An awesome feature of this country, which has been home for this argumentative Indian for nearly thirty years, is this--it is one arguing society. The arguments challenge the status quo, some more revolutionary than others.Consider this: most states have sales taxes. But, almost all t
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Last update: January 28th, 2016 at 04:30 am
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Blogging every day ... I love ideas
There are a few simple guidelines that I use to understand the world. Like, I will believe corporations are people the moment that Texas executes a corporation, or, MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) will be the future if and when a majority of Harvard's students graduate after taking a whole bunch of MOOC classes.
A few weeks after I came to this country for graduate studies, it was nearing Thanksgiving and the television ad for Alka-Seltzer that I watched then is what I refer to as American solutions to American problems.What was the ad about?In this ad, the audio commentary and the pictures presented al
It was after the move to Madras (Chennai now) that we first got a television set at home. In the Neyveli phase of my life, there was no television. The Indian government was slowly launching its state-run Doordharshan in one big city after another, and being in India's fourth largest city meant that we had been
If I described the working conditions like this:people [work] so hard that they will not have time for such mundane things as buying lunch or popping to the dry-cleanersAnd, if the workers considered taking a vacation, then the workplace seems to tell them, “take as little as possible,
Venezuela was the first country that I visited after coming to America. It has been a long association with that country, which has been nothing but a poster-child for oil as a
Students have no idea how they make me feel great via their comments in class or in their papers. One noted in her paper that she did not care for the ideas when they were expressed by "an extremely conservative" professor but is apparently receptive to those same ideas when she hears them from me. Another found
I return to one of my favorite topics, because even the blog-following students complained that I have written too much "shit" about this, and the lazy guy on the other side of the plane
Decades ago, my rather cantankerous great-uncle decided that he had a great plan to earn quite some money from the fertile lands that had been passed down the generations--he would plant bananas in place of rice.
As I worked through the undergraduate program that I knew would not define my career, I could not understand how we humans could invent airplanes and computers and more but could not get toilets and drinking water to the hundreds of millions in India. There had to be a better way, I was confident.I went to
"Make sure you bring packets of prunes" my mother told me even weeks before my last trip to the old country. "We get them here, but the quality seems bad" she added.The older people get, the more they think about prunes and the like. As my father remarked when I was there, "you don't realize what a n
My first day at university where I now teach, I met my fellow-newbie faculty colleagues. One of them was a physicist, with what seemed like an intense New York way of speaking. When talking with him, I found out that he was the physics de
This past December, when visiting with the people in the old country, I told my mother that I would not have her tasty fresh vegetable salads because I was worried about pathogens in uncooked vegetables after those catastrophic rains and
It turns out that the "business ethics" of Volkswagen has been educational about yet another oxymoron: "clean diesel." For that enlightenment, we need to thank the lying,
Literature has offered many memorable opening lines. Movies have delivered awesome ending lines. The following, while not anywhere in the league as those lines, will at least make you smile first:I
A year ago, I blogged about the collapsing oil prices, in which I quoted from a Project Syndicate op-ed:economics and history suggest that today’s price should be viewed as a probable ceiling for
The more years I teach, the more I wonder and worry about the fragmentation of knowledge at the undergraduate level. To an overwhelming majority of college students, the undergraduate degree will mark the completion of formal schooling. Very few will go on to graduate school, and even fewer will go on to do rese
The sign said that if I bought one I could buy another of that same for free. Two for the price of one.I stood there looking at the colorful packets, for what seemed like an eternity. I then walked away.After picking up a few things, I passed by the the same display. It was too damn
The Nobel Peace Prize has never been without controversies. Take the case of Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, for instance:Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before he was murder
A few weeks ago, in an email exchange on science and the Upanishads--yes, this blogger will gladly dish out opinions, upon request, on all things considered!--I added the following editorial comment:BTW, the article mentions Deepak Chopra ... I am one of those who make fun of Chopra because he is yet anoth
Back when I was working in the real world--as in outside of academe--large employers were beginning to experiment with staggered work hours in order to test whether that helped their employees with decreased commute times. If it worked well, then the employees will be more productive, and the staggered hours will also
In the old Tamil language, is a word "madaya"--to refer to person who behaves crazily. A slight twist to the pronunciation and it is the name of a town in Syria that I hadn't known about until I read in the news. One of those instances that reinforces the notion that no-news is good-news.
In my mailbox were four items, of which one was a membership renewal notice. The other three were greetings from recently graduated students. The office manager noticed me picking up my mail. "Looks like you are popular with students" she said."How awesome
Except for a few crazies, especially here in the US, we recognize that climate change is one heck of an environmental problem that we face, right?Suppose for a moment that we were not worried about climate change. Just suppose. What do you think will be our greatest ever worry?Hint: it ma
My stomach was beginning to grumble. I hadn't anticipated such a long line at the immigration desk at the Chennai airport--to get out of the old country, that is. My original plan was to eat the four idlis that mother had packed in a ziplock bag after I was done with immigration and security check.
China conducts in its own strange ways acts that are political, which makes me more and more uneasy about its rapidly growing economic and military strength. If that is how I feel, when comfortably situated in the US, I can easily imagine the much larger scope of anxieties among the typical Filipino or Vietnamese or J
Remember the Second Law of Thermodynamics from the high school days? What? You forgot that already? No way!The next time you read about, or see something, which makes you comment along the lines of "the world is getting more and more chaotic," remind yourself about the second law of thermodynamics, a
Today was another lesson on how I have no grounds to complain about my life. But, the idiot that I am, well, this lesson will soon be forgotten. When I start whining the "poor me!" tune, smack me on the head and remind me about this one and other such lessons, will you?"What happened today?" you wond
It is simply fascinating to me how visiting a country makes me so connected to that place, even though the chances of me going there again are practically nil, given that there are so many other places that I want to head to. Thus, even though a second trip to Ecuador is no where in my horizon, I continue to follow wi
Note upfront that it is "intellectuals" in the title and not intellectuals. Because of the presumption that there cannot be any intellectual on the right side of the political center. To "intellectuals," a "leftist intellectual" is tautological because, ahem, intellectuals by definition are leftist!