Cinephilia

The world cinema is finally at a stone’s throw for everyone, that too for free (well, almost). And if this proclamation doesn’t amaze you, let me add one more word- legitimately.

Here are a few top players in the game.

UTV World Movies:- UTV has really emerged as the timely savior of the so called parallel cinema in India, with production initiative ‘UTV SpotBoy’ responsible for producing movies like Aamir; Welcome to Sajjanpur; and forthcoming projects as Dev.D; a film by Majid Majidi; & a joint venture with Virgin Comics (now Liquid Comics)! And if that was not enough, it has started its own world movies channel called (rather unimaginatively) UTV World Movies. One of the ongoing programs in the channel is- 50 Movies To See Before You Die, which features favorite movies of Anurag Kashyap, Mahesh Bhatt, Tanuja Chandra and Manoj Night Shyamalan, with their commentaries.

NDTV Lumière:- Lumière is the French word for light and may refer to Lumière brothers. The service is a digital cable channel, a DVD rental and also plans to periodically show hard to find movies in multiplexes in various cities across India. Their movie vault is indeed impressive. The service also has a blog at PassionForCinema.com

Jaman:- I had discovered Jaman about an year ago, and thought of it as yet another sleazy movie-rental site, only a bit ostentatious. But boy! I was wrong, when a random recent visit amazed me by how much it has grown in a year; and an excellent site architecture is a treat. It has become a sort of the place for Indie movies & shorts, and also offers a lot of free movies and pretty cheap movie rentals. See, for instance, the NFDC productions page.

Palador:- Although Palador attempts to establish itself as a guide to ‘world cinema for dummies’, it has still not penetrated enough to be treated so. Nevertheless, it introduces some novel cine experiences with its pedagogical offerings such as World Cinema Collector’s Box Set. Quoting from the site- their library of acclaimed cinema is being taken to Indian audiences (urban and rural) via an integrated distribution model that covers a DVD label (with Moser Baer), theatrical releases, video-on-demand and a dedicated television channel. Many of these deals, including a deal with Tata Sky, Zee Studio (currently on with 26 movies for 26 weeks), IndiaPlaza.in, ICICI, CitiBank and Axis Bank among others, have been successfully executed.

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Published in: on November 2, 2008 at 12:41 am  Comments (7)  
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Of late…

Of late I’ve been realizing things. Yet again.

Well, this is the same ol’ life, which, in case you forgot, sucks.

Of late I haven’t been shagging much, and still change my underwear regularly. They are really cozy, and expensive. All I think about is that when I’d take a shower and change my underwear. Shit man, how was I so indifferent toward underwears till now.

I feel like writing a treatise on underwear philosophy.

Little things, no matter how much you ignore ’em, matter. After all they have weight and occupy space.

Of late, I’m not seeing too many movies. They don’t make sense to me anymore. Not even the hyped avant garde. They have all become monotonous and how!

Of late I’ve been living quietly and behaving prudently.

……….

Shit man! This didn’t actually happen. Fuck!

……….

(after one hour, still lying)

Fuck! Fuck! Fuckkk!

……….

Of late, I’ve been realizing…

… I was neither off nor late!

[inspired by a true dream sequence]

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 12:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Indiyeah

English Wikipedia today cites 4 India related headlines out of 8.



Published in: on October 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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H+

Update: the comprehensive Hplus art homepage.

Checkout this new ravishing online transhumanist webzine, edited by Mr. R. U. Sirius!

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 12:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mathemagical Steam

[From the archives of a quiz conducted at Engineer 2007, NITK]

A quiz about History of Mathematics & Men of Mathematics– by SatyaVrat, Nanga Fakir, Nitesh Kumar. Answers are invited in the comment section.

1. We’ll start off with an easy one: Highly respected card and tricks magician, one of the greatest recreational mathematicians, known for his outspoken sceptic nature towards junk and pseudoscience, writer of very famous long running columns in Scientific American, whose anagram is the title of this quiz. Identify the name of column and the mathematician. (No marks for column identification only).

2. Many regard Gauss as the greatest mathematician of all times, but Gauss maintained these three as the greatest- Newton, Archimedes, and _________ (a relatively unfamiliar name, recognised for his work in Abstract Algebra).

