Monday, October 18, 2004

Why we dont see invisible things...

Today while I was in one of the two enlightening places I've mentioned in my blog, it dawned on me that human eye can focus only on a real object. To understand what I mean, please do the following experiment. Stare at the ceiling of your room - so that there is no object that hinders your view of the ceiling. Now try to adjust your eyes so that the ceiling blurs away, i.e. try to focus at some point between the ceiling and your eyes. I was able to do this successfully only in two conditions - either while I focused on my nose(!!), or when I subconsciously closed my eyes partially. Thus was born my theory that humans cannot focus their eyes on a point in free space unless there is a visible object at that point. So if Hitler's ghost was standing right in front of me, I wouldnt be able to see it unless it is real. Well, well.. I'm beginning to understand that all I've proved is that invisible things, if any, exist in a virtual world - but one that occupies the same physical space as our real world. In fact, we might have finitely many (if not infinite) different worlds in the same space. So travelling to a different world might not be all that difficult or time-consuming once we figure out a way to upgrade our eyes!!

The most amazing aspect of life...

Well, this has been fascinating me for many years now.. but I'm amazed by the whole concept of sleep and of course, a dream adds a whole new dimension to it.

The very funda that God, if any, would have created such a simple and elegant solution to the problem of recharging human bodies on a regular basis baffles me. It just struck me that while humans rest to recharge (i.e they spend little energy recharging), we require batteries to suck up a whole lot of energy to be recharged!! If only we humans could think of some way to achieve the same, we'll do wonders to the world around us - talk about energy conservation et al. Of course, then there wouldnt be too much pressure on USA to retain control on oil-producing nations - and we wouldnt have any more fiascos like Iraq (Sorry, but Bush-bashing comes very naturally to me :) ).

Incidentally, did you know why Bush didnt name the Iraqi invasion Operation Iragi Liberation, though at one time it was called Operation Iraqi Freedom? Well, according to a rumour (which I think I read in Outlook), the former was considered but rejected because its acronym would've been OIL (and Bush wouldnt want to get that obvious, would he?) :))

I see I've digressed quite a lot from the topic I had intended to write on. Anyways, I'd like to think that dream is a peek into one of the infinitely many worlds around us. Strangely, most of my dreams have been rather illogical - maybe, its because there are different systems of logic for different worlds! In any case, I do remember a couple of deja vus I've had - nothing dramatic, just a couple of ordinary events when I could predict with certainty what was to happen next, and I had a vague feeling of having lived through those moments beforehand. Makes me wonder if deja vu has to be vague, by defintion - it has been so thus far in my life. Or might there be an interesting explanation to that - like a glitch in our matrix! Okok, I just couldnt resist that.

Thats about it for now.. lemme finish with a totally unrelated comment - have been doing some research on the effect of Internet on democracies. Some people actually suggest that governments, as we know them, will become redundant. The purpose of installing a government was because it was infeasible to get the opinion of the electorate on each and every issue confronting us. The Internet might reduce this cost to a negiligible amount. So sometime in the future when Internet penetration is high, and digital divide has been reasonably bridged, we might have the most direct democracy till date!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

nice one

Nice one.. more available on

Bush cheated on the debate?!

Well, had discounted this as a rumour when I read about it in leftist blogs.. but Guardian, BBC etc have also picked up the story.. makes me wonder if it is true..

Here's a TV grab from the first presidential debate.

It is being claimed that the bulge in Bush's back indicates a communication device that he used to cheat during the first prez debate! The Guardian further reports that during the debate, Bush mentioned "Let me finish" when no one on-stage interrupted him. Of course, all this is rubbished by the Bush campaign - they claim its some sort of a wardrobe malfunction ( remember that term?! - if not, think Janet Jackson).
Click here for the Guardian article that was reproduced by the Hindu.

Interestingly, at the beginning of the second debate when Kerry n Bush shook hands, Kerry patted Bush's back. Was he making sure that Bush wasnt wired?! :)

must-see movies

well.. I'll try n compile a list of movies tat one ought to see...

