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May 18, 2017

The mango cutter and his daughter

Filed under: daughter, social change, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 21:38

mango_cutter

Early morning of a May day, a father and daughter in the market starting their day. The father is expecting his business to pick up. His equipment – a gunny bag, a cloth, and a large cutter that is used to cut ripe mangoes that will be turned into pickles.

I was reminded of a day when I took my daughter to work. And this is another father who is taking his daughter to work. Such a contrast. What did I do to deserve this differential treatment?

April 26, 2017

Artificial Wombs and Sperm Banks

An article in the verge claims that an artificial womb has been developed to grow baby sheep. It is estimated that even human babies can be grown in a similar fashion. It is absolutely dandy what technology has achieved. As per the article:

Inside what look like oversized ziplock bags strewn with tubes of blood and fluid, eight fetal lambs continued to develop — much like they would have inside their mothers. Over four weeks, their lungs and brains grew, they sprouted wool, opened their eyes, wriggled around, and learned to swallow, according to a new study that takes the first step toward an artificial womb. One day, this device could help to bring premature human babies to term outside the uterus — but right now, it has only been tested on sheep.

…..

It’s appealing to imagine a world where artificial wombs grow babies, eliminating the health risk of pregnancy.

artificial_womb_calf

It truly is appealing…

Frozen sperm in a bank, no need to hold, push, or yank.
It has been done for you well ahead,
A brochure of well endowed men to eliminate chance.
Well winnowed to weed out the idiots,
No foreplay, or even any kind of play needed.
Why leave this to randomness,
The best seed is available, 24/7, everywhere.

Wombs a-galore in glass enclosures.
Prepared, sterilized and ready to go,
Can they integrate with instagram?
The baby to be visible as it develops legs and arms.
When it is born, watch live on skype,
Why go for the normal when the exclusive is on order?
Select a unique name using google, why risk asking mother, or grandmother?

What a wonderful world, full of opportunities.
Enjoyment forever, due process to eliminate all worries.
No waiting, dating, or exchanging of vows.
Feminists can rejoice, MCPs can party,
True independence from all troublesome activity.
Life can continue un-imbibed with technologies,
Is it not awesome to live with these certainties.

Wait there is more to come.
Why cant we have someone pay for all this?
After all we end up working for a company.
Maybe they can grow the base of their employee.
Selected, trained, and groomed from the womb.
Manufactured to precession to follow every rule.
Such a world, so full of possibility…

McBabies, oh that would be so dandy.
We could select from a menu,
Maybe “make it a deal” with a toy to carry.

March 19, 2017

Robot blamed for persons death?

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 07:39

This is more akin to automated machinery going wrong. This is most likely a programming error as opposed to a robot that is actually “aware” of its surroundings. Excerpt from an article describing the death is below.

“The robot from section 130 should have never entered section 140, and should have never attempted to load a hitch assembly within a fixture that was already loaded with a hitch assembly. A failure of one or more of defendants’ safety systems or devices had taken place, causing Wanda’s death,” the lawsuit alleges.

March 13, 2017

When Evidence Says No, But Doctors Say Yes

Filed under: health care, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 17:27

Excerpt from an article.

A unique study at five orthopedic clinics in Finland compared APM with “sham surgery.” That is, surgeons took patients with knee pain to operating rooms, made incisions, faked surgeries, and then sewed them back up. Neither the patients nor the doctors evaluating them knew who had received real surgeries and who was sporting a souvenir scar. A year later, there was nothing to tell them apart. The sham surgery performed just as well as real surgery. Except that, in the long run, the real surgery may increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis. Also, it’s expensive, and, while APM is exceedingly safe, surgery plus physical therapy has a greater risk of side effects than just physical therapy.

December 5, 2016

Real Job? What real job?

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 11:43

Very few of us are doing real jobs. I try explaining this to friends sometimes, but am left speechless by their inability to fathom the very evident truth. This article sums up my one liner very nicely. Quote:

When it comes to garbage collectors, though, it’s different. Any way you look at it, they do a job we can’t do without. And the harsh truth is that an increasing number of people do jobs that we can do just fine without. Were they to suddenly stop working the world wouldn’t get any poorer, uglier, or in any way worse. Take the slick Wall Street traders who line their pockets at the expense of another retirement fund. Take the shrewd lawyers who can draw a corporate lawsuit out until the end of days. Or take the brilliant ad writer who pens the slogan of the year and puts the competition right out of business.

