Friday, September 30, 2005

Nifty things to pep up your windows

Hey all,
I know a lot of you still use windows [how else do I get voice chat on Yahoo!IM]... but there is hope....

Slashdot today had a post about pepping up your windows machine with open source software.. a must read I must say. [repetition intended :-) ]

Here are the top rated slashdot comments on the post, for more gyan!

And I got my first 5 moderator points on slashdot 2 days ago.. :-).

That's it for now... bye

Luv and Luck,

Coming soon: An Indian's tale of "differences" seen in America... guess whose ;-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Two movies to watch out for

Came across the following two movie trailers today:

North Country

The Greatest Game Ever Played

Nice movie ideas... I would love to watch them and get to know more about these wonderful people.

It is nice to know that the Indian guys are also making movies about national heros... after Mangal Pandey, I hear that a movie is being made on Rani Lakshmibai by Sushmita Sen.

Luv and Luck,
P.S. the AIS Garba is coming up this weekend... way to go!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Someone Loves Me :-)

I got my TA feedback for Spring 2005 back today. Nice to know that the students liked my teaching - the biggest negative point: I speak too fast :P.

The best part was the image below.... well.. I love you too [just as I love all my students]! :-)

Cute... what do you think?

In other news, I saw this page about vintage bollywood posters on boingboing today. Really cool!


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sea Lions causing havoc in harbor

I read an article in my free paper-copy of the LA Times today [simply love the "paper" feel... after reading so much stuff online] about how Sea Lions have sunk boats in Newport Harbor. Here it is.

Apparently, they are also causing Noise pollution.

From the article:
"A barking dog doesn't hold a candle to this. It's like 40 barking dogs — in SurroundSound"

Interesting... lets see how this works out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Marry me : I love your sibling!

Got this story from various sources about how a 19 year old girl entered into a contract marriage with her lover's elder brother since the guy was not of age [he is 19 while in India, guys need to be 21 to get married].

Good one. A smart move - or is it? The girl's mom has expressed concern as to what if the current husband does not divorce the girl and/or the guy does not want to marry the girl. Given that a lot of "love" that happens at this age is not really long-lasting, I can only pray for this couple [I mean the one that wants to get married, not the one which is married on paper].

This brings me to the next point, about how a good friend of mine, a grad student at USC, has been thinking of entering into a similar "contract marriage" with some grad student girl so that he can get the cheaper and better USC family housing. If someone in Gujarat can do this, why cannot someone in LA ??

P.S. Found this cool CD of "Rishi Kapoor" songs... amazing... also found a CD of "Shammi Kapoor" songs today.. life is good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More on the new JEE pattern

It is official now, the pattern of the IIT-JEE has changed effective Monday Sep. 12, 2005. [more reports on the same]

We talked about it before on this blog, and here are the final changes: [link to full text of official press release]

1. You must have at least 60% in class XII.
2. You can appear only twice - once in the year when you are taking your class XII exam and once in the next year.
3. The JEE would include short write-ups on various topics followed by objective questions based on the write-up.
4. No screening.. only one exam.
5. Those choosing to take a seat for the first time cannot reapprear the next year.

I really like point 3 - makes it kinda like reading comprehension of GRE and other tests. I am waiting to see some questions like that.

These rules look kinda nice... I mean 60% is not too unachievable a score.

The only controversial thing I see here is the "take-JEE-only-twice" limit. You can see that this is basically meant to discourage coaching institutions, but is it fair?

And what about point 5 - is it fair or a bit too much?

As always, I [and other readers] shall wait for your comments. Please don't forget to leave your name and other details while commenting.

Ph.D Student, Univ. of Southern California

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Orleans vs Mumbai - a new look

I got the following the other day in email... from a variety of sources, and felt strongly about it. My comments follow the contents of the email

[click here to skip this and jump to my comments]

[begin email content]

New Orleans vs. Mumbai

I couldnt' stop forwarding you this comparison...

Inches of rain in new orleans due to hurricane katrina... 18”
Inches of rain in mumbai (July 27th).... 37.1”

population of new orleans... 484,674
population of mumbai.... 12,622,500

deaths in new orleans within 48 hours of katrina...100
deaths in mumbai within 48hours of rain.. 37.

number of people to be evacuated in new orleans... entire city..wohh
number of people evacuated in mumbai...10,000

Cases of shooting and violence in new orleans...Countless
Cases of shooting and violence in mumbai.. NONE

Time taken for US army to reach new orleans... 48hours
Time taken for Indian army and navy to reach mumbai...12hours

status 48hours Orleans is still waiting for relief, army and electricity
status 48hours later. Mumbai is back on its feet and is business is as usual's most developed nation
India...third world country..

[end email content]

This is what I feel on this
I think the author of this email [and people who are forwarding this gleefully] are forgetting one very interesting and important statistic:

Number of Levees broken in Mumbai : 0
Number of Levees broken in New Orleans : 1

Please do not forget that the crisis in New Orleans is not due to rainfall, but due to the breaking of the levees that protected this low lying city from the waters of the adjoining lake. That is what caused the submerging of the city and the need for evacuating all its inhabitants.

I shudder to think what would have happened to Mumbai if 80% or more of the city would have gotten under 8 feet or more of water. Add to that the fact that New Orleans is situated under sea level and the water will not just flow out.

People, credit should be given when it is due [like this post on the Indian voting machines doing a better job compared to the American ones] , but not every opportunity should be used to promote the cause of how India is so much better.

I wish that this article reaches the guys happily forwarding this email - and they see the point, or the lack theirof, in this action.

Also, I request all of you to come forward and help out with the relief efforts going on for the people affected by the hurricane. And yes, please stop forwarding that email.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

A moving article from the LA times about the situation in New Orleans

I read the following article in my copy of the LA times today.

A Rescue Team Reaches Only Despair

This, along with other articles about the situation in New Orleans, where 80% of the city is inundated currently and rescuers are being fired at by angry people.

One wonders why someone would shoot rescuers, but then what do you expect from a man who sees his mother dying while he can see ambulances taking people away. A really sad situation.

Another thing that this whole issue has made me feel about is the Mumbai Rains recently... are situations worse in New Orleans? Can one even speak of better or worse in such calamities?

I _so_ wish I did not have obligations here in LA, so that I could go and help out there [both New Orleans and Mumbai]. My friends from Mumbai tell me that what is needed in Mumbai now is people, since the money is coming, but the number of volunteers is less. I am sure similar situations are going to arise in New Orleans also soon.

Vidhya and I decided to include the people affected by this hurricane in our 9pm meditation prayer.

I gave a small amount today to the Red Cross box kept in the department office. I intend to fast for a day and pray for the people there. Also to give the money I save by fasting that day [$20 ?] to the Red Cross... can you also do something like that ... please?

P.S. Just read this article about how the superdome may be emptied by tonight. My prayers go to all those affected by this great tragedy.