Dylan started a new film blog today:
My friend Harsh V. Pittie, passed away suddenly on Monday, January 16, 2012.
Harsh was born January 3, 1944, educated during long walks with his father, later at George School, Swarthmore, and Princeton, where he received his Ph.D in mathematics. He held a professorship at the University of Georgia, which he later renounced in order to care for his father in Mumbai during the last years of his life. After his father’s death, he moved to New York City. He loved to go to the ballet, to work crossword puzzles, and of course, to do mathematics. Harsh is survived by his sister, Nirja Kamani, and her two daughters, Anandita and Janhavi, all of Mumbai, India.
Harsh’s friends remember him for his humor, quick wit and brilliant intelligence. We regret his passing.
Two miles beneath the surface, in this South African gold mine, bacteria of the firmicutes clan have taken up residence. The advantages of this extreme real estate? The tight space, heat, and high pressure are not appealing to most species. Since it is dark, you can’t see the gold, so that selling point is pretty weak. But where you live is a personal choice, and has to be respected. Different strokes for different folks.
That said, taking up permanent residence two miles down takes some getting used to. Every living thing needs a source of chemical energy to run all those cellular processes. Photosynthesis? No sun. No way. Oxygen for respiration? There isn’t any. Gasp! What is their secret? Use hydrogen liberated from underground water by the decay of uranium. OK! That should last a while! Use the same heat source that keeps the depths hot so that our earth can maintain its lively geology with volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics, etc. What an idea! The big question: what else is down there? Who is down there?
The following recipe is useful for those living a grad student existence, whether they be in grad school or not. The recipe is inexpensive, requires little equipment, and is simple to execute. Even a math or physics grad student of the male gender can follow it successfully. I have used it many times myself, and have taught it to others in a variety of academic fields, from comparative literature to computer science. The instructions should be detailed enough for a PhD candidate with no cooking experience to follow, gain confidence in the culinary arts, and ensure sufficient caloric intake to complete a thesis.
Materials and equipment
One or more potatoes, depending on hunger level and ability. A fork, butter, salt, pepper, plate, and a microwave oven.
(1) Wash potato (recommend but not required). Don’t bother to peel it. Stick fork in potato several times. (2) Place potato in microwave device for as long as you think it needs to be there. (3) Remove, split open. If it is not sufficiently cooked, go to 2. If the potato is burned, get a new one and go to 1. (4) Put the potato on a plate. Then mash in some butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Eat potato. (5) Put used plate on top of the other plates in the sink. If you wish, you may run some water over them. (6) Go back to doing whatever you were doing before step 1. Repeat entire process until 2 am as needed, then go to bed.
1. A tip from mom: to tell if the potato is cooked, look at the center. If it is sort of transparentish and hard by comparison with the part near the skin, the potato is not sufficiently cooked.
2. Acquire a timer and lab notebook. Keep careful records of oven settings, cooking times and result, e.g. “burned”, “raw”, “just right,” “yummy.” From the data you collect, you will quickly find the optimum cooking time, regardless of altitude, microwave power and frequency, type of potato, etc. After all, you are a grad student! At this point, you will be ready to invite friends over for a potato dinner. Your cooking skill will amaze your friends, particularly those of the opposite sex.
Song of the Earth
The day’s eye is His eye, it burns
With fearsome, hot embrace. She twists, turns
But cannot flee that ancient heavy pull,
That passion which came to her so long ago
And filled the eternal cold of night
With his light, and a thousand songs of love.
And then, after the customary journey,
The sounds of life, a buzzing, humming, and chirping
From every corner of their joyful marriage house.
But now he has grown mad: he spurns the children,
Pulls her closer, ever closer to his raging
Fiery gaze. Waters where fish swam
Have boiled away and now no song is sung.
No birds take wing nor does any seed sprout.
Yet still he draws her closer. She cries out,
But cannot flee that ancient heavy pull.
(c) Jim Carlson 12/9/1993
Best to read this article yourself to see what it says about our ancestry.
In 1990 I spent six weeks at the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research in Mumbai. While there, a friend loaned me a copy of URDU POETRY, in volume IV of Indian Poetry Today. I have not been able to find this book in the US, so any leads would be greatly appreciated.
I did copy six of the poems. One is listed below, and all six are in the PDF file.. I hope the authors will not mind, and that this post will help others to find and enjoy their beautiful poetry.
Neither a heart-beat
nor the sound of a step
no wave no
not even the warmth
of breath or
let at least some leaf
in this utter silence
some melted pearl
a tear or
there is nothing
how desolate this path is
at least some face should shine
or else let lightning strike.
— Makhdoom Muhiuddin
— Translated by Gopi Chand Narang and David Paul Douglas