Archive for June, 2010

saptapadi- Ayigiri nandini

June 22, 2010

Accidentally, I came across this song on youtube.  Although, I do not understand most part of the song, I am loving it. All I can get from comments on youtube is that it is from an old movie in which hero starts worshipping his wife.

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Arnold and Stalin

June 19, 2010

Early last week, via Nytimes I came to know that V. I. Arnold, who is well known (for most of us who are not bright enough to follow and understand his research contribution) for his text book died.  It is my personal ambition to educate myself enough that I can understand and completely grasp his two books

  • V. I. Arnold, Ordinary Differential Equations, The MIT Press (1978)
  • V. I. Arnold, Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics, Springer-Verlag (1989)

If I am confident about my understanding of these two books, I will consider my math knowledge to be decent. Before this happens,  I can never call myself a theoretician.  Another ambition of mine regarding Arnold is to really understand KAM theory.

Like his advisor Kolmogorov, Arnold was an important pioneer of mathematical physics in last century.  I guess  Landau, Kolmogorov and Arnold are three most important contribution of Russia which provided positive education to countless number of student worldwide.  Now,  as it is  about Russia, so I won’t hesitate to make a nasty remark. I guess Russia can be easily pardoned for  producing two most important bastards, and monster of last century: Lenin, and Stalin.  I mean a land which can produce teachers like Landau, Kolmogorov and Arnold or in huminity teacher like Tolstoy  can occansionly fail and produce mass murderer monster like Stalin too.

life and mukesh

June 16, 2010

Bhopal and tradition of Pseudo-outrage in Indian media

June 13, 2010

Looks like Indian media will continue harping on Bhopal-disaster for next couple of days till they will find a new story on which they can start a shouting match again. After watching  for almost half an hour on IBN, around 15 minute on  and another half an hour on Times now, here is what I learnt

  • Warren Anderson, CEO of  union  carbide in 1984,  now lives in some wealthy suburbs of USA.
  • Indian government has failed to trace Mr. Anderson in last 25 year but smart reporters from  channel X (where X depend upon the channel being watched) found his house in 10 minute.
  • The verdict was very very wrong (it was so obvious to everyone). Basically, everyone is so busy being angry that no one bother to explain what is wrong legally with the judgement.
  • According to some Mr. Arnab  (I must confess I am not a regular watcher of news channels) host on Times now,  Indian public is so outraged by this judgement that we should immediately stop discussion on Nuclear liability bill. With my low intellect and close to zero direct  knowledge of what happened in 1984,  it was quite difficult for me to understand the link he was trying to establish.   I tried hard to understand his point of view and this is what I roughly understood:  Union Carbide  = bad  American company which  did not  gave up all its income and did not put all its employ in jail after 1984 = USA bad nation which protect its commercial interest and insist on fair trial (not by media)  for its own citizen in problem  abroad =  bad imperial power = hidden promoter of nuclear liability bill = case closed we should not have a bill.
  • It is our national duty to put  Mr. Anderson behind bar in India.
  • Arjun Singh was involved in helping Anderson  in such a way that he managed to  escape  trial in Indian court.

I see that everyone is very very angry.  I am trying to understand reason for such a delay anger.  Seriously speaking this whole episode is a reminder of hollowness of Indian media and danger created by it.  Unfortunate part is bloggers from academia are also just following Indian media. Here are a few example:

  • Read Here in new age media

And so, yet again, a ‘resurgent India’ fails its most deprived, its most dispossessed and impoverished citizens.

  • Or read here from a relatively sensible author in times of india

My blood boiled further today when I heard Barack Obama frivolously wanting to know “whose ass to kick” over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – where there are no casualties yet. You bet Swamiji, if he were alive today, would have liked to kick Barack’s.

