Saturday, May 31, 2008


If ever time should flow so calmly on
Soothing my spirits in such oblivion
That in the pleasut trance I would arrest
And hail the happy moment in its course,
Bidding it linger with me. …
Then willingly do I consent to perish.

Here's to this 'virtual' place.  Its been 4 long years since I started scribbling here. It is very interesting to see this survive despite my many attempts to stop it. It started as an adventure in some meaningless writing and not sure where I am now.

Looking back at the first 2 years of posting I  reflect on myself as childish, immature, foolish, sometimes rude and happily engaging in flights of fancy with no restraint whatsoever. I think I am completely crazy in even writing something like that (people told me that long time back but I realise it just now. Flourescence rather than incandescence) . 

I guess I have mellowed down a bit and kind of shed my previous skins now but what makes me smile looking at those posts is the earnestness/sincerity with which I used to post those initial ones.  I think I had a strong sense of camaraderie in that people who started their own scribbles around the same time exchanged a lot of comments,emails and experimentations with various widgets. Now, I feel like an equilibrium point has been reached where everyone settled down in their corners much like the molecules in a covalent bond once the valence equation is satisfied. 

One thing I have always avoided is categorization. I love tag clouds though, but unable to find myself tagging my posts which only points to my lack of clarity in thought. So, today I pronounce three tags which shall be a 50,000 feet view of what I would like to write about in my indulgences:  The Good, The True and The Beautiful.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Peppy Friday Tracks

Today I discovered some really cool music on MIO. I usually dont listen to these songs or ones directed by other than AR Rahman but these tracks were really perfect for my friday tone setting.

I got a lot of work done listening to them. Particularly Track 3 is my fave...

ps: The word Jalsa doesnt seem indian anyways..

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Verse Du Jour

The reticent volcano keeps
His never slumbering plan;
Confided are his projects pink
To no precarious man.

If nature will not tell the tale
Jehovah told to her,
Can human nature not survive
Without a listener?

Admonished by her buckled lips
Let every babbler be.
The only secret people keep
Is Immortality.

-Emily Dickinson

Monday, May 19, 2008


I have a friend who is graduating his PhD programme from UC Berkeley. I think he has come a long way. I have known him for 12 years. I have known him to break the shackles of his telugu medium education when he aced his TOEFL itself. Now, another feather in his cap.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A History of the World in 10½ Chapters

This is a brilliant read I have just finished. It is philosophy written to the bone in a light language that endears the author to the reader. Its very delicately crafted both in terms of structure of the book and the flow of narrative from chapter to chapter. Its like watching a tarantino movie with words. Whats more, its pace is as diverse to give it a true metaphor to mimic the historical studies that we have known so far.

It explodes with the first chapter where a woodworm's view on Noah's Ark mercurially begs us to take a different perspective of the world. The second chapter abruptly flows into current day world view (current here being 1990) and offers some insight into the Marxian quote  "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

The author takes to heart that quote and presents us with a deepening emotion of the same theme but without the same vigor just to tell us that, yes, we do indeed consider it a farce. While that's the local theme, the global one seems like to affirm Joyce's quote  "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake". 

On a parallel track, he ascertains what does it mean to be human and how do we rationalise something ghoulish as equally human. The attached picture is called Scene at Shipwreck is very analytically analyzed in a single chapter with such finesse that you'll never look at other paintings casually. It also was buttressing his case that we as humans turn catastrophe into art.

There's this wildly imaginative but based on reality court case where the legal rights of animals/insects before law are discussed and it makes excellent points on human jurisdiction.
Finally as a verdict the termites are excommunicated for eating away the chair of a bishop in a cathedral and taking up illegal residence in the house of god. Go figure that out..

If you are wondering about the fraction (half) in the title it is dedicated to love albeit all the loose ends of history,truth and art are connected in this chapter (they were disjoint before) This half-chapter is one of the best ever written on the subject and the entire book's price might be justified purely on this chapter alone. Consider this:

Love is anti-mechanical,anti-materialist:thats why bad love is still good love. It may make us unhappy, but it insists that the mechanical and the material neednt be in charge. Religion has become either wimpishly workaday, or terminally crazy,or mere businesslike - confusing spirituality with charitable donations. Art, picking up confidence from the decline of religion,announces its transcendence of the world(and it lasts! it lasts! art beats death) but this announcement isnt accesible to all, where accessible isnt always inspiring or welcome. So religion and art must yield to love. It gives us our humanity and also our mysticism. There is more to us than us.

The materialist argument attacks love,of course; it attacks everything. Love boils down to pheromones,it says. This bounding of heart, this clarity of vision, this energizing, this moral certainity, this civic virtue, this murmered I love you, are all caused by a lowl level smell emitted by one partner and subconsciously nosed by the other. We are just a grander version of that beetle bashing its head in a box at the sound of a tapped pencil. Do we believe this? Well, let's believe it for the moment,because it makes love's triumph the greater. What is a Violin made of? Bits of wood and bits of sheep intestine and horse hair.Does its construction deman and banalize the music? On the contrary, it exalts the music further

And I'm not saying love will make you happy - above all, I'm not saying that. If anything, I tend to believe that it will make you unhappy: either immediately unhappy,as you are paled by incompatibility, or unhappy later, when the woodworm has quietly been gnawing away for years and the bishop's throne collapses. But you can believe this and still insist that love is our only hope.

