Friday, February 27, 2009

feelings, words and language - a tragic situation

It's difficult to speak of things that are very deep isn't it? One can talk of matters that do not lie too deeply, but it requires a certain confidence in oneself and the listener to broach a problem, the very existence of which one has hardly admitted even to oneself for fear of awakening the echo of darker things that have been asleep for so long. In this case it isn't that I don't trust the listener," she added quickly. "I have more than confidence in you. But to put certain feelings into words is not easy, especially when one has never before expressed them in words. The feelings are familiar, but the words to describe them are not. Words are terrible things, aren't they? But I know you are not impatient, and I shall go at my own pace.

For for too long, I've assumed that I can express myself better in English. I've been struck by a thunderbolt (for lack of better words!) in Jan last week. My world is twisted and tormented.
 Everything looks different. Everything is different. From a world of thought, I'm fused to a world of feelings. Suddenly, I realize the emptiness of English. It neither helps me access my feelings nor communicate them. The challenge in expressing feelings is multiplied! Not only is it difficult to express feelings in words, it is doubly so when doing in a language that is suddenly foreign!

But, can I express feelings in Telugu? Is my language Telugu or Telangana? I've never expressed feelings in my language! How does one go about it, when the vocabulary to deal with feelings is severely limited? I think it is better to express in Telugu, when I feel deeply, instead of resorting to English, regardless of the vocabulary constraints.

A tragicomic situation

We are Martians from a billion-year-old civilization. We studied Earthlings intensively and found that they have a staggeringly complex cortex, with a wide range of advanced mental skills, an infinite associative capacity, a virtually limitless storage capacity, and a similarly limitless ability to generate new ideas and associations. In addition, these Earthlings have a magnificently complex and physical body to support and transport this intelligence, the psychological ability to enhance their own skills, and an inbuilt curiosity that drives them to explore all aspects of the universe.

We next observed that, in attempting to gain access to their vast mental
 capabilities, the members of this race are squeezing their intelligences out only through the incredibly narrow and restrictive channel of language.

In my case, it is tragic, I fail to see the comedy at this juncture in my life. :(

The Last of the Mohicans

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Request Tracker is an industrial grade ticketing system. Its a pain to install and configure. Lotsa perl module dependencies. Once the queues are configured, it is a joy to use.

Rutgers University offers ruQueue - PHP based, should be pretty easy to install and configure. 

ఇది నీ..మా..యే..నా..

మొదటి సారి మదిని చేరి
నిదర లేపిన ఉదయమా
వయసులోని పసితనాన్ని
పలకరించిన ప్రణయమా
మరీ కొత్తగా మరో పుట్టుక
అనేటట్టుగా ఇది నీ..మా..యే..నా..

Vishnu sahasranama and belief

I asked my wise friend: I used to recite Vishnu Sahasranama. I did that for 5 years. Stopped a few years back. I am no longer a believer. I feel like doing it again. Would that make me a believer?

Believe what? whom? Believe whether Vishnu ever existed? What if someone enjoys Vishnu Sahasranama without ever knowing  who Vishnu was? That question is wrong. One doesn't have to believe in anything to recite Vishnu Sahasranama. Belief is a wrong question in Indic Traditions. Do what makes you happy. You smoke a cigarette if that makes you happy. Same with Vishnu Sahasranama. Would that make you happy?

Then he pointed me in this direction: Are rituals meaningless?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Though having feelings for each other, their own egos prevent them from expressing these feelings and finally even cause them to fight and split.

From the heights of this place

Oil fueled the Industrial Revolution, but data will fuel the next generation of growth.

Slumdog Millionaire

Mumbai slums. Rabid fundamentalist Hindu mobs butcher poor Muslims. Miraculously, a few kids escape. Orphaned. The kids go through the worst possible rackets - child prostitution, kids who are made beggars in the most heart wrenching and diabolical manner (eyes removed, etc). Sweet justice when the kid knows all the answers and wins a million. Add a girl to the mix.

Are Hindus Fundamentalist - YES
Are Muslims victims  - YES
Do all evils exist in India - YES
Are Hindus responsible for these evils - YES
Will there be just retribution for the crimes commited by Hindus - YES

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One day you’ll meet a stranger... you’ve known her all your life

If I caught the world in a bottle
And everything was still beneath the moon
Without your love would it shine for me?
If I was smart as Aristotle
And understood the rings around the moon
What would it all matter if you loved me?

Here in your arms where the world is impossibly still
With a million dreams to fulfill
And a matter of moments until the dancing ends
Here in your arms when everything seems to be clear
Not a solitary thing would I fear
Except when this moment comes near the dancing's end

If I caught the world in an hourglass
Saddled up the moon so we could ride
Until the stars grew dim, Until...

One day you’ll meet a stranger 
And all the noise is silenced in the room
You’ll feel that you're close to some mystery
In the moonlight and everything shatters
You feel as if you’ve known her all your life
The world’s oldest lesson in history

Here in your arms where the world is impossibly still
With a million dreams to fulfill
And a matter of moments until the dancing ends
Here in your arms when everything seems to be clear
Not a solitary thing do I fear
Except when this moment comes near the dancing’s end

Oh, if I caught the world in an hourglass
Saddled up the moon and we would ride
Until the stars grew dim 
Until the time that time stands still, Until...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Use less useless stuff

Someone gave me a calendar last week which contains ‘useful’ information on auspicious dates and other astrological details. I threw it in the dustbin, the minute the person left. I read somewhere that the printing of diaries and calendars is a multi-crore business, but more than 95% of the stuff produced is never put to use. Ten of you present me stuff that I don’t need and never can use. I do the same thing to ten of you. And so on.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Cats are property. Property cannot be "authorized", cannot "act", and cannot make decisions. The cat is merely a tool she uses to push the button.

