Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kids :)

My advisor's now 5 year old son was until recently under the impression you can't see him when his eyes are closed. So if he is sneaking up from behind you and you turn around, he freezes, clenches his eyes and covers them with his hands just to make doubly sure you can't see him :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Aaaaaaaaaaaah, these F***ing Chinese!!

I'm sorry, decorum goes out the door in this post. I hate these f***ing Chinese who don't brush their f***ing teeth, and if my experience is anything to go by, that is pretty much ALL OF THEM! Argh! In my first year, I was a teaching assistant and I shared space with a Chinese dude in the common teaching assistant's room. This dude neither brushed his teeth nor bathed regularly. He was a walking garbage can. But he was a really nice guy and I didn't know how to keep him away from me. So every time he came into office he'd walk up to me and socialise. I don't remember the details of any conversation because during most of them I would be asphyxiating. The only thing that I could think in that debilitated condition was how does he have a girlfriend? (Now he even has a child but today I have come to understand how and you'll see soon too!)

Since this fall, there's a new phd student in my group, a chinese female. This female, too, never brushes her teeth! Now another thing common to most of these chinese who don't brush their teeth is they come godawfully close to you. Like they'd rather kiss you than have a conversation with you. Only problem is I'd rather send them to the dentist than do either. Early this morning when I was all happy and jolly for no reason at all( like I usually am) this female comes up to me in her usual kissing conversation style and opens her mouth to ask me something letting out a putrid rat's ass kind of stench that has now spoilt my whole morning! Hence the post.

As for those who are still curious as to how the chinese dude has a child, this female has a child too. So the funda is that it is the norm among them to have putrid breath, and perhaps even socially expected. And perhaps the more putrid the more of a turn on? So while you and I might chew gum before meeting the opposite sex, they eat rotting fish and wash it off with old curdling milk before their date.

p.s: My rant isn't entirely arbitrary apparently:

1 as in Hullo?!

I just called Lenovo customer support to cancel the order of a wireless keyboard and mouse for my bro(who is also in amrica now) that has now been pending for a month. Not surprisingly, it went to an Indian call centre. Now this Indian lady I'm sure had practiced and perfected her profession, which meant her eyes merely read off from the instruction sheet in front of her while her head remains in cold storage:

Call centre lady(CCL): How may I help you sir?
Me: I'd like to cancel my order.
CCL: Now if I understand you correctly sir, you'd like to cancel your order, is that correct sir?
Me: :|
CCL: May I ask Sir, why you'd like to cancel your order?
Me: I am extremely annoyed that it has been more than a month and the product is still pending shipping.
CCL: Now if I understand you correctly sir, you are extremely annoyed sir that it has been more than a month sir and the product is still pending shipping, is that correct sir?
Me: @#$@#%(#!
CCL: Sir, it seems this product is being delayed because it is an old model that is not in stock sir. If you give me a minute I can transfer you to our sales...
Me(interjecting): I'll tell you what, you cancel this order for me now, and I'll go online myself and get a better and newer one from lenovo, ok?
CCL: Ok sir. Sir may I have your order number sir?
Me: Its 2DRTEK
CCL: Let me verify that sir. So its 2 as in Delta, D as in... I'm sorry sir....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Human tendencies

I list below as points a short paragraph in the introduction of a paper[1] that highlights some common human tendencies:

Individuals have self-control and time inconsistency problems.
They can give into short-run temptations and later regret it.
They can have strong feelings about others that drive them to commit both generous and spiteful acts.
They often passively accept defaults rather than make active choices.
They let the institutions around them make choices for them.
And they may misread new data in ways that fit their beliefs.

These may be obvious. But I thought it is a tidy summary, and one well worth remembering by each individual. An awareness of one's propensities is a useful tool in preventing oneself from injuring oneself and others with one's fallibilities.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why I oppose gay marriage rights

1) I do not oppose gay marriage rights to genetic gays, if they exist.

2) But a significant fraction of today's gays are acquired gays. It may be a conscious choice. OR, as is more often the case, it may be due to disturbing environmental circumstances that change them into gays.This statement is supported by this wiki page in the following text:
Overall, the environment shared by twins (including familial and societal attitudes) explained 0-17% of the choice of sexual partner, genetic factors 18-39% and the unique environment 61-66%. The individual's unique environment includes, for example, circumstances during pregnancy and childbirth, physical and psychological trauma (e.g., accidents, violence, and disease), peer groups, and sexual experiences. [...] In men, genetic effects explained .34–.39 of the variance, the shared environment .00, and the individual-specific environment .61–.66 of the variance. Corresponding estimates among women were .18–.19 for genetic factors, .16–.17 for shared environmental, and 64–.66 for unique environmental factors.

(Journal references are also available if you still suspect the claim)

This much having been made clear at the outset, I make my case for why I oppose legalisation of gay marraiges when it is not genetic (as is the case with a majority):
No matter how sophisticated and evolved we may be, there are the natural/inherent traits in us and the acquired. When gayness is an acquired trait, it is a mental imbalance, arising from disturbing environmental circumstances. Like with a person wishing to commit suicide or a person who turns a serial killer. In the latter two cases, what we do as concerned citizens is to try and counsel them and get to the root of what factors are causing them to behave in this unnatural way. While serial killers are punished first, to immediately restrained them, they are also later counseled and studied. Yet in the case of gays, some people are arguing to let them suffer the imbalanced state and not trying to address the problem. (If you say gays are happy doing gay acts, and it is not a disease, serial killers are also in a similar perverse state of mind where they are happy after they commit that particular crime which their disordered mental state thinks pleasurable. But neither is behaving in keeping with the natural order of things. That is why they are both forms of mental imbalance). So the right thing to do would be to counsel gays and try to get to the root of what environmental factors are causing them to behave this way, rather than encourage them to continue in their disordered state by sanctioning marriage and other demands they may eventually make. As for the liberty argument, which states that serial killers cause societal harm whereas gays do not and hence must be allowed to do what they please, it is just that the former is obvious physical harm whereas the latter is pernicious mental harm, to themselves and to those around them. For instance, it is not the natural state for a child to be reared by two males. And at the level of infant psychology, instinct dominates over the liberal reasoning and tolerance capacity that adults have. This would thus result in unhealthy children. A similar example to gayness would be why drugs are made illegal in many countries. Although the physical harm might only be to the individual, there is pernicious mental suffering caused to those around him. Or for that matter, why sodomy is illegal in many countries. Sodomy is a good example. It may be a private and consensual act but sanctioning sodomy is sanctioning that disorderly state of mind that the concerned individuals might acquire that could eventually lead to an unhealthy set of moral values which can lead to instability in society if the practice becomes widespread.

I encourage rational discussion.


One of the biggest conundrums in life is whether or not to vent anger at a bad barber when he inadvertently but repeatedly slashes your skin.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The art of giving bad news

This is a mail sent out by the technician in charge of the Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM). I find the grandiose style juxtaposed with the depressing news hilarious!


The Agilent 5500 SPM is down until further notice. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes and I will let you know as soon as I have any information on when it will be back up and running. Have a good day.