National Geographic Photo of the Day

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Heated car seats? Men everywhere - Beware!

A recent post on the Top Gear site that I frequent, it being one of my favourite shows on the BBC. Literally people with heated car seats are on the hot seat!

Original URL: Top Gear News

"What follows is possibly the first ever Top Gear health warning.

Next time you switch on your heated seats, you could be, erm, ballsing up your chances of having kids. No, really - the nice warm leather can affect your fertility, apparentl
y. If you're a man.

Which is rather worrying, if you ask us. The news comes from some men in white coats in Germany, who've been carefully studying the problem. Let's hope they didn't get too hands on.

And it's all because certain man parts don't work so well when they're warm. Let's just say their output decreases somewhat. And we all know that low productivity is bad for
business. Especially the baby-making business.

But fear not, if you like the feel of balmy-hot leather against your bum, you can still enjoy it. Just make sure you don't keep it on for too long - an hour at most.

Unless of course, you don't like the idea of filling your back seats with screaming todlers. Or the thought of sleep deprivation, early mornings and stinking, steaming nappies.

In which case, fire up those seats and keep yourself toasty.

Otherwise, consider yourself warned."

If you prefer a much more scientific analysis or report then head over to :

The Daily Telegraph article

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The city of hypocrites - an excerpt from a news article

Below is an interesting bit of writing that I found on Rediff's news site. Its from an old article dating back to 2005 describing several instances that occured in that year. Funny read.
Sadly this is what moral policing has come to in the city.

Chennai, the city of auto majors Ford, Hyundai, BMW, Ashok Leyland. Chennai, the city of software majors TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Xansa.
Chennai, the city of several engineering colleges and thousands of engineering students.
Chennai, the city where the country's first six-lane information technology expressway is under construction.

Chennai, the city of the Big Brother (read: moral police).

Scene One

A park in Chennai. A young teenage boy and a girl are sitting on a bench munching peanuts. The distance between them slowly reduces, and the boy puts his hand on the girl's shoulder and draws her close to him. They are still talking and munching peanuts. No, they are not about to kiss, but their physical proximity is such that they can. That is, if Big Brother does not turn up. And he does.
The terrified kids jump up.
"What are you two doing here?" asks Big Brother.
"Nothing!" the boy stammers.
"Nothing? What nothing? You are doing something," Big Brother thunders.
"We were talking and eating peanuts," the boy's voice is barely audible.
"What? Can't you talk loudly?" Big Bother's voice is so loud that the two young things clasp hands in fright.
"Take your hands off her." Big Brother whacks the boy with his baton so hard that his eyes fill with tears. The girl has already started crying.
"No tears. No crying. Don't you know boys and girls are not supposed to sit so close to each other and hold hands in a public place?"
The boy wants to ask 'What's wrong in us sitting close and holding hands?'
"Don't say she's your girl friend?"
The boy nods.
"Girlfriend and boyfriend? What is this world coming to? Come on, get into the jeep. I am taking you two into custody."
Moral of the story: If you are in Chennai, never sit on a park bench with your girlfriend or boyfriend. And, most importantly, never hold hands. It is not part of the great Chennai Culture.

Scene 2

A party in the discotheque of a luxury hotel. Loud chatter, louder music. Couples dancing merrily on the floor. The music gets louder and the dancers more passionate. Bodies intertwine. Soon, some lips lock.
Enter Big Brother on the dance floor.
"Stop!" his voice booms, but the music is too loud. He keeps shouting, but no one can hear him. He rushes towards the DJ console and terrorises the DJ into stopping the music.
The romantic world of the couples shatters.
Big Brother jumps onto a chair and shouts, "What's this? What's going on here? Don't you have any respect for this great city, and its great culture?"
"What's he saying?" A woman whispers as she comes out of the trance.
"You people better listen to me. This is a great city..."
"How many times will he say that?" Another woman laughs.
"The culture of the city is so great that here, no woman and man should hug each other in public, nobody should dance like mad people. You should learn to dance Bharata Natyam. That's our culture, and not this. Here, no man and woman kiss each other in a public place."
"This is not a public place. This is a hotel, and this is a dance floor," an angry young man shouts back.
"I will arrest you for insulting our great culture. No man and woman should kiss in a hotel even if they are husband and wife. You will be arrested if you do that. Today, I, the Big Brother, forgive you," he jumps off the chair and walks away.
Moral of the story: In Chennai, you should not go to a dance party unless it is Bharata Natyam. You should not kiss your spouse even if you are dancing the Bharata Natyam. You should respect the great culture and traditions of the city.

Scene 3

An engineering college campus. Three students are summoned to the principal's room to appear before a panel of five teachers whose duty is to question 'immoral' students and punish them. The students' fault; they are wearing short, sleeveless tops and tight jeans, and they were caught talking to boys.
"What kind of dress are you wearing? Were you seducing the boys when we caught you? Don't come crying to us if you get raped. If you dress like this, anything can happen. Remember, this kind of indecent dress is not allowed in this city and in this college, understand? Now, go home and get Rs 500 as fine for wearing sleeveless top and tight jeans. If you want good jobs in good companies, you should learn to dress properly, and also learn not to flirt with boys," The teachers shout at the girls.
Once the girls are done with, five boys are called in. They also undergo a dressing down for 'wearing dark coloured shirts,' 'talking to girls' and 'flirting with them'.
"You people will never see even the gates of an IT company," the jury declares.
Moral of the story: If you are an engineering student in Chennai, you should dress 'decently' and never talk to the opposite sex. That is, if you want a good job in a good company.

