Marriage

A photo of a bride and a bridegroom in a Hindu wedding.

Holy. And that word conjures up something effervescently multicolor. But that isn’t exactly what marriage brings to my
mind nowadays. (Actually, it wasn’t ever like that, but for the divine purpose of this post, it will be conveniently forgotten.)
I had the pleasure and pain of being a party to an arranged marriage recently. My opinions on this, as my opinions on many topics
are, were until recently very obtuse – I’m obstinate about love and I’m practical about money. But “to marry a person whom you’ve never
even met and to spend the rest of the life with her is crazy!” (Kudos to Vivek, who puts it across very bluntly and effectively.)

Will I ever succumb to the evil that is an arranged marriage? I would like to say NO NO NO outright, but I won’t. Some years ago,
a friend and I had a talk with DP about this. She was of course arguing for something simply because she could, but practicality cannot
always stand firm in the stead of idealistic youth, and so as a parting shot, she lashed out at my friend and told him that she was sure
he’ll land himself in an arranged marriage, and to add insult to injury – that he will engage in something that I’d like to call money grabbing.
To my surprise, and to DP’s, he didn’t deny it outright. Idealistic youth does die in front of practicality.

So does mine, though it should die much harder. Unless of course… 🙂

Me Mining Koal

I’m going to take a hiatus for a while. It was a surprise that I could be back this early, but since I’m here, I’m working on something
that will replace (hopefully) our backend at Sig9. I call it Koal, and it’s an XML-cacheing, DB-based, Content Management System. At least, it will
be when it finally makes it’s way into Sig9’s backend. Currently, we use Drupal, a system while being
customisable, is not enough (or maybe suitable) for our needs. We could hack Drupal’s code directly, but somehow most of us prefer to do it from the bottom-up.
So bye-bye for a while, kitten. I’ll be back<g>

Feynman

Notice the spelling. F-e-y-n-m-a-n. Sort of like superman and spiderman, Feynman is an ordinary
mortal who tells us what being a scientist is all about. I’m quoting “The Pleasure of Finding Things out” Page 2, “The Beauty of a Flower”:

I have a friend who’s an artist and he’s sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree very well. He’ll hold up a flower
and say, “Look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree, I think. And he says – “you see, I as an artist can see how beautiful this is,
but you as a scientist, oh, take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing.” And I think that he’s kind of funny. First of all, the beauty that he sees
is available to other people too. […] At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I can imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions
inside which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just the beauty at this dimension of one centimeter, there is also a beauty at a smaller dimension, the inner structure. Also the processes,
the fact that the colors in the flower evolved in the order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting – it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question:
Does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which shows that a science knowledge only adds to the excitement
and mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds; I don’t understand how it subtracts.

I’ll let that passage speak for itself. Richard P. Feynman thinks about the world around him. And in doing that, he makes
us recognize lots of things that we see daily, but we don’t notice. The book is a gem – a collection of the most sense-making
stuff I’ve read in a year, and I’ll recommend it to anyone.

Walking Away

Going away. For a week.

Taking a lot of books with me, the most interesting could be Richard Feymann’s ‘The Pleasure of Finding Things out.’
I have a feeling Vivek would really enjoyed this book. In our recent Goliath vs Goliath battle (the post about it mysteriously vanished from Sig9)
he told me a lot about this. Also, Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos,’ and more than a bundle of Science Fiction books will keep me sated.

Yesterday I read Nancy Kress’ ‘Probability Sun’ and ‘Beggars in Spain.’ Probability Sun was a true to heart Scifi novel, even if it
overemphasized the obscure science a bit. It’s dangerous (in ways both good and bad) to read books like that because you get your imagination reved up
but what you think possible might actually be laughable. The plot deals predictably with an Intergalactic War, but the characters are real and pointed and
not all of them are genuises, and this gives this book a nice aura. Beggars in Spain ranks among the best books I’ve read this year. It takes the philosophy of
Ayn Rand and asks some pointed questions about it. Of course, in the book, Objectivism is refered to as Yagaiism, but I couldn’t find
any tangible difference. There are some questions I have to ask too: What do you do with people who genuinely can’t help themselves. I might offend many
Objectivist scholars because just asking that question would mean that I haven’t understood the philosophy. But I’m not ashamed.

I think that’s what’s called the pleasure of finding things out.