President’s Day Message

If you were President of the United States, what would you do? I would end the Federal Reserve, return us to isolationist policies, and provide grants for the opening of new factories and power plants.

Feel free to post your ideas in the comment section on this post.

Responsible Environmentalism

On the surface, ensuring the protection of nature is a noble goal. But many people make it into something worse. It’s okay to recycle plastics, drink well water, and use compact fluorescent light-bulbs. It’s not okay to sleep outside or deny your children blood transfusions (note: the govt. has synthetic blood so get that if possible).

If we lived like apes, we would make no progress as a species. Apes don’t write books, create Internets, or mine metals. Humans used to die at 25 commonly, whereas now the average lifespan has surpassed even the three score and ten promised by the Bible, not because of fate, but because of hard work. Who would have though a fungus (penicillin) could be the solution to so many of life’s problems?

Humans are naturally at war with nature, and we’re supposed to be. Most people prefer to live in structures we call buildings, because living outside exposes you to all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and ailments due to a lowered immune system. Pushing your body too hard is stupid, because it makes you more vulnerable to disease.

In the same vein, it isn’t reasonable to demand everyone to stop using cars or burning fossil fuels, unless you have a logical replacement which takes us to the next level and works right now. Obviously, it is a good idea to research better solar power, wind power, and nuclear power, but until the technologies are easily implemented, we can’t begin real cutbacks on oil and gasoline.

Similarly, some of the solutions provided to us are worse than what they replace. CFLs produce the same number of lumens using far fewer watts, but they contain deadly mercury and the EPA actually recommends you call a Hazmat team if you break one. The Toyota Prius has a giant battery that goes bad after about ten years and needs replaced. Compact cars often result in more carbon emissions, because with one accident you become a vegetable for life. Instead of contributing to your safety, the plastic-and-Styrofoam car becomes your coffin.

If you are going to espouse the ideals of environmentalism, please do so logically. :)

Photo: Wood-Burning Stove

Photo: Wood-Burning Stove

Picture of fire in our wood-burning stove, which can also be used to fry eggs and light matches.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/60, F5.6, 45mm, ISO1600, 2011-01-12T08:02:52-05, 20110112-130252rxt

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Religion at a Higher Level

If you think about it, it’s very possible that Jesus was killed and then a clone took his place to show him having defeated death. If the human race was seeded here by space aliens, they may have decided that we needed something amazing to believe in because the human mind naturally escalates things so that it requires a bigger and bigger story to stay interested and motivated. In some people, inability to sleep or schizophrenia may even set in. However, with the advent of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, anti-histamines, and the Internet, it’s very possible for someone to not feel closed in but rather feel the amazing power of whatever God(s) they believe in.

The Great Pyramid at Giza is an amazing structure that cannot be recreated by humanity, even with 21st century technology. It’s built in the only place that would work to support its weight — without the large granite deposit below, it would sink into the sand. The large, inter-locking blocks fit together with tiny grooves that even modern machinery cannot duplicate.

Is it possible that the human race has started over again and again, like in The Matrix: Reloaded, each time destroying itself either by hydrogen bombs, sterilization, or mass cognitive dissonance? I would have said no in 2010, but in 2011 I’m not so sure. Human nature shows that people naturally want to believe in human potential, but at the same time want to sacrifice maidens to volcanoes and abort their unborn babies. But if there’s one thing humanity is good at, it’s rationalizing irrational or imaginary numbers, and this is necessary for most people to lead normal lives without resorting to prescription or illegal drugs, unless they never let their mind expand to that level.

Whether you want to believe it or not, the yin-yang dichotomy is present in every person and every facet of the universe and remains irreconcilable.

