Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

2013 has been snooze time, so far. Breaking the lull, here is yet another comeback to the WordPress world.

Yours truly has been rather busy of late, doing little more precious than precious little. In the interim, your friendly blogger penned lyrics for a soon-to-be-composed number, for a band.

Stanza excerpts from the song are shared below.

Thundering whispers,                                                 
Echo of a silent breath.                                                          
Jungle reflects all,                                                      
A ripple across the breadth.                                       
Atop the earth’s throne,                                                          
A flyspeck of nothingness,                                                      
Liberated soul.                                                                       
 
‘Who am I?’, I ask,                                                     
Peeping within the abyss                                            
A place that is mine.                                                   
Of words that remain wordless,                                              
Of fun and of strife,                                                     
A journey is, after all,
Making peace with life.

—x—

Lift spirits. Not lyrics.

 

 

Post a flurry of exuberant outpouring on Radical Proposals (links at the end of the post) aimed at tackling some of society’s most pressing problems, HaLin hit the pause button. Few seemed excited (HaLin actually pitched more palatable versions of the ideas to powers-that-be, who quickly reminded the fable of the goose that lay the golden egg), and less pressing issues took precedence. On careful search for thorny problems demanding somewhat crazy solutions, HaLin hit upon a problem worthy of addition to his expanding list of Radical Proposals.

Anyone who has been around academics/scientists/researchers, real or otherwise, for any length of time would notice a common grouse. Lack of funding. HaLin has long been an admirer of the Sciences – Natural, Social and Pseudo – and has strongly believed that the inability of the Illuminati to communicate with lesser mortals should not detract from their grand mission; of ridding the world’s problems. This community, generally also believed to exhibit scant understanding of the real world, are most comprehensible when complaining about the utter lack of funding and understanding on society’s part, of their many vital contributions. Rejected research proposals are attributed to recalcitrant attitudes or ignorance or both. Moreover, despite much progress, humankind is besotted with more problems than it would like to have on its menu. Solutions are nowhere in sight.

Given this, humankind faces a serious problem. A proposal to solve this pressing issue of lack of funding, whilst maintaining economic sanity, is duly recommended; for dissection, digestion, suggestion, redaction and comment. Though, criticisms are expected to feature most prominently.

——–

Put simply, every single research proposal across the globe vying for funding, would receive full funding support. To ensure impartiality, a pan-global entity – Mission for Advanced Research Solutions (MARS)  – could be constituted to administer duties. MARS could be empowered legally to print money in unlimited amounts, with the sole constraint of doing so to fund research projects. MARS grants would not be entirely contingent on viability to humankind and probability of success. The currency used by this entity would be a special unit, perhaps referred to as RGU (Research Grant Unit).

Every earthling alive would hold an equal share in MARS, so benefits would flow directly and equally to all earthlings. No corporation, or a small set of privileged individuals would be shareholders; as in the present-day arrangements in key economic entities around the world. To ensure market stability, trading in these RGUs would be prohibited.

Earthlings in dire need for more RGUs could enter into a barter exchange agreement with fellow earthlings, with MARS standing in as the global Custodian and watchdog. For instance, University X that badly needs extra RGUs might enter into a barter exchange with University Y, on mutually acceptable, bilateral arrangements. The Over The Counter (OTC) barter system might also insure against black market or surreptitious trading, a common outcome when public trading is banned in a commodity of some value. This would also ensure reasonable matching of excess and deficits, whilst maintaining broad market stability.

It is likely that this broad brush, open-for-all approach would encourage many to seek a career in academia/science instead of heading to finance and assuming a bad name, by default. The attractive pay-off could potentially dwarf the pay-off provided by finance. As an unintended consequence, this would solve one major problem confronting the world today; vilification of finance. However, the open door would likely encourage rampant misuse, which remains a risk.

With time, there would be a proliferation of RGUs in the hands of the Illuminati, which would, essentially, be extra currency in their wallets. At some point in time, a seamless medium of exchange between RGUs and existing paper currency would be introduced (at a 1:1 exchange rate) to ensure smooth functioning (many services that the Illuminati would use for their research would have to be paid for, using actual currency).

This would lead to a new problem. Excess paper currency on Earth. The MARS Project, with its printing of RGUs, would be akin to the present system of Quantitative Easing, being employed to combat the world’s economic woes. The creation of a parallel currency system – the RGU – is recommended keeping in mind the ill-effects of excess currency floating in the world. As excess money would lead to a surge in inflation at some point, the creation of RGUs would be a first step at ensuring that continued (new) currency creation would not awaken the ogre of inflation.

