Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

August 20, 2021

Human Upgrade 2.0: Patch 2/2 (Vaccine Dose 2) Applied Successfully

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 12:26 AM

Finally got the second dose of the Covid vaccine earlier this week. As compared to the first dose this was a super efficient and fast process. We reached Manipal around 1pm and within 20 mins we were done with the vaccination and back on the way home. The staff ensured that there was enough social distancing and the shots were given very quickly.

I am someone who is scared of needles but even then I took the shot. This is because I rather get a quick and painless shot than end up in the hospital and get pumped up with drugs and lots of needles. It is a lot more painful (and scary) to be intubated than it is to get an injection. I know the shot doesn’t give you 100% immunity and there is still a possibility that you can get Covid even after getting vaccinated but in those cases Covid is not as severe and there is a higher probability that you will recover on your own without ending up in the ICU.

I did get a bad headache for a few days after the vaccine (I got it even from the first dose). Basically, my sinusitis got triggered by the shot and it takes a few days for my immune system to adjust to the new information given via the shot. Post that all is well. I know a few others who were sick for a week after the shot but that is still better than the sickness you might get if you get a severe case of Covid.

If you are eligible then you better get the vaccine as early as possible, to protect yourself and others around you.

– Suramya

PS: Am upset that I am still don’t get a better 5G signal!

August 7, 2021

Bypass of Facial Recognition made possible by creating Master faces that impersonate 40% of population

Filed under: Computer Security,Emerging Tech,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 9:00 PM

Over the years, there has been a lot of push for Image recognition systems and more and more companies are entering the field each with their own claims of supernatural accuracy. Plus, with all the amazing ‘tech’ being showcased in the movies and on TV people are primed to expect that level of accuracy. Unfortunately, reality is a lot more weird and based on research its pretty simple to fool image recognition systems. In the past people have tricked systems to misidentifying a banana as a toaster by modifying parts of the image. There was another recent event where the Tesla self navigation system kept thinking the moon was a Yellow light and insisted on slowing down. There are so many of these ‘edge’ cases that it is not even funny.

A specific use case for image recognition is Facial recognition and that is a similar mess. I have personally used a photo of an authorized user to get a recognition system to unlock a door during testing. We have cases where wearing glasses confuses the system that it locks you out. Now according to research conducted by the Blavatnik School of Computer Science and the school of Electrical Engineering it is possible to create a ‘master’ face that can be used to impersonate multiple ID’s. In their study they found that the 9 faces created by the StyleGAN Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) could impersonate 40% of the population. Testing against the University of Massachusetts’ Labeled Faces in the Wild (LFW) open source database they were able to impersonate 20% of the identities in the database with a single photo.

Basically, they are exploiting the fact that most facial recognition systems use broad sets of markers to identify specific individuals and StyleGAN creates a template containing multiple such markers which can then be used to fool the recognition systems.

Abstract: A master face is a face image that passes face-based identity-authentication for a large portion of the population. These faces can be used to impersonate, with a high probability of success, any user, without having access to any user-information. We optimize these faces, by using an evolutionary algorithm in the latent embedding space of the StyleGAN face generator. Multiple evolutionary strategies are compared, and we propose a novel approach that employs a neural network in order to direct the search in the direction of promising samples, without adding fitness evaluations. The results we present demonstrate that it is possible to obtain a high coverage of the population (over 40%) with less than 10 master faces, for three leading deep face recognition systems.

Their paper has been published and is available for download here: Generating Master Faces for Dictionary Attacks with a Network-Assisted Latent Space Evolution.

With more and more companies pushing for AI based recognition systems as fool proof systems (looking at you Apple, with your latest nonsense about protecting kids by scanning personal photos) it is imperative that more such research is conducted before these systems are pushed into production based on the claims in their marketing brochures.

Thanks to Schneier on Security: Using “Master Faces” to Bypass Face-Recognition Authenticating Systems

– Suramya

August 6, 2021

Trip to Historic Hampi – Part 1

Filed under: My Thoughts,Travel/Trips — Suramya @ 2:45 AM

Early last month I made my second trip to Hampi with the goal of actually exploring the city this time. My 1st trip was focused primarily on Wine tasting as there are some pretty cool Vineyards around Hampi. I am going to break this writeup into two parts, in the first part I am going to talk about all the regular Hampi monuments that everyone explores. In Part 2 I am going to talk about a historic site that hardly anyone knows about which is about 3000-4000 years old approximately and is similar to Stonehenge. (More details in the next post 🙂 )

Hampi is one of the lesser known historic sites in India and it is better known in the south than in the north. It’s name is derived from Pampa which is another name of the goddess Parvati. I first heard about it when I moved to Bangalore in 2010. It was a popular destination with a certain group of people because of the Hippie island and the easy availability of drugs etc. With the administration looking for better crowd of travelers and less drugs etc along with the desire to remove the encroachment into forest lands, the island was cleared, and a lot of work is being done to restore/maintain the historical monuments.

First Day

Our trip started on 6th July, just after the Evolve Back, Hampi resort reopened their doors to visitors when the Karnataka lockdown rules were eased. We had originally planned to travel on the 29th June but due to the lockdown had to push the trip out by a week. As always, we started early in the morning around 6:30am so as to avoid the Bangalore traffic which has been slowly going back to the pre-lockdown levels. The drive to Hampi was fantastic and the roads are amazing. I had to consciously remind myself to slow down as it was quite easy to go super-fast without realizing it. The highway system in India has really improved in the last few years. We reached the Evolve Back campus without any issues except for a minor funny incident right at the end. When we were less than 1 km from the resort, our GPS told us to turn into a complex which it claimed was the resort, but it turned out to be the Forest Department’s office. When we asked them where the resort was, they looked at us like we were crazy, and the guy told us “This is not the resort”. When we told them that we knew this wasn’t the resort and asked for directions they told us to drive on for another 600-800mtrs and the resort was there on the left side. I think that the issue happened due to the GPS losing satellite signal and thus lost an accurate reading of where we were. In any case we reached the venue and checked in without any further confusion.

