Rohit's Realm - August 2007

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August 01, 2007

The Case for Kids

The Economist leads its print edition off this week with both a briefing and an editorial on demography (specifically, population decline), which in addition to bringing back fond memories from high school of Thomas Malthus and his Enlightened theories on the poor, also got me thinking about my own future contribution to the replacement rate. Now, as I am a firm believer that discussions about the awful menace we sometimes refer to as our offspring should be restricted solely to expressing our unchecked disdain for, calculating potential tax benefits due to, or lamenting the untimely arrival of said menace (via a missed period, ruptured condom, or other extraordinarily catastrophic event), my decision to bring up the subject might lead invested readers to express some concern since the former two have been done—many times—on the Realm. Fortunately, considering that I am currently on vacation in Orange County and primarily in the company of rather attractive Spectrum-frequenting high school girls, were said catastrophe to have occurred, I would likely be more concerned about an indictment than a shotgun wedding.

August 05, 2007

Digital Marriage Therapy

Though I am not one to generally spend much time or energy with the Wall Street Journal's Pursuits section (my preference runs to the Editorials), every once in a while, a gem will surface that is not only worth reading, but also worth blogging about; this weekend's edition presented such an opportunity with 'Til Tech Do Us Part, an article on the problems of marriage in the digital age. Now, regular readers will likely recall that about a year ago, I published a manifesto that purported to mitigate the hassles of break-ups in the digital age, but that analysis tends to breakdown when one cannot soundly assume the relationship will end in catastrophic failure, i.e., the objective is to remain in said relationship (understandably, this is a distinctly foreign concept for yours truly). In any case, though I may know next to nothing about how (or why) one might sustain any such entanglement beyond a couple months, let alone 'til death do us part, technology remains my forté: allow me to impart my wisdom.

August 10, 2007

A Tinge of Orange

For those that do not know me outside of my manifestation of blogger—and cynic extraordinaire—it might seem natural to assume that since I attended the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!), an institution long associated with dirty, unkempt, high-as-a-kite hippies, pinko Commies, God-less lib'ruls, and any number of social ails imported directly from France, that my personal politics likely conform part and parcel with that of a stereotypical Berkeley graduate. And while I certainly will not deny that I am generally receptive to progressive social causes, economic issues are an entirely different story. In that realm, I differ quite significantly from many of my comrades at Berkeley, as I am guided not by the four years I spent at Cal, but by the 12 or so years I spent behind the infamous Orange Curtain, i.e., in Orange County, Calif.

August 12, 2007

On Virtual Worlds and Second Lives

In the past year or so, as Linden Lab's Second Life® has gained accelerating coverage in first technology, and then, mainstream media, I have become increasingly interested in the notion of virtual worlds, as well as I might—they present an incredibly interesting environment for study of human behavior, technology, and economics, all topics near and dear to me. However, the article that really took the cake (so to speak) for me was one I read in this Friday's Journal, about one man's virtual marriage within Second Life and the toll it is having on his actual marriage (in real life). Now, even if we leave aside the (entirely legitimate) question of why one would seek an additional, virtual marriage, with no real (i.e., sexual or financial) benefits, when already encumbered with one in one's first life, we are still left with a number of questions about why someone might feel compelled to join, and more importantly, actively participate in such an environment in the first place.

August 14, 2007

It's the Network, Stupid

Social networking may now be the buzz phrase du jour amongst the iPod-wearing, MacBook-sporting techno-dilettantes constantly drinking grande lattes (or whatever the fuck it is they order) who consider themselves computer scientists because they read about Ruby on Rails, but for me, it is a phenomenon that is nearly five years in the making, and frankly, one which, in recent months, has had me wondering whether it is even worth the trouble.

August 20, 2007

Bye Bye San Francisco

As some of you may know, last Friday, August 17, 2007, was my last day in San Francisco, Calif., where I have lived since graduating from college. I tendered my resignation effective that day, and in September, will be off to graduate school in Chicago, Ill. I could wax on philosophic (as I am prone to do), but in the end, I think the update I sent to family and friends last week surmises my thoughts fairly well. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

August 22, 2007

Rohit Reviews: The Audacity of Hope

I picked up a copy of The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama in February 2007, about six months after it had been released. Prior to even opening the book, however, I was besieged by the breathless reactions of those around me: the best book ever; or shameless propaganda announcing his bid for presidency. It seemed that despite all his efforts to temper partisan hysteria—to see the proverbial other side—Senator Obama's own undertaking had become part of that vitriolic game of tit-for-tat, good versus evil, black versus white, that necessarily seems to consume national politics in the U.S., now more than ever in recent memory. My own response to this book is dramatically less frantic.

August 27, 2007

The First Five Year Plan

August 18, 2007 marked the five year anniversary of this blog, formerly known as Rohit's Rants and Other Enlightening Thoughts (2002–2004). In a fine display of characteristic arrogance (and megalomania), I decided that instead of doing a simple tribute to commemorate this historic occasion, I would take it one (or several) steps further: I published a book, or more specifically, an anthology. Entitled The First Five Year Plan: The Best of Rohit's Realm, 2002–2007, this self-published book is a critical selection of the top ten articles in the past five years, along with my thoughts/comments about each selection often many years after the fact. The Preface and the Afterword are both original, written specifically for this publication. It is available on my personal site in both PDF and PS formats.

August 30, 2007

Bears, Don't Break My Heart

With the Cal vs. Tennessee game only days away, in recent weeks, I have become overwhelmed with anticipation as I wait to see whether my beloved alma mater will avenge itself for the ignominious loss delivered to it last year by the dastardly Volunteers in front 100,000 people (and national television), or will it hold steadfast in its long-held reputation as an also-ran in a conference perennially (or so it seems) dominated by the evil Trojans of U$C. Such are the luxuries of unemployment.