Culture, Books, Friends

Culture

Just before I start, I would like to point out that this post may or would probably be NSFW. Again, what is SFW (Safe at Work) and NSFW that so much depends on culture and perception of culture from wherever we are or wherever we take birth? But still, to be on the safe side I have put it as NSFW. Now there have been a few statements and ideas that gave me a pause. This will be a sort of chaotic blog post as I am in such a phase today.

For e.g. while I do not know which culture or which country this comes from, somebody shared that in some cultures one can talk/comment ‘May your poop be easy’ and with a straight face. I dunno which culture is this but if somebody asked me that I would just die from laughing or maybe poop there itself. While I can understand if it is a constipated person, but a whole culture? Until and unless their DNA is really screwed, I don’t think so but then what do I know? I do know that we shit when we have extreme reactions of either joy or fear. And IIRC, this comes from mammal response when they were in dangerous situations and we got the same as humans evolved. I would really be interested to know which culture is that. I did come to know that the Japanese do wish that you may not experience hard work or something to that effect while ironically they themselves are becoming extinct due to hard work and not enough relaxation, toxic workplace is common in Japan according to social scientists and population experts.

Another term that I couldn’t figure out is ‘The Florida Man Strikes again’ and this term is usually used when somebody does something stupid or something weird. While it is exclusively used in the American context, I am curious to know how that came about. Why does Florida have such people or is it an exaggeration? I have heard the term e.g. ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas ‘. Think it is also called Sin city although why just Vegas is beyond me?

Omicron-8712 Blood pressure machine

I felt so stupid. I found another site or e-commerce site called Wellness Forever. They had the blood pressure machine I wanted, an Omron-8172. I bought it online and they delivered the same within half an hour. Amazon took six days and in the end, didn’t deliver it at all.

I tried taking measurements from it yesterday. I have yet to figure out what it all means but I did get measurements of 109 SYS, 88 DIA and Pulse is 72. As far as the pulse is concerned, guess that is normal, the others just don’t know. If only I had known this couple of months ago. I was able to register the product as well as download and use the Omron Connect app. For roughly INR 2.5k you have a sort of health monitoring system. It isn’t Star Trek Tricorder in any shape or form but it will have to do while the tricorder gets invented. And while we are on the subject let’s not forget Elizabeth Holmes and the scam called Theranos. It really is something to see How Elizabeth Holmes modeled so much of herself on Steve Jobs mimicking how he left college/education halfway. A part of me is sad that Theranos is not real. Joe Scott just a few days ago shared some perspectives on the same just a few days ago. The idea in itself is pretty seductive, to say the least, and that is the reason the scam went on for more than a decade and perhaps would have been longer if some people hadn’t gotten the truth out.

I do see potentially, something like that coming on as A.I. takes a bigger role in automating testing. Half a decade to a decade from now, who knows if there is an algorithm that is able to do what is needed? If such a product were to come to the marketplace at a decent price, it would revolutionize medicine, especially in countries like India, South Africa, and all sorts of remote places. Especially, with all sorts of off-grid technologies coming and maturing in the marketplace. Before I forget, there is a game called ‘Cell’ on Android that tells or shares about the evolution of life on earth. It also shares credence to the idea that life has come 6 times on Earth and has been destroyed multiple times by asteroids. It is in the idle sort of game format, so you can see the humble beginnings from the primordial soup to various kinds of cells and bacteria to finally a mammal. This is where I am and a long way to go.

Indian Bureaucracy

One of the few things that Britishers gave to India, is the bureaucracy and the bureaucracy tests us in myriad ways. It would be full 2 months on 5th September and I haven’t yet got a death certificate. And I need that for a sundry number of things. The same goes for a disability certificate. What is and was interesting is my trip to the local big hospital called Sassoon Hospital. My mum had shared incidents that occurred in the 1950s when she and the family had come to Pune. According to her, when she was alive, while Sassoon was the place to be, it was big and chaotic and you never knew where you are going. That was in 1950, I had the same experience in 2022. The term/adage ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’ seems to be held true for Sassoon Hospital.

