Tuesday, April 28, 2015

EXACTO - DARPA's Self-Steering Bullet

"

“True to DARPA’s mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target,” said Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager. “This live-fire demonstration from a standard rifle showed that EXACTO is able to hit moving and evading targets with extreme accuracy at sniper ranges unachievable with traditional rounds. Fitting EXACTO’s guidance capabilities into a small .50-caliber size is a major breakthrough and opens the door to what could be possible in future guided projectiles across all calibers.”

Link

Wonder how much time is actually spent in coming up with the name and acronyms for these programmes. Genuinely curious. Is there a team or department dedicated to this task?

Also, as interesting as those claims are AND how impressive the tech behind this would be - The demonstration video released isn't too impressive. It would definitely be more impressive if the movement of the target appeared to be a bit more complex / random for each of the test shots.

That said, really curious as to how DARPA managed to get this done.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Desert god - Wilbur Smith

An enjoyable read… for most part.

It was entertaining. Taita returns to his brilliant, conniving, witty self in this one (for most parts, anyway). Just that, there is that idiotic bit about Inana - which would have been tolerable if it was limited to just one vision / dream. Unfortunately it isn't limited to that. Disappointing AND annoying but just barely tolerable.

The worst part was the entire Minoan adventure. Once the characters landed in Minoa, I lost all interest. The characters became intolerable. ALL OF THEM.

What had started off as an enjoyable read became an annoying chore towards the end of the book.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep.

Himmat-E-Iltijaa Nahin Baaqi

Faiz…

Himmat-e-iltijaa nahin baaqi
Zabt ka hausla nahin baaqi

Ik teri diid chhin gai mujh se
Varnaa duniya mein kya nahin baaqi

Apni mashq-e-sitam se haath na khnch
Main nahin yaa vafaa nahin baaqi

Teri chashm-e-alamnavaaz ki khair
Dil mein koi gilaa nahin baaqi

Ho chukaa khatm ahad-e-hijr-o-visaal
Zindagi mein mazaa nahin baaqi

Badlapur

In terms of Bollywood standards, this was a pretty good film.

Decent performances over all. Hardly any unnecessary clutter / footage. That said, the execution could've been better.

Watchable.

Two things that define you - Your patience when you have nothing AND your attitude when you have everything.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ab Vahi Harf-E-Junuun Sab Ki Zubaan Thahari Hai

Faiz…

Ab vahi harf-e-junoon sab ki zubaan thahri hai 
Jo bhi chal nikli hai vo baat kahaan thahri hai

Aaj tak shaikh ke ikaraam mein jo shai thi haraam 
Ab vahi dushman-e-din raahat-e-jaan thahri hai

Hai khabar garm ke phirta hai gurezaan naaseh 
Guftaguu aaj sar-e-kuu-e-butaan thahri hai

Hai vahi aariz-e-lailaa vahi shirian ka dahan 
Nigaah-e-shauq ghadi bhar ko yahaan thahri hai

Vasl ki shab thi tou kis darjaa subak guzari hai 
Hijr ki shab hai tou kya sakht giraan thahri hai

Bikhari ek baar tou haath aai kab mauj-e-shamim 
Dil se nikli hai tou kab lab pe fugaan thahri hai

Dast-e-sayyaad bhi aajiz hai kaf-e-gulchin bhi 
Buu-e-gul thahari na bul-bul ki zabaan thahri hai

Aate-aate yuun hi dam bhar ko ruki hogi bahaar 
Jaate-jaate yuun hi pal bhar ko khizaan thahri hai

Hum ne jo tarz-e-fugaan ki hai qafas mein ijaad 
"Faiz" gulshan mein vahi tarz-e-bayaan thahri hai

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Big Eyes

Loved the film (in spite of Amy Adams' annoying accent).

Everything was perfectly shot and put together… EXCEPT the final courtroom sequence. Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) looks like a bumbling idiot in that sequence, which I thought was too much of a departure from the charming / confident / suave character.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Secularism Can't Be Shaken By Language…

"

Addressing a reception for the Indian community here, Modi referred to a time decades ago when German radio used to have news bulletin in Sanskrit.

"In India, there was no news bulletin in Sanskrit at that time because perhaps it was thought that secularism would be endangered," the Prime Minister said.

"India's secularism is not so weak that it will be shaken just because of a language. One should have self-confidence. Self-confidence should not be shaken," he said.

Link

Secularism is not weak, but for some reason, Modi and his band of idiots believe that their INDIAN identity / Hindutva agenda IS weak enough to be affected by a language. If that weren't the case, then we wouldn't have Smriti Kutti Irani issuing directives to KV's and not budging from her ridiculous stand [Link, Link 2].

Evidently, the saffron flag bearers believe that Secularism is too strong, but Hindutva DOES need the support of a language. Kya hua? No self-confidence? (*Chuckles)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with offering French or German or Sanskrit as courses (Wonder if some idiot is going to be offended that I put up Sanskrit as the last option).

