Is common sense, sensible ?

Like always, searching through the archives, I stumbled upon an old post over at Crackled. And the reason hence, for this post …

What is interesting about the article is that, personally, I’ve been naive enough to assume every one of those 5 fallacies at one point or another. Every time, I think I’ve learnt and think that I can’t make the same mistakes again, but a slightly different situation always brings me back to the same coal pit, without even a hint of the downfall. And that is the beauty of nature, and why you and I, have to strive constantly to work towards training the mind to understand that fooling yourself, even for your own good, is dangerous.

But, what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger, eventually. And that is an axiom I do believe in strongly. And so we move on …

PS: I wanted to ask ‘Is common sense, common’ but considering that it is more of a cliche, I settled for the above title.

Gaining weight is hard…

Yes. I found out the hard way that gaining weight, the healthy way, is a lot harder than losing weight, even 30 pounds. I used to have chunks of belly just hanging out not 3 years before, part of the price I paid for the fast foods in US, and one of my friend’s machine estimated my metabolic age to be around 40. Wow, now that was an eye-opener. And from there, I just started running and now I’m in this hole which I can’t crawl out of. I’m now probably underweight.

I think losing weight healthily is probably a lot easier than people think and really, it is simple mathematics. Eat less calories and spend more. As long as the net is negative and you are patient, the fat will dissolve and losing weight is inevitable. But once you are hooked on to it, or as addicted to running as I am, it becomes hard to gain back weight healthily. The saddest part is that I eat more than twice as much as I used to when I had more weight but since my metabolism is probably in a lot better shape too, the calories don’t seem to stick around anymore.

For all of you who think I’m just gloating and making things up, really, I wish I was. With a BMI close to 19, and trying to run 25 miles/week, may be meat is the only answer, along with the ample portions of vegetables I already consume… Or maybe I should eat my lunch after a good smoke session, like old times … Anyway, if any of you (the 2 or 3 people who visit this site regularly) have suggestions, then please leave me a comment.

U.N. calls for nuclear disarmament

Finally, someone said it out loud and is getting everyone riled up on the idea of a world without nuclear weapons. Here’s the article. This is one of those things that might alleviate a lot of concerns for people in the proliferation policy realm but I think it is ineffective and serves a moot point on giving us a false sense of security that the world is safer, even if all the nukes are disarmed.

Why you ask ? Because we are humans. And unlearning physics that is a simple extension of a much more helpful application, i.e., the generation of power from reactors, is quite hard. In fact to quote from the article,

Chinese President Hu Jintao made clear that Beijing had no plans to scrap its nuclear arsenal.

“We will continue to keep our nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security, and make efforts to advance the international disarmament process,” Hu said.

If every country that already has nukes takes a similar stance, and by suggesting arbitrarily that “we will keep our nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security”, there is still reason for countries that want to get in to building nukes to get a nuclear status and respect from fear. And yes, I’m talking about North Korea, Iran and may be Brazil specifically.

But we strive, and that is probably a good thing. At least, we are heading in the right direction…

India Vs United States

No, unlike what the title suggests, this ain’t a war or a competition. It is just a comparison that caught my eye. Literally. Here’s one of the comparisons.

India Vs US Economy

Some of the comparisons are quite interesting and mind boggling. But it is unfair in many cases due to the fact that the results are not normalized based on available land area and/or total population. I mean literacy rate, murder rate and beer drinking capita seem way off, just to name a few. No but seriously, the results are informative and if truly factual, gives a nice overview of avenues for India to improve.

Link via India Vs United States: Economy, People, Environment & Military.

I am very proud on how far we have come and maintained the stability and growth with more than a billion people in a land that’s only twice the size of Texas. And all that, without leaving behind much of the cultural heritage and the vagaries of languages and religion omnipresent in every corner. There is so much I want to do for her, but so little time, before I go to sleep…

A dinner, worthy of the wait.

I usually hate when people write about the food they just ate, or the wine they just tasted, especially when micro-blogging, but some times, it is absolutely necessary, as a memoir, to capture that instant of ecstatic happiness in a hectic life cycle.

I’ve been told before that I do cook really well, dishes that I can pass off as authentically Indian, a taste even my grandma might find agreeable, but today was one of those days, where all the elements came together, when hunger met aspiration, forging the hands to create something so delicious that it was almost divine. The end result was probably far from Indian but my taste buds are merry after days of devouring tasteless fast food.

