The JEE Debate Rolls On

August 25, 2008

P V Indiresan, the former director of IIT Madras has a comment piece in the Times of India today on how the JEE has run its course. His prognosis is gloomy – there’s no way to improve the entrance test without decreasing the number of applicants:

World-class universities like Harvard and Stanford get 10-11 applications for each available seat. It would appear that the IITs are much better off with their ratio of 70:1. Yet, IITs are unable to select the best because the JEE is mechanistic; Harvard selections have greater depth. Harvard uses tests like SAT, GRE, GMAT for shortlisting only, not as the arbiter for final selection, the way the IITs use the JEE.

The enormous number of applicants is the problem. It requires hundreds of examiners working in tandem to correct papers. In order to prevent individual bias, questions have to be so set that answers are all in a standard format; answers that demonstrate originality are out. Therefore, the JEE can be mastered by drill; innovative thinking is not necessary. Only when the numbers are small, is there time to ask incisive questions, to separate the truly intelligent from the merely industrious. Two-tier tests have been attempted to prune the numbers. That mechanism is of little use; it merely separates the more industrious from the less industrious and not the intelligent from the industrious.

The IITs would do well to follow Stanford, Harvard and so on. That is, IITs should first identify good schools and let those schools do the shortlisting for them. If the number of candidates entertained from any school is linked to the performance of older students from the same school, the schools will be under pressure to make their recommendations as efficiently as they can. If enough scholarships are offered in those schools for poor but competent students, the selection will also be broad-based; bright children from poor families will have a chance they do not have at present.

(Times of India)

Alas, for Dr. Indiresan’s recommendations to work, all changes made would have to happen in schools, and non-IIT engineering colleges (and even non-engineering colleges and universities), and not in the IITs themselves. This is a systemic snafu, and India is not particularly good at dealing with those.

Sexual Innuendo Down the Ages

August 22, 2008

Today’s wikisurfing led to this remarkable piece of information:

Early in its development, the Merlin engine’s lack of direct fuel injection meant that both Spitfires and Hurricanes, unlike the Bf 109E, were unable to simply nose down into a steep dive. This meant a Luftwaffe fighter could simply “bunt” into a high-power dive to escape an attack, leaving the Spitfire sputtering behind, as its fuel was forced by negative “g” out of the carburettor. RAF fighter pilots soon learned to “half-roll” their aircraft before diving to pursue their opponents. The use of carburettors was calculated to give a higher specific power output, due to the lower temperature, and hence the greater density, of the fuel/air mixture fed into the motor, compared to injected systems. In March 1941, a metal diaphragm with a hole in it was fitted across the float chambers. It partly cured the problem of fuel starvation in a dive, and became known as “Miss Shilling’s orifice” as it was invented by a female engineer, Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling.

This reminded me of two streets in England: Penny Lane (because of the Shilling connection), and Threadneedle Street, which was originally called Gropecunte Lane. And also of xkcd 322.

Re-engineering the IITs

August 19, 2008

Sorry, couldn’t resist that title.

Andy Mukherjee has a column about the IITs making the admission criteria public, how coaching factories are skewing the results, and how there’s no readily apparent way to get through this.

It doesn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said in Indian newspapers, but it puts everything together much better.

Pandey on Punjab

August 19, 2008

Last week, as a son of the Punjabi soil claimed a Gold medal at the Olympics, all the credit went to India. Shortly after that, Independence Day was celebrated, cruelly ignoring the fact that there is no Azaadi for Punjab. Our destiny is in the hands of power brokers from UP and Bengal.

Why are we oppressed so much? What is the sinister conspiracy that has kept the inheritors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s legacy suppressed? Why is it that when Punjab accomplishes something, India gets the credit; but when India screws up, Punjab bears the brunt?

According to the erudite Dr. (Mrs.) Valentina Dimitrieva Pandey, it is because of Greco-capitalism. Please read her post on how the dominant Gujews are conspiring against us.

