Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My first 55 word story

As our lives become faster, our entertainment has to keep up. Flash-fiction is the answer. Write a story. A short one. 55 words to be precise. Bingo. Here's my first piece of FF.

Cramped office. Stale air. Blurry monitor. Impending deadlines. Need to get out. Run around the block. Once more. Crisp air. Soft pavement. Pitter Patter. Laces tight. Can't bend. Pick up the pace. Thumping heart. Pitter Patter. Trickling sweat. Too fast. Slow down. Whatz the time ? Oh Shit. Gotta get back. Cross the street. Screeeeeech!!!!.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Eat a Burrito to fight cancer

If you are a resident of the Washington DC metro area, please continue reading. Baja Fresh has decided to donate 15% of its December 15th sales to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society (LLS). LLS is a non-profit organization dedicated to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and Hodgkin's disease. So, whether you are visiting DC or it is home for you, please take some time off your busy schedules and enjoy a wonderful lunch/dinner at Baja Fresh.

I know I am going to have a bare burrito for lunch. How about you ?

Here is a list of partcipating locations:

WASHINGTON DC

Dupont Circle
1333 New Hampshire Avenue NW
202-835-0570

"Eye" Street
1990 K Street NW
202-293-0110

VIRGINIA

Fairfax
12150 Fairfax Towne Center
703-352-1792

Herndon
2405 Centreville Road
703-793-0878

Cascades
20968 Southbank Street
571-434-7230

Reston
11690 Plaza America Drive
703-689-0993

Pan Am Center
3011 A Nutley Street
703-280-5400

Chantilly
13940 Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway
703-378-3804

Springfield
7003 A Manchester Boulevard
703-924-1313

Alexandria
3231 Duke Street
703-823-2888

Pentagon Row
1101 Joyce Street B-5
703-414-8211

Clarendon
2815 Clarendon Boulevard
703-528-7010

Manassas
8099 Sudley Road
703-365-2077

Rosslyn
1100 Wilson Boulevard
703-516-2101

Falls Church
1116 West Broad Street
703-237-0020

MARYLAND

Rockville
1607 Rockville Pike
301-770-4339

Kentlands
622 Center Point Way
301-330-0889

King Farm
302 King Farm Boulevard
240-683-3907

Westlake
10321 Westlake Drive
301-469-9773

Bethesda Row
4930 Elm Street
240-497-0660

Germantown
19810 Century Boulevard
301-528-1630

Silver Spring
8515 Fenton Street
301-587-6542

Wheaton
2800 West University Boulevard S-116
301-962-6002

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Yet another hike in Interest Rates ?

The Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest rates another quarter point today. But after 18 months in which the Fed has been pushing rates higher to keep inflation under control, the central bank appears to be getting close to the end of its rate increase campaign.
Continue reading

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monday, November 21, 2005

The new brain drain

CNN reports...
Two government biologists heavily recruited by Stanford University have decided to work in Singapore instead, saying they will face fewer restrictions on stem cell research overseas.
Read on more here

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wise monk says


Wise monk says : "Be stingy. Save money. You don't know when your car will break down"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Venus, Meet Probe. Probe, Meet Venus

New Scientist has a report on the Venus Express spacecraft that is set to blast off on 9th November. Amongst other things, scientists hope to find out why a planet that has so much in common with earth in terms of physical dimensions and orbiting distance from the sun is devoid of life. Read more here

Monday, November 07, 2005

Joke of the day

A suspect sample of the avian flu virus from dead Romanian birds went missing for at least 24 hours and possibly two days at Heathrow. It was flown in by British Airways but when security couriers arrived to collect the package, it could not be found. BA began an investigation and said there was no health risk.
(Source)

Now, if only, I can do this at work.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Jim Jubak takes on the Fed

Jim Jubak, a columnist for MSN Money , has a very interesting take on the Fed's policy of increasing interest rates to combat inflation. According to him, the Fed has gotten it all wrong this time around. Here's my favorite passage from his article.

"The Federal Reserve is fighting the wrong kind of inflation. The classic monetary remedy for inflation is higher interest rates -- that slows the economy, reducing demand. That, in turn, breaks the spiral of higher wages leading to higher prices leading to higher wages, etc. But the current problem isn't classic wage-price inflation. Wages are going nowhere fast; something else is driving inflation. Take a look at the numbers for the quarter completed in September. The economy, as measured by gross domestic product, grew at a 3.8% rate in the quarter. Consumer prices, measured by the Consumer Price Index, climbed at an annual rate of 4.7%, the highest rate of increase since June 1991.Where did that inflation come from? Certainly not from wage increases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers' wage costs grew just 2.3% in the last 12 months. That's the slowest growth rate on record, beating out the 2.4% annualized growth rate in wages reported in August. Instead, current inflation is almost all a result of higher energy prices. ".

