Monday, December 26, 2005

My first painting using ArtRage

Created using ArtRage, a wonderful painting program that is built for painting. The most fun is using oil paints, but it also has crayons, sketch pencils, felt pens, etc. For beginners, there is a feature where you can trace over any image and it automatically chooses the brush color based on where you start your stroke. Perfect for people like me, who like coloring, but cant really get the right proportions and ratios in their images :)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Swaminomics (Evolution or Dilution)

"People define themselves in terms of group identities, including religion. People think of themselves in terms of religion, ethnicity, region, caste, class, and other such group characteristics. Politicians cannot ignore this. So secularists find they have to appeal to identity politics of some sort, and communal parties find they have to appeal to secularism of some sort."
This is scary, but you cannot argue against it. It is just idealistic to say that religion and politics cannot mix. The sad fact is that as long as people identify themselves as part of a group, politicians will use that group identity as a political lever. The only way to separate religion and politics is when people no longer care about their religious identities. that is ever going to happen!!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My sister is visiting.

My sister, Bhavna Narula, is visiting me these days. I am having a gala time with her.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Self-Replicating Robots!!

LinuxInsider carried an article about self-replicating robots. Haven't these guys seen The Matrix? Just kidding!
The article says that this self-replication is pretty simplistic compared to biological self-replication. In my opinion, it may be simplistic in terms of scale, but conceptually it carries a lot of the properties of biological self-replication.
  • "These robots are made up of a series of modular cubes called " molecules," each containing identical machinery and the complete computer program for replication. " That is analogous to each of our cells carrying our entire genetic code.
  • "The new robots in Lipson's lab are very dependent on their environment. They draw power through contacts on the surface of the table" We too are very dependent on our environment. We need a very specific environment to draw our power. We need the right temperature. We need the energy of the sun that gets converted through complex mechanisms to glucose burning in our cells. One could imagine if these individual cells could take solar energy and go smaller in size (if laptops and cell phones and mp3 players can, so can these cubes), we wouldn't be too far from replicating simple biological structures.
  • "They cannot replicate unless the experimenters "feed" them by supplying additional modules." Even we need a very protected environment when we replicate (or are in the early phases of replication).

In short, if these "molecules" get smaller, can derive their energy from their environment (solar?, heat?), and if one mega structure has the master-print for each of these molecules and can manufacture it from say (sand), a Matrix-like scenario isn't too far off. Half a century, what say!!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Article on Fundamentalism in The Times of India

The Times Of India carried an interview of Salman Akhtar on Fundamentalism. His views on religion resonated a lot with my own views. It was interesting to read about the six problems to cope with for being sane. Here is my take on each of these problems.
  1. Factual Uncertainty: Accepting that we cannot know what will happen in the future.
    I guess I follow a different religion here ;) called determinism. I somehow believe that given the current state of the universe, it is possible to know the future. I know about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. I also know that the human will may not be bound to the universal calculator. As a good friend of mine, Gaurav Bhajpai, tells me "Mother Nature does not owe it to us to be explicable". However, in my most inner gut I still hold this belief that we can calculate the future. We just dont know how to today. Since this is blind faith, I call it my religion :)
  2. Conceptual Complexity: All feelings, thoughts and acts are determined by many factors
    If it were really very simple, wouldnt life be boring? I, for one, am thankful for having this problem.
  3. Moral Ambiguity: Morality changes with time and context
    If only more people accepted this, we wouldnt have so much conflict. Morality has a purpose. That purpose is to make sure that we humans lead a secure, blissful existence. Any moral law is valid as long as it fulfills this purpose. When external context changes such that a moral law no longer serves this purpose, it is obsolete and needs to be discarded.
  4. Cultural Impurity: Reality is always hybrid and there is no such thing as purity
    Purity may not exist in reality, but I do believe it is a conceptual state that one can strive towards. Purity in music, purity of emotion, pure unadulterated water, etc. etc. Nature maximizes entropy. Human efforts for organization go against this natural law. Purity in anything requires the utmost of human efforts against this natural law.
  5. Accepting personal responsibility for one's actions
    No excuses. This is a tough one. It is very easy to give excuses or cite circumstances. Even tougher to accept all of one's natural instincts as natural.
  6. Total Mortality: You are born as parental fantasies and die as your grand-children's memories.
    Not if you have a blog and google stays around for some time :) There is always a desire to leave behind something timeless. I hope this blog is fulfilling some of that atleast. But yaa.....I dont buy reincarnation or after-life.
I guess I am not a fundamentalist because I dont have too much of a problem with the problems of being sane. Good for me!!
But I do believe that religion has brought about a lot of "moral" behaviour in this world and I cant think of a better alternative to enforce "morality" across the masses.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Originally uploaded by kapsio.
The bluest sky I ever saw in the Bangalore area. It was extremely windy and the beautiful wisps of white clouds made a painting across the sky.
You never see such blue skies in cities these days. This photo was taken during a Nandi Hills trip with Tim Rechin and JP.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

REVA - India's First Electric Car...

