Friday, June 1, 2012

Smaller Than Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook’s IPO may have lacked “sizzle,” but it did make at least one thing pop. Below, Greg Voakes illustrates some of the things that are now eclipsed in size by the newly minted fortune of Mark Zuckerberg.

Indian boy solves 350-year-old Math problem set by Newton

Sir Isaac Newton
A 16-year-old Indian origin schoolboy in Germany has managed to crack puzzles that baffled the world of maths for more than 350 years, it was reported in London Saturday.

Shouryya Ray, from Dresden, has been hailed a genius after working out the problems set by Sir Isaac Newton.

Ray solved two fundamental particle dynamics theories which physicists have previously been able to calculate only by using powerful computers, Daily Mail reported.

His solutions mean that scientists can now calculate the flight path of a thrown ball and then predict how it will hit and bounce off a wall.                                                                         

Ray only came across the problems during a school trip to Dresden University where professors claimed they were uncrackable, the newspaper said.

"I just asked myself, 'Why not?'," explained Ray.

"I didn't believe there couldn't be a solution," he added.
Shouryya Ray

Ray began solving complicated equations as a six-year-old but says he's no genius.

After arriving from Kolkata four years ago without any knowledge of the German language, Shouryya is now fluent in the language.

His intelligence was quickly noted in class and he was pushed up two years in school- he is currently sitting his exams early, the Mail said.

After IPL triumph, Shah Rukh Khan leads race to pick 50% stake in Goa based Dempo Football Club for Rs 30 crore

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan is acquiring a 50% shareholding in one of India's oldest and most successful football clubs, Dempo FC, for around Rs 30 crore, signalling the movie star's growing interest in the business of sports. 

Negotiations are at an advanced stage and the deal should close in a week or two, officials from both sides confirmed. Khan, whose cricket team won this year's Indian Premier League, confirmed he is buying the club, but refused to share details.

People familiar with the negotiations said Khan was not the only one bidding for a piece of the football pie. An ace Indian cricketer, known to be a keen footballer himself, and a few corporate houses had also thrown their hats into the ring.

But Khan has emerged as the leading suitor, the officials said. Dempo, fully-owned by a business group of the same name in Goa, made history in April this year when it won the I-League crown for a record fifth time. It recently bought a 34% stake in leading Danish soccer club and academy FC Midtjylland, for 12 million euros.

The owner of Dempo FC, Shrinivas V Dempo, whose grandfather adopted the club four decades ago and nurtured it, confirmed that he had met Khan several times and the talks "have been very positive, though not yet closed". He said the winner will not get a majority stake in the club, which will retain its name.

People close to the deal said the club, being old and successful, is roughly valued at about 50-60 crore. 

Khan, who co-owns Kolkata Knight Riders, the winner of IPL-V, has been a keen sportsman since school days. He has been trying to diversify into sports under the overall framework of the entertainment business run through Red Chillies Entertainment.

SRK's Brand Equity to Help Soccer

It could not be ascertained if Khan was routing his potential investment in Dempo through Red Chillies, which is also an investor in the Kolkata IPL franchisee.

What Khan brings to the table is his personal brand equity, which, sports observers say, will help not only Dempo, but also Indian football gain traction both on the field and on television. Khan's entry into the soccer club could bring in more sponsors and advertisement money. The world's most popular game has not been a very profitable proposition in India, where cricket rules the roost.

Dempo spends close to Rs 12 crore a year to run the team. The club recently lost its star goal scorer Ranti Martins to Kolkata's Prayag United, since he had demanded a paycheque of Rs 2 crore. 


Dempo, managed by 58-year-old Armando Colaco since 2000, has ended the stranglehold of the Kolkata giants - Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting - over Indian football. Continuity has helped Colaco and his players win a record five national championships over the past decade.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Name is Khan – The Second Watch!!

