[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]


Friday, September 30th, 2005

I am waiting here (At Stern reception hall infront of one of the hunderds of network pcs on the hallways!) to get on a bus to go here [Iroquois Springs], as part of this[PTLF]. Unfortunately, harini couldn’t accompany me (sorry baby!) and will be missing her (And she swears that she will do more than flipping channels :)) ). Hoping to have some fun and good time with fellow Sternians.

pc revolution

Friday, September 30th, 2005

MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte takes a lead and introduced the $100 PC to the world. If all goes well, he expects to produce more $100 PC than regular PCs by 2007. Rajesh Jain has been promoting a similar revolution in India and Business 2.0’s Om Malik wrote a lengthy article just a few months ago.

[via engadget.com]

Nicholas claims “For education, the roadblock is laptops”. That would create a endless debate if you start by asking if the poor children need food and good health or a laptop. That topic aside, Nicholas’ ambition seem genuine, monumental and most importantly concurs with what i believe in (and hope to do something about) :

Young people, I happen to believe, are the world’s most precious natural resource. They may also be the most practical means of effecting long-term change: Making even small opportunities for children today will make the world a much better place tomorrow. Frankly, I have almost given up on adults, who seem generally to have screwed things up despite the good work being done in many parts of the globe. So I am increasingly inclined to seek out ways for the 6- to 12-year-olds of our planet to learn how to learn, globally as well as locally. from Pricing the future, by Nicholas Negroponte

Rajesh, does it matter who comes first as long as intentions are good?

My name is Earl

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Its only been two episodes of “My name is Earl” but I think it is hilarious and well written. I always believe in karma and the ‘be/do good and good will happen’ prophecy. Earl hickley (nicely carried away by Jason Lee) who simply wades his life in petty crime gets an spark of enlightenment from an obscure TV show. He decides to take up an arduous task of ‘correcting’ every mistake he ever did in his life. It strikes him that it is all becoz of his karma and quickly creates a list of his unpaid past deeds ranging from littering the streets to sending someone else to jail for a cheap robbery that he failed to complete!

The story unfolds as he tracks down one by one the items in the list and attempts to cleaning up his karma. With such a out-of-the-box theme, the writer has a lot to play with. few though, but the other characters fit quite nicely into the story trying to help Earl close on his deeds. The screenplay is quite slick with Earl’s voice over keeping us engaged with an retrospective views. In a way, Earl is doing what a lot of people would perhaps want to do but would never do. If thats true, then it brings a perfect fantasy series to NBC on tuesdays. No wonder 8 million americans glued to it last night.

Earl is followed by “Office”, an american remake of the hugely successful british show with the same name. I was lucky enough to have watched the british version on bbc last year. But I have to admit that the US version is equally well done. If you want a glimpse into an office where a filthy, jerk, jackass is a boss, ‘The office’ is place to stop by on Tuesdays at 9.30.

NBC has new show coming/in the making that would grant wishes; to individuals or a community. More details here. The calls for wishes boasts that there need be no limit for what can be wishes and that money will not be an issue. I guess we would have to wait and see if this is going to be another reality show where someone would wish for a day to spend with Britney spears. Lets hope it goes farthest into the american society to make a difference.

What is ICE?

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

My insurance company sent me this message that i thought would help everyone, especially those in the US.

Emergency personnel are resourceful when it comes to saving lives. Did you know that paramedics often turn to a victim’s cell phone for clues to a person’s identity? When every second counts, you can make their job easier with one simple word-ICE.

ICE is an acronym for In Case of Emergency. Label an entry in the contacts list in your cell phone ICE. Include the name and phone number of the person that emergency services should call on your behalf. The few minutes it takes to add ICE to your cell phone could save your life.

Many paramedics know what ICE means and they look for it immediately. ICE your cell phone TODAY!

Who has the most hits for failure?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

This may be pretty obvious to a lot but still neat…

1. Go to Google UK .
2. Type the word “failure” in the search box.
3. Click on the “I’m feeling lucky” search button [or check out the first item in the search results ]

This is no fun. Whatever web page that comes up at the top has the largest number of references across the world websites from the word “failure”! Must be a universal honor i guess.

