New England Malayalee Association’s blog

January 30, 2009

Madhuram Malayalam

Filed under: Poetry — nemausa @ 8:44 pm
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Contributor: Anand Krishnan Puravangara(President NEMA)

Anand loves poems and tries to encourage the usage Malayalam language, especially by new generation.  Anand  found the following  lines of Vyloppilly’s poem captivating.

Check out the beautiful  lines by the great poet Vyloppilli. How can we let this beautiful language die?  ( Malayalam is listed as one of the  languages which will die in the future )

chalilmq8

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January 26, 2009

Kerala’s best know cartoon

Filed under: Cartoon — nemausa @ 2:33 pm
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Fans of Bobanum Moliyum cartoons spans generations, and have a certain timeless quality, below, taste a nugget:
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January 24, 2009

Malayalee wins Oscar nomination

resulpookkutty

This news almost got drowned amidst the euphoria surrounding A.R.Rahman’s nomination.  For the movie Slumdog Millionaire,  Resul Pookutty, along with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke got Oscar nomination for the category of  sound mixing. The fact that  Resul is a Malayalee is an  added bonus for Malayalees.

Resul hails from Vilakkupara in Anchal in Kollam district and it was fate that landed him in tinsel town, that too in Bollywood movies.

Joining the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune “was a turning point in my life.” Resul passed out from the Institute in 1995 and moved to Mumbai, the dreamland of Indian commercial filmmakers.

“That was a natural immigration as a graduate of the institute. Ninety-five per cent of the technicians of the Mumbai film industry are alumni of FTII, Pune,” points out Resul. “After my graduation from Pune, my interest to specialise in sound became clear, and today I feel I am successful, both aesthetically and commercially,” he says[Directing sound].

36 year old Resul has designed sound in a large number of hindi movies including Ghajini, Saawariya, Dus Kahaniyaan, Black, Gandhi My Father, Zinda, Bluffmaster,Amu, Raghu Romeo and Mixed Doubles. In India, reviewers as well as movie going public’s appreciation never goes beyond actors, direction and music. Technical departmens like Sound Designing gets ignored or are not appreciated even in successful movies.  An Oscar would draw attention to these technical wizards and their efforts would get appreciated.  I’m sure that lot of us would be tuning into the Oscar awards nights.

And here’s a recent interview with Resul.

Update: Here’s the latest – the Oscar goes to…

Image courtesy: Hindu.com

January 22, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire – a different take

Film National Board Awards

Girish Potti is familiar name for New England Malayalees,  he’s former President of NEMA and recently we saw another facet of his talent here.  Girish watched the movie Slumdog Millionaire recently and he has  jotted down his feelings about this movie and  has some insights on the Oscar awards.  We invite your comments on this as well as any other creative contribution in the form of reviews, articles, story, photo etc.  Incidentally this is our 50th post.  Read on …

Slumdog Millionaire is an entertaining and rivetting movie. We thouroghly enjoyed the fast pace and the creative story telling. A.R.Rahman should have got Oscars and Grammys long time ago. Better late than never; A.R.Rahman rocks!

I am not convinced yet that SDM is a realistic movie and deserves an Oscar. The movie follows the familiar pattern that would get you into Oscar. It sure looks like a set formula for any foreign made/based movie to get into Oscars.

This is the thumb of rule that would get you into Oscar:

1) It should have some weird message – like Gays, oppression, slums or why that foreign country sucks. An uplifting movie like Lagaan/Mother India  will never win at the Oscars.

After seeing the movie, it felt like India is Dharavi. There is a scene in the movie where the Millionaire show host laughs at the notion that a chai-wallah made it to the podium and the audience goes along making fun of the chai-wallah. Really. If there is any place that wouldn’t happen it would be India.

But the movie follows the familiar sure step to success in international forum. Look at all the Indian booker prize winners to see the pattern..The book White Tiger makes India bashing  a science  and guess what – Wins the booker price. Arundati Roy’s God of small things laughs at the petty Indian from outside. Sure enough Booker Prize.

Amitabh Bachan is a national treasure and the way he is adored is unique to India. Somehow the film has managed to give negative connotation to that too as being mindless adulation of a star who is really another movie star removed from the common man. I am not batting for Amitabh.I am just pointing to the notion of how bashing  a cultural icon win accolades outside India.

2) It should have some hints as to why America and Americans are good, for that matter Westerners.

