As California legalized same-sex marriage today,
I never write on this topic -- but given this big judgement, I want to write down a few thoughts on this for the first and the last time.
People who support gay-marriages make these same arguments over and over again, and here are my answers to them:
1) If you dont like same-sex marriage, dont do it!
This argument is ridiculous, since if it were rational, then no laws could ever have been made. People can only control themselves by default, but millenniums ago people came together to form societies so that they could live together and decide on some common laws that make sense, and are agreed on by most people, and then enforced on the whole society. Like murder is wrong. They didnt think, if somebody thinks murder is wrong, he should not do it. Or child-sex for example, both the adult and the child may have agreed, but we all consensually agree that a child may not be able to make his own decisions correctly and wisely.
2) They give a history where women had no voting rights, right to property, etc and then slowly the rules came to be as they are today, where equality reigns supreme.
Just past rulings do not imply that any future rulings will be right. Lets decide on this now given the context of the present and the actual argument being made. Just because in the past we have become more and more liberal, it does not imply we should continue to do so without considering the current argument.
3) Gay marriage is a right!
Ridiculous. Nobody is telling you to not do anything here. Nobody is telling you to not live with your same-sex friend/lover or whatever you call that relationship. The fact is actually that you are asking the society for some privileges, not that society is infringing on your rights. You can do whatever you want to -- if you want to mentally consider that you are married, please do. But "marriage" and "family" are society-supported institutions. . so if you are asking for society to consider you as married, society has its own right to evaluate according to its own rules! Until societal rule is changed, gay marriage is not a right!
Now my own arguments:
1) Biology: As humans, only heterosexual couples can have children. Our society should view "marriage" and "family" as a group which can have and raise children, and have a lasting growth of relationships. This serves as an institution which represents our very meaning of life -- the very way we have reached this stage, the very way we grow ourselves, the very way we live.
2) Impact on children: As the next generation teenagers grow -- they will study at school that marriage can be both hetero and homosexual. They will see gay couples around in the society. And this will cause them to choose their own mate in either sex. This will cause a lot of emotional problems and relationship issues. The whole way we related to each other way will collapse. Although this is not a critical problem, since it will stabilize in some way or the other, what is a problem is that, half of these kids might end up in a gay marriage. Which will immediately cause half of the population of the new generation in the country to be infertile. This will raise very serious issues to the country -- ranging from social, sociological, to the economical, and to America's ability to retain its title as superpower.
More arguments could be made, but these are ones that come up at the top of my mind, and with the time I have.
Andrew Keen is the author of a new book called "The Cult of the Amateur".
This book looks very interesting to me, and I mostly agree with what Andrew Keen has to say. I read the first chapter on Andrew's website linked above.
Heres an interesting debate that Andrew Keen had with David Weinberger, which is very illustraitve. Go Andrew!
Full Text: Keen vs. Weinberger - WSJ.com
Nice little list .. Note that this is only for Silicon Valley so excludes large parts of the Bay Area like SF, etc.
I wrote a comment on this Blog post for an astrology related event.
A comment on this page regarding the shooting tragedy at the Virginia Tech is pasted below --- my view is that basically voilence, sex, drugs, and other misbehaviours should be removed from media (books, movies, internet, videos) and faith and spirituality should be reinforced in this country and culture, in order to avoid tese things. The first thing that should be done though is to stop sales of guns, handguns, rifles, etc. to each and everyone (except the police) and call back all guns that have been sold/registered.
Many will again be asking “Why”
I believe that Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine HIgh School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, answered that question in his address to the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.
They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:
“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.
“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.
“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.
I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:
Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!
” Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational
systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.
“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your
own heart before casting the first stone!
My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”
— Posted by Al Montreuil
The following article about nutrition is excellent. Escpecially read the 9 points in the end of the article.
Unhappy Meals - Michael Pollan - New York Times
My comment to this entry: Green Wombat: California Cars to Get Global Warming Ratings:
It is strange to see almost all the comments opposing the idea.. that also on a business2 blog, where I thought gathers some intelligent readers.
I am from a different country, have been in the US for 5-6 years now, and this new law counts among the things that I love about this country.