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Black Hole

According to the New Scientist, astronomers are zeroing in on the location of the black hole that is believed to be at the center of our galaxy, the Milky way

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Run Raju Run

Hey Raju!!!
Let me be the first to Blogratulate you on your successful completion of the Marine Corps marathon today. Keep up the great work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I can't remember the last time I ran 10 miles. Do you ? To be honest, I never ran 10 miles. But, I have a friend, Raju, who can run 10 miles. In fact, he is going to attempt 26.2 miles this weekend to raise funds for the victims of the Kashmir earthquake. In his own words :

Hi people,

It has been raining all day and night here in Washington DC. The weather channel throws up this picture of a perfect storm on the screen and I am reminded of the movie. I love rain, so I took a walk in the rain....the temperature - a chilly 45 F. That is chilly. My mind instantly shifted gears and thoughts of the thousands of people left homeless in Jammu and Kashmir sprung up. As I rushed back to my heated apartment, my realization was complete - they dont even have a place to stay forget the heated part. In AID we have been collecting funds and sending it to our partners in India. And what we have been sending has been really insufficient. Yes, we are a small organization - but that doesnt take anything away from the fact that there are thousands in distress, whom we can help. Without a roof on their heads and not much to eat, surviving rain in DC itself is tough - forget the cold and harsh climes of Jammu and Kashmir winters.

I, a grad student in Univ of Maryland, as you know - a couple of months back could never even imagine that I could run a mile non-stop. I ran for fun with a bunch of AID, ASHA and AIMS volunteers as they prepared for the marathon. Simultaneously I did volunteer working on the earthquake. But today, the thoughts are different. I need to get out there and highlight the plight of these people. I dont want these survivors to be left out! Not in this kind of weather!

I got a chance to run the marathon - this sunday, a full 26.2 miles and I will run to highlight the plight of these survivors in Jammu and Kashmir. In less than two weeks, winter will set in. Mountains in J&K will start getting their snow showers. The race is on to provide some comfortable accomodation and food and warm clothing.

The race is on, the clock is ticking. The hope that one more family can get sheltered from the fast approaching frigid winters with another stride I take will be enough to energize me (more than a few bottles of Powerade/Gatorade) on Sunday. But I need your support to make that hope a reality - every bit of your support will provide warmth to a shivering family.

In American Poet Robert Frost's words...
"The wood was lovely, dark and deep,
but I had promises to keep
miles to go before I sleep,
miles to go before I sleep."

Please pass this along - we need more than moral support. We need to help our brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir rebuild their lives!

Thanks,
Raju
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Reach out to our brothers and sisters in J&K
https://www.aidindia.org/aidadmin/aux/RandRinKashmir2005Donate.jsp

- Hide quoted text -
Updates from J&K: http://aidindia.org/new/content/blogsection/24/140/


Now, do you know India?
Donate Generously @ http://aidindia.org/donate
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, October 24, 2005

Meet the new Fed Chief

Ben Bernanke has been named as Alan Greenspan's successor today. Among other things, he has a Ph. D in Economics from MIT and is a professor at Princeton. Here are more details :

BEN S. BERNANKE
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544
Phone: (609) 258-5635, (609) 258-4000
Fax: (609) 258-2809
e-mail: BERNANKE@WWS.PRINCETON.EDU


Personal
:

Born Augusta, Georgia - December 13, 1953
Married (Anna) with two children
U.S. citizen

Education:

Harvard University, B.A., Economics, 1975, summa cum laude. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D., Economics, 1979.

Employment:

Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University, 1996-present. Class of 1926 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University, 1994-1996. Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University, 1985-1994. Associate Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 1983-1985. Assistant Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 1979-1983. Morgenstern Visiting Professor, Department of Economics, New York University, Fall 1993. Visiting Professor, Department of Economics, M.I.T., Fall 1983; academic year, 1989-90.
Honors and Fellowships: Fellow, Econometric Society. Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Fellow (eligible) Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 1983-84. Hoover Institution National Fellow, 1982-83. National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, 1975. Allyn Young Prize (for best Harvard undergraduate economics thesis), 1975. John H. Williams Prize (for outstanding senior in the Harvard Economics Department), 1975. Phi Beta Kappa, 1975. Special lectures:
Money, Credit, and Banking Lecture, Ohio State University, March 1994.
David H. Steine Lecture, Vanderbilt University, October 1996.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

HOCKEY!!!


