Category: From Archives

Viva La Revolucion

The tech news site digg.com is under siege by its 1 million users and a simple 16 digit Hex code is to blame. It all started when a user posted HD-DVD encryption key on the site so that linux users can play the videos. The post was mysteriously deleted. A repost met with the same fate. Turns out digg admins were acting as MPAA shills and have been actively deleting posts and banning users who posted the key on their site.

Outraged by the sheer audacity and heavy handedness of the admins, the users launched a campaign to flood the site with the key and make every single article on digg’s front page carry the hex code! There have been songs written about it.

It will be interesting to see how long will Kevin hold out and risk loosing his audience.

Quals Update

My quals exam has been scheduled on the morning of the 8th!

Meeting with QoH

After our regular weekly meeting, QoH and I had a walk-&-talk. He wanted to discuss my graduation timeline and my plans after I pass quals. First off, I am so happy that he thinks I will pass quals :) Anyways, getting back to the story, we deliberated for a few mins and agreed that I will have give my general exams coming Fall and likely graduate in Summer 2008. YAY!

Then the conversation turned to what I want to do in the 5 quarters between now and then. He offered me an internship position at a startup who is also a collaborator on one of our research projects. Considering I need money more than oxygen right now, I accepted it. Yay part 2!

Then the conversation moved to what after the summer internship? I wanted to do a lab rotation and QoH agreed to help me with it. In addition he offered me to co-author a BOOK with him !!! He also wanted to know if I would be interesting in joining him float a company based on our research. YAY!!!

Right now I am riding a high, and if past is any indicator, I know there is a trough that is right behind the high. Just the fact that I couldn’t care less makes the high higher :)

Joost


I have been beta testing Joost for a few weeks now and have been given 3 invites to distribute. If you would like one, please leave your contact in the comments section.

Failure of Academia

[image from canada.com]

As most of you would have already read by now, it was a quite remorseful beginning to the week for most at Virginia Tech. An unidentified person entered the engineering department and shot 32 people in class rooms before turning the gun on himself. It looks like the same person had a fight with his girlfriend earlier that morning that lead to him murdering his girlfriend and her dorm adviser a couple of hours ago.

There is no dreath of news channels and pundits who want to blame Virginia Tech’s police and President for not acting fast enough to prevent this massacre. Oh and there are always the wingnuts who believe that more guns are the solution to gun violence. While no one can deny that the campus police and administration failed in their duty to provide a safe campus, I do not believe that the fault lies there.

There have been mass murders before, now, and will continue to exist. Fixing the security issues and tightening the laws just treat the symptoms, but do not solve the problem. Think about it. If you *really* wanted to kill people how easily you can find weapons to do it. Ban guns? use knives. Ban knives? use chemicals. Ban chemicals? use electrocution. Where do we stop? There is no realistic way by which we can prevent a killer from acquiring his/her means.

The one thing that would solve this is the only thing no one wants to talk about. Why did that person do it in the first place? No, I am not interested in the superficial reasons behind. “He was angry about his failed romance”, “He was upset about some family problems”, etc are not reasons. They are excuses. The reason is that the killer was not able to process his/her feelings and express them in an non-violent manner.

When was the last time our academic system thought you to process your feeling and handle stress? In my case, never. The current academia treats students as just a glorified machine. They are only interested in how much data can they squeeze into us and if possible get us to crunch the data into some kind of useful information. This while is a valuable service, is not what academia was meant to do.

Academia as a whole was meant to grow us from bumbling kids to productive and complete members of society. The key word being complete. We, like all life, are a combination of our intellects and our emotions. When one gets out of sync, the other can do little to save the system. We need to recognize this gap in our educational system and move fast to rectify it. Teach students to manage stress. Teach them how to communicate with each other. Teach them to understand themselves. Teach them the basics of human psychiatry. Teach them ways to expend pent up anger and frustration. And for the love of god and all that is holy, teach them to love themselves.

Until and unless we start treating students as complete human beings, tragedies like columbine, and Virginia Tech will continue to occur. Time might heal the wounded but will not stop the wounding.

Midnight Blues

[Image from Atiu Tourism]

It is 2.54 AM on Sunday and I am wide awake. I am feeling a bit down. Not really sure why. Nothing is wrong, but it seems like nothing is right either. There is a bit of tension back at home, and some issues with my father’s business; but it is nothing out of ordinary. I am just down. I am having thoughts of what it would be like to slit my throat. No, I am not going to do it, but I am not able to stop thinking about it either. Oh well, I guess I just need to hit the bed and shut the fuck up.

25 days to Quals

The list of people taking the quals this quarter came out a couple of days ago. There are only two people in my field, me and my lab mate. Considering it is the second time both of us are giving our exams, and pretty much *have* to clear it, this should be interesting.

30 days to Quals

I turned in my application for taking my quals for the second and last time yesterday. QoH has submitted a letter of support which he says is strong. Considering that we have been getting along well these days, I have little to suspect it. Anyways, lets see how it goes.

I have a workable study plan laid out, now if only I can get myself to follow it. :)

In other news, my research proposal is getting some traction. I have had some interest from the funding agency and a few bites here and there from other collaborators. Its still too early to call, but its looking good.

My Little First Baby

I just sent the first draft of *my* research proposal to the funding agency as a powerpoint file. It is so difficult to condense something into just 10 slides when you have a billion ideas based on it. Lets see how things go and what they say. It would so awesome if I can be a PI on my own research. :) Wish me luck !

Working in Dreams

[image from istockphoto]
Have you ever had dreams that were so real that you actually didn’t realize they were a dream? Last night I dreamt of work. Yes, work. I got a few emails from QoH, sent out updates, delegated tasks.. pretty much the usual day-2-day stuff. Nothing exciting. I got to work this morning assuming all that was true and just continued from where I had last left things. It wasn’t long before one of my lab mate sent me an email saying nothing I said in the last email made sense. I kid you not, I actually had to dig through my email folders before I realized my initial interactions were actually in a dream. Weird.