Warning: May contain a few spoilers.
I am perplexed whether to talk about the movie – My name is Khan or the issue – My name is Khan.  I’ve been staring at this blank page for almost 15 minutes now and have written and deleted quite a few introductions to my review coz. I’m still not sure whether to talk about the movie or the issue because the movie is strictly ‘good- not bad’ to say the least but the best part about it is it treads into a sensitive and very relevant issue. 
It may not have happened on 9/11 as the movie says, but it did happen somewhere near the turn of the century – this religious polarization of the world.  Without getting into the reasons for this happening, one of the results has been that it has become difficult to be a Muslim today.  Celebrating holi, lighting lamps or bursting crackers on Diwali, lining up in temples on Shiv-ratri, wearing a saree or salwar kameez, feasting on a turkey etc. can just be seen as enjoyable traditions or customs but keeping a big beard, praying five times a day, wearing a hijab and celebrating Eid by sacrificing a lamb have become subtle symbols of siding with extremism. 
And if you have Karan Johar – the Lady Gaga of Bollywood, dealing with this extremely sensitive issue, it sure looks like a very bad idea.  Surprisingly though, Karan seems to have finally grown up.  Not that I did not enjoy Kuch Kuch Hota Hai but never thought that he could refrain his cheese when it came to serious subjects. 
On second base, you again had a potential disaster.  Shahrukh Khan, the man who, with every passing day, gets closer to becoming Dev Anand the Second; both of them have two things in common – heart throb status in their 40s and a head that is always at 10 to 6 or 10 past 6.  Give him a condition – Asperger’s syndrome and in all probability, his neck could have disconnected from his body and his head could’ve gone out for a walk, all on its own.  Again, surprise surprise, it didn’t happen.  Actually his condition meant that he could not express emotions and I think that was a neat trick by his director to restrict him.
And then with all the controversy it generated and the initial 5 star reviews which gave the impression that Shahrukh has pulled an Aamir, it was tough to sit and watch the movie without expectations. 
All said and done, the movie is … for want of a better word… ‘Not bad’ and it does try to do justice to the issue it represents.  After a brief ordinary introduction, Shahrukh as Rizwan in the first half is in brilliant form when, he comes to America and starts selling cosmetic products.  There are quite a few similarities with Forrest Gump though, but I didn’t mind it.  After all, don’t all autistic conditions look equally cute on screen.  His expressions of giggling goofily when being confronted with love are indeed special.  Kajol does manage to still look pretty after all these years of being out of action. 
The second half however, I thought, lacked something, I can’t put a finger on it precisely though.  Yes, there are moments where it is difficult to hold back the tears and the lump in the throat just doesn’t go away but still, I feel the portrayal of the issue could have been a lot better.  Kajol, unfortunately seems to have lost the edge.  Her rage at her son’s death when she asks Rizwan to leave, does seem a tad unreal.  It is Shahrukh who excels with his subdued performance as Rizwan.  His speech at the church remembering his son, devoid of any expressions because of his condition, does extract tears and is very hard to watch. 
The problem however, with the movie was that you do feel empathy towards the person Rizwan but there is no empathy generated towards the muslim Rizwan.  I mean, the tears and the hard to watch moments have nothing to do with the issue the movie claims to portray.  The tears flow when he talks of his son but not when he is arrested and tortured in prison.  Actually, his naivety in not comprehending the torture does feel overdone coz. though, he was autistic, he wasn’t dumb.  I guess, this is where the movie could have been a lot better. 
Shankar Ehsan Loy have once again given refreshing music.  Though Sajda is the popular track in this album, I loved the rendition of Noor E Khuda by Shankar and Adnan Sami.  ‘Tere Naina’ is yet another nice and vibrant track.  The music does gel with the movie nicely. 
So I guess, the movie isn’t really SRK’s best performance till date as the 5 star reviews suggest (coz. we still have Swades and Chak De), but it is a fair effort and a reasonably good watch.  Just don’t expect the movie to provide as much entertainment as the controversy it generated and you’ll be fine.

