November 28, 2008


I still can't believe that Mumbai attacks happened. I still can't believe that someone can open fire in a hospital. I still can't believe any of it. Last time I was this shocked was after 9-11 attacks. It took me a week to finally accept that one. That was world at it's worst, I thought. Nothing can shock me now. It can disgust me but not shock me. But this did.

Which cause can give anyone the right to do this? Which wrong makes this right? What logic? What argument? Can someone please make some sense out of all this chaos?

I have been refreshing the news page constantly for last 3 days like so many. I am not sure that I am glad that it's over or sad that it ever happened. Mumbai might be able to take this into its stride too, like so many other attacks. The city with motto: Business as usual. I am not sure whether it's a good thing or bad. May be both but isn't it high time to put a stop to all this non-sense?

November 25, 2008

Rules of Lab...

1) If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
2) When you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly.
3) Experiments must be reproducible, they should fail the same way each time.
4) First draw your curves, then plot your data.
5) Experience is directly proportional to equipment ruined.
6) Always keep a record of your data. It indicates that you have been working.
7) To do a lab really well, have your report done well in advance.
8) If you can't get the answer in the usual manner, start at the answer and derive the question.
9) In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
10) Do not believe in miracles--rely on them.
11) Team work is essential, it allows you to blame someone else.
12) All unmarked beakers contain fast-acting, extremely toxic poisons.
13) No experiment is a complete failure. At least it can serve as a negative example.
14) Any delicate and expensive piece of glassware will break before any use can be made of it.

P.S.: Yet another forwarded mail.

November 24, 2008

Stupidity can kill you

You need to read this (click to enlarge):

I have had managers who told me to stand next to the printer because somehow that will get the printer to print faster (Yep that was the reason he gave me) or the one who printed a particular piece of information, climbed two flights of stairs and was trying to find someone's office just because he didn't have time to "email" it. But I burst out laughing everytime (right in front of them, no less. I don't know the meaning of word diplomacy.).

Guess stupidity won't kill me after all unless of course, I die laughing. Actually I won't mind going out that way. Laughing my heart out. Literally. :)

P. S.: This came as forwarded mail today. After snooping around for the source of this news (something I always do for forwarded mails), I found out that this particular news article was part of Weekly World News. You have to visit the Weekly World News site to understand the depth of cheekiness of this site. It's full-to entertainment. Trust me.

November 23, 2008

Yet another one...

I have yet another blog. This time on wordpress. Don't worry, I am not redirecting you to a new link. This one is about one of my passion: Photography. And no it's not another photoblog. It's more of 'DSLR photography for dummies' type of blog. The reason for this treason, you ask..

Well, in past few months I have been overwhelmed by the response from people around me. For some reason, they love photographs taken by me. It has actually inspired quiet a few of them to buy a digital-SLR or in some cases a camera! And off and on I keep getting random questions from them about cameras, lenses and photography. So I thought of putting everything I know (which isn't much. Remember I am also an amateur) in one place. I am no technical writer or an expert in the subject so it's pretty random and haphazard. But if you like photography and have some questions about any particular topic, let me know. I will try to address the issue to best of my capabilities.

Oh yeah, the blog is: Scribbling with light.


I hate paypal. I have been trying to resolve this limited access issue on my paypal account for past week and somehow nothing works. And I don't understand why don't they provide complete information (which translates to step by step instructions for a dummy like me) to resolve the issue. I get that they are trying to protect me but at least let me use my own money. It's my money. I want to spend it. LET ME.

And I absolutely hate the sites that only use paypal as mode of payment. Keep your product with you. I don't want it anymore.

Ok. Now I feel better. I spent last hour trying to figure out how to buy this tabletop mini studio. It's a good bargain but for some stupid reason, I can't get my paypal account to cooperate with me. So now I am frustrated. I am annoyed. and I am very angry. That is, if you haven't already noticed it.

November 21, 2008

My Dear Life.

I hate driving. And more than that I hate driving in the city. Usually if I have to go to the city (San Francisco), I take public transport. Today, for some unknown reason, I decided to drive. Guess I was trying to be brave or something. May be trying to get rid of the fear of the city. And I nearly paid the price. I had two near accidents. One of them would have been fatal, had I not braked when I did.

An idiot started changing into my lane when I was right next to him. And it's not that I have been driving in his blind zone for a long time. I was just going to overtake him when this happened. We were on a two lane flyover at that time. No place for me to go except brake. Thankfully there was no one behind me.

