Space invader in Kathmandu

I am back after my 15 day solo cycling trip from Delhi to kathmandu. The trip deserves a detailed travelogue, which I have started writing. What can’t wait is the space invader graffiti I saw in Thamel, Kathmandu.  Obviously by Invader , it looked the part amidst mero mobile and hotel signs. Though none of the local people knew anything about it.

Kathmandu is very cosmopolitan, must say.

BoomBox on BMX

Teenagers from trinidad have put up 15000 watt speakers on their BMX bikes. Well that is indeed awesome, but what caught my eyes were the teenagers. They all look indian. And trinidad has strong connections with UP-Bihar. And the head of the crew is Nick Ragbir. And there’s a documentary made about this.

Is the boss around?

Came across this job site – called workosaur.com. It’s USP being, it has the most 7 figure salary jobs. Good but no great shakes. Another job site I thought.

But then I saw a link on the top corner which said, “Boss is Around? Look Busy”. When clicked lead to a page full of graphs and charts.

This minor thing made me look again at the site. It tells me that this is a startup where people love their work. That they understand their niche audience. So it tells me to take them seriously. Kudos for the sense of humor.
Earlier posts on sense of humor:here

Olympic mascots

I am designing some icons right now. While researching about icons I came across these fantastic icons, of the olympic mascots. These have been designed by  turbomilk. I like em :).

Usable fruits

I was having a watermelon yesterday, when this thought came into mind. A seedless watermelon would be so nice. No fussing around with the seeds. No fumbling with the tongue to get the seeds out.

Then found out on the net that there is indeed such a watermelon. Surely all of you have eaten seedless grapes. I guess 99% commerical grapes are seedless. So I guess due to their user friendly nature these seedless fruits would qualify for “usable fruits”, wouldn’t they?

A little more research gave me this:

All of the above techniques for seedless propagation have one serious flaw: they lead to a decline in biodiversity. Because they involve essentially making carbon copies of one plant, if an agricultural disease which targets that plant evolves, it can spell big trouble. Many famous cultivars of seedless fruit, for example, are grown all over the world, and these stocks could be extremely vulnerable to disease or pests. The decrease in biodiversity is also bad for the species in general, as the more diverse a species is, the more likely it is to survive, as a general rule. read more here.

So I guess there’s nothing called a free lunch. On one hand these are useful to the customers. On the other hand very vulnerable to disease. Which explains the need for industrial pesticides. And how these pesticides find their way into our bodies.

Are their any other examples where usability has a really bad side effect?

Geography?

I like nike sites. Though they are made in flash, which takes away some things I am quiet used to nowadays like permalinks. They have this emotional quality to their site which makes me feel to get up and go running. So I guess they have partially succeeded. Full success would have meant me running to their showroom and getting their sneakers.

One thing I absolutely hate about them is as soon as you type “nike.com” you get a splash page which asks which language you want to see the site. Which is okay for a site in multiple languages. When I click English. It shows me a list of countries. Now India (where I live) is’nt there. Also there is’nt anything called “Others” or “Other countries”. What do I do know? Why are they treating me so partially? Isn’t India worth their attention?

I have written earlier about sites in multiple languages here.

I realize that they might not support online purchases in India. And thats the only valid reason I can think of. But why can’t they at least have a “Other countries” where the less fortunate of people come and just window shop?

PirateBay

People love them not just for the torrents, but for their attitude as well. There are a vast number of other torrent trackers around, but Piratebay makes news most often. On their home page their is a link called Legal Threats on which they post the legal notices/emails they get. This one was really funny, in reply to an email from Linotype. They have composed the entire email with different pirated fonts of Linotype.

Based in Sweden they have somehow bypassed the copyright laws till now. Piratebay’s legal advisor Viborg claims. “Until the law is changed so that it is clear that the trackers are illegal, or until the Swedish Supreme Court rules that current Swedish copyright law actually outlaws trackers, we’ll continue our activities. Relentlessly,”

Whatever their legal stand maybe, I love the way they use the anarchist dissension to grow more popular.

Hektor : Robot, spray paint my city!

suitcase.jpg

It can be plugged into a laptop, and can render a digital illustration on a wall. It is definitely lo-fi as the paint drips and the can wobbles. But that is the charm :). Here is one of its creations. More about it here.

we-try-harder.jpg

Paper airplanes and Virality

Can you make a paper airplane?

paper airplane

I can, and I have seen only a very few who cannot. I at different stages of my life have made lots of different origami/papercraft. But the only two or three things which I still remember are the paper airplance and the paper boat.

But unlike the paper frogs and other such things, I did not learn how to make a paper airplane from teachers. I don’t even remember who taught me that. From what I can recall from my own experience and from what I have seen, the source of this knowledge is either a peer(friend, classmate,etc) or an elder (big brother,uncle). Now if you think you agree read on, or the rest will not make much sense. Now why do these two groups of people teach you something as trivial(?) as a paper plane.

Friends: Often the friend is just showing to show of his newly acquired skills. Getting the “ooh he can make such a nice plane” from others. Then one of his close friends would ask him (or request him) to teach him too. Or someone just grabs a plane and reverse engineers it (very unlikely though).

Elders: I definitely believe that every elder has a child sleeping inside. When a elder wants to impress a kid he loves (the typical uncle), he would make one.

What is the difference between the two? I think “making an impression” is there in both cases. In the second case it might be a little less, it could also be the self gratification of making a toy for a kid.

Who could be the first person who invented/discovered it? How did a few designs travel time(generations) and space (countries and cultures). We can learn a lesson or two in virality from paper planes. Would be very useful in making useful social applications.

Where the application designer does not impose the “invite your friends”.

Where people would search for such a functionality and if it is not there demand it.

Spurt or Flow? (R – rated)

evil man shows middle finger to the bride
I will tell you people a story today. Well not a whole story, just an incident.
So the evil man got in the way of The Bride. And his head fell in one neat stroke of her katana. If I make this into a movie there are two ways I can go from here. One is the gory japanese style ala Ichi the Killer, of which Quentin Tarantino is quite a follower. Another is the regular action film, where the director has chosen the genre of the film as non-gory, decides to just let the blood flow slowly. What do you think will happen to the evil man?

Will it spurt or flow?

We will discuss scientifically what should happen lest the above incident actually happens outside a studio.

Why? Why oh why? What is the need of such a discussion do you ask. Becaue there is a difference between the science questions we grew up solving in school and that we encounter in our day to day life. In the school questions, all the variables are defined. You already know what is known and what you have to find out. In the real world the exact problem is not very evident. It is not even evident that there’s a scientific question around. There are prejudices, supersition, common sense and a lot of other such words floating around. So if you know what the exact problem is, the solution is just elementary school standard.

water pressure

The above diagram is pretty self evident. And apart from the normal pressure head, there is a lot of lose in pressure due to kinks and bends in the pipe.

So when someone is beheaded, the pressure at which the blood will spurt out is =

P = (density of blood) X (gravity) X (height of head) + (a considerable lose factor)

Since our arteries are pretty branched the lose factor will be quite high.

Conclusion is that the blood will spurt for a moment of time to a height close to the top of the head (at least). The at least is because extraneous factors like the air resistance, the lose factor, etc. After the initial moment of spurt since the system is now not closed (less amount of blood in the system), the speed of the splurting blood will ebb and then change to a flow.