. Informed . Opinions .

June 30, 2014


Germany has been the most consistent team since 1954. Had it not been for the cheating Brits, this could be their fifth World Cup.

Ever since I have been watching football, the German strikers seemed to be more potent than anyone else (save Ronaldo of Brazil).

Argentina took a long 24 years to return to the final, and showed that they haven’t learned a thing in all these years!

Maradona remains Maradona!

Messi is a gentleman, and relies on his football skills to deliver; unlike Robben, who might be an equally brilliant footballer but relies heavily on acting skills! But, all said and done, Robben deserved the Golden Ball more than Messi.



FIFA Awards:

Golden Glove (Best Goalkeeper): Manuel Neuer (Germany)

Golden Boot (Top Scorer): James Rodriguez (Colombia)

Golden Ball (Best Player, non GK): Lionel Messi (Argentina)

MoM of Final: Mario Goetze (Germany)

Fair Play Award: Colombia

Young Player Award: Paul Pogba (France)


FIFA.com Voters’ WC2014 Dream Team

WC2014 Dream Team

June 27, 2014


I do not think Messi’s goal against Iran, called as the best goal of 2014 World Cup by some right after that game, was any better than Jermaine Jones’ (USA) equalizer against Portugal or Xherdan Shaqiri’s goal against Honduras. All these three are great goals, but just not good enough to be in the top five. Portugal’s Varela’s goal against the USA (Ronaldo’s pass was great) was also very good as was Spain’s David Villa’s goal against Australia.

Here is FIFA’s collection of some of the best goals

 And, in case one wants to revisit ALL the goals from the group stage.

Just Missed

Clint Dempsey (USA) vs Ghana

Nice short solo effort with quick thinking


Lionel Messi (Arg) vs Nigeria

The best free-kick of the group stage of the 2014 World Cup that resulted in a goal



Ahmed Musa (Nig) against Argentina

This goal is spectacular not just for the individual effort of Musa, but for the entire counter-attack of the Nigerian team. This was, in a way, similar to Dempsey’s goal against Ghana



Lionel Messi (Arg) against Bosnia-Harzegovina

Short solo effort and a great shot



Tim Cahill (Aus) vs Holland

The goal you always watn to see scored, with quick thinking and accuracy



Gervinho (Côte d’Ivoire) vs Colombia

Brilliant solo effort to dribble past three defenders and then put the ball in the goal past another defender and the goalie



Robin van Persie (Hol) vs Spain

Amazing header to equalize the scores


June 10, 2014


Filed under: Soccer — Tags: , , , , , , , — Raja @ 10:29 AM



 I have Spain and Italy out in the group stages, for no particular reason  :-P

I always have strong faith in the abilities of the Japanese people  :-)

I will keep updating the game results and my prediction accuracy. This is my entry in our office pool. Correct results would fetch 50 points there, correct goal difference, another 25, and correct score will fetch a further 25 points. So, a maximum of 4800 points.


October 8, 2013

Interesting Maps IV: Perspectives

Filed under: General, India — Raja @ 12:35 PM

ONE: The Cultural Map of the World

The following is a ‘cultural map’ of the world based on extensive surveys and research. But, like the surveys/research conducted by Richard Lynn, this may also be biased. Nonetheless, I found it interesting. “This map reflects the fact that a large number of basic values are closely correlated; they can be depicted in just two major dimensions of cross-cultural variation. Each country is positioned according to its people’s values and not its geographical location. To a large extent the two coincide, but the map measures cultural proximity, not geographical proximity. Thus, Australia, Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain are cultural neighbors, reflecting their relatively similar values, despite their geographical dispersion.”


