Dialog…

Wednesday, 6 June 2012 06:59 by salim

Immigration officer (IO): Why are you being paroled?

Me: Adjustment of status, I work for xyz.

IO: How long you been working for xyz?

Me: 13 years

IO: Wow! That is ridiculous. If I were you, I will move back to India.

Me: That is exactly what I am doing. See?

homemay12

IO: Good for you!

Categories:   Politics | IT | Home | Freedom | Self
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Ditto

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 00:51 by salim

image

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This is how an elected representative respond to a Highschool Kid

Sunday, 15 January 2012 22:59 by salim

A few days ago Jessica Ahlquist, a high school student from Rhode Island won a case against her public school which was showing a Christian prayer in a banner in the school. Pointing out that this is a violation of church-state separation, she requested it to be taken down. The judge agreed with her after looking at the case. If this was a normal country, people would come and appreciate the highly developed civic sense of this young woman. But, instead, the kind hearted christians all around is attacking her calling her names and threatening her with bodily harm. Now there is an elected representative from RI just joined the hooligans.

Here are a couple of links to the story

http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2012/01/12/jessica-ahlquist-totally-was-the-bad-guy/

http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2012/01/12/faith-is-apparently-a-poor-motivation-to-be-honest/

http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/2012/01/15/peter-g-palumbo-needs-to-get-some-emails-and-voted-out-of-office/

Peter G. Palumbo, the representative who called Jessica an evil little thing. He needs to hear from people like us what we think of his statement. Here is my email to him. His email address is  rep-palumbo@rilin.state.ri.us

Fill his inbox!

Respected Sir,

This is in regards to the comments you made at the John DePetro Show. (See here)

You are talking about a case that was settled by a judge by clearly stating the issue involved violation of constitution. You as a representative, I would think, should be responsible for keeping the sanctity of the constitution. But, sir, instead of that, you decided to call names a high school student who was brave enough to question the blatant violation of constitutional principles.

If you think she is an Evil Little Thing, then we are all Evil Little Things. Every time we see a violation of constitution or other malarkey we will voice our protest. You can call every citizen of this country who raises their voice for their rights as Evil Little Things or Coerced by evil people. But you are just being a reprehensible moron by doing that.

Sir, you are not worthy of the position you are holding. You are just a closed minded little person who doesn’t know what makes this country great

Please resign your post and save the dignity of the institution

Sincerely yours

Salim

Fallacy of Exaggeration

Saturday, 20 November 2010 12:39 by salim

In an article about the brain (a wonderful article) Carl Zimmer has this quote.

The brain is, in the words of neuroscientist Floyd Bloom, “the most complex structure that exists in the universe.”

Now, I understand the awe we feel looking at the complexity and ingenuity of our brain, but the most complex structure in the universe?! Biological systems tend to accumulate entropy to create complex systems, but there are many other phenomenon in the universe that has much more entropy. Think about the nuclear fusion in the center of starts, and how about the super massive black hole! Now think about possibilities of life (as self replicating, self regulating systems capable of building complexity) in the rest of the universe. Some of it might have had billions of years to evolve. May be there are sentient networks that cover whole solar systems.

How do you even conceive even a thought experiment to verify that statement?

I have to disclose that I did not read Bloom directly and doesn’t know the larger context from where it is taken.

Such statements, like any other unverifiable statements, should be avoided when someone writes about science.

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Aussie Christians and Ethics Education

Monday, 13 September 2010 18:21 by salim

Jim Coyne of Why Evolution is True writes about the NSW (New South Wales) policy of teaching Christianity in schools. Apparently until recently students who did not want to go to the religion class were prohibited from doing any other educational work. Recently they introduced an alternative course on Ethics for students who does not want to listen to the brain washing by the priests. Below is a sample of the Ethics class

From the description and the video it looks like a very creative way of encouraging students to think for themselves and to learn that it is ok to dissent. Of course the church is all offended by this. One pastor says, “it creates competition” to telling (translation – indoctrinate) students about Jesus. It appears that over 50% of the students are now opting the Ethics class to the religion class.

For a very long time, I thought that India was so backward when it comes to adherence to religion compared to the developed countries. But, it appears that, Indian secular roots is much stronger than anywhere else, especially compared to many of the developed countries. I have studied in government and christian missionary schools, and there were absolutely no teaching of religion. Many of my teachers in highschool where nuns, but they seldom brought faith and religion into the classroom. Well, in a few times when they tried to bring it up, I and a few other atheist students could effectively question it and stop it from being repeated. While that put me slightly in the not-so-liked group, there never was any adverse reaction from the teachers.

It is good to have brought up in a secular country. Though the larger society in India is still mired in religious factions and superstitions, the educational institutions and the state are very clearly separated from it albeit efforts, mainly by the religions fundamentalist parties (Bharatiya Janata Party, Muslim League, some Christian political organizations etc.) to dilute this separation.

(Most of my experience here is from Kerala, which might not be representational of the rest of India, but I don’t think anyone will try to introduce creationism or young earth theory into the curriculum)

Even though I am not particularly a nationalist, secularism of India is something to be proud of.

