Monday, February 28, 2011

my oscar choices

ok, just before the show starts, here are my choices for main awards.
usually my choices (when there is a choice, that is) don't win. which failure, like any conceited person, i attribute to my superior taste. however sometimes they do win, surprisingly so.

btw this selection is from those nominated only; that is, don't think my choice for best movie oscar is my best movie of 2010.

for the record, i do think lower buzz and ever decreasing importance for america's main movie award show is a good thing for the world.

best picture: the social network
film while not great (or truthful), was entertaining and original.
all the choices available were of uneven quality; none of my acting choices are in best movie.

best director: david fincher (the social network)

i hope darren aronofsky (black swan) won't win, bc while that movie was good, director included too many cheap tricks (as in jump-scares etc.,).

best actress in a leading role: jennifer lawrence (winter's bone)
imo this is one of the best performances, ever. too bad this independently produced movie was not seen by many and she probably won't win.
award probably will go to natalie portman from black swan, which is not bad bc she did do a great job in spite of the director.

best actor in a leading role: jeff bridges (true grit)
unfortunately colin firth is likely to get it due to vulgar hollywood's fascination with even more vulgar british royals (esp in historically inaccurate and favorable portrayals). :-(

best actress in a supporting role: melissa leo (the fighter)

best actor in a supporting role: christian bale (the fighter)

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

cricket world cup predictions before tournament meaningless +bookie odds

i don't get ppl (esp the so called experts) who make predictions about who will win the icc cricket world cup.

i am not referring to ppl who wish and hope their favorite team will win, but ppl who make 'serious' predictions. anyone who knows cricket knows that luck plays a big part in the game, as much as capabilities of players and teams.

in fact one can define cricket as a game where result depends on how each team cope with turns of the wheel of fortune through a match.

some teams (like australia is recent past, but not at present) were good at coping with anything dealt, so in last two world cups it was safe to predict to a certain extent.

once the tournament starts to progress, we can judge each team's current coping abilities, then predictions will make more sense.

so i am not going to predict while wishing the best for sri lankan team.

btw for what its worth (and given that these ppl bet actual cash, that 'worth' in not negligible) here is a screenshot (from taken just before this post) for odds offered by various bookmakers for winner.

click to enlarge
sri lanka is second favorite with 1 in 4.5 to 1 in 5.6 chance of winning.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

"world cup" - google fail

almighty goog's search algorithm sucks.
do a search for 'world cup' from (to which all searchers from sri lanka are automatically directed) and confirm.

even though 2011 icc cricket world cup is upon us and sri lankans do not care much for soccer, of the first 10 web results, 8 are for fifa world cup, 1 (at no 10) is for rugby. only the 6th is for icc world cup (tournament schedule from official site hosted by yahoo).

as you can see from the screenshot (click to enlarge ) news results are better.
image results shitty. is only marginally better. instead of 6th, official cricket world cup site is at no 1 (one cannot but suspect that results produced by algorithm were overridden to insert this at no 1; google has done this in past notably to counteract google bombs) and wikipedia's entry for 2011 icc world cup also puts in an appearance lower down, but rest is for fifa.

other search engines (yahoo, bing, etc.) are no better.

if this is the case for "world cup" imagine the quality of results for other searches by south asians.

if google does not wise up, there is a business opportunity here for some one else. remember that google was a latecomer to search, others like infoseek (now unrecognizable as, altavista etc., which once dominated, failed bc they couldn't produce the results ppl were searching for. google is already falling behind in east asia.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

egypt: dictator out, junta in. celebrations and congrats too early

hosni mubarak egypt's dictator was ousted yesterday, after 30+ years of brutal corrupt oppression and 17 days of protests, strikes, riots, looting, prison breakouts, lynchings, etc., etc..

a military junta of his closest cronies (with equally brutal and corrupt personal histories) have taken power in place of their master with vague promises to bring in democracy some time in the future.

herd, around the word (including a few idiots in sri lanka), are celebrating and offering congrats to egyptians.


too early imo.
democracy is yet to dawn in egypt. i will keep my congratulations and celebrations till then. anybody with a brain should.
remember all those 'color revolutions' in recent past from ukraine to georgia to lebanon. hardly harbingers of democracy. egypt is likely, imo, to fare even worse.

america's impotent involvement

over the years united states of america gave more aid to mubarak's brutal regime than to any other country except isreal. it turned a blind eye to repression of opponents of that regime and even used the regime to do its dirty work by sending (/'rendering') terror suspects to egypt so they can be tortured without legal obstacles prevailing in american territory.

when protests started, obama administration in usa (and its poodles in west) which support many such regimes and directly commits and oversees even worse brutalities in iraq, afganistan etc., assumed its usual hypocritical stance as champion of democracy and human rights, and called for reforms but stopped short of calling for mubarak's resignation. but as days went on, usa became aware of his and its own impotence. to cut its losses obama administration seems to have decided to dump mubarak and try its luck with a friendly military junta. (cia chief got ahead of himself when he announced mubarak's departure on thursday).

btw it is indicative of so called super power's over stretch and ever increasing weakness that it is now always responding to events and has lost its ability to control them in favor of its allies as in the past.

[mainstream western media's coverage of protests with deliberate blind spots (disgusting anti jewish sentiments of protesters, role of widespread anti christian riots in late december and early january, etc.) and exaggerations (role of social media) deserve another post. ]

what next?
whether a junta consisting of mubarak's (and west's ) cronies can maintain power is an open question. only the events will show.

in any case, imo, there are two likely outcomes, and both does not involve a functioning democracy of even imperfect western (usa, eurape, etc.,) or asian (south korea, taiwan, japan, malaysia, india, and of course sri lanka, ) models.

outcome will be determined by how, now legitimized, protests are handled in the future (as in next year or two) by those in power in egypt.

there will be more protests. double digit unemployment and inflation ensured the high public participation of protests. those causes are not going to disappear; disruptions from protests (and this year's freak weather around the world) will make them worse.

possibility 1

junta or some of its members successfully maintain power creating a mubarak lite regime, compliant to west and paying only lip service to aspirations of egyptians. this would involve cracking down on protests at some point. tunisia, which also ousted its dictator, seems to be going this way; newly installed pro western president was given emergency powers, a story buried by mainstream western media.

result, no democracy.

possibility 2
junta fails in face of future protests and soldiers unwillingness to crack down. an unstable government made of weak out of touch pro western 'liberals' (eg elbaradei) will be installed. islamists (led by grandfather of all islamic fundamentalist parties, muslim brotherhood) will support this temporarily to get rid of junta. once that has been achieved, muslim brotherhood, which is the most organized and experienced political entity apart from government and has maintained itself in opposition to a repressive regime, will take control.

don't believe this scenario? well you better read history. that is exactly what happens in revolutions. barring a counter revolution (led by elements of old regime) most extreme and organized party among revolutionaries always gain control. perfect example,1917 revolutions in russia. (coincidentally first one took place in february there too, we know what happened by october).

a country under the muslim brotherhood is not going to be democratic.

interesting times
'may you live in interesting times', goes an (alleged) old chinese curse.
today the worldwide herd is unwittingly celebrating the dawn of interesting times for the egyptians.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

happy independence day!

wish a very happy independence day to all sri lankans!
we are free and will remain free, through our efforts.
let us remember that with pride and honor the sacrifices made in the process.

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