Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Are winters becoming extinct?

Are winters becoming extinct? Or am I the only one thinking of that? That smart turtleneck sweater, that black leather jacket and not forgetting the thick, heavy quilt; all of these have been lying unused for ages now.

Argument: If winters are the same as it were say 15 to 20 years back, then why did I require these things in the first place? It is smack bang in the middle of January, and I still need the air conditioner while at home or office or in my car. I don’t recall that being the case 15 years back. That’s when the sweater, jacket and quilt all came in use.

According to Wikipedia, the average temperatures have increased by less than 1 °C, but the averages have been spread over the entire surface area of Earth. This map on Wiki has a smoothening radius of 1200 kms. Meaning, the ‘resolution’ of this map is a circle of radius 1200 kms. We could cover the entire surface of the Earth with ~120 of these circles. In other words we don’t have enough data points.

If we could somehow increase the resolution of the map, we could see how much greater the variation would be. This could then explain why we don’t need sweaters in winter any longer. Some cities, I can think of, have probably gotten hotter by at least an average of 5 °C.

10 years into the future, would our winters disappear altogether? Would the entire year be just Hot Summer and Hotter Summer? James Lovelock, the proponent of the Gaia Theory says that the Sahara Desert will extend to Paris by 2040. (This page is an interesting read, scroll down to the section ‘The Revenge of the Gaia’ if you don’t have enough time!). Well we certainly will see a lot happen during our lifetimes!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

‘The Morning Haha’ v2.0!

It is that time of the year when bloggers are re-discovering and re-inventing their blogs. It’s time I did too. I have added a new header to ‘The Morning Haha’ (I know you can see!). The photo was also clicked by me at a random crossing in Mumbai. I then used my meager photoshop skills to edit it. Also added a labels section to better classify my posts (In fact there are quite a few of them now!) 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This was what one of my class teachers used to write on someone’s forehead, especially those who we would call ‘tattlers’. MYOB stands for ‘Mind your own business’. 

And ‘tattlers’ were an exceptionally irritating breed of elementary school inmates who would rather peek into what someone else was doing than minding their own business. And the moment someone in the classroom erred away from the dictums of elementary schools, a tattler would stand up and say ‘Teacher, teacher … He is not using a red Nataraj HB pencil”. 

And promptly my class teacher would brand ‘MYOB’ on the tattler’s forehead! Justice was swift. Alas not all class teachers were like that, especially those who, I fear, were ‘tattlers’ themselves. 

I wonder what has happened to that breed. Are they still lurking around only to jump at the opportune moment? Or have they become elementary school teachers? 

They are living in our midst. They still poke their noses into what is essentially not their business. Mind you, detectives and law enforcement personnel are not tattlers at all; they poke their nose in what is very much their business. I am talking more like over-weight neighborhood aunties, who think peeping is next to Godliness. Or, the short, dark, shifty uncle who is the head of your co-operative society. Well, we all know them, and have come to accept them as a part of our society! After all, these are the elements that make for a colorful society (Co-operative or otherwise!). 

Haha, but when I come across articles like this, I am forced to say to Matthew Parris - MYOB! He is essentially poking his nose into what is not his business! Tintin comics are not intended for people with hormone-infested-brains! So we should leave the character analysis to those who are qualified to do the job; i.e. elementary school students. 

Matthew Parris (and many other like him) has essentially applied the ‘gay’ stereotype to a comic character, found similarities, and hence the conclusion that ‘Tintin is gay’. By the same logic I could apply the ‘comic’ stereotype to gay people (It has been done in numerous movies) and conclude that ‘Gay people are comical’. Funny?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

House of Horrors!

If you like little girls who haven’t shampooed in months, chain-saws gone wild, severed limbs (moving or otherwise) and lots of ketchup, then here is a list of the best, the ‘caviar’ of horror flicks! Do not watch these movies if you are

1. Pregnant

2. Over 60 or below 10 years of age

3. Have a heart ailment

4. ‘The Cinderella Man’- kind 

Now that I have gotten the warnings out of the way. Let’s get dirty! 

#5: Saw series:  I know it is technically not a movie. But with 5 parts to this ketchup franchise, it forces a mention. People are forced to hack away a limb in order to save themselves, only to be killed later. Nice. 

#4: Blair Witch Project: Very ingenious. The concept and the ‘first-person-narrative’ adds to the horror. Its strength is that it is believable. If you thought this was scariest you ever saw, then you have another ‘think’ coming! 

#3. The Descent: Top notch production values. This movie will make you claustrophobic if you are not one. You heave a sigh of relief when it ends. Only to be surprised again! 

#2: 1408: This movie has a great cast, acting, and a storyline that keeps you guessing. Best thing to happen to a hotel-in-a-horror-movie since Psycho. Watch this one at your own risk! 

#1: Hostel: Keep your spare pacemaker handy. Don’t do this one alone! Set in an ex-Soviet bloc run down city, with a story that makes werewolves look like teddy-bears, this is the gold-standard of horror currency! Beware!

Others worth a mention:

  • Wrong Turn 1 & 2
  • Hills have eyes 1 & 2
  • Wolf Creek
  • Hostel 2
  • House of Wax
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • The Grudge
  • Mirrors

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year Updates!

Like I predicted in one of my earlier posts, Ghajini was released as planned and the stay order was withdrawn. I also saw Ghajini after paying close to 600 bucks for 2 tickets! (I guess being dragged to the multiplex by the nostrils would have been less painful) But then I said to myself, the movie was not half bad and the spending was good for the economy. 

Ghajini had a surprise for me. I had earlier commented on how Adlabs was screening an A.R Rahman composition of the Jana Gana Mana in lieu of the National Anthem. (My most commented post till date. Although, most ‘comments’ were mine!) I was pleasantly surprised to hear the original tune being played this time. No ‘Bharat Bhalla’ production thingamajig. I had in fact sent in a couple of emails to Gold Adlabs on the issue. I can’t claim to have effected the change but it feels good that this happened. Nice! 

Happy New Year!