Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The fury of nature unleashed ...

Last month was Mumbai flooding, and now its New Orleans reeling under the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. Similarities can be drawn of course between the two situations - the main one being those of big coastal cities hit hard by heavy rain.

The big difference though is that in Mumbai, the water will recede once the rain stops. In New Orleans, its the opposite. The natural tendency is to flood the city since its below sea level, and once the levees breached and the water started to unload into the city, the crisis seems to be spiralling out of control. Governor Kathleen Blanco has officially ordered the city to be completely emptied out. It seems like the only way out of this (I am using my own logic here, may be completely off) seems to be to completely pump out the water from the city OR reclaim all the land flooded by the city. The other alternative (I'm getting big time into doomsday theories) might be to just lose the city. I'm sure that alternative is not an alternative, no one believes it will come to that. But here is certainly one case where even after the storm has passed, the nightmare has only begun.

Image taken from Yahoo News

But things are looking pretty bad from what media reports are saying. The problems associated with disease due to contaminated drinking water, debris, and other hazards are starting to become really grave. For those left behind in the SuperDome, life is getting really miserable. And it maybe a while before things return to normal ... same goes for places like Gulfport and Biloxi in Mississippi. There are several ways to help out - your local TV and radio stations must be broadcasting places to give contributions - monetary or in the form of food, blankets, clothes etc. If not, there is always the American Red Cross - every little bit helps. Hopefully, things will get better really soon ...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Operation Red Flag

Watched the Imax movie 'Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag' today - its about a massive air warfare training exercise - the final tune-up training for pilots and their crews before being sent into actual combat. Presented by Boeing (one of the main sponsors of the movie), Fighter Pilot showcases all aspects of modern air warfare - including fighter aircraft, ammunition, airborne command and control (AWACS), dog fighting, search and rescue, as well as aircraft maintenance - giving a thorough overview of the people behind the scenes who allow the pilot to do his job well.

Like all Imax movies, this one comes loaded with some specatcular imagery (check out the 'making of' video clip on the movie website) and makes Top Gun look rather ordinary. In fact, the air sequences were shot by the same guy who worked on Top Gun. Unbelievable shots, and seeing it on an imax dome makes you feel as if you are in the air with the pilot. i wish the indian air force would come up with something like this - doesn't have to be in imax, just a small regular documentary ... to let the people know 'they are in good hands'. Fighter Pilot - Operation Red Flag certainly manages that. Definitely worth a watch ....

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hell has its standards

Hell has its standards

Billboard in downtown Auckland (courtesy Atanu).

Anecdote of the day:
Just this past weekend, David Lange, the former prime minister of NZ, passed away at the age of 63. His wit was legendary. He is supposed to have told the US Ambassador H. Monroe Browne, who owned a racehorse called Lacka Reason: “You are the only ambassador in the world to race a horse named after your country’s foreign policy.”
(Original post: Even Hell has its Standards)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Wide world of sports

Photo from Yahoo News

Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron of the NY Mets were involved in a horrific head to head collision in the outfield against the San Diego Padres. Both of them, running in at full speed to catch a fly ball off David Ross of the Padres were completely oblivious to the other's presence and dived full length for the ball. The resulting head-on collision stunned the crowd, and considering the impact, both players were lucky to get off lightly. Cameron had to be taken off the field on a stretcher with a broken nose, multiple fractures of both cheekbones and a slight concussion while Beltran suffered a sore left shoulder and a cut near his left temple.

Helmet to helmet hits in football are illegal for a reason, and Cameron and Beltran's head to head (without a helmet) impact certainly showed why!

Image from the BBC

Shane Warne in the meantime has crossed 600 test wickets - an unbelievable feat. Call him what you like, he can lay claim to be the greatest test bowler of our times. From an eminently forgettable debut (1/150) against India in the 1991-92 series at Sydney, Shane Warne has come a long way through suspensions, drug bans, phone sex scandals and more to keep coming back. Unlike some other premier wicket takers today, he has a clean action, and a great cricketing brain. Not to mention some stellar captains to lead the teams he has played on. Indians will always be quick to point out that his record against India, particularly in India (on spinning wickets) has been mediocre. But that cannot in any way undermine his achievement. There was a time when Kapil Dev's 432 really seemed incredible, but 600 is flat out awesome!! In just 14 years (one year of which was a 1 year ban!) !! And it was awesome enough that Sportscenter actually included his 600th wicket among top 10 plays of the day (at #8)!! In a country where a majority of viewers have no clue about the sport, making it to the top 10 plays certainly was an achievement .... !!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Mumbai's plight

It seems this SMS is doing the rounds currently in Mumbai:

"Thank you BMC, Thank U CM,
So what if you did not convert Mumbai into Shanghai.
U did one step better by converting Mumbai into Venice"

Image from Mid-Day (thanks to SBR for the info)

Monday, August 01, 2005

One for the anti-microsoft lobby

Microsoft Corporation's new product verification system, lauched last week, guess not everyone bought into it ....
(via Kabira speaking)

And as for Vista, Microsoft's newest OS on the block, the joke floating around the internet is that Vista stands for Viruses, Infections, Spyware, Trojans, and Adware (via Computer Knowledge). Other options are:
Alternatives include:
* Viruses, Insecurity, Spyware, Trojans and Adware
* Viruses Installed Spyware Trusted Again
* Virtually Inscrutable System To Administrate
* Virtually Impossible System To Administrate
* Very Insecure Systems To Access
* Various Insiders Say: Throw Away