Cities

 
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Hunkered, cowering, crawling
The masses seething through
An urban jungle sprawling
Sky and stone of same hue

Eyes lowered, heavy
Watching furtively, each stranger
With hopes and dreams, heady
Covered, guarded from each danger

Rain splashing on head and face
As we walk to our destinies
Some to fame’s embrace
Most, to life’s inequities

What if one day, we were to rise
Leave back this dreary, endless ride
Catch the light before it dies
To claim some day that we too tried

But that is for another day
There is work yet to be done
Cash the check, claim some pay
A race yet to be won

And so one sees
The masses seethe
As endless drops in endless seas
With gray up top and gray beneath

A response to NYTimes’ OpEd on Religion in India

 
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The New York Times has published a Christmas OpEd piece (yesterday online and today in print) that talks about religious intolerance in India and how ‘hindu militants’ are forcing conversions of Muslims and Christians and has blamed our PM, Narendra Modi for not doing enough to stop this and other attacks.

Initially, I wanted to write a long and deeply researched rebuke of this kind of hypocrisy, but I’d rather let a picture say a thousand words –


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Fixing Jetpack’s Stats module

 
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Despite the hate that Jetpack gets for being a bloatware plugin, it is one of my favorite and the first step whenever I setup a new WordPress install. However, Jetpack does have a few irritating habits that I cannot overlook. One of these is the stats module. The module actually does pretty well, posting data to the wordpress.com dashboard and making it easy for me to quickly glance at the number of visitors I’ve had for the day.

However, every so often the module craps out and logs a large number of visits from crawlers, bots and spiders as legitimate hits, since those are not in the official list of crawlers, bot and spiders to look out for. To fix this, I went out to look for the list and to add to it. One quick GitHub code search later, I found that the file class-jetpack-user-agent.php is responsible for hosting the list of non-humans to look out for. What I found inside was actually a pretty comprehensive list of software, but one that definitely needed extending. Continue reading

[Fiction] How the seasons came to be.

 
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There once was a King who had two great scientists in his court. He encouraged them to discover the laws of the world and loved hearing of their discoveries in court. One day, the scientists came to him and told him that they had calculated precisely, the time it takes for the Day and the Night to come and go from the Kingdom. They told him of twenty-four of what they called hours, split into minutes of sixty each and each of those of minutes went on to become sixty seconds.

The King was delighted! Long had he wanted to know how time went on, how the day turned into the night and when he could tell his people to come visit him. Now he had that means. He could tell his people when the court of the King would start and his spies that their visitation would have to be at a set time of the night. Continue reading

Real people don’t fit them

 
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I love Jessica Hagy‘s site Indexed. It’s funny, published weekdays and is almost always spot on.

But, I found a problem with today’s post –

Stereotypes. Yup.

Jessica’s “Real People don’t fit them”


I don’t think you can portray a groups vs individuals analysis on a graph. So, I fixed it in my own way. Hope you like it and hope you check out her website. It’s pretty cool!

My version –

IMG_0233.JPG

 

Of course, Hagy’s Indexed is for fun and not to be taken as seriously as I have. But hey, when you see something wrong on the Internet, you fix it, right?

Kill all the Uruks

 
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I spent the weekend listening to my brother complain about how the story in the game he’s playing nowadays, “Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor”, is not progressing fast enough. As it turns out, the problem was that he had to kill a lot of middle level orcs (uruks) in order to entice the next level of villains to come out of hiding. He proceeded to do that and voila, the story line moved quickly after that.

Life’s a lot like that. You start out green at any task and you have a lot of enthusiasm and beginner’s luck. That makes you happy and you expect the same level of progress to keep up. Turns out, there’s a lot of work between that first instance and getting to a decent level of expertise. All it takes is consistent hard work. It’s not the neat solution. It’s the only solution.

Since it’s NaNoWriMo, here’s a tip – when you’re doing something, anything actually, and you start out with a bang, don’t forget to put your head down and consistently kill the uruks.

Word of the Day: Fungible

 
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Fungibility, according to Wikipedia, is an economic term used to describe the property of a commodity whereby it is directly interchangeable with something else. For example, if you don’t care whether the rental car you get is a Mercedes or a BMW, then they are fungible. It was used by journalist Stijn Debrouwere in an awesome article about the future of newspapers and media companies in the age of the Internet, by calling his article –

A treatise on fungibility, or, a framework for understanding the mess the news industry is in and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Source: Fungible

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License, don’t acquire

 
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Silicon Valley has a bad habit – that of buying outright any company that might prove useful to them and the tech community. When Google bought Waze, Facebook bought Spool and Pinterest bought Icebergs, they all did it to bring to their platforms, users and companies, ideas, technologies and features that they believed would be a good fit with their own setup.

But they did it wrong. Waze is a great app and when it finally disappears (as do all Google acquisitions), it will be a great loss for it’s users. Waze has a unique UI, a dedicated user following and features that are not at all present in Google Maps. While the integration went well, Google Maps is an overloaded app with too many features. Eventually, they’ll simplify and drop a few features, getting rid of many core things that Waze is known for. In no circumstance will Waze ever recover from this setback.

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On Fear

 
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I was recently thinking about fear, particularly that fear is a genetic gift. Our forefathers instilled it into us to ensure we stay away from predators, darkness, and other harmful things. But there are two things about the nature of fear that confuse me –

  1. What about fear of our parents? Is that genetic? Is it instinctive for us to be afraid of our parents’ anger? Or is that something that comes to us after we’re born? If the latter, think about the immense sense of abandonment and betrayal a child must feel when their parents scold them for the absolute first time. At first, it may well be a very odd phenomenon for the child – an angry parent. But slowly it would dawn upon the offspring that the progenitor is expressing a negative emotion, a negativity asserted towards them and in context of something they did recently. After that, is it because of our lack of genetic fear that some children do not pick up on fear of parents, even when faced with physical punishment; while others become so afraid that even the idea of an angry parent that their tendency to do the “right” thing supersedes all other emotion.
  2. What about fire? When the flame is big enough that we feel “hot” instead of warm, we instinctively stay away from fire. But every time I see a candle flame, I feel like I must touch it. It is an enigmatic phenomenon which just be explored by touch and that urge overpowers all logic that cautions me to stay away. Is this because fire came into our knowledge a little too late to be a part of our genetic makeup? Had it been with humans longer, maybe it would have gotten stuck into our genes as something to use, but be wary of. If that is true, I wonder what other things came too early? Could a fear of large animals or snakes or cliffs be because of such circumstances and maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of them as much as we are?

I’d love some of my readers to respond with what they think about these fears. If someone has specific knowledge about fear, I’d love to have a conversation, either in the comments below, or you can email me or find me on social media. Thanks for reading.