Sunday, December 5, 2010

Justice, redefined

Every person in his or her childhood with an ideal view of the world as a part of the education he is imparted, more so at the school than at the home, as at home he occasionally gets to see or hear some glimpses of world as it is for real. As a child we are crammed with the high moral values, truth ala Harischandra, and whenever we commit a little mistake we are liable to be bombarded with chiding and subjected to the long unending lectures by our parents or teachers as to what is right and what is wrong. As a result, our world is painted in black and white and we come to accept that certain people or governments are right, or white; and certain individuals or groups are black, or wrong.But as we grow and get different views of the world we live in, we see that whatever is told to us is laced with half truths, even lies, and there is no such thing as "white" or "black", just shades of "grey" which keep swinging between the lighter and the darker side of the spectrum with passage of time. As a child, I used to think that my teachers in school know EVERYTHING, probably because my knowledge was zilch as compared to theirs, but now I understand that there is no such thing as perfect knowledge, those who say otherwise are just pretentious.

We live in a world where we have to accept what is told to us by the people at high positions, be it our boss or be it our governments, and by default the world accepts that whoever is at the high pedestal is correct, especially if the information is incomplete then the one at higher authority is assumed to be correct. to quote a dictum: "THE BOSS IS ALWAYS RIGHT". Now if your interviewer says your interview wasn't good so you are being given lower pay or if your boss says your performance isn't good so you are not being given increment, then what conclusion can we draw from such a statement? We have to consider the fact that the boss is also human and he is definitely not above the rest of humanity simply because he is at a high pedestal before we blindly accept what has been told. We live in a world of half truths, and the occasional lie in between a story is the norm which is told to uphold the interest of the story teller. Can we really fall back and assume whatever is being told to us is the fact, where by "fact" I mean something which is still undistorted by the personal interests of the teller.

Even the children's stories as we read and know them today are essentially half truths, as less than half the story is told to us in the books that we read. It is a fact that the fairy tales as we read them today have been made softer, sweeter and primly moral with the passage of time. The original stories by the brothers Grimm and the others were full of gore, blood, murder, sex and even incest and would be too grisly for today's audiences. In one of the earlier versions of the little red riding hood, the wolf has sex with her , eats her and the story ends there. In the story of Hansel and Grethel, the two siblings make their escape by slashing the throat of the witch. In the story of Cinderella, the step sisters cut off parts of their feet to make the shoe fit for them. The prince comes to know of this trickery from pigeons who pluck out the eyes of the sisters.

All being said so far being just food for thought, and maybe my personal opinion alone till about a week back, but now probably we have some concrete support of my theory in the form of the Wikileaks expose. Wikileaks is a supposedly non profit organization which claims to have a database running into millions of leaked documents, and intended to provide a platform to journalists who otherwise cannot reveal some of the sensitive information they obtain, and can evade the repercussions, like what happened with a Chinese journalist who was jailed for publicizing some email relating to the anniversary of Tiananmen square massacre.

While all is known about regimes like the US government acting like a big brother and almost wanting the subject to do what the government wants, and not what the subject wants, but the latest revelations from Wikileaks put US on the same "freedom to speech" pedestal as maybe China or UAE. Wikileaks is releasing a quantum of 'secret' and 'classified' information in stages. The documents date back to 1966 and contain the orders sent to different countries, and the embassy reporting from the country. Hence they have the details of US activity in every country. All of this is that sort of information which can cause some sort of repercussions when is released, and the standard way of dealing with such information is to keep it from the general public. Once again, politically sensitive information is screened and we get a goody-goody version of the incident to suit the purposes of the big brother, which is laced with the half truths, the omitted truths and the in between lies. In other words, the high father paints himself in white, classifying any information that can potentially cause damage or disrepute as "CLASSIFIED". HOW CONVENIENT!!