Facebook as a Platform for Mass Behavioral Modification

Facebook, because it is used by over 500 million people or approximately 7% of the global population, is a platform for large-scale modification of human behavior, whether we like it or not. While we may think the layout of Facebook is the logical conclusion of stream-lining and optimal programming, it is entirely possible the layout was developed as such because of limitations of Apache, Linux, PHP, MySQL, HTML, or even laziness. Oftentimes, the ideal solution to a problem is unideal because of the great difficulty required to implement it. Knowing the difference is the difference between having a successful social network or a ghost town.

Therefore, it may be advantageous to manipulate view counts, statistics, and even to run robots and automatons on a new social network, but only as long as 1.) no one finds out, or 2.) the people who find out choose by free will to not reveal the truth, either for a higher power or because they think deception is “cool,” i.e. Jack Bauer in the TV show Twenty-Four.

Taking this to its logical conclusion, a new social network’s main feature could be robots, and people would sign up in droves if they believed the robots would be more interesting to talk to than real friends. The truth of this thought will determine the future of social networking, i.e. will it continue to grow in power but plateau in numbers or will it grow in numbers while no one takes it seriously or is willing to commit secrets to it?

Building a War Chest

If you think about it, there really should be no shame in asking for money because if you are ashamed, you are implying that the people who would be willing to donate money to you will make better use of it than you are capable of.

I would never assume anyone can make better use of money than me. ;)

If you want, send me your PayPal donations to richardxthripp@thripp.com for donations > $11.90 and thripp@gmail.com for donations < $11.90. :cool:

An Analysis of the Culture of India [Essay]

An Analysis of the Culture of India

Richard X. Thripp

Daytona State College

For Dr. Natalie D. Rooney

EDF 2085 Introduction to Diversity for Educators

Culture Paper, 15%

Sunday, 2011 February 6

Final First Draft


Abstract

The culture of India is very unique and goes back thousands of years. In this essay, I will focus only on modern India, particularly on Mohandus K. Gandhi’s influence on the formation of the 20th century Indian government and culture, but also on religion and language. However, I will be ignoring movies, music, and postsecondary education.

Additionally, I will list major American institutions, advice for Indian American parents and children immigrating to the United States, academic citations, and personal commentary.

Finally, I will include a lot of relevant metrics, subjective summarizations, and statistics.

Note: I did not use proper A.P.A. style or proper citations in this paper.


India has both a rich cultural history spanning multiple millenniums, and is the 2nd most populated country on earth with a population of 1,155 million (C1), trailing China’s population of 1,331 million but leading the 3rd most populated country on earth by a whopping 275% — the United States, which has 308 million people. (All statistics as of 2009.)

However, many people in India are very poor and under-nourished, lacking proper food, water, shelter, infrastructure, education, and job opportunities. Despite this, many world leaders and scientists hail from India, and extrapolating the previous 90 years over the remaining 90 years of the 21st century, it is safe to say that India and China will surpass the United States in planetary dominance. The Indian people are some of the most hard-working and resolved people in the world, much like the Americans were in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

On 1869 October 2, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbander in modern-day Gujarat, where his father served in the Indian government under the rule of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (now the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as of 1927 and commonly known as the U.K.), of which the Indian portion was called the British Indian Empire (commonly known as the British Raj). Gandhi married at 13, had a son at 19, and left for London to pursue a law degree several months later. After enrolling in the High Court of London in 1891, he dropped out and went back to India. (www.sscnet.ucla.edu)

After failing his law practice, Gandhi spent 22 years in South Africa, where he declared himself a seeker of truth attained by love and celibacy. He also invented the term satyagraha to mean non-violent resistance, and he wrote a short treatise called “Indian Home Rule” subtly denouncing the United Kingdom, industrialization, and contemporary technology in general.

Gandhi’s first political campaign in India spanned 1915 to 1922, when he earned the title of Mahatma meaning “Great Soul” for initiating a movement of peaceful, non-violent, non-cooperation with the British government, which wielded great power but inferior numbers. When a large crowd killed many Indian policemen at Chauri Chaura in the United Provinces in February of 1922, Gandhi was arrested, convicted of sedition, and sentenced to six years by the British Raj, despite delivering a powerful self-defense and indictment of Great Britain at his trial.

