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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Imran Khan - rattled, clean bowled ! - waiting for review !!

It is turmoil in our neighbourhood Nation that shows animosity all the time, a Nation that shares land borders and chequered history !  ..

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to address the nation later tonight,  Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Fawad Hussain tweeted. This came shortly after he announced that the National Security Committee (NSC) will be convening at the PM’s residence Thursday afternoon. Khan had Wednesday cancelled his address to the nation, as rumours flew he might step down and not face the vote, and the Army and ISI chiefs paid a visit to his house. Khan’s address comes amid allegations that a foreign conspiracy was afoot to remove him from power. These allegations are based on a “foreign conspiracy letter”, which the PM shared with senior journalists and cabinet members Wednesday. The United States has denied its involvement in the “conspiracy letter”, which purportedly “threatened” to oust Khan. Meanwhile, the National Assembly is meeting today to debate the no-confidence motion against Khan moved by Shahbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led coalition government has already lost its majority in Parliament after Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), with its seven members, Wednesday announced that it has parted ways with the government during a joint press conference and joined the Opposition parties.

Things are certainly not good for Imran Khan who had been dallying with lies and propaganda against India and now realizes, fuelling Kashmir issue alone will not keep him in Office for long. 

I remember that Pongal Test in 1980 at Chepauk when Pakistan  toured India.  The star Batsman Zaheer Abbas failed miserably, getting out to Roger Binny;  some Pakis claimed that to be result of black magic ! .. .. Sandip Patil debuted and we so eagerly looked forward to his making runs – glaring at him in the net practice before the commencement of the Test.  Sunil Gavaskar was to make 166 and Kapil bowled so well – a 7 wicket haul in the 2nd  essay ensured a comfortable 10 wicket victory for India.  Imran Khan ran in long and hard and bowled fast – took 5 wickets too – those days there were rest days the 4th  day -  18th  Jan was a rest day.  Years later, in Feb 1987, Imran captained Pakis and scored a ton, which was overshadowed by a brilliant 123 laced with 18 fours and 2 sixers by local lad Krishnamachari Srikkanth.

Imran Khan  was a successful  Cricketer before entering politics.   One recalls that on that tour of 1983 – Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Sikhandar Bakht, Jallaluddin – repeatedly overstepped as Indian batsmen found the pace and swing too uncomfortable and lost the series badly. After 2 decades of international cricket, Khan   became a fulltime politician.  In its  long political history, Pakistan  peppered with military coups and martial law, elections 2018 were to be  the second successive transition of power through a constitutional process from one elected government to another. However, political opponents, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and international observers such as the European Union alleged that irregularities and election rigging occurred in many parts of the country, particularly in rural and urban Sindh and Punjab provinces.   Imran Khan defeated their own system and became the PM of Pakistan .. and immediately spit venom .. .. on twitter taking  a potshot at our Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji,  over the cancellation of meeting between India and Pakistan. “Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” he tweeted”. Not so surprisingly some media in India started saying that India needs to learn from Imran .. .. the reality as always is far different !  .. .

The wheel has completed a circle and now Imran Khan is facing arguably the biggest challenge of his political career, as the opposition seeks to remove him from office in a vote of no confidence. In recent days there has been a flurry of activity - and what some argue were tactics straight out of Machiavelli's playbook - which resulted in several Khan allies deserting his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, tilting the scales firmly in the opposition's favour. A simple majority of 172 in the 342-seat National Assembly against the former cricket legend would cut short his tenure as PM. On Wednesday, the magic number was breached when his main coalition ally, the MQM, joined the opposition. It means on paper the opposition now commands 175 votes to the government's 164. Imran Khan, elected in July 2018 vowing to tackle corruption and fix the economy, isn't going quietly. He hosted a massive rally on Sunday in Islamabad to show he remains wildly popular with his supporters.

This is no Indian Press distorting facts – what you are about to read is more from Pak’s Dawn .. .. THE farce seems to have gone too far. It is neither a battle between ‘good and evil’, as Prime Minister Imran Khan would like us to believe, nor is it a struggle for democracy, as the combined opposition claims. We are witnessing a free play of political opportunists, fortune seekers and self-important hangers-on. It is a vicious power struggle, and for lack of alternatives we are all victims of it. With just a few days left for the vote on the no-confidence motion against the prime minister, political wheeling and dealing has hit a new low. Given the ever-shifting loyalties and alliances, the numbers game will go right down to the wire. The situation is now changing every hour, with no clear outcome of the unfolding power struggle in sight. A lot will also depend on the Supreme Court ruling on the presidential reference on the defection and disqualification clauses. 

MUSICAL chairs is a game designed for children but played by politicians. In the kindergarten aka Islamabad, an oily cleric, a former president, untested aspirants, even a former chief minister scramble in an unseemly melee to decide who should occupy that last chair. Those who have sat in it know that it exudes more symbolism than power. It is the modern equivalent of the legendary Iron Throne, featured in the fantasy drama television series Game of Thrones adapted from the novels by George R.R. Martin. Forged on the orders of the mythical conqueror Aegon I Targaryen, the throne was welded from “the swords of the vanquished, a thousand of them, melted together like so many candles”.