What is right, must be done, and not be forced -- it is subtly brought to public information and let the public decide -- sometimes financial incentives accompany.
Getting more information about Global Warming does not harm -- just like the nutrition information on food products -- but allows the consumer to make more informed decision as per his preferences. In my country there are no nutrition labels, and the stuff I have been eating was way unhealthy. Now I am more conscious of what I eat, after coming to the US. Is this good? DEFINITELY, I would say.
To learn more about Global Warming, watch the very nice documentary by Al Gore. Its not boring I tell you. Its a must see.
I think its time that somebody do something abt global warming -- the whole weather this past 2-3 years, all over the world, has been rather weird, and breaking records either to the low or to the high. I am afraid it might be due to what we are doing to the enviroment, of which global warming is definitely one thing.
The following link is a feature article, which explains the basic math behind Google's pagerank algorithm nicely -- I followed most of it, except the "how does the power method work" section:
Why does having no barrier with other people, able to speak out inner wishes with other people, not having too much of self-respect, contrast sharply with perceived behavior characteristics of successful, respectable people?
This is not the best article about Gandhi's omission from the Nobel Peace Prize, but anyway, this one is short and precise.
Progressive -- means not fearing to loose old ways, and seeking better and new paths, towards progress.
I used to think that I am a pretty non-conventional thinker, and progressive on many fronts, but I recently found that I am not as progressive.
Such things you come to know about yourself when you are looking for marriage mates. The process involves analyzing where you have been so far, what you stand for, and where you want to go and what you want to be -- since the decision, which comes once in a lifetime, changes life forever. And we must know a lot abt ourself before making the plunge.
Does a sense of acheivement excite you most in life? Then you are likely to be progressive.
A nice quote about a non-progressive lifestyle:
To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich, to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconcious, grow up through the common -- this is my symphony.
- William Henry Channing, clergyman, reformer (1810-1884)
Marwaris (an Indian community) are progressive on the money front (do what they can to get more money) and conservative on the family front.
Progressiveness is one imp characteristic that we should match in our lifemate.
Characteristics of a Person's "Existence":
A particular outlook, a particular direction, a particular preference for a way of life, a confidence that self's way of life works, exposure of the inner unreasoning self out in the open available for interpersonal relationships and connecting with people, a life plan aligned with promotion of self survival and happiness.
(This is an excerpt of an entry I made in my personal blog on July 25, 2004)
I have been used to taking life very lightly. I now want to make the most of it.
A person can not be described only by his behavior: it is also important to include "what he wants to do".
Whatever you say, is gone. It can never be undone.
Be best at all times -- be what you are at all times -- be what you should be at all times.
If you are unsure whether you should say a thing, stop right there, and think twice before saying it.
Life can change because of it, to be never undone.
A good article which has a couple of simple but good methods for reducing US's affinity to war.
Force feedback...!! It is the feedback that many gaming machines offer us in response to an instruction that we give to it. For example, in the car racing gaming machines, when we try to move the steering wheel in a particular direction to turn the car, the wheel offers us resistance in the opposite direction or assistance in the same direction to simulate real conditions like inertia of the vehicle, friction of the wheels, air, etc.
Isnt this similar to the response that we give to the conditioning the outer world gives to us, which eventually defines our identity and makes us what we think we are?
When somebody suggests us to do one particular thing, often we either tend to think he is right, and think "that is what I feel I should do", or we tend to think that he is wrong, and think "it is better if I do the opposite". Now, it might appear that this is very obvious, whats so significant about this pattern. I beleive it is. Because this suggestion actually does impact our thinking..! It actually changes our opinions either towards the suggestion or opposite to it, and makes it "change" - makes it different than what it was before -- in other words: "polarizes" it. And this is very often in essence the form in which "conditioning" occurs: polarization due to explicit or implicit suggestions.
This conditioning makes us develop opinions and choices; and the development of these opinions over the longer run makes us what we think we are, since we are after all, a "choosing bag". And our very manifestation in reality is our self-expression of our thoughts, our ideas, and our choices...
