Fagradalsfjall is a shield volcano and tuya with multiple prominences located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, around 40 kilometres from Reykjavík, Iceland. Its highest summit is Langhóll (385 m / 391 m). A volcanic eruption began on 19 March 2021 in Geldingadalur to the south of Fagradalsfjall, which is still emitting fresh lava as of 27 March 2021.
Discrimination in the private sphere may or may not be morally and ethically excusable. But state-imposed policies that discriminate for or against particular segments of the population is unambiguously wrong, immoral and barbaric. Regardless of whether the discrimination is legally sanctioned or not, it is morally odious in principle and is pernicious in its effect on society. State sanctioned and state imposed discrimination among citizens on any criterion is bad in general but it becomes absolutely unacceptable when the criterion applied is religion.
What deserves unconditional denouncement and unreserved condemnation is when a self-professed secular state discriminates on a religious basis. No state in modern times can claim to be civilized while blatantly committing the crime of discriminating against segments of its population based on religion. The Indian State should be roundly criticized for breaking a universally recognized norm in this regard.
I have long held the belief that a reasonably educated person — regardless of his professional specialization or occupation — should be familiar with the basic principles of the natural sciences (physics, biology, etc.), the social sciences (psychology, economics, etc.), know how to do arithmetic, know something about law and history, philosophy, etc.
I confess that I was not “reasonably” educated when I graduated from engineering school. Other than what I was minimally required to learn — the basics of science, engineering and math — I knew hardly anything else. Today I would judge my 20-something year old self as a barely educated, mostly ignorant person. Fortunately for me, I am naturally thoughtful, curious and quite intelligent, which allowed me to overcome some of my deficiencies. I was doubly fortunate in being able to learn economics — first neoclassical and eventually Austrian. Now I consider myself a reasonably educated person. And getting more educated by the day. Continue reading →
The 1962 movie “Lawrence of Arabia” by David Lean is an all-time favorite. Peter O’Toole is superb as T. E. Lawrence and the cinematography is epic. It’s one of those movies that appears on practically all “Top 100 Movies” list.
The wiki notes (click on the image on the left):
“The American Film Institute ranked Lawrence of Arabia 5th in its original and 7th in its updated 100 Years…100 Movies lists and first in its list of the greatest American films of the “epic” genre. In 1991, the film was … selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In 1999, the film placed third in the British Film Institute’s poll of the best British films of the 20th century, and in 2001 the magazine Total Film called it “as shockingly beautiful and hugely intelligent as any film ever made” and “faultless”.” Continue reading →
“Nations die. Old regions grow arid, or suffer other change. Resilient man picks up his tools and his arts, and moves on, taking his memories with him. If education has deepened and broadened those memories, civilization migrates with him, and builds somewhere another home. In the new land he need not begin entirely anew, nor make his way without friendly aid; communication and transport bind him, as in a nourishing placenta, with his mother country. Rome imported Greek civilization and transmitted it to Western Europe; America profited from European civilization and prepares to pass it on, with a technique of transmission never equaled before.”
Will & Ariel Durant.The Lessons of History (1968). Pg 94.
Here’s a concrete example of something trivial that, in the light of general principles, explains why governments of some countries are quite terrible in governing. This is a follow-up of the previous post, First Principle Explain a Lot.
Around 1.2% — 3.8 million — of the US population are of Indian ancestry. I am one of them. I estimate that around 1 million of us are US citizens and therefore need a visa to visit India. I also estimate that at least half of us (around 500,000) so-called “Non Resident Indians” visit India every year. The point to keep in mind is that the number is in the hundreds of thousands.
The Government of India recognizes some of the Indian diaspora as “Overseas citizens of India.” It’s idiotic to do so because the Indian government does not allow dual citizenship, and therefore it contradicts itself. But I will pass on that matter for now. Idiotic, illogical, and contradictory rules and regulations are par for the course when it comes to the Indian government. Continue reading →
Examining very closely even something quite trivial in the light of general principles helps in understanding the world. It’s a way for us ordinary humans to explain, and to understand what is and why it is so.
For extraordinary humans — say a Newton or an Einstein — close observation of something trivial coupled with clarity of thought lead them to explain not only the phenomenon at hand but the discoveryof general principles that explain the non-trivial and the unobserved.
Newton examined the fall of an apple, so the story goes, and figured out that the reason it did so was the same that explains the orbits of astronomical bodies. Now that I know the laws of motion and gravitation, I too can understand to some limited extent natural phenomena using those principles which I could not have discovered. Continue reading →
I have been using Google products for over 20 years now. Google’s search engine was quite an amazing tool. Then came gmail — and that too was great. And then the rest of the many dozens of services such as maps, VOIP calling, cloud storage, photos, docs, etc. Many of them were quite bad and had terrible interfaces, and they got canned. But search, mail and maps — they continued to be great.
Then gradually the company got huge. And gradually it began to change. It forgot its warning: Don’t be evil. Nietzsche warning was being realized: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster … for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” Continue reading →
Albert Einstein was born on 14th of March in 1879. Happy birthday dear Albert, happy birthday to you.
In the US, March 14th is 3/14. Since 3.14 is an approximation of π — the mathematical constant of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter — Americans celebrate today as Pi Day. It began in 1988 at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Continue reading →