It is our only hope even if it fails us, although it fails us, because it fails us. Am I losing precision? What I'm searching for is the right comparison. Love and truth,yes, thats the prime connection. We all know objective truth is not obtainable,that when some event occurs we shall have a multiplicity of subjective truths which we assess and then fabulate into history, into some God-eyed version of what 'really' happened. This God-eyed version is a fake - a charming,impossible fake, like those medieval paintings which show all the stages of Christ's Passion happening simultaneously in different parts of the picture. But while we know this, we must still believe that objective truth is obtainable; or we must believe that it is 99 percent obtainable; or if we cant believe this we must believe that 43 percent objective is better than 41 percent. We must do so, because if we don't we are lost, we fall into beguiling relativity, we value one liar's version as much as another liar's, we throw up our hands at the puzzle of it all, we admit that the victor has the right not just to the spoils but also to the truth.
 (Whose truth do we prefer,by the way, the victor's or the victim's? Are pride and compassion greater distorters than shame and fear?)

And so it is with love. We must believe in it, or we're lost. We may not obtain it, or we may obtain it and find it renders us unhappy; we must still believe in it. If we don't,then we merely surrender to the history of the world and to someone else's truth."

For those who skipped the above passages: Love gives us a chance to stand up to the weight of the history.

Happy Towel Day!

Please remember to take your towel with you today if you wanna be a part of the wake for Douglas Adams. As he says in H2G2:

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Echoes of the Mind

I personally have always maintained Roger Penrose  to be far more superior to understanding universe rather than Stephen Hawking.

One of my favoritest works by the author was The Emperor's New Mind on which an excellent review is posted by one Mr. Ananth in his blog Thermal Noise. His allusion to the following passage in the book somehow jogged my memory lane and brought back to life one of those pondering questions in my collegiate days.  Ahh! To be thinking of those things :)

“Admittedly there are some such as Newton or Einstein or Archimedes, Galileo, Maxwell or Dirac - or Darwin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso, Bach, Mozart, or Plato, or those great minds who could conceive Iliad or Hamlet - who seem to have more of this faculty of being able to ’smell’ out truth or beauty than is given to the rest of us. But a unity with the workings of Nature is potentially present within all of us and is revealed in our very faculties of conscious comprehension and sensitivity, at whatever level they may be operating. Everyone of our conscious brains is woven from subtle physical ingredients that somehow enable us to take advantage of the profound organization of our mathematically underpinned universe - so that we, in turn, are capable of some kind of direct access, through that Platonic quality of ‘understanding’, to the very ways in which our universe behaves at many different levels.“

My favorite one that nails the whole bridging of the gap between art and science in math is the following:

“The Whole point of our mathematical heritage and training is that we do not bow down to the authority of some obscure rules that we can never hope to understand. We must see - atleast in principle- that each step in an argument can be reduced to something  simple and obvious."

That "seeing" part is our consciousness which makes Godel and myself happy :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Old Spice!

From Mark's blog: "suddenly it dawns on you why Columbus was willing to risk falling off the edge of the freakin’ planet to get his hands on some new spices — remember the Sarcastic Gourmet told you to buy real vanilla extract, not the imitation stuff. Yes, I know it costs twice as much for a bottle half the size, and you’re wondering if it’s really worth it, and after all you have been looking for ways to save money ever since you sold your dog’s kidneys on the black market to pay rent. The Sarcastic Gourmet does not care about your problems. Real vanilla. Real butter. Real condensed milk. Dear God, why do they even make low-fat condensed milk? That’s just… bad milk. [shakes head in disbelief]"

way to start off the week..

Sunday, May 11, 2008


As of today based on the christian calendar I have completed my vow of 12 years of celibacy based on the brahmanical tradition Upanayanam. This means that I am done with the traditional phase of life known as Brahmacharya and ready for Grihastha

In a commitment-phobic world, thats something I am proud of and look forward to many other good things..

Friday, May 09, 2008

A good spend of time

If you feel bored and want to peruse some interesting data thats useful someday please pore over the census atlas of the us.

Has very interesting segmentation data thats nice read to kill time and understand more about the society..

Monday, May 05, 2008

Amusement of the Day

I was driving and the following stream of thought occurred at the signal stop in El Camino before lunch.

Q: How does a thair saadam guy stop being one?
A: Jab Dil Maange More (when his heart wants more)

(apologies to non south indians who might not get it)

Sunday, May 04, 2008


If there is one hobby I have neglected in the past few years, it is photography.
If you liked this photo (it is taken by one of the smartest vc in the valley), then you can dip into his photostream for more treasures like this one.