Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Email Record August 2006

Total Mail Recieved: 858
Junk: 563
Absolute Junk: 229
Relevant: 295
Sent: 158

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I must link to this post by Aneesh. It is surprising how much such small incidents in life can teach you.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

More than Human

I have been getting a little informal education in literature for the last couple of years through my involvement with Literary Discussion Group (LDG) at my college. Although my primary preoccupation remains science fiction, it is almost never discussed at the LDG and therefore I am forced to read a lot of ‘real’ literature too.

What irks me is literature’s preoccupation with the ‘human’ aspects of life. What I mean is this. Most literature that I get to read is dealing exclusively with human emotions, human life and human problems. It places the human on a pedestal higher than rest of the universe and at the centre of the universe. Sometimes I get into the spirit too and feel that that is all that is important in life. Helping the downtrodden. Exposing inequality in the society and exploring misery at all levels. Bring it all out into public consciousness so that the world becomes a better place to live in.

However, every now and then I find myself beneath the night sky staring at the stars. And then I contemplate on the size of the universe and our position inside it. And then I feel how insignificant humans and the little self contained world of theirs is. Their preoccupation with themselves appears almost ludicrous to me. What if, someday, in the wink of an eye, humanity was to disappear from the face of this earth? What difference would it make in the vastnesses of the Universe? Would the earth stop rotating around the sun? Would the heavens stop moving the way they do?

And then I’m also plagued with the questions about who I am and what I am doing here. What is the purpose to my life? What is the purpose to this entire drama that is unfolding beneath the skies?

Are these questions not worth the enquiry? Are there questions not worth taking the trouble of contemplating about them?

Perhaps if have to go without food for three days in a row and have not a penny in my pocket, I’d find that they are not.

The included image is that of the Helix Nebula taken through the Hubble telescope. Due to its shape, the nebula is generally being referred to as the 'Eye of God'.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why Pesticides?

Why do the cola companies put pesticides in their soft drinks? This is one of those aspects of modern culture which is so unbelievably ludicrous that no one actually perceives it as funny. In fact no one ever bothers to answer this question.

Why indeed do they put pesticides in cola? Let me look at the possible reasons. Not that I know the answer. I’m just trying to be funny and failing miserably.

A. For taste. This is possible. Pesticides might make the taste of cola better and distinct. But then, of all things in this world why do you need to have pesticides in cola? There are a plethora of food items available that might enhance the taste. People put spices in their food to improve the taste. McD puts animal fat in vegetarian stuff to enhance the taste. That is understandable if not entirely moral. But pesticides? Why in the world? In any case it is not because of the taste that people drink cola. People drink it because, well, people drink it. I have never understood the concept of a cold drink but let me not bring in my personal prejudices into the issue. People drink cola because it is marketed so aggressively.

B. As preservatives. As far as I know there are preservatives available which are relatively harmless and do the same job as pesticides would do. Perhaps pesticides are cheaper and these ‘drinkable’ preservatives are not. That would make sense. But then, fellows, you are already selling a half rupee product at seven or eight rupee a bottle. Using the stuff that you are allowed to use would not reduce your profit margin by much would it? Maybe it would. Well then, increase the prices. The idiots who drink a half rupee sugared aerated pesticidal water at seven or eight rupees a bottle wouldn’t mind shelling out a couple of bucks more. In fact, imagine what a ball your advertising section can have! New improved cola with active preservatives! And you can raise the prices by two rupees before the launch and then give a discount of a rupee on each bottle after the launch and imagine what advertising potential the whole thing has!

C. To kill pests. Yes, this is a distinct possibility too. The cola bottles might have pests and the company might be forced to put pesticides in to kill them. Perfectly logical. But then I’d wonder – why put it pests in cola in the first place?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Can't Help It, Can I?

Featured here is Media Player 11 Beta from Microsoft. Except for a great user interface, there is nothing new it has to offer. Download it from Microsoft's site.