Though these are subject to change and conditioning very easily over time, we still appear to "feel" that they have some permanence associated with them and the resulting self-identity has some static or permanent nature, and one of our important goals then becomes to protect our identity, and to "exercise" it.
I have observed that for some people, following lifestyle choices ("exercising identity") becomes more important than everything else, even moral obligations.
Somehow I believe that for me, moral obligations are more important than lifestyle choices, but I am not very sure how strongly I believe that.
By the way, I also think that marriage makes us value lifestyle (greatly overlapping with family values) more and more and more....over everything else...
A good article in rediff -- interview with Gitanjali Prasad, author of "The Great Indian Family - New Roles, Old Responsibilities":
Excerpt from Register's small article-note -- What cultures don't share Western economic values? -- a view from George Foster, the late anthropologist at the University of California at Berkeley
In his A Primitive Mexican Economy (1942) and in later works such as Empire's Children: The People of Tzintzuntzan (1973), Foster wrote of Mexican villagers who believed that, quite the opposite of how we are led to think, all things that are good (wealth, health, good fortune, luck, and happiness) are fixed and finite within the community.
"Good" is limited in quantity, hence the "image of limited good". Given this belief, all individuals are entitled to their fair share. If one individual has far more than their fair share, for whatever reason, this is viewed as immoral. Such a person would be regarded as selfish, an improper citizen, and more or less a community vandal or thief.
With the belief of the "image of limited good", these Mexican villagers would therefore condemn as immoral many of our Western economic and business practices and social behaviors. Among these would be our allowance of the amassing of great fortunes whilst others are poor, the driving of business rivals into bankruptcy, the unwillingness of many to be charitable in heart as well as mind. The list goes on.
Applies to India as well, I guess!
Sometimes the child in you knows the answer.
Strangely, I have found these days differing worldviews in people around me quite often.
Here in the Bay Area, or for that matter, many parts of the US, there's an eclectic selection of people living in one place - some are from North India, some from South India, some from east India, some from Western India, some from urban China, some from rural China, some from Canada, some from Mexico, some from Europe, some from african countries, some are Americans, etc. Because of this, people dont fit naturally into the society in general (some do, but many dont), and try to carry on differing worldviews for a long time! Since there are good number of people from all of these cultures, they dont need to change...they can prefer to have friends or spend their time with only their chosen ones. Since the American culture in cosmopolitan places like this (San Francisco, California) is anyway loose, it doesnt obligate you to anything, and you can get by with Americans by just offering the usual courtesy things... (sometimes, the differing worldviews cover that as well!)
This sustained variety of life sometimes makes everybody living here feel alien, and sometimes makes everybody feel at home.
Out of work life, differing cultures is usually fine..... but that does get it head out within office environment as well. The very way of getting things done starts becoming different, especially in companies which a lot of international population, and have had them for some time. This, I have found, sometimes actually delaying job work, and causing unnecessary friction. Like, some people like to write documents to get information transferred from one group to another, and some prefer to talk directly, some follow schedule, some do not, some give company more importance, some themselves, and some technology, etc
To really understand oneself and the world better, one should start with a clean slate.
Erase all the criss-crosses of the chalk on it, all the dust that has settled on it, and wipe it clean with water and cloth.
Then restart writing on it, this time do it very carefully and slowly.....
Start with "Should I live or should I die? Why should I want to live?" Give this question some deep thought.
Then go to "What should I do with my time here? What do I want?". Throw in the "Who am I?" and "What have I been doing all this time?" in there somewhere.
After posing various questions, and writing the answers down, which can take days, weeks, months or years, you should have a new perspective on which to make judgements, decisions, etc.
Once the slate is clean, and has statements which only have been put there with deliberate thought, we become open to new ways of thought -- this is its biggest advantage. So at that point, you view whatever you had learned, or got misguided in the past, in a completely different light.
However, I have noticed that this sometimes, at least in my case (see this post and this post) and someone else's I know, results in an individualistic outlook. If one really starts thinking -- "what do I really want", he goes in the "alone, egotist, its-my-life" individualistic approach.