"I didn't sign that contract. My pen did. Sue it."

You're confusing two things...

You can only authorize another adult to act on your behalf as your agent.
You can utilize as an instrument anything, animate or inanimate, including a pen, a knife, a cat, or another person. I cannot claim my pen signed the contract, my knife stabbed you, my cat clicked the EULA, or Bob committed a battery on you when I shoved him into you against his will, and that I am thus responsible for none of the above: all of them are instruments of my will to cause that action. As I intended the action, the instrumentality is irrelevant.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

combofix - rootkit removal

ComboFix is a program, created by sUBs, that scans your computer for known malware, and when found, attempts to clean these infections automatically. In addition to being able to remove a large amount of the most common and current malware, ComboFix also displays a report that can be used by trained helpers to remove malware that is not automatically removed by the program.

existence of Hinduism

3. Let me provide an imaginary example and draw an analogy. Imagine someone coming to earth and noticing the following phenomena: grass is green, milk turns sour, birds fly and some flowers put out a fragrant smell. He is convinced that these are organically related to each other and sees 'hipkapi' in them. The presence of hipkapi not only explains the above phenomena are but also how they are related to each other. To those who doubt the existence of hipkapi, he draws their attention to its visible manifestation: the tigers eating the gazelle, dogs chasing the cats, and the massive size of the elephants. Each of these is a fact, as everyone can see it. But, of course, neither severally nor individually do they tell us anything about hipkapi. When more like him come to earth and reiterate the presence of hipkapi, other conditions permitting, hipkapi not only becomes a synonym for these (which?) phenomena but also turns out to be their explanation. Thereafter, to ask what hipkapi is, or even how it explains, is an expression of one's idiocy: does not everyone see hipkapi, this self-explanatory thing?

This is what the Europeans did. The puja in the temples, the sandhyavandanam of the Brahmins, the Sahasranamams, etc. became organic parts of the Indian religion. Purushasukta was the cosmogenic explanation of the caste system, and untouchability its outward manifestation. Dharma and adharma were the Sanskrit names for 'good' and 'evil', the Indian deities were much like their Greek counterparts. To the missionaries, we were the idolaters; to the emasculated liberal, we are mere polytheists. In the analogy I have used, the visitor 'constructs' the hipkapi. To him, it becomes an experiential entity. He talks about this experiential entity, as his fellow-beings do, in a systematic way.

The facts exist; does the hipkapi exist? This is the issue. Puja in the temples, the sandhyavandanam of the Brahmins, the Sahasranamams, the Purushasukta, our notions of dharma and adharma, etc. all exist. Does their existence tell us that 'Hinduism' also exists? Are they organic parts of a phenomenon called 'Hinduism', even if that phenomenon is not a religion?


I have problems with both the defenders of the reservation system and its opponents. Partly because whenever disputes exists the disputants disagree with the premisses, or the hypotheses, each group is advancing in order to account for some phenomena. So far so good when the problem concerns with only premisses (hypotheses). But unlike the previous generations, we should rather look forward to examining the phenomena. Our problems lie there. Otherwise, both parties talk past each other, making the opponents a bunch of stupids which they are not.

Paper typical ochchindhi

I asked my friend, how did your exam go? 

"Paper typical ochchindhi."

What he means: its not along expected lines. What he really means is atypical. A person looking at his words, would understand it differently.

Look past the words. This is critically important in a conversation.

This understanding - of what he means by typical - is a shared context: cultural context, a limited geographic context, between a group, or just between the two of them. Corresponding examples: all people in AP use typical that way; in nalgonda district; a small group of friends who grew up together; or just my friend who I really know and what he means by each word.

Without a shared context -- the information is inaccessible. The appearance of conversation is there, but they would be talking past each other.

As an aside: humor is extremely sensitive to the shared context. People cannot appreciate humor the same way unless they  share a context. Many people learn a language, but can't access humor. Learning English doesn't help a lot in understanding Stephen Colbert. 

Note: I will use words to mean words, phrases and sentences.

Words do not mean the same to everyone. Words are not precise, they ain't numbers (assume that numbers mean the same to everyone!). 

Words have memory association. A meaning is assigned to a word based on how it is learnt and memorized. 

Most people strongly associate negative connotations to words. Hence they get offended quickly. "Taught a lesson" conveys nothing negative to me, but I know a person who would be severely offended by it.

Profanities work the same way. People associate negative connotations. Profanities have no impact on me, they don't convey any specific information. People resort to profanities when they are are emotional. It is important to look beyond the words to see what caused the profanities.

To summarize: It takes a lot of time and energy to understand a person. Time, first, because amass a lot of *conversation*, and a lot of background info. Listening is important. Energy, because this is a continuous process. Understanding needs to be constantly revised until the other persons framework is completely accessible and information is received the right way - that is, you can completely look past the words and into the person

We can see talking past each other in a lot of intellectual debates. The opponents do not spend enough time and energy to understand the other side. Without understanding, there is no room for co-operation. And the debate continuse!! 

Pro reservation vs Anti reservation. Socialist vs free-market. Conservatives vs liberals (they have different channels of morality) -

Today's fortune

Today's fortune: The guy who reads your fortune lost his psychic powers (and his job). We hope you are feeling lucky.

Just when I was thinking of visiting a tarot card psychic... :(

Monday, February 16, 2009

The most dangerous man

The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. -- HL Menken

Thursday, February 12, 2009

occupational hazard

Rudraraju’s killing is the ninth death of an Andhra Pradesh native in the past 14 months. Last month, Muthyala Purushottam of Anantpur was found dead in his apartment in Indianapolis, in an apparent suicide. Srinivas Akkaladevi, a medical student from Karimnagar, also committed suicide last March in Pennsylvania. 