Gandhi was released three years early due to poor health, after fasting three weeks in 1924 to stop Hindu-Muslim riots at Kohat. In 1932, he began his Fast unto Death to destroy the caste system which prevented people of the untouchable caste from marrying, doing business with, or associating with anyone outside their caste, and vice-versa. He also wanted the government to do away with separate electorates for the untouchables and the other castes, which angered Ambedkar, the leader of the untouchables.

Before surviving his fast, Gandhi broke the salt laws in 1930, by marching to the sea with his followers from March 12 to April 5, and, upon completing the 240 mile march to Dandi, collecting natural salt from the Arabian Sea as a symbolic act of resistance to the British Raj—specifically, the British monopoly on the production and sale of salt. Britain arrested Gandhi and thousands of other Indians, but it was at this point that the government relented and agreed to hold a Round Table Conference in London with Gandhi to discuss liberating India. The negotiations led nowhere, and upon Gandhi’s return to India, he was arrested again.

Prior to the Salt Satyagraha, the Indian National Congress further angered Great Britain by raising their saffron-white-green tricolor flag and issuing the following Purna Swaraj (Declaration of Independence) at midnight on 1929 December 31:

We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it or abolish it. The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. We believe therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or complete independence.”

In his mid-60s in the mid-1930s, Gandhi established homestead in a remote village called Segaon (now Sevagram) with no power or water in the very center of India, refusing to return to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad under a non-sovereign India. When Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Great Britain wanted to drag India into the war, but Gandhi correctly identified the hypocrisy in the U.K. claiming to fight a war for democracy while attempting to maintain dictatorial control over India. It was at this point that he launched his “Do or Die” and “Quit India” campaigns, the former being a message to the Indian people and the latter being a message to the British Empire, which ultimately succeeded with the Indian Independence Act of 1947, effective 1947 August 15. However, Gandhi considered himself a Hindu, Muslim, and Christian, not considering divergent religions to be mutually exclusive and wanting India to remain unpartitioned. This did not succeed, and India was divided into the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan on 1947 August 14 (now Pakistan and Bangladesh) and the secular Union of India on 1947 August 15 (now the Republic of India), mainly to separate the Muslims from the Hindus and Sikhs. Immediately following the partition, 7.226 million Muslims fled India into Pakistan and 7.249 Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan into India to avoid being religious minorities.

While there have been many skirmishes fought between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma (now known as Myanmar and in perpetual martial law since 1962), there can be no doubt that Mahatma Gandhi had a major influence on the liberation of India and was overall a positive force in the world and one of the principle contributors to modern Indian culture. His writing, newspapers, philosophy, demonstrations, and particularly his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, and his quote, “be the change you want to see in the world” will be remembered for centuries to come.

The Volusia County statistics on FedStats only include Whites, Blacks, American Indian and Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, and Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin. There are no statistics for Indian Americans. The U.S. Census Bureau reported on July 1, 1999 that the State of Florida contains an estimated 60,358 people of American Indian and Alaska Native origin, but it is unclear if this includes Indian Americans. Both the United States and Florida governments provide no information with regard to Indian Americans, because they recognize only the aforementioned six races. Notably, searching Google for “Indian American” without quotation marks returns only results regarding American Indians (Native Americans) on the first page. However, the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C. considers a Non-resident Indian (NRI) or Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to be anyone who has left India up to four generations removed. The Embassy says there are over 24 million such people, with 2,765,815 residing in the United States as of 2008.

A child immigrating from India would have to learn the English language and place a lesser focus on academics and memorization to thrive in the typical, interdisciplinary American classroom which includes recess, physical education, fewer students, mathematical calculators, and more artistic and creative assignments. While Indians and Asians are known for their strong work ethic and high intellectual intelligence, they may lack the emotional intelligence of their American peers. However, as with any skill, this can be learned or compensated for.