In my opinion it is too late by now to bother about criminal investigation of the 1984 events.   However,  what I find here very shallow and even dangerous is the way public opinion is manipulated by media in current situation. Here are few question from my side to media

  • Where were you in last 25 years? Is this really a news to you that Arjun Singh (read Rajiv Gandhi) helped remove the heat from Union carbide? In fact even now very few are questioning stance of gandhi family on this.   In 1984 I personally was too young to remember anything. However, I do remeber the periodic drama enacted by media and activist on this.  Every time something will happen (for example current scene or compensation decision) media and activist  wiill create a small drama.  After a month or two something else will happen and everyone will forget this drama.
  • Actually, what is the issue that everyone is angry this  time?   Is that court acted on existing laws? Why people are blaming  courts? Are they suppose to create law for us? Last I heard, this job was still with parliament.
  • What exactly  was role of Anderson  in this whole episode.   No one in current debate has actually tried to show any criminal compliance from his side.    Is it really clear  that he was  personally knowledgeable about the whole episode?   After reading tons of  article in Indian media, I am still not so sure  that anyone has any proof of direct involvement of management of parent company of Union carbide Indian.  They can be easily blamed for criminal negligence for which our own laws are archaic.
  • Why  Indian media  is  so obsessed with  finding a fall guy in this case.  I don’t know what can be achieved by trying to prosecute a 90+ person.  Is it the case that people are feeling more offended that he is an american and company is in USA.  I see lot of ” I told you americans are so bad” going on in this case.  No such outrage was shown even recently  when Delhi University showed  much bigger (in potential)negligence in handling radioactive material.    Is it pure anti-americanism at its best or our usual tendency to try to find a fall guy in every situation?
  • Let us be realstic and accept that being vindictive on a 90+ year old man, whose direct crime is also not so clear, won’t serve any purpose now. Won’t it be better if we try to learn something from this tragedy?  As far as I know, many place where people teaches iy industrial safety in chemical engineering they use  1984 as a lesson to teach students what not to do when working in a chemical plant. I am from a generation who studied chemical engineering well after 1984 and at least I do not recall any one teaching us to take safety issues seriously anywhere during  my education.  Only person, I know who has taken educational value of 1984 seriously is one of my friend and collaborator at NTU, Singapore Dr. Arvind Rajendran.  He uses the movies and documentaries of 1984  to teach chemical engineering student what kind of thing can happen if they do not take their job seriously.   At least, accidence at Delhi University shows that in many Indian universities even professors working in these areas do not take safety issues very seriously.
  • Should not Indian media use outrage over  both 1984 and current Delhi episode to  increase safety standard in India.   Else, we will be looking for another Anderson very soon.

Personally,  I am very much against   blame game and holier than thou attitude shown in Indian media after each and every incidence.  Every tragedy is also an opportunity to correct our chaotic system.  In  blame games played in India causality  is very often larger big picture. Here are a few  example including 1984 issue:

  • The truth is that  many of Indian chemical plant are running on god’s mercy and it is shear luck that 1984 do not happen every day. However, no one is bothered about improving that situation. In quest for Anderson no one is remembering that situation is no better than 1984.  Is it the  case that  people are less bothered about them because many of such plant belong to Indian owners or govt of India itself.
  • A few year back their was big drama about exploitation of poor Indians in Kerala by imperial American multinational company coke.  An intersting finding during that time which generated  very little passion was the fact that pesticide content in Indian water is too high.  In everyone zeal to talk about bad americans water issue was completely forgotten. Coke or no coke fact is Indian ground water is still polluted but who cares!
  • In Ruchika’s case,  her school easily removed her from school. However, no corrective action was taken on that. Won’t it be better if arbitrary expulsion from schools are discussed more seriously.  Ruchika was tortured because our system permit such arbitrary powers to authorities.   Our outraged should be more pointed and help resolve such issues. But discussing such some long term corrections such as restricting school power etc will not be sexy enough for Indian media.

Another good one from Asha

June 6, 2010

Peace activist using Metal bars and stabbing soldiers

June 5, 2010

Looks like new age peace activist uses metal bars and stab people.

