Duty -> Enjoyment -> Nothing -> Duty: will there be a U turn?

From: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/magazine/17charity.t.html

A famous story is told about Thomas Hobbes, the 17th-century English philosopher, who argued that we all act in our own interests. On seeing him give alms to a beggar, a cleric asked Hobbes if he would have done this if Christ had not commanded us to do so. Yes, Hobbes replied, he was in pain to see the miserable condition of the old man, and his gift, by providing the man with some relief from that misery, also eased Hobbes’s pain. That reply reconciles Hobbes’s charity with his egoistic theory of human motivation, but at the cost of emptying egoism of much of its bite. If egoists suffer when they see a stranger in distress, they are capable of being as charitable as any altruist.

Followers of the 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant would disagree. They think an act has moral worth only if it is done out of a sense of duty. Doing something merely because you enjoy doing it, or enjoy seeing its consequences, they say, has no moral worth, because if you happened not to enjoy doing it, then you wouldn’t do it, and you are not responsible for your likes and dislikes, whereas you are responsible for your obedience to the demands of duty.

Not to mention both Hobbes and Kant are amongst the most well respected philosophers of the ages.


Hi there!

I guess this will be my first post directly to you. I need help from you in making a decision. I am confused about the art. I need to select 5-10 photos on a common theme, as a probable entry for a photography display at UCSD. Based on my current posts, I have been able to narrow it down to these four sets. Need help on deciding amongst them.

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A different point of view dedicated to My.

It had been my long desire to pull something at the Macro level that is satisfactory. One fine Saturday morning after watering the Poinsettia plant, a drop of water on one of its “leaves” caught my eye. The leaf being hydrophobic cause the water to buckle up as a drop (the first image). Got my camera, shot it using regular closeup photography. But then, the urge to do something more, made be bring out my lightly used tripod and almost never used reversing ring for reversing the camera for macro photography. Alas that water droplet was too big for macro shots, but I got a few nice ones, after that.  The steal was a small insect about 1mm wide. However, however hard I tried, the shots had a very shallow depth of field. One drawback of reversing the lens is that you can not control the aperture anymore. By default the aperture is in the widest open mode, and thus the reason for shallow DOF. Luckily people have had figured out a solution. Atleast for canon: first mount the lens normally, and set a desired aperture in the Av mode. Next press the DOF preview button and with that pressed, unmount the lens (should not be harmful as far as the urban legend goes, my camera and lens is still working). The aperture will remain in the setting that you did. One drawback is much less light coming in for focus, and thus you will need some torch or something to light the subject while focusing. Anyhow, after some trial and error with the matchstick and a cactus, finally got a hang of it. Following that are some more shots of the Poinsettia plant dedicated especially just to My (Its like the times dedication of the year to the common man ;).


Progressive Car Insurance Cancellation Fee

After 4 years of insurance with Progressive I now shifted to AAA. Progressive used to charge me $150 for the motorcycle and last year when I bought my car, my premium increased to ~$650 a year, for including a car. AAA, which in my unverified study is as good as Progressive if not better, quoted me less than half of that premium. I guess there comes a point when loyalty stops serving its purpose.

Well then, I come back home to cancel my policy with Progressive, and I told them all truth about someone else giving me better rates for the same service. It went something like this,

Progressive : Aaiye aaiye Nikhil ji ..leejiye aapki policy renewal taiyaar hai..
Me : ye nahi wo.. (pointing towards AAA policy)
Progressive : lekin aap to hamesha ye mehangi wali..
Me : leta tha.. par ab jab wahi service wahi policy.. kam dammon me mile to koi ye kyon le..wo na le

kahani mein twist,
Yeh Akashvani hai, aur Nikhil ko yeh soochit kiya jata hai ki 4 saal ke progressive service ke baad bhi, policy cancel karwane pe uspe $50 jurmana lagaya jaata hai.
Nikhil : Hain!!

So next I know is that I have been charged $50 as a cancellation fee. Now, its not a matter of why did they charge me. I would have been completely fine as they must have had written somewhere in their 6point font about cancellation fees, and have the full right to charge it, but I do not appreciate them doing this, because there is a simple way to get around this. This is what the trick is,

If you ever want to cancel midterm, you can. Many states have done away with cancel fees, typically about $50. However, if yours still does, when they ask you the reason for canceling, just say you moved out of the state or the country. They may ask you if you tried a rate in your new state, say you did but you found a much better one. No cancel fee will be assessed.

And, I did call them back asking if this was true. Every word of this is true. If you lie to them that you are moving out of state, they will not charge you the $50 cancellation fee. Alas, I only came to know of this after being true to them. I hope my friends reading this and having a policy with progressive and if in future decide to move away from progressive can be saved of this nefariousness.

Ballet Pictures

An insanely talented person, proficient in several forms of dances, Shikha Mishra gave me an excellent opportunity to do a photo essay on her dances. Below are some of the pictures that I thought was good from photographers point of view. The setup is using a single speedlight and a canon 30D with a tripod. I was lucky to find a nice background to add to the artistic expression of the dance.

Essay: Ballet 1Essay: Ballet 2Essay: Ballet 3Essay: Ballet 4Essay: Ballet 5Essay: Ballet 6Essay: Ballet 7Essay: Ballet 8Essay: Ballet 9Essay: Ballet 10Essay: Ballet 11Essay: Ballet 12Essay: Ballet 13Essay: Ballet 14Essay: Ballet 15Essay: Ballet 16Essay: Ballet 17Essay: Ballet 18Essay: Ballet 19Essay: Ballet 20