In the moratorium period that would ensure post creation of MARS, RGUs would assume the character of future money, exchangeable for existing currency at central banks around the world. Till such time, RGUs would not enter the world financial system, and inflation would be kept at bay. When the exchange takes effect, a surge to swap RGUs for existing currency might be reasonably expected.

To smooth the effect, the Illuminati (who would hold much of the world’s RGU) would be suitable encouraged to deposit their RGUs at a warehouse specially created for this purpose; in planet Mars. Much of Mars’ atmosphere is carbon dioxide, which would serve as a reasonable deterrent to a daring heist (the thieves would have to be alive, which isn’t possible presently). The warehouses in Mars might be within the realm of possibility, thanks to the outcome of the many research projects that would bear fruition due to creation of the MARS Project. Machines administered by MARS would preside over the to-and-fro transactions. Withdrawals from the warehouses could be restricted to a semi-annual cycle, and to within, say, 25% of the RGU balance held by the individual. To further encouragement, an annual rate of interest – payable in RGU – would be on offer.

This proposal, if implemented, would let the Illuminati enjoy the fruits of their labour, even if part of the enjoyment would be deferred, their grumbling would cease. The world would get solutions to many thorny problems, old and newly created ones. While net currency in circulation on Earth would increase, the above laddered proposal pertaining to savings and withdrawals, would smooth the effects of inflation.

To be sure, this scheme is not infallible. Like any system, it is open to gaming and has chinks which need ironing out. Just the basic construct has been presented here. Specifics have been deliberately left out, for want of space and to let you, dear Reader, contribute in shaping this proposal.

For comment.

——

Radical Proposals, selected archives:

Tequila Shot Solution, To The World’s Prison Problem

Tax The Fat

On The Futility of Eating & Marriages. How To Reduce Food Wastage…

A misty morning chill gently awakens the senses. As time marches on, the fog perishes to the arrows of the sun, which assumes ferocity as the day progresses. Dark clouds take over as evening approaches; this time it is the sun’s turn to accept defeat, which calls it a day ahead of schedule. The scent of wet earth wafts through the air, as the scorched ground gratefully welcomes the rain. The crimson twilight transitions into the blackness of the night, with the moon nowhere in sight.

The combined assault of the rain and blustery winds perturbs the otherwise peace-loving trees. Where they towered motionless in the stillness of the morning air, they now morph into enraged giants sparring with the forces of nature. In the darkness, the trees seem to draw closer and appear larger. As the night advances and fatigue sets in, the torrential downpour recedes into a steady drizzle and the trees slip into a drenched slumber.

The groovy flicker of a candle penetrates the darkness, imparting a melancholic eeriness to things. Lifeless objects come to life through their shadows, which dance upon the walls in merriment. In the spartan cottage from where I write, electricity and time are expendable luxuries.

For I am in jungle territory.

A family of frogs come to life. Their sonorously rhythmic croaking breaks the tranquil night. Beginning sporadically, other members of the croaking brotherhood soon join in, drowning the chirping of the night cricket. A few of these little beauties, youngsters from their appearance, saunter next to me, contemplating a leap. I watch riveted for the eventuality. The prospect of a body less than an inch tall taking on a hurdle several times its height is captivating.

The leap is successful and the frogs are relieved.

The ride has transported them from the alien confines of my dwelling to the familiar vastness of the jungle.

I hear sounds amid the din of rainfall. A bat announces its arrival. My eyes catch a glimpse of the striking silhouette of its outstretched wings. The sighting is brief, for the bat dissolves into the darkness as quickly as it arrives, leaving no trace of its existence.

The candle drowns in its own waxy muddle. Time ticks by.

Screeches originate from a branch less than ten feet from me. My torch follows the sound and discovers the piercing eyes of an owl, staring at me inquiringly. The light stays focused. So do the eyes. I move the torch momentarily to prevent discomfiting the night watchman. When the torch swings back to its earlier position, it discovers emptiness.

The owl has disappeared.

A voice in my head reflexively recites an old verse.

We see what you see not,

Your visions murky, eyes rot.

When you turn, we shall be gone,

Whispering our hidden song.

Then you see what may not be,

Shadows move where light should be.

In the darkness, all but blind,

A restive silence befriends the mind.

 

—————————–

Originally penned on Oct 20, 2011, from the depths of a jungle in the middle of nowhere. Reminiscing wilderness.

