Saturday, October 29, 2005

207 effing million!!!!

Its official! King Kong will be released in a kong sized 3-hour version and the final official production budget will stand at 207 million dollars!! Read that again. Two Hundred and Seven Million Dollars! That makes it the most expensive movie ever made in hollywood - and that pretty much means on the planet. And even though Kong is no longer the most anticipated movie of next few months for me (having been surpassed by Good Night and Good Luck solely on the strength of its great trailer and a bit of background research that the trailer made me do), I'll still most likely see it the weekend it releases.

I know that's not saying much considering that I'm going to see Goblet of Fire on the day of release too. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

ToI Redux?

I came into the office this morning (which, as most of you already know, is quite rare) and ended up clicking a link that took me to the TOI homepage. Before I could realize my mistake and take evasive action the page loaded (was it faster than usual?, maybe...) and I was pleasantly surprised (shocked, I should say) to see a different page than what I was expecting. A sleeker look AND absolutely no sexed-up tabloidish celebrity news among the 7-8 headline pieces visible on the main page. AND no childish slide presentations put together and presented as cricket stories. What has the world come to?

Has something major happened in ToI headquarters or am I probably being a bit too optimistic?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Slashdot has this article about Martian crust having residual magnetism that seems to suggest that Mars had some tectonic activity/significant magnetism in distant past, making it even more Earth-like at least during some part of its history. As usual, the comments on the article are much more interesting than the article itself. Sample this:

Someone commented, with a title "Aliens?"
Seeing as how we do not behave exactly like every other animal, would there be a way that we could have come from Mars? Perhaps Adam and Eve were real and the first couple to come.

to which someone else replied:

Nah. Eve was faking it.

Heh! :)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Slow on the uptake?

Times of India finally catches onto the little Gandhi "newspiece" I had posted about a few days ago here. I am sure that article is on the Nobel Foundation website for years (considering that the relevant documents were made public in 1998), but its only now that one of the college kids working for TOI realized it. Just like I did while browsing their site reading about the Peace prize. Or, maybe, someone at TOI reads my blog for news!!! :)

I wouldn't be too surprized if that turns out to be true. Of late, TOI has taken to browsing the net and copy-pasting stories from other sites. I wonder what happened to all of its reporters/journalists? As of now it seems the staff of TOI consists solely of high school graduates doing perpetual internship at TOI offices.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Oh, the bleeding heart!

Few people write as beautifully about cricket as Harsha Bhogle does. And its not the phrases, similes and just the language in general that makes it such a good read. Its the fact that in every word you read, you can practically see his smiling face. He pours his personality in his articles. They don't have the feel of a newspaper article anymore. You can almost feel his passion for the game. Maybe its because that is how I percieve him. When I think Harsha, I think this guy who speaks with more sense about this game than most people and yet behaves as any other excitable fan would when talking to the legends of the game. Trying to learn all the time. Very humble, very respectful and VERRRY much in love with the game and with his job.

That is why it is so much painful to read his latest piece in Indian Express. For once, you don't see his smiling face when you read the words. You can see an aching heart. Harsha puts into words exactly what I am feeling right now. Read it here.

The Noble One.

Nobel week is here and three awards have already been announced. Medicine, Physics and Chemistry. And amazingly, the accomplishments of medicine and chemistry laureates are quite easily understandable to anyone with a high-school science background! Can't say so for physics though. But then, if ever there's a Physics Nobel given for something that the lay-man can understand, it will probably have to be for some astounding breakthrough in our understanding of nature. Not for a breakthrough in about 20 people's understanding of nature as it seems nowadays. :P (just kidding!! :D)

