Saturday, July 31, 2010

A wish for Bangalore

This is all I wish for in Bangalore. A dedicated cycling track through the heart of the city. You may decide to replace Bangalore with any city you know that is on the verge of a grinding halt because of the indisciplined vehicular traffic.

In case you are wondeing what CS stands for: CS = Cycling Superhighways.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

History on a Bookmark

An advantage of being around for a long, long time is that you have a fair bit of history under your belt. And the Foyles bookshop on the Charing Cross Road can definitely lay a claim on that. But more importantly, it is how you make that history available to others.
Foyles does it in a very unique way. They have these wonderful - nice and thick and not likely to tear in one use - bookmarks that bring out an aspect of their history.

Each bookmark has a photograph of some event that happened at Foyles in the distant past and has a bit of story.
The one I hold right now in my hands has a photograph that dates back to 10 November 1960. The photo shows: 'LADY C SOLD OUT. IN STOCK AGAIN TOMORROW.

Lady C, of course, refers to Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence. The bookmark goes on to explain: "Four hundred people queued outside the shop on 10 November 1960 to buy the uncensored 'Lady C'. We sold out in 15 minutes and took orders for 3,000 copies that day."

I bet all of those 400 were men!!!

On my flight back from England, I was sitting next to an middle-aged lady who is from Switzerland. She saw the bookmark and exclaimed, "I used to work for Foyles long ago." So I gave the bookmark (another one - not the Lady C) to her. I bet it brought back to her years of memory.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Indian Scientist Contributes

The July 2010 Issue of the Scientific American (India) has its first Indian contributor - at least to my knowledge.
The author of the article Following the Arrow of Time (an article on how String Theory might explain the assymetry of time) is Gautam Mandal. He is a theoretical scientist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). And though his post doctorate is from Princeton, he did his Phd from TIFR. In other words, a proper home grown Indian scientist.
Pity his article does not appear in the international edition of the Scientific American. Nevertheless, an occassion to celebrate.
Now I am sure, publishing an article in the Scientific American is not the pinnacle of scietific achievement. Nevertheless, it is important to communicate to the lay reader cutting edge science. The last Indian to do so effectively - to my knowledge - is Jayant Narlikar.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Nearest Thing to French Class Room

No time for attending French courses at the Alliance Francaise?
No problem!
Welcome to Coffee Break French - the nearest thing to a real life classroom session.
This is actually a podcast. However, the production value is professional. And what's more it is FREE. At least the podcasts are.
You need to pay for the transcripts and the other value added service. But believe me, the way Mark - the teacher - and Anna - the student go about teaching and learning French, you may not need the transcripts.
Each podcast is of 15-20 minutes duration.
You can download the entire set of 80 lessons from iTunes too (podcasts > Education > Language Courses > Radio Lingua Network > Coffee Break French)
Let me know if you enjoy it.

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