Akshay Vishal, Arpana Jinaga, T. Soumya Reddy and her cousin Vikram Reddy, A. Kirankumar and K. Chandrasekhar Reddy are the other victims from Andhra Pradesh felled by assailants in the U.S.

Seven murders in 15 months is too many to be a co-incidence.

What’s happening?

Foreign workers being blamed for job losses in USA? Is there some racist group behind this. Is is the Ku Klux Klan? Indian groups had requested FBI to check this out.

Why are we happy? Why aren't we happy?

freedom is the enemy of synthetic happiness

Worst economic collapse ever

In 2009 were going to see the worst economic collapse ever, the Greatest Depression, says Gerald Celente, U.S. trend forecaster. He believes its going to be very violent in the U.S., including there being a tax revolt.

Most Indian cities to go dry by 2020

India is expected to experience a severe water crisis by 2020 with the per capita availability of water projected to be less than 1,000 cubic meters.

Climate change projections showed India's water problems were only likely to worsen and with more rain expected to fall in fewer days and the rapid melting of glaciers, especially in the western Himalayas, India would need to gear up to tackle increasing incidence of droughts and floods, the paper said.

About 1.8 million people died every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation, which amounted to around 5,000 deaths a day.

Related: Earth: The parched planet

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

do this we can build perfect system

I have no problems with your project. In similar vein, nor do I have problems with a secularist program of the betterment of India or of humanity.

You need to play with a toy example. Any company is in marketplace to increase their capital. You have to read Marxian economics, and do some critical thinking of how the capital works.

What is money? The best answer that can be had is Marxian: his theory of labor value and money. But there are problems with the formulation that a commodity is an emobodiment of labor. This embodiment is loaded term, which smacks of a particular conception of human, a conception that can't be defended on rational grounds.

There are problems with true communist system: in which sense are we equal? Equal access? or Equal salary or equal status: if every one wants to be a manager, who will be the worker? And so on. In other words, for the sake of communism, everybody has to accomodate himself in such a way that such a system works: but this accomodating oneself is indefensible on both empirical and theoretical grounds.

Can humans work without the existence of money. Sure, they can. Herein lies the problem of intentionality. Is intentionality illusory the way stick appearing bent when immersed in water? If so, why are we all succumbed to this illusion? Why such illusion is necessary. Most importantly, how to get rid of this illusion. The day we have answers for these questions, that day a perfect system can be built. Herein lies the strength of Indian traditions. There was a discussion abt this on the board. Most of the discussants on that board have no clues abt the mechanism of the capital. The thread has died out, anyway.

Here my having said that I am useless to many projects put forward by great many indians makes great sense. Not that I am envious of those projects. But because you can't lure people by things like "do this, we can build perfect system"

That, for every human seeks happiness in different ways, sees it in different things. This happiness and its contra are related to this intentionality problem as well.

mimick others status quo

feng: you assume that once you help someone, the latter will help others
thats wrong
11:57 AM me: yeah
feng: because the guy is trying to help himself to maintain/mimick (others) status quo
me: hmm
feng: Just drawing graphs, with bunch of equations, is useless
11:58 AM the way these rational choice economists do
with all computing power
me: its not just true for the pullampet idiots... everyone of us have something alone the lines... "My aim is....", "I like to....."
feng: I said, pullampet
because you want to uplift pullampet citizens;)
me: lol sorry
11:59 AM yeah:)
feng: you can't really uplift anyone
people can survive
heard of millets?
sajja, raagi, bariga
they are called millets
me: yeah
feng: pearl millet, barnyard millet, etc
you dont need bore wells
a person can survive in India
12:00 PM me: hmm
feng: the notion of the aims have changed
me: hmm
12:01 PM feng: thats why, one should start debunking common sense phychology, and the theories of human psychologies associated with capitalism and communism
Even though marx theories are betetr than today's theories
but his psychology is bunk
Everybody wants to be manager
everybody wants to be ceo
12:02 PM instead of just work and survive
you shuda slapped that guy who said money is mithya
robbed his money
then he knows whether it is mithya

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Curse of the Withholding Tax

The income tax allows the government to confiscate the wealth of its citizens. The curseof the withholding tax is that it allows the government to commit this crime systematically, effortlessly, painlessly, and benevolently.

Surprisingly, it was a free market economist who helped the federal government implement the withholding tax in the first place. As was pointed out by the Austrian economist, Murray Rothbard (1926–1995), in his 1971 article "Milton Friedman unraveled":

One of Friedman's most disastrous deeds was the important role he proudly played, during World War II in the Treasury Department, in foisting upon the suffering American public the system of the withholding tax. Before World War II, when income tax rates were far lower than now, there was no withholdingsystem; everyone paid his annual bill in one lump sum, on March 15. It is obvious that under this system, the Internal Revenue Service could never hope to extract the entire annual sum, at current confiscatory rates, from the massof the working population. The whole ghastly system would have happily broken down long before this. Only the Friedmanite withholding tax has permitted the government to use every employer as an unpaid tax collector, extracting thetax quietly and silently from each paycheck. In many ways, we have Milton Friedman to thank for the present monster Leviathan State in America.

short feedback loops

Which brings me back to the small stuff: the everyday experience of a programmer. How to balance how much code to write before syntax checking, test harness runs, operational test. These decisions are modulated by the cost of doing each part. And this cost is implicit in amongst other things the tool set available. The traditional model is edit - compile - test - edit. Which can be quite a long loop - long enough to get a cup of coffee during the compile step (maybe). I have found that (for me) an exploratory model is much more productive - continuous course correction, continuously running and demo-able code, small increments. The biggest factor has been developing a programming environment that eliminated the compile step - suddenly the cognitive loop is closed at the edit stage and course-corrected motion towards the final product becomes more like swimming than run-wait-fear jerky progress. And the environment proved also to be accessible to non-programmers; our marketing VP said "I like VNOS because it makes me feel smart", and he wrote himself a weekly alarm applet that played an mp3 at happy hour on Fridays.