3. X= (1-Δ.s)+ Δ.Tx is the equation that is the core of perhaps the most ubiquitous algorithm today. It will not be an exaggeration to say that most of us eat, live and breathe this algorithm. What is it?

4. This great mathematician, who did brilliant work in logic & theoretical computer science, died a very unusual death, i.e. by eating an apple (that was cyanide coated). Can you name him?

5. Connect- UCLA Math Major/ Fred Savage/ ‘How I met your mother’/ “Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin– Teller models on Z.”

6. They say that even the greatest logician is after all an ordinary mortal. So there was this man, and amongst his delusions was the belief that unknown villains were trying to kill him by poisoning his food. For this reason, he would only eat his wife’s cooking, refusing to eat even his own; this, in particular, would cause him to starve to death after the death of his wife. Can you guess who are we talking about?

7. Studied particle physics in Cambridge, worked in CERN, author of widely acclaimed bestsellers related to mathematics, and is presently a popular TV/radio broadcaster in Britain. He has been popularizing science and mathematics and his book ______ is perhaps the only book ever about mathematics that grabbed the no. 1 bestseller spot in UK. Also awarded the prestigious Order of the British Empire and sports a Mohican haircut. Identify the guy.

8. “… suddenly, totally unexpectedly, I had this incredible revelation. It was the most important moment of my working life. Nothing I ever do again will mean as much … it was so indescribably beautiful, it was so simple and so elegant, and I just stared in disbelief for twenty minutes, then during the day I walked round the department. I’d keep coming back to my desk to see it was still there – it was still there.”
Identify the speaker & put funda.

9.

Widely regarded as Einstein’s successor in the role of greatest living physicist, he is also a brilliant mathematician & is called the father of modern string theory; works at Institute of Advanced Institutes, Princeton. You could have spotted him in the series ‘The Elegant Universe’. Identify.

10.

Born in Kanpur, he did PhD under Paul Dirac, fellow of Institute of Advanced Institutes, Princeton, an IBM-von Neumann Prof. there, FRS. A famous Indian institute is named after him in Allahabad. Can you guess who is he?

11. Although one of finest pure mathematician of century, got recognition for very applied field. Invented board game Hex, said to be a sexual fanatic and gay (part time gay, we mean!). His biography is considered to be one of the finest ever written. Identify.

12. American president Garfield one of the few American Presidents who was assassinated, gave an alternative proof of this famous theorem. Can you guess what theorem are we talking about?

13. This movie is said to be inspired by the life of Ramanujan, the screenwriter admitted in an interview. He subsequently picked up the Oscar for best screenplay. Name the movie.

14. This man, when on an evening walk with his wife, suddenly got struck with a thought and fearing that he might lose this, wrote a few equations on a bridge nearby. Later this formed groundwork for one of the most far reaching mathematical discovery. Who was the man, and what did he write?

15. A renowned Indian professor, known for his contribution for a famous Number theory algorithm, considered by many to the only revolutionary work to have come out of India in the recent past, was awarded Clay Maths Award recently. Name him.

16. One of greatest mathematician of 20th century, his name resembles with another (even greater) mathematician. Largely worked in solitudes/prison, did pioneering work in algebraic geometry and number theory. Spent 2 years at Aligarh Muslim University in 1930, was keen in Sanskrit literature. Any guess?

17. Connect- A.I./ Stephen Hawking/______ Tilings/ Chess Grandmaster/ Knighthood.

18. Ralph Alpher, Hans Bethe and ______ were regarded as the α, β, γ of theoretical physics in mid 20th century. γ is also known for a cult book on popular science and was awarded the “Kalinga” Prize for popularization of Science by the UN. Who is γ and name the book?

19. FRS, Padma Vibushan, outspoken Brahmo Samaj follower, he did pioneering work on anthropometric variations and large scale sample surveys. He also laid the ground works for one of the most renowned Institutes for original research in India and was also a good friend of Meghnad Saha and Satyendra Nath Bose. What Institute was set up by this guy?

20. Some people are mathematicians, some are actors, and a few are both! Well, there has evolved a ranking system to measure the greatness of these guys, in terms of a natural number-the lesser the number, the greater the guy is. What is this number called?

