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Haiku: The modern verse

September 3, 2008

Spring haiku

Spring haiku

Recently, Freakonmics.com has conducted a haiku contest on Economics. It got huge response. By the way, do you know what Haiku is? Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. It’s noted for its minimalism. It is impossible to single out any current style or format or subject matter as definitive “haiku.” Some of the more common practices in English are:

  • Use of three (or fewer) lines of about 17 or fewer syllables
  • Use of a season word
  • Use of a cut or caesura (sometimes indicated by a punctuation mark) to contrast and compare, implicitly, two events, images, or situations

Do you know even our great poet, Rabindranath Tagore translated some Japanese haiku into Bengali?

It looks very simple but very difficult to write.  Here are some of the haikus I found interesting in the Freakonomics contest:

Haiku writers know
The opportunity cost
Of a syllable
.

Demand curve slopes down
because the more cake I eat
the less cake I want.

A friend and I, jailed
We agreed to stay silent
(But I still confessed)

Black tulips were first
But not last, in a garden
of wilting bloom-bergs.

I borrowed too much.
Now I can’t make my payments.
It’s all Bush’s fault.

Economists talk,
But when laid out end to end
Can’t reach conclusion.

Capitalist pond
Frog bets farm on real estate
Market correction!

Cat ate all the mice.
Then tore up the best couch. Bah!
Externalities.

Elephants drink oil
Donkeys cannot unify
Economy cries.

As bankers get rich
Folks are in debt for life
Free markets for all

Invisible hand
gives all of us the finger
in a depression

Write five syllables.
Then write seven more of them
Leading somewhere else.

Finite resources
Maximize utility
Winter’s discontent

Earth’s resources cached
Crinkled colorful coupons
Buy info and coffee

Lonely at the top
Here wind blows at its strongest
Where to go but down?

Sales of ice cream seem
To correlate with crime rate?
Simply summer heat.

Although most of these haikus ignore the coventional principles of the verse, they do make an interesting read. After enjoying these short poems, I felt like trying my hand at writing a few. Here they are:

Hold mind, you lose all
Omniscient, omnipresent;
Grabbing misty air

Craving for stones
for the sceptre and red rose;
See lilly withers.

Do they make any sense? I hope they do not sound double dutch to your English ears.

Hope you have enjoyed. Expecting comments from you in haiku format.

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Mozilla’s Ubiquity – An amazing web tool

August 29, 2008

Mozilla Labs calls it “An experiment into connecting the Web with language.”  I am talking about an innovative browser extension Ubiquity from Mozilla Labs which could revolutionize the way web tasks are performed.

With the simple language-based instructions, it lets users control the web browser. It provides you user-generated mashups with existing Web APIs. It lets “… you map and insert maps anywhere; translate on-page; search amazon, google, wikipedia, yahoo, youtube, etc.; digg and twitter; lookup and insert yelp review; get the weather; syntax highlight any code you find; and a lot more”- all on the run.

Mozilla Labs states the overall objective of this tool: “… connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.” I believe that it is living up to its grand objective.

Yesterday, I added the extension to the browser. I was astonished to see the amazing functionality of this extension. I made a video recording of my trials. See for yourself how it simplifies web tasks and provides amazing online experience.

Here is my video of my Ubiquity trials.

Also see what Arstechnica said about Ubiquity.

To know more about it see its tutorial.

Hooray! 1000 Hits!

August 28, 2008
Hooray! 1000 hits!

Hooray! 1000 hits!

I’d just like to take this moment to congratulate myself and my blog. My blog reached the first milestone of 1000 hits. I thank all the readers who helped in crossing this milestone in just two and half months.

The Ugly side of China

August 25, 2008
Yang Peiyi

Yang Peiyi

Source: LA Times

My heart sank after reading this post. What a shame! This is how China treats its children. Poor Yang Peiyi.

Also Read this post.

Occasional rants

August 22, 2008

Water drop on a leaf

Source: Photophilde

Recently, my perceptions of certain group of people have been coloured by the current religious and political events of our country. The group includes some of my close friends. I am ashamed of my narrow minded thinking. I was wondering why humans have so little control over their minds. They are easily swayed by the slightest of the impulses. Trivial incidents and events which have no personal relation could seriously damage even life-long relationships.

I remember my talk with the vipassana teacher during Q&A session at Vippassana meditation centre. On being asked why I should close my eyes while meditating, teacher explained me that whatever one sees even for a fraction of second-it may be the expression of person before us, person himself, or for that matter any thing which we like or dislike-is capable of swaying the mind at that spur of the moment. If such slight impulses could disturb our mind, think of what news of serious political, religious and sociological events and happenings criss-crossing our daily lives could do to our minds.  May be because of that I find myself restless and agitated after reading newspaper or watching news in TV. Now I understand why the organisers of the meditation course were insisting on keeping away all these tools of perturbation to lead undisturbed lives. But I feel that it is too impractical a solution.

Observing these emotional issues with a sense of objective detachment might help us in not getting influenced by them. Or, as one of my friends has observed in her post, preventing oneself from taking an extreme stance on any issue leaving room for alternative thinking might help us in developing a liberal attitude.

Vodaphone India announces iPhone prices

August 20, 2008

Vodaphone has announced iPhone prices today. The 8GB phone costs Rs.31,000 and 16 GB, Rs.36,100. I feel that these prices are far above the general expectations. The question is whether people will be tempted to change their service provider, given these exhorbitant prices. There is not much difference in cost between two phones. Obviously, potential buyers will be attracted towards 16 GB phone.

Read this.

What’s happening in Jammu

August 11, 2008

Jammu uprising

I feel distressed by the way in which the main stream media in India is covering the Jammu incidents. There seems to a deliberate callousness on the part of media. I suspect that the government has issued strong directives to media against publishing any news related to Jammu prominently fearing communal tensions throughout  India. One can understand the appeasement policies of the present Government, but the way the media has responded to the Jammu incidents is unpardonable. It is difficult to understand why media is towing the line of govt. being well aware of what really is happening in the region. Yasin Malik gets more coverage in media than the public outrage in Jammu since last 40 days. The people of Jammu have met injustice since long. This is the right opportunity for the main stream media to expose the grave injustice meted out to them.

What is strange here is that even the pro-hindu parties have been subdued in their responses to these incidents. May be these parties are mindful of the coming elections.

Fortunately, one can have glimpse of what is actually happening in Jammu through the blogosphere.

Read what is happening in Jammu through these blogs:

http://satyapravah.wordpress.com/hindu-intifada/

http://jammuburning.wordpress.com/2008/08/10/latest-on-jammu-burning-events/

http://thekashmir.wordpress.com/2008/08/09/jammu-uprising/