Category Archives: Sociology

New York City sugary drink ban

On Tuesday the NYC sugary drink ban goes into effect! Who can predict whether the people will eventual like the regulation that tries to promote a more fit US population, or whether the people will dislike the perceived attack on personal freedom? But the following quote by Robert Lustig that I recently read seems to be on point:

So the real question here is who do you want in your kitchen? The government, who will take your wallet and freedom? Or the food industry who’ve already taken your wallet, your freedom and your health?

The Good General

So a certain general has been caught with his pants down. Again. (Make yourself aware that the adverb Again in this case does not imply that the said general has been caught with his pants down before. Rather the single word sentence merely seeks to emphasize that generals and other people in powerful positions have been caught with their pants down before. Also, this clarification paragraph should not be interpreted to mean that the said general never had his pants down before. In fact, as has come to light, the said general is married.)

There are many indications that the said general was not entirely interested in making a big deal out of his biography. But due to some very savory details surrounding his biography, the deal about his biography grew and grew, until it all exploded in an abundant shower much to the delight of media, not unlike a white Christmas, enveloping most of our great nation.

Conspiracy theorists thrive on such incidences where weakness of other human beings (or strength, if we were to look at it from a different perspective) lead them to be sucked into the hollowness of a situation that can be considered spilling with iniquity and excitement.

But rather than playing a cheap double entendre, this situation allows us to explore the long-standing question – Is the New World different from the Old World? The answer again lies in the affirmative. In good old France, the good general would have already received offers to be the next presidential candidate, a movie hero (as opposed to just a real hero), and a standing invitation to those admirable parties thrown by the Italian. The good biographer would have already dropped her guard and accepted an offer to be in the next month’s issue of the ever dependable journalism outputs and the French men and women would have been engaged in a bitter debate around whether or not there is a certain je ne se qua about her, of if the general is guilty of poor standards. (I say his standards are fine.) In lowlands of Amsterdam and Hamburg, this would be a perfect occasion to celebrate the free spirit of those cities, and in Bavaria, a reason to get another beer, bitte, so we can discuss it a bit more. And in Italy, the couples in their tristesse moments would argue whether this supposed act really did happen or if it is merely a lie conjured up by the media to dull the pain caused by that 4-0 loss.

But only a complete socialist or a commie could miss the financial perspective on the development and timing of this scandal. Much like the months between the Julius and Augustus, the months between the presidential election and the inauguration are typically a silly season. Especially, after the media has lost all its remaining aces after repeated prevarications and projections of a close election that finishes at 323-206. So, call those publishing houses money crazy, attention craving, immoral bastards, but what are they supposed to do? They have mortgages to pay, don’t they?

Troy Akin

Life in the US # 1003

US politicians are in general very well spoken, and on a normal day, Todd Akin gives them a decent run for their money. But then comes this.

[Update, October 13, 2012: Rep. Todd Akin claims that evolution is not a ‘matter of science’]

Choosing the right charity

I have only one simple thought on this matter, so I won’t belabor the point. In my opinion, every charity that you contribute to, should have an open website, and should have its financial statements available for everyone to see. Not available by demand, not behind a login page, but just open to everyone, right on their website.

Recently I decided to renew my annual contribution to Nishkam, but when I went on Nishkam website, I couldn’t easily find their financial statements. Perhaps the website had been moved around a little. So, I sent them a nudge and told them that I would like to contribute, but I need to review the financial statements. And I got the response right away with the link to their financial statements, along with how to navigate to it. My bad, Nishkam’s financial statement was always there, but I hope everyone does this, there is no shame in asking for the financial statements.

I am saving all my love for you – RIP Whitney

This was one of the very very very first songs that I was enamored with. (Was 9 when this song came out.) Feels so sad to know that an era has ended tonight.

Drugs – there is never a joke around them. When I was studying in Delhi, at least three of my friends, who were all *extremely* gifted people and top scientist material, lost their way after having “tried” drugs. Rest in peace Whitney.

Finally, a post about religion

In the past, I have largely stayed away from the very tricky topic of religion. No explanation really necessary. But now, I will make a few broad generalizations about religions, in the following limited sense. I publish following 3 MANDATORY CHARACTERISTICS of all religions, that is, the common denominator of characteristics that every religion should have, considering the multi cultural world that we all live in.

  1. You should be able to join that religion. In other words, a religion should not be a closed society. If you associate with it, you should be able to join it, after going through some sort of process.
  2. You should be able to leave that religion. So, if you decide to leave that religion, you should be able to do so.
  3. You should be able to marry outside that religion, and not force your partner to that religion.

The Biggest Lie Ever Told

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza told reporters Saturday that the decision to use the pepper spray was made at the scene. “The students had encircled the officers,” she said. “They needed to exit. They were looking to leave but were unable to get out.”

Towards a visa free world

I continue to dream about a visa free world, where people will be able to travel from any country to any country without having a “visa”. (Or perhaps such a concept might continue to exist, but become entirely invisible from the traveler’s perspective).  The interesting issue that I have observed with visa regulations is not so much the requirement of getting one – the main problem usually is the lack of clarity around such things.  Consider the case of an Indian national (such as myself), traveling to Quito, Ecuador.   Airline says that no visa is required.  Ecuador’s website says that a visa is required.  So, I called the Ecuador consulate to confirm (on September 28, 2011), and they did confirm that indeed the airline is correct, and no visa is required.

This is not interesting stuff, but neither are most of the practical “points of dissatisfaction” that we come across. All right then, here is to John Lennon: