May 13, 2009

Changed the title to something more appropriate.

It used to be "Just Curious..." which was kinda huh?, kinda blah, kinda meh and kinda blah again. "a primate on a blue planet" is more in line with my current perspective, which no doubt will soon change.

This is not to be particularly taken as an attempt to brag about my opposable thumbs. I just use them to hit the space bar.

May 12, 2009

I cleared more than half of the storage space that I am renting. It was quite a workout, hauling stuff, sorting them and donating as much as possible. Then, after picking up pizza and some immediately needed groceries, I stopped by my friend Prakash's house to pick up something. It was quite late. Still he force fed me. He had his mom and wife on his team. I was out numbered. I am sure I could have convinced the baby to be on my side but he was fast asleep, not caring about the noise of our lousy jokes and unmusical laughter. Chapati + garbanzo beans curry combination was delicious, but it didn't take long for my eyes to start rolling into their sockets on being over stuffed. That was taken as a cue to serve more. I am a fat penguin today.

There is something about showing love through food. It works.

I slowly hobbled back to my car more than an hour later. Only then did I remember that I had parked on the fire lane, with blinkers on, as I expected to be back well within three minutes.

org-mode marathon

Few days ago, I learned emacs org-mode for almost 10 hours straight. It was FUN. It felt like org-mode was loaded into my brain Matrix-style. I saw couple of videos, read through the manual and tried out my made-up examples. I read the manual cover-to-cover, metaphorically of course. If you are a more of a literal kind of person, I mean that I read the manual first-link to last-link. I skipped only the sections that described features that I thought I'll never use.

org-mode is beautiful. I had a lot of omfg moments. I believe it is going to have a significant positive impact on how I get and keep my ducks in a row. I won't go into the details here, but I'll just say why org-mode is better than all the other organize-your-stuff / project planning softwares out there: It is notes-centric rather than task-centric. Learn more if that makes you curious. Some people have learned Emacs just to be able to use org-mode, I hear!

I've become a fan of marathon learning sessions. There was a time when I prided my multi-tasking skills. I was just fooling myself. Interrupted time makes for pretty low quality time. I'd like to try this Quality Recluse Time type of effort on few other things I want to grok. 'Lisp Macros' is what comes to mind first. I've put off learning Lisp Macros for long enough, I suppose. I kind of know it but I want to learn it well. I mean, *really* learn it well. Ironically, that is how I've put it off for this long - I should just start.

May 7, 2009

Notes : Technology & Courage

I reread 'Technology and Courage' [pdf] last Thursday, making effective use of the time waiting to go to my weekly motorcycle meet. I took notes this time. By the way, I had an awesome time at the meet, at Pike Place Brewery. The Kilt Lifters did live up to their name.

These notes were a result of liberal paraphrasing... So read the original for accuracy.
  • It is all about courage. We almost never look at it like that.
  • Do warm up projects. IMPORTANT
  • Identify your failures of courage. This is difficult as it comes well disguised.
    • "I am too busy with a more important task"
    • "No one will be interested in my work"
    • "Can't show. It is not quite done yet"
    • "I have to analyze this further"
    • "Let us be just reasonable here"
  • Long vacation / Sabbatical is great for good work because:
    • Change of location
    • Rest
    • Lack of distractions
  • Harness pride.
  • Anglo-Saxon names for things stick, more than Roman names <==
  • If you use parenthesis in writing, either you are too lazy or your thoughts are still muddled.
  • Blogging is good. Ivan called it "display file". It gives you an informal start, which is important.
  • Have courage to abandon unsuccessful projects.
  • We have a finite reserve of courage. Use it well.
  • He has more tricks to bolster courage.Device some of your own.

May 5, 2009

"If god is for us, who can be against us?"

Answer : You

This is what I came up with, when I once again heard the often quoted verse. Religion turns people into sheep, if they aren't one to begin with.
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I liked this comment that someone made about Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians, an uncontacted tribe in South America:

I wonder if they sit out there all alone without the necessary technology to move beyond their little village, and they all believe that they must be the only tribe in the Universe, because if they weren't, then surely someone would have contacted them by now.

They've been listening for jungle drums for decades without hearing anything, and sending out smoke signals that can be seen from miles away. If there was anyone else out there they would have seen them, and what reasons could they possibly have for not initiating contact?

Sometimes one of them happens to spot an airplane passing by, but he is instantly considered a nutjob, and the event is explained by claiming it must have been a big bird, or Venus.

Neatly explains Fermi paradox, I suppose :-)

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I learned today that if you are a citizen of India, you don't need to get a visa to visit these 31 countries:

Andorra, Bermuda, Comoros, Cook Islands, Cuba, Ecuador, Fiji, Galapagos Islands, Guam, Haiti, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kiribati, Leichtenstein, Macau, Maldives, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Palestine, Pitcairn Island, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts Nevis, Saint Vincent Grenadines, Srilanka, Samoa, Seychelles, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

[Source : VisaHQ]

If you are a citizen of a first world country, many more countries will let you in without a visa. It would be ideal to be a Canadian - as people will be friendlier to you than, say, if you are an American.