Friday, 29 November 2013

Identity: Part 2

The first part (Identity - Part I) of this blog post discussed the parameters of our Identity that are either difficult or impossible to change. Exploring alternate parameters defining our Identity by our actions and behaviors can lend us more control in how we are perceived. A crisis is slowly creeping into such actively defined parameters of our Identity as political and social orders try to extend their control over people.

We can actively shape our behavioral traits, manners, body-language, spoken-language-accents, dress-sense, health-consciousness and intellectual-prowess. The economic wherewithal, geopolitical and social environment will help us achieve this at varying (personal) costs. This opportunity-cost makes it easier or less easier depending on parameters we do not control.

Read on for a deeper analysis and discussion of 'Identity' we can shape, for the most part ...

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Identity: Part 1

Everyone living in this world in any time, has had to face their "Identity." This two-part blog post is an exploration of both physical and digital identities, and how they have come to drastically change the way we build our identity.

One part of our Identity is thrust upon us, leaving us with little or no choice. Another part of our identity is something we can build and increase our control over. Today, the societies permissivity to free ourselves from the 'identity' that was thrust upon us is (in the first part) is far greater, than several centuries ago. 

Several unchangeable parts will cling on to ourselves until we find ways to exercise change and control over it if necessary. 

The second part of our identity (covered in the follow-up to this) will be one that we can shape and control even today or perhaps at any point historically. It is that part that has to overshadow the former and help us define us far better by action rather than circumstance & causality.

What follows is an exploration of key parameters that differentiate us, with viewpoints borrowed from different sources to help us understand "identity" better ...

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

GNU/Linux: Is it immune to Malware?

When someone switches to GNU/Linux, one of the attributes assigned to GNU/Linux and other Open Source Operating Systems (that are free [as in freedom]) is that GNU/Linux is VIRUS or Malware free.

I have been answering (some of the misunderstandings in this respect) at multiple forums and lists, but here is the comprehensive answer.

The truthful answer is YES, writing and enabling malware executing within GNU/Linux is possible.

I prefer the term Malicious Software (abbreviated Malware), rather than the obscure and rather obsolete term 'Vital Information Resources Under Siege' (VIRUS that sounds like a poorly named movie. )

Monday, 25 November 2013

F1 Racing: Sebastian Vettel, the new Legend

Image: Courtesy IBNLive (Brazilian GP 2013, Race Podium)
Sebastian Vettel has now won 9 races, one after the other - a feat no other Formula 1 driver has achieved. He has equaled the Legendary Michael Schumacher's feat of 13 victories in a single year. He knew that with the car and performance, it was important to take the best out of it. There was no point sitting it out with content having already been crowned world champion two races prior.

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 71 1:32:36.300 1 25
2 2 Mark WebberRed Bull Racing 71 +10.4 4 18
(data source: Race Results, FIA)

Friday, 22 November 2013

Literacy: Is it truly necessary?

The letters are easy, yet read the names and words and see that their pronunciation and usage are anything but easy
Many of us schooled in India, perhaps even elsewhere in the world have been told that a good percentage of the population of India is still illiterate. They are literally unable to 'write'. Most of us (at least within the groups I have spoken to) have been taught that the "lack of schools" or the "lack of primary education" is the primary cause of illiteracy.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Indian systems of writing were extremely well developed and evolved. Evidence of a 7th Century CE carving here, shows the "engineered" Grantha script - ('Grantha' literally means script, and is a phonetic script that can ideally be used to represent any language.)  Those who made these carvings that remain today are unlikely to be royalty or even priestly folk suggesting that language was available to artisans and craftsman. Further written scripts were to be taught after the fundamentals of speaking a language was taught.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Global Climate Change: solving the jigsaw

With the attention on the "Global Warming" phenomenon, most people will be attributing this as the reason for "freak weather" and recently unpredictable climate changes (as the weather is not changing seasonally as it has been in the past century.)

Like most discussions on the topic, the illustration here jumps to explaining "cause." However, actual Global warming itself is an average increase of global temperature by 1 degree Farenheit. This would mean that the effect, despite specific points in the globe having upto 12 degrees Farenheit increase, the overall temperature average remains less altered. It is therefore too judgmental to pin massive climate changes on global warming itself.

Read on for a deeper explanation of how and why the massive weather changes occur ...

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sri Lanka: Ethnic conflict or Regional Power Play?

The island nation of Sri Lanka, named at some point in history after the mythical place of the Ramayana has been the ground of conflict for thousands of years. Yet from 1983, the discrimination of a majority population, dubbed on the grounds of their language and belief systems as the Sinhalese and the "alleged" northern settlers (who have undoubtedly lived here for longer than published,) the internal civil war has brewed.

The ethnic issues began upon the departing of the British, as communal tensions increased between the largely Southern population of the Sinhalese and the northern population of the Tamil-speaking people.

Sri Lanka has been an ally of the United States of America, for a long time. Interestingly TIME magazine in 2006 has actually called the LTTE an extremely organized fighting unit.

Human Rights Violations that are continuing, with the (largely) Sinhalese-speaking southern population on top, and the (largely) Tamil-speaking northern population subject to arrests even four years after the "claimed" end of the civil-war is shocking. Rajapakse is projected in an image akin to Ravan (of the ancient epic of the Ramayana.) I am appalled by this horror that the ethnic Sinhalese-speaking group believes in a zero-sum war.

How did such a travesty happen? What transpired into such a horrific calamity of human lives and livelihoods? (It is a lot more than an ethnic conflict that panned out ...)

Friday, 15 November 2013

India 2013: Tamil Nadu - Power crisis!

The two main sources of electricity generated in Tamil Nadu are Mettur Hydel Project and thermal plants at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation.

In addition there are multiple thermal power plants of much lower capacity, some operating on diesel, some operating on coal - all of which have little or no indigenous supply of fuel.

Kalpakkam, the first Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) powers areas in the state capital of Chennai and has already been upgraded close to 1.25 MW peak capacity with an additional reactor. This was designed to be a contingency and research operation to support state capitals in times of grave emergency. Our complete reliance on Kalpakkam for Chennai (and surrounding areas) is already stressing out the production from this plant.

Wind power generation has dropped 85% between 2012 and 2013. This is from 30% of projected peak wind power capacity to 5% of projected wind power plant capacity.

Kudankulam's revised nuclear power technology reactor output is sketchy at best, one can assume that it feeds 500MW (peak: 750MW) of power into the grid if it is operational - despite the fact that it's capacity is much higher. This is more a naval facility than a civilian power production plant, particularly due to its location and is manned by very few civilians.

Read on to see data, alternatives, and where we must try to go from here ...

Thursday, 14 November 2013

GimpShop: GIMP taking on Photoshop
Late is the hour when open source answers. There are some of us who'd like to recommend GIMP to those using Adobe Photoshop - behemoth on Operating Systems that get sluggish, the moment you start working on something huge. You can't just uninstall everything, yet GIMP had an alien interface and GIMP for windows was more GIMP, less familiar to the Photoshop community.

It wasn't released yesterday; why this post? original Photoshop tools equivalent to GIMP tools have been like the MS Windows 7.x to 8.x upgrade (everything is not where it used to be.) While I have convinced some, who out of brevity did try out, their patience wore thin till they got back to Adobe Photoshop. Being open-source, GIMP needed a few rebuilds, interface-changes, translations, plugin support layers to really get friendly to the Photoshop club. That's exactly what GIMPShop is. 

Read on for screenshots and direct download links ...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Sualeh Keen's Works: Prose, Poetry, Wit and Wisdom

This is work that's continually growing, being collected at a much slower pace than he manages to pen them. This is just 1 year (almost) - there are 3 more years of notes/poetry/essays/commentaries to be added. I've included more content that was ignored in the previous revisions.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Indian elections 2014: The Future game

Indian Elections: 2014, a few who would change the game among the many ...

India's electorate has always dispensed more power to regional parties thereby enabling coalitions. The regional parties hope to have either a "weak" or reasonably compliant group calling the shots at the center, ensuring that they can have their say.

This would quickly explain how the most complex coalition was headed by H D Deve Gowda and later by I K Gujral who were not perceived to be strong leaders. This does not however grant them authority and therefore explains why they had shorter terms. However perception does not necessarily mean that the leader in question or the party enabling that person with leadership is strong or weak. This however affects electoral mandate.

The second factor is that public awareness toward corruption and scams is growing with an inherent want for 'fair governance'. Hence any party perceived corrupt or having been involved in scams has the negative swing as they call it. (Yet, we must remember that historically - even in terms of evolution, nature itself has never been fair.) Hence having fair governance is as much a pipe dream that might even end up with a global Orwelian Dystopia.

India needs:
  • Stability in the Center to help growth in terms of economy.
  • Regional stability to avoid unrest, rise in issues like naxalites, requests to form new-states of regions that were not previously union-territories.
You can read further, on the possible political future of India from 2014-2027, hoping that a worldwide war or catastrophe does not happen.