Summing up: the shorter the cognitive loop the better the learning, the surer the corrections; a lesson is learned only if the mistake is visible both as what is wrong with the result and why it went wrong and how to fix it and advance. Don't choke the student.

దేశభాషలందు ..

తెలంగాణా లెస్స!!

నేనొస్తానంటే ....


Sunday, February 08, 2009

intentions and actions

Lets consider two ends of the spectrum: a Bill Gates and the poorest (in terms of financial worth) man. Indian traditions 'say' (scare quotes for different reasons) that we are not happy, *not* because some projects (desires, intentions, etc) that are pursued are failed, *but* because such projects are *ours/mine*. Here, both Gates and the poorest man are not any exceptions! There exist natural regularities that interfere our intentions, no matter how rich one is (for instance, I intended to drink milk to quench my thirst, and in fact I did, but my stomach got upset, which I didn't intend. One can imagine countless examples that way). Many do agree that natural regularities affect our intentions, but everybody thinks that there is some *relationship* between intentions and results. Indian traditions claim that there is no relationship between intentions and actions; they further say that the appearance that such relationship obtains is illusion the way that our experience of Sun's movement around Earth--which is our daily experience--is. Just knowing the claim that we are not happy not because of projects being pursued but because those projects are ours, does not make one happy! Something more is required: to experiment, problematize, the very notion of 'self'. Some Indian traditions claim that self is illusory as well. In intentional psychology, which is a product of Semitic theologies and which mgmt gurus sell, self is taken for granted: that our actions are instantiations of intentions of such a self! That's why we hear slogans like 'be positive', 'believe in what you do'!

What Indian traditions say that one can achieve happiness, which is *independent of* what one has, of what one is, of what one attained, etc. One doesn't need to become ascetic, one doesn't need to become renounce family, in order to attain happiness; this doesn't foreclose the possibilities of ascetics becoming enlightened.

Well, there are no requirements for one to become happy. In other words, it is wrong to say that those who go to temple and offer pooja-s don't attain happiness. Of course, some paths are better for some, but not for others: tantriks engage in 'sexual practices', which offend sensibilities of many indians, in order to get enlightened.

There is no eternal quest. It is a goal of every human being, a goal that manifests in different ways: from getting admission, to jobs, to get married, and so on. So, this is amenable to any scientific investigation; in this sense, Indian traditions contributed to human knowledge. Our native languages are laden with such things: people say, one is to die without having any desires, so that one doesn't take another birth; and so on. Here, these junk swami-s, half-baked Indians give scientific gloss to rebirth and karma as though they are dependent on causality, without telling that what causality is. In actual fact, there is no punarjanma, but it is a cognitive strategy, a heuristic. Because we have lost the theoretical framework of our folk psychology because of Islamic and British colonizations, we have taken over intentional psychology, and the other discourses. We think that we know what intentional psychology is, but we are ignorant of both intentional psychology, and our folk psychology; and our folk psychology beats any western psychology that exists in the market: in fact, our folk psychology is true of human nature.

the issue of equality

Then there is an issue of equality. To grant what is natural of the world, or about humans, one needs an evidential warrant; an example might be of good help. In Aristotelian physics, an external force is required in order for bodies to move in non-vertical rectilinear motion: that is, the natural state of bodies is that they stay in rest. Galileo provided the evidence that bodies move, without an external cause, on an inclined plane. In Newtonian physics, the natural state of bodies that they are in a state of uniform motion, unless external objects perturb them. In the same way, as modern Indians claim, that we have all become deviant from the normal, and natural, position that all humans are equal has no evidential warrant.

We have also known of humans—-that some are male, some others female; that some are rich, some others poor; that some are handsome (depends on the beholder, anyway), some others not; that some are farmers, others engineers, yet some others robbers; etc. It is unscientific to claim that we all should strive for equality, whatever the latter is. I am not saying that we shouldn't help one another; neither am I against those who help others. To what extent, considering that we don't have infinite resources, infinite supply, infinite supply? Assume that you have an IT company, in order to wipe tears—-however short--of fellow human beings; then you need to hire every guy so that we don't see the tears swelling up in their eyes. Even if you are benevolent, and your company has become a modern IT satram, you have no control over external constraints, which are not of human, so that you can keep all guys happy! Then the normative ideal that all humans ought to be equal is fatuous and unscientific as well: science (or any knowledge) doesn't condone such or any normative claims.

social reform

Next, blame the society, and go on reform: and this is the path many movements (Aryo samaj, Brahma Samaj, Indian secularists, the defenders of human rights, Loksatta, whatever you name it) in India since 'independence' have taken to. The bane of these movements is that, upon simple questioning, they haven't understood the phenomena they wanted to 'reform'. How can it be said that they don't understand what is to be reformed? Are they bunch of stupids? Surely not. Then, where to look for the explanans?

Then, there is a question of what understanding is. When we say that P and Q are related, we need more than missing gap between P and Q: this gap-filler is hypothetical (so is electron, gene, etc); but we need different criteria as to why this hypothesis is better than others.

కాసేపు ...

