Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Public pledge of self-regulation for careful altering of world news and memories.

Is freedom a word we only associate with people who aren't in a visually perceivable cage or under the dominance of a homicidal tyrant?

Dear Goverment of China,

You piss me off. This declaration might potentially get me in a lot of trouble, especially with my friends, but I have reached the point where I must say something about the long-standing madness you call governance else my head will explode. I agree you run a populous country and that calls for decisions that might not please everyone. I will even overlook the fact that you are currently claiming stake on territory that is rightfully ours, but such behavior on your part is neither new nor unexpected. However, you not allowing the freedom of press is something that infuriates me as much as Tibet(s) infuriate you. You alter your geography textbooks, tweak the news and propagate/justify the idea of imprisoning 70 year olds for having an opinion. You are well on your way to becoming a superpower, but you will never be on par with US of A. With your closed minds and open thwarting of free press, you will never be as benevolent as America has been to the people of the world. You will never be able to welcome with open arms other cultures like they have. I know you think it is not necessary, but no country makes progress without allying with other cultures. You must learn to admit your flaws and fix them.
Fear is a formidable weapon to wield but it will always be weaker than patriotism. Learn China, learn. For you can go much further than where you currently aim to be.


P.S. This might be funny for some.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Existential angst

Dear Psychopaths on Long Island that are trying to kill me, please let me live to see my first Glycobiology poster. I would prefer if you chose the window between after the conference and before my birthday so I can go when I am twenty-four. If not then, then please after Christmas because I like ridiculing the commercialized conundrum they call celebrations, moreover Santa probably will bring me something nice since I've been fantastic this year.
Still standing grad (a.k.a. standing still grad)

We recently met up with an old friend, Devin, who reminded us ever so subtly that we have still not mentioned him in this space. This is fresh off the keyboard after we managed to escape his death grip on our necks. (Why we are referring to ourselves in the plural is still not known, but it might have something to do with the fact that we are pretending to be British these days). Now that the aforementioned mentioning is done, we shall proceed to more important matters. It has come to our attention that we have been perceived as an uncaring, unsharing, unyielding type person. While that maybe partly true depending on the perceiver, let us make clear a few things.

We are not responsible for sharing things that we were supposed to receive but did not and hence had to go foraging for ourselves. If absolutely demanded of, we shall part with as little as can possibly qualify as sharing. We shall not participate in the tomfoolery of applying different types of make-up on the same person and qualifying them as two people. We have previously observed your (in)competence with numbers and hence even simple addition by you shall be deeply doubted. You have made us aware that you think of social websites to be a time-sink (while unwarrantedly looking at our monitor screens nonetheless), our independently working experts have concluded that reproduction is the real time-sink.

We suppose that we must come up a fitting disclaimer lest we get into some sort of trouble. This is /not/ directed at any single person. Especially /not/ Righteous Obsequious Leech (or someone that has similar initials). Described behavior is /not/ loosely-based on people we know in real life.

Cadbury (Our British buddy)

Cadbury doesn't believe in colors or in music. Apologies.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ich bin berlinerin

Traveling is tricky business. If you have the time, you don't have the money and if you have the money then you don't have the time. If you have both, then you married well. Congratulations.

Do I like the place? Sure.
Do I love the place? Hmm...

It suffers from an identity crisis, I think. Maybe it is my Americanized view of how a capital should be or could be, but Berlin is half a historic site and half an impressive modern capital. There are tall buildings here and there, taller monuments (and a very tall TV tower which was my (0,0) when walking around the city). Washington D.C. made up its mind, it seems, to be a historic site. The city is clean cut, most buildings are constructed in mud-colored stones giving off a wise-with-age city feeling. Possibly because so much of Berlin was reconstructed to look like how it used to, the city seems like it lost some of its charm. The imperial government building, Reichstag, is complete with tall Romanesque columns, sea-green domes that I've now come to associate with Berlin monuments and a resplendent lawn. If this were Washington, the Reichstag would be surrounded by statues of important people or at the least be free of metallic clutter. Right behind the Reichstag is the huge metal sphere that looks like Atlas shrugged right on top of the building and the white crows (yes, white) of Berlin picked at it till it had enough holes to become a spherical sieve. There is no coherence, no flow in the design. To make matters worse, the Reichstag is adjacent to the Bundeskanzleramt (the Federal Chancellery building), heavily glass clad and cement reinforced into simple straight lines, which is a striking contrast to the rich textury walls of the parliament building. You can't help but walk away thinking "Hmm... if we could put the Reichstag waaaaay there... they would all look better."