Internet vs. A Million Dollars

I just heard a snippet on the radio about a popular video that asks ‘Would you give up the Internet for a Million Dollars?’  At first, sounds like a pretty easy question.  “Yes of course, I would”  But think again.  That would mean, in addition to letting go of FB, Blogs, Twitter and all the unnecessary stuff, you’ll also be giving up email, google, smart phones, airline bookings etc. etc.  
Considering you won’t be able to use email anymore, you probably are worthless in the job market except if you are a waiter or a farmer.  Heck, even farmers might be checking the weather on the internet these days, who knows.  So effectively, you have no job, no social life but you’ll have a million dollars. Even if you invest the million dollars in some bank account or fund, you won’t be able to access online statements or get updates about Fund performance on the net.  You’ll have to rely on the old method of paper statements and monthly fund reports that would reach you almost a month after the month end.
A million dollars do not sound that appealing anymore!
Take a look at the video, none of the people surveyed were  ready to give up the internet for even around a billion dollars and in that sense, if we have the internet, aren’t we billionaires already?  (The video though points out an interesting aspect about worth vs. price – People are paying pennies for the Internet which is actually worth a billion dollars to them. That is a discussion for another day).
But for now, let us billionaires continue to enjoy our billion bucks.  And that brings us to another question.  How much has our life changed as a result of the internet and technology?
Earlier we used to memorise everything from phone numbers to general knowledge such as the Tallest Tower, Highest Bridge etc.  Now we just google it up.  We no longer remember anything anymore; so is this reliance on the internet making our brains idle and useless?
You’d probably be nodding your heads in agreement!
The answer is NO.
Fresh research suggests that this reliance on the internet is changing the way our brain works.  The brain is less likely to recall information if it knows it can be found elsewhere.  Instead our brains now create room for more power of analysis and have moved away from memory storage.  Amazing piece of research this, I must say.
When our parents grew up as kids, their day would consist of a planned schedule of 5 hours school, 2 hours nap, 2 hours for studies, 2 hours for games outside, 2 hours extra activity (learning music / stitching) and 1 hour TV.  Given this change in the way our brains work, and the fact that a school going child spends on an average 7.5 hours on various media including internet and TV everyday (a survey in US), it would be amazing to see how kids of today grow up.  Their brains no longer need to remember a lot so that brain power would be put to some other use.
Come to think of it, there definitely would have been some change in the way our brains work given the fact that the speed of major discoveries is just getting faster by the day. The speed with which our life is changing, thanks to new inventions, is just mind boggling today.  Compare this to generations living in the 1500s.  They probably would live their entire life without witnessing a new thing. 
 We however, live in the generation wherein things have been invented, become the rage and also become obsolete just within few years.  Think Walkmans, Floppy disks etc.  Thus Brands today grow very fast compared to the earlier years where say a Bajaj Chetak took decades to create brand loyalty towards it.  Today a Nano or an Iphone is a favoured or unfavoured Brand within days of hitting the market.  Similarly, the shelf life of a brand is also very short compared to earlier.
It is amazing how our intelligence is changing our lives almost every day, in ways more than we can imagine. Right from the way we do things to even how our brains are evolving.  In the 2000 years though, there is one thing that hasn’t changed – the size of our brain; it still weighs the same 1.5 kgs.

Lakhs of people turn up for KKR victory at Kolkata

The IPL triumph given Kolkata a new icon and renewed zeal to chase bigger victories.  Kolkata got their new Khan dada and Gautam Gambhir as the sons of Bengal. More than one Lakh people were out of their homes to get a glimse of King Khan on the streets of Kolkata.  Around 70,000 people accumulated at the Eden Gardens to watch KKR team and Shahrukh Khan celebrate their victory.
 Kolkatans were split in their opinion about the delirious celebrations on Tuesday. But they were quite unanimous in the feeling that the city now looks upon Shah Rukh Khan as one of its own.
It's not often that Kolkata emerges on top in any national event, pointed out psychologist Dola Majumdar. "Naturally, Kolkatans were eager to make sure that the victory was duly celebrated. Shah Rukh Khan's presence converted the celebration into a hysteria.
 You had India's biggest star asking you to savour our city's success. Sourav Ganguly may not have been there but SRK made sure that he wasn't missed. Sourav Ganguly have failed taking KKR to the top, so people of Kokata hardly missed him on this celebration day. Even this season Ganguly played against KKR leading the Pune Warriors Team, and placing the team at the bottom of the charts. Many people are of the idea that Ganguly 's depature from the team KKR has proved beneficial for the team. People needed an     icon to serve as the icing on the cake and Shah Rukh provided just that. 
The jamboree was Kolkata's way of trying to get over the all-round gloom that prevails in the state, argued psychiatrist Gautam Ghosh.
"We have been falling short of our own expectations far too often, especially in sport. No one follows local football keenly any more. In cricket, we have rarely triumphed. So, an IPL win was a nice way of asserting our supremacy in a field in which we have never dominated. The fact that we had SRK leading the charge from outside the field gave us a sense of getting even with the rest of the country. This hysteria might translate into some positive energy," Ghosh said.
The mass hysteria seen all along the victory march and at Eden Garden where the team members shook a leg with SRK in the presence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee was a great thing to see, feels fellow psychologist Indrani Dutta. Mamata Banerjee is the one to be praised for giving the idea of celebrations and then arranging for such a wonderful event in such a short time.  It is rightly pointed out as true 'Paribartan'  by governor M.K Narayanan.
"It was not just a cricket victory that was cheered. What we witnessed on Tuesday was a collective release of pent-up frustration and a zeal to observe whatever success comes our way. The IPL win may not have been reason enough to dance on the streets the way people did. But the heady cocktail of SRK and the Kolkata brand was enough to make people hysterical. After all, we have lost our biggest cricket icon to another team, and we have little else to cheer about. While the celebration was fine, the hysteria can't be justified," said Datta.