Anyway, so my whole life flashed through my eyes accompanied with that sickening, hollow butterfly-ishly feeling. I have been trying to overcome that since morning. But somehow flashes of different times of my life has been popping up in my head ever since. I think my mind is stuck in that one unfortunate moment and still playing the tape of my life over and over, somewhere in my sub-conscious. I am just getting few trailers now and then. I am not sure how to pause or stop that tape now. How do I tell my dearest, stupid brain that I am not going to die and it can stop playing that stupid tape now.

I tried sleeping, I tried playing games, I tried watching TV, I trieed reading and I tried writing a post but it seems to be too restless to concentrate on anything. Guess only Dr. Time can heal it. So I am waiting. Patiently.

November 18, 2008

Just Once...

..can I get a week with no deadlines, no To-do lists, no schedules. It's been years since I have truly relaxed. You know, just lazying around without feeling guilty. Does anything like that exist in an adult life? Or is it just me who never gets time?

Next week is Thanksgiving and I already have a To-do list that will extend to the week after. I was so looking forward to a week worth of holidays but alas
yeh na thi hamari kismat, ki wisaal-e-yaar hota,
agar aur jeetay rehtay, yahi intezaar hota!

(It was not my destiny to meet (or to be with) my beloved;
had I lived longer, the yearning would have continued)

- Galib
Oh God, now I am desecrating Galib one of my favorite shayar (Urdu Poet). Only if I had a poetic bone in my body, the translation wouldn't have been so awful but again: 'yeh na thi hamari kismat...'

Anyway, the point remains: I want HOLIDAYS. DESPERATELY.

November 13, 2008


I know I must have complained about this for 100's of times in past. I know I discuss this with ALL my Indian friends. And they all agree and still they keep repeating themselves. Each and every one of them. I really want to know why.

Ok let's give some context to this babbling. I am in Las Vegas. And I am stuck in a situation that I don't know the solution to. I am sharing room with one of my very good friend who happens to be an American. Consequently, I am usually with her. Since this is a conference, I am meeting a lot of my old friends who happens to be Indians. Now since I don't want to abandon either of my friends, I plan things to get all of them involved.

I spent one such an evening today. I wanted to walk down the strip (that's the main touristy road of Las Vegas). So I was with my American friend when one of my Indian friend called. I invited him to join us. That was my mistake. That guy kept talking to me in Hindi the entire time even though he knew my other friend don't understand Hindi. And he is one of those friends who agrees with me when I say that I don't like people who converse in a language not known to everyone in the group. And still he kept talking in Hindi. I kept answering in English. It was such an awkward situation for me.

I am honestly trying to understand the motivation behind such rudeness. It's not habit. It's delibrate rudeness. If that was habit, my concious effort of replying in English would have had some result. And this is not the first time this happened. Most of my Indian friends do this. One of them actually apologise while she is doing that and still continue to do that. That irritates me even more. It's acknowledging the rudeness and still keep doing it. What's the point of apology then? Getting a free pass for being rude?

I fail to come up with any excuse in defense of my friends here. I completely fail to understand the reason behind such blatant rudeness. Can anyone explain it to me?

November 9, 2008


I don't get the logic behind spams. Why would anyone waste time sending the most absurd messages and trying to find ingenious ways to avoid spam filters?

I don't get the logic behind the viruses either. You know to spend hours to create a program that will destroy the machine it will end up in.

I get the system hackers though. They are simply trying to earn few quick bucks. I know that quiet often these three are related but not always.

Anyway, today morning I got a spam on my Yahoo account. The sender was: Breaking News. The subject: Barack Obama dies due to heart attack. Though, I am not sure whether it is a hate mail or a spam or both? Either way, I don't get the point of the mail. There was nothing in the body of the message. Or may be it's a psychic vision mail. Oh well, I will never know. Somehow my mind keep reverting to that mail. Like a song stuck in the mind.

Anyway, I am off to Vegas tomorrow for a conference. Will be back Friday. Don't know whether I will get a chance to blog or not during this time though I am certain there will be a lot to blog about. Like, how making us sit through presentations all day long in Vegas should constitute to human rights violation. But then, at least I get to go to Vegas that way...

November 6, 2008


I have been itching to write for past few days but have been too busy (still have two poster and two HWs to finish by Sunday) but I can't delay it any longer.

A lot happened since I last wrote. For starters, Obama won . Gay marriage was banned in 3 states including California.

I have been listening to radio and TV, scrolling through news for past few days. It's the same theme every where. People are celebrating for electing first African-American President of United States (even though Obama never campaigned as an African American. And as much as I know that was one of the major reason for his success. That and economic crisis.). And when they get over that, they are debating gay rights. And that is what my post is about.

