason to punish chucking less harshly."

Now if this aint chucking, dunno what is....

Monday, March 07, 2005

Yahoo v/s Google ...

Yahoo completed ten years last week, and this month's issue of Wired magazine has an article comparing the company with Google. You can check it out here, but the synopsis of the article is this statement by the writer:

while Google was busy becoming what Yahoo! used to be, Yahoo! has become what AOL should have been.

here are some ofthe interesting comparisons (all figures taken from the wired website)