Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attack - Inspired by Games?

Was the recent Mumbai Terrorist Attack by a bunch of 10 terrorists in their early twenties inspired by video games? Here's an analysis.

Infiltrating enemy territory on a boat is a common strategy in Age of Empires(AoE). Infiltrating Mumbai on a Mothership and then an inflatable boat resembles this. But the same strategy has been used in 1993 when Terrorists infiltrated through a coastal village near Mumbai. AoE is a historical game and its possible that 1993 terrorists were inspired by History when AoE wasn't there.

Hand Grenades are used extensively in Postal and many Third person shooter games. Using a grenade to blow up other things like Gas cylinders to cause further havoc is common in such games. An attempt to blow up a Petrol pump in Colaba by throwing a Grenade has a resemblance to this.

Attacking a Cop and hijacking his vehicle. It's what Gamers do on the streets of Grand Theft Auto(GTA). Not just that, using the hijacked Police vehicle to shoot random people on streets is way over the limit in real life. In Games like GTA, Carmageddon etc innocent people are attacked or killed for no reason. Attacking citizens on street for their Cars is the theme of GTA. The terrorists have attacked people to hijack a Skoda, Bolero and a Two wheeler.

Shootout in a Club happens for some reason in GTA and mafia movies, but in Leopold it was totally baseless.

Any First person shooter game will instil the thrill and power of holding AK47s, MP5 and other automatic weapons. Terrorists could have been lured just for the thrill of touching these weapons. Entering a building for self-protection and attack is a common gaming instinct, but holding people hostage is natural to terrorists.

But the terrorists haven't heard of games like Commandos in which NSG were really good at. Can games inspire people to become remorseless killers and make them lay down their lives for the sake of killing random unarmed innocent people?

Murphy's Missing Spectacles

There is a Murphy's law for Keys which says When you're in a hurry, your keys go missing - Car keys, home keys etc. It basically follows up from Murphy's master law which says If Anything can go wrong It will.

Why isn't there a Murphy's law for Spectacles? I wonder if Murphy was ever wearing one. Well, Keys are easier compared to spectacles. If you're not wearing one, its just like Keys to you. But if you're wearing one, you understand why spectacles are not so easier.

Imagine this. The reason most less than forty people wear spectacles is because of short-sightedness - a condition in which things beyond 25 cm seem blurred to your eyes. Spectacles are worn to correct this condition. Now imagine missing your spectacles, because you kept it on one of the numerous Tables / Cupboards / Stands around the house and forgot exactly where. It could be on top of even a computer monitor / TV / Microwave oven.

Things are easier for people with long-sightedness unless your spectacles are right under your nose and you didn't notice.

Now to locate the missing spectacle, you need proper vision, the enabler of which is the missing spectacle in the first place. It puts you in a Catch 22 situation. How do you find something which is used to find everything, and you dont have that one thing which helps you find everything including itself?

If the key-loser in you still didn't get it, imagine a key which opens a box which contains the keys to your house. Now imagine losing the master key. You know the house keys are right there in front of you, but you've still lost your keys!

A simple solution to this problem is to switch to contact lenses. But i'd rather search for glasses with frames than transparent lenses.

An ingenious solution would be to have another pair of spectacles which are the Finder spectacles. You keep the Finder spectacles in the exact same place always and deploy the SWAT team only when required. Since they are in the exact same place everyday, You can always locate them on habit like a Pavlov's dog. With the secondary spectacles on, finding the Primary spectacle becomes a normal chore like finding keys. But if you can be organized with the secondary spectacle, why not be organized with the Primary spectacle itself, which makes the Secondary spectacle unnecessary in the first place. But we all know it doesn't work that way.

Now imagine losing the secondary spectacle. How would you find it? If you like Recursion, you'll add a ternary spectacle to find the secondary spectacle which in turn is used to find the Primary spectacle. But soon your house will be filled with N Spectacles and chances are you wouldn't locate N, N-1, N-2 in sequence to find your Primary spectacle. By then you won't remember what Nth-order a Spectacle is or Where its supposed to be present. In your search you'll stumble upon any Spectacle and you'll be happy with it even if it's not your Primary spectacle. Now you know how hard it is.

For those more organized people who keep their spectacles in the exact same place everyday and never have a problem figuring out where your spectacles are, i pity your uninteresting lives. Now let me go find my missing spectacles. Everyday is a treasure hunt...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

DIY Ferrari F1 Car Model

I picked up a Formula One woodcrafting kit and decided to make a Ferrar1 F1 model.

All you need to build is a Formula One Woodcrafting kit and a couple of Poster colors - Red, White, Yellow and Black. Pick up your colors accordingly if you are a McLaren or Renault fan. Paint brushes of several sizes are needed to make the impressions more realistic.

Now here's what we aspire to build in this model, including all the adverts.