నీ ప్రక్కన కూర్చోనా?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

criticise practices by criticising beliefs

"What Christianity did then – and was to repeat centuries later during the Reformation – was to criticise practices by criticising beliefs. That is to say, it postulated a link between practices and beliefs. A link of a type that (I claim) was unknown in Antiquity: practices express or embody the beliefs that human beings entertain." 

page 53, The Heathen In His Blindness.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Vanity and humility

There are various ways of flattering, and, of course, you must adapt your style to your subject. Some people like it laid on with a trowel, and this requires very little art. With sensible persons, however, it needs to be done very delicately, and more by suggestion than actual words. A good many like it wrapped up in the form of an insult, as--"Oh, you are a perfect fool, you are. You would give your last sixpence to the first hungry-looking beggar you met;" while others will swallow it only when administered through the medium of a third person, so that if C wishes to get at an A of this sort, he must confide to A's particular friend B that he thinks A a splendid fellow, and beg him, B, not to mention it, especially to A. Be careful that B is a reliable man, though, otherwise he won't.

Those fine, sturdy John Bulls who "hate flattery, sir," "Never let anybody get over me by flattery," etc., etc., are very simply managed. Flatter them enough upon their absence of vanity, and you can do what you like with them.

The Model of Self in Asian Culture

The Model of Self in Asian Culture

The ‘self’ in Asia, to the extent it makes sense to speak of one at all and as it is embedded in our world models, I submit, is a relational predicate i.e. it is a property which is ascribed to a relationship. Being a rough first approximation, this statement is capable of being explicated by means of an equally rough analogy. For example, consider the relation of biological descent: between any two bio-logical organisms A & B there obtains such a relation, just in case the organism A has the relationship of being-a-parent with the organism B, which has the relation of being-an-offspring. This relationship can be re-described from the perspective of the two relata by saying that A has the ‘property’ of be-ing-a-parent-of B, and that B has the ‘property’ of being-an-offspring-of A. “Parenthood” and “self-hood” can thus be seen as being roughly analogous. But even at this juncture, it is important to stress that A does not have the property of being a parent (like, say, it has the property of being dark-skinned) any more than some material object has the property of being “scarce”. ‘Parent’, scarcity’, ‘self, etc., are properties of relationships, as described from the perspective of one or some of the relata. This would imply that there is no ‘self’ outside of such relationships as might obtain.

It is important to bite into this question a little bit deeper. I am not just saying that the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ distinction’, or the ‘I’ and the ‘Thou’ difference, arises in a relationship. Such a suggestion would almost win a universal consent. What I am saying is that, the roughness of the earlier analogies becomes apparent here, the ‘self’ is a way of describing a relationship from the point of view of one of the relata. (Let us assume a dyadic relationship in order to keep the discussion simple.) But, from the perspective of which of the two relata? It is here, I believe, that the fundamental difference between the two cultural conceptions of self begins to emerge.

Let me use two dummy letters ‘A’ and ‘B’ as picking out two human organisms so as not to clutter up the discussion. It is important to emphasize that A and B do not create or even enter into a relation-ship. Rather, it is the case that some relationship has brought A & B together (To express it like this may make it sound counter-intuitive to the Western-educated sensibilities. But if you will try to think in your native languages, and see how absurd it sounds to say, for example, that A & B created the relations of teacher-pupil, doctor-patient, son-father etc., you will realize that the language I am using makes it counter-intuitive to say what I did.) In this relationship, the ‘self’ of A is parasitic upon the perspective from which B sees A. To begin with, A’s ‘self’ is constituted by those actions of B which are directed towards A. These structure A’s representation of its own actions. Actions of B towards A are crucially dependent upon B’s representation of A. If I may speak only of representations, without considering the relationship between action and its representation, then it can be said that the repre-sentation of A that B builds constitutes not so much the raw material out of which A builds his ‘self’, as much as it is a first-order representation of the ‘self’ of A. Upon this constitution of A’s identity by B, there arises another representation constructed this time by A: A constructs what A takes to be B’s representation of A. This second-order representation, i.e. A’s representation of B’s representation of A, constitutes the ‘self’ of A. Self-representation is parasitical i.e. it is always a derived representation.

Loosely put, A becomes a ‘self’ in a relationship and he becomes that when B constructs him as one. There is nothing complicated about this: you are a son, a pupil etc., when you are recognized as a son, a pupil etc. In a very strict sense, even this second-order representation is not a ‘self’: it is one’s identity as a son, father, wife etc. i.e., B does not construct A’s ‘self’ ,because there is no ‘self’ for A out-side of what he is to different people. Ignoring this complication does not vitiate the points I want to make later on, but will only facilitate the discussion. If this complication is not ignored, we will have to nest so many representations within one another that the discussion will become complex without adding anything of importance. So, I will simply say that one is a ‘self’ as a pupil, son, father, wife etc., when I talk of Asian cultures.

Is there a difference between what I claim to be implicit in our world models and the views prevalent in the West? Yes, there is. The process is seen differently, or so one is led to believe, whether one takes the world models or theories in the West as the reference point. In the relationship between A & B, A creates/builds up her/his identity, firstly, by distinguishing her/himself from B. Here, the ‘other’ is the background against which the self should take form; the distinction between ‘you’ and ‘me’ is preliminary to sketching out an ‘I’. Such an identity is preliminary because, at this stage, one has arrived at one’s self negatively, i.e., as a ‘Not-You’ or as a ‘Not-Other’. The second moment of building up a self involves a positive specification of some suitable properties. Whether this entire conceptualization is itself question-begging, as I think to be the case, or not, it is nevertheless the case that the construction of one’s self is an active process involving the organism whose identity is being talked about. The ‘others’, insofar as they play a role at all, are secondary to this process and function, where they do, in the same way the ground does with respect to a figure.