If there are students who want to take up Sanskrit, why not? But if there are students who want to take up German or French, you can NOT discontinue the program (assuming that said course already exists in the school). You can issue directives that KV's (or even other schools) should have a Sanskrit faculty and that the school should publicise that it does offer the course to those who are interested.

In the event that the course the government wants to push or promote isn't too popular (implying the school doesn't find it economically feasible to provide said course), then let the government pay for the faculty to offer that unpopular course. The schools will have no reason to object. The government will have done its part by taking initiative.

You want to PROMOTE Hindi / Sanskrit / Marathi (Now get mad at me for putting Marathi as the last option), then set up film festivals, book exhibitions, poetry evenings. Do NOT dictate what films a multiplex should show at what time… or limit courses offered by schools.

[Rant]

For the idiots who got offended because I put up Marathi as the last option:

It is and will always be called BOMBAY.

[/Rant]

No To VIP Culture… Sure

"

Yoga guru Ramdev will enjoy the status of cabinet minister in Haryana, where he was made brand ambassador earlier this year. "Baba Ram Dev Brand Ambassador for promotion of Yoga and Ayurveda in Haryana will be given status equivalent to Cabinet Minister," tweeted state Health Minister Anil Vij today, after a cabinet meeting.

The government plans to make it official and felicitate Ramdev in a grand ceremony in Panchkula on April 21.

Sources say the saffron-robed yoga teacher will now be entitled to a ministerial bungalow and salary. Even now, he is given a car with a beacon, security personnel and an escort vehicle whenever he visits the state.

Link

Some would say 'deserving'. Some would say 'absolutely nothing wrong with it'. Some would point out 'unnecessary burden on the state exchequer'.

I don't want to point out ANY OF THAT. I couldn't care less. There are plenty who are deserving but don't get what they should. There are plenty who are undeserving and still enjoy certain privileges. It's life.

What I want to highlight is - There is absolutely no point in littering the Twitter feed with #NOVIPCULTURE. So, could you all please stop this nonsense?!

Game Of Thrones - Season 5

Done with the first 4 episodes (Yes, I got the leaked ones). Sufficient dose of eye-candy - No complaints there. Not enough footage of the dragons - Disappointed.

The Son's of Harpy bit… has been overdone (in my view). Too much time devoted to that conflict. Should have been trimmed down.

Would be interesting to watch more of the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). Waiting for the back-story on this one. Character looks promising.

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) - I still find her face revolting, but the character is now a tad bit tolerable. Must have something to do with significantly better lines being allotted to her.

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) - Darker hair looks better. Unfortunately, Sansa hasn't completely come out of the Cry Baby stage.

Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) - Wonderful to watch AND the character now has a lot more to do than just look pretty.

Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) - Developing into a rather annoying idiotic character. Irritating.

Dragon Babe (Emilia Clarke) - Yet to be convincing as her fiery self (as in Season 2). We wait.

Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) - Nice to have him back. Still mystical. Still interesting.

Melisandre (Carice Von Houten) - Formerly referred to as 'red-head bitch' has been tolerable so far. A welcome change.

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) - Had to wait till Episode 3 for the character to get back the wit.

Brienne, Arya, Theon, Ramsay … easily ignored. So far, irrelevant to the plot.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bombay Velvet

I do like the look of this film. Hopefully it won't be too much of a disappointment.

Stretch

Watchable. Well… JUST watchable.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Divergent - Veronica Roth

The book is way better than the film. The conversations (between the mother and daughter) are considerably less annoying / irritating.

I still have a problem with the entire serum bit. Don't see why there just couldn't be a coup or a 'revolution' of sorts. Mindless drone soldiers to take over the governing seems a bit of an overkill.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Quest - Wilbur Smith

Started off with this. It MIGHT be a wonderful read, but I simply couldn't get past page 6. Too much of apsaras and 'mystifying' nonsense for me.

After Warlock and Taita's mystical magical bullshit, I think I have had just about enough. I liked him much better when he was a strategist / manipulator / architect / genius / inventor. The magus bit is…. irritating.

The Royals

Started off with this. The plot and screenplay has so far been extremely lacking when it comes to British wit. The times that it does show up on screen, it seems forced.

Everything is nice to look at. Some of it is even good to listen to. But the script and the treatment is… well… it's very American (and that isn't a good thing. Especially NOT for a theme like this). This probably has a lot to do with Mark Schwahn who is the creator of the show.

Gemma played by Sophie Colquhoun - So far seems like a relatively well etched character. Believable. Nice to look at.

Ophelia (lovely name) played by Merritt Patterson - A prominent character in the series… and yet it is perhaps the most poorly written character on the show. Not only is Ophelia confused herself, but the idiotic lines mouthed by the character even confuses the viewer. At least she is good to look at.

Princess Eleanor played by Alexandra Park - So far, a fun character to watch. Definitely good to look at.

