for my last post about a beautiful moth.
Well, yesterday evening I was leaving for Ranga Shankara to watch a play (excellent, but more about that later) and the
OLEANDER HAWK MOTH
was sitting on the glass panes in the stairway...so I had to rush back to get my camera, and click.
The wiki entry about these moths is very interesting.
"The adults feed on nectar of a great variety of flowers. They have a preference for fragrant species like petunia, jasmine and honeysuckle. They are especially active in the twilight time, hovering over the flowers after sunset."
That's not very different from many others like them...but then, I find, the cat are Nanjundas!
Nanjunda is the description of Shiva when he consumed the poison, AlAhala, that was brought up when the ksheera sAgarA, or the Ocean of Milk, was being churned by the dEvAs and asurAs, to bring forth amritA or the nectar of immortality. The potency of the poison was intense, and Shiva saved everyone by swallowing the toxic substance. However, his wife Parvati (pArvathi) saved him by holding her hands tightly around His neck, so that the poison did not go further down...and so Shiva is often depicted as Neelkanth, or One with the Blue Throat.
So....why are these caterpillars like Shiva? The wiki says:
"The caterpillars feed mainly on oleander (Nerium oleander) leaves, a highly toxic plant to the toxicity of which they are immune."
How amazing to have creatures which can ingest highly toxic substances! Nature never fails to amaze.
I took another pic with the flash:
Here's the caterpillar, in the instar just before pupation:
I call it the Morse Code Cat, because it seems to have Morse Code all down its sides!
- Current Mood:very happy
- Current Music:heart is singing!
Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat
is an amazing temple dating back to the 11th century, and it was wonderful to visit it during the Ahmedabad trip. It's about 100 km. from Ahmedabad and it took a little more than two and a half hours to reach it.
It was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty.
( lots more photos...it's an intricate and beautifully-carved temple!Collapse )
Let me end with a photo of these smaller shrines, peaceful under the trees:
Hope you enjoyed your e-trip to the Sun!
- Current Mood:enjoying myself
- Current Music:the beatles
When I first heard that they were making ‘Aashiqui 2‘, I was very skeptical; not about the story or direction but about the music. Aashiqui had without a doubt, some of the best songs from Bollywood in that era. It was only when I heard this song, I realized that maybe I was underestimating the talent that has slowly grown to maturity in last few years.
While I didn’t really think ‘Aashiqui 2′ was a great film, I will find it very hard to deny that the music didnt move me. Ironically this isnt my favorite song in the movie, but it is easily the most popular one. Here is my translation of this beautiful song:
Hum tere bin ab reh nahin sakte
Tere bina kyaa wajood mera
I can’t survive without you now,
Without you, what identity do I have…
Tujh se judaa gar ho jaayenge
To khud se hi ho jaayenge judaa
If I get separated from you,
I’ll be separated from myself..
Kyonki, tum hi ho
Ab tum hi ho
Zindagi, ab tum hi ho
Chain bhi, meraa dard bhi
Meri aashiqui ab tum hi ho
Because, you are the one…
Now, you are the one…
My life, You are the one…
My peace, my pain,
My love, you are the one…
Tera mera rishta hai kaisa,
Ik pal door gawaaraa nahi.
Tere liye har roz hain jeete,
Tujh ko diyaa mera waqt sabhi.
Koi lamhaa mera, naa ho tere bina,
Har saans pe naam tera.
What is this relationship between you and me,
Even a moment of separation is unacceptable.
For you, I live each day,
To you, I give all my time.
There shouldn’t be a moment of mine without you,
(My) Every breath has your name…
Tere liye hi jiyaa main,
Khud ko jo yoon de diya hai
Teri wafaa ne mujh ko sambhaala
Saare ghamon ko dil se nikaala
Tere saath mera hai naseeb judaa
Tujhe paa ke adhoora naa raha
Only for you, I lived
I have given myself (to you)
My faith in you, took care of me
Took away all the sorrows from (my) heart
With you, my destiny is attached,
Finding you, I am no longer incomplete.
