Open Thread: Say what you will

caution_sharp_edgesI deleted two recently posted comments on this blog. My policy regarding comments is to allow all comments except those that are irrelevant or abusive. I don’t mind someone ranting in the comments but it has to be a relevant rant. If the post is about India and someone decides to rant on about the US, I will not allow it. Keeping on topic is important to me. But what if there’s something on your mind which you need to talk about? Here’s where you can express yourself. Write what you will here. Thanks.

Author: Atanu Dey


9 thoughts on “Open Thread: Say what you will”

  1. Continuing from my last rant where my emotions just poured in unfiltered – and now that I have calm down a bit – I was interested in specifics around how BJP can help us get rid of the dynasty? They are the best we got unfortunately. To remove Congress is not easy. That cancer is deeply entrenched into the Indian system, the Indian psyche.

    Just consider following – For BJP to go from 115 seats to say 180 seats in 2014, they need to not only hold on their current tally but add 65 seats from somewhere.

    Assuming Raj Thackrey doesn’t mess them up in Maharashtra that will add may be another 8 seats in that state. Rajasthan could be a potential 15 more seats and Uttarakhand where they lost all, could be another 5. That brings it 28.

    Some help from Punjab, Delhi will add another 10 seats. That makes it 38.

    Unless BJP makes any significant dent in UP – the big giant cow belt of a state – there’s no chance in hell for BJP to come to power.

    What’s the scene in UP like? It would be great to hear from someone on the ground who can give inputs. Any of your blog follower who has some knowledge on this?

    I am from Maharashtra, and I can tell with a lot of confidence, if Raj T doesn’t spoil the party, BJP/Sena will gain at least 8 seats from their current tally.


  2. A few good things done by UPA/congress:
    – rationalizing petro-product prices and subsidies, containing the political fall out.
    – Home ministry under chidambaram
    – Urban transport under JnNURM.
    – Aadhaar initiative and direct-cash-subsidy-transfer
    – Exposure of scams (this one is a tricky one, will elaborate elsewhere)
    Do you give credit to UPA/congress for the above points. If yes, why? If not, why not?


  3. This is about your views on vocabulary and human intelligence. You say that increasing intelligence = increasing vocabulary. You say that all knowledge acquisition is basically just acquiring vocabulary.

    But acquiring vocabulary is just like knowing the name of something, but knowledge is not just knowing the name but more importantly understanding the concept which the name represents.

    Richard Feynman also elaborates on this in his book ‘The Pleasure of FInding things out’. He mentions it again in this interview( ), where he illustrates this by explaining how just knowing the name of a bird is pointless, what is important is what we know about the bird, or knowing a word like inertia means nothing if we do not understand the concept of moving bodies having a tendency to stay in a state of motion or rest unless there is an external force.


    1. Anirudh,

      By vocabulary, I don’t mean the names of objects and concepts. Just by knowing the name of something does not give you an understanding, as Feynman says so eloquently.

      By vocabulary I mean that you understand what the word means. Knowing the meaning is not the same as looking up the dictionary definition of the word. If you read my recent blog post , note what I said: I first learned the word in school, then in college I understood the meaning, and later still I got the concept. It is when you understand the concept can you reasonably claim that you have acquired the vocabulary and hence it is yours.

      Also, I don’t claim that an increase in vocabulary has anything to do with intelligence. That’s something that you have somehow arrived at.

      So that I don’t repeat myself, please see this old blog post of mine where I explain what I mean by vocabulary.

      Here’s an example of what I mean by vocabulary and how all learning is ultimately learning vocabulary.

      “Regression analysis reveals how the dependent variable is related to the independent variable but one has to be remember that correlation between them does not imply causation nor the direct of causation.”

      That sentence makes sense only if your vocabulary includes the words used. You can just look up the dictionary meaning of the word “regression” or “correlation” but that does not mean you will understand the sentence in its entirety. You actually have to learn what regression is and what correlation is — knowing those concepts is what vocabulary is.

      Once you understand the concepts, you own those words, and therefore can construct meaningful statements using them.

      Incidentally, that’s precisely what Feynman was saying. I first posted that interview of Feynman in Aug 2006.



  4. Some questions about food security bill:
    1. Can right to food remove incentive to work? If not, why not?
    2. When government buys food in large quantity, it introduces market distortion in food prices. Is that good for farmers/agriculture?
    3. How much money is required to fund the food-security-bill today? Can you put the amount in perspective with some other government expenses?


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