Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Intelligent Design for sure

Sunday morning I woke up with some sort of a disturbance in my eye. I was fine when I went to bed on Saturday and didn't feel a thing. Obviously something must have gotten into my eye. I spent most of the day rubbing my eyes or if my mom is reading this, trying not to rub my eye. Of course it just wouldn’t go away. Come Monday morning and the irritation had subsided and my eye was red as blood. I looked in the mirror in amazement as the white blood cells were rushing to the rescue of my eye. Where is the argument I wonder.

Intelligent design is something that is amazingly controversial and I never understood why. All the intelligence is there to see. Everything in the working of our body screams intelligence. Everything in the body of every animal screams intelligence. And here I am not even talking about the mind and its complexities that that discussion would push us into.

Today man creates so many different kinds of machines; some self healing and others not. But either way all these machines, in their workings are a reflection of the intelligence that man puts into creating them. Every single bit of that machine is crafted my man's intelligence. Every concept that the machine follows has to do with what man conceived and created. Nothing in a machine ever happens by itself. It is always put there deliberately either as planned or by mistake.

So then why do we think that the most complex of machines on this earth evolved over time without the help of an intelligent being? How could something as advanced as the human body (or the body of any animal) have been a product of a chemical reaction and the evolution of it over time? Why don’t we see the wheel evolve into anything more advanced then a circular locomotive device even after so many years of it's invention?

I really wonder if the concept of intelligent design is really that hard to comprehend given what we see with our body on a daily basis.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It's either offensive or it's not!

Michael Richards was caught with his pants down the other day in "Laugh factory". He went on a racial tirade after being heckled on stage, using the "N" word and following it up with a series of racial slurs in a comedy club packed with African Americans. The video is rather disturbing because what you see is a man completely out of control spewing venom and it’s almost like he is not even there. This from a man who had to be one of the most loved comedians in the 90s.

I have always found the "N" word extremely offensive. Maybe it’s the association that is made with the use of the word. I have had arguments with people about this and they have always wondered why I get worked up about it. But I truly believe that if a community thinks that a word is offensive to them, then it doesn’t matter what you think about it, it is offensive! After all we communicate and talk for the benefit of the listener and not to hear ourselves talk. Right? It is true with any group of people who find certain terms derogatory. The "N" word is no exception.

But here is what gets me. Paul Rodriguez, the Laugh factory manager says: If the word slips out of your mouth and you don’t happen to be an African American...... What? How does that matter? Why doesn’t the African American community show the same sense of outrage when rappers and singers from the same community call them these names. Why is it any less humiliating?

The usual defense is that it is not said with malaise. But how does that matter? Every time this word is freely used the society gets more and more comfortable with its usage. I am sure a lot of non-African Americans might have used it not intending it as a racial slur either but rather to sound cool like the rappers did. But the fact that they are not African American should not be reason enough to chastise them.

Yes Michael Richards was way out of line. Apart from using the word he was on a rant which is sickening. But if what Paul Rodriguez said is right then we are on the wrong track. Society cannot have different rules for different people. The term is either offensive or it's not. It is either okay to use it in public discourse or it is not. Let’s not change the rules based on the kind of people who use it. That just confuses a whole lot of people and dilutes the seriousness of the matter.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

iPod vs Zune

Found this article on casual surfing. Its got all the elements of "conspiracy theory" that can make up a good novel, but given the history of the two companies the author is amazingly astute to be on the look out for more than what meets the eyes.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sinking in mediocrity

Often heard: A billion people and not one world class athlete.

The question is baffling to many. Nations far smaller and with far lesser resources have gone way ahead in terms of will to win, performance and achievements and yet India seems to be caught in a warp of her own making. I watched in dismay as the Indian cricket team wilted before the Aussies in the ICC world championships. Another hope, another dream and another wish fallen on the wayside.

Some ardent fans ask me why a single defeat should bring me down in such a desperate fashion. The answer is that hope is dying in me and I am running out of reasons to be a fan. I can’t even look at the Indian cricket team today and hope that they will rise to the occasion next time. I watched as the batsmen played with utter disregard for strategy or planning. Each came on the field like a demigod and left even sooner as if they had nothing to do with any of these proceedings. Running between the wickets was pathetic and shot making or determination was completely lacking. And batting is supposed to be the strength of the team. But this was hardly the worst part of the game. After all in spite of the great Tendulkar failing us one more time Dhoni and Dravid did a splendid job of taking us to 249.

What really ticked me were the fielding and the bowling. Bajji fielding at mid wicket made a desperate dive to stop the ball. He lands on his chest as if he were a baby learning to walk for the first time. I am not sure if he was diving to stop the ball or avoiding running behind the ball. Where is the timing? Where is the graceful diving? He got up with his entire body shaken and his jaw aching. And this is after he had not even dived that hard. When you contrast this with Aussies in the field is when you feel that hope dying a little bit more. Agarkar, Pathan and Shreeshath all looked as if they were doing heavy manual labor and were puffing and panting. Where are the fit athletes? Don’t these people work out? Have you ever seen any of the Aussie bowlers gasping for air?

Game over and the analysis? Should Chappell go??? WHAT!!! I have been following cricket for the better 22 years of my life. Not one coach has been able to make our team efficient enough to be consistent. Why blame the coach? These are players who play as professionals and get paid far beyond their performance. You would think that the least they can give in return is some commitment to the game.

Forget cricket. How about they start by being fit and healthy and not visibly panting on the field? How about Bajji dive on the field and not hurt himself ? Really guys, it’s almost insulting.

If BCCI were a public company and has been reporting quarterly performance for the last 22 years that I have followed this game, it would be a penny stock or could easily be delisted by now, filed for bankrupcy and liquidated its assets. And here is this defunct organization thriving as the most lucrative business in Indian sports.

So I guess the answer is: A billion people and we cannot generate a world class athlete, but then who needs one when your customer base is comprised of a billion people and growing. After all everyday is born a fool with hope in his heart. It takes 22 years to kill it.

I think they have nothing to worry.