One character Stannis describes it as having “barbs along the back, the ribbons of twisted steel, the jagged ends of swords and knives all tangled up”, and comments: “It is not a seat where a man can rest at ease. Oft-times I wonder why my brothers wanted it so desperately.”  The embattled prime minister seems closer though to Shakespeare’s King Richard III. The king’s impassioned cry: “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!” has become a synonym for desperation in a crisis. For the past three years, that cry took on a less dignified meaning in Islamabad.

Called upon to remove his selected Punjab chief minister Buzdar, Prime Minister Imran Khan insisted that he was indispensable, irreplaceable. He ignored the demands of his former ATM Mr Jehangir Tareen for Buzdar’s ouster. He refused to heed the warnings of those who cautioned him against such blind loyalty to one whose only virtue was obedience. Obdurate, he seemed determined to risk his kingdom, not for a horse, but for a submissive beast. The reality of a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly has made Imran Khan reconsider his tactics. Forced to scavenge for allies, he is perceived as indulging in the same horse-trading that he condemned in his opponents. His PML-Q ally Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi saw an opportunity and moved swiftly for the kill. Buzdar with practised docility submitted his resignation.

PM Imran Khan, like the actor Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars ceremony who reacted to perceived taunts against his wife, has yet to control his ire. Another less personal cause for concern is his contempt for organs of state that are not as pliable as outgoing CM Buzdar. During a public meeting in Punjab’s Kamalia city on Saturday, he warned “that if Nawaz returned to the country, he would divide the judiciary”. He left it to his attorney general to placate the ruffled judges. Similarly, his ill-considered accusation that “attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan” has a stale flavour about it. Too many beleaguered leaders in the past have used the same dog-eared gambit. The Foreign Office will undoubtedly have to work overtime to explain away this off-the-cuff tirade.

His suspicion of the Election Commission of Pakistan remains too deep-seated to be cured by such palliatives. No political party in Pakistan has ever accepted the independence of the Election Commission. In power, they treat it as a handmaiden; out of power, they regard it with mistrust. They should remember the response given by Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to M.S. Gill, then chief election commissioner of India. (Gill was responsible for the introduction of electronic voting machines across India.) Gill asked the PM whether he could invite leaders of the opposition parties to participate in the golden jubilee celebrations of the ECI in 2001. PM Vajpayee’s sage reply was: “You have to. You are there for all the political parties of India, not just the one in government.”

Interesting ! – truth is stranger than fiction

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

the slap that Globe reacted !!

ஒரு தமிழ் படத்தில் காமெடி : சிரிச்சா ஸ்ரீசாந்த் மாதிரி ! இருக்கே !    - அறைஞ்சா ஹர்பஜன் மாதிரி இருப்பேன் பார்க்கறியா !! 

Will a slap create more ripples than a slapstick comedy !! .. .. for Indian Cricket, 2008 IPL was a watershed moment .. .. after a match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab, KXIP bowler Sreesanth was seen crying with his teammates consoling him. MI Captain Harbhajan Singh had allegedly slapped Sreesanth for constantly teasing him  This scuffle led to BCCI appointed Commissioner Sudhindra Nanavati summoning Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth in the aftermath of the incident. Harbhajan Singh, who was leading MI in place of an injured Sachin Tendulkar, was banned from the remainder of the tournament and Shaun Pollock took over the captaincy. 

கோவம் நல்லதல்ல !!  சில சமயங்களில் கோவம் ஞாயமாகவே இருக்கும்.   மூக்கின் மேல் கோபம் என்பார்கள் !   சிலர் கோபத்தை தங்கள் அடையாளமாகவே வைத்திருப்பார்கள். ஏன் எதற்கெடுத்தாலும் இப்படி எரிந்து விழுகிறீர்கள்? என்று கேட்டால் இந்த காலத்தில் கோபப்பட்டால்தான் வீட்டிலும் நாட்டிலும் காரியம் நடக்கிறது என்பார்கள். ஒருசிலர் நான் எங்கே கோபப்படுகிறேன், என்னை கோபப்பட வைக்கிறார்கள் என்பார்கள். 

Anger could be aroused by provocation.  Provocation is the act of   doing or saying something deliberately to try to make somebody angry or upset; something that is said or done to cause this. In law, provocation is when a person is considered to have committed a criminal act partly because of a preceding set of events that might cause a reasonable individual to lose self control. This makes them less morally culpable than if the act was premeditated (pre-planned) and done out of pure malice (malice aforethought) 

An angry act of slapping has the World divided – I read many posts in social media hailing the act of a Man slapping another for provocative words about his wife; in print media, the slapper is widely criticized for letting his anger overtake him !  - strange are the ways of people ! 

கோபம் (Anger) என்பது மனிதர்களுக்கிடையே தோன்றும் கடுமையான உணர்ச்சியாகும். இது சிறிய எரிச்சல் அளவில் இருந்து கடுமையான வெறி கொண்டதாக இருக்கலாம்.   மனிதர்கள், தங்களை சார்ந்தவர்கள் /சார்ந்தவை அவமதிக்கப்பட்டாலோ, தாக்கப்பட்டலோ கோபமடைகின்றனர். உதாரணத்திற்கு ஒருவருடைய பொருள் (உதாரணம் வண்டி) சேதமடைந்து விட்டதென்றால், அந்த சேதத்திற்கு காரணம் வேறொருவரானால் அவர் மீது  கோபமடைவார். அதுவே அவ்வண்டி இயற்கை சூழ்நிலையால் சேதமடைந்து விட்டதென்றால் வருத்தமடைவார். வள்ளுவர் சினத்தின் மீது ஒரு அதிகாரம் இயற்றி உள்ளார் .. ... இதோ இங்கே ஓர் குறள்


நகையும் உவகையும் கொல்லும் சினத்தின்

பகையும் உளவோ பிற. 

