National Geographic Photo of the Day

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dumb as a Blonde - check out the video

This video's been around for quite a while. Just watch this answer that Ms. South Carolina gives to the question : "Why do you think a fifth of Americans can't locate the US on a world map?". Its just awesomely stupid :D No wonder all those blonde jokes keep coming.

Jimmy Kimmel of course did an analysis of her comments. This one's a must watch. Don't miss it.

While we're on the topic of dumb blondes, here's ex-President Bush. Now Obama is the first American President who is totally into his Blackberry. But President Bush was good at making war, not at using "The Internets" ;) and searching via "The Google". Watch this CNN report on his comments.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A few Speeches for Obamamaniacs and others too

Whether you like the new American President or not, you gotta admit he's a wonderful orator.

Here are a few of his significant speeches.

(Then) President-Elect Barrack Obama's victory speech

The speech he made at the Presidential Inauguration as the first Black American President

The recent oration at Cairo directed at Muslims around the world

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Dark Knight Returns

Those of you who're ardent fans of the one and only caped crusader of the comic world might know that in recent times, specifically in Batman : RIP, the detective apparently meets his end.

The last few issues of Batman have followed the "Battle for the Cowl" storyline that focuses on the mayhem in Gotham following the Dark Knight's death, and the rise of someone else to take up his mantle.

Bruce Wayne may be gone for now, but the legacy of the caped crusader goes on. Dick Grayson (a.k.a Nightwing for the uninformed) goes on to don the cape and the cowl in Batman #687 : Reborn. Along with the change in the person beneath the costume, Nightwing suggests a different location for his base of operations, not the BatCave. The issue even has a fleeting appearance from Superman and Wonder Woman. It also sees the return of writer Judd Winick. Don't miss this one.

Side by side with this, there's a new comic series "Batman and Robin" out now. The first issue of that chronicles how Damian (Batman's son with Talia Al Ghul) becomes the next Robin, what with Tim Drake leaving Gotham for a while after suffering injuries in his fight with Jason Todd. Tim now becomes the new Red Robin.

Detective Comics, meanwhile, will follow the exploits of Batwoman (Kate Kane).

Looks like the coming months will be pretty interesting for DC comic fans. And remember Bruce Wayne has not been totally written off, there's always hope.....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

FIP is back -but not with much of a bang

Maybe you haven't seen it on the news channels, what with the media buzz having died down after the IPL season. But, the Fake IPL Player is indeed back. He still has around 8000 followers left over after the IPL rush for FIP's blog.

His first post after the IPL comes in the wake of the T20 World Cup beginning, with a post about the Pakistan team, with stuff that anyone could have come up with, not necessarily an insider. However, it sure is nowhere near interesting as the inside scoop from the Kolkatta Knight Riders' camp. The novelty lay in the former fact as well as the silly sounding names he cooked up for each IPL player and commentator and team owner. All that was tolerated, appreciated and gulped down en masse by the media and the masses in the anticipation of him keeping his promise --> To reveal his true identity at the end of IPL season 2009.

Initially he said he'd come out at the end of this year's IPL, then he said he'd leave it to his readers (who suggested he keep his promise). In the end, despite the poll, he decided to remain in the shadows.

There had always been a steady decrease in quality in what he wrote, but that wouldn't deter hardened gossip-lovers until now, until he let that promise fly away with the wind. Now with no credibility in his posts, he's being more or less ignored, apart from the few of us who still haven't got much to do except trawl the Internet for crap no one else wants. You'll notice (if you ever looked at this blog more than once or twice) that I've removed his RSS feed from my site too, leaving just the link to his page on the right side.

Here's his glossary of names used until now as always:
Captain Kakdi = Dhoni
Dicks of Dickland = Players of Australia
Dickhead = Ricky Ponting
Pomeranian pilla = Clarke
Pussy = Mike Hussey
Islanders = Sri Lankan players
The Blue = Team India
Aloo Posto Deem Sheddo = Bangladesh team
The Queen Bees: England players
Teri Maa Ki = Andrew Symonds
Calypso King = Chris Gayle
Dildo = Shahrukh Khan
Bablee = Bret Lee
Weapons of Self Destruction - Al Pakeezah = The Pakistani Team
Captain No-Use Khan (earlier known as Bhindi) = Younis Khan
Oranges = Netherlands
Kumar Bull = Umar Gul
Mr. Missed-Bah-5-Runs = Misbah Ul Haq
Yasir Fatafat = Yasir Arafat
Failed warrior/warlord of Tribal Region = Afridi
Sheru = Sehwag
No-Braina = Raina

I doubt FIP will create much of a sensation this time around. Frankly, he's down for the count.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The millionth word

The English language has, since its inception, had a tendency to assimilate new words and phrases at an alarming rate, thus making it far more versatile than other languages and with a huge vocabulary that few others can rival. It has grown from Germanic, later incorporating features from French and Latin and evolving over time. Old words fall out of use, neologisms arrive and sometimes leave the scene in a flash.

Today, the Global Language Monitor (GLM), a company based in Austin, Texas announced that the 1 millionth word to enter the English language would be Web 2.0. What gives them the authority to decide you ask?