Bhojpuri Jems

June 5, 2010

Thanks to youtube, I got to know about an old bhojpuri jem from movie Bidesiya.   Heard a lot about it from old generation, but never got to watch the movie.  Here is a beautiful song from this movie

Chain se humko kabhie : Asha at her best

June 5, 2010

Perl, the first postmodern computer language

June 5, 2010

Recently I came across  a wonderful speech by Larry Wall, the Guru of Perl. Here is the original article  http://www.wall.org/~larry/pm.html.

Some of the interesting  line in this talk are

This would bother a Modernist, because a Modernist has to decide whether this is true OR that is true. The Modernist believes in OR more than AND. Postmodernists believe in AND more than OR. In the very postmodern Stephen Sondheim musical, _Into the Woods_, one of the heroines laments, “Is it always or, and never and?” Of course, at the time, she was trying to rationalize an adulterous relationship, so perhaps we’d better drop that example. Well, hey. At least we can use Perl as an example. In Perl, AND has higher precedence than OR does. There you have it. That proves Perl is a postmodern language.

Another one

While I’m thinking about the next thing to say in my talk, let me say a bit more about deconstructionism. I do not view deconstructionism as a form of postmodernism so much as I view deconstructionism as the bridge between Modernism and postmodernism. Modernism, as a form of Classicalism, was always striving for simplicity, and was therefore essentially reductionistic. That is, it tended to take things to pieces. That actually hasn’t changed much. It’s just that Modernism tended to take one of the pieces in isolation and glorify it, while postmodernism tries to show you all the pieces at once, and how they relate to each other.

This  remark on so called enlightenment and modern thinking of earlier generatiom

The funny thing is, Modernism itself was a kind of hammer, and it made everything look like something to be hammered. The protest movement of the ’60s was Modernistic: “If I had a hammer, I’d hammer all over this land.” The focus was always on the nail, or on whatever it was that was getting pounded. And many things did get hammered in the Modern age. Architectural beauty, for one. That one is obvious just by looking at the skyline of any major city. It’s easy to tell which buildings were built in the 50’s and 60’s. They’re the ones that look like boxes. When we first saw them, we thought they looked very modern. Well, they did. But when the Seattle First National Bank was built in, you guessed it, Seattle, we all made jokes about how it looked like the box the Space Needle came in. At least the Space Needle was cute, kinda like the Jetsons were cute. But the Space Needle wasn’t really very functional, unless you go in for rotating restaurants.

In fact, at many different levels, Modernism brought us various kinds of dysfunction. Every cultural institution took a beating. Government took a beating. Schools took a beating. Certainly the family took a beating. Everyone took a beating, because Modernism was about attacking problems. Modernism was the hammer. (I’d like to make a pun on hammer and sickle here, but I’m not sure what it would be. Certainly Russia was more hammered than we were by Modernism, in the cloak of Marxism. I know what it means to be hammered, but I’m still trying to figure out what it would mean to be more sickled. Hmm. Unless that’s talking about the Grim Reaper. Russia has a lot of experience with that too.) Anyway, back to our talk. Modernism oversimplifies. Modernism puts the focus squarely on the hammer and the nail.

This one on god

True greatness is measured by how much freedom you give to others, not by how much you can coerce others to do what you want. I remember praying a prayer when I was very young, not much more than a baby myself. “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food. Amen.” Well, I’m here to say amen to that. God’s greatness and goodness are measured by the fact that he gives us choices. He doesn’t require us to thank him for our food. (In case you hadn’t noticed.) God is not a Modernist. He doesn’t view us as nails. God expects us to behave like carpenters. Indeed, he gave us a carpenter as an example.

So I think God is postmodern. He has his own ideas of what rules, and what sucks, and he doesn’t expect everyone else to agree with him. Mind you, he likes it when people agree with him. I like it when people agree with me about Perl. But I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Of course, some of my loyal followers expect everyone to agree with me. I try to think of it as an endearing characteristic. Personally, I think the Perl slogan, There’s More Than One Way To Do It, applies outside of Perl as well as inside. I explicitly give people the freedom not to use Perl, just as God gives people the freedom to go to the devil if they so choose.