Friday, December 23

Fwd: Rogue One

This was an interesting article on the movie.

Dada is going to become a financial engineer..Baba was and is a financial engineer…makes one think.

Tuesday, December 20

Fwd: Mehdi Hasan: How Islamic is Islamic State?

Quite an interesting overview of what Isis is all about son. Not that this argument is any new. When 9/11 happened, people were asking if The terrorists Did so for religious reasons? Answer is of course yes. The shooting of the black people at the church in South Carolina was due to religion. The racial and apartheid shown to Palestinians by the Jews is because of religion and when kids are married off young in India or they are burnt alive because they belong to a different caste, they are doing so because of religion. 
Btw the Esposito book referenced in the article is a load of rubbish. I reviewed the book. It's so intellectually incoherent. Religion is what adherents do. Not what's written  in a book. A book by itself doesn't have the power. It needs somebody to execute those messages. Burning the book wouldn't help. 
I read about how the three sisters took their kids to Syria. Apparently they were brainwashed. So brainwashed that they are willing to leave a comfortable life here in the UK and go to a shithole like Syria? If religion isn't brainwashing turn what is? 
Best of luck with the exams son. 
Missing you and can't wait to see you this weekend

Mehdi Hasan: How Islamic is Islamic  State?
(via Instapaper)

An Isis propaganda video purporting to show the execution of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. Photo: Rex Features
An Isis propaganda video purporting to show the execution of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. Photo: Rex Features

It is difficult to forget the names, or the images, of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines, Alan Henning and Peter Kassig. The barbaric beheadings between August and November 2014, in cold blood and on camera, of these five jumpsuit-clad western hostages by the self-styled Islamic State, or Isis, provoked widespread outrage and condemnation.
However, we should also remember the name of Didier François, a French journalist who was held by Isis in Syria for ten months before being released in April 2014. François has since given us a rare insight into life inside what the Atlantic's Graeme Wood, in a recent report for the magazine, has called the "hermit kingdom" of Isis, where "few have gone . . . and returned". And it is an insight that threatens to turn the conventional wisdom about the world's most fearsome terrorist organisation on its head.
"There was never really discussion about texts," the French journalist told CNN's Christiane Amanpour last month, referring to his captors. "It was not a religious discussion. It was a political discussion."

Monday, December 19

Marginal REVOLUTION: China fact of the day


Fascinating article and read the chapter 1 on the link given below. The two main reasons why Europe won so many empires is (1) they were better at their health and more disease resistant and (2) their gunpowder technology was much better.

Quite interesting, no?

So how will it work out going forward? USA do the same? As their health and military technology is the best? As th

Small Steps Towards A Much Better World

China fact of the day
Jun 23rd 2015, 17:08, by Tyler Cowen
Qing Dynasty measured some 14.7 million square kilometers in 1790…The two biggest countries in western Europe were under 0.7 million in the late eighteenth century.
That is from Philip T. Hoffman's new and interesting Why Did Europe Conquer the World?, here is the book's home page.  Hoffman does note, however, that if we count empires the Spanish empire was during that time larger than China.

Friday, December 16

International Widows Day

Today is international widows day. Not as fun as pancake day or Father's Day but I've seen these women in the ashrams in India. I used to think they are wraiths. Drifting silently through life. Desperate for anybody to show them the slightest bit of attention.

Celebrate this day, reach out or write to somebody who is starved for attention. Give them a kiss and cuddle.

As the old quote goes, old people need very little but they need that little so much.

Kannu, I have to say that I'm very proud of you for spending time with Dadu. For every sentence you write to him, he devours it 10 times, tells his friends 20 times and remembers it 50 times. When you're that old, he's 81, he can see you as his progeny. Something he has had a little hand in. His degrees. His work. His house are all immaterial. He looks at you and Diya and loves you. That's wonderful. And the golden rule applies. The fact that you are spending time with your grandfather means that you will not lack for affection when it's your turn. Keep it up son, keep huggin and kissing and loving and talking. Diya is a bit young but I can see she's also like that.

Unlike these widows who need help. Affection more like it. One day I'll take you kids to the towns next to the Ganges and we will see the real India.

Wednesday, December 14

Everyone wants to be happy. Almost everyone is going about it wrong.k


Here's an interesting article on how people are responding to their desire to be happy. What it boils down to is that you cannot expect to be happy all the time, material possessions cannot give you happiness, problems do not come and go quickly, everything cannot be perfect, stability is happiness and what your parents say / do is equal to happiness. 

That made me think. I am generally a happy bunny as you would have noticed. Not least because of you two wonderful lovely kids. Even though I keep on saying that you are gadha and lirbire, that's teasing, you two are the biggest reasons for my happiness every day. I hug and kiss you simply because you are lovely, warm, nice, wonderful children. You are happy so that makes me happy. I make Mamma unhappy but that's because I dont listen to her, snore at night and act like a gadha as well :). 

