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Consider the Terrorist

June 21, 2010 Leave a comment

It turns out that terrorists may be nitwits. Sample these:

… it’s fair to say that the Taliban employ the world’s worst suicide bombers [in Afghanistan]: one in two manages to kill only himself. And this success rate hasn’t improved at all in the five years they’ve been using suicide bombers, despite the experience of hundreds of attacks—or attempted attacks. In Afghanistan, as in many cultures, a manly embrace is a time-honored tradition for warriors before they go off to face death. Thus, many suicide bombers never even make it out of their training camp or safe house, as the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests. [The Atlantic]

Of course, a bullet fired from a nitwit’s gun would be just as deadly as one from (say) Sheldon Cooper’s gun.

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Categories: Links, Random Thoughts

Pandora’s Gearbox

October 25, 2009 1 comment

This is one of those games that will leave you wishing that it had more levels.

Pandora’s Gearbox is puzzle game where you’re trying to get a ball though a machine to the finish area. You can’t see into the machine, so you have to guess what’s inside. You have several tools that help you in your task. You can move objects that are red directly. You also have a robot with built-in sonar that can explore the inside of the puzzle. [IndieBird]

Once you solve a level, the black curtain will come off and you’d be able to see the entire set-up for that level. The puzzles are just hard enough to be challenging, but not so hard that they aren’t fun. While the levels go from 1 to 10, I don’t think you’ll find them as being of increasing difficulty. I found Level 9 to be the toughest, and a couple of other levels had their own “aha” moments.

The game has a nice background music, and the graphics are pretty neat too. A really enjoyable game, and totally worth one’s time.

Go get it now! If you get stuck at a level, play another level and come back to it later. Have fun!

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He is Famous Now

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Tajik Jimmy, who was mentioned on this blog back in May, has become famous!

But he is not the only Jimmy, Jimmy fan. The song has been covered by a Russian pop group:

And by M.I.A. as well:

Below, a sampling of the coverage of Tajik Jimmy:

The rise of Mr. Allaberiyev, widely known as Tajik Jimmy, a migrant worker in a provincial Russian stockroom who delivers astonishing renditions of Bollywood musical numbers, is one more testament to the strange power of the Internet. A little more than a year after one of his performances was filmed by a co-worker with a cellphone and posted online, Mr. Allaberiyev cannot walk through a crowd in the Russian capital without being stopped by fans. This is especially remarkable given the place that Central Asian migrants occupy in Russian society: members of a vast and nearly invisible work force, targets of derision and occasional violence. [New York Times]

Forget Susan Boyle. “Tajik Jimmy” is the new viral star of the Internet. Jimmy’s story is so unbelievable that it could easily become the next Hollywood/Bollywood hit like Slumdog Millionaire! [Foreign Policy]

In front of a packed crowd of twenty-somethings at Solaynka, one of Moscow’s hippest nightclubs, he steps onto the stage to yelps from adoring fans and belts out “Jimmy Jimmy Aaja”, a classic Bollywood number and his trademark song. Pretty young Russian girls, the kind who would cross the road to avoid Tajik labourers in real life, scream out “Jimmy Boy, we love you!” and the crowd claps along to the catchy melody. [The Independent, UK]

Via Ultrabrown, I also discovered a group of Nigerians singing Goron Ki Na Kaalon Ki.

As far as the future of Tajik Jimmy goes, I am not very optimistic. True, his life story is touching and the songs evoke a lot of nostalgia. But those two factors alone do not make a singing career (he seems to perform only two songs). Another talented Central Asian in Russia has been struggling to make a career out of singing Hindi songs for a while – and he is far more talented than Tajik Jimmy.

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For Facebook Quizzers

August 27, 2009 1 comment

Yes, you. Why don’t you take the Incredibly Hard News Quiz from Newsweek? You love quizzes, right?