This was our third stay at the Evolve Back properties, and I have to say that they outdid themselves with the service they provided. This is from the check-in staff to the waiters, manager, trail guides to everyone. To give an idea of the service level and the personalized service we got here are a few small examples. Jani always takes hot water when we go out and I take ice-cold water, we told the serving staff this during our first meal there. After that they ensured we got a glass of hot water and a glass of cold water every single time without asking. They also remembered that we both liked our food to be spicy so all our meals were custom made to be spicier than the usual. In fact the chef actually came and chatted with us multiple times to ensure that the food was made as per our requirements. Even the room we were allocated was selected to give us great views of the sunrise (which we missed because we were sleeping) and the sunset (which we missed because we were on the trails). But it is the thought that counts. Every single person there was always smiling and working to ensure we had a great visit. I am bad with remembering names and since Jani already did a post detailing our stay and how all of the staff made this a fantastic stay, I am not going to duplicate the work here. You can read her writeup of our trip here, on her blog.


The Room we stayed in at Evolve Back, Hampi


The Room we stayed in at Evolve Back, Hampi


View from the Balcony


Night View from our Balcony


Night View from our Balcony

Since, I had a hectic few days before we started the trip and had gotten up early, we decided to take it easy on the first day and just relaxed. The architecture of the property in Hampi is based on the royal palace in Hampi including the open area in the middle with a water source to help cool the place. As we were planning to stay 3 nights we had 2 full days (and 2 half days) to explore Hampi, which was perfect because they have 4 trails for guests (Raya Trail, Vithalapura Walk, Tungabhadra Trek & Virupaksha Trail) which you can choose to go on. We decided to all 4 of them, doing one trail in the morning and another in the evening.

Second Day

We started off with the Vithalapura Walk, which is a walk through the ancient market and the temples of Vithalapura – a Hampi suburb known for the famous Vijaya Vithala temple that houses the renowned Stone Chariot and musical pillared mantapa. Our trip started early morning post breakfast to avoid the heat, the drive to the Vijaya Vithala temple was short and interesting because Santhosh who was our guide kept us entertained with stories about the historical city. We parked the car at the entrance and then walked to the temple. If we had come a little later, there are electric golf carts that will take you there but as we wanted to stretch our legs we walked the ~1kms distance and I am glad we did that because it gave us the chance to explore the area in more detail rather than watching it from the cart.

The first structure that catches your eye as you are walking is the ‘Kuduregombe Mandapa‘ (Horse riders Pavilion). It is named so because it has sculptures of horses with riders mounting them at its entrance and the word Kuduregombe translates to Horse Riders in the local language. This is a temple for one of the Hindu Gods and was built over 500 years ago. Unfortunately, over the years the idol was removed and much of the temple is in ruins so we don’t know for sure which of the Gods the temple was built to worship. Another theory is that it was used as a prayer place by the horse riders during the annual chariot festival.


Kuduregombe Mandapa (Horse riders Pavilion)

Across from the Mantapa there is the remains of the temple pond which supplied the water to be used for the temple and for the drinking/cooking of the staff and visitors. The pond has steps going down to the water and when we went it was in poor shape as the water had stagnated and a lot of plant growth was there. There is a small structure in the middle of the pond where it is assumed an idol was carried out and prayers were done there before taking it back to the temple. Restoration work is going on in the rest of the compound, but they haven’t gotten around to here yet as there is a lot of work remaining. My sister has been working with various folks to map, photograph and look at rejuvenating step-wells around India as they are a sustainable way of water storage and distribution. (More on water distribution later).


Remains of the temple pond, that supplied water to the Kuduregombe Mandapa

As you are walking down the road you will notice these stone pillars parallel to the road placed about 5-6 feet apart in rows. These are the remains of the market stalls that were placed for the vendors to sell their goods. Only the support structures remain as part the structure was made from wood and has decomposed over the years. The market at its peak was almost 1 kilometers long and had shops on both sides of the road. The market was host to merchants from all over the world, including Rome, Persia etc. At its peak the Vijayanagara empire was compared to the Roman empire by the traders and scholars who visited. It was rich enough that diamonds were used as decorations on the horse’s saddles and reins/bridle. In fact legend has it that Diamonds and other precious stones were actually sold by weight instead of per piece in this market because they were so common. There have been writings about this market (and others in the empire) by famous visitors from across the world. But hardly anyone knows about it.


Remains of the Market stalls

During the walk we also spotted some brightly colored lizards (Agama’s) and other wildlife and plants that Jani found to be a lot more interesting than I did. Still they all looked very pretty 🙂

Another few mins of walk brought us to the entrance of the Vitthala temple and even in it’s current state the word that came to mind when I saw it for the first time was “Impressive”. The Vitthala temple was initially built in 1422AD and expanded between 1509-1529AD out of solid granite rock. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vitthala, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.


Entrance to the Vitthala temple

The temple complex is huge and a lot of restoration work is going on as parts of the temple is in ruins due to the age. Some of you might ask (as I did) why folks are not allowed to drive up to the temple and park right in front as there is enough space available there. This is not allowed because of the fear that the vibrations from the vehicles would damage the structure. Then Santhosh pointed out an ingenious method that is being used to monitor the cracks to ensure they are not expanding. In other countries, I have seen sensors being placed all over such structures to monitor the cracks, here they have taken a very thin strip of glass and stuck it over the crack. If there is any activity or increase in the crack dimension it will break the glass notifying the ASI staff that they need to check for damage. It is cheap, simple and very effective.


Cheap ‘sensor’ to monitor cracks on the structure

Once you enter the complex, the famous The Stone Chariot (Ratha) is right in front of you in the temple courtyard. The Chariot is a shrine to Garuda who is the vehicle mount (vahana) of Lord Vishnu. Garuda is also a dharma-protector and Astasena in Buddhism, and the Yaksha of the Jain Tirthankara Shantinatha. It is one of the three most famous chariots in India with the other two located in Konark and Mahabalipuram. The chariot was built by King Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire during the 16th century. It was created to showcase the beauty and artistic perfection of the Vijayanagara empire. The chariot is made of multiple slabs of granite but due to the skill of the craftsmen it looks like it is made from a single stone. A small example of the skill of the craftsmen is that even though the wheels of the chariot are made out of stone they were crafted in a way that they could rotate freely. (Now the wheels have been fixed in place to protect against damage). Originally the chariot had stone horses pulling it but the statues were damaged and have been replaced with elephants taken from another location.