Former cricketer Devang Gandhi differed. An IPL victory was awaited for the last five years and the win was obviously going to be greeted with cheer, Gandhi said.
"It had been anticipated since 2008. With a star like Shah Rukh Khan leading the KKR pack, celebrations were obviously going to be colourful. Kolkata is a city of intense, emotional people. We take defeats to our hearts and believe in celebrating wins heartily. This is what we saw on Tuesday. But yes, it should have been a little more disciplined," he added.
Gandhi, however, agreed that the wild scenes were also a reflection of the fact that Kolkata is starved of victories.
With the state government throwing the party, the celebrations were going to defy logic, argued academic Amal Mukhopadhyay. "It had little to do with cricket. People swarmed the streets to see Shah Rukh Khan dance with the team." said Mukhopadhyay.
But most agreed that the victory has placed SRK - and Gautam Gambhir - in every Kolkatan's heart."He has always been a big star. This victory has now got him associated with Bengal, cricket and Kolkata which makes SRK even dearer in this part of the country. He is now a cricket icon as well," said Ghosh. Most were ready to overlook the fact that few local boys wore the purple jersey in Chennai last Sunday. What mattered was the team that the city had been rooting for had finally triumphed.

Check out the exclusive vedio of Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla dancing to the tunes of bengali songs.

Kolkata Knight Riders win IPL 2012 : Bollywood Reacts

Reactions from the Bollywood film fraternity is pouring in after King Khan aka SHAHRUKH KHAN's  Kolkata Knight Riders won the 2012 edition of IPL.

  • Kunal Kohli - The most touching moment of the match was when SRK’s daughter hugged him all tense & he comforted her. What a sweet moment that was :-)
  • Mushtaq Shiekh – KKR are the champions!! SRK dream has finally come true!! Today he stands on top of the heap!! Shukar Allah!!
  • Dabboo Ratnani – Wow!!!! We won!!! Ecstatic about the win!!! Sending lots of love to KKR & hugs to SRK Juhi Chawla
  • Raima Sen – KKR welll played.. yippe.. happy to be in Chennai.. time to celebrate
  • Raj Kundra – SRK so happy for you!! Congratulations and well deserved!! Baby K waiting for the cup now! :)
  • Kumar Taurani – Congratulations KKR CSK, u r also champions.. Tough fight
  • Lara Dutta – KKR it is!!!!
  • Sanjay Duri – Heartiest Congratulations Juhi Chawla SRK and KKR team.
  • Sophie Chaudhary – WHAT A MATCH!! What an incredible Final!! And YES!!!! NEW IPL CHAMPIONS!! KKR. My heart won! Thrilled for SRK! Truly well deserved!
  • Lalit Modi – Kkr kkr. Kkr. Love it. Congrats. Great Game. Showed one and all. Love it. Yeh hai ipl
  • Karan Johar – Yayyyyyy!!!! More power to team KKR and SRK!! And what a match!!! KKROCKSSS Congratulations Juhi Chawla!! The new victorious team KKR!! Lots of love!!
  • Anubhav Sinha – You are all welcome to the party… Say it louder guys. KAY….. KAY…..AAAAR
  • Bipasha Basu – Congrats SRK ! Great win fr KKR!

  • Bipasha Basu performing at the Opening Ceremony of IPL 5
  • Shabana Azmi – I know nothing about cricket but I watched d match and prayed really hard for KKR to win! Congrats 2 the team,SRK and Juhi. Maza aa gaya
  • Neha Dhupia – A match so worthy of being the final… Well played CSK and a huge congratulations to KKR and SRK !
  • Vijay Mallya – Congratulations to KKR-New IPL Champions. So IPL VI finals will be played at Eden Gardens !!
  • Farhan Akhtar – The wait is over. Well done KKR. Congratulations SRK and all team owners, members and staff. Let the good times roll….
  • Genelia D’Souza – KKR r d Winners, yayyyy, congrats SRK n d team, ul gave us a super game, well played CSK
  • Preity Zinta – Just landed in India & heard the good news ! Congrats SRK, Gauri & KKR for winning IPL 5 ! I’m sure 2night the Party is not gonna end !
  • Vishal Dadlani – Congratulations to SRM and the team! Ami Kolkata.. WE RULE!!