Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sitting down

Phew. Finally got around to this - spent the last week running around meeting friends and relatives. That isn't over yet, but I have a bit of a breather.

Things:
  • Icahn insider trading probe [link]
  • Pregnant Pakistani woman stoned to death outside court house while police stood and watched [link]
    Excerpt: "Most national media outlets gave little attention to the story. Honor killings are so common they usually only rate a paragraph or two. Women have been mutilated and killed for wearing jeans, looking out of windows, singing or giving birth to girls."
  • Two teenage girls (14 and 15) gang-raped and murdered in Uttar Pradesh, India. [link]
    Akhilesh Yadav, the Chief Minister of the state replied with "You are safe, aren't you?" when asked about the dismal condition of the state. Unlike Pakistan, where policemen merely stood and watched, it appears that the police in UP took initiative to actively defend the rapists. According to national news channels, the father of the girls alleges that when he went to the house of the prime accused, a policeman was sitting outside with another (now) rape-suspect; said policeman confirmed that the girls were inside, and would be returned in 2 hours. No amount of pleading helped. Afterwords, they told the father to go look around and that "maybe you'll find them hanging on a tree". In their defense, the murdering rapists appear to be extremely honest men - both girls were indeed found to be hanging from a tree.
  • US & Japan team up, tell China to stop irritating other countries [link]. China says that they'll play nice [link].
  • At least 15 months to elections in Thailand [link]
  • The Indian National Congress continues to be an annoyance by harping on about Smriti Irani's educational background [link]

Friday, May 23, 2014

Future Past

Watched the new X-Men movie today. Meh. It's not bad, but Magneto - my favourite character - isn't really interesting in the movie. Had a taxi driver try to overcharge me by taking a few extra turns. Poor fellow - not only did he lost his customer, but he also got stuck in a massive traffic jam immediately afterwards.

Today's Things:
  • Putin criticises the US [link]
  • Tax woes for multiple US states [link]

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cricket

Went to the Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match at Eden Gardens today. Had a lot of fun watching Uthappa hit an unbeaten 83 off 51 balls; the last over was a bit slow, but KKR still posted a total of 195/4. With Sunil Narine leading the fray, RCB finished their 20 overs with only 165/5. KKR are not 3rd; RCB are out of the top 4.

Today's Things:
  • The Thai army staged a coup d'├ętat after talks between the Thaksin supporters and the royalists failed [link]
  • Bill to stop NSA mass data collection clears the US House of Representatives [link]
  • Prince Charles is an idiot [link]; he might be right, but he's still an idiot.

Friday, May 16, 2014

India

Quite a few people are talking about India electing someone who is "genocidal".

Whatever the reasons, at the end of the day, I happen to disagree with you. I am not a crazy hindu fundamentalist. My difference in opinion with you on this one issue does not mean that I have suddenly lost all respect for you. If you feel otherwise - if you feel that you can no longer tolerate someone who holds a different opinion from yours, then I have nothing more to say.

I know what your opinions are. I have followed the evidence, the courts, and the news, and reached my own conclusions, which happen to differ from yours. I have spoken to many of you about this stuff, and have found many of you as stuck in your beliefs as any religious fundamentalist. It is clear that (a large portion of) you think that you know best, that your opinions are correct, and that the people of India are misguided morons.

Maybe you are right. Bad people have been elected before. In this case, I happen to trust the courts, the statistics, and the evidence that I have seen. I do not trust opinions. I do not trust immensely well written, moving essays. No doubt you have "counter-statistics" and well thought out arguments - I have probably heard most of them. I have spent hours upon hours reading every pro and anti Modi article I could get my hands on.

Please don't send me any of them. Just.. stop. My facebook feed is filled with this stuff. I am not an ignorant moron who knows nothing about the world - if you do not have that modicum of respect for me, then, again, I have nothing more to say.

It's funny how I keep writing after saying "I have nothing more to say" - perhaps it's because I do have something left to say: let's be friends and know that we are all trying to make the world a better place.
 

Have a nice day.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Incommunicado

Between getting my paper ready for submission and planning my upcoming trip, I won't be around for the next few days.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Az's Day

Took Az out today for lunch and dinner - he's graduating, so we probably won't see as much of each other.

Today's Things:
  • Rebels declare victory in east Ukraine [link]
  • Indian economy bottoms out [link]

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Spring, where art thou?

A cloudy day, but with an absolutely perfect range of temperatures. Had an interesting discussion about sexism, which gave me a lot to think about (well, first I need data).

Also had cake left to me by a student, thanking me for a great semester. I suppose it speaks to my cynicism that I felt happiness and wariness in equal measure until I looked up his grades and made sure he'd done well - or perhaps it's only because I myself might or might not have used laxatives in similar situations in the past :p

I'm quite angry with the Indian National Congress - more so than usual after seeing this video [link]. See 25s to 41s. This is why I won't vote for the INC. How can a senior member of a political party - which happens to be ruling India - say this??!! This kind of party-backed sycophantic nepotism is disgusting. We talk often about caste based stuff - this, to me, is WAY worse. I don't want a family ruling my country, no matter what their pedigree. You can choose a dog based on pedigree - not the prime minister of India. Also, as far as pedigree goes, I'm fairly convinced that Jawarharlal Nehru had Shyamaprasad murdered. And then you have Indira. And Rajiv.

The BJP aren't exactly my ideal party. Frankly, most of the political entities in India are pretty despicable. But, let me just put it this way - I'd rather staple my tongue to a wall than vote for the INC (as it is today.


Also watched Arnab Goswami interview Narendra Modi. Nice.



Today's Things:
  • Apple might buy beats [link]
  • Putin in Crimea [link]

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Saudis, Audis, and alcoholics

Spent a long time drooling at this Audi [link]. Also spent some time reading about how the country (!) of Saudi Arabia has just sentenced a blogger to 10 years imprisonment, 1000 lashes, and a $266,000 fine for insulting islam and setting up a "liberal" network [link]. It's an utter travesty.

Today's Things
  • Putin plays a crafty hand [link]
  • British spy agencies say they have "noble intentions" [link]

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Same old same old

Long day - worked a bit, forgot to deposit my insurance cheque again, and had an absolutely absurd amount of food.

Today's Things
  • Ukraine near war [link]

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Bachelor Party

Was away for the last couple of days for Andrew's bachelor party on Fire Island.

Back.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.

A very nice day in New Haven. Had final project demonstrations for CS 437 (Databases) - most of the demos were really, really, really good. I'll see if I can put them up on the course website. People made everything from advanced pokedex to location-based social networks to data analysis software. Very, very impressive.

Also had a very nice lunch at Soul De Cuba, followed by froyo, and a nice walk through the gently sunlit campus. Made some more arrangements for Andrew's bachelor party, bought pizza and cheese fries for (probably) the last Computer Science social this semester (I highly recommend Costa Pizza [link]). Read an interesting opinion piece about the sanctions on Russia [link]. Not sure I agree, but it's still interesting.

Today's Things:
  • The Ukrainian govt. is faring badly against pro-Russian secessionists [link]. Also, it appears that there is massive support from ordinary citizens - who are willing to fight (see video).
  • More Apple-Samsung [link]
  • First case of the deadly MERS virus in the US [link]

Thursday, May 01, 2014

2 Blasts in Chennai Railway Station

2 low-intensity bombs went off at 7:15am IST on the Bangalore-Guwahati express as it stopped at the Chennai Railway Station for a 10-minute stop. [link]