Black holes can described by just two external parameters: mass and rotation.  They are also generally considered “cool” with their “temperatures” close to absolute zero. But they are also the most entropic objects in the universe. How can such simple cold objects harbor so much entropy? This has always boggled me. Below is my speculation on why this must be true.Continue reading
He coughed and spat. Security Guard. The wretched soul couldn’t save himself from a pack of dogs if they were determined enough. And he’s supposed to give me a sense of security! It was a bleak autumn night and no a time for a stroll. The place I most wanted to be was home, and I wanted to be in and out of this place quick. As I hurried mindlessly through my chore, I almost missed noticing the guard staring at me intently. Something seemed off about this guy.
I woke up with a start. My heart was pounding and my palms were sweaty. A vague sense of terror after being woken up from a nightmare unremembered left a bitter taste in my mouth. I blinked. As reality slowly seeped back onto my consciousness, I saw the smirk. It was the sadhu. Damn these imbeciles. They’re everywhere! They board trains without tickets and no one asks them anything. They’re filthy but somehow worthy of adulation? What’s he smirking about anyway? And what on earth is doing being awake as this unearthly hour? Thoughts raced through my tired mind, more questions than I cared to keep track of.
In my previous post winter in summer-land, I wrote about my experiences in Malaysia, from where, I was to fly to Bali. First question is perhaps: why Bali? To be honest, I didn’t know too much about Bali when I decided to go there. There was a good deal to be had flying in and out of Bali and I knew that it was famous enough to be on my consciousness by being bombed and by being the setting of an awful but expensively made hollywood movie. So I had decided, more or less on a whim, to stay in Bali for a week. This post will describe my initial impressions on landing in the island. Continue reading
In my previous post the Nepali connection, I mentioned that my hosts in Kuala Lumpur had invited me to join their trip to Cameron highlands and that I had agreed to join them. In this post I shall write about that and rest of my stay in Malaysia.
The gang that went to Cameron highlands included my host, co-host, their three friends and two other couch surfers who were surfing with our hosts back at KL. So it was a small troop indeed. We had hired an apartment just outside the town of Tanah Rata. Continue reading
“Malaysia truly asia, the mountains and the sea”, the ad from tourism Malaysia jungles. India has 7,500 kilometers of coastline and the mother of all mountain ranges – the mighty Himalayas. Wonder what they were thinking when the designed the ad to be aired in India. Anyway, neither the mountains nor the sea were really my driving force behind visiting Malaysia.
This is a strange land. The days that are not scorched under the burning sun are usually sultry under the oppressive humidity of rain bearing clouds. When it rains, it does not rain in drops – like it should, but in sheets of impenetrable water. In the creeks and waterways lurk predators unchanged for eons. The dry land holds no reprieve as it is replete with venomous critters, unseen and unheard harbingers of death. It’s not surprising then, that it is but a wasteland for the peoples populating the more hospitable lands to the south. Neither is it surprising that this land is devoid of humanity. It’s not that this land is without a strange, almost ancient, kind of beauty. However, it’s not, obviously, something that beckoned visitors or would-be residents with open arms.
As many of you know, I backpacked through Malaysia, Bali, Australia and New Zealand starting mid-September. I’m going to write about how I prepared for this trip in this post.
In the beginning of this year, viz 2011, I was feeling my travel bug itch again. My wanderlust had not been assuaged for quite some time. I really wanted to go to Bhutan in 2010, but that plan was foiled due to various reasons. So, I was planning to travel towards the end of 2011 and I thought I might as well go to southern hemisphere and experience two summers in a row! I’ve always wanted to travel to New Zealand. When I hosted a kiwi couch surfer and heard tales of the place from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, I became even more convinced that this was a place I had to see. So my original plan was to go to New Zealand.
One of the problems I had was that rtorrent is so efficient in using the bandwidth that it makes browsing very sluggish. Whenever I wanted to use the internet for something else, I used to ssh into the box and terminate the rtorrent process or at least throttle it from the webUI. However, my father also uses the internet connection and I needed a much simpler way to control how much of the bandwidth rtorrent uses.
One way could me using rutorrent and cutting it down to just barebones. However this solution seemed inelegant. rtorrent has an excellent XML-RPC implementation to control most of its actions. In fact, rutorrent uses this to control rtorrent. So, I thought why not use Rails to write a small webapp for iPhone to use XML RPC and do basic throttling and status reporting? Rails was probably too much for this application. Especially given that I didn’t need a database. Perhaps something like sinatra should’ve sufficed. However, it turned out to be exceedingly simple to write it in rails and I did so anyway.