Kyonki, tum hi ho
Ab tum hi ho
Zindagi, ab tum hi ho
Chain bhi, meraa dard bhi
Meri aashiqui ab tum hi ho
Because, you are the one…
Now, you are the one…
My life, You are the one…
My peace, my pain,
My love, you are the one…
Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content. Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes. These officials often cite defamation, privacy and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services. In this particular reporting period, we received 93 requests to take down government criticism and removed content in response to less than one third of them. Four of the requests were submitted as copyright claims.
You can read more about these requests in the Notes section of the Transparency Report. In addition, we saw a significant increase in the number of requests we received from two countries in the first half of 2013:
- There was a sharp increase in requests from Turkey. We received 1,673 requests from Turkish authorities to remove content from our platforms, nearly a tenfold increase over the second half of last year. About two-thirds of the total requests—1,126 to be exact—called for the removal of 1,345 pieces of content related to alleged violations of law 5651.
- Another place where we saw an increase was Russia, where there has been an uptick in requests since a blacklist law took effect last fall. We received 257 removal requests during this reporting period, which is more than double the number of requests we received throughout 2012.
Posted by Susan Infantino, Legal Director
Steam locomotive on display at Guwahati Station, 011213
The Indian Railways
has is one of the largest railway networks in the world. (Click on the link above to get facts and figures.)
Given its size and unwieldiness, it's a remarkable organization. The trains are on time for the most part, and earlier delays (up to 24 hours, sometimes!) have been nearly eliminated. When Lalu Prasad Yadav was the Railway Minister, he won laurels for "revamping" the Railways. (The ultimate recognition....it's a case-study at Harvard.)
But alas...the revamping seems to have brought out the vamp in the organization, and the passenger trains, it seems to me, seem to have a lot of problems. I am listing them, as I see them, here....I do appreciate many things about the railways,but these are outstanding minuses that cannot be wished away.
( read about it if you have the time and the inclination....some photos, tooCollapse )
One of the many vendors on the trains, Guwahati-Bangalore, 211113
So...while the railways are very useful (and I must express deep appreciation for the fact that senior citizens get 40% off the train charges if male, and 50% if female...a discrimination I have never been able to figure out), it takes a lot of stamina and resolve to spend a couple of days on a train, and make the journey with Indian Railways. I do...and I think of myself as an intrepid traveller.
- Current Mood:dull
- Current Music:none
But I digress...here are the six-footers I saw....
( flying beauties....Collapse )
Small Salmon Arab
- Current Mood: sleepy
- Current Music:hopefully, my snoring
Bank account, cooking gas connection, UPS (back-up power system in the flat), washing machine, air-conditioner (which I hardly ever used) bathroom taps, sewing machine, mobile phone, cable TV....
Thankfully, since I was paying around Rs.1000 a month, my landline and internet connection were still working. Big relief!
Since I refused to stop my travel plans, the "fixing" process still continues. Down to the sewing machine. (Not going to fix the cooking gas until I need a new cylinder,because I will then again be on the 180-day countdown;nor the air-conditioner until I feel I really need it)
Maintaining an establishment in absentia in India is....tough.
is the Wiki entry for the
"The Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa) also known as the Indian Black Ibis or just the Black Ibis, is a species of ibis found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent. The sexes are alike. It has a curlew-like long down-curved bill, a black head with a patch of crimson, and a white patch near the shoulder. This largish black bird is found at lakes, in marshes, in riverbeds and on irrigated farmland—it is not as aquatic as many other species of ibis. It is gregarious and generally forages on margins of wetlands in small numbers. It is a common breeding resident in Haryana. It nests in trees and breeds from March to October in North India."
I was very fortunate, indeed, to stay with a friend who as a 5-acre plot of land in Ahmedabad; part of her undeveloped property is maintained as a lawn, part of it is a wilderness, and part of it is given over to growing wheat and vegetables. I had a lovely view from my bedroom window, and was lucky enough to watch these beautiful birds....they were sitting on the neighbouring buildings:
( more about the IbisCollapse )
I got this video of the child running around behind the mother and harassing her for food:
Children are always demanding attention, whether
Or not, they happen to have skin...or feathers!