முகத்தில் சிரிப்பையும், மனத்துள் மகிழ்ச்சியையும் கொன்றுவிடும் கோபத்தை விட வேறு பகையும் உண்டோ?.  கோபம் வருவது இயல்புதான்.ஆனால் அதற்கு மானுடர் பணிந்து போவது அல்லது அதனை தம் கட்டுப்பாட்டில் வைத்து கொள்வது ஆகிய இரண்டுமே அவர்கள்  வசம்தான் இருக்கிறது.  இந்த பதிவு ஓங்கி அறைந்த ஒரு நடிகரின் அறை பற்றியது.


1)                A Senate Armed Services Committee interviews a candidate for the position of Secretary of the Navy. Senator Lillian DeHaven from Texas criticizes the Navy for not being gender-neutral. Behind the curtains, a deal is struck: If women compare favorably with men in a series of test cases, the military will integrate women fully into all occupations of the Navy. That was the storyline of  G.I. Jane,  a 1997 American war drama film directed by Ridley Scott,  starring Demi Moore, Viggo Mortensen, and Anne Bancroft. The film tells the fictional story of the first woman to undergo special operations training similar to the U.S. Navy SEALs.

2)               We have seen body shaming in many Tamil movies – in fact most of the comedy of yesteryear comedian who would troll, abuse, kick and slap his fellow comedian was mostly about the body, colour and shape – most would feel those viles hurting and abusive, yet, in his haydays, those acts were hailed as comedy and many enjoyed it.

A leading media report stated :  Will Smith owes Chris Rock a huge apology. There is no excuse for what he did. He’s lucky Chris is not filing assault charges. The excuses he made tonight were bullshit. That takes us to the nucleus – was the act of slapping bad and outright condemnable irrespective of what provoked it !!


Will Smith was having the Oscars of his life – as frontrunner for Best Actor – until he began having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Oscars and then went right back to having the best Oscars ever. In a story that could easily have been a film plot, he was both the hero and the villain of the 94th Academy Awards that were held in Los Angeles. The short version – Will slapped Chris Rock over a joke about wife Jada and then won an Oscar. The long version is how Slapgate,   went down.  One media jumped to the defence  stating – ‘Maybe presenter Chris Rock didn't know that Jada's bald head is not her look by choice; maybe he did know and decided to joke about it anyway’. “Jada, can't wait for GI Jane 2,” he quipped – GI Jane is a reference to a 90s film in which Demi Moore stars as a female Navy SEAL and in which she wears her hair closely cropped as SEALs do.   

The 94th Academy Awards had the audience shocked as actors Will Smith and Chris Rock had an unscripted on-stage altercation. As Chris Rock took the Oscars stage to present the best documentary award, the comedian made a joke about the actor’s wife, actor Jada Pinkett Smith. While Will laughed a bit in the beginning, Jada was seen rolling her eyes. Soon after, Will went up to the stage and slapped Chris on the face. 

Jada’s health condition is common knowledge, she had previously opened up about being diagnosed with alopecia, a hair loss condition. She first opened up about it in 2018, and has since spoken up about her challenges of living with the condition on social media. She had said she had decided to cut her hair short after handfuls of it came out in the shower. “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear. That’s why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it,” she had said. It is an autoimmune disorder that impacts the hair follicles, resulting in both bald spots and hair loss. 

Still Chris Rock chose to speak about it – Will Smith was provoked, lost his temper and .. .. slapped him on the face, right over there.  It may not have been a good publicity for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences but to many, the resultant act looked mostly justified.   However, the Academy tweeted following the incident that  it doesn’t condone violence, and called for an emergency meeting of board members.  A second meeting will be held Wednesday to review the situation. 

Will after momentary shock, screamed expletives at Rock. The moment was censored in the United States, but was aired unedited in several territories across the world, including in India. Less than an hour after the incident, Smith was awarded the best actor Oscar trophy for playing Richard Williams in King Richard. In his acceptance speech, Smith had said, without mentioning Rock, “I want to apologise to the Academy. I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people.” On Tuesday morning, in a second apology, this time on social media, Smith said, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I am a work in progress.” 

Some said, Academy could seriously view the incident and remove Smith from the venue and revoke his award too.   However, no such action was taken, and in a press statement later, it said: “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.” The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement shared with the press, “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.” 

Expulsion from the Academy would mean a revocation of voting rights for the Oscars and any other privileges that a membership affords, although it doesn’t bar the individual from being nominated in the future. .. .. .. whatever the Academy ay chose to act – bodyshaming too is to be condemned unequivocally. 

It is no longer the view of elites in press – you can hear so many voices in social media on the incident. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Mar 2022. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

mobile phone - smart phone or a dumb phone - which is better ?

The ubiquitous mobile – which one or rather how many do you carry in person ? – if you are owning more than one, is there a real need ? – and is not a phone, basically an equipment where you call or receive calls, talking to people !