Are you so sure that whatever information the regime is shelling out is in its original untainted state, and that its the truth in its entirety? What is right and what is wrong? Are our notions of justice been defined by those at the high altars of justice? Has that not always been the case, the only difference over the ages has probably been that earlier in the case of monarchy, the subjects never had a choice as per the rules. So the rulers made whatever arbitrary choices that came to them and imposed them on the society, and more often than not, over a period of time, the society came to accept the whims of any such person as being the "right" thing because "that's the way things are done." And these days, we have something called a "democracy", and once again, whatever those at the position of power say, is correct. After all, the boss is always right.

In the ancient ages of Alexander, the Mughals, the Roman Empire and all, there were wars every now and then. It is my personal opinion that most often both the sides fought for what was their definition of justice, personal riches, power and glory apart. Needless to say, this was not the case for ALL such battles. The attackers had a view of expanding their reign and power, and hence their justice. Aurangzeb had his view of converting the entire nation into Mohammedans, by whatever means. He was probably looking at the reflection of the prophet's ideals in a cracked mirror. I believe that most of the defending rulers and princes were largely concerned about their own wealth and power being snatched away, rather than the well being of the masses. As was the case during colonial expansion, the Europeans always justified their conquer of the African and Asian countries with the mission of "educating" the native pagan tribes, even though many missionaries themselves did not support colonization. Today we glorify the protagonists of the 1857 war, and glorify it as the "first war of independence", but the ruling East India company termed the fighters as delinquents or rebels , and the war was termed a rebellion by them. Interestingly, the brutal suppression of the revolt and perhaps an even more brutal follow up in which innocent civilians were mass murdered was justified by the then British masses back in England. Bhagat Singh was a "terrorist" as per the British. Also, what we always miss in the picture is the fact that most of the people who took part in that war were fighting because they saw their power being threatened, and not out of love of the masses. Who are we to say that the British were "better" or "worse" than the monarchs who preceded them, when we know nothing of the rulers who were there before the British came? Though it is accepted that we have progressed a lot since they left us to have our own rule, but again the concept of right or wrong is contingent upon who is in power.

Coming back to the wars of ancient times, both the sides fighting in the war had their own sense of justice, everyone would paint themselves as white and the other side as black. In wars, no matter who won, justice always triumphed because whoever won, BECAME justice.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rajni the immortal

Rajni Kanth's CV lists his top 50 achievements as follows:

1)Rajnikanth makes onions cry
2)Rajnikanth can delete the Recycle Bin.
3)Ghosts are actually caused by Rajnikanth killing people faster than Death can process them.
4)Rajnikanth can build a snowman..... out of rain.
5)Rajnikanth can strangle you with a cordless phone.
6)Rajnikanth can drown a fish.
7)When Rajnikanth enters a room, he doesn't turn the lights on, he turns the dark off.
8)When Rajnikanth looks in a mirror the mirror shatters, because not even glass is stupid enough to get in between Rajnikanth and Rajnikanth.
9)Brett Favre can throw a football over 50 yards. Rajnikanth can throw Brett Favre even further.
10)Rajnikanth does not know where you live, but he knows where you will die.
11)Bullets dodge Rajnikanth.
12)A Handicap parking sign does not signify that this spot is for handicapped people. It is actually in fact a warning, that the spot belongs to Rajnikanth and that you will be handicapped if you park there.
13)Rajnikanth' calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd, noone fools Rajnikanth.
14)Rajnikanth can do a wheelie on a unicycle.
15)Once a cobra bit Rajnikanth' leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.
16)Rajnikanth can kill two stones with one bird.
17)Rajnikanth was once on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and was the first to spin. The next 29 minutes of the show consisted of everyone standing around awkwardly, waiting for the wheel to stop.
18)Leading hand sanitizers claim they can kill 99.9 percent of germs. Rajnikanth can kill 100 percent of whatever he wants.
19)There is no such thing as global warming. Rajnikanth was cold, so he turned the sun up.
20)Rajnikanth has a deep and abiding respect for human life… unless it gets in his way.
21)It takes Rajnikanth 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes.
22)Rajnikanth once shot down a Paki fighter plane with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"
23)In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Rajnikanth could use to kill you, including the room itself.
24)Behind every successful man, there is a woman. Behind every dead man, there is Rajnikanth.
25)Rajnikanth got his drivers license at the age of 16 Seconds.
26)With the rising cost of gasoline, Rajnikanth is beginning to worry about his drinking habit.
27)The square root of Rajnikanth is pain. Do not try to square Rajnikanth, the result is death.
28)When you say "no one's perfect", Rajnikanth takes this as a personal insult.
29)Outer space exists because its afraid to be on the same planet with Rajnikanth.
30)Rajnikanth has counted infinity--twice.
31)Rajnikanth doesn't wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.
32)The Bermuda Triangle used to be the Bermuda Square, until Rajnikanth kicked one of the corners off.
33)Rajnikanth once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him blink.
34)Where there is a will, there is a way. Where there is Rajnikanth, there is no other way!
35)Rajnikanth can eat just one Lay's potato chip.
36)Rajnikanth can slam a revolving door.
37)When Rajnikanth falls in water, Rajnikanth doesn't get wet. Water gets Rajnikanth.
38)Rajnikanth can divide by zero.
39)The grass is always greener on the other side, unless Rajnikanth has been there. In that case the grass is most likely soaked in blood and tears.
40)Rajnikanth is the only man to ever defeat a brick wall in a game of tennis.
41)Rajnikanth ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.
42)Rajnikanth frequently donates blood to the Red Cross. Just never his own.
43)Rajnikanth's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
44)If paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, and scissors beats paper,what beats all 3 at the same time? Answer: Rajnikanth
45)If you want a list of Rajnikanth's enemies, just check the extinct species list.
46)Most people put their pants on one leg at a time, Rajnikanth does both legs at once.
47)Rajnikanth does not use spell check. If he happens to misspell a word, Oxford will simply change the actual spelling of it.
48)There are two kinds of people in this world: 1) those who are dead 2) those who have yet to meet Rajnikanth
49)RajniKanths email Address
50)Rajnikatn dsnt do pushups he PUSHES the earth down and then PULLS it up.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Passwords of celebrities

Abhishek Bachchan - Paa sWord
Amitabh Bachchan - rekha
Shahrukh Khan - ppppassword
Madhuri Dixit - 12345678910111213
Shahid Kapur - Paffword
Bill Gates - pMSword
Barack Obama - TheBlackHouse
Deve Gowda -zzZZZ
Sunil Bharti Mittal - KhuljaSIMSIM
Vijay Mallya: calendarshouldhave20months
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar - India
RahulDravid - Nothing shall pass
Saurav Ganguly - Iamthebest
Navjot Singh Sidhu - lol
Emraan Hashmi - Muaaaaah
Nana Patekar - Kaekopoocha
Gabbar Singh - Aakthoo!!
ACP Pradyuman - daya_darwaza_tod_do

Please note: -
#Anu Malik will use passwords chosen by somebody else
#Rajnikanth doesn't need a password

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An old forward

An old forward that most of us would have seen, but I could not resist posting this one up here. These may be an assortment of extreme cases, but I do keep getting stupid answers in the papers, which are not very unlike the ones shown here. While these are answers of school students, idiotic answers by college students are not uncommon. This is my third post so far on this theme.

The sugarcane industry
sugarcane industryCommunication
communicationSea fishing in India
sea fishing in india

mathsExpansion of (a+b)^n
expand (a+b)^nUnder root operation
under root operation
Sin x has value greater than 1
What Pythagoras?

pythagoras theorem

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another ice age cometh?

Some things I put up here are those which have occured some time back and I have to wait for the related issues to settle down before I make those things public, like my embezzlement of the answer sheets in IMT(put up that post in Feb 2009), and sometimes I put up my beliefs and expectations of the future. While these may be dismissed as mere speculations by some without any foundation, these definitely warrant a second thought with a rational and logical bent of mind. This one would undoubtedly fall into the latter category.