This difference may not be evident if one thinks of the way children build up their identity, more so when one thinks of the ideas of Cooley or G.H. Mead. But it must become obvious if we think of adults. For the latter, others’ representation is not even the raw material using which one sustains one’s identity. It is used, if at all, in ‘self-appraisal’, to use Wylie’s characterization which is not just hers alone. The self of an adult, in the Western culture, is its own foundation.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

internet laws

Indeed, this law is one of the most conspicuous examples of how a legislative body has set different rules for physical space and cyberspace. In this case, the law provides websites and other intermediaries a near-absolute immunization from liability for their users’ content—even if offline publishers would be liable for publishing the exact same user content in dead trees.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of this law to the Internet’s evolution. Without this law, all Internet content probably would be subject to a notice-and-takedown regime like we have for copyright law (see discussion about the DMCA Online Safe Harbors below). If websites had to remove user content upon notice to avoid liability, they would act conservatively, quickly pulling down complained-about content without much fuss. So, any company unhappy with negative consumer comments could simply contact the web host, claim that the comments were defamatory (making the web host potentially liable for the content), and expect the web host to scramble to take down the user’s comment.

47 USC 230 eliminates the notice-and-takedown option for people and companies trying to escape accountability. As a result, 47 USC 230 is a big part of the reason why the Internet became such a massive success.”

college towns

University jobs ain't safe either. Better to stick with industry.

Dartmouth College employs roughly 4500 people, 3500 of whom are non-faculty employees. Dartmouth has an endowment that hovers somewhere between three and four billion dollars. It is reported that about 25% of the school’s operating budget comes directly from the interest generated through the endowment’s investments. The balance, of course, comes from student tuition and alumni giving. The most updated report to the Dartmouth community---sent to us last Thursday---reports that the endowment has lost approximately 18% of its value over the past 12 months.

So why, in my opinion, will college towns get hit particularly hard over the next 2-3 years? Well, it's because of a combination of factors, some of which I touched upon above. Tuitions will drop, federal financial aid will dry up, endowments will shrink, businesses that once catered to a reliable student clientele with have to cut back on staffing, the college itself with have to cut back on staffing, energy consumption costs will rise in relationship to what the college has to spend, etc. And these are all dynamics that feed upon one-another. The local coffeeshop closes and 10 people from the community lose their jobs. 3 out of those 10 individuals cannot afford to pay the mortgage because they have no income. The local bakery---which used to make 30% of its daily profits from selling to the coffeeshop---has to let go of 2 employees. 

College towns are vulnerable in that, like old mill towns of the 19th century, they usually have but one major employer. If that employer takes a big financial hit, the entire town suffers from the shock waves that result. And in an economic Depression, college itslef becomes a leisure activity rather than a necessity for survival. I predict very dark times ahead for higher education, and in particular for the tens of thousands of behind-the-scenes workers who, up until now, kept these institutions running smoothly.


Yes, that really is my social security number. I put it here because I am that confident that our system works. However, you should protect your social security number and do not share it unless necessary.

Our job is to protect your good name. As a consumer, you have rights that allow you to take more control over who uses your identity and how they use it. We do the mechanics, the details if you will, to enforce those rights. And we stand behind our service with our $1,000,000 Service Guarantee. We charge $10 per month to do it.

Some of what we do, you can do yourself for free. The difference is that the only thing we think about is how to protect your Identity. Think of it this way: all of us can change our own oil, but most of us have it done by specialists. We'd like to think that what we do is more complicated than changing oil, but you get the idea.

Here's what we do:

First, we ask the credit bureaus to set free fraud alerts on your behalf. Usually, this is done through our automated systems and the alerts are set within an hour. From time to time there may be a hitch and we have to do the first one manually, usually because they have a different address on file for you. If this happens, we'll tell you right away and do what needs to be done to get the alerts set. (In case you're wondering, we don't charge anything more for this and our Total Service Guarantee is still in effect from day one.)

Second, unless your circumstances change and you tell us not to, every 90 days or so we ask the credit bureaus to do it again. You can do this for free if you'd prefer, but we make sure it gets done and that it gets done right. That's where the oil change analogy we were talking about kicks in.

Third, we request that your name be removed from lists of pre-approved offers for credit cards and/or insurance. Several sources cite these type of pre-approved offers as one of the many ways identities can be stolen. Many of our members tell us that this alone is worth the price. Again, you can do this for free, but why not let us do it for you?

Fourth, we order your free credit reports on your behalf from the major credit bureaus and they are sent directly to you. We do this every year. You can also do this yourself for free (Pennzoil anyone?).

Fifth, hassling with lost or stolen wallets is no longer a problem with WalletLock™. If ever your wallet goes missing, just give us a call - anytime, anywhere - and a WalletLock specialist will help you contact each credit card, bank or document issuing company, cancel your affected accounts and complete the paperwork and steps necessary to replace your lost documents*, including your credit/debit cards, driver's license, social security card, insurance cards, checkbook - even travelers checks - at no additional cost.

Make low-cost, high quality calls from your computer using your current cell phone number. Your friends and colleagues always know who is calling and you don't have to be at your desk when they call back.

Search, sort, read, reply, forward, tag, and archive all your text messages, voicemails, and your call notes, the same way you manage your email. Keep track of all your conversations with clients and friends.