Today morning on National Public Radio they were talking about overturning the ballot in California in a court by declaring that gay community is a minority. Hence majority doesn't get a right to vote on their civil rights (well gays certainly don't get to vote on whether straight marriages should be legal or not.). It is a great argument. In a democracy (where majority wins), the rights of minority should be protected by the constitution. The arguments against it are based on "Overdoing" it. Actually, all the arguments I have heard so far against gay marriage are based on that notion of overdoing it.

For example, this lady who says:
You have no idea what their agenda is. To give you 1 example: If a boy tries to go into the girls' locker room, should he be denied access simply because he is a male? Intellectually, answer is no, but in practice, of course the answer must be yes. A teenage boy say I feel like a girl today and he is allowed to go to the girl's locker room. If he feels like a male the next week he doesn't have to. If you deny his access, he is allow to sue. We want to protect our kids. This is just only 1 example I am giving you. We don't hate gays or Les, they already have most rights we do.

Adoption issue. Go research on the kids who grew up in a gay family if they can tell you weather it is a healthy environment.
Only a few percentage are gays and Les. Only 50% do get married. Those who do get married, another 50% of them get divorce in 2 years. This is out in the open if you go do some digging. Trying to change the nation upside down just to accommodate the few percentage? and put our kids at risk?

Technically gay marriage has nothing to do with locker room access or any school policy for that matter. It only ask voters opinion about whether gay couples be allowed to get married legally. Locker room issue is simply an exaggeration that has nothing to do with current debate. It's a mere speculation.

Having said that, I agree t
here is always a danger of overdoing anything. The greatest example being our own India, the biggest democracy in the world. We have certainly overdone ourselves in the name of protecting minority in a democracy. Hence the problem of extreme reservation and pseudo-secularism. We live in pseudo-democracy in India. I wonder if some day they will declare that it's illegal to belong to majority. But I digress. We were talking about overdoing something. And that's where the concept of putting boundaries comes in. You need to draw a line somewhere. For example, the argument that eating food makes one fat so we should not eat. The act of 'eating' is not the culprit here, but 'overeating' is. You need to draw a line between eating well and overeating. You need to draw a line between eating for health and eating for taste.

Similarly for any issue, political or otherwise, you need to draw a line. Most of the time it's a line between stepping on someone's basic civil rights and being over-accommodating. None of them is good. None of them is right. But stepping on someone's right for the fear of being over-accommodating is simply ridiculous. And not allowing two person, who care deeply about each other and wants to spend their lives together, to marry is stepping on their rights. This is not right. In any country, in any time.

Another big deal that most of the gay right opponent makes is about "Protecting our children." . I am not really sure what they want to protect their children against. It's not like being gay is a disease or something that one can immune or "protect" their children against. Or are they protecting them against the concept of being gay? May be they think if they don't offer a choice, there will be no gay people.

And lastly, let's not forget religion. For some reason, Churches (an all other religious institute- as far as I know) prohibit gay marriages. And even though I am an atheist, I believe everyone have a right to practice their religious beliefs. They have a right to not acknowledge gay marriage religiously but they should not be able to do that legally. If a Church doesn't want to marry a gay couple, it's their right. But that doesn't give the Church a right to say that they can't be married anywhere else or that they don't have any legal right to be married. That is so wrong.

Anyway, I had enough of these arguments. Most of them have been infuriating me for past few days. And don't get me started with the adaption proposition in Arkansas. According to the proposition, an unmarried couple can not adopt kids. So they don't acknowledge gay marriage then unmarried couples can't adopt kids. And still there orphanages all over the world that are filled with kids. How is that fair? To anyone? As one of my friend puts it:

Okay, adoption by a single parent (take the gay argument out for now). Is it any worse for a child to be adopted by someone than to spend his childhood in foster homes, being passed around? There is a huge influx of adoption from foreign countries. Will that child be better off growing up in an orphanage, or in a home with one loving parent?

P.S.: BTW, California ballot's Prop. 2 (about farm animal rights) passed. Somehow average Californian have more compassion towards farm animals than towards gays. Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer humans over animals. (Not that I opposed Prop. 2 or anything. I am just saying..)

November 3, 2008

Can anyone explain this?

There are things we know to be implied by what we know that we do not know to be true. Just as a great many conditions I do not regret have to exist (and I know they have to exist) in order for the condition I regret to exist, a great many conditions I do not know to exist have to exist (and I know they have to exist) in order for the conditions I know to exist.

--Fred Dretske