Btw, those of you who think the Devil exists, he is totally a fallacy. There is a popular myth that the devil comes to deal that he/she/they come to deal with you when somebody close to you passes, I was waiting desperately for him when mum passed. Any deal that he/she/they would have offered me I would have gladly taken, but all my wait was all for nothing. While I believe evil exists, that is manifested by humans and nobody else. The whole idea and story of the devil is just to control young children and nothing beyond that 😦

Debconf 2023, friends, JPEGOptim, and EV’s

Quite a number of friends had gone to Albania this year as India won the right to host Debconf for the year 2023. While I did lurk on the Debconf orga IRC channel, I’m not sure how helpful I would be currently. One news that warmed my heart is some people would be coming to India to check the site way before and make sure things go smoothly. Nothing like having more eyes (in this case bodies) to throw at a problem and hopefully it will be sorted. While I have not been working for the last couple of years, one of the things that I had to do and have been doing is moving a lot of stuff online. This is in part due to the Government’s own intention of having everything on the cloud. One of the things I probably may have shared it more than enough times is that the storage most of these sites give is like the 1990s. I tried jpegoptim and while it works, it degrades the quality of the image quite a bit. The whole thing seems backward, especially as newer and newer smartphones are capturing more data per picture (megapixel resolution), case in point Samsung Galaxy A04 that is being introduced. But this is not only about newer phones, even my earlier phone, Samsung J-5/500 which I bought in 2016 took images at 5 MB. So it is not a new issue but a continuous issue. And almost all Govt. sites have the upper band fixed at 1 MB. But this is not limited to Govt. sites alone, most sites in India are somewhat frozen in the 1990s. And it isn’t as if resources for designing web pages using HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, Python, or Java aren’t available. If worse comes to worst, one can even use amp to make his, her or their point. But this is if they want to do stuff. I would be sharing a few photos with commentary, there are still places where I can put photos apart from social media 🙂

Friends

Last week, Saturday suddenly all the friends decided to show up. I have no clue one way or the other why but am glad they showed up.

Mahendra, Akshat, Shirish and Sagar Sukhose (Mangesh's friend).
Mahendra, Akshat, Shirish and Sagar Sukhose (Mangesh’s friend) at Bal Gandharva..
Electric scooter as shared by Akshat seen in Albania
Electric scooter as shared by Akshat seen in Albania
Somebody making a  real-life replica of Wall Street on F.C. Road (Commercial, all glass)
Somebody making a real-life replica of Wall Street on F.C. Road (Commercial, all glass)
Ganesh Idol near my house
Ganesh Idol near my house
Wearing new clothes
Wearing new clothes

I will have to be a bit rapid about what I am sharing above so here goes nothing –

1. The first picture shows Mahendra, Akshat, me, and Sagar Sukhose (Mangesh’s friend). The picture was taken by Mangesh Diwate. We talked quite a bit of various things that could be done in Debian. A few of the things that I shared were (bringing more stuff from BSD to Debian, I am sure there’s still quite a lot of security software that could be advantageous to have in Debian.) The best person to talk to or guide about this would undoubtedly be Paul Wise or as he is affectionally called Pabs. He is one of the shy ones and yet knows so much about how things work. The one and only time I met him is 2016. The other thing that we talked about is porting Debian to one of the phones. This has been done in the past and done by a Puneitie some 4-5 years back. While I don’t recollect the gentleman’s name, I remember that the porting was done on a Motorola phone as that was the easiest to do. He had tried some other mobile but that didn’t work. Making Debian available on phone is hard work. Just to have an idea, I went to the xda developers forum and found out that while M51 has been added, my specific phone model is not there. A Samsung Galaxy M52G Android (samsung; SM-M526B; lahaina; arm64-v8a) v12 . You look at the chat and you understand how difficult the process might be. One of the other ideas that Akshat pitched was Debian Astro, this is something that is close to the heart of many, including me. I also proposed to have some kind of web app or something where we can find and share about the various astronomy and related projects done by various agencies. While there is a NASA app, nothing comes close to JSR and that site just shares stuff, no speculation. There are so many projects taken or being done by the EU, JAXA, ISRO, and even middle-east countries are trying but other than people who are following some of the developments, we hear almost nothing. Even the Chinese have made some long strides but most people know nothing about the same. And it’s sad to know that those developments are not being known, shared, or even speculated about as much as say NASA or SpaceX is. How do we go about it and how do we get people to contribute or ask questions around it would be interesting.