- Current Mood: peaceful
- Current Music:old hindi movie songs
In our annual Year-End Zeitgeist (“spirit of the times”), we reflect on the people, places, and moments that captured the world’s attention throughout the year. This year marks our most global Zeitgeist to date—with 1,000+ top 10 lists across categories like Trending People, Most-Searched Events and Top Trending Searches from 72 countries.
As we get ready to turn the page to 2014, we invite you to take a global journey through the biggest moments from the past 12 months in our Year in Review video:
It’s perhaps unsurprising that the #1 trending search of 2013 was an international symbol of strength and peace: Nelson Mandela. Global search interest in the former President of South Africa was already high this year, and after his passing, people from around the world turned to Google to learn more about Madiba and his legacy.
Tragedies like the Boston Marathon, the 6th trending term globally, and Typhoon Haiyan, #2 on our global events list, also captured the world’s attention. And our human desire to help came through, with [donate to the Philippines] ranking highly around the world.
2013 also had moments that made us move. People uploaded more than 1.7 million video versions of the Harlem Shake to YouTube, propelling it to the #5 spot on our global list; it was also the second most trending video on YouTube. And unashamedly, we all wanted to learn about twerking, which topped this year’s "what is…" list of search terms (although I’m still not sure I understand that one!).
Here’s a full look at our top 10 global trending searches of 2013:
- Nelson Mandela
- Paul Walker
- iPhone 5s
- Cory Monteith
- Harlem Shake
- Boston Marathon
- Royal Baby
- Samsung Galaxy s4
- PlayStation 4
- North Korea
You can also explore more global trends this year—directly from our Zeitgeist homepage. Check out the top 100 trending searches of 2013, and simply click one to dig deeper on Google Trends. Or if you’d rather be nostalgic, you can take a look back at each year's Zeitgeist from 2001 on.
Finally, we've made an interactive 3D global map showcasing the top search trends of 2013 by day in cities around the world. You can easily spin the globe, select a city and explore the topics that brought people to search on any day of the year—from local sports games to international news stories.
Posted by +Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President and Google Fellow
You say your love is
Just as natural as mine,
And while that is so,
That it doesn't sit easy
Feels as natural to me
As your love to you,
But you think it is just
Prejudice, if not bigotry,
And there is some of that
I agree, though I have tried
In my way, to be free.
But I do ponder now and then
How you can be so certain
That when your voice shifts
From the margins of our memory
To smack in the middle of it,
It will not in any way change
What and how my child thinks
About her emerging sexuality
Or make her rethink even,
All that she thought originally.
For if there is one thing I know
With a measure of certainty,
It is that in this strange orgy
Of not so random influences
Filling up our oblivious lives,
Free will that is being made
And unmade every other day,
Is queerly, a long way from free.
So while I shall stand firmly
By your inalienable rights today,
Knowing well it is no crime
Nor an illness in your mind
To be cured, by daily practice
Of deep breathing and Kundalini,
Or counting prayers on the rosary
I nevertheless harbor the worry,
That in ten years from now,
Maybe a little earlier or later,
When you begin to exchange rings,
Intimate hugs and bashful kisses
In the wide-open spaces of my society,
Curious plastic little minds watching
Will begin to wonder unwittingly,
Go on then to question how they feel
And what they want or ought to do;
Many times over too, maybe.
And that, I have to confess
Does not seem or feel
Quite right or natural to me,
But be that as it may,
It won’t be your cross to bear
(sigh, again this religious analogy)
Any more than it will be mine,
So I hope they will, in their minds
Find a way to be truly free,
Hard as that is likely to be.
My Airtel mobile internet connection AND my BSNL dongle both don't work here. So I can't use my laptop, or upload photos....I am typing this from my friend Kalpana's office, in Thaltej.
Tomorrow, we are visiting the
Sun Temple in Modhera
(click on the link to read more about an amazing temple!)
It's fun to meet up with old friends (the group has been meeting regularly with families since 1984, so we are very close)....but meanwhile I received this photo of my little Booda and his bib:
and this one of the early adoption of the habit of raiding the fridge:
I'm missing the children far more than I thought I would.....
