Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Angry day

Got angry with various things today:
  1. Surrogate advertising on Indian TV (mainly alcoholic beverages). This makes me very angry - I am quite close to transforming into a green Rage monster. There's a law against advertising tobacco and alcohol in India. Advertising "Carlsberg Club Glasses" or "McDowell's Sports Gear" is a totally unethical way of getting around this. When my 3 year old nephew sees an ad for "Tuborg non-alcoholic beverage" on TV and mentally associates partying and dancing with "Tuborg", I am not very pleased - I doubt that he's going to ask for/receive a "non-alcoholic beverage" later in life. This is not ok. This is not ok. This is not ok.
  2. Geological Survey of India for being totally incompetent - for some reason, I was under the impression that they were pretty good (I wonder why?). I am now enlightened. They suck. I was trying to get some information about the Sarayu river, one of the most historically significant rivers in the country. The information available is confused and contradictory, and the maps unclear. Also, on an unrelated note, some maps on other official Indian govt. pages (e.g., the one on this page: [link]) remove Arunachal Pradesh from India. This is unacceptable.
    On top of this, their website is a nightmare. This is pathetic.
  3. The lack of knowledge among Indian and British citizens about the Bengal Holocausts - the one in 1943-44 (which killed 3-4 million people) and the one in 1776 (which killed 10 million), both within a single year - a kill rate Hitler would be jealous of. The 1776 one was made infinitely worse by the British; the 43-44 famine was caused entirely by them [link]. Imagine the situation if German schools conveniently skipped the second world war in history classes - and so did Israel! That is the situation we have today.
In other news, Iran is now playing games. What they're basically saying is this: "Look, you need our help with the ISIS/ISIL stuff in Iraq, so, in return, you're going to look the other way when it comes to our nuclear tech." [link]

Monday, June 16, 2014

Islamic Fundamentalists. Again.

The situation is Iraq is now officially FUBAR [link]. Iran blames the US and the Gulf countries for stoking Sunni militancy in the region in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian government. The claim, sadly, is not without merit - the US has made some very problematic decisions in the area - but, to be fair, there weren't that many options available.

ISIS/ISIL, which is the organization responsible for the current problems in Iraq, left al-Qaeda because the group founded by Osama bin Laden was not considered to be "radical enough". They are extremely well funded by various Sunni groups (other than the Iraq/Iran area, almost all the world's Muslims are Sunni), especially - or so it is said - by the Saudis. This is not a random outlier. This is a symptom of the systematic radicalization of extremely large Muslim populations. Islam is going through a period that reminds me of the dark ages - the crusades, the struggle for Christendom. Unfortunately, it's bringing the rest of the world down with it.

In the meantime, following two attacks on the Karachi airport and subsequent retaliation by the Pakistani army, the Pakistani Taliban have vowed revenge [link].

I've decided to stop calling them terrorists. We are no longer dealing with small groups of brainwashed madmen - we're looking at large groups, armies, of heavily armed and organized militia, fighting a righteous war against anyone and anything that does not bow down to them. They are fighting other Muslims right now - people that the Koran asks them not to kill without good reason. Clearly, their intentions towards other religions are even less honourable, especially the "non-scripture" ones, such as Buddhism and Hinduism.

[to be updated]

Friday, June 13, 2014


Saw this video on storypick today, originally made by Artists At Work (without the caption added by storypick). [link]

First, the caption:
While I support the idea (that we shouldn't discriminate against people of whatever sexual orientation), the text underneath the video at is inaccurate - there is no solid evidence that sexuality (specifically, homosexuality) is hardwired at birth in humans.

It is far more likely that, just like with almost everything else, sexuality is a complex thing, brought about by a mixture of genes, hormones, environmental factors, etc. Also, as Frank Bruni says, "The born-this-way approach carries an unintended implication that the behavior of gays and lesbians needs biological grounding to evade condemnation" - why should it? In many ways, it's tantamount to saying "I would rather not be gay, because it's clearly wrong, but I have no choice!"

Also, the underlying assumption that everything that is "natural" or "hardwired" deserves to exist in society is something I disagree with. (Note that this is used by the other side as well, when they call homosexuality "unnatural", comfortably ignoring the fact that it exists in multiple species, from sheep to chimpanzees to penguins.)

So what if something is natural? Polio is natural; anti-venom is not. LGBTQA - wherever on the spectrum you might fall, I'm generally of the opinion that the only time you need to know someone's sexuality is when you're asking them out / (in the case of many Indians) getting into an arranged marriage.

Second, the video:
I also have some issues with the video itself. So what if people can't "tell the difference"? You imply that if people could tell the difference, then there would be some justification for discriminating against people of a particular sexual orientation. Let's say that all lesbians have bright blue hair. Does that mean that it's ok to deny them promotions? I can usually tell the difference between males and females - so it's ok to discriminate against one or the other? I understand that the video was made with the idea "hey, these people are just like the rest of us" (targeted at those who would create an us-them equation), but that path, to me, is wrong. So what if people are different?

Annoying nitpicking aside, kudos to AAW for trying to make a difference.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Kolkata wins IPL 7

200 runs. Nice.

The last few overs were nerve wracking. Am going to bed now.