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Sunday, November 29, 2009


Since I have only studied Mechanical Engineering here at IIT, I will adhere to that discipline only. And as the first year is common to students from all disciplines, the changes I recommend in first year shall apply to all students irrespective of their branch.

First, The subjects: In the current system we have mathematics, physics, chemistry, english, programming and data structures(PDS), electrical engineering, mechanics, engineering drawing(ED), and basic manufacturing processes as the theory papers. Now my question is this: Where the hell does someone studying biotechnology or chemistry or mathematics need subjects like electrical or engineering drawing or basic manufacturing processes in future. All the subjects currently being taught in first year with the exception of mathematics, PDS and english are very much useless for students belonging to some or other departments. Take for example the subject of chemistry. My careful study over the years suggest that only a few students( last batch had 4) ever take the discipline of chemistry in undergrad level at IIT. Maybe a few other disciplines need to have a good base in chemistry like metallurgy and biotechnology. But why do the rest of the students which is quite sizable (almost 97% of the batch) have to suffer on account of that, mugging up molecular orbital diagram of carbon dioxide ion and some other crap which they are going to forget very soon in any case. Some people would argue that in first year IITs provide the students the option of switching branch based on their first year results which would not be possible if there were not an uniform syllabus. But I think that is really a crap reason for wasting so much time, effort and a lot of government money. My suggestion would be to scrap all of these useless subjects. And have the students study their corresponding departmental subjects right from first year. Now to solve the problem of switching of departments at the end of first year, either scrap the option altogether or let the over enthusiastic studs take extra subjects of those departments they want to switch onto. Then judge them based on those additional subjects and let them switch department. In any case everybody knows that nobody switches a department because he loves that particular department (in actuality he has no idea about anything. he just fills up the department switching form in the order in which people had done previously. in other words he keeps the tradition)
    Then these three subjects Mathematics, English and PDS should be common to all in the first year because nobody can deny that they won't require them in their higher level technical education. We can have English one semester, Mathematics and PDS both the semester. Currently we have only mathematics both the semester. Regarding PDS, knowing the importance of programming in technical education everybody will agree with me that nobody learns the way it is taught currently in one semester. Only those who know C or C++ beforehand and a few true mugger and very few geniuses actually start getting the drift of pointers. So my suggestion would be teach C in one semester and Java in next semester. And since Java is an object oriented programming language which is an improved version of a modular programming language like C, one can teach the basics of programming in the first semester in C and the advanced features of programming in Java in the next semester. That way more people will actually learn the subject and they will get the multiple benefit of learning two programming languages.

    The subject English should be sort of optional. Many people come from schools where they had english as their first language and hence are quite good in english. But others come from regional schools where they had english as second or third language and hence are not that good in the language. Therefore those who have an english background get an unfair advantage. The best way to make it fair and square is to have an english test right at the beginning of the first semester. And those who clear a cutoff should be exempted from taking the subject.

    Mathematics is a very important tool in engineering whether it is computer science or aerospace engineering. Currently everyone studies the same mathematics in the first two semester. After that all of them have the subject, but their syllabus are quite different. Some study transform calculus while some study linear algebra. However the point to note here is some of those who study transform calculus never study linear algebra in their entire course like mechanical engineering students. the vice versa is also true. Now having studied quite a bit of mechanical engineering I cannot imagine where a mechanical engineer does not need vector spaces or matrices or tensors. So we can assume that not learning linear algebra is a grave mistake. I believe same is true for other departments. For example under the current system electronics students don't study transform calculus. Now students dealing with signals life long, not studying transform calculus is a joke, right? So, what i suggest is apart from the regular two mathematics courses in the first two semester we should have two additional mathematics courses. And then in the two semester another two mathematics courses. Six mathematics courses compared to the present system of four should cover the entire engineering mathematics syllabus.

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Hollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood

    Here is a comparison between the class, style, material of movies made in Hollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood. By Tollywood I mean the Telugu film industry not the pathetic Bengali film industry which some over protective bengalis would believe. Trust me Tollywood produces more films in a year than even Bollywood though the money flowing in Tollywood is less but its still far ahead of any other Indian regional cinema. Only Tamil film industry Kollywood comes close, that too because people in Tollywood invest there.

    Though I am by no means an authority on Tollywood movies having watched just a handful of them, I am more than qualified to comment on Bollywood and Hollywood movies having watched almost every well known, unknown but critically acclaimed, Box-Office hits, etc till date.