2. The second picture was something that was shared by Akshat. Akshat was sharing how in Albania people are moving on these electric ‘scooters’. I dunno if that is the right word for it or what. I had heard from a couple of friends who had gone to Vietnam a few years ago how most people in Vietnam had modified their scooters and they were snaking lines of electric wires charging scooters. I have no clue whether they were closer to Vespa or something like above. In India, the Govt. is in partnership with the oil, gas, and coal mafia just as it was in Australia (the new Govt. in Australia is making changes) the same thing is here. With the humongous profits that the oil sector provides the petro states and others, Corruption is bound to happen. We talk and that’s the extent of things.

3. The third picture is from a nearby area called F.C. Road or Fergusson College Road. The area has come up quite sharply (commercially) in the last few years. Apparently, Mr. Kushal is making a real-life replica of Wall Street which would be given to commercial tenants. Right now the real estate market is tight in India, we will know how things pan out in the next few years.

4. Number four is an image of a Ganesh idol near my house. There is a 10-day festival of the elephant god that people used to celebrate every year. For the last couple of years because of the pandemic, people were unable to celebrate the festival as it is meant to celebrate. This time some people are going overboard while others are cautious and rightfully so.

5. Last and not least, one of the things that people do at this celebration is to have new clothes, so I shared a photo of a gentleman who had bought and was wearing new clothes. While most countries around the world are similar, Latin America is very similar to India in many ways, perhaps Gunnar can share. especially about religious activities. The elephant god is known for his penchant for sweets and that can be seen from his rounded stomach, that is also how he is celebrated. He is known to make problems disappear or that is supposed to be his thing. We do have something like 4 billion gods, so each one has to be given some work or quality to justify the same 😉

4 thoughts on “Culture, Books, Friends

  1. Those electric scooters are an absolute plague where I live. The companies involved, probably all funded by dirty venture capital money, just dumped them all over the place. Naturally, all the lazy, easily distracted people found yet another thing they could do with their smartphone, and so off they went, riding all over the roads, the pavements, two or three people riding at a time, children riding them for fun, people riding them wearing headphones, people riding them drunk.

    During the pandemic, the medics in the accident and emergency facilities actually went public and said that these things were now one of the main causes of accidents, particularly with people riding them drunk after their night out, and were placing even more stress on overworked medical personnel who were already struggling with the “pandemic is over” attitudes of the politicians. Consequently, some of the operators agreed to shut these things off in the middle of the night, although there was one operator who tried to do some public relations and go and performatively do alcohol testing downtown to pretend that they cared about the problem, instead of following the other operators.

    I still don’t understand how it was even legal for these companies to just dump stuff on the street. Lazy individuals do this – they leave unwanted items on the street with a note saying “being given away” or such – but that isn’t really any different from littering, at least if you don’t take the box away with the stuff that nobody wants. Ultimately, municipalities were imposing parking requirements and fining companies, often up against legal challenges, hardly helped by the stupid government who legitimised all of this to begin with.

    All this means is you can’t walk along a pavement now without some idiot wanting to get past, usually at speed, meaning that you constantly have to be aware of what is behind you. It is yet another example of how we have to make way for predatory business and their idiot enablers so that they may degrade our quality of life for another quick buck.

    1. hmmm….. While I do understand where you are coming from, my point was that it was an electric scooter rather than a foul-smelling combustion engine that takes life away, or at least we have a reduced quality of life. In my city, we had a similar problem with cyclists but then after a long long time managed to put cycle tracks next to pavements and some people do use them while others do not. What you are sharing seems more like a civic sense issue and we have that in spades. Sassoon Hospital. that I shared above, they have put all sorts of notices that do not spit or make surroundings but people disregard the instructions even though they are in multiple languages.

      That I guess is a worldwide problem, in part done by the Govt., in part by the people themselves. For e.g. a lot of people do it only for the nuisance value, in the sense that they will become the center of attraction. That makes their day. And some people do understand that those people also need care but are unable to do anything about it. I share the above because suicides have been rising in all walks of life including young people and people are found wanting. I just read some of that distressing news in Pune today and have been reading the same for the last couple of weeks. The authorities seem to be in a see no evil, hear no evil kinda place. The indifference makes the whole situation pathetic 😦 . While I do not know how things are where you are, it is possible that things may be similar. Mental health and access to services around it are looked down upon and are also crazy expensive.

