3D Arguments

I often see people at meetings, lunches, trains and restaurants looking down and screwing their otherwise normal eyes into weird angles while concentrating on their phone screens.

Looking down and looking intent achieves two purposes in public:

1) Look important : I am sorry, did I just miss something? That should be okay because I was catching up on something else and if the something trumps the s.else that I just missed, I am sure I will know when I am looking at the phone in the next meeting what?

2) Look busy: Thanks to modern technology, one has time-wasters at one’s tips. There is Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and then there are the myriad apps for news and games. All of these allow people to zone out from their current surroundings.

As if this were not enough Samsung is looking to introduce transparent flexible 3D screens. We can look straight at people, and give them the illusion of listening to them, while the TV screen flashes in front of you. I wonder how old couples’ quarrels would like when this becomes commonplace.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2070741/Samsungs-transparent-flexible-screen-3D-real-looks-like-touch-it.html

3dtv

Of Whales, Monkeys and Bindis

I know what I am about to say can be taken the wrong way. But are we really better than whales or monkeys?

For a people that prides itself on its culture and spends hours touting its alleged superiority, Indians seem to have come in behind whales and monkeys when it comes to embracing more people into our culture. I can’t tell you the number of times the Indian cultural police have hit the headlines complaining about the influence of the Western culture on the modern youth. Yet, when the modern w. youth does adopt one of the Indian cultural practices, what did they do?

I am referring, of course, to a slightly dated story on Selena Gomez sporting a bindi. I spent a good portion of my life being pulled up by random aunts, uncles, not to mention my dear mother about not sporting a bindi.

This cartoon sums up the Bindi troubles of any South Indian Brahm lass (Got this from http://tambrahmrage.tumblr.com/ – I tried to find the link to this post, but couldn’t. Luckily I had sent it for laughs within my family a while ago)

 

pottu yenga

So, I expected the news that Selena Gomez was wearing one to strengthen their position. I mean, all they had to say was: “It is even fashionable, you still don’t want a bindi?”

I expected the Indian c.police to namaste-her, make an example of her and what not. What they proceeded to do, instead, was ask her to learn of the deep cultural ramifications of the bindi and enlightened folks like me about how it is not a fashion accessory.

http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-style/news/selena-gomez-wears-bindi-for-4th-time-despite-controversy-2013254

I can see your eyebrows shooting past the bindi mark now. Monkeys maybe, but have whales been sporting bindis too? You ask.

Bindi

Well, the news item I read had nothing to do with bindis. It has to do with how these species learnt cultural behaviors from one another and adapted to changing conditions. Bringing more to the fold was critical to adaptation.

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/25/on-copyca-whales-conformist-monkeys-and-animal-cultures/

Clearly, we are lacking there. Also, it was just cool to link the cultural adaptations of monkeys, whales and humans.

That also correlates with this study where Indians ranked near the very bottom of the pile of folks surveyed, they would much rather live near themselves than welcome racial ethnicity. Even when they wear bindis.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15/a-fascinating-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-racially-tolerant-countries/?hpid=z2

And so it goes ….

Despicable Me?

One time, we were waiting to start our hike at an unearthly hour in the morning. Typically, parking at the hiking spot tends to be a bit tight and we spend a few cycles trying to find parking. We watched sullenly as cars circled around the space and then made their way down-hill to park elsewhere. Then, a noisy bunch of people came and parked in the handicapped parking spot and piled out. At first we thought the kindly driver was dropping folks off and then was going to find a parking spot as the rest of the rambunctious party stretched themselves. But no. A bunch of solid people piled out of the car and all the solid people stretched on their solid limbs. The driver clambered out as well flexing his strong muscles and cracking his knuckles.

A bunch of hikers watching the whole scene unfold, kindly drew their attention to the fact that they were parked in the disabled spot. The knuckle-cracking driver said, “Oh don’t worry! I borrowed a disabled parking spot sticker and am planning to use it!” He then proceeded to look extremely proud of himself, like the most novel idea for the parking problem was his and he hung the disabled card before proceeding to crunch a few times.

My friends and I were shocked! I would have thought somebody who pulled a low trick like that would have the sense to be ashamed about it.

It turns out that it takes all kinds to make a world. I had dismissed the lot to the back of my brain till this news item brought them back to the foreground again.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/disney_world_srich_kid_outrage_zTBA0xrvZRkIVc1zItXGDP
http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/15/us/disney-skipping-lines/index.html

These rich people in NY hire disabled people for the day to take with them to Disneyland posing as family members, so they can cut lines and use the disabled access lines.

disabled

Now really! Come on! What is their favorite movie? Despicable Me?

Buggy Drivers

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have self driven cars as the norm. I would love to use the time towards things I enjoy more than driving. Reading, for instance, or writing. I spent the morning crawling across 5 miles that I could have run across in the same time. When this happens, the mind looks for options and what a beautiful option Science threw my way!

Some scientists in Tokyo got moths to drive a free moving polystyrene ball. I quote:
The moths would scramble, or dance, across the surface, moving the ball, which moved the vehicle.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/05/08/182312510/moths-that-drive-cars-really

“Awesome!” I thought to myself and read on. Already envisioning a larger moth at the wheel of my car while I lolled around in the back. I wouldn’t have to make conversation with the moth, I could even sleep! *Gasp* A smile was slowly coming across my face.

I had hardly gone past a few paragraphs with that smile when this put a stopper on my daydreams.

The problem is, they didn’t know they were driving. They are moths, after all. What they thought they were doing was zeroing in on a lady moth. Dr. Ando procured a supply of moth perfume, the pheromone scent of an aroused female, placed it at the end of a tube, turned on a tiny fan and blew the scent at the male.

Buggy Driver

I am not sure I would like to entrust my precious life to a moth who is more interested in showing off for the female species. I mean what if this moth smelt a tantalizing fe-moth in the ocean or flying t. moth above? Too risky if I intend to nap in the backseat, on the whole.

As a software engineer, I should have known to stay away from buggy drivers – sigh!

Google’s self driving cars seem to be a better bet for now.