Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Save the Planet – Make Others Give up Driving

The only way to save the planet is to make someone else do it. Like the wise consultant Dogbert says: You can't save the Earth unless you are willing to make other people sacrifice.

[picture courtesy TreeHugger]

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Upside of Strife

Conservationists this week were surprised to discover that there are hordes of wild animals thriving in Southern Sudan despite the almost decade long civil war going on there. Now this is good news, yes. Reason to celebrate and all that. But hardly what I would call 'surprising'. As I had pointed out in a previous post, it is a well-established fact that prolonged warfare promotes wildlife. In fact, the longer a war is, the better the prospects are for wildlife thriving in the region. Heaven only knows what rare and exotic breeds of fauna lay hidden in the mountains of Afghanistan. Maybe someday if when the war is over, we'll have megatheriums and nesophontes crawl out from under the rubble. Only to be shot at by poachers from the free world.

Whoever said war is a bad thing?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Striking the Right Chord

We moved into a swanky new office building earlier this year. The building is going to be dedicated amidst much fanfare tomorrow. It's a nice building and all, but personally I don't care much for dedication ceremonies. You know how it is. So it was a bit awkward when I ran into one of the event's organizers in the hall.

"Are you going to be attending the dedication tomorrow?", he inquired matter-of-factly.
"Errr... I'm not quite sure...", I squirmed.
"The Commissioner's going to be there, speaking about the agency's vision for the future"
"Well, I'd love to, but I think I have some... umm... work to attend to..."
"It'll be a good opportunity to meet with people from other divisions"
"work... that'll require me to be in the lab all day"
"There'll be some very important people attending the ceremony"
"ummm... meetings... uh, teleconference...", I was cluthcing at straws here.
"And there'll be free food served after the function..."
"What time does it start, again?"

I guess what they say is true. You can take a man out of grad school, but you can never take grad school out of a man.

Friday, June 08, 2007

All Hail the Limbless God

Zoologists in Orissa have recently stumbled upon a rare species of limbless lizards. This new find provides indisputable proof that gods do not have hundreds of limbs flailing all over the place. On the contrary, some of them may not have limbs at all.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say Ha! I told you so, and feel all smug about it. What is that you say now, I didn't tell you so? Well, nevermind. It is not important. What is important, however, is that we all bask in the radiant glory (or is it glorious radiance?) of the limbless lizard god.

Friday, June 01, 2007

This Week in Pakistan

With the inevitable lull in Pakistani cricket following the unfortunate death of Bob Woolmer, I find myself turning to other quarters for my weekly dose of tomfoolery. Luckily, in this case, I don't have to look very far. For the Pakistani government is proving that it is more than capable of filling the void left by Inzi and his boys (or Shoaib and his boys, as it is now).

Sample this. A court sentences a same-sex couple to prison for marrying against the tenets of Islam. This in spite of the fact that one of them had had a sex change operation. Now I can understand the law not recognizing same sex marriage. I can also understand, with a stretch of credulity, the law not recognizing new-fangled surgical operations. But putting someone behind bars for an 'offence' such as this seems more than a bit extreme. Surely, the Supreme court will intervene and overturn the ruling, one imagines. Well, imagine again. For the Supreme Court is too busy issuing summons to Ibrar-ul-Haq (no relation to the great man), for penning a song about the salinity levels of a certain Parveen. It seems Dinesh Gupta has competition from across the border after all.

But while the Supreme Court takes the cake, the icing has to go to the fearless leader of the state, General President Musharraf himself. Musharraf last week called off an armed operation at the Lal Masjid, but made sure that the eye-for-an-eye philosophy was not lost upon the rebellious clerics.
An angry President Musharraf reacted to the mosque's threats on Monday, challenging the mosque's calls for a jihad against the government, by saying only the government can call for a jihad.
Really! Governments can call for jihads. I always thought that was the prerogative of loony religious fundamentalists. Not educated, suave politicians like the good general. I wonder if this calling for jihad rule applies to all governments or just to Mr. Musharraf and his good friends.