August 29, 2002

Incompetence

Incompetence can't be recognized by people who are incompetent.

NYTimes
Mefi
the report

Posted at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

Absolute Facts?

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley

Can facts really be absolute? Wasn't it Nietzche who said "there are no facts, just opinions?". What is an irrefutable fact? That a ball is round? Or is it that there is no matter (or facts) only mind. Any and everything is a perception in your mind and thats the only reason it exists. Even if we don't get dragged into the morass that is idealism how do we combat relatavism? Maybe relativism is the right answer!

Posted at 04:55 PM

Of Arab Armies and failing culture

The essay Why Arabs lose wars makes some interesting points about Arab culture which renders their armies incapable of effective function. This essay focussed mainly on the Arab armies of the modern era. Prior to the mid 1900s the notion of an Arab army took a hiatus while the colonial powers quabbled over the region for several hundred years. Still prior to this time the Islamic army (consisting initially of Arabs) did perform quite admirably. Is it fair to say that Arab armies have performed most effectively when organized by tribe? (the armies of the house of Saud in conjunction with their Wahabi priests?). Do the Turks and Persians not fall within the scope of this description?



The same lack of trust operates at the inter-state level, where Arab armies exhibit very little trust of each other, and with good reason. The blatant lie Gamal Abdel Nasser told King Husayn in June 1967 to get him into the war against Israel — that the Egyptian air force was over Tel Aviv (when the vast majority of planes had been destroyed) — was a classic example of deceit. Sadat’s disingenuous approach to the Syrians to entice them to enter the war in October 1973 was another (he told them that the Egyptians were planning total war, a deception that included using a second set of operational plans intended only for Syrian eyes). With this sort of history, it is no wonder that there is very little cross or joint training among Arab armies and very few command exercises

Posted at 09:07 AM

August 28, 2002

Robert Frost meet Abraham Maslow

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
Robert Frost
Posted at 11:22 AM

August 24, 2002

When there is no self

When there is no self
Can there be self-esteem?

When there is no self
Can you feel self-conscious?

When there is no self
Can you be selfish?

When there is no self
Can you be self confident?

When you are here in the now
Can you have any regrets?

When you are here in the now
Can you have any expectations?

When you are here in the now
Can you have a history?

When you are here in the now
Can you have a future?

When you have no future and no past
Can you have any hope?

When you have no future and no past
Can you have any despair?

When you have no future and no past, what can you choose?
You can choose to just be.

Posted at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2002

Relativism

What is morality in any given time or place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like, and immorality is what they dislike.
Alfred North Whitehead --Dialogues
Posted at 08:23 AM

August 22, 2002

Triple Filter Test


In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold
knowledge in high esteem.

One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you
know what I just heard about your friend?"
Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling
me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's
called the Triple Filter Test."

Triple filter?"
That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my
friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what
you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test.
The first filter is TRUTH. Have you made absolutely
sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it
and..."

All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know
if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter,
the filter of GOODNESS. Is what you are about to tell me about my
friend something good?"
No, on the contrary..."
So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me
something bad about him, but you're not certain it's
true. You may still pass the test though, because
there's one filter left: the filter of USEFULNESS. Is
what you want to tell me about my friend going to be
useful to me?"

No, not really."
Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell
me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell
it to me at all?"

This is why Socrates was a great philosopher & held in such high
esteem. Use this triple filter each time you hear loose talk about any
one you know.

Unknown Author

Posted at 10:10 PM

Online behavior

The actual link is kinda long and so I'll summarize it. Google has a service called Google Answers where you can post questions and offer money for a solution.

A guy at M$ Games posted a puzzle that his boss presented to the group. Every month he gives them a state. The states are in a specific order. To crack the puzzle produce the remaining states in the right order. Each guess costs you $1. The pot stands at > $2000 (For more details read the link).

https://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=50956


What I found interesting in this link was the way these people worked together. They realized that they couldn't solve the problem by themselves so they started a process of creating domain experts and sending data to domain experts. One person would track down numerical patterns in the puzzle the other was looking at Sports etc. What struck me was that this was in some sense a view into how Open Source development works? If online co-operation does work what's the best way to leverage it?

Posted at 03:25 PM

Insomnia

Insomnia can become a form of contemplation. You just lie there, inert, helpless, alone, in the dark, and let yourself be crushed by the inscrutable tyranny of time.
Thomas Merton --The Sign of Jonas
Posted at 08:46 AM

August 20, 2002

Norse Mythology

My search started with Richard Wagner's Die Walküre. I was trying to find the background for the Valkyries and ended up at Norse Mythology.