After five days of internet-independent, I-trust-you-have-a-ticket-so-I-won't-check faith, classy jewelry, paid toilets with fantastic toilet paper, supremely good coffee, credit card unacceptability and perfect weather, I decided - Ich liebe Deutschland.

Color: Sea-green
Song: Resurrection fern (Iron and wine)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Prohibitively prohibitive

It must be made against the law for dentists, visa interview officers, housemates and tax consultants to be adorable. It just really messes things up.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Julio de cuarta

It has been brought to my attention that there are "innocent" people in the world. These people are quite ubiquitous it seems and these terrorist fellows seem to want to kill only them. What's that all about?

Every year I tell myself I will stay home the fourth of July and enjoy a relaxing evening. And every year I find myself making a three hour trip to see a twenty-minute jelly fish smoke trail party and complaining all the way back home about how much pollution this spectacle is causing. It is at this juncture, that the people I go see the fireworks with decide they won't ever come with me again (they are of course forced to change their minds later (Disclaimer: no inhumane methods are used in the coercing of these people to remain friends with me)). My opinion of the celebrations undergo minor changes every year and so does the crowd I watch the show with. This year, the main attraction was an eight(?) year old who would absolutely not let her father's head stray from the direction of the fireworks. She did have the unfair advantage of sitting on his shoulders and having neck-steering access, but nonetheless she was doing a good job of amusing us. She even started the oohing-aahing session when the new supercool cuboidal fireworks came on. Designing and testing of fireworks is an enviable job, even better than trying out video games and being head of the administration department. The girl reminded me of how much fun kids are as long as they are someone else's. 
That said, I'd like to rephrase my usual Independence day message - always wear comfortable shoes when you walk in New Jersey. 

Color: Blue (go Obama)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Adventures of Chlora

Alas! All the perfumes of Arabia cannot wash off this smell of bleach... 

The city is not what it used to be. There is no safe place where you can have dinner without worrying about how it smells or even eat a cracker without fearing if the crumbs will be caught. Taking a shower is deemed damage to the bathtub and trees shedding leaves considered a trespassing of law. 
It all began when the people of Clifford signed the lease. When the ink was still fresh, Landlordy made his move. He quickly turned life into a gamble for the citizens of Clifford, making obnoxious demands that the people almost always fulfilled when the lease was waved in their faces warningly. The once academic society slowly degenerated into a vengeful creature that crafted politically correct emails to keep Landlordy at bay. 

An oppressed society will always erupt into violence... a hero will emerge to cleanse the society of its scum. Who will turn it over and expose its shameful underbelly ridden with greedy, unreasonable demands...

On a starless night, a silent figure observes the vast city partially shrouded in darkness, it's gaze protective. Its eyes looked over expanses of polished waxed floors, white bathroom tiles that could be used as mirrors and spotless kitchen counters. A cry for help with a tough stain on a door comes from the eastern halls and the figure disappears into the alley. Bearing a bottle of pure bleach in a convenient spray bottle, the figure assures the victim that things are under control. It sprays and scrubs with all its might till the stain is completely gone. It asks for no payment, it asks for no gratitude. It sulks away back into the alley to regain its watchful eye over Clifford. 

As dawn approaches, the Bleacher disappears into a small window and emerges as a simple graduate student driving a third-handed Japanese car. Completely oblivious to her heroic acts of the night, she goes to lab and carries out her experiments. Come night, she dons her once white t-shirt and frayed night pants, commands her bottle of bleach and sets off on her guard duties. Fingernails eroded, hands dry and clothes devoid of color, she fights for to protect Clifford from Landlordy.
The people of Clifford recognize the Chlorox bottle she bears in hand and symbolize it.
They call her Chlora.

