July 2003 Archives
« June 2003 | Main | August 2003 »

July 23, 2003

On smoking

This was one mail I sent to usc2k1 yahoogroup on 31 Oct, 2002 - those days I was having this high anti-smoking thing. If you dont care, ignore this post.

(for people who can "read")

One evening outside SAL:
S (with a cigarette in one hand): Hi, A!
A: Hi! How are you? Hey, do you know something? Smoking is bad for health.
S: Huh! Nothing new! Everybody knows that!
A: What do you know about it?
S: I know its bad for health man..!
A: What else? Any details?
S: Err...Forget it yaar. Feels great when I smoke. Thats what I care for.
A: 50% of all people who smoke die _due_ to their smoking. So will you like it if the cause of your death is smoking?
S: Err...I dont mind dying a few days earlier. After all, everybody has to die someday, isnt it? Umm....Anyway, I am going to stop smoking someday, then everything will be alright.
A: So you are also one of I-can-always-quit-tomorrow group. Thats where everybody goes wrong. Less than 10% of people who start smoking are able to stop it.
S: Duh! Come on, now dont bug me!... How're your courses? I have to read lots of papers for CS555, man. I am fed up. Have you read them?
A: You know what, I know of one paper, which I can say will be one of the most important things you _ever_ read in life. Well, it was for me.
S: Which?
A: This.
(A takes out a document of 4-5 pages which is actually a printout of this pdf file: http://www.acsh.org/publications/booklets/iesmoke.pdf)
A: This will be one of the most important things you ever read in life.
(S looks at the paper)
S: Hey I dont have time to read _this_!!! You've gone mad...Look I am leaving.
A: This is more important than your CS555 papers. Better miss one CS555 paper and read this.
S: Huh. I'll see.

(That night, S casually picks that paper up and tries to see what its about. Once started, he does not stop until he has read all of it in 15 mins. He thinks about something after that. That night he smokes a lot to satisfy himself. But, from the next day, he stops smoking. Then goes on to live a better, longer, healthier life than he would have lived if he would have continued smoking. Alas! He still could not reach the health levels of the people who never smoked.)

End of boring story! :-)

Now read the paper!!!!

The paper is a must-read for all: smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers.


1. Smoking accounts for almost 500,000 deaths per year in the US alone, or one in every five deaths.
2. Cigarette smoking contributes to a remarkable number of diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peripheral vascular disease, peptic ulcer disease, and many types of cancer.
3. Many adverse effects of smoking dont cure themselves when you stop smoking.
4. People who smoke for as brief a period as 10 years show a substantially higher rate of death, disease, and disability.
(the conversation was, of course, fictional.)


July 11, 2003

Its about the Picture

Its about the picture.

The picture you create.

The picture of the world.

The picture of the world as you see it.

An image of the world.

And people like to create happy, cool, fun images.

This evening, listening to George Michael's "Careless Whisper" in my headphones and reading the past blog archives of Dan Trachtman on his beautifully wonderful site, after watching the past webcam shots of Krismay, my image of the world at the moment is the cool, fun, hip-hop American-style modern image of life, that young people today have and like to have.

Have fun, hang out with girlfriends, boyfriends, dance, listen to music, meet new people, go to discos/pubs, watch television, relax, you will have a non-decreasing salary, hang out with people at work, etc : that's what's life.

But this image is never constant. It is fragile, temporary, non-existing, imaginary, illusionary, ....

To demonstrate, I will switch the song to - George Winston's wonderfully melodious piano "December"...after 1-2 minutes, I am feeling gloomy, the world's really a sad place... people are born, they come to like people, then they die, then the people they liked cry - this is repeated again and again and again - in a similar way as the periodiicity of music... lifes really a sad place after all...thats what's life.

After switching to one of my favorites - Skeeter Davis' passionate "The end of the world", I am feeling emotional in addition to gloomy.... yes, passion, love, deep love, I wanna love somebody, very passionately, very emotionally, very deeply, I wanna love nature, how beautiful's nature, how bad is leaving, how bad is dying, small people have so many expectations, to recieve love, if they dont recieve how bad they will feel, oh god, better to not have expectations, all should be happy and laughing all the time - thats whats life.

The funny part is I can choose an image by switching songs. I can choose an image by selecting different people to be with.

There you go - thats taste. Choosing an image to see life as.

Hmm... this is very similar to the stuff I keep reading....life and the world are not good or bad....it is not warm or cold...it is not happy or sad...these are all the judgemental adjectives imposed by humans. Its the way we choose to look at it.

Oh...let me switch to Randy Travis's innocent "Good Intentions" before I close. :-)


July 10, 2003

Random Thoughts

Here is a copy of the mail which I had sent to some of my friends some days ago:

A naive question here from the layman level.

I have observed that many of the radical philosophical and other developments took place in history when a country was ruling other countries - i.e. they had conquered other territories, became rich, and thus their people had more time to think.

For example, the startings of the Western Philosophy took place in Greece at the time of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle around 400BC, and that was when Greece was actually agressive and had taken over many territories surrounding it. So they were rich and had time to think.

The renaissance, industrial revolution and development of today's science took place in Europe when European countries had conquered other countries throughout the world.

Hendrik says one of the peak of Islamic thought was during when they ruled Spain.

Now that I think of it, the Indian philosophical developments took place during 1500bc-500bc, and I think it might be related to one king defeating other kings and occupying other kingdoms and thus becoming rich (as compared to the defeated one). But of course this is a wild guess, and most probably false.

Still I have these questions:

Major development in thought requires concentration of money and, in general, prosperity. Is this true or not?

