Wednesday 26 April 2006
Wednesday 19 April 2006
Monday 17 April 2006
Oh that Scott Adams. He doesn't need Dilbert to be funny. Or mindblowingly correct.
Mockery is an important social tool for squelching stupidity.
...I've never seen anyone change his mind because of the power of a superior argument or the acquisition of new facts. But I've seen plenty of people change behavior to avoid being mocked.
I go for the gist of the idea instead. Hence, I think I make my feelings perfectly clear when I call this proposal the MOST MORONIC IDEA IN TEH WORLD EVAR!!1eleven.
No wait, since Mumbai Mirror links vanish (WTF aren't they doing something this anyways?), here's the entire article:
Make Maths optional, says Minister
Education Minster Prof Vasant Purke has proposed this for students after Std VIII; will discuss it with experts and the public soon
If you're a student and hate the very mention of the word 'maths', the state education department has some good news. It is proposing to make maths optional after Std VIII, offering subjects like computer science, agriculture and handicrafts instead.
Education Minster Prof Vasant Purke has already started meeting academicians and
educationists to discuss the proposal. However, a final decision will be taken only after a huge public meeting to be held next month, where the common man's opinion will also be sought.
Prof Purke's proposal comes in the wake of numerous cases of students from the city as well as rural areas unable to complete their SSC because of maths. Presently, most students are forced to take expensive tuitions to pass the subject.
"We are looking at agriculture, computer sciences and handicrafts as optional subjects but will finalise a list only after feedback from all quarters," said Prof Purake. "We will also consider public opinion and after compiling suggestions will decide on subjects that can be offered in place of maths," he added.
According to education department sources, "Maths is the one subject that most students fail in the SSC exam. We are looking at those students who give up studies after failing the subject repeatedly. Day by day the exam burden has increased and students are under tremendous pressure because of maths. Prof Purke has put forward this decision after receiving numerous complaints from parents."
President of Jagrut Parents Association Suresh Lad said, "It's a good decision. Students who are weak in maths can now be encouraged to at least complete their basic education till Std X."
- You can't do "computer science" without at least 10 years of schooling in Maths. Solitaire, clicking on "Start", MS Office, heck even VB do NOT count as computer science. That's just "computer awareness", and not that even, really. That's just Microsoft Windows awareness.
- At the end of the article is an anecdote of a guy who dropped out of school in the 10th std because of Maths. He had problems in Algebra and Geometry. And he's now an accounts excecutive. He says the government should remove the subject from the curriculum so that it would deter people from dropping out.
About #2, WOW, just WOW! Super logic. Hey, Bill Gates dropped out of college, and made a HUGE pile of money, runs a HUGE company, and is HUGELY charitable too. He didn't need college to do all this, so why would anyone else?
I love the solution being proposed here - too hard? No problems, drop out and blame the government. Guilt trip the government into making brain-dead moves.
Most of my argument can be summed up by what a professor had to say about this, in the article:
Maths is an important aspect of modern technology as the world is making big strides by introducing technology in all walks of life. That's why maths cannot be left out of a curriculum. Removing maths will only make the future generation of this country incompetent.
Saturday 15 April 2006
This mail will definitely be coming to you as a surprise, but I must crave your indulgence To introduce myself to you. I am Mr. Mark j Clark a supervisory manager working with a Bank here in London. However I got your contact through the International web directory.
Recently we discovered a Dormant Account with a huge Amount of Money Valued USD17,600,000.00 (Seventeen Million, six hundred thousand Dollars Only) that belongs to One of our late Customer MR. KRAANVOGEL DIONIJS. who died In a plane crash.
During our investigation and auditing in this bank,my Department came Across a very huge sum of money belonging to MR. KRAANVOGEL DIONIJS from Beverwijk, Netherlands, who died along with his wife, MRS. KATRIEN DIONIJS and Daughter, MS. SOFIE DIONIJS so the fund has Been dormant in his account with this Bank without Any claim of the fund in our custody either from his Family or relation before Our discovery to this development.
The Banking law here stipulates that if such money remains unclaimed for 15 years, it will be forfeited to the Bank Treasury as an unclaimed bill. It is only a foreigner that can stand as a next of kin and it is upon this discovery that I decided to contact you to collaborate with you to pull out this dormant fund.in order to avert this negative development.
On behalf of my trusted colleagues we now seek your permission to have you stand in as next of kin to Our late Customer so that the fund will b! e releas ed and paid into your account as the beneficiary’s next of kin now that the bank is still expecting a next of kin or relative of the deceased, MR. KRAANVOGEL DIONIJS.