Color: White
Song: Batman background music

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chronicles of Buntington - Shittylandlordosis anonymous (I)

Hi, my name is Berry and I suffer from shittylandlordosis. I own a decent house in Buntington. I've been renting it out for quite a while now. Currently, three silly girls live there- Bee, Bips and Bing. Why are they silly you ask? They signed off their souls to me in the most binding house lease that has ever existed (get this, they can NEVER break the lease, EVER: unless they die or something). These girls are good tenants, but they want to move out at the end of the lease. When Bee called me to say she needed to break the lease a few months ago, I went berserk on her. I think she chickened out. I always behave like a psycho and immediately people don't want to deal with me and give in. This is the ace up my sleeve. If she hadn't, there is the binding agreement that I would have waved in their faces which says they have to pay the severely overpriced rent of 1800$/month (without utilities ;)) whether they live there or not for the rest of lease period. After that drama quickly ended, they announced to me in April that they want to move out when the lease expires. I recovered after a small heart-attack to tell them "Ok, whatever". The process of finding a tenant for my overpriced decent house is impossibly difficult. Scores and scores of families schedule to see the place. Then I send my incredibly hot wife, Bia, to show it to them. Only one score show up. Only one person calls back. Then they meet me and strangely leave the room within five minutes of talking to me, gagging quite evidently. For every score of people that leave gagging, one will walk back into the room saying he will take it. That is how I first met these girls. Sigh, such nice memories. 
My incredibly hot wife, Bia, while showing my overpriced decent place doesn't mention the problems the place has. These are my special instructions to her, she adds on a few tricks of her own like not taking down messages that people leave for me properly, pretending to not be involved etc. Sometimes, I wonder if this is because she is a smart, blonde Swede or because she is just plain stupid. I had Bia use a combination of the above tricks to hide the fact that my overpriced decent place has roaches (in the dishwasher.. hehehe). I think she first didn't tell the girls, then when the keen Bing saw them, she told her that it was a "minor problem that almost every kitchen has". The naive girls didn't pursue it. They were interested in other issues like the lack of closet doors, window screens, dysfunctional power outlets and such. To keep them appeased I fixed the outlets and for a whole year, I remained dense about the closets and screens. Clever, no? Bee would email me now and then about it. I trashed these emails immediately and told Bia to tell the girls that I never received it because of a technical problem. The dumb girls actually bought this. I mean, who DOESN'T receive an email, c'mon. 
Now that the girls want to move out I decided to harrass them about getting the overpriced decent house exterminated. They refused at first. Then I pulled out the ace psycho behavior. I wrote several redundant emails paying absolutely no heed to their replies. They kept telling me they told Bia about the problem and I never acknowledged it. It's all a part of the plan. Brilliant, no? These silly mollies gave me 3600$ in security. So my master plan was to not return a penny of this claiming some random repairs. By now, the girls are used to my psycho behavior and it is time to change tactics, so when they said they would do a self-extermination, I left a threatening voicemail on Bee's phone that I'll have them arrested if they didn't inform us of these treatments because there were tenants living downstairs. I don't know if this worked or not because they did call Bia and tell her they'll co-ordinate with the people downstairs. I am waiting to hear from them... I was so sure Bee would call me right back to argue about it. Bips is the quiet type but I know she is waiting to charge at me. I almost got slapped with a defamation suit because of Bips once. In one of my boring extempores of lousy past tenants, I mentioned to Bips and Bing that Bee was full of shit and nothing but trouble, in what I thought was a classic divide-and-rule move. But not only did they glare at me like I was a jackass (not that it had an effect, I had my shamelessness mask on), they also told Bee the proceedings of that extempore. I then had to call Bee and suck up like a starved dog that found an empty milk carton in the trash. Ah, the difficulties of this job. Having to come up with new ways to torture tenants is so hard. Finding new tenants is also hard. No one understands me. :(

But like a silver lining on the cloud, you know what makes all this fun for me? 
All three of them are grad students.

