November 26, 2003

Sardar enters the lab, dressed in a pastel green shirt and a pastel pink turban.
IR: Your shirt and turban do not match! (Mismatched clothes, to me is tantamount to sacrilege!)
Sardar (patiently replies): I get up, and wear whatever I happen to find the first thing in the morning.
Sometime later in the day:
IR (teasingly): How come you wore such mismatched stuff today?
Sardar (now frustrated): I will take you shopping next time when I step out to buy more clothes, but I will not buy you anything!
IR : for once, speechless!

November 24, 2003

The Philadelphia Marathon - Nov 23, 2003
This weekend was the Philly Marathon.
It was a very awe inspiring event. Right from the training program, which started in June to the finale yesterday. To somebody like myself who has run only 2 miles at a stretch, the idea of running 26.2 miles really stretches my imagination!
The runners who participated were also mostly new to the concept of running a marathon, though many of them are good athletes. Also given the fact that each participant had to collect a certain amount of money for Asha. All this made the whole event quite a complicated task.
Not only did the runners complete the marathon, all of them in less than 5 hours, but they all have nearly managed to raise the amounts in full too!
I went there as part of a cheering squad. Trying to get from Mile 8 (our first cheering mark) to the next one, at Mile 14, proved to be a much more difficult task than imagined - thanks to the traffic, having many of the roads closed because of the marathon, and us being unfamiliar with downtown Philly.
But, finally I was dropped off at the 14 Mile mark, which luckily was also the Finish line. There, spent quite some time trying to find Pankaj, Shanthi and Chandana. Never realised that there were so many statues outside the Philly Art Museum. So we gave up trying to find each other by using statues as landmarks as we kept on discovering more and more statues all the time :) Thank God for the existence of cell phones! Me and Shanthi were somewhat the self-proclaimed "official event photographers" :) and luckily we managed to be at the finish line with the cameras well before Diwakar, the first to finish was there.
Diwakar was running the marathon for the first time, as were many others. And he finished in 3:56:44, breaking the 4 hour barrier in his first ever marathon!
Soon enough, Amit came in. The maximum distance he had done in practice was 16 miles, and yesterday he ran the full course (all of the 26.2 miles) in 4:38:32! Hithesh finished in 4:43:40 and then Prashanth in 4:49:44, Sheela in 4:49:55, Sameer in 4:50:42 and Kapin in 4:56:33. Hithesh and Kapin had to contend with leg injuries, and Prashath with cramps.
Inspite of all these problems, their determination carried them through the day!
And not to forget Pankaj, Snigdha and Vrushali who all ran the Staten Island Half Marathon and finished in under 3 hours!
Moral of the Story: I went went there to cheer the others who were running the marathon. All these inspiring performances made me realise that I also want to run next year....and not just cheer the runners!
Way to go Asha CNJ!

November 21, 2003

"Tragedy of the Commons"
Just spent two whole days at the IAB (Industry Advisory Board) meeting, the bi-yearly workshop/talks/seminar) that my lab hosts.
Today's session was interesting, on Dynamic Spectrum Management. The talk can be summarised as "Do we really have a scarcity of Spectrum? If we indeed do, how do we resolve this problem?"
The history behind trying to (mis?)manage the radio frequency spectrum goes a long way. Examples looked at were the Citizens Band Radio (CB Radio), the Cordless Phone evolution/development and now finally 2G, 3G, 4G et al. FCC policies - Why did they ever allott only 25 MHz for wireless communications? Nobody could probabaly envision the burgeoning industry that is now wireless personal communications (cell-phones, laptops with WLAN cards, PDAs).
The question of why only 25 Mhz was allotted, can be said to be analogous to the story of Winston Churchill's escape from a Boer war prison.
Churchill had escaped the Boer Prison in Pretoria during the Boer War between the British and the Boers in South Africa. Louis Botha then announced a reward of 50 pounds for his capture. Later, when Churchill (by now safely in British territory) heard the amount of the reward, he was a bit surprised at that particular amount. Why "50" pounds?
Such decisions, though made somewhat randomly (akin to taking a snapshot view), when revisited a few decades later seem even more weird (looking at the whole picture).
But, we can still wonder, had more than 25 MHz been allotted, would that have made a difference to the way the Spectrum was managed?
So, is a "Tragedy of the Commons" in the making regards the current Spectrum usage? Could it be avoided by a more efficient use of the resource - Spectrum?
One more analogy: Any precious resource, needs to shared fairly and also rationed when necessary. Like one of our professors said, maybe it is like the predictions that have been circulating around for so many years - the scarcity of oil/natural gas, which though has been endlessly suggested, has not actually happened.

November 17, 2003

A B'Day and some shopping
A nice weekend spent with a very close friend after a long time. It was her b'day, so off went I to Long Island. Met a dozen odd more people, never have been shy of meeting new people before and chatting with them, but somehow this time just could not take so many new faces and went off to sleep!
Next day we spent just chatting, there just are so many things to catch up on, new topics to discuss, and of course, gossip to catch up on :), that too when it's a friend you have grown up with, gone to school with, and done undergrad together.
And Sunday, came back to NYC, and we indulged in a favorite pasttime, shopping for clothes. Here on the East Coast, the one good thing about the changing seasons (have not even begun to talk about the cold cold winters) is the clothes that also need to be changed from season to season, which luckily enough :) for me translates to shopping! Every season brings a new fashion, now my wardrobe is getting a seasonal look, clothes for summer, autumn, winter and spring...am in shopper's heaven nowadays!

November 12, 2003

when i have so much work to do
why do i not want to do it?
instead i just want to while away my time
thinking that someone will do it!

somedays later when i have to show results
i wake-up, as if from a daydream
wonder what i can show
nothing ..... i realise except for blogging

but eventually one day
i too will have some results to show
for all the re-search that i do in the lab
not for nothing is it justly called so!


November 04, 2003

The Juggler's Song

Give the man who is not made
To his trade
Swords to fling and catch again,
Coins to ring and snatch again,
Men to harm and cure again,
Snakes to charm and lure again -
He'll be hurt by his own blade,
By his serpents disobeyed,
By his clumsiness bewrayed,
By the people mocked to scorn -
So 'tis not with juggler born!
Pinch of dust or withered flower,
Chance flung fruit or borrowed staff,
Serve his need and shore his power,
Bind the spell or loose the laugh!

Taken from Kim by Rudyard Kipling.


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