Showing posts with label Celebrity. Show all posts

Does Vedic Astrology Solve the Question on the Birth of President Barack Obama?




When faced with real issues in life astrology is only the last resort to many people. Yet for millions around the world, it is what gives hope and support to carry on from day to day. Astrology doesn't stand on firm grounds when questioned based on logic and hard scientific principles, but thanks to modern computing software, subjectivity of astrology pundits at least is removed.

It is quite easy for anyone to be an astrologer these days. All you need to do is to download and install a free piece ofsoftware written by Narasimha Rao, an ex software engineer from PictureTel Corporation and feed some basic information like a place, date and time of birth of a person in to it. If you have some basic understanding of the tenants of Vedic Astrology, it could really add to the fun.

So pondering on the question of the birth of Barack Obama, which has been a matter of controversy in the past and which is recently resurrected, it was intriguing to see what the software will produce. The personal details of celebrities were always difficult to obtain, but thanks to the controversy, the long form birth certificate President Obama was published and is available on the US President's website for anyone interested. According to this document also available here he was born in Honolulu on the 4th of august 1961 at 7.24 PM., which is the basic data used to give it a whirl for the fun of it.
A lot of what the software output is really for the expert astrologer but there is also some plain English which states the qualities and positions in life the person will achieve.


Now Barack Obama might have been born or not as stated in the certificate, but the results certainly reveal a lucky individual with some qualities worthy of a president of the United States.

For a discerning believer in vedic astrology, there are also some important and obvious indications in his birth chart like the excellent positions of the planets, enough to explain why he has become the first Black President of the US or why he succeeded in bringing justice to the victims of a great US tragedy.
Obviously for those clamouring about his worthiness to be a US president, despite being born and delivered to a white female citizen of the United States of America, this is no answer, but for lovers of astrology, there is enough evidence.


Do You Think Lady Gaga is Changing the Face of Celebrity Culture?



Can Lady Gaga make a difference and change the world for a better place when celebrities of our times from Lady Diana to Whitney Houston have been down the road, without much success? Perhaps, with the power of the social web behind them, Lady Gaga and other young celebrities can make a difference.


First sign that they may be able to make any positive change, is in this recognition by the establishment that it is time the enormous clout of social web, supported by modern technology, is reckoned with.

There is no other plausible reason to explain the acceptance of the top most educational institution of the world to act as the spring board for the Born This Way Foundation of Lady Gaga, named after her 2011 album and hit song, which promotes self-empowerment and has become an anthem for gay pride.

With 20 million followers on Twitter and sophisticated web technology enabling her to feel the pulse of her followers, Lady Gaga who had her own bitter experience and the support of other celebrities like Oprah Winery, could persuade Harvard to lent its name and backing to her cause and thereby gaining strong conviction among her millions of followers

Lady Gaga's new foundation is aimed at empowering young people to fight bullying

by promoting tolerance and acceptance and will be working with a new media agency to create a social media environment that fosters the foundation's goals.

Gaga spoke to more than 1,100 students from several states, faculty and invited guests at Harvard, urging the young audience to "challenge meanness and cruelty."

"I believe that if you have revolutionary potential, you must make the world a better place and use it," she said.

She reminded them that there is no law to make people be kind to one another and added: "I wish there was because, you know, I'd be chained naked to a fence somewhere trying to pass it."

Not surprisingly, the ideas of Lady Gaga resonate with more mature thinking and trends elsewhere like the acceptance of vulnerability in addressing the social issues, giving much hope that they are likely to strike a chord with the youth of the world.

For instance, Brené Brown, a research professor at the University Of Houston Graduate College Of Social Work, who spent years studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame addresses empowerment by posing the questions:

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough - that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

For the Harvard University, the ultimate custodian of propriety, the enormous popularity alone is no reason to recognise and welcome a pop singer like Lady Gaga; the event has attracted criticism as a marriage of strangest of bed fellows.

But the willingness of the prestigious university to get involved with Lady Gaga has to with being in line with a new trend of including the phenomenon of the social web in to the knowledge base and accepting its social engineering clout, more than the brownie points it can add to its collection by associating with a very noble cause.



The invitation of another young artist to share his viral marketing success on the web with its faculty and students of another top notch business school, the IIM of Ahmedabad, where leading corporations of the world queue up to recruit the best business brains, is indicative of the trend and an example of the new found clout celebrities are acquiring from the social web.

With such active interest being taken by such leading institutions on the social engineering potentials of the social web and the support they are willing to lent to a new generation of coconscious achievers in the arts and sports, who are willing to extend a helping hand, there is hope that the celebrity culture, which revels in narcissistic and destructive escapades, will have a newer and kinder face.