Muhahahhaha... haha... muhahahaha.

What I'm wearing: Sloppy black t-shirt, torn jeans
What Bia is wearing: Short, short, short dress

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Barracking on...

"Give me chance, O ye of little faith!" spake His E-ness. 

I never give up a chance to ridicule bad English. At my best behavior, I will let it go with a suggested correction. Needless to say, I am not a very popular editor among my friends. "SMS lingo" is an instant turn off, Facebook updates have to be at the least grammatically correct, e-mails have to be properly punctuated and letters definitely have to be indented, justified and well-written. Information redundancy, the use of articles unnecessarily, improperly placed prepositions and unpunctuated sentences are all manifestations of poor language. There is no way I can say all of this without sounding like a snob. But then, if preferring a sandwich toasted isn't uptight, then why should preferring a semantically apt sentence be? The English language as I learned it from my father is dying slowly. I want to be all revolutionary and try to save it, but other than the occasional correction, I don't do anything. 
I've begun to tolerate words like wat, wot, plz, bcoz, whr, fer (Apparently 'for' but could also be 'fur'?), da, ma (Carnatic overtures?), rotflz, lolz (What is with the random letter addition at the end? How about lolg, rotflk?), skl (school), cud (not what the cow chews), wud (Scottish influence much?), l8r (I know alphanumerical, but whoa there...) and the icing on the cake-  b, d, k, r, s, u, ur, v, y (be, the, ok, are, yes, you, your, we, why)(Just checking to make sure it takes me exactly one millisecond more to type the actual word). Even in the times of the telegraph, where each word cost the sender more, people didn't mess with spelling so much. 
With the advent of the computer, one would think that since it takes less time to correct mistakes (with software actually prompting spellings and offering grammar checks), people would make less of them. My mother was right in asking me to not expect things, especially from the technologically pampered. I still remember one of the earliest gifts my father gave me - a Wren & Martin. For fear of it going out of publication, I have mine tucked away safely in a chest with other classics like Tom Sawyer, Moby Dick and such.
The day isn't far when there are two types of English, official and colloquial. Further down the lane is a twenty page dictionary. Maybe a couple of hundred years from now we'll resort to Hieroglyphics. Reminds me of this article that I wrote several years back about things coming a full circle. Probably true for linguistics as well. Sigh.
I have never been to England, but I have my hopes pinned on them for the preservation of this language. 

Color: Red and yellow 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nucleotide homicide

E-man is a brilliant ambitious undergrad  who likes P-chem(he's not fictitious) but also takes classes like Natural Disasters. Recently, he asked me to write about him in my blog. E-man thinks I am nice, so to keep him in that illusion, I decided to humor him. E-man punctures his usual quiet air bubble with unintentionally funny punch lines that last a long time in your memory. E-man lives in the Hyde-out and again, he is not a fictional character. 

Pop literature by E-man:

What do E-man and Paris Hilton have in common?
-->Let's talk about *me* now.

How does E-man react to people laughing at his jokes?
-->Am I funny? Do you think that is funny? 

How E-man reacts when you've been out of office for a week?
-->Of course I missed you. Ask anyone. 
---->Well, I didn't say it but I felt it. 
------>Maybe I didn't, but I thought I should feel it. 
-------->Now I think I should have.
---------->Ok fine, I didn't. 
------------>I'll make it up. I'll walk you to the elevator. I need to go to the bathroom anyway. 

What is fashion to E-man?
-->Does this coat make me look big? 

What did E-man say when he discovered the blogosphere?
-->Wow, your blog is kind of the world to your mind. 

How does E-man escape things?
--> I really need to go the bathroom. I've been putting it off for an hour now. 

In a character sketch, how does E-man describe the person?
--> He is bald, short and has red hair here and there. 

All in all, E-man is a fun guy who will graduate soon and disappear into the land of Med-school. The E-world will miss him oh-so-terribly. 

