Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pearls Before Swine.

Check out this cartoon strip titled Pearls Before Swine, by Stefan Pastis...really funny stuff, especially when the crocs make an appearance...

Traffic Congestion !

Check out this paper on the Economics of Traffic Congestion, from people at the economics department at UCSB.

According to them, if you expand a congested road, then it will result in increasing the overall congestion of that road !

(p.s. : links via Naveen Mandva's Mercatus obtained through Amit Varma's India Uncut blog.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Need a conference paper in a hurry ?

Well, then MIT's paper generator is just the thing for you...

A couple of grad students at MIT created a paper generator and submitted once such paper to a conference and it was accepted ! A variety of fake conferences have been doing the rounds of late, and this paper was accepted at one, called, WMSCI 2005.

Check out their examples on the same page...

Intelligent Brits ?

The British secret Intelligence service, MI6, or SIS as it is officially known, has decided to set up a recruiting website !

What has the world come to ? How glamorous will a career in intelligence be, if getting a job is as dull as applying online ? Wonder if they take F-1 students ! ;)

I found the following two questions and their responses interesting...

Q: How realistic is the depiction of SIS in the James Bond films ?

A: James Bond, as Ian Fleming originally conceived him was based on reality. But any author needs to inject a level of glamour and excitement beyond reality in order to sell. By the time the filmmakers focussed on Bond, the gap between truth and fiction had already widened. Nevertheless, staff who join SIS can look forward to a career that will have moments when the gap narrows just a little and the certainty of a stimulating and rewarding career which, like Bond's, will be in the service of their country.

And for those of us who are fans of the "Yes Minister" series/books, this will hit a spot...the next question and its answer is a perfect example of civil-servant speak...

Q: How can I complain ?

A: There is an investigatory Powers Tribunal of senior members of the legal profession or judiciary that has been established to investigate complaints by individuals about the conduct of intelligence agencies towards them or about the internception of their communications. Details on how to contact them...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dilbert Blog.

Scott Adams has started a new blog, called the Dilbert Blog...really funny, as expected.

Check out this post about how he had to modify one strip to appease the editorial board !

"Serious" jobs.

This article in the Washington Post looks at gaming as a job...the life of a pro gamer...makes for interesting reading...these people make tens of thousands a year just by playing video games !!! Especially the online games.

Here is an earlier post by me about getting a degree in Video games...interesting how socially acceptable games have become of late...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nuclear and Chemical Weapons ?

In an interview with Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper, Osama Bin Laden has admitted to owning nuclear and chemical weapons. I found this statement interesting though...
  • But in the Urdu version of the article, Bin Laden does not threaten to use nuclear or chemical weapons.
Why would different language versions of the same paper have such a significant difference ? Does this mean that the news fed to the Urdu-speaking world is different from what is fed to the rest of us ? Why would the Pakistani media shoot itself in the foot on such a sensitive topic ? This is beyond me...

Of course, I must state that this article is dated in 2001...came across this article when I was searching for something else...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

US vs the World...

The latest issue in international politics, is another, not Iraq, but the Internet !

A battle is looming with increasing probability of the US being isolated as regards to who controls the internet. As of now, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), under the province of the Department of Commerce governs the technical rules for how networks and computers find and recognize each other can determine how freely and securely information moves around. This contract expires next year.

Several countries around the world want the international community to take over the governing of the internet. Of course, the US claims that some of these countries (the most vocal of which are Iran, China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil) will use their powers to censor access to information.

Interestingly, even though the commerce department is supposed to oversee ICANN, it does not interfere with its workings, adopting the position that government should be involved with Internet governance as little as possible...from the Washington Post article...
  • To date, it has not overruled any ICANN decisions.
Well, I guess the pros and cons are many, and we must see how this issue is resolved, because either way, it could have lasting impact on all of us.

IIPM, EMI, EBMS, ISI, FBI, CBI, ABC, XYZ...alphabet soup !

Check out this article in this magazine called JAMMAG...some of us are familiar with it 'cos it was a typical students magazine which we came across during our undergrad years in India...this is an "expose" about IIPM.

The editor Rashmi Bansal, started getting hate mail and ridiculous comments/allegations in some newly created blogs, and she wrote an article in her own blog, Youth Curry, about this controversy and the the comments left by some folks on this post...downright ridiculous at times !

Then another blogger, Gaurav Sabnis, put up a link to that on his blog, and then matters got realy ugly, because they started threatening him (with a funny legal notice no less !) and also IBM (where he works) 'cos IIPM threatened to burn all thinkpads that they had ordered from IBM, etc. this point it got real Gaurav decided to resign, so at to not tarnish IBM's reputation.

The battle between free speech folks and IIPM alumni/management/etc. rages on in the blogosphere, as indicated by two very popular Indian blogs, Desi Pundit and India Uncut.

And now, another blogger, Gawker, on his blog titled Renegade of Junk, puts up an interesting article about IIPM and its affiliate partners. You wil be surprised. Of course, this follows a couple of posts that show a satirical side to the whole thing.

No idea where this will end up, but then again strong-arming people who are smart enough to have their own opinions, is in my opinion, not the way to go, especially for an insitute that claims, on its website,
  • IIPM dares to look beyond, and proudly understands that what we teach today, others adopt tomorrow

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ups and Downs...

Apple announced that its profits had quadrupled, mainly due to the phenomenal sales of the iPod ! The interesting part, is that its stock took a hit and actually fell in value !

Oh yeah, there's a Video iPod now...

Jihadis in splits.

Apparently growing splits among jihadis are beginning to undermine the theological and legal justifications for suicide bombings...states an interesting article in the New York Times.

Although this seems to be good for the rest of the world, this is in context of Iraq, where the suicide attacks are aimed at Shiites, just as much as they are aimed at the "occupiers".

In fact, the rest of us may have to be worried just a bit, as this statement suggests...
  • To be sure, the alternatives these critics recommend are no less violent. Rather, many of the movement's dissidents suggest that jihadis diminish their efforts in Iraq and revert to spectacular attacks in the West, like those that took place on Sept. 11.
Yet, light seems to exist at the end of the tunnel...
  • Western governments should encourage the debate among jihadis because, if the promise of absolute salvation through suicide attacks is thrown into question by some within the jihadi movement, potential recruits may come to doubt the wisdom of engaging in such tactics.
Which is one surefire way of bringing down extremists/terrorists of any kind...take away or make them question their ideology.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Presidential Game.

Check out this graphic.

You can click and drag the image of the "person" and move it around...

Got Wit ?

An interesting exhibition at the Science, Industry and Business library at the New York Public can sample some of the best ads ever made for television, radio, print, and the Internet.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Evolution 1, Intelligent Design 0

Here is an amazing new find, reported by National Geographic and in this paper. Researchers found gorillas in the wild using sticks as tools ! Here in an excerpt...
  • Images show that one female gorilla was apparently using sticks to test the depth of water, another female made a bridge with stump detached from a bush to help her cross muddy ground, and, in another instance, a female was spotted using a stump, from a bush, as support as she dug for herbs.
And another one...
  • Only wild chimps, orangutans and captive gorillas were previously known to use tools, suggesting that tool usage might predate the evolution of men.
A related article in Wikinews.

Empowering India...

...according to to Jaswant Singh, leader of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha.