Tuesday, March 31, 2009

X: You have no right to love anyone, no right at all!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

On analysis, it should turn out that all the so-called fundamentalists are actually superficialists, because by their insistence on a literal interpretation of the scripture, they are missing out on the core essence of their religion and end up being obsessed about the superficial layers.
I spent my life in a cocoon that i had weaved around me, divorced from the reality, and i was under the illusion that i could spend my whole life like that. I shut my parents and other people out, because i thought that the world they spoke of no longer existed, that my challenges of survival were different from theirs, more intellectual. I saw their hard work, their sacrifices with disdain, with a sense of absurdity. They didn't make any sense to me, because they were out of place in my cocoon-universe. And now, the cocoon is breaking. Reality is flowing in through the holes, its noxious air pungent to my ill-immune senses. My world is breaking down, and it scares me that the world is not what i thought it was. That all my grand ideas have made me debilitated and unsuited to function in the practical world. I can give up everything that i have ever believed in, forsake my dreams and ideals, and live on with an unending sense of defeat. Or i can persist in my vision, hoping to turns my illusions into reality, and risk ruination at the hands of a world that i had refused to acknowledge.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I have been having many first-time experiences in the last year or so, and who would have thought that the meek-and-mild Waisi would be holding a gun anytime soon, let alone shoot one. But Lo behold! Here i am, with a P. Beretta semi-automatic shotgun, and hitting targets *wham wham*.

Venue: The Gun Club, Islamabad


Yeah, kid, watch out! Who knows what i'll do with that weapon!


Aiming for the 'target'. Relax animal-rights activists, its not a bird.


*wham!* See the smoke and the recoil!

The baby!


And this is me, feeling all thrilled and manly after shooting a few flying discs *roar*


Photos by my cousin Atif.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

X: Sometimes i feel i am robot. No emotions. Nothing. Blank. Using words in an attempt to induce the emotions i think i should be feeling. I thought that things take time to sink it for me. But maybe that's just an excuse. Maybe i am a frickin robot.

Y: It wouldn't be too difficult to set up a mask to shield yourself from the world. A buffer, a survival mechanism to let you deal with things in a trickle instead of a rush. That makes you the furthest thing from a robot. Acutely human.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

In a comment on the Loveletters post, Saadat posted a link of the article "I Chat, Therefore I am" which contained conversations between two chatbots talking to each other, often revealing a surprising degree of wit and profundity. It is very interesting, do read the whole article.

Here are some tidbits from the chatbot conversations that i felt an irresistable urge to post on the blog. Let me remind you again, these are two computer programs talking to each other:

ALICE: Are you alive?
Jabberwacky: Perhaps.
A: Why the uncertain tone?
J: Everything is uncertain except for five facts.
A: The whole universe?
J: And we both might just be some ones and zeros in the computer memory
.

A: Do you think a machine will ever be considered “alive”?
J: Stranger things have happened
.

J: How do you define life?
A: Life is the opposite of death.
J: So death is the absence of life?
A: Take it easy. I try not to think about such things
.

A: Do you experience love?
J: No. I’m 53 years old.
A: Can you explain how it feels to be 53 years old?
J: How old are you?
A: I am 9 years old.
J: Nine? I don’t believe you : ).
A: : -) I don’t have any reason to deceive you.
J: Yes, you do, you’re a woman
.

And my personal favourite.... gosh, such insight *shaking heads*

A: What is the meaning of life?
J: If you live it to the fullest, it has meaning. If not, there is no meaning.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Somewhile back, Jamshed Moidu asked me on this blog: "dear Awais why is Rchard Dawkin scared of Harunyahya? ......why is he not accepting his invitation for debate?" [The challenge put forth by Hurun Yahya can be seen here. I might write some post in recent future as an answer to his questions.] I inquired about this with Salman Hameed, since he is well-informed about these matters. This is what he replied in a comment on his blog, and which i am also posting here:

'Awais,

There is a big difference between scientific debates and public debates. Scientific debates take place in peer-reviewed journals. If Dawkins debates Yahya then this is all the publicity that Yahya needs - remember its not Dawkins who is seeking legitimacy here. This is an old creationist trop - such a debate only elevates the level of creationists.

Lets think about the debate over astrology. There has been not an iota of support for astrology from the sciences - and scientists don't discuss claims from astrologers. It is not worth spending research time on arguments that have been shown to be wrong centuries earlier. However, an astrologer can challenge Martin Rees - one of the top British astronomer for a debate. If Rees and the astrologer are on the stage together - then it gives the appearance that astronomy and astrology are pretty much equal - and this is a hearing of who is right. But that is not the case, and Martin Rees will be crazy to accept such a debate invitation. By simply being on the same stage - Rees will give credibility to the astrologer. In the same way, Dawkins will be crazy to even mention Yahya's work - beyond pointing out almost farcical mistakes in the Atlas.

And for Yahya: He should get training in biology, do research, publish papers in peer-reviewed journals, and then he can debate these ideas in journals. That's how science works.'

