Monday, November 26, 2007
Finally winter has arrived with a bang in Tucson. There is no sunshine today. I could see faint sun rays, peeking out of the cracks in the clouds. The atmosphere is refreshing.
It is cold out there. Walking on the streets this morning evoked memories of last winter that I spent at various places. A few days in wet and cold Kansas city. Snowy Alta-Sierra in California. Chilling and drizzling days in Sacramento. And of course, first snow of Tucson. Good old days.
I have always loved winter season more than any other time of the year. Most people would disagree with me on this but I really find such mildly sunny atmosphere soothing and pleasant.
Breathing in cool air, enjoying gusto of mild breeze on my face, no other time of the year makes me this happy and cheerful.
Welcome to Tucson, Winter.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The first video here is a lecture by him at a University in Virginia in which he reads some very interesting excerpts from his book 'The God Delusion'. He reads from several chapters and presents his points of view about God.
In this video, starting at about 25th minute, he presents a very interesting experiment conducted on school children which shows influence of Religion on their ability to judge morality of an issue.
Next three videos are of BBC's famous show Hard Talk when Prof. Dawkins was interviewed about the same book.
In Part 1, during last minutes, professor talks about how to disassociate cruel and unjust deeds of people like Stalin who was an atheist himself from the atheism as an idea.
In Part 2, in the beginning, professor puts forward a very interesting point about labeling a child by the religion his/her parents have followed.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Some movies are hyped up unnecessarily without any apparent reasons. An old classic 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' is one such example. I am sure the classic movie lovers would loathe that statement of mine. But I can not help but be honest in expressing my feelings about the movie.
Based on a critically acclaimed novel by Harper Lee with the same title, this movie features in the Top 50 movie list of all times from IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top) at number 46. It is a Black-&-White movie produced in 1962 with the talented star of his time Gregory Pack inn lead role.
The story revolves around a Lawyer who defends an African-American man for the crime that he did not commit. It depicts the severely racist and disgusting attitude of American people at that time. It depicts an African American's plight and humiliation that he had to face because of such racist community. Along with this main theme, it also shows innocent gambol of two little children of this Lawyer and few incidents surrounding them.
Now about the criticism of this movie. First, the director has taken a real long time to build up the plot. The weaving of the tale is far too lengthy and lackluster. I agree that it is difficult to appreciate a classic movie because of lack of technical magnificence of lighting and sound effects. But this movie lacks the grip in the plot too.
The movie is supposed to be a Court Room Drama. And even the book for that matter. But the courtroom scene in the movie is hardly 15 minutes long in the whole movie, which is of the length of about 130 minutes. The dialogues are banal. Acting of all the actors except the two kids and the legend Pack himself are superfluous to say the least.
Though the intelligentsia would demean my opinion by calling it pedestrian because I am unable to appreciate the so called 'Classics', I would stand up and boldly say that I would rather rate movies like 'Gladiator' or 'Cindrella Man' of today's time better than these old movies which have grabbed the place in history as classics just because they appeared earlier in time.
Thus the Thursday never ended for us, instead it merged with Friday without even a single nap. Late night movie - 'To kill a mocking bird' and then early morning on Friday, at 4.30 we left for Tucson Mall. And what we saw everywhere was not to our surprise. Best-Buy, Wall-mart, Office Depot all these big stores had long queues in front of them to get the Door-Buster discounts and gifts. It was impossible to stand in those queues and thus we decided to start the shopping spree from Sears. Everywhere we went, we saw floods of people. American Consumer has waited hard all year long for this day. And the slowing down economy seems to have little or no impact on their willingness to spend. They want to spend and spend hard.
Except for a few good deals, the other discounts were not too attractive. But it was fun to see so many people, enthusiastically shopping at all places as early as 5 in the morning.
As per CNN, the cash Registers all over the country are expected to have amassed $20Bn in this Thanks giving shopping. Indeed a huge amount of money flow. That's the magic of festive season. Just like Diwali in India.
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are eithercharming or tedious.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it isabsolutely fatal.
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination
At twilight, nature is not without loveliness, though perhaps its chief use is to illustrate quotations from the poets.
Biography lends to death a new terror.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter itevery six months
I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elsesopinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
I can resist everything except temptation
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
[News source: www.ibnlive.com]
A supercomputer developed by the Tata Group has been adjudged the fastest in Asia and fourth fastest in the world.
The supercomputer, called EKA, has been built at Tata's Pune facility. It uses nearly 1,800 computing nodes and has a peak performance of 170 trillion floating-point operations per second.
"High performance computing solutions have an ever-increasing role in the scientific and new technological space the world over," Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group, said in a statement.
The rankings have been given by the Top500 Supercomputer Sites list announced at the prestigious SC07 Conference held in the US last night.