Put 295A on Pavan K Varma

August 13, 2008

Via India Uncut, I discover that Pavan K Varma has been committing blasphemy:

Indians’ faith in marriage reflects their faith in values, said Varma. “Marriage is an institution which is there to stay in any society. India needs to stand by the values. There is something called sanskar (values) and it is still alive in India though it may have been lost in the metropolises. All gods, at least in Hindu mythology, have consorts. Marriage is an ingrained concept in Indian philosophy,” he said.

I am appalled that this Macaulay-putra has insulted the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus. Has he forgotten all about Hanuman? Worse yet, is he trying to suggest that Hanuman is not a god?

Hanuman was the living embodiment of the power of Ram-Nam. He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly. He was a great devotee and an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate.

Hanuman possessed devotion, knowledge, spirit of selfless service, power of celibacy, and desirelessness. He never boasted of his bravery and intelligence.


And what about Ayyappa? Does his celibacy count for nothing either?

Manikanthan was in a fix, as he had no desire to get married, being a celibate by instinct, choice and desire. (Celibacy is supposed to grant tremendous power, both physical and spiritual). Yet the young lady had a valid point.


He struck a deal with her. A temple of his would come up soon where people would come to worship. Their pilgrimage would not be considered complete unless they also worshipped at a shrine to her. All his devotees would grant her the status and respect of a wife. If there ever was a year when a new devotee did not come to the temple at the Sabarimala hills, he would give up his vow of brahamcharya and marry her. She is going to have a long wait as the list of pilgrims only grows ever more unmanageable each year.

Since the god is both a renouncer as well as a celibate, women in the menstrual years are not allowed into the temple. This is a traditional courtesy given to a swami, and does not represent any bias or prejudice against women.


It is only in today’s pseudo-secular environment that Pavan K Varma can get away with insulting the basic aspects of Hindu mythology. Would he ever dare to insult Muslim or Christian religious figures in this way? Fortunately Hindus have the law on their side and can file a Section 295A case against him.

Mirror Images of Greatness

August 8, 2008

An edited version of the article below appeared in the New Indian Express today. They cut a few lines, and I prefer my own paragraph breaks, but I have to give them credit for coming up with an awesome headline. Anyhow, here’s the article in its unedited form:
Read the rest of this entry »

Infant Sacrifice Catches On

August 2, 2008

The Kansa Society’s advocacy of the slaughter and consumption of children is making its way into the mainstream media. This is most pleasing.

First, Namy Roy informs me over GTalk that she had recently watched a TV interview of Tom Hanks. When asked how he managed to satisfy the audience all the time, Tom Hanks apparently said that the secret of his success was regular infant sacrifice. Joyous.

Next, Mr. D. sends me a link to this wonderful T-shirt, featuring an owl which wants to eat your children:

I Will Eat Your Children

And finally, there is the new Mirinda ad, in which Zohra Sehgal expresses a desire to pickle infants with onions:

As gaspode points out, this diet explains that remarkable lady’s longevity.

New Digs

August 1, 2008

In the name of Amibah, the most powerful, the most vengeful, I welcome you to, the new home of Givvup Only Are There.

The shift over from has happened because:

  1. seems to be one a spam database and has been getting rogered by spambots the past few months. I kept going over my bandwidth quota, and the site would be down for half the month. Not fun. This domain name will hopefully remain off spamlists for a while. Even if it doesn’t, I now have eight times as much monthly bandwidth.
  2. I want to put sober and professional image at in case recruiters or admissions committees come looking. So after a month or so it’ll only have a resume and a writing portfolio.
  3. sounds cooler. Ethnic chic are there.

Thus, please update your bookmarks, your blogrolls and your feed readers. Please note that:

  1. I am on a new server as well as having a new domain name. I have much more server space as well as much more bandwidth. I may use this for cool stuff, therefore. If I have the time.
  2. The feed for runs off feedburner, and so my flickr photos and links are included automagically.
  3. I have finally updated my blogroll after years of masterful inactivity, and it’s now trimmer and lighter, and with fewer blogs that haven’t updated in months.
  4. The new server and domain do not automatically imply that I’ll post more. That will remain correlated to my level of NED.