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Tuesday, September 18, 2001

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On the edge

By Bindu Jacob

Black Tuesday seems to have left Delhiites jumpy. Sample this -- aboard a jampacked DTC bus plying on the Jantar Mantar route, the passengers sat discussing what now seems to be an ``imminent war''. The bus came to a halt at the traffic light near Jantar Mantar where a group of people had gathered shouting slogans condemning the killing of innocent people in the United States.

The passengers as well as the driver looked out at the protesters and mumbled about the threat that loomed large over the world. Then suddenly, without any warning, the protesters bent down and lit some crackers.

The noise was deafening and it shocked the commuters so much that many were seen covering their heads and crouching, some holding on to their bus seats tighter. And when they realised that the `bomb' was actually crackers, they swore and claimed that people should really learn to behave. But if a cracker could create such a situation, one shudders.

* * *

Topical session

By K. Kannan

While the spectre of a third world war looms large and Nostradamus' ominous prediction about the end of the world terrorises the general psyche, Alliance Francaise de Delhi and the Embassy of France in India will hold a conference on the ``Extinction of Species'' later this month.

To be organised in collaboration with the India Habitat Centre, the conference is part of a series of six such discussions planned as part of ``French Science Today 2001''. The other topics to be covered as part of the series include ``Medical Imagery'', ``Origin of Man'', ``Prediction of Earthquakes'', ``Chaos'' and ``Human Cloning''.

Each of these conferences, designed for lay audiences will be in the form of a small film, a presentation by an eminent French scientist and thereafter, a question-answer session.

A collective effort of the network of Alliances Francaises in India along with the Scientific Co-Operation Section of the French Embassy in India, this 2001 edition of French Science Today will comprise a total of 45 conferences in 13 major cities along with 20 poster exhibitions and 130 screenings of latest documentaries.

These conferences hope to bring to the Indian public a comprehensive panorama of the contributions of the French scientific community to the debate and enable them even by contradiction, if need be, to engage in a veritable dialogue on these questions which have a universal reach.

* * *

Sticking torule

By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

When the cat is away the mice will be at play. This may be an old saying but to it holds good at night on each and every road of the Capital. Once the Traffic police and the police personnel go off the roads at sundown, the motorists feel at ease and are emboldened to drive their own way.

In doing so, they indulge in all kinds of traffic violations. Be it red-light jumping, overspeeding, drunken driving, riding without helmets or triple riding almost all sorts of violations become commonplace after a point of time.

So brazen are some motorists, that they do not mind throwing caution to the winds. The other day four young men were seen riding a motorcycle at Talkatora Road, which incidentally houses some senior Delhi police officers.

Riding without helmets they headed for the roundabout on Shankar Road where they had to stop because of the flow of traffic on this major road. Just as they were planning to zip away, a policeman in civvies and riding a motorcycle happened to spot them.

The burly cop wasted no time in blocking their way. They almost lost their balance on seeing the huge frame before them. With a movement of his hands, the cop demanded to know from the four shaken men as to what they were up to.

Realising that they were in the wrong, the boys panicked and apologised straightaway. They, however, sought permission to carry on with their journey as they stayed close by. But the cop would have nothing of their babbling. He ordered two of the four off the vehicle asked the other two to put on their helmets if they wanted to go ahead.

Having got things done his way, the lenient yet firm cop went away after allowing only two of the youth to carry on. His actions in those few moments are sure to have left a deep impression on the minds of the young men. But surely there is a greater need for such strict disciplinarians.

* * *

Short takers

With the ``short and sweet'' syndrome in fashion nowadays, the ``in thing'' has now even gripped the language of Generation Y,. With mobile phones making the language short, a missing ``p'' or ``q'' does not matter much. It heralds the arrival of the new language, unspoken yet catchy.

This SMS language is fast catching up with the urbane and obviously with all those who sport a cell phone. Not only is it innovative but time and money saving too. No need to waste those precious minutes, trying to convey something over your cellphone. All you require, is punch in a few letters and the message will be sent across.

``Are you free to talk?'', can be substituted for, ``R-u-f-2- t?''. Says Shivani, a IInd year KMC student, ``I constantly need to keep in touch with friends, the SMS helps me to get across any time, without consuming my air time, it's so simple''.

Not only are college goers are crazy about this lingo, but it's also catching up with those in business. Says Jai, who works in a consultancy firm, ``Most of the important messages are delivered to me through SMS, I keep getting the latest on any front quickly, and it saves me the hassle to go on the net only to realise that your server is down''.

A new pocket dictionary has also been designed, that teaches the meaning of this fun language. Gone are the days, when it took ages for one to voice one's feelings, now the expression is quick and smart. Just send in a message or a ``msg?''

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