I watched my first hockey game last sunday (the version played on ice) and I have to say that I am 'hook'ed. I got more bang for my b(p)uck as the game went into overtime and a penalty shoutout. The Washington Capitals beat the Tamp Bay lightning in a well contested match. Go Caps!!!. Twenty year old rookie Alex Ovechkin was spectacular. I knew little about Hockey but even my feeble hockey mind could sense his speed and control on the ice. Check this article out. Suddenly, winter doesn't seem boring any more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Support AID in their relief efforts for the Kashmir Earthquake

Click me to donate
"Thousands of lives have been lost in Kashmir following the collapse of buildings due to an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 on the Richter scale. Tens of thousands of familis are faced with the prospect of spending the harsh Himalayan winter without the warmth of their homes.

Help SUPPORT Association for India's Development's relief and reconstruction efforts in the communities affected by the earthquake. AID is works closely with partners and volunteers to constantly reassess the situation and disburse the funds accordingly. Please DONATE generously.

All donations to AID are 100% tax-deductible, under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code in USA. "

iPOD VIDEO is out


Price :399$
Display: 2.5 inches
Playing Time : 150 hours of Video, music and photos

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

IPOD Video on Oct 12 ?

According to the AppleInsider, Steve Jobs and co. are hosting an invitation only event on Oct 12 a t the california theater in San Jos
" The invitations simply read: "One more thing..."

In recent years, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has used the phrase "One more thing..." to indicate a surprise product announcement towards the end of his keynote presentations.

In the invitations themselves, Apple provided no hints as to what announcements it plans to make. However, recent information suggests that Apple may be preparing to introduce a version of its iPod with video capabilities."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Google Office

Google and Sun might be collaborating together make Sun's Star Office suite accessible through a web browser. Check this link out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Dear Friends (few) and Enemies (numerous),
I have re-discovered religion again. I have started calling myself a born-again pastafarian. According to our mythology, this universe was created by his holiness, 'The Flying Spaghetti Monster'. He preached the true nature of his noodly appendage to the true prophet, Bobby Henderson. If you would like to save yourself and learn more about this wonderful religion, please visit our official website here.

Ramen


PS : If I have offended your religion in any way, please note that it was not unintentional. Also note that this post is intended to offend people who follow all kinds of religions except pastafarianism. This is because we believe that our religion is the one true religion.

Thanks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The real reason behind flooding in New Orleans ?

I just read this interesting article in the New Scientist where a group of scientists question the levee overtopping failure theory in New Orleans. According to this group, preliminary measurements show that the water was not high enough at certain points to cause overtopping. They reason that these levees were actually breached and they blame the cuts in federal spending and QC mechanisms within the Army Corps of Engineers. Apparently, the failure investigation report is due out in 2006. Sure. Ample time for another Cat 4 storm.

A small detour here. A levee is typically an earthern wall designed to confine water in a specific region. Typical levee failures are of two kinds : Overtopping failure or Breach failure. In the former case, the water level behind the levee rises to the top of the levee and then then overtops / flows over the levee. As the water flows over the outer surface, it starts eroding material at the foundation ultimately leading to the failure of the levee. Such failures are usually characterized by the levee wall falling backwards. In the latter case (breach), water flowing through and below the dam creates a 'pipe' which gets enlarged over time. Ultimately, the water punches a hole through the dam. Lo and Presto, failure. See pictures here and here

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

My buddy Raju had a post on the controversial river interlinking project in India. As a water resources engineer, I find the prospect of engineering a solution to solve flooding and drought problems very exciting. However, there are a lot of pros and cons to the issue. The knee-jerk environmental activist response is to criticize the government, question the science and conclude that the public is in for yet another ride. However, this post is not about the socio-economic impacts of this project. I would limit myself to the engineering aspects of this project.

Firstly, does anyone have access to a hydrologic study presenting more details on this project ? I am interested in the following issues :

1. Where are the major links / Storage basins/Reservoirs to be constructed ?
2. What kind of hydraulic / hydrologic modeling has been done to analyze the impact of river diversion ?
3. What about sediment transport / silt buildup analysis ?
4. How about impacts to the ecosystem ?

If anyone can provide me with some documentation / details, that would be just great.

Google WiFi /Secure Access

Google will soon roll out its Google WiFi service. From the FAQ, Google WiFi provides its users a secure Wireless internet experience by encrypting information. There is a small catch though. All traffic would be routed through Google's servers. As of now, the service is still in a Beta Stage (Translation : Google hasn't figured out how to make money from this service yet) and available in only certain parts of SFO. Google is well on its way to upstage Microsoft and become the new EVIL corporation. More info on CNN.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Unleashed - Google Blog Search

Google has launched yet another service (ho hum). It is called Google blog search. According to the FAQ, the backend index consists of blogs not only from the Blogger archives (owned by google) but also a variety of other sources.

Legalese

This afternoon, I tuned into NPR for over an hour to check on Senator John Roberts' 'interview' with the senate judicial committee. It was an interesting experience. Having never written a legal brief myself, I could not comprehend most of the legal jargon. But I was really amazed by the fact that the senators who were quizzing the potential 'CJ' knew a lot about the issues at stake themselves. I began to wonder about the parallel in India.