Instead of creating wealth, these jobs mostly just shift it around.

Of course, there’s no clear line between who creates wealth and who shifts it. Lots of jobs do both. There’s no denying that the financial sector can contribute to our wealth and grease the wheels of other sectors in the process. Banks can help to spread risks and back people with bright ideas. And yet, these days, banks have become so big that much of what they do is merely shuffle wealth around, or even destroy it. Instead of growing the pie, the explosive expansion of the banking sector has increased the share it serves itself.

Or take the legal profession. It goes without saying that the rule of law is necessary for a country to prosper. But now that the U.S. has 17 times the number of lawyers per capita as Japan, does that make American rule of law 17 times as effective? Or Americans 17 times as protected? Far from it. Some law firms even make a practice of buying up patents for products they have no intention of producing, purely to enable them to sue people for copyright infringement.

Bizarrely, it’s precisely the jobs that shift money around – creating next to nothing of tangible value – that net the best salaries. It’s a fascinating, paradoxical state of affairs. How is it possible that all those agents of prosperity – the teachers, the police officers, the nurses – are paid so poorly, while the unimportant, superfluous, and even destructive shifters do so well?

In fact, it has become increasingly profitable not to innovate. Imagine just how much progress we’ve missed out on because thousands of bright minds have frittered away their time dreaming up hypercomplex financial products that are ultimately only destructive. Or spent the best years of their lives duplicating existing pharmaceuticals in a way that’s infinitesimally different enough to warrant a new patent application by a brainy lawyer so a brilliant PR department can launch a brand-new marketing campaign for the not-so-brand-new drug.

Imagine that all this talent were to be invested not in shifting wealth around, but in creating it. Who knows, we might already have had jetpacks, built submarine cities, or cured cancer.

November 22, 2016

Dog that travelled a long distance

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 23:06

A few months ago, I think around May, I was dropping my kids at their school. I saw a battered pup on the street close to their campus. The dog was bleeding from its mouth, and was almost certainly going to be killed.

I picked it up, decided that that I will feed it, get it healthy, give it some shots. The plan was to take it to our farmhouse after it became strong enough. Around June, I dropped the dog at our farm house. But found out within a week that it had ran off.

On Sept 7th, the dog showed up at our house. It had traveled a long distance to be back with us :). I still think I should give it up for adoption to someone who can take better care of it. I had trained it to bring a ball, stay outside the house during day time. Respond to sit, stop and go. With my work related travel, I have very little time to take care of it. Kids are also too young to be responsible for it :-/.

But yes, I was impressed with the commitment and love of the little mutt. 🙂

November 1, 2016

Education vs Vocation vs Job

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 15:05

A very interesting article on the Atlantic, original link here, and excerpt here:

At a recent conference, I listened to a university president boast about a program she had developed in partnership with several local high schools. She told the story of one teenager who lived in a rural area and worked full time on his family’s farm in addition to attending high school. The university president explained that the young man had little promise for attending college because of his circumstances. But through the dual-credit program, he was able to gain college credit while still in high school, which gave him the confidence to seek an associate’s degree in agriculture and return home to work on his family farm. I listened as she proudly told this young man’s story and the audience cheered for both of them, and all I could think was: What an extraordinary waste of time.

Many students these days spend 16+ years in a class room with little knowledge of their capacities. Worse, it even makes them believe that their likes, dislikes, and success metrics need to be consistent with some hard coded social rules. There is too much conditioning and too little learning. Schools and even jobs these days do not allow self-discovery, a trait that singularly separates us from animals.

Contrast the above article with this one on Khadi; Excerpt:

In the 1980s, when Santosh joined the trust, he also began Hosa Jeevana Daari (a new way of life), a centre for sustainable living alternatives. Santosh regards Masanobu Fukuoka, the author of One-Straw Revolution, as a major influence in his life and this reflects in his outlook towards agriculture in particular, and sustainability as a whole.
Seeing the demand move favourably towards khadi and naturally dyed fabric, Santosh also began the khadi unit. His son Sumanas was home-schooled up to Class VII and then joined a Kannada-medium school. He went on to complete his masters in biodiversity conservation at Oxford and has been working closely with the khadi weaving centre.
The initiatives that the trust is currently into encompasses the interests and expertise of all three generations—a specialized adoption agency, a tree-planting effort with rare native varieties of the area, the centre for sustainable living alternatives that is primarily into environment education and the khadi weaving unit. But it is the last one, with its unique perspective to productivity, which is intriguing.

