New revelation from NSA: I’m an extremist..and they might be right

As some of you might know, I am not a native English speaker. I try to correct my mistakes with automatic dictionaries and proofreader. Occasionally, some of my grammar becomes downright laughable but hey I don’t care.

I may be late in catching up things on the internet. I caught this article. The National Security Agency( Call it International already, you don’t only monitor Americans, do you?) of America developed a software called XKeyStore, which monitors people who lurk on Linux journals, TOR websites, Freenet, and even Hotspotshied. The software tags those people as ‘extremists’..or..’potential terrorists…!’.

Okay, I am a Linux freak. I can’t spend a day without visiting my favorite Linux journals. Privacy in Internet is also important to me. So, I tend to visit TOR and freenet websites often. Gosh..my IP address along with my private information is being tagged as an ‘extremist‘..

quote-without-freedom-of-thought-there-can-be-no-such-thing-as-wisdom-and-no-such-thing-as-public-benjamin-franklin-342777

You know, deep inside my whatever, I have to make a confession . I’m waiting for a special platform..aww..don’t worry it’s not about porn. I’m 22 and I never wrote a love letter. How disappointing is that to not to write a love letter? Who writes a letter these days?

I love you NSA. I love you as much as Bieber. I would even say my love is platonic and eternal. Everyday, when I search for something in Google, I think about you NSA. I am so lucky you accepted my love and started tracking me 24×7. It’s kind of cute..! To amuse you,  I search for Linux, TOR, Freenet and terrorists everyday. Just to force your attention on me. You think I’m a terrorist? Fine, but, I still love you as much as I love Gaylord.  I will still love you when you’re no longer young and beautiful. I’m a love extremist.

Jokes aside, I am surprised that people do not care about privacy as much as they should. Someone might argue that— I have nothing to hide, I am not a criminal. So, I don’t care about privacy in the Internet. Let them track me. Yo people, your privacy is important. Not to you, may be to your daughters and sons. This surveillance has just started. Imagine what would happen in ten years from now on. Everything you’ve done on the Internet will be monitored, and can be used against you. I am not saying that you might be going to jail for that. Innocent people can get arrested for nothing, they can dig up all the information from your teenage to prove a case against you.

“I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she’s too young to have logged on yet. Here’s what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say ‘Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?’”
–Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Now, privacy and Internet are like disjoint sets. If something is on the internet, there is no question of Privacy. Ideally, we would like to have some sort of intersection between them. Did I sound too scientific?

privacy and internet
Privacy is crucial in our life and NSA running such massive surveillance programs is not acceptable. People, fire up your Facebook already, spread why privacy is so important. Knowledge is power–don’t let your knowledge become their power.

Disclaimer: All the insults are meant to criticize activities of surveillance, not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Let’s drink Cow urine, coz it cures all the diseases

So, you’ve read the title..! I know it’s disgusting.

Now, before you click on close and forget, you should realize that you are missing some fun.

Do you want all of us to drink Cow Urine? I am not advocating you to but this is my blog. I can write whatever crap I come up with.

I found this site. Pretty crazy, huh? This urban ‘doctor’ claims that cow urine can cure-all the diseases. Oh, I see. Let’s peek through the list of diseases that cow urine can cure. This is so much fun. AIDS OMG..! Heart..! Cancer.. Diabetes.. Kidney problems. Why am I spending my money on doctors and medicine? Let’s get a cow and drink urine instead of water all the day.

Image courtesy: Wikimedia

Image courtesy: Wikimedia

Okay, my writing is getting shaky as this crap doesn’t deserve some serious writing. Well, we will start with some background on cows in India. Cows are considered sacred in our culture. I’m an Indian and I am proud of it. Am I proud of cows?. The great thing about cows is that they are…huh..useful (Now don’t ask me why they are sacred!). You might be astonished to know that ‘Cows’ are even part of our new prime minister’s campaign.  In between these satires, I am trying to make a point— which is— cows are great!

Cow urine

Now, somebody is trying to make money by saying that Cow urine can cure-all the diseases. You know, I am a fatty ass person. So, I sent the Cowurine.com guys an e-mail. Here is a reply I got.

Dear Fatty ass obese XXX,

Thank you for consulting for Obesity treatment. Your Reference  ID is XXXXX.

You can reply to this email and share any additional information, case history & reports related to your query. This will help us respond to you more effectively.

XXX,  You may call us at 0731-3069100 anytime between 10 AM to 6 PM for a free consultation.  If you wish to meet our doctors you can visit our clinic in Indore. Any one person can come along with the reports and case history. Kindly take an appointment before visiting clinic.

Our work is recognized and published by more than 2000 news papers and publications across the world. “Bovine Elixir” says India Today, May 21, 2001 . We have been awarded patent for the innovation of medicines made out of cow urine and herbal extracts which also have been scientifically established for their pharmacological activities.

So many things are doubtful here. Patents? Where? I tried searching on research databases and Google Scholar. Basically, cow urine is rich in some chemicals which can help, but extensive, well-cited research is nowhere to be found. Apple managed to get a patent for a square phone design with round edges. We know how great patents are..!

Now comes the best part. On the next fine morning, I got a call from a sales executive, who tried to sugar talk me into buying cow urine. Wow..nice experience..I was scared if the person sitting right next to me can hear about it..because it was embarrassing. Then, I got another e-mail.

Dear Fatty ass obese XXX,

We can start treatment for Obesity. The treatment will help you heal holistically. Current symptoms will reduce, improving quality of life. It will help lessen medicines dependency, future complications and reoccurrence.

Our treatment is based on Ayurveda medicines made of herbal extract processed with cow urine, increasing their potency and Bio – efficacy. They will come in form of capsule and syrups made palatable and easy to take.

We would suggest you healthier food which you can add to your regular diet for a better health and avoid a few things which may trigger the symptoms or increase disease.

If you have any more doubts or queries you can always call us on 0731 – 3069100 between 10am to 6:30pm and mention {Inquiry ID-2XXXC}. If you wish to meet personally you can visit at our Clinic in Indore any working day with an appointment.

The cost of medicines for three months course for Obesity treatment will be Rs.4400 /- including home delivery charges anywhere in India. The delivery normally takes 4-7 working days (8-10 days in case of remote areas).

I get it. Basically, you are robbing people with sentiments and religious beliefs to sell your cow products. Now..that for you is a small demonstration of modern Indian business culture. You hit them right on their sentiments..ta..da..profit..! Ouch, do I need a MBA for that?

I would like to end this with small pep talk– There is no solid evidence that cow urine is helpful in maintaining metabolism. No serious research had been done on side effects of using cow urine. It is a pseudo science. As I like to piss off people, and debunk false beliefs, no, cow urine is just urine. Don’t drink it, don’t support it either.

Review: ‘Finding me’ by Michelle Knight

I loved this book. I might not be able to read it again because it is too painful and heart breaking. The book questions politely what ‘freedom’ really means and how hard it would be for someone to know that nobody in the entire world cares for them.Finding me

If you reading this and don’t know about Michelle Knight, let me get the formalities done by introducing her. This book is a self-spoken story of a young women, who was kidnapped, held captive, repeatedly raped, humiliated, chained inside a room for almost a decade. She lost five pregnancies during this captive period until she was found one day by police.

This book starts with her depiction of young life, including repeated child abuse and a painful relationship. I have no idea how she survived after all the things that she went through, I am happy that she did survive this monster and came out strong. Well, as far as the book and writing is concerned, it’s plain and not overly done with metaphors. You can connect to her story instantly. I was not able to put the book down once I started reading  it. When she uses metaphors, they were beautiful.

What surprised me in this book is the confidence, and hope that she developed during the darkest days one would ever imagine. She repeatedly mentions that Joey, her son, is the sole reason for her to fight and be alive. She spent years thinking about her son, talking mentally with him. When she attained freedom, she comes out to find that her son was taken away from her, and had lived with his foster parents. Moreover, she can not see him or meet him. That was a true heart crunching situation for any mother to live with.

I did not plan on writing a longer review but this book is something you should not avoid. If you are feeling down in life, this book can give you confidence and hope. I sincerely hope Michelle gets her life back( which I believe she did, this book is a best seller), and I feel bad for the ones who are still captive waiting to be found.

Rating: Must read

Update: Corrected some stupid grammar, I should proofread my posts more.

Stargazing with a binoculars

Who said you need a Telescope to look at the beautiful night sky? A good pair of binoculars is effective than a telescope, especially for new comers like me. I’m saying this because setting up and focussing a telescope is not an easy task. Binoculars, on the other hand gives you a wide field of view and you can focus an object very easily. The following is an attempt to summarize my efforts and experiences from the last month, using a 10×50 Celestron binoculars that you can find for a pretty cheap price on the market.

