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Please rob me

STATUS updates did seem to be a great idea. Apart from the occasional emo messages, you could simply login to your Facebook or Twitter homepage and get a quick glance on what your friends (even the ones you haven't seen in the last five years or aren't necessarily 'friends' with) were doing with their lives. The mundane became the interesting.

Don't get us wrong, it still is. So much can be shared with so little an effort. However, what concerns us is how people don't foresee the implications of it all.

The problem with telling people where you are, is that you are informing others you're definitely not in one place... home. That, and the unwavering willingness (or temptation) to add total strangers just to increase the friend count into your private radio party to broadcast holiday plans, whereabouts, purchases, home interior and personal information creates a field day for professional burglars. Take the story of the podcaster who tweeted that he was out of town only to come back to discover that his house was robbed. Tomorrow's technology today, aye?

There is in fact, PleaseRobMe.com, a website which works by sucking all your public twitter/foursquare data and listing "opportunities" (no really, they actually call these opportunities). Imagine what "opportunities" does for someone (breaking into a house and leaving flower petals on the porch is illegal too, by the way). On one end, you're leaving your lights on to tell the whole world that you are awake at night while on the other end, you're basically shouting from your rooftop that you will not be home from 10th to 12th of next month because you'll be leaving to meet your long lost friend in a different city... ample information for someone donning a black mask to drop by for an uninvited dinner. The website was created to demonstrate an important point. One about proving a point. Or about getting rich. We can't decide.

Hell, you don't even need to tell the people where you are. Twitter recently released a Geolocation thingy which does that automagically. By the way, just because we're bashing twitter doesn't mean your beloved Facebook isn't out of the crossfire. Remember how Facebook made its status updates public? Yeah. And who says that hot guy/girl who sent you a request to "make friendsheep" isn't a bald guy wearing nothing but lungi and reading the Bangla version of Facebook for newbies?

You might be thinking we're exaggerating, things like this will never happen in Bangladesh. See, that's where you are wrong. Maybe we are. Maybe we are not. One of us at least, was rudely interrupted on a date by his so-called friends because he was foolish enough to get caught up on the novelty of Google Latitude running on his new phone, just because they wanted to "meet the new girl". Although, this is nothing equivalent to getting a home burglarised, he did lose an extra 500 bucks on food for that.

Convenient, eh?

By Elvista and Holy Babble


Let there be no lights

YOU all must have by now heard of the government's electricity price hike; from march 1 we household consumers have to pay an increased tariff of tk. 2.60 per unjt, almost 4 percent from the previous charge. Those lucky industrial consumers will have their prices unchanged.

Anyway, with these prices will come changes. Some will be expected, like your parents screaming to switch off the lights before you leave your room, while others much larger and can affect our country as a whole. Here are twenty such changes:

1. As mentioned before, parents will now find a whole new reason to scream their lungs at you. Oh joy!

2. The bangladesh national cricket team will now get to blame the stadium floodlights being switched off early as one of their prime reasons of defeat. We, being their blind supporters, will take the cake.

3. Kerosene and candle prices will increase.

4. Lights off…will bring…*ahem* a sudden rise in population. We see those predictions of bangladesh's population doubling coming horribly true.

5. Not to create tautology, but we expect maternity cases to increase at local hospitals as well. Local hospitals, like always, will be unable to provide services with the latest addition of the price hike excuse.

6. Dr. Lovelove will get all sorts of problems where people will blame him for the price hike. To those people: we are with you.

7. Dr. Lovelove, in turn, will start using doves (or dovedoves, as he calls them in his world) for sending his columns. Which brings us to the next point,

8. Rising stars, in an effort to save electricity costs, will now be published on stone slabs and moses lookalikes will have the issues in their “earth format” delivered to your houses.

9. The daily star it staff will now get a new excuse to not upload online issues, because it is electricty-consuming.

10. Osama rahman will too, excuse chelsea's losses for the price hike. How very logical: an english team losing because of our price hike.

11. Ero senin will make another album parody on the price hike. We are bracing ourselves for the fan mail shower.

12. Your humble narrator will seize this chance to write a lame article about the price hike. Oh, wait...

13. The other osama, osama bin laden will threaten to plunge dhaka to its darkness. Oh, yeah, we are real scared. As if.

14. Telecom operators will offer special “lights off” rates. Expect texting in full-fledged force, people.

15. Hoping against hope itself, maybe people will finally stop buying high school musical dvds to torture their dvd players with.

16. Good news: no more of those energy-consuming inefficient roadside sodium lamps. Bad news: no more lamps at all! Racing be damned.

17. Religious extremists will riot over how the lord does not want them rioting in darkness.

18. One degree initiative will now take another initiative on a scale of 0-1 degree regarding the price hike. Of course, no one would actually care. As usual.

19. Political parties with kerosene lamps as their symbols will prove that they are visionaries with decent civic sense. Maybe.
Lastly,

20. The government would now use all the extra money to track honest citizens of this country like yours truly for betraying classified intelligence regarding the lampposts. Well, all this poor writer can say is...he has done worse...

By the don khan


Book Review

Wyrd Sisters

FROM '10 things I hate about you' to 'Omkara', from artists to bard-core musicians, Shakespeare has provided ample inspiration for creative minds around the globe and over the years. That master of satire, Terry Pratchett is no exception.

His Discworld, that wildly spinning disc-shaped universe borne by elephants standing on the back of A'Tuin the space-turtle, has spawned several storylines. You have the wizards of the Unseen University, you have Rincewind, an outcast from the same university, but a character that gets a separate storyline because he's really been around. You have Death, you have the City Watch, and you have the Witches, as well as quite a few stand-alones. Each storyline has a different persona of its own, and with the Witches storyline, Pratchett spoofs literature classics.

In 'Wyrd Sisters', he takes on the bard in a mad medley of Hamlet and Macbeth. The story begins in Lancre, where King Verence I is murdered by his cousin, Duke Felmet, while an escaping servant manages to convey his crown and heir to the Ramtops. This servant interrupts the weekly meeting between the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and the young Magrat Garlick and is able to hand over his precious charges before being killed by the Duke's men. Not wanting the burden of raising a baby, that too a royal one, the witches hand him off to a troupe of travelling actors, who name him Tomjon and make off across the Discworld.

Meanwhile, the Duke is suffering a crisis of conscience, which manifests itself in the form of blood that never seems to leave his hands. Pressured by his ambitious wife, he proceeds to cement his place as the rightful ruler of Lancre, by forcing taxes on his people, ordering trees to be cut down, and other deeds that anger the spirit of the kingdom, even as the spirit of the deceased king rattles through the battlements. The two contact the witches and demand a showdown against the false king, even though said witches are reluctant to tamper with destiny. To add further flavouring to this already bubbling plot, a romance flowers up between Magrat and the king's Fool.

While not the best Witches story, this is an entertaining one, nevertheless. Pratchett takes a stab at propaganda, both in the means Felmet deploys to battle his personal ghosts, and the kind that makes Magrat believe in witchy 'conventions'. If you're looking for a read that tickles, this is a good one as any to settle down with.

By Sabrina F Ahmad
sabrina.ahmad@thedailystar.net

 

 
 

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