We could have done this deal alone but because of our position in this country as civil servants, we are not allowed to operate a foreign account and that would eventually raise an eye brow on our side during the time of transfer since we still work in this bank, this is the actual reason why we required a second party or fellow who will assist us forward claims as the next of kin and also provide either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank a/c immediately to receive this fund, even an empty a/c can also serve for this purpose.However, on smooth conclusion of this transaction,you will be entitled to 35% as gratification for your assistance to us, while 5% will be set aside to take care of expenses on both sides that may arise during the time of transfer and also for telephone bills, and the remaining 60% will be for me and my colleague.
What I want from you is for you to act as the deceased next of kin. I have in my possession, all the necessary Documents to successfully accomplish the operation. Bear in mind that this proposal is 100% risk free. Further Information will be given to you as soon as I receive your positive response. I suggest you get back to me as soon as possible stating your wish. For confidentiality please.
Mr. Mark j Clark
- mark clark
Wednesday 12 April 2006
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Tuesday 11 April 2006
- the "brand equity" of the IITs/IIMs
Basically these posts say that all talk of the "brand equity" of these institutions is a load of hogwash. Okay, I'm not going there.
Let's take on the argument about merit. Most of the pro-reservation bloggers have said that saying merit will be sacrificed due to increasing reservations is a bunch of crap, because scant regard is given to merit anyway. Evidence being the huge capitation fees and rampant bribery and nepotism.
Hokay. So now it's okay to continue devaluing merit just because it's always been devalued?
1: "Hey, there's a rickety old building. Lets break it down!"
2: "Uh, why? Why not make it stronger?"
1: "It's weak anyway. Who cares if it were to crumble into bits?"
By the same argument, we could keep extending bad treatment to whatever we've been treating badly for all this time. Hey, we were doing it anyway, right?
I would like to reiterate my point. If my comment was read carefully, you'd have noticed I've not expressed my views about reservations or Dalit oppression. My only grouse is with the statement that alleges "dirty looks".
In between the posting of my previous comment and this one, I spoke to a lot of my friends (who happen to be both "upper caste" and "not-so-upper caste", and hey, what do you know, even non-Hindu).
All of them said the same thing - in college, the students do not care about caste. It ceases to be an issue after the entry point. Nobody says "Oh look, that guy's struggling to clear his papers. He must've got in through reservations, and now cant keep up." What's usually said is "Poor guy, he's struggling." and IT STOPS THERE, if anything is said at all, because, frankly, one has enough worries about one's own self in college.
In fact, Mr. T. Jayaraman's reply only serves to reinforce my point that students left to themselves do not care about caste. Using SFI data? Sure, trust a political organization to give out unbiased, neutral information.
SFI will care because it is a political, not student, organization. In fact, SFI seems to concentrate on inflating the caste issue in colleges. Keep the SFI away from students, and see magically how caste never surfaces as an issue.
You cannot simply extrapolate a Dalit's position in society to his/her's in an engineering college. Completely different place. The classroom != society.
Once again, please note that I am NOT saying anything about Dalits position in society - only taking exception to the "dirty looks" remark.
I am also
Please, Abi, don't be condescending. I am not talking about my own college alone (a private engineering college in suburban Chennai), but about a LOT of colleges in Chennai and Mumbai, at least, because I have friends who have studied there, as opposed to hearsay from politically affiliated units.
Once again, like I said in my earlier comment, I do not know how old Mr. Jayaraman is, and I'm once again guessing that he has no idea of the college atmosphere in these times. One cannot walk into a campus, and immediately pass judgement on it. The college environment is NOT a mirror of the state of society, and vice versa.
Engineering college is different. No, I'm not claiming it is the ideal world - all I'm saying is that it doesn't work the same way as society does. Please do not do college students a disservice by accusing them of indulging in caste politics. I beg you to ask people who have studied in top-notch colleges, and seek any of this "dirty look giving".
Abi, your students? Surely you could ask them?
No amount of disparaging remarks about "shouting in uppercase" will change anything. And why is the burden of proof on the accused, instead of the one making the accusation?
No, it is most definitely NOT logical to conclude that the discriminatory attitudes
continue inside the institute also. Please do not bring logic into this mix, for the very article that makes the "dirty looks" allegation is completely devoid of it. (Different coloured papers? Oh please.) And also, please do not bring African-Americans into this. Different kettle of fish altogether.
In your first comment, you want to "pause to consider whether indeed the allegation
is true" and in general state that you only agree with the sentiment expressed in the allegation, without being too sure about it's veracity.
And suddenly, in the 2nd comment, you supply anecdotal evidence from your long-standing associations with various groups (SFI, Dalit students). Did the memory of these associations not strike you, in the first post, where you were, in your own admission, only assuming it might be true?
