The Blog at the End of the Internet

Brady goes down, another season starts

this is the first post being written in San Diego, almost a year after the last one. yes, i am a prolific blogger. see, i had this notion of staying true to the origins of blog - as in weblog - as in, a log of things seen whilst traversing the Web. like a captain's log - where a captain records the sights of his travels - the serpent headed monster of the sea (particularly after a few bottles of rum), the walrus seen trimming his moustache, etc. a list of places on the web that I record for my own posterity, in case I want to visit them later on for a second view - and perhaps to direct some of my friends or the occasional googler who ends up on my blog. so i made a point to make each post contain at least one link leading somewhere, a post with a story, and not my story. my story is too boring for public consumption, and my story doesn't have a link that will take you somewhere else. of course, it's easy to finagle a link in that's totally unrelated, but that would be cheating. unless - and by now you must be wondering the post title is unrelated too - the link is related back to the title. well yea that's cheating too but who cares? so here are a couple of short (<1 min) football-related memorable videos, Jim Mora and Dennis Green. Hope Brady gets back in the game soon.


Harvest Moon

Another equinox passes by, as the Sun makes its annual circumambulation around Earth. A chinese friend of mine offered me some kind of an egg cake, in celebration of their Autumn Moon festival. Our lunacy with Earth's closest neighbor in space continues.
Harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (~sep 23) - when the moon rises very soon(~15-30 minutes) after sunset and stays low on the horizon for a while. Due to it being low on the horizon, we see the Moon Illusion - the light passes through a lot more atmosphere making it appear golden and slightly larger - exacerbated by the fact that the moon being on the same level as land features (hills, houses, trees etc) gives us a sense of scale that is otherwise absent for a moon high in the sky. The additional brightness past sunset due to moon allowed farmers to work more hours during the harvest in autumn, hence the name.
The full moon closest to the vernal equinox (~mar 23) swings moonrise time to the other extreme - it rises about 1.5 hrs later in the night, but stays quite bright for a while. Back in the dark ages, where there were no neon lights and high speed trains, pilgrims traveling on foot/animals chose the vernal equinox full moon for their pilgrimages so that they could travel by day and night (or only by night if traversing a hot desert), which is designated as Easter.
The photo was an amateurish experiment at astrophotography - I used a 100x telescope and just took a photo of the magnified image in the eyepiece using a regular camera. (Sounds simple but it took 4 people, 45 minutes and infinite patience to get this fuzzy looking image).

Peru - Machu Picchu - 222 Megapixel | Andre Gunther Photography

Ahhh, Machu Picchu!

How many wanderlusts lust for you!

For devotees like us, who can only aspire to visit this indescribable beauty of a place at some point in our lifetimes, a kind soul has created a 222 megapixel zoomable/browsable picture , using a mosaic of 35 high-res photos. This is the closest many people would possibly get to seeing this ancient Incan city high in the Andes. This is probably the closest i would get, though I sincerely hope I would be able to make the pilgrimage some day.


So I recently came to know of this wonderful browser called Flock that's based off of firefox, but has a lot of cool web 2.0 features like blogging editor that lets you post directly, drap-dropping photos into Flickr and an in-built RSS reader, to name a few. Think of it as firefox with a lot of those wonderful extensions built-in. They have a dev version to try out, and apparently they are getting ready for a big Alpha release soon. It is available for Windows/Linux/OS X. I am running 0.7 on linux.

It looks amazing, light, and fast. and the pleasant surprise for me was that it auto installed Flash plugin directly on my AMD64 machine! I think it is a 32-bit version of Flock and that's why flash was set up in a, umm, flash, but I have been proved wrong too many times in the past to have any faith in my assertions myself.

But however it works, it works - i now have a web browser with Flash on my 64-bit linux machine, and that's all i care about! I can now watch youtube, read without impairing my eyesight and am now posting this using the blog tool in Flock.

Way cool.

What She Doesnt Know Will Kill You.