Its not going to be a 350 Km/h monster. But its going to whizz past you in a blink just like a real F1 car at speeds much lower. Unbelievable? Check out some amazing videos of my Ferrari model speeding past you in a blink on youtube. [Or is it my video camera at low resolutions that creates this effect?]

Now let's build the model.

DIY kit comes with 3 wooden sheets with jigsaw-like pieces you can pull out and assemble to build the model. It has a pic of the model on front and instructions for assembling the model on the back side.

Pull out the pieces one by one and follow the instructions/numbering to assemble the car:

Here's the fully assembled car resembling the model on the front:

Now let's start painting the ferrari:
Start with the tyres...

Paint the body of the car in trademark Red

That still isn't a real Ferrari. Whats missing are the logos on the body and tyres.
Create logos of Marlboro, Vodafone, Shell etc on the body. Create Bridgestone logo on the tyres.

And don't forget the Ferrari logo...

And finally the Ferrari is ready to roll out of the Pitstop at blinding speeds....

DIY Wooden Guns

Disclaimer: Pictures are not real guns. They are wooden models made from DIY(Do It Yourself) Woodcrafting hobby kits available from

DIY Gun? I'm not kidding but this ain't a real gun. Its a wooden model.
I recently discovered this amazing hobby while checking out the DIY kits at a local hobby store. The wooden kit comes with 2 or 3 sheets of wood. Each sheet consists of 100+ jigsaw-like pieces which you can pull out and assemble.

It's so well designed that the pieces interlock without any glue. The pieces are numbered in the instruction manual to make it easier to assemble. After assembling the kit, you can paint it to make it look more real. Its like assembling a Lego kit or solving a jigsaw puzzle, except that its even more fun as the models look very real. Its like solving a 3D jigsaw puzzle.

Beretta Model

Now let's start making a Beretta model

The kit comes with 2 wooden sheets with jigsaw like pieces which you can easily pull out. It has a nice picture of how your model will look like on the front and instructions for assembling on the back.

Start pulling out the pieces one by one and assemble them using the numbers on the instruction manual. For more challenge, pull out all the pieces and throw away the instruction manual :)

Pull out the rings and fit them to make the barrel.

Now the model resembles the front pic.

Lets start painting the gun to make it look more realistic. You don't need to be a Picasso to paint this especially if your model is going to be in single color. Black goes well for guns. You just need a medium sized paint brush and Black poster color. Just make sure you paint uniformly.

Beretta is now ready

Carbine Model

Here's a similar set of pics for assembling a Carbine model:

Wooden board with pieces removed for assembling:

Fully assembled model:

Painting the Carbine:

Carbine model in all its glory

Check out pics of Wooden gun models, made from Woodcrafting hobby kits:

Have fun Woodcrafting! Watch out this blog for more realistic wooden models..
Post your comments on Woodcrafting and models you would like to see in the future....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why So Serious? - Dark Knight Review

Dark Knight is a very fast paced Batman movie and a fitting sequel to Batman Begins. Batman Begins ends with a scene where Gordon hands the Joker card to Batman. Dark Knight is a treat to all the fans who have been waiting since 2005 to watch the Joker's madness onscreen.

The Joker is Batman's worst ever nemesis and Heath Ledger's portrayal is near perfect in this movie. Somehow Jack Nicholson's performance in the 1989 Batman movie seems a bit unnatural after watching Heath Ledger. Heath Ledger as Joker is nihilistic, remorseless and is darkly funny.

The Joker pulls off one surprise after another taking us through a thrill ride. He simply rips everybody's plans and just steals the show. As the Joker himself puts it:

"Do i look like a guy with a plan? Im a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with it it if i caught one. I just do things...I hate plans. Yours, theirs, everyone's. Maroni has plans. Gordon has plans. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I am not a schemer. I show schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are."

The Joker symbolizes all the evil madness in the world. Batman will never kill the Joker "out of some misplaced sense of righteousness" and the Joker "enjoys" playing with Batman. They are made for each other in a Superhero-Supervillain sense. The Joker in fact completes the Batman which is what makes him the greatest Supervillain ever.

There are lots of theories as to the origins of the Joker. One is that he fell into a vat of chemicals which gave him the whitened body, red lips and coloured hair. But everytime The Joker tells about his scars, he tells it differently and each tale is chilling the way Heath Ledger tells us.

Joker has some dark funny lines in the movie. The scene where he holds Rachel at the edge of the building, Batman says "Let her go" and the evil Joker smiles and says "Poor choice of words" and just lets her go :)

Heath Ledger has said in an interview that he was asked to read The Killing Joke comic book as a preparation for this role. Click here to read the comic that inspired Ledger, the Method actor to emulate the Joker so flawlessly. Its sad that he wont be around for a sequel.

