Got this from an old 'Rude Food' article by Vir Sanghvi. A bunch of the articles have been put together into a book of the same name, and they make for pretty interesting reading.They also make me wish we had the HT in Bangalore as well instead of just TOI and Hindu (Deccan Herald doesn't count). So far we've only got Mint, but it's a start.
PS: If you're reading this, I'd like some feedback - too easy? random? hackneyed?
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Monday, 17 December 2007
Sunday, 16 December 2007
That's Hard Kaur singing 'Sexy Boy'. Found this while trawling YouTube. Brings back memories of Mumbai, where they used to play this approximately every half-hour in the gym that I went to for a couple of months. Think fat, sweaty, middle-aged aunties, buffed-out gym instructors in tight tees and this song blaring out on the surround sound at approximately 7.30 in the morning. I still managed to stick it out for 2 months.
Emancipation can have some scary consequences.
Saturday, 15 December 2007
Anyway, here's the first post. The image below is from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series of comics about the Dream Lord (he's the one in the black outfit with the black speech balloon) (issue #31). The guy that Dream's speaking to is Joshua Norton, who was a real-life personality. So the question is: what happens next?
Incidentally, if you get a chance, do try to get your hands on the comics, or indeed any other comics written by Gaiman. His stories aren't half bad either, though I think he's got the same problem that Philip K Dick had – he writes quite a bit, so not all of the work is consistently good. It is consistently different though, which is a good thing if you're bored of what you've been reading.
It's a woman, so this has nothing to do with the Commonwealth Society. Never thought the Sanskrit department at college would have such issues.
Valson Thampu's quote:
...Thampu said, “We can assure you that we will respect the dignity of women and
there will be no harassment of women in the college.’’
Note the use of the future tense.
Friday, 14 December 2007
Text of the announcement reproduced below:
I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of earlyonset Alzheimer's, which lay behind this year's phantom "stroke".
We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, Iexpect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there's time for at least a few more books yet :o)
PS I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as 'I am not dead'. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think - it's too soon to tell.I know it's a very human thing to say "Is there anything I can do", but in this case Iwould only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
The compulsory bed-rest in Delhi hasn't been so bad so far – less Metamorphosis, more Return-of-the-Prodigal-Son-who-otherwise-pretends-to-be-too-busy-to-come-home-to-visit-his-Parents. Except for the fact that the toes on my left foot (the one with the cast) freeze a little sometimes, life here has been much more cushy than in B'lore. Must make sure I don't start liking it too much-otherwise I might be more amenable to all the senti I'll get on how I should move back to Delhi to spend time with the parents while I still can and how then I'll have someone to look after me in this big, bad world. It's tough to counter-argue that you're trying to stand on your own two feet, when one of them is stuck in a cast and you're laid up on your backside.
Anyway, I hope to catch up on some reading and loads of TV. Maybe even get more blogging done.
Saturday, 8 December 2007
As far as matching up to expectations go, the movie won't just have to meet the standards set by the original cartoon, it'll have to match up to 'Mock 5', the Dexter's Laboratory episode paying homage to Speed Racer - one of the best Dexter episodes. You can watch that here.
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
Thursday, 29 November 2007
"...Having watched the rise and fall of SixDegrees, Friendster, and the many other proto-hominids that make up the evolutionary chain leading to Facebook, MySpace, et al, I'm inclined to think that these systems are subject to a Brook's-law parallel: "Adding more users to a social network increases the probability that it will put you in an awkward social circumstance."... You'd think that Facebook would be the perfect tool for handling all this. It's not. For every long-lost chum who reaches out to me on Facebook, there's a guy who beat me up on a weekly basis through the whole seventh grade but now wants to be my buddy; or the crazy person who was fun in college but is now kind of sad; or the creepy ex-co-worker who I'd cross the street to avoid but who now wants to know, "Am I your friend?" yes or no, this instant, please... "
(Link to original article via http://www.marginalrevolution.com/)
I have to admit he has a point. Although it must be said, Facebook scores over Orkut in that it allows only 'friends' to view your profiles etc. The latter allowed just about anyone to scrap you (or at least it used to), which meant that almost any single woman claiming to live in India would get scrapped by strange engineers from Dindigul (or for that matter frustrated engineers from anywhere; let me not be parochial) about how she was sweet and asking if she would like to 'make friendship' with him.
As a counter-point, here's a paper on "The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites", where they found that
"...Regression analyses conducted on results from a survey of undergraduate students (N=286) suggest a strong association between use of Facebook and the three types of social capital, with the strongest relationship being to bridging social capital. In addition, Facebook usage was found to interact with measures of psychological well-being, suggesting that it might provide greater benefits for users experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction."
Then again, the "users experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction" could just be your creepy ex-co-workers, or engineers from Dindigul.
Monday, 12 November 2007
Now that JK Rowling has outed Dumbledore, I can't help but speculate on why she did so. After all, unless he had a secret stash of wizardly Viagra somewhere, old Albus seemed to have been well past his days of romance and you-wave-my-wand-and-I'll-wave-yours. Maybe it's to show that the Potter books have a (liberal) moral undertone and will teach kids the importance of tolerance, and not just silly pseudo-Latin phrases. However, that does lead me to ask the question - where's the token black character? There are characters of Indian, Chinese, Eastern European and Elven descent but no blacks as far as I can tell. Is this because:
a) Ms. Rowling wanted to avoid the obvious jokes about 'black magic';
b) Black kids perhaps don't buy books about wizards because they'll be accused of 'acting white'; or
c) Snooty Public Schools in England, even those for wizards, rarely admit blacks?
This does make me wonder though, about whether the media would have gone after JRR Tolkien for a sound-bite, were he alive. After all, Merry and Pippin would have definitely provided fodder for speculation ('Mr. Tolkien, would you say that 'Merry' was not just his name, but also an allusion to his orientation?') and perhaps there would be rumours that Frodo's burden may not just have been the Ring, but his feelings for Sam...
Brokeback Mordor, anyone?
For those of you who want context, that's from Shadow of the Bat #075, part of the Cataclysm/Aftershock storyline...
For those of you who want to read Ben Bernanke's speech on microfinance in America, click here.
Sunday, 11 November 2007
That's from the abstract to this paper by Divya Mathur,who's pursuing her PhD at the University of Chicago (link via Tyler Cowen at www.MarginalRevolution.com). Reading through the paper makes me laugh for the most part. I can see how this would sound like a really cool paper for anyone based in the US with a limited knowledge of Indian society and culture.
I think she over-simplifies things when she states that "Parents prefer a daughter-in-law with inferior human capital attributes because this allows them to extract a larger share of household resources, even if the size of the “pie” is smaller than it would be if the daughter-in-law had higher human capital." I don't think extracting 'a larger share of household resources' would be the major motivating factor in middle and upper class households in Mumbai (which is the set of people she studied/surveyed). I would say it has more to do with maintaining social status. Perhaps a further analysis could be the preference for arranged marriages amongst families that regularly watch Ekta Kapoor's saas-bahu soaps versus families that watch(ed) Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin.
My favourite line from the article is the concluding sentence:
"This suggests that developing infrastructure for the care of the elderly, improving social security, encouraging retirement planning, and thereby lowering the incentive for parental control over son’s marital choices, may be an effective mechanism for increasing investment in women’s human capital."
Sounds like an extremely roundabout mechanism to bring about an increase investment in women's human capital.
Especially when you consider this:
"Women put greater weight on the intelligence and the race of partner, while men respond more to physical attractiveness. Moreover, men do not value women’s intelligence or ambition when it exceeds their own."
So we might see increased investments in women's grooming products in India instead...