Famous quotes

"Happiness can be defined, in part at least, as the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually" - Stephen Covey

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Altered carbon : Netflix series

Downloaded the first season of this new series after watching extensive promos on youtube. Could see that no budget was left unspent in the trailers and wanted to watch it.
Thereby I binged all 10 episodes in a span of 6 days and the overwhelming feeling i got esp after the first few episodes is "BLADE RUNNER"

It almost felt like a Ridley scott series to me.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Kuru toga : Best mechanical pencil in the world

Based on a sudden inkling to buy the best pencil in the world, went to Amazon and shipped the kuru toga all the way from Japan for myself.

This pencil uses the rotating lead technology. Simple to operate with excellent results on top a stylish, minimalist design. A pen for a serious drafter. The Kuru Toga pencil comes in many different flavors but the standard version of the pencil is outstanding in many respects. It looks great with the solid pencil barrel not showing off the self-rotating mechanism and has a chunkier feel to it as opposed to other mechanical pencils on the market. That being said it is very comfortable to hold.
What aids in the comfort of this pencil is the superb grip, the plastic has a series of raised bumps which enhances your grip. In addition, the pencil also has a strip of rubber on the nib for those people who like to hold their pencil a little closer to the nib. Even though it’s an all plastic pencil, it is very robust in design, so dropping the pencil won’t be an issue. The performance of these mechanical pencils are excellent, the rotating lead mechanism needs to be experienced, keeping that lead sharp and even when writing. It’s no wonder this pen is so highly rated and you won’t go wrong selecting the Kuru Toga as your pencil of choice.
The exclusive lead rotating technology keeps the lead sharp at all times.
The pencil uses a diamond-infused lead which gives it a strength other leads cannot match.
Very well crafted and comfortable to hold.
A clean, stain-free eraser albeit a little on the small side.
Comes standard with replacement lead refills and extra erasers

Sunday, January 07, 2018

How Trump created the new "normal"

How the price of eggs sparked a revolution in Iran

Washington post article by Amir Vardaht and Jon Gambrell

TEHRAN, Iran — A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment.

The demonstrations appear to be the largest to strike the Islamic Republic since the protests that followed the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

Thousands already have taken to the streets of cities across Iran, beginning at first on Thursday in Mashhad, the country’s second-largest city and a holy site for Shiite pilgrims.

The protests in the Iranian capital, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump tweeting about them, raised the stakes. It also apparently forced state television to break its silence, acknowledging it hadn’t reported on them on orders from security officials.

“Counterrevolution groups and foreign media are continuing their organized efforts to misuse the people’s economic and livelihood problems and their legitimate demands to provide an opportunity for unlawful gatherings and possibly chaos,” state TV said.

The protests appear sparked by social media posts and a surge in prices of basic food supplies, like eggs and poultry. Officials and state media made a point Saturday of saying Iranians have the right to protest and have their voices heard on social issues.

However, protesters in Tehran on Saturday chanted against high-ranking government officials and made other political statements, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. Hundreds of students and others joined a new economic protest at Tehran University, with riot police massing at the school’s gates as they shut down surrounding roads.

Fars also said protests on Friday also struck Qom, a city that is the world’s foremost center for Shiite Islamic scholarship and home to a major Shiite shrine.

Social media videos purport to show clashes between protesters and police in several areas. At least 50 protesters have been arrested since Thursday, authorities said. State TV also said some protesters chanted the name of Iran’s one-time shah, who fled into exile just before its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi send a message by Twitter to the CEO of messaging service Telegram, Pavel Durov, saying: “A telegram channel is encouraging hateful conduct, use Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest.” Telegram responded saying it had suspended the account.

“A Telegram channel (amadnews) started to instruct their subscribers to use Molotov cocktails against police and got suspended due to our ‘no calls for violence’ rule. Be careful - there are lines one shouldn’t cross.” Durov tweeted.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the deputy commander of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard base, Brig. Gen. Ismail Kowsari, as saying: “Peace has returned to city of Tehran and its surroundings.” He added that if inflation was the reason the protesters took to the streets they should not have destroyed property, according to the report.

The Semi-official ILNA news agency reported on Saturday that the security deputy of Tehran’s governor, Mohsen Hamedani, said that Tehran’s provincial security council held a meeting to address the protests, but that its decisions were “classified.”

Earlier Saturday, hard-liners rallied across the country to support Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and others. The rallies, scheduled weeks earlier, commemorated a mass 2009 pro-government rally challenging those who rejected the re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad amid fraud allegations.

State TV aired live the pro-government “9 Dey Epic” rallies, named for the date on the Iranian calendar the 2009 protests took place. The footage showed people waving flags and carrying banners bearing Khamenei’s image.

In Tehran, some 4,000 people gathered at the Musalla prayer ground in central Tehran for the rally. They called for criminal trials for Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, leaders in the 2009 protests who have been under house arrest since 2011. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose administration struck the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, campaigned on freeing the men, though they remain held.

Mohsen Araki, a Shiite cleric who serves in Iran’s Assembly of Experts, praised Rouhani’s efforts at improving the economy. However, he said Rouhani needed to do more to challenge “enemy pressures.” “We must go back to the pre-nuclear deal situation,” Araki said. “The enemy has not kept with its commitments.”

Ali Ahmadi, a pro-government demonstrator, blamed the U.S for all of Iran’s economic problems. “They always say that we are supporting Iranian people, but who should pay the costs?” Ahmadi asked.

Iran’s economy has improved since the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the end of some of the international sanctions that crippled its economy. Tehran now sells its oil on the global market and has signed deals for tens of billions of dollars of Western aircraft.

That improvement has not reached the average Iranian, however. Unemployment remains high. Official inflation has crept up to 10 percent again. A recent increase in egg and poultry prices by as much as 40 percent, which a government spokesman has blamed on a cull over avian flu fears, appears to have been the spark for the economic protests.

While police have arrested some protesters, the Revolutionary Guard and its affiliates have not intervened as they have in other unauthorized demonstrations since the 2009 election. The economic protests initially just put pressure on Rouhani’s administration. Trump tweeted out support for the protests Saturday.

“The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most....” he tweeted. “Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. The world is watching!”

It’s unclear what effect Trump’s support would have. Iranians already are largely skeptical of him over his refusal to re-certify the nuclear deal and Iran being included in his travel bans. Trump’s insistence in an October speech on using the term “Arabian Gulf” in place of the Persian Gulf also has also riled the Iranian public.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments in June to Congress saying American is working toward “support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government” has been used by Iran’s government of a sign of foreign interference in its internal politics. The State Department issued a statement Friday supporting the protests, referencing Tillerson’s earlier comments.

“Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos,” the statement said. Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the comments. “The noble Iranian nation never pays heed to the opportunist and hypocritical mottos chanted by the U.S. officials and their interfering allegations on domestic developments in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the state-run IRNA news agency quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Lady Lazarus - Sylvia plath

Lady Lazarus

By Sylvia Plath

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it——

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?——

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot——
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.
It’s the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart——
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

Social loafing The art of thinking clearly

An excerpt from the art of think clearly by Rolf dobellli

In 1913 Maxmillian Ringelmann, a french engineer studied the performance of horses.He concluded that the power of two animals pulling a coach did not equal twice the power of a single horse.Surprised by this result he extended the research to humans.He has several men pull a rope and measured the force applied by each individual.On average if two people were pulling together each invested just 93% of their individual strength when three pulled together it was 85% and with eight just 49%.

Science calls this the social loafing effect.It occurs when individual performance is not directly visible, it blends in to the group effort.It occurs among rowers but not in relay races because here individual contributions are evident.Social loafing is rational behavior why invest all of your energy when half will do especially when this little shortcut goes unnoticed.