With every technological advancement, problems also galore.  Mankind contrives to have fresher trouble. How soon people forget that in India a couple of decades ago, there was no mobile phone…… only landlines ~ not all had or could afford a telephone at their residence… in Office, people called – the intended recipient may not be at desk – may have gone out, still people communicated, work was still happening at a fast pace. Now, we think that World would come to a standstill if we, were to be without mobile for a few minutes !

Then came a techno marvel called ‘pager’ ~ can you imagine that the basic model was only numeric i.e., one can convey only numbers – the advanced version was alpha-numeric – it was never as luxurious as the modern day SMS – there were service providers. One had to call the service provider and tell them the message that is to be paged – they would record and send the message to the recipient – much like a telegram but delivered electronically – and naturally one had to be short.  The pager was a dedicated RF or radio frequency device that allowed the pager user to receive messages broadcast on a specific frequency over a special network of radio base stations.   History has it that the first pager-like system was used by Detroit Police Department in 1921; officially patented in 1949 and came to India much later in the 1990s. 

Things are changing so rapidly in few years that many things have been  forgotten – the millennium kids and later would not know that    ‘dring ….. dring’ sound was associated with telephones and that telephones had ‘dial pad’ which one had to ring and not push buttons…. So for  if you were to dial say 89893 (incidentally the tel no of my erstwhile Organisation – Mount Road branch) one had to ring – if it were to be a no.  44447777 – no way of pushing 4 four times and 7 four times… but one had to ring 4, 4, 4,4, and …. So on….  the metallic sound of dring, dring, was the only sound that could be heard till one picked up the phone – no fancy ring tones, caller tunes and more…

The landline is place specific ~ while the cell phone is person specific… really wonder, how we communicated to people.  Mobile phone no doubt is a technological marvel ~ able to be connected all the time ~ [some misuse being connected while walking on the road; crossing it; driving a vehicle and more]

Some mobiles cost a lakh of rupees and more, still sell like hotcakes !  .. .. iphone, Android phones and more having 3 or more cameras, lot of inbuilt Apps  .. and in between a generation that is trying to get back to brick phones ! 

May be you have a friend who still fancies an old handset and does not carry a smartphone ! – sounds strange and ridiculous – someone wedded to ‘dumbphone’. These are basic handsets, or feature phones, with very limited functionality compared to say an iPhone. You can typically only make and receive calls and SMS text messages. And, if you are lucky - listen to radio and take very basic photos, but definitely not connect to the internet or apps. These were the fancied first generation handsets that people first vied in 1990s.  some of them still sell in the market.

The decision to ditch smartphone is not exactly a spur of moment thing.   While looking for a replacement handset (which most do in an year or slightly more) – the decision gets lured by the low price of a "brick phone" .. . and because of its limited functionality, one need not worry about data package.   Use that brick phone for a week or so, one would realise that smartphone had been taking over so much of life as it is replete with social media Apps and user gets glued to them.  A couple of persons whom I know, vouch that they may not return to another smartphone, as they are happy with the dumb-model which does not limit, but offers enough of what it is meant to be.  

Dumbphones are continuing to enjoy a revival. Google searches for them jumped by 89% between 2018 and 2021, according to a report by software firm SEMrush.Meanwhile, a 2021 study by Deloitte said that one in 10 mobile phone users in the UK had a dumbphone."It appears fashion, nostalgia, and them appearing in TikTok videos, have a part to play in the dumbphone revival," says a mobile expert, who added that "Many of us had a dumbphone as our first mobile phone, so it's natural that we feel a sense of nostalgia towards these classic handsets."

May be it was the master-brain of relaunch of Nokia's 3310 handset - first released in 2000, and one of the biggest-selling mobiles of all time - that really sparked the revival.  For sure such phones can in no way compete   with the latest premium Apple and Samsung models when it comes to performance or functionality, yet "they can outshine them in equally important areas such as battery life and durability". .. .. .. dumb phone would not be addicted to browsing Facebook, WA, Instagram or forwarded news / videos – they have more time to talk to people and spend quality time with family.  A huge benefit in so far as, it is away from addiction to likes, shares, comments and searches of what others describe of you .. .. instead they have more privacy and peace.  

If aliens were to invade earth, they could be frightened by the super species controlling human being ie., mobile phones. Smart phone is not mere entertainment centre, it is the news generator, time occupier, navigation system, diary, dictionary, wallet and everything – grabbing the attention of others, and potent mines, if one were to lose the phone and its associated private secured data.  For those looking for simpler technologies, dumbphones might offer a return to simpler times. It might leave more time to fully concentrate on a single task and engage with it more purposefully. It might even calm people down.

Now read the first para again ?   which phone do you own/use ? – how many mobiles do you carry along ? 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Mar 2022. 

the coveted Abel Prize

In 1920, British governor Scott and his wife visit Adilabad forest, and forcefully take away Malli, a talented girl from the Gond tribe to Delhi. To rescue the girl, the tribe's protector Komaram Bheem arrives in Delhi with his men. They capture a wild tiger in the forests to aid their mission. The Nizam of Hyderabad warns Scott's officer about Bheem's mission.  .. .. it is a rage – “RRR” – Telegu film of SS Rajamouli is making waves.   The film starring Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan& others, is a fictional story about two Indian revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Rama Rao), who fought against the British Raj and Nizam of Hyderabad respectively.

