Posts Tagged ‘internet’

I have a problem. I get distracted easily. Very easily. And my attention span is becoming shorter than that of a goldfish. Speaking of goldfish, it seems it isn’t true that their memory lasts only five seconds – ask wikipedia. Speaking of wikipedia, it’s amazing how they run that website without advertisements, and how something free could have so much of reliable content. Speaking of content, if only their contribution system was more user-friendly and didn’t look like a geeky computer programming page, I would have also contributed. But yeah, I shouldn’t talk about giving reasons – I’m just lazy. And now I’m wondering how my line of thought is drifting so fast! Much like how Sheldon Cooper explains his train of thoughts. And then how he dreams of trains in the episode “The Herb Garden Germination” (The Big Bang Theory s04e20):

Sheldon: I’ve been thinking about Dr. Green’s efforts to make science palatable for the masses.
Leonard: What about it?
Sheldon: Nothing. I’ve just been thinking about it. Now I’m thinking about fractal equations. Now I’m thinking about the origins of the phrase ‘train of thought’. Now I’m thinking about trains.
Sheldon: Now I’m thinking about Jello. . . . Oh! Back to trains. Whoo whooooo!

So you see my point? I get distracted quite easily. In fact, I drift away while talking, which would be much seconded by my dear friends. I do, however, in most cases, come back to where I broke off. So why this article: distraction is probably what keeps my mind running! So here’s a nicer example of what pushed me into facebook in the middle of a working Friday. Okay, don’t laugh at me saying who works on a Friday in France – I’ve had my bad experiences, but here’s what happened this Friday:

It all started when a friend of mine asked me if I had access to a scientific article. This one, to be precise:


Well, we didn’t have access. So I thought I’d ask some friends of mine who might perhaps. My trusted Trio – well, the three people I keep bothering every second day with some favour or another – one from a cold Sweden, and a couple of Etas-Uni-ers. And they didn’t either. I could have closed the story then, but never give up, right? So I looked at the article again, and noticed that the authors are from Cornell. Wondering whether the University might have subscription, I went into facebook to look for any friends I might have at the Unviersity – none presently there. But then I thought while I’m at it, I might as well see what’s happening on facebook. And then stumbled upon this picture on facebook:

Icky nonsenseYes, it’s one of those pictures that you cannot un-see once you’ve seen. And my friend is good at making sure he hits as many people as possible with such atrocities. And to add to the distraction, I had to see a comment about how that resembles someone who’s eaten too much of noodles. So that got me reminded of the movie se7en – and the first crime in it – murder for the sin of gluttony. And then a few more videos on the movie, how Kevin Spacey surrenders, and gets shot by Pitt, and a couple of other youtube videos on Spacey – and then I remembered electrophoresis. Got back. Ah work, if only you would accommodate all this loss of focus!

P.S.: This blog post took over an hour to type – it included a skype talk in the middle, some motivation from friend to complete a blog post saying that it isn’t energy consuming, and 30-40 mins of wikipedia, google, and wikipedia on google. I think it’s time I call it a night. Before it hits morning. Sigh!


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Yes, I know a lot of friends who read the Times of India for entertainment. My good friend Mashank Shasaldan in fact gains kicks out of finding the creepiest articles, invariably lascivious in nature, and pings me on Gtalk going “dude, check this out.”

The news did catch my eye today, for one, Ajmal Kasab was hanged today. I’m sure you can read enough in the blogsphere about what his emotions were before he was hung, but I sought for the more traditional news channel, and bumped into this article on how secretively he was finished. They’re sending letters by courier to his family. Seriously?! I wonder what the letter would say:

Dear Smt. & Shri. Kasab Sr.,

Your son Ajmal was caught four years ago for killing a lot of innocent civilans, and setting a few buildings on fire. Justice has been served. He has been hanged until death today, in secrecy. FYI.


Secret Justice system of India.

