Sunday, September 28, 2008

At The Mercy Of A Worm!

Technology has progressed at such a rapid pace that people who were born in the late 70’s and early 80’s are struggling to keep pace with it. Mind boggling gadgets are being invented and mass produced. I find myself on the slower side when it comes to technology. Apart from a 7 year old computer and a 3 year old bike and a 9 year old wrist watch, I have nothing in my personal possession that can be called as “Technology.” No mobile phone, no music player, no iPod, no walkman…..and the list goes on…

So it’s understandable, that when I go around saying that I can survive without technology, people are bewildered. People these days find it impossible to live without their beloved gadgets. When these gadgets stop functioning, their whole life comes to a standstill.

I had seen my friends suffer and I was smirking deep down inside that this would never happen to me. But it happened.

My computer got infected by a worm which has a very silly name. It completely crippled my computer. AVG antivirus was disabled. My computer would reboot every time I tried to access the task manager, folder options and the run command. Unknown programs would run and I couldn’t stop them. I tried everything from scanning in the safe mode to restoring using the system restore. But to no avail.

Finally I turned to the IT department at the company where I work, for help. Got my hard disk scanned using an enterprise grade antivirus solution. It found just 3 copies of the worm on the hard disk. A free online tool known as RRT did the rest removing all the restrictions that the worm had put in place and my computer was up and running.

Worms are nasty things, both the living ones and the ones that lurk in their digital forms. I was brought down to my knees by one called W32.Silly FDC.

One can be carefully only to a point and pray that the free antivirus would do the rest. My friends advised me to try Avast, another free antivirus solution. Meanwhile the IT department advised me to purchase a solution.

I have placed a club next to my computer. I intend to clobber any worm that comes anywhere near it. A firewall…what is that?

Everybody Has A Choice. Destiny Has Got Nothing To With It.

“It's choice--not chance--that determines your destiny” said Harry S Truman.

In a way, it reflected on what I was going through. I always had a choice. I could have said no. But I did not. May be I was being type cast as person who does things differently just to prove a point.

Lots of them were curious to know why I resisted doing things that everyone else would do. Why would I always refuse to go well trodden path and choose the least trodden one? Why can’t you agree? Why do you put such a resistance? Why do you look at things differently? Why? Why?

What happened to all those inspirational mythical tales wherein one gets to shape his own destiny? I guess they are only good enough to be told as bedtime stories for kids. In reality, one has to do what everyone else does. Otherwise, be prepared to be labeled as a rebel. Someone pointed out to me the other day that everyone does the right thing and there is only one way of doing it. I immediately retorted saying that there are a hundred ways of doing the right thing, limited only by one’s imagination and ability.

I have observed that people feel secure, confident, and positive when they set limits to what they do. It’s like building a wall and say that whatever I do within these walls, nothing can go wrong, I can handle it, I am confident.

I have nothing against such people. It’s their choice. But what gets my goat is when they try to build a wall around me. I know my limits. My limits are bound by my imagination and my ability. So if one gives me a job which is beyond ability, I have a choice. I either have to rise above my ability and do the job or simply say no.

I believe there are no walls that can confine one’s imagination and ability. But whether I believe in destiny, I’ll keep it aside to be written about; some other day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Phoenix Rises Again!

I was pleasantly surprised when Lance Armstrong announced his return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden. The intensity and passion with which Lance approaches cycling used to give me goose bumps. I am looking forward to experience the same next year when he competes in the Holy Grail of cycling, The Tour De France – 2009.

 Vive le tour. Vive le Armstrong.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Volkswagen: Das Auto

As usual I stumbled across another interesting piece of news. The headline proclaiming “The World's Most Fuel-Efficient Car” had caught my eye. Temptation and curiosity led me into digging deeper.

“Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH”, founded in 1937, was renamed "Volkswagenwerk GmbH" in 1938. A car designed by Ferdinand Porsche was the first one to go onto production at Volkswagenwerk plant and from then on there was no looking back. Volkswagen went on to break the world car production record with the “Beetle” and rest is history as they say.

I guess the year was 2002 when Volkswagen had come with a concept car that would run a 100 km per liter of fuel consumption. The engine had only one cylinder and weighing at 26 kilograms, displacement of 299cc, a 6 speed gearbox, the concept car can travel at 120km/hr max.

The car is a two seater with the passenger sitting directly behind the driver and looks like a rocket ship from behind. Overall it looks like a futuristic car.

