Posse Comitatus

December 4th, 2008

In the third season finale of the “West Wing”, President Bartlet makes a life-or-death decision regarding a foreign diplomat who is a known terrorist. He ponders the situation during a charity benefit performance of a Shakespeare play about another conflicted leader, Henry VI. This is very intelligently interspersed with patriotic music “England Arise” from Shakespeare’s War of the Roses play which is on show. Look at the video below.  The Music and lyrics are actually by Stephen Oliver and are from The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby.Amazing Drama and sound effects!By the way, the episode name refers to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. In its most simplistic sense, this law prohibits the US armed (uniformed) forces (the Army, Air Force) from exercising law enforcement powers. Imagine, the conflict - the President here is giving an “illegal” assassination order and again asking for the military to handle it. Watch the full episode for the push and pulls behind this decision. But, the ending is simply marvelous. What do you think?The lyrics of the song below:

England arise! Join in the chorus!It is a new made song you should be singing.See in the skies, flutt’ring before uswhat the bright bird of peace is bringing!See upon our smiling landwhere the wealths of nations standwhere prosperity and industry walkever hand in hand.Where so many blessings crowd,’tis our duty to be proud.Up and answer, English Yeoman,sing it joyfully aloud.Evermore upon our countryGod will pour his rich increase,And victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace,And victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace.See each one do what he can to further God’s almighty plan.The benificence of heaven help the skilfulness of man.Ev’ry garner fill’d with grain, Ev’ry meadow blest with rain:Rich and fertile is the golden corn that bear and bears again.Where so many blessings crowd,’Tis our duty to be proud.Up and answer, fellow Britons,sing it joyfully aloud.Evermore upon our countryGod will pour his rich increaseAnd victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace,And victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace. 


Create a 3D Face from a Single Photo

December 3rd, 2008

This was something amazing that I came across tonight. I always thought that technologies like this would exist only with the Government and big corporations. But, it is here. I am looking forward to the day when this could be physically rendered at the same speed.


Objectivity and the European Union

January 9th, 2008

My interest in reading brought me to another classic “The Complete - Yes Minister” by Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay which I have been re-reading for the past few days. My dad has an amazing collection of “delectable” books. (I know - should be food!! but hey this is “My” Blog and “My Rules”) Since I am crazy for bureaucracy and red-tapeism which my Dad “supposedly” practices daily in Office, I kind of find these books funny and humorous. I remember a time when I was probably in second or third grade that “Yes Minister” used to come in on Doordarshan. Even then I had an enjoyable time pulling Dad’s legs.

Ok. this blog post is about something very interesting I read. I will make the effort of typing it all in full :

Jim Hacker, the Minister in charge of the fictitious Department of Administrative Affairs (DAA) in Her Majesty’s Government says - “We went into the EEC (the old version of the European Union) to strengthen the international brotherhood of free nations”

To this Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Under Secretary to the DAA (the Departmental Head, roughly equivalent to what my Dad is in the State Government) says - “We went in to screw the French by spitting them off from the Germans. The French went in to protect their inefficient farmers from commercial competition. The Germans went in to cleanse themselves of genocide and apply for readmission to the human race.”

Cynical no doubt. But Sir Humprey did make a point here. Of course realities today might be evaluated differently. But this coming in a comic composition almost a generation back (I have a 1997 reprint) has had me thinking. What do you say ?

Cives Romanus

January 7th, 2008

Not being versed in Latin, I would scarcely be expected to make meaning of this, but I will give it a try.

“civis” is sometimes defined in cheap Latin dictionaries as “city-dweller”. It means “citizen” So Cives Romanus would loosely translate to “Citizen of Rome”. The reason I find this exciting is that during the heydays of the Roman Empire (2000 years ago) a Roman Citizen could walk across the face of the “known” world without fear. As President Bartlet (the protagonist of the West Wing) puts it - “So great was the fear of sure retribution for harm to a Roman Citizen” that nobody would dare hurt him. Would any citizen of any nation have the same feeling today. One might expect that an American Citizen might think so, but I am convinced that with the scourge of terrorism gripping America today, Cives Americanus would be the most insecure citizen. At what cost ? If only a Roman plutocracy could generate such a level of protection, why nothing can be done today ?

The West Wing - An Introduction

January 3rd, 2008

“The West Wing” is a TV Series that ran from 1999 to 2006 on NBC. My all time favorite for political satire. This will be the beginning of my episode wise comments.

The West Wing is the series that inspired some of the more popular, intelligent drama’s that are having great success today. You owe it to yourself to check it out on DVD if you missed it when first broadcast. You won’t find a better written drama series - that’s a promise!

The series tells the story of a ‘fictional’ American president, ‘Jed’ Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen and his support staff. It cleverly mixes fact (that can surely only have been provided by a White House insider) and fiction to provide gritty, funny and at times intensely moving drama.