With the passage of time, Man’s lexical arsenal lost much of its potency. New-age WMDs (Words of Mass Destruction) were born.

Wallowing in the characterless netherworld, the WMDs gradually, like parasites, gnawed away at the healthy body of English Words. Impressively camouflaged and true to their characterless character, these Immortals successfully consummated a coup d’etat, toppling the ruling Lexicon.

The takeover complete, conversational vocabulary was reduced to a handful of words; which in turn, were degenerate derivatives of a once-beautiful wor(l)d. Word processors running Word counts in this new-age world seemed to have developed a particularly close relationship with two of these WMDs – Like and Whatever.

Rabidly misused and liberally misplaced, verbally challenged folks discovered in these gladiators a cure-all to their social troubles. Like, how they were loved! Users discovered to their immense relief that Like and Whatever served as great fillers when lines of thought ended abruptly, as they did often. Apart from their filler attributes, they became constant companions in social interactions. Anything that terminated emptiness was extended a warm welcome. On this measure, Like and Whatever enjoyed unrivalled attention.

Like, which was initially used to carry out comparisons, soon gained independence. It was mostly seen in the company of ‘you know'; like, ‘you know like?’ A question, invariably unnecessary, often unleashed to emphasize the obviousness of an idea, with a secondary objective of conveying the speaker’s erudition and a tertiary objective of reminding the listener of their stupidity.

Due to its sheer utility in standing in for incoherent thoughts and as a tool that accentuated one’s social standing, Whatever was particularly favoured. While Like was demography-neutral, Whatever was in vogue among the teenage universe. Cool Quotient and peer acceptance were directly linked to the (over)usage of Whatever. Whatever soon obliterated Period as the universally accepted indicator of terminated sentences. Over time, this virtue found believers in the community of the Seasoned, who, like, quite liked the idea of replacing Like with Whatever. Those that Liked poking fun at this recent development were Whatevered into oblivion.

However, beneath the countenance of peaceful coexistence, faint rumblings were heard by a few. Not all seemed well.

Like, due solely to his longer existence in lexical history, never liked being likened to Whatever. Whatever could be done to trump Whatever had to be done, like, urgently, Like thought. Digging deep into his vast warehouse of parasitic skills, Like concluded that the surest way to gain supremacy lay in fully decimating half-decimated thought processes.

As vices were most easily planted in formative years, Like began his assault on the teenage community. Like was overjoyed when he encountered little resistance in carrying out his intended objective. Initial victories came easily as Like discovered the torch-bearers of tomorrow drowning in an overdose of profoundly meaningless TV. Smartphones lent Like a helping hand, by carrying out an admirable job of eliminating smarts. The assault was so successful that Like found his way into swear-lexicon. ‘Crap! I’m Liked!’, soon replaced the aboriginal F-man. Simultaneously, Like tied up with Facebook and WordPress to trademark a button bearing his name. The move proved to be a stroke of genius.

While this was under-way, Whatever remained in his state of rest, furiously repeating his name, when well-wishers warned him of Like’s assault. Whatever’s well-wishers brought to his notice that his most lucrative Top 3 markets globally – cities in USA – were also cities where Like was most prominent. They encouraged worldwide geographic diversification. Whatever responded with a yawn-y,

Whatever

Like’s assault led to Whatever being marginalised into the Appendix. A highly methodical chap, Like rubbed salt into Whatever’s wounds by presenting a Google Trends chart, tracing their relative progress over time.

Whatever only managed a whimper, ‘Like, Whatever.

Mathematics is one area that comes close to making a somewhat binary distinction between nonsense and plausible nonsense. For instance, calling 4 as Odd would unanimously be classified (by most) in the former category, with the caller being suspected of tending towards idiocy. Plausible nonsense, on the other hand, is the realm of conjectures; possibilities that people think exist but do not know with conviction, either way.

Away from the precise world of arithmetic, one finds that the line separating the two blurs rapidly. Subjects that allow subjectivity (pun unintended) lead to various instances of plausible nonsense. Where beliefs and biases are allowed a free rein, plausible nonsense takes shape.

Nonsense value drops automatically when we encounter speakers/experts that echo the exact same belief(s) as ours. Those that hold opposite views automatically fall under the purview of the nonsensical. It is in such cases that plausible nonsense comes into its own; as a tool that encourages inversion of ideas, exploration of unconventional solutions, and healthy discussions (sometimes heated and expletives-laden).

