Shanth’s Dairy

March 20, 2011

“Supermoon”: Biggest Full Moon in 18 Years Saturday

Filed under: Interests — Shanth @ 9:21 pm

“Supermoon”: Biggest Full Moon in 18 Years Saturday.

January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King “I have a dream”

I live in Birmingham,AL and one can feel Dr. King’s inspiration all around us here in Birmingham. The incidents at Birmingham played a major role bringing Dr. King’s dream in to reality much sooner.

If you want to read more about the historical incidents that happened during Dr.King’s visit follow this link.

Dr. Martin Luther king in Birmingham,AL

Here is the text of letter written by Dr. King during his imprisonment in Birmingham,AL jail.

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Also, Here is the historic speech delivered by Dr. King at the Lincoln memorial in DC.

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

November 14, 2009

Doodle 4 Google- My India

Filed under: Interests — Shanth @ 4:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

A few weeks ago Google organized a doodle competition for kids in India. The theme of the competition was “My India”. Google wanted to see what does India really mean to kids and they wanted to make a doodle out of their perception of India. The competition was conducted at 3 levels, 1st to 3rd standard, 4th to 6th standard and 7th to 10th standard.  what came out of this competition truly unimaginable. I could not perceive young kids in their primary schools coming out of such unbelievable doodle master pieces.

What really impressed me was not just the vibrant sketches but the thoughts behind those doodles.  It is really interesting that for most of the children, atleast for those who made it to the finals, their picture of India is a country of multiple religions or in otherwords Unity in diversity. Most of the other kids chose Mahatma Gandhi to represent India. Indian culture, historical artifacts like Taj Mahal were visible in others. For some tech savy kids their India in the modern era is all about advancement in Science and Technologies.

It reminds me often Tare Zameen Par when I glance through all these doodles. I am glad that the new generation gives so much value to our diversity of cultures and history at par with our recent technological development.

Here is my pic for the best doodle out of all three categories.

Jai Ho by Vansh Garg

Jai Ho - Source: Google.co.in

Here is the best pic selected by the Dennis Hwang from the Google team, created by Puru Pratap Singh , a 4th standard student from Gurgaon. Puru also baged a laptop and Puru’s school was awarded a Google technology grant of Rs.1,00,000.

My India- full of life

My India- full of life, Source: Google.co.in

You can find rest of the doodles here at the Google India website: http://www.google.co.in/intl/en/doodle4google/index.html

June 8, 2009

Federer finds his Holy grail

Filed under: Interests — Shanth @ 7:36 am
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Here we are at the end of the French Open 2009. Probably it was not an exciting grandslam for Rafa fans but something that will go down the history. I haven not watched a single match after Rafa was thrown out by Soderling in the 4th round.But the only thing that I was curious about was whether or not Federer will make most of the moment as Rafa is no longer around, and he did. With this win Federer completed a career grandslam. Bravo!! (Wikipedia: If a player wins all four at some point in his or her career, even if not consecutively, it is called a Career Grand Slam). The only five others who made it to their Career Grand Slams are  Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Don Budge, Fred Perry and Andre Agassi. The very famous few who never made it on Rolland Garros, and thus never completed their Career Grandslams,  include Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras. Now you can probably tell what this win means to Federer.

Source: WSJ

Source: WSJ

Federer played 10 times on Rolland Garros , was  a finalist 3 times before and had lost to Rafa in 2006, 07 and 08.  Federer holds a record of 7 wins and 13 losses against Rafa.  It would have been quite a match if Federer had got to play Rafa in the final of the French and won it. But anyways I am glad that Federer did put together a match worthy for the Champion to secure the most awaited feather in his cap.

So what’s next for Federer..Tennis Hall of Fame?

May 16, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues

Filed under: Interests — Shanth @ 1:16 pm
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Sita Sings the Blues is an animated movie based on the Ramayana, created by Nina Paley. I was totally excited when I read about the movie.  I was expecting an animated version of Ramayana to be an amibitious Walt Disney project.  I was glad that somebody that somebody made it happen before Walt Disney. But the movies was not quite what I thought. Probably I should have known that from the title of the movie, Sita Sings the Blues.  It was really an attempt by Nina Paley to superimpose her real life incidents on to Valmiki’s Ramayana.  The movie, for the most part, narrates the story from Sita’s point of view. In the movie you will Sita singing jazz songs (originally sung by Annette Hanshaw) and I just loved it.

Sita Sings the Blues

Sita Sings the Blues

The plot of the movie is very creative and I am totally impressed by the way the story connects Nina’s life to Ramayana.  The context of most of Annette Hanshaw’s songs really goes hand in hand with the situation in the movie.  I am not really sure what Nina Paley’s background is, but Sita Sings the Blues is quite an ingenious effort by her.   But I do have some criticism for the movie. First of all, I am not really sure who are the intended audience for the movie. I think Nina wants to emphasize a point in the movie. The movie shouts out loud that what ever happend to Sita was not fair, or in otherwords what ever Ram did to Sita was unfair. I really do not want to go in the discussion of what’s right or wrong. But the movie totally sounds like it was made for the western audience. If that is what Nina wanted I am sure she did a good job at that. But if it was also expected to suit the Indian audience, the movie is a bit too offensive for them.  There is a valid point in the movie and I guess the right people to address it to are the Indian audience, because we are the one who need to give it a thought.

