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Category Archives: Trivia

hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia

I have been attending a Toastmasters club for the past few months as it is a nice break from routine, every saturday morning. For my speeches, one particular evaluator( its always the same one!!!) keeps on telling me to improve my vocab. I know my vocabulary does not contain long complicated words, but I do know it is not limited to “is, was, the”. Well, you get the gist. I believe in using simple words while giving a speech, as you want your information to reach the audience, not go over their head. Writing is a different cup of tea. Here is an example. PGW ( my favorite author) uses the word “champ” for “chomping” . In my perusals, I have not seen any other author using the word “champ”. Most say “chomp”. Some might even say “masticate’ when it comes to animals. PGW is in a different class, but when it comes to mere mortals like us, what is it with people who think just because they use long & rarely used words, makes them good speakers or writers. Yes, I would rather try a speech using easy to understand words than ” endeavor to give a recital utilizing excessive number of complicated words”. Get it?

One more nice example I found in the web

You can say

“You will receive reactivation and assistance consistent with your requirements.”

instead of “You will get the amount of help you need.”

Personally, IMO, the first one sounds funnier and exaggerated.

Now you know why legal documents are worded the way they are.

Did you know that fear of long words has a name?

hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia

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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in Trivia

 

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Travelogue-IV(PARIS)

I fell in love with the city, the moment we reached its center. I loved Queenstown, NZ too, because of its serenity but with Paris, it was true love. What a vibrant city with lot of well dressed people. Wow! We had just two nights & one full day in Paris, but it was amazing. There is every chance that we might visit it again in our next trip to Europe.
The evening started with an interesting note when an amused taxi driver looked at us incredulously and refused to accept that we could be staying in the city center ( where the accommodations are a bit expensive), right in front of the Notre Dame church, at St. Michel’s Blvd.Yes, we radiate that feeling wherever we go. Am not sure if it is the way we dress or is it just because we look very young for our age.No, it is not the dress..I like to think we resemble some college going backpackers.Anyway, at 10:00PM, we decided to go for dinner and a walk, wondering if restaurants would be open and Viola! A crowded street full of people, every one busy and bustling around ,clients still standing in line at restaurants..and I fell in love.
The next day, we started our customary visits at Eiffel Tower. Seriously, how can one visit Paris and not boast about the single most visited monument in the world and its beauty. It is a huge iron structure and definitely has a Wow moment , the first time. We did not bother standing in the long line to reach the top.If there is one thing that both of us hate, it would be long lines and all the monuments in Paris are stuck with them. We decided to enjoy the city than the monuments.

From the Eiffel tower, on to Notre Dame, a Gothic Style Church. It was constructed in the 12-13 centuries and though we had visited a lot of churches by then, this was refreshing as the Gothic style is very different than the Roman Dome style.

It is very good to have the hotel nearby as one can go back to refresh every now and then. Most of the sites were walkable from St. Michel’s Blvd. As I said,we wanted to feel the city,and so walk we did. Apparently, it takes more than two days to browse all the paintings at Louvre and may be more to understand them. With our schedule,deeming it impossible, we walked around Louvre,took some Patel shots. Can you recognize the pyramid from DaVinci’s code.That is so PATEL.

How can a visit to Paris be without Avenue_de_Champs_Elysees(pronounced Shampselize),known as the most beautiful avenue in the world, full of theaters and shops. It almost became a bit boring, if I may say so ,if not for the crowd.

We found the French very helpful.When we were standing in the opposite platform, looking at the subway map, a lady approached us and confirmed that it was the wrong way,without us asking her. How nice.Even in the restaurants, the waiters went out of their way to talk to us in English. Totall unexpected and different from all the stories I have heard. May be, they have got used to Indians with so many of our country men visiting from London.
How can one not view the Eiffel Tower in the night. Our paris visit had to start and stop there..

Did I say it was cold?Especially, by the Siene..

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2010 in Informative, Trivia

 

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Travelogue- III ( Rome)

I have to start logging in my travel before I forget. Starting with Rome( Roma), the capital of Italy. Rome, as we all know is seeped in history and was the most prosperous empire in the late BCs and early ADs. I don’t want to write about Rome’s history.We can always refer to Wikipedia for that.

We landed in Rome, fully jet lagged and ready to hit the bed. Our hotel was right in the city center, in a busy street Via Nazionale.Next morning, fresh, we headed out , armed with the city map.