Consider incurables ailments. We still have no cure for the common cold, or diarrhoea or obesity.

Let’s focus for a moment on the last of these items.

We, as a world, faithfully grow fatter, by the second. The direct and indirect costs of obesity in US alone was estimated at about $150 billion annually in 2009. Include the rest of the planet and we’d quickly be staring at a number close to several fat three-digity billions.

Billions in funding over the years has done little to thwart or slow down this phenomena. Alternative measures may be worth considering. A Tax on the Fat perhaps? The arrangement could be pretty straight-forward. A Body Mass Index classification would help differentiate the obese from the non-obese. The obese could then be forcefully requested to pay a tax on consumption, travel and all other areas where they contribute to public inconvenience. Genuine cases (historical thyroid/diabetes issues, other evolutionary stimuli) would be exempt from this tax, but the voluntary obese could be called upon to contribute their rightful share of doubloons.

Punnily, the obese would be worth their weight in gold. This would not only garner governments additional revenue in these cash-strapped times, it would also encourage the voluntary obese to think hard about toning down. As an encouragement to this beleaguered group, government-run gym memberships could be free. As yet another added incentive, lowering BMI within a certain time-frame could result in reversals of taxes shelled out in the past. As a disincentive, a relapse into higher BMI would lead to imposition of retrospective payments, including a penalty compounding at usurious rates.

(Historical experience with gym memberships should make governments optimistic on the low levels of maintenance expenditure that would be required, owing mainly to large-scale non-usage).

Plausible nonsense. Worth considering.

Cretacean goobledygook, is another case of plausible nonsense. In a spiritedly successful attempt at getting consumers to pay a bomb for rain water, Evian et al dutifully remind mineral water drinkers around the world that the liquid in their hands evolved slowly at the foothills of the Himalayas/Alps/Urals etc. over hundreds of thousands of millions of awzillions of years. Uh, however, would they care to consume it before the expiry date please? Thank you Sir, but I’m perfectly fine with my friendly tap dutifully spouting water at my behest, every day. (I’m alive and well).

How plausible is this thousands of years story? Even if right (which it is), why include the expiry date? Plastic bottles! Adding plastic and other chemical contaminants, labelled of course as essential additives, to the elixir of Nature is an encore bordering on the laughable.

Plausible nonsense?

Many such examples abound around us. Plausible nonsense can be employed as a means of concocting ingenious and cost-efficient solutions to intractable and irresolvable problems.

Adhering to the status quo has its benefits. But it also falls short, frequently. Plausible nonsense could, in the very least, encourage a rethink.

Let the expletives begin.

There are pockets in this great wide world playing host to a symbiotic relationship between job security, family well-being and social standing. This relationship and lengthy conversations with aggrieved inhabitants in these pockets has encouraged me to recommend the next addition to my growing list of Radical Proposals to cure the world’s ills.

In the aftermath of 2008, it so came to be that employment and job security became commonplace in dinner table discussions. The economic tsunami that exterminated Capitalism also took with it its Cousins; Competency, Aptitude and Passion. Remembering the evils of Capitalism encouraged people to seek refuge in the welcoming arms of Socialism. All of a sudden, the hitherto-unknown-recently-made-redundant neighbour was remembered by many, who felt mighty sorry for the chap’s predicament. ‘Poor fellow! Poorer family!’, was an oft-repeated line of thought that supplemented feelings of concern; which were also sometimes, self-directed. Great caution was exercised in positing no connection between the extinct Cousins and unemployment.

With time, more jobs were lost, some permanently. The whining, one observed, seemed to bear a direct relationship to the size of the family of the affected. Singles, unencumbered by the responsibility of feeding multiple mouths, were the lowest of the low in the sympathy hierarchy. Nobody batted an eyelid on their situation. Those gifted with families large enough to field football teams, ranked highly.

Their situation was bad, sad, unfair, undeserved, unjustified, unfathomable, unrighteous, dishonourable, inhuman, blasphemous, pitiable, pathetic… Period.

Quick to pick on this development, employers looking to scythe employee count attacked the singles, the unmarried and all other forms of solitary expendables. A few of the football team group that were let go, were sent off with generous helpings of genuinely unfelt sympathy, good wishes for a bad future and a severance package that could barely feed half the football team.

Intent on reversing this decline, the singles urgently needed a fool-proof plan. They had witnessed first-hand, the vast benefits that accrued to the folks of the football team, owing solely to their strength in numbers. In an era where the Cousins were never remembered, much less in demand, numbers were the ultimate end game. Having got the rough end of the stick, the singles wasted no time in conjuring up an expeditious remedy to their malady.