But one thought kept gnawing away in my mind. Though a conventional engine that runs on fossil fuel makes sense in the immediate of things, for a concept car saving on fuel, I was expecting it to be powered by fuel cells or at least a hybrid.

But as they say, necessity is the mother of all inventions. Over to you, Volkswagen.

Image Source: Cars World and Treehugger

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Global Warming: The Greatest Farce Of This Century And Probably Many More To Come…

Imagine that the sun never played a role in determining our climate. Imagine that the clouds, the oceans and the wind are innocent bystanders of the climate change. Then the rational mind begins to question. What determines the climate? I guess with all the media coverage, the political darling, the “Global Warming” would be the logical choice to put its hand up and say, “I am the one who determines and controls the climate change”.

The media has whipped up such frenzy around this magical term “Global Warming” that people without a scientific bent of a mind tend to ignore the vital role that sun with its sun spots and its solar winds, the cosmic dust and the normal climate mechanism have been playing in determining the climate and consider global warming as the sole factor responsible for the climate change.

When a certain section of scientists tried to point out this huge bias towards global warming, they were either ignored or faced ostracism from their own community of scientists who viewed them as killers of the golden goose. Some even received death threats and were branded as cohorts to the multinational companies that were in the dock for violating / exploiting the environment. Some were simply ignored.

Climate change with respect to global warming is a huge money spinner, attracting billions of dollars in funding. And where the money is, you can bet your life on it that media hype would be there like a shadow. With so many jobs and livelihoods being dependent on this mass hysteria known as “Global Warming”, who would dare to kill the golden goose.

Increase in man made CO2 levels has been termed the main catalyst resulting in global warming. What media and certain scientific community blatantly ignores or fails to highlight is that the composition of CO2 with respect to other gases in the atmosphere is very small to cause / affect a climate change on its own. And moreover, the ratio of CO2 emitted due to human activities against the CO2 emitted naturally is miniscule. But the proponents of global warming have been screaming their voices to hoarse that it’s the man made emissions of CO2 is the one responsible for the drastic climate change.

Scientists have analyzed the ice-cores obtained by drilling into the ice at the poles and have been able to accurately pinpoint the atmospheric composition of the micro-environment that existed a long time ago. They have very clearly said that the levels of CO2 were pretty normal and in no way were responsible or affected the temperature as pointed out by some popular documentaries showing a temperature versus the level of CO2 graph. Instead they have conclusive proof to show the role played by the sun spots and the cosmic dust affecting the temperature, thus being responsible for the climate change.

Proponents of global warming have pointed that change in ocean currents as a direct effect of global warming. What they fail to see or blatantly ignore is that these oceanic systems usually take hundreds of years to change and the changes that we are seeing now is probably due something that happened hundreds of years ago. Hundreds of years ago there was no such thing as global warming!

I can go on ranting against global warming, but people reading this piece of diatribe would lose their interest. Let us believe and reinforce our trust in “Nature” and leave it to her to figure out this climate change. Climate change is not in our hands. That’s the ultimate truth no matter how hollow, bitter or unbelievable it might sound.

Instead, let’s focus on what is in our control. Stop the destruction of rainforests. Prevent the extinction of both animal and plant species. Let’s put technology to good use, prevent further degradation of our environment. Let’s reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and look for feasible alternatives. I would leave it you to fill in the rest.

But most importantly, let us stop pressurizing the under-developed, poor countries to adopt solar and wind as alternative sources of energy. It’s cruel and unfair to expect these countries to build a steel factory that would run on solar or wind energy. It is impossible. Let us offer them the chance to use conventional sources of energy and improve their economy and their standard of living.

Did I forget to mention the numerous carbon offset programmes that have sprouted over the internet? As far as I am concerned this is one among the popular ways to play on human guilt and swindle money. I seriously do not believe in offsetting one’s carbon footprint by donating money to these unscrupulous sites that promise to plant trees on our behalf. Instead, if one is really racked by guilt then I would suggest that person to plant a tree somewhere nearby, nurture it. It would really warm the cockles of that person’s heart to see the sapling grow in front of his eyes and erase any guilt that he has harbored in this heart.

The theory of man made global warming is now so firmly entrenched, the voices of opposition is effectively silenced; it seems invincible, untroubled by any contrary evidence no matter how strong. The global warming alarm is now beyond reason.

A short documentary written and directed by Martin Durkin for Channel 4, A wag TV production gave wings to my beliefs and opened my eyes to the greatest hoax that was ever told: Global Warming.