Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blogs We Read Regularly

Which is another way of saying, we're updating our broglorr, sort of

This is the height of laziness in the blogging world, this writing about other blogs. Even so, we're doing it after two years. But then we're the Sultans of Laziness. Can't even be bothered to make this remotely amusing. Without further ado...

The Top 10

These we check more or less every day, in no particular order.
  • The Spaniard In The Works - The Spaniard, when she can take a few microseconds out of her busy daily schedule of vampiring and zombieing and defenestrating, always and regularly has poems worth reading, movies worth watching, books worth buying, and links worth clicking.

  • Nanopolitan - It's a blog, and it's also a portal. An almost one stop shop for all kinds of happenings, especially in science, engineering, and academia. What we've actually done is outsourced our bookmarks to Abi, who does (apparently a lot of) triage on the messy world that is the Internet and only lets the latest and the greatest slip through. This one is a must if you're remotely interested in science/technology, academia, debates on policy, especially in the desi context. Go ahead, bookmark it.

  • Fanaa - CSM is to the world of development what Abi is to the world of sci-tech. Updated regularly, always something interesting going on.

  • musings from mumbai - Kenny was our senior in college, and co-infested a couple of Massachusetts campuses with us. She writes about life in Mumbai, journeys, stories, and about this kid of hers. Who appears to be absolutely delicious and kidnappable.

  • sElecting a President in New Hampshire - Longtime Asha buddy, and co-conspirator in world revolution, Melli has just started a fascinating and regularly updated blog on the election process in the US. The Democratic primaries in New Hampshire will get underway in January, and then there's the presidential election in Novembar, and this is one blog we will stay glued to.

  • Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing-wax - Our blogs are actually siblings (observe the names) that got lost in some blog mela when mine went to buy inji mittai for hers, and the fireworks accidentally went off, and the elephant stampeded, and the rangula ratlam flew off its axle and rolled towards the elephant, and the heat, and the dust, and the screams, and Rakhee and...and... You get the picture. Sheetal writes about travel, and birding, and sports, and writing, and whatnot. Woh kya kattey ji, horizonaan broadenaan ho jaate.

  • k'uvvat-e-guftaar - Another almost bachpan mein bichad gayaa blog. If the Choultry wasn't named after something from "The Walrus and the Carpenter" or "Jabberwocky", and didn't have utterly obscure sayings from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, it would surely make a ghazal type statement. Even more so, it might've made a k'uvvat-e-guftaar statement, seeing as one of our all time #1 ghazals is Mehdi Hasan singing ek bas tuu hi nahiin mujhse khafaa ho baitha (see footnotes). Shweta also writes about travel, birding, music, and Federer and will occasionally let fly little nuggets of shaayiri

    But the siblings Vyas are somewhat overly fixated on Harry Potter and his lethal salutations, and being very hoity toity, we deplore!

  • Blogical Conclusion - Read without fail every week for Baradwaj Rangan's sometimes funny, sometimes sober, always thought-provoking takes on the Indian cinema.

  • Yossarian Lives - This woman is on ayahuasca. Fullto fun will come here. If you see a somewhat harassed, academic looking Bong who answers to the name of Bill (Billabong!) in the vicinity, be nice to him. He needs it!

  • A writer and his web-blahg - Samanth holds forth. Very erudite. Discourses with equal Felicity on Herodotus, the Poincare conjecture, Brecht, maayamaalawagowlam and so on. Poor Felicity. He's either very learned, or very very very good with search engines and typing. Lives some kind of latter day Caligula life in the fleshpots of New York, and occasionally infests these parts to win most quizzes he attends, and once safely back in Manhattan writes about such intensely annoying things as how to spend Rs. 10,000 worth of Landmark coupons. Bah.

Blogs We Check Regularly But Aren't Updated So Often(1)
  • Not all who wander are lost - No indeed they aren't. Some are merely very very jobless. They should write more often. Ram Ram.

  • Muesli harmless - The only blog in the world known to be written by an Irrawady dolphin. Nowadays a very very lazy Irrawady dolphin. These conservation types have made life too easy for some species!

  • Da Black Mamba - Why for she is not writing more often? Is she engrossed in researching shades of pink, perchance?