Been using youmail to handle voicemail, but this looks comprehensive.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Years ago, when I used to wander of an evening from the fireside to the pleasant land of fairy-tales, I met a doughty knight and true. Many dangers had he overcome, in many lands had been; and all men knew him for a brave and well-tried knight, and one that knew not fear; except, maybe, upon such seasons when even a brave man might feel afraid and yet not be ashamed. Now, as this knight one day was pricking wearily along a toilsome road, his heart misgave him and was sore within him because of the trouble of the way. Rocks, dark and of a monstrous size, hung high above his head, and like enough it seemed unto the knight that they should fall and he lie low beneath them. Chasms there were on either side, and darksome caves wherein fierce robbers lived, and dragons, very terrible, whose jaws dripped blood. And upon the road there hung a darkness as of night. So it came over that good knight that he would no more press forward, but seek another road, less grievously beset with difficulty unto his gentle steed. But when in haste he turned and looked behind, much marveled our brave knight, for lo! of all the way that he had ridden there was naught for eye to see; but at his horse's heels there yawned a mighty gulf, whereof no man might ever spy the bottom, so deep was that same gulf. Then when Sir Ghelent saw that of going back there was none, he prayed to good Saint Cuthbert, and setting spurs into his steed rode forward bravely and most joyously. And naught harmed him.

There is no returning on the road of life. The frail bridge of time on which we tread sinks back into eternity at every step we take. The past is gone from us forever. It is gathered in and garnered. It belongs to us no more. No single word can ever be unspoken; no single step retraced. Therefore it beseems us as true knights to prick on bravely, not idly weep because we cannot now recall.

A new life begins for us with every second. Let us go forward joyously to meet it. We must press on whether we will or no, and we shall walk better with our eyes before us than with them ever cast behind.

A friend came to me the other day and urged me very eloquently to learn some wonderful system by which you never forgot anything. I don't know why he was so eager on the subject, unless it be that I occasionally borrow an umbrella and have a knack of coming out, in the middle of a game of whist, with a mild "Lor! I've been thinking all along that clubs were trumps." I declined the suggestion, however, in spite of the advantages he so attractively set forth. I have no wish to remember everything. There are many things in most men's lives that had better be forgotten. There is that time, many years ago, when we did not act quite as honorably, quite as uprightly, as we perhaps should have done--that unfortunate deviation from the path of strict probity we once committed, and in which, more unfortunate still, we were found out--that act of folly, of meanness, of wrong. Ah, well! we paid the penalty, suffered the maddening hours of vain remorse, the hot agony of shame, the scorn, perhaps, of those we loved. Let us forget. Oh, Father Time, lift with your kindly hands those bitter memories from off our overburdened hearts, for griefs are ever coming to us with the coming hours, and our little strength is only as the day.

Not that the past should be buried. The music of life would be mute if the chords of memory were snapped asunder. It is but the poisonous weeds, not the flowers, that we should root out from the garden of Mnemosyne. Do you remember Dickens' "Haunted Man"--how he prayed for forgetfulness, and how, when his prayer was answered, he prayed for memory once more? We do not want all the ghosts laid. It is only the haggard, cruel-eyed specters that we flee from. Let the gentle, kindly phantoms haunt us as they will; we are not afraid of them.

Singularity University, MIT Professional Institute

Some advancement in the calcified structure of education

Singularity University

Singularity University is less a traditional university and more an institution that will feature intensive 10-week, 10-day, or 3-day programs examining a set of 10 technologies and disciplines, such as future studies and forecasting; biotechnology and bioinformatics; nanotechnology; AI, robotics, and cognitive computing; and finance and entrepreneurship.

The founders anticipate that students will come from all over the world, and they hope the program results in the founding of new companies, the evolution of scientific and technological thinking, and the solidifying of professional and personal networks among the highly-accomplished students and faculty.

To Kurzweil, Singularity University is a place to problem-solve and talk about the results of the most recent iterations of the exponentially growing technologies that have shaped modern life. Among them, he said, are vacuum tubes, integrated circuits, chips and microprocessors.

Now, he said, we are on the threshold of an explosion of the newest such technology, including 3D and self-organizing molecular circuits. And to Kurzweil, the ability to bring together the leaders in this wide range of fields is a rare opportunity to jump-start the future. (The program's name is based on the theories Kurzweil popularized in his best-selling book The Singularity is Near.)

Can entrepreneurship be taught?

MIT Professional Institute

Discover. Innovate. Collaborate. Excel. An MIT education plunges students into a fast-paced world of new ideas, emerging fields, rigorous performance, and world-class colleagues. The Professional Education Programs office (PEP) is the gateway to lifelong learning from MIT’s renowned faculty, whether in a Cambridge classroom or at your company site. Through PEP, individuals can spend a semester or more studying in courses offered across the Institute. In 2006, PEP launched a new, innovative program that helps talented professionals prepare for career reentry. Professionals can also gain a competitive edge by taking a short course crafted for industry application. Custom programs can be delivered on campus or on site. PEP brings MIT to the world.

MIT has some interesting courses, eg: Renewable Energy: Capturing the Sun

Monday, February 02, 2009

Acrobat Reader

Pretty much every virus infected PC I've seen in the past few months was originally infected via the magnificence that is Acrobat Reader (and most of the remainder were infected by the meth-using-crack-whore that is the Sun JRE)

The time is right to go after Acrobat. After explaining to someone that the virus that just trashed their PC (or office's PCs) came in by way of a hidden PDF in an infected web page, not only are they OK with removing the Acrobat browser plugins, but they're often open to getting Acrobat off the machine entirely.