From high school civics I remember that the president of India appoints the judges to the supreme court. I googled for a while to see if a debate actually takes place to question the president's choice. Apparently, not. Isn't that surprising !!!.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Nano


Apple launches IPod Nano


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Help Katrina Victims

NEW ORLEANS: Graves at Greenwood and Metairie cemetaries mark the waterlineof the sheet of water that covered the city from Lake Pontchartrain to nearly the French Quarter on Tuesday



It was a heart-rending sight to watch the victims of Katrina on TV last night. There was a woman who was responsible for her cancer struck mother and her sick brother on a dialysis machine. There was another who was waiting for aid on a highway with her husband's corpse. Time and time again we are being reminded of the fact that we do not have an answer to nature's fury. Elsewhere in Iraq, more than a thousand people have died in a stampede. Death, Mayhem, Destruction, Turmoil. The images and stories are everwhere. On the TV, Radio and the newspapers. As a water resources engineer, I was even disheartened to realize that most of New Orleans is under water because of a levee breach. It is bittersweet that times like these offer us a chance to rise above our humdrum daily existence. If you are one of those who feel compelled to help the hurricane relief efforts, here are some resources:

American Redcross
KatrinaHelp Wiki Portal
Network for Good

Monday, August 15, 2005

Happy Indepence Day!!!

Free India is 58 today!!!.
Jai Hind.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Swami Vivekananda's speech

A few minutes ago, I heard Swami Vivekananda's speeches in the World Parliament of Religions held 112 years ago in Chicago. Technology is great. There is some background noise but the recording is still in excellent shape. Just wanted to share this wonderful link with y'all

http://filebox.vt.edu/users/sjillell/songs/Swami%20Vivekananda%20-%200001.mp3

(Thanks to Jilli)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Stephen Robinson - The man of the moment






Tonight, Mr.Robinson would embark on an unprecedented spacewalk to remove an inch of gap filler material from the underbelly of the discovery space shuttle. He would be making use of the robotic space arm of the International Space Station. More about him from the NASA website

Stephen K. Robinson (Ph.D.)
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born October 26, 1955, in Sacramento, California. Unmarried. Enjoys flying, antique aircraft, swimming, canoeing, hiking, music, art, and stereo photography. Plays lead guitar in Max Q, a rock-n-roll band. His parents, William and Joyce Robinson, reside in Moraga, California. More



Discovery Astronauts to perform unprecdented repair

NASA will send an astronaut on an unprecedented in-flight shuttle repair mission to remove two protruding gap fillers that could cause uneven heating during re-entry, a NASA official said Monday evening.
More

Thursday, July 28, 2005

NASA grounds shuttle program again

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- NASA has grounded its space shuttles until engineers solve the recurring problem of falling debris, NASA's mission managers said Wednesday.

Pieces of debris tore away from the shuttle Discovery during liftoff Tuesday -- despite NASA spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to prevent a repeat of the problem that caused the 2003 Columbia disaster.

Read more

Monday, July 25, 2005

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Lance wins the time trial

A Beautiful Conclusion To A Dominant Career

There’s nothing left for Lance Armstrong to do at the Tour de France. He’s done it all but this year’s race would have seemed a little incomplete had he not won a stage on his own. Tomorrow will be the American’s last day as a professional cyclist and he’ll stand on the podium at the Champs Elysees as the only man to have won the race seven times. But today he had some business to attend to. In the race of truth he had to prove exactly why he’s The Boss of the Bunch. That’s exactly what he did.
I couldn't have put it better. Lance, thank you for everything.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Huricane Names


Atlantic Names

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Arlene
Bret
Cindy
Dennis
Emily
Franklin
Gert
Harvey
Irene
Jose
Katrina
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rita
Stan
Tammy
Vince
Wilma
Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sandy
Tony
Valerie
William
Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dean
Erin
Felix
Gabrielle
Humberto
Ingrid
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Noel
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastien
Tanya
Van
Wendy
Arthur
Bertha
Cristobal
Dolly
Edouard
Fay
Gustav
Hanna
Ike
Josephine
Kyle
Laura
Marco
Nana
Omar
Paloma
Rene
Sally
Teddy
Vicky
Wilfred
Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda
Alex
Bonnie
Colin
Danielle
Earl
Fiona
Gaston
Hermine
Igor
Julia
Karl
Lisa
Matthew
Nicole
Otto
Paula
Richard
Shary
Tomas
Virginie
Walter

Windows Longhorn is officially Windows Vista

The folks at Redmond have long pointed to the user interface of the next generation Windows release as one of its major selling points. Now, Microsoft has chosen an official name for Longhorn with just that in mind. Enter: Windows Vista.


