Google Doodle for Ugadi, Gudi Padwa 2017 greetings


People of India in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka, Maharastra, and the Sindhis follow a Luni-Solar calendar, and celebrate their New Year as Ugadi or Yugadi – in Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, & Karnataka, as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, and as Cheti Chand by the Sindhis.

This year, the auspicious day is on 29 March 2017 as per the governments, whereas, some, especially the Cheti Chand have done so one day earlier on 28 March.  People of other states would celebrate their new year about 15 days later, as they follow a calculation where the month starts at or near the Full Moon instead of near the New Moon, as per Ugadi followers.

But, whatever calendar one follows, Google as usual has not deemed it possible to release a Doodle for Ugadi or Gudi Padwa.  So let us have our own modified Ugadi doodle, which I call a Moodle.  This is nothing but the hacked version of the Nowruz 2017 doodle of Google.

Enjoy the Moodle – the Ugadi doodle, and best wishes for a happy, prosperous and healthy new year on the occasion of Ugadi, Yugadhi, Gudi Padwa or Cheti Chand.


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Death of a Cockatiel


Of the two breeding pairs of cockatiel, both of them born in captivity, one died this morning, or rather yesterday night.  Took it out and buried it underneath the mango sapling.  The worst thing is it was the most friendly, playful, and gentle of the lot.  The more rambunctious one, its pair, is screaming its head off all through the day.  Guess even cockatiels feel the loss of life.

On the other hand, the other pair, were concerned when I was picking up the dead one.  Afterwards, when I placed the food and water in, they were curious and kept looking at my hands - as if they are little children and I am a magician who makes birds appear and disappear out of my hands.  But by afternoon the other cockatiel pair had lost interest, and could not care less.

One good thing is these bird brains have little long term memory.  So, by tomorrow or next day, the noisy cockatiel should calm down.  Else I think it is time to sell it back to the pet shop.

death-of-cockatiel-mar-2017

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All F1 Scuderia Ferrari in One GIF


So the 2017 Scuderia Ferrari Formula-1 race car - the SF 70H - was unveiled yesterday, 24 Feb 2017.  While I hope that Ferrari has better finishes this season, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen improving on the Ferrari’s third place in last year’s constructors’ standings, as well as their own respective fourth and sixth places in the F-1 Drivers Championship.

The Scuderia Ferrai SF 70H has lengthened nose and arrow-shaped front wing to comply with the new Formula-1 2017 regulations.  There is also the fin on the engine cover and more complex aero appendages ahead of the air intakes on the sidepods.

The front has a duct that has an aerodynamic role, while behind the driver, the roll-hoop of the engine air intake appears to have been redesigned. Also updated are the suspensions, hubs and wheel nuts, and the upsized power-steering and braking systems.

Till  the day we see the two Ferrari SF 70H in action, here is a treat for all the Tifosi and the Forza Ferrrari.

All the Ferrari F-1 race cars from the 1950 racer 125 F1 to the 2017 built SF 70H, in one animated GIF image.  Have fun!



Yup, I know, I could not find the left profile image of the Ferrari F-1 SF 70H, so I simply used the right profile in.
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Happy Pongal 2017 with a Kremlin themed Kolam


Wish everyone a very, very, Happy Pongal on this day 14 January 2017.  Pongal is the Harvest Festival of Tamil Nadu, though for various reasons – primarily the failure of both South West and North East Monsoon – has devastated the agriculture of my home state.  To add cruelty to misery, the demonetisation attempted without much thought, has eviscerated the farmers.

But a festival is a festival, for it means not only thanksgiving for the past – very few for the past year – but also a new hope for the upcoming year – may it be plentiful.

Speaking of festivals, it is tradition in my home state to draw kolam – geometric patterns with rice floor – at the entrance of every Hindu home, and also at the puja altar of every Hindu home.

Actually, it is a daily tradition, but the daily kolams are not that elaborate.  Usually they resemble a small square, star of David, 8 sided stars, stacked triangles, or wriggles around 3x3 dots.  But festivals are different, and require an elaborate kolam.

Kolams, for the uninitiated, are chiefly of 3 types:
  • wriggly lines around dots
  • straight lines, including squares, triangles, rectangles, cross, flying cross, diamonds, etc.
  • combo or curves and arcs with straight lines
    • there are also very, very, few kolams with pure arcs and curves
There is one kolam of the last variety – one with a combo of straight lines and curves, which to my eye has always looked brilliant.  I do not know what the ‘official’ name is, but I think-refer to it as the Kremlin kolam.  I call it Kremlin kolam because it reminds me of the Onion domes and spires of the Kremlin.

I never dared to try it out till today, but with that Russian puppet about to be installed as the American President, it would be better to cosy up to Russia.  So spent half an hour today morning to put up this Happy Pongal kolam.  Not that it is perfect, but this is one of the few designs which distract you enough to see the whole picture instead of the errors.

Enjoy it, and have a Happy Pongal.

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Sandford Fleming Google Doodle and Madras Time


Today, 07 January, is the birthday of Sandford Fleming, with 2017 being his 190th, and Google honoured the occasion with a Doodle.  But what is the connection between Madras Time, or its later avatar as Indian Standard Time, and Sandford Fleming?  Especially since Madras Time predates his birth?  Read on, for the 4 major quirks on the subject.

