Friday, February 23, 2007

Israel Defense Minister can't use binoculars


Snow on Mt. Hamilton

There's snow on Mt. Hamilton. Need to check it out.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Germany's baby boom

(via Tyler Cowen via Jason Kottke) The Soccer World Cup resulted in a "much needed" baby boom in Germany. U-oh! I hope India does not end up winning the World Cup. Last thing we need is a baby boom.

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On Free Will

Free will is a hot topic in philosophy and popular writing these days. Scott Adams has pretty much written it off, for example. Philosophers seem to be very reluctant to give it up since it might mean pretty much the end of their profession. My read of this review of a book by philosopher John Searle is that free will is similar to quantum mechanics and is nondeterministic. That's the only way the concept will survive.



Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gujarat Social Studies textbooks biased

An NGO study shows that the Gujarat textbooks are carrying a lot of garbage, such as:

*Gujarat is a border state. Its land and sea boundaries touch the boundaries of Pakistan which is like a den of terrorism. Under such circumstances, it is absolutely necessary for us to understand the effects of terrorism and the role of citizens in the fight against it

*If every countryman becomes an ideal citizen and develops patriotism, the National Population Policy can definitely be achieved

*When people used to meet earlier, they wished each other saying Ram Ram and by shaking hands. Today, people enjoy their meeting by speaking Namaste. Is it not a change?

*Making full use of Muslim fanaticism, Osama Bin Laden organized die-hard Muslims and founded the International Jihad Organization in the name of the Jehedi movement*
[Excerpted from Social Science textbooks, standard nine (2005) and standard eight (2004)]

This is very very disturbing. Textbooks have a huge role to play in shaping young people's mindsets. Most of the history that I know today comes from the Social Studies textbooks from class 5-10. If you tinker with those, the kids are going to have with a pretty skewed view of the world. Scary.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

World Cup Injury List

Ian Chappell says that the World Cup could turn out to be a "Well Cup" - the team that's well wins. I think most of the stars will figure out a way to recover in time for the tournament. But here's the partial list of injured players:

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