Made on a budget of ₹550 crore (US$72 million), RRR was initially scheduled for theatrical release in July 2020 but had to be deferred multiple times due to production delays and COVID-19 pandemic. The film  recently hit the screens and is raving with positive reviews.  With ₹240 crore worldwide on its first day, RRR broke the record for the highest opening-day collection earned by an Indian film.

For sure, you have read the minute details of RRR and know so many tidbits – have you ever heard of - Sathamangalam Ranga Iyengar Srinivasa Varadhan  and ‘ Varadhan's lemma’ which  is a result from large deviations theory. It  gives information on the asymptotic distribution of a statistic φ(Zε) of a family of random variables Zε as ε becomes small in terms of a rate function for the variables.

In mathematics, topology (from the Greek words τόπος, 'place, location', and λόγος, 'study') is concerned with the properties of a geometric object that are preserved under continuous deformations, such as stretching, twisting, crumpling, and bending; that is, without closing holes, opening holes, tearing, gluing, or passing through itself.A topological space is a set endowed with a structure, called a topology, which allows defining continuous deformation of subspaces, and, more generally, all kinds of continuity.  The deformations that are considered in topology are homeomorphisms and homotopies. A property that is invariant under such deformations is a topological property. Basic examples of topological properties are: the dimension, which allows distinguishing between a line and a surface; compactness, which allows distinguishing between a line and a circle; connectedness, which allows distinguishing a circle from two non-intersecting circles.  !! !! !!!!!  The ideas underlying topology go back to Gottfried Leibniz, who in the 17th century envisioned the geometria situs and analysis situs.  The term topology was introduced by Johann Benedict Listing in the 19th century, although it was not until the first decades of the 20th century that the idea of a topological space was developed.

Dennis Parnell Sullivan, is an American mathematician known for his work in algebraic topology, geometric topology, and dynamical systems. He holds the Albert Einstein Chair at the City University of New York Graduate Center and is a distinguished professor at Stony Brook University.Sullivan was awarded the Wolf Prize in Mathematics in 2010 and  has been awarded the Abel Prize in 2022 now.

The Abel Prize is awarded annually by the King of Norway to outstanding mathematicians. It is named after the Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802–1829) and directly modeled after the Nobel Prizes. It comes with a monetary award of 7.5 million Norwegian kroner (NOK).The Abel Prize's history dates back to 1899, when its establishment was proposed by the Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie when he learned that Alfred Nobel's plans for annual prizes would not include a prize in mathematics. In 1902, King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway indicated his willingness to finance the creation of a mathematics prize to complement the Nobel Prizes, but the establishment of the prize was prevented by the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905. It took almost a century before the prize was finally established by the Government of Norway in 2001, and it was specifically intended "to give the mathematicians their own equivalent of a Nobel Prize." The laureates are selected by the Abel Committee, the members of whom are appointed by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.The award ceremony takes place at  University of Oslo, where the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded between 1947 and 1989.

The prize was first proposed in 1899, to be part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Niels Henrik Abel's birth in 1802.Dennis Sullivan has been awarded this year’s Abel Prize while SR Srinivasa Varadhan was awarded the prize in 2007, becoming the first Indian to win this coveted prize. 

Sathamangalam Ranga Iyengar Srinivasa Varadhan is famously known  for his fundamental contributions to probability theory and in particular for creating a unified theory of large deviations. SRS Varadhan was bron in Madras in 1940, studied in Presidency College, Triplicane, then at Indian Statistical Institute,  Kolkata. He received his doctorate from ISI in 1963 under C R Rao, who arranged for Andrey Kolmogorov to be present at Varadhan's thesis defence.Since 1963, he has worked at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, where he was at first a postdoctoral fellow (1963–66), strongly recommended by Monroe D Donsker.  Sri Varadhan is currently a professor at the Courant Institute.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Mar 2022. 

Do we observe patterns ! or simply see a picture !!

A photo taken by me recently – would we be looking it, if not for the subject at the centre ? – a simple house sparrow ! – is life all about patterns ?


A team of researchers from the Royal Observatory of Belgium, Université Savoie Mont Blanc and Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris has identified nonaxisymmetric wavelike patterns in the equatorial region of the Earth's core. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the group describes their study of geomagnetic data obtained from satellites and ground-based observatories over a twenty-year period and describes fluctuations they found beneath the equatorial part of the planet. 

A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric shapes and typically repeated like a wallpaper design. Any of the senses may directly observe patterns. Conversely, abstract patterns in science, mathematics, or language may be observable only by analysis. Direct observation in practice means seeing visual patterns, which are widespread in nature and in art. Visual patterns in nature are often chaotic, rarely exactly repeating, and often involve fractals. Natural patterns include spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tilings, cracks, and those created by symmetries of rotation and reflection. Patterns have an underlying mathematical structure. In art and architecture, decorations or visual motifs may be combined and repeated to form patterns designed to have a chosen effect on the viewer. In computer science, a software design pattern is a known solution to a class of problems in programming. In fashion, the pattern is a template used to create any number of similar garments. 

Now a days, it is all about capturing the attention – be it advertisement or potential customer. According to some research, the  average attention span of a user on a website is 8 seconds. Users want to skim through content quickly, with minimum friction, and minimum timed used. They scan through the page and decide in seconds whether they want to dive deeper or leave.  The larger the element, the more attention it will attract, compared to smaller elements. Think of a newspaper headline. The newspaper uses that (large font) header text to signal what the rest of the text (in smaller font) will deliver.  When there is a  “breaking story” – the content writer tries to get the eyes of the potent viewer right on the headline, dominating and spurring them to read more.   