West Wing Cast

My personal interest in this show stems from the fact that I believe a strong leader with a dedicated team of advisors can drive a nation. Being a part of a vibrant multi party democracy in India where calls are often made for a Presidential system, the intricate drama played out every season but makes me wonder how it might never possibly work for us. I understand this show is meant more as a satire but as is promised by the real West Wing staffers - this show is as real as it possibly gets in the White House. I wish I ever get to see the real West Wingers (both the on stage and the off stage heroes)


BITS V/s IITs ?? Is it valid ??

July 20th, 2007
cartman_eric wrote:
2 campuses are more than enough
even today only the orig 5 IIT’s are respected..
sorry to say sir.. bits goa still does not command the same respect as pilani.
they should wait till goa becomes as established as pilani..
b4 even moving to hyderabad !!
sorry if this offends any1.. my personal opinion !

I seem to agree here. Except that it is not the time to draw conclusions. I do not even consider that we should demand/command respect right from now.

But mind you, you have not seen the breakneck speed at which work is done here. We might rival BITS Pilani in speed of development. What has taken the father 50 odd years, the child has stood upto it in just 3 years. I have been part of this exercise myself and I can vouch for it.

And you are right, the fast proliferation of campuses can be detrimental. However, any new BITS campus in the near term would probably be a Mgmt school as mentioned by Birlaji in one of his speeches.

We are minuscle beings in such a decision. So, it is better we keep our opinions to ourselves in this matter !!

NightOuts - The BITSian Story

July 20th, 2007

There is one thing which Engineering education makes you - an owl (or a bat i wud say !! ) I never knew that I wud succumb to this phenomena. I saw lots of my hostel mates huddling around each other a few hours before the exam when I was in my frst year having my well earned nights sleep. Main sochta tha - yeh log pehle kyon nahin padhte. Well first year I preferred GHOTting (Generate Heat on Table) so didnt need Night Outs. Well the phenomenon began for me in 3rd semester. I had gotten my branch transfer and was kind of carefree - or rather I should say careless. My first major experience was Maths III and suddenly I had all my buddies dropppin in at my place in the dead of night cause they heard I had finished the syllabus. Unfortunately I had not and was in quite a fix myself ! I twas quite a relief to see the “big shots” slugging it out me. I felt part of the team. Now the whole of third year has been on a staple diet of night outs. You figure out he syllabus from the genies/”class worms” at the dinner table night before the exam. Go in with full josh, the handout and a few “braino” friends and a pad. One night later you are done. Well there is cooking nd munching invoved all through the night. The occassional full blast songs to wake the nieghbours out of their senses or even the late night hostel jumps right under AVK’s nose !! Often times you kind of miss the exam though. I almost missed two. Then there is another night out casualty. That comes in the night after where u wouldnt know where you dropped off to sleep. Make sure you dont have an exam the next day !! And ya there are instances of drowsiness and sleeping in the exam hall also (side effects !! )
But all in All, it gives you the confidence that however big the syllabus, you can do it, often times barely !!
Now can someone post the joke which goes something like this - “You ask a Doctor …, You ask a … ……. you ask an engineer how long would he take to finish a big fat book - he answers when is the exam ??” He should be a BITS Night Outer for that matter !!
Aalap Tripathy
4th Yr BE Hons EEE,
BITS Pilani Goa Campus

BITS Pilani V/s BITS Pilani Goa. Is it logical

July 20th, 2007
bussa wrote:
i have been observing this community for last 1month and i think this community has created lot of bad comparisions in comparing branches at both campusesas this community is run by bitsgians they obiviously prefer bits g over bits p
and abt bit goa compsci i think it shd be give a priority far below mech infosys at pilani {there are no ibm labs or oyster labs or cisco at bits goa }
last time there were
to all my juniors also contact bitsians(pilani students) before making any decision from now because they know more abt bits pilani than bitsgians
actually bitsgians ask pilani students about ps options in 4th year

Arey baba - there is nothing like that. This forum is bits360 and not bitsg360 !! Of the many interpretations that abhimanyu and abhinav have in mind for bits360 one of them is to provide a 360 view of everything. Not a lopsided or a biased one.

I would disagree with you over the lab issue though. Although you might say - I have this, I have that - how much have you been able to make use out of it. We have new labs coming in here too but what I feel is that there is a general lack of interest among students to participate. As part of EEE Assoc, when we try and motivate people to come in a join/share/participate in projects - hardly few turn up. Same is the case for all other bodies. Is it just a diamond which you would store in a locker or wear it around. And also BITSPG is a new campus. We havent even passed out. But BITSPG is not a new college. It has the illustrious history of BITSP behind it. As BITSAAG Secretary, I have faced it first hand. The alum and seniors are so helping, accomodative and conscious of our rise. There have been over 15 alumni visits to our campus. Now you try and explain to me why they come here - do the BITSP Alum have anything to do with Goa Campus - but still they come. What does it signify - that we are as much a part of the BITS Family as anyone else. Of course, in Pilani Campus you wud have numerous advantages which you can not imagine here - that includes the labs. But is that all ??

Let us leave the comparision issue at bay. There are 7 IIT’s - is there any conflict like this !! (There might be… but definitely not publicy !! ) It is a matter of pride saying - I’m an IITian - we should all have a similar pride in saying - I’m a BITSian (rather a BITSPian !!)