October 31, 2016

How to gift

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 18:41

This festive season, some people asked me why I did not give them a certain gift. Advaita philosophy has some guidelines to be followed. Here is an excerpt from a book on Advaita:

how_to_gift.jpg

Original link:

https://books.google.co.in/books?id=RX67hbbtW6kC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12

October 26, 2016

Pilot, why dont you fix my airplane?

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 20:44

This post is in response to the following article:

http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/ginger-thoughts/article/should-a-daughter-in-law-take-care-of-her-parents-in-law-an-honest-answer

The article just riles about the issue, forgetting to highlight the true cause(s):

  1. The importance of specific jobs in society is under-rated. How will it be if a pilot asks an engineer to do the job of flying, or the engineer asks a pilot to repair the airplane? In a human relationship, wife is a pilot sometimes, an engineer at other times. Ditto the husband. If one claims the other job to be insignificant, they are in for trouble. The problem these days is that one tries to “measure” the importance of an engineer vs a pilot.
  2. We define our value by a job, bank balance, car, or any other material object. We assign a value to ourselves based on our ability to gather such objects. These days, even husbands and wives measure each other with such barometers. Parents do the same thing to kids. Hopefully, someday we shall start giving importance based on values that we carry – like kindness, truthfulness, and generally “being human”.
  3. Once, my MIL had fallen sick. I showed up at their house, cooked meals and took her to the doctor for a few days. I considered this to be normal behavior. It became a story in my family. Sometimes, even repeated by my wife despite my insistence that this was just normal behavior that one should expect from every human being. It is sad that such “normal” behavior needs to be defined in terms of being a man, a woman, a son, or daughter etc. I am learning that in current society, there are many such normal things that have become abnormal.
  4. I believe I worked to the best of my ability in the situation described above. But I also know that my wife would have been better in that capacity. She is simply a more sensitive, more understanding person. Our capacities in different roles, our skin color, our gender, the length of our **** is an accident of biology or at best a play of creation. We should treat it as such and proceed with lives. In the process, use the best tool for the job at hand. Be a team.

Unfortunately, in this era of big data and happy meals, a big heart and a happy family has become scarce.

Disclaimer: After reading the article about husband-wife, I made following assumptions:

  1. Both wife and husband thought that the job of “going to cook, clean or mop for your parents” is somehow less important. But, no point blaming them alone; most of the society these days gives less importance to these tasks. In fact, if anyone hires a servant to do this work, they would pay him/her about Rs 4-5K max as salary. This amount is probably on the higher side :-/.
  2. Given the tone of the article, I assumed that the husband asked his wife because he did not know how to cook clean or mop. The latter is not excusable. Most men are brought up in a manner that they do not know how to mop, cook, or clean. This sucks.

 

October 8, 2016

Bull Shit vs Cow Dung

Filed under: Uncategorized — neosurya @ 03:35
Just found out that we can buy cowdung cakes online from Amazon: http://www.amazon.in/Amit-Marketing-100-Dung-Gobar/dp/B01CR0PE0Q?tag=googinhydr18418-21
 
Selling dung online is a blessing. Have you ever had litti choka made on cowdung cakes? It is awesome. The messy part is to get the cow dung cake. I had to buy fresh dung from a local store and dry it to get desired results. Yep, it was an involved process. But burning dung + wood = awesome barbecue.
 
My love for fresh milk and dung made me seriously consider buying a whole cow. Feed grass. Get Milk + dung. Then I found out that the milk part gets complicated. Cows give milk only when they have suckling calves. Creating suckling calves meant I would need to have a bull. Or go with the more “industrial” methods of creating suckling calves: (A) Bovine version of artificial insemination, (B) Injections to keep the milk flowing minus the suckling. That would generate way too much BullShit.
 
BTW, farmers did tell me that “A” and “B” are not required. Milk does come naturally even if you do not have calves. You just have to ensure that the udders are milked everyday. But I need to verify this independently.
 
I need to find better things to do at 3:00 AM on a Sat. 
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