Friday, December 22, 2006

the Identify The Photograph Quiz- 3rd Phase

Jem and meenaxi said that this one was drawn by Joy joy fer sure.. but we haven got an answer as to whose hand it is.. Shuchi found this funny for some reason.. Hey Pia!! this is where you jumped in, right!!?

Shauvik took a swing at this one and was pretty close with it's location. But i don'tt think anyone guessed whose arrangement it is.

the Identify The Photograph Quiz- 2nd Phase

And where was this.. Anupam needs a kick in the pompoms for saying this was on the way to Bombay lassi. Meenaxi got this one right. so kuddos to her..

I believe Raj gave the right answer to this one. After all it is close to home.

the Identify The Photograph Quiz

This was the 2nd Q:

This was the first photograph:
If you know where it was taken from post your answer in the comments box

Monday, August 07, 2006

Goin Lonar

The Lonar Crater is supposedy 50 to 60,000 years old and it turns out to be mere 510 kilometers from Mumbai and a 160 kilometers from Aurangabad.
This 1.7 km diametered crater is filled with Saline water and of course has stories of a mythological proportion attached to it. Some say it was formed by the heel of Lord Krishna, others say it's the result of nuclear-scale war set in one of the great Indian epics. Another set of highly educated white coats say a passing rock decided to drop in from out of space and call this home. Either ways, it is humungous and awesome and will be paid homage to, by me, very very soon. Drop in for an elaborate photo feature in a coupla months.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Evolution, the prodigal son of originism

The proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) are opposed by two major forces. One being the orthodox Darwinian scientists, the other being members of the Catholic Church who are promoting the Christian God as the Intelligent Designer.

The Vatican is wielding ID as a weapon to introduce religion in schools as a subject along with the sciences. However, to be fair it must be noted that there have been Jesuit priests who have stated that the study of creationism must be kept apart from the study of science and be discussed as philosophy instead. Rev George Coyne, a Jesuit scientist and director of the Vatican observatory, was quoted by the Italian news service ANSA saying "Intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."

The only way that it could be taught in the same class room alongside evolution is if the advocates of ID presented evidence. ID is controversial because of the implications of its evidence, rather than the evidence itself. In fact there is evidence only of adaptation, nothing concrete for evolution itself, only indicators.

When indications of ID are offered to Darwinians, it is usually brushed aside with an air that it is just a coincidence. If indicators of evolution had been brushed aside in the same way, then we would have never reaped the riches of the by-products gained in the search for that still elusive proof of evolution.

It is sometimes forgotten that Darwin's theory in itself is just a theory, with missing links. Evolutionists walk hand-in-hand with Chaos theorists as they attribute the complexity of life to a coincidence of very many forces that provided an environment conducive to living, which then stimulated life itself.

If evolution was the only guiding force to life, then we could not have attained skills beyond those meant for survival. Then human emotions like crying and laughter along with creative arts like music and painting would have never been born. Love and lust would then have to be classified merely as a natural chemical process to ensure the survival of our genes.

We still do not have explanations for such phenomena and are probably eons away from explaining them. Ancient civilizations resorted to supernatural explanations for the sun and the moon rising in the east. People were thought crazy and rebellious for wanting to sail till the horizon. Yet it was these rebellious madmen who eventually gave us a deeper understanding of the world we live in. These people are accepted today as the great thinkers, explorers and scientists of centuries past.

In the context of the current debate, the delusional whackos attempting to break away from mass beliefs of the scientific community are the patrons of ID. Today people make the mistake of putting a blanket label n all who champion ID. The strongest supporter of ID, the Church, is also the greatest challenge to adding ID to an educational curriculum. All that the opposing atheists can see in the promotion of ID is an attempt by the man-made Church to deepen its roots.

It must be kept in mind that all campaigners for ID have not been religiously inclined and this distinction must be clearly defined. All modern scientists have been introduced to Darwin's theory at the school level. Scientists that eventually came to the conclusion that life was far too complex to to be a mere coincidence.