Peace Award will be announced in a few hours. So, I was just browsing the Nobel Foundation Website and ran into an article about that old mystery - Why was Gandhi never awarded the Peace Nobel? Its an interesting read in its entirety. There are many things that I did not know. For example, Gandhi very likely didn't make it in 1947 because of a speech he made a few weeks before the Nobel committee's decision. Also, in 1948, he would very likely have got it had he not been assasinated before Nobel committee's meeting. I didn't know that no one was awarded the Peace Nobel in 1948 because there was "no suitable living candidate". For all I know, all of this might be common knowledge but I didn't know much of what is written in the article. Read it here. It'll be well worth the time spent.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


To me, very few things can surpass the sheer awe-inspiring nature of a total solar eclipse (TSE). Well, maybe I should say very few non-astronomical things. But then, most of those awesome things aren't as accessible and in-your-face as a TSE is - assuming that you have been at the right place at the right time.

I am sure there are things like watching a tornado pass by, or if you are lucky enough to be close to the eye of an enormous hurricane and survive. Things like this are awesome too but probably not as benign as a solar eclipse. There are superstitions which tend to make people feel a little discomfort when there's an eclipse, but if you get over that discomfort you can't help but be fascinated by the sheer beauty of it. AND feel extremely lucky to be given this opportunity to see a simple heavenly play of light and shadows. Lucky, because it is so incredibly unlikely to have a moon that is almost exactly the same apparent size as the sun. somewhat bigger (or somewhat closer) and the moon would've covered the corona to a much larger extent making the picture much less beautiful. A little smaller (or a little further away) and we would never have seen total solar eclipse, and even the best technology would probably never have made anyone realize just how beautiful a dark sun in a dark sky looks with only the stars and the sun's corona shining overhead. Not to forget the amazing "diamond ring" that we are treated to, which wouldn't be possible with a smaller/further moon.

An annular eclipse occured two days ago which inspired me to post this. APOD has an amazing high-resolution pic of this eclipse. See it here. But, again, TSE is TSE.. no annular eclipse can match it. sample the following pics... courtesy NASA and Luc Viatour via wikipedia.

Monday, October 03, 2005

What the hell is that???

Look at this! SUCH a weird surface. Goes to show you can ALWAYS expect the unexpected when observing new things in space. This little sponge-like thing is a moon of Saturn, called Hyperion. More power to NASA!

An interesting bit of trivia: Hyperion is probably the only moon in the solar system with a chaotic rotation, which means that its extremely difficult to predict when and from which direction the sun will rise next!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A short story about madness.

Smile on his face. Heart thumping in the chest. Dagger in his back
pocket. Long walk down the aisle.

"You may now kiss the bride", he heard. He kissed her. She felt his
dagger. He felt her gun.

Six men pushed them inside the room and locked it.

"Have a great married life!" chirped Mahendra.

Was tagged to write a story in less than 55 words by Ratna!! :) Thanx to BCCI, didn't have to think much!

Update: I guess its not really fair to expect everyone to know what this was about. Some of the readers don't follow indian cricket news at all. Some of them aren't even Indian! So, for all of them, this story was about this. And the title was a weak reference to this and this.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A romantic comedy called "The Shining"!!

I have never been a great fan of the horror genre in general. But, as I like to say a lot, a good movie is a good movie regardless of the genre. I have seen only a handful of movie that have anything to do with horror, but among them The Shining shines the brightest. If there is any genre that has been plagued with cliches it has to be horror, and yet The Shining is as much a Stanley Kubrick movie as it is a horror movie. In fact probably more so. And a Kubrick movie is almost the exact opposite of anything that can be called cliched. One of the earliest movie adaptations of a Stephen King novel, it is still nothing like any other King adaptation. As I said, its more of a Kubrick movie than anything else.

Anyway, I am digressing, as always. The "romantic comedy" in the title refers to a trailer of The Shining I ran into online. Someone took the movie and cut it into a trailer presenting it as a sweet romantic-comedy/family-movie. Its hilarious! But if you haven't seen the movie, you probably won't enjoy it at all. Have a look at the trailer here if you have seen the movie.

Link via a blog on Roger Ebert's site.