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June 12, 2005

AFK

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 4:51 pm

And I’m off to India for three weeks. I’ll catch up with everyone when I get back!

June 11, 2005

Ramblin’ Man

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 2:02 am

This may be possibly the most “Journal-like” update in quite a while. For those of you who don’t know, I’m out in Livermore, California for the summer, working at LLNL. I’d tell you what I’m working on, but then I’d have to kill you. Ok, not really – I’m working on source-to-source compilers. But that’s not nearly as cool.

I’m staying in an amazingly barren apartment. It’s unfurnished, and since I flew here, there’s no furniture. I bought an airbed from Target, so I’m sitting on that while typing this. But, if you scan to the right a bit on the above map, you’ll note the grayed area on the map; that’s where I work. The proximity makes the apartment situation better. My roommate has a car, too, so I carpool in to work with him.

But I wanted a bit more freedom, and, since work is pretty close, I decided to buy a bike. I got me a Trek 7200FX from a local bike store. I haven’t actually ridden it to work yet, but I ride it pretty much every day when I get back. It’s awesomely fun. I needed to start doing this earlier; I by the time it’s about 3 or 4 at the Lab, I start anticipating getting home so I can go for a ride. Crazy, huh?

I figure a lot of you have more experience with bikes and whatnot than I do (Eric and Arun – and Chethan, when you get back – I’m looking at you), so any tips about riding, stuff to do, stuff to get, etc. would be appreciated. So far, all I’ve got is the bike, a helmet, and a cheapy chain lock (there’s not much risk of it’s getting stolen at the lab, and otherwise it just sits in the apartment, so I’m not too worried). I shoot for riding maybe forty-five minutes to an hour a day (when it’s not raining… stupid rain). But I don’t ride all that fast. Would it be better to ride faster but for less time? Or should I ride for even more time than I am now? It’s pretty flat around here, but my legs do get tired when going uphill. Hopefully with more time riding, that’ll get better. Anyway, this is pretty much what I’ve been excited about for the past week or so, and I thought I’d share.

Oh, also, I’m leaving for India this weekend. Go me! I’ll be back in three weeks or so. Maybe I’ll get a chance to ramble on while I’m there, too (exciting, huh?). Take care, everyone!

June 6, 2005

The end-times are nigh

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 11:05 pm

RIP, PowerPC Macs.

June 3, 2005

Footnotes, Addendums and Appendices

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 1:46 am

It occurs to me, after writing the post immediately prior, that I often start out on posts/essays/ramblings/rants like that with great momentum, and a sense of purpose. Eventually, though (by paragraph 4, or so), I run out of steam. It’s not that I get bored with the topic. I just get bored with writing in general. I no longer feel like putting in the effort to put together well structured and coherent sentences. Instead, I begin to write more like in this post. Lots of short, stubby sentences, with questionable grammar and comma usage. That’s usually my sign to wrap things up toot-quick.

I wonder if Neal Stephenson is like that. Not that I would compare my writing in any way to his, but he, too, seems to lose interest in a story after a while (although recently, it takes him about 900 pages), so that he eventually just wraps things up quickly, without a well-wrought coda.

Sort of like this.

Salient Point or Godwin’s Law. You Decide.

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 1:42 am

Today, Wachovia apologized because a couple of banks that eventually became part of the company used to own slaves. Leaving aside whether or not an apology was appropriate (I’d have to say it is: your company accepted slaves as collateral. That’s some sick stuff), it actually set me to thinking, as I am wont to do, on a bit of a tangent.

An issue that comes up from time to time is slavery reparations. Basically, the government, or perhaps companies that dealt with slaves, would pay money to black Americans by way of apologizing for, you know, treating their ancestors as chattel. I’d wager that most people in the country think this is a bad idea. Sins of the father, and whatnot. And to some extent, they’re right. Why should Americans now, the majority of whose ancestors didn’t own slaves, pay? But what about companies? Would it be appropriate for Wachovia, for example, to pay reparations? They, after all, did directly profit from slavery, and just because those profits were realized long ago doesn’t mean that Wachovia isn’t still responsible. I’d still lean towards “no.” I’m not as sure as I was, however.

I don’t think many but the staunchest Holocaust deniers have any problem with Swiss banks and businesses who dealt with the Nazis paying money to people who had their livelihoods stolen from them during World War II. But there also is not much debate about paying reparations to descendants of Holocaust victims, and families of the survivors; it just seems to be the right thing to do.

Here is where I potentially run off the rails and over a cliff, though. What’s the difference between Swiss banks’ paying reparations to Holocaust survivors and Wachovia’s paying reparations to descendants of slaves?

Lets leave aside the logistical issues for now (how would you know who to give the money to, etc), since if that’s the sticking point, then the main point (the justice of reparations) is already conceded. Is the only difference between slavery reparations and Holocaust reparations time? When the Civil War ended, there were plans to provide reparations (40 acres and a mule), but I believe that ended with the end of Reconstruction (so the ending of reparations was a purely political ploy, which unabashedly pandered to the former slave owners). Why would it be ok to provide slavery reparations then, but not now? Why is it ok to give the relatives of Anne Frank reparations, but not the great-great-great-great-grandchildren of Nat Turner or Harriet Tubman? Is it just because the Holocaust happened in many people’s living memory? And the Civil War has become essentially romanticized national mythology?

I’d hate to think that the reason slavery reparations aren’t being given is simply because nobody had the chutzpah or political will to propose it and push it through 60, 70 or 80 years ago (which leads, if one continues down that garden path, to the conclusion that there are no slavery reparations because of continuing racism in the US – at least up until Civil Rights Act). I’d certainly hate to think that the reason there aren’t reparations now has similar roots. But maybe there are other reasons for not providing reparations. I don’t know of any principled ones, though. Mine, at least, do center on the cast-aside logistical issues, which perhaps isn’t principled, but is pragmatic. Not such a great liberal, am I?

Anyway, just more of Milind’s everyday ramblings.

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