Given the rash of shit that Microsoft has (rightfully) received over the years for browser exploits, it's time to hold Adobe and Sun accountable for their dangerously insecure products. Both companies patch management is terrible. Neither provide any decent support for sysadmins to push out updates ("uh, try to find the MSI that the installer drops and then, you know, push it out with something. I think you can do it with Group Policies!" is about as far as they go) For Java it's been easy to say "just get rid of it" since for 99% of people it's unnecessary, but Acrobat and Acrobat Reader have been more of a challenge. Perhaps highlighting how insecure Acrobat is will help move the effort to replace it along.

The Naming of Hosts

The Naming of Hosts is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a host must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there's the name that the users use daily,
Such as venus, athena, and cisco, and ames,
Such as titan or sirius, hobbes or europa--
All of them sensible everyday names.

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the web pages, some for the flames:
Such as mercury, phoenix, orion, and charon--
But all of them sensible everyday names.

But I tell you, a host needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can it keep its home page perpendicular,
And spread out its data, send pages world wide?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Like lothlorien, pothole, or kobyashi-maru,
Such as pearly-gates.vatican, or else diplomatic-
Names that never belong to more than one host.

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE NAMESERVER KNOWS, and will us'ually confess.

When you notice a client in rapt meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
The code is engaged in a deep consultation
On the address, the address, the address of its name:

It's ineffable,
Deep and inscrutable,

The Idler

.... characteristic of the idler's work is that it looks suspiciously like play. This, again, makes the non-idler feel uncomfortable. Victims of the Protestant work ethic would like all work to be unpleasant. They feel that work is a curse, that we must suffer on this earth to earn our place in the next. The idler, on the other hand, sees no reason not to use his brain to organise a life for himself where his play is his work, and so attempt to create his own little paradise in the here and now.

The magazine argues that laziness has been unjustly criticised by modern society and that it deserves to have its good conscience returned to it and defended as an essential component of a happy life.

Eminent Domain

Remember all the treasure hunt stories. There was never a treasure hunt for paper money! At some point, it becomes worthless.

Don't buy US Gold

You need to buy a few of those … pure silver, gold if you have the money, and safely stash them. If you’re even more paranoid, don’t buy the US-minted coins because they fall under eminent domain and can be confiscated at the point of a gun — it HAS happened before. Your safest bets are pre-1933 US gold coins minted by the US Mint or foreign gold, like British Sovereigns (I like the 1/4 oz coins).

As a sidetrack … I’ve been getting mail calling me paranoid and crazy. Frankly, I don’t understand where those people get their unshakable faith in the US Federal Reserve Notes and this consumption/service-based economy. It’s not any kind of a secret, people, they even say it loud and clear on CNN/FOX NEWS — we are both a SERVICE economy and a CONSUMPTION-based economy. Two thirds of our economy is driven by consumption, not production. Therefore, in a country with fiat currency, the only thing that can possibly give that currency any intrinsic value is production and productive capacity of the people. What happens to a consumption-based economy then there is nothing else to consume?

Just think about your position for a second, the way I thought about mine. I’m a yuppie (young urban professional), and just like the rest of the office plankton I don’t produce anything … neither am I a value-add for anything my company produces. Are you a doctor? A farmer? Do you know a trade? If no, you, like me, are the first on the chopping block.

You need to buy Silver

You really have a couple of options. Buy US Mint precious metals if you’re not afraid for G.I. Joe confiscating them at the point of his gun. Buy some other form of silver if you are afraid of G.I. Joe slash Uncle Sam confiscating it when the time is ripe.

I’m taking my chances amd buying rolls of 10 US Mint Silver Dollar Eagles every paycheck. Sometimes, when the website advertisement paychecks rolls in, I buy a bar of Swiss Gold.

You’re asking, “why?”

Couple of reasons. First, I’ve been though currency devaluation before in the USSR. Not very fun. I’m talking, “run out and buy up whatever tangible durable goods you can because the paper money ain’t gonna be worth much in a day”.

Second … With the massive amounts (trillions) of dollars of money Federal Reserve is printing to cover the bailouts, I’m predicting massive inflation.

The Peaceful Transfer of Violent Power

This is something to celebrate?

The essence of government as we know it is the power to use force against people who have never harmed anyone. The most basic power is the power to tax. Indeed, government could do nothing without it. The power to tax is the legal authority to compel people to surrender their money to the state under penalty of fine, imprisonment, and worse for refusal. Whether or not one thinks this power is good (I don’t), one cannot deny that it is based on the threat to commit violence against the nonviolent.

Thus, this week we witness the peaceful transfer of the authority to commit legal plunder.

Apologists for government undertake bizarre mental contortions to show that we have consented to be taxed. Balderdash. I was never asked to consent, and I’m sure you weren’t either. I refuse to accept the nonsensical argument that by not vacating the parcel of land I purchased, I have signaled my “tacit consent” to be plundered and bullied. That implies the government owns the territory it rules and therefore can set the conditions under which it is used. That sounds like feudalism. Are we merely tenants of the governmental landlord?

Built on the power to tax (legally steal) are myriad other powers that entail the threat of violence against peaceful individuals. If you wish to buy things from people outside the jurisdiction claimed by the U.S. government, you may do so only on the terms it permits under its trade laws. If you wish to invite to your home or business someone who lives outside that jurisdiction, again, you can do so only under terms laid down by the government’s immigration rules. You are not free to make your own decisions in the matter.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Tranquility shall be restored. Everything looks beautiful.

Go for a walk. in the clouds. Telecom costs are killing me. Perhaps I can send messages via clouds. Or Pigeons. Smoke signals!!

get rid of demons

Things got thrown around. It feels it has legal ground to be there.

Get rid of the demons. Shouting, screaming, throwing things around. Be it in your mind or house. Peace shall return.

Think about how you got into the situation. Be in a state of constant readiness, to pulverise anything that looked remotely responsible for putting you there in the first place.