But how do I stack up given the below? So i dont think i am happy when "something happens" and no, Im happy generally because of various factors. So that's at variance with the below. Material possessions cannot give me happiness is right, not really that much interested in material possessions - maybe other than books but they do get consumed and read and digested and and and. And no, problems dont come and go quickly - some problems i have handled all through my life, like my knee or Dadu's illness/health or the charity issues. And no, my life isnt stable, despite all the efforts of Mamma, workwise its always moving around and there is a heavy risk of insecurity / my job going, etc. etc. 

But the last point is important, kids. What makes me or Mamma happy is not what will fit you nor should it. You have to come up with your own reasons to be happy kids :). You can, of course, learn from us but never take our limitations for yourself, kids. Be happy :) dream big, fail, deal with problems, but be happy :) 



Vox - All
Everyone wants to be happy. Almost everyone is going about it wrong. 
Jun 2nd 2015, 12:00, by Sherry Amatenstein

As a therapist, the number-one goal I hear from my patients is: "I just want to be happy." I ask, "What would being happy mean to you?" The answers range from "Everything I wish for will happen" to "I will feel good all the time" to "I won't ever feel sad or disappointed."
These patients are deeply misguided: believing that bliss is a permanent, attainable state is both unrealistic and emotionally dangerous. Awful things occur that we cannot control, and that will and should at least temporarily affect how we feel.
My happiness-seeking patients are also, sadly, doomed to fail. It's a time-worn paradox: the more you obsess over whether you are happy or happy enough, the unhappier you are. As I've witnessed from years of counseling patients, contentment emerges as a byproduct of a good life, not from the pursuit of it being your life's purpose.
Here are some of the most common myths my patients believe about happiness — and how I help my patients move past them.
1) They keep saying, "I'll be happy when..."
When Philip (all patients' names are changed) began therapy, his heartfelt belief was it would be impossible to enjoy life until achieving X goal. After achieving X goal, there'd be a brief spike of joy before he sank back into gloom, anxiety, and self-doubt. So he'd set Y goal, hoping the elusive happiness he longed for would follow.
More on mental health

9 things I wish people understood about anxiety
Grief is powerful. Here are 6 lessons survivors learn from tragedy.
The secrets of depression
As we worked together, Philip came to realize his hypercritical father, an acclaimed heart surgeon, had drummed into his head that he wasn't worthy of being accepted and loved unless he did great things. Philip told me, "Growing up, getting a single or double in Little League wasn't enough. According to my dad I had to hit a home run to deserve to feel proud and happy."
Philip was able to call his now-retired father and say that these impossible standards had left him unable to enjoy life. After this conversation, Philip told me, "Dad was mortified. He said he'd always been proud of me but he raised me the way his father raised him."
Nowadays Philip is able to choose goals he wants rather than ones he desperately needs to reach. "Since how I feel about myself isn't dependent on whether or not I publish a novel or get a skydiving certificate, I can enjoy the ups and downs along the way."
2) They believe problems should come and go quickly

Tuesday, December 13

How inequality changes marriage

This was a fascinating article son. One of the good articles on how families will evolve. At least in USA. And I see no reason why this will not happen in other countries as the underlying dynamics remain the same despite differences in minorities, religion etc etc.  
But this gap is somewhat worrying. If the top decile (by socio economic status) is the only group which will remain married while other groups do not get married or don't want to get married, then we have a problem. The political and economic elite is drawn from the top decile. And they will draw up rules based upon their own backgrounds. 
I found the finding that it's the most highly educated and highly remunerated women who like to be married. 
No question that one should find a spouse in uni and stick with her/him. All studies push that. But what about others? Women who cannot get suitable men? The men are randy old goats true, hooking up all over the place. The direction seems to be that they will not look for men but invest in happiness for themselves by educating themselves more, investing more in themselves and men become pretty much optional. 
Obviously this has economic and sociological and political implications. Much to ponder on son. 
Like the cat which attended my lecture today. She sat there all through the lecture and patiently listened to me although sometimes got distracted by my pacing around and licked her paws. Which was more than what I can say for my students who were trying to understand ARIMA time series modelling :)
Fun times. 

How inequality changes marriage – June Carbone and Naomi Cahn – Aeon
(via Instapaper)

We’re both happily married law professors who followed the same trajectory. We graduated from college, became established in our professions, got married, and had children. Our children and most of our friends have followed the same pattern. Our family experiences might be typical of the college-educated professionals around us – but not at all typical for large segments of the American public.
In the middle of the 20th century, during a period of more widely shared prosperity, almost everyone in the United States married. There were some differences. African-American women were a bit more likely to marry and at younger ages than white women, and college graduates were a bit less likely to marry than high-school graduates. But the similarities across class lines were striking. The age of marriage dropped in the generation after the Second World War, across the spectrum. For all Americans, divorce rates and non-marital birth rates were low, children overwhelmingly grew up in two-parent families, and white- and blue-collar couples alike wanted three to four children.
Like marriage age and divorce rates and ideal family size, family law in the post-war decades grew increasingly national. The US Supreme Court insisted that states modernise their treatment of unmarried fathers, women gained more equal rights and, in 1970 with the support of President Richard Nixon, the US Congress voted on a bipartisan basis to fund contraception access. Throughout the US, family life had a certain consistency.