More at http://www.betanews.com/article/Longhorn_Gets_a_Name_Windows_Vista/1122002477

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech to the US Congress

There is much we can accomplish together
Mr Speaker, Mr Vice President, distinguished members of the US Congress, ladies and gentlemen

I deem it a privilege to be invited to address this Joint Session of the US Congress. I thank you for the invitation. I bring you the greetings and good wishes of the people of India.India and the United States have much in common that is very important to both countries. You are the world's oldest democracy, we are its largest. Our shared commitment to democratic values and processes has been a bond that has helped us transcend differences.

Read the rest of the speech at http://us.rediff.com/news/2005/jul/19pmspeech.htm

A Brief History of Medicine

Source : Anon

2000 BC: Here, take this root.
1000 AD: That root is for a heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 AD: That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 AD: That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 AD: That pill is ineffective. Here take this antibiotic.
2000 AD: That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.
2005 AD: That root works! Read about it on my blog!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Obligatory 'Tour de France' Post

Lance is still in yellow (what's new, you ask)

What's new!!! Hmm.. For one, we are seeing a far more mature lance out there. He is still strong and extremely competitive but he is showing us again and again this year what a master tactician he is. 9 more days to go before we know who the winner is. Lance has a comfortable lead over all the other pre-race favorites. But, we still cannot write off basso, ullrich, kloden and vinokourov. Agreed that they haven't shown much for us to argue on their favor but I just have a gut feeling that they will not take this total domination lying down much longer. Now that the race is in the pyrenees we can definitely expect some resistance from basso and ullrich at least.

In my opinion though, LA is on his way to an unprecedented/unsurmountable(?) 7th victory barring any crashes/injuries.

Allez.. Lance.. Allez

I know the identity of the half blood prince

Dear Blog reader,
I just finished reading the Half blood Prince(HBP) . It was an interesting read from the beginning. After the first 3 chapters, I could easily see this book was definitely going to be a lot darker than any of its predecessors. And dark it was. I still cannot believe that I have been a HP fan for the last 6 years. And, so far, I have never been disappointed by JKR. After I finished reading the book, I went to mugglenet and a couple of other forums just to see what people made of 'HBP'. A lot of people were focussing on the 'death' and some were even taking it personally. However, I felt a lot like the way I felt after 'The matrix reloaded'. Too many unanswered questions. Can the next book do justice to all of them ? The Geek that I am, I enjoy this whole business of waiting for the next HP book. The countdown has already started in my mind. I hope that it is long (1000+ pgs).

Sincerely,
Your friendly neighborhood harry potter geek

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

10...9...8....7....6....

"Discovery sits at Launch Pad 39-B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, awaiting the final "go" that will send it rocketing into orbit on the first Shuttle mission in more than two years.

The seven crewmembers, led by veteran Eileen Collins, will travel to the International Space Station, testing new safety procedures and delivering supplies to the orbital outpost."

(From : http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/rtf_front/index.html)


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Stage 5

From the official website :

Robbie McEwen has beaten Tom Boonen to win the fifth stage by about 30cm. The radar clocked McEwen at 63km/h as he crossed the line. The top seven in the stage is:
1. Robbie McEwen (AUS - DVL)
2. Tom Boonen (BEL - QST)
3. Thor Hushovd (NOR - C.A)
4. Stuart O’Grady (AUS - COF)
5. Angelo Furlan (ITA - DOM)
6. Allan Davis (AUS - LWT)
7. Bernard Eisel (AUT - FDJ)

Earlier in the day, an interesting incident led to a small delay. LA felt that it was improper for him to be in yellow as he felt that the yellow jersey belonged to Dave Zabriskie from Team CSC. Dave crashed in the team time trial yesterday and lost the yellow to lance. However, the tour officials felt otherwise and made lance exchange his Discovery jersey for the yellow jersey.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Results of the Team Time Trial

The time trial (team) results are in.

The top five teams in the fourth stage from Tours to Blois are:
1. DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 1h10’39"
2. TEAM CSC at 02"
3. T-MOBILE TEAM at 35"
4. LIBERTY SEGUROS - W√úRTH TEAM at 53"
5. PHONAK HEARING SYSTEMS at 01’ 31"

The overall standings reflect the ominous form that Lance 'The Boss' Armstrong is in. LA is currently in the first place while his teammate George Hincapie is in the second place 55" behind.

Dave Zabriskie from CSC had a big crash and limped to the finish. Apparently, he lost a lot of skin and blood was dripping everywhere. Let's hope that this injury would not be a show stopper for him. Keep fighting, Dave.

Allez.. Lance... Allez

BTW : If you are a lance fan, check out the commemorative edition from Sports Illustrated. I bought it yesterday and it is awesome.

