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Archive for March, 2009

This post has long been pending. Something or the other kept coming up, not allowing me to pen.. I mean type this post. Research has always fascinated me (I know, that’s derived from the cliché that goes science has always fascinated me – I mean, whom hasn’t it fascinated?!). It was in the past 4-6 months that I decided that I’m going to carry out meaningful (yes, I specifically choose this word) research for the rest of my life. It’s good to carry out research – even if it is of little significance. It feels good to know that what you did is of some use.

Or so I’ve been thinking. Until I met another class of researchers. A study has concluded that women with smaller chins are more likely to remain faithful than women with large chins. Who cares a rat’s arse if they do?! And I quote this from this article, rather a barb that I read in the Times of India. Now I feel that this study would make the matrimonial columns in The Hindu go “Bride wanted: fair, around 165cm height, well educated, homely, small chin, preferably without a chin at all…”

And of course, there’s the Ig Nobel prize, a wonderful mockery of the Nobel prize. I’m a fan of them, and Shashank wrote about them too. I mean, I’m sure no one knew that heaps of string or hair will inevitably tangle until Dorian Raymer and Douglas Smith proved it. Then there’s this guy who found out that armadillos could mix up the contents of an archeological site. And to top it all off, Kuo Cheng Hsieh patented a technique to catch burglars in a bank. Guess how? By springing a net over them! And this is just a glimpse of the winners – you’d be stunned at the amount of pointless research that’s going on worldwide.

The amount of money that’s being poured into these things is terrible. It would be wiser of them to use their money and minds in better things. Now moving on to the brighter side of things – there is a lot of good things happening in science thanks to advancements in technology. Now that I’m stepping into research, I’ve been doing a lot of background reading related to my work, which inevitably leads me to online databases that contain scientific journals. And I realized that there’s a lot you could do when you read throgh a paper from ScienceDirect – you can save your history of papers browsed, and even subscribe to email notifications on anyone who cites that work later on! Call me geeky/nerdy, but I find this pretty cool – especially for people working in that field.

Then there’s 2collab that lets you save your favourite papers, and discuss your work with other geeks online – it’s still at its infancy, but makes a lot of things possible! And then I attended a webinar yesterday. It’s a seminar being telecasted live online – it’s good to realize that video conferencing is being used for something other than pornography.

There is however one thing that’s weird about obtaining access to online publications. There was this particular publication that I was looking for, and so I googled it. The first result took me here, which required me to pay USD44 if I needed access to the publication. The second result was this, which let me download the full text free of cost. Access to scientific material ought to be made free of cost – for if you put a price on knowledge, it might become too expensive to share.

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That’s football indeed (at least as far as I’m concerned)! In the middle of my facebooking and running around and cooking and of course, working, I have finally managed to make new friends – notably ones of my own age group. So there’s been a bit of partying, and finally – some football! 😀 Almost two hours of running up and down the field, a couple of falls, one brilliant corner, three shots on target (What? Seriously?! They were all to the keeper’s hands though) was more than enough to exhaust me. The kind of game I’ve been used to in the past eight-nine years is very different from how people play ball here in France.

So here’s French football vis-a-vis Indian football. No no, I am not talking about the national team – we all know how good the Indian team is. I’m talking about football at a much lower level – the streets, the schools, the playgrounds. My first love with football began in middle-school. Yes, that’s right before high-school and that’s how we address it in Vidya Mandir. And if you’re from Chennai, you’d probably know the state of school grounds. They don’t have grass, and the mud is pretty red – making your white canvas go a dark shade of brown and your mom go mad at you for having made it a mess. And when it rains in Chennai . . .

The ground isn’t very big either, and it shrinks every year at a rate directly proportional to the increase in the student population in the form of building-extensions. The only times we’ve been to a football ground per se was when the school booked St. Bede’s football ground for our inter-house tournament in high school. That is somehow not the case in Bordeaux – when I went to play, there were 4 football fields back-to-back, with neat grass, proper goalposts, and boundaries drawn, there was a room for changing, and when the clock struck six, practice started.

The weather, of course is more conducive for playing I must admit. But come on! When you’ve the right spirit, you can pretty much play anywhere. And it’s not just limited to football: there’s a huge indoor stadium that’s filled with people and games. They run on a tight schedule: tennis from 4 to 6, basketball practice from 6 to 8, badminton from 8 to 10. There are clubs where they learn mountain climbing, and what not?! You’d find more people out there sweating their fats out, quite contrary to the average Indian teen who’d be licking a good ten rupee softy at Spencer Plaza or an equivalent.

Now after all that shilly-shallying, here’s my point: sport needs to be encouraged in our country. Not everyone gets a view of how well it’s promoted outside our nation, and I’m lucky to find out. I completely agree with Krish Ashok on his view on Indian sport, when he said “bring back those 3 PT hours.” So burn as much fat as you can, stay healthy!

Gawd I knew I sucked at concluding passages, or writing passages at all. My apologies for the not-so-fine structure, but I hope you understood what I meant.

Update: After the first comment, I happened to realize there’s a website for Indian football. Maybe it needs more publicity to catch fire! If you agree, you might want to vote here. So keep clicking! 🙂

Note to all feminists: It so happened to be that there were only men where I went to play football. I would like to emphasise that my title to this post does not imply that I have something against women playing football.

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