Glossary:

Odin: Head of Aesir. Aesir was the race of the chief Gods of Asgard (abode of the Gods)
Valkyries (Choosers of the slain): female warriers that selected the bravest of the fallen warriors
Valhalla(Hall of Heroes): The great hall of Odin where the Vakyries bring the warriers.

Posted at 05:00 PM

Make hay while the spam flows

Habeas has a solution to rid us of the spam that plagues us. In return they'd like corporations to part with some money. [via MeFi]

Posted at 02:52 PM

August 19, 2002

Value Investing my @#^%

Exponents of value investing repeatedly stress the benefits of "buy and hold". However I seem to have mastered the art of "buy and hold till the stock is delisted". @#*&%#$

Posted at 11:00 AM

August 18, 2002

Buddhism Glossary

Amitabha - Buddha of the western paradise. In Mahayana buddhism people are reborn in a paradise

Prajnaparamita - Perfection of Wisdom. One of the major texts of Mahayana Buddhism

sunyata - emptiness
dukha - suffering
trishna - attachment
anatman - no self

Zen terminology
Doan - the person that sounds the bell that marks the beginning and end of the zazen period
Fukudo - Strikes the han to signifiy that zazen is about to begin
jiko - carries incense for the speaker


sources
timeline
dictionary
tibetan buddhism
buddhist information

Posted at 09:15 PM

College Football

Here is some information on College Football

Posted at 11:08 AM

August 16, 2002

Doh! Outlook

Guess what? If you turn on Outlook Junk mail filtering then it uses an "algorithm" to determine if an email is junk. The algorithm appears to be:

if(!strstr(subject,"Free") && !strstr(subject,"!"))
junk = true;


if(strstr(subject,"Free") && strstr(subject,"!"))
junk=true;

mea culpa

Essentially if the subject contains "Free" and the "!" then its junk.
So please don't send me email with the subject "Free Stuff!"

Posted at 03:05 PM | Comments (1)

Primitive Mind

The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology. Acceptance of the supernatural conveyed a great advantage throughout prehistory, when the brain was evolving. Thus it is in sharp contrast to biology, which was developed as a product of the modern age and is not underwritten by genetic algorithms. The uncomfortable truth is that the two beliefs are not factually compatible. As a result those who hunger for both intellectual and religious truth will never acquire both in full measure.

Edward O. Wilson
--Consilience

Posted at 01:08 PM

August 15, 2002

Who's a Freak?

I've often wondered what a chronological history of Michael Jackson's face would look like. Some one put it together. Why could'nt he have stopped somewhere long ago?

Posted at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

Cost of Living Calculator

There is an interesting Cost of Living Calculator. It uses CPI data to calculate the effect of inflation on a given sum of money

Posted at 08:43 AM

August 14, 2002

Victory

Americans play to win at all times. I wouldn't give a hoot and hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor ever lose a war.
-- General George S. Patton
Posted at 01:04 PM

August 12, 2002

Endangered Grammar

The Aportophe protection society has its say on the matter.

Posted at 02:50 PM

Confidence

Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.
-- Vince Lombardi
Posted at 10:27 AM

Principles of Economics

The principles of Economics is available online at Drexel University

Posted at 08:03 AM

August 11, 2002

Who's the pagan now?

It's taken for granted that development of monotheism marks the maturation of psychology of religion for the human race. But is this really true? Lets peer beneath the veneer of a single omnipotent God and see what we find.

If there is only one God, then what is Satan doing hounding us in monotheistic religions? If God is omnipotent why isn't Satan crushed and reduced to smithreens for attempting to lead God's flock astray?

A: Aha. You reach too far my child. Satan is the head of the Hell Inc. which is your destination in the afterworld for the insolence you display in this one.

So God being all-loving and all can't be stuck with the reputation of subjecting his children as we are all called to heinous eternal punishment. The persona of Satan (aka bad cop) will take the blame for all evil leaving God's reputation untarnished. God with his power of omnipotence dictates the acts that Satan may infact perform. So what we're saying is that there isn't really one God (or if there is, then Satan is also God since Satan doesnt have an independent existence). (To the reader: I've committed grave offences of philosophical inconsistency here. I'm only aware of some.) Throw in the angels and other creatures and you have in some ways replicated Zeus and his lesser Gods?

What about the Catholic church's attempt to build around Mary? If the confusing power sharing agreement of the Holy Trinity were not enough, the Catholic church has elevated Mary to an exalted position as well. You may now pray to Mary for intercession. Mary is another interesting character in this cosmic drama. A woman who has been impregnated by God (won't Zeus be proud. While his name may no longer be remembered his sexual lust for the female human remains entrenced in society).