Secondly, pre Second World War, the concentration of money was mainly determined by the conquering/occupation of other territories. Is this true or not?

Then, "assuming" that these developments of thought were "good" for society, can we extend this to say that this attacking, conquering and occupation of other's territories was good too?

In other words, if you were asked to make a moral choice between these two acts - conquering other territories by killing people which would result in increasing the prosperity of your country and making a lot of developments in thought, science, technology OR live and let live - which one which you would choose?

Then this leads me to think in this way:

"Natural Selection" of individuals takes place when nature selects the most fit for surviving the rigors of nature, "human-enacted selection" takes place when humans themselves fight among themselves to choose the fittest in terms of fighting ability with other humans, and I propose one more "society-driven selection", which takes place when the "society" selects the people who are more capable of serving the society to meet its demands of the moment (serving here providing any kind of service, even for exchange, for example, rich people who have served the society more by selling products, services that are required by the people, have a better chance of surviving by the ability to afford better living conditions and healthcare, people who can make music which
the society likes to listen, get more rich and hence survives better; by including this with the other two selections, I am also proposing that this kind of selection is quite natural and obvious)

It is important to understand that these three selections (there might be more) do not necessarily correlate in all cases, they diverge in many.

Today humanity (with its "human intelligence") tries to negate all three selections.

Natural selection is being negated by developing and giving medicines to ill people (think about genetically transmitted fatal diseases like cancer and others). Then the charity health organizations, where money is given to cure the poor ill people.

Human-enacted selection is being negated by having laws which specifically prevent violent action against other individuals. We have formed a Government, which "enforces" these laws. The law is a little weak when inter-country violence is considered, but, it is likely that very soon we will have laws banning the same.

Society-driven selection is being negated by having laws like the US Government paying stipends to the unemployed, or paying stipends to the mentally ill who are not able to serve the society, etc (think about genetically transmitted mental illnesses)

The negations are best seen in the Declaration of Independence [1] propounded by Thomas Jefferson (which is ofcourse based on earlier philosophical thought), which influenced the American society, and the rest of the world. (all nations followed suit after USA adopted democracy)

A "moral" decision is often the decision to choose in either the support of one of these selections or of their negation.

Now those territorial conquests were part of human-enacted selection. So they fall into the same dillemma.

No one doubts that those selections give good results in the long run, but their negations also give good results, so there is no definite answer in choosing one of the two.

Perhaps this can serve as one small framework for related thoughts.

All of this is uneducated, so flaws will abound.

What do you think?


1. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." -- Opening Passage of the Declaration of Independence filed by British Colonies in N. America to form the United
States of America on July 4, 1776; written by Thomas Jefferson.


July 8, 2003


This is a quick scribbling of thoughts I did some 5 years ago, when I was in the beginning of my bachelors study. At that time, I was very fascinated by the Stars - with the fuel to the fire being Startrek and some Discovery Channel Programs:

"The Stars"

If you were ever gazing into a dark starry night, far away from city lights and noise, you would have felt the loneliness of mankind. Distances so great that one cannot even imagine separate this tiny Earth from the heavenly stars - and the distances between galaxies still increasing at incredible rates every moment. The silence of the night and the silence of the stars will inevitably drive you to that simple question - Is there someone out there? Then we unfailingly are driven into thinking that there may be someone of humane qualities, someone who could feel emotions of sadness, anger, joy, happiness, the same way as we do, someone who will be anxious to meet us out there, waiting for us to respond.

Infinite stars, infinite planets....and abundant life. People living like we do, laughing like we do, crying like we do. Isn't it our duty to meet them? Isn't it our duty to help them? Isn't it our duty to progress with them? To learn new things, to explore, to go where no man has gone before? Are the people on Earth enough? Wouldn't you like to meet some more - some different things? Yes, it is almost a fact that there has to be life beyond the solar system. Billions of billions of billions of stars and life on just one planet of one star? No. A big NO.

Shouldn't we just leave now? Isn't it late? Find the means and leave for the stars - is what I feel I must do now. But the means are not there. I am just waiting for someone to announce that the first spaceship is waiting to be filled.

Or may we wait for someone to be found in the skies or wait for them to find us? This seems a more better and realistic solution. But this should happen fast. We must, MUST HAVE TO find them. It is our moral obligation to our Galaxy. In the same way, as we help our neighbors - our citymen, countrymen and the Earth people.


It is our inherent desire -- it will be their inherent desire - TO MEET.

What is so good about meeting? One may ask. But I think perhaps that is what we have been doing since brith....meeting new people and making them happy - and maybe perhaps that is the reason for which we live.

I many time feel that I can sense their ship coming toward us -- on the way right now and reaching us any moment. The moment of the HISTORY OF MANKIND. The most significant achievement man has ever made. And with most impact on humankind.

These silent - mysteriously silent stars speak a lot. As if inviting us to to come their way. The pleasant cool appearing stars are in fact very hot and firing and fatal if we go too near. But whatever they may be, they are a symbol for the life revolving around them - the peace, the pleasant, the anxious - the life around them.

What one will get by living on the earth. The earth has bound us with responsibilities, duties but the thing that matters to God and not to earthlings is that WE GO AND SPREAD.

Thats why I imagine myself on a space ship bound for the stars - feeling that I have succeeded in my life - doing a thing for man - what man must do.

Date: somewhere in 1998

Link to this in text format


display("mt:67"); ?>


Get Blog posts as a feed - Atom, RSS2, or RSS1
Powered by
Movable Type 3.33