Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

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“As Though he Listened” by Atul Dodiya

Oil on canvas
60 x 64 in (152.4 x 162.6 cm)
Sold for Rs 12,188,000 through www.saffronart.com

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The greatest one day cricket match ever

DAN’S WORLD
The greatest match ever

Mon, 13 Mar 2006
The worry, lingering with quiet darkness, is that it was all a just-too-wonderful dream, that suddenly I’ll awaken to the manic cackling of Australian laughter, of a leering Shane Warne roaring with glee, and discover that yesterday’s afternoon of surreal perfection was no more than a cruel flight of fancy. For even a day later — a day that has seen me watch 11 assorted re-runs, from fleeting highlights to damn near the whole South African innings — I still can’t quite believe yesterday’s events.

If Friday night had toyed spitefully with South African emotions before letting us down at the very death, then Sunday morning offered nothing so mercilessly teasing.
Teams do not make 434 runs in 50 overs, not even on Stick Cricket, or against Zimbabwe, or when Graeme Smith is bowling. But if teams do not make 434, they most certainly do not chase down 434 to win. Be honest here: however bravely you offered belief that the game wasn’t beyond reach, that sentiment was based very much on hope rather than conviction.

And yet slowly, hope began to filter into a Wanderers ground that grew in spirit and verve as the genius of Herschelle Gibbs, fuelled by a challenge he can hardly have anticipated when taking the field earlier in the day, unfolded with mesmerising force. Ponting’s own extraordinary innings may have reinforced just why he’s such a relentless force with the bat at the moment; Gibbs took the opportunity to remind us why, if not as consistent, he’s every bit as outrageous at the crease when the mood takes him. And did it ever take him yesterday.

The nonchalant slap over wide long-off for six. The disdainful front foot pull over wide long-on, also for six. The assault on the mid-wicket boundary that turned the Wanderers stands into London circa World War Two. Gibbs is a maverick on and off the field, but the frustration of his failures only amplifies the joy of the times he does come off. 175 off 111 deliveries — wherever the Herschelle Gibbs career goes from here, he’s played an innings to define his career, in a match that defines just how powerful a hold sport has over us all.

My inbox is still filling up with jubilant response to an astonishing few hours, people struggling, much like myself, to find the words to cover the incredulity, the elation, the sheer bliss of it all. “It’s pointless ever watching another cricket match,” the message from my mate Kingdom, a committed cricket-hater who avoids the game on principle, and yet was still drawn in helplessly by the magnetism of a breathtaking contest. “Feels like the ’95 World Cup,” suggested Mike Beaumont, and the emotional parallel was certainly there; “I have never seen anything like that ever,” the summary of Martin Tucker, echoing the sentiments of all of us.

But perhaps the comment that gave me most pleasure was that made by South African sports writer Matt Garrett, marooned in Australia and adding insight to Aussie website http://www.livecricket.com.au. “The sweet, unadulterated joy of being a South African living in Australia when the shoe is on the other foot is indescribable,” beamed Garrett, and you can feel his delight from thousands of miles away.

Whether one completely improbable, logic-defying result can swing cricket’s natural order and set up the Test series for an extended hurrah remains to be seen. But that’s days away, and I’m simply not ready to begin thinking about it. The unrestrained euphoria of yesterday has settled down to a warm glow, and a sense of contentment seems to have enveloped the whole country, rich sustenance for a cricketing nation that’s had some dark hours of late.

There’s a temptation to suggest that the cricketing gods had finally taken pity on us, but to suggest anything so serendipitous does a disservice to Gibbs, and Smith, and Boucher, and rest of Mickey Arthur’s team, watched over yesterday by a coach pumping fists furiously like a punch drunk boxer as victory neared.
Set fortune aside, and revel in a quite remarkable victory, and a quite remarkable match. To quote Garrett one last time: “Will we ever witness something as ridiculous and breathtaking again? I doubt it.” Will we ever forget it?” Not a chance.

Contact Dan at dan@metropolis.co.za

Source: iafrica.com

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Can Life exist without DNA?

Red rain could prove that aliens have landed

Amelia Gentleman and Robin McKie
Sunday March 5, 2006
The Observer

There is a small bottle containing a red fluid on a shelf in Sheffield University’s microbiology laboratory. The liquid looks cloudy and uninteresting. Yet, if one group of scientists is correct, the phial contains the first samples of extraterrestrial life isolated by researchers.
Inside the bottle are samples left over from one of the strangest incidents in recent meteorological history. On 25 July, 2001, blood-red rain fell over the Kerala district of western India. And these rain bursts continued for the next two months. All along the coast it rained crimson, turning local people’s clothes pink, burning leaves on trees and falling as scarlet sheets at some points.

Investigations suggested the rain was red because winds had swept up dust from Arabia and dumped it on Kerala. But Godfrey Louis, a physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, after gathering samples left over from the rains, concluded this was nonsense. ‘If you look at these particles under a microscope, you can see they are not dust, they have a clear biological appearance.’ Instead Louis decided that the rain was made up of bacteria-like material that had been swept to Earth from a passing comet. In short, it rained aliens over India during the summer of 2001.

Not everyone is convinced by the idea, of course. Indeed most researchers think it is highly dubious. One scientist who posted a message on Louis’s website described it as ‘bullshit’.

But a few researchers believe Louis may be on to something and are following up his work. Milton Wainwright, a microbiologist at Sheffield, is now testing samples of Kerala’s red rain. ‘It is too early to say what’s in the phial,’ he said. ‘But it is certainly not dust. Nor is there any DNA there, but then alien bacteria would not necessarily contain DNA.’

Critical to Louis’s theory is the length of time the red rain fell on Kerala. Two months is too long for it to have been wind-borne dust, he says. In addition, one analysis showed the particles were 50 per cent carbon, 45 per cent oxygen with traces of sodium and iron: consistent with biological material. Louis also discovered that, hours before the first red rain fell, there was a loud sonic boom that shook houses in Kerala. Only an incoming meteorite could have triggered such a blast, he claims. This had broken from a passing comet and shot towards the coast, shedding microbes as it travelled. These then mixed with clouds and fell with the rain. Many scientists accept that comets may be rich in organic chemicals and a few, such as the late Fred Hoyle, the UK theorist, argued that life on Earth evolved from microbes that had been brought here on comets. But most researchers say that Louis is making too great a leap in connecting his rain with microbes from a comet.

For his part, Louis is unrepentant. ‘If anybody hears a theory like this, that it is from a comet, they dismiss it as an unbelievable kind of conclusion. Unless people understand our arguments – people will just rule it out as an impossible thing, that extra-terrestrial biology is responsible for this red rain.’

Source: The Guardian

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