Thursday, December 15, 2005

On my way... @HKG

Hong Kong airport is a pretty place... u can see the runway with the planes, with ships in the water behind... with mountains still behind.. all in one view!

Net access is free on the terminals they have provided, but wireless had to be paid for, a far cry from singapore airport.

Anyways.. I am sleep deprived [thanks to the economy class leg space] and busy working on my quals proposal which I have to show to Prof. in Goa.

Back to work now... keep smiling :-).

Luv and Luck,

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Yaar main India Chala!

Okay folks.. it is time for a small break.. I shall see how frequently I can blog from India, but internet access will be limited.

As promised, here is my itinerary:

Dec 15, 16 : Bombay
Dec 17, 18, 19 : Goa
Dec 20 : Air
Dec 21 - 26 : Mankapur [where my parents are, a place near Lucknow]
Dec 27 - 29 : Varanasi, where my alma mater is :-)
Dec 30 - Jan 1: Mankapur again
Jan 2 : Delhi
Jan 3 : taking off back to LA!

As I said, I would love to meet you folks when I am in India. If you are going to share the same city with me at the same time, please email me and we can meet.

Yeh thi khabrein aaj tak, intezaar kijiye kuch din baad tak!

Love and Luck,

Monday, December 12, 2005

Today's run.. and today's style

Ran 12 miles today... too tiring... finished my Gatorade in the first 3 miles... must remember to carry bigger bottle next time. As usual, here is the link.

In other news, I decided to get a new look after a long time. So here it is, my new beard style. Zack was kind enough to do a photo-shoot [those are his glasses :-)]

So.. whaddaya say?

I shall be landing in Bombay on 15th Dec evening and taking off from Delhi on 3rd Jan Afternoon. I shall soon post a detailed schedule, so that I can meet some of you when I am in India.

Already thinking of the samosas ..mmmmm..


Friday, December 09, 2005

The new.. and the old

Short post, since I am busy typing my wrist off on a paper due soon.

Go and see this video about the new meeting the old on the Indian-American scene. Hilarious. A really good job.

Thanks to Salim for the link.

back to typing...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

An eye for an eye!

[Info: The religious facts were initially told to be during a USC rapport group meeting by a Rabbi from the USC hillel center.]

Today I read this article [and many others] about the guy from Kerala who is stuck in Saudi Arabia and is sentenced to have his eye gouged out because he had a fight with a Saudi youth which resulted in the latter's eye getting hurt.

From the article:
Naushad, 33, hailing from Anchal in Kollam district, had been asked by a Shariat court in Saudi Arabia to give one eye to the person whose eye was damaged during a scuffle with him.

Now on to some discussion.

- On the surface, this seems barbaric, but this is the law in that country, isn't it? I mean we can say that death is too barbaric to someone smuggling drugs [as in Thailand], but then that is the law of the land.

- But then, one wonders, where does this law in Saudi Arabia come from? The answer is also simple, since we all have heard the oft-repeated phrase "an eye for an eye"

- And this is where it takes an interesting turn, when we read the details of the phrase.

The oral law of Judaism holds that this verse cannot be interpreted as mandating exact physical retribution. The rabbis of the Talmud ask, "How can any person be certain that the punishment they inflict is definitely no worse than the initial injury?" They answer that this is one indication that the Bible, when stating "an eye for an eye," does not refer to physical retribution. They proceed to cite several more indicators for this thesis.

The Oral Law explains, based upon the biblical verses, that the Bible mandates a sophisticated five-part monetary form of compensation, consisting of payment for "Damages, Pain, Medical Expenses, Incapacitation, and Mental Anguish" - which underlie many modern legal codes. Some rabbinic literature explains, moreover, that the expression, "An eye for an eye, etc." suggests that the perpetrator deserves to lose his own eye, but that biblical law treats him leniently. - (Paraphrased from Union of Orthodox Congregations website [1])

It should be noted that Judaism, while not allowing physical retribution for torts, does contain provisions for corporeal and capital punishment to be carried out for certain crimes under rare circumstances.

