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Software as a Religion ( SaaR)

The decline of organized religion and debate about such matters in the Western Hemisphere has been co-related to the increase in debates and arguments (again mostly) in the Western Hemisphere on software. Be it the PC vs Mac, the Microsofties vs Open Sourcers, the not so evil Google versus fans of Facebook, considerable activity is now being done by human beings in terms of social interaction on the merit’s and demerit’s of each software bundle. Perhaps for the first time in human history these interactions are being captured digitally on medium (that is hopefully longer lasting than papyrus).

Will this lead to newer branches of psychologists, sociologists (Goodwin’s law is too simplistic but an effort)

Even software as a religion is plausible, all they need is another college drop-put whizkid  to find a way to make it effective.

Religion as a software has of course been around for several millennium.

Also see http://goo.gl/smISa

Newer Doctrines for Newer Wars

On the Memorial Day, some thoughts on the convergence of revolutions in technology and war fare-

 

War – 

War is an openly declared state of organized conflict, typified by extreme aggression, societal disruption, and high mortality

1) Disrupting command and control objects is the primary stage of attack. Evading detection of your own command and control objects while retaining secure channels of communication with redundant lines of control is the primary stage of defense.

2) Pre emptive strikes are in. Reactive all out wars are out. Countries will no longer “declare war” before going to war. They already dont.

3) Commando /Special Forces/Terror strikes /Guerrilla warfare weapons, tactics and technology will have a big demand. So will be specialist trainers.

4) Improving the predictability of your own detect and destroy mechanisms, and disrupting the predictability of enemy detect and react mechanisms will be hugely in- even more than commissioning one more submarine and one more aircraft type.

5) Countries will revert to ancient tribal paradigms in fast shifting alliances for economics as well as geo politics. Very stupidly religion can be  factor in warfare even in the 21 st century.

 

6) Number of Kills per Weapons fired will converge to a constant .  Risks of secondary collateral damage will need to have a higher weight-age because they spur more retal attacks. Fewer prisoner of wars, higher KIA/ MIA ratio.

7) Fewer civilian casualties than all previous wars. This includes fewer civilian casualties even in nuclear war than previous nuclear scenarios.

8) War is a business. It will not be allowed to disrupt global supply chains for more than 2-3 weeks (or inventory replenishment of critical goods and /or services). commodities will lead to wars explicitly, especially since nuclear energy is discredited and carbon energy is diminishing. Expect synchronization with financial derivatives activity. War futures anyone.

9) The Geneva Convention is overdue for an update. Call it Geneva Convention 3.0 United Nations will remain critical to preventing or hastening global conflicts (remember the league of extra ordinary nations .)

10) Economic weapons, climate changing weapons, and sky weapons will emerge. Expect newer kinds of gun powder to be invented. Cyber weapons and hackers will be in demand . Thats the only bright spot.

Happy Memorial Day.

 

Enjoy that freedom to eat an barbecue- it was paid for in more blood than you will ever care to know.

 

Cognitive Biases exploited by Spammers and Phishers

"Keep Walking"

Since they day you arrive on this planet, you are programmed into accepting reality as good and bad.

Beautiful people good. Ugly people not good.

Fellow countrymen good. Fellow earthling not so good.

Same religion is good. Different religion is awkward.

These cognitive biases are exploited in social media in the following manner-

1) Same Name Bias- You like people of the same name as you. or people who remind you of your brothers name. or uncles name.

All that information is already known. Esp true on Linkedin.

2) Same Orientation Bias- People tend to react better to photos considered attractive of opposite sex / opposite preference. Especially true on Twitter and Facebook.

3) Nationality Bias- Israeli Americans tend to respond better to Jewish looking phishers who claim to be from Israel but are not. Ditto for Indians- Arabs etc. E|sp true on Linkedin and Facebook.

You are positively biased to people of same country or of friendly nation states and will likely accept invites/friend/poke

4) Same organization/ alumni bias- People at end of phishing attack will have higher response rate if proxy identity claims familiarity with organizations or schools attended. Especially true on Facebook and Linkedin.

5) Same interests/movies/books bias- Your likely response rate is higher to someone who has seen your profile page on Facebook for interests, and checked the RSS stream of your tweets for stuff you like.

Bias is just maths. Period.

Book Reviews- Hindu Myths- Mere Christianity

A statue of Hindu deity Shiva in a temple in B...

Image via Wikipedia

Over the month long break I took, I was helping firm up my ideas for R for Analytics , I also took a break and read some books. Here are brief reviews of two, three of them-

1) Hindu Myths

This is a classical book translated from original Sanskrit written by Professor Wendy O Flaherty of University of Chicago. I found some of the older myths very interesting in terms of contradictions, retelling the same story in a modified way by another classic, the beautiful poetic and fantastic imagery evoked by Hindu myths. Some stories are as relevant in prayers, fasts and religious ceremonies as they were around 11000 years while most have morphed , edited or even distorted.

It should help the non Indian reader understand why hundreds of millions of conservative Indians worship Shiv Ling ( or literally an idol of the Phallus of Shiva), the Hindu two cents of creation of the universe, and the somewhat fantastic stories on super heroes /gods/ in the ancient world.

The book suffers from a few drawbacks in my opinion-

1) Sanskrit is a bit like Latin- you can lose not just the flavor but original meaning of words and situational context. Some of the stories made better sense when i read a more recent Hindi translation.

2) An excessive emphasis on sexual imagery rather than emotional imagery. The author seems wonder struck to read and translate ancient indians were so matter of fact about physical relationships. However the words were always written in discrete poetic than crass soft pornography.

3) Almost no drawings or figures. This makes the book a bit dense to read at 300 pages.

I liked another book on Hindu Myths (Myth= Mithya which I read in 2009) and you can see if you can read it if you find the topic interesting.

A Handbook of Hindu Mythology

Hindus have one God.
They also have 330 million gods: male gods, female gods, personal gods, family gods, household gods, village gods, gods of space and time, gods for specific castes and particular professions, gods who reside in trees, in animals, in minerals, in geometrical patterns and in man-made objects.
Then there are a whole host of demons.
But no Devil.


Mere Christianity by C S Lewis is a classic book on reinterpreting Christianity in modern times. However the author wrote this when World War 2 was on and it seems more like a British or Anglo Saxon interpretation of beliefs of Christ Jesus- who was actually a Jewish teacher born in Middle East Asia.

While the language and reading makes it much easier to read- it is recommended more at Western audiences, than Eastern ones, as it seems some of the parables are a more palatable re interpretation of the New Testament. The Bible is a deceptively easy book to read, the language is short and beautiful-and the original parables in the Gospels remain powerful easy to understand.

C S Lewis tends to emphasize morality than religiosity or faith, and there is not much comparison with any other faith or alternative morality. Dumbing down the Bible so as to market it better to reluctant consumers seems to be Mr Lewis intention and it is not as scholarly a work as an exercise in pure prose.

However it is quite good as a self improvement book and is quite better than the “You Can Win” kind of books or even business concept books.

Note- I find reading books on religion as good exercises in reading the fountain source of philosophies. As a polytheist- I tend to read more than one faith.

Happy Thanksgiving Id

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Adha

Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى‎ ‘Īdu l-’Aḍḥā) or “Festival of Sacrifice” or

“Greater Eid” is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims

worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to

sacrifice his son Ishmael (Isma’il) as an act of obedience to God, before

God intervened to provide him with a ram (uncastrated male sheep) to

sacrifice instead.[1]

The meat is divided into three parts to be distributed to others. The family retains one third of the share, another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors, and the other third is given to the poor & needy.

Eid al-Adha is the latter of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from Sura 2 (Al-Baqara) Ayah 196 in the Qur’an.

 

The incident with Abraham and God is also mentioned in Old Testament

1431 (Islamic Calendar): November 16, 2010.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binding_of_Isaac

The Binding of Isaac, in Genesis 22:1-24 is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah.

The narration is referred to as the Akedah (עקדה) or Akedat Yitzchak (עקידת יצחק) in Hebrew and as the Dhabih (ذبيح) in Arabic. The sacrifice itself is called an Olah in Hebrew — for the significance of sacrifices, especially in Biblical times, see korban.

Thanksgiving

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving#cite_note-Encyclop.C3.A6dia_Britannica-0

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada.

Thanksgiving was a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships.

Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. This holiday has since moved away from its religious roots.

Note from Ajay-

Goats are slaughtered on Id and Turkeys on Thanksgiving

Happy Holidays to you.

Related Articles-

http://decisionstats.com/2010/09/18/happy-yom-kippur/

http://www.oyate.org/resources/shortthanks.html

(Id is  a holiday in secular India as we celebrate Minority Festivals-by constitutional law )

Strategic Tactics in Sanskrit/Hinduism

A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka...

Image via Wikipedia

I have used the word Hinduism in the title tag, but it may be interchangeably used by the word India. Hinduism remains the world’s only religion without a founder and also with the maximum number of Gods including gods of Nature, and was in existence long before the Egyptians, and Romans came and died. Most people end up taking the religion they were born into, without knowing what it means- Hinduism is a melting pot and a philosophy.

It has nothing in common with the people who try and market it for profit.

Here are some techniques for Strategy in Sanskrit

1) Sam ( Pronounced as Saahm) – Praise someone to gain their favor.

“Excellent Job”- Terrific- Wow

2) Dam ( Pronounced as Daahm)

Offer money to baser monetary instincts

3) Dand ( Pronounced as Dund)

Punish the person by denying him what he thinks he deserves.

4) Bhed ( Pronounced as Bhaid)

Provoke the target’s jealousy and envy by praising someone else in his presence or ignoring him.

The definitive manuscript for strategy was written by Kautilya and here is a paper from a University that refers to it-

http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/9962/1/MPRA_paper_9962.pdf

Other counterparts are Machievelli in Italy, Clausewitz and the concise Art of War by Tzu Su of the other great civilization China.

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