- Current Mood:sleepy after pythonic lunch
- Current Music:O sajnA....
Join them tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. EST. The conversation will be hosted by PeaceJam and The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, and moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Share your questions for the participants with #MandelaTribute. Tune in to celebrate the life of an individual who changed the world.
Posted by the Google Blog Team
You can now follow the Dwarves’ journey to Erebor and try to outsmart Smaug on your desktop, mobile phone or tablet. But it might be wise to first pay a little visit to the folks who live in nearby Thranduil’s Hall and Lake-town—locations that recently became accessible in this Chrome Experiment—just in case you need their help against the mighty Dragon.
stop by Google Play. There you'll find all sorts of Hobbit-related apps, games, books, music and films*. Together with the recent recording of a Google+ Hangout with director Peter Jackson and actors Evangeline Lilly and Richard Armitage, these can also help you get up to speed for the upcoming release in theaters of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
And for those of you more interested in web development than Dragon-slaying, check out the second technical case study on “A Journey Through Middle-earth” (the first one is already available on HTML5 Rocks). You can also watch a Hangout with North Kingdom, the team of designers and hackers who built it, on December 18. We'll be posting more updates for the developer community on +Google Chrome Developers.
Posted by Adrian Soghoian, Product Marketing Manager & a Fool of a Took
*Available content and promotions vary by country.
This year, we’re inviting you to get in the giving groove with 12 Days of Giving—an interactive holiday calendar where you can explore a Google-backed cause, donate to what inspires you and unwrap a surprise each day—such as meeting Pamela the polar bear or experiencing how far people walk to reach clean water. To spread cheer throughout the year, download OneToday for a daily reminder to give back.
- Zooniverse: Advanced crowdsourced research hub that allows anyone, anywhere to help create scientific breakthroughs as a citizen scientist.
- Kiva: Finance lab that enables anyone to provide affordable loans to entrepreneurs, students and farmers in poor countries, to support people left out of traditional finance.
- Landesa and FrontlineSMS: Mobile system that transforms the inefficient and confusing process to establish land rights into an accessible, efficient way for poor farmers to get title to their land.
- Get Schooled: Online platform that provides free college prep for underserved students by aggregating resources on scholarships, tests and applications, and setting personal reminders for staying on track.
- Samasource: Platform to train data workers in developing countries and provide jobs.
- DoSomething.org: Comprehensive data initiative to empower more young people to lead and share powerful and effective social impact campaigns.
In 2013, we donated more than $100 million in grants, $1 billion in free ads and apps and 60,000 volunteer hours to nonprofits around the globe.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google.org
Bigger, faster spreadsheets
The new Sheets supports millions of cells and kicks many of the old size and complexity limits to the curb. Scrolling, loading and calculation are all snappier, even in more complex spreadsheets.
New features based on your feedback and requests
Filter views is a new feature unique to Google Sheets that lets you quickly name, save and share different views of your data. This comes in handy when you’re collaborating so you can sort a spreadsheet without affecting how others see it.
function help and examples guide you as you type, and error highlighting and coloring make it easy to spot and fix mistakes.
text now automatically flows into empty adjacent cells—no manual merge needed.
conditional formatting, you can add rules to change the colors and styles of cells in your spreadsheet based on custom formulas.
No Internet connection? Work offline with Chrome
You shouldn’t have to think about whether you have a WiFi connection when you want to work. So just like Google Docs and Slides, you can now make edits to Sheets offline. When you reconnect to the Internet, your edits will automatically sync. If you've edited Docs or Slides offline in the past, then you’re already set up to edit Sheets offline. If not, follow these one-time instructions for setting up offline in Chrome.
Ready to try it out?
Turn on the new Sheets by checking the “Try the new Google Sheets” box in Google Drive settings. From then on, all new spreadsheets you create will work offline and include these new features. We’ll be adding a small list of missing features in the coming months, so if you rely on any of them, you may want to wait a little longer before opting in.
