Reading matter

If Americans were polled on a single question — “Name the primary grievance behind the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001” — how many would get it right, wonders Girish Sahane on his blog. [Charlie Sheen has his own answer]. Two other 9/11 stories I read this morning: one woman asks if she even wants to know the truth any more, while another [older story that I found through the related links segment] struggles with the guilt that 9/11 changed her life for the better.

Here’s 9/11, as seen at the time from outer space. Elsewhere premiere sand artist Sudharshan Pattnaik pays tribute in the form he knows best. [Unrelated but fun, check out the underwater sculptures of Jaison de Caires Taylor]

Also read, John McWhirter on moving on to a different world.

Elsewhere, Sepia Mutiny on Lisa Ray, the actress currently battling a rare form of cancer. Lisa’s blog here.

Earlier this week on Prospect, there was this story of the coming glut of drugs to mess with improve the mind. Now here’s Wired, with the secrets of eternal smarts.

While we mark the 40th anniversary of the Internet [timeline; a graphic representation of growth], spare a thought for Winston the carrier pigeon.

This week, a South African call-center business, frustrated by persistently slow Internet speeds, decided to use a carrier pigeon named Winston to transfer 4 gigabytes of data between two of its offices, just 50 miles apart. At the same time, a computer geek pushed a button on his computer to send data the old-fashioned way, through the Internet.

Winston the pigeon won. It wasn’t even close.

From LiveScience, the success secret of top tennis players: good eyes. More secrets: the trick to winning big tournaments is to dress smart, and make a noise. Still with tennis: fans, give this a go.

Great read: NYT reporter Stephen Farrell was kidnapped by the Taliban last Saturday — and blogs the experience. In the New Yorker, George Packer on Sultan Munadi, the local journo who died in that same kidnap, and on the relationship between foreign journalists and local fixers.

15 people died in a boating accident in Bulgaria. Madonna caused it. [Hat Tip: Amit Varma on Twitter]

From Cricinfo: the art, craft, and magic of two legendary spin bowlers. Clip:

Thus the myth enters the imagination. So the bowler pays up, and pays up again and again till the batsman coughs it up and hands it over sheepishly. The phrase “buying a wicket” was now de rigueur all of a sudden. It also proceeded to cause endless headaches every time Bedi was bowling. Following the progress of the match became a temporal jigsaw puzzle that had no solution. Every ball was a head-scratcher in itself: furious thinking would ensue as one tried to place it in a pattern initiated overs ago. Or was a new sequence of trickery starting with it? Now, was that a set-up ball, to be cashed in by the Sardar a few overs later, or just a bad one? Or was it just an innocent bridge piece in the composition before the cymbal crash came, causing the batsman to walk back? Wicket balls were the easy ones, and a relief, too, for they reset the puzzle. Yes, those times were magical. The period when the strategy has sunk in but the tactics are shrouded in mystery.

This merits a separate blog post of its own, but in the midst of much, so: Read this and weep — The Allahabad High Court sees fit to not merely set aside the death sentence against Moninder Singh Pandher in the 2006 Nithari killings, but to acquit him altogether. Surinder Koli, the domestic servant who was Pandher’s partner in crime, however gets it in the neck. Figures, no? [Hat tip Sridhar Parthasarathy in email]

Great read: ‘I will not read your fucking script’ — featuring History of Violence writer Josh Olson [Link courtesy Raja Sen]

Back in the day, Manu Joseph had done an impressionistic piece on Anand Jon [linked to in this post] for ToI. He now reprises it, against the frame of Chennai’s college sexuality, for Open magazine.

And the final link for the week: roflmao. Reminds me of the time I told the partner [mine, not Amit’s] that if a person can rattle off at the rate of knots without saying anything in particular, people will take him for an expert on art. Show me, goes the partner. So we wandered into this gallery, and walked around, and I stood in front of a particularly pointless daub and began throwing words together as they came to me: “That red dot in the middle of the large swathe of yellow? It particularly speaks to me — brilliant artistic riff on the human nature. We are all like that — we live our lives in a state of perennial cowardice but somewhere, deep inside, the small spark of anger, of rebellion and revolt, burns deep….” You know — that kind of thing, non-stop. And then I get this nudge and I look around, and I find an audience, half a dozen people nodding on with my every word. Hmph!

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One thought on “Reading matter

  1. I always maintain that art and art critics are pulling one of the biggest and longest scams in the history of mankind.

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