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Marcus Miller 2002-03-19

The Marcus Miller concert at Kaufleuten on March 17 was sold out. It was pretty much standing room only but we got to sit at the back on plush red sofas and viewed the proceedings on stage from a distance. He is a master of slap and pop and, in my opinion, one of the best bassists around. They played for about an hour and a half. The live version of the Beatles number "Come Together" deserved an unbridled WOW!

Before the concert we had decided to have dinner at the attached restaurant. Before the food arrived on the table I ambled over to the stage and saw the musicians doing the sound check. When we were almost done they trooped into the restaurant and took their place at the table next to ours. I did not want to bug MM for an autograph; maybe I should have.

The only negative point I can bring up was the air: it was saturated with cigarette smoke. When are they going to ban smoking in such places? We sat at the rear of the hall on the big red sofas and unwillingly filled our lungs with that substance.


Plastics in India 2002-02-23

PET bottles, plastic bags and all kinds of plastics are widely available in India now. A few decades ago such plastic items were hard to come by and, as a consequence, people used them with care or made do with alternatives. For example, purchases in a store usually came wrapped in an old newspaper. When people did get a plastic bag it was recycled umpteem times till it was ready to disintergrate. I remember that at my grandmother's house there was little garbage that was produced. And that ended up as fertilizer at the foot of the coconut trees in the backyard. People still do that but the piles are much bigger now. During my last visit to the backyard I was surprised to see all manners of plastic products adorning the base of trees. These things won't decompose for a zillion years.

Garbage collection and recycling are non-existent in India except in the big cities. Recycling is done by the garbage combers who search for things that can be sold for a pittance. Thus, the garbage collectors dump the collected material in piles at the outskirts of the city. The slum dwellers go through the piles picking out what they think will get them some money. That is recycling. India should have legislated a small deposit on PET bottles which would have encouraged people to take them back to recycling centers. One positive item to report is that some of the big cities are going to ban plastic bags. That will at least reduce the piles that are clogging the dumps.

To make matters worse, plastic waste from developed countries is being sent to India.


A new palindromic year 2002-01-15

This year is special: the digits of this year are palidromic. And they only have two digits: 0 and 2. In a few weeks we will have a special day. A palidromic date: 20/02/2002 (in day/month/year format). For the American date format one has to wait for a while. The next one is 01/02/2010.

So February 20 is going to be special, eh? In that case two minutes past 8 in the evening will be an auspicious moment: 20:02 20/02/2002. I wonder if the astrologers or numerologists have anything to say about this day. I'm sure Nostrodamus must have mentioned something. LA Times did. Check the Palidromist magazine if you are tickled by this talk.


Many years ago on the Net 2001-12-11

Google has just announced that they have old Usenet postings that go back 20 years on their groups site (ex-Deja). I searched for the oldest Usenet message that has my name and this is what I found dated February 1990. I got on the Internet in September of 1989; with a 1200 baud modem I could connect to imp.ch and use a shell account. A few days later I sent my very first email message. The email address on the above-mentioned posting of mine has the standard email address as well as the UUCP form: !mcvax!cernvax!chx400!impch!var. Note (2002-06-04): Here's the story of how those Usenet posts were saved.

From the Internet time-line I learnt that venerable Queen Elizabeth sent an email long before I had even heard about the Internet. Way, way back in 1976. What a geeky lady!


Spacecraft watching 2001-12-09

A few hours back I saw the ISS (International Space Station) and the space shuttle (STS-108) that is docked to it, drift by in space. Honest. I saw it last evening as well. With my bare eyes. Before you dismiss me off as a crackpot let me tell you that I just saw a star-like speck in the evening sky that moved quite fast and soon drifted out of view. If you would like to see it too, check out the Heavens Above web site. Enter your location and it will tell you when all sorts of heavenly bodies will be visible to you. Highly recommended.


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