In websites with a low level of text content (e.g., websites that act as small advertisements for a business or a product rather than delivering volumes of information), the Z pattern of eye scanning is common. The user sees the “text-lite” page and scans from the top left to top right, then glances down through the content (following a diagonal) to the bottom left, before moving to the bottom right. Designers usually apply the F pattern on websites that include text-heavy content and/or video content. With the F pattern, users begin by scanning left to right along the top, but then scan down the left side of the page, looking for visual clues to the information they seek. When they find such a clue, they scan from left to right. They repeat this process until they reach the end of the page. This scanning pattern often produces a heat map that looks like the letter “F”. 

The human eye perceives information visually rather than as blocks of data. Unlike computers, we’re at the mercy of our eyes’ natural tendencies. The reading material we likely encountered as young children featured many pictures and larger print. Whether these were comics, colouring books, or story books, we could take in what was going on because we perceived the illustrations and interpreted the sequence of events alongside the easy-to-read text.  Content in every digital page layout will follow a specific hierarchy. Headers appear above body text. Menus go at the top, bottom, left, or right of the screen (or any combination of these). Designers try to organize content so that they present the highest priority content on any given page first. Then, they deliver the rest of the content from highest to lowest priority. 

“Hierarchy” is simply a nicer way of saying organized from most to least important.  Reports from Copenhagen confirm that more designers, especially web designers, are appreciating the need to engage users more directly. Reaching back into their art school days while working a little psychology into the mix seems to do the trick. 

Now here is the photo and you may comment on what you liked here – the pattern or the simple sparrow. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Mar 2022


Sunday, March 27, 2022

What's in a Name ! - Brian the horse - authorities felt too soft !!

Name, what is in a Name ?  A rose by anyother name would still be as fragrant as it is – one’s own name is perhaps the sweetest music to ears !

When in the midst of numerous myriads, there is need for identity.   So, primarily the ‘name’ is a word or term for identification.   A Name can  identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context.   In mankind,  we try to have unique and identifiable names though some are more oft repeated than others – so you find similar names for persons hailing from a particular place.  In India, as also in many other countries, there is the tradition of naming after Gods and valiant heroes. 

Brian,  is a male given name of Irish and Breton origin, common in the English-speaking world. It is possible that the name is derived from an Old Celtic word meaning "high" or "noble".   There are variants too....

The name that comes readily to mind is ofcourse, Lara ! - Brian Charles Lara,  the left hander who played for West Indies is considered to be among the best players fo the game.  His  501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994 is the only quintuple hundred in first-class cricket history. Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004.  Lara nicknamed ‘Prince of Port Spain’ has also the dubious distinction of playing in second highest number of test matches (63) in which his team was on losing side, just behind Shivnarine Chanderpaul (68)
Brian Lara with Sachin Tendulkar

There was this England Cricketer – Brian Close who was only 18 when he made his debut in 1949 and went on to play 22 tests, captaining in seven of them. 

In naming animals, new inventions, planets, trains or even files on computer, there are various ‘naming patterns’ which help in making them unique, individualistic and easily identifiable.    Horses are special. There are Breeding farms and foals are registered in the Breed registry also known as herdbook.  The pedigree is important as the name of Sire and dam are also noted in the register.  Another aspect is avoiding duplication – no one wants two Thoroughbreds out there racing at the same time with very similar-sounding names.  Naming rules vary according to the species and breed being registered. For example, show horses have a registered name; and alongside the registered name, they can  also have a simpler "pet name" known as a call name for dogs or a stable name for horses, which is used by their owners or handlers when talking to the animal.

All these because there was some dust raised on the name ‘Brian’ for a Police horse as it was initially felt that the name was too soft.  The 6ft-tall horse undergoing  six weeks of training with Thames Valley Police, sparked outrage among the Britans who rallied against the name change. 

A one-tonne, 6ft-tall police horse called Brian retained its  name, despite fears it needed to be called something tougher to face rioters. Thames Valley Police said Brian is an unsuitable name for a horse and mooted calling the six-year-old something more 'war-like', such as Hercules or Caesar.  The force had admitted that its usual policy was to give their horses 'macho' names such as Thor or Odin. One mare called Mary became Luna, and another horse called Red became Trojan, it said.   The Force had to relent and back down following protests from other men called Brian, who said the possible change would be a slur on their good name.  Brian Belo, the winner of Big Brother series eight, said 'This is a victory for Brians everywhere.  But dozens of Brians soon began posting comments about the name online, questioning why it was not 'strong enough' for a horse.

However, the  shire horse had to  pass six weeks of training before enlisted on by the force. The tests included Brian going out on patrol in town centres and tests to see if he can cross bridges and trot through underpasses.

A couple of weeks later, it was revealed that Brian the horse failed the tests.  According to Thames Valley Police, the shire horse had been tested for nearly 2 weeks and it was apparent that it had not settled to the urban environment.  It had been brought up in a rural setting and exhibited to be  nervous when he is out and about.

