G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”
Albert Einstein: “I am content in my later years. I have kept my good humor and take neither myself nor the next person seriously.” (To P. Moos, March 30, 1950. Einstein Archives 60-587)
Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”
Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”
John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."
Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”
विलास सारंग: "… इ. स. 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."
Monday, November 12, 2007
“…In the sky above Japan that August day, he polled his crew: “Do we all agree that this is Hiroshima?” Afterward, he noted that he could taste the bomb in his mouth. “It tasted like lead.”…”.
Thanks to controversy in USA over Chinese toys, lead has been a lot in the news this year.
NATALIE ANGIER has written beautifully on the subject of lead (NYT August 21, 2007).
“The human body needs a diet enriched with many ingredients from the periodic table that sound less like food than like machine parts or spare change. We must have iron to capture oxygen, copper and chromium to absorb energy, cobalt to sheathe our nerves and zinc to help finger our genes. Other creatures demand the occasional sprinkling of tin, nickel, platinum, tungsten and even strontium.
But when it comes to lead, the 82nd item on Mendeleev’s menu of the elements, the universal minimum daily requirement is zero. As far as we know, neither we nor any known life form needs the slightest amount of lead to survive. And for humans, especially infants and young children, consumption of even moderate amounts of the metal can have serious consequences.
Developing brains seem to be extremely sensitive to the effects of the metal, which is why many scientists who study lead were distraught by the latest news of lead paint’s being used on children’s toys…
Lead was a civilizing metal, there were so many things it could do…”
Was atom bomb too a civilising bomb for Americans?!
Artist : Chappatte August 17, 2007
Scientific American reports in November, 2007 issue: “A headless roach may not be the smartest of its kind, but it can certainly survive.”
If Indian politicians are headless chickens, most Indian senior civil servants must surely be headless cockroaches- the teflon coated ultimate survivors.
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar wrote in his column for Times of India May 27, 2007:
“…most of the government sector is third-class and tarnished…… Actually, government spending is gargantuan: a million crores per year. But it has so much waste and corruption that voters refuse to show gratitude for the little that gets through…
The police no longer catch criminals and the courts no longer convict them. Conviction rates have fallen to 16%… Bureaucrats are typically callous and corrupt…
Around 35% of all electricity is stolen, causing power crises…
it takes Rs 3.65 of government spending to get one rupee of Public Distribution System benefit to the poor. What a waste! …
The problem is a decaying government sector that neither Congress nor other parties are willing to reform.”
Members of Indian middle-class are in the habit of blaming all the ills country faces on politicians. Instead they should target senior civil servants.
They don’t because they are their cousins, parents and children.
Artist: R K Laxman Times of India August 23, 2007