American splendour

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

I was watching ‘American Splendor’, a documentary about the true story of Harvey Pekar. How the pathetic wierd-named Pekar inspite of his dishevelled life, became a monumental icon for ‘American’s Common Man”, at least for a short period of time. Out of shear coincidence, I watched the movie ‘Crumb’ which documents the life of Robert Crumb, once famous and notoriously perverse underworld comic cartoonist. Apparently, Robert Crumb played an important role in Harvey becoming a star (Harvey wrote the stories and lent his character for comic books while Robert illustrated them), at least star enough to show up every year in Dave Letterman’s Late Night Show. Robert Pulcini, who plays Harvey was flamboyant. Man! those scenes where his voice gets completely screwed up, he was stupendous. I liked American Splendor more than Crumb, but if you like documentaries and appreciate biographies, you might like both.

I really liked this Elinor Wylie poem that Harvey mentions in one of the scenes :

Avoid the reeking herd,
Shun the polluted flock,
Live like that stoic bird,
The eagle of the rock…

Have you read ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ by Richard Bach? Oh! you should.

who sold it?

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

I was at the local strip mall in our neighborhood yesterday to refill my fridge. There usually are a couple of stores locked up with a sign ‘for rent/lease’. Interestingly, I saw a new flashy store this time. I had the familiar logos of eBay all around. “Whats eBay doing here?”.

i-Sold it
[from iSold It.com]

A quick closer look revealed that that the store is apparently i-Sold It and invites anyone to drop off anything to be sold on eBay. I have read earlier that small retail stores are popping up in the American cities that ‘broker’ auctions in eBay. I didn’t realize its a fledgling chain business until I checked their website today. Apprently, i-Sold It has 500 stores (open or on contract) across America. Another sign infront of the store asks me ‘Want to be part of $3Billion business?”. I don’t know that but the chain already has small pie in the $3B by taking $38 out of your item that would sell in eBay for $100. Win-Win business I guess.

This kind of busines also makes a lot of sense in India, where millions may have items for sale in online auctions, but not a computer or the expertise to auction it themselves. If thats true, it just a matter of time…

Intelligent design

Monday, September 5th, 2005

Anyday I would recommend Economist for a serious magazine reader. Today, I was catching up with the back issues left unread because of our India trip. Usually, I skim through most articles and read in detail those the interests me. But almost without fail I read the letters to the editor, more so for the literary style than the actual message.

In July 30th edition, there was an interesting article (someone has posted a copy) on “Intelligent Design“, the opposing theory to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Whoever might have first proposed Intelligent design, but their argument is that everything in the universe and beyond, including we humans, are/were concieved, designed and created by an intelligent designer ‘up there’. A lot of us refer to that designer alternatively as ‘God’. I am no expert in Darwin’s claim or the concept of intelligent design, but I do believe in God and faithfully surrender to the ultimatum.

A lot of Darwin’s (his’ is supposed to be scientific theory while intelligent design is kind of philosophical) supporters dismiss intelligent design by questioning how one could design a system with so many flaws, pointing to thousands of known stupid “flaws” in the system. Sometimes these arguments are indeed unquestionable. One such argument showed up in the letters to the editor of the August 27th Economist and it was witty and funny. I thought I should share it and let yourself answer it based on your beliefs.

Note the author is arguing against intelligent design and presumably supports theory of evolution. “SIR – Why would an intelligent designer place fast-growing hair on adult males? is there some intelligent reason for designing men, but not women and children, to have beards? And if there is such a reason, then why do many adult males go through the trouble and expense of shaving on a daily basis? – Steven Beadle, Arroya Grande, California”

right infront of our eyes

Sunday, September 4th, 2005

Watching the terrible scenes from New Orleans and other cities hit by Katrina would make anyone painfully sad. Since the Tsunami that hit south asia, the media has gone overboard in showcasing the aftermath of such calamities to the minutest details. I have only read in fiction but to see a city submerged in water right infront of my eyes is horrific. Poor citizens of New Orleans unable to escape and who lie beneath the waters, may God give them the power to hang in there somewhere until rescuers find them soon. Lets pray for the hundreds who have already lost their lives; may their souls rest in enternal peace.

Put under similar life threatening and hostile situation, we see that humans will behave the same way (looting, shooting, stampede), let be Americans or Iraqis. That said, I still wonder they shoot back at rescuers and loot TVs and clothing! (Food is understandable). I guess, put in such state, one cannot rationalize such human behaviour.

The suicide bombings in Iraq, voilences in Palestine, blasts in India, Typhoon in China, Hurricanes in US…perhaps, man is becoming to much for the world to bear with.