Tuesday, February 28, 2006



Andrei Tarkovsky
's Russian answer to Kubrick's 2001. Stunning, blinding if not anything more.

Not often do Sci-fi movies have sentimentalities, and not often is it hard to delineate a sci-fi flick from the chaff. Yes, Solaris (or Solyaris) is definitely sci-fi being essentially based upon Stanisław Lem's novel of the same name. However, forget the light-sabres and the detonating explosions - if you ever needed a cult-sci-fi movie, this was it.

The initial part winds on and on, being extremely delectable and despicable at the same time. Amazing shots (esp. for the time) of the traffic winding on, the house, the narration bearing little-to-no significance to real story that is to unfold gazillions of miles away. Anger at overwhelming liberties taken and amazement at shear shot-angles and characterizations. Then the idiots walked out.

Cut-to yellow, single-big-bulb-sticking-out space station, near the astounding living-organismic planet of Solaris. Intense, passionate exchanges amongst crew. Our hero Kevin, loves the image-unreal 'wife' Hari who has materialised onboard, gets emotionally attached, fights moral battles of epic proportions, with himself, crew members and Hari. Some scenes of extreme, elucidatory philosophical and philological battles, brilliant birthday party scene and Hari-comes-back-to-life scene. Annihilation, grief, despair. Cut-to back to earth, self-introspectory hero and retrospective end, with a twist.

All in all,

Fantasy? yes. Science fiction? mostly. Entertaining? maybe. Excruciating? - definitely. Worth-it? Hell, yes.

(awating comments on the GC attempt)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Online Quiz - Chakravyuuh 2006

Hello everyone - I had conducted the 6th Annual COEP Open Quiz - Chakravyuuh. Here are a few questions. Please leave answers in comments.

Here goes..

1. ‘Achilles and the tortoise’ is the most famous one, which says:
"In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead."

Other famous ones include:
"That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal.”

"If everything when it occupies an equal space is at rest, and if that which is in locomotion is always occupying such a space at any moment, the flying arrow is therefore motionless."

Zeno's (or Xeno) Paradoxes

2.X is a famous character, which is allegedly based on Y, though this claim is vehemently denied. Y had an arrangement with bandleader Tommy Dorsey, due to which Dorsey owned virtually owned 43% of Y, for life. Allegedly Y strong-armed his way out of this contract, with the alleged involvement of Y’s mentor Willie Moretti. This incident is one of the major points of similarity between X and Y.

X- Johnny Fontaine, Y - Frank Sinatra

3.The poet-editor William Cullen Bryant and the landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing were increasingly worried about the problems engulfing their city. Hence they made a request, which gained widespread support. To actuate their plans the architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux were from 33 submitted in competition for a $2,000 prize. What resulted?

Central Park in New York

4.The Coriolis effect is an apparent deflection of a moving object in a rotating frame of reference and is named after Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis, a French scientist. A famous application of this effect is X. X was the first dynamic proof for the rotation of the earth (aberration of starlight, stellar parallax etc. being the ones before) in an easy-to-see experiment, thereby creating a justifiable consensus in the everyday world.

Focault's Pendulum

5.Her first name comes from the Latin for ______ , and it probably represents absent-mindedness and unconventional patterns of thought, since in ancient times the ____ was thought to induce insanity in people. Her second name is the combination of ____ and ______, two extremely positive words, which somehow seem a bit amiss to describe her. Another theory is that she gets her last name from Elliot _____ Grant Watson, who wrote numerous books highlighting the insufficiencies of Darwinism.
Name the character.

Luna Lovegood

6.Though the French alphabet uses the same characters as English, their individual
pronunciations are often different. So the letter R is pronounced with a distinct ‘e’ mixed with the ‘r’. Also the letter ‘g’ sounds a lot like the letter ‘j’ in English. What is the significance?

This is how Georges Remi(RG) became Hergé.

7.Around the turn of the century, seven brothers of the ________ family immigrated to California from Italy. Working together, they made strides in aviation by inventing the first enclosed cabin monoplane. Later around the 1956 one of the younger members of the family, 8yr old Kenneth _______ developed an arthritis problem. So they came up with an innovative therapy pump to help relieve his pain. This son realized the product’s potential and it has since gone on to become this company’s flagship product. What company?


