HaveeruOnline profile on me

Haveeru Online, the Maldives' most popular online news site, published a profile on me on their Dhivehi version site recently as part of a profile-a-day series they are running for the month of Ramadan. Thanks Haveeru and the author Hussain Fiyaz Moosa for the lovely write up. :-).

The article is available here: ޖާވިޝް: އާ ދިރާސާތަކަށް އަބަދުވެސް ތައްޔާރު!

Me on Geeklyzer podcast

I had a chat recently with Shaff and Aman for the latest episode of their all-Maldivian tech podcast Geeklyzer.

Geeklyzer is the only ongoing Maldivian podcast I know of. They are doing a great job at keeping it going since 2008. Thanks guys for having me on :-)

Listen at Geeklyzer – Interview w/ Jawish Hameed, or via the embedded player below...

Happy new year!

Happy new year to all!

For me, 2011 was a very mellow year. It was a good year. Very relaxed, by my standards. Got lots of thinking done. Planned things out. Developed new ideas and concepts. But the success rate on things I had hoped to achieve was a case of hit and miss:
- Started and got really good work done on a new Internet start-up - one of two reasons I had come back to Maldives - but is still not ready for launch thanks to its scale and complexity.
- Science education and popularization - the other reason I came back - didn't go so well. The two science books in Dhivehi I had planned to write and publish, I couldn't finish. An exciting science TV series I had formulated, with a bunch of others, didn't get off the ground. The science organization I formed with two others, Maldivian Association for the Advancement of Science, fared better. We had a number of events, each with an audience and participation higher than the previous. But all it had was our love and passion for science and less in the way of proper planning and and close to none in the way of external funding.
- The tinier, highly portable version of the magnetic implant interface for my man-machine interface, which I mentioned on my previous post, was completed early in the year. But the research on the effects of extended use which I had designed it for, didn't get a start and is still sitting on my desk.
- Technova, the web and software development company I had co-founded about 6 years ago had become non-functional over the years especially with me and some others involved being away from the country. So when Semicolon, a promising Maldivian software house offered me partnership towards the end of the year, I took the opportunity. Things are looking up.

I'm usually not one to make new year resolutions or such but this year, I'm making an exception. I have set goals. I have set milestones. And I bloody damn hope I achieve them without getting distracted or lazy or bored.

I hope that by the time the Earth completes its current lap around the Sun, that I and you achieve what you all desire :-) Have a good year!

Sri Lanka's Killing Fields

I just watched the documentary film "Sri Lanka's Killing fields", Channel 4's investigation into the civil war and the alleged crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka. The conflict in Sri Lanka (which lies just ~700 km from the Maldives), between the majority-Sinhalese Sri Lankan government and the separatist Tamil Tigers began in 1983 and cessation of hostilities was finally declared in 2009. By all accounts, the final several months of the war was intense and produced heavy casualty. The Channel 4 film shows highly highly disturbing footage and pictures of brutal, cold murder and abuse - by both the Sri Lankan army and the rebels. Is the cost of current "peace" in Sri Lanka morally justifiable? The full film is available on Youtube, which I've linked to below.

To put the war into better perspective, it might be helpful to compare it with the Palestine-Israel conflict which is more familiar and evokes louder, more vehement reactions and emotions in Maldivians. The conflict in Sri Lanka resulted in 80,000-100,000 deaths (conservative estimate according to many) in the period 1983-2009, while the Palestine-Israel conflict has resulted in 14,500 deaths in the period 1948-2009. That translates to 3076 deaths/year in Sri Lanka versus 237 deaths/year in Palestine-Israel! By no means do I wish to suggest that the lesser number discounts the killings or belittles the suffering in the Palestine-Israel conflict but I do wish to communicate the scale and the gravity of the situation that was in Sri Lanka...

I am left feeling more misanthropic than ever.

"The Joys of Science" talk at Jamaluddin School

I was invited to give a talk on science last Sunday and today to a group of 6-7 year olds attending Grade 1 and Grade 2 at Jamaluddin School. My talk, titled "The Joys of Science", aimed at getting the students interested in science and spurring them to get hands-on with discovering, making and exploring the world. I have lots and lots of fond memories of doing just that when I was a kid and it was so much fun!

The format of my talk was quite simple. I started out with two very simple experiments the kids could do at home - making a simple motor and exploring acids and bases by making an indicator - that I hoped would entice them enough to actually do it. I ended the talks with little tour of the Universe, Earth and the night sky - an attempt at fostering observation. For my second talk, I added little show-and-tell with a selection from some fossils I had purchased recently since Maldives does not have such items anywhere publicly accessible to anyone. It turned out to be a good decision because they all scrambled to see the 140 million year old Spinosaurus tooth and the 440 million year old fossil trilobite I took. Hopefully, they learnt something from all that...

I'd like to thank Jamaluddin School for inviting me to address the kids. It was my first time addressing such young students and it was a big learning experience for me, to say the least!

Waiting for the kids to come in...

"We, Machines" lecture

(I am a bit late in posting it here but...) I would like to convey a big thank you to all those who attended my recent lecture, "We, Machines" at the 6th edition of the Buraasfathivaru series, and the organisers "26". I hope the lecture imparted something of value and provided some food for thought.

We, Machines - Lecture promo

Still in Maldives, keeping busy...

Two months have passed since I came to the Maldives and I've stayed way beyond my originally intended holiday. I am spending most of my time working on a few projects that catch my interest. I am also incubating a few pet projects that had been on the backburner and slowly driving them towards completion.

I'll post details and updates soon. Toodles :-)