But what was more interesting was the comments that followed, a few of which were very carefully penned, empathising with the families of all those lives he is said to have claimed. But before I could read a couple of them, my attention was attracted towards big badges that TOI gives its dear readers. There are influencers, word smiths, networkers, movie buffs, etc., a detailed wooing elaborated right on their website:


So without wasting more time into even trying to understand what each of those “rewards” mean, I am going straight to the skewed comment that caught my stray eye. I saw Mr. I am Nobody from the United States Of INDIA (yes mind the upper-case emphasis to patriotism). He quite represents the quintessential abusive anti-islamic commentator, if I may. I’m positive that he would answer any question of mine with his sentence beginning with the clause “I can able to”, but I’m not going to judge him either. So here’s one of his eye-candy comments:

From what Indiatimes suggests, his comment has an ‘influence’ value of 7 on a scale of <unknown>, and he is a “wordsmith”, and has a network badge because he has 76 “followers”. God save him. Even if it be Allah. Because what I see from his posts is that he is anti-islamic, rather quite baseless, and what got me laughing was when I scrolled over one of these badges for an explanation:

That thing’s (I’m sorry Mr. Nobody, I can’t imagine you are human anymore) name in this page is “Pedophile Mohammed” – yes, spelt correctly. I can understand you can’t screen each comment ToI, but you have to get your things in place. And this definitely isn’t the first article I’ve seen where the comments section flow in with abuses. Please put in a screening filter mechanism before comments are so highly propagated, or fucking close the comments section. Sigh!

Anyway, this wasn’t what got me blogging after nearly two years of silence. There’ve been a lot of factors – a change in my lifestyle, thinking, etc., that’s gotten me to write again.

And before I finish, it’s Nick‘s birthday. And one thing I know that he enjoys is writing. The guy has a passion for it. Nick, I’m dedicating (not this post – it’s an excuse for something not even remotely readable) “my return to writing” to you. Happy birthday dude! I hope you have a great year ahead!

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A year, gone

Been a while since I last penned down a post. After the peak in the number of visitors from my previous post, the stats have finally fallen down to baseline. But hey, I’m not writing here just for the sake of seeing more visitors.

Well I used to initially, promoting publicity with my blog address on my status message on every messenger client I had an account with, make it part of my signature while sending mails, add that to my notes on facebook, and ask people I knew everytime to look into my blog. Somehow they never seemed to work though – never had more than five comments on my post, and that too just ridicules from Ashwin (always welcomed though), the number of visitors never crossed ten a day, while I used to see a few other blogs and feel terrible looking at them. But stating this almost makes me feel like every blogger has been through this phase at some point of time. Even the Great Bong wrote about this in his 600th post (woah, that’s still a long way to go)!

Things have changed now. It’s been a little over a year since I started writing here, and now I’ve come to believe that my blogging is more for expressing my opinions, and to look back at several years later. I read a lot more than I write, gaining bits and pices of wisdom with every post I read. I see things with a wider perspective, and appreciate others’ opinions. <space to make clear that I have no clue as to how I could bridge the gap to provide continuity> So here’s wishing my blog a happy 1st anniversary (it’s late by about 2 months, but I’ve never been good in remembering birthdays), and a big thank you to all who’ve supported me throughout!

1stAnd special thanks to Ashwin and Nikhil, who’ve always been close to me in the blogsphere. Thank you guys, this post is dedicated to you both! Happy blogging!

*Picture courtesy microsoft clip art.

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A new beginning

Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub … dub, lub –––. Beep indicating a flatline. Paddles in hand, positioned, 120V – charge – clear – no pulse, repeat with 160V, charge, clear …


Miraculously, and with much difficulty, my blog has finally been brought back to life. After a two-month hiatus, involving much travelling, I am penning down this prologue to my upcoming posts. And of course, to let you know that I’m still alive. Cheers!

*Picture courtesy wikipedia.

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Wordle is beautiful. It is of course besides, the point that it makes beautiful word clouds. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And why wouldn’t it be? Especially when it is made up of a thousand words. Well, maybe not a thousand, but a hundred perhaps.I’ve more or less been stuck to my computer screen all week – preparing my report for most parts of it, checking my mail, having fruitful and not-so-fruitful gtalk conversations, watching new House MD episodes and so on. While at the above mentioned, I did look into the updates my reader had to share with me – and found a few new blogs to follow. Notably, an unquiet mind showed me the world of wordle through his post.