To accommodate Indian Americans, principals should hire more teachers who know Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi, and other widely-spoken Indian languages. Similarly, the federal or state governments should provide grants or matching funds to purchase computerized translation devices or hire interpreters for Indian American students. At the same time, Indian American parents should make a concerted effort to learn American English fluently so they can communicate multi-linguistically with their children.

Finally, Indian Americans should be educated about United States heritage and history including the Constitution, our founding fathers, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, our conquest of the central North American continent, Alaska, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, the atomic bomb, the September 11th attacks, the presidents, executive orders, the Supreme Court, Congress, the IRS, CIA, FBI, DHS, and TSA, state sovereignty, federal holidays, the U.S. Postal Service, baseball, apple pie, Puritanism, Protestantism and Catholicism as contrasted with Hinduism, Islam, and other religions in India, our relationship with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, OPEC, the European Union, and other governments, our status as a global economic and military power, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon, the Federal Reserve System, Harvard University, New York City, San Fransisco, Atlanta, Daytona Beach, the de-industrialization of the United States in the late 20th century, our dependence on China, and our contributions to all major fields of study including, but not limited to, the arts, music, sciences, medicine, pharmacology, military science, political science, and environmentalism. Particularly with the rise of not only the Internet, cell phones, Google, and Facebook, we live in a global, virtually interconnected world which facilitates the bidirectional sharing of information between nations, institutions, and individuals in multiple formats on a historically unprecedented scale.


Citations

C1: Population of India: 1,155,347,678 as of 2009 according to the World Bank’s Book of World Development Indicators.

C2: Volusia County MapStats from FedStats: http://www.fedstats.gov/qf/states/12/12127.html

C3: Paragraph 7 of the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2003: http://www.indianembassy.org/consular/Overseas_Citizen/para7.htm

C4: 2000 U.S. Census: States Ranked by American Indian and Alaska Native Population, July 1, 1999: http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/state/rank/aiea.txt

C5: The Constitution of India, Revised 2008 July 29: http://lawmin.nic.in/coi/coiason29july08.pdf


References

http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/Gandhi/gandhi.html

http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1998/3/98.03.05.x.html

http://www.unc.edu/~mumukshu/gandhi/

http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/kingweb/about_king/encyclopedia/gandhi.htm

http://www.acm.edu/programs/5/india/index.html

http://www.irc.caltech.edu/p-281-business-with-india.aspx

http://web1.johnshopkins.edu/aidjhu/?p=94


Forward:

I decided to write my cultural paper about the people and government of India, including Indian Americans and with a major focus on the contributions of Mohandas Gandhi to Indian and global culture, independence, and philosophy. I haven’t learned APA style and I didn’t rewrite my essay or use citations, nor did I start it until 8pm before it was due, but I think it’s pretty good that I wrote a 2000 word essay in under 3 hours that doesn’t feel like (in my opinion), a bore to read.

You can find the full text of my paper here: http://daytonastate.org/files/edu/culture-20110205-india-thrippr.pdf

I think it’s very important for even elementary school teachers to have broad-spectrum knowledge of every major discipline, language, people, and culture, even if they never achieve mastery in any of them. Only then can they seamlessly flow from one topic to the next and present a complete picture of the world to their students in a way that is fascinating and inoffensive.

Photo: Laser Triangle

Photo: Laser Triangle

A triangle drawn with an ultraviolet laser pointer with an 8″ exposure on a tripod. It was hard to get the sides right, but I think laser pointers are a lot of fun for photos.

This was on the night of the lunar eclipse, 2010-12-21. I was getting bored waiting for the eclipse to reach totality so I did this.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 8/1, F2.5, 50mm, ISO1600, 2010-12-21T02:07:35-05, 20101221-070735rxt

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Open Comment Thread

I just wanted to say I haven’t updated in a while because I’ve been sick, but I’ve had a lot going on with school, work, and family too.

