New Word: Loof

Loof (n): The opposite of a fool; a person who does things believed to be crazy, but does a brilliant job of it. Often used to describe a brilliant yet crazy person.

One would expect a loof to be rich after he invented the remote control.

Loof (v): To act with an air of confident carelessness.

Don’t loof around as if you know everything.

Loofily (adj.): To behave like a loof (see above).

He loofily went about creating stuff.

I so wanted to come up with a word for “a foolish genius” after reading this oatmeal comic. And I dedicate this to Nikola Tesla. The greatest loof there can ever be.

P.S.: Somebody add this to the dictionary!

My God!

“We believe in light because of obscurity,
We believe in joy because of sadness,
And we believe in God, because of the devil!”

– Enigma

 The truth of the above statements is quite unimportant. Yet, it sparks silent questions in our minds. And the answer we get, is silence again. Science may have taught us “how” the earth revolves around the sun, or “how” sun rises and sets everyday. But our search must not end there. The real question is “Why?”. Why should the earth revolve around the sun? More feasibly, what makes the earth revolve around the sun?

Gravity? Their mass difference? The distance? Ultimately, Big Bang?

Well, why should the Big Bang have occurred? “Who made the matter, the elements, defining perfect roles for each of them? The complex symmetry in nature is not yet understood completely. As much as Charles Darwin might have explained the theory of evolution, the question “why” still remains unanswered. Why was the evolution necessary at all? We could have ‘happily’ remained amoebae!

Coming back to the idea of creation of the universe, we will, sooner or later, have to accept the role of a ‘supernatural power’ or a driving force that sustains all the happenings of the universe. Call it anything – For me, it’s God.

My understanding of God is far from being religious. For me, God is gravity. God is light. God is the unwritten law that makes fire burn, water flow and perhaps the spark that triggered the universe. God is the human intellect, that conjures so many wonderful things each and every day. I believe God is in every act of man that benefits another and hurts no one. And God is the conscience that guides, the intellect that inspires, and the heart that helps.

In today’s scenario, God is largely related to religion, festivities, and to a never-ending myth of existence. God is often spoken of, when debating upon topics like life, death and sometimes even life-after-death. Yet, why do we think of God during times of distress, disaster and impending danger? God is hope; the light at the end of the tunnel; the maker of the universal law of life and more than anything, God is the eternal faith that burns in each and every one of us. If it is a form of faith that builds harmony among people, why not? But if that faith is to kill and plunder; it is misguided.

Someday, I wish we will have enough knowledge and ‘science’ to understand my God. 🙂

A comical rundown!

Comics have always captured my imagination ever since I was a kid – I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say so. From the Champak to Tinkle, from the occasional Phantom to He-Man, comics have been hours and hours of fun for me as a kid. I still remember the days when I used to hide the comics under my pillow, under the bed, inside my school books and steal a read every now and then. Well, I still follow many comics on the web – and since most of them have changed, I thought I’d give a rundown on them.

#1 Calvin and Hobbes

Probably the most liked comic on earth! The adventures of Calvin and his (toy) tiger Hobbes and his take on the mysteries of life. Highly recommended read for all ages!
Follow Calvin and Hobbes:

#2 The miserable world of Prometheus

Based on the mythological story, the comic is mostly a dialog between Prometheus and the Eagle that eats his liver every day. Though the comic has been discontinued, you can read through all the comics in one page here.

#3 Spud Comics

Spud Comics isn’t theme based. It is a comic about random stuff put together. It is one of the longest running comics starting in 2008!

Follow Spud Comics:

#4 Doghouse

Doghouse is a web-comic conjured by three friends which is also random musings about every day life. Many of their comics are very witty!

Follow Doghouse:

#5 XKCD

XKCD is a very popular, geeky web comic. Comics generally trend on Science, Internet, Geography etc. etc. 🙂

Follow XKCD:

#6 Abstruse Goose

Abstruse Goose is also a comic that does not delve on a theme. Does lean towards the geeky side a little, but not always. Generally a fun read for all.

Follow Abstruse Goose:

#7 Dilbert

Dilbert is a very popular comic among us IT folks. Though whatever described in the comic (about the hazards of working in the IT industry) is mostly superlative, we can relate to it!

Follow Dilbert:

#8 Piled Higher and Deeper

PHD is similar to XKCD in its tendency to be geeky most of the time. But is a great fun nevertheless.

Follow PHD:

#9 Sunday Morning Breakfast Cereal

SMBC is updates on theology, science, history including everything in between and many times is not-safe-for-work (NSFW). So, some discretion may be advised.

Follow SMBC:

#10 Urban Jungle

Urban Jungle is about the main character’s work hazards. Something unique to Urban Jungle is that it uses animals as civilized co-characters.

