They make a desolation and call it peace

They want to keep us company,
Desperate to free us of our suffering.

They want to be our saviours,
Desperate to be saved.

They loathe our lyrics and songs,
Desperate to respond to stones.

They blindly ignore our pleas,
Desperate to impose their warnings.

They want our identity to be defined,
Desperate for them to forcefully confine.

They say they loathe the war,
Desperate to ‘fight’ for our peace.

They clamp our soul to a desolation,
Desperate to call it peace.

​How true is our altruism?

This is an approximate figure of charitable donations made by individual US donors – 

Asian Tsunami  (December 2004)  220,000 deaths  $1.92 billion

US Hurricane Katrina  (August 2005)   1833 deaths  $5.3 billion

Pakistan Earthquake (October 2005)  73,000 deaths  $0.15 billion

A little light and a drop of whisky

How different are whisky and coffee? Yes, one gets you drunk, and the other wakes you up. But they also linger in different ways.

A spilled drop of coffee leaves a stain with dark, sharply defined edges. When whisky dries, it leaves a more uniform, often beautiful film. An unlikely research team of five scientists from Princeton and a photographer from Phoenix described the complex dynamics of evaporating whisky in a paper published this year in Physical Review Letters.

The Phoenix photographer, Ernie Button, first noticed the whisky dregs at the bottom of his glass a decade ago and started photographing them under colored lights to accentuate the patterns. 

Mr. Button was curious about the underlying science and, through a Google search, found Howard A. Stone, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton, who does not drink much whisky but is fascinated by how fluids flow.

The Princeton scientists performed a series of experiments, revealing that the key difference between whisky and coffee is that whisky is a mix of two liquids — alcohol and water — while coffee is just water, with brown bits mixed in. As the alcohol in whisky evaporates, the concentration of water increases, and that creates flows that generate the patterns.

Other molecules in whisky also prove important: a surfactant, a chemical that reduces the surface tension of the droplets, and long, stringlike molecules known as polymers, which attach to the glass, providing a template.

Hyoungsoo Kim, a research scientist working with Dr. Stone, first reported the findings at a conference in 2014. The mystery has not been completely solved. The scientists have not identified the particular surfactant and polymers in whisky or where they come from. “For now, we are not sure,” Dr. Kim said. “To prove that kind of detail, we need to do a careful chemical study.”

A likely source for the surfactants and polymers are the wood barrels used to age whisky. Mr. Button has found that most spirits not aged in wood, like vodka, do not create patterns like those left by whisky.

That supposition is supported by experimentation that took place last month. Mr. Button tracked down a bottle of Oak by Absolut, a vodka steeped in wood chips. Whiskylike patterns appeared. “But it’s not as strong,” Mr. Button said of the patterns, “because it’s only resting in the wood a short amount of time.”

Source – The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/20/science/at-the-bottom-of-a-whisky-glass-a-beautiful-experiment.html

A Journey, Fascinating Indeed!

A particularly fine travel bill surfaced this week, and it’s real. Filed 47 years ago by Buzz Aldrin, it claimed $33.31 for incidental travel expenses incurred in the course of an extremely important journey.

The itinerary read: Houston, Cape Kennedy, Moon, Pacific Ocean, return to Houston. Modes of transport included military aircraft, an Essex class aircraft carrier and, of course, Apollo 11, in which Aldrin had piloted the lunar module, Eagle.

Source – Indian Express

A Reply

Yesterday, I wrote a post ‘Murderous Inequality‘. I discussed in it a murder that happened in Chennai and the gender issues relating to it.

I have always welcome critic of my views. They help me inform myself, correct myself. Especially on such sensitive issues, I think it is even more important to discuss rather than be closeted in your own opinion.

This guy (I am assuming since he doesn’t disclose his name ) animeindianphilospher had some pretty derogatory and personal comments on my post. Read it to understand it.

I did not want to initially address it. But I couldn’t neglect it. He seems to have taken my post very personally as if I was refering to him specifically. I was not. It was about the prevalent things in society.

Here I try to answer some of his comments –

1. He doesn’t even acknowledge what the post was about. The murder of a woman.

2. He asks me to give instances of female objectification in movies. Read it here, here, here and here.

3. I acknowledge the help that some provide to their mothers. It is commendable but it would certainly be naive to assume this to be common. That he say ‘not much but we do help’ is a proof of the assumed limitations that men put on themselves when it comes to household activities.

4. Of course violence is common. What he, in his comment, certainly seems to have failed to understand in my post is that the reasons the are inflicted on women, in particular are ‘unique’. And yes, men are violated too. But that was never the subject of my post.

5. My sense is that he don’t seem to care about details in what he reads. I never wrote – boys are ‘taught that girls are subservient..’. I used an adjective ‘passively taught’ which he has quoted in his comment but seem not to take note of it.

6. Yes, women do guard our borders. And if they are less in number, its not because of their own lack of dedication but policies of the defence deparment. I take serious offence to these words of his – ‘In army they are not foot soldier they are just there to show that indian army has womans.’ He should check his facts before making such outrageous claims. His words do a disservice to the many men and women of our armed forces.

7. Yes, women do work in coal mines as field engineers. And yes they do clean sewers. The same argument of ‘clubbing’ of ‘jobs’ as per gender that he suggests being unfair for the male is used by people who specify a very narrow spectrum of things women can do.

8. I did not mean, nor do I intend to insult women who do not ‘formally’ work. I never said there is anything bad in household work. Its even tougher. (I do some cooking too and abundantly enjoy it.) Some woman just want to be a housewife. There’s nothing wrong there. I never advocated otherwise. But what about those who do not want to be housewives? Don’t they deserve a chance at their ‘dream’?

9. What I am definitely say is that many men( not all, just to clarify ) feel threatened and insecure by women who achieve success or by those who rejected their sexual or romantic advances.

Lastly, I am not hurt by his comments. They only helped me prove my points in what I had already mentioned. In fact, it strengthened them.

His apologetic comments in the end seem to suggest that he made his comments in a tired mood. I’d give him the benefit of doubt and ask him reconsider his views.