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Showing posts from May, 2011

A Confession

Heaven uses an open-source, Linux based email server. Since Oprah is now over, let me confess on my blog. I've fathered three babies unbeknown to my imaginary wife. My co-conspirators were sequentially: my office intern, a member of my household staff, and inevitably, the proverbial (but quite literal) maid. The inspirations for these acts (and therefore the owners of authorial credit) are messers Clinton, Arnold, and DSK. So, I'm giving them due acknowledgement. Also, thanking them for not copyrighting or trademarking these techniques. Instead, these are available to all those who seek to enjoy the benefits of democracy combined with atheism under the Creative Commons License. Anyone can therefore use these techniques and modify them to suit their specific needs and then share the results with the world at large. There. I've done it! Or is there more? Well, I just remembered a fourth baby that I had with the hot, young TV journo lady. That was inspired by Mr.

Conjoined Twins

This is so intriguing, ever fascinating and touching: I remember Laleh and Ladan Bijani and their surgery in Singapore and how that happened to go wrong.

A River Runs Through It

A movie about fly fishing that somehow manages to make one ponder about what it means to be alive. A kid who wants to grow up to be a fly fisherman. Another kid who wants to be a boxer. A preacher who's devoted to his calling of inspiring and soothing his people through the power of words as revealed by his God. The kids grow up. The elder one turns into the responsible one while the younger is more adventurous. Love and a stable career are the ambitions for one. The other aspires to and enjoys taking life on. But risk taking can exact grim reapings. One can get killed. This is almost inevitable. But perhaps that's precisely part of the allure of this kind of life. In time, the kid grows old. And reflects on the meaning of it all. The river meanwhile is the one constant. What a wonderful metaphor for life a river is! Always flowing, never stopping. With hidden dangers lurking beneath the surface. We are responsible for the decisions we make in our lives. The cons

Terms of Endearment

Can a movie make us think about life? Can a movie have anything to teach us about living life? One can pose these questions in relation to this movie. That already shows how much this movie has accomplished. The movie stars Jack Nicholson as a retired bachelor much attracted to and interested in the opposite sex. It so happens that the character is that of a retired astronaut. Is that so far fetched? I don't know. In terms of physical appearance, there's nothing unusual about Jack that would somehow disqualify him from playing the part of an astronaut. In fact, Jack takes quite a resemblance to one of the crew members of STS-134, the mission that is currently in space, the boyish looking Michael Fincke. Apart from this, I also think that there's some resemblance between Jack and the legendary Bob Crippen of STS-01. Then there's Shirley MacLaine. An aging woman who's over-protective of her daughter and suspicious of the world at large, grown somewhat bitter

Rajneeti: A Stupendous Masterpiece

When a director manages to combine the mythic heritage of the Mahabharata with the cauldron that is contemporary Indian politics, you inevitably get a searing saga. Unlike the usual Bollywood movie, Rajneeti is painted on a broad canvas and events happen at a fast clip and the movie does not grow stale at any point. From the start itself when it tells of a romance between an ageing idealist and a young protege, the movie somehow manages to acquire a mythic ambiance. The movie moves on to scheming politicians and feuding family members, a romance that is one-sided, one brother who's only too trigger happy and the younger brother, who's a cool schemer, and Nana Patkar cool as always. As we witness one planned murder after another, one is reminded of gangster country. But this is really the reality of life in politics in India and indeed, perhaps, the reality of life itself, in India. I don't know why the movie did not garner greater accolades. May be, people ar

Imagining Immortality

I am thinking of a scheme of how immortality might come to be real in the coming decades. Perhaps, there will be storage tanks which will house millions upon millions of brains that will be alive and will be connected to a global network of news and everything. When we are old, our brains will be put there and we will continue to live in a virtual sort of world or a mental world perhaps forever essentially being an observer. Or, may be, we will have something like fish tanks in our homes where we will have the brains of our ancestors. Perhaps they will continue to live in our drawing rooms observing their progeny lead their daily lives. How would that be like to have our grannies and granddaddies around? Or, at least, their brains.

Imagine an Alien Earth

I think of a future ... may be a few decades from now ... when we'll discover somewhere in the vastness of our own galaxy a planet eerily like our own. A planet in the Goldilocks zone with the same kind of temperatures as the Earth and with oceans and land. I think that would be the most tantalizing prospect of all ... what would happen on such a planet given billions of years? Will life spontaneously evolve inevitably? Or, can a planet remain barren of life for billions of years altogether? Imagine that life does evolve. Simple unicellular organisms. Then, tiny multicellular organisms. Then, it will be fascinating. What routes does life take? Will amphibians evolve? Birds? Fish? Trees? Reptiles? Dinosaurs? Mammals? Just think of the diversity of the history of life on Earth and ponder how much is going to remain the same and how much is going to be different on such a planet. How fascinating would it be when we detect such an inviting world and send across our robotic

10 Billion Human Beings

As I observe people living their daily, humdrum existence, I wonder about these prophecies and what the future holds for humanity. There's clearly no hesitation on my part in sticking my neck out if it means that and saying that I wish the projection said instead that the world's population would reach 2 billion by the end of this century. What will happen if the planet becomes a planet of plenty like some middle eastern Asian nation with a lot of oil. Will people become lazy and uninnovative? That's of course unlikely in any case. What is instead likely to happen is a continuation of the present trend. Think of the competitive nature of life today. Really, there's so much competition happening where everyone is trying to show himself to be smart or make money. So many smart people working in alternative energy and physics and other sciences like automobiles to space. There's this extraordinary race which exists where so many have to fail for a few

India Pakistan Nuclear War

Unexpectedly (or may be, expectedly), the killing of bin Laden had some ramifications in the India Pakistan realm. Pakistan issued thinly veiled threats against India that it should not even think about doing anything similar to what the U.S. Navy SEALs did. Hmmmm ... Clearly, Indian generals were engaging in needless bluster when they declared that India had the capability to mount the same sort of mission that the U.S. did. In an worst case scenario, Pakistan will resort to the use of nuclear weapons against India. I've a funny thought in this regard: what if Pakistan lets one fly into India, say New Delhi, and the missile ends up a dud. I can well imagine the breathless reporting of the Indian TV news channel reporters. Imagine young reporters blabbering breathlessly with a sense of excitement that would be perhaps second only to if aliens make contact or if E.T. lands on Earth. How would India respond to such an attack? Will trigger happy generals want to do as Pakist

Incredibly Scary

This post is about an old bugbear. But that does not make it any less of a danger. Population growth across the world is going to be relentless for as long as the end of the present century. Human numbers will have crossed the astonishing figure of 10 billion by then according to new projections from the U.N. The major part of it will apparently happen in Africa which continues to be mired in a circle of poverty and ignorance apart from many other problems. The decisions we need to make as a society are these: what constitutes a good life. The challenge merely is not whether there will be enough to feed these billions even though that is going to be one of the major challenges. But more than food and water, I am concerned about the quality of life all these billions will have. With the relentless spread of science & technology, individuals are ever more empowered. Single humans are able to do more and more and as stand

A Dubious and Tenuous Basis

The unusual sway that cricket holds over people of India represents a cause for concern. The extraordinary sense of joy expressed when the Indian cricket team won the World Cup was quite out of line with the actual achievement. The achievement, such as it was, was simply this. The Indian team won a few cricket matches. Cricket by definition is a rather unpredictable game that has many vagaries. Cricket is played in precious few nations of the world. Keeping in mind the population of those other countries puts things in a rather stark perspective. Here is the COMPLETE LIST of countries (and their populations) where cricket is played with some seriousness: England (60 million), Australia (20 million), New Zealand (3 million), South Africa (40 million), India (1,200 million), Pakistan (150 million), Bangladesh (150 million), Sri Lanka (20 million), and West Indies (1 million). As the population figures show, the entire world of cricket will easily fit inside India. Populati