Monday, December 12

Top 10 Quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince

So I was dressing up today and while putting on the belt, I thought that my life till now has been on two stages, notches on the bed post in the dim and distant past and now notches on my belt. Maybe the last stage for me would me to become a notch. :) 
It was good to have both of you at home at the same time. The house feels full and happy and joyful and lived in even if you two are sleeping in strange places due to the fitting to happen in kannus bedroom today. 
Which brings me to this lovely set of quotes from one of my favourite books, The Little Prince. Kannu, you had this book as an 18th birthday gift. Do read it if / when you get a chance. It's a book at so many levels. On the face of it it's a children's book but below that is a story that rings true kids. It was written right after the Second World War which remains the most destructive event in human history. People try to make sense of such unmitigated giant disasters in different ways but this was a brilliant effort. It's the third most translated book in history. 
Lovely lovely book. 
Just wanted to mention about the desert. You haven't been to a desert. Yet. After mountains, deserts are my favourite area. Very unforgiving and brutal, they have a beauty which resembles that of mathematics. Of sculpture. Or of God. A cold awesome beauty that you can only appreciate if you are heavily prepared. And stay absolutely still. 
I'll take you kids to a desert one day. 
Have a lovely day

Top 10 Quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince
(via Instapaper)

To know The Little Prince is to love The Little Prince. For those of us already familiar with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's great novella, these quotes will be a charming walk down a familiar path. For those as yet unfamiliar with this children's classic, we hope the following quotes will whet your appetite for more. Read. Enjoy. Then let us know which of your favorites we missed!
1. “Once upon a time there was a little prince who lived on a planet hardly any bigger than he was, and who needed a friend.”
2. “I have spent lots of time with grown-ups. I have seen them at close range… which hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.”
3. “I have always loved the desert. You sit down on a sand dune. You see nothing. You hear nothing. And yet something shines, something sings in that silence…”
4. “‘I need to put up with two or three caterpillars if I want to get to know the butterflies.’”
5. “‘Where are the people?’ The little prince finally resumed... ‘It’s a little lonely in the desert...’ ‘It’s also lonely with people,’ said the snake”
6. “‘It’s a question of discipline,’ the little prince told me later on. ‘When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet.’”
7. “Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again.”
8. “‘In those days, I didn't understand anything. I should have judged her according to her actions, not her words. She perfumed my planet and lit up my life. I should never have run away!’”
9. “Language is the source of misunderstandings.”
10. “Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
And, although not from The Little Prince, here are two other Antoine de Saint-Exupéry quotes that we just had to include:
“Tell me who admires and loves you, and I will tell you who you are.”
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
Enthusiast of modern and classic literature who loves transforming obscure topics into interesting reads. Writer, editor, and researcher extraordinaire. Dynamo and Chief Hakuna Matata Officer.

Sunday, December 11

The invention of the paper bag was a triumph of feminism – Hadley Hall Meares | Aeon Ideas

Given how you love tinkering with things and helping me with DIY, I thought you'd appreciate this story of this lady invented a machine which will make a brown paper bag. 
She wasn't educated and in an age where women were really not considered equal to a man, she kept on inventing and fighting for her rights. This is so creditable. 
When I see you doing your homework so diligently, I love it. It makes me feel so happy and proud of you. That is a very good quality to have, choti. To keep plugging away at your task till it's done to your best ability. 
Just a small suggestion darling. Read more. You already do this and that's very good. Broaden your reading. Read other things. I know homework is important but you've got to broaden your reading. It will be good for you. Read about plants. Read about bricks. Read about dolly the sheep. Read about philosophy. 
You have to select your gcse subjects this year in a matter of weeks. Have you read the Wikipedia articles on those subjects? Have you read about what kind of jobs you can do there and the companies you can work for? Heck, what kind of companies you can run! Or setup? 
In investments, you should never buy anything that you don't understand darling. Same with studies and subjects. Have a good understanding of the subjects before you choose them. 
But I'm very proud of you and how wonderfully mature you are. Truly you are everything that a father can ever ask for from his daughter. You're already at the stage that I can see you being hugely successful and happy in your life. The next 5-8 years of your life are going to be crucial and you and I are going to have fun :) 
Love you

The invention of the paper bag was a triumph of feminism – Hadley Hall Meares | Aeon Ideas
(via Instapaper)