8.Complete this definition proposed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

A person with ________ is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.


9.It is common practice for partner companies of Unix to name their companies so that they indicate an alliance. One such company was a particular German company (insignificant), which was sued by The Albert _____ Corporation for copyright infringement. What seemed to be the problem?

Blank is Rene, All these companies used the -ix suffix, thereby upsetting the creators of Asterix.

· A county in Scotland, birthplace of Sir George Murray.
· Robert _________, 4th earl of Buckinghamshire.
· Lord Thomas Townshend _______, a former Home Secretary.
· A former PM and close confidante of Queen Victoria in her early years.
· Consort of the British king William IV.
· Baronet Sir Thomas Makdougall _________, soldier and astronomical observer.
· 4th placeholder in BBC's list of 100 Great Britons

All cities in Australia.(Perth, Hobart, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin)

11.Fill blanks.
MIKE: Who has an itch to be filthy rich?
LIZ: Who gives a hoot for a lot of loot?
MIKE: who longs to live A life of perfect ease?
LIZ: And be swamped by necessary luxuries?
MIKE: _____________________
LIZ: I don't.
BOTH: And I don't 'Cause all I want is you.

Who want's to be a millionaire

12.It was primarily formed as a Sikh suicide squad to rebel against the Mughals in late 17th century. The members were also called as 'nihangs'( persian for crocodiles- a name first used by the Mughals for their own suicide squads), and wore a distinctive blue uniform. What?

The Akali Dal

13.He is considered to be one of the early proponents of a scientific approach to agriculture. He helped transform agricultural practices by inventing or improving numerous implements, the most notable being the seed drill, which he invented in 1701. He advocated using horses instead of oxen, invented a horse-drawn hoe for clearing weeds, and made changes to the design of the plough which are still visible in modern versions.

Jethro Tull

14.Joseph-Ignace _______ , was a French doctor and member of the National Assembly. He was unhappy with the way something was done, and wanted to introduce precision, accuracy and elimination of human errors/intervention. Hence he invented the ______ , though contrary to his wishes, the human element still remained.


15.Rain Ruler and CODA are two programs to do something. CODA is the one that is officially used and is not available in public domain. The other however is a copy of this technique and is available for free distribution. What do these programs do?

Calculate scores by the Duckworth-Lewis method.

16.Advertisement for what ?

" illeniu "

it just isn't complete without ____________



The Scarlet Pimpernel

18.Its ironic that most people can't identify this person in this form. Here he is playing 'Uncle Fester' in the Adams Family TV series in the mid 50s. Who ?

Jackie Coogan (The Kid)
19. What ?

The Spread of the Great Bubonic Plague (Black Death)

20. Few lines from a print ad: Fill in the blank.

Kaun Hai Yeh ___________?

_______ saw you flirting with the new girl in marketing.
______ knows you play Solitaire on the computer.
______ put a firewall on your Yahoo messenger.
______ could be standing right behind you and watching you read this.

Hari Sadu


Raghavan Sarthy - 10
Amit Pandey - 3
George Thomas - 12
Ajay, Chris, Kanishka and Sangita - 8
bongopundit - 12.5
vijay kurhade - 4
Shreekanth Reddy - 17
Ravi Handa- 13
Ramesh Shananth - 3
Suraj - 6
Varun - 2

(Also a multitude of anonymous answers, which have been published in the comments section.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Chakravyuh 2006

I am organizing the annual COEP Chakravyuh Quiz Event. Promises to be a lot of fun. So if you are in and around Pune, and even if you have some urgent work, now you know what to do.

Chuck it.

Details :
Venue : COEP Auditorium
Saturday, 25th Feb.11 Am.
Open Quiz, team of two.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Credit, when it is due.

I know Padma Shri. Sania Mirza sounds awful, but here is one man who fully deserved the honour. And now, The Economist, profiles his work - quite an honour for an Indian civil engineer. An area, methinks more underdeveloped than women's tennis in India. Wot say?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Worst Design Award

(Material for Seinfeld. See previous efforts 1 , 2 .)