This may come as a surprise to some who have been following global warming , or rather the protocols or meetings that are being held on regular basis, and there is this buzz regarding the topic, and the ice age issue is virtually non-existent. The explanation for this hype regarding the current issue of global warming is that we need a suitable culprit to frame, and in this case it is the greenhouse gas emissions by factories , automobiles etc. which are all a by product of our civilization, and we forget that mother nature always keeps moving along at its own pace, and accordingly climate changes follow. The basic tenet of nature that we tend to forget is: IT'S A CYCLE! Every beginning begets an end, the end is just a means to a new beginning. If the dinosaurs had not gone extinct, the rule of mammals and later on, homo sapiens , would never have come to pass. Just about everything in the cosmos follows this basic rule of cycles: rotation of planets- day comes after night, revolution in their orbits, path of comets, life and death, and the list goes on. Anything that begins, would have an end, and any end is a means to a new beginning. Some of the lesser known natural cycles are the sunspot cycle, the magnetic pole reversal, and the ice age. All occur with a certain degree of regularity, though the time period is not always exactly the same because of some variations like wobble or some other phenomena, but it is approximately the same. The pole reversal and the ice age are two cycles whose time is high overdue and can occur anytime. As a matter of fact, the earth hasn't been this warm in ages, and its only a matter of time before things start moving the other way.

Firstly, the pole reversal is a phenomenon of which many people might never have heard of. It occurs once every 50,000 years or so and the effects can be devastating for life on the planet. For one , migratory birds would lose all sense of direction. The full effects of such a change are not fully understood but it is well understood that the magnetic north, which people use for navigation purposes is slightly different from the geographic north where James Cook first reached in 1834. You may say that now we have GPS and all but the fact is, compasses are still used to find the direction in underground or underwater regions where the satellite signal cannot reach. As of the recent records, the Magnetic North was very close to the geographic North though slightly different. In 1904, it started moving at about 5 miles an year. Currently, its near some island in Canada and moving rapidly at about 35 miles an year towards Siberia. Is this an auger? Does this ring a bell? Can it be the harbinger of some catastrophic change?

Now, we come to the more pressing issue of ice age, which, at least everyone has heard of. From past records it is known that ice ages last for about 90,000 years in which half of the planet gets covered with ice and there is a warm interglacial period of about 10,000 years in between. This period is called the Holocene. This is the era in which we are living in. The last ice age ended 12,000 years ago, so the next one is nigh overdue. It would most definitely we stupidity and brazenness to even think that such an event would not occur again. An indication for the onset of an ice age and the end of the Holocene is the concentration of a particular oxygen isotope in the soil. When the concentration reaches critical level, the ice age sets in. And according to present data, the concentration of that particular isotope is at unprecedented levels. The question begets: did man start all the previous ice ages?NO! We are but silent witnesses to the events of nature, in the end nature will dwarf us all and we will find whatever we are doing to nature as far as the climate is concerned, is miniscule and almost impertinent. Fact is, we are predicting melting of ice caps because of global warming based on past data which we have for the last 100 years or so. We do not have as much data for the last million years or so, so we tend to forego that possibility; and the rest of the world simply follows through with the hype. Attention generates even more attention, and the unhyped possibility gets neglected, like it didnt even exist.

Now coming to the global warming part: It may be true that CO2 and other such gases trap heat, thereby raising the temperature. But just look outside- Do you call this global warming? Where is this global warming bullshit when we are freezing within our woolens in our homes? Just keep your mind free of all the hullabaloo you have been hearing and ask yourself what's this global warming crap? Does it even exist? Temperatures were rising, albeit nominally every year, and then very much unexpectedly, they began to fall. 2007 was perhaps the coldest year in the last 10 years or so(at that time), and in January 2010 we have witnessed the sort of cold wave the likes of which perhaps we have not seen in our lifetime. And it is a similar story worldwide. There are reports of a record snowfall here, and lowest temperature in 60-70 years there. If the recorded temperature has broken a 70 year record, that would put us where we were in the 1930s per se the temperature. The South China Sea has frozen after 70-80 years, Chicago records a -17 , Toronto a -22 and Helsinki a -32, way below normal. IS This what you call global warming?

