Vijay's blog

This little blog chronicles my thoughts and feelings. Here's the RSS Link. cough, Atom.

In the name of an unnamed feeling 2020-01-18

Oh circumstance.

Greta Thunberg 2019-12-31

Thoughts on this controversial human.

The end of a decade, reflections on the past and future 2019-12-28

In a few days, it'll be 2020. This'll be a mess of a post.

Best of 2019 2019-12-28

Notable pieces of music this year

Complaints 2019-12-24

What gives someone the right to complain?

Thoughts in anger 2019-12-19

The world is rotting.

Bittersweet flare 2019-12-17

Thoughts on my first semester of life in graduate school.

Plant II 2019-12-14

More clouds arrive. The moon is not in sight.

A reflection on this website's past, present, and future 2019-11-29

Why do I spend time and effort on this place?

Plant 2019-11-22

There was a field.

The difficulty with "having fun" 2019-11-02

Reflecting on the sense of guilt that comes with having fun, and why I don't have much of it.

Faith in strangers 2019-10-19

Why do I greet people who show up here with a long face?

Help. 2019-02-02

My fellow humans, please. Read the news. People need help.

A fear of judgment 2019-01-29

I wanted to discuss a fear of mine.

Music 2019-01-17

Why do I like music?

Reflections about my experience at UW-Madison 2019-01-15

While my last post focused on my time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I'd like to write more about my experience there. It can be incredibly hard to design an institutional system which can process a large number of students, while simultaneously ensuring that they are feeling intellectually and emotionally engaged in the activities they are required to or choose to perform. With over 30,000 students and a budget of $3,000,000,000, the difficulty of the problem only begins with the numbers. Administrators have to deal with a range of priorities which include research, employment, service to the state, collaborations, governmental duties, etc. Education and student experience is one of these priorities, and might not necessarily be at the top of the list. Nor does it need to. As a public university in the United States of America, it's priorities are determined by the stakeholders in the state and the nation. Ideally I would hope that education is the highest priority, because I see no better investment, balancing for opportunity costs and diminishing returns of course.

Teaching undergraduates important technologies for science and life 2019-01-15

As an student, I've been taught many pieces of software to aid me on my academic journey. Since I have not attended any class specifically to learn software or technology, all of the things I have been taught were intended for high school biology or an undergraduate psychology student audience. Unfortunately, I've had it disregard most of that instruction on ethical or practical grounds. Students are being taught skills that they will probably never use after they leave college or the class itself. I'm listing some of what I've been taught (or haven't), outlining better alternatives and providing my reasons for why they are better.

Thought as a technology 2019-01-14

I just wanted to draw attention to this wonderful article. I've always cared about user interfaces and viewed them as instrumental to guiding how people dealt with tasks and issues. My post about tools discusses how important they are. This article makes an argument that user interfaces for those tools fundamentally change how we think, which is a very interesting one to make.

Reflections about my time at UW-Madison 2018-12-29

I only have a semester left to acquire my Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and Neurobiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I've seen myself change as a person and a member of society in the 3.5 years spent in Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America. I'd to reflect upon my experience in order to condense important lessons and views I have acquired and retained, and to challenge them. I haven't had the time to think critically about myself since a year, and would like to do to now.

My technology story 2018-07-31

Auditory medicine 2018-07-27

When in moments of emotional pain, I find myself going to many different types of music. I want to discuss those types, and try to understand why I do so.

Tools 2018-05-20

When people are given a task to complete, be it read the news or write a paper for a class, they use a tool for the job. The tool can be a pen, pencil, news app, website, or a word processor like Microsoft Word. Most people don't seem to consciously care about the tools they use for the job. They want to get the job done, and will use anything that will get it done. I think this type of thinking should change.

GPG key change 2018-04-29

I am changing my GPG key.

The beauty of SMBC 2018-04-04

There are very few websites online that I follow with dedication, and Saturday Morning Breakfast Comics is one of them. A lot of the humor in those comics is very tongue in check and light-hearted, in a deep way. They are comics which make you feel better after reading them, and then make you think. That's not to say that they're all happy. The dark ones simply make you realize how absurd the world is and frame it in a healthy way.

The horror of disability 2018-03-18

This is a topic that has been on the top of my mind for a long time. I'm only recently started to realize how much I use my senses to navigate and appreciate my daily life.

On goals 2018-01-28

The biggest question we encounter during our lifetimes is "What should I aim for?" It's a question that I expect will plague people till the day they die, because I don't think there are many people out there who have achieved all their goals. There's no reason to live without a goal. Once we're done with a specific goal, maybe we'll make a new one and aim for that. Or maybe there's an ultimate goal that all these tiny goals are stepping stones for. Imagine you reach this goal. You have become everything you've wanted. What will you do next?

The problem with charity 2017-10-07

Giving to charity has been considered a noble deed by almost everybody in society, regardless of political affiliation or personal beliefs. I personally used to think highly of any person who gave money to charity, cause they did something they didn't have to in order to help others. I no longer hold this belief and have started to judge people based on what they give money to and how much they give. The type of charity you give to and the reason you are giving to charity is very important, because it plays a role in the sustainability of the work at question, the effectiveness at improving the world, and the morality of your actions.

Faux feminism 2017-09-09

Today's world needs to change a lot. We have a lot of areas in which we are lacking; Humans rights, feminism, racial equality, economic stability, etc. are a few. Many people work round the clock trying to solve these issues by conducting research, protesting, or debating others to change their opinions and perspective about things. On the other hand, we have the capitalist progressive.

Opinions on the Unabomber Manifesto 2017-09-03

Theodore Kaczynski was a person who sent a bunch of bombs to people by mail in hopes of getting media coverage on what he thought was the only solution to the world's problems. He blackmailed media organizations, stating that he would continue to bomb more people unless a major media organization published an essay written by him. After considerations for public safety, both the New York Times and the Washington Post published his essay titled Industrial Society and Its Future.

Anchoring, a bias to watch out for 2017-07-24

Anchoring is a cognitive bias that defines the human tendency to rely on the first piece of information about a choice that is provided to them and judge other choices relatively when making a decision. In simple terms, the first thing you see changes your thoughts about other choices although they might be different if you were thinking objectively and rationally.

Maids and privilege in India 2017-07-16

Today, I want to discuss the recent New York Times article titled "At a Luxury Complex in India, the Maids and the Madams Go to War". First of all, I would like to thank the NYT for publishing this story. This article highlights a part of Indian society that is assumed to be a normal part of life, disregarding the mass violations of human rights.

Internet Discourse 2017-07-02

5 years ago, I agreed to video chat with my penpal. We've been sending emails back and forth for 2 years, and I guess they thought they knew me enough to talk. I didn't expect the proposal; I expected this interaction to stay anonymous forever, sending emails across the world without knowing who the other person was. I liked the anonymity of it, prevented any judgement or assumptions. However, I didn't want to go against the wishes of my penpal, who I considered one of my few true friends.

Why this website? 2017-07-01

Well, I have to admit, speech is not my thing. Ever since I was a child, I have preferred reading books over watching movies. Text is so much more efficient to process. I could spend 15 minutes reading an article and get going with my day than reserve 1.5 hours to watch a documentary that says the same thing, just more slowly and more dramatically. I've got places to be and things to do goddamn it!