There is evidence that as the notion and adulation of celebrities and the celebrity culture spread beyond the Oscars, Grammys and Hollywood in to the world outside, so do the new trends and values.

This has been demonstrated by Vidya Balan, a film actor from Bollywood who won the National award for the best actress of the year but chose to celebrate her success by visiting and addressing an unfortunate group of women who are victims of human trafficking.

Lady Gaga deserves to be applauded to be the one to show the way by putting her clout on the social web to promote her profession and a good cause.

Follow Sreedhar Pillai on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lastingrose
Monday, March 12, 2012
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

Please, For God’s Sake Don’t Call Engelbert Humperdinck Engelbert Hyperlink!




Mobile phones may have a problem in predicatively suggesting the name of Engelbert Humperdinck in text messages, but for millions who will miss Whitney Houston and her music, the name Engelbert spells magic and nostalgia.








The BBC has announced this morning that 75 year old Engelbert Humperdinck, once the heart throb of women around the world, will represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision song contest, to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 26 May. Engelbert has stated that


"It's an absolute honour to be representing my country for this year's Eurovision Song Contest." "When the BBC approached me, it just felt right for me to be a part of an institution like Eurovision. I'm excited and raring to go and want the nation to get behind me!"




Engelbert Humperdinck, dubbed the "King of Romance", is best known for his 1967 hit Release Me, which kept The Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever off the number one spot.


For those who haven’t herd of this legendary singer who became famous for his crooning, Engelbert Humperdinck has received four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year and is one of only a handful of artists with a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Las Vegas Walk of Fame.


"Release Me", his 1967 smash hit version of the 1950s country song was the one that started it all for Engelbert. "Release Me" was succeeded by two more hit ballads, "There Goes My Everything" and "The Last Waltz," earning him a reputation as a crooner.


As per the BBC, the song Humperdinck will perform for the Eurovision contest is yet to be announced but will be recorded in London, Los Angeles and Nashville.


It will be written by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello winner Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote James Blunt hit You’re Beautiful.


Arnold Dorsey who was born in Chennai, India to a British army officer, took his stage name Engelbert Humperdinck from a German composer best known for his opera Hansel and Gretel.


"I have such wonderful childhood memories of Madras. I like the sun, and my 10 siblings and I went from a big home in India to relatively modest surroundings in England, which can be so cold and grey. Life in England was tough initially, but then we settled down."


Engelbert is equally popular in India and a generation of Indians have reciprocal feelings about him. Engelbert was worshipped to the extent that the Konkani singers, Alfred and Rita Rose, named an offspring after him.


No Goan and Parsi event was complete without Engelbert's music. It was perfectly in sync for our weddings, dances, village socials and Sunday morning hops for the waltz, fox trot or dancing.


There is no doubt that even the “digital” generation around the world, especially in India will be thrilled to hear the “King of Romance” croon again even if they can’t get his name right!

Article first published as Please, For God’s Sake Don’t Call Engelbert Humperdinck Engelbert Hyperlink! on Technorati.

Is It The Social Web That Gave The Verdict In Oscars Vs Baron Cohen?


The independence of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and of the United States of America is admirable. The sheen on its prestigious Oscar awards night, as the second most watched event in the US, has only got brighter in recent times. However, it looks like the social web can now influence how the Oscar award ceremony is conducted and will continue to do so in the future.

Every year the controversies around the award night, which surface both before and after the gala event, generate more interest and discussion than the event itself.
This year it was the turn of Sacha Baron Cohen to kick up the storm and grab his share of attention by intending to appear in the outfit of his role in his upcoming movie "The Dictator" with an urn of the 'ashes' of his friend, the real world dictator Kim Jong-il, even as many people felt that it was too much self serving and the Academy threatened to refuse him admission
Proving how the academy worried about the disruption to the biggest event in the industry and the fall out in its reputation, the Academy President Tom Sherak has issued a statement dismissing the speculation that the Academy was somehow in on the whole stunt of Baron Cohen.
"I'm telling you the truth, this is not a stunt that we were involved in at all. We can have another conversation about how things happened and whether we overreacted - but trust me, it was not like we helped make this up."
That raises the question why did the Academy object to the request of Sacha Baron Cohen to appear in his now famous uniform in the first place? Judging from his contribution to the motion picture industry and the record of box office success of his films, the Academy had only reason to welcome him as an honoured guest, especially as a cast member of Hugo, which received several recommendations and was considered a front runner for the top award.
It seems his reputation as a 'Controversy's child' and his Jewish origin have more to do with the reticence of the Academy than a mere intention to let his pranks annoy the guests and ruin their show. As mentioned in a piece on the Wiki about Baron Cohen:
"Aside from the comic elements of his characters, Baron Cohen's performances are interpreted by some as reflecting uncomfortable truths about his audience. He juxtaposes his own Jewish lineage with the anti-Semitism of his character Borat."
No doubt, the character of Admiral General Aladeen could have had unpredictable reactions in a world unsure about the gentle breeze of the Arab spring, which the Academy was in no position to judge and perhaps causing nightmares to its members who were trying to foresee the repercussions.
The Academy also has failed to reckon the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen, who perhaps unintentionally, has blunted any adverse reaction by releasing his famous clip but certainly meant to underscore his main theme of ridiculing dictatorship by the act of spreading the ashes of Kim Jong-il on the famous red carpet and thus send his real message to the whole world.
However the 'viral' and positive reaction to his clip of objection released on the web two days before the Oscar night must have given as much relief to the Academy members as the pressure of negative world opinion, if he were to be banned from the event for his prank which more and more people were ready to accept as such.
It appears that, after all the showing up of a "Dictator" for the Oscars could be a funny prank and nothing objectionable, thanks to the collective wisdom of the social web, which has the sea change in attitude towards dictatorship the Arab world has recently witnessed to its credit.
Baron Cohen was not alone to get an admission to the Oscar 2012 night thanks to the power of the social web. Uggie, the ten year old dog who was refused an entrance to the event on grounds many people will consider frivolous on the part of the Academy, finally got to share the Oscar and the stage with his co actor Jean Dujardin. The appearance of Uggie on various shows like the TMZ live before the night prompting public appeal on TV and the public outcry on and off the web has earned Uggie the fame and place in history he so well deserved.
With sentiment analysis tools like Wisewindow, which can listen in on the 'chatter' on the social web and analyse with natural language algorithms, is now possible to gauge what the world thinks and how it intends to act on various issues.
Applying such sophisticated tools on the social web allows you to anticipate the winners, taking some of the surprise and excitement from the award night gala. But, more importantly, the social web is also silently changing the politics and morals of the Oscars.
There are in fact plenty of reasons why the Academy should listen to the voice of the world.
Article first published in The Huffington Post as  Has the Social Web Tamed the Oscars if Not Sacha Baron Cohen?
Follow Sreedhar Pillai on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lastingrose
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

Baron Cohen Has Made His Point, But Will "The Dictator" be There?


Will Sacha Baron Cohen upset the 2012 Oscar gala and the celebrities? That seems to be the question on everyone’s mind this weekend rather than who will be taking the prestigious award home in the prime categories.
Though Sacha was assured to be declared as a person non-grata, if he turned up in the costume of Admiral General Aladeen of Wadiya from his movie The Dictator, which resulted in strong protest from Sacha who released a clip on the internet to register his protest, apparently the organizers have sensed the public mood and sent him the entry passes.
Though the objection to Sacha Cohen’s appearance in the now famous costume was officially declared as being “promotional” for his yet to be released film, it is not difficult to see the huge global political fall out and the repercussions in an already strained and thinly balanced international relations, and the embarrassment the organizers are desperately trying to avoid.
Whether Sacha will decide that his immediate aim has been met in terms of gaining publicity and that taking things too far will only eventually hurt his cause, is a matter to wait and see till the award night.
Apparently Sacha Cohen is not the only thorn in the famous celebrity feet which will grace the famous red carpet tonight.
There is a widespread feeling that the Oscars, the biggest and most anticipated and prestigious of awards, and the most watched award ceremony itself are somehow ignoring the very aspects of the movies which endear them to millions of viewers.
The case in question is how Uggie, a ten year old sweet doggy, who has stepped in to make “The Artist”, a silent movie and hot contestant for the award in the best movie category, so much more lovable to viewers around the world, is refused an attendance at the prestigious night.

Apparently, more famous and privileged invitees of a different species objected to the presence of Uggie and the potential loss of camera focus on themselves due to the angle they will be at to catch Uggie who will be closer to the floor level than they are!

However TMZ Live has taken upon them the cause of Haggy and gave Uggie and his trainer and Owner a touching slot on the show. The host Harvey Levin even made an appeal to the Oscar hosts on behalf of Uggie.

A lot of people may not miss Sacha if he didn’t turn up for the Oscar Night, but millions more will be disappointed if they won’t be seeing Uggie steal the whole show.