      1. I live in the largest city (but tiny by world standards) of one of the richest countries, so a lot of the things I can complain about literally are “first world problems”. But I suppose my point was that people, usually working for predatory companies, always have a way of making things worse for everyone, and yet the way they do it is portrayed as an act of kindness or generosity: now people have true “urban mobility”, they say, never mind that there is plenty of public transport including municipal bicycles that can already be used.

        And since some people now have something they find beneficial – they can cruise around and not have to walk any more (how tedious!) – it builds this corrosive individualist narrative that should that new toy be taken away because it happens to be troublesome for others, then doing so would be unkind, unfair, “socialist”, and so on. Once again, it is the classic right-wing play of pitting people against each other and encouraging companies and individuals not to respect others, public spaces, public property, and so on.

        It really is a depressing trend that seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. Never mind that it degrades people’s lives to the point of being unbearable. While I may complain, consider how blind people have to experience this free-for-all, with people whizzing around from every direction, leaving their toys strewn all over the place. The response to this is “concern” and nothing more. I find it horrifying that such attitudes are pervasive: I saw a story about how a blind student in a school didn’t have accessible learning materials because the school had “gone digital” – more profits for corporations and a shopping opportunity for decision-makers – but it was apparently “not a problem” because their classmates could always read things to them if they needed. So, it is apparently fine to take away someone’s autonomy and agency because they are part of a minority, and this in one of the richest nations on the planet.

        Sorry, but seeing an e-scooter pop up in yet another place just reminded me of how much is wrong with our economic and political systems, and yet as the world heads in a very troubling direction, there seems to be very little we can do about it.

      2. There are two answers to some of the questions you asked. The first answer is whether we made the right decisions before. Thomas Edison was on the verge of a breakthrough 100 years ago when he was inventing EV cars. Then suddenly, his lab gets a mysterious fire and is reduced to a cinder and he never works on EV again. The Lithium-Ion Battery was made by John Goodenough but the invention was sold to Ford again who kept it lying with them for 50 years when Sony asked a license in the 1990s for a lithium-ion battery for their Sony Walkmans. Today, if a person has money, he can be more autonomous than at any time in history. He can have his own solar and wind generation thing and those technologies will continue to improve as there is demand for them. There is more than enough science that tells that not just pollution but also climate change in part has been due to these dirty fossil fuels and the power and clout that they have.

        Now coming to the specific case you shared, I can give you thousand similar cases in my own city. The present right-wing Govt. has reduced scholarships and has actually been reducing the education budget for the last 8 years. If you look at the budget numbers, while at a glance it may look good, but if you were to count inflation in, you would see it has gone in the reverse direction. Add to that, most people in India do not know that while it is told to be the budget for a year, usually that amount is stretched to 1.5 to 2 years and sometimes even 3 years. This means money is just being frittered away and doesn’t help anybody except those who made the scheme or budget or whatever. Yesterday, the PM of my country said to sing devotional songs if you have malnutrition as somehow singing songs is going to fill your stomach. He has no solution for jobs. When there was a backlash, he made a sort of formal scheme, There has been a litany of such schemes and again that money is recklessly spent away.

        You were talking about roads, this happened just a month back. A newly inaugurated national highway link, just mere hours after the PM inaugurated it, gave way with the first rain. Later it became known that the builder of that road was one of his near dear ones and rounds of 40-50% commission were in the rumor mill. The real funny part is that road was certified to last 100 years. While there has been a formal inquiry done, most of such ‘inquiry committees’ have been ineffectual in finding the real culprits. Everybody knows that, in fact, many a time the committees have released people who are known to murder and rape. A recent example is Bilkis Bano, a Muslim who was gang-raped in 2002 and has been trying the courts for years. The people were recently released, and many of them said we did it in the media but no action was taken. The lady in question was pregnant at the time, she had a 2-3-year-old who was murdered by banging her head, and think the child was a stillbirth. To add salt to the injury, they even said that the accused were Brahmins and showed the highest qualities. (Brahmins are supposed to be the peak/best in India, many are arrogant and don’t really care what other communities think of them. It is known as the caste problem. And those statements were written by a senior Supreme Court judge, totally compromised :(.

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