The recipe itself, simple. Rice, a curry dish with potatoes, green beans, carrots and a broiled salmon with ginger/garlic anc black pepper to accentuate the flavor. Ahhh. And of course, couple glasses of wine and some strawberries to take it to that edge. Subtle but taste transcending mortal words. Or maybe it was just a simple man’s food that I happened to have at the right night, in the perfect setting. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait …

A.Q. Khan on Pakistan’s Nuclear Program

I just came across a very interesting and revealing interview with A.Q. Khan who was on house arrest till early February this year for his involvement in organizing one of history’s worst nuclear scandals. The transcript of the interview is available over here and is worth the time in gaining insight on the dynamics, timelines and even the budget involved for Pakistan’s nuclear program.

[Malik] When did you come to believe that now you had the weapons-grade uranium?

[Khan] In Kahuta, we achieved 60 percent result in our enrichment program; it was a
very difficult task though. We faced a lot of challenges in the ensuing stages but
successfully managed to overcome them, and we had achieved 90 percent result in the
//enrichment// program by the early 1983.

[Malik] So when was the bomb ready?

[Khan] It was ready by 1984. I wrote a letter to Gen Zia on 10 December 1984, telling
him that the weapon was ready and that we could detonate it on a notice of one week.

[Malik] Why did you not decide to test that device as soon as it was ready?

[Khan] We were allying with the United States in the Afghan war. The aid was coming.
We asked Gen Zia and his team to go ahead with the test, but they said they could not
conduct the test as it would have serious repercussions. They argued that, since the
United States had to overlook our nuclear program due to our support in the Afghan
war, it was an opportunity for us to further develop the program. They said the tests
could be conducted any time later.

Even though there is no value in pointing fingers at anybody, it is horrifying that repercussions of the US involvement in the Afghan region is still coming back to bite everyone, US included, in diabolical ways. Read the rest of the transcript to get a better perspective on things.

Link to the transcript in PDF via Secrecy News.

A runners philosophy.

Every time there is a self deprecating sensation to give up, there always is that one aspiration that brings you back on your foot, giving life to lost senses. Most often, it is hard to realize what ticks you, even though latently you believe in it, and it driving you through the mundane and hardships that the universe conjures. But when you do reach deep down and find that reminiscent feeling, it is worth a thousand unfulfilled lives.

There have been some real tough situations, when the pressure is getting to your head, I’ve managed to thread out the strength to move forward but never has it been more apparent to me, the source of this strength, than when I’m running. The long distances, however painful they might be, brings out a beast, tamed and strong, with a resolve to push the body beyond your preconceived perception of limits. And that is worth the physical pain, I believe, and brings me back to doing more of these over and over. Endurance although intuitively physical, is a lot more mental at its core, a similarity that I think true yoga and a marathon share…

If my body can take more of this abuse, I sure hope to continue running till my heart gives out …

Another year, another day.

It came by, it passed,
Like every other day, the past year has;
Memories past, of fun and frolic, linger,
Every night with friends, included.

With buddies and wine missing here
I sit solemn working on my code;
Come far I have, the past 15 years
To reach the end of another episode.

One day past, the fun does it last ?
Here comes a new day with aspirations aloft.
One more year. One more day.
and I still really don’t feel that old…

Wiggle that big toe.

Past few years, I’ve changed my outlook towards life or rather refined would be a better way to put it and sitting alone, contemplating and meditating on how far I’ve come, still puzzles me. I want to say so many things, put forth ideas that could be useful to others but part of me does not feel like solidifying it in words. Unconsciously, the writer’s coma that I’ve been trying to wake up from has also been affecting my work and the vigor, passion seems to have fizzled a little, it seems. Now that I understand quite well what I do, it does not hold my interest as it once did. Bigger challenges await in future for sure but task unfinished grows from monotony.

Nevertheless, I’m trying to wiggle my big toe, the crud caught up in my mind, blocking my thought flow, to get going a new lease on life and realize the original priorities, to finish what I started. Abstract but clear, visible is a new beginning and an upcoming end of an old chapter.

I hope in another 4 months to finish the work and get my head around my plan for the future… Or maybe just a month of good sleep might clear my head enough to stop all this rambling.