Guess Who Lady Gaga Is Eavesdropping On?


While the world waits with ears preened and eyes glued to social media sites to lap up juicy snippets of celebrity life, it’s the celebrities like Lady Gaga who are having the last laugh!

Before you get carried away, this has nothing to do with the phone hacking scandal that has rocked the British and world media. Lady Gaga is only resorting to the latest technology to realise her ambition to make her music truly global and yet satisfy her desire to connect and interact with her fans around the world.

The problem of Interscope, who manages her website, was that while Lady Gaga’s site could hold all her own content, the posts, comments, and blogs of millions of her fans were all spread across different social media and a large number of fan sites, making it almost impossible to pursue her dream.

Interscope and Lady Gaga needed a way to centralize the promotion of Lady Gaga’s content, music and merchandise on a single platform, and still allow her to remain close to her fans, which had been a big part of her success, in spite of the enormous size her fan base has grown in to.

What Arktan, a U.S. based start up, has managed to do is to enable Interscope to search across a huge array of sites like Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, blogs and fan websites to find everything being said by people and then pull out that is important right onto Lady Gaga’s website in real-time, allowing her fans to interact with her and feel close to her.

The addition of social streams and the ability to add comments and reply to posts enhance the social influence of the site dramatically. The site’s usability and attraction is further enhanced with rich inline media, comprising of photos and videos from social media sites, which is integrated into each post in real-time and with social interaction around each product in the online store.

If her desire is to get and keep her fans closest to her, Lady Gaga is amazingly succeeding in her efforts with the technology from Arktan, which has enriched her brilliant website with real-time feeds of what her worldwide fans are talking about her and by providing them something like a “back stage” access to directly interact with her, all in real time!

The Technology

Recognising the leveraging they benefit from, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter already provide dynamic and real time comment and activity streams which websites can include in their content with very little or no programming knowledge. Such streams help to engage the visitors who are members of the media to interact with the websites as well as others and also attract new members. However these widgets are limited to single membership and cannot engage multitude of fans or friends simultaneously.

‘Turn your website into a highly engaging real-time social site’ is the motto of companies like Arktan who provides an Enterprise class solution to capture data from any source on the Web including sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr, etc. and stream to your existing Content Management System in real-time, enriching the data in multiple ways by including photos, videos, maps and visually engaging snippets.

Arktan technology is built on a real-time Social Operating System, developed in-house. In addition to in-house technology that does a great amount of real-time and social web curation heavy lifting, Arktan SocialOS uses Amazon EC2 for a scalable server infrastruc­ture and Echo stream server for a scalable cloud database. This enables Arktan to build products like the life stream product focussing on the real-time end-user experience and innovation leaving the server and database infrastruc­ture to proven cloud building blocks.

The technology package is also based on their Social TV and Live Blogging application in which posts by journalists to different social media sites are aggregated into a real-time embedded stream on their site encouraging conversation letting users to like, reply or share and driving engagement and increasing time spent. 

Leading brands  who are using life stream providers like Arktan to bring real-time conversation and content from the social web back to their websites feel that the technology offers “a sweet spot between just enough technology to make it easy and t a finished product that can’t be improved up on.”

Social web is exploding and blowing away advertising!

Lady Gaga is not alone to recognise that the social web is exploding and the rules of engagement with potential customers are being rewritten with breath taking speed.

The role of social media in changing the way human beings behave socially and react to advertisement and its all engulfing grip is evident from several reports which estimates the membership of Facebook has reached above 800 million and is fast approaching the billion mark, with Google+ and Twitter giving a tight chase.

This explosion has seen a host of social media monitoring tools sprouting up faster than mushrooms on a damp corner. Some like Klout specialise in calibrating and measuring people’s influence across the social media, which appear to replace the advertising sponsorship clout of stars and celebrities.

That is why a direct engagement and interaction with your fans is vital for artists like Lady Gaga.

 Article originally published in the Huffington Post as 

Saturday, February 04, 2012
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

King Khan Dances To The Beats Of Akon To Seduce Dubai!




It was an unusually chilly evening in Dubai, yet a crowd of fifty thousand didn’t want to go home without watching Sharukh Khan, the King of Bollywood, dance with the damsels from God’s own country to the music of Akon.

Not only did Khan manage to enthral the huge crowd but also get the shy and untrusting damsel heroines of Kerala to warm up to his steps and gestures and forget themselves in his charming and infectious dance movements. Sharukh Khan proved himself to be a great maestro of inspiration if not the art of dance itself.

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