Us at the entrance of the Temple complex with the stone chariot right behind us


The famous stone chariot

The Maha Mantapa (Great hall) of the temple is behind the Stone Chariot in the in inner courtyard. The hall is built on top of a ornately carved platform from solid granite. The whole platform is covered with images from Mythology, flowers and other designs. The Mantapa was under repair when we visited and still was one of the most impressive structures that I have seen. The hall has 16 musical pillars that have been carved from a single piece of rock, each pillar has multiple smaller pillar carved in it. The carving is done in a way that when you tap on the pillar it creates a musical sound. Each pillar produces a different musical note and there is a carving on each pillar that denotes what sound will be produced when the pillar is tapped. Imagine the skill required to carve these pillars flawlessly. During festivals and events musicians would play music for the dancers by tapping on the pillars with short sticks. The pillars in the hall are curtailed from access to prevent folks from playing music on them to protect them from further damage as they are pretty old.


Maha Mantapa, Vitthala temple


Maha Mantapa, Vitthala temple


Sounds produced by Playing the Musical Pillars

The skill of the carvers is evident from the intricately carved water channels in the platform that are part of the design (see photo below).


Carved water channel to safely channel water from rains into drainage.

Other pillars in the hall are covered with carvings that tell the story of Narasimha and parts of the structure tell the story of Hanuman’s visit to Lanka and Lanka Dahan (The burning of Lanka). What I found very interesting was the carving of the king riding a mythical creature with the parts of various animals each symbolizing a different virtue. Unfortunately I forget what each animal was supposed to represent and I will update the post once I find the details.


Carvings on the temple pillars


Carvings on the temple pillars


Carvings on the temple pillars

Another cool aspect that Santhosh pointed out was something that had never occurred to me even though I was aware of the components. He basically told us that the various avatars of Lord Vishnu tell us that our ancestors were aware of the theory of evolution and his avatars evolved over the ages to show how life evolved from marine life to the current form. Evolution teaches us that we went through the following stages of evolution and each avatar corresponds to that stage:

Marine life -> Matsa (Fish) avatar)
Amphibious Life -> Kurma (turtle avatar)
Simple Animals -> Varaha (boar avatar)
Early humans (like Australopithecus Afarensis) -> Narasimha (man-lion)
Tool Users/Farming (like Homo Habilis) -> Vamana (dwarf-god)
Warriors -> Parashurama (Brahman warrior)
Civilized Man -> Rama/Krishna


Pillar carving showing Hanuman’s Lanka Dahan

Each of the other smaller halls are also covered with carvings and paintings. If I wanted to detail each aspect of the carving this post would end up becoming a book so I am not going to do that as there are others with more knowledge who have written about the temple and what all the carvings mean. By the time we finished the complex, it was starting to get a little hot so we rested for a while next to the 100 year old Temple Flower tree and then headed back.


Ancient Temple Tree

After reaching the resort we rested for a bit. As we had to head out again (and since we were hungry from our outing) we took an early lunch and were ready for our next Trail called the “Raya Trail. This trail started with a visit to the Queen’s Bath. The Queen’s Bath was created by Achyuta Raya over 500 years ago for use by the Royal Women. It is an interesting structure surrounded by a moat on all sides which served the dual purpose of preventing any strangers from entering the building while it was in use and secondly to help cool the building during the summer days by evaporation. The building is designed in an Indo-Islamic style as during the time it was built, there was a lot of cultural exchange happening between the Vijayanagara empire and the Muslim kings (Moguls and their followers).


Carved windows in the Queen’s Bath

The center part of the structure is currently open to the air but it is believed there was a wooden canopy over the structure when it was in use. The halls around the bath have beautifully carved pillars and balconies and it is easy to imagine the splendor of the bath in it’s prime. The bath was supplied with water via ingeniously designed aqueducts and some of that original network is still in service and used to supply water to parts of the city and fields.


Ornate windows overlooking the bath at Queen’s Bath

After the bath we visited the Zanana Enclosure (Women’s Enclosure) which contained the residences of the Queen and her ladies. The enclosure is surrounded by a massive wall built to protect the women against attack while the men were away for war. Due to ravages of time only the foundations and the base of the buildings are left in the enclosure as the buildings are said to have been built using wood which decomposed over the years. The most famous structure in the enclosure is the ‘Lotus Mahal’ which was the primary residence and contains lots of geometric windows and ingeniously designed cooling pipes to reduce the temperature during the summer months.


Lotus Mahal


Carved designs around the cooling piles (that spray water)

Our next stop after the Enclosure was the ‘Elephant’s Stable’, where the king housed his famous elephants. The stable was built in the 15th century and is a massive domed structure. Each dome is a different type such as circular, octagonal or fluted. The structure was covered with plaster and Stucoo ornamentation and the remains of the same can be seen in both the exterior and interior of the stable. The mahout’s (Elephant rider/trainer) residence is right next to the stable so that they could care of the elephants.


Elephant’s Stable

After the stable, we visited the Madhava (Ranga) Temple which is famous for the Hanuman statue inside it which is over 3 meters high. The pillars in the temple are carved with depictions of Garuda, Vitthala, Hanuman and depictions of other Gods & Goddesses.


Hanuman statue inside the Madhava (Ranga) Temple

The final stop of the day was the ‘Royal Enclosure’ which was the core of the capital city of Vijayanagara. It housed over 43 buildings for the civil servants that managed the day to day running of the empire. The main entrance to the enclosure was guarded by a pair of massive gates which admitted visitors to a zig-zag area that took the visitors to the ‘Mahanavami Dibba’ platform. This platform was where the king accepted vows of fealty from his subordinates, showcased their military might and performed prayers for victory before any military campaign. Each layer of the platform is decorated with carvings showcasing the military might of the empire, their cultural achievements, representation of visitors from other nations and the tribute they offered (that included, exotic animals, dancers etc). You can see depictions of merchants and ambassadors from the Chinese, Mesopotamian, Persian and other major empires in the world.


Massive Stone Gate protecting the entrance of the Royal Enclosure


The ‘Mahanavami Dibba’ platform


Ornate carvings on the side of the ‘Mahanavami Dibba’ platform


Carving showing some of the visitors to the empire from around the world with the gifts they brought


View from the top of the Platform

Some of the other structures in the enclosure include grain storage area’s and water storage wells. Interestingly, each block of stone used to build these structures has a maker’s mark on it along with marks that tell the mason where exactly this stone was meant to be placed. In case of damage they would carve a replacement and replace that stone without having to measure the original again.


The main water storage for the Enclosure


Maker’s mark on the stone used to build the structures

The enclosure also had provision for soldiers to camp and right next to the aquaduct supplying water there is provision for the soldiers to have their meals in massive stone plates. (I am trying to convince dad to get some stone plates for home).


Massive stone plates for soldiers to have their meals on

The last stop of the day was the ‘Hazararama Temple’ that is the only temple located in the core zone of the royal Enclosure between the residential and ceremonial enclosures. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama and is a great example of the Dravida Vimana Temple style. The temple is famous for the carvings and sculptures telling the story of Ramayana in three tiers.


The ‘Hazararama’ Temple


Carved pillars at The ‘Hazararama’ Temple

With is visit, we concluded the first day of our trails and headed back to the resort where after freshening up we rested for a little while enjoying the cool breeze and then had our dinner in the Specialty restaurant called Bahmani. Continuing with the theme of giving us a really VIP treatment the staff seated us next to a lotus pond near the window where we got to enjoy the nice breeze and watch the rain while staying dry. The food was again fantastic and we really liked the meal and the service.


Pond side seating at Bahmani for dinner

Third Day

The third day of the trip started with a heavy breakfast followed by us heading out to the ‘Virupaksha Trail’. We drove to the beginning of the trail and started with a visit to the ‘Saisivekalu Ganesha’. This is a 2.4 mtrs high statue carved from a single rock which was built around 1506 AD, as per an engraving on the rock next to the pavilion. The statue is in an open pillared pavilion that has been standing for centuries without any mortar/cement being used in it’s construction. The whole thing is balanced to an inch and even falling rocks have not damaged the structure.


the ‘Saisivekalu Ganesha’

Next to the pavilion, there are a lot of rocks which were prepared for construction and here is where I found out how the ancients broke these gigantic rocks into smaller pieces or slabs without using any kind of power tools. First they locate the fault line in the rock and carve rectangular holes in the stone using chisel & hammers. These holes are then filled with hot water and left for a bit, then they immediately fill it with cold water. They repeat this for about 10-15 days to allow the hot & cold water to expand & contract the rock to start expanding the fault line. At times, they also insert wooden pegs in the holes that are wett’ed with water which forces the wood to expand forcing the cracks to widen. Once they judge enough time has passed and the stone is ready, they use a hammer and chisel to strike hard blows at key points on the rock and it everything was done correctly the rock splits apart easily. The process was then repeated if smaller pieces of the rock were required.


Square holes in the rock made to cut the rock


Massive rock cut in half using the method above

The walk from the Ganesha statue to the Virupaksha temple is quite nice and you can see how the temples evolved over the years. In the beginning there Shiva linga is carved into the rock right in the open, then a few years/decades later the first structure is built around the idol/Shiva linga which is a simple room, with rudimentary carvings on the temple. Carvings are not very detailed because the rock is extremely hard and difficult to carve. Then the later temples built a room around the central room with additional carvings and more idols. Around this time other stones were used in the construction along with Granite so the carvings start becoming more detailed as well.


Shiva linga’s carved in the rock in the open


Single room temple


View of the Virupaksha temple from a distance

A short walk down the hill brought us to the entrance of the famous Virupaksha Temple. The Virupaksha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has existed since at least the 7th century as there are records of the temple from the 7th century onwards. The temple was built by Lakkan Dandesha, under the ruler Deva Raya II of the Vijayanagara Empire. It started off as a simple shrine and over the years was built into a a huge complex during the Vijayanagara rule. The carvings of the temple are phenomenal and cover almost all the pillars and roof. The temple base is made from rock with the top portion made from brick. This allowed the architects to create very intricate carvings on the temple as brick is easy to carve and shape as compared to granite.


Inner Courtyard of the Temple complex

The temple has a lot of repeated patterns in it’s design and if you look carefully you can see the patterns demonstrate the concept of fractals. The patterns divide and repeat themselves as they become smaller and smaller. The roof of the temple is covered in beautiful paintings with some of the original colors still visible.


Carvings showing scenes from the Ramayana in original color


Roof Paintings inside the temple complex


Carved pillars in the temple.

One aspect of the temple, which is not known to many people is that it is designed in a way there is a small pinhole camera that shows us the top of the temple as an inverted image within the main temple in a small room off to one side of the main shrine. Things like this were what made it worth going on the trail with the staff from Evolve Back as they show you stuff that you would have missed otherwise.


Pinhole camera showing the top of the temple next to the shrine

The complex had a lot more decorative structures in and around it which were destroyed by the Muslim invaders in the 16th century. Which is extremely depressing when you think about it. How much of India’s culture and history was demolished by these invaders?

While walking around the complex we walked over to see the step well that functioned as the water storage area for the temple use. The structure is still in use and had fishes in it that you can feed. We didn’t but others were feeding them as we watched.

Post that we walked over to the ‘Kadalekalu Ganesha‘ statue, which is the largest Ganesha statue in South India. It towers over you at a height of 4.6 mtrs and is known as Kadalekalu Ganesha because its belly was carved in the shape of a Bengal Gram (Kadalekalu in the local language). The statue sits in a temple hall that is decorated with tall and slender granite pillars carved with various mythological characters and themes. We spent a few minutes resting in the shade here and then started the drive back to the resort.


The ‘Kadalekalu Ganesha‘ statue

On the way we stopped at the Lakshmi Narasimha Statue which is another major tourist attraction in Hampi. It is also known as the Ugra Narasimha or Angry Narasimha. It was built in 1528 AD and is dedicated to Lord Narasimha (an avatar of Lord Vishnu), and Goddess Lakshmi. The statue of Lord Narasimha is sitting sitting cross-legged position on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake Adishesha and originally had a small figure of Goddess Lakshmi sitting in his lap to keep him calm. The statue was vandalized by the Mugals during their attack and the limbs of the statue were broken along with the Lakshmi statue. The damaged Lakshmi statue is now kept in the Archaeological Museum in Kamalapura for safekeeping.


Lakshmi Narasimha / Ugra Narasimha Statue

Right next to the statue is another famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called Badavilinga Temple. Badavilinga is a combination of two words – Badva (Poor) and Linga (Shiva) in the local language. It is called so because legend has it that the Shivaling inside the temple was commissioned by a poor farmer lady. In her honor the temple is known as the Badavilinga Temple. The Linga in the temple is surrounded with water to keep Lord Shiva calm and control his destructive dance.