Let's not leave Islam out of our party. Islam showers God with enough attributes to make a Viking blush. Omniscience is one attribute of God. If God is omniscient can he tell what we're going to do? If so, does that eradicate our posession of free will? If so then how can we be responsible for our actions in a pre-ordained, pre-destined world? (another crass simplification in my reasoning. Should I be prescribed a 100 Hail Marys?)

As we wrap up our sojourn through guilt country lets make a stop in the Eastern hemisphere. In Karmic philosophy "what goes around, comes around". Are Hinduism and Buddhism providing us anything besides a simple adage with no teeth. Yes coincidences are nasty, but pinning causality of a distant past as being responsible is quite convenient. Lest, the current life time not prove sufficiently long enough we'll leave you in a vicious cycle of re-births to make sure the Karmic account books balance.

fin.

Posted at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

I become death

If the radiance of a thousand suns Were to burst at once into the sky That would be like the splendor of the Mighty one... I am become Death, The shatterer of Worlds
-- Bhagvat Gita

"...now I am become Death [Shiva], the destroyer of worlds..."

Physicist Robert Oppenheimer
Supervising Scientist Manhattan Project

on 16 July 1945 at 0529 HRS, in the Jornada del Muerto desert near the Trinity site in the White Sands Missile Range.

Posted at 08:23 PM

August 10, 2002

Knighthood for Tom Friedman

Friedman gives us another one of his lucid insights into the functioning of the world.


If you lose your luggage on British Airways, the techies who track it down are here in India. If your Dell computer has a problem, the techie who walks you through it is in Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley. Ernst & Young may be doing your company's tax returns here with Indian accountants. Indian software giants in Bangalore, like Wipro, Infosys and MindTree, now manage back-room operations — accounting, inventory management, billing, accounts receivable, payrolls, credit card approvals — for global firms like Nortel Networks, Reebok, Sony, American Express, HSBC and GE Capital.

Posted at 11:30 PM

August 08, 2002

Myths - small and large

Big Myth attempts to list the different theories of creation from different cultures. Hindu culture believes the primeval man Prajapati came out of an egg and created everything. Chinese culture believes that an ancient dragon who lived for 18,000 years created the Earth. While this might be a major simplification of the theories it is definitely very interesting.

Posted at 10:16 PM

August 06, 2002

for all who care

v = final velocity
u = initial velocity
a = acceleration
t = time

v = d/t
v = u + at
d = ut + (1/2)a(t^2)

Posted at 02:09 PM

August 05, 2002

Setbacks

Q: Can you prepare for a setback? A: Depends on the setback. There's not much you can do to anticipate bad luck. But showing up unprepared, being out of shape, being just not ready to win, that's your own fault. Thats why I'm hyperparanoid about doing my job 12 months a year. I'm scared of the setback. I'm scared of losing my conditioning. Or losing the Tour de France. Or everything I've worked to build up.
-- Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong saying c'ya to Jan Ulrich

Posted at 09:03 PM

Holy Cow

Professor Jha of the University of Delhi claims that ancient Indians did infact injest beef as part of their food pyramid. His books is reviewed by The Times.

During my jaunt through the Upanishads I did find mention of beef as a food item. In the Brihadanyaka Upanishad the prescription for a son who masters all the Vedas and has oratorical skills beyond compare is for the husband and wife to eat a meal of rice and meat of a bull with ghee prior to intercourse.

Posted at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2002

Goethe

Wolfgang Von Goethe wrote Faust.
You can read it here
Or if you're lazy a summary can be found here

Posted at 07:28 PM

August 02, 2002

Zen vs Buddhism

The twenty eight patriarchs of Zen are as follows:

1. Sakyamuni
2. Mahakasyapa
3. Ananda
4 Sanavasa
5 Upagupta
6. Dhritaka
7. Micchaka
8. Buddhanandi
9. Buddhamitra
10. Bhikshu Parsva
11. Punyayasas
12. Asvaghosha
13. Bhikshu Kapimala
14. Nagarjuna
15. Kanadeva
16. Arva Rahulata
17. Samghanandi
18. Samghayasas
19. Kumarata
20. Jayata
21. Vasubandhu
22. Manura
23. Haklenayasas
24. Bhikshu Simha
25. Vasasita
26. Punyamitra
27. Pragnatara
28. Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma came from the West into China with the following message:


A special transmission outside the scriptures;
No dependence upon words and letters;
Direct pointing at the soul of man;
Seeing into one's nature and the attainment of Buddhahood

The chief characteristics of satori according to D.T. Suzuki

1. Irrationality
2. Intuitive Insight
3. Authoritativeness
4. Affirmation
5. Sense of the beyond
6. Impersonal Tone
7. Feeling of Exaltation
8. Momentariness

Posted at 10:55 PM
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