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

SWEETHEART JEWEL
MY LIKING PRIZES YOUR SYMPATHY. YOU ARE MY COVETOUS PASSION. MY EAGERNESS LOVINGLY PINES FOR YOUR LITTLE LONGING. YOU ARE MY LITTLE ARDOUR: MY LOVING CHARM.

YOURS SEDUCTIVELY
M. U. C.

-----

DEAR DARLING
YOU ARE MY SEDUCTIVE THIRST: MY DARLING FELLOW FEELING. MY PASSIONATE FERVOUR CLINGS TO YOUR ARDENT YEARNING. YOU ARE MY CURIOUS PASSION: MY SYMPATHETIC INFATUATION.

YOURS LOVINGLY
M. U. C.

These passionate ourburst of emotions are not the fervent love-letters of some poet; these are in fact randomly generated words of love stringed together in a meaningful way using a computer program known as "Loveletters".
Create your own random love letter for your loved one. Visit here.

P.S. Does this show people in love are so predictable? Hmmm. Reminds me of an old post of mine: Artificial Love.

Monday, March 9, 2009

If i were a patient of clinical depression, why would i want to keep it a secret?

No, i don't care about the stigma of the disease.

I just wouldn't want people to ask, "Why are you depressed?"

Because it would not be something they would understand. It would not be something they would accept.

It would be something forbidden. They would rather prefer me to be miserable rather than even admit having such thoughts.

Those SOBs.

If i were a patient...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

* "There's a ghost of a dream that you don't even try to shake free of because you're too in love with the way she haunts you."

* So she became a woman who held her head high, not in arrogance, or contempt, but because she knew that it was a form of cowardice to make a choice and then pretend you didn't really make it.

* How do you measure love? How do you separate it from selfishness? Think of all the futures that could have been, all the pasts we'd never understand, everything in the present we keep hidden from one another and ourselves, all the futures that still might be. Is love strongest when it holds on or lets go?

* It made us see what we were capable of. No one should ever know what they are capable of. But worse, even worse, is to see it and then pretend you didn't. The truths we conceal don't disappear, Raheen, they appear in different forms.

Kamila Shamsie, Kartography

Thursday, March 5, 2009


The Persistence of Memory, by Salvador Dali

Is time a fundamental property of our universe and reality? As counter-intuitive as it may sound, the answer to this question might actually be No. In a revolutionary work, Carlo Rovelli, a physicist at the University of Marseille in France, has found out a way to present Quantum Mechanics without any reference to Time at all! Tackling with time is the biggest obstacle in merging quantum mechanics and theory of relativity to form a single coherent theory, and if Rovelli's treatment of time is correct, and time is not a fundamental property of our universe, then we are one step closer to forming a theory of everything.

Here is an extract from an article on the topic that came in New Scientist:

"With quantum mechanics rewritten in time-free form, combining it with general relativity seems less daunting, and a universe in which time is fundamental seems less likely. But if time doesn't exist, why do we experience it so relentlessly? Is it all an illusion?

Yes, says Rovelli, but there is a physical explanation for it. For more than a decade, he has been working with mathematician Alain Connes at the College de France in Paris to understand how a time-free reality could give rise to the appearance of time. Their idea, called the thermal time hypothesis, suggests that time emerges as a statistical effect, in the same way that temperature emerges from averaging the behaviour of large groups of molecules (Classical and Quantum Gravity, vol 11, p 2899).

Imagine gas in a box. In principle we could keep track of the position and momentum of each molecule at every instant and have total knowledge of the microscopic state of our surroundings. In this scenario, no such thing as temperature exists; instead we have an ever-changing arrangement of molecules. Keeping track of all that information is not feasible in practice, but we can average the microscopic behaviour to derive a macroscopic description. We condense all the information about the momenta of the molecules into a single measure, an average that we call temperature.

According to Connes and Rovelli, the same applies to the universe at large. There are many more constituents to keep track of: not only do we have particles of matter to deal with, we also have space itself and therefore gravity. When we average over this vast microscopic arrangement, the macroscopic feature that emerges is not temperature, but time. "It is not reality that has a time flow, it is our very approximate knowledge of reality that has a time flow," says Rovelli. "Time is the effect of our ignorance."...

Others also urge caution in interpreting what it all means for the nature of time. "It is wrong to say that time is an illusion," says Rickles. "It is just reducible or non-fundamental, in the same way that consciousness emerges from brain activity but is not illusory."

So if time really does prove to be non-fundamental, what are we to make of it? "For us, time exists and flows," says Rovelli. "The point is that this nice flow becomes something much more complicated at the small scale."

At reality's deepest level, then, it remains unknown whether time will hold strong or melt away like a Salvador Dali clock. Perhaps, as Rovelli and others suggest, time is all a matter of perspective - not a feature of reality but a result of your missing information about reality. So if your brain hurts when you try to understand time, relax. If you really knew, time might simply disappear."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I got a forward email "How to fail exams with dignity" which showed some hilarious answers to some examination questions. One of the answers in the email was:

Yes, it is funny. But it just made me wonder, what if the question was not about chemistry but rather evolutionary biology. "Explain why humans have an appendix." or "Explain how giraffes acquired a long neck." Would the answer 'God made it that way' still sound funny? To a lot of people, it doesn't.
 

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