The Badavilinga Temple

Awed by this grand tour we drove back to the resort where we rested for a while before heading out for lunch. Lunch was great as usual and after a short rest we were ready to tackle the next (and the last official) Trail of the resort, the “Tungabhadra Trek“. While we were waiting to head out, Joydeep who is the General Manager for the Hampi property stopped by to check on if we were enjoying the stay. During the conversion he mentioned that they had just completed the recce for another Trail that they were planning on starting in the future which was something that most people didn’t know about. This was to a site (Hire Benakal) that contains structures between 3000 to 4000 years old with rock paintings from the same time. Since both of us love history and wanted to ensure we visited this place, we asked them if they could organize a trip for us to this place (More details in the next post). They agreed to take us out to visit the Hire Benakal but only if we extended our stay by a day because it was a half day trip to visit the location. We immediately asked the staff to extend our stay by a day and then started off for the Tungabhadra Trail.


Nandi Statue at the start of the Tungabhadra Trail

We were joined by Mr Sarath, who is the Associate Director of Conservation and Experiences on this trail along with Santhosh. We then drove over to the start of the trail which has a giant statue of Nandi at its beginning. The statue is looking towards the Vittala Temple and overlooks the entrance. This trail is a little more hiking than the other trails we did till then at Hampi but was a fairly easy climb. Due to the monsoon season starting the whole climb was through some amazing greenery and we could hear a lot of wildlife such as birds and other small animals. The area is wild enough that there have been sightings of panthers and bears at times. Near the trail there was another trail that takes you to a cave that is said to be the location where Sugriva hid from Bali during their fight and his exile. We didn’t have time to visit it, but are planning to do so during our next visit.


View of the Vittala Temple from the trail


Carved image of Vishnu (I think) on the way to the Achyutaraya Temple

A short hike brought us to the Achyutaraya Temple, which looks like the temple from the Jungle Book which is the home of King Louie. As per Santhosh this temple was the inspiration for the ruined temple in the movie. The complex is huge and mostly abandoned with hardly any visitors. There is a way to come to the temple via the river which is where the main entrance used to be. The entrance we came through was the side entrance only used when the river entrance was flooded and couldn’t be used. The complex is covered with beautiful carvings which tell the story of Ramayana. It was built in 1534 AD and is dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha (a form of Vishnu). The main entrance has the remains of a massive market in front of it and traders from all over the world came there to trade.


Achyutaraya Temple, hidden in the forest


Selfie overlooking the Market at the Temple entrance.


Us overlooking the Market at the Temple entrance.


Carved Pillars inside the Achyutaraya Temple


Walking through the Market Stalls at the Temple entrance.

We walked through the complex, and over to the Kodanda Rama Temple on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. The temple overlooks the Chakratirtha, which is is considered to be one of the holiest places in Hampi. Legend says that this is the place where Lord Shiva gave the Chakra Lord Vishnu which is his most powerful weapon. While we were there some shooting was going on for some documentary and due to this we got a highly decorated Coracle instead of a plain looking one. Initially I wasn’t too interested in a coracle ride but then was convinced to go for it as it was the only way to see the ruined temple and the shiva lingas.


Overlooking the Chakratirtha


Coracle ride to the ruined temple

The coracle took us to remains of temples on the bank of the Tungabhadra river and these really detailed carvings of Gods & Goddesses done on the rock itself. A short climb brings you to the highlight of the trek which is a collection of 100 Shiva Lingas in the rock with another set of 1000 Shiva Lingas in the background. Imagine the effort and skill required to carve these without a single mistake on a surface as hard as Granite. After looking at all the amazing carvings we climbed back to the coracle and came back to the Chakratirtha from where we took another trail to the car.


Remains of the temple carvings in the rocks


100 Shiva Lingas carved in stone


1000 Shiva Lingas carved in stone

On the way back to the resort we stopped at another structure that not many people know about, this was the Akhada (a place of exercise/martial practice with facilities for boarding, lodging and training) used by the king’s soldiers and visitors who wanted to compete and show off their skills for hiring. The walls are covered with carvings showing various forms of exercise and fighting forms. Even though the place is a little overgrown it is still impressive.


Tea break at the Royal Akhada

We had a small tea break at the place before we headed back to the resort. By this time the team had confirmed our extension of stay even though we didn’t get the same room we were still glad that we got to stay another day. After a short rest, we went for dinner. Since we had liked the specialty restaurant a lot on the previous day the team again booked us for the specialty restaurant with the same seating location as the previous day. By this time a lot more people had checked in to the resort so the place was full but since we were off in our own alcove we were able to ignore the crowd and felt that we were the only people there for dinner.

Finishing dinner, we headed back to the room and crashed for the night as we had an early start the next day. This completes Part 1 of the write up of my Hampi visit. Part II focuses on the visit to Hire Benakal and will be published shortly.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

PS: At ~5900 words and 59 pages long with 67 photos this is officially my longest Blog post till date.

July 1, 2021

Never used foo/bar/baz as variable names, can I still call myself a programmer?

Filed under: Humor,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 4:14 PM

Just realized today that in my 24+ years of programming I have never named a variable foo, bar or baz. These are the goto names for placeholders in code & metaphysical variables and have decades of history behind them. Most programmers use them for temporary variables or place holders. Since I have never used them, can I still call myself a programmer? 😀

Jokes aside, you should use good variable names in your code that are meaningful, easy to read and concise. Some guidelines on how to do that are below:

Also, another point to keep in mind is to avoid acronyms that can have a different meaning in a different language or resemble rude words etc. See the screenshot below for an example of a ‘bad’ variable name:

Example of a bad variable name
Example of a bad variable name

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

June 30, 2021

Why Inclusion of all genders, races and people in books is important

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:20 PM

There are a ton of articles and op-eds out there which talk about how important inclusion in books and media is for people to understand the other point of view and today I just wanted to talk a bit about my personal experience with this. Showcasing other points of view or identities in books is very important. I have a few examples to show how it changed the way I thought (for the better) and made me understand stuff that I was confused about earlier by making me see their point of view.

