Friday, June 29, 2007

Truth is closer to fiction than you think

Last night, I was watching the X-files, and saw this episode, where they talk of a govt. conspiracy to run nazi experiments on citizens. Pretty creepy episode I must say, but gave interesting insight on how the X-files started.

Obviously, the story of the episode was fiction, but as usual, I spent some time thinking "what if it was for real?". I guess that is a common side-effect of watching Chris Carter's creation.

It was interesting then to see that B's status link today was pointing to the Tuskegee Study page. As I was shocked to read [from here]:

For forty years, from 1932 to 1972, 399 African-American males were denied treatment for syphilis and deceived by officials of the United States Public Health Service. As part of a study conducted in Macon County, Alabama, poor sharecroppers were told they were being treated for “bad blood.”In fact, the physicians in charge of the study ensured that these men went untreated. In the 25 years since its details first were revealed, the Tuskegee Syphilis study has become a powerful symbol of racism in medicine, ethical misconduct in human research, and goverment abuse of the vulnerable.

NPR has a piece on it here.

This sure gave me the creeps. I wonder if similar stuff happens in India. [yes, I know about this post, but do we also have stuff sponsored by the govt?]

still shocked,

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Paper, Poster, and Tricolor

The past couple of days were spent in Santa Fe, NM, at DCOSS - a premier conference in sensor networks, my research area. Apart from presenting my paper and poster, I was also here to help my advisor in organizing the conference.

The talk took 20 minutes [the presentation had gone through some 5 revisions in the process], and at the end of it, to my horror, noone asked a question! Obviously, I had failed to connect with the audience. Then the session chair, who is bound by duty to ask a question if the speaker gets none, asked me one I answered it, and suddenly, 5 hands went up in the audience! I was like, where the hell were you guys before?!

Anyways, I answered the questions, and proceeded downstairs for my demo. To my pleasant surprise, both the keynote speakers, Richard Karp and P. R. Kumar, both very big guys in the area, spent some time at my poster/demo, and seemed interested in my work :).

My advisor was also pleased with my performance, and so I figured that it was a good time to talk about my future plans - that of going back to ITBHU as a faculty member.

Once again, surprisingly, he was not the least bit concerned with the "why are you missing out on golden opportunities in the states" argument that I have been given so often by others who know of my plans. He was very supportive, and seemed to appreciate the idea :). The only requirement - do lots of research before you graduate! But hey, isn't that what a PhD is all about?

So, in summary, things are looking up, and tons of more work needs to be done, but I am excited!

P.S. I visited Los Alamos last night and met Zack. We went for a hike, got some freshly made pizza with his girlfriend, and saw "The Matrix" on his home projector. Good times!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Go watch Amu!!

Amu movie posterDoes the year 1984 mean anything in Indian history? Do we even know what happened that year, why and how? More importantly, why do we not talk about it?

These are some of the questions that Amu makes one think.

The movie is a very good mix of humor and seriousness, and I LOVED it when I saw it at USC [thanks to the wonderful folks from Asha USC].

And it is releasing this weekend in LA [and also on the east coast].

Go watch it - the filmmakers have taken lots of pains to release it themselves [yeah, no big distributors came fwd], and the first weekend's sales will determine the further shows of the movie.

The movie is in English, and will appeal to all audiences. So, whether you are brown or not, GO WATCH IT!!

Click here and scroll down a bit for screening timings and locations.

Wish I had time to write more... but coding calls!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I am back!

Dear Readers,

As promised, I am back to blogging. Thanks to all of you who have given me support through these days, and have asked me when I am going to resume. This post is dedicated to you :-).

And what better day for the re-birth of the blog than my own re-birthday [cannot believe it has been 5 years now]. The best part is, Ashish, Akshay and I might meet up this year :-).

There will a slight change in this avatar of my blog though. Unlike the last time around, I won't be blogging regularly - not until I get more comfy with my research work. But I will post every once in a while, and will look forward to your views and comments. And of course, my regular status changes will keep happening.

So today, I bring you this interesting article [pointed out by B] about the unitary executive aspect of the latest directive issues by GWB. This might sound like paranoia - but the possibilities are interesting [read the end of the article].

Also, I realized that AlterNet is a cool news source [look at their awards]. So it has been added to my daily news list [Google News India, LA Times, Slashdot]. Thanks B!

and that brings us back to the end of the first post of the second incarnation of my online journal. As always, I shall wait for your comments and opinions.