Is it our Moral Responsibility to Save Drowning Children?

Most emphatically yes, if it is within your power to do so. A child accidentally falls into a river and your jump in without a second’s thought – assuming that you can swim – and save the child. But what if there are people who are thoughtlessly or even deliberately pushing children into the river. Should you continue to be fully engaged in saving the drowning children or must you at least tackle the problem where it originates, and go tie up the adults who are dropping children into the river? Continue reading

“Arithmetic, Population and Energy”

I hold firmly to the conviction expressed in John McCarthy’s signature quote that “those who refuse to do arithmetic are doomed to speak nonsense.” Today I came across a set of videos which graphically illustrates the concept: Dr Albert Bartlett’s 8-part series on “Arithmetic, Population and Energy.” (See video below the fold).
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Some are Born to Sweet Delight

Hi from Mumbai. Been here for a couple of days, and tomorrow I go to Bangalore for a few days.

Mumbai is not too unpleasant at this time of the year weather wise. Spent last evening in Colaba meeting with a friend. Best way to get there from my office in Lower Parel is to take a local train and then a cab from Churchgate station to Regal theatre.
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Demographic Cognitive Dissonance

People who don’t practise what they preach are not necessarily hypocritical. Perhaps they are merely not sufficiently intelligent to realize that what they do is inconsistent with the logical implications of what they preach. This gap between what they insist to be true while doing something which reveals their words to be false can be attributed to what is politely called cognitive dissonance but more accurately should be termed as stupidity.
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Forever Trembling on the Brink (Of Numbers)

The extent of the damage and loss of life due to the tsunami has now become clear. Soumen Chakrabarti emailed me and wrote:

You recently wrote:

That is why I claim that natural disasters like the recent tsunami cannot hold a candle to the destructive power of humans.

I did a little arithmetic that adds support to your statement from unexpected quarters. This sounds very insensitive but is not really so. Each and every person destroyed by the tsunami is irreplaceable. I was trying to comprehend the enormity of the destruction through comparative numbers, when I was struck by a yet more stupendous scale that boggled the mind.
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