We carry stuff in them ­– groceries, clothes, gifts, trash and booze. I carried my lunch to school in one until the fourth grade because my mother would decorate them with stickers and drawings. People add sand and candles to them to illuminate their neighbourhoods at Christmas. Disgruntled sports fans cover their heads with them. But how many people know where the flat-bottomed paper bag came from? Or that its invention was a triumph of feminism over patriarchy, and of brains over bullying?
For most of recorded history, containers were made of leather, wood, cotton and reeds. Paper, made by hand one sheet at a time, was a luxury, used only for books, records and letters by the literate few. In 1799, a French inventor named Louis-Nicolas Robert was granted a patent for a machine that produced rolls of paper. This invention brought paper to the masses. Soon, merchants were using rolled paper, or 'cornucopias', to package small quantities of goods, with predictably messy results. They also constructed rudimentary paper bags by hand, which was a time-consuming and not always successful process.
The race was on to produce a paper bag that was both sturdy and easy to make. In 1852, the American Francis Wolle received the first patent for a paper-bag machine. It used steam and paste to create bags in the shape of envelopes. Though the machine became popular, the bags it produced were cumbersome and of limited use – picture a load of groceries in a large envelope-shaped sack. Still, they were better than nothing at all, and factories producing the bags multiplied. In the late 1860s, Margaret Knight, a tall, endlessly inquisitive and hard-working New Englander, went to work for the Columbia Paper Bag Company in Springfield, Massachusetts. Within a few years, her ingenious designs would revolutionise the industry.

Saturday, December 10

Are scientific theories really better when they are simpler? – Elliott Sober | Aeon Essays

Given that you're doing logic, I think you will appreciate this essay. 
Generally making thing simpler is better. But then we also have to keep an eye out on complexity. Economics frequently comes up with intellectually clean theories and with major assumptions to avoid contaminating the model with the messy thing that is real life. And when you have central banks and commercial banks and governments adopting public policy because of these simplistic models, the impact felt on the people who have been assumed out is huge. For example, most models assume that people are rational. They aren't. And as we have seen, their behaviours can turn normally and commonly held opinions and perspectives upside down. That causes severe dislocations. 
So yes simple is better but sometimes simple can be dangerous as well. 

Are scientific theories really better when they are simpler? – Elliott Sober | Aeon Essays
(via Instapaper)

Two of Barcelona's architectural masterpieces are as different as different could be. The Sagrada Família, designed by Antoni Gaudí, is only a few miles from the German Pavilion, built by Mies van der Rohe. Gaudí's church is flamboyant and complex. Mies's pavilion is tranquil and simple. Mies, the apostle of minimalist architecture, used the slogan 'less is more' to express what he was after. Gaudí never said 'more is more', but his buildings suggest that this is what he had in mind.
One reaction to the contrast between Mies and Gaudí is to choose sides based on a conviction concerning what all art should be like. If all art should be simple or if all art should be complex, the choice is clear. However, both of these norms seem absurd. Isn't it obvious that some estimable art is simple and some is complex? True, there might be extremes that are beyond the pale; we are alienated by art that is far too complex and bored by art that is far too simple. However, between these two extremes there is a vast space of possibilities. Different artists have had different goals. Artists are not in the business of trying to discover the uniquely correct degree of complexity that all artworks should have. There is no such timeless ideal.
Science is different, at least according to many scientists. Albert Einstein spoke for many when he said that 'it can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience'. The search for simple theories, then, is a requirement of the scientific enterprise. When theories get too complex, scientists reach for Ockham's Razor, the principle of parsimony, to do the trimming. This principle says that a theory that postulates fewer entities, processes or causes is better than a theory that postulates more, so long as the simpler theory is compatible with what we observe. But what does 'better' mean? It is obvious that simple theories can be beautiful and easy to understand, remember and test. The hard problem is to explain why the fact that one theory is simpler than another tells you anything about the way the world is.
One of the most famous scientific endorsements of Ockham's Razor can be found in Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), where he states four 'Rules of Reasoning'. Here are the first two:
Rule I. No more causes of natural things should be admitted than are both true and sufficient to explain their phenomena. As the philosophers say: nature does nothing in vain, and more causes are in vain when fewer suffice. For nature is simple and does not indulge in the luxury of superfluous causes.
Rule II. Therefore, the causes assigned to natural effects of the same kind must be, so far as possible, the same. Examples are the cause of respiration in man and beast, or of the falling of stones in Europe and America, or of the light of a kitchen fire and the Sun, or of the reflection of light on our Earth and the planets.
Newton doesn't do much to justify these rules, but in an unpublished commentary on the book of Revelations, he says more. Here is one of his 'Rules for methodising/construing the Apocalypse':
To choose those constructions which without straining reduce things to the greatest simplicity. The reason of this is… [that] truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things. It is the perfection of God's works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion. And therefore as they that would understand the frame of the world must endeavour to reduce their knowledge to all possible simplicity, so it must be in seeking to understand these visions…

Friday, December 9

Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945 | Reviews in History

This was a good review son. I don't think you actually need to read the book although I've got it on my wish list. So why am I sending this to you? 
It's because you'll become a manager soon. And manage people. It's one of the most difficult tasks son and not something that one can learn easily. General Adam is a name you don't recall or remember that easily. But his job as an adjutant general was easily as important as that of Monty. All the bravery in the world is useless if the arms and ammo and men and food doesn't arrive in the front. People look down on these roles with disdain. I've told you so many times that ordinary generals study tactics. Great generals study logistics. 
And when you're looking to achieve something, you need to think of logistics. You need men, you need money, you need support, you need food, you need intelligence and information. You need all this to get to achieve your objectives. 
But you can't have everything. You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. You had your chance to build your army and then if you did well, then you're good. If not, then see what happened to us during the war, initially we were hammered across the world. 
Remember that fact son, look after your people. Very important. And they will know when you're a manager who looks after them. 

Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945 | Reviews in History
(via Instapaper)

Although it is now a full 70 years since the close of the Second World War, there is little sign of a decline in either academic or public interest in the history of the war. In fact, there seems to have emerged a growing interest in the experiences not of those who held commands or public office, but rather of those who served and fought as ordinary soldiers and sailors. This interest is particularly keen in the United Kingdom and the United States, two nations whose forces have been, and continue to be, deployed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and it is not surprising that in Britain and America there exists such interest in how and why soldiers fight, or fought. Those studies which have appeared in the last 15 years or so have not been hagiographical works, at least for the most part, but have examined the complicated experiences of those who went into battle and of the ways in which nation-states organized and trained the large numbers required for such a massive military effort. On the British side, these include studies by, among others, David French, Jonathan Fennell, Clive Emsley and (very recently) Yasmin Khan. For American troops, particularly those who passed through the UK before June, 1944, David Reynolds's account of the 'occupation of Britain' is unmatched.

Thursday, December 8

Private prisons are shrouded in secrecy. I took a job as a guard to get inside—then things got crazy

This was a very long article son and was quite painful to read. Quite painful. 
It's a world that's foreign to you and I. A place of criminals and mentally challenged people. Guarded by people who have a terribly tough job and aren't paid much at all. Plus this prison is private. Not public. It's not easy to read but it's worthwhile to ponder. 
What is our society going to be like? When criminals are treated like this? Will they come out and be integrated back in the society or not? Based upon the current trends and practises, the answer is no. One may think that it's ok - we are talking criminals but with no rehabilitation, the societal cost is ginormous not to mention the hit on our morality. 
No easy answers either. None. Would you say that a science fiction like future like inmates being hooked up to tv and food whilst being brainwashed and sedated is good? No. 
very difficult to think how to fix these things. 



Private prisons are shrouded in secrecy. I took a job as a guard to get inside—then things got crazy
(via Instapaper)

  • Chapter 1
    "Inmates Run This Bitch"
  • s

Chapter 1: "Inmates Run This Bitch"

Have you ever had a riot?" I ask a recruiter from a prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).
"The last riot we had was two years ago," he says over the phone.
"Yeah, but that was with the Puerto Ricans!" says a woman's voice, cutting in. "We got rid of them."
"When can you start?" the man asks.
I tell him I need to think it over.
I take a breath. Am I really going to become a prison guard? Now that it might actually happen, it feels scary and a bit extreme.

Tuesday, December 6

4 Hans Christian Andersen Stories That Are Way Stranger Than You Think

I love fairy tales. I think they do make life simple and perhaps that's why kids love them as well. Even adults. Harking back to a simpler time when decisions were simple. Life was black and white. And in many ways that's what we should aim for. 
But this article made me think. What we took for granted, the actual story was more complicated. It's like why I hate Robin Hood while admiring him at the same time. Confusing? Yes. Because I hate him for being a robber and thief. But at the same time, I admire him for being a revolutionary and a hero and a leader and courage and and and. 
Interesting back story on anderson as well in this story. 

4 Hans Christian Andersen Stories That Are Way Stranger Than You Think
(via Instapaper)

Hans Christian Andersen is a strange and fascinating figure who wrote a great many stories for children. His name is synonymous with love, splendor, and the wonderment of childhood. His own childhood was less than perfect, existing in deep poverty as the child of an illiterate washerwoman. He left his first life at 14 to find a new one with a wealthy family. He spun this fortune into a career in the arts, finding his mark with children's stories in 1835. From there he remained a servant to the child's ear, and his work has spawned retellings, both comical and romantic, for generations since.
Disney has picked up more than a few of his tales, and others have been animated, performed, retold, and embraced as fun and moving stories. However a romp within the actual original text of many of them reveal a certain level of sadness, despair, ugliness, and outright weirdness that we tend to overlook when speaking the name Andersen. Let's take a closer look at a few that are particularly famous and particularly ghastly when we take off our rose-colored glasses, put on our spectacles, and peer really close.