I’ve been always intrigued by the idea of buying a telescope. I am not ready to burn my pockets by buying something which I might not like that much. But, I wanted to see if I like observing night sky. I went ahead and ordered a cheapest pair that I can find on the market.

There are few things which you need to consider while buying a binoculars. One is magnification, and second one would be objective diameter. If the objective diameter is more, it can collect more photons and gives you a better picture. For a binoculars, you won’t get much magnification. One more thing to consider is the quality of the prisms used inside.

First light

I got my binoculars. I was really excited, I went outside. I kept an eye on people walking on the road. It was good and clear. Then, I caught few birds in the sky. I conceived an idea about how to hold the binoculars and was ready for my first night of stargazing.

I woke up in the middle of the night. I’m glad that I didn’t scare anyone. I went to the darkest place that I could find near my house. I attempted to focus on the Moon. What I saw is outstanding! The Moon with the craters is such a pleasure to watch. I could find each crater. I realised why poets and authors were so obsessed with moon. It is beautiful, and with a binoculars it made more sense because you can see it with your both eyes. During the one hour time I had spent with the binoculars, I just saw the moon. Nothing else! I came back home that night with an everlasting gratification.

After that, I managed to see Mars and Saturn. I can not say that I saw them, but Mars looked like small orange star and Saturn looked like golden disk. To differentiate, I would generally do a observation again to confirm whether its a planet or star.

I managed to see some so-called messier objects. Unfortunately, without a tripod, it is really difficult to stabilize them in my field of view.

Few tips

There are few things that I found out after having used binoculars for a decent amount of time.

  • Get a Tripod mount if your binocular is very heavy: This is particularly important because, after sometime, your hands shake. With shaking hands, you will not be able stabilize the view. The deep sky objects are very small, and needs a tripod.
  •  Find darkest place without much lighting: Our eyes take time to adjust to the night vision. If your place is filled with bright lights, you can not really adjust to darkness.
  • Smartphone with Sky maps: To find the objects in the night sky, you definitely need a map. Thanks to the new toys, you can install an application and it will do the job for you.

I’d warn you though with this obsession. Every night when I come back to home, I would think mine is not enough. I would think, may be a bigger aperture and may be a bigger magnification or even a telescope would give me better views. That’s serious because they are really expensive.

Carl Sagan once said

It has been said that astronomy is the most humbling and a life changing experience

True indeed! The very essence of our existence, and a vast adventurous universe is stimulating. If you are a newcomer like me, and really like watching the night sky, binoculars is the right way to go.

Thinking about life: What’s so important in life?

After a long unexpected roller-coaster ride in my life, I finally managed to write again.  For the past few weeks, I have thought about my life and the way I treated it till now. When someone asked me about what’s the most important thing in my life, I promptly answered ‘good relationships’ and by it I mean people. Of course, people are important in life. What is so important than people?

This is all the wisdom I can think of straight from my heart. You want to know what is the most important thing in life? It’s not people. It’s definitely not your friends or relatives. Your mom and dad obviously are important in your life whether you like them or not. I am not saying that they are not crucial but what’s more important is the way one looks at life.

From a distant vantage point, as time passes by, your memories will fade away. What remains is a picture, of the person in your mind.  People will come and they will go just like a periodic event. You can’t do anything about it. What is more important in life is the memories, reflections and experiences from people. After a lot of disintegrating, the only thing that remains of a person is a small memory and exciting experiences from them. The next time you look meet someone, try to absorb something good.

Don’t give so much importance to people. They are all perishable. Life is a time bomb but everyone’s clock is different. Some go away fast, and some live.

Feynman comes into this picture so easily that I can not stop copying what he said about life. After his cancer treatment, Mr.Danny Hills met Feynman and said that he is saddened that Feynman is going to die. Feynman replies:

Yeah, that bugs me sometimes too! It’s actually not bad as you think. By the time you get to be my age, and you’ve  told so many stories like I have, lot of good about you is rubbed off to other people. They have listened to you and repeat what you said. I don’t know how you can see it now, but you will see, although I will be dead, I will not be completely gone.

The fact that I am writing this now and Mr. Danny Hills is still speaking about Feynman is the evidence that Feynman is still alive and proves he is not gone. What’s more important is humility, kindness and love towards humanity. Give importance to the thoughts of your favourite singer, or politician not the person itself!

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