Sunday, June 27, 2010

Acceptable humor to a rational mind

The traditional categorization of humor into sarcastic, farce, etc; and ranking it is not the subject of this post. What is attempted here is to find a subtle, rational norm for judging certain humor as acceptable or not. Now, the former attempt, i.e. ranking the different forms of humor (sarcastic etc) is a futile one. This is mainly due to the subjectivity involved in it – manifest in the form of preferences (I like sarcasm, someone may not), mood (when I am red, a word and you are dead) etc. To instantiate, a guy might take all kinds of imitations of his in the lightest possible vein, and yet fume over a ‘dostana’ kind of joke on his friendship with a close pal (the joke was by a girl!)
I see the deficiencies in man fit into two categories – corrigible and inherited. Inherited ones are those which can’t be helped – color, height, genetic disorders (eyes related, physical disability) etc- things about which the guy can’t do anything. Jokes on these are just cheap shots. There isn’t anything that the guy can do about the manufacturing defects. Such jokes can appear to be not so common place, but alas! I have witnessed them at the Mecca of science and technology-IIT. The corrigible ones are those which can be helped – laziness, overweight, mispronunciation, double standards etc. I find such jokes to be within the limit because mostly they should be meant in the lighter sense. Even if they are coated or drenched in contempt, they give the victim a chance to avoid such jokes in the future (you know, do the needful).

P.S: I know being over-weight can be due to genetic reasons. But I also believe that, to some extent, it can be helped. Let science prove that obesity is entirely genetic and I will push this one in to the inherited deficiencies list.

Monday, June 21, 2010

How being the first to propose benefits the fairer sex

Contrary to the convention that it is the guy who should propose first, I firmly take the opposite stand, in view of Gender Equality and Women Upliftment. Let me explain myself. The fact that women protested their being relegated to the traditional role of a housewife serves me well in explaining my contention. This protest is supported with ideals like financial independence, gender equality etc. The fact of the matter is that women should be allowed to do what they want to. Liberty is the underlying and underpinning ideal. It’s not like the ones who are housewives are blots on the face of women upliftment and the ones who aren’t are paradigms for the same. 
Similarly, tradition is as good/bad a reason (strong or namesake) for women to become housewives as it is for men to propose first. To use tradition when it’s advantageous (proposal) and discard it (housewife fuss) when it’s not is double standards. Thus, women upliftment should be bolstered, in principle, with more and more women taking the initiative to propose; and not wait for men (who, by the way, never reach their expectations) to wish their way into a battle which they never win, a.k.a `a relation’. Another instance of self-contradiction by the fairer sex: the scanty population of theirs at IITs is the reason for enjoying such an elite status. Come a time with more number of girls in the campus and this elite status per girl is lost/reduced. Be careful what you wish for.

P.S : Before the opposite sex starts booing me, I would like to make a few things clear. I am a hardcore feminist in my views.  The current post, I hope will be read with open minds and objective eyes. Any logical inconsistency, if pointed out, will be duly acknowledged, if not appreciated [:)].

Friday, June 11, 2010

Essence of life, Revisited

During one of those intense philosophical discussions that you somehow end up having with friends, I happened to revisit this class one: “What exactly was/is the essence of life?” Now, in Reductio-ad-absurdum, I did answer this question en-route reverse questioning. My contention is that the question cannot be answered whilst living. This is because if you did know the answer, what’d the point of your further life? There wouldn’t be any, and that’s precisely why I believe the question cannot be answered.

The reactions from different blokes to this piece of mental gymnastics varied from ‘Are you crazy?’ to ‘I don’t buy it’. Although most of them were meek resistances to something unconventional, one of my friends did hint at something logical. Metaphorically speaking, what he asked was “ Wouldn't the voyagers know the purpose of their voyage?” That was a pretty good question, I felt. Some thinking reinforced my view, though. This journey called life is an involuntarily initiated one. (The same reason for which caste segregation means a dust speck to me) The fact that we didn’t initiate it renders the parallel to a voyage irrelevant. I hope I made some sense in this post of mine, if not a lot. The point that I am trying to make is that the question is self-contradictory. Bouquets and brickbats, as always are welcome. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An experiment turned sour.

For whatever reason, perhaps the deficiencies in our educational system, mathematics has always been tagged as something artificial, abstruse and impractical.  I won’t try to win over the ones on the other side of the group of math maniacs onto our side. But through this post, I want to share an experiment, which has its underlying ideas in math, and the heartbreaking results that I had gotten from it.

There is this method in statistics called the regression method. The qualitative idea of which is to estimate the effect of a particular parameter on a dependent quantity, by varying this parameter ONLY. Say we wanted to understand why people watch Balayya Babu’s movies: Firstly we need to know the parameters which might be involved. Things which crop up in my mind as prospective parameters are: Caste feeling, joblessness, relatives of the hero, fans of his dialogue rendering capability etc. To quantify the effect of the first parameter, we need to hold the remaining ones constant and see the difference. (How an experiment as subjective as this can be conducted is just as enigmatic to me as how people survive his movies, but just an example none the less to drive home the idea; by the way, the category of people justifying the super human’s (I mean Balayya’s) stardom by his awesome dialogue delivery never fail to amuse me – people with such skills become dubbing artists and NOT actors, try to beat that argument and then we will talk)

So, along these lines, what I do is – come any occasion I call up my close friends and wish them. This made sense because a call was more personal than an online chat. And calls spread over a period of time give us topics to converse upon; lest should we irritate each other with “what else or wassups” if we were to chat daily. All was well, I was calling for a while (2-3 months). On one fine occasion I decide not to call (analogous to checking the effect of one single parameter). And the response! only a couple of them call me back. It’s amazing how this simple idea could be used to segregate the loyal lot out of your friends clutter.  

On a different matter, math if studied in its truest sense enlightens you like no other subject can. If interested, refer to my post “Reductio-ad-absurdum” for applications of another math principle to our daily life.

P.S: My friends with a decent memory might remember my status which read "Apply regression method to life, you will be started by the results". This was the thought process behind it.