Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beefing up one's obituary

Ignore the fact that he is selling some random brand of beer.  You will become a little more intelligent simply by listening to the Most Interesting Man in the World.

The Prestige

This video is just 13 seconds long, but you MUST look at it. Two kids attempt to pull of an amazing magic trick and succeed beyond their wildest imagination.

Don't try this at home.

On second thoughts, DO try this at home.  Just be sure to record it while it happens.

Almost heaven

I spent almost a quarter of my life in a beautiful city nestled among the Appalachian Mountains. The Monongahela River languorously winds its way by the city, providing ample opportunities for residents and visitors to marvel at the pictures it leaves behind. Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer - it does not really matter which time of the year it is. Morgantown, West Virginia, home of the Mountaineers.

I recently came across a time lapse video of the city. I know every location that is shown in this video. I have driven on it, walked past it, or simply stopped right there and admired the view.  If you like Morgantown, you will love this video.

(Credit: Chad Griffith, Chad Griffith Photography;, 
 (I am a sucker for time lapse videos. Click here for previous posts on time-lapse videos, including the most beautiful video I have ever seen.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nor any drop to drink

(Quoting verbatim from the Youtube spot.  For more, click here)

To mark World Water Day, on March 22nd Solidarités International and its agency BDDP Unlimited rolled out a campaign to build awareness of the scourge of undrinkable water. 

The campaign called on journalists to spread awareness of this scourge and appeal to readers to sign a petition that was to be personally handed to the French president during the 6th World Water Forum in March 2012.

To evoke the silent and invisible threat of unhealthy water, BDDP Unlimited opted for a minimalist approach that is both visually appealing and surprising, using water and ink exclusively. The spot shows the power of ink to reveal the invisible.

The spot, created by BDDP Unlimited, was produced by Hush and directed by Clément Beauvais, a young director, illustrator, musician and photographer. His multiple talents and mastery of various techniques enabled him to both create the drawings and direct the spot.

Read, rinse, repeat

With all the ruckus over Anil Kumble's perceived (and real?) conflict of interest, it is interesting to note that this is not the first time the press has gone ga-ga over the issue and neither will it be the last time they do.

Earlier in the year, Prem Panicker gave a detailed explanation of all the activities of N. Srinivasan, the current President of the BCCI.
Back in the day, there was a big brouhaha about the corruption of the Jagmohan Dalmiya regime; hosannas were sung when Dalmiya was replaced by Team Sharad Pawar (what irony!), which sought an electoral victory on the plank of introducing transparency (more irony — Pawar and his hand-picked successors have if anything been more devious, their corruption more subterranean, than anything Dalmiya ever did). The Modi regime at the IPL was deemed corrupt; it has since been replaced by the N Srinivasan regime (Chirayu Amin is nominally in-charge of the IPL, but discount that — as must be painfully evident now, all decisions whether they relate to the BCCI or the IPL emanate from the office of India Cements the Board Secretary). Come to think of it, the shuffling of the board bears parallels to the various Cabinet reshuffle exercises at the center, no? Same problem — endemic corruption. Same solution — move the corrupt around the party table, Mad Hatter  style.
Nothing much came of it then, and nothing much will come of it now.  To paraphrase Lord Alfred Tennyson:
For men may come and men may go
But conflicts of interest will go on forever.

When the die was cast

Not many people can claim to have changed the world.

On 6th August, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee did just that when he posted a short summary of a project of his on a newsgroup, opening the box and making the World Wide Web publicly available.

The world, as we know it, has not looked back since then.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fly over

I want to get off this planet and travel among the galaxies.  I wish I could jaunte like Gully Foyle.  Oh, how I wish the space program would take off and I could read books while a spacecraft slowly took me to my destination, the stars beyond the stars.

Until then, I will have to vicariously live my dream through the eyes of the astronauts at the International Space Station.

A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bad to the bone

How dangerous/fabulous must a villain be if it takes so many super-heroes to fight him?  Get ready to root for the bad guy!

Don't people know?  Dream Teams rarely work out (just ask the Miami Heat, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Indian batting line-up, all of recent vintage).

Odds and ends

Recently, during a lull in the action while on a field trip, I asked a couple of students, RS and FO, to complete some sayings/statements I had written up.  The only condition being that they could not complete the sentence in the normally accepted manner.  Here's what they wrote:

1)  Where there's a will, there's a death.

2) If you run away from home, you also run away from your best friend.

3) What goes up, must not be dense.

4) Whatever else you do, don't ever repeat yourself.

5) The only thing I am certain of is that I am not certain.

6) When I meet St. Peter, the first thing I'll ask him is this good LSD?

7) If you climb every mountain you come across, you will have tired feet.

8) Never say no to a giant.

9) A thing of beauty is a dangerous thing.

10) The brain does what the heart cannot pump.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The eye of the beholder

The NASA website publishes one new photo everyday.  Most are usually spectacular.  Sometimes, they exceed even themselves.  Here's one such gem.  Click on the link to find out more.

Image credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA - September 2011
Look closely to the top left quadrant of the photo.  Inside one of the rings is a tiny blue dot - the Earth!

Standing on the toes of giants

In 2005, when the Sharad Pawar faction wrested control of the BCCI from Jagmohan Dalmiya, many followers thought that it was a new dawn for cricket in India.  Heck, even the new committee believed in it because they published a vision statement!  Today, reading it makes one wonder whether to laugh or cry.

(Click here for the entire vision statement)

Here are some snippets that should tell you how seriously (not!) they took their own vision.

To make domestic cricket attractive, at least 4 weeks in the month of October be kept free from international cricket.  While finalizing bilateral tours, this Edict is to be kept in mind.

Ahem! In 2011, from October 14-29, India is going to play an ODI series against England.  Clean bowled!

Hello, world.

In my review of Casino Royale, I had written:
In the third act the movie meanders a little bit as Bond recovers from the trauma of his last encounter with the bad guys. Then there is a twist, and from the wreckage emerges a more definitive Bond. At the very end he walks past a fallen bad guy, the iconic Bond music playing for the first time in the movie, and then he looks into the screen and identifies himself. I do not get goosebumps often enough in a movie theatre these days, but after this scene I was tingling.
James Bond is back, and how!

Trolling the web, I finally came across the scene I was talking about that day.  Yay for Youtube!

नदिया किनारे ...

A few weeks ago, while the Indian cricket team was getting shellacked in England, Hasha Bhogle and Sanjay Manjrekar took some time out to have some fun by the Trent River.  (Sanjay is quite a singer).

(Update:  It is mostly in Marathi, but if you listen carefully, you'll understand the gist of what they are saying.  Wait for him to sing, it is worth it.  Also interesting is the choice of songs.)

Travel by proxy

Have you ever visited London?  If so, you will like this.  The photograph claims to be the largest photo of its kind in the world as of November 2010. 

If you have never visited London, do you really need to any more?  What's left to "see"?

The photograph is a lot more than just a 360 degree view of London.  Right-click on the photo and explore even further.


Office space

I have been in a pretty bad funk for quite a few weeks.  I figured I would get my work done and only then blog.

Well, I haven't been able to get all my work completed (hence the absence from the blog) and at the same time I am missing out on blogging.

That ends now.

This is what my desk used to look like in the good old days:

(C.S. Manish 2010)
This is what my desk looks like today:

(C.S. Manish 2011)
Hah!  Wouldn't you know it?!  SC, a fellow blogger, captured my feelings perfectly on his blog.  Maybe the same muse visits both of us and it took a little while for it to travel from the East coast to the heartland.