English: Life is beautiful, Shawshank Redemption, Schindler's List, Sixth Sense, Bowling for Columbine, Jerry Maguire
Tamil: Anbe Sivam, Nayagan, Kannathil Muthamittal, Sindhu Bairavi, Iru Kodugal, Ethirneechal, Vaaname Ellai, Sethu, Veedu
Hindi: Dil Chahta Hai

Am pretty sure there are more.. will add to the list as I remember 'em...


Well, you must be knowing by now that Christopher Reeve passed away this weekend. I'm hardly a superman fan - but knew about his case mainly due to his campaign for stem cell research. In fact, John Kerry had mentioned his example while detailing his support for embryonic stem cell research in the second prez debate.

Well, coming to the spooky part... Before his accident, Reeve acted as a paralyzed person in Above Suspicion aka Rhinehart Theory(1995). BBC yest showed an interview he gave soon after the movie, in which he talks about the psychological impact a person would undergo when he suddenly becomes paralyzed for life.. little did he kno tat the same was to happen to him tat year..

He ended up being a symbol for those who wanted more of stem cell research to be permitted.. he lived for abt 9 years after being paralyzed!.. fighter!!

Of bathrooms and temples...

hmm.. as intriguing as the title of this post may seem, I realized there's an amazing similarity between the two - they r the 2 places whr a whole lot of ideas strike me . and by ideas, I dont mean proofs to crack Fermat's last theorem etc.. I mean phil stuff.. incidentally, tis thought occured to me on a visit to a temple! :)

other thoughts that came to mind during this trip: If there was alien life smwhere in our universe, would they also have created the concept of a God? From what I understand , God is the personification of mankind's insecurity .. and I guess an alien who is either more evolved or less evolved than us might not need one at all!

newayz, more learnings as they happen...

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Second debate

Lemme begin by pronouncing my conclusion: Bush won the second round, albeit marginally. Kerry didnt help himself with his answer to a question on abortion. In fact, Kerry has always refused to speak frankly about his faith - something Bush is very comfortable with. I'd say that abortion question could hurt - the extent would actually depend on if, and to what extent, the media picks up that comment and also if Bush campaign uses that answer in their ads etc. Besides that fumble by Kerry, the two candidates restricted themselves to their usual positions & in fact repeating their utterances in the first debate.

One interesting feature of this debate was the manner in which Bush mowed down the moderator. The moderator had the prerogative to extend the discussion on any question by a minute. If Bush wanted it to be extended and it was his turn to speak, he would just start talking without waiting for the moderator. Wonder wot the moderator could've done!?.. To be fair to him, he did try to tell Bush once , but Bush-the-cowboy just went on with his speech!

Also apparently, during the debate Bush once adressed Kerry as Kennedy! Other funny aspects of the debate was how the 2 candidates took care to mention the questioner's first name when replying - for tat personal touch :P In fact while beginning to answer a question, Kerry paused and checked his notes to remember the questioner's name!

As was expeted, Bush did a great job of connecting with the people. I spotted him winking at the audience a couple of times. Well, I did get irritated with that - but again, that might be my anti-Bush bias at work :)).

I'm guessing the enthu among the voters for the third debate will be at the min level. These guyz are just goin to rehash their arguments. Well, a lot could happen before that - the polls after this debate might throw a surprise, Bush might announce that Osama has been captured/killed.. well, well.. nething can happen!!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Democracy inAction?

Anyone who has been to my college would know how pathetic the road leading to it is. Well, we share the road along with a few MNCs, residential areas and a couple of schools. Today morning, we were all supposed to have a joint protest march from 9am till noon. We students put a reasonable level of enthu - arnd 35 students participated (out of 130 who were on campus) - I hadnt expected too many more newayz. But the way the march turned out was a huge disappointment.