When people work together individual performances decrease.This isn't surprising.What is noteworthy however is that our input doesnt grind to a complete halt.So what stops us from putting our feet up completely and letting the others do all the `hard work ,the consequences.

Social loafing has interesting' implications.In g'roups we tend to h'old back not only in terms of participation but also in terms of accountability.Nobody wants to take the rap for th'e misdeeds or poor decisions of the whole group.We hide behind team decisions.Th'e technical term for this is diffusion of responsibility.

In conclusion: people behave differently in groups than when alone.The disadvantages of groups can be mitig'ated by making 'individual performances as visible as possible.Long' live meritocracy!! Long' live th'e performance society!!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Becoming China

About Becoming China

One of the two most powerful states in the world, China continues to be seen as a mystery even after decades of an open door. How does China work, what does it want, why does it want it, and what does its rise to global power mean for the rest of the world? As the twenty-first century looks set to be the stage for a battle about competing geopolitical ideals, these are urgent questions for everyone with an interest in what the future might bring.

Epic in scope, this is the story of how China became the state it is today and how its worldview is based on what has gone before. Weaving together inspirations, ideas, wars and dreams to reveal the heart of what it means to be Chinese and how the past impacts on the present.

Despite decades of a relatively open door relationship with the rest of the world, China is still a mystery to many outside it. A world of its own, China isboth a microcosm and an amplification of questions and events in the wider world. China's story offers us an opportunity to hold a mirror to ourselves: to our own assumptions, to our values, and to our ideas about the most important question of all: what it means to be human in the world of the state

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Mr Robot finale Season 3

It would be a sad day if this series was cancelled
Vox article on Mr Robot finale by Todd Vanderwerff

Mr. Robot’s third season was its best. It moved with the momentum and confidence that made season one such a hit, with the stronger character development that had marked season two. In season three, when a random associate of Elliot Alderson’s was threatened, it felt queasier, or when two of the supporting cast members hooked up, it felt more thrilling.

Mr. Robot is finally its best self in season 3
And I agree with something the Ringer’s Alison Herman recently suggested: Mr. Robot was only able to pull this off because almost nobody was paying attention to it.
On the one hand, the show didn’t have any major twists this season for audiences to second guess. That probably played a part in its relative obscurity, since the twists drove much of the discussion in the first two years. But on the other, the conversation had also moved on. Mr. Robot felt downright prophetic when it debuted in 2015, with its tales of angry, alienated young men and a political system rigged even in the case of revolution. But in season three, it felt a little like a prophet of doom warning you not to continue on your current course as you pass him in your car. You could still hear his shouts, but only barely, and the landscape was on fire up ahead.

What the season did have was a thematic unity that wedded Mr. Robot’s superheroic hacking exploits to its deepest character story, about an isolated young man slowly coming to realize he’s not an island. It revolved around Elliot (the still magnetic Rami Malek, whose performance remains one of TV’s best) attempting to shove the genie he loosed upon the world in the form of a massive economic hack back into the bottle, both because he realized it was the right thing to do and because he had forged stronger connections with those he cares about, from his sister to his former best friend to the imaginary man that lives in his head.

And that deeper, richer story benefited from having more space to unfold in a world that wasn’t so impatient for it to get where it was going. I’d stack the season’s last six episodes against any TV made this year. In season three, Mr. Robot pulled off almost everything it wanted to pull off in season two, but in far stronger fashion

I am, in general, a Mr. Robot season two apologist, but even I will admit that season two’s early episodes were lengthy slogs that spent way too much time on Elliot trying to reconcile himself with Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), a devilish alternate personality who took the form of his deceased father. It was infuriating TV — conceptually and thematically interesting, but never as gripping on a character level as it needed to be.
But this sort of slump is one that lots of TV shows, from Friday Night Lights to Homeland to Justified, have bounced back from, simply by better integrating their characters and their ideas. You could already see Mr. Robot starting to do this by the end of season two, but it ultimately had to abandon a lot of its “Elliot and Mr. Robot negotiate their relationship with each other” material to succeed. (It’s always been telling that season two’s best episode didn’t feature Elliot at all.)

