Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Interviews

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Find the Connection?

Compare the following two beautiful songs. One English and one Thamizh.

And then Kamal Hasan's debut song

If you want to know the connection between the two songs watch the below video from 1:44th minute onwards

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Direxion's Latest

In case some masochists werent satisfied with the highs that FAZ and FAS gave here is more

Direxion is at it again with triple-leverage ETFs. If you love trading the financial stocks for triple leverage via the Direxion Financial Bull 3X Shares (NYSE: FAS) or shorting them with triple leverage via the Direxion Financial Bear 3X Shares (NYSE: FAZ), then you have some new trading vehicles to use for bonds. You can now be long or short the US 10-Year or US 30-Year Treasury Bonds.

Direxion Daily 10-Year Treasury Bull 3X
Shares (NYSE: TYD)Direxion Daily 10-Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares (NYSE: TYO)Direxion Daily 30-Year Treasury Bull 3X Shares (NYSE: TMF)Direxion Daily 30-Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares (NYSE: TMV)

These were all very thinly traded so far, but they are probably unknown to almost everyone. It will be interesting to see how these
trade once the FOMC does not have its near-Zero rate policy on the short end of the curve and when there is a big economic number move.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Section 49-O

Apparently you need to vote to tell the election commission that that you don't want to to vote for anybody.

Does the Election Commission think that 55% polling attendance is vague data that is ambiguous or hard to read into? Do they think that the other 45% are desperately trying to vote but are missing out because they get into last-minute car accidents, emergencies, miss the deadline, don't have fingers (so can't put that ink) etc.?

Imagine the voter, who thinks this is cool. Its like you walked from Madras to Thirupathi and then walked up the hill to Thirumalai, waited 15 hours in a queue - just to tell cheenu that you are an atheist and you aren't interested in praying to him.

P.S: This may be old news for people who follow politics but I just found out about it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Nowadays we are compelled to watch a cinema with an assumption that "this may look stupid to me but the C center guy in Nagercoil may like it". The 'C' center guy in nagercoil is probably thinking "this looks ridiculous. Maybe the Chennai guy will like it". On the whole everybody appreciates the movie in the hope that some common denominator village idiot may ultimately appreciate it. Ayan is kind of a movie where the director decided to have a conflict-diamond-smuggling theme a'la Blood Diamond, Die Another Day - but did not know how to frame a story around this theme with a beginning and an end. As a result we don't know why the villain (played by a ridiculously funny looking actor) exists and what is it about Surya that upsets him. The entire second half you are left wondering if the movie has already ended (or) whether it will end at all.

It is hard to understand how this movie got good reviews. Masala genre has been devalued this decade as a result of Hari and Dharani movies. So this movie appears to be better in contrast. If 'Vel' is a hit then Ayan can be a hit. However, I am curious as to what the director and film crew discuss behind the scenes. Do they go "this scene is ridiculous, illogical, and complete nonsense but I think people are idiots and so will like it". Most of the movie is illogical and kind of buffoonish. Thamizh movies still have not developed to the point where they can have "google" "chemical reaction" or sightly technical terms appear in a dialog without the audience laughing their ass off.

The whole love sequence between Surya and Tamanna is laughable. Cinema characters seem develop 'lauve' in a peculiar way. There was a sequence in Congo that has been shot well. One can overlook the fact that they've tried to clone Casino Royale's opening scene. Outside of that every scene was plain ridiculous. Some scenes, such as the ones where the villain goes to Surya's contacts to offer his services is poorly executed and looks amateur. Did the director assume that any villain is bound by law to put angry face, speak fast and shout at everybody? And we still have hero jumping up and flying ridiculously above a truck and fall on the other side of the truuck. dei thirundhungada. idhellam oru padam. Headache.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yesterday's Banana

That success, for most definitions of it, is a function of time is obvious. However, for people who grew up believing things like "failure leads to wisdom" - certain details about it are hard to digest. Contrary to what many proverbs indicate, the experience and perspective developed over time from past failures has rapidly diminishing rewards and usefulness. The world is programmed to favor people who get it right the first time. So the best wisdom one can gain is - you have to get it right the first time. And by definition such wisdom can only be gained from other's failures. Because it is hard to be an old man with too many failures. Now you have huge accumulated wisdom that is largely useless. Unless one is planning on using that wisdom in a parallel dream world, where one plays back life events to structure very convenient endings for a flattering self image.

Many events in life has sand draining fast out of a time piece. If you can't piece together all the information, make the correct decisions, nail the details and get it right now then post-mortem discussions of what you would do if the opportunity came knocking again is academic and useless.

1. Yes 'exceptions and rules' related fundas apply.
2. Follow-up to
this post

Monday, April 06, 2009

Desi Mating Patterns

I love those National Geographic shows, where they show bears and ants coming out of hibernation. The ant hill looks sad and desolate during winter. Suddenly, summer arrives and there is extraordinary activity with all kinds of ants moving up and down the hill, doing a variety of tasks. The dawn of spring in North America signals the end of hibernation of desi homosapiens. The activities that they do after jumping out hibernation gives us a hint of what they were doing while in hibernation.