It is too hot in Bangalore. Too hot to think straight! Maybe that is why I felt a deep urge to buy this miniscule electric car that can go only 80 km on a single charge! (65 km if the AC is on...and you better have it on in this weather)

My line of thinking goes like this...."Why is it so hot in Bangalore? Probably because of all these vehicles spewing out smoke and heat. Ghosh!! I drive one of these vehicles. I must do something about this situation. I must buy an electric car"

So I called up the Reva dealer on Lavelle Road. Here are some random facts from the conversation:
  • The cool looking Zephyr convertible is not yet available. It will be commercialized in 3-4 years!!! Why did they have to tempt me with the picture of the convertible when it wasnt ready? I was happy with the knowledge that there is no convertible.
  • The base model without the AC costs Rs. 2,54,000/-. The one with the AC costs Rs. 2,94,000/-. The "Classe" one with all the cool features costs Rs. 3,24,000/-. Seems quite expensive considering that a Maruti 800 is available for about 2 lakhs. However, if you were facing the heat in Bangalore today, you wouldnt really have such considerations.
  • Starting April 1, all these cars will cost Rs. 30,000/- more because of some new tax. I thought the government was supposed to encourage the use of electric cars (pollution free, energy efficient and what not). Bottom line - I need to buy one either today or tomorrow to save 30,000/-
Signing off for now. Maybe the next time I'll write, I will be posting pictures of my brand new Reva.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Unmaad IIMB - Indian Ocean and Strings Unity concert

Last night I was at IIM Bangalore's Unmaad festival. There was a concert of Indian Ocean and Pakistani band Strings (couldnt find any website on google).

The venue was a large flat muddy ground in the IIM campus. Reaching there was a nightmare. Bannerughatta Road has got to be the worst road in Bangalore. After breathing in dust and smoke on the way, the campus itself feels like heaven. Tickets were still available plenty. I was quite impressed and relieved when I saw that they were confiscating cigarettes during the security check.

Indian Ocean was a really good act. This band takes folk tunes from all over the country and has their own unique rendition. There is a drummer who also plays the flute. He also played a strange instrument called the Gabgubi. There was a tabalji who also had a couple of dholaks in his instrument set. The lead vocalist also manned a five-string bass. The fourth person was an acoustic guitarist who was pretty good with hindustani-classical style lead riffs. All the four members of the band sing, but the bass guitarist and the tabalji seem to be the main vocalists. Some of their songs almost sounded like bhajans. The combination of drums, bass, acoustic guitar, tabla and trance-like vocals and melodies was surprisingly powerful. It was good to see a band able to pack a lot of punch without the use of the distorted guitar sound. (although I did miss the wailing lead sound .....I almost thought the Junoon lead guitarist would have done great in this setting :) ) The band played a song they recently composed and recorded a song for the controversial movie "Black Friday". The crowd was constantly asking for "Kandisa", which I guess is their most popular song. Overall, their performance was great and I will definitely buy their CDs. (should be available on

"Strings" was a biiiiiiig flop-show. The show started with three guys coming on stage. One vocalist and the other two were guitarists. I was just wondering where the bass guitarist and drummer were when I realized they were going to have bass and drums on a pre-recorded track. That was soooo lame!! We didnt go over all the way to IIMB to hear recorded sound !!
The vocalist was quite low energy. I did like what the lead guitarist was doing though. The band apparently has a song in the soundtrack of "SpiderMan 2". They played that song, but even that song did not really catch my fancy. Their songs were extremely zeneraaaal and were just standing on the basis of catchy pop-style phrases. The last straw was when the band started doing a medley on Bollywood songs like "Om Shanti Om" and "Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe". Thats it!! We couldnt take it anymore. As Buntoo said "Whats next!! Are they now going to read out the news?" We didnt have the heart to wait till both the bands got together. Dinner seemed like a much better idea.