The importance and influence of religion in the society, more specifically in the legal authority, is plotted on the Y-axis. Apparently, “A wide range of other orientations are closely linked with this dimension. Societies near the traditional pole emphasize the importance of parent-child ties and deference to authority, along with absolute standards and traditional family values, and reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia, and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride, and a nationalistic outlook”

The X-axis essentially represents personal wealth. “Self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, tolerance of diversity and rising demands for participation in decision making in economic and political life. These values also reflect mass polarization over tolerance of outgroups, including foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality. The shift from survival values to self-expression values also includes a shift in child-rearing values, from emphasis on hard work toward emphasis on imagination and tolerance as important values to teach a child. And it goes with a rising sense of subjective well-being that is conducive to an atmosphere of tolerance, trust and political moderation. Finally, societies that rank high on self-expression values also tend to rank high on interpersonal trust”

A few things to observe here:
1.  India lies almost on the point (0,0). That is what I expected.
2.  Such studies sometimes seem to me to be overwhelmingly generic, particularly when extremely diverse cultural scenarios of India are grouped into one single dot while tiny European nations are treated separately
3.  The Scandinavian countries always rank high in all the good things!
4.  India is, according to this map, slightly more ‘secular-rational’ than USA
5.  Zimbabwe, Zambia etc are non-Islamic countries. But these have been grouped with Islamic countries to get a big blob at the left-bottom corner. This almost forces one to think that the Islamic Countries, as a whole, are worse than the Christian and Tribal Africa.

TWO: The British View of the World

Since I have already posted an American view of the world, I thought of posting this one, too.


The WVS Cultural Map of the World
Strange Maps

October 2, 2013

Interesting Maps III

Filed under: India — Raja @ 9:32 AM

The Google AutoComplete Map of USA in the previous post made me think about making such a map of India. You may easily see the difference in the two maps. The map of USA was more sarcastic whereas the map of India has become more insulting. The map of India vindicates an email I had received long ago and posted here: Divided We Stand!

This also shows how little the outsiders know about the states (or, rather, people from the states) of J&K, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura.

On another note, Strange Maps is a fascinating collection of, well, strange maps. If you like to see various things represented in maps, that blog should be visited.


October 1, 2013

Interesting Maps II

Filed under: General — Raja @ 10:31 AM

Here is a map of the most popular writing systems in the world. It is interesting to note that the Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages are written top to bottom and then the columns are made from right to left.


Ok, now a Super Mario Bros view of the world:


A map of the world by commonly used electrical sockets:


Ok, how many time zones are there in Antarctica?


Here is a map to show how much of the entire world was ever invaded by those annoying islanders called the British:


A Google.com auto-complete map:

This map shows what comes up in Google auto-complete feature when you type “<state name> is ” (like, “Ohio is “). Of course this will change over time.

Now, I played around with this last concept a little with country names (I am sure any reader would do, too), and I found that the results vary drastically from Google.com and Google for the particular country searched. Like

India is dirty” in Google.com as opposed to “India is Great” in Google.co.in and “India is the worst” in Google.com.pk
Pakistan is evil” in Goolge.com as opposed to “Pakistan is beautiful” in Goolge,com.pk and “Pakistan is better than India” in Google.co.in

I will create some similar maps and post later.

First six maps are taken from here.

September 30, 2013

Interesting Maps

Filed under: General — Raja @ 10:48 AM

I know a lot of people who get fascinated by maps and satelite imagery. Some of them spend hours just clicking through Google Maps, ‘discovering’ places or just shaping ideas about places. Some people I know can make a mental map of their itinerary even for l-o-n-g drives and never use a GPS or never seek help from any locals.

When creative ideas and maps intersect, the results become very interesting. Here are a few I found:

Breathing Earth Map:

Breating Earth

This map looks at a typical one year seasonal transformation of the earth. Source.

Live Wind Map of USA

Here is the Live Wind Map of USA. Check out the Gallery for the wind map during Hurricane Sandy on Oct 30, 2012.

Racial Dot Map of USA

For the people in US who seldom step outside of the city limits and think USA has equal percentages of black and white population, this map may be revealing.

World Stereotype Map (According to USA)

This map needs no explanation (Source):


August 28, 2013


Filed under: Aaryav — Raja @ 10:33 AM

An irresistibly cute semi-programmable toy that makes the most adorable sounds in the world!

A source of and cure for head-aches


May 28, 2013

Coming Soon In ‘Theatres’ Near Me! ;-)

Filed under: Blue Diamond! — Raja @ 3:35 PM

While this C&H has become a recent favorite of mine, I couldn’t help posting this one:


Coming Soon In Theatres Near Me!

[From: http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes ]

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