The first creature that swims out of the desi apartment ant holes are the visting-from-India parents. Dressed in full-hand blue formal shirt, brown formal pants and white sneakers (those big Power sports shoes) the desi father is an intimidating figure. Nice shirt and pant. But by god! those sneakers does make it a killer combination. Add to it the monkey cap and a sweater - they now look like a cross between Saambasiva Bhagavathar and Frankie goes to Hollywood. The desi mother is a frail bespectacled creature with a saree and white sneakers. The more advanced ones have an ill-fitting salwar that is so tight near the feet that the white sneakers begin to look like claws. They too have a monkey cap and a sweater. The whole sneaker thing and its relationship to the desi father is considered a special subject in many universities. Specialists claim that the desi father must secretly worship a Ramarajan cult, which requires them to use sneakers in conjunction with those pants. Amazingly enough their kids don't talk to them about that. The kids simply open the cages and the parents go out, graze for the day and came back home at dusk.

And they walk furiously.

Imagine this. You get on a sidewalk and you see a gang of Indian parents armed with monkey caps, sweaters and sneakers charging at you - what do you do? It must have been quite a fright for the unaccustomed. Once they catch you then you will be attacked with questions like "I am from Udumalaipet near Coimbatore, do you know Guru Subramaniam from Madras? btw what is your salary? Green Carda?". I have been asked questions by puzzled natives such as "do all Indian people walk so much? Is it a custom? Is it part of religion?". I watch TV for long hours and don't walk. I do not know why the parents walk so much. Come April and you can see herds of parents purposefully walking in circles. Its like their thing. Thats what they do. Indian dads also have this amazing ability to ogle at American women. America, is what I call, a full-breasted country. The country is filled to the brim with breasts. Left, right, on the sidewalk, in the mall, Starbucks, grocery shop - you have breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts and more breasts. Sometimes it feels as if people have to tip-toe and walk sideways between breasts on their way to a movie theater. All dads notice these breasts. The breasts are there - the dads cannot miss them. But visiting Indian dads make it look cool. My favorite past time is to notice an elderly Indian gentleman in a mall. The slithering quick look he gives south of women's face is so quick that you feel like sitting down and taking notes.

A common sight on a sunny weekend day, in touristy spots, is the visiting Indian parents accompanied by a pregnant woman (who is naturally their daughter/DIL) and her husband with a camera. When the sun is out and these ants start coming out, you suddenly notice that the females among the desi species are pregnant. This was so not the case when they went into their winter hibernation. Have you noticed that most Indian women deliver kids between March 1 - to - Sep 30? Its like they took a compass, kept the sharp tip on the sun and used a pencil at the other end to darken one half of the earth's orbit. They looked at the darkened half and said "the highlighted part is when I will have kids". The highlighted part of the earth's orbit is what the rest call summer. That's the season when the parents can come from India and do the Douala stuff without being inconvenienced by winter. So this brings to focus - and this is important - the part of earth's orbit that is not highlighted.

This is when the action happens.

One can easily conclude that a lot of action happens in the desi bedroom after Oct1st. The Indian household really gets 'jiggy with it'. That crucial period is like the Vulcan mating season that occurs once every so many years. If it can make Spock act funny, imagine what it would do a bunch of horny Indians. One can be certain on the time frame when the Indians would be the most distracted. Now you may point out a few desi couples who delivered out-of-cycle. Those few couples are the rebels. The kind who postpone having a baby for N years after marriage. However, what these few rebels fail to realize is that they were born to a much smarter breed of people. Once the elders from India grow tired of dropping the "poozhu, poochi and visesham" related hints - the parents of the boy and parents of the girl huddle up and hatch a plan. They form a task force type army and one set of parents are given two chariots to lead this army to battlefield America. That chosen set of parents come charging like knights in white horses to Amerikka, invade their kids house, and light a fire to perform a yagna. The burn the contraceptives into the yagna and lock their children in rooms for indefinite period of time until the horny desi guy has no choice but to multiply. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the modern day putra kameshti yaaga.

Friday, April 03, 2009

New Visualization Technologies

Microsoft Research has been looking at how one can convey far richer information by combining multiple visualization technologies into a single, holistic, interactive experience, with added support for annotations and narratives.

A prototype virtual tour of the Sri Andal Temple has been built that, for the first time, integrates technologies such as Photosynth and HDView, opening up new ways to interactively explore visually complex sites. These technologies are combined with audio, video and guided walkthroughs, to provide a compelling end user experience.

The accompanying video highlights the key scenarios of our prototype which was created using WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation).

Hawkeye's Side Note: The Srivilliputthur Temple gopuram is the Official Symbol of Government of Tamil Nadu.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Top 10 Ideas of John Buchanan

Kabali Times, April 02, 2009: Due to error caused as a result of trying to plant useless messages for public consumption - the hotel staff slipped a copy of John Buchanan's diary under the door of Kabali Times reporter. Also found along with the copy of his diary were photographs of John Buchanan & Dilip Vengsarkar in several compromising poses. The diary entry lists 10 ideas developed by Buchanan to improve cricket. The following are those 10 ideas reflecting the brilliance of his lateral and futuristic thinking.