4. The Princess and the Pea

Pea-1.jpgAuthenticity, rather than true love, is the focus of this old tale. It has an element of the glass slipper narrative from Cinderella. There are those who are, and those who are not, and the only way to tell is with a simple test, in this case a pea. The prince in this story seeks not love, but a "true princess," and though there are those who hold the title, he finds something "not right" about each of them. The story doesn't elaborate or define what is lacking, but it does keep him a bachelor until a rain-soaked woman shows up at his doorstep in the middle of the night seeking a place to sleep and has only her word to claim that she is a "true princess."
The queen, the prince's mother, has her doubts, but creates a fool-proof test. She places a single pea under the mattress of her guest. Not satisfied with this, she then piles twenty mattresses on top of the single mattress and then offers the bed to the woman claiming royal blood. In the morning the princess complains that she didn't sleep a wink and that her body feels bruised and battered after sleeping on such an uncomfortable mattress all night. The prince and queen rejoice as only a "true princess" would have a skin and body so sensitive that she would feel a tiny pea under so many mattresses. She and he are married and the story boasts that the pea was placed in a museum and can be seen today, so this is a "true story."
This tale and the seeming lesson behind it have been celebrated in children's books and plays for years and the world has accepted, without question, this odd and nonsensical assertion that physical sensitivity is a true mark of royalty. After reading the original, there might be readers who express more concern than acceptance with this supposed royal affliction. If a pea under 21 mattresses causes her body to be black and blue, what is the rest of her day like? Surely the stones in the street just on the other side of her shoe must rival the pain felt by the poor mermaid! How does she sit, stand, ride horses, or simply get through life? And why is physical sensitivity a positive? Wouldn't constant skin irritation and pain be a detriment to the potential royal duties? The odder thing is that no other information about those the prince deemed "not right" and this fitful sleeper are shared. The other women are not said to be ill-tempered, rude, self-obsessed, unattractive, selfish, or any other kind of "not right." It just seems to be a gut feeling that is only satisfied by proof through the inability to sleep on top of a pea.
There is also the curious house-guest arrangement of this tale. A princess arrives in the middle of the night and accepts, without question, the task of sleeping on a stack of mattresses. This does not bother her, and she gladly climbs a ladder (one must assume) to sleep on this tower of bedding. In the morning, rather than being appreciative, she complains and focuses on the one, tiny, element of her visit that was unsatisfactory. A strange sort of hospitality, a very strange response, and from this we are to nod in agreement that "Yep, this is royalty alright."
There may be an argument here that Andersen may have not been celebrating how other-worldly and deeply sensitive royalty is, but pointing readers towards the opposite conclusion. To assume that royal figures feel and respond in a different way than the rest of us do; that they are too sensitive and delicate for normal life, and that this is why they do not have to work at the same level or deal with the same hardships, is as ridiculous as choosing a wife based on her lack of sleep after sleeping on a pea (which, by the way, would clearly be smashed by the weight of even a pillow, so there's that also).

Monday, December 5

Surround Yourself with People Who Hold You to a Higher Standard than You Hold Yourself – The Mission – Medium


I liked this article. Really liked it. Some of the quotes are brilliant. You're the average of the 5 closest people that you have. Or best you have people around you who hold you to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

If you surround yourself with people who are of a lower standard setting then you will go down to their level. Always kids. Always keep on trying to improve yourself. And one way is to be pushed by others. In a variety of ways. In travel. In reading. In skills. In playing football. In whatever activity.

They don't need to be physically present. They could be ideals or somebody you've read about. Somebody who you look up to.

Read the article. Very helpful :)



Friday, December 2

15 -Philes and What They Love .

So which ones did you like? I think i am a pluviophile, Gynotikolobomassophile, turophile, pogonophile, ailurophile, cynophile, ergophile, zoophile and clinophile.

I think Diya is an arctophile? :)



15 -Philes and What They Love

Love is patient. Love is kind. And often, love is denoted by the Greek root -phile.

1. Pluviophile

Love a rainy day? You're a pluviophile.

2. Gynotikolobomassophile

This one's easier to do than to pronounce: A gynotikolobomassophile enjoys nibbling on women's earlobes.

3. Turophile

Turophiles have never met a cheese plate they didn't like. They pair well with wine-loving oenophiles.

4. Pogonophile

Someone who loves beards and possibly 2/3 of ZZ Top.

5. Ailurophile

Cat lovers are technically called ailurophiles.

6. Cynophile

Cynophiles prefer dogs and are not to be confused with movie-loving cinephiles.

7. Coulrophile

Look out, Ronald McDonald. Coulrophiles don't just find clowns, jesters, and mimes amusing. They're sexually attracted to them.

8. Ergophile

Don't call them workaholics. Ergophiles just love being productive.

9. Arctophile

A 30-year-old who collects teddy bears isn't weird. He or she's an arctophile.

10. Stigmatophile

Someone who's obsessed with tattoos or branding.

11. Zoophiles

Lots of people love animals, but zoophiles want to really love animals, if you know what we mean.

12. Peristerophile  

A peristerophile would never call a pigeon a "flying rat." They adore the birds.

13. Stegophile

Alain Robert, known as the French Spider-Man, is a world famous stegophile. He's climbed the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, and the New York Times Building just for fun.

14. Clinophile

Clinophile literally translates to a person who loves beds. Psychiatrists associate the word with sleep disorders and the desire to stay in a reclining position.