Tiny island nations like Tuvalu have been pushing their fight against global warming in meets like Copenhagen(read Flopenhagen), but did anyone care to measure the sea level, or just going with the hype and the accompanying fear? As it is , the water level has actually gone down by a little in the last 3-4 years! But we have a habit of going with the hype, perhaps because there are a large number of people who earn their livelihood through research done on this topic, having spent many years of their lives earning their doctorates. The scientists have now admitted their mistake when declaring that the glaciers would melt by 2035, so perhaps the global warming thing isn't having much effect. In fact, glaciers in Canada and Argentina have been recorded to advance in the last few years at a time when the collapse of Larsen B is hogging all the limelight.
So, is this global warming totally inconsequential? Maybe not. Let us turn back the clock by 10,000 years. In the previous ice age, there were large glaciers in Canada which advanced and receded with changes in climate, and when the ice age ended, a large lake now known as lake Agassiz was left behind. This lake was much larger than the current great lakes, larger than the Caspian sea, had more water than all present lakes combined and was spread upto South Dakota in the US. It used to drain periodically and the last drainage occurred about 10,000 years back when the remaining water in the lake rushed into the Atlantic because of breaking of some ice barrier. A very large volume of freshwater went into the sea within an year , and this changed the salinity of the ocean and the currents were totally shut off because of this. The ocean currents regulate the temperature of the land masses, keeping the Northern regions warm. With the currents switched off, there was nothing to keep Europe from freezing. The Thames used to freeze every year and things took about 200 years to get back to normal. This mini ice age is called the Younger Dryas, named after a flower found in the Tundra. Now lets say if the ice cover of Greenland is to melt within an year or so, the resulting influx of freshwater could cause a similar situation. This possibility has been chillingly portrayed in the movie The day after tomorrow in which Larsen B ice shelf collapses in Antarctica and as a consequence, the whole Northern hemisphere freezes in the time span of 3-4 days. Too dramatic and far-fetched? Consider this: In the Younger Dyras, Europe froze within months. But then again, that was not caused by any human activity like greenhouse gas emissions. The possibility of a mini ice age because of human activity is there, but it is very remote and miniscule.
An early postulated map of lake Agassiz, now believed to be an underestimation
early map lake agassiz
Scene from the movie " The day after tomorrow(2004)"
scene from the day after tomorrow 2004

Another scene showing the statue of liberty and two ships, frozen in the sea

scene from the day after tomorrow

The probability of an global warming or global cooling happening was pegged at 50:50 by some scientists a few years back, that is it could go either way in the near future. With the recent climate shifts in the last 2-3 years, it does appear that global cooling is happening, and it may well be here to stay. While global warming may depend on greenhouse gas emissions which is not fixed and may vary, the coming of an ice age is an inevitability for me as I believe in the theory of cycles. The only question is: when? Maybe in the next 1000 years, or in the next 100 years, or 10 years, or maybe an year. In the end, what standing does man have against the forces of nature? The current emissions of greenhouse gases may actually be warding off the onset of the inevitable.

And there is possibly one more player in the game, one which is too powerful to be ignored: the SUN. There is this cycle of solar flares and sunspots. In case the sunspots do not happen when they are supposed to, it is called solar minima. If the solar minimum continues for an extended period, that would mean reduced heating and that may well be the trigger for a new era.

The following are real scenes from the blizzard of 2010, called the snowmageddon by president Obama and snowpocalypse by some other people. upto 3 feet of snowfall was recorded in Washington, and upto 5-6 feet was recorded in Canada.
snomageddon winter driving

Snowmageddon: The blizzard of 2010

snopocalypse snowmageddon Snowpocalypse?
snomageddon the blizzard of 2010
So, do you see an eerie similarity in the movie and the reality in 2010? the movie, released in 2004, began with the collapse of LarsenB, which broke off by December 2005. As a consequence of global realignment, there were snowstorms all over the Northern hemisphere, not very unlike the ones going on now in Feb 2010 in US and Canada.