News That Shocks

It has been a day of news reading after a long time. And I discovered that some news still has the ability to shock me. Or some are so absurd that you are glad it was printed/published.

The article on WSJ today about Indian women opting for a particular time for cesarean birth so it would be an ‘auspicious time.’ I wonder what exactly is happening to urban India. The more choices we are given, the weirder we get. I recently read another article somewhere that stated ‘medical tourism’ in India now  included ‘surrogacy pregnancies.’

In other words, baby factories. Yes. The nation, which has the reputation of being one of the most conservative and populous, is now manufacturing babies for those who can afford to pay from abroad. And now this practice is legal too! I maybe get the need for a couple to want a surrogate mother. But is it morally right for them to invest in a woman who really doesn’t have an option, keeps this pregnancy a secret from everyone else, lives literally under house arrest for 9 months and gives them a baby at the end of it? The women were quoted as saying they would never mention this outside that compound or really want to see the baby. This is yet another kind of a sweat shop and I’ve a feeling that if this ever gets out to those women’s families or neighbours, they would be ostracized. And the Indian government is actually sponsoring this?!?!

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Sergent Calvin Gibbs.

For those who are unaware, he is one of the American soliders currently under trial for killing Afghan citizens for sport when he was on military duty in the region.

The story has been going on for so long that it was buried deep in my memory. But I read an account on the NYTimes today, where his friends are defending the man. Is he guilty? That is for the courts to decide. A lot of misconduct did occur in Afghanistan and I’m sure there are plenty of people responsible. It is the Courts’ jobs to decipher who and how.

But I do wonder what makes a person treat another human so horribly? I read about child soldiers in Somalia, in India. I read about soliders in Iraq killing and torturing other people for ‘sport’ and I wonder How. These are people who came from normal families in whatever country. Does holding a gun make them feel invincible and gives them the power to grossly abuse their powers?

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Facebook. Google. The Social Network. Mark Zuckerberg cleaning up after himself.

Yes. Read it all. And the more I read about it, the funnier I find it. The man seems more and more to be an egomaniac. I remember watching this movie – Revenge of the Geeks – when I was in high school. The title says it all. And it was kind of cool then to see the underdog winning. And then Bill Gates happened, and the geeks/nerds got their ultimate revenge.

So when Mark Zuckerberg happened, geeks had mostly lost their ‘aww’ value. And Zuckerberg can be quite… unreal and greedy, which was annoying. At least Bill Gates was just giving you software to run your computer. But Zuckerberg takes your most private information and then says “hey you have to tell this to the world so I can make more money” and then tries to push you into believing that this will what the world will be – everyone spilling their dirty secrets in public. Is this his interpretation of ‘world without boundaries’?

Everyone has secrets and skeletons in their closets. And even when i’m sharing a bunch of that not-so-scary skeleton with the world, I would like to keep that to a small section of the world. My secrets. My vote to say who gets to share it. Maybe I do not want to tell Zuckerberg about my liking for… yellow slippers. Silly but hey! My wish, right? Wrong is what he has to say.

Facebook has a bug. You cannot block Mark Zuckerbug. Actually, I’m not sure if it is a bug or if they fixed it since it was reported.

And now the fears are Google might do the same. Facebook has information you intentionally revealed. Google has bytes of everything you ever did on the internet. Did you google for ways to kill a rat? Your boss? Google owns the world with its browsers, mail, chat and whatever else. True, so far they haven’t seemed aggressive in using your information to sell ads or tell you outright that they’ll use whatever you post on Picassa or email people or chat or whatever and sell that information to marketeers to make a pot load of money.

But maybe they do. They have an algorithm that picks out words from your email and conversation and displays those ads on your task bar. Notice what ads are being displayed on the top of your Inbox the next time you log into Gmail. So maybe they aren’t stating it out loud yet, but when Facebook is being aggressive (or you could call it the stupidity of youth) you have to be careful about what the giant Google could do, more softly and more dangerously.

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Inspirations

It was a slow friday and after my quota of news reading for the day, I wanted to read some funny blogs. Except that I seem to be bored of all those my list (which are updated at least – do you notice that the best ones are rarely updated?). So I went back to this one blog I had started reading a long time ago but gave up because what seemed cute and nice turned a little too narcisstic and boring.

But I figured rereading this blog was more interesting than much of the new stuff out there, so I went back to the very first post written and started to read.

I had to compare to my blog and the first few posts there, where it was a little personal (not as much tell-it-all like this one) and it was fluid. It was about today and the emotions and my thoughts without worrying about if that guy who sits in the far-off seat at work is reading my blog. Somehow, though I wanted all these people to read me and stuff (seeing that little stat counter going higher everyday is such a kick!) I didn’t want people who knew me to really be reading this because then I could no longer be personal and open.

Now, every time I do write something really personal I end up deleting it right away or passwording it and only people who ask for it get the password. Or I have to word everything so carefully and not write “straight from the heart” style like I used to.

Anyway, a little incident at work today –

Every time someone leaves, there is one of those “It has been a pleasure working with you” emails sent out. These are sometimes sent to the entire fricking company (almost), so you are sitting there and wondering “who on earth is this guy.”

Except today, there was one such mail that was the most honest I’ve ever seen. Summarizing, it said “well, I didn’t know all of you because I sit in a corner, with a not-so-great view, but I did make some friends and so for what it is worth, it was good and thanks for that.”

There was no keep in touch with email IDs and phone numbers. Short, simple and honest. Of course, some people thought it was weird and rude. Sort of like Miss Congeniality where Sandra Bullock says everything but ‘world peace’. But I liked it so I replied saying “good luck, even if you have no idea who I am.”

That somehow was suited the line of my thoughts… I’ve been thinking about all the lost opportunities for a while. I never was much into joining too many clubs and socializing in college. I never sat and chatted with professors in school because there was always something else to do. I guess it is called networking and I am not too good with that. I never invite people over for a casual drink because I don’t want people I barely know meeting my family. The ones who get to meet the family are special.

But somehow it has been in my mind… the clubs I should’ve joined, the activities I should’ve participated in. The little features of the school, college or whatever I could’ve taken advantage of – I didn’t. All that money I should’ve saved  but didn’t (and actually had fun with it).

I guess those are forever gone and there isn’t much you can do about it. Sometimes I tell myself to be a little more proactive, go approach those people and all of that but I never seem to. Many who know me think I am outgoing and all of that… which perhaps I am – in bursts.

I was chatting with a friend shortly after returning to India and mentioned how it was a little awkward to meet this professor of mine. “I always feel a little shy when I meet him,” I said.

My friend started to laugh “Where did you leave the shyness when you were here? In your cupboard back home!”

That sums it up. Appearances are deceptive I guess. Which is why networking sites are a good way to break ice that exists years after people fell out of touch.

Song of the day: Summer Sunshine – The Corrs