  • Phantasmagoria - Is becoming distressingly irregular. We will get to the bottom of the matter. Is it wrong for a blog whose name ends in goria to annoyingly trigger off a song from Coolie No. 1 in one's head?

  • kufr - Actually boy is writing quite often nowadays, and we're visiting very regularly too. But we're placing him under observation, if he keeps up the good work, 2 years down the line we may bump him into the other list. Blog is about a lot of diverse policy type issues, and we seem to agree on many things so we likes to read.

  • Dev's Walden Pond - Writer, journalist, author of Touch Play which is a must buy book if you're into inspirational sports stories and are looking for an Indian hero.

  • Horse product - Utterly irreverent, and utterly funny. Seems to have utterly stopped writing.

  • I *heart* Bombay (and well..Boston) - The Vikster has recently moved from Bombay to Bangalore, and consequent angst is in progress. Sekk it out.

  • Last Man Blogging! - Is where Rithesh writes about many things including the life of the Hyderabadi entrepreneur, but not so often...

  • Flying in a blue dream... - Is also updated only irregularly, is by a Hyderabadi quizzer, and has one fantastic post (read comments also) on food joints in the city.

Other Ones We Check Reasonably Regularly
  • these amiable drifters - Srini who is short, squat, bespectacled, bewhiskered, and from Tiruchirapalli used to blog at cha-biskoot, but then Japanese Martian monkeys took over and now she's recuperating here. Her hairstyle rocks.

  • Mango Indian - Just Kishore's "Death by PJs" (be very afraid) website, spiced up by the occasional rant!

  • Raves and Rants of a Demented Cinephile - Promises to be the last world on definitive cult movies!

  • Dangling conversations - Sudhir Pai writes about everything!
  • Dhammonia - D-man about books, running, and quizzing usually. This boy is the Energizer Bunny of Bangalore middle and long distance road races.

  • Zoo Station - Dr. Abraham about economics, entrepreneurship and so on. When he can find the time from hanging out with George (Soros), Montek (S. Ahluwalia) and so on.

  • Easy Bedtime Reading - Mr. Google himself. Once in a while write something, lep.

  • Rajni's Blog - Rajni about life in the US, in India, education, travel, Deathly Hellos, and so on.

Excellent Blobs We Used To Read Very Regularly But For No Particular Reason Seem To Have Stopped Looking At (Which Is A Bad Bad Thing)
  • A Walk in the Clouds - What to say? :( It's really her fault, though. She keeps disappearing for inordinate lengths of time.

  • 2x3x7 - Can't blame the boy, he posts regularly and copiously. Then why? Wovon mann nicht sprechen kann, daruber muss mann schweigen.

  • Indian Writing - This also somehow slipped through the cracks. Boo hoo. Too much catching up to do.

  • Who is Buchu? - Used to get our daily Harvard Square fix from here. Alack, those days are gone.

Group Blobs

Few. As in, "Phew!" This is only about a quarter/third of all our bookmarks (including all the boring techy ones). But it'll have to do for now. Have we missed anyone? That would be really bad, no? Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, speaking words of wisdom...


We forgot to mention (maybe because we only got to know about this one very recently), but Bombay Boy is also being read nowadays. It's about "food, delhi, bombay and chicks". Lesley has a post linking to The Delhi Walla which appears to be an excellent, excellent piece of work that tries to poke and pry into facets of Delhi that aren't exactly the most visible ones.

1. When we say "we check regularly", we mean to say that we're utter novices at such things as reading feeds and so on. So for us reading blogs means painstakingly navigating from bookmark to bookmark.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Mathematics Genealogy Project

In which the below mentioned is about the above mentioned

The Mathematics Genealogy Project is one of those internet curiosities that are worth visiting from time to time. The algorithm is fairly simple.

   ∀x|x∈M(the set of all doctorates in mathematics)
   find x's adviser

For example, take Ludwig's onetime roommate. Boy is widely recognized to be very, very, very smart (Maths Olympiad medalist smart) and his dissertation on the Smoothed Analysis of Gaussian Elimination is of suitably overwhelming obscurity, befitting boy's pedigree. Follow boy's academic ancestry.