Color: Yellow (like E-man's egg-shirt)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Retrograde emancipation

Spinning is an ass-kicking exercise if done right. If it doesn't hurt, you aren't doing it right. 

It has been quite sometime since I have been with company where I don't have to measure my words. Where I don't have to weigh out exactly what impact my opinions will have on my little audience. I've never had trouble saying black and white before. Now I parse through the sentence in my head lest it have a hidden double meaning that is offensive. (Some how it seems ok when an African-American person says black, but not when a Caucasian does) (note usage of African-American and Caucasian). I'm half way between the colors, I'm brown. Despite numerous attempts that my mommy made to turn me into a fair maiden, I stayed brown as ever. I don't have any issues people calling me brown. It's a nice color, don't you think? 
Earthen people. Baked in the hot Indian sun (I recently also had a conversation with a "fair" North Indian who thought everyone below Madhya Pradesh is dark-skinned. Not so fair, are we?). The discrimination, in my opinion, is more within our country than anywhere else. It is there in the everyday matrimonial ad that seeks a "fair, something, everything" bride or groom. Every Fair & Lovely hoarding screams colorism (we are all unfortunately the same race, if we weren't, then perhaps India would have had its own little Apartheid movement). Bollywood actresses with beautiful brown skin caked with whitening make-up are the mascots of this disgusting divide. Progressive views in woman education, widow remarriage and all that jazz have been exhaustively discussed in many letters to the editor. But even today, when my family looks for a groom, they want a chekkachevael nu maapilaiChekkachevaelness is roughly the equivalent of fair enough to go pink when pinched. Maapilai is roughly the equivalent of a groom. 'Roughly' because there is so much less expected from a groom in the rest of the world in the looks department and so much more expected in the character department. Standard disclaimers apply here. 
Divides are unavoidable, illogical ones more so. While we are at it, may I propose a few? The ability to tell good coffee from bad, turquoise from green, background from signal in western blots and finally, Terence from Philip (Minus five to the maapilai who doesn't know who T and P are). 

Credit to Mathangi for the title. I thought and thought but didn't want to call this anything else.

Color: Yellow
Song: Guru bin kaahe guman (Zakir Hussain)

P.S. This post is especially dedicated to women across the world whose significant others don't understand that both set of parents are just as important, as are social lives, careers and cultures. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

As of today...

E-man is my favorite person in the whole wide world. No offense to the others. Well, except some Republicans and the people who decide how much I get paid.

Song: Fur Elise (Beethovan)
Color: Purple

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ae Gogol!

I'm living my life in multiples of 22 mainly because there are only three factors.

a) Dear Long Island blondes who drive SUVs, the blind spot is NOT a myth. It exists and I am in it.
b) Dear Thesis Committee member, please do not roast my behind over the fire lit with nitty-gritty details.
c) Dear Eugene, I will write a post in your honor soon. Yes, I accept payment in cash. 
d) Dear Important people who decide how much grad students get paid, we want to do more than just about survive. 
e) Dear Person who leaves bottles open, most liquids evaporate. 
f) Dear Barrack, I want an iPod too. It's cool with me if it has your speeches on it.
g) Dear Grammatically challenged person writing blogs/letters/notes, there is a difference between your and you're.
h) Dear Deepa Mehta, you write belchy stories.
i) Dear Anurag Kashyap, you write sucky screenplays adapted from belchy stories.
j) Dear Person I consider a friend, send me a gift.
k) Dear Kalpen Modi, please go back to House.
l) Dear Person reading this, thank you very much for leaving an appropriately critical yet nice comment with just the right number of compliments.
m) Dear Person reading this and considering not writing a comment, see you in Grad school.

Color: Blue
Song: Minnat

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Science of Salsa

You must try street parking on Roosevelt Island. It is a valuable* experience that will enlighten you on human suffering. In fact, I recommend it as a field trip for Moral Science class. 

