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Thursday, February 26, 2009

It may be just a rumour ...

... but the electronic market was abuzz that, following Mobilimp's decision to donate cellphones to the deaf, electronic giant Sohni will donate TV sets to the blind.

Before mocking the telco's initiative, please understand that there's method in their madness: These are non-working sets!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Save this guy!


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Monday, February 23, 2009

We Interrupt This Blog For Some Breaking News ...

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Hey folks. Sorry for the disappearance ...

... assuming you missed me at all. Ups. Downs. Events. Crises. The usual fortnight: SNAFU! (If you are too young to know what that stands for, go look the abbreviation up. Err ... not if you are too, too young, though. In which case you shouldn't even be on my blog.) Through all this, several posts have been brewing, too. Some are still in my mind, some on my trusty old MacBook Pro. But there just hasn't been time.

Anyway. Starting with a brief post tonite - just an image (not that it took less time than writing a post would have) - I hope to work on a couple of posts over the weekend to conjoin and share some of the more pleasant experiences I've had. Those interested in Urdu will find them of greater interest, since two of the three events (and the memories they brought back) are centered around that language. And I promise some delicious --- brief but appetite-whetting --- audio clips. Soon.
Meanwhile, here's a sneak-peak at the cover of the sequel to our favorite bad boy's album, Clash Ka Khauf, released earlier this month.
Keep on the lookout for the songs on your usual piracy websites. Two of my fave tracks are: Bum Maaro, Bum and Zabaané Yaaré Mann Tharkee.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yayyyy. It's Darwin Day!

This blog is not to enter into the age-old controversy. It's to celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest minds that ever lived.

Happy Birthday, Charles!
One hundred and fifty years after the publication of one of the most important books in human history, the debate rages on. The criticism or fear of something, without having even tried to understand or know about it, is hardly a POV that needs to be even considered worthy of discussion or debate. But it deserves a mention, only because it turns up often enough. The best (and most recent) example I have come across of this stubborn and disturbing attitude - disturbing because it was voiced by someone I thought was a sensible person. This is what she said: I really haven't given too much thought to this theory, I just firmly don't believe in it! Wow! I guess this is the kind of person Oliver Wendell Holmes (Jr.) had in mind when he wrote, "The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract." Then there's that delightful 'just-a-theory' brigade.
JUST A THEORY? According to the United States National Academy of Sciences... Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.
A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than "just a theory." It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.
The other big issue - at least among many of the people around me - is the feeling that, since many of the atheists must believe in Evolution (after all, they have no one else to credit for Life), the whole Evolution enterprise, itself, must be an anti-God, anti-religious ideology and needs to be shunned offhand. Hmmm. Most atheists I know also believe that the world is round, but I don't see anyone refuting that. Well, almost anyone.
Larson's excellent book, Evolution - The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory, opens with this quote Darwin.m4a and, thus, sets the tone for what follows in this up to date and wonderfully readable work. Listenable, too: an audio-book version is now on sale at T2F. Do buy it. And if it's sold out by the time you make it there, order it from them. It's worth every penny.
But, if you are unfamiliar with the theory (10-to-1, it's not what you've heard it is!), Google Charles Darwin and get to know more about his dangerous idea!
Among those who deny Evolution, there are Creationists, in various flavors. Some believe that Earth was created 6000+ years ago, some who think that humans and dinosaurs lived concurrently and even interacted, and some who believe that fossilized bones were 'created' as is, in order to test us.
None of these clowns, however, convinced me of the flaws in Darwin's ideas as did this part of an email from someone (who, admittedly, reads a lot of Harun Yahya): The question I have is then for all Darwin's greatness and stories why has this evolution stopped all of a sudden? If it was a continuous process then that factor should not have gone away - it should have kept occuring. Then why do we see natural births and not have babies coming to us as apes or from apes ????
Damn! Damn! Damn! Why didn't I think of this? 

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Word Clouds

This is just a "yooñhee" post, so skip it if you wish.

I was woken up - at just past 4AM!!! - by the sounds of some guys emptying their guns (hopefully [not] into each other ... I am feeling ambivalent!) and decided to while away the time doing something that didn't require much thinking.

Choosing the last couple of posts of the three bloggers I follow regularly (though, sadly, only one of them is prolific), plus an older one of my own, I decided to generate "word clouds", using Wordle. In all four cases, I used the very first option presented by the application after hitting the 'Randomize' button. Here are the results:

Waste of time? I think I've found a couple of interesting ideas about using these in classrooms. Maybe I'll share them here some day, once they've taken better shape. Feel free to suggest some that come to your mind.

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