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Monthly Archives: November 2007


Maybe what shocked me was the way it was worded, essentially saying that Kongregate was sending the data without even asking my permission (even though there is a No Thanks button in the corner) but needless to say, I was not too thrilled about my surfing habits showing up on my Facebook profile.

So I clicked No Thanks, and hopped over to Facebook and looked at the privacy settings for this new program. And found they give you the options of choosing allow, notify me, or never.

The problem however is, that even though you can choose whether or not it is made public that you visited these sites, Facebook still has the data regardless of your privacy settings. Now I dont mean to sound like Im tin-foil-hat-wearing paranoid, but that does seem to encroach a little past what Facebooks role in my life should be.

the Idea Shower » » Block Facebook Beacon

It looks like the the people at Facebook, in their desire to obliterate any real control of who knows what they know about you has broadened their reach to keep track of where you’re surfing.

That said, I’ve not run into something like this myself. The mere thought that it could happen though is extremely discomforting. There’s some things Facebook doesn’t need to know. This is one of them.

If you find that as disturbing as I do, then you need to follow the link and, if you’re using Firefox, put the solution given in the article I quoted into effect.

I’ve done it already, and its as easy to implement as it is, hopefully, effective.


This is as true today as when I wrote it 3 years ago.

The training contract is all but signed. In my mind I know its the right thing to do.

It’s the practical thing to do, especially in such competitive times.

I feel like such a sell out.

The idea of being a barrister has always been part of my consciousness, through books and the like, but seeing the reality of the work, I realize that this is a profession that I can really do well at but more then that, it would be a profession that I would enjoy.

The people I was working with, other summer students, found it incredibly odd that I chose to keep coming back, when they wanted to keep getting away with the minimum time that they could.

The fact was that it was just fun to be doing the work and trying to understand the background and methods of a barrister just didnt seem to register to them as a viable reason.

Work or Play

I have mixed feelings upon reading this post. It is Jeff’s response to this post, and in a like vein to its predecessors, I address this post as well, to Jeff:

First and foremost, I’m compelled to apologize. If I had known what you had meant by meaningless, and which meaningless you were rejecting, I don’t believe for an instance I would have written that comment.

It is also why, even when what I wanted to leave as a comment amounted to just a few lines, I felt the need to preface it with many hundreds of words of explanation, so as to be careful in what I was ‘cursing’ you to endure.

In that post of such a few lines, I hope you can accept that it was my own perception, my own situation that reflected through that comment.

Secondly, I feel that you can see from reading the two pieces in comparison, how different a concept of meaning we are talking about. Yours, wiser than mine, is an exhortation to a via media, a middle way, that navigates both small ‘m’ meaningless –  day to day mediocrity, and capitalized ‘m’ Meaningless – that great metaphysical nihilism in the face of cosmic reality.

Mine was concerned only with the big M version.

I read your post, now with the context that you’ve given, as supporting this middle path. A path that looks to carve out a life lived well, and a life fulfilled in both its potential and its dreams.

It is a vision of meaningfulness that is both strong and positive, one that very few people would turn away from when articulated. Who amongst us would disagree with this:

I want to have something to show, for the way I’ve lived my life. if not contributing meaning to the universe, or mankind in general, then at least I don’t want to regret having done nothing but get into a series of broken relationships when I’m fifty. the way I’ve lived the past two decades of my life.

Finally, when I started I said I had mixed feeling. The other feeling, incongruously, or not, perhaps not, is a feeling of happiness and anticipation. 

I  look forward to seeing what comes of a Jeff who dedicates himself as fiercely to the many big things in his life, whatever he chooses those to be, as he does to the many small things, whatever those will be.

Given the propensity to excel, I doubt I will be disappointed. I’m rather sure, given how colorful a character you are, that I will be intrigued by how the tale unfolds. As has already been quite jovially admitted, you are both a tart and a rogue. And they’re always forced to live a life of adventure.


‘Arranged’ marriages, characterized by strong parental control over mate choice, are the norm in India, although there is a steady transition towards autonomous ‘love’ marriages, especially within the urban middle class.

I construct a novel dataset by surveying 6,030 parents and adult children in Mumbai, India to study selection into arranged marriage and its effects on spouse choice. I consider the choice between an arranged and love marriage as the outcome of bargaining between parents and children, where agents have different preferences for spouse attributes.

I find that stronger financial and kinship ties between parents and sons increase the likelihood of an arranged marriage. Furthermore, when parents are involved in mate choice, sons are significantly less likely to marry college-educated women and women engaged in the labor force, after controlling for individual and family characteristics.

I show that these effects are driven, at least in part, by parental preferences and cannot entirely be attributed to correlation between arranged marriages and unobserved characteristics. These results suggest that lowering the incentive for parental control in mate choice may improve investments in women’s human capital in India.

Divya Mathur – Research

Interesting huh? Especially that last paragraph is a bit surprising, given the focus on Mumbai, which I would have thought would be that bit more progressive than other cities as it is India’s financial hub.

This is the synopsis of a research paper written by  Divya Mathur who is a PhD candidate for Economics at the University of Chicago. This is the full original paper, which makes interesting reading. I skimmed through it and its definitely worth coming back to in depth.

Lastly, a shout out to Tyler Cowen and the phenomenal economics blog Marginal Revolution for bringing this to my attention. If you have an inclination to keep up with one of the most internet friendly and sharp minds in economics, you need to read Marginal Revolution. It also helps if you have an appreciation of how bizarre the world can truly be.

Ten Principles To The Zen Of Attraction:-

1. Promise Nothing : Just do what you most enjoy doing. Hidden benefit: You will always over-deliver.

2. Offer Nothing : Just share what you have with those who express an interest in it. Hidden benefit: Takes the pressure off of wanting other people to see you as valuable or important.

3. Expect Nothing : Just enjoy what you already have. Its plenty. Hidden benefit: You will realize how complete your life is already.

4. Need Nothing : Just build up your reserves and your needs will disappear. Hidden benefit: You boundaries will be extended and filled with space.

5. Create Nothing : Just respond well to what comes to you. Hidden benefit: Openness.

6. Hype Nothing : Just let quality sell by itself. Hidden benefit: Trustability.

7. Plan Nothing : Just take the path of least resistance. Hidden benefit: Achievement will become effortless.

8. Learn Nothing : Just let your body absorb it all on your behalf. Hidden benefit: You will become more receptive to what you need to know in the moment.

9. Become No One : Just be more of yourself. Hidden benefit: Authenticity.

10. Change Nothing : Just tell the truth and things will change by themselves. Hidden benefit: Acceptance.

The Zen Of Attraction » Graham English’s Integral Conversations

I like this. Even if its based on that noxious movie, The Secret which is a triumph of marketing over reality.

It’s a refreshing approach to life, that’s more casual than those rules I’ve internalized. This rigid self imposed code under which I over think my actions. Where everything is deliberate and therefore contained. Where everything is imbued with meaning. Both my actions and the actions of others.

I now know that things don’t work like that. The things we do are casual and unthought. Those gestures that are thrown away, those thoughts, those feelings that are fleeting in the scheme of things, which reveal who we are, and how we are perceived by others, and how incongruous those two can be.

I don’t mean that I’m going to replace my whole code with this one. I’m not going to become passive, which is what I read this as saying. Instead I accept that my code is not universal, nor even comprehensive. There are areas and experiences which it doesn’t cater for. Areas it wasn’t even designed to navigate.

I can set those parts of it aside, and enjoy the feeling of drift in new worlds.

This is cool and gross at the same time.

My mind boggles at the sheer diversity and persistence of Life. These narrow niches which it finds to survive in. The audacious perversity of its solutions.

Nature is truly marvelous.

Cymothoa exigua is a parasitic crustacean like no other, as it does not just live in its host but actually replaces part of it.

First it attaches itself at the base of the tongue of the chosen fish, with the claws on its front three pairs of legs, and begins to extract blood. As the parasite grows, less and less blood is able to reach the tongue, and eventually the organ atrophies and dies, at which time the parasite attaches to the muscles of the tongue stub replacing the tongue with its own body

ectoplasmosis » Icthyoid Alien

Icthyoid Alien

I’ve always liked darker themes compared to the light and bright ones.

I saw that Ali Eteraz had switched to this a while back and when I realised it was available on I’ve been debating with myself whether to switch. I’ve decided that I’ll commit to the change.

I’m particularly taken with the  bright orange. I like bright orange  as a colour because I associate it with irreverent exuberance and its the only “in your face” colour that you’re ever likely to find me wearing. My inclination to dandyism is weak, but it is there.

That said, you may disagree and feel that the previous theme was better. If so, speak now or hold your peace….

Kasparov versus the World is a fascinating case study in the power of collective collaboration.

Most encouragingly for us, Kasparov versus the World provides convincing evidence that large groups of people acting in concert can solve creative problems well beyond the reach of any of them alone.

Michael Nielsen » Kasparov versus the World

In 1999, Gary Kasparov played the World in a chess game. It was organized by Microsoft and, in the end, co-ordinated by a young chess prodigy called Irina Krush,  the 15 year old US Women’s Chess Champion.

She didn’t start with that job, and how she acquired it is told in the link. Even more interesting, as the bit I’ve quoted shows, is the way that the community of interested players, arranged themselves and how the ‘appointment’ of a coordinator for the World resulted in a whole much stronger than its parts.

The author, Michael Nielsen, is focused on how this collaborative approach might change the way science is done.

I think that’s just scratching the surface.

We’ve seen the way collaboration has changed how software is written through the Open Source moment.  We’ve seen how it’s changed the way you write an encyclopedia through Wikipedia. We’ve seen what one good indexer in Google can do to the shape of all the information on the internet, by using our own assessments of it.

We live in the age of the Prosumer. Where the amateur, with dedication, can make himself indistinguishable from the professional. Where these amateurs can collaborate and share the best tips, tricks and ideas. Where there will be individuals who harness, coordinate and combine this material out of love for the task. We’ve seen how a patient can go in as well informed as his doctor, because he spent half an hour on Web MD. You can get course materials from the best universities in the world, from their best minds, without paying a penny.

This will eventually occur in all fields.

I believe that this will lead to an amazing knowledge revolution. A world where information is easily accessible, very cheap, and diffuses easily.

Information will become a commodity.

Now pull it together. An imaginative, smart, well informed set of people who apply themselves to their tasks with passion. Who are organized, inquisitive and creative.

The implications are revolutionary.

We live in interesting times.

I feel the urge to shout out loud. To shake
The world with primal sounds of gnashing teeth.
Unchain the inner animal and seize
In grasping hand a crown, a green hued wreath.
To find in prizes, sublime contentment,
Which fills the void. I must elude this taint.
Evade these peaceful paths without resentment.
Rebuking both the sinner and the saint
As false exercises in genuflection.
This weighty burden of introspection,
I surrender. Let others carry on.

The Metropolitan police was today found guilty of a catastrophic series of errors during the operation that led to firearms officers shooting Jean Charles de Menezes dead on the London underground.

The force was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £385,000 costs after an Old Bailey jury found it had breached health and safety rules and failed in its duty to protect members of the public in the killing of the Brazilian electrician at Stockwell station on July 22 2005.


In a highly unusual move, the judge, Mr Justice Henriques, allowed the jury to insert a caveat into the verdict that stated that Cressida Dick, the commander in charge of the operation on the day, should not be held personally culpable for the events that unfolded.

Met guilty over De Menezes shooting | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

I feel that this is justice  both delayed and denied.

The main issue I have is with the ridiculousness of the charge. Of all the things that happened leading up to the murder of an innocent man, the only thing that was even remotely questionable in a criminal court was a health and safety omission? The mind recoils.

The optimist may well say, at least we have a conviction. At least in practice, de Menezes has been vindicated and the Met have accepted responsibility for their failures on conviction.

I believe that such unbounded optimism would be misplaced.

The Met may have taken the rap for it, but as is often the case with government, they don’t bear the costs of their own failures. Will the procedures and operations of the Met change internally? Will they put in the procedures to ensure something like this cannot happen again? Will we have any real way to know until another innocent man gets shot?

Neither will any of the myriad police officers involved that day take any personal responsibility. That the commander of the operation is to be treated as blameless troubles me. With power comes responsibility, but apparently not when your negligence results in killing with unlawful authority for the right people.

Instead after a series of errors so atrocious that we have to pretend this performance was comedic to deal with it., we must accept that no one will take the slightest blemish in their professional lives.

It feels wrong at so many levels.