There are some slick action scenes like the stunning BatPod and scenes where Helicopters and Trucks are toppled with metal wires. Great work by the Nolan brothers on the direction and screenplay. Dark Knight is a great summer blockbuster that rightfully deserves its place on the imdb #1 atleast for sometime. No other movie could have beaten Godfather and Shawshank Redemption to get there.

Why so serious? Go enjoy the movie....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fight Club Philosophy

This post is a collection of philosophical quotes from the movie Fight Club:

I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let's evolve, and let the chips fall where they may.

Stop trying to control everything and just let go.

You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. We are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

The things you own, they end up owning you.

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. This is not the worst thing that can happen. We don't need Him.

Reject the basic assumption of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions!

Self-improvement is masturbation.

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.

We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war…our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Born Champions?

We face an astounding amount of competition for everything in life - to get a good education, to get a good job, to get a good partner, to get a good apartment etc. Sometimes good isnt enough. We want the best or better than what others get. In this quest, sometimes we forget the fact that we are born champions.

Yes, You heard it. We all are born champions and this is not some feel good positive psychobabble at all. During sex, 100 million sperms are released, but only 100,000 enter the uterus, out of which only 1000 reach the oviduct, out of which only 100 reach near the egg, out of which only ONE penetrates the egg. You were the champion that won the F1 race on that day. Congratulations!

Where is my Innocence?

There is a moment in the film Knocked Up where Pete(Paul Rudd) and Ben Stone(Seth Rogen) watch Pete's children playing in the park with soap bubbles. Pete isn't quite upbeat about life and says this about his children:

"Oh God, they go apeshit over bubbles. I mean, that’s an incredible thing about a child. What’s so great about bubbles? I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles. It’s totally sad; their smiling faces point out your inability to enjoy anything."

There comes a point in our adult life when we gradually lose our innocence and the curiosity of a child because of day-to-day stress and depression. And by the time we realise it, the innocence and curiosity are long gone. This post is a reminder to myself to rediscover the childlike innocence and curiosity with which we were born.

"Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for to-night!"

Rock Me to Sleep by Elizabeth Akers Allen]

Growing Younger

Have you ever imagined the possibility of growing younger? I mean you would actually be growing younger with each passing day instead of growing older. We are born into this world as infants, and gradually grow into young boys and girls and then as the years pass by we become men and women and then senility pushes us into old age and we finally die. What if this whole life cycle is backwards? Imagine life if you could actually grow backwards. You no longer have to worry about aging, wrinkles or saving for old age.

George Constanza is a character in Seinfeld and his imagination of backwards life goes like this:

Oh, what a happy ending to life!

And if aging is all backwards, models and actresses no longer have to worry about growing old and losing their beauty. Imagine Monica Bellucci turning from an old woman to a gorgeous lady to a beautiful young girl with the passage of time. Wouldn't it be nice to see your fav star turning younger instead of older and uglier.

There would be no such thing as underage drinking or underage driving. You'll be given all the licenses when you're born and if the archaic laws still exist, your license would be revoked once you celebrate your 82nd birthday and your body is less than 18 years old.

This imagination of growing backwards is not all that new. There is a 1922 story by F. Scott Fitzgerald called The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which explores the theme of growing backwards. Its an amazing short story about the life of Benjamin Button who actually grows backwards. Click here to read the story...

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is being made into a hollywood movie by David Fincher with Brad Pitt playing the protagonist. David Fincher and Brad Pitt have made some mindblowing movies like Fight Club and Se7en in the past. Check out the teaser trailer of the movie below. Brad Pitt is amazing in his portrayal of Button from old age to young age.

You could have actually grown a few minutes younger after reading this post if all this were possible. Until then post your comments on your imaginations of a backwards life...

Beer is good for the Brain

This is not a reference to one of those medically proven articles that uses statistics and controlled experiments which prove that 600 people who regularly consumed beer performed better in mensa puzzles than 400 other people who abstained from beer. Well 99% of all statistics are made up including this statistic on statistics.

But, Buffalo theory is actually a different way to look at drinking Beer. It was conceptualized by Cliff in the TV series Cheers. It goes like this:

"Well you see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive drinking of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

Amazing theory Cliff... Drink beer and Get smart. Kill all those weaker and slower brain cells every weekend...

Travis Neo Tyler

Hi, Welcome to my blog...

Btw, Who is Travis Neo Tyler?

Well, i was thinking of a pseudonym to blog with and i thought of a movie character that best represents me or the me i want to be. I could not pin it down on one, so i came up with this collective pseudonym of my fav characters from the movies Taxi Driver, Matrix and Fight Club - Travis Bickle, Neo and Tyler Durden.

im your host TNT (Travis Neo Tyler) and ill be blogging on movies, books, music, software, philosophy,fantasy and anything that interests me at the moment...Keep checking for loads of interesting stuff...