But the movie on the whole is quite entertaining. What makes it evenmore attractive to many is that the movie is available for free under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. You can download and distribute the movie free of charge. Nina Paley says,” From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes.” Bravo!!!

Link to Download or watch (on Youtube): http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/watch.html

Sita Sings the Blues movie Home: http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/


May 13, 2009

The California Experience

Last night I came back from a four day trip to San Francisco. I was there visiting a friend. It was a perfect California Summer and SFO turns out to be quite a wonderful destination. You can not miss visiting the Golden gate, Fisherman’s wharf, Union Square, and China town while you are in SFO. But that is not all, if you care to look beyond the SFO city limit, there is much more that California offers. You will find beaches, mountains, and forests in just a stones throw away from SFO. Here are some places that I have been to and are worth considering.

Muir Woods National Monument is just about 10 miles away from the Golden Gate Bridge. Muir Woods is the home of the Sequoia (Redwoods) trees. These trees can grow as high as 300ft. They can survive thunder storms, forests fires and thus live for thousands of years.  Muir Woods is also one of the nation’s First Amendment areas.

If you go further on Highway 1, you will be driving on a wonderful ocean line road to Stinson beach. They have plenty of spots for pit stops on the high way for you to capture the splendid beaches in your cameras. It is really worth a stop. The Stinson beach is amazing stop for beach lovers. But this is where the beaches start. If you are ready to drive further for a bit more privacy, you should head towards Point Reyes.

Stinson Beach as seen from Highway 1

Stinson Beach as seen from Highway 1

Point Reyes national Seashore is located about 50 Miles from SFO on Highway1/ SF Drake Blvd. The drive from Olema on Sir Francis Drake Blvd offers a spectacular view of the ocean. There are no gas stations on your way so make sure you have enough gas and food/water. It is simply a country drive with farms leading down the hill into the ocean. SF Drake Blvd ends at the Point Reyes light house. From there it is just ocean and ocean in any direction you see. The sandy beaches extend for miles or as far as your eyes can see. You should probably visit the light house at sunset. It is a once in a life time experience.  Be sure have some ear muffs handy and dress warm if would really like to enjoy the view for while.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore

If you head west from SFO there is a different kind of treat awaiting you. If you really love waterfalls, hiking, rock climbing, or lakes you can not afford to miss the Yosemite National Park. Who does not enjoy the scene of a waterfall, especially if it is 1400ft high? The Yosemite Fall is the seventh highest in the world with a total drop of 2400ft. Yosemite has everything for nature lovers of any age and taste.  There are two ways to get to the park if you are driving from SFO. After you reach Manteca, you can either take hwy 120 directly to the Park or you can drive to Merced and then proceed to the park. The drive through Merced will cost you an extra 45mins or so. But if you do not want to drive on long winding roads like me, sometimes at 20mph, you should probably prefer the route through Merced. That way you also get to drive along the beautiful Merced River which flows through the Yosemite Valley.  Yosemite can host you on a single day trip or a week. But the longer you stay the more is your reward.  The park charges $20 fee per automobile.  After you enter the park you will really see what each of your penny is doing. Yosemite is the most hospitable national park I have ever been to. You have a choice stay of everything from log cabins to high class hotel (look for Wawona lodge). The park restaurant serves you a square meal. You will have access to internet. You can ride the buses that run on green fuel or you can bike around. But Yosemite they make sure that they do not put a toe across the line that nature drew for us. If you still do not trust the commitment of the park toward preserving the nature read this article in New York Times . They are actually planning to tear down a bridge and a reservoir in order to restore the Hetch Hetchy valley.

But here are some things you should not miss while you are at Yosemite. The trail to lower Yosemite falls is a piece of cake for any age group. But if you really want to sweat a bit more, I would recommend the mist trail and trust me on this, you can not thank me enough for the advice after you have reached the top of Vernal falls.  If you love to step a bit higher then go for the half dome and the Glacier point. I had just one day to spend at the park and I got so many things to tell you. If you are planning to go to Yosemite make sure you spend atleast 3 days to feel the real Yosemite experience.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

John Muir, the architect of the Yosemite falls, says, “No temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite”. He is absolutely right, you will really experience that the moment you step in Yosemite.

If you want to read further about Yosemite from the man who architected the Yosemite national park, you can download the following eBook.

Yosemite by John Muir (Courtesy: Google)- Free eBook (Copyright Expired, Now in public domain)

Here is the last treat. A short video recorded at Vernal Falls




April 22, 2009

Earthday

Filed under: Interests — Shanth @ 7:55 pm
Tags: , ,

earthday11I could not do much for earthday this year. Pity it happened to be  a weekday. But I thought I must get out of the house and spend some time outside.  So grabbed my tennis racket and played tennis for a couple hours.  I just  had a salad bowl for my dinner as an earthday special. I still feel  guilty for not doing anything special today. S0 I found an activity network Earth Day Network and signed up as a volunteer.  I told myself today is just the beginning of another wonderful year ahead. So there is so much I can do. Earthday is designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. So here I am set out to inspire who ever is reading this blog.

