Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Fortnightly News

In this edition of The Fortnightly News, we bring you all the latest news from the past fortnight in a concise and up-to-date format.


Friday, May 18.

The Wumpus is Dead!

The Wumpus is now dead. He expired at around 10 A.M today in his residence of natural causes after he was attacked by an Artificially Intelligent agent that shot at him after it smelled a "Stench" when prowling around his house in search for gold (Please note that to be killed by an agent is natural in the realm of the Wumpuses). The Wumpsor residence was picketed by a mad rush of artificially intelligent agents shortly after news of his death was confirmed, all of which trying to see if they could execute a "Grab" action to make some easy money (After all AI agents are designed by humans). He is survived by his wife, Mrs Wumpus, and their two sons, Wumpus Jr. and Wumpy. Mr. Wumpy is slated to become the next Wumpus-in-Chief, and will be coronated later this week. Wumpus Jr. was passed over since he lacked the pre-requisite qualification of having hairy fore-arms. (Other non-family contenders included Vijay T.R.Rajendherr and Raja Deepak). This is the biggest tragedy to strike the Wumpus family since the Wumpus was kidnapped by a wrongly programmed AI agent in 1968 after it falsely executed a "Grab" action after it smelled a "Stench", and the killing of Princess Wumpianna, wife of Wumpus Jr., in 1997, after she was chased by a group of erratic AI agents into a pit.

Monday, May 21.

Gargle Announces New Software

Super-Large multinational company Gargle announced a new product called a Peephole Optimizer for home use by the general public. It is a new visual aid for the nosy-neighbour impaired people of the world. Fundamentally it is a hole in the door that allows one to look at people standing outside the door, trying to gain access into your home (or into the door opposite your apartment). Gargle has announced that the basic version will be free, but users will have to pay for the premium, silver, and gold editions. Premium versions come with a glass viewfinder to prevent pranksters from poking your eye when you're lookin through it. The silver edition comes with a bifocal lens to help the elderly, while the gold edition is going to have a cross-hair in case you want help in shooting the person standing outside your door.

Wednesday, May 23.

Riot in Engineering Colleges

Riots broke out in many engineering colleges after students were asked to name any six context free questions in an exam. People felt this was a serious violation of the right to free speech, the right to vote, and the right to play heavy metal in loud volumes to coincide with Kolangal on Sun TV. As a mark of "rebellion", many students purposely took up a disobediance movement, and were found deliberately violating several college rules. Some of the rebels indulged in "anti-social" activities such as talking to members of the opposite sex, talking to first year students, and turning up to college in Jeans pants. One agitator was found to be peeping over the barricade between the men's and women's sections of the auditorium, thereby causing the wildest yet disturbance in the movment. College authorities are as yet unable to control the movement as they are in deep discussions about a completely different issue, where they are trying to reach a consensus on the right pay-rise to give to a member of the teaching staff who gave a first year student a love letter.

Friday, May 25.

New MMS Scandal

A new MMS scandal broke out when an Indian student took photos of people doing things, unaware they were being filmed, and posted them on video streaming websites like youtube and metacafe and gave them an 18+ rating. All major news channels extensively covered this scandal by playing them on TV over and over again without an 18+ rating. The outrage was further exacerbated by the fact that the student had performed modifications to the video such as morphing, three dimensional translation, rotation, and decreased the contrast, thereby making nothing visible anyway.

Monday, May 28.

Thomas Bayes Killed

Thomas Bayes, a 19th century non-conformist English clergyman met a gruesome death after he was swallowed and then regurgitated in disgust by a giant Cubic Spline. Doctors kept his dead body in the ICU for six hours debating whether to issue a statement saying he was strangled, or to issue a statement saying he was poisoned. Finally they couldn't hack the stench anymore and released the body to the bereaved in a large floppy parcel under the condition that they were not to open the package under any circumstances. A fall-out among his sons has been reported. Apparently they broke into a fight over who would inherit his laptop.

Monday, May 30.