All you wanted to know about 'The Half Blood Prince'

Random facts about the book

  • We will learn a lot more about Voldemort in this book.
  • HBP will be an intense book, but with light-hearted moments.
  • Harry will leave Privet Drive early again, for a "much pleasanter" reason than in book 5.
  • ............
(From :http://www.mugglenet.com/books/futurebooks/book6facts.shtml)

Monday, July 04, 2005

And then there were 17

Tom Boonen of the Quickstep team took the sprinting honours today by winning the third stage. He now has the green jersey(le maillot vert) to show for his efforts. Dave Zabsriskie is still in the yellow jersey. Lance is currently in the 66th place but has a comfortable lead over his rivals. Can't wait for the mountain stages to begin.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

1 down, 20 to go

The soft spoken Dave Z from Saltlake city stole the thunder from LA winning the first stage of the 205 tour de france. The avid cycling fan amongst you might have noticed a familiar name in the top 3. Vino is back!!!. Alexandre 'Vino' vinokourov who gave Lance a run for his money in 2003 is back again. He was out last year after an accident. Check out the official website for more information.

Here are the standings :
1. Dave Zabriskie (USA - CSC) 19km in 20’51"
2. Lance Armstrong (USA - DSC) at 2"
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ - TMO) at 53"
4. George Hincapie (USA - DSC) at 56"
5. Laszlo Bodrogi (HUN - C.A) at 59"
6. Floyd Landis (USA - PHO) at 1’02"
7. Fabian Cancellara (SUI - FAS) at 1’02"
8. Jens Voigt (GER - CSC) at 1’04"
9. Vladimir Karpets (RUS - IBA) at 1’05"
10. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ESP - LWT) at 1’06"

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Can they do it one more time ?

The Team
Lance Armstrong
Jose "The Ace" Azevedo
Manuel "Triki" Beltran
George Hincapie
Benjamin Noval
Pavel Padrnos
Yaroslav "Popo" Popovych
Paolo Savoldelli
The Coach / Le Directeur Sportif : Johan Bruyneel


The Bike/s (source : team.discovery.com)



Sunday, June 26, 2005

IITians in Bollywood

First there was this guy, X, who cracked the JEE and made it into one of the IITs. Then, there was this guy (X again) who worked so hard at non-academic stuff that IIT rewarded him with a 5 point GPA. X somehow managed to graduate along with a few of his other 5.xyz buddies. X, Y and Z managed to get some additional degrees and got into some mediocre jobs. Now X was in a dilemma. A big one. Wasn't he supposed to be the part of the creme de la creme ? How then could he relate that to his professional self ? So, X looked around and asked some friends. Now, his friends Y and Z being in the same position themselves hated X for asking these questions and started avoiding him. X got lonely and decided to write a book. What was he going to write about ? He thought long and hard and then one fine day, EUREKA!!!. He was going to write about a book about himself and Y and Z. Who would read it ? For starters, all the Xs, Ys and Zs of the present day would read it. How could he make it interesting for the average Joe ? Well, he can add a 'female angle' to the book to spice it up. So, thatz what he did. And guess what, this book became a best seller.

It became so famous that Subhash ghai decided to make a movie out of it. He decided to cast Aishwarya Rai as the female lead. Boyfriend Vivek Oberoi convinced Ghai that he can play the part of the wise-cracking X. Aamir was cast as Y and Abhishek as Z. Aamir fasted for 3 months to look 18. But the fasting had the exact opposite effect. In the end, he had to fly to switzerland to get some botox shots. Abhishek claimed that since he was playing the role of a 4th attempter, his age was not an issue. Vivek threatened people with injury and worse things if they had the gall to think he was not fit for the role of X. Nobody questioned Ms. Rai. They were glad to see her in a hindi film. AR Rahman agreed to score the music from London. As usual he charged a crore for his music. Saroj khan agreed to do the choreography. The sultry Yana gupta and Shamita shetty agreed to dance in item numbers. To justify the introduction of item numbers, an additional sequence was introduced wherein X, Y and Z go to a native liquor place , get predictably drunk and then shake hips with the item dancers. The washed out Diego Maradona was hired as a consultant to direct the intra hostel football(soccer) games. However, the director of the IIT claimed that the movie was not in tune with the book anymore and hence did not reflect the IITian spirit. He even passed a resolution that blocked Mr. Ghai and his team from shooting in the said IIT.

Nonplussed, Mr. Ghai approached Mr. D. Rama Naidu from AP who agreed to build a set of the said IIT in his Film City in Hyderabad. They even called it IIT Hyderabad. This caused a huge controversy. We will go into the details later.

If you have come this far in this post, let me ask you a question. If you think that I have a crazy imagination, let me warn you that this post is 'based' on actual happenings. Mr. Chetan Bhagat, an IITian turned investment banker wrote a best seller titled "5 Point Someone". The book is about 3 friends who graudate from IIT with a 5 point GPA. Now, people inlcuding Mr. Subhash ghai are interested in bollywoodizing it. Great !!!. I am hoping to read this book soon.