10. Ambidextrous 3rd Umpire: In the futuristic world, an ambidextrous umpire would be able to click the "OUT"/"NOT OUT" button either with his left hand or right hand. In case a referral happens when the 3rd umpire is using his right hand to drink lemonade, talk on the cell phone to bookies, shave his beard, or goof around with a PlayStation - he can quickly use his left hand to deliver the decision.

9. Magnetic Pitches: Players play on pitches that has magnetic properties. The ball has an embedded object in it also with magnetic properties. At the moment the ball pitches on the wicket it can do one of two things (a) stick to the wicket or (b) get repelled by the pitch (due to dynamically changing pole orientation) and simulate a random bad bounce. The unpredictability introduced to the situation will make cricket all the more exciting.

8. Blinking Floodlights: This innovative idea simulates a disco dance floor inside a cricket stadium. The rapid ON/OFF switching of floodlights would mean that the players, fielders, spectators and batsman can barely sight the ball. The increased suspense and unpredictability gives the coach more options and allows him to implement various strategies.

7. Auto Shut Helmets: Modern technology that totally covers the batsman's face and shuts out all light from outside. Consequently, the batsman's world becomes very dark. This serves two purposes. (a) The batsman can shut himself out to a period of intense concentration and when he reopens the helmet the ball will be bright and visible. (b) The bowler has 3 PowerOff play options . This is a play where the batsman has to shut his helmet totally and face 1 over for every PowerOff Play

6. Yo-Yo Balls. This technology involves a elastic band. One end is tied to the ball on the other to the bowlers hand. The bowler runs up and delivers the ball. The ball teases the batsman by appearing to come towards him but suddenly retreats back to the bowler. The bowler can optionally slip in a yo-yo delivery after bowling a few normal deliveries. This tests the skills of the batsman to reach out and hit a ball that is actually rapidly going away from him. The bowler now need not worry his line. A new skill call "recession point" will come into play where the bowler will start to make the ball recede away from the batsman at an optimum point. This optimum point will ensure that the ball slightly touches the bat before receding completely back to the bowler and it recedes at a pace that allows the ball to comeback to the bowler without pitching again.

5. Wired Abdomen Guards. This technology has two wires extending out of the batsman's abdomen guard to touch his scrotum. There are 3 controls to this abdomen guard. The Umpire has one control and can press the control when (a) batsman shows dissent and (b) has played out more than 2 maiden overs. Since 3rd umpire is ambidextrous they can zap the batsman and at the same time browse porn in their 3rd umpire's monitor. The bowler has a control pad. The bowler can either bowl one bouncer per over or press this control pad to zap the batsman's balls at the time of delivery. The batsman has the third control, which he can press to zap himself back into concentration.

4. Short-Leg Y.G.Mahendra. As a special request erstwhile comedian Y.G. Mahendra has made a secret pact with John Buchanan to help stimulate activity in the cricket field. Y.G. Mahendra serves two powerful purposes (a) stand at forward short-leg and tell jokes to the batsman. The consequent brain damage caused to the batsman will make the task of concentrating and batting a challenging task. (b) Opposition teams can use "Zen & Y.G.M." to practise intense tolerance levels. The coach can have YGM talk to a batsman for several hours. This will improve the batsman's tolerance and patience levels so much that batting all 5 days of a match will look like child's play.

3. Jack In The Pitch Batsman: The batsman does stand at the crease. But instead of above the pitch, he stands underneath the pitch. Exactly at the time the bowler is on his delivery stride, the section of the pitch near the striker opens and the batsman pops out via a hybrid spring technology. How the batsman manages to hit the ball while flying up is exactly where his skill is tested.

2. Disappearing Bowlers: The bowler wears clothes that uses light absorption technology based on properties of a black hole. The bowler disappears at the start of the run-up and then re-appears at the point of delivering the ball. The consequent surprise at the delivery point, combined with the bowler trying to zap the batsman's balls as the batsman is popping from underneath the pitch is sure to be a glorious cricketing moment.

1. Multiple Umpires at each end. In what will revolutionize cricket we will have 5 umpires at the non-strikers end, 3 leg umpires and 3 off-umpires. Each of them will give their own decision for every appeal by the bowler. Not only that - they will call their own wides, no-balls, and bouncers. In case of conflicting decisions to a bowler's appeal a dynamic algorithm will calculate the weighted average of (3 * Main Umpire + 2* Leg Umpire - 1/2 * Off-Umpire). Phase-2 of multiple umpire situation will involve multiple bowlers bowling to one batsman. At that time if N represents the number of bowlers appealing and M the number of bowlers not-appealing the decision will be calculated based on nCn-1 (N ^ 2)(3 * Main Umpire + 2* Leg Umpire - 1/2 * Off-Umpire) - d/dx (1/Sqrt(M) * 3 * Main Umpire + 2* Leg Umpire - 1/2 * Off-Umpire)).