Interstellaaaaaa!!! or, the physics of wonton burrito meals

So, I watched Interstellar.

It was a pretty big let-down. Don’t let all the dorks posting on the internets about accurate physics in visual effects* distract you from the fact that if it wasn’t for the herculean efforts of Jessica Chastain and a couple of cool robots(think bender from futurama but a lot more helpful), this movie would have literally nothing to recommend it compared to all that hype. Given that it’s a Nolan film, the hero’s wife is dead yet again. It was an interesting meta move to cast Matthew Mcconaughey though, as his infamous line from ‘dazed and confused’ is inverted by the plot of this movie.

AS there is no aspect of the movie that is not explained in the movie, there is no reason for me to go into the details. Let me assure you that he plot twists are actually gentle, well banked, large radius turns with signboards at a frequency that would make the most safety minded highway official proud. So if you’re not making out with your partner or distracted by the jerkoffs who won’t switch off their phones in the movies, you don’t have much to ponder aside from whether the price of admission was/will be worth it. See it on IMAX if you can because the space visuals are definitely impressive, and Jessica Chastain seems like she acts even better when her face is 30 feet tall. I WILL WORSHIP YOU, SCIENCE GODDESS JESSICA!

Some good, writer-y reviews are here, here, and here too.


* hey, at least it wasn’t about ethics in gaming journalism.

The Edge

You’ve been to the edge of childhood, haven’t you? It’s a few streets from home, at the corner of Saturn and The Milky Way, where the stars become trinkets and shower down in a haze. There is a great big tree there; it bears a million leaves each year. Today if you were to climb up a branch and shake it lightly, little pearls might rain down still.


Your bicycle could have well been your stallion, for you were known to use your sheets as capes. There is a plastic cricket stump in your attic that has seen the blood of many a dragon. What about the Math teacher who wanted you to add things in your head, and the midgets who wouldn’t let you? If you had the foresight then, you’d have fed the midgets to the dragons and done well in math too. Your first math lesson wasn’t even math. The kid next door held up two hands and began counting backwards on his fingers “ten, nine, eight, seven, six and add the five from the other hand and it makes eleven” he said and ruined your entire week.
Remember the trusting toad you put in a box and carried to school for your science project? You let him live after all, and it is a story the frogs will never forget. Your name signed all over the neighborhood with the talented direction-control of piss; you had named it and claimed it and owned it. Those bumbling neighbors who spoke of your mom slyly would have known better if they had cared to smell their walls. Summer nights spent sneaking into the smuggler’s house down the road to check if he was storing gold biscuits in the garage.

Some little kid was run over by a truck and you had to play carom for weeks, no one cycled in the streets, you sang movie songs in the night and when someone mentioned the kid’s name there was silence all around. You saw him once or twice after that, always waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the tree make scary shadows on the window pane. You had to try many times to blow off all the candles lined up on the cake that year, and your cousin said it was bad luck.7460748090_e0787bdfd9_b

That year you also learnt that fathers sometimes leave and go away without even dying, that sometimes the lies people tell about your family have a way of coming true. Zeroes made their way into you report cards and somehow, inexplicably, at the same time teachers became friendlier. Dragons became scarcer; the shadows on the window became scarier. You punched a boy in the street because he said something about your parents. He got up and screamed something nastier, you rushed at him screaming and teeth barred. Tell me, when you went home that evening, were you consoled or punished? Tell me. You’ve been to the edge of childhood, haven’t you?

Hameed Uddin

on the arundhati roy thing^

is it not obvious that this is purely a media spectacle, and it’s sudden appearance should ask people to look closer at why such spectacle is being promoted at this time suddenly, when there have been political engagements going on at all levels of society in the much-affected kashmir valley? it certainly gets my spidey-sense tingling. there’s a glitch in the matrix. if there is anything i have learned over my exposure to news lo these 10 years, it is that if the corporate (and govt. run) media is deliberately focussing on one particular issue, one can be sure that the actual issue is somewhere else. you do not have to be noam chomsky to figure that out.

anyways. regardless of the content or tone of her words, and discounting the fact that she is a minor celebrity since she a) won a booker prize a while back and b) articulates a radical left-of-center view in good prose, this sudden attention seems to me an obvious ploy to pre-emptively discredit any and all leftist thought and action on the issues faced by kashmiris by equating, rather falsely, any demands for justice(which are definitely warranted) as an act of sedition* and thus ending the possibility of any real dialogue by drowning the concerned populace in a sea of parochial nationalism branded as patriotism.

(^ = if you are wondering what the arundhati roy thing is, google news is your friend)
(* = as someone tending towards anarchism[in the language of calculus] , the concept of sedition does not fempute )

Kill the poor

Let us be perfectly clear: In the face of epic food-price inflation(over 10% for most of the past year), the Prime Minister of India – who heads the executive arm of the Government of India – is actively denying release of a staggering amount food-grains which are going to literally(not joe biden) rot in warehouses to the poverty stricken in this country. At the same time, there is going to be no regulation or investigation into the activities of commodity and derivatives traders who have contributed significantly to the current level of food prices.