It effectively became a road roko. We just didnt march!! Of course, traffic was blocked, and a whole lot of people were inconvenienced. We were told that the plan was to stay put till an MLA or any other person of authority came and promised action. After a couple of hours, the local MLA did arrive. He took the mike and spoke for a few minutes in Kannada - which none of the students understood. We learnt from a residential group participating in the protest that all the MLA did was blame everyone else for the delay in repairing the road. So promptly junta started shouting "Bhaashan bela, raasta beku" - meaning "down with the speeches, we need roads". We of course did join in the shouting. Anyways the MLA responded to all this by saying that he would also join our protest and wait till the authorities from various departments came and promised action. To make it worse, someone - presumably a political worker- took the mike and started talking about how the NDA govt was willing to make roads between India and Pakistan, while our own road was a mess!. This was when most of us students gave up, and beat a hasty retreat.

Effectively, we got some practice in slogan-shouting and had some fun at the cost of a huge amount of inconvenience to those who were stuck on the road !! some of our better slogans were "Hamara road kaisa ho, MG ROad jaisa ho!" - well, actually that was our only slogan! :((

Makes me wonder if all this is going to make any difference at all. Hence the tille of this post(note that I deliberately missed the space between 'in' and 'action'). Maybe the best option is to invite the PM or the President to our college - for the convocation, or on any other occasion. That should get the concerned departments working - or so one hopes! Aahh, that reminds me of "Hope is a good thing" from Shawshank Redemption - anyways, I gez I'd write a separate post on that movie some other day. Hope rox!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The American Myth

Given below are a few excerpts of an article written by Ira Chernus, a prof at Colorado, Boulder... I read it in outlook, tho it initially appeared in

A rather interesting perspective on the Bush-Kerry debate, the complete article can be accessed by clicking here .

"The frontier myth is all about saving the innocent. Bush is most adept at playing both the innocent one and the savior of the innocent, tapping into that ancient image of America as a place of pure innocence, a Garden of Eden, where everyone is Adam or Eve.

Any hint that we may have done anything to provoke anyone's hatred is met with howls of outrage. They hate us because they are so wholly evil and we are so wholly good. We must eradicate them because we have a God-given duty to save the innocent from the ravages of evil. End of story. "

"The two dreams -- comfort for each and liberty for all -- grew up together in this nation, intertwined. The link between them was free enterprise or, put another way, the liberty not only to vote but to make as much money as your talents and energies would allow. And that liberty, so the story says, is given to each of us by God. In return for that gift, we need only accept God's inscrutable charge to us, as Americans, to bring his liberty to every corner of the globe. John Kerry is offering only one slice of that story. George W. Bush is serving up the whole pie, uncut.

Bush is merely the latest in a long line of U.S. leaders who have told this story, but he may be the first who has turned it into official public policy."

"In the American story, the essence of civilization is individual freedom. The hero kills the bad guys, not merely to preserve the freedom the innocent already have, but to push back the frontier -- to bring liberty to people who have never tasted its delicious fruits.

This is the story that Bush tells so successfully. Like all great stories, it is built on an utterly simple plot: Americans, propelled by fate into mortal conflict, are willing to endure every hardship to secure the inevitable triumph of the highest ideals. Innocent Americans, through no choice of their own, are regularly forced to go to war against savage enemies who would take away human liberty. "

A reason to smile

"Smile... Tomorrow will be worse!"

Sudheer's funda... if tat name doesnt ring a bell, Fart mite! :)

Friday, October 01, 2004

Anbe Sivam

One of the most amazing movies I've ever seen!.. heck, this must be THE BEST I've seen.
If you know tam and you havent seen the movie yet.. this is one movie you shouldnt miss. Well.. even if you dont know tam, get some tam bugger to put fundaes as u watch it.. it prob wont have the same effect.. but its worth it!

It has the right mix of philosophy, comedy, tragedy , love and some amaaaaazing performances by the actors along with superb screenplay, dialogues, music (incl the background music) and ultimate cross-linkages (that is to say there are no loose ends in the screenplay at all!!). Kamal Haasan was always a god.. but performances by Maddy, Naaser are jus 2 gud. Not to mention the cameo by Yuhi Sethu. You'd have probably heard of / seen the two accident scenes in the movie.. one where a bus crashes down a hill, and the aftermath ofa train accident is depicted.. both of them are as realistic as they get..

