Reports of Some Real Work Done This Sem

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Digital Signal Processing Lab

Digital Image Processing Assignment

IPL and the Commodification of Sport

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The Indian Premier League represents the pinnacle of commercialism and commodification of sport. Honestly, no other stunt has been so exclusively focused on making money. I’m not against making money, but I am against destroying the tradition upon the sport is built and in the process destroying the sport itself, to make money.

The BCCI, the richest sports body in the world, suddenly announces that it’s going to start a Twenty20 league and forms eight teams(franchises) out of thin air, to be auctioned away to celebrities. Then comes the auction of the players, as if they were comodities to be traded. It beats me how anyone can have any attachment or loyalty to any of these franchises. Well, they may bear the name of your city, or be owned by your favourite film star!

They say it is inspired by the highly successful commercial model of the English Premier League, but the English football league became commodified only in the last 15-20 years and actually people there are now starting to realize and retaliate against its harmful effects like the alienation of fans from the game.

For me what made English football marketable in the first place, was that English football and English football clubs had a magnificent history and tradition of over a century. Besides, England can boast of the biggest and broadest football pyramid, with around 7500 clubs plying their trade. It is that strong base and history which the game has, that gives the Premier League a foundation to be attractive.

Does IPL and its franchises have anything remotely similar to offer? Obviously not. In fact, Twenty20 itself is a new form of cricket. I don’t even like to call it cricket. I know most of the people would say that Twenty20 is exciting and you don’t have to waste five days watching it.

But in my opinion, Cricket is a subtle sport involving some highly specialized and subtle skills, which can never be universally enjoyed, or match the heart stopping drama of football. Well, Twenty20 is aimed at producing drama so that cricket can be made marketable, but in doing so it kills the subtle beauty of cricket- the joy of watching an outswinger miss the edge, off spinners that drift away and then spin into the batsman, majestic cover drives, packed slip cordons…

I’ve been accused of being a purist, but I’m a cricket fan, and slogging away for 20 overs and edging the ball where slips should have been just doesn’t make cricket. If you are a cricket fan as well, I would request you to not watch the IPL.

Computer Network Experiments with Netkit

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While learning about Computer Networks, Sabu and I came across a tool called Netkit, which is a framework for experimenting with computer networks. As you can imagine, it is very difficult to experiment with actual computer networks- you need to get hold of a lot of hardware like hosts, routers, lan wires etc- which is difficult and expensive.

So we do the next best thing. We create a network of virtual machines and play with them. Netkit was developed at the Roma Tre University, based on User Mode Linux and comprises of virtual GNU/Linux virtual machines running in the user space. We can create as many virtual machines as we want, with any number of virtual network interfaces and connect them in any topology we like.

We tried out a few interesting things with Netkit, and we felt we should share it with the class, so we met our faculty, Dr.A.V.Babu, who readily gave us an hour to give a demonstration, which we did this Monday. It went reasonably well. A few of our friends got really interested in Netkit, and hopefully will try it out and get addicted to GNU/Linux!

P.S. The slides of the presentation can be downloaded here. It was a practical demonstration, but I made use of the slides in support, to get started.

Walking Out and Walking On

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That’s how people at Shikshantar refer to what people generally call “dropping out”.

“Today, those who have the good sense to choose to leave the dominant system of education are labeled by it as ‘drop-outs’. This negative term connotes failing and incompetence, and is applied to those who don’t fit in the competitive schooling or college system. We view the decision to walk out (or rise out) of formal educational structures, as a thoughtful and positive choice. Far from signifying incompetence, walking out demonstrates intelligence, creativity and courage of conviction.

It also exposes education for what it is: a deep form of violence against peoples’ minds, bodies and spirits, which cuts them off from nature, their family, communities, culture, work, expression, and themselves. Furthermore, walking out represents a strong form of dissent against the global political economy. It is a powerful indication of reclaiming control over one’s own learning, and therefore, over one’s own life. It is an important step in de-institutionalizing one’s life and moving towards swaraj.”

Our lives are so rigid and institutionalized. Right from age 3 or 4 we are sent to school and “educated” for almost two decades. Then when we are grown, we have to find a job in an organization/industry and build a career. Why do we need these inhuman mega structures- social, political and economic- to depend on?

Why do we need multinational corporations to employ us? Why do we need agribusinesses and retail chains to feed us? Why do we need a degree to certify our worth? Why do we need governments to “take care” of us? Why do we need to depend so much on so many institutions? If I believe that my life so far has not been a complete waste, and that I have developed a few useful skills over the years, then why should I have to sell my time to make a livelihood? Can I not make a livelihood(not necessarily a career) doing the things that I care passionately about?

It’s a question that has been haunting me for a while. In fact, I’m an aspirant of walking out and walking on. Exactly how and when I do not know. But I believe that I will be able to find the way when the right time comes. My biggest dream is to get rid of all those irrelevant stuff that needlessly sophisticate our lives and reclaim all the missing things that really make Life meaningful.

“Relying on your strengths and talents, instead of your degrees, makes you a walkout.”

Sports and Life

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Last week, I finally played Fours Football (we have a lovely little arena for playing Fours Football in front of our hostels) after a long long time. The last time I spent some time on the pitch was as a substitute for our S5 Electronics team, “Fourier Transformers” in the group stages of the Fours Cup. In fact I hadn’t played any sports for a long time. As can be expected, my body was very stiff and sore for a couple of days afterwards. The pain was a nice reminder that I should play once in a while.

It also made me think how monotonous and dull life is, without sports and games. There’s no better way to keep your mind and body sharp, and have some real fun at the same time. Looking back at my childhood, I regret the fact that I spent very little time in the playground over the years. In fact, the only period in which I played to my heart’s content was back in the Eleventh standard. I used to play a lot of football. I was lucky to have some classmates who played really well. I was never a good player and I never had the skills to be one, but I enjoyed playing as a part of the team, with them.

Children should spend as much time as possible outdoors, and play as much as they want to. There’s nothing like running around on the field, scoring a goal, linking up with your team mates. Life without sports is meaningless. Period.