Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Commonwealth Games

I can't believe I haven't written about this fiasco :)
Horrible planning, horrible supervision, poor accountability, disgraceful public relations management and sheer contempt for responsibility and maintaining 'national' pride.
A pedestrian bridge which linked the main stadium to the car park collapsed because of a faulty support while still under construction approx 13 days before the CWG start.
The main stadium suffered from water leaks; yesterday part of the false ceiling fell, the CWG village is in a poor condition.
Does this make me happy? Very.

The fact that responsibility lay in the hands of govt. officials, this was bound to happen. Corruption and bureaucracy - blah blah blah... you know the drill. There was a good opinion the other day in Live Mint and I second that opinion.
The CWG disaster should serve as a stimulus for the government to allocate more infrastructure projects to private parties - established entities with proven track records. Not something like J Kumar Infraprojects who have a crappy website and are doing an even crappier job at completing projects in Mumbai.
I am amazed at how fantastic and practical the L&T link from the international airport looks - it was even completed without much disruption to traffic.

May be the CWG are just what India need to begin serious work towards improving public infrastructure in India.

Death and Celebrations

There was a train collision in Madhya Pradesh wherein 21 people died and many other injured - cause: human error.
Floods in Uttarakhand and the Yamuna overflowing just north of Delhi - Countless made homeless, don't know how many died.
2 people shot at near Jama Masjid in New Delhi - supposed terror attack.
Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated with much chutzpah in Mumbai.

Are we insensitive? Or is this normal behaviour?
Politically speaking, we like to equate all human lives and frown at untoward incidences, but frankly I don't see people caring about people who they don't really care about. Convoluted statement?

Faith is a wonderful thing. I walked near my place in the evening where the gullies were empty and the roads were filled with people dancing around the Ganpati idols. Nonchalance characterised my walk that evening as I am not a religious person, but I loved looking at people and how simply some of them were sitting patiently and how others were dancing simply merrily - I even saw one guy trying his version of a break dance :)
I see some of our religious festivals as means to unify India across caste divides - clearly seen during Ganesh Visarjan yesterday.

I might never understand what excites foreigners when the come to India and see such social behaviour :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Underground Metro Peace March at Juhu

So I went for a 'Peace March' today. It was primarily comprised of Juhu residents asking / demanding an underground metro through the suburbs instead of an overhead metro. It seems like a sensible demand but a rather useless demand.
The more immediate and painful issues are water supply, potholes and the dearth of roads and flyover through the city. However, this 'protest' did ask for accountability and answers.
Why is erection taking so long? (No pun) How much is it really costing Mumbai-ites in kind - time, energy, traffic (you know what I mean). Why have patches of road been under construction for so long a time?
I did not care too much about the metro's elevation because I really see the lack of proper road infrastructure as a pressing issue. Nonetheless, I did go for the rally because I wanted to see the show that people were capable of putting up. Moreover, only when we support protests will we have more meaningful protests.
I left 1 hour into the rally while the others kept marching on, but I would gladly be a part of such movements in the future and hopefully one day help in organising such a rally.

O yes, almost forgot to mention this. The route that the people were going to take had posters by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena ( O! How I love them from the bottom of my butt) supporting the cause. What a (poop) turnoff! Yes, yes... at least 'they' were supporting the cause... BS

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bridges of Madison County

This movie compels me to write again about infidelity.
Robert Kincaid (Clint) noted something peculiar about modern society and each person's want for something(s). When Francesca remarked - 'Things Change',

Robert said, "They always do, it's one of the things of nature. Most people are afraid of change, but if you look at it as something you can always count on, then it can be a comfort. There are not many things you can count on."

This one stands out - "I don't think obsessions have a reason, that's why they're obsessions."

Francesca: You have friends too?
Robert: I'm a loner not a monk.
Francesca: You really don't need anyone?
Robert: No, I need everybody.

Francesca: You ever regret not having a family?
Robert: Not everyone's supposed to have a family.