    First and foremost Hollywood movies........ Though the general perception of the people around here who obviously suffer from a colonial hangover, is that English movies have far better quality, storyline, screenplay, direction, effects, etc, this is only partially true. The mainstream Hollywood movies boasting of A- Grade celebrities starring in them do have great effects. No doubt all the money flowing in from the big studio houses- Columbia pictures, Village roadshow pictures, New Line Cinema, 20th century fox, to name a few are well utilized by the directors to create exceptional effects which are getting better day by day with the advent of newer computer/animation techniques. But the real question is do they have the storyline to backup the flashy presentation? Or the enrapturing acting skills that can hold an audience enthralled for two hours? The answer is only a few of the hollywood flicks can really do that. Take the summer of 09' for example. Three heavy budget movies were released after so much anticipation: Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen, Terminator Salvation, and Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. All of them had the state of the art effects. But none of them had even an average story to tell. Though Harry Potter is based on a book by the same name authored by J.K. Rowling, and what a story it is- full of thrill, comedy, romance, action, betrayal, friendship, the highly paid crew of the film pathetically fail to capture all of that and seem to have tried to make a "Romeo-Juliet" love story out of it. Then the Transformers sequel of which so much was expected especially after its much appreciated first movie, failed miserably to recreate the aura and only had the computer generated imagery that was worth cheering. Of course nobody should underestimate the value of Megan Fox. As one of my friend's status message was :"I would go fight Sauron, Voldemort, Darth Vader, the machines, the Decepticons and even Satan for Megan Fox posing for me on a motorbike like that", I second that. But despite the scene I thought she looked hotter when she popped the hood of Sam's car Bumblebee in the first movie. For that I can take on all of them together from Sauron to Satan. But while the first movie had the element of awe, situational comedy ( The scene of Sam facing his parents with mikaela in his room is surely a laugh riot) the sequel does not. All the dialogues of the twins are actually poor jokes offered in a flashy package. And about the Terminator story: what to say? It was utter rubbish despite the calibre of Christian Bale ( He looked the lamest here and that's saying a lot considering he is my favourite actor). So to conclude very few Hollywood movies really live upto their name, fame and anticipation. But since there are so many movies being produced even the few I mentioned actually consist of a large number of movies. After all nobody can debate the quality of The Matrix, The Shawshank Redemption, Sin City, The Lord of The Rings, Star Wars, and a lot of others.

    Now about Bollywood which turns out more movies than any other city of the world, not even hollywood. And without doubt all of them turn out to be crap or some other version of crap. Its not that Brad Pitt is a better actor than Shah Rukh Khan (or better known as King Khan- apparently he is the best we have). I am sure SRK is equally good if not better when it comes to acting. But while Brad Pitt chooses to do Inglourious Basterds, SRK chooses Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. While the tarantino flick is not exactly the best of the lot it still has more to offer than the obvious relationship chemistry styled with dance competetion( come on! a dance competetion finally?). And about another movie SRK starred in, if all CDs, DVDs, tapes of the world were lost in an apocalypse and the only option of entertainment left was a fine copy of Om Shanti Om, I would rather die than watch it. Watching it the first time was painful enough(I watched it in about 20 minutes). Hell must be filled with theatres all showing this movie. If you are wondering if I am prejudiced against SRK, I would like this opportunity to mention the names of a few other stars as well: Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, etc etc. and even Amir Khan at times. All of them seem to be hell bent on destroying the Indian cinema. So as a result of this it was such a long gap after the watchable A wednesday that another watchable movie was released: Love Khichdi. None of these flicks I mentioned did exceptionally well at the box office, but still they are far better than the hit ghajini or the flop chandni chowk to china( what was that!) Even the movies which are critically acclaimed like fashion and kaminey don't have a good story. They are only acclaimed because even grass tastes like chicken in a desert. The problem lies in the attitude of the hollywood moviemakers who are caught in a tug of war game of pleasing the mostly rural Indian audience and the rich urban multiplex going dumb showoffs. So they try to feed "masala" with "morale". The result is Blue and movies like it. Better make a Gunda or Life in a metro. Don't try to mix them.

    I am tired of bloggging now. I will write about Tollywood movies in the next blog

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Various reasons behind frustration

    Frustration is so common in our institute that we have a shorter form for it: Frusst.
    I have been observing people getting frusst for various reasons ranging from funny to pathetic. Here are a few of them:
    • When one sees a lesser individual(I will explain on this term later) with a good looking girl, he ponders upon the very fact that he must be lacking something, why else he can't get a girl.
    • When the dhobi asks for bonus because he has the fatherly duty of marrying off his third daughter, one wonders "Wow. here is a man who was enjoying full-fledged sex once many years back. And here I am paying for the fruits of that session, now".
    • When the discussion everywhere is "How is your B. Tech Project going on?", "What is your topic?", "When is your presentation?" and you have a blank look on your face everytime these questions pop up.
    • When one has to go and eat the junk in the mess because his parents have cut short the allowances and he realizes with a jolt the number of times he has seen the girls going out to eat in restaurants on their boyfriend's money. The fateful wonders," Why did the Almighty make me a male?"
    • When people all around oneself are getting pre-placement offers, some are preparing for other exams like CAT, GMAT, GRE, UPSC etc etc and he has neither the inclination nor the ability to indulge in such extensive study.
    • When end-semester exams are nearing and whenever one visits his friends' rooms one encounters open books and copies all over the table and the bed, and he realizes that he has got to finish the movie he has been watching and had paused in order to go and tell his friends about it in excitement.
    • When after keeping up determination of attending classes for nearly half of the semester and then the determination evaporates suddenly, so that one does not go to any of the classes thereafter and hears that the professor has been enquiring about him "Where has this guy gone?"
    • When after a sound sleep of 16 hours one wakes up to find that he has missed breakfast and lunch, and the afternoon class test is staring right into his face, he realizes that the only thing he wants to do now is sleep some more.
    Here were a few situations when one gets really frustrated. And in my case these situations often overlap so badly that even suicidal tendencies don't remain too far-fetched.