What the website does is simple, you give it content, it would give you a weighted cloud of words in return. It gives you an opportunity to analyse what words you use most often (for those with a geeky touch in them) in a beautiful cloud form (for the lesser mortals). So I thought I’ll use the website to analyse what my blog’s about. It gave me this:

Wordle of my blog

Turns out I give a lot of importance to people in my blog and like football. And I didn’t feel like stopping with just figuring out how my blog looks. So I took the previlage of feeding the toy some of my friends’ blog feeds. Ashwin writes thus:

ashes wordle

Ah, “good times around” it says – in coherence with his post on good ol’ days in college.

Nikhil (along with Vyaas of course) goes:

nikhil worlde

It almost looks like it’s a riddle. Or a jumbled set of words from which you’d have to make sense out of. The best part is that you can connect them as you like: “take chemistry and graduate actually, little students in ya favourite class” – doesn’t make sense? I don’t understand either.

My other blog with shashank appears like this:

wigsandmuscles wordle

Classic. Pure rubbish – totally unrelated, and nothing is prominant. It defines what the blog is about – pure gold plated shit!

You can of course go on all day playing around with wordle. Feel free to explore! Before I end this post, I’d like to attribute all the images in this post to wordle, respecting the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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Mistake me for what, a clown?! The clause don’t mistake me is classic Indian English for do not misunderstand what I’ve said or don’t misconstrue what I’ve said, just like other great additions of our nation to the English language – cousin sister, co-brother, prepond, close the tap, and so on. No, my objective is not to flaunt my little knowledge of the English language (as is common practice down South of India) – I like to see languages as they are.

So the objective of this post is to put forward the importance of effective communication. A few months ago, I played a game of chinese whispers (a.k.a. telephone, gossip, le téléphone arabe, stille post and so on) with a bunch of my friends. Hey, it’s that game when one person whispers a phrase to the next and it goes on in a chain and you try to see if the information has been passed on right to the last person. And of course – the message was lost when it went to the third person in line. What’s the relevance? I’ll tell you why. It begins with my receiving a million e-mail forwards everyday (yeah, it’s an exaggeration, I get at most 4 a day). I seldom forward them, but I do read every single forward that reaches my inbox. Some of them are fun to read, some plain stupid (my blog-post kinds), some informative (gets me all excited at times, and I choose to forward them), and the rest are just boring.

A while back I got this e-mail regarding rule 49-o of the Indian constitution/book-of-rules/election-guide/whatever. Especially with the voting season setting in, I was all pumped up to share what I found out with my friends and forwarded it to a lot of people. Right after that, I decided to do some research on the thing – turns out that part of that email was a hoax – the part which said re-elections would be conducted under certain circumstances. Anyways, if you’re very keen on knowing more about it, look it up my older post, or on God given gift to dorks, or their own awareness site. And right after I read this, I sent a second mail clarifying what I’d written earlier – yeah, not many bother doing that I know.

Second case. I got an e-mail forward this morning about how you can save someone experiencing a stroke. And in case you’re still bummed, a stroke occurs when there’s a clot in one of your arteries (those tubes that take blood around your body) leading to your brain. The brain needs fresh blood, and if it doesn’t get it, it’s not good. So this mail I got tells you how you can identify someone having a stroke. Use the words STR (ask the stroke-ing to Smile symmetrically, then Talk coherently, and Raise both arms – if they screw up any of these, you can panic and call for an ambulance). So I thought I’ll enlighten the few who read my blog with this information, and thought I’ll google it up before I put it up on my website, and the first google hit for identifying a stroke was a link to Hoax Slayer. It turns out that a person could be having a stroke even without showing any of these symptoms. Can you believe it? There’s actually a website that goes around busting myths about email forwards! Whether those guys are jobless or not is debatable.

So here’s my request to entusiastic e-mail forwarders, “do a little research on the e-mails you send – it helps to convey the right message across to people.”

P.S.: If you want to read more about how to identify a stroke, look it up the hoax-slayer link earlier, or on Pony’s site, or at About.com.

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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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