Scene 4

Angry women demonstrating -- with brooms and flip flops -- in front of a movie actress' house. The women shout unprintable abuses, spit on the gate, burn her effigy.
In an interview, the actress had advised people of the city to have safe sex. She had pooh poohed the idea of pre-marital virginity as an essential virtue.
"You dirty woman, you insulted our great culture. How dare you live here? We will banish you to the Andamans," roars the mob.
Moral of the story: If you are a woman living in Chennai, a city that has Big Brothers who flaunt their several wives/mistresses as proof of their wealth and social status, never talk about sex, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, AIDS, condoms or virginity.

No, this is not an adaptation of George Orwell's 1984. This is 2005, and the city is Chennai.
Yes, Chennai, the city that has blah blah blah. "

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ways to while away time at college - Part 1

These Automobile Department guys sure know how to start a party. Picture:
Below right : Mr. Sivakumar and Mr. Tamilselvan square - off.

Back to my department then.

During our days in school we were never quite short of things to study, or homework to write. While things don't always change in college what with some folk who seem hellbent on NOT leaving their school days behind, plus a few who spend time doing nothing other than reading books borrowed from the library, having secret discussions (the way some of these people keep it secret, you'd think they'd have found a way to perform controlled Cold Fusion :D ) - the majority of us mortals resort to other methods to busy ourselves.

Here the guy on the left is our class' Anniyan, a.k.a Abhirup. He makes occasional appearances in class and in fortuitous circumstances like this, ventures forward with a doubt. All queries on hair styling may be directed to him.

For example, there's me - right in the first bench with a 9.607 GPA in 2nd sem. But throw all presumptions aside and accept the truth - that there's a lot more to me - which shall dawn on you only if you spend a lot of time in class. I spend half the time trying to keep myself awake since I can't really fall asleep in the first bench without making myself look stupid. The rest of the time, I keep thinking up silly answers (a.k.a. mokkai) to questions that teachers ask (and sometimes I work up the guts to give them those answers). Right next to me are Messrs Sundaram and Siddharth - two people who have an ability to stay awake i the dreariest of classes without so much as a sideways glace while I'm fighting hard to keep steady. Occasionally however, I might snap a picture in class when I get too bored just to see how much I can get away with in the first bench.

The picture to the right shows many of our class' hostelers.

Centum Sundaram (or A-cubed as he is otherwise known), can however get wild if you disturb him while he studies or while he writes his homework. The fruit (read: pazham) will turn into a raging fire if you take away his study-related stuff. Note the picture to the left.

A bench behind me is our ex-rep and my all-weather hyper friend Mr. Vigneshwaran (sleeping in the pic to the right) , accompanied Mr. Sivakumar , Rat-cutter Rupesh (hostel hero for obvious reasons) and Thale (or should I say Thamilarasan). These people have come to accept that there shall be no end to their torture by my mokkai until the completion of the course. They do however, show signs of sleep on occasion unlike my first bench partners. Further back, people take to different activities during class - ranging from texting to writing that evening's lab record, from listening to music to photographing people with their phones, and of course the unanimously accepted favourite college hobby - sleeping in class.

Above you see Mr. Jayaraj out cold in class, never underestimate an Anna Univ professor's capability to put you to sleep. Tis sometimes better to give in to sound sleep than to listen to them.

Problem with being in the forward benches is that you sometimes don't know whether to smile or cry at the jokes that some teachers crack :-(
Note part 2 of the tale below.

Whiling away time at college - Part 2

The day-scholar guys of my class.

Back at the hostel, killing time is the easiest thing to do.
A-cubed Sundaram faces the truth

Time flies when you talk with friends, listen to music and imitate the profs who handled classes that day. Then there are some strange hobbies like mine, balancing a bottle on my head while leaning back in a chair.

One must accept the theory - Any day scholars who end up in the hostel with lunch boxes that haven't yet been emptied shall have said lunch boxes emptied at the hostel. The charm of mess food of course tends to wear away once you've eaten the same thing for a few months.

However there is one recourse for such mess-weary scholars - our canteen which was recently reopened and handed over to a new caterer. Picture above.

There was this time when a certain Mr. Arun (our class' day scholar - hosteler hybrid) was trying to shave at the hostel with an electric shaver. Sadly for him, the shaver ran out of juice. The results are below for all to see. Apologies Arun ;-) .

Rat-catching is a favourite activity at the hostel. There are few hostel guys who haven't had a few bites taken out of their legs by one of the rats that frequent the hostel. But one guy had the courage to do something about it. Armed with a rat trap and a few Good Day biscuits, Mr. Rupesh (aka Mahesh Babu) started his crusade. Recently he caught two rats on the same night. And then there was that fateful night when he caught a rat within his room and ended its rein of terror ( / error ) with a nice bound book. All this in a 45-minute chase scene worthy of the Italian Job. Next morning Mr. Dead rat went over the third floor railing to his final resting place. Peace be with him. Amen.... But seriously, Rupesh is a really nice guy who did a great service as such by ridding the hostel of the rat menace.

Ah. of course there was one case of mistaken Identity. The guys once thought they caught a rat within one of their metal rat-traps. They heard squeaking noises and thought they better kill it, lest it escape overnight if left in the trap. So they took two wires, stuck them in the main plug point, tied the other ends to the trap, and switched on the plug point. The lights went out for a few minutes and came back. When they opened the cage, Lo and Behold, a squirrel jumped out, and ran right out the window......