Check out this link from the Deccan Herald

Friday, June 24, 2005

What I want for Christmas


"Nothing keeps your house cleaner than cleaning everyday. Scheduler programs Roomba to clean at anytime making it more autonomous than ever. At night or when you are not at home, Roomba will clean around your schedule. The Roomba Scheduler comes with all the top features like Active Dirt Response, self-charging Home Base, and extra-large debris bin all with the added benefit of scheduled clean"

Check out www.irobot.com for product details

For those of you with dirty apartments & houses, nothing can beat Roomba. It's a robotic vacuum cleaner that cleans by itself. And now, you can program it over the internet. How cool is that!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

THE MAHA QUIZ

One Quiz to rule them all, One Quiz to find them,
One Quiz to bring them all and in the darkness puzzle them
In the Land of Trivia where the Questions lie.
(with due apologies to J.R.R.T)

Check out the great mahaquiz at http://members.tripod.com/~asimha/

It did bring back memories: some euphoric, others bittersweet
When quizzing was more than a passion
When the word 'qualify' had a different connotation
When winning the lit-soc trophy was de rigeur
In short, some of my best moments in IIT

Monday, June 20, 2005

Words of wisdom from Rajat Gupta

Folks,

I came across this commencement speech by Rajat Gupta recently.

ISB commencement speech

Even though he was addressing fresh graduates, a lot of us 'experienced people' would stand to benefit from its contents.


PS:
Rajat Kumar Gupta is the former managing director of McKinsey & Company worldwide. He joined the firm's New York office in 1973, assumed leadership of its Scandinavian offices in 1981, and joined the Chicago office in 1987. He assumed the role of office manager there in 1989, was elected managing director of the firm in 1994 and re-elected twice, once in 1997 and again in 2000.

The Tour is on...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fasten your helmets, oil your chains and check your air pressure. The biggest cycling event of this year is going to start from July 2. For the uninitiated, I am talking about Le Tour De France.

As usual, the focus is going to be on my man, Lance. Fans will have to get used to see the familiar US Postal colors replaced by the Discovery team paraphernalia. Can Lance do it one more time ? If he does win the maillot jaune (yellow yersey), will be called the greatest ever ? Does he still have to prove his ability at other races ?

In my opinion, these are questions for the critics and historians. As a fan, I am more excited by the fact that he is still racing. Also watch out for Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, Klondike and Iban Mayo. Stay tuned for regular updates ....

Allez.. Lance.. Allez

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Thanks, Bill

"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a surgeon who had questioned Terri Schiavo's diagnosis during the intense national debate on whether to remove her feeding tube, said the autopsy documenting her severe brain damage brings "a very sad chapter to a close."

Article from the Washington Post

Gee... Thanks, Bill. We all know why you did it. Don't we!!! You were just playing to your electorate, the bible belt. By now, most people are well aware of your presidential ambitions. But, I do have to commend the 'politician' inside. I mean, the autopsy clearly shows that you and your esteemed colleagues made ********* of yourself. But, you almost had me convinced for a few seconds that your motives were purely altruistic.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I HATE FLYING WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL

I hate flying. To be more precise, I detest, abhor, despise, detest, loathe flying. I hate having to sit in airport lounges for hours trying to make small talk with strangers who are politely disinterested. I hate drinking overpriced coffee and eating smelly shit that pass off as sandwiches. There, I have said it. I feel as if I have a load off my shoulders.

Last night, my flight was delayed by 14 hours . (Courtesy : Tropical storms, Kansas style)
Delays happen to everyone. I know. But, I seem to have had more than my fair share of delays, somehow. Here is the lowdown :

Last night (14 hours due to Tropical weather)
Dec 2004 (8 hours - holiday flyers)
Dec 2003 (30 hours - The Air India Effect)
Sep 2002 (6 hours - holiday flyers)
Sometime in 2000 (6 hours - The door of the plane froze and they couldn't get it to open for 6 hours)

Come to think of it, 1 out of 3-4 flights I have been in are delayed.

Am I complaining for nothing ? Have any of you had worse experiences ? I would love to know.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Completely hilarious review

OK, this is easily one of the most hilarious reviews I have ever read. Enjoy!!!.

http://www.sulekha.com/expressions/column.asp?cid=245347

Evolution

http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/

(Flame bait)
To combat the growing threat from the pseudo-scientific ID community and the fanatic pro-creationists, some of the more rational members of the scientific community have launched a web site to educate the common man on our true origins.

