links for 2009-01-23

23 Jan
  • I could say JCVD will make you forget every Jean Claude van Damme film you have ever seen but, being Guardian readers, it's not too likely you will have seen many Van Damme films to forget. Better, perhaps, to say that you can safely forget everything you think you know about Van Damme; in this new film he plays a world-weary, beaten-down former action movie star in a startlingly honest performance that is scarcely believable from someone more used to letting his high kicks do the talking…
    The greatest enemy any action hero has to face is the clock; the ageing process is not easy for anyone, but for these performers it poses particular challenges. When you are feted for your physique and your ability to take on physical challenges that appear impossible, what do you do when time has eaten away at your muscles and stiffened your joints? Schwarzenegger became a politician; Stallone became Rocky and Rambo again, to critical derision; and Seagal became a joke.
  • Taking the cue from Mr. Miliband, the chairman of the Hurriyat, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, has declared that the dream of peace in the sub-continent will remain just that until the Kashmir issue was resolved according to "the aspirations of the Kashmiri people".
    Aspirations of the Kashmiri people? What may these aspirations be? Become an acclaimed rocket scientist, and the President of India? Perhaps, the highest paid lead actor in the Bollywood? An opportunity to learn computers, ride a bike, watch movies… for Mehnaaz, Nargis, and Shagufta? Or, could it be that Mr. Farooq is implying an unfullfilled desire to have acid thrown on the face, for not covering it with a burqua, or worse, for daring to attend school?
  • In the United Arab Emirates, considered by some as a moderate Islamic country, Sharia is the rule of law in the social sphere. If a man and a woman, who are not blood relatives or legally married, shared a flat, room, or even sat in a tinted car, they would be committing a crime, even if they did not have a sexual relationship…
    If you chose to visit, work, or reside in Dubai, you must respect its law. Even if that law is based on the Quranic logic of a misogynistic vintage. Even if you are not a Muslim.
  • The best prediction machines known to us are actually our own brains. Many people think of the brain as either a really powerful computer or just something too mysterious to explain. But it turns out that the brain is not mysterious, nor is it a computer; it is instead a damn good prediction machine. That is one of the reasons we do well at games like chess or baseball. While a human brain cannot calculate a mathematical equation as quickly as even the most basic calculator, it can easily determine where a ball in mid-flight will land — without calculating its precise trajectory or velocity, as a computer would do. Could you imagine trying to instantaneously calculate where a fly ball will land? Of course not. But I bet you could catch it.
    Our brains are great at what they do because they make educated guesses — but that also makes us vulnerable to errors in judgment. Nowhere is this more pronounced than when we try to forecast the future.
  • Perhaps Mata HaRi, our secret mole in the human resource department, would have a clue. She…said: “Obama would make a terrible boss, you know. He’d be like one of those expats or NRIs who come and make long idealistic speeches. Oblivious to the fact that the only guy who really knows the cash position is the office boy…
    “Besides, I’d like to see him try that ‘yes we can’ business in an Indian office,” HaRi explained. “All that is too much kich kich (hassle). People will nod and agree when he speaks. And then go back with the steel resolve to format his laptop, when he is out for lunch, whispering, ‘No… we won’t!’”
    HaRi concluded that idealists such as Obama would get chewed up and spat out in the Indian office environment.
    So what will Obama do in the corporate world then? I asked her. What position can utilize his skills without allowing him to cause damage?
    She thought for a while. “I think he would make a splendid independent director.”

Posted by on January 23, 2009 in Links


2 responses to “links for 2009-01-23

  1. Somya

    January 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    the stick figure comic book is great!

  2. Just Mohit

    January 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Yes. xkcd is intelligent satirical humour. Although it takes a bit of work to sometimes figure out what they are trying to say


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