Large departmental store Mal-Wart performed an analysis of all the transactions recorded in their databases using their new data mining system and came up with a few associations that ranged from being trivial (People who buy a computer mouse are likely to buy a mouse pad), to important (People who have money are likely to buy objects), to interesting (Men who buy diapers are most likely to buy beer), to the down-right weird (Men who do not buy condoms are most likely to end up buying permbulators). Of course their brand new system was not used for much as an unintimated power cut occurred that crashed the system which was not brought online for the rest of the day despite the best efforts of their computer engineers. Latest reports suggest they were now trying advanced heuristic techniques to get their system back online such as kicking the processor with leather boots and kneeling and praying.

This brings us to the end of this edition of the Fortnightly News. Till we see you next fortnight, thank you very much for joining us, stay tuned, take care and bye-bye.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Man proposes, God indisposes.

Some of the words or jargon that I have learnt since coming to college include words like "mokkai" and "propose". Literally translated, "mokkai" means blunt in Tamil. It however seems to be a derogatory term used to insult boring people or people who have the habit of reciting old jokes from Ananda Vikatan, a popular Tamil weekly. You might wonder how I came up to college without knowing the meaning of "propose". Of course I knew the meaning of propose, as in you propose to build a dam here to provide water for irrigation, or you propose the vote of thanks at a meeting, or the man proposed marriage to the woman. All that is perfectly alright, but young engineering students in Anna University affiliated engineering colleges have way too much free time on their hands and devise new meanings for words and phrases.

Last month, I was reciting a few bits of gossip to a friend of mine, when he stopped me and said, "What did you just say?" I realized I had inadvertently used wrong college-jargon to completely offset the meaning of my conversation. That's when I realized this, and told Marc about it. He said he'd already posted on that long ago, on his old blog.

My first experiences with warped meanings of the word propose came during the time I was "ragged" in my first year. I was asked to "propose" to a girl of my choice. I was taken aback. Talking to or flirting with would have been a feasible task, but proposing marriage(as I understood it then) was too much to be doing the first time I was talking to a girl. I refused, and my seniors called me "mokkai". That was the first time I'd heard of that word either, and was wondering how humans could be mokkai, because only pencils had such tendencies. I said that aloud too, to be further called "mokkai", which was further confusing. In class the next morning, a friend of mine said he'd been taken in by a girl and was wondering whether he should propose to her. Now I was scared bad. Was this college run by nutters?(Yes it is) Was this college full of nutters?(Yes it is) I mean who in their right minds would propose marriage to a girl the first time they ever met her?

A few days later, a classmate was again wondering about proposing to girls. By now, however, I had it figured out. "Proposed" in this language roughly means to "ask someone out". Really gave me a harrowing time. I cautiously refrained from using the same term, but would always be granted with blank looks whenever I suggested someone ask someone else out. Rather than use wrong terminology, I decided to refrain talking about the whole mish-mash of proposing and putting mokkai. But college being what it is, we have a lot of free time on our hands. Lecturers come and go, periods come and go, lunch-hours come and go, days and weeks and months and whole semesters come and go without anything actually happening, leaving the brain devoid of anything to do. It is at dangerous moments like this that the brain desperately wants to see some action, and the only source of relief from boredom in the vicinity seems to be a bunch of classmates sitting around discussing potential girlfriends. The rest, is history, albeit history you wish hadn't happened.

Now after all that, I was recently telling another friend of mine about how I'd heard a rumour of a girl running away with a boy, or a professor, or something like that, when my friend stopped me and said, "What did you just say? How does proposing come in here?" That's when I realized my mistake of too much gossip-mongering with people who always talk about proposing to people. I explained the meaning behind the jargon and continued with the tale, but resolved two things.
1. Never to use propose in the wrong sense.
2. To bring my blog out of hibernation with a post about proposing.

Marc proposed to post on me proposing to post on propositional logic in my blog here.

To hear people expounding on the art of proposing to people(preferrably members of the opposite sex), ask contact this person.
Proposedly yours,
Sundararajan. S