If you look at foreign based movies like Life is Beautiful – It was an excellent movie but what I think really clinched the oscars for the movie is the climax where the americans come in tank and save the kid. Wonder what would have happened if it were to be russians who were in the tank.

Slum dog millionaire has a scene where the kid is mercilessly hit and beaten by a driver and the kid says  – you wanted to see real india, this is what it is – Then the American says – We are Americans and this is what we do and she hands the kid  a $100 bill. That should definetly win at  the Oscars. Does any body is India really have the guts to go into a slum and kick a kid in the face?

I am not taking anything away from the movie. It depicts reality to an extent. But has managed to portray India as Dharavi and also the Dharavi as the whole reality of India. I wonder whether these accolodes would flow for the story of  a resurgent india, or of a patriotic Indian who sees the good in India too. I doubt it but am sure planning on writing a book which would get international accolades.

January 20, 2009

2000 to 2008

Filed under: Info,News — nemausa @ 5:07 am
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On March 4, 1933, Franklin Roosevelt addressed a crowd of 400,000 at his first inauguration. The past few years had seen a spectacular decline in the nation’s fortunes, born of what he called the “mad chase of evanescent profits.” Banks were failing, savings disappearing, real estate and commodities collapsing. Fascism was rising abroad. In response, Roosevelt pledged “a disciplined attack upon our common problems.” He didn’t get much more specific than that. And, really, he didn’t have to. The people wanted change, in the current vernacular—or, more precisely, they wanted a government that could respond coherently to the profound changes that were already under way.

Barack Obama assumes the presidency this year amid a similar sense of national crisis, and having made similar promises of change. And, like Roosevelt, he’ll be leading a country very different from the one his predecessor inherited: as the statistics on this map show, change itself is one thing we’ve seen in abundance in the past eight years. Making sense of that upheaval will be the first responsibility of the new administration.[Then and Now]

January 15, 2009

ObamaMobile

Filed under: Info,News — nemausa @ 9:05 pm
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Obama's Limo

New presidential Limo, image courtesy christian Science Monitor, details here,has gadgets and features that are usually seen in Bond Movies.

January 14, 2009

Download Malayalam calendar

Click here to download 2009 Malayalam calendar – comes with all the bells and whistles – Panchangam, Holidays etc. It’s published by Kerala Kaumudi.

Malayalam Calndar

Hat tip: KeralaTips.org

January 13, 2009

New foreign news website – GlobalPost.com and realignment in newspaper world

Filed under: Events,News — nemausa @ 3:13 pm
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With news paper industry in dire straits the breed of foreign journalists are dwindling. News paper publishers are cutting down on spending and foreign reporting. Many newspapers are folding their print editions and many are deep in red and ready to be sold. Many newspapers are cutting costs and trying innovative methods to increase revenue. Recently Christian Science monitor was offering overseas news to other newspapers. CNN is going offer a new wire service to papers and political news website Politico is catering to newspaper customers.

One exciting development is the new World news website – GlobalPost.com, which was unveiled yesterday. This high quality news site initially will have 65 correspondents in 46 countries.Many of them are veterans of major news organizations such as CNN, The Washington Post, Time magazine and The Associated Press. Journalists will generally be paid $1,000 a month as part-time freelancers, meaning they’ll likely continue working for other outlets as well.The correspondents get a stake in the company as well. GlobalPost will have its own free site as well as sell in-depth, analytical news stories to other news papers.Charles Sennott, a veteran Boston Globe foreign correspondent is one of the key persons behind GlobalPost.

The investors have put up $8.2 million to start this venture. The major investors include include former Boston Globe Publisher Benjamin Taylor and Paul Sagan, chief executive of Akamai Technologies Inc. in Cambridge, Mass.

January 12, 2009

Environmental impact of a google search

Filed under: Events,News — nemausa @ 9:35 pm
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googlekettle1

Yesterday’s Times Online came out with a very interesting research finding – that performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea. To think that a harmless task such as googling could add to greenhouse gas emissions is stunning.

Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2 Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.”

Google is secretive about its energy consumption and carbon footprint. It also refuses to divulge the locations of its data centres. However, with more than 200m internet searches estimated globally daily, the electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by computers and the internet is provoking concern. A recent report by Gartner, the industry analysts, said the global IT industry generated as much greenhouse gas as the world’s airlines – about 2% of global CO2 emissions. “Data centres are among the most energy-intensive facilities imaginable,” said Evan Mills, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Banks of servers storing billions of web pages require power.[Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searches]

And here’s Google’s defense from Googleblog:

But as computers become a bigger part of more people’s lives, information technology consumes an increasing amount of energy, and Google takes this impact seriously. That’s why we have designed and built the most energy efficient data centers in the world, which means the energy used per Google search is minimal. In fact, in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than Google uses to answer your query.

