Thursday, July 28, 2011


I have often wondered what science fiction (SF) would've been like without faster-than-light (FTL) travel, hyperspatial jumps, wormholes or the sundry other means by which our intrepid protagonists travel vast interstellar distances in mere moments to rescue damsels in distress of astronomic proportions*. I expect it would've gone something like this:

It was a dark and stormy night. The launch of the Voyager III was wisely put off till the next morning, by which time had predicted that things would clear up a bit. The launch went perfectly well, except for a brief delay minutes before the launch when the Captain just couldn't hold it in any longer and absolutely had to go. Bits of the spacecraft fell off when they were supposed to; crew morale was high, and the Captain's bladder was blissfully empty. Things looked good for the mission.

By the time the Voyager had reached the Alpha Centauri system, however, things were unusually silent aboard the spacecraft. A closer analysis of the situation (p < 0.05) revealed that the crew were, in science-y medical terms, dead of old age.

End of story. Think, I implore you, of the vast tracts of Brazilian rainforest that could've been saved had it not been for the cursed imaginations of our SF writers.

*Erm, I must clarify here that it is the distress that would have been of astronomic proportions, and not the damsels.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Written some time in the November of 2008, soon after the elections

One realizes one wants to get back to writing again. However, one also realizes that one doesn't have the faintest idea as to what to write. But one decides to start, nevertheless; perhaps the words will come as one begins to type.

Much- perhaps too much- has happened in the four months since I set foot in the land of red states and blue states United States of America. Old bonds have been broken; indeed, some have been torn away most painfully. But that's okay, I tell myself, as new, stronger and hopefully more lasting ones have been formed. Perhaps the single most important thing that I can take away from these past months of upheaval is that I am still here, and that I now look to the future with a little Hope. Change has indeed come, at least to my life; and all in all, it has been for the Good.

Certain things, however, seem immune to change. I still abuse semi-colons and commas, and still end up writing convoluted, hard-to-follow sentences. It is a disease I am doggedly trying to disabuse myself of; to my distress, however, I seem doomed to die trying with a depressing dearth of results. However, a little alliteration, of course, never goes amiss. Politicians continue to be kuntry, apathetic bastards; and as always it is the man on the street and, for once, the man in the high-end luxury hotel who suffers.

Moving on to happier things, if I was asked to name one thing I liked best about the academic system here, I would pick the faculty. Almost all of the professors I have met here have been highly intelligent, dedicated people who are extremely good at what they do. It is their sheer approachability, though, that really impressed me. Of course, I realize this may not be the case with all of them- I have, of course, heard the standard horror stories about advisors from hell. But most- no, strike that, all of the people I met during my search to find my advisor have been extremely nice people, at least to me. During those difficult first couple of months, I think it was meeting these people that kept me going; I used to meet them and realize that he/she was the kind of person I wanted to be: extremely competent, passionate about my work, and capable of inspiring young people.

* * *

Monday, April 14, 2008


One my friends just quit his job at this company (I think it's best I don't name that organization; therefore: short mother and Sun God guard rear (8) ) and is now preparing for CAT. This was a guy with real enthu for tech- he'd put an excellent AIR in GATE in third year with barely any preparation and cracked a few math-modeling contests at various techfests- and now he's become so disillusioned with the tech scene in India that he wants to go for an MBA. Another friend wanted to quit and play football, apparently. I was willing to sell my soul and study management in case the research thing hadn't worked out (it did, thankfully, and I'm going to Purdue this fall), or perhaps even sit at home and study for CAT/GATE/whatever in case I couldn't convert those calls this time.

So, yeah, work sucks.

P.S. Yeah, yeah, I know it depends on the company and all that, but whatever. I'm just pissed at these companies right now, for selling dreams and then selling short.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Every Once in a While...

...I stop by my blog, and read a post or two. Take a look at my last post, wherein I say that Ayn Rand's philosophy doesn't quite cut it in the real world. I was reading this, trying to find adequate words that would express, in a sentence or two, exactly why her ideas wouldn't work, and it struck me: Rand's ideas are impractical not because the universe we live in is irrational (which it isn't), but because Man, no matter how much we wish it were otherwise, is not a rational creature. Evidence to that effect: Religion. Racism.

We are rational some of the time and in dealing with certain matters, but certainly not all the time and about all things. It would be irrational to believe otherwise. ;)

Perhaps we need to be rational only, or at least, about the big things. Y'know, about the things that matter. At the least, consider- rationally- all the options available, the consequences thereof, and then make a reasonable choice.