Another equinox passes by, as the Sun makes its annual circumambulation around Earth. A chinese friend of mine offered me some kind of an egg cake, in celebration of their Autumn Moon festival. Our lunacy with Earth's closest neighbor in space continues.
Harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (~sep 23) - when the moon rises very soon(~15-30 minutes) after sunset and stays low on the horizon for a while. Due to it being low on the horizon, we see the Moon Illusion - the light passes through a lot more atmosphere making it appear golden and slightly larger - exacerbated by the fact that the moon being on the same level as land features (hills, houses, trees etc) gives us a sense of scale that is otherwise absent for a moon high in the sky. The additional brightness past sunset due to moon allowed farmers to work more hours during the harvest in autumn, hence the name.
The full moon closest to the vernal equinox (~mar 23) swings moonrise time to the other extreme - it rises about 1.5 hrs later in the night, but stays quite bright for a while. Back in the dark ages, where there were no neon lights and high speed trains, pilgrims traveling on foot/animals chose the vernal equinox full moon for their pilgrimages so that they could travel by day and night (or only by night if traversing a hot desert), which is designated as Easter.
The photo was an amateurish experiment at astrophotography - I used a 100x telescope and just took a photo of the magnified image in the eyepiece using a regular camera. (Sounds simple but it took 4 people, 45 minutes and infinite patience to get this fuzzy looking image).
Ahhh, Machu Picchu!
How many wanderlusts lust for you!For devotees like us, who can only aspire to visit this indescribable beauty of a place at some point in our lifetimes, a kind soul has created a 222 megapixel zoomable/browsable picture , using a mosaic of 35 high-res photos. This is the closest many people would possibly get to seeing this ancient Incan city high in the Andes. This is probably the closest i would get, though I sincerely hope I would be able to make the pilgrimage some day.
So I recently came to know of this wonderful browser called Flock that's based off of firefox, but has a lot of cool web 2.0 features like blogging editor that lets you post directly, drap-dropping photos into Flickr and an in-built RSS reader, to name a few. Think of it as firefox with a lot of those wonderful extensions built-in. They have a dev version to try out, and apparently they are getting ready for a big Alpha release soon. It is available for Windows/Linux/OS X. I am running 0.7 on linux.
It looks amazing, light, and fast. and the pleasant surprise for me was that it auto installed Flash plugin directly on my AMD64 machine! I think it is a 32-bit version of Flock and that's why flash was set up in a, umm, flash, but I have been proved wrong too many times in the past to have any faith in my assertions myself.
But however it works, it works - i now have a web browser with Flash on my 64-bit linux machine, and that's all i care about! I can now watch youtube, read www.nba.com without impairing my eyesight and am now posting this using the blog tool in Flock.
And the truth shall set you free.
I am of the opinion that it is not just the brahmins that are affected by the whole reservation scheme. Sure it makes more sense to victimise them because (a) they appear to be the most high-handed and, ironically in a sense, 'untouchable' by the lower echelons of society and (b) because they symbolise Hinduism, as Gautier rightly pointed out in his essay
When they attack Brahmins, their target is unmistakably Hinduism.when talking about anti-brahministic groups. It is ok to use brahmins as a figurehead in order to propagate the argument, but in a realistic discussion, the other forward castes which are suffering equally, cannot be left out of the equation.
Getting back to the brahmin issue, I found an interesting set of questions on this topic in a forum, and I am picking a few to answer them in my way.
Q.Why do poeple get surprise if a brahmin eats non-veg or takes liquor. Why should a Brahimin by birth follow any discipline? Why should Vedic students who know that the profession does not ean them much of money spend/ waste their time memorising and analysing vedas? Do these students and their parents believe that the society would protect them? If yes, is their faith misplaced?If the social system does not want brahmins and associated system, it should be removed and forget all the rituals, vedas, teaching, mentoring etc. Let brahmins who are committed and disciplined also enjoy their time/life.
When there is no demand for a service, there is no point continuing it.
A. Brahminism is a way of life. Just like every other cultural stream, it has its customs, its purpose, and its failings. The brahmin tradition will continue to grow within those cultural bounds that, by the day, stretch a little, tear a little and mend a little. It may not be as dynamic as some other streams - hence there would not be any radical changes such as every brahmin suddenly discontinuing his/her rituals, but it is slowly changing too. It is also very erroneous to assume that brahmins are doing a service, their holistic practices are performed as a drudgery and that they are not 'enjoying' their life. To brahmins these characteristics are undercurrents in their lives, and will continue to exist, with or without an obvious purpose. This is how they pledge their allegiance to their heritage of their past, how they recognise themselves in the present, and how they attempt to survive the culture for posterity. To change their way of living in order to prove a point (or because it is going unappreciated) is absurd and meaningless.
This is a very good interview with linus torvalds and where he stands about the whole linux thing. from his responses you can't help but notice how sensible he is in his arguments, and how he doesn't have (at least, doesn't show) strong fanatic sentiments - especially his opinion about the rampant anti-microsoft feelings that seem to characterize (and unfortunately, esoterize) most of the open source community.
CNN.com - Reclusive Linux founder opens up - May 18, 2006
It is heartening to see that he gives due credit to open source initiatives, and acknowledges firefox as another key player. he seems to have captured the basic instinct that drives open source - it is not warm community feeling or general philanthropy, but the desire to show off. show off enough to say you are proud of what you did, but not so egoistic as to not share it with others.
I didn't start thinking I want to give out the source code [for linux]. To a large degree open source was just a way to allow others to look at
this and say, "Hey, this is what I've done -- I'm proud of this."
thoughts after watching the video: this is an India that we don't get to see too often. this is a different India, a positive India, an India that's growing and moving forward, a technological India that appears polished and modern, yet exists as much as the India that is plagued with poverty, corruption, fanaticism, and people like me who sit complacently enjoying the comforts of a foreign land making offhanded, ignorant, pretentious and unwarranted comments.