23 November 2005

Politically Incorrect: The Village Idiot

I was skimming the pages of the Indian Express online edition today and read about the Village Idiot being trounced in Bihar. Being cautiously optimistic, I think, there might be some hope after all for the land of the Nalanda University and Bodhgaya. That reminds me of an incident.

My hair stylist is a Vietnamese lady, who is very good at her trade. A couple of months back she mentioned that her uncle was going on a pilgramage to India. I was curious to know where... and when she mentioned bodhygaya in Bihar, I was frankly very scared. She is buddhist and hence the pilgrimage to the land of Buddha. Yesterday I met her again and she mentioned that her uncle is back home "safe". I wondered why she emphasized the word "safe", but after listening to her account of his travels, I wasn't surprised. She comes from a very very rural setting in Vietnam and she said that his experiences in Bihar were much worse than that. To get the real impact of that statement, one has to put things in perspective. Vietnam is a country that went through one of the bloodiest civil wars in history, a country that brought a super power to its knees with the bloodiness of its wars. Even after all that devastation, if a rural setting is better than the current situation in Bihar, where natural resources abound under the foot of every individual and ancient history and opportunities for religious tourism run into the billions of dollars, I am truly ashamed. But then if village idiots run states for 15 years, then one truly wonders if the democracy for the people, by the people and for the people is being a self fulfilling prophecy of idiots choosing an idiot. I know that is not true, hence there has to be something else at play. Whatever is was, it appears to have faded for now. Hope Nitish gets a free hand to change this spiral into doom.

21 November 2005

Thanksgiving & the Holidays

Here in the U.S. we are entering what is called the Holiday season. In fact we have already entered it since Halloween, but that is a minor technicality. The fact of the matter is that Thanksgiving is the real start of the holiday spirit. The history of Thanksgiving goes back to the days of the pioneers who inhabited the new world, warring with the local indians. In 1621 the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast and that is generally believed to be the first thanksgiving feast.
In simple terms it is a true harvest festival as celebrated in all parts of the world. A time for all family to get together for a lavish dinner, music and drinking. The spotlight of the modern thanksgiving is the turkey roast. I am partial to turkey actually, but the pumpkin pie and the sweet potato casserole are very yummy. A good spread for a thanksgiving dinner usually includes all of the above stuff.

But the best deals this season are the extra long weekends. Four days of bitter cold and almost freezing east coast holidays... brrrrr. 20° Fahrenheit is the beginning of the slide.

For you East Indian buffs, here's an east Indian twist to the thanksgiving dinner. We are planning such a dinner ourselves.

16 November 2005

Pot Hole map of Bangalore

Excellent initiative by some good samaritans. A POT HOLE map of Bangalore. That should shrivel up some skin for the politicians.

Blue Gene

IBM's Blue Gene/L has been named the most powerful supercomputer in the world by TOP500 Organization, the world's foremost supercomputing authority. The Blue Gene/L set a record of sorts, with a sustained performance of 280.6 Teraflops, or trillions of floating point calculations per second.

The other 2 supercomputers that feature in TOP500's "top 3 supercomputers" are; IBM's Blue Gene Watson system at 91.29 Teraflops, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's recently unveiled ASC Purple supercomputer with 63.39 Teraflops.

Wonder where the Param family of Massively parallel processors developed by India stand in this race? I googled up IIIT Bangalore's Prof Sadogopan's blog for some info. Looks like we have dropped form the 500 list in 2005. C-DAC get your act together dudes.
C-DAC param

13 November 2005

Necessity and the mother of invention cliche

Its been a really crazy week, including a saturday jammed with chores. Something to keep the spirit of creativity alive is this picture I got from a friend in India. Trust the kids to think up an alternative to every problem. Actually I believe the tag line for this snap was "The Chappell Effect". A double entendre with Greg Chappell being the current Indian coach. Enjoy

05 November 2005

Weekend Report

A late autumn visit to the Shenandoah Valley for a hike along White Oak Canyon trail resulted in a host of pictures apart from a healthy cardio round for the body. Check out my photographs of the visit. Courtesy Canon Digital Rebel XT.