Who are these people? The ones who smell bad on Subways, the ones who steal quarters from a blind man's bowl, the ones who jump over the turnstile, ones that knock out the guitar from the musician playing at Penn, those who make illegal turns on red, those that leave dirt notes on my car, that knock over my garbage cans on the driveway, that leave a marinara mess in the elevator, ones that leave 0.3 mls of trypsin in a 5 ml tube, those that see 2 mls of pH 6.8 buffer and run as far as possible from that bottle to avoid making up more, that borrow my earrings and lose them, that judge my work timings... who are these people? Why are they in my life? Who let them in? Why do they try so hard to make my mornings bitter? Why do they always succeed? Where's the door?

I want to let them out. 

Color: Black

Friday, March 13, 2009

Prop culture

It is a Friday evening and I am still working when someone walks past me to the elevator (obviously going home). They look at me and go "Have a good weekend, don't work too hard."
What kind of a sick joke is that? Who says that to a grad student? Don't work too hard. Bah. Good weekend. Bah-er.

Nineteen years in any education system, even the Indian one, should give you some sense of what you like and what you don't in a profession. Though the Indian school system forces its choices on you, it prepares you for everything. Everything including mediocre colleges, dispassionate teachers, unethical attendants and unnecessary bureaucracy. I most certainly sympathize with those who aren't fortunate enough to be pursuing exactly what they want because of financial, academic or familial issues. But for those, who strive and push themselves (and others) hard in college to get an engineering degree and then treat it like a paper napkin while they tuck into money lined management (or other unrelated) jobs, I can only have contempt in its purest form.
No offense to anyone who has found their true calling only after wasting four years in a degree you never were going to use. However, there are others who change their career path after prolonged sessions of "passionate" questioning, cross-questioning and cross-examining a professor in class over a simple amino-acid sequence to a financial fiasco. I am sure they have a fantastic excuse for it. But it is what it is, an excuse. It can never be a reason. Treason? Sure. Reason? Never.

There is some part of me that feels really bad for the banks that are falling all over each other, about talks of the glorious bronze Wall Street bull being replaced by a bear and for people expecting Obama to lift this sobbing child of an economy with his strong Democratic arms overnight. But for the cross-examining ship-jumpers, I have only one thing to say - Ha. Ha. (Like Nelson in the Simpsons)

Academia will never go out of business.

Color: Cinthol soap green
Song: Yaar yaar sivam

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tickets please.

What do I do for fun? I work.
And what do I do at work then? I have fun.

Being on Long Island without a car can be rather boring. People who can live their lives by the bus and train schedule set by transport offices that simply don't understand that people want to travel east and west at all times in the day will probably survive here. But me, I don't think I'd last.
Here are the "facts".
I live in the middle of Long Island, thirty miles east is my university and thirty miles west is NYC. In the morning, there is a massive temporary migration westward toward New York City from all over LI. And in the evening, the Wall Street/Connecticut/Midtown birdies fly back to their east nests. The transport offices safely assume that no one wants to go east in the morning (unless it is ridiculously early in the morning or too early in the noon) and no one wants to go west in the evening.
Hence, I got this splendid piece of machinery that has been the favorite relief area for many aerial beings for the past year and whose every part Pepboys has seen inside out. Literally. I shouldn't be complaining since it is fairly trouble free most of the year and is satisfied with cheap fuel once a week.
So one would be lead to believe that cars are the solution to transport issues on LI.

With a car, not only you spend thrice as much money on general items (insurance and fuel not included) but you also spend exactly the same amount of time finding a parking spot as you did driving to work, eventually parking in the farthest spot the university has. Even the cops don't know the spot exists so you can't get a ticket. Busier mornings see me parking in paid lots without enough change for the machine, getting tickets that I will appeal giving the most outrageous reasons. All the parking tickets I've paid in the last year are actually worth a small fortune back in India.
In winters, you spend a good hour in the morning shoveling your drive way to be able to get your car out, then shoving the snow off your car so that you can get into it and finally coax it to move with small nudges of the accelerator down the slippery local road. In the summer, your car doubles up as an oven where you can put the cheese on the bagel and leave it on the passenger side seat; breakfast will be ready in minutes (this summer I am going to try and make a pizza). You don't need a travel mug to carry your coffee either. Your car is the travel mug.

