Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Posts Tagged ‘Personal’

Book Reviews and My Room Videos

Posted by Jerry on January 26, 2008

I realize I haven’t been blogging at all lately. I find that I have very little free time to myself; and the precious little that I do have, I must choose between spending it on finishing a book that I’m reading, watching something on TV to just relax blankly, or typing up my thoughts on innumberable things on my blog. Invariably, I end up choosing from the first two options.

I just finished reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It’s an explosive book!–what a fascinating story, a heroic life, an incredible journey of a real heroic giant of a woman! It should be compulsory reading for every crazy multiculturalist and Islamic fundamentalist out there. In fact, everyone should read it, and be inspired by it. Ayaan Hirsi Ali defies cultural determinism, cultural bonds, traditions, religious injunctions, the threat to life and soul, family, clan, nation–practically everything that an average mediocrity finds as constituents of his self-identity. Rising from the tribal muck of primitive Somalia and the backwardness of Islamic traditions, Ayaan charts her own course, explicitly based on reason, individualism, and enlightenment ideals. Infidel is the autobiography of this strong, young, and heroic woman. It’s the story of a woman that exemplifies Ayn Rand’s words: “man is a being of self-made soul.”

Then, I plodded through a terribly clunky, horribly-written book on Poincare’s Conjecture in the mathematical field of Topology. The book is about the story of an unknown Russian mathematician Greg Perelman, who suddenly shot to fame after quietly submitting a paper on the Internet in which he had written up a proof for Poincare’s Conjecture—a problem that had remained unsolved until then for several centuries. This incident had happened on a few years ago, and at that time (sometime in 2001, I think), I remember reading about a Russian man solving a centuries-old problem in the newspaper. I still recollect being intrigued by the story and wondering what the details of this solution and the mathematical problem was. 

Now, I love reading books on mathematics, although I am terribly weak in the subject myself. I have never been good with numbers: we are as mutually repelling as opposite poles of a magnet. However, I am fascinated by the story of mathematical achievements, geniuses, mathematical research, inventions, explorations, thoughts, etc. I had immensely enjoyed reading about Godel’s theorems and Fermat’s proofs. And the more I read about the field of mathematics, the more I understood it, because each new book contains several references to similar themes, ideas, topics, problems, and personalities–and they approach it from different angles; and when you identify these similarity and begin making integrations in your mind based on these vantage points, the feeling of awe and wonder is more than gratifying.

However, as I was reading Poincare’s Prize, I thought to myself that the contributors to Wikipedia write far superior articles, and they are more captivating as well! The author of Poincare’s Prize seems completely scattered in his organization, overwhelmed by the complexity of the subject matter he’s tackling, and unsure of how to simply progress from one paragraph to the next. His transitions are clunky and distracting. He dwells on irrelevant–almost encyclopedic–details of personalities that add little to the progression of the storyline.

In any case, all of these deficiencies can be overlooked as nothing more than mild annoyance. However, what I found most egregious is the author’s gall to inject his sense of morality and judgment on the actions of the mathematicians he discusses. Instead of staying clear of such moral evaluations in a topic dealing with objective facts and dry logic–or at least letting the reader make his own moral judgements of the characters, the author generously indulges in moralizing. It should go without saying that my heightened senstivity to this aspect of the book is primarily because I deeply disagree and detest the author’s moral evaluations.

Anyway. Moving on to something unrelated. For my recent birthday, I was gifted a Nikon CoolPix L11 digital camera. I decided to tinker around with it in the privacy of my room. Here are some short videos of my room.

And another:

And finally:

Posted in Books, Culture, General Work/Life, India, Islamo-loony, Movies, Mumbai, Personal, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Past a Quarter Century Plus One

Posted by Jerry on January 22, 2008

Go to fullsize imageWell, I’ve successfully lived 26 years on this planet today. Crazy, no?

Here’s a neat list of what some other people accomplished when they turned 26 [link from Paul at Noodlefood]:

At age 26:

American anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote her famous dissertation, Coming of Age in Samoa, which claimed that in some societies adolescence is not a particularly difficult time.

Albert Einstein published five major research papers in a German physics jornal, fundamentally changing man’s view of the universe and leading to such inventions as television and the atomic bomb.

Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac, which was to play a large role in molding the diverse American character.

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Chereshkova became the first woman to travel in space.

College dropout Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer. [Woah!]

Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, revolutionizing the economies of the United States and Britain.

Antoine Joseph Sax invented the brass saxophone.

“Johnny Appleseed” brought apple seeds to the Ohio Valley.

Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Italy.

Gon Yangling memorized more than 15,000 telephone numbers in Harbin, China.

Orion Krynen of Denver, CO reached this age without much incident. [Heheheeeehee. Kinda like how I feel. 🙂]

British ethologist Jane Goodall set up camp in the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve on Lake Tanganyika and began studying the lives of chimpanzees.

Ken Kesey published his first novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Thomas Pynchon published V., for which he won the William Faulkner First Novel Award.

Kirsteene Luhrmann of Melburne, Victoria quit smoking. [Nothing for me to worry about]

Stephen Breen from Dublin, Ireland found this site.

Darren Blackburn became the first and only athlete of the Principality of Sealand, despite being somewhat lacking in athletic ability.

Syd Jesus co-founded the dUdU Art Collective in Oakland, California and turned an entire warehouse space into a conceptual art piece entitled “The $5000 Gallery.”

Matthew Royer took a dog for a walk every day of the year in Minnesota, with a coldest daytime high of 0 degrees F. The average walk time was 30 minutes.

Derrick Pallas was horrified to realize he was losing his hair, just like Dad. 🙂 [Gawd, I identify with Derrick!]

Jan Birkeland from Norway managed to get to work without hitting a single red light.

Katherine Blauvelt in a skirt was deemed “all grown-up” by her boyfriend. 🙂

Kristen finally was able to get her fingernails to grow without chipping and peeling because she started taking a multi-vitamin on a daily basis.

Angie Olson got so drunk on her 26th birthday, her friends were able to dress her up as a clown. 🙂

Posted in General Work/Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Family

Posted by Jerry on January 7, 2008

The other night, just as I lay my head on my pillow to sleep, this thought formed in my mind, obviously for some reasons:

In India, a family refers to a group of people related by blood, who are so closely bound to each other–often against their will–that the only kind of glances they can manage among themselves is through the squint of their eye.

Posted in Culture, Favorite Quotes, India, Mumbai, My Theories and Ideas, Personal, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Allah-ho-Bad

Posted by Jerry on December 6, 2007

I will be away for a week (and so, no blogging); I’ll be traveling with some of my friends to the city of Allah–ho-bad (some call it Allahabad; same difference).

I’m going to attend my friend’s wedding there; she and I were colleagues at my previous job. I remember being very pleased–but not at all surprised, given her character, personality, and ideas–when I had learned that she had read almost all of Ayn Rand’s works. 🙂 She had seemed the type, ya know? The confident, no-nonsense, go-getter, fun, and practical type.

Oh, and she and I shared another common passion–movies! We both seemed to love the same kind of movies, and we usually had the same kind of responses to the movies we discussed and analyzed while taking a break from our work.

Anyway, she’s cool. And I’m happy to celebrate (with her) her decision to assume a life-long commitment to her immense value.

==== post wedding ====

Below are a coupla pics of the gang of us who went to the wedding. I’m second from the right in the second pic below.

The Girls 

The Men

Posted in General Work/Life, Mumbai, Personal, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

 
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