Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Quote on Education

I encountered this quote on education "It has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought -- that is to be educated. -Edith Hamilton, educator and writer (1867-1963" and thought how our Indian educational system (at least majority of them) is woefully inadequate. Enormous stress placed on rote method is saddening. It is nice to read about alternate methods of education being tried out by some visionaries.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sufi Poem

Sharing a warm Sufi poem by a great Persian Sufi poet Shiraz (1315 - 1390).

I Have Learned So Much

So much from God
That I can no longer

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim
A Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me
That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, and angel
Or even pure

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed

Of every concept and image
My mind has ever known.

Translated by Daniel Lazinsky.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Frog Species

Nature never fails to spring a surprise on us. I just read this news item about smallest frog species found in Borneo. Read on :

Researchers on an expedition in Borneo have found a new and very tiny species of frog.

Male adults of the new species, named Microhyla nepenthicola, grow to approximately one centimetre in length. The researchers first discovered the diminutive red and orange amphibian on an expedition to Kubah National Park in 2004.

They have now described the discovery in the journal Zootaxa.

The team found the frog when it emerged from a small pitcher plant, Nepenthes ampullaria, in which it lives. The plant lives off decomposing organic matter that collects in its deep pitcher-shaped cavity. The little frog uses this as a habitat.

It lays its eggs there and when the tadpoles hatch, they live in the gathered organic goo until they mature.

Apart from its size, the amphibian has some unique features that set it apart from other species.

The scientists believe that its miniaturisation and "reduced webbing" may be the result of it having to navigate the slippery zone of the pitcher plants on which it depends.

Scientists Indraneil Das from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, and Alexander Haas from the University of Hamburg in Germany, discovered and described the species, which they named after the plant.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Espacular Nonversation !! !

Wonder what does it mean ? Check this link out


The Man Who Refused Million Dollars

Mathematical geniuses, few of them, have an eccentric quality to them. Our own Indian genius, Srinivas Ramanujan, always attributed his genius to Namagiri Thayar at Namakkal, his family deity. Now we come across a Russian genius, Grigory Perelman, who has proved a tricky conjecture but has refused the award. He has become reclusive and lives with his mother in St. Petersburg. Here is a link on him http://rbth.ru/articles/2010/07/07/the_man_who_refused_a_million_dollars.html

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Chennai

Every year on August 22nd, Madras Day is observed. Let me wish great times ahead for my favourite city.

For more information, click this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madras_Day

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vuvuzela enters Oxford Dictionary of English

Vuvuzela, the much encountered term during FIFA World Cup this year, has entered the Oxford Dictionary of English. Here is the newsitem From Telegraph:

Along with other new words like tweetup, cheeseball and turducken, it is included in the third edition of the dictionary, published today (August 19, 2010).

The word vuvuzela has only been in common use since the summer when the long horn began to be heard at the World Cup matches in South Africa.

It is one of more than 2,000 new words and phrases included in the dictionary for the first time.

Other newcomers include: tweetup (a meeting arranged through Twitter); cheeseball (lacking taste or style); and a turducken (a roast dish consisting of a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey).

Two of the greatest influences on current language have been the internet and the financial crisis.

Paywall (which restricts website access only to subscribers), microblogging (posting short entries on a blog), netbook, viral and defriend have all arrived in our language because of the internet.

The financial world has also provided a host of new words including toxic debt, deleveraging (reducing debt by quickly selling assets), overleveraged, quantitative easing and staycation (a holiday spent in your home country).

Many of these were words that, in the past, were only used by economists and City experts, but which have now crept into normal parlance.

The world of national and global politics has contributed a number of new words and phrases including exit strategy, the fog of war, a surge (of troops), overthinking, catatrophizing (presenting a situation as considerably worse than it actually is) and soft skills (personal attributes that let you interact harmoniously with others).

Scientists have provided words connected with the climate. Carbon capture, carbon storage and geoengineering are all ways to help fight global warming.

Other new entries are :

* wardrobe malfunction : when someone exposes an intimate part of their body after clothing slips;

* chill pill: a notional pill to make someone calm;

* bromance : a close but non-sexual relationship between two men;

* LBD (little black dress). This refers to the simple evening or cocktail dress that, it is claimed, should be part of every womans wardrobe; and

* frenemy : a person that one is friendly with despite a fundamental dislike.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


As the beautiful vale of Kashmir is yet again in flames, I am reminded of a poem by Agha Shahid Ali.

We shall meet again, in Srinagar,
by the gates of the Villa of Peace,
our hands blossoming into fists
till the soldiers return the keys
and disappear. Again we'll enter
our last world, the first that vanished

in our absence from the broken city.
We'll tear our shirts for tourniquets
and bind the open thorns, warm the ivy
into roses. Quick, by the pomegranate-
the bird will say-Humankind can bear
everything. No need to stop the ear

Let us hope peace prevails in Kashmir and Kashmiris hearts are won over by peace and not by guns.