March 26, 2007

spring and winter in spring

10 C , clear sunny sky on March 26, 2007. Almost no winds. Yet, winter is not completely gone. I knew it and the weather news channel just confirmed that. It will go down to -10 in a few days.

March 25, 2007

Engineering an Empire - The Persians

While searching for the latest news on how the protests against the movie 300 went, I came across a well-researched documentary on the Persian empire. Well worth watching, if you are curious about ancient history and particularly why some people were concerned about the distorted portrayal of ancient Persia in Miller's graphic novel.

Part I

Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

March 24, 2007

Plans for stability

Starting this summer, I will try the 9 am-5 pm schedule for my research work. This should increase my research progress, while leaving me enough time to enjoy the short summer.

For now, I am taking two courses and TAing another one, while pushing myself a bit to get some research results. The course work spans over all my time, usually taking a good portion of my weekends. However, during summer I wouldn't have course work obligations and I would work on a full-time basis on my research. I also need to mention that I would NOT work on weekends. At least that's the plan. I shall see how it goes.

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March 22, 2007

When in Rome do as Iranians, if you're an Iranian.

North American male friends rarely shake hand and keep their distance from each other. There are good things to shaking hands daily. For example, when you meet a labmate or a classmate for the first time during the day, you can't neglect him! You have to acknowledge his presence and he would be more than an empty chair sitting next to you. People are distant in this part of the planet and avoid each other daily. I haven't been greeted by two labmates since Jan. because each time I walk in the lab, they keep themselves busy with work and don't even turn their head to say hi, let alone shaking hands.

I understand the cultural indifferences and I repsect that. What I don't understand are culturally lost people who when in Rome do as the Romans do.

Today was our new year's day and I met an Iranian who refused to greet another Iranian formally, for the fear of being labeled homosexual. Our formal and very occasional greeting includes shaking hands followed by cheek-on-cheek kissing.

March 18, 2007

Playing around with truth

The sweet truth is that spring is (almost) here in Edmonton, Alberta. The snow is melting and the earth is rejuvenating for two rather short seasons of fertility and prosperity. Winter was surprisingly calm and mild most of the time, but I suspect that she is completely gone. The bare truth is that she comes back once or twice before the end of the April with her famous northern blizzards. The bitter truth is that we have no time to celebrate the spring with our lovely ancient Persian tradition of Norooz ceremonies this year. Don't ask me why. It's a long boring story full of bare naked truths on the expectations from graduate students.

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March 17, 2007


To reach high standards, raise your expectations from yourself. Don't let others expect more from you; that would be counter-productive.

Your abilities as a capable and intelligent human being is much more than the limits by which you usually give up trying. Be careful, though. There is a tiny difference between pressuring yourself to the limit, and losing your mental and moral stability. Never push too hard. Push enough. Take the necessary refueling. After meeting the deadline, do an extra lap slowly and let others cheer for you. Let them know that you have finished like a champion and have them complement your hard work. That would increase your productivity and motivates you for further productivity.

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March 14, 2007

Non-citizenship Requirement for Google Summer of Code

If you are an open source programmer and you want to send an application to Google Summer of Code, don't be a citizen of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea and Myanmar (Burma). Well, you can always code for them for free if you are a citizen of those certain countries. They don't have a problem with you, they have a problem with engaging in commerce with you, if you are a citizen of those certain countries.

Something smells wrong here. Hmmm, engaging in commerce with an open source programmer, perhaps? Now, you ask me what commerce means "exactly".

It exactly means, "the buying and selling of goods, especially on a large scale."

So, in this case the "goods" would be your programming skills and your summer time. Given that many would download and use your code through Google, Google would be selling it for free on a large scale. There you go, that's how an open source programmer would "engage in commerce" with Google or better put, that's how Google would engage in commerce with an open source programmer. Read more about it and post your comments here.

Who's not eligible to participate as a student in Google Summer of Code? [+]

"Google employees, interns, contractors, family members, or citizens of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea and Myanmar (Burma), with whom we are prohibited by U.S. law from engaging in commerce, are ineligible to participate. Mentoring organizations that are taking part in Google Summer of Code may add additional stipulations regarding which students may participate in the program under their auspices."

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