I went to US for studies when I was 18, and till then I didn’t have much exposure to gays or even knew someone who was gay. Folks in the US at that time were very concerned about gay rights and being called out as gay was a major issue. Some of the things that were normal in India such as friends (of the same gender) holding hands were problematic whereas things which were frowned upon such as friends of opposite gender holding hands were fine. Initially I was very uncomfortable with the idea of people being gay as that was something which was new for me, and I wasn’t 100% comfortable when interacting with Gay folks. Then, I was reading a book by my favorite author Mercedes Lackey called Owlsight and I saw the first reference to a gay couple (or syach as they call it in the book) and I was shocked. I went back to reread the para since I thought I must have misread the gender of both parties. That wasn’t the case and after a bit of time I continued reading the book and their sexual preference was treated as normal throughout the book and in all subsequent books in the series that I read. This got me used to the concept and by the time I finished the series I was quite ok with the concept. It also helped me get over the shock and treat the gay relationships just the way I would treat a heterosexual relationship. The problem is that there is a lot of misinformation out there about how gay people behave and there is no normalization of the fact that there are gay people in the world and that there is nothing wrong with it. When you see a gay couple in a book or a movie having a normal relationship (including fights etc) it removes the stigma of the unknown from the relationship and that is what will make the world a more accepting place. Obviously, you need to have an open mind about things and look at things from the other perspective. There are folks who claim that these books are the devil’s work and are corrupting people. If corrupting people makes the world a more accepting and happier place then so be it.

For me the three books in the ‘Last Herald Mage’ trilogy [Last Herald Mage 01] Magic’s Pawn, [Last Herald Mage 02] Magic’s Promise and [Last Herald Mage 03] Magic’s Price by Mercedes lackey (part of the series I was talking about earlier) were the most useful in understanding the issues folks went through when they had to hide a core part of who they were and when people tried to change them. The protagonist in the trilogy is a boy named Vanyel who is gay but his father is a macho man who fears and hates gay people so he asks his arms master to beat the gay out of the boy. Throughout the first book Vanyel is trying to understand why he is different and trying to please his dad unsuccessfully. Then he meets another boy and is attracted to him which is something he was taught was wrong, so he is obviously torn and has a lot of soul searching to do with a ton of self hatred and anger. Finally he is told by others that this is a normal behavior and not something to be ashamed about. Lackey does an amazing job of showcasing and highlighting the harm we do to people who are struggling with their sexual identity by forcing them to conform to a ‘normal’ behavior. I would recommend everyone read this series at least once so you know how much harm you can cause to someone when you reject who they are. These books along with others helped me quite a lot in opening my mind.

Since then I have grown quite a bit and then a new set of genders came into play and I really didn’t understand what they were. One of the examples of a gender I didn’t understand was when someone was ‘Gender-Fluid’. This was in spite of reading the definitions and articles that people wrote about it, I still didn’t understand it so I ignored it. Then I was reading [Gods of Asgard 02] The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan and in the book there is a character called Alex who is gender fluid and while reading the book I finally understood what it meant to be gender fluid.

I feel that I am a better person after reading these books because they made me uncomfortable and forced me to think about my preconceptions and other things. Similarly, after reading books where the primary character is a waiter or a shopaholic or a ditzy blond made these people real to me. Earlier they were people that I interacted with without thinking about them too deeply and these books made them real to me opening my mind to more possibilities and to be honest made me a better person.

There are a ton of other examples where the book is from the view point of a Person of Color or other marginalized folk and it is important that these stories are given voice and we look at stories other than from the ‘White Man’ savior perspective. There is a lot to learn when we look at those other viewpoints. Plus it lets them also know that they can be anything they want to be, they don’t have to conform to the limitations that society puts on them.

If you are interested in reading more books where the characters are realistic and natural then I suggest you check out books by Mercedes Lackey, Rick Riordan, Jim C Hines and John Scalzi (Amongst a ton of other authors). I found their books to be quite useful and fun at the same time.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

June 17, 2021

Please don’t propose by putting rings in Golgappa / other food items

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:08 PM

Hiding the engagement ring in food for the other person to find is a weird custom that has been made popular by the media as apparently this is supposed to be romantic. I have always found it to be extremely risky and silly. If someone decided to put an engagement ring in something I was eating there is a very high probability that I would end up eating it. I don’t think a run to the emergency room when your partner is choking is very romantic, neither is waiting for the ring to pass through the digestive system, which can take a couple of days. Once it is out it would need to be cleaned and polished again since the stomach acids would have corroded the metal. Plus I don’t think I would ever want to wear a ring that was literally shit out.

Historically, we have seen rings put in desserts, cakes, even pies. Now, in a new idiotic trend (I can’t think of any other word for this) there are people who are putting the ring in Golgappa’s. For those who don’t know what they are, they are basically a round or ball-shaped, hollow puri (a deep-fried crisp flatbread), filled with a tasty mixture of liquids (sweet/tangy), chilli power, potato, onions and chickpeas. Traditionally they are served live with someone stuffing it with the filling and the water which is then handed to you. You put the whole thing in your mouth immediately because the longer you wait the higher the probability is that the whole thing will disintegrate making a mess. WikiHow has a step by step instruction on how to eat Golgappa’s that you can check out.


Proposing with ring hidden in Golgappa

As you can see, once you get it in your hand there is very limited time to see if something else is there in it. You get it and put it in your mouth immediately after which you chew a little and swallow. If you are really lucky you will bite on the ring before you swallow but the chances of that happening are quite low. Most likely the person will end up swallowing it and there goes your whole ‘romantic’ gesture. Personally I don’t see anything romantic about getting a ring that I have to clean and wash before I can put it on. The only way this makes sense is if the ring is part of the cutlery or hidden in the napkin so that it is easily found and not a potential accident waiting to happen.

Choking on the ring is not romantic and it is not something that we should be encouraging. If you are planning to propose please skip putting the ring in food and just hand it to them when you ask them to marry you. Or like in my case propose and then go buy a ring. (Yes, I did not have a ring when I proposed. It was a very casual question and response for us). Buying a ring before hand does not make sense unless you are already talking about marriage else there is a probability that the other person will say no in which case you have a very expensive ring that needs to be returned.

There are multiple articles, and posts, and death’s that remind you how dangerous it is to put a ring in your food. So, please for everyone’s sake please stop imitating movies/TV and find ways to propose without risking a trip to the ER.

– Suramya

June 16, 2021

New material created that shows zero heat expansion from 4 to 1,400 K

Filed under: Emerging Tech,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:53 PM

One of the issues with high performance systems is that they generate a lot of great and heat usually causes the material they are made of to expand. Similarly cold temperatures causes materials to contract and this can cause problems because the constant expansion and contraction weakens the material. Due to this there is a lot of research that is happening to find materials that don’t expand/contract so much with temperature changes.

