Extinction Level Event and you survive out in Space

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So yesterday, oddly enough, while taking  a shower it occured to me that so far I haven’t read a certain type of space related story. That is in which an extinction level event happens on the Earth but a few astronauts out in space survives. As the idea swarmed through my head, I quickly jumped out of the shower and jotted some points down. The main idea of the story that I want to write is that the story will be from the point of view of a team of astronauts who witness everyone on Earth die from their space ship and how they themselves contemplate and handle the situation. Its just a rough ideas so a lot of room for addition. If you know a story/novel based on this idea, please let me know in the comment section below. I will be grateful forever.

 

Bye Bye Earth

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Stanford Engineering Everywhere – Learn Computer Programming in a Month

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Over the last few years, many universities started following the trend of offering online courses for free. Whether it is a mere ethical act to aid prospering students or a latent profit scheme, we know that these courses are extremely helpful and worth lauding.

Among the courses offered by the likes of top tier universities such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford, I felt that Stanford’s Engineering Everywhere (SEE) Program stood out. SEE program offers online access to full courses in the school’s engineering program – including classes in computer science and artificial intelligence. Courses include lecture videos, reading lists, handouts, quizzes, tests, and even a social network for fellow online students.

With a strong leaning towards computers, I wanted to learn programming. Mind you I am one of those who don’t know the ABC of computer languages.

I tried books, videos, I even bought the official “Java for Dummies” book, but I was not even near understanding how this whole programming works. Luckily, just when I was on the verge of giving up, I was introduced to Professor Mehran’s Computer Methodology course at SEE.

The purpose of this course is to not only introduce newbies like myself to computer terms and methods but, it’s also an extensive course on JAVA. As Professor Mehran himself states, “The prerequisites to this class is that you should be able to identify if a computer is on or off”. That’s it. No geeky stuff , no pre-lecture code memorization.

The Iranian-American Professor who teaches this class is quite a character himself. From Star Wars references to handing out candies to his students, he’ll make even the most boring topics seem enjoyable and humorous. Taking you step by step, these video lectures are totally worth a try. A full course contains around 30 one hour lectures including assignments and handouts. Getting free education from one of the best universities in the world? It doesn’t get any better than this.

Other courses I would highly recommend are iPhone Application Programming, and Introduction to Robotics.

Film Adaptation of The Reluctant Fundamentalist to Open Venice Film Festival 2012

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This article first appeared here.

 

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The world premiere of the international political thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist will launch the 69th Venice Film Festival come August 29th. The film is based on the best-selling novel by renowned Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid. It is about a young Pakistani man who chances corporate success on Wall Street, but becomes embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the call of his family’s homeland. The feature film faces heavy competition from many other promising films at the festival. It stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Meesha Shafi, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Martin Donovan, Om Puri, and Shabana Azmi. The film is directed by Mira Nair.

The novel became an international best-seller. It reached number four on the New York Times Best Seller list. BBC Radio 4 began broadcasting an abridged version on 22 August 2011, read by British actor Riz Ahmed who also plays the protagonist in the film, Changez. Judging by the synopsis of the film provided by the Venice Film Festival, the film introduces some significant changes from the novel; such as the introduction of many new characters, and identification of some characters which were latent or implied in the novel itself.

“The festival’s opening night will feature a film that provides much food for thought. It is a choice that intends to highlight the growing role of female creativity in all spheres of culture and contemporary society,” said Alberto Barbera who was one of the jury members at the Cannes Film Festival in 1939 and the head in this year’s Venice Film Festival. This is Mira Nair’s fifth visit to the Venice Film Festival. She won the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion for Monsoon Wedding in 2001. The 69th Venice Film Festival runs from August 29 till September 8.

 

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With a dynamic cast of Pakistani, American, British, and Indian actors in lead roles, the film is surely of the most anticipated piece being featured in this year’s Venice Film Festival. The Venice Film Festival is the oldest international film festival in the world. Courtesy of the Venice Film Festival, following is the complete synopsis of The Reluctant Fundamentalist:

“Student demonstrations are raging in Lahore, as young Pakistani professor Changez Khan and a journalist, Bobby Lincoln, share a cup of tea and conversation.  Princeton-educated Changez tells Lincoln of his past as a brilliant business analyst on Wall Street. He talks of the glittering future that lay before him and the beautiful and sophisticated Erica whom he was set to share that future with.

But then 9/11 changes everything. Attitudes shift dramatically – his very name and face rendering him suspect.  Returning to his homeland and the family to whom he is very close, he takes up a post as lecturer at the local university, a hotbed of radicalism and the new militant academia.

The collegial pretense of the meeting in a Lahore teahouse, between Lincoln and Changez, slowly gives way to why the unlikely pair has gathered on a summer day — another professor has been kidnapped by extremists, and the clock is ticking toward a deadline for his execution. Changez’s family is being harassed and is in real danger. Bobby is there to listen, with an agenda of his own.  As it is revealed that Lincoln is in the lions’ den with the CIA, we also learn that he has a personal stake in the immediate crisis at hand. Taking us through the culturally rich and beguiling worlds of New York, Lahore and Istanbul The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an exploration of prejudice and the phenomenon of globalization that is both exhilarating and deeply unsettling.”

 

Peaceful Misery (re-blog)

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One of my best friends, Hamza, is a remarkable writer. Rather young in this business, in months he became one of my favorite authors. For some unknown reasons (mainly because he uses the sucky blogspot), he’s not being noticed as much as he deserves. Below is a re-blog of a short excerpt he wrote last week. I think it’s amazing how he writes. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments as it can really help my friend.

“Within the colors of my dreams, I feel the soft grace of your feminine presence. A presence that gave my existence an unusual joy. This slight intoxication I sense in the air once around your innate aura. Neither I nor you can understand the complexity of this juncture present between us. This blossoming of my feelings with the gentle graze of a crisp wind that blows through my soul, brushing it with your warmth. Your warmth that brings about a trance as I ascend to a cosmic island, far away, frosted in shimmering haze. My inner cadence booms as your name rhythmically jumps from my tongue and soars in the air. Here, where your delicate ambiance is the incognito to my despair. And in all these deep colors, these overflowing sentiments, I feel the soft grace of your feminine presence. And its because I want you around me, to mark the presence of my entity, I’ll close my eyes and let your steps be my guide because I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.”

For more pay his blog a visit: http://humpoo.blogspot.com

My Inception of Instagram

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Recently I bought a new phone; Sony Ericsson Walkman Live. Owning an Android device with a decent 5MP Camera, I just had to start using the $1 billion app Instagram. I’ll have to say, it’s a pretty cheap and easy way of faking professional photography. Take a look for yourself.

Click on individual photos if size matters to you.

(No offense intended to all the real photographers out there.)