First and Foremost: The Vatican including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum

Since we were in Rome on 25th and 26th when the Vatican museums were closed, we could not visit them, but could check out the Pope on Christmas Day and visited the San Pietro Basilica(St. Peter’s Church) interior on 26th.
It is definitely a Wow moment, the biggest church in the world and one that can hold 60000 people along with some popular sculptures(Michelangelo’s Pieta, the one seen in this photo) and paintings. Just beautiful and awesome.
Apparently, one should never miss the Vatican museum, which holds Michelangelo’s most popular painting ever( Creation of Adam) , but obviously we missed it.

The Colosseum:
After seeing Russell Crowe as THE GLADIATOR, the Colosseum and its vast arena just fits in. Constructed between 70 – 72 AD, it is definitely one of the greatest works of that century. Makes you wonder how humans built these structures without any technology. I guess we are used to seeing such sturctures in our temples as well. We went to the Colosseum on 25th and visited the interior on 26th.

The Palatine Hill/Forum
The Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of early Rome and a very ancient part of the city. It is approx 40 meters about the Roman Forum , the area around with Roman civilization developed. You can see the vast ruins that was once the Forum, where Caesar and numerous others ruled. A sight worth spending some time. We spent some time here, though not a whole lot. Also, from the Palatine hill, you get to see the Circus Maximus, ( Remember Ben Hur?? )

The Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum are right next to each other and you can ideally walk. Hmmm. Well, a fair amount of walking as they are all quite vast. The road called Imperial Way leading to the Colosseum was built by Mussolini , enabling a view from his apartment so that he could show off the Colosseum to Hitler on one of his visits during WWII.

And, if time permits, one can enter the Vittoria Emmanuel Monument which also hosts the tallest equestrian statue in the world. IT IS HUGE AND MAGNIFICENT! We were satisfied with just looking in awe at the exterior.Do you see the two guards standing at the bottom of the statue? Apparently, the hoof of the horse is as tall as a human being.

After these major sights, the additional ones are


Pantheon : The ancient temple of all gods.In the 7th century, it was made into a church.
Right next to the Pantheon is Piazza Navona.When we visited it in the night, there was a fair going on. It has three magnificent fountains and is nowadays well known for having featured in Angels and Demons. I think one of the priests is found in the The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or “Fountain of the Four Rivers” ( the one in the photo) A famous touristy place.

Trevi Fountain: We did not visit this. A fountain where one throws pennies hoping for dreams to come true. It was walkable from our hotel and so was not interesting. Its really a mystery how human mind works. Anything close loses its value.

Trastevere :

This is slightly away from the City center. Just a place where locals meet and which has become more touristy now. Full of restaurants . Since we went on a rainy night,during christmas vacation, the streets, rather narrow gullies were mostly lighted with stars. In case you are wondering, the photo is showing a new( it said 2010) restaurant in an old dilapidated building.We walked in the rain, had some excellent local food and loads of fun just wandering.It was raining and the photo was taken from our autoshot. Finally, with help from some guys, signing our way and talking in Italian English , we found our bus stop and reached the hotel safely. It is such moments, when one is very carefree , that defines a vacation.

For traveling,we had bought the Roma Pass for 3 days with which one could travel in any public transport and also the first two sightseeing places free. All the other places were discounted. Defintely a very good buy. Interestingly, the guy from which we bought the Pass was a Pakistani who was elated on seeing us. Of course, started talking in Hindi and when I asked him if he was from India, he replied, ” Pakistan. Ek hi tho baath hai.” Touched my heart. I guess we all feel closer in Pardes.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2010 in General, Informative, Trivia

 

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Monty Hall Problem

I came across this puzzle yesterday which was quite puzzling. It is termed the famous Monty Hall problem. It goes like this.

There are 3 doors one of which contains a “car” and the other two have “goat”. The contestant has the option to choose a door. The host, before opening the opted door, opens another door which always has a goat. Remember, the host knows what lies behind all the 3 doors. Now, the host asks the contestant if he will be willing to switch his earlier decision about the opted door. The question is this. What is the probability that the contestant will win by switching his earlier decision versus going with his original decision?

I will give you the solution. But, the more interesting part lies in understanding the solution. It looks like, by switching the earlier decision, the contestant has a 2/3 probability of winning when compared to going with his original decision which only has a 1/3 probability of winning…. Our intuition might suggest that, after the host revealed 1 door, we have 2 doors and the probability of winning, irrespective of switching should actually be 1/2. But, that is not true… Something to think about….or not….;)

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2007 in From AM-KICKING blog, Informative, Trivia