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Profile: kisholoy mukherjee
User Name: kisholoy mukherjee
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: Male
Joined: Saturday, October 31, 2009
Last Visit: Saturday, November 27, 2010 1:22:31 PM
Number of Posts: 3,729
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: Evidence of Evolution
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 6:00:05 AM
IWantTOKNow: That is just a creationist's myth. It has been discussed in this thread before by me and abcxyz.
The basic flaw in the above argument is that they are not even adhering to the definition of vestigial structures - it does not say that a vestigial structure has to be 'useless'. From that above link, the creationist says "The fact that male nipples are not used for breast feeding is a common reason behind the erroneous conclusion that they are useless. " See? Vestigial structures are those that were once useful in an ancestor for a particular purpose (which can be found out by drawing parallels with other living or non living ancestral members), but are no longer in use for THAT purpose. It can definitely develop lesser or other functions, like sexual stimulation in case of male nipples and storage of bacterium in case of appendix.
In fact, consider this analogy: say you had a box that you used to keep your things in, now over a long time that has generated into a thing with holes and now water gets stored in it when it rains. Does that mean that the latter is its actual purpose. No. This you can see by comparing it with other boxes that have not developed holes.
OR better still compare vestigial structures with an abandoned road that has developed potholes. Earlier used for one commuting, now only water accumulates in the potholes.
Topic: Seppuku
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 4:51:15 AM
srirr wrote:
I knew the more common term, Hara-kiri. In some documentaries and movies, this has been shown. I remember the movie, The Last Samurai.

I would suggest Seven Samurai by Kurosawa.
Topic: Evidence of Evolution
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 4:34:02 AM
That is quite alright, since 'I want to know' too! About everything. And I am quite interested in 'social darwinism', and its alright if it sidetracks from time to time, but let evolution be discussed bulk of the time :)
Yes, I agree with your thoughts about the bible, religious scriptures and the need for focusing upon the 'big questions' of life.
But then scientists are pursuing them with vigor, it is just that evolution per se does not DEAL with origin of life, though it is certainly associated with it.

Coming to WC's post, I had gone through that link too. What surprises me is that I never realised that the male nipple is vestigial and it was right there all the time!!

Apart from the 'leggy bones' in snakes and the properly formed limb bones in the fins of whales, humans too have 'gill slits' in the embryonic stage. It becomes the gills in fish and bones of inner ear in humans. It just shows that up to a certain point of the development, the SAME DNAs are in use. That is fascinating is it not? And that fits so well with the fact that the embryonic development is visually and structurally so similar upto a certain point for almost all animals.

I think this calls for a little discussion on genetic codes, DNA structures and how mutation can create so much diversity.

I was fascinated to see that even with the SAME set of genes, differences can be achieved. Just because they are 'used' differently. Some genes work as 'switches'. I find that concept remarkable, but still not quite clear enough. There are some other genes that control those switches. But how switches exactly work, is still not quite known I guess.

I just saw that 'What Darwin never knew' episode after downloading it (so bad NOVA is not aired in India, it is fantastic channel) and found it stuffed with information. It was an enlightening and joyful experience.
Topic: Evidence of Evolution
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 4:01:06 AM
IWantToKnow wrote:
Luftmarque wrote:
IWantToKnow wrote:
Oh so it still goes on as a type of practice?

Lamentably. An example from the U.S.: I suspect it lurks under the rhetoric of the Republic party's attempt to include the top 3% of income-earners in the Bush tax cut extension, the old "I'm rich because I (or some relative) created that wealth, with absolutely no help from the infrastructure of my country, or the presence of educated workers, or the random workings of the market or history—expecting me to help out with all those social goods is nothing other than theft" song and dance.

It makes alot of sense because that's the same sort of morality/ standards they probably already had. They might think it's their birthright to take everyone for the lot etc, too. Whereas I don't think their belief system would allow them to acknowledge the suffering it causes other people (and how that would be bad if it was happening to them, or someone they do care about, if they're capable of caring) and the consequences of their greed. I think they are, in essence, small minded.

Let us please stick to (biological) evolution. :)
Topic: Evidence of Evolution
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:55:37 AM
Survival of the fittest is quite aptly written. There is nothing ambiguous about the language. The trick is: one has to know what 'fittest' means. Natural selection is the key concept. There are 'intermediates' but only those that 'fit' the environment, survive.
This is a pitfall for most who do not grasp the concept of 'fitness'. Fitness here is not an absolute fitness - it is fitness for that particular environment. Even then, it does not guarantee its survival under any circumstances, obviously.
This is where one has to leave out the 'essentialist' concept - that there is an absolute 'fit'. A perfectly healthy, muscular person is more 'fit' to us than a very small person. But imagine if they both have to live in a habitat that requires a small body, bingo, the latter is more 'fit'. So the notion of 'fitness' is a subjective one.
Consider a small rat. In a sandy part of a desert, it is light colored. Its body color matches that of the sand. So its predators find it harder to spot. By some accident, a few landed up in a zone of the desert that is black (due to volcanic lava). Now, those light colored rats are easily spotted. Over a large period, they evolved to become black. Mutation was the reason.
So, by genetic mutation, in this example, the light colored rat is more fit than the black one in the sandy part of the desert and vice versa. But apart from color, everything else in them is the same.
Topic: Malayasia Government destroying Hindu Religion
Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:09:45 AM
I do accept your apology (and I can see where those generalisations came from; I certainly don't deny those facts, but all of India or rather a whole country can't be committing the same crime, that was my point), and now that you have given yours, accept mine if I have been hurtful in any way.
But there was another generalisation C/C and by no means any less maligning; about Muslims being 'un-invited' and them being 'showed pity'. How many muslims of LEGAL immigration do you know who have been 'shown pity and have gone to the West uninvited'?
Topic: worse place to have a baby...
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 5:38:36 PM
RuthP wrote:
I believe that was the OP's take on how other passengers might behave: as though their inconvenience were the important part.

The post is, I believe, sympathetic. The "Ew, gross . . . disgustingly dirty" I took to be reference to the conditions of the bus, not the birthing itself being dirty.

I thought so initially too but so many words like gross, ew, dirty, yikes makes it difficult to comprehend.
Topic: petrol/gas
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 4:50:15 PM
Propane, butane (or any alkane), petrol diesel, kerosene, LPG - all are fuels.
The term 'gas' is unscientific when applied to petrol or diesel.
Topic: A myth called the Indian programmer
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 4:48:35 PM
They are the poster boys of matrimonial classifieds. They are paid handsomely, perceived to be intelligent and travel abroad frequently. Single-handedly, they brought purpose to the otherwise sleepy city of Bangalore.

Indian software engineers are today the face of a third-world rebellion. But what exactly do they do? That's a disturbing question. Last week, during the annual fair of the software industry's apex body Nasscom, no one uttered a word about India's programmers.

The event, which brought together software professionals from around the world, used up all its 29 sessions to discuss prospects to improve the performance of software companies. Panels chose to debate extensively on subjects like managing innovation, business growth and multiple geographies.

But there was nothing on programmers, who you would imagine are the driving force behind the success of the Indian software companies. Perhaps you imagined wrong. "It is an explosive truth that local software companies won't accept.

Most software professionals in India are not programmers, they are mere coders," says a senior executive from a global consultancy firm, who has helped Nasscom in researching its industry reports.

In industry parlance, coders are akin to smart assembly line workers as opposed to programmers who are plant engineers. Programmers are the brains, the glorious visionaries who create things. Large software programmes that often run into billions of lines are designed and developed by a handful of programmers.

Coders follow instructions to write, evaluate and test small components of the large program. As a computer science student in IIT Mumbai puts it if programming requires a post graduate level of knowledge of complex algorithms and programming methods, coding requires only high school knowledge of the subject.

Coding is also the grime job. It is repetitive and monotonous. Coders know that. They feel stuck in their jobs. They have fallen into the trap of the software hype and now realise that though their status is glorified in the society, intellectually they are stranded.

Such remarks about Indian programmers/coders are there all over the net.
Think Think Think
Topic: worse place to have a baby...
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 4:08:07 PM
I find the tone of the OP disagreeable, it is as if the women were at fault by giving birth in a public place! I don't think they asked for it, they simply couldn't help it, could they.