Follow Urban Jungle:

#11 Questionable Content

Questionable Content is a web-comic series revealing the lives of Marten, Dora, Raven, Faye and Hannelore. And not to forget, the awesome robots! 🙂

Follow QC:

Phew..!

There you have it. Those are all the comics I follow regularly. Got any more suggestions?

Sting – Shape of My Heart

There are very few songs which I  fall in love with the first time I hear them. This one tops the list. Shape of my heart is undoubtedly one of most melodious songs of recent times! Probably the best by Sting. I stumbled upon this song when I heard it as a background score in the season (7) finale of Hustle. It fits the situation of the protagonist perfectly.

The song itself describes a nonchalant yet graceful person who takes life as it comes, with no regrets. He believes in what he does and does everything with a sense of austerity to it. He is always in pursuit of the unknown. He is a simple man with nothing to hide. The song paints the portrait of a person who is in complete control of his senses having an air of detachment with the world, to an extent which almost borders the line of objective indifference. Also portrays a feeling of guilt which he has to bear, for he feels responsible for a lost love, a failed relationship.

He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect
He doesn’t play for the money he wins
He doesn’t play for respect
He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of a probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance

I know that the spades are swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

He may play the jack of diamonds
He may lay the queen of spades
He may conceal a king in his hand
While the memory of it fades

I know that the spades are swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

And if I told you that I loved you
You’d maybe think there’s something wrong
I’m not a man of too many faces
The mask I wear is one
Those who speak know nothing
And find out to their cost
Like those who curse their luck in too many places
And those who fear are lost

I know that the spades are swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

Revisiting Piracy

Almost exactly four years ago, I wrote an article right here at my blog about causes, concerns and possible remediation for the phenomenon called Piracy. Looking back at what I wrote, my understanding of the topic – or in many ways, the seriousness of the issue – has severely changed.

Flash-back <<

Let me first begin by correcting some of my earlier statements:

  1. “This form of piracy is acceptable to a certain degree; more like compassion shown upon a man who steals to save himself from dying of hunger.”

    No form of piracy/stealing is acceptable/pardonable.

  2. “…so heavily priced, is unreachable by us; and isn’t it like curbing our creativity if good software like that are not available to us for free (or a reasonable price…”

    Maybe when I wrote the article, there were not (or I wasn’t aware of) many cheaper or free alternatives to match the features of Photoshop – but now since there are so many; Curbing our creativity? – Seems silly to myself! (Besides, Photoshop still costs $999 😛 )

  3. “Sometimes, movie piracy is justifiable…”

    ‘Justified’ may not be the word – but I share my views with this Oatmeal comic.

  4. “Ban websites primarily targeting to provide downloads of pirated content…”

    I cannot believe I suggested this! Of course, I had not forethought how we go about determining what websites to ban and what not. I hope my earlier post was not an inspiration to PIPA/SOPA! I would dread that!

Fast-forward >>

Piracy = Stealing!

The problem with piracy is in stark contrast with the real-world stealing. Consider this scenario: You cannot afford a fancy cellphone. Do you go steal your friend’s phone? Any self-respecting person would say ‘No’.

Consider another scenario: Your friend bought the DVD of the Godfather movie. You love the movie – who does not? – and you borrow the DVD and watch it. The movie is so awesome you decide you want to watch it again sometime, so you make a COPY of it. Then you return the DVD. Tomorrow, one of your friends wants the movie and you oblige him another COPY. And thus it began..

At the end of the day (or a year), number of people who would have paid for the DVD would be exponentially out-numbered by the number of COPIES around.

Coming back to the discussion on the contrast between real-world theft and ‘virtual’ theft, if a person stole your cellphone, you’d ‘lose’ it. However, if a person COPIES your DVD, you wouldn’t lose anything right? That’s the problem with piracy, the people involved in the real act of stealing are not the ones suffering. Therefore there is lack of moral judgement (unfortunately) and sometimes people are honestly ignorant of the fact that downloading movies off P2P is illegal. It has become so rampant (considered normal) that it just seems OK.

In fact, there are some people who are convinced that piracy is not stealing, but ‘only’ copyright infringement and they can live with it. Only that they do not realize that copyright infringement is also theft! As long as there are weak minds which believe something like that, piracy will thrive.

That said, piracy can be eliminated (to a great, great extent) if means of acquiring something legally was as easy as pirating it. Big companies, instead of pouring time and money into never-ending legal disputes, must try to create a user-friendly, easy way for people to obtain something that many a time, they are ready to pay for, yet find themselves pirating because of the medium of obtaining it, is so tedious (so subtly depicted in the comic by Oatmeal).