I do not really blame you if you do not have passion for our environment. But our world is so beautiful that you do not really have to try very hard to make connection with our environment.  Think about this, would not you like a nice summer day that you can go out spend time without having to worry UV rays. Would not you like an year without hurricanes, unseasonal snow, floods?. If your answers to any of the above question is yes, then you have do have a passion for our environment but you just lost the connection with the world outside. Once you restore that connection, you can, on your own, think of a million ways to lend a help hand to make our world a better place. So I do not want to go on writing about how you can help our planet or should say help ourselves. It is as simple as getting out of the four walls that you live in and spend some time under the sky.

March 27, 2009

October 23, 2008

Chandrayaan- Indian messenger to the Moon

Filed under: Interests — Shanth @ 7:39 am
Tags: , , ,

With the successful launch of Chandrayaan,the messenger of 100 billion Indians to the moon , ISRO finished writing the preface to the modern Indian space research histroy.As the Polar Satelite Launch

ISRO

Source: ISRO

Vehicle (PSLV-11) carrying Chandrayaan was lifted off the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota, India joined the elite list of countries which could reach out to the moon. India is the sixth nation to undertake lunar missions only after the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan, China, the US and Russia.

The very first question that came to my mind when I heard about Chandrayaan was why is India interested in sending a space craft to the moon. But I knew the answer myself. We Indians fancy space research since the time of Aryabhatta and I am pretty sure that the idea for this mission did not come out of the blue. It is a well architecured plan and which is being implemented in a sequence. The success of a lunar mission like any other space mission is verymuch dependent on the launch vehicle. I think the primary motivation behind a mission of this magnitude is the success and reliability of the PSLV. PSLV turns to be ISRO’s greatest sucess with more than 10 successful launches. Indian space missions were so far limited and contributed to the infrastructural developement of the country including satellites for televisions and telecommunications, weather monitoruing, agriculture development. But with a commercial level launch vehicle like PSLV in it’s arsenal, it was a timely decision to pay the international space community back for everything they did for India so far. Chadrayaan attempts to perceive the moon from different direction that nobody ever attempted. The aim of the mission according to ISRO is the preparation of a 3-dimensional atlas of the lunar surface and chemical mapping of entire lunar surface.

It is obvious that ISRO has it’s eyes set on the moon itself and not just the lunar orbit. As ISRO would put it one of the motives behind Chandrayaan is ,”Chandrayaan-1 mission would pass on the baton to sophisticated future lunar and planetary missions with possible landing and sample return capability.” A mission like Chandrayaan will provide a quantum leap in the technology and understanding of the space missions. Chandrayaan just completed it’s fifth orbit around the moon after which it will be aligned to the lunar orbit which finally sets the space craft in a circular orbit of 100Km around the moon. As Chandrayaan reaches its orbit it will set it self as the forerunner to many more lunar missions in the near future.

Bon Voyage Chandrayaan!

February 2, 2008

Newsies

Filed under: Interests — Shanth @ 10:17 am
Tags: , , ,

Newsies, One of my favorite movies all time. Made by Walt Disney in 1992. I do not remember when I saw it the first time. May be sometime around 1994. The movie was not a big success in theaters, but according the press many people liked it after they saw it on cassette. I was one of them.
But I forgot the movie title after a while. All I could recollect was it was about the paper boys. But there is another movie called Paper Boys. So everytime I googled it I got the Paper Boys instead of what I was looking. But a fine day, a song from the movie came back to my mind. Its called Santa Fe. Thats how I found it was Newsies and as soon I did I got it shipped from Netflix.

I would classify Newsies as a musical. The movie is full wonderful music, energy, motivation. When I saw the movie the first I was in my early teens and all those guys in the movie were just about my age then. The dancing,the music, the talking and their attitude were probably the reasons why I liked it so much and after watching 3 times in the last week, I just could not get enough of it.

The reason why I like it now is because it kind of reminds my past. There is a Song in the movie called ‘Santa Fe’. The lead actor Jack Kelly hails from Santa Fe, New Mexico and he sings the song remembering his home while he is New York city with the rest of the newsies. When I was in boarding school I had the same desire to run away and go back to my home town where my family and friends are. Here is the wonderful piece of song written by Jack Feldman.

Santa Fe
Are you there?
Do you swear you won’t forget me?
If I found you would you let me come and stay?
I ain’t gettin’ any younger
And before my dyin’ day
I want space
Not just air
Let ’em laugh in my face
I don’t care
Save a place
I’ll be there

What else can I expect from a movie, when it shows and reflects the feelings inside you. Thats probably why I still love the movie so much. I do not know if they ever made it for Broadway, but I am pretty sure it will be spectacular Broadway musical.

Newsies@ Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newsies

Santa Fe@ Orkut(sorry..quality is not good): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG7knE9lo5A

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