Sir Sandford Fleming was born in Scotland in 1827, emigrated to Canada in 1845.  He as the Chief Engineer for the Canadian Inter-Colonial Railway built it in 1872.  While visiting Ireland in 1876, he missed his connecting train – because those days each locality (county, state, province, colony or country) followed its own local time, set at their fancy – and people moving around quickly, which meant railways, faced problems in time conversions.

So, when he returned to Canada, he proposed that the whole world be divided into 24 uniform Time Zones, with 15 degrees of Longitude in each zone.  This proposal was floated by him in 1879, and was adopted by 25 nations in International Meridian Conference in 1884.

In India, there was the Madras Time, established in 1802, by the first Royal Observatory in India at Madras (est. 1786) and was in wide use.

And here is the first quirk.  It predates even GMT, which came into usage on ships only from 1833, and was adopted by (British) railway companies for their Time Synchronisation through its telegraph service only from 1852, and would not be legally adopted throughout Britain till 1880.

At the Conference in 1884, two official Time Zones for India were announced – Calcutta Time and Bombay Time, with no reference to Madras Time Zone at all.

But here arose the second quirk.  The Indian Railways continued to use Madras Time, because only the Madras Observatory was equipped to transmit Time Signals through telegraph to synchronize time at railway stations.  Thus Madras Time became known as Railway Time.

In 1906, the Indian Standard Time (IST) was established, by adding 9 minutes to Madras Time (GMT+05:21) to round it to GMT+05:30 (actually the rounded Longitude was adopted).  Gradually the Indian Railways moved to IST, however local Calcutta and Bombay Time Zones continued till 1948 and 1955 respectively.

Now for the third quirk.  Because Calcutta Time achieved more prominence (as Calcutta served as British Capital till 1911), till recently on Windows, and even now in Linux Systems, the IST is represented as Asia/Kolkata.

However, there is a different quirk in the Google Doodle celebrating the 190th birthday of Sir Sandford Fleming.  The Doodle itself is not displayed on the Google home pages of countries across all 24 Time Zones!

Whatever, enjoy the Doodle.

sandford-flemings-190th-birthday-google-doodle
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Did Supreme Court overcook BCCI with Lodha Committee


The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not a newfangled institution.  It has a eight decade history – having its origins in 1928 with it being registered in Tamil Nadu (then called Presidency of Madras) under Societies Registration Act (of either 1860 or 1908, which is unclear).  And contrary to present public perception, ‘there are no values in the Board’, were the words of Ghulam Ahmed (Test Player 1948-59 & Secretary, BCCI 1975-80).

But Cricket is the only sports in India which is/was being managed without 'official' government interference.  Run like a Non-Governmental Organisation, the BCCI for all its bungling, arrogance, controversies, nepotism, backstabbing, has managed to build up impressive infrastructure.  Somehow, they also managed to find the time to unearth and nurture cricket talent in between.  Cricket is the only sports in which India has World Quality players.  Every other sport in India is managed-organised by Government through Sports Ministry and its officials, and equally mismanaged, have not much talent to boast.

After the IPL controversy, enter the Lodha Committee tasked by the Supreme Court to ‘set right’ the problems.  As usual, whenever a Commission or Committee get in, it becomes a total cluster-chuck, and in the next 5 years, we probably are going to ape the West Indian Cricket board to ruin. Having said that, the BCCI is not totally blameless. Their refusal to adhere to:
  • age cap (suggested in Sep 2011),
  • tenure cap (suggested in Feb 2010),
  • one post cap (suggested in 2 above),
  • under RTI (Right to Information Act) (suggested in 1 above),
  • bar on tainted people,
  • independent auditor,
  • separation of governing councils for BCCI & IPL, and
  • Ethics Office watchdog for Conflicts of Interest,
are wrong and not good business practice.

But the other four important recommendations –
  • no politician (or government official) to hold office,
  • one state one vote,
  • CAG as auditor, and
  • banning commercial breaks on TV
– are simply overreach.  We will take up each issue, from bottoms up to see why.

Banning commercial breaks or advertisement during Live TV broadcast is the most idiotic, backward looking, uncommercial, financially crippling, and ruinous recommendation ever.  It does not need any rebuttal at all. 

Appointing CAG as the auditor for Sports Bodies is totally repugnant.  We should be moving towards an economic model where the governments should worry only about Defence, Money, Energy, Infrastructure, Education, Healthcare, and Environment.  Instead we are looking at imposing more government - on sports!

One state one vote might seem like a good idea.  After all why should a State like Gujarat (pop 62 m) have three full voting members – Gujarat, Baroda & Saurashtra - while Tamil Nadu (pop 77 m) has only one?  Or Telengana (pop 39 m) has none, but Mumbai (pop 12 m) has one?  But since 2000, in Ranji Trophy -
  • Baroda have been finalists thrice, versus
  • 4 runners up for Tamil Nadu,
  • twice for Saurashtra, while
  • Mumbai have won it 8 times
There are two other issues, that of Women’s Cricket which BCCI has consistently treated in a step-motherly fashion, and legalisation of Betting (suggested earlier), of which the first, hopefully would be corrected, and the second never,

Last, if politicians or government officials are to be barred from holding office in BCCI (& in future in all Sports Bodies), how come retired Judges can?  Does it mean that the Legislature and Executive cannot be trusted to act ethically, while the Judiciary can be?  Isn’t that itself prejudice? 

N. Srinivasan must be laughing his head off.

srini-mama-last-laugh-bcci-lodha-committee
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