Thursday, November 7, 2019

Crocodiles

I have always been in awe of Crocodiles.

These animals come in varying sizes and are found in almost all places in the world where the climate allows them to exist.

Their intelligence and problem solving ability is great. A variety called the Siamese Crocodile even has the mother and father taking care of the offspring.

However, it appears that crocodiles can never be truly reliable pets.

One very interesting thing about crocodiles is that when crocodiles born and bred in captivity are left in their natural habitat, they do not need to adapt at all. Its like a duck taking to water.

Now, is this because crocodiles are more evolved than other species? Or because they are less evolved? Food for thought.

Take that, lions and other evolved animals.

Friday, October 11, 2019

How technology relates to respecting your elders

Like today's written word, there was a time when the only things in someone's knowledge were the ones they heard from their elders.

Almost all the ancient world's literature was passed on from generation to generation in this matter. The only way to learn was to listen to your elders.

This is true not only for literature. Agriculture, cooking, prediction of seasons and all sorts of art, science and heuristics would have required learning from elders - relatives or respected people in one's tribe or village. Like ancient literature, other things too must have had a generation to generation passage.

And how do we make dal makhani today? Look up the recipe online! Wow. Where is the part when one calls their mom and asks what kind of tadka to do?

It feels that the more a society advances, the less respect for seniors is there. Not a bad thing, this means that instead a lack of respect, there is less need for guidance from seniors or elders.

I am sure there are a lot of other, better reasons for lesser respect to elders in today's world. But no matter how small, technology sure plays a role.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Happiness And Suffering

Happiness multiplies when shared. We have heard so many versions of this quote. There is a similar sentiment that sorrows end on sharing. Or that sorrows get less. Or something like this. However, on looking closely we find that happiness and sorrows are totally, totally unrelated to sharing. In fact, most of the pain and suffering in this world is hidden from us. Most of our happiness in a so called connected world comes from materialistic things. The procurement and manufacturing of most of these materialistic things is the source of a lot of suffering. Mining, agriculture, horticulture, fishing/fisheries, shipping, manufacturing, and even in some cases the domestic help we use are full of suffering. This suffering usually manifests in the form of low pay, low time for leisure or even sleep, and in most cases even the choice to quit work is not there. Dignity, education, healthcare - these are not even afterthoughts. Thinking about these things becomes a burden after a while. Realising that the food we eat has led someone to forego education, that the jewellry we wear has led people being displaced, that the laptop I am writing my stupid thoughts was most likely at some point in the hands of multiple Chinese workers in an assembly line can not be easily ignored. The scary part is that in a couple of minutes I am going to watch some football, have something to eat and then completely get off this train of thought.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Technology and standard of living

 John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that increased standard of living and leisure will replace drudgery of work, thanks to technology. For all we know, instead of a logical conclusion, this might have been a feel-good statement.

Working hours have increased across all fields. Only people in those fields that already had lots of working hours can claim to have no increases, like medical care and police workers.

Technology has enabled us to take work home from office as well. This includes work stress and politics, but work is also literally reaching our homes. As a certain Toor saheb used to say, "when your company starts to issue work laptops, start looking for a new company."

So far as standard of living is concerned, we have so much more stress than before. Even school going children are burdened with so much work and activities, it looks more like a war scale crash course rather than education for the sake of enlightenment. Sometimes I tell my friends with children that the homework is meant for the them and not the children!

Some people say that better standard of living includes eradication of many diseases like polio, chicken pox and the like. The speed with which the world defeated bird flu, swine flu and the recent zika virus was amazing. But while we have eradicated most infectious diseases, we are becoming more and more susceptible to degenerative diseases like cancer and tumors. I am not sure whether it is better diagnosis or some other factor, but reported cases of various diseases of the mind are also going up.

While my thoughts could be more optimistic, the facts above cannot be denied completely.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

So where are you from really?

I have seen many people ask others where they are from. This is mostly amusing and sometimes irritating.

This is a nice question while transitioning from small talk to a fruitful discussion. But makes little sense to be trying to guess a person's nature on the basis of where he or she is from.

For example, I was recently told about a guy: he is Punjabi but his family came here from Rajasthan a couple of generations ago.

To paraphrase Chuck Palahniuk, on a long enough time scale, we all came from Africa!