Researches from Australia have created a material that has zero thermal expansion. The material made out of scandium, aluminum, tungsten and oxygen did not expand or contract even when subjected to changes from 4 to 1,400 Kelvin (-269 to 1126 °C, -452 to 2059 °F). This makes it could make orthorhombic Sc1.5Al0.5W3O12 very useful for devices that need to work in extreme temperatures. This is a phenomenal achievement with a ton of uses. However the components to make the material are not cheap especially Scandium which is one of the most expensive elements currently. According to folks online it can cost about ~$120/gram so unless other elements can be used or we find a easy to mine/extract source of the metal the material is not something that we will see in general use anytime soon.

Zero thermal expansion (ZTE) is a rare physical property; however, if accessible, these ZTE or near ZTE materials can be widely applied in electronic devices and aerospace engineering in addition to being of significant fundamental interest. ZTE materials illustrate this property over a certain temperature range. Here, orthorhombic (Pnca space group) Sc1.5Al0.5W3O12 is demonstrated to deliver ZTE over the widest temperature reported to date, from 4 to 1400 K, with a coefficient of thermal expansion of αv = −6(14) × 10–8 K–1. Sc1.5Al0.5W3O12 maybe is one of the most thermally stable materials known based on the temperature range of stability and the consistent thermal expansion coefficients observed along the crystallographic axes and volumetrically. Furthermore, this work demonstrates the atomic perturbations that lead to ZTE and how varying the Sc:Al ratio can alter the coefficient of thermal expansion.

This material has a ton of uses. For example, this would be very useful in making items or structures in space. Since the temperature in space can vary from ~260 degrees Celsius in the sunlight to below -100 degrees Celsius in the shade we need materials with a low expansion coefficient. Another use case is for a coating on hypersonic jets, recently China has created a Mach 30 wind tunnel which allows them to test prototypes for planes that can fly at Mac 30. At that speed the air turns into plasma due to the friction and requires the planes to be made (or atleast coated with) a material that has low/zero heat expansion. If these planes are coated with this material then the only limitation on the speed would be how much thrust the engines can provide.

I can also see it being used for military jets/missiles etc to allow them to fly faster without damage and on rockets to make them more durable with lesser weight disadvantages.

The paper was published in Chemistry of Materials journal and though the work has a long way to go before it is commercially available it does have some fascinating potential.

Source: Extraordinary new material shows zero heat expansion from 4 to 1,400 K

– Suramya

June 15, 2021

Prehistoric humans co-existed with Neanderthals in Israel’s Negev desert around 50,000 years ago

Filed under: My Thoughts,Science Related — Suramya @ 8:20 PM

What happened to the Neanderthals is a question we have been trying to answer for decades but no sure answers. One of the questions that a lot of people have been trying to answer is whether there was any overlap with the Neanderthals and prehistoric humans and if so when did that happen. One of the more popular theories is that the modern man would have fought with the Neanderthals and killed them all in a genocidal war. Other theories postulate that there was an overlap and the two inter-bred producing the modern human.

Now thanks to precision carbon dating and secure archaeological contexts researchers have a concrete idea and proof that the two cultures overlapped around 50,000 years ago in Israel’s Negev Desert. This is fantastic news because till now we only had a vague idea of when the overlap happened but now we have proof that both sides co-existed and interacted with each other. Thanks to carbon dating we have a solid timeline of when this happened.

The study, has been published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) journal last week. I can’t find a link to the study for some reason. Will update the post with the link once I find it.

“The dating of the site to 50,000 years ago proves that modern man lived in the Negev at the same time as Neanderthal man, who we know inhabited the region in the same period. There is no doubt that, as they dwelt in and moved around the Negev, the two species were aware of each other’s existence. Our research on the Boker Tachtit site places an important, well-defined reference point on the timeline of human evolution,” said Barzilai.

Written by a large team including Weizmann’s Boaretto and the IAA’s Barzilai, the PNAS article, “The absolute chronology of Boker Tachtit (Israel) and implications for the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in the Levant,” describes how recent chronological studies based on radiocarbon dating from other sites in the Levant spurred the team to rethink the previously recognized dating at the Boker Tachtit site, determined from earlier excavations.

So the team, funded by the Max Planck-Weizmann Center for the Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, conducted new excavations from 2013-2015 and gathered very small individual fragments of wood charcoal. At least a millimeter in their longest dimension, the minuscule samples were analyzed by Boaretto and her Weizmann lab.

The samples belonged to four major species: Pistacia atlantica (a species of pistachio tree), Juniperus cf phoenicea (Phoenician juniper), Tamarix sp. (tamarisk, salt cedar) and Hammada scoparia. According to the article, the radiocarbon dating samples were from clear archaeological contexts that could be associated with significant flint concentrations, which provide a source of typological dating.

The C-14 dates and the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dates overlap between 50,000 and 44,000 years ago, a range of 6,000 years.

“We are now able to conclude with greater confidence that the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition was a rather fast-evolving event that began at Boker Tachtit approximately 50-49,000 years ago and ended about 44,000 years ago,” said Boaretto in a Weizman press release.

This is very interesting and I am looking forward to reading more about the research and the implications of the same to our understanding of how we came to be.

Source: Prehistoric man lived with and loved Neanderthals in the Negev 50,000 years ago via

– Suramya

June 13, 2021

How Goats Could Help Prevent California Wildfires

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 7:42 PM

We always seem to be trying to create artificial ways of doing things which nature does in a more efficient way. For example, bee’s are very good at pollinating flowers, but they are endangered. However, instead of trying to save the bees people decided to try creating artificial bees. Another example is using people with axes and wood chippers to clean up the underbrush in the California forests instead of natural means. Obviously that approach is quite labour intensive and expensive so folks have been looking for other options.

In California they finally realized that all they had to do was release a bunch of goats in the forest and they would eat all the underbrush that was a fire hazard. During a test near Lake Oroville in Northern California, between 350 and 400 goats cleared nearly five acres of land which is a lot cheaper and more efficient than using humans. It is ecofriendly, you don’t have any major running costs (other than overseeing the goats) and the output from all the feeding is good fertilizer.