But all that given, I have a fairly eventless drive on the highway making it to work in thirty minutes while laughing at the westbound, slow-moving parking lot on the other side.

Color: Iridium
Song: Sasuraal genda phool

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bizzaro world

Being in an automobile accident is a strange feeling. One minute you are driving, then next minute you are not. Everything is blank and you are wondering why the hell you did what you did. At exactly the point when you are done, you realize a hundred better ways to do it. Graduate life is that way too. Life is that way too. A strange feeling.

We bring ourselves to accommodate so many things in a day. Inexplicably huge bills, unfair judgments, living away from home, calling America home, losing a week's worth of work by tripping on your shoelaces, unyielding people, yielding people, a messy kitchen, inadequate NY drivers, indifferent professors, incompetent AT&T staff, overzealous scientists (not the good kind), laptops that will freeze when you need them the most, lines that will be long when you have the least time, inconsiderate undergrads, expensive food that comes in pretentious portions, weighing scale numbers.
But somethings are just like a mismatched transplant organ. They don't fit into the scheme of your bodily function because rejection comes from your own immune system. The immune system that you built with years of playing in dirt, by eating tasteless green vegetables and chalk, by leaving wounds unattended and by associating with people that have the most contagious coughs and poxes will fight an excruciatingly painful battle that it will eventually lose to immunosuppressants. We build emotional immune systems too the same way. With years of playing in the vicinity of school yard bullies and show offs, by eating truth and lies, by leaving fights with friends unattended and by associating with people that have the most contagious cynicism and critique. This system too has been challenged with many an antigen (short for antipathy-generating), some that it remembers and fights against effectively second time around, some that usually come back with unrecognizable mutations and some that haunt it forever. The biggest rejection that this immune system will exhibit is the loss of a loved one. There are no drugs to make this bearable, there is no transplant that can make it better and no matter how frequent the occurrence, the acceptability is nil.
The effect is permanent and the amputation is visible.

Song: And so it is (Damien Rice)
Color: Sea green

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


So I found my groove in the unlikeliest of places. Pittsburgh. Sometime on my way to Duquesne Incline and back, I realized that I wanted to write (again). Not necessarily about my trip itself, but just write. It is like how I realized suddenly on my twenty-fourth birthday that all I ever want to do on a daily basis is science. It keeps me content, fidgety, thinking and constantly evaluating my intelligence.
That said, I'm going to pick up right where I left off.

The Zeroth Law of Graduatics.

I am not a lazy person. I am not an active person either. I classify myself as somewhat productive albeit capable of more. I would like to think I am a little above above-average. How much above, I don't know. When I take an IQ test, instead of focusing on the questions themselves, I invest time in prayers toward falling in the genius category. Needless to say, for the last five years I've been stuck at 131. The upper limit for the above average category is 130. That puts me just past the line in the Intelligent category.
This is a very unsettling place to be in. If I worked a little less hard, then I'd be above average. But if I worked a littler harder then I am settling deeper into "Intelligence".
This phenomenon is called Performance limbo.
That is where I am. And that is where my data is. When I look for reproducibility, my data is repeatable within the acceptable limits. But more often than not, on the upper end of the limit. If the acceptable limit is ±5%, then mine is most likely to be close to 5% error. I know people who will say 6% is also acceptable. Some might consider error bars close to 7, 8 and 9 too. I think until it is single digit, people might consider it to be valid data. But if it hits 10%, then it mostly needs another data set. So there is an allowed error limit for the allowed error. And so on.
This window of acceptability is so vague. So unacceptably vague.
What we need is a law of limits. For IQ ranges, for error bars, Speed limits, BAC limits, "Normal" behavior.
The Law of Limits states that the allowed variation in the allowed error is the same fraction as the allowed error itself. The decimal till which such error can be calculated is numerically equal to the allowed error expressed as a percentage rounded to the nearest whole number.

This is also known as the Zeroth law of Graduatics.

Color: Black and Gold
Song: Paper planes