Dr Charles Thaxton, a physical chemist has been widely credited with re-coining the phrase Intelligent Design (ID) in the 1980s when scientists gathered to discuss the incredible complexity built into the DNA of a single cell. The earliest record of the term ID can be found in an 1847 edition of 'Scientific American' and later in 'Humanism', a book by Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller in 1903. Schiller said that the probability of evolution being guided by an intelligent design cannot be ruled out.

Charles Darwin is known to have been greatly influenced by creationist William Paley's book 'Natural Theology' (1802), among others. In his book, Paley spoke about the inevitability of a Creator. Despite Darwin eventually opposing Paley's ideas, 'Natural Theology' did fuel a huge movement to gather fossils and biological samples. Darwin's work 'Origin of Species' was later released in 1859.

Ironically, by building on the works of a creationist, Darwin's avant-garde position formed a new framework for the study of origins. His theory fought thousands of years of science and philosophy and generated a significant spurt of understanding of a limited past.

Nearly 150 years later the framework has frozen itself leading scientists to many dead ends which are now labeled as 'irreducible complexities' or 'black boxes'. To think out of the box, Darwinians would have to break out of this structure and allow the next generation of fresh minds to study the much ignored patterns of the intelligent design.

A popular and consistent design that has been observed in nature is The Phi. To refuse to acknowledge the significance of Phi (1.618, also called the universal proportion), in the spirals of a sea shell to the lightning bolts of a thunder storm, and the reverence given to it (Phi) by ancient civilizations like the Greeks, Egyptians and Mayans is mere arrogance and evidence of a prevalent Eurocentric approach to the scientific understanding of our world.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Spilt Spagetti

how do you throw away rupees one crore and get away thanking God? after this incident i realised someone obviously did..

It's 6 on a Saturday evening and three friends are driving south on the East Coast Road. the road has the usual weekend traffic and the toll gate guy rips 24 bucks from us and says its ok to go through ticketless. we yell 'happy birthday' and drive on..

the wind criss-crosses between the four open windows, lolly sits in the middle of the back seat and ridhi's head is hanging out of the car like a doggy.. i think her tongue was out too..

a unusually large shaped rolling object is belting towards us with a tottering tail.. the large oncoming vehicle is in the middle of an overtaking as it passes us, thereby pushing us off the road.. we curse and turn around as it passes by us. and in the headlights of the overtaken car's headlight we see a bright red curvy bonnet, with an even flashier silver horse against a yellow background as a hood ornament..

whoossshhh.... that wasn't the speed at which it went past, that was the three of us sucking in air to feed our suddenly excited brains.. our little brains comprehending the fact that that was a Ferrari 360 Modena being towed backwards...

why why why... all anger at the unruly driving of the tower had suddenly

at the height of saturday traffic i pull a huge U on the ECR road, determined to record this this Rs 90,00,000 phenomenon that was being towed backwards.. it costs that much if it were bought in the same country.. few can imagine what import duties and customs amounted to...

so we step on the gas and catch up after nearly a kilometer and the red stallion appears in the headlights of the 1990 maroon Premier 118.. whoosh, again we hear that distant air filling all our lungs..


driving down ecr road on a sunday afternoon, this time sitting in the passenger seat of a 1963 Williz.. with a feeling that life couldn't get better, when a brilliant pair of blue rectangles are darting first left and then right in front of us.. again it was from an overtaking oncoming vehicle...

it turns out to be the halogen headlights of a bright red ferrari.. as it goes by the the yellow and silver emblem leaps forward from its red bed with a sound that can best be descrbied as a combination of hum, whirr and a roar..

as it goes by, the tail logo burns its self on my retina against a trailin blur of red.. my head whiplashes forward only because i can hear more oncoming rumbling... chasing the italian stud were two stuttgart ponies, one blue and one silver..

it was the day out for the chennai brat club... we were green as pond scum..

whoossshhh.. so here we are... the same F360 is facing us and yet driving away from us.. it is now apparent that the damn car is being towed.. the car is still as beautiful as ever... we chase.. i position the 118 for an over taking as i look into the headlights of oncoming vehicles... cameras are out in the front and back seats... rather they're hanging out the left windows waiting for the decisive moment... the gap appears... i pull forward for a couple of closer shots, possibly a profile and of course to investigate why the hell is such a carraige being drawn backwards...

