January 22, 2006

Fun….

Search engines: Google, Yahoo and MSN.

So, whiling away sometime I am trying to have some fun with these search engines. Seeing how their english is compared to mine and etc etc. MSN is the funniest! I am browsing from a sun workstation, and using firefox – suddenly I notice MSN has a link DESKTOP on the search bar itself. Google doesnt have one nor does yahoo. So I thought I will search using the desktop link…..Sure they think everyone in the world uses MS only. Click that link and you will be taken to “Download MSN Free” for windows only!

We know microsoft – they love to love themselves. I didnt want to stay back either. Another funny thing about the MSN search. It has two buttons – one local (Beta) and another Near Me! I dont know what is the difference. Moreover why is one in Beta and another not?

I heard Virtual Earth is good. It truly believes the world is flat! Or probably all these coders read Thomas Friedman!! Oh come on MS – do better!

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January 8, 2006

Missing women of India

500,000 infant females die every year in India. Read this article on BBC. A random guess: every year has a little over half a million minutes. That is every minute there is one girl child in India who is being killed for various reasons. It doesnt happen in my family, I guess is no more the excuse.

Take a look at the figures: CensusIndia
Before we blame the rural masses about this one …. take a closer look at the Census India pages – “It may be seen that the child sex ratio in the rural areas at the 1991 Census was 948 and at the 2001 Census it stands at 934. On the other hand child sex ratio in the urban areas was 935 in the 1991 census and this has come down to only 903 at the 2001 Census, thereby exhibiting a sharp decline of thirty-two points in a decade. In other words the decline in child sex ratio in the urban areas of the country is more than two times than the decline seen in the rural areas.” And oh yeah, do compare this map – literacy map of India

December 26, 2005

ONE thing FOR INDIA

This year has seen India suffer the effects of several natural disasters – the tsunami, torrential rains and cyclones and the Kashmir earthquake. With your kind support, Association for India’s Development ( A.I.D.) has been able to play a useful role in reconstruction efforts. As we enter the Season of Giving, we ask ourselves: What about the millions of needy Indians in places which didn’t suffer from natural disasters?

Neju and Koshy of Vimukti continue to work with the Dalit women in 15 villages of Raichur dist. of Karnataka, building livelihoods through community farming and terracotta jewelry as well as protecting land rights. The Rural Technology Resource Centre started by AID-India in the Orissa-Andhra border area is training villagers in making inter-locking bricks, embroidery and organic farming. A.I.D. is supporting about 100 such projects in various parts of India.

We appeal to you to continue your generous support so that these efforts can continue in 2006, and even multiply. AID’s regular projects need more than $500,000 every year, and these funds come from individual donors like you. Please make a donation – one-time or periodical – through our One For India campaign: www.oneforindia.org

You can also send the One for India E-cards and Tell a Friend feature on the website to urge your friends and family to donate. You can be the drop that creates a ripple and culminates into a wave of courage, commitment and change.

Several key projects have been showcased on the One for India website. Soon, you will also receive our newsletter Dishaa, as well as a special Tsunami Rehabilitation newsletter.

Volunteers of A.I.D. wish you and your family an enjoyable holiday season and a happy and successful new year. Let us share our holiday joy with our partners – the people in villages and city slums in India.

December 19, 2005

Ubuntu and Intelligent Design

Woke up my laptop from hibernation – it had slept for long and decided to try something different. Redhat was boring – 3 CDs to install. Who would take the pains? Saw a copy of Ubuntu 5.10 lying around. So popped it in. It is nice, sleek and has fortune! What else do I want?

So started playing around with various utilities….realized one by one many things are still broken. Fine, that is what is open source. Cant sink my palm with it, cant run wireless …. well the wireless card is one of the oldest… probably can make a lot of money for its vintage value….Got DVDs and CDs to play right. Can mount and unmount USB devices easily. And then it gets tricky – I hate those who make devices which need specific drivers for USB? USB was supposed to get rid of this precise problem.

And while I browse the news section I noticed, the Intelligent Design judgement. Going to be fun watching O’Reilly tonite!

December 9, 2005

Fast for Justice

My friends, Brunda and Somu are organizing a fast for justice. Manjunath – another fellow from, yet another prestigious IM was shot dead. Satyendra Dubey was killed last year, he was another IIT person.

Probably corruption has become a part of our lifestyle and we dont let go of it easily. Guess what most of us forget is, as long as we give, there will be people who will take. Dont give and what will the takers take? And dont take bribes, what will the givers give? At least, step by step, drop by drop – there are more people who are inspired by these folks and stop participating in corruption. For heaven’s sake – Satyendra and Manjunath gave their life for it. We should at least follow their path.

Can you take a pledge, “na lenge, aur na denge”? FastForJustice.blogspot.com. I will be there tomorrow at the Gandhi Statue, with my friends.