There are three scenes in particular that I luv... the first when the song 'Anbe Sivam' starts soon after Nasser confronts Kamal in the hospi. In fact, amazing set of ironies built into the song. Nasser plays a role of a devout Hindu, and invokes the name of God for all his sins.. Kamal is an atheist, and he is taken care of by a set of nuns.
The other two scenes I luv are the main ones that bring about the transformation in Maddy.. the first when the parents of a child thank Maddy for having donated blood, though the kid dies in spite of the blood transfusion ( the 'Pounu' connection at this point is the limit) .. the next one being when Maddy takes the cheque to Kamal's office, and is thanked by one and all. Oh, I jus realised therz one more scene thatz too gud.. the Maddy-Kamal dialogue soon after the kid dies. jus amazing!! Oh.. how cud i forget the 'Sangu' touch!!

A superb movie to hammer in the positives of communism in the current scenario - esp the educated youth who seem to be strongly influenced by the free market theory, the movie is a slap in the face of modern youth, in a sense. Probably the most astounding aspect of the movie - in my opinion - is the painting Kamal draws on the wall.. hv no clue as to how any brain could have come up with such a stroke of genius... To sum it all up, a genuinely complete movie with a message that touches your heart - at least it touched mine :)

Here are a few dialogues that are the best in the movie (not exhaustive, of course)

1. As mentioned above, the Kamal-Maddy dialogue soon after the kid dies - this in itself contains a whole lot of one-liners "puriyakoodathathu thaan kadavul", "u r a last word freak"
2. "Jaundice, Tetanus, Nervous" nun to maddy
3. "yaya" in the hotel
4. "nanri hai" to the lady who pumps water
5. "ithenna kathala, asingama sollite irukrathukku?" maddy to kamal towards the end
6. "wife walking stick, manasu nondama irukkanum ille?" kamal to maddy
7. "sethu po" nasser to kamal
8. "apdi kapathra kadavul kadavule illai, coolie - yenna kaasu vangittu thane panraru"
9. "totototototo"
10. "communism is a feeling"
11. the tajmahal linkage
12. "pusthakathaiyum pennaiyum aduthavankitte thanthinganna, covera pirichu kanthal aakiduvanga"
13. "coat suit pottavanellam yogyana? khadar sattai pottavenellam tyagiya?"
14. "take me to the police station" yuhi sethu to junta
15. "enakkellam theriyumnu nenachen, onnume therile" maddy to kamal
16. "AB-" kamal whispering to Sister Vanessa
17. "take my blood" maddy in crucified pose
18. "dont worrry, u will function very well" sister to maddy
19. "nambikkai illama nathikam pesathinga, oorellam nariya saami irukku.. namakku thaan theriyalai"
20. "pozhachu ponga"

US Prez debate

Well, I actually woke up at 5.45am today to watch the presi debate - incl half-an-hr of cnn's pre-debate coverage.. kinda like raceday of f1 :P

Newayz, the debate went on pretty much on expected lines... Bush bashing Kerry on his flip-flops, without actually using that term... and Kerry claiming Bush made an error of judgement, and hence unfit for reelection. The moderator handled the job pretty well.. asking quite a few pointed questions to both of 'em - CNN did mention that tis guy had been moderating presi debates for a few elections now...

Overall, my impression was that Bush more often than not chose not to answer the question posed.. he chose to go tangentially away from the topic in an attempt to highlight Kerry's flipflops... Kerry of course tried to project Bush as a colossal failure in foreign affairs.. in a sense, both of them were pretty much rehashing arguments made throughout the campaign - with the obvious exclusion of finding fault with each other's military records..

As any political pundit worth his salt would say, we'll hafta wait for the polls to decide who won the debate.. in fact, cnn did mention that quite a few pundits had claimed Gore won teh first debate of 2000, though the polls contradicted them... the polls shd be out in a couple of days.. most prob on sunday.. i think the september's labor figures will also hv been released by then.. so tat mite also swing the vote..

newayz I suppose the veep debate will be a lot more venomous - after all, we do hv dick cheney on one side...

Throughout the debate, I kept wondering how nice it would be if either of the two candidates got pissed off and walked across the stage and punched the other guy.. but alas, such things dint happen.. well, there are 2 more debates to go.. and there is some hope... :)