Recently, though, others have used much higher estimates, claiming that a typical search uses “half the energy as boiling a kettle of water” and produces 7 grams of CO2. We thought it would be helpful to explain why this number is *many* times too high. Google is fast — a typical search returns results in less than 0.2 seconds. Queries vary in degree of difficulty, but for the average query, the servers it touches each work on it for just a few thousandths of a second. Together with other work performed before your search even starts (such as building the search index) this amounts to 0.0003 kWh of energy per search, or 1 kJ. For comparison, the average adult needs about 8000 kJ a day of energy from food, so a Google search uses just about the same amount of energy that your body burns in ten seconds.[Powering a Google search]

Post Script: Update – It seems that The Times made up the whole story

At the heart of the story was a young physicist named Alex Wissner-Gross, who, according to the article, says “that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea”. This sentence alone was enough to rile up reporters around the globe, and has now been repeated in hundreds of articles worldwide.

Unfortunately, according to Wissner-Gross he never said anything of the sort. For starters, he says he would never refer to any sort of measurement having to do with tea (he’d go with coffee). But his findings have nothing to do with Google as a company, either – they’re concerned with much more generalized stats, like your computer’s rate of CO2 production when you look at a webpage.

Wissner-Gross says that the widely circulated 7 gram/search figure came from some other source (he’s not sure where), and notes that if you read the article carefully it only makes it sound like it’s from his data. He has confirmed that he did make some vague statements regarding Google, including “A Google search has a definite environmental impact” and “Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power”. But the “tea kettle” statistic that has been repeated ad nauseum simply isn’t his. After learning of the misleading story, Wissner-Gross says that he contacted The Times and was assured that it would be fixed by Sunday morning. No corrections have been made.[Revealed: The Times Made Up That Stuff About Google And The Tea Kettles]

Image courtesy: techcrunch.com

January 8, 2009

Satyam fiasco

Filed under: Events,finance — nemausa @ 7:33 pm
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One of the icons of India’s new economy is fast disintegrating as we speak. It is affecting Indian economy in general, thousands of employees personally and puts all the Indian corporate houses in bad light. Ultimate irony is that the company named Satyam is build on mountains of lies. Here’s Deepak Shenoy taking a look at Satyam’s end game in Indian investor’s blog:

So what happens? There is no money, so how do they pay salaries? Employees are quite likely to look for other jobs – and understandably so. Satyam has 53,000 employees, and if you take the cash – at what, 400 cr. (not accounting for the liability) – that’s about 80,000 per employee, but I assume they will need to pay electricity bills, rent etc., so it won’t even be that much.

But this is a bad job market, and 53,000 resumes aren’t going to be absorbed just like that. Still, customers will be wary; and may withhold payments or even abort contracts.

That would normally be a positive for Infosys, Wipro and TCS, but corp governance of India is under question here. Corporate fraud of this nature does not unwind easy; everyone will be suspicious.

With Raju behind bars soon, and no trust in the top management, and no cash, Satyam is likely to go under. No more acquisition crap – no one will want that. So bankruptcy will be the only way to go. If they owned any land, you can bet your last dollar it was mortgaged to the hilt – or, conveniently transferred to promoters and rented to Satyam through back-dated agreements, like we’ve seen in other cases.

So the impact, for employees, is sad. A company they work for, that they believed was fair, is going under for no fault of theirs; and indeed, no one other than the board, the auditors and the management is liable. In all likelihood the company is bust, and the shares are worth ZERO.

This is horrible for a lot of sectors. Real estate, in Hyderabad for one. The number of payment defaults will be massive, I imagine, plus the rentals should fall dramatically. Consider also that Maytas Infrastructure is run by Raju’s son, and is likely a co-player in the whole deal – and that company was supposed to build the metro and all sorts of infrastructure projects.

Banks – both those working with Satyam (53,000 account monthly credits will be gone), and those that have lent to employees (personal, credit card and home loans). Who? We’ll have to find out. ICICI bank is down 10% as we speak, HDFC 4% and a number of other banks are hurting[Satyam: The end Game].

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