December 6, 2005

Physics is Phun

Ok probably it was not when I was in high school. Nor is it still. It still scares me. But it does challenge the brain.
Enjoy some questions from the UMD Physics department.

Now this is indeed funny.

November 27, 2005

Headaches…!

Yeah yeah, they have been there. Havent complained for a while, probably:) Or guess not.
Well one thing I feel is, discomfort in any other part of the body probably is OK. But probably I am wrong. Now how do I run about keeping track of my headache? It is always there, no matter what I do and what I dont do. Has been tough to track it all along, anyway. What was there to track it? Should I change the food I eat? My habits? What to change?

November 17, 2005

From the first long run to the long run!

So started in Sep 1st week, all would have been fine if I had run with the marathon trainers on a regular basis. But committments on saturdays to many other things….this wasnt easy. Sep 24th – was anti-war protest/peace march in DC, in the evening was Amjad Ali Khan concert….so well no running the capitol 20miler on 25th Sep. Oct 8th was Shobana’s concert …. and the next two weeks were spent on that….apart from regular work. And bam – we go back home from Shobana’s concert – to yet another sad news – an earthquake in Kashmir. Sadness again.

Of course, the very next weekend of my first long run in early sep, I knew I wont be able to run Baltimore Half-Marathon. Marine corp marathon doesnt have a half-marathon. Nevertheless I went to practise for a long run, the runners planned and successfully finished 14.1 miles. A week later, I went to run again….this was a taper down run….8miles. I quit after a mile, because I didnt know why to run. I could do a lot many things than run…

And it turned out, instead of running, I found a spot for the marathon….a week later. I might get a confirmed slot on monday or tuesday. And there you … I jumped on it and took it up. All along, I had been working with groups trying to reach to survivors in Kashmir earthquake. The response from people at large, who are really passionate about Kashmir but didnt do much for the survivors hurt me – I took up the challenge. I had made promises to keep, long before I go to sleep…. It was unbelievable. Some were shocked, some were mad and many thought I was crazy. But I ran…not for me, I hope I got a couple of smiles back to faces in Kashmir… I hope I achieved what I started out for…till then the medal I got is useless.

And the best part …. friday before the marathon … all the runners and friends in our sweet time, decided to go for dinner …. well Brunda found a job in NJ and was moving out….so, we went for dinner….came back at midnight and then watched sholay …. at 4am we slept….any of our coaches knew this before the marathon….they would have been mad! With less than 32hrs from the marathon – we are watching sholay instead of sleep!!!

But who cares….we did it

November 10, 2005

From the MCRC…to running my first long run

So I started. I could hardly run 0.1 miles, till my room mate told me not to run as hard as I was trying to. He mad me run a mile non-stop. A big achievement. I was running on some ugly running shoes….I hardly ran two miles, I hurt myself badly. By then I had decided I would bike instead of run.

So for the next one month or so, I would bike along with the runners. I biked some 20 miles on weekend runs, shuttling between runners, giving them water and gatorade. Of course discarded my old running shoes as soon as I got hurt. Boy did that hurt – dont know the technical terms but never will I run with those shoes again.

I went to a running shoe store, where I was told that – running shoes should have space so that your foot can expand in the run. And for my foot pattern, I needed some stablity shoes….whatever that meant. Essentially I have high arches and I needed support for them. So there you $80 for the shoes.

At times I tried to run with these folks on tuesdays and thursdays. These were the strength building runs and the speed runs. Sort of builds up stamina. I was planning to run at least 4miles with one of the folks on the marathon day.

Come september long weekend, I planned to go on a long run with the folks. For heaven’s sake these people ran on the long weekend – talk about committment! And so did I – for a little over 2hrs. Totally tired and totally elated! In hindsight, probably this was the most tiring run!

November 4, 2005

The training program and the MCRC

My friends started the marathon training in May sometime. Every tuesday, thursday and saturday. So the funda was – you run the long runs on saturday and you should be running what you ran on tuesday + what you ran on thursday.
Tuesday and Thursday were special workout sessions – hill training, speed training, etc – all designed to build up stamina for longer runs. Since I was never a big fan of running, I never joined them.

In July end, there is a race called the ‘Railey’s rumble’ organized by Mont. County Running Club (MCRC). It is a half-marathon. I volunteered to drive my friends there and cheered them all the way from the start to the end. I had positioned myself at 4 mile marker which also doubled itself as a 9 mile marker. It was fun! I was amazed to see so many runners – running for fun, literally. And they were all running 13.1miles!

The following week, I went again as one of our partners had requested help for water support. I didnt mind, so I went. But what impressed me was the committment these folks had to come every saturday morning and run for so many miles! Effectively the weekend is gone – since they are running for the first time, and anything longer than 10 miles …. you get tired, that is the first time you are doing such a mileage. No doubt the committment of these runners inspired me to run….