July 29, 2005

Funny Pic

Here is a funny one.. I hope it doesn't offend anyone's sensibilities.

If you look carefully at the picture, whoever made this one has put some effort to get the details right.


July 28, 2005

Need info on Students Partnership Worldwide

I am keen to get some informal opinion about SPW. I have been reading from their website but would appreciate any 1st hand experience. Do you think that the experience was worthwhile – both to you and the community you were working for.

Apparently they want the volunteers to raise money for the expenses which could be as much as 3000 pounds. I have no clue on how to go about that. It does seem like a lot of money to go asking around.

What are the other reputed organisations who are similarly invovled in providing volunteer experiences? Maybe I should google this …but it is so hard to figure out the right content from the sheer volume available.


July 27, 2005

Dilbert's Corporate Wisdom

This advice is absolutely invaluable. And I have tried ths trick when I was working – so 100% effective ;-)


‘Worthless’ gifts get the really good girls

Writing about web page http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7737&feedId=online-news_rss20

Here is an interestingly 'worthless' piece of information for all those involved in one of the world's greatest games – 'dating' aka 'courtship'.

The article essentially proved through some mathematical modelling that was devised by two research students at University College, London that "if males gave valuable gifts too often, the females would start to exploit them: the males have no clue as to the females’ real intentions in the model. Put simply, the females just take the diamonds and run. But when the gifts are worthless, an uninterested female has little incentive to accept, gaining no return on what could be just turn into the simple waste of an evening. Only girls who are serious would bother to go the distance.

So their advice to the male species is "To give extravagant, but intrinsically value-free gifts the vast majority of the time, while giving gifts of material value very occasionally".

Apparently they were motivated to research this interesting phenomenon after reading about a man in the local newspaper. This guy had been paying the rent of a woman he considered was his girlfriend – he was giving her a valuable gift. But she had been heartlessly manipulating him, dating another man on the sly while accepting money from her unwitting sugar daddy.

hmm hmm ..interesting.

PS - I have to insist on my honour that "The views observed above are not mine but those of the 2 research students only" !!


Is Nuclear Fusion Reactor the answer to World's energy problems?

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4629239.stm

"The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) is a collaboration between the EU, the US, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea. The aim is to design and build a fusion reactor in about a decade at a cost of five billion euros at Cadarache in France. Iter will implement decades of research in a test facility that will bridge the gap to a commercial plant."

In this Fusion Reactor – Deuterium and Tritium (Isotopes of Hydrogen) will be heated to 100 million degrees and made to fuse together to produce helium and high speed neutrons and energy, which are then used to drive turbines.

Scientist have to find new material that can withstand this enormous heat inside the reactor. But if commercial fusion can be achieved then it can easily satiate the growing demands for energy in the world with a process that produces zero greenhouse emissions + does not lead to large stores of long-lived highly radioactive waste.


July 26, 2005

Dilbert's Corporate Wisdom


July 23, 2005

Steve Job's address to Stanford's 2005 graduating class

Writing about web page http://www.snopes.com/glurge/stevejobs.asp

I guess the main message of his address is to keep looking till you find something you love most and then make that your life's work. This message is often repeated and I'm sure most of you have already heard it a million times. But it is an advice so bloody hard to follow. And not many people are blessed with being truly happy with their job. Anway even if you find the message boring, I liked reading his life story. It is quite interesting. May even inspire you to drop out of university ;-) . Any way read on …..

"I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5˘ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky that I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me that I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything that all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much." – Steve Jobs – June 2005


July 22, 2005

Is Karl Marx the greatest philosopher ever?

Writing about web page http://www.hindu.com/2005/07/22/stories/2005072207771300.htm

I found this interesting article in an indian newspaper. But it is actually quoting from the british newspaper Guardian. It seems so strange that many capitalist economists and leaders of big enterprises have now started thinking about the negative consequences of fundamental market thinking including instability, alienation and exploitation. Many economists have been considerably surprised by the piercing accuracy with which Karl Marx has predicted some of the characteristics of global economy. So who is right? And is there a right or wrong answer?

The successes of the capitalistic economies of the world including the 'supposedly communist' china shows how much this system is ahead in this race. And I'm convinced that individual entrepreneurship is the key to growth. And making the environment conducive to individual drive and enterprise is probably the most significant step towards developing the economy. But that does not mean that we should ignore Marx or some of the thinking that he has espoused. And I personally think that many capitalist governments have gone for socialist measures to reduce inequalities in the society and to help bring the economically weaker sections up. This is because a democratic society cannot be cold and callous. They have to listen to the will of the people.


July 21, 2005

Caste Violence in Bihar

Writing about web page http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1437440,000900030002.htm

I feel so terrible when I read news items like this. In my country, which is trying to project an image of an aspiring super power, such mindless caste violence leaves a very bad taste.

To make matters worse in this case, according to Hindustan Times, 2 hospitals including Patna Government Hospital refused admission to him and the police refused to lodge a case against him. But according to the DSP, investigations are going on.

It is totally unacceptable that such events are tolerated almost on a daily basis. Ofcourse there would be supporters on either side who would be willing to shed more blood now to show that they are not cowed.

Personally I think, the worst thing that a country can face is when its citizens turn on each other – whether it is on the basis of caste, religion or opinions. People must respect the rule of law and should be able to trust the democratic process to serve them justice. When will people ever realize that violence begets violence and that an eye for an eye only leaves both parties blind. Whenever people have turned on each other, the wounds are very very hard to heal. We have so much evidence over the years to prove it.


June 10, 2005

The rides of ur life on a mumbai local train

Writing about web page http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/jun/10lp.htm

I found this article on the rediff about a mumbai local train night mare ..it is scarily hilarious !!!

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