August 29, 2013

New York Times and DNS Hacks

As long as we use the Internet, we have to have some basic understanding of how this behemoth works.

We cannot just pretend that we are technologically-illiterate. All of us have to be somewhat technologically literate.

The attack on the nytimes.com domain is a good opportunity to educate ourselves about how to pull such a trick. Of course, the idea is not that EVERYONE should then try to pull similar tricks but just educate ourselves about HOW STUFF WORKS.

Here's the Washington Post explaining the attack on the NYT.

Here's one more technical look at the whole fracas.

August 27, 2013

Redefining Marriage

A huge majority of Indians appear to be stuck in some 19th century mindset when it comes to marriage and sex.

I do not know why that is so. Whether it was the British or the Moghuls who made Indians into such boring conservatives or it is a legacy of the Hindu religion.

At any rate, it's time to change the rules of the game.

No more 'arranged marriages' between a guy and a girl who do not even know each other. No more parents 'deciding.' No more idiotic 'horoscope matching.' No more looking at caste equations. No more dowry negotiations.

I propose that marriage be made 'temporary' rather then its present 'permanent' form. Let us have 'stations' in life at various intervals where you can choose to 'get off' the bus or train if you so wish.

Let every married couple have the 'option' and the right to leave a marriage at the 1-year interval, then at the 2-year, 3-year, and 5-year intervals. If people stick to each other for 5 years, then they are probably perfectly 'compatible' with each other and they will stick with each other for life.

Otherwise, there is no need for people to forcibly stay in a suffocating relationship.

This idea of 'polyamory' seems interesting. It's great to see people in the West 'experimenting' with various forms of relationships rather then just sticking to some 'traditional' definition of 'marriage.'

When will this occur in India?

August 23, 2013

Let Jagannath (And Other Gods Too) Go To Hell

In a nation where millions of children have to work to 'earn' a living rather then going to school, the banality of discussions about 'God' and temples is breathtaking.

Also, it baffles me that the so called 'educated' youth of India continue to believe in outdated ideas such as 'God.'

I wish people would attempt to WAKE UP from their deep slumber and realize that this is the 21st century!!

God and religions are responsible only for too much trouble, hatred and bloodshed in the world.

What good is God?

I do not see anything 'good' about God.

If anyone argues that we get our moral bearings from God/religion, well, then there would be no need for an IPC and a criminal justice system and police.

August 19, 2013

Top Universities of the World

This is not new but nevertheless no less cringe-worthy for an Indian.

Here are the Top 500 University rankings for 2013.

You have to search hard ... REALLY HARD ... to find an Indian institution on the list. IIT Bombay and IIT Roorkee are there towards the end. Look for institutions from Asia and use Ctrl+F and type 'India' and you will be able to locate. Indian institutions are languishing somewhere outside of the top 200 institutions.

Is not this truly cringe-worthy? Look at the nations featured in the Top 100.

All sorts of nations feature in the Top 200 list: Belgium, Taiwan, Singapore, Sweden, Israel, Netherlands, Austria, Australia, Ireland, Korea and so on. Of course, Britain, France, Germany, and Japan feature there by default.

The Guardian does some nice stuff with the rankings.

One more place where you can find the rankings.

Economic Troubles and National Mindsets

I put a long, somewhat rambling comment on a Newslaundry article.

Enjoy!

The 'anger' in this article may be well-founded but it perhaps mangled the economics in comparing India with Greece and in using debt-to-GDP ratio as a barometer of a nation's overall economic health.


I don't know how Britain and Japan managed to have such high debt-to-GDP numbers but they are among the most developed and richest nations on Earth — both being members of the G8. How do or did Britain and Japan manage to become so extraordinarily wealthy? Well, the history aside, in the 20th century and after the Second World War, they have been at the cutting edge of various kinds of technological innovations. While Japan has been the center of the automobile revolution in many ways, Britain is home to British Aerospace, Rolls Royce, and many similar companies.

I bet if we look at the data of per capita number of doctors or engineers in those countries, the ratio would be better than in India. India produces a million engineers per year but it's doubtful how technically competent they are. India is in many ways at the bottom end of the scale whereas these two countries are at the top end.

Finally, it always makes sense to keep the population in mind. So, Japan has 120 million people today and the UK has 60 million.

Greece is a nation of 10 million. Cyprus has 800,000 population, somewhat less than half of Delhi's population.

August 13, 2013

News Roundup on Independence Day Eve

So what's making the news around the middle of August 2013?

Here's a random summary.

The staggering corruption being committed by the Gandhi family in general and Robert Vadra in particular is back in the news as Mr. Khemka's official response to the Haryana government has turned up in the media.

Here's a news round-up of all articles related to Robert Vadra.

Clearly, officers like Mr. Khemka deserve much appreciation from the Government for his extraordinary career of exceptional uprightness. What about a National Award such as a Padma Sri or Padma Bhusan? Clearly, if cricketers and other worthies can be so awarded, it'd not be out of place to confer honest officers with such awards.

August 07, 2013

Reflections on a Death

So much must have been written by better writers than me about death that it is probably superfluous for me to try and add anything on the matter. But of course I will go ahead and add my two cents worth.

After all, everybody has babies and everybody wants to experience the 'joys' of parenthood and sex and so on.

Probably we won't all perish suddenly and unexpectedly when something happens at the center of our Milky Way with the supermassive black hole though those black holes do spin at crazy rates and generate a huge amount of x-rays which are no good for living beings like us.

We are probably lucky that the Sun is about 30,000 light years away from the center of the Milky Way. We live in the boondocks or the suburbs.

The threat of a nuclear Armageddon in a third world war has pretty much disappeared as well. So, we'll all probably live out our lives and slowly fade away.

So the question that arises is: what is the right time and manner to do so?

My drink-buddy died a few days ago. He was 65. But did he know that he was going to die? He seemed to be losing weight and was pointing to some health problems he was having. He probably shared stuff with me that he did not share with his family.

I did not have any inklings that any of this was near. No fore-warnings. He was apparently somewhat sick for a few days before things went downhill quite suddenly and he died in a few hours. He was just a retired guy from the private sector who had no current income and was dependent on an unemployed son and employed daughter-in-law's income plus the rents he received from owning the house where I live.

He managed to take care of his drinking habit with some difficulty thanks to fellow alcohol users such as me but I am nowhere near as heavy a drinker as he was.

It's all a conundrum without a solution.

Did he think/worry/reflect about his possible impending death? I sure hope anyone and everyone who is over the age of 50 or 60 does worry about their mortality. It would be childish not to do so.

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