One passes through a few generations of unknown (but doubtless worthy) names, until the first tentative signs of recognition occur at Marvin Minsky. After a brief detour into Minsky, we move on.

Somewhere at the turn of the last century, the geography shifts to Europe - sometimes to France, more commonly to Germany. Also, the names start becoming a whole lot more familiar (Klein 1 2, he of bottle fame, for example. Further, see here for a very funny cartoon, one that should join the ranks of the jokes here).

From the mid nineteenth century onwards, the names are all scarily familiar. Scary mostly because you've heard these names in various classes before, and now nothing - nothing - comes back.

Eventually, it is very likely that you will end up at the very obscure (hitherto unheard of, in fact) Herr Erhard Weigel. Why, you ask? How, is it possible, you wonder?

The reason is not hard to seek.

Erhard begat Gottfried
And Gottfried begat Jacob, (en passant, he also begat the calculus)
And Jacob begat Johann (which sounds very odd, because they were in fact siblings)
And Johann begat Leo, and ay there's the rub.

From Euler, it's hoppity-skippity-hop and suddenly we're spitting out the Gods of mathematics. Euler is Lagrange's mai baap and Fourier (of transform fame) and Poisson (of distribution fame) were the apples of Lagrange's eyes.

As the image on the homepage suggests, there's another path through this tree, which leads via Klein to Gauss. Indeed, if the tree/graph were a railway network, Klein would be Mathura.

Go on. Head over to the project, and find out how your mathematics Ph. D. buddy is a descendant of Mencke or Weigel. It's an utterly absorbing pastime, we assure you.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Which is about teams we've been following lately

This is apparently now business as usual.

These guys apparently lost by a whisker to these guys. Who gives a shit?

The Dynasty are in the process of whipping the aquatic mammals in the third quarter as we type this, and seem to be sublimely unbeatable.

He lost. But this might simply mean that He has used up His allotted quota of losses for next year, and will therefore win everything.

And finally, the only thing that really matters, and has mattered for the last couple of weeks, is what will happen to them? Hail Mary...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dramanon Presents...

Which is a plug for a local event

Theatre seems to have taken off in Hyderabad in recent days. First there were the Naseeruddin Shah/Ratna Pathak Shah plays, then the Metroplus Theatre Festival, and now a friend and his friends have gotten together for a production. Details follow. Come one, come all etc. Help Hyderabadi theatre flourish.

The Original Last Wish Baby
    - The Hyderabad adaptation of William Seebring's satire

Date: 18th October
Time: 8 p.m.
Duration: 60 minutes
Venue: Bhavan's Auditorium, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Basheerbagh
Tickets: Rs. 200, Rs. 150, Rs. 100
Contact: Sudhir Pai (99089 33318)


Dramanon’s current production, William Seebring’s ‘The Original Last Wish Baby’ is a blend of black humor, pathos and unexpected moments of tragi-comedy. Throughout the play, there is a strong criticism of popular culture and sensationalism. The play begins with all of Hyderabad caught up in what may be the last wishes of a baby born without a heart. The irony of the sad event is covered by the media, which later succumbs to capitalistic urges. The mother of the baby goes on to star in a reality TV show so that everyone can hear baby’s last wishes every night. Subsequently, the whole country wakes up to this miracle baby’s wishes. The World takes a note of all the events that follow, thanks to Media coverage. An expose about the baby’s identity briefly sows seeds of doubt among the Indians and many controversies follow. The play’s radical element lies in its brilliant roller coaster scripting and the use of visual medium in such a way that theater borders on cinematic effect.

An irreverent dissection of the media stranglehold on the mass mind, The Original Last Wish Baby takes fluffy news casting, sympathy mongering, and the "right to life" movement to their logical conclusions and well beyond.


Founded in 1991, Dramanon, a theatre fraternity, originally comprising of the faculty members and students of Manipal, has grown from strength to strength and evolved into a team which has staged 22 successful plays till date, all of which have recorded rave reviews and wide critical acclaim. Now settled professionally at various places all over India, the alumni of Dramanon now want to carry their passion for theatre wherever their career takes them. After staging 4 successful shows in Bangalore, Dramanon now endeavours to entertain the Hyderabad audiences.