We hope you enjoy these and the many other updates that come along with the new Google Sheets, including colored sheet tabs, custom number formatting, paste transpose and more. Let us know what you think on our Google+ page!
Posted by Zach Lloyd, Software Engineer
As 2013 comes to a close, these are some of the videos, channels and moments that shaped our year. While each annual list is unpredictable (what's up, Mr. Miley Cyrus impersonator), trending videos just get bigger each year. And with 80 percent of all views on YouTube coming from outside the U.S., the global community is driving pop culture unlike ever before.
You watched The Fox more than 275 million times, making it the top trending video of 2013. You also made it a top searched Halloween costume, and you’ll maybe even read it as a children’s book. You turned out in record-setting numbers to see PSY’s post-"Gangnam Style" performance. You even made more “Harlem Shake” videos than there are people in Manhattan (1.7 million videos if you’re counting).
To celebrate all these moments, more than 60 top creators on YouTube got together and made a little video for everyone:
Here are the top trending and music videos for 2013:
Top Trending Videos for 2013
1. Ylvis - "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" by tvnorge
2. "Harlem Shake (original army edition)" by kennethaakonsen
3. "How Animals Eat Their Food" | MisterEpicMann by MisterEpicMann
4. "Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version)" by SteveKardynal
5. "baby&me / the new evian film" by EvianBabies
6. Volvo Trucks - "The Epic Split feat. Van Damme" by VolvoTrucks
7. "YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)" by thelonelyisland
8. "Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise" by CarrieNYC
9. "THE NFL : A Bad Lip Reading" by BadLipReading
10. "Mozart vs Skrillex. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2" by ERB
Top Music Videos for 2013
1. PSY - "GENTLEMAN M/V" by officialpsy
2. Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball" by MileyCyrusVEVO
3. Miley Cyrus - "We Can't Stop" by MileyCyrusVEVO
4. Katy Perry - "Roar (Official)" by KatyPerryVEVO
5. P!nk - "Just Give Me A Reason ft. Nate Ruess" by PinkVEVO
6. Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell" by RobinThickeVEVO
7. Rihanna - "Stay ft. Mikky Ekko" by RihannaVEVO
8. Naughty Boy - "La La La ft. Sam Smith" by NaughtyBoyVEVO
9. Selena Gomez - "Come & Get It" by SelenaGomezVEVO
10. Avicii - "Wake Me Up (Official Video)" by AviciiOfficialVEVO
... see even more top music videos.
Check out the YouTube Rewind 2013 channel for even more top lists of the year from around the world, and stay tuned at Google.com/zeitgeist next week for Google's annual look at the people, places and events that captured the world's attention this year.
Posted by Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture and Trends
Called Trompe l'oeil, which means “fool the eye” in French, these techniques require complete control over every detail of size, color, light and gradation of color so that a two-dimensional work appears to be three-dimensional. You can see several examples amongst the new content being launched by 34 global partners today on the Cultural Institute and across our entire collection of more than 57,000 artworks.
Trompe l'oeil has been used on things as large as a ceiling—like this fresco at the National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara which uses clever architectural form to momentarily confuse:
And as small as a vase:
Sometimes the trickery lies in the deft organization of the elements in the picture, like this one. Can you find the secret image lurking within this seemingly innocent painting of a young man and woman?
Other new works exhibit a similar visual trickery. This relic from the Qing dynasty comes from the National Palace Museum of Taiwan—does the cabbage look good enough to eat?
Or take a look at the Musée d’Orsay’s exhibition of its unusual history, and then compare the details of the former station to the indoor Street View imagery of today's modern museum:
Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Cultural Institute
In the past, learning English was a tall order for the vast majority of Indians. Knowing a second language (especially in the written form) requires education and training. For a long time, and some would argue even now, the Indian education system has been hopelessly inadequate in teaching even the local language and basic arithmetic, never mind a second language. Many leftist educationists advocate development of the local language, arguing that it is well-nigh impossible to teach people science and arithmetic in an alien language. They point to the fact that many developing countries (the prime examples being Japan and China) have been successful at human development only by encouraging education in the native language.