They decided to procreate their way to job security.

The aboriginal football team members, meanwhile, sensed unwanted competition; for jobs and for sympathy. Concerned about their busted futures and in an effort to safeguard non-existent interests, they coerced governments to write into Law, a rule that insisted on a Minimum Family Size as a qualifying criteria for employment. Mindless propaganda combined with mindful lobbying led to frequent upward revisions to this Minimum number, which soon flirted dangerously with triple digits.

Few paused to wonder that when the cake itself was diminishing in size, adding more claimants to the pie was tantamount to idiocy. Procreation was seen as a precursor to job-creation, a necessary criterion to ensure job security and survival. Nobody knew how incremental jobs would be created out of thin air to accommodate the rapidly increasing numbers.

Some suggested creating professions that focused on various aspects and sub-aspects, and sub-aspects of these sub-aspects, of birth control.

They were promptly fired.

In a nondescript pub in an unknown city, a Cigar and Whisky were engaged in deep conversation.

Cigar – a Churchill – was proud of his lineage but noticed with sadness that his numbers were on the wane. He worried about extinction in the near future, particularly as he seemed to be losing Smokers to Good Habits. Meanwhile, Whisky – a Laphroaig – took considerable pride in his long history and the difficulties that he had to put up with in coming into existence. Ruminating over the reasons that led to their present plight and reminiscing about the ugly turn of events proved a trifle too stifling for the Cigar and Whiskey, who found solace in each others’ company.

The recession had been severe on both. Not that they really believed this. Deep down, the root causes of their exasperation could be traced to Governments, Health Groups and in the unimaginable stupidity of the oafs who produced and sold them for a living. The matter needed some explanation.

An oratorical speaker, Churchill unleashed a tirade, lamenting the rapidly declining numbers of his family globally. Cigar population had declined 20% over the past 5 years, Churchill noted and repeated the number, hoping to aid digestion. It didn’t help matters. The good old method favoured by cigar aficionados – a 1-hour Cigar – seemed to be joining the annals of history. Churchill bellowed smoke at this thought. His consternation escalated on watching the rapidly multiplying numbers of low-cost, little cigars (Cafe Crème was one of his chief nemesis). He jeered at Man’s growing impatience with nearly everything around him. Even Cigars weren’t spared.

Laphroaig vented his spleen on pubs and businessmen. He couldn’t, for a moment, understand the sanity of liquor barons earnestly directing their consumers to consume their produce in rationed quantities. What sort of businessman produced in large amounts only to urge consumers against consuming his produce? It was an assault on Laphroaig’s highly refined sensibilities. Churchill added his chorus to this observation. Both noted that it was actually the Governments that inflicted this needless bit of pontification, after extracting their pound of flesh by way of taxes. Progressive bans, various forms of curtailment and clampdown were primarily responsible for their road to extinction.

There was unanimous agreement that humans needed to be self-regulating entities, knowing when to draw the line. When death was the only reality, the means to reaching this destination seemed relatively unimportant. Might as well get there happily, they felt.

Both were fans of numbers. WHO statistics indicated that tobacco caused 5 million deaths while alcohol consumption shaved off a further 2.5 million, every year. They did the numbers and the combined deaths came to about 0.1% of Earth’s population. Being liberal-minded fellows, they allowed an equal number of deaths through secondary causes. The percentage needle ticked to 0.2%. World population was growing at 1% every year. 0.2% deletion was hardly something that seemed worthy of hoopla. In fact, they were carrying out a great service by acting as a counter-weight to otherwise unchecked population growth.

Diabetes gorged nearly 5 million while Heart disease and Stroke consumed over 13 million every year. Electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and global warming seemed promising candidates to take top spots in the future but various self-interest groups were busy jousting to concoct conclusions that most suited their pockets. Churchill coughed and Laphroaig simmered at this apparent unjustness.

Both couldn’t help but think that they were welcome occasional additions to the mundanities of daily life. They relieved stress, brought a smile to the consumer’s face and warmed their hearts and lungs, quite literally. Nobody followed the Statutory Warnings anyway. It seemed to them that this was a grand entertainment orchestrated by health groups and governments, who couldn’t find humour in other areas.

All they wanted was to Rest in Peace.

Governments were lending a helping hand.

 Source: http://www.whiskyshop.com