The site is really interesting.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Junk Mail - A new take

I hate junk mail. I hate it with all my heart and soul. I hate having to RIP those worthless credit card applications, discount coupons for 999$ couches and fish by the pound. I hate the fact that I have to spend more and more of my 'diminishing savings' on trash bags to tackle this deluge of junk mail. The astute reader might say "Even my dog hates junk mail. But he doesn't waste his time blogging about it". Point noted. Thankfully, this post is not about how much I hate junk mail. It is all about why junk mail is not really 'junk' mail. Surprised!!!, read on.

Junk mail protects jobs. Have you ever wondered who it is that handles all this junk mail and makes sure that we get our quota every day ? Great going sherlock!!!. As you have guessed correctly, it is our friendly neighbourhood (Not spiderman) postal worker.

Junk mail creates demand for paper. Therefore, it is protecting the job of the paper mill worker.

Junk mail creates jobs in the printing industry.

So the next time you lay your hands on that 'travel voucher for 2 to hawaii fine print' rip it gently. Be glad that you are part of this whole job creation thing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Job Shortages in India

India faces a massive shortage of workers with European language skills over the next five years which could see the country needing to recruit up to 120,000 foreigners...' Looks like the jobs may be moving to India but they might require the original people to do some of the jobs!

http://www.zdnetindia.com/news/national/stories/122965.html

Now.. Isn't that Ironic !!!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Andarivadu


Andarivadu - The man of the masses (Courtesy:www.idlebrain.com)Posted by Hello

Andarivadu (TMOFTM) was released on friday. Unfortunately, it would be a while before virginia residents get to see it. Chiru seems to be sticking with comedy after the phenomenal success of Shankardada M.B.B.S. It is a pretty routine story about the tussle betwen the daughter-in-law and father-in-law. However, I am pretty sure it would be a laugh riot as well. Seenu vytla, the young and upcoming director has proved to be pretty good at directing comedy scenes. Can't wait to see it :-)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

My Nerd Score

Y'all,
I scored a 59 (Big surprise!!!)
Lemme know how you guys do on this one

I am nerdier than 59% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Have we been 'Intelligently Designed' ?

There are some people who definitely seem to think so!!!

It has been a very interesting experience to watch the tussle between darwinistic evolutionists and the proponents of intelligent design(ID). On the one hand, we have a scientific theory in the truest sense, backed by real fossil-based evidence. On the other, we have this new ID 'theory' claiming to be the david to Darwin's Goliath.

My knee- jerk reaction was to treat ID theory as creationist bullshit, not worth my time. That could still be true. However, that wouldn't be really scientific.

{Let us take a small detour}
  1. S: (n) theory (a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena) "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"
  2. S: (n) hypothesis, possibility(a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena) "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices"
(Source : http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn2.1?s=theory)

{End of detour}

So, ID proponents have to predict certain events based on their hypothesis and then collect experimental evidence that supports their predictions.

After doing a cursory read of this document published in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly (NCBQ), I came across this passage.

"Some claim that design theory makes no predictions and therefore is not scientific. It should first be noted that part of the very definition of evolution is that it is unpredictable. Design theory does, in fact, make predictions. For example, it predicts that the genome was designed for a purpose and that a function would be found for what had been called “junk DNA.” This prediction has recently been corroborated."

WOW!!!.

Question 1

Now, why would such a document be published in the NCBQ ? Shouldn't it be published in a more main-stream scientific journal like Nature ?

Question 2

Here is a list of some of their other publications :

:: Teaching Origins Science in Public Schools: Memorandum and Opinion, by John H. Calvert, Esq. and William S. Harris, PhD (as to matters of science), dated March 21, 2001. Order copies at $8.00 at IDnet@att.net.

Memorandum from IDnet Managing Directors and Managers Responding to Resolution of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that seeks to Censor Intelligent Design - HTML version or PDF version.

John H. Calvert, J.D. Are we designs or occurrences? Should science and government prejudge the question? (Nov 10, 2003 Draft)

Fredric J. Heeren, Was the first Craniate on the Road to Cognition? A Modern Craniate's Perspective

WHERE, O WHERE, ARE THE PUBLICATIONS IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALS ?


How is one to make a fair and unbiased judgement call if these theories are not exposed to avenues of mainstream scientific criticism ? I am going to take the knee-jerk route. What about you ?


Friday, June 03, 2005

To dissemble or to dis-assemble

"People that had been trained in some instances to disassemble--that means not tell the truth."
-George W. Bush while criticizing Amnesty International (June '05)

When I heard these words on the radio, I was flummoxed for a second. I was almost sure that he meant to use the word dissemble but decided to give him the benefit of doubt. Apparently, I was correct!!!.


Jumped on the bandwagon

Ahoy, After looking at the blogs of various friends (you know who you are), I finally succumbed to the pressure. Hopefully, this blog will last beyond the "I have a blog too" phase. For starters check out this promising feature for webmasters from Google.
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