Monday, June 20, 2011

Notes from a boring weekend

[Indira Gandhi] implemented Article 356 41 times.

No internal election took place in the Congress after 1972

The irony of Mrs Gandhi’s modus operandi – which stood in stark contrast with her father’s – laid in its counterproductive results. While she aimed at retaining power in the state and at maintaining the national unity by imposing her political control over them, she fostered centrifugal forces and precipitated the crystallisation of regional identities. Hence, it led to the development of state parties and they became more entrenched in their new bastions.

Christophe Jaffrelot in Tehelka


Among the poor, or those with tight budgets, married women went out to work after 1945 because, to put it crudely, children no longer did so. Child labour in the West had almost vanished[..].in the past, children had worked so that their mothers could remain at home[..], now when families needed additional income, mothers worked instead of children.
[....]
If there was an incentive for [married middle class women] to go outside the home [in 50s and 60s], it was the demand for freedom and autonomy: for the married woman to be a person in her own right and not an appendage of husband and household, someone judged by the world as an individual and not a member of a species ('just a housewife and mother'). Income came into it not because it was needed, but because it was something that a woman could spend or save without asking her husband first.
[....]
When women streamed into a profession opened to them, as in the USSR, where the medical profession became largely feminized in consequence, it lost status and income. As against Western feminists, most married Soviet women, long used to a lifetime of paid work, dreamed of the luxury of staying at home and doing only one job.
Age of extremes, Eric Hobsbawm

Many American women particularly are prepared to think that there is no longer any place for woman as such; if a backward individual still takes herself for a woman, her friends advise her to be psychoanalysed and thus get rid of this obsession. In regard to a work, Modern Woman: The Lost Sex, which in other respects has its irritating features, Dorothy Parker has written: ‘I cannot be just to books which treat of woman as woman ... My idea is that all of us, men as well as women, should be regarded as human beings.’ But nominalism is a rather inadequate doctrine, and the antifeminists have had no trouble in showing that women simply are not men. Surely woman is, like man, a human being; but such a declaration is abstract. The fact is that every concrete human being is always a singular, separate individual. To decline to accept such notions as the eternal feminine, the black soul, the Jewish character, is not to deny that Jews, Negroes, women exist today – this denial does not represent a liberation for those concerned, but rather a flight from reality. Some years ago a well-known woman writer refused to permit her portrait to appear in a series of photographs especially devoted to women writers; she wished to be counted among the men. But in order to gain this privilege she made use of her husband’s influence! Women who assert that they are men lay claim none the less to masculine consideration and respect. I recall also a young Trotskyite standing on a platform at a boisterous meeting and getting ready to use her fists, in spite of her evident fragility. She was denying her feminine weakness; but it was for love of a militant male whose equal she wished to be. The attitude of defiance of many American women proves that they are haunted by a sense of their femininity. In truth, to go for a walk with one’s eyes open is enough to demonstrate that humanity is divided into two classes of individuals whose clothes, faces, bodies, smiles, gaits, interests, and occupations are manifestly different. Perhaps these differences are superficial, perhaps they are destined to disappear. What is certain is that they do most obviously exist.
Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir(1949)

At a cocktail party, a discussion of the definition of feminism was raging without a clear conclusion. Some participants suggested that feminism was the demand for
‘equal rights’, some that it involved the dismantling of the ‘sex/gender’ system, still others that it was the unending struggle against male domination in all its forms.
Finally, an eight-year-old who had been listening intently to the conversation disingenuously asked the following—‘isn’t feminism the belief that women are human
beings’? At this question, all conversation stopped; the eight-year-old boy had hit the nail on the head. All that was needed was a slight emendation of his interrogative—
that is that feminism IS the radical belief that women are human beings.
Intro. to modern feminist theory, Jennifer Rich (2007)

Though radical, neither Fidel nor any of his comrades were communists nor (with two exceptions) even claimed to have Marxist sympathies of any kind. [..]. The US diplomats and policy advisers constantly debated whether the movement was or was not pro-communist - if it were, the CIA, which had already overthrown a reforming government in Guatemala in 1954, knew what to do - but clearly concluded it was not. [..]. by March 1960, well before Fidel had discovered that Cuba was to be socialist and himself was a communist[..]
Age of extremes, Eric Hobsbawm

Other points: went out for a drink with some friends, and the girl was explaining how she had a six year old love in another country, but since she is not sure whether they are in real love or it is just a habit, and because seven months in a foreign country is sad and even a kiss means a lot, she is now having a relation with someone else, but she is sure it wont last long, and she will "sit and talk" to her old love about what to do about their affair (though she wont mention her new affair)... She says it is easy to look from outside and judge, but in the inside, things are different.