and our eyes blur and refocus, coz somewhere right after the coupe's door the metal is twisted and crumpled and the black innards are displayed to the gleeful voyeuristic world... the rear wheel hung in a manner most unnatural... the rest was just pulp...

the F360, having an rear mounted engine, obviously began to spin at a high speed and came to rest cushioning the cockpit with a 3.6 litre, eight valve block...

after satisfying our paparazzi urges, i cut gear, squeezed brakes and eased the car off the road to examine our prized photos, that are now here for you'll to enjoy or mourn.. depending on how empathetic you can be...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

swimming in the deep end

ahh!!! the site is up.... with a few bad links of course.. but it's up.. far better than we expected.. of course i brag to a friend who is studying applied art in the uk and he says, after a coupla sheepish hukyuks, " Ay, it looks like its from the stone'age man!"... understandable as that's coming from an art student who specialises in graphics, flash and image editing of sorts..

the current news sites aims at being purely functional. still waiting for that break out idea to pop up... the new delivery vehicle.. sure, i think we could have come up with something if we were a little more equipped with flash, besides those tutorials that come built into the software..

the coordination of the group seemed to be a problem, getting endless divisions of labour to function between two computer laboratories was quite a task.. instead of having a door in the wall that's shared by the two labs, we had to run between the lab doors which are an impractical distance apart...

so why don't we all just sit in one room right!!.. well most of the times we just can't fit, the rest of the time people can't uproot and move from their absolute favourite computer in their absolute laboratory in the whole wide world... even if they're one of two people in that room when the prima chunk of the team sits in the other lab...

whats with the unneccessary sentimental attachment to any computer... of all the things a machine... sure they've found their reliable jalopy or a particular software installed there.. but it brings down the efficiency of things by many many pegs...

where's the practicality... we found ourselves chatting over the net between labs... imagine that... our communication first travels many many miles electronically after changing forms over five times till it registers with the recipient... and most of the time the person you're hoping to warn of a template update isn't there to recieve it... so you have to run run run... damn some people got more exercise in those two weeks we worked on that site than in the past eight months..

a day before the site is due, nearly 30 pages ( out of nearly 250) just decide to disappear along with our style sheet.. the style sheet is the file that ensures all fonts, borders and background are in place... panic and a little delirium breaks out... people who saw the stylesheet from birth had a sort of distant glazed look... (or so i thought)... we all imagined rebuilding the style sheet and rechoosing the fonts and re-inserting the borders with their appropriate thickness.... and then going and reapplying where neccessary... all this had to be done within eight working hours...

as vivek our story editor quoted "the horror, the horror"...

so we're running back and forth, informing the bosses about our tragic losses, looking for the pages on the back up server, looking in everyones recycle bins, control+V= software vomiting into empty directories... but like a morning after a heavy heavy drinking session you churn and churn and try to spit something out, cause you're sure it's there somewhere... but nothing appears, just sounds of excruciating frustration...

thankfully our graphics man gopal had a back up copy tucked away somewhere... we recovered over 60% of the stylesheet from his slightly dated copy... but the 30 pages were still missing .... then the vellore team gets into high gear and churn out over 30 pages in 40 minutes.... in that panic efficiency had bounced to a new height.. it did leave us with a feeling of awe of what we can achieve under pressure... fukkin amazing...

try this link for the site - - be sure to visit the photo galleries which was well coordinated by sai ram.... this section displays the most amount of individuality in those 250+ pages... even though we had to stick to the colour codes for backgrounds.. the option to use our own fonts for captions were a real breather..
also the about us page on a little detail on constructing the site... penned by ace photgrapher ridhi.... check out her weaver's photo feature in the kancheepuram gallery... others to look for are shobhita's and byravee's in vellore... my tribal children feature on the top left of the page isn't too bad either...... look for videos in the anaikatti section... yes they are mine and am particularly proud of the shorter one...

did trek many kilometers alone for that one... and lost my way too.... after taking the shots and fleeing down hill, lost in a sense of accomplishment i lose my way.... but having a decent sense of geography and geometry... it's all coool

but as of now, we're dying for feed back... i would love to find those links i missed... am bloody sure there's none... people come up to me and say they stumbled across one... but i haven't found it.... find it and let me know