The other day Shrikant (Presi, BPGC) and me were having a discussion on the same thing. Both of us had big plans, big ideas but he was equally discouraged at people not coming in and standing up for themselves - in both academics and exrtra-curriculars. However hard we try and motivate, it is always the same bunch of 100 people who came in to be part of the organising committee for anything. At the end of it, we were all disgusted. But then the event did happen. I am sure the leaders in Pilani feel the same thing though. What might differ is the degree.

Therefore we must use all our resources to motivate people into participating and “standing up” for themselves. It is not only work which they are doing for themselves, rather it is for the advancement of what I would like to call “Brand BITS”

@Bussa - u wud be surprised to know the amount of contribution the mere setup of BITS has had in the academic environment in Goa. There were teachers from Goa who were trained, mentorship and training sessions held for the students of Goa (12th standard) and close working with the Government of Goa. I have had the pleasure of meeting the Chief Secretary of Goa when he invited us over to contribute to e-governance in Goa. Now that is something that is catching up and is sure to become a big thing in future if things go the right away. Now don’t you think we have stood up to the BITS Challenge. Haven’t we done BITS Pilani proud. Wouldn’t BITS Pilani (the University) be proud of its students achievements whereever they are. Did any of this work have anything to do with what infrastructure is there on campus. I would say -yes it did - the student infrastructure.

I would salute the BITS entrance system and its selectivity. There was a recent article in the Hindu commending BITS Pilani for its selectivity which stood something around 2.5% higher than that of an IIT (some 4 odd percent I think) The minute you put this exclusive bunch of talented and gifted individuals under one roof - you have all the ingredients for success and achievement.

As for asking help for PS allotment - obviously we would ask you !! We would ask seniors/alum whenever and wherever possible. When I joined Goa Campus, I asked R K Patnaik, Ex Dean - he would not have known anything about Goa Campus - he had retired by then - but one thing he convinced me was - BITS is not a joke - it is a matter of pride to be part of such a family..

I hope you would agree with me on that.
Aalap Tripathy
4th Yr BE Hons EEE,
BITS Pilani Goa Campus

Papa kehte hain Goa = Masti. No studies. You will booze !!

July 20th, 2007

Well my parents had the exact same apprehensions (a lot infact !! ) when I was supposed to join in.
Campus is far from the booze destinations and all the so called “rave parties”. Taxis cost a fortune, so unless you have loads of pocket money spare, you wont be able to afford it. You can take the bus - but then you will need to do a lot of efforts to get the right combination. Of course if you gang up with friends, you can make the trip. But then again you will never find such time unless you are bent upon going. there is so much going on in campus. As part of the organising committee for various events, I have had a hard time taking up free slots - kyonki itna kuch hota rehta hai !! On top of that you have exams and exams and … exams - assignments, seminars, reports (uff !! ), surprise quiz, compre …… (endless list) Time hi nahin milega.
Of course admin is very strict about the 10.30 PM rule (for getting back into college) and 11 PM hostel lock down. Girls have to sign in every night.
So, I say that unless you are hell bent on breaking rules, you will never imagine going out for a booze or anything !!
Again being in a beautiful and well known location has its advantages. Alum, industry and experts are more than eager to visit campus - in the process sharing their wisdom and experience with us. It is as good as being in a Metro - well connected - bus, train, road (and did I forget the Airport ) Most passenger planes and air force aircraft flying over us all the time. You don’t fell you are lost in the middle of nowhere. You have decent shops at Panjim - so the bottom heavy guy can lighten up with the latest wares.
Acha, yeh sab to maine masti ki cheezen boli - par freshers you are coming to study - masti ke liye thodi !!
Agar mummy pappa bolte hain ki goa ganda hai, tum bigad jaoge to please let them speak to us once. Andar ki baat to jan lo ek bar !!

PS : I would be lying if I didn’t say that there have been exceptions
Aalap Tripathy
4th Yr BE Hons EEE,
BITS Pilani Goa Campus

The “IT” at BITS Pilani Goa Campus

July 20th, 2007

Well, what I am missing is the best thing BITS Pilani Goa Campus has to offer !! DC or rather I should call it CD for the prying eyes of the network admins.
Among all the things that you can do at BITS - I somehow forgot to mention CD
1. Be a CD Spammer
2. Be a CD Dowload freak. Make sure you come with a bigggggg hard disk cause you will be tempted to download all 12 TB at one go. You will burn your port no doubt, and then you will have burned your hard disk but its fun. No exams/reports the next day - download the latest flick (yet unreleased in theatres) and spend the night preferably with friends !! and say yoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyo
3. Or just while away time arguing on main chat. Its like talking to 300 people at a time with a big mike !!!
4. Irritate the admins by commenting about them and their love life !! Choosbummmmmm

Chalo Choos if you have the time, please continue this pandering. I think CD is the best thing I have seen in BITS !!!
Aalap Tripathy
4th Yr BE Hons EEE,
BITS Pilani Goa Campus