What is it with the ice-cream spoon ? You know the small flat one, with a curved end in a shape of a real spoon's shadow. Why does it have to be that way ? Can't they give it a bit of a curve ? You know, you're all in the mood to have that Nuts-and-Raisin , Mango Seasoned Sundae and he brings it in that big glass bowl - with that stupid flat spoon. "You can have as many as you want Sir, but we refuse to give you curved spoons. It has to hit the roof of the mouth while you eat it, that is how an ice-cream has to be enjoyed." Oh, I see!

Even if they hadn't thought of it before, they can change it now, can't they ? I refuse to accept that the ice-cream churning out community in India is clever enough to make waffle-cones in chocolate flavour but utterly incapacitated when it comes to making curved spoons. My claim is that the only reason why these spoons should even be allowed to occupy the fast diminishing space on shop-shelves is because millions of nursery school kids depend upon them to make small pretty little huts. You know in craft class they have to stick these sticks on paper to make villages and that sort of thing. That, my friends, is the only reason why these little fiends should be allowed to survive on the face of this planet!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Simply Brilliant

Mark Steyn a columnist for The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES has this quite brilliant article about the storm in the the Danish tea-cup incident doing it's rounds. Here is a nice excerpt.

Denmark! Even if you were overcome with a sudden urge to burn the Danish flag, where do you get one in a hurry in Gaza? Well, OK, that's easy: the nearest European Union Humanitarian Aid and Intifada-Funding Branch Office. But where do you get one in an obscure town on the Punjabi plain on a Thursday afternoon? If I had a sudden yen to burn the Yemeni or Sudanese flag on my village green, I haven't a clue how I'd get hold of one in this part of New Hampshire.

And here is another.

Jyllands-Posten wasn't being offensive for the sake of it. They had a serious point ... The cartoons accompanied a piece about the dangers of "self-censorship" -- i.e., a climate in which there's no explicit law forbidding you from addressing the more, er, lively aspects of Islam but nonetheless everyone feels it's better not to. That's the question the Danish newspaper was testing: the weakness of free societies in the face of intimidation by militant Islam.

hat-tip : instapundit.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Big Break

(Material for Seinfeld - 2. See previous here.)

Nowadays every channel you zap to, there's this big red banner at the bottom - 'Breaking News'

Any second, any hour of the day, any channel, there is a news breaking. Breaking here, breaking there, thick and fast - what I am I to do, 'A widow is getting burnt, bus rates in Bombay might go up' - don't know all the breaking news. What am I to do ? There's just so much breaking news!

And by the way, why do they call it breaking news anyway - is it breaking out of a cocoon, or does news come out of some convoluted, journalistic vortex hidden somewhere in the layers of space-time."Hey don't go near that building, a news is breaking there. Yup, that's it - it's just completed it's incubation period,it's
just peeking out - should be out in a minute. Shhh! don't disturb it."

And what is it with the bus rates in Bombay. They've not even gone up, for heaven's sake. They 'might' go up. How is that breaking news? I'll tell you what that is - that's broken news, you can't break it again. Sorry - I broke it, yes bus rates in b'bay - they 'might' go up any time now -that story - that was MY big break!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

My Last shot at boosting hits.

If Emran Hashmi is a serial kisser, then who is a parallel kisser ?

Thanks to Kunal T for the joke and Gaurav for suggesting its post-worthyness.
As for the title, I believe the two most popular things in India after Himesh Reshammiya are E#Me and cheap SMS jokes.

The answer :
(highlight the following portion)
-- > [Ravana.]

I know engineers will enjoy this joke better.

(PS : Check out the all new, Boat Club Quiz Club website.)

Friday, February 03, 2006

My Double-Casting Couch

After Ramanand puts up his nominations for his triplets, here comes my own uttar in an unchartered pradesh. However there seems to be a bit of a voice problem, damn!

(PS : Also check out Ravi's excellent post profiling the Hindu's decline. I wish I could have seen how amazing the 'old' Hindu might have been.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Yeh bandaa kuch din ke liye vyast rahegaa . .

Yes - this is the disadvantage we young, college bloggers have to some other generally jobless people.

We've got exams.

and soon.

(PS : If you're in and around bangalore this is one place you should be going.)

(PPS : also to note Quiz-O-Mania at VIT, Sat. 11:30 am)