Matt Brochu is a columnist at the Daily Collegian, our (UMass Amherst's) college newspaper. Whenever I pick up a copy of the Collegian and see his weekly opinion piece, I read it without fail - his writing is sharp, insightful and humorous. I recently came to know (old news) that an article by him had become a kind of internet meme, and was so popular that it was mentioned in the Washington Post, apart from being circulated among countless dorm rooms and universities all over the western hemisphere. Unfortunately the article had to be taken down from the Collegian's online archives, but I found many places (blogs) where his article was saved in its entirety. Being a fan myself I decided to give this wonderful article a home of its own, and here's where you can read it.

And the truth shall set you free.

Are Brahmins the Dalits of today?

This thought-provoking article written by the popular Francois Gautier appeared in rediff a few days ago. He raises a pertinent question in light of the recent OBC reservation hullabaloo, and makes his point with studies and statistics, demonstrating how the once upper-caste brahmins are now working in public toilets, railway stations etc., and how their per capita income is way less than the supposedly backward castes.

I am of the opinion that it is not just the brahmins that are affected by the whole reservation scheme. Sure it makes more sense to victimise them because (a) they appear to be the most high-handed and, ironically in a sense, 'untouchable' by the lower echelons of society and (b) because they symbolise Hinduism, as Gautier rightly pointed out in his essay
When they attack Brahmins, their target is unmistakably Hinduism.
when talking about anti-brahministic groups. It is ok to use brahmins as a figurehead in order to propagate the argument, but in a realistic discussion, the other forward castes which are suffering equally, cannot be left out of the equation.

Getting back to the brahmin issue, I found an interesting set of questions on this topic in a forum, and I am picking a few to answer them in my way.

Q.Why do poeple get surprise if a brahmin eats non-veg or takes liquor. Why should a Brahimin by birth follow any discipline? Why should Vedic students who know that the profession does not ean them much of money spend/ waste their time memorising and analysing vedas? Do these students and their parents believe that the society would protect them? If yes, is their faith misplaced?If the social system does not want brahmins and associated system, it should be removed and forget all the rituals, vedas, teaching, mentoring etc. Let brahmins who are committed and disciplined also enjoy their time/life.
When there is no demand for a service, there is no point continuing it.

A. Brahminism is a way of life. Just like every other cultural stream, it has its customs, its purpose, and its failings. The brahmin tradition will continue to grow within those cultural bounds that, by the day, stretch a little, tear a little and mend a little. It may not be as dynamic as some other streams - hence there would not be any radical changes such as every brahmin suddenly discontinuing his/her rituals, but it is slowly changing too. It is also very erroneous to assume that brahmins are doing a service, their holistic practices are performed as a drudgery and that they are not 'enjoying' their life. To brahmins these characteristics are undercurrents in their lives, and will continue to exist, with or without an obvious purpose. This is how they pledge their allegiance to their heritage of their past, how they recognise themselves in the present, and how they attempt to survive the culture for posterity. To change their way of living in order to prove a point (or because it is going unappreciated) is absurd and meaningless.

Thus Spake Linus

This is a very good interview with linus torvalds and where he stands about the whole linux thing. from his responses you can't help but notice how sensible he is in his arguments, and how he doesn't have (at least, doesn't show) strong fanatic sentiments - especially his opinion about the rampant anti-microsoft feelings that seem to characterize (and unfortunately, esoterize) most of the open source community. - Reclusive Linux founder opens up - May 18, 2006
It is heartening to see that he gives due credit to open source initiatives, and acknowledges firefox as another key player. he seems to have captured the basic instinct that drives open source - it is not warm community feeling or general philanthropy, but the desire to show off. show off enough to say you are proud of what you did, but not so egoistic as to not share it with others.
I didn't start thinking I want to give out the source code [for linux]. To a large degree open source was just a way to allow others to look at
this and say, "Hey, this is what I've done -- I'm proud of this."

I am India

a beautiful video from bharatbala productions (yea, vande mataram). could not find any info on this piece, not even on bala's site - i wonder if the music is by ranjit barot...

thoughts after watching the video: this is an India that we don't get to see too often. this is a different India, a positive India, an India that's growing and moving forward, a technological India that appears polished and modern, yet exists as much as the India that is plagued with poverty, corruption, fanaticism, and people like me who sit complacently enjoying the comforts of a foreign land making offhanded, ignorant, pretentious and unwarranted comments.