Does anyone want to add a comment on this post? Just go to the comment form and leave your name, email, URL if you have one, and a comment of any length.

Please use your real name and email. I delete all advertisements, non-English comments, and spam on sight, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you.

You can talk about whatever you want — my website, my photography, your website, your photography, your life, school, work, family, whatever. Just keep it interesting and don’t post one big block of text — use paragraph breaks by inserting a blank line between paragraphs.

Thanks,
Richard

Low-Profile Living

Note: On January 19, 2017, my Google Voice number 510-936-2417 became a victim of Caller ID spoofing. A robo-caller or other scammer is placing calls from a different phone number but portraying their caller ID (callback) number as my number. Evidently, this is very easy for scammers to do and there is nothing I can do about it.

Basically, if you have a website with your name in the URL, you are not living a low-profile life. I should probably change my website from richardxthripp.thripp.com to something that isn’t my real legal name, but I have no intention of doing so. In this article I would just like to talk about the mindset and benefits of low-profile living.

When I talk about keeping a low profile, I’m not talking about having a fake I.D., not using Google, or shielding yourself from corporations or governments. I mean shielding yourself from ordinary people. I consider it perfectly normal to give out my Google Voice phone number to people I meet at work, college, events, or shopping, but many people restrict their phone number to close friends. While I use a fake last name on Facebook, I only started this recently and still list my real last name as an alternative so people can find me. Most chilling of all, my home address is still listed on all my domain registration records. I really need to get a P.O. box, but I don’t want to pay every year for it, and I don’t want to risk putting a fake address on my domains because that is technically grounds for domain seizure by the ICANN, Verisign, or GoDaddy.

However, many people don’t even share their home address or personal details with close friends or romantic partners. Some people don’t even have phone or email―you have to go to their house or write a letter to get in touch with them. Other people live in the wilderness, such as rural North Carolina, where they are mostly cut off from modern life. I’ve lived a stone’s throw from Daytona Beach all my life, so it’s difficult to imagine being thirty minutes from the nearest Walmart.

Though I didn’t list it in my resolutions, one of my resolutions for 2011 is to maintain a higher level of secrecy. This is mostly in regard to my website, Facebook, Twitter, acquaintances, and satellite friends, which I define as friends who are primarily my friends because they know at least one of my close friends well. For family and close friends, I am actually being more open. It’s just important to keep mutually unwanted friends out.

I thought of the phrase “mutually unwanted” because last month I tried to open a checking account at Bank of America and found I am on the ChexSystems blacklist for fraudulent activity. I looked it up, and several websites described it as being a list of “mutually unwanted customers” which is basically a cartel of banks that have banded together through this third-party, non-governmental company. This really sucks, because it means I can’t open a checking account at any bank that uses ChexSystems for the next five years. I don’t even know why I’m on the list―I haven’t had any overdrawn accounts or illegal activity, and I doubt anyone stole my identity since my credit score is fine and I haven’t lost any money from my accounts with other banks. I submitted an appeal both by phone and their website, and they said I would get a letter within 5 business days, but that was before Christmas and nothing has come yet.

You could say Bank of America, BB&T, and other banks are being low-profile by using ChexSystems. Instead of welcoming new customers with open arms, they use a shady background service that doesn’t even work right most of the time, and they put absolute faith in it. From one perspective, this is an abundance mindset―they are implying I don’t matter because there are plenty of other people who want to be their customers. It’s depressing, but they’re probably right. Unless you are very wealthy, famous, or both, you’re just a number to anyone but your family and closest friends. Even your medium-close friends will often turn out to be “fair weather” friends when you have trouble in life. They won’t be there to loan you money or bail you out of jail. They’ll just disappear.

Similarly, peripheral friends you share sensitive information with might screw you over. If you tell everyone you are burning garbage in your yard, an environmentalist ninny might squeal to the police. If zinc prices go up and you start melting down pennies, be careful because you could get five years prison if you keep a high profile. If you buy a car for $3000 but report to the DMV you paid $1000 to save on sales tax, don’t tell anyone you don’t know for real because they might work for the State. Being discreet is just common sense.

When you see stories about people going to jail for making Twitter updates about blowing up planes from their cell phones at the airport, realize that they are not Constitutional issues nor civil rights issues. They are stupidity issues. The Constitution is just four sheets of paper. It doesn’t mean a damn thing in 2011, just as it didn’t in 1865. No law or contract is worth anything more than the paper it’s printed on. All that matters is human behavior and human relationships, and this is why bookworms get in so much trouble. They have book smarts, not real smarts. They share too much information and they don’t know psychology. If you think paper can stop a bullet, you’re living in fantasy-land… unless it’s 100 cases of paper, which might be able to stop a bullet. :smile:

Last month, I started a campaign to remove my Google Voice number from every public website. My new Google Voice number is 510-936-2417, and I feel perfectly safe giving it out, because it always goes to voicemail. I still use the old 386 number, and it still goes directly to my parents’ landline, but I don’t want to share it even though I can block numbers, because I don’t want nutcases waking my step-mom up at 3am. While I know the old number is still in the Google cache, Web archive, and other places because it used to be on this website, I’m confident these will disappear eventually, except the web archive which will require special attention. I’ve already changed my 100+ domains to the new 510 number.

Note: On January 19, 2017, my Google Voice number 510-936-2417 became a victim of Caller ID spoofing. A robo-caller or other scammer is placing calls from a different phone number but portraying their caller ID (callback) number as my number. Evidently, this is very easy for scammers to do and there is nothing I can do about it.

In some ways, being low-profile lends an air of exclusivity to friendship with you. Only your close friends know sensitive information about you such as your address, home phone number, family, and workplace. These friends feel more valued and special because they know you have given them more trust than the general public. Furthermore, every deterrent increases your chances of attracting good friends who appreciate you for who you are rather than the public image you project. Then, you can be even more trusting with your inner circle, because they will value your privacy just as you do.

On Facebook, I am now using a baby picture as my photo. This means people who are not my friends only get to see a photo of me that is from 1992, so they don’t even know what I currently look like unless they visit this website or know me in person. Surprisingly, most of my close friends don’t even care about richardxthripp.com, nor have they visited it. It’s quite surprising how average college students don’t care about personal websites. All they do is text and Facebook. Even email is a burden.

When you raise your standards and stop sharing dangerous information with the world, stalking becomes a much smaller problem. Every day, women who display themselves in low-cut blouses, string bikinis, or sexual poses on MySpace or Facebook complain about “creepy people” stalking them, and handsome men complain about friend requests from strangers when they display themselves shirtless. A simple lesson in modesty solves these issues. You don’t have to exhibit yourself to the delight of perverts and stalkers, and if you do, it looks stupid and real people don’t want to be friends with you. It’s entirely possible to have a MySpace or Facebook displaying no photos of yourself, if all your friends know what you look like offline and you tell them not to post pictures of you.

Talking about your income sources, family, heritage, religion, political views, assets, tattoos, or relationships is also completely unnecessary. You can have intriguing and detailed conversations without revealing anything important about yourself. Instead of talking about sensitive topics, talk about your hobbies, your favorite movies, sports, current events, or what your friends are doing. When someone else shares something private about their life, you have no obligation to reciprocate. They probably don’t want to hear about your life anyway. Most people prefer talking about themselves. If you indulge them, not only will you be living more privately, but you will be establishing better friendships by listening without interrupting.

Finally, it is very important to respect the privacy of others and never gossip, even if other people encourage it. I’ve recently lost a close friend over this, and it has been a wake-up call for me to re-evaluate what kind of person I want to be. At the same time, I believe in second chances and always grant them if the other person is sincere, not just because I expect to be treated fairly in return, but because being forgiving is the right thing to do.