So, after the furore in ‘possible name change’- the horse kept its name ‘Brian’ but failed to be enlisted into the force !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Apr 2015.

the chocking traffic - rides ........... and the tortoise ride

                     Geochelone gigantea, the Aldabra giant tortoise, is one of the largest tortoises in the world. The Aldabra giant tortoise lives on the remote Aldabra atoll, one of the Seychelles group of islands in the Indian Ocean.  Aldabra is the world's second largest coral atoll,  situated in the Aldabra Group of islands in the Indian Ocean that are part of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles.

In the metropolis of Chennai, as also in many other cities, people long time travelling to their place of work – all roads are choked as there are so many vehicles. In foreign countries, there are luxury yachts – for some a ride in luxury car thrills – for some, the thrill is in riding fast a motorcycle zipping past others in the lane.  My favourite writer Sujatha wrote about everything –  rides on  cars and aero planes (don’t remember reading anything about ship though !).  He once wrote in Kumudam about his friend  possessing a Honda comet and how he sped past 160 kmph in few seconds – as usual it was great inspiring making one dream of even seeing the vehicle once.  Even the  rise in petrol and diesel prices failed to deter the State’s hunger for motor vehicles, with the two-wheeler population rising nine-fold during the last two decades.  According to some reports, the private vehicle population is always on the rise and by some estimates there are close 1.50 crore two wheelers in the State and a very high % of them are on the streets of Singara Chennai.

Recently i had posted on the fable ‘doneky-ride’ by the father, then son, then together – the criticism of the bystanders – and eventually, they walking donkey with none astride ...... and that post was about a man China riding a pig !  - yes,  the  animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig and its ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar.  Children play ‘piggyback’.  Piggyback transportation is transportation of goods where one transportation unit is carried on the back of something else.  That 68 year old pig farmer from Chongqing in China has raised pigs for 30 years and reportedly had been seen on the streets of China, sitting on the pig and steering it to various places.

Animal rides are nothing new – people have travelled on bullocks, horses, mules and elephants.  When Thiruvallikkeni Sri Parthasarathi temple had ‘Azhwar’ elephant,  we all felt so happy in getting on it and having a small ride on the streets !

This one is different –    the Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea), from Seychelles, is one of the largest tortoises in the world.  It has stocky, heavily scaled legs to support its heavy body. The neck of the Aldabra giant tortoise is very long, even for its great size, which helps the animal to exploit tree branches up to a meter from the ground as a food source.  Though they are called giant tortoises due to their relatively big frame, they are not meant to be used as these ...... MailOnline reports that a  Chinese zookeeper was  sacked for letting tourists ride giant tortoises and poking them with  screwdriver so that they would move !

Miles away, this  picture of a man riding a tortoise at a zoo caused outrage among animal rights campaigners.  Photographs purporting to show a tortoise being prodded with screwdriver into giving a child a ride on its shell have caused outrage among Chinese animals rights campaigners.  A series of images posted on Tuesday on Chinese social media site Weibo showed the animal being ridden by a tourist, with the poster claiming the tortoise was crying and prodded with the screwdriver to make it move.  The pictures were reported to be taken at Haicang Wild Animal Park in Xiamen city in south east China.

The tortoise is reported to be a diplomatic gift sent by Mauritius.  The zookeeper has now been sacked and authorities are investigating, the People's Daily Online reported.   The images attracted huge amounts of comments, and by 7.40pm on the day of posting, they had been reposted more than 1,200 times by outraged viewers.  Director Jiang, of Haicang Wild Animal Park, told reporters that as soon as the zoo was notified of the photos on Weibo, staff immediately set out to verify the issue.  They confirmed the woman in the photo was a zookeeper and said she was holding a tool used for cage maintenance. The zookeeper has denied the accusations.

A spokesman from the zoo confirmed to local media that the two Aldabra giant tortoises they are looking after were diplomatic gifts given by Mauritius authorities to China.  The zoo allowed visitors to take pictures with them, but did not allow them to be ridden.  The spokesman said: 'It costs tourists 30 yuan (£3.6) to take a picture with the tortoises and the zookeeper can earn 9-10 yuan (£1) as commission from each picture.  He added that the zookeeper seen in the images couldn't 'resist the lure of money,' suggesting that she let tourists to ride the tortoises in order to get them take more pictures.

Strange are the ways of people !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

8th May 2015. 

Sign language ~ 'A World without barriers - our Dream'

Being pleasant itself is a virtue ~ how long would you change yourself to make others happy ?

Often may wonder, how important is language skills ! and whether knowing language is a knowledge or skill.  Human beings communicate with each other ~ Communication (from Latin "communis", meaning to share) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior.Language is the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, and a language is any specific example of such a system. The scientific study of language is called linguistics.

Life has moved a long way from the few hours of Doordarshan [Band 1 channel 4] which had its quota of 15 mins of English news.  In  1982, Doordarshan as a National Broadcaster came into existence. Krishi Darshan was the first program telecast on Doordarshan.  Viewers will for sure remember that on Sundays Doordarshan used to show news for ‘deaf and dumb’. From the days of ‘washing powder nirma …. And I love you Rasna….. Goldspot, the zing thing…’ – commercials have grown by leaps and slowly some of main features also were stopped.  Can you imagine that people waited patiently to see 6 or less songs in a programme called ‘Oliyum Oliyum’ [sound and light]…. telecast on Fridays.  This news for ‘hearing impaired’ people was a good attempt to take DD to those who cannot practically hear ………..

When Nelson Mandela passed away, there was furore in his  memorial service  that the official sign language interpreter was a fraud who was "signing rubbish". The Deaf Federation of South Africa told the BBC the man's signs were "arbitrary" and "did not make sense".  When World leaders paid tribute to  Mandela, a man,  suited and wearing a pass around his neck, stood next to key speakers such as US President Barack Obama and Mr Mandela's grandchildren translating their eulogies,  During the broadcast, Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, South Africa's first deaf female MP, tweeted: "ANC-linked interpreter on the stage with dep president of ANC is signing rubbish. He cannot sign. Please get him off.  The outcry was  loud that the man did not use South African sign language, known to the deaf community or other interpreters in South Africa". South African sign language has its own structure and is not linked to any spoken language like Afrikaans, Xhosa or English, another informed person  told the BBC's Newsday programme.  Another sign language user, said the man's signing seemed to have no grammatical base and kept repeating sign patterns when it was clear that the speaker was not using repetitive words.

Away from this MailOnline reports of a deaf man moved to tears after discovering his entire neighbourhood has learned sign language so they can talk to him  !   It is a video filmed for ad to promote message: 'A world without barriers is our dream'

Deaf man Muharrem sets out for the day with his sister unaware he is being filmed for an advert in which he will encounter a host of strangers.  Muharrem was unwittingly placed at the centre of an elaborate stunt in which he was secretly filmed encountering a host of strangers in a series of staged meetings through Istanbul.  The footage begins with him setting out for the day with his sister Ozlem, who is in on the set-up. Before long, Muharrem is taken aback when he encounters a stranger who signs 'good morning' to him. 

The stunt, which took a month to prepare, saw the volunteers learn sign language phrases for their chosen roles. On a visit to his food store in Istanbul, the shopkeeper unexpectedly advertises his wares with hand signals; his surprise only intensifies when, on a visit to his local food store, the shopkeeper offers him 'hot bagels' through hand signals. Another encounter involves a stranger dropping a bag of fruit.  He barely has time to take it in when a woman bumps into him accidentally on purpose before signing: 'Sorry, my mistake.' Later, the shock is clear on Muharrem's face when a taxi driver welcomes him into the car with sign language.

In a final flourish, Samsung, which organised the commercial, arranges for an electronic advertising board to communicate with him, offering the heartwarming message: 'A world without barriers is our dream as well'. A friend finally points out one of the dozens of cameras set up around the area to reveal the stunt, moving Muharrem to tears.  The stunt, which took a month to prepare, was organised by mobile phone company Samsung to promote its call centre for the hearing impaired. The video has been viewed more than three million times over just the last few days since being posted on YouTube.

Nice to read indeed !
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Mar 2015.

Zimbabwe's Coventry equals ODI batting record

 Dear (s)


Even the regular followers of the game might not know the name of Charles Kevin Coventry, born on 8th March 1983 and made a lackluster debut way back in 2003.  Infact he played against Indians making his Test debut in 2005. 

Soon all Sport quizzers will get to know his name.  A double-century in an ODI remains an elusive dream for batsmen.  On some occasions, players have come painfully close but not a single male player has converted it thus far.    In the Independence Cup during 2007 in sweltering Chennai heat, desert fox Saeed Anwar came close to realizing this dream.    Sachin captained India and can you recall the bowlers of ignominy.  See the bottom of this article. 

Now coming to our new hero -  Charles "Chappie" Coventry is an aggressive middle-order batsman who can open in one-day cricket and also keep wicket. He was Zimbabwe's youngest first-class player at 15 years 303 days, for Matabeleland in 1998, although that was due to being in the right place when a selected player withdrew at the last minute. Son of international umpire Charles Coventry, he learned his cricket at Whitestone School and Christian Brothers College in Bulawayo, and plays for Bulawayo Athletic Club.  He bats in glasses and most of his successes have been in one-day cricket though nothing outstanding thus far.   He reportedly was sent out of WI tour for disciplinary reasons   -  all that is thing of the past.    


At Queens Sports Club, Bullawayo on 16th Aug 2009, a  masterfully paced knock in the fourth ODI against Bangladesh catapulted him to the top of the most-runs-scored-in-an-innings chart. He walked in after Zimbabwe had made their usual poor start, losing Mark Vermeulen in the second over and remained unbeaten with 194 made of 156 balls.  But even that was not enough was Zimbabwe as the tourists ramped home by 4 wickets with 13 balls to spare  outweighed by the efforts of Tamim Iqbal.


Here is a comparison of Coventry’s efforts with than of Saeed Anwar









CK Coventry

not out







Saeed Anwar









 And in case,  you still want to know the Indian attack put to grind by Anwar at Chepauk – it was spearheaded by our present bowling coach – Venkatesh Prasad with Kuruvilla, Kumble, Sunil Joshi, Robin and Sachin completing the quota.  In fact the main spinner Sunil Joshi bowled only 4 overs and fared poorly on the field too.


With regards

S Sampathkumar.


A post circulated to my group – those days my blog had not been born !

From: S Sampathkumar <>
Date: Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 7:44 AM


That was to be his only 100 !  - he ended up playing 2 tests and 39 ODIs + 13 T20Is for Zimbabwe.  This bespectacled player still holds the record for the highest ever ODI score bating at no. 3 position – though few 200s have come later made by Openers.