21. 6174 is X number, 9999 is X constant. X is the name of an Indian number theorist. Identify.

22. “Physics, as we know it, will end in six months.” Well, we all know how false has this statement, said in the beginning of this century been. But no offense to this great theoretical physicist who would get so swayed away by his then fundamental breakthrough as to utter it. Who is the guy who said this and was proved completely wrong?

23. There is a game in which you have to choose between 3 identical doors, behind one of which is a grand prize, and others contain nothing. Once you have chosen a door, the host open one of the remaining doors, behind which he knows is nothing. Then, he asks you if you would stick to your door, or would you rather swap. What would be your best strategy? Put funda. And can you tell the name of this famous problem?

24. The fiction book written by this 19th century writer, who is well famous even today, became so popular that the Queen of England asked him to present the first copy of his next book exclusively to her. Although her order was followed, but, to the bewilderment of the queen, the next book was titled-‘A Synopsis of Algebraic & Transcendental Equations’. Can you name the guy?

25.

यथा शिखा मयूराणाम नागानां मणयो यथा |

तथा वेदांगशास्त्राणाम गणितं मूर्धिन स्थितं ||

(As are the crests on the heads of peacocks, as are the gems on hoods of cobras; so is mathematics at the top of all sciences.)
Name the source (Hint: An ancient Indian scripture).

The Return of Virgin Comics

Virgin Comics returns, with a fresh name and fresh project. The new name is Liquid Comics, and they have some sensational plans ahead.

Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 12:50 pm  Comments (3)  
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PhD Resolutions

From the blog of a student researcher at IISc.

See here.

चिहुंकना फिर फिर से…

चिहुंकना फिर फिर से,
और सिसकना सारी सारी रात फिर…
ज़रा सा खटका लगा नहीं कि ढह गया घरौंदा जैसे
कभी कभी ही होता है जब शाम नम नहीं होती.

मज़ा तो ये है कि मजाल है कोई आए!
गमक यही है, और शायद ये चिहुंक भी यही,
और जब कभी मज़ा नहीं तो उसकी आरज़ू ही सही!

चिहुंक- चिहुंक के तार तार हुआ जाता हूं,
सिसक- सिसक के भी बेज़ार हुआ जाता हूं,
कसक पुरानी है- चिहुंक से भी, सिसक से भी!
(हां, जिए हैं कई साल भी; हां, किया है थोड़ा कुछ भी)
(…………………………………………………..)
इन ब्रैकेटों के मुग़ालतों की दरकार हुआ जाता हूं!

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 12:55 am  Comments (2)  
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Quick, who brought the Computer to India?

Sidheshwar Dug points out that it was Amitabh Bachchan’s Trishul where the word ‘Computer’ got mentioned in a Bollywood dialogue for the first time. That was way back in 1978.

Quoting from his post,

विदेश से पढ़कर लौटा युवा उद्यमी शेखर गुप्ता(शशि कपूर) अपने दफ्तर में काम करने वाली युवती गीता(राखी) को जब कई दफा ‘कंप्यूटर’ और ‘मिस कंप्यूटर’ कहकर संबोधित करता है, तो वह एक दिन कुछ खीझकर पछती है कि तुम मुझे बार-बार कंप्यूटर-कंप्यूटर क्यों कहते हो? उत्तर में नायक बड़े उत्साह से बताता है कि विदेशों में एक ऐसी मशीन आई है जो बेहद जल्दी और फुर्ती से बिना कोई गलती किये जोड़-घटाव-टाइपिंग जैसे काम चुटकियों में निपटा देती है, वह भी बिना थके.

See here.

Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 11:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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UCLA discovers greatest Prime

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, a quest to find the 10 million digit prime using parallel computing power through internet is won by a UCLA group, on a network of 75 computers running Windows XP!

See here.

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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अंतर्दर्शन

हताशा से एक व्यक्ति बैठ गया था

व्यक्ति को मैं नहीं जानता था,

हताशा को जानता था

इसलिये मैं उस व्यक्ति के पास गया

मैंने हाथ बढ़ाया

मेरा हाथ पकड़कर वो खड़ा हुआ

मुझको वो नहीं जानता था,

मेरे हाथ बढ़ाने को जानता था

हम दोनों साथ चले

दोनों एक दूसरे को नहीं जानते थे,

साथ चलने को जानते थे.