Moreover, many regions in India look at the teaching of their local language as a matter of pride and the teaching of any other language as an attack on the local culture. Also, India has dozens of languages and hundreds, if not thousands, of dialects. Making available good quality teaching materials in local languages is not easy. It is also not hard to see the lack of geographic mobility of a person who knows only the local language. Many great educational institutes in India are managed by the central government, and they teach in English. A person educated in their native language is usually incapable of succeeding at these institutes.
But what about Indians who do manage to learn English and speak it? Many books have been written about the way Indians use the English language. This is an enjoyable read, albeit one which is mostly critical of Indian English.
I think there are at least three distinct ways in which Indian English can be distinguished: the way we use phrases and idioms, our pronunciation, and our accent.
We use unique phrases and idioms ("pass out of college", "reverting back with more information", "prepone"). Not all of these are wrong. Some are just archaic or unique.
Our pronunciation is either heavily British ("faast instead of faest", "shedule instead of skedule"), or sometimes just incorrect because we do not know how to pronounce some uncommon words, and English being a second language, we use common sense which in many cases does not apply to this complex language.
For example, most Indians that I know of pronounce the word "photography" by extending from how they pronounce the word "photograph". Similarly, I always thought the word "hyperbole" was pronounced as "hyper-bolay" (and not "hy-perbolee" as specified by the dictionary). I never heard anyone speak hyperbole correctly in India, otherwise I would have at least checked. Similarly the words: gravel (pronounced correctly as gra (as in grand) vel (as in mull)), vinyl (pronounced correctly as vynal and not veenile), awry (a-wry and not aw-ry) are pronounced differently than what would naturally occur to an Indian.
And as is well-known, we have difficulty knowing the difference between pronouncing the v as in "verbose" and the w as in "woman".
Coming to our accent, it is identifiable enough to be parodied by stand-up-comedians and and in humorous TV shows.
English being a world language does not a single authoritative variant. The words, accents, and sometimes even the pronunciation of common words differ across English-speaking regions. Americans say "God" as gawd or even sometimes as "guy-ed", "you got it" as "you gaat it". Australians pronounce "basin" as "bison" ("wash-bison"). And so on.
However, the people in English-speaking regions speak English as their first language and even though they may have a unique way of speaking it, they regard it as a valid way. People who speak English as their second language continuously second-guess and have to keep learning how to speak it naturally and effortlessly.
Language has a bearing on trust, respect and relationships. In business and public-relations, if you speak the local language in an alien manner, you have a more difficult task of winning over your listener. There is an implicit distrust of anything strange-sounding. And sometimes a foreign accent is just hard to understand. An Indian or Chinese who wishes to be a leader in an English speaking country cannot afford to speak in Indian English. It is just bad strategy if the role involves talking to people at all levels and when the role involves building trust and consensus.
Also, I cannot help but mention that countries who speak English as their first language are ruled by White people. Therefore, an Australian accent is going to be more acceptable (at a race kinship level) than a Chinese or an Indian accent.
People associate races and regions and accents with stereotypes. To a foreign listener, an Indian accent quickly triggers notions of poverty, lack of hygiene, visa-fraud, corruption, IT grunt-work, call centers, mysticism, curries, ill-fitting clothes, introvert nerd geniuses, etc. An Indian who wishes to overcome this stereotype has little option but to not sound like an FOB ("fresh-off-the-boat").
There is nothing strange about wanting to "fit in". Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born faux-PM of India, tries to speak Hindi as an Indian in order to sway people. If she spoke Hindi as the venerable Tom Alter, I am not sure she would win any fans.
But I do think it is possible for Indian English to gain a wider recognition. As Indians are achieving more and more success in the global arena, and as we are making strides in our education and human development, the way we speak English must, and will, slowly find greater recognition. The stereotype of the poor Indian will probably take many centuries to go away, because that has complex causes. And coupled with a greater recognition of Indian English, Indians must also try harder at learning to speak English not in an archaic or in an obviously wrong way.
This middle ground, where we recognize our failings in pronunciation and phraseology, and where there is more global acceptance of the Indian accent and intonation, would certainly be a happy place to be.