At that point, Yoga, meditation and in general spirituality start helping. Getting to know the world consciousness start having more meaning. "God", "religion", "spirituality", "yoga", "meditation" all start looking as synonyms of non-egoism and dissolved-boundaries-between-self-and-everything-else.
Science, spirituality, psychology, philosophy, technology, culture, relationships, etc start looking as the mirrors of the a kaleidoscope using the light of "ego" and "the non-living".
And then you go crazy, and visit a shrink. Just kidding! :)
UPDATE: Rishi pointed to his very splendidly written insights in this blog post, which I commented to as well.
I have found a new strategy for playing the "bull call vertical spread" in stock options.
Here's what you do, around 2 to 3 weeks before the expiration date of the month, sell the at-the-money call, and buy an in-the-money call by 2-3 strike prices.
The benefit of doing this is that since the extrinsic value is the highest for the at-the-money call option, we sell that options since we know the extrinsinc value is going to be wiped out at expiration. To hedge it, we buy a lower-priced call option, which does not have much extrinsic value, hence time does not work against us in this leg. So overall, time works in our favor. Hence, the breakeven of this trade is below the current stock price. So if either the price stays at its value or increases in the next 2-3 weeks, you make money. If it goes significantly below then you loose money, but the money is not that much since you did a spread and hence your investment was low.
Apart from this strategy, I usually do call spreads for a longer term like 6 months.... theres another neat trick I do -- if the stock price moves against you significantly, then you buy back the short leg of the position which will be very profitable. Hence when the price moves back up, you can make more profit on long leg of the position!
"Lost"'s 2 seasons (I have seen all the 48 1-hr episodes), I beleive, come close to being the best TV series that has ever been made of its type.
"Lost" is an outstanding intellectual and cinematic acheivement, and a source of unparalleled entertainment.
The plot is "very" interesting, it pulls you in like a black hole, and you are thinking about it day and night. These questions will keep revolving around your mind - "Why did he do that", "why did that happen", "who are these people", "what happenned in the past", etc.
The characters are very well developed, and I almost developed a liking for each of them and they became my friends... in fact, i used to be sad for days when something happenned to any of them?
A lot of thought was put in to making each of the episodes, and each of them feels like a good movie in itself. The character background stories are excellent.
Overall, "Lost" has everything at its very best -- creativity, drama, character development, adventure, suspense, wisdom, entertainment, acting, direction, story, cinematography, philosophy, psychology, mystery, etc. You even learn more about life by just watching it!
Very highly recommended to all!!!!!!
Watch it from the 1st episode to the 48th episode, without missing a minute, and you will be most rewarded. You can get the first season dvd online, and then the second season you could download from itunes.
(SPOILERS, dont read ahead)
As a personal note to myself, I think I want to write down what questions are remaining to be answered for the next season:
- what was the monster security system?
- what was libby doing in the mental asyllum and how did she know Hurley? how did she recover?
- does not-Henry know a lot about Dharma, did he press the button? How did he open the gates that had come down in the hatch? Why did he lie to Locke?
- what was Dharma, Hanso, hatch, etc?
- what abt the 4-toed statue?
- why were the dharma observation books outside with nobody to see?
- what were the others?
- how is Desmond's girlfriend involved in the electromagnetic anamoly search?
- who was rusedski?
- what was claire's child operation? And why are these others interested in children?
- how did this others approach with "whispers"?
- was walt able to appear in places he wasnt supposed to be?
- how was john paralyzed?
- why was the hatch so important that Echo's priest brother said it was? And why was the question mark that important, since it actually harmed Locke's faith in the hatch?
- how did the others' genarate lists of people, even though they didnt know them, and what was its significance?
- how did the boat reach so high?
- what is the significance of the numbers?
- why did desmond's boat come back to the island?
- did Michael know that he doesnt have to take these 4 people to the other's camp, and just somewhere else in the middle?
-what was the parachute loaded with food, who came along with it?
- who was henry gale, and who and why was he killed?
- why did rusedski edit the tape?
- why didnt they have automatic insertion of the numbers in the hatch, and why didnt they have reinforcements of people? what was the "incident"?
- how did the polar bear reach there?