Saw Midnight in Paris. Long been anti-Woody Allen now, with his simple characters and simple moralistic messages, but it was a movie that made me smile in the end. Unlike normal Woody Allen movies, where the main male protagonist is a pseudo-intellectual-asshole-loser, this one was better. In the beginning, you feel he's the normal Woody Allen one, but later you start liking the character, and the beautiful last scene, when he meets the woman who loves to walk in the rain, like him... Additional takeaway: inspiration to read Hemingway. Whoa, what a man (in the film)! Good film for fun.

Friday, June 17, 2011

blah

Emptiness.

Loneliness.

I want to talk.
About what?
Nothingness. Nothing much important. Nothing serious. Just like a child. Blahblahblah.

There's no one to talk to.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

No title

Here I am not going to be politically correct - I want to express my love to the two Russian women I love.

In fact one of them was born in Latvia, studied in a ballet school and then went to Ireland, found a job for her dad (a mechanic) and took her family to Ireland. When she was ~16. When she was studying here with me, she was working in the evening for some company in Ireland, for a real salary. Yesterday she taught me how to bind a set of papers.

Regarding the other Russian, it's difficult to paint a resume like that. She would, for example, say - "damn, writing a paper, the colorful graphs, you've to have flying butterflies...". Another day, when I introduce this person called Mayakovsky whose name I only know from some Mir publications book I read in childhood, she would say - "have you read his poems? I love them..". Yet another day, when you are too tired to think of a new topic, she would break into how she was asked by the security in an airport in Tel Aviv to hand over her gun.

How I will stop being politically correct is what I will now say: if there's a competition for the least petty women in the world, the Russians will probably top it.

I know I am stereotyping pettiness here, and of course I understand that this will be used against me when I become a socially respected successful gentleman who is allowed to fart once in a while in consideration of his age and his success, but that's why I would be paying my PR team then?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Politics and the Indian male abroad

Today I heard an Indian explaining to some French what Baba Ramdev is doing. About black money etc.

A few days back I heard another Indian explaining to some Americans about Montek Singh-Manmohan Singh liberalizations and how they saved India

I told a Romanian girl that I like politics and she told me she knows another Indian and he loves politics too and guess all people from our country like politics.

In Zurich I met an Ukranian girl and the above said thing happened again.

Indian students abroad are suddenly so political ?

We eat dinner together sometimes, and the topic invariably leads to politics - about Modi, about Budhadeb, about the need for BJP, about Quran, etc etc.

Why the Indian academic student outside suddenly so interested in discussing politics?

Anyway, their politics is quite homogenous. Nobody is well read, no one reads even. Nobody thinks Mayawati/Lalu/Mulayam/VP Singh/CPM has done anything good. Modi/Nitish Kumar is pro-development. Gender/caste/class etc etc? Dont think its much of a problem, but Arun Shourie/Jaitely/Tharoor/Jairam Ramesh have good personality.

Politics discussion like sports discussion, almost.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Musings while writing a thesis



The Genes are Selfish,

and Greed is Good.

Women must be pretty and men must be funny,
for there's no Evolutionary reason for them to be otherwise.
Or so says a quote from several of my friends' Facebook Walls.

Happiness from chocolate has a gender bias,
Or so says a new study - says an advert of a Deo.
Which gender it is biased to is no wild guess, alright.

Another writing on the Wall:
It's all about Is and Ought,
But Evolution can find out Is from Ought.

But, gene expression is random,
And a function of its environment.
Butterflies and tornadoes,
Small numbers are not Large numbers, and More is Different.

Oh, but, the randomness must be controlled by Evolution,
or you'll be mired in the darkness of Biology.
Ergo, self-interest is hardwired,
and women cannot be funny.

But is randomness the chicken or the egg?

What about Plato's cave and That Paper from Future?
And in the mean time, those Facebook Walls and page long adverts?
And their impact factor?

Who cares? Those scoundrels and their last resort!
"You don't have to be responsible for the world you're in".

The otherworldly fun of doing Science,

The uselessness and beauty of Number Theory,
And the elegance of that equation,
which cut the sales of A Brief History of Time by half.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Parameters, models and data

Let's take some interesting data.
Data plot does not look too complicated.
A two variable, two parameter model can explain it mathematically.
Let's make a model.
With around 50 parameters and a dozen equations.
Let's fit the data to the model, with some algorithm.
For some parameter set, it will surely fit.

Let's publish.

If someone asks something, tell: the model is right as long as it can explain data.

Repeatability? Sensitivity?

Next paper, may be...

But sorry, we dont have funding, so no next paper on the topic.

Science!