What he noted about society:
"There's too much of 'This is mine' or 'He or she is mine'... Too many lines being drawn; that kinda thing... you know?"
Coming to infidelity. "She is mine!".
This statement ought not to make sense, but it does. We have been tuned to securing our surroundings and possessing things around us. Inanimate object should be fine but another person of free will?
What can stop a guy from pursuing sexual or emotional pleasures with another woman? In our society... Guilt, commitment and responsibility methinks.
People are fickle-minded and can sway from time to time. At times, we need to adjust to unacceptable behaviour.
When a guy has a random one night stand, not much is said... when a girl does the same, she is labeled a slut. Guys having one night stands are more common, but that is not possible... because usually, a guy would have a one night stand with a girl, implying that guys tend to brag about their adventures whereas girls are more secretive.
Secretive because of societal pressures and because a girl usually does not need to proclaim her accomplishments as much as a guy does. Hence, the age old debate about how women are more mature than men. Men succumb easily to ego boosts and proclamation of their achievements and turfs.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What lies ahead for humans...

"For the first 2 billion years or so , the rate of increase in complexity (of DNA) must have been of the order of one bit of information every hundred years. The rate of increase of DNA complexity gradually rose to about one bit a year over the last few million years.
But then, about six or eight thousand years ago, a major new development occurred. We developed written language.
This meant that information could be passed on from one generation to the next without having to wait for the very slow process of random mutations and natural selection to code it into the DNA sequence."

Stephen Hawking is trying to say that evolution - because of this development - has just become a whole lot faster.
I love the guy's candor.

"Because we claim to be intelligent, though perhaps without much ground, we tend to see intelligence as an inevitable consequence of evolution. However one can question that. It is not clear that intelligence has much survival value. Bacteria do very well without intelligence and will survive us if our so-called intelligence causes us to wipe ourselves out in a nuclear war."

He also posited that advanced life-forms have already found us but are just chilling and looking at us. But then, if they are so advanced why have they not destroyed us - for example, we don't think twice before killing a bug. :D

I had a thought. What if there were more advanced life-forms but similar to what we might do in the future, they destroyed themselves some million years ago on Earth? May be they managed to destroy themselves so well that they left no trace of themselves or their subordinate beings...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

7 minutes to write this post...

As an amateur and largely ignorant human it's quite grounding to read about the universe.
The nearest quasar, for example, is at the least 780 million light years away.
A light year is the distance that light would cover in one year which amounts to approx. 10 trillion kilometers.
A distance such as this is almost impossible to relate to.

Another thought: Everything we look at is the past. Because light takes a finite amount of time to reach the human eye, whatever we see has happened in the past.
It is insignificant in daily life but, for example, the sun we see is as it was 8 minutes ago. Similarly, when we look at the oldest quasars in the universe - approximated at 28 billion light years away - we are looking at that which existed a really long time ago, probably at the beginning of the universe (if the universe did indeed have a 'beginning').

The hypothesis behind the existence of a blackhole is quite intriguing. Earth is a small planet and therefore has a very small escape velocity - 11.2 km/s. The sun has a larger mass and therefore its escape velocity is estimated at 617.5 km/s. The hypothesis that Feynman came up with was that there could possibly be a large enough mass (or gravitational force) that would not let even light escape. Escape velocity higher than 300000 km/s.

Information from Wiki and from 'Universe in a nutshell' - Stephen Hawking. Why do these things intrigue me? Because once in a while, I like to take a step back and look at humans. Hawking said something to the effect of: We should not try to find extra-terrestrial lifeforms because the odds are that they will be more advanced than us and possibly hostile. The future for humans lies in space because the Earth will one day be too small a place for humans.

I just wrote about quasars being 780 million light years away. We can confidently say that humans have developed themselves quite rapidly in the past 2000 years. It is not plausible to discount the existence of other lifeforms even 10000 years ahead of us, let alone millions of years ahead of us.

Calling time a dimension puts a new twist to all that we worry about because in the grand scheme of things everything is quite irrelevant.
What is also questionable is that which we assume to be real and why reality should even matter to us.

With this post I can say that I have come a full circle. Questioning reality has been my most fruitless pass-time. Questioning purpose and daily illusions can also be added to the prior sentence.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Passing Thoughts

When will pleasing your boss annoy you?
When will you stop floating through life?
Why don't you go out and eat good food or try something new?
Are you really scared of the next morning because it's as mundane as yesterday's?
How much will you regret things if you were to die right now?
Do you want to push away things that make you smaller?