Categories:   Freedom | Politics | Religion
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When porn becomes the norm…

Thursday, 29 July 2010 00:36 by salim

“….The Stepford Wife image that drove previous generations of women crazy with their sparkling floors and perfectly orchestrated meals has all but disappeared, and in its place we now have the Stepford Slut; a hypersexualized, young, thin, toned, hairless, technologically, and in many cases surgically-enhanced, woman with a come-hither look on her face”

says Gail Dine in her new book Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality.

I have not read the book, but only one chapter published here.

Like any other man, I like my porn, though I do not have a stash of porn magazines (or mpegs) that my best friend will come and delete in case of my demise (means, my stash is not a secret, not that I do not have a stash :)) But, as a person who tries to live a fair life, there are many things that bugs me about the porn industry. So, I make it a point to read anything that comes through my feed that talks about this subject. Recently, while reading about the issue of Sexigate, I stumbled up on quite a few feminist blogs and aggregators, and in the last few days, porn has become the issue of discussion of at least 3 posts.

The fact of exploitation of women in porn industry is a major issue, especially in less developed countries (or women trafficked from poor countries). I have recently read some articles that discusses another angle of the porn industry that is not necessarily exploitative, at least not to the females participants in its production. There has been some studies that struggle to prove that exposure to porn increases sexual violence.

What Gale Dine discusses in this article is a much more widespread effect of porn in our culture. This is not just from the traditional porn media (playboy, internet porn…). The “hypersexualized” image is crowding our media space as a constant stream of soft-core porn!

There was a time, especially in India, when the left was arguing for the recognition of female sexuality, as different from the traditional view of a tool for male comfort and convenience and progeny. It is interesting to see how this has morphed into yet another way of keeping the status quo.

Curious are the ways of the world…

I am waiting for the book to come out in some form of E-version.

A small incident in science and feminism

Monday, 19 July 2010 22:46 by salim

A few days ago, a self proclaimed atheist writing a self professed atheist blog (whose link is purposefully excluded from this post) came out with a list of 15 sexiest scientists.

He probably wanted to have a fleeting fame. Apparently he actively sought opinions from the people on the list, asking them, are you offended!

Since I am an uptight nerd, i will not be using nor repeating any of the right adjectives given to this person. However, I will list a bunch of posts that looks at it from a larger perspective of feminism.

I want to comment on two specific things. Over at rambling perfectionist, this guy laments that according to the “feminists” there is no way one can escape the sexist label. My answer to that kind of argument is that, men are by default, sexists and it takes a lot of effort to be not one.

The other is about feeling sexual desirability at the sight of a woman.

There are several occasions when I felt uneasy because the person I am professionally interacting with is perceived by me as sexually attractive. I do not know if female professionals feel that way or feel it as frequently as I do.

Someone in these posts talk about silencing as an intentional failure to recognize the communicators intent. It is very natural for men to do. The history and the reinforcement of status quo by media constantly works to reinforce this tendency. The result, most men cannot imagine why a woman should refuse sexual advances!

One of the aspects discussed in these posts is about how female scientists should dress. It was funny that we have to discuss “how to dress properly to work” at scienceblogs! I was surprised to see many women have a “practical” approach in the sense that, they chose casual, mostly gender neutral (jeans and shirt, jacket) attire so as not to cause an additional issue to handle at work. Which sadly is true, as I stated above, I might find someone sexually attractive if they come in enhancing their sexual desirability. So, it is easier for me to support the idea of “dressing properly” for work and dress to your fill during weekend days away from work. But, that is just reinforcing the patterns.

As a man, I have absolutely no say in this regard. But, there is something I can do about it. That is to reinforce the fact that, all women are sexually uninterested in me unless otherwise they explicitly states it in no unclear terms! Most of the time I will require signed documentation, but during the lean days, just a polite “would you like to have intercourse with me?” would suffice.

Here are the posts I found interesting in this debate.

  1. Sheril Kirshenbaum
  2. SeXy Science- You’re Doing It Wrong by rocketscientista
  3. Because You Think Being A Girl Is Degrading by Nerdista
  4. Sexism and Objectification by ramblingperfectionist 
  5. I have been objectified! by PZ Myers
  6. If You Think I’m Sexy And You Like My Data by SheThought.com
  7. Hot Scientist Babes Gate by Physioprof
  8. Save us from the armchair philosopher with a blog. by Janet D. Stemwedel
  9. Top 15 science hotties and labia-punching by Evil Monkey
  10. Sex(ism) in Science by AmoebaMike

Celebrate 100th International Women’s Day

Monday, 8 March 2010 11:25 by salim

There is still a long way to go in achieving equitable social justice and rights for Women. But the advances made in the last century on women’s right is phenomenal.

I proudly stand with all the women of the world in their historic efforts to end discrimination, social and economic freedom and to remake the world into a better place.

Salim

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War, peace and love

Friday, 22 January 2010 01:13 by salim

A wonderfully moving performance. I am speechless, and teary eyed.

Simply, absolutely fabulous

Friday, 23 October 2009 23:20 by salim

Guerilla Singers at the AHP meeting.

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