15. Chrysophile

File this one under "Words We'd Like To Hear In A Rap Song." Chrysophiles have a thing for bling, specifically gold.

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Thursday, December 1

Fwd: tiny person


you remember the sign on the back of the car? tiny person on board? see here are some benefits of being a tiny person, specially when the tiny person is you :) you do all that, remember when you hid in my suitcase? :)

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, November 30

Fwd: John Steinbeck on the Creative Spirit and the Meaning of Life


I shared Steinbeck's letter to his son about falling in love with you earlier. Anyway if you've forgotten no worries, the link is given here :) 
But I really loved his description of the creative spirit son. The description is brilliant. And the feeling strikes you any time during weirdass times. When I've done 100 miles on the bike. Or after a long trek. Or when I cracked the models during my PhD. Or when I've written a good letter to you. Or when I've done a good piece of explaining something to somebody. Or when I've done a good lecture. It feels good. You may think this might be endomorphins or something. Or adrenalin. Or whatever. But it's something to look forward to son. I went to see my goddess Ishtar yesterday at the British museum. And felt a bit like what Steinbeck described. 3000 years old terracotta baked clay high relief plaque. And she spoke to me across the ages. And I felt so energised. I'll send you more information on her soon. Found a good essay on her recently and very coincidentally. 
If you ask me how does this happen? Or what do I do that allows me to feel energised like this? I would say son that one needs two things. 1. Insatiable curiosity. Einstein said son that genius and children share one quality, curiosity. So I guess I'm still a child. :) 
2. Would be the ability to absorb son. See the second point whichc Steinbeck mentions. The issue of mass production. And technology. And smartphones. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying don't use technology. Heck I'm an early and rapid and fill adopter of technology but also to let things percolate. Way too many people have told me that I need to slow down to let things percolate and absorb but hey my rate of absorption is also different. And my dimensions are different as well. 
If I see a good image or view or thing I click it. Capture the feelings. Then research it. And study it. And dream about it. And write about it and feel it. So different ways of absorption. 
I've banged on enough son. Just a small idea. When you're on your ski trip, try to get away and walk into a quiet corner of the mountain where there's nobody there with you. Or maybe a good girl who can be quiet. Avoid them who prattle on. (Heh). But just watch and see and feel the mountains and snow and ice and wind. It's very quiet in the mountains and snow. The sound is absorbed son. And then you're with your own thoughts. And freeze your toes off. :) but some of those moments are precious. It can really energise you. And then when you're describing your skiing trip to people, that magical moment will come alive and you'll remember that trip forever. 

John Steinbeck on the Creative Spirit and the Meaning of Life
(via Instapaper)

"The free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world."
imageA decade before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, John Steinbeck (February 27, 1902–December 20, 1968) wrote East of Eden (public library), which was eventually adapted into the 1955 film of the same title starring James Dean and which Steinbeck originally addressed to his two young sons. (The elder one, Thom, later became the recipient of Steinbeck's magnificent letter of advice on falling in love.)
The thirteenth chapter of the novel features some of the most beautiful, poignant, and timelessly transcendent prose ever written — a gorgeous meditation on the meaning of life and the essence of the creative spirit:
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man's importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.
Writing in 1952, and writing for his two young sons, Steinbeck peers into the future, perhaps our present, with a concerned and prescient eye:

Tuesday, November 29

Fwd: The Assault of Laughter: 13 Perfectly Sardonic Mark Twain Quotes

Old mark twain was my childhood friend. Having had grown up in a similar small town like described in Tom Sawyer and huckleberry Finn he used to describe me. And believe you me I was very naughty indeed. Seriously. Not that I've stopped being naughty, I'm the bane of all the women in my life. 
But fun times. You've read some of his works son. And see? They praise his mustache :) a mustache has to have a life of its own. I've seen many which are limp affairs son. They lie tiredly across the philtum. Some droop like a flower. Some bristle like a toilet brush. Some are as patchy as a scabied dog. Some look so unhappy that you feel like feeding it a muffin. Some people shouldn't have a mustache. It's like God has reserved them for braver things than to hold the awesome responsibility of a mustache. 
A mustache son is a friend. It accompanies me everywhere. I stroke it when I'm thinking. Rodin couldn't have imagined the power of a mustache to help thinking when he sculpted the thinker. I chew on it when puzzled. I blow through it when I'm miffed. It's a nice way to blow off steam son. I comb it sideways when ive got a rebellious phase. I make it bristle when I need to add weight to my words. It's perfect when I'm trying to gauge the heat coefficient of tea. 
But like all good things son it has its price. Scuba diving is a pain as the face mask doesn't sit well in a watertight seal with the mustache. I've got to slather Vaseline on it. It has a distressing tendency to shed hair at inconvenient moments. The last thing you want while kissing a girl is for her to choke on your mustache hairball. It can make the girl sneeze. But used properly a mustache is great for girls. Without going into details, a mustache adds much value. Like you have lubricating strips above a shaving blade, a mustache helps to sensitise skin before you're kissing :) but not many people know how to wield a mustache properly. 
And then you can twirl it. Ah. That's the Fun part of it son :) twirling a mustache. In a land of facial hairless men, one can stand out proudly. 
Try it out sometime :) and ask your mum and girl friend if they like it. If not, well. Something's aren't in your destiny son. :)
Can't wait to see you tomorrow. Be prepared for a big hug and squish! 