My Result

My Result

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Categories: Links Tags: , ,

Terror in Mumbai: Documentary [Updated Post]

July 4, 2009 2 comments

[Update on November 18, 2009: New links to the documentary video in 5 parts. Please note that the documentary contains graphic visuals and viewer discretion is advised.]

Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5

The full video is also available on LiveLeak.

Original post continues below.

***

Channel 4 has recently shown Dan Reed’s documentary “Terror in Mumbai” in its series “Dispatches”.

If you are in a region where it works, you can watch it on Channel 4’s website for a few more weeks. Else, here are the YouTube links:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edsRBijAx_U
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXq8HpH_0Kw
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujjuuqQF3Zk
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exWd_dBLU1s
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3bBk8Hc2UA

The visuals are graphic at times, so viewer discretion is advised.

[Update on September 17, 2009: The videos have been removed from YouTube.]

You might also want to read this article from Irfan Husain, written after watching the documentary.

While Muslims argue that Islam does not condone this kind of terrorism against unarmed, innocent civilians, most do not condemn it in clear, unequivocal terms. After agreeing that such acts are un-Islamic, there is all too often a lingering ‘Yes, but…’ hanging in the air.

It is this ambiguity that has given terror groups in Pakistan and elsewhere the space and legitimacy they need to operate. Now that Pakistanis have seen the true face of terrorism in Swat, and have begun to support the government in its drive to rid us of this cancer, the lesson needs to be reinforced. One way would be to dub the Channel 4 documentary and show it extensively on various TV channels in Pakistan. We need to hear ordinary people who survived or lost close relatives, and see their pain.

We need to see the horrors inflicted in the name of Islam. Above all, we need to share the agony of our neighbours. [Dawn]

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Tajik Jimmy

May 5, 2009 2 comments

Does the name Boimurat Allaberiyev ring a bell? No? That’s okay. Not many had heard his name till recently.

The unconventional singer, also known as Tajik Jimmy, is becoming increasingly popular for his hilarious performance of a Hindi song “Jimmy Adja” from a 70s/80s Bollywood movie called “Disco Dancer”.

Boimurat indeed has a unique gift and a near-perfect sense of rhythm, although it is mainly his fantastic optimism that makes this native of mountainous Tajikistan so attractive to a most sophisticated internet audience. [MosNews]

You can sample his enthusiastic and (strangely heartwarming) singing here and here (both links to YouTube videos). I am embedding the first one below:

But the singer has gone mainstream since his days of thumping the beat on cardboard boxes and window sills:

Performing recently at Solyanka, one of Moscow’s hippest nightclubs, he was greeted enthusiastically by adoring fans and the crowd clapped along to the catchy melody of “Jimmy Jimmy Adja”, his trademark song, with pretty young Russian girls screaming out “Jimmy Boy, we love you!” [MosNews]

GreatBong, the most authoritative voice on every Jimmy, will be proud of the Tajik Jimmy, I am sure.

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Word of the Day: Moasting

April 22, 2009 1 comment

It combines moaning and boasting. Yeah, imagine that.

From Tom Hodgkinson’s book The Idle Parent, excerpted at Slate:

What we so often observe in the old-fashioned cultures is a stoical attitude to life, an inspiring lack of self-pity. What you get in rich societies, by contrast, is a hell of a lot of moaning. My friend John Lloyd, the producer of such TV shows as Blackadder and Spitting Image, has observed a phenomenon at dinner parties which he calls “moasting,” an unpleasant combination of moaning and boasting. Complaining about the chalet girl in Gstaad, or about poor treatment at the hands of Virgin Upper Class, or how the Eton English master is not up to scratch. To bring two unpleasant phenomena into one intensely awful new form of whinge takes a particularly British form of negative genius. [Slate]

Tangentially Related Reading: The Wail of the 1% by Gabriel Sherman (and Chris Lehman’s brilliant response Rich People Things)

Update (Apr 23, 2009): Also read Confessions of a TARP Wife.

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