Monday, October 28, 2013

Write your own sensational newspaper article

By now you have probably heard the outrage/mockery about the article in "The Hindu" about a false doctorate claim.

Click here to skip to article generator.

(If you haven't, it's good for you. You are possibly doing better things in life than reading stupid viral articles. Here is a recap for your benefit: A few days ago, The Hindu published an article about a boy who "has arrears in engineering, but a PhD in physics". The story went on to talk about how this person had to choose engineering because of parental pressure, and how he spends his time doing physics research and was ultimately recognized by a UC-Berkeley professor with an on-the-spot doctorate. Naturally, most people on the internet shared it because "the Indian education system is so lousy".
And then an amazing person wrote a letter to The Hindu saying most of the claims in the article were false and they shouldn't have published it without verifying them, forcing them to actually verify the claims and The Hindu had to publish a retraction. Of course, now other people shared this piece because "the Indian media is so stupid")

Meanwhile, I got inspired by Mr.Gunturi to publish some research of my own. After having read many articles in the Hindu's Education Plus and main paper, I think I can automate the process of writing an education-related piece. I already published this piece in the Brazilian Journalism Research journal and they awarded me with a honorary doctorate in journalism, even though journals do not usually confer doctorates. (It is on its way, I will update the image once I receive it.) I have also submitted some part of my research to the "Case Studies in Strategic Communication" journal of the University of South California. They accepted my paper without review because it was so awesome like that!

Having achieved all this in such a short span of time, I decided to share my knowledge with the mere mortals on the internet who usually have to do actual research before getting their doctorates.

So, here is an excerpt from my paper:
(Yes, I have cleverly not put in the actual body of the paper. Because THAT isn't important for publishing this article in a newspaper or making it viral anyway.)

Oh, and here is a mini version of my algorithm for generating a newspaper article for The Hindu education sections. Use the drop-down menus to generate your own:

Our sensational eye-grabbing title shall be:

The student's name (note the scope for diversity or emotional spin-offs here. Also scope for Shah Rukh Khan movies. These options not included in the demo.):

The student in question studies in the premiere institution called:

He was forced to pick this field of engineering,

even though he was obviously interested in a different field of research. After the achievement, he was too busy giving interviews to popular newspapers to comment, but the author still decided to claim he said something of this sort :

His/Her father who is a

has to say something like this about his achievement (with tears in his eyes):

This professor from NIT, Trichy (Yes, it's an insider joke. Sorry but it was too much of a temptation to resist)

commented something about

(Note: If some parts of the article confuse you, you might want to look at this.
Also, this piece was inspired by the Chetan Bhagat Plot generator at Coconut Chutney)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Let them be

(Statutory warning: This is one of the posts that I warned you about on the other page. Long and serious- so if you don't have the stomach for it, go eat a doughnut instead.)

The day I wrote this Today (I actually wrote this post a couple of months ago, but never got around to publishing it), I was reading an article about women and forced parenthood when I came across a line that sums up pretty much 90% of my beliefs. I suddenly realized I have never written about my core philosophy so I thought this is a good time to write it down. I am sorry if it ends up sounding like I am moralizing or advising- by the very nature of this philosophy, I can't be.

The idea is:
"People are different and need different things. Society (and we, as a part of it) should support this premise without judging them on it. But only as long as their 'needs' don't harm other human beings".

To me that much is obvious. But just to explain, think about what you would do in the following scenarios..

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The rat race of fun and the meaning of life

You can get this on a T-shirt there.

You know how people say you must live for yourself- live by your own standards, don't worry what people say, stick to your principles blah de blah. By now you probably know I am quite the supporter of that ideology. It's your life and you get only one chance at it etc.

That being said, it is quite hard to actually stick to it. Especially in this day and age. (I am sure millions have said the same thing about their day and age, but anyway.) There are too many things available for us to do, travel is a lot more affordable and convenient, more activities are open to people, and above all information about everything is at your fingertip, quite literally. As an obvious consequence, there is too much of a competition to DO things.

"Oh, you went to Yosemite this weekend, I flew to this obscure mountain village and drank this amazing drink they make out of trees that only grow in that region. It's a once in a lifetime thing. Everyone must totally do it." Gone are the days when I could just watch the Sun TV Top 10 movies on Sunday morning and think that my weekend was done.

The worst part is that I didn't even realize I was caught in it till I read this article. Unknowingly, subconsciously, I had joined the rat race of "fun". Which wasn't half as much about fun as about posting your pictures on Instagram. Unknowingly I began to think of weekends as lists of things to complete and places to visit rather than plain sleeping time.

Anyway, reading that article made me realize that the things I want are really simple- like looking at the stars, taking walks in the morning, and of course, popping bubble wrap. They involve almost no money and yet are priceless. They may mean nothing to most people, but so what.

So, I decided to write this note to self, just so I don't forget: 

Remember bubble wrap. That's all there is to the meaning of life.

(Oh, and now that I have found mine, good luck finding yours! :) )