I wonder how you managed to conclude that I have "picked up little sensitivity..."
I never mentioned in my post that discrimination is not a problem. I never said
oppression is not a problem. I never said Dalits enjoy equal status. I also never said reservation should be abolished.
I am very well aware of the social problems plaguing my country, thank you very much. I just choose not to believe every single thing I come across that would happen to be in line with my opinions. I do not assume anything would be "fairly common in a large number of engineering institutions across the country" unless I had first hand information, from unbiased sources.
Maybe it's still not clear, so I'll say it again (I would say it in caps for emphasis, not shouting, but it doesn't seem very popular): I understand the situation in India. This comment is NOT about the situation in India. It is about how engineering college life cannot be equated with society.
And sensitivity to issues does not mean agreeing to your opinions on them.
Monday 10 April 2006
" dirty looks from caste-hindu students for the 'lower cut-off mark"by saying:
...since the article in question is a rare one of its kind, articulating a Dalit perspective on the problem, one must pause to consider whether indeed the allegation is true. I am sure that such attitudes are fairly common in a large number of engineering institutions across the country, so I am not sure why the IITs should be such an exception...
One may argue about the merits of the concerned article or otherwise, but here is perhaps a case for some introspection by all of us.I was, obviously, incensed, and responded accordingly. In case the comment is taken down (I don't believe it will - I respect Abi tremendously), I reproduce it here in full:
Why must one pause to consider this kind of thing at all? Is it because a Dalit is levelling the accusation? And what makes you sure that such attitudes are common, leave alone a large number, but in even a single engineering college?Once again, the article linked to, is this. Ouch.
I do not know how old you are, but I'm guessing definitely three generations at least. Caste has never been an issue in college. Once in the college, students do not care. I repeat, STUDENTS DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE CASTE OF THEIR PEERS. Unless they want to embark on a relationship with one (or more) of them, but that's a separate discussion. But seriously, NOBODY CARES if their classmate got in on pure merit alone, or reservation.
Maharashtra engg. colleges have 1/3rd reservation for women. Would anyone ever give dirty looks to a female for getting in using the reservation entry?
I am not flaming - just asking you to justify your stance that such an occurrence is commonplace.
But, seriously, when students are left among themselves - NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE CASTE.
If there has been any incident of an upper-caste student "giving dirty looks" to a Dalit student, it was most likely because of some personal issue - NOT BECAUSE OF THE CASTE. STUDENTS DO NOT CARE ABOUT CASTE.
Just like you were "sure that such attitudes are fairly common", I am also sure that whoever made that statement on the site is either:
a) Making it up
d) Misinterpreting an offhand glance
I just read that article, and it is so blatantly flamebait, and basically full of unsubstantiated allegations, Abi, that I'm surprised you even link to it.
Friday 7 April 2006
Tough enough to to read in plaintext, and almost impossible as a squiggly image with the letters all running into each other. I say almost, because I passed :-P
Thursday 6 April 2006
Now, Vivek signs off each email of his with "May the Force be with you", so we were discussing how one would use this to wish someone other than Luke Skywalker good luck.
And this is what we came up with. Some of these may not be too correct, but hey, that's the best we could do..
- Stockbroker - May the bourse be with you
- Golfer - May the course be with you
- Richard Stallman - May the source be with you
- Boatman - May the oars be with you
- Obelix - May the boars be with you
- Soldier/sailor returning from a long hard time looking for a good night out - May the whores be with you
- Congenitally seasick landlubber - May the shores be with you
- Viking lover - May the Norse be with you
- Lion recovering from sore throat - May the roars be with you
- Personal lawyer - May divorce be with you
- Banker - May endorse be with you
- Sponge - May the pores be with you
- Quadruped - May all fours be with you
- Marvin the Paranoid Android - May the bores be with you
- Telegraph operator - May the Morse be with you
- Mallu guy stranded in the desert looking for a way to escape - May the horse be with you
- Big B/Sachin - May the crores be with you
- Terminally lazy person - May the snores be with you
- Housemaid - May clean floors be with you (aside: a housemaid's hesitant lover might say "I may clean floors to be with you")
- Mafia don - May the chors be with you (can also be used above - chores)
- Peahen - May the mores be with you
- Jim Morrison fan - May The Doors be with you
- Democrat American population in 2000 - May the Gores be with you
- Winnie the Pooh who's just stolen the donkey's tail because he wants it for himself - May Eeyore's be with you
- Sutherland employee - May outsource be with you
- Miner - May the ores be with you
- Shopaholic - May the stores be with you
- Selfish person - May what's yours be with you
- Hot babe who keeps getting annoying IMs from unknown idiots wanting to be friends - May ignores be with you
Any more suggestions?