- So you see, the Jews interpret it differently, and say that God did not mean to literally remove the eye, but to provide compensation for it.

- But then, why should the Muslims in SA follow it?

- Actually, the verse comes from the Torah, which is held holy by the muslims also.

- So why is the punishment for this guy not a fine "equal in amount to the fee needed for a surgery to correct the injured youth's eye"

I wonder.. I wonder.., a nation which can boast of the highest scholars in the religion.. follows the trivial interpretation of a law written in hebrew and translated in english. [The literal translation from Hebrew means "an eye under an eye", with the word "under" interpreted in different ways]

Note that this is not a post against islam or shariyat laws, but the interpretation of this one particular law.

I would appreciate if people can shed more light on this topic.

here's hoping that things work out for the better for Naushad.

Don't even think of touching my basmati !

Slashdot has a nice reference to this article on BBC about how India is developing a database of ancient medicines to prevent stupid patents like the one on the healing powers of turmeric.

Lets hope this helps stop bio-piracy. Make sure to read the related articles mentioned on the BBC page.

P.S. Ran 7.8 miles today morning. Here is the route

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The X people are coming!

Yipee... if the trailor is anything to go by, X-III is going to be awesome.. I shall wait for it!

Here are links to the official movie site, the teaser trailor and the wikipedia entry.


P.S. Also check out hoodwinked .. a nice cute story.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Half a Marathon, and Indian Highways

Today we were supposed to run 10 miles, but thanks to Zack not realizing that the baseball field which we were supposed to see just before turning back was obscured by bushes, we ended up going a "little" over and the entire run was finally 13.1 miles! Here is a link to the path.

Now since a marathon is 26.2 miles, I think I can say that I just finished my first hald marathon! The time taken was 3 hours and 15 minutes, and I hope to improve it in time for the real marathon, but boy... it was fun! The run was along the Los Angeles river and it provided a nice atmosphere, although a bit stinky sometimes. Sad to see a river reduced to a drain.

Huge thanks to Mary Ann, who kept pushing me to keep running, and waited for me in the many times when I stopped to catch a breath. Thanks buddy!

In other news, I came across a nice article in the New York times yesterday [or today super-early morning] in the New York Times about the recent construction of the highway system in India. Read it here. If it asks for registration, use :-).

From the article
The highway itself brings change. For a nation inured to inefficiency, the improved interstate saves time - for Kailash Pandey, a milk-seller, one-third off a 90-minute commute to market; for Imtiaz Ali, 15, half off the bike ride to school; and half off the travel time for Sarjeet Singh, a trucker.

These micro gains make for macro benefit: some $1.5 billion a year in savings, by one World Bank estimate, on everything from fuel costs to faster freight delivery. More intangibly, the highway may turn India into a society in a hurry, enslaving it to the Western notion that time equals money.

Also, make sure u click on the "interactive feature" link ... nice audio commentry.

As usual, comments appreciated :-).

Friday, December 02, 2005

Postcard from Varanasi

[Info: Ran 7 miles yesterday morning. Here is the route.]

Gaurav sent me this link to a nice video about Varanasi.

Makes me nostalgic about all those years spent in ITBHU, and also about India.

Also it was interesting to see how westerners react to the Hindu way of cremation, since it is something new to them. I wonder when he will show a clip about the excellent food available in Varanasi :-).

Well, I shall be there in December.... yipee!!


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age

[submitted on slashdot just now]
New Scientist is reporting here that the warm currents that carry water north from the Gulf Stream are "stuttering", causing fears of an mini Ice Age style temperature reduction.

From the article:
Nobody is clear on what has gone wrong. Suggestions for blame include the melting of sea ice or increased flow from Siberian rivers into the Arctic. Both would load fresh water into the surface ocean, making it less dense and so preventing it from sinking, which in turn would slow the flow of tropical water from the south. And either could be triggered by man-made climate change. Some climate models predict that global warming could lead to such a shutdown later this century.

Time to get that fur coat out?