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Showing posts from October, 2013

Do Advanced Civilizations Self-Destruct?

I think it's quite possible or likely. With reference to our own civilization, I think of the near future, say a hundred years from now. I think we'll master the technology of nuclear fusion. There's no greater panacea for all our energy needs than fusion. So, we'll be tempted to build that ultimate fusion reactor, the ultimate power source that'll power an entire continent. These reactors will of course generate enormous amounts of power. The major challenge lies in how to tame this suddenly generated energy and use it in a controlled fashion. The margin for error in these endeavors will be very small. Something might go wrong in how the lasers are calibrated or the hydrogen fuel is measured or assembled and a catastrophic fusion reaction might ensue generating enough energy to blow a continent-sized hole on one side of planet Earth. Here's a  report about the latest advances  in laser fusion at the NIF. Interestingly, here's  another article  which

Global Debt Clock

Why is everyone in the world living beyond their means? I do not know. Was it Mahatma Gandhi who said 'there is enough to meet everyone's needs but not enough to meet everyone's greeds'? Also, often many famous well-known quotes are 'attributed' to various persons but they have really never actually said them. Also, many quotes are 'mis-understood' intentionally or otherwise. For example, people like to claim that Einstein believed in God because he sometimes referred to 'nature' metaphorically using the word 'God.' Of course, in his detailed writings and correspondence, Einstein made it abundantly clear he did NOT in fact believe in God but well ... Anyway, here's the alarming graphic about the "ever rising" global debt of nations from The Economist:

When Jerry Coyne Met James Watson

Of course they talked about Sex During The Time of Watson And Crick but they talk about a lot else. They talk about how their joint papers came to be written by Watson and Crick' and not the other way round. And OF COURSE both were atheists and Crick was a 'militant atheist' who once joked " Christianity may be OK between consenting adults in private but should not be taught to young children. "

What Is Wrong With The Modern World

How can I "NOT" agree with the apocalyptic vision of Jonathan Franzen . This is also of course the article that led to a response from Salman Rushdie. Dear #Franzen : @MargaretAtwood @JoyceCarolOates @nycnovel @NathanEnglander @Shteyngart and I are fine with Twitter. Enjoy your ivory tower. — Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) September 16, 2013

Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman sure appears to be a curious character. No wonder, Mr. Stallman was NO FAN of Steve Jobs. Here's what he wrote when Mr. Jobs died: Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died. As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone." Nobody deserves to have to die—not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on people's computing. Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective. Here's what you need to keep in mind if you intend to invite him as a speaker. Here's an article in The Guardian about the free software movement that Mr. Stallman pioneered. The wiki page.

Shameless Shenanigans of Manmohan Singh

Put this comment on MJ Akbar's latest Sunday Guardian article. Well, mostly *facepalm* at all the "praise" MJ has heaped on Chamcha Mukherjee. After all, the Prez is merely enjoying the 'fruits' today of more than 40 years of 'faithful' service to The Family. Pranab-da would be the first to accept that. If you say 'but he is nowhere as disreputable as other ministers of MMS such as oily minister Moily or Sanjay's sidekicks like Kamal Nath (oh, what a long list of 'infamy' this man can lay claim to)' well, that would be a low bar. I thought Mr. Mukheree was the 'prime' culprit responsible for this government's mis-handling of the economy by taking two steps forward and 2.5 steps back. Although on the 'positive' side, President PM is surely an 'improvement' over his globe-trotting predecessor. And, well, also this: who, if not Pranab? As to MMS, I don't know how shameless a person has to be to continue to