With the Prime Minister of India so smugly asking the Supreme Court to stay away from ‘policy formulation’, I guess it is obvious that the official state policy of India is to starve already deprived people, maybe to death, in order to preserve their market incentives for production of foodgrains in the future.

“But to say that we can give foodgrains free, quite frankly, if we do that on a large scale you would destroy the incentive of our farmers to produce more food and if there is no food available for distribution what will you distribute?”

How about Cake, Mr. Singh?

taking a break

it’s gonna be a pretty busy three weeks for me, as i work on my multi-portfolio(17 genresx10 photos – fun)  then help out with arrangements for grandma’s housewarming, and head out of town for some potential industrial photos (part of the 17 genres above)

so very limited blogging till (i’m guessing) nov. 20th. drop me a mail if you want to get in touch, though i will be active on teh flickr.  and happy halloween, thanksgiving, etc.

and if the world order should collapse in the meanwhile, try and have a swig of whatever it is you’re drinking for me too!

Don’t play with your food (futures)

How did William Pfaff get this article into the op-ed pages of the NYT?

The food crisis is a real one, with rice – basic to the diet in much of Asia – rising in price by 75% in two months, and the rise in wheat, equally important to most western countries, rising by 120% over the year. This risks famine in vulnerable countries.

Already 100 million additional people are considered by the World Bank to have been forced into extreme poverty, and there are food riots in Egypt, Haiti and elsewhere. Hence the urgency in proposals for new funds to support food aid programs.

The conventional explanations for the flare in prices are population growth, (misconceived) diversion of corn and soybeans to bio-fuel production, rising Asian and Middle Eastern demand for high-value foods, higher transport costs, and crop failures. Oddly little has been said about the role of speculation in the rise in commodity prices generally and specifically in food.

On the Chicago CME Group market, which deals in some 25 agricultural commodities – it is a merger of the former Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade – the volume of contracts has increased by 20% since the start of the year and now has reached the level of a million contracts a day. This will soon exceed the rate of growth reached in all of 2007.

The hedge funds are now active in commodities and are playing the futures contracts, where upwards of 30 million tons of soybeans for future delivery are contracted for every day. They are also buying the companies that stock grains.

Speculative purchases have no other purpose than to make money for the speculators, who hold their contracts to drive up current prices with the intention not of selling the commodities on the real future market, but of unloading their holdings onto an artificially inflated market, at the expense of the ultimate consumer. Even the general public can now play the speculative game; most banks offer investment funds specializing in metals, oil, and more recently, food products.

It is astonishing in the present situation that the international financial institutions and government regulators have done little to control or banish this parasitical and anti-social practice. The myth of the benevolent and ultimately impartial market prevails against all contrary evidence.

Openly questioning FREE MARKET capitalism on the same pages that Thomas L Friedman and William Kristol ply their trade? Is the NYT tryin to create the earth-swallowing black hole, knowing that CERN never will?

Apparently, i misread the credits in our local newspaper. this was actually in the IHT.

US of AIPAC-MIC-Bomb Brownie

the Obamagic begins now!

(courtesy the good Michael J Smith)
Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel…. we must help the Israelis identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability….

We should expand our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the army and 27,000 marines….

I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened….

We must also consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability….

…. we must develop a strong international coalition to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program…. In confronting these threats, I will not take the military option off the table.

…. we must strengthen our homeland security….. checking all passengers against a comprehensive watch list.

shorter Obama: Watch me prove Ralph Nader right after all!

down down down, and the flames get higher…

Bear Stearns, pushed to the brink of bankruptcy by what amounted to a run on the bank, agreed late Sunday to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase for a mere $2 a share, narrowly averting a collapse that threatened to cascade through the financial system.

The price represents a startling 93 percent discount to Bear Stearns’ closing stock price on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bankers and policy makers raced to complete the deal before financial markets in Asia opened on Monday, as fears grew that the financial panic could spread if Bear Stearns failed to find a buyer.

i dont see how a (quite literal) decimation can be viewed as anything but a collapse. i’d recommend you all to start stashing away some canned food and lots of drinking water.

on a side note: anyone think that the Fed and various large Wall Street firms are now running around like chickens with their heads chopped off?

tired tired tired

Why do i go to a ‘Dollar’ Store in india and find ridiculously cheap chinese crap these days? i would NEVER pay a dollar for such crap. the ‘Euro’ Shop is not much better, mind you. i expect i have to go to a ‘Pound’ store, which may give me more than i bargained for.

also, WTF canon india… you can’t organize a SINGLE model for a PORTRAITURE workshop? get the F*** out of here.