India made it to the top 10 for the first time.
[Image source: www.ibnlive.com]
Monday, November 12, 2007
Does God exist because of our thoughts? Or the thoughts exist because of God?
Are we the only breathing animate machines on the third rock from the Sun? Or we are just cells in a giant living organism called Universe?
Is the world around us a suspended animation? Waiting to kick-start?
[P.S. Do not bother to understand the relation between these thoughts. Because there is none. They are the products of a restless organ called mind]
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
They were born on a midnight 60 years ago. Born among tremendous hatred, bloodshed and ruined lives. Both of them were born naked, hungry and orphans. They took the first steps together, grappling with each other. Facing the same problems, combating the same demons of poverty and illiteracy. Both of them saw a lot of twists and turns of fate in their lives. But 60 years passed. And today we see absolutely different pictures of both of them. One is on the brinks of complete ruin and the other one is prospering.
Yes, I am talking about India and Pakistan. It is an amazing and unparalleled story. It sounds like Manmohan Desai's movie where two brothers are separated at birth and then one of them grows up to become the hero of the movie and the other one ends up as a villain.
60 years past independence, India has achieved which no other nation could achieve in such a short time. It is world's fastest growing economy. There are Ambanis and Tatas. There are new generation 'Desi' Technocrats in the Silicon Valley. The entertainment world recognizes Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya and the likes. Vikram Chandra, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth have taken the front seats in the world of literature. Indian doctors feature on the front page of CNN. India is most preferred destination for software outsourcing. It is the largest English speaking nation. And above all, it is world's largest Democracy.
Pakistan has not been this fortunate. Majority of these years it has been ruled by dictators. Militants have found safe haven for years in this country under the auspicious shelter of its rulers.
Today Pakistan is on such a juncture that it is falling in the hands of militants and is in a state of utter chaos. President Musharraf is in a pitiful situation. He has lost control over his own nurtured militancy. He has lost the confidence of US in him. US is pressurizing him to curb militant activities and restore democracy. He had no other choice but to declare emergency in the nation. On the one hand civilians like lawyers and other educated citizens are protesting on the streets. On the other hand, in deserted small villages on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Taliban supported militants are capturing villages, while the police is fleeing these places. It won't be long before the government of Pakistan will be overtaken by these forces, if the government does not take some stringent steps.
It will be interesting to watch the move by US in coming days. Will they allow overthrowing of Musharraf regime? Will they employ another puppet dictator by provoking a coup internally? Will they ask Musharraf to attack the militants?
I am sure the Indian armed forces are keeping their eyes and ears open. I hope the disturbing sequence of events in the neighboring country does not threaten our security.
Long live peace. Long live democracy.
[Image Source: http://www.peacebuttons.info/0528_India-Pakistan-Flags.jpg]
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Photographs depicting emergency situation in Pakistan
Bhutto - An non-negligible force in the political equation
Guardians of 'Freedom' ?
Asif Zardari - Husband of Benazir Bhutto
The common men watching President's speech
The road ahead is full of thorns for the nation
The good old newspapers were in demand when TV channels were banned
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Recreated time and space of 1960s, dim colored visuals, steely background music, intense acting by Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe and as usual exceptional direction of Ridley Scott - these are the characteristics of one of the finest movies of recent times 'American Gangster'.
Based on a true story of drug trafficking scandal in US around the Vietnam war era, this is a story of two men, a hardworking man who reached at the top through wrong ways, and an honest cop who is bent on cleaning up the NY and NJ off the dope and corruption. Denzel Washington plays an African American gangster who rose from being a driver to the top of the drug mafia in NY area. Russell Crowe plays an honest cop who would do anything it takes to keep the police force honest and keep the alleys of NY clean of drugs.
The acting is the strongest point of the movie. Those who enjoy the performances of Washington and Crowe, this is a must watch for them. Those who enjoy good cinematography, they are in for a treat. The recreation of the old times reminds one of the chilling sequences in the movies like Godfather and L.A. Confidential.
Washington has once again given a memorable performance. His bursts of anger, display of steel nerves, cool execution of his rivals and his trademark dialogue in the movie 'Maah Man' are just unforgettable. He has proved again that he is the best.
Crowe on the other hand oozes raw energy in his performance. His action sequences with a huge iron hammer in hand, his irritation and anger at dishonesty in the force, nervousness in his public speech at the jury and full blooded dialogues mark a class piece of acting by him.
The movie is a bit long. Almost 3 hours. But every minute is gripping. The story moves slowly. But you will enjoy every moment. This is surely the 'Godfather' of the new age movies. And L.A. Confidential has no longer the right to be called 'THE cop drama of all time'. Both the movies have serious competition by this movie in the time to come.
[Image Source: http://www.murphsplace.com/crowe/gangster/pictures.html]