Queen Helena played by Elizabeth Hurley - The character is not nearly sinister enough. Disappointed by the character but not by Liz Hurley.

Prince Cyrus played by Jack Maskall - Excellent! My favourite character, so far.

Prince Liam played by William Moseley - Charming enough but that's about it. Hope the character gets better.

King Simon played by Vincent Regan - Disappointed by the limited screen time given to this character. Played well though.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Check Your City's Air Pollution on Your Mobile

"

The focus of the project, say members of the team that developed it, is not only to say if the air quality is good or bad, but also to peg it on the basis of possible impact on the health of locals. With this aim in mind, the National Air Quality Index features data shown with a colour-coded display. A poor reading is accompanied by a health impact advisory, reading, "Respiratory illness on prolonged exposure".

Link

Another pointless app to show pointless statistics for your smart-phones (*rolls eyes).

So you flip out your phone. Swipe to the app. See the 'ranking' of your city/town. NOW you know for a fact (by looking at the app) that the air quality is bad (*clap).

A fact that, for some unknown reason, you had been unable to arrive at yourself although you have been looking, walking, breathing in the city for all this time. Suggesting that you are too dumb to figure out how bad the air quality is without a rank/number or the colour codes.

[Sarcasm] THIS 'app' goes further and also tells you that it will impact your health (amazing…. who could have guessed?)! [Sarcasm]

So... what are you going to do? Now that you have access to this groundbreaking information with fancy colours on your smart-phone… WHAT ARE you going to do with it?

  • Step out with a Respiratory / Air-Purifying Mask?
  • An oxygen tank in your back-pack?
  • Relocate to another city?
  • Stay locked up in your house with the Air Purifier on and the windows sealed?

Oh… I know what you will do. You will take screenshots of the app and share it on Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps blog about HOW BAD THINGS ARE. Perhaps the app even has the 'SHARE ON YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS' button.

Dikhaawon pe mat jaao. Apni akal ladaao.

VHP Asks For Ban

"

In their statement to the commissioner of police on Monday, the group alleged that the song Iraniyan Nadagam, about the disparaged conversation between Prahalad and Hiranyakashipu, will hurt the sentiments of Hindus.

"The lyrics of the song will upset followers of Lord Vishnu. It belittles the conversation between Prahalad and Hiranyakashipu. Hence, we demand a ban on the film," K.L Sathiyamoorthy, member of VHP, told IANS.

Link

I have no idea what this film is about. I haven't heard the song and I doubt I would understand the meaning of the lyrics. BUT I do know that bans and demand for such bans is (and will always remain) idiotic. Not to mention - COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.

I do not expect the duffers blind followers of political ideologies dumb-fucks fanatics to possess the ability to comprehend this logic, but what has happened this time around has surpassed even their idiotic logic.

Earlier, something like this would raise demands for an edit of the lyrics or deletion of the song (coupled with a demand for an apology from the film-makers). But this time, the VHP has demanded a ban on the film because they find the song to be offensive!

Waaaah.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

And The Chutiyagiri Continues

Why Ban Slaughter of Only Cows and Bulls: Bombay High Court asks Maharashtra Government

I saw that headline and felt rather optimistic that AT LEAST SOMEONE with some authority is going to ask the government 'What the fuck are you up to?!' But then… I read the article:

"

The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government the reason for banning slaughter, possession and consumption of cows, bulls and bullocks only and not including other animals in the ban under the state's animal preservation laws.

..."Why has the state banned only cows, bulls and bullocks? What about other animals like goat?" the bench asked.

Good question, but here is the idiotic reply:

"

To this, Advocate-General Sunil Manohar said the government was considering it. "This is just the start (banning of cows, bulls and bullocks). We may consider banning slaughter of other animals too. As of now the state felt it was necessary to protect cows, bulls and bullocks," he said.

Going further:

"

"Section 5(d) of the Act which is under challenge does not prohibit slaughter of cattle outside the state. Why should a person be prevented to eat or possess beef that has been slaughtered outside? Indirectly you (government) are prohibiting slaughter of animals outside the state too," Justice Kanade said.

The Advocate-General, however, objected and said, "How can the state say slaughter of cattle in Maharashtra amounts to cruelty but one can slaughter outside the state. That would also amount to cruelty. The Act incidentally prohibits import also." 

Link

Sigh… Just when you thought you had seen and heard it all…

Update:

In court... the lawyer representing the MAHA govt. says - Govt. IS considering banning other meats as well. MAHA CM says - NO we are not!

"

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday clarified that the state government has banned only selling and possession of beef and there was no plan to ban slaughter of other animals.

Link

MAHA Chutiyagiri

Monday, April 6, 2015

'Enjoy' ?

Doesn't take much to amuse people these days.

Am I the only one who has failed to see the ENJOYMENT factor in the freefall?! Who finds a headache to be enjoyable?!

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