The Assault of Laughter: 13 Perfectly Sardonic Mark Twain Quotes
(via Instapaper)

Twain in 1907/ Photo (c) Underwood & Underwood/Creative Commons
Twain in 1907/ Photo (c) Underwood & Underwood/Creative Commons

Biographile's This Week in History remembers events of the past, and the icons that set them in motion. If you're stirred by the words below, read on for more inspiring author quotes.
Mark Twain, father of American humor writing, was a man of prodigious intellect, perfect wit, and an enviable mustache.
Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835 -- this week in history -- Twain spent his early life in a bustling river town that afforded as much opportunity for education and entertainment as exposure to violence and degradation. This town, and all of its peaks and valleys, would become a setting for many of his works, most notably The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
His early life set the stage for an insatiable curiosity, soon fed by his extensive travels across the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Armed with an open mind, an affable aura, a writer's keen observational skills, and the broad perspective his travels afforded him, Twain captured the social and technological changes of America better than any of his peers, all with a wink and a smile.
Though most famous for his political commentary, Twain wrote about nearly every topic under the sun. As a novelist, journalist, and dabbling inventor, no topic was too 'off limits' to dodge the subject of his acerbic pen. In honor of his birthday, we've assembled a few of his driest, most chuckle-worthy opinions.
1. When angry, count four; when very angry, swear .(The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894)
2. Familiarity breeds contempt -- and children. (Mark Twain's Notebook, 1835)
3. Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed. (Extracts From Adam's Diary, 1906)
4. There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. (Following the Equator, 1897)
5. "Classic." A book which people praise and don't read. (Following the Equator, 1897)
6. Do not put off till tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well. (Mark Twain's Notebook, 1835)
7. Golf is a good walk spoiled. (Greatly Exaggerated: The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain, ed. Alex Ayres, 1988)
8. Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society. (Mark Twain's Notebook, 1835)
9. Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. (Editorial in the Hartford Courant, Aug. 24, 1897)
10. Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet. (Mark Twain's Notebook, 1835)
11. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God. (Europe and Elsewhere, 1923)
12. A gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years.  (A Tramp Abroad ,1880)
13. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. (The Mysterious Stranger,  1908)

Monday, November 28

Fwd: networking

Whilst we were doing your spring week work assessments and questions over the past couple of days, you mentioned networking…Coincidentally, I was at a networking dinner yesterday and met Luca uncle there. And there picked up this little leaflet on networking skills class. Well, don't think I need to do this, but thought of dropping you a line about my thoughts on this. 
It's a strange thing and I am a bit schizoid about it all. In one way, I hate the waste of time and on the other hand, I love meeting new people and discussing various elements to this. But it can take up loads of time, son. And whenever I mentor people, I tell them that they have to be brutal and honest about how much time you spend on networking as a significant amount of networking is wasted. Most of it is because people don't know how to network. And wasting time is criminal. 
As the picture shows, how you prepare for the networking is crucial. You have to pick and choose the events you go to, don't go to ones just because, but to ones which really will make a difference in the next 6 months, if not, ignore them. You have to be dressed appropriately. Just like you will not wear a suit to a networking event which is in the marshes, you shouldn't wear a pair of jeans when going to a bankers session. And be comfortable son, people can make out very easily if you are comfortable in your skin. Shoes, very important, they allow you to be comfortable and stand around for a long time. 
Rest of the points you can take a look, fairly straightforward. Approach people straight off, don't be shy or embarrassed. Go up and talk quickly. But remember names, have a little pad and pencil handy or use your smartphone to make a note of the name, connect with them on LinkedIn or email, and then drop them a note the day after so that they remember. After a month or so, if you find them of value, ask to meet up for a coffee to further explore something that they said. People love to talk about their work and their ideas, and there's nothing like a little 1-2-1 with some flattery J. Linked in is a very powerful tool so do use that J
Think of these points whilst you are at the ski trip son, you are meeting peers who will be your network in the future, understand what they do, where are they coming from, where are they going. Oh! And start helping them. Remember the godfather, son, collect favours as many as possible. Don't worry about repayment, just collect favours as many as possible. They will pay off son. 
Yesterday I was talking with a police commissioner who wanted to know how to improve policing and we got into a discussion on how to generate new ideas. Few years back, I helped a little charity get off the ground in Africa and India in a tiny way and that helps school teachers come up with good ideas and with a tiny bit of funding helps to increase the impact of those ideas. So I could bring that idea to the police commissioner and we are going to speak more about this to see if we can adapt that idea for the police here in England. Small thing, son, but you never know where your favours end up.. J