Here's a quote from The Economist to answer that question:

And by what authority does the Global Language Monitor say a new coinage is a genuine new word? None. Some countries, such as France and Spain, have academies that claim the right to regulate their national languages, and to repel invasive terms, usually from English. Neither England nor the United States attempts such an exercise in futility. English is a mongrel language that keeps its vitality by absorbing new words, uses and expressions. It promiscuously plunders other languages and delights in neologisms. It is the language of free traders and inventive entrepreneurs such as the staff of the Global Language Monitor.

GLM apparently uses a proprietary algorithm to search the internet, and track new words and their usage, the number of times it appears in specific texts etc. Based on this, they determine whether the word is worthy to be added into the English language.

The other words in the running included "Jai Ho", "slumdog" and "N00b". While the last term is tech talk for a person new to certain aspects of technology, be it a particular task on a PC or in playing a game, the other two words were clearly up there thanks to the hype that the film Slumdog Millionaire generated. I'm pretty happy (though I'm Indian) that those two words never got to be the millionth, else there'll be no end to the coverage that media channels would give them. I mean, the movie was OK, but to hype it to the point where people ask for a phrase like "Jai Ho" to be added to the English language is sheer lunacy.

Web 2.0 is a term that's been around for a long time. Right from 1999, when it was coined by Darcy DiNucci, and Tim O'Reilly made it famous via his media conference in 2004, to present day where's its use is ubiquitous. Web 2.0 is not a new technology as such, it isn't like differentiating between Firefox 2.0 and Firefox 3.0. Web 2.0 provides for the network (Internet in most cases) to be a platform for a person to do a task, provides the user with a richer web experience, enables greater user participation, dynamic content, and lets users run applications without the need for anything other than the web browser.

Examples of Web 2.0 include sites like Orkut, Youtube, Flickr and Wikis. With new words coming up en masse at a rapid pace, there's no surety that Web 2.0 will ever remain at the forefront. Just like so many before it, it too might fade away into the annals of history.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Modern Warfare returns

This post is about one of my favourite games of all time - the Call of Duty series. Every PC gamer knows there's just one game that has taken every fan's expectation of a war game and exceeded it, creating the one and only "almost real" war simulator - Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare. The game was a hit on all major platforms - the PC, PS3 and the Xbox 360. Gamers the world over still play the game online en masse.

Here's COD 4's trailer -

The 5th iteration of COD, World at War, though a pretty good game, didn't do anything new for the series, it was merely a World War 2 game that used Modern Warfare's tried and tested methods.

On March 25, 2009, a teaser trailer was shown confirming that the next iteration of the series, "Modern Warfare 2", would be released on the 10th of November 2009. Ever since the second teaser went up on May 10th, the net has been abuzz with the kinda excitement one would see before a Hollywood movie's release, and people have been eagerly waiting for the "Reveal trailer" to pop up on the internet. It finally did on May 24th, and from the looks of it, MW2 is going to be one helluva game. Let's hope Infinity Ward can weave it's near-cinematic magic once again.

Check out the trailer below even if you aren't into games, else you'll be sorry you missed it.

At E3 2009, Microsoft showed off a gameplay video of MW2, no other word but awesome comes to my mind after seeing it. The 7 minute long clip shows your character and a partner infiltrating, and later making a run for it from, a military base in the Arctic circle.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Slim PS3 Confirmed?? - So it seems

With E3 - the gaming industry's Mecca - approaching, the rumour mills are spinning at full throttle.

Sony have always gone on to introduce new and slimmer versions of the playstation - the PS1 led to the PSOne, the PS2 wound up as slimmer PSTwo.

For days now there's been a great deal of speculation about the PSP Go (image on the left) and a new lighter, redesigned Playstation 3 from Sony, what with there being leaked photos and videos of both devices put up on various websites, and take-down notices flying left right and center (when box pictures purportedly of the new PS3 were leaked) . The PSP Go was indeed confirmed whereas the new slimmer PS3 was in the realm of hopeful speculation.

Until now.....

I just saw this bit on the BBC News website yesterday afternoon (the 1st of June, 2009) on an article about the PSP Go being confirmed.

Quoted from BBC News:
"There have also been reports that Sony will announce a re-designed, slimmer PlayStation 3 but BBC News understands this will not be launched at E3.

The new PS3 model will be out later this year, BBC News understands. "

The current versions of the PS3 are sexy enough (image right) as they are, both in terms of looks and the powerful hardware within that shell. But a new iteration could bring in newer features, the mythical never too-soon price cut and who knows what else!!!

So I guess it is confirmed but not at E3, 2009. With a new model coming out later this year, Sony might look to clear the shelves of the older model at a quick pace. This might mean that existing machines will attract some discounts either much before or immediately after the release. In all probability, the PS3 "Slim", as many have become fond of calling it, is set to make its debut during the holiday season (around Christmas) towards the end of the year. Lets hope so at least.

I don't think the BBC would open their mouth unless its true and they've got a reliable source.

Here's an artist's rendering (from T3 Magazine) of a possible design for the new PS3 "Slim".

PS: Here's the link to the BBC Article -