Indeed, season three begins with the two men not speaking to each other, and Elliot doing his level best to hold off Mr. Robot and prevent him from taking over. He takes his meds. He goes to work every day. He makes himself a good worker bee, in hopes that if he can keep Mr. Robot at bay, the devastating cyberterrorist attack that Mr. Robot and the mysterious Dark Army are planning will never come to fruition.

But Mr. Robot is a TV show. And when you have Slater on the payroll, you’re going to have him do more than just leer menacingly at the camera for a few seconds every episode. So as season three hit its midpoint — where Elliot succeeds in stopping the terrorist attack, but neither he nor Mr. Robot see a far worse one coming — everything Mr. Robot has been about, for better or worse, began to turn itself inside out. Mr. Robot Indeed they do. Peter Kramer/USA Network
Mr. Robot learns he’s been played for a patsy by corporate overlords who unleashed a seeming economic revolution to line their own pocketbooks. Elliot vows to return the world to the way it was, as many of his colleagues and friends fall to the Dark Army. And then the two personalities finally start working together, to try to find a way to stop the Dark Army from furthering a plan that seems designed to turn planet Earth into an anarchic wasteland, ruled by super-corporations. Eventually, the finale ends with Elliot seeming to reverse the massive hack from season one, but its post-credits scene suggests that nothing is ever that easy when capitalism is involved.

The standard knock against Mr. Robot in its first season was that its main philosophy, espoused by Elliot, was basically a knockoff of Fight Club — anti-capitalist and anti-consumerist in a way that seemed reactionary at best and completely misinformed at worst. But I always felt that creator Sam Esmail had more up his sleeve. Elliot was right to be suspicious of the capitalist society he lived in, yes, but he was simply being played by different corporate overlords. And nothing is ever as simple as saying, “We need to do this one thing, and everything will be better.” There are always consequences, and there’s always blood in the streets.

Slowly but surely, Esmail and his writing staff have since built a story designed to give Elliot things to lose. He wants to take down the masters of the universe, who rule from their closed-off boardrooms, not just because they’ve built a cruel, exploitative world, but because he believes his sister and friends and imaginary father figure deserve something better. Saving the world can’t be done from behind a computer screen. It’s a movement that begins on the ground, and continues until walls come tumbling down.

Season three was obsessed with the idea of time travel, with the thought of going back in time to undo something, in much the way that Elliot wanted to undo his season one hack. His friend, Angela (Portia Doubleday), seemed, for a time, to actually believe that time travel was possible.

But it was all a red herring. As Elliot walked home to fix the hack, he passed a crowd of people, gathered outside in the rapidly crumbling New York street, to watch the movie Superman in a store window, specifically the scene where Superman flies opposite the Earth’s orbit so quickly that he turns back time and saves Lois Lane’s life. Elliot can’t resurrect anybody, but he can try to reverse time, just a little bit. He can put some things right, then get on to the work of building a better world.

In this way, I think, Mr. Robot sneakily rediscovered its relevance, and I hope as more people catch up with the series on streaming, they’ll spark to that (or maybe to the unexpected but welcome romantic tension between Grace Gummer’s Dom and Carly Chaikin’s Darlene, or maybe to the series’ welcome return to episodes that stand alone as episodes, or maybe to its still thrilling sense of cinematic self, or maybe just to Bobby Cannavale’s deeply weird performance as Dark Army specialist Irving). On Mr. Robot, political, social, personal, and professional awakenings are all the same thing. You can’t save the world, but you can rebuild it, brick by brick.

Mr. Robot season three is available on USA On Demand and will eventually be available on Amazon Prime. Season four arrives in 2018.