‘Brilliant Bhupathi’ wins yet another doubles’ title

“India’s doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi and former world number one Martina Hingis shocked sixth seeds Daniel Nestor of Canada and Russia’s Elena Likhovsteva to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title in Melbourne on Sunday.

Wild card entrants Hingis and Bhupathi produced a dominant display of tennis to win 6-3, 6-3 in just 65 minutes.”

— rediff.com

Switching partners as often as one possibly can, Bhupathi seems to have really struck gold in mixed doubles’ tennis. This is his third consecutive Slam, since Wimbledon 2005. Way to go Bhupathi!

Bhupathi’s Slams:

1997: French Open mixed doubles with Rika Hiraki of Japan
1999: French Open men’s doubles with Leander Paes
1999: Wimbledon men’s doubles with Leander Paes
1999: US Open mixed doubles with Ai Sugiyama of Japan
2001: French Open men’s doubles with Paes
2002: Wimbledon mixed doubles with Elena Likhovtseva of Russia
2002: US Open men’s doubles with Max Mirnyi
2005: Wimbledon mixed doubles with Mary Pierce
2005: US Open mixed doubles with Daniela Hantuchova
2006: Australian Open mixed doubles with Martina Hingis

A scare for democracy?

“Buta Singh resigns as Bihar governor”, says rediff. I wish he had resigned before hosting the flag on R-Day. He did not deserve to. The obvious question arises as to how many governors in the country indeed are worthy of hosting the Indian flag. Tough one! However, I would still term the act of dissolving the Bihar government most dastardly and unconsitutional. Things turned out well for Bihar in the end, with Laloo being ousted for the first time since ages, but not before crores of rupees were flushed down the drainage for a useless exercise of a repeat election.

There are several things that one can prodigally spend the taxpayers’ money on, but nothing could be worse than a re-election, particularly when there was a clear party that could take the helm.

Talking about politics is utterly distasteful to me, with better work and interesting research to do, but as a responsible citizen, I would consider it my bounden duty to voice my opinion against such desperate events that could well destroy the fabric of democracy. I care not who rules the country as long as they do it well. But the point is that people holding offices of the Prime Minister and President, cannot be tricked, and cannot cut a sorry figure as this, pleading innocence or naïveté.

Indian politics desperately lacks professionalism and needs young men and not young heirs of a dynasty — we’re not running a kingdom here. Be it H D Kumaraswamy or Stalin or Rahul Gandhi too, it’s just the case of a son filling up, however good or bad they are.

In any case, India has proved time and again that it can progress — progress to great heights — despite all these obstacles. But, in a world that’s progressing so fast, shouldn’t we been running forward like a 100m sprinter, rather than walking forth and back like the proverbial drunkard?

The BluWiki Vision

Bringing web publishing to the people. We see a world where everyone can publish online. Without censoring, popups, or banner ads. And you don’t even need to know html! Thats right, just good old-fashioned publishing. Help us acomplish this vision, make BluWiki.org your home on the web.”

— BluWiki website

I’ve been amused by wikis for quite some time and wanted to start a wiki based homepage on my own. When I examined for free hostings, there appeared to be several ones, but none as good as BluWiki. I did like wikispaces, where I created my own space, but no wiki is as compelling as one that uses mediawiki. I even looked at editthis.info, but found BluWiki to be the best place to make my home! I must say that editthis.info allows you to create your own wiki but I am not sure how well they’re doing. Looks like that’s a good place to be, if you want to have a large wiki and not just a personal homepage.

Orkut and Networks

This is a transcript of a mail I sent: on network theory, inspired by Linked

There are several types of networks all around us, e.g. social, computer, biochemical, internet and so on. People before 2000 tried to conduct various experiments on social networks, by trying to send out letters from A to B. A wouldn’t know B, but would fwd the letter to someone likely to know B. Like that they had some 160 letters sent out and measured the chain lengths. Basically the number of edges in the graph to traverse to that point.

I speak all this on the wake of a book “Linked” by Barabasi (http://www.nd.edu/~alb/), who’s a great genius and is on the way to become a legend! He’s done various types of network analyses — I am mostly concerned with his network biology… However, there are various kinds of networks, such as scale-free, small world, random and so on. The world view of Erdos (Erdos number is itself a kind of network measure. For beginners, Erdos was a great mathematician who travelled all over the world co-authoring papers with many many authors. Erdos was defined to have an Erdos number of zero; his co-authors’ EN=1; co-authors’ co-author EN=3 and so on… I guess my EN shd be about 5, considering there’s a prof Jayant in the dept with an EN of 2 or 3!) and Renyi was that the whole world was composed of random networks. The next idea of small-world networks was that of Watts, a PhD student of Steven Strogatz (who’s written a book called SYNC). It talks about ‘small world’ networks, where everyone has only a couple of links (for example, to the immediate neighbour and one more, say) plus a few random links, connecting wide across — try visualising this as circular table where everyone knows four people around him: i-1, i-2, i+1, i+2. Few ppl (0.3*n, say – very arbitrarily) know (randomly?) the person sitting bang opposite (~i+n/2). This greatly shortens the number of links between two arbitrary persons.

Barabasi has a whole theory of his, which I am yet to entirely familiarise myself with — I am still in the Fifth Chapter of the book (Barabasi calls it the Fifth Link!). He had made a crib at one point about the lack of a social network directory (this book was printed in 2003, and must have been written in 2002, before the days of orkut and hi5 etc). It is unbelievable as to what kinds of analyses are possible now that you have a network like orkut. So, I was just thinking on those lines, just casually, if some people out there know Barabasi’s work and are interested in doing some analyses.

You might really want to pick yourself a copy of the book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0738206679?v=glance

Now, over to something called the Kevin Bacon game. Kevin Bacon is some hollywood actor (whom I ob don’t know considering my poor knowledge of English films!), who was the protagonist of a game developed by some college kids. They had a show on which they claimed they could link any actor to Kevin Bacon through two or three links.. THis is very similar to Erdos number (Erdos was a hub of mathematicians!). Barabasi’s analysis proved later on that Kevin Bacon, happened to be 876th on the list of most connected actors, but still had an average path length of around 3, which is why the game worked. I don’t know if you guys have heard the play and hence the phrase “Six Degrees of Separation”… it’s basically the same idea.. Kevin Bacon had ~ 3 degrees of separation from any hollywood actor!

Ok, I hope at least some part was interesting for most of you… But, most of the phrases and stuff I’ve used are things you’re going to see more of in the future. Be sure to read this book if you can or atleast see some pics on Barabasi’s site.

More random musings…

As though my several blogs on blogspot weren’t enough, I thought I’d start one at wordpress too, to add more random musings on the web. Thanks to Swarna for introducing me to wordpress. I do like the upload feature already! This does seem to be a no-nonsense kind of editor.

Blogspot was just beginning to annoy me by not allowing any line breaks, whatever I tried, including
!!

My other blogs: