Saturday, December 15, 2012

12/14/12 Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

Loss of human life to mindless violence is always sad. But this latest episode at Newtown, Connecticut is especially unfortunate. Twenty school going kids were shot to death ... in their school. Those young lives were cut short even before they had had a chance to begin to understand how messed up this world is. And the ones who survived will be left to wonder the rest of their lives about this incident, and about how messed up this world is.

It is quarter past four in the morning where I am. I haven't had a wink of sleep all night. As sad as this incident is, I have had this one recurring thought - how could he pull the trigger at those kids so many times. You see, initial reports suggest that he was carrying two weapons. Both of them pistols. These were not automatic weapons where you pull the trigger and a continuous volley of bullets is spit out. He had to have pointed his gun at one kid at a time and then pull the trigger.

Another thought that has been bugging me is that he used his mother's legally owned gun to wreak this havoc. Given the incredible loss of life this may sound callous and unseemly, but may be it is time the policy makers mandated that the manufacturers incorporate biometric identification into their weapons. A la Walther PPK that Q provides to James Bond in the latest flick. Of course, it was a movie, and the technology even if already there, must still be in the nascent stages of development. In any case, a gun tied to its owner with a biometric identity check will ensure that only the rightful owner of the weapon can use it. And once electronics has made its way on to the hand held weapon, the day will not be far when each and every bullet that has been loaded into the cartridge and fired can be recorded. Wishful thinking?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I need spider thumbs ... now

Speed typing on a handheld device is so frigging difficult, especially if one has stubby thumbs. And if one is particular about the grammar, the spellings and the syntax even for text messages, speed typing with thumbs is hell. I so wish each of my thumbs had five sub-digits of their own - projecting in and out of the thumbs when near a handheld device. Mann that would make life so easy. I'd even rock the qwerty keyboards on damn Blackberries with their tiny little keys.

But evolution takes so damn long. It took us millions of years to get opposable thumbs. We should be glad that we have opposable thumbs. If monkeys hadn't liked to peel their bananas before eating we'd be doomed*. Its good that technology evolves way faster. Before my thumbs grow digits of their own we'll likely have devices in which typing of any kind will be rendered redundant. I wish I'd still be around to see that day.

*A question for creationsists: I wonder if it was in God's plan to give us opposable thumbs so we could type on a Blackberry, but to punish us he made them stubby. Hmmmmm. May be this is the "missing link" that you were looking for! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh gayee, oh gayee - Superwomen a la Ludhiana

Junior is standing in the front and sucking on an ice-lolly, the slightly older one is riding pillion managing his and his younger brother's bags over either shoulder, all the while sucking on an ice-lolly. Mamma has glares on, is talking on her 'handsfree', but at times giving instructions to the two young ones sucking on their ice-lollies. She suddenly has to slowdown and even brake a little - the culprit - a vegetable vendor on his three-wheeled pull-cart who had to swerve a little to avoid getting his left rear wheel into an open manhole.

"Oye tainu redi chalani nahin aandee taan sabzee kyon vechan challeya hain?" i.e. "If you don't know how to pull a cart then why are you selling vegetables?" 
The younger one doesn't care, but the older one dares to ask, "Mummy, ehda ki matlab hoya?" i.e. "Mummy, what did that even mean?" 
"Tu chup reh, tainu kuch nahin pata" i.e. "You stay quite, you don't know anything"


With glares on talking in her 'handsfree' she is stopped at a traffic light waiting for it to turn green, suddenly, a quick flick of the wrist to turn the accelerator of the scooter, and she is gone - her chunni and stole flying, and her left thumb is on the switch of a blaring horn. Avoiding the rickshaw, sidewinding the two elderly gentlemen on their old school scooters with manual gearshifts.