The initiative is part of the state’s “Fuel Load Management Plan,” started in 2012, which is aimed at reducing large patches of overgrowth throughout the state — a major source of fuel to wildfire spread. Originally, the state used boots-on-the-ground crews of people armed with chainsaws and wood chippers to clear brush. But California has decided that in some areas, it’s goats, not humans, that can help the most. “They eat everything,” Kryssy Mache, an environmental scientist at the California Department of Water Resources, told VICE News. And they can also reach up to five feet in the air to nibble tree branches. “It’s just another cool concept that we’re using. It’s not just humans going out and making the difference — we can also use goats.” But the goats are usually just Phase One. In the fall, human crews will come in and trim up area that goats cleared to ensure it remains less vulnerable to fire, according to the DWR.

Humans will still be required for the final clean up but the effort is a lot less than what would be needed without the goats clearing the way first.

Source: How an Army of Goats Could Help Prevent California Wildfires

– Suramya

June 12, 2021

Linus educates anti-vaxxer on Linux Kernel Mailing list

Filed under: Interesting Sites,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 4:36 AM

There have been times in the past when Linus’s posts on the Linux Kernel mailing list have been less than polite and he was in fact asked to stop abusing colleagues on mailing lists. He then took a break from maintaining the kernel and took empathy training. Since then his responses have been pretty restrained and polite (for the most part). However, a few days ago someone named “Enrico Weigelt” posted a typical anti-vaxxer message on the Linux Kernel Mailing list:

> And I know *a lot* of people who will never take part in this generic
> human experiment that basically creates a new humanoid race (people
> who generate and exhaust the toxic spike proteine, whose gene sequence
> doesn’t look quote natural). I’m one of them, as my whole family.

This was in response to folks asking if the rising number of vaccinated people meant that the “Maintainers / Kernel Summit 2021″ would be an in-person event or if it would remain a virtual one for now. Linus responded to his message with his customary wit and technical response (though not as ‘colorful’ as his past responses).

I love that he started off his response with a blunt statement:

Please keep your insane and technically incorrect anti-vax comments to yourself.

You don’t know what you are talking about, you don’t know what mRNA
is, and you’re spreading idiotic lies. Maybe you do so unwittingly,
because of bad education. Maybe you do so because you’ve talked to
“experts” or watched youtube videos by charlatans that don’t know what
they are talking about.

Then he went on to explain what mRNA does and how it doesn’t stay in your body for more than a couple of days. You can read the full response below. I am posting a copy here so that I can refer people who send me anti-vaxx nonsense to it. Vaccines save lives. That is a fact. The study that links vaccines to autism has been debunked so many times that it is not even funny. But still there are people who fall for the trap. The problem is that the science is complicated enough that people don’t understand it and the denialist’s use simple language that is easy to understand (even though it is wrong). This makes it easy for people to think they understand the science behind it and become rabid anti-vaxxers.

Dealing with conspiracy theorists is difficult and I usually end up ignoring them or yelling at them. The lovely @OkieSpaceQueen has a great thread on talking to conspiracy theorists that I found very useful, along with their earlier thread focusing on how to talk to Flat Earther’s. They are a lot more patient than what I usually am and I am going to try to use the techniques in the thread going forward.

All that being said, I just want to close with a request to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. It can and does save lives.

On Thu, Jun 10, 2021 at 11:08 AM Enrico Weigelt, metux IT consult
wrote:
>
> And I know *a lot* of people who will never take part in this generic
> human experiment that basically creates a new humanoid race (people
> who generate and exhaust the toxic spike proteine, whose gene sequence
> doesn’t look quote natural). I’m one of them, as my whole family.

Please keep your insane and technically incorrect anti-vax comments to yourself.

You don’t know what you are talking about, you don’t know what mRNA
is, and you’re spreading idiotic lies. Maybe you do so unwittingly,
because of bad education. Maybe you do so because you’ve talked to
“experts” or watched youtube videos by charlatans that don’t know what
they are talking about.

But dammit, regardless of where you have gotten your mis-information
from, any Linux kernel discussion list isn’t going to have your
idiotic drivel pass uncontested from me.

Vaccines have saved the lives of literally tens of millions of people.

Just for your edification in case you are actually willing to be
educated: mRNA doesn’t change your genetic sequence in any way. It is
the exact same intermediate – and temporary – kind of material that
your cells generate internally all the time as part of your normal
cell processes, and all that the mRNA vaccines do is to add a dose
their own specialized sequence that then makes your normal cell
machinery generate that spike protein so that your body learns how to
recognize it.

The half-life of mRNA is a few hours. Any injected mRNA will be all
gone from your body in a day or two. It doesn’t change anything
long-term, except for that natural “your body now knows how to
recognize and fight off a new foreign protein” (which then tends to
fade over time too, but lasts a lot longer than a few days). And yes,
while your body learns to fight off that foreign material, you may
feel like shit for a while. That’s normal, and it’s your natural
response to your cells spending resources on learning how to deal with
the new threat.

And of the vaccines, the mRNA ones are the most modern, and the most
targeted – exactly because they do *not* need to have any of the other
genetic material that you traditionally have in a vaccine (ie no need
for basically the whole – if weakened – bacterial or virus genetic
material). So the mRNA vaccines actually have *less* of that foreign
material in them than traditional vaccines do. And a *lot* less than
the very real and actual COVID-19 virus that is spreading in your
neighborhood.

Honestly, anybody who has told you differently, and who has told you
that it changes your genetic material, is simply uneducated. You need
to stop believing the anti-vax lies, and you need to start protecting
your family and the people around you. Get vaccinated.

I think you are in Germany, and COVID-19 numbers are going down. It’s
spreading a lot less these days, largely because people around you
have started getting the vaccine – about half having gotten their
first dose around you, and about a quarter being fully vaccinated. If
you and your family are more protected these days, it’s because of all
those other people who made the right choice, but it’s worth noting
that as you see the disease numbers go down in your neighborhood,
those diminishing numbers are going to predominantly be about people
like you and your family.

So don’t feel all warm and fuzzy about the fact that covid cases have
dropped a lot around you. Yes, all those vaccinated people around you
will protect you too, but if there is another wave, possibly due to a
more transmissible version – you and your family will be at _much_
higher risk than those vaccinated people because of your ignorance and
mis-information.

Get vaccinated. Stop believing the anti-vax lies.

And if you insist on believing in the crazy conspiracy theories, at
least SHUT THE HELL UP about it on Linux kernel discussion lists.

Linus

Original thread Linus’s response on Linux Kernel mailing list to Anti-vaxxer message

– Suramya

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