विनोद कुमार शुक्ल

Published in: on September 21, 2008 at 6:26 pm  Comments (1)  
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The first LHC smashdown

India’s contribution to the LHC hype. Reportedly,

A girl in India has committed suicide after watching TV reports that a physics experiment could bring about the end of the world, her family says.

See here. I can only wish that the poor girl had read my last post, and then she would have known that even if her convincement (or the convincement spoon fed by Indian media) were true, its best to die the LHC way!

Run LHC Run!

Large Hadron Collider starts its full fledged test run today, at 9:30 a.m. (Western European Time). What a milestone man! Its really cool to see such grand collaborations in action. And what great astonishingly astounding theories it attempts to test- extra dimensions, theoretical predictions of time travel, among others.

But whats really interesting is the hype and the social impact it is making. Almost everyone who cares to even glance over the news is aware that in some isolated facility called CERN, there is this incomprehensibly named machine set to start testing some fantasized-by-many-but-pursued-by-(almost)-nobody stuff. And never before has humanity seen doomsday concerns with such geeky angles. Micro blackholes, strangelet disaster, vacuum metastability, etc., there have been lawsuits filed against, and bets offically announced to claim the end of the world. I find it completey ravishing. (If you are reading this stuff for the first time, quickly read this before you piss in your pants). Man, we have grown up! haven’t we? From geeks’ cupboards to scifi to pop culture, the big science has finally crept on to the breakfast tables.

It is a blissful moment; and for me, even if the world somehow does end, it is the moment worth dying for! And if the world has to end like this, it will surely end without a whiff! It will just be absorbed in the wormhole (or whatever does it). No war, no pains, we will all just cease to exist. It will be the ideal moment to unexist even for the most hardcore realist, as not only the individual, but everything which is out there will be gone. Nobody will be there to loose (or gain) from your death. No mournings, no unsatisfied deathbed wishes! We, all we know, this earth, and much beyond (I’m not sure of the technical extent) will be extinct! And considering the grave dangers we are already facing, its possibly the most peaceful scenario for us to leave at a time when humanity is past its puberty and still not sincere enough.  So even if the doomsday predictions make any sense, I don’t give a damn, and wish LHC a great run.

Published in: on September 10, 2008 at 5:23 am  Comments (1)  
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SatyaVrat

What does it mean?

here + here.

How do you know there is a truth out there?

I don’t. It may not be ‘out there’, or ‘in here’. It’s more of a personal thing.

‘Vrat’, hmm. What is your agenda then?

Who cares, it’s just a fancy name. It may not make the world a better place.

Yawn…

That was to appease the cynics. I do want to make the world a better place.

Really?

Oh yes. You see- when there is no point, things are pointless, aren’t they?

And how do you now what the point is?

The minimal purpose of the point is to avoid pointlessness. Beyond that, I am not assuming anything.

Are you a believer?

Very emphatically NO.

That’s contradictory!

[Warning: bombastic words] I am a reductionist, but not a greedy reductionist. I like to think that I am a meta- reductionist.

So why say it out loud?

Well, to make this damn idea more robust; to bring some justification to the inner turmoil; to see if there are others out there; and for the heck of it. Internet is full of extended (if not altered or exaggerated) personalities. See this and this.

So you are aware that it’s all charade?

“It does not matter now that in a million years nothing we do now will matter.”- Thomas Nagel.

Still, is it all interesting enough?

It, for one, is a pretty good anti-depressant. See here (scroll over the video and click on ’10: Depression…’).

So, what are your plans?

You shall see.

I am impressed. I wanna try such thing too.

Sorry you can’t sign up! Do anything at your own risk 🙂

Published in: on September 4, 2008 at 1:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Highest Day of My Life

Education… ethics… MOrality… eXistenCe… hUMann… knooleGG…

errr… booom… boooooooooom…

shoooooooooonnnnnnnnnnya…

Published in: on June 29, 2008 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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