Google Says No ‘Doodle For You!’

It started with the perceptive ProPakistani people noticing how Google has never had an Islam themed doodle on their homepage, and Dr. Awab picked up the discussion the next day.

I personally think that Google not showing any Doodles for Islamic events has something to do with their “Do No Evil” policy  😉 Seriously though, while Google can not be forced to cater to each segment of their customer base, especially since doodling is the secondary responsibility of the guy who creates them, but given that Read more “Google Says No ‘Doodle For You!’”

We Pakistanis are People of the Mongol Horde


I just watched the movie ‘Mongol‘ which is based on the early life of Genghis Khan, or Temujjin. The movie was shot in the Mongolian language, so I was surprised to spot many words that sounded like their counterparts in Urdu. I always thought the word ‘Urdu’ was from Turkish, but after a bit of research, I found out that ‘Horde’ means ‘Military Camp’ in Mongolian too:

Urdu is a Mongolian and Turkish word meaning “military camp” and is the root of the English word “horde.” When the Central Asian tribal warriors came into northern India, Urdu is the creole that ended up being spoken in the camps so that Hindu traders could sell the Muslim grandees their goods).

Among the Urdu sounds that I recognized were “Aba” for “father” and “Utho” for wake up. I’m sure there are many more common roots, but sadly, most of the mongolian online dictionaries use their alphabet, which I can’t read.

Not a lot has changed since the 12th century – we have continued being a horde, there is something in our nomadic roots that disagrees with settling down mentally and calling a place home. Our military camps are always at the forefront, and like a military camp, we still don’t really care about trashing this piece of land with death and destruction. Like Mongols, we trade and kill our women like animals.

Here’s a podcast on Urdu for you:

So, do you like goat milk too?

My new found respect for Zardari

I never thought I would waste ten thirty minutes of my life praising our new president, but I just have to write this one. This post on Karachi Metblogs is criticizing Zardari’s comments in the visitors’ log of Jinnah’s tomb on his death anniversary. Though I secretly hope for a day when discussing the Pakistani President’s language skills becomes our only concern, but we have to solve a lot of more fundamental problems before we can focus on developing the desi version of Bushism.

The blog also shared this scanned image of his comments, which says something like:

May Good give us the strut to save Pakistan. Asif Ali Zardari, President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Zardari's Comments
Zardari Comments

I think there are many possible reasons for this ‘writo’ and I believe that we should forgive Zardari for this writing “Good” instead of “God”. You see…

  1. He was not typing it, and hence, did not have a spell checker handy. When was the last time you wrote a complete sentence using a pen? (for me it was many years ago). This shows that he may be a l33t geek in disguise who relies on the underlined red lines too much.
  2. He has written either ‘Gaad’ or ‘Good’ – if it is ‘Gaad’, he was either in his l33t mindset, or he wanted to emphasize the word but lacked the tools (bold/italics) to do so, and used the long ‘aa’ as a last resort. If he used ‘Good’, then he was probably trying to translate one of Allah’s 99 names to English. I’m pretty sure one of those names means ‘Good’. This shows that he does care about Islam.
  3. He did not use Allah, as these days, the word has negative connotations, thanks to our terrorist brethren. God is a more neutral and ‘enlightened’ word. After all, the American Army top guys are visiting Pakistan these days, what if the next visitor signing the visitor book is one of them, and what if he gets the wrong impression? We must appericate his foresight and attention to detail.
  4. Good, God or Allah, the important point is that he capitalized the G, and that, my friends, is the line that separates a believer from a non-believer, or so I have been told many times. So Zardari strives to be politically and religiously correct.

Even though the above is enough to start respecting Zardari, we are not done yet. The second word that he used, and one that has been misquoted as “strength” by many people, is actually “strut“. Let us check wikipedia for the various meanings of ‘strut’.

A strut can be

  • A structural component designed to keep two other components apart. Struts provide outwards-facing support in their lengthwise direction, which can be used to keep two other components separate, performing the opposite function of a tie. That is a beautiful analogy! It doesn’t take an engineer to see what Zardari is trying to say. Not only that, but a strut can also mean
  • to walk proudly and with a bounce. and pride is one thing that we need, if we want to save Pakistan.

The above is conclusive proof that Zardari picks his words carefully and has a good command over the English language – good enough to make puns and say a lot in a few words. On top of that, I am assuming he can speak Urdu and perhaps Sindhi equally well, which makes him a trilingual. Now you tell me – how many languages can the US, Chinese or the British leaders speak?

Oh yea, one last thing, he loves his deceased wife so much that he still carries her picture everywhere he goes, even when he is on TV. Brings tears to my eyes really.

The Many Faces of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

I have always been impressed by the mainstream media’s expertise in selecting the perfect image of a person with just the right expression to support what is being said in the text. For example, in his pictures, Musharraf may look proud, happy, confused, tired, sweaty, adamant, dancing, drunk, defeated or victorious, depending on the publication and the affiliation of the publisher (just search google images if you don’t want to take my word on it).

I think the big media guys accomplish this by using high-speed cameras to take a few hundred images per session, and then tagging each image with the expression it conveys before putting them into their image archives. This way, the authors can probably pick up the right image by a simple tag search.

If my theory is correct, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has four popular images on the internet right now, and they are probably tagged…

“Normal Aafia”



“Muslim Aafia”, “Taliban Aafia”



“Convict Aafia”, “Guilty Aafia”, “Prisoner Aafia”



and finally “Victim Aafia”, “Latest Aafia”



The last picture the least used. In fact, I have only seen on a few Pakistani websites and have yet to see it used by an American publication. Do let me know if there are any more images around and I can add them to this list.

Graph of Thought

chainA phrase that has been really bothering me since I was a teenager is “Chain of Thought” or “Train of Thought” – it even has its own wiki page! As I have recently realized that one use of blogs are meant to be a personal ranting space, so let me do that.

A chain is a lot like a vector, so when I hear the phrase “Chain of Thought”, I see a thinker/brain jumping from link to link, much like an iterator, and most of the links are identical. I don’t think like that, and I’m sure most people don’t either.

When I try to visualize thinking, the picture that comes to my mind is that of a set of stacks, with thoughts popping out of some and being pushed into others.

At other times, thoughts remind me of a tree, with the brain traversing it, sometimes depth first, and sometimes breadth first, but more often, thought looks to me like a graph, with the brain hopping from node to node however the hell it pleases.

A tree is a graph, and a vector is a tree, so why do we have to chain our thoughts by making them look like they follow a linear pattern? They are seldom that linear! Ok, a “Graph of Thought” sounds modern, but trees have been around for much longer than chains!

To me, analogies and models are dangerous oversimplifications. Whenever we use a model to represent something, the thing that is being represented loses a certain part of its being. By sticking to a chain model, we are simplifying our thought process, and perhaps, becoming just a little bit more stupid in the process. I say, let us kill the phrase “Chain of Thought” and climb one teeny weeny step higher on the ladder of evolution.

After this post, I will take the nested brackets that I love (and I do love them (honestly (yes, this is a forced example))) as deep as I want to, without bothering about grammar.

Grammar needs a redesign.