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2006 — Yearly Archive

Animals, by Frank O’Hara

The Tube in London is not as art-laden as the Paris M├ętro, but the Poems on the Underground project does get some good poems into the tube-cars from time to time. Frank O’Hara’s Animals was one of the best poems (that I was not familiar with) I’d come across on the Tube, and I was very pleased to be able to find it on the ‘net today. So without further ado, here it is:

Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

it’s no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners

the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn’t need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

i wouldn’t want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days

I am not sure why this poem appealed to me so much, but the vivid imagery and uneven meter (…want to be faster / or greener than now if you were with me O you) probably played a part.

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22 June 2006 9:36 pm

Get Custom Overlays in Google Maps

Google Earth has had overlays for a long time — they make it easy to annotate maps with all sort of information, from vacation photos to public transport pickup points. Now, overlays work with Google Maps too. You can type in a URL of a KML/KMZ file into Google Maps and it will show you the overlaid map — here’s an example showing Metrolink stations in Manchester. This just made Google Maps much more useful.

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14 June 2006 10:48 am

The Fifteen Percent Solution

Rediff interviews Dr Udit Raj, chairman of the All India Confederation of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The interview was fascinating, I think, because it offers a nice counterpoint to the world of protestors who come from a largely urbanized middle-class environment where caste is largely meaningless and highlights the levels of us-vs-them identity politics that drives much of Indian politics. This retort from Dr Raj particularly highlights why the divide is so visceral:

For long, in many places 70 per cent to 80 per cent seats were open in the general category. The upper castes were using it. Right? Now they have been given 50 per cent of the total seats whereas the upper caste population is just 15 per cent. I think that is good enough. What more do the upper castes want?

Ultimately, one’s views on quotas will be colored by the India one sees. There are those who want a meritocratic India free of the curse of caste, where the disadvantaged are helped using sound economic principles