White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Convention and start of the election season

As we wait for Obama's acceptance speech, I should say the talk that impressed me the most in the convention was John Kerry. As I was thinking back about his talk this morning, I wished that Kerry had used the same aggressive tone 4 years ago when he was accused of being unpatriotic. Generally Democrats were gentle but aggressive towards McCain in the last two nights and that's what they need to be for the rest of the election season. The single way to fight against right wing propaganda machine is to be on the offense.

It's now clear that my home state of Pennsylvania is going to be again very critical in this election. Considering that Obama didn't win my county in the primaries, it makes our job even more important to do campaigning for him. I'm going to dedicate a good portion of my time towards that cause starting in September.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


It is a great beginning: for you, me, her, him: us!
A spark was needed! Surprisingly it arrived at the moment of choice.
It all happened one night when I was sitting under the sun.
A love got reflected into a genesis. Many loves grew from that root. Another love was shaked and reshaped.
Let's cheer for this reflection of love, life and a better tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Barbarism in Iran

It makes me sick to wake up every other day and read the story of one execution in Iran. This wave of brutal execution has been going on since 2-3 years ago. The regime have naively decided to show its strength by being brutal to criminals and the ones who threat to its security. There is no question that many of these individuals are criminal and might deserve jail sentences.

However regime has been acting desperate to kill these people. The most recent case is a young kid (18-19 yrs old) that have committed a murder at age 15. This morning, although some people in the judiciary had ask for a pause on the execution, the guy was hanged. It is clear that there are people who really get a kick out of this barbarism.

The regime is silencing all protests against this execution trend. Most papers are banned or have to narrow the coverage of these events. A few days ago some cinema artist decided to collect some funds (as retribution to victim's family) to stop one guys' execution. Today I read that those artists have been banned from such activities.

It's so much stupidity of the Iranian regime if they think with these policies they can prove their hold of the country or if they think the get any security from this terror. Specially at a time that electronic media is so much powerful to reflect the protests and dark picture of this trend.

This morning I feel so sick of the state of affairs in Iran. If the regime is trying to make those optimist and responsible concerned citizen to give up, they are really doing a good job.

Friday, August 15, 2008

That one hour of work

Summer has been quite a good chance to have deep and long conversation with a few friends. One theme that I have found common among these successful professionals is the issue of social impact that they might have throughout their life, specially now during their early research career. In an ego and self-centric era that everyone is simply focused on her own shell, we think that our dreams of helping to build a better world might never come through. A few who make it to the academia might get some of that feeling that they're touching things at the social level and have some direct impact on people's lives. But many of the researchers and scientists that end up being an army of the corporate world may always miss that feeling. While pessimism is the dominant language of intellectual forces, such feeling of being stuck with a routine job throughout the life time, can cause depression. Last week Matt was telling me how sick he was about a life that from morning till sleep time, things is about ME and a few others who bring ME benefits.

In this capitalist island of the planet, charity is financial support is the solution that the system offers: If you want to have an impact, then donate. While donation is much better than doing nothing, but still does not create much enthusiasm. Donation is like buying a gift certificate for a friend's birthday .... It never elevates to the level of spending time and mind and buying something and showing your care and understanding about the person...

Another great way of social impact in US is community service. As far as I have researched, community service works perfectly for teenage youth, people with college level education or old people. Practically speaking, it is not efficient to use a PhD or a doctor to collect garbage or to read stories to after school kids... I emphasis that I'm talking about efficiency and not appropriateness here.

So how can we use our young, intelligent and highly educated professionals to perform some sort of service that impacts things at the ground level?

I am thinking about the idea of One hour professional community service in the following way:
What if each young professional dedicates one hour of her time per day as a consultant to a project in a developing country. The idea is pretty close to open source movements that is quite popular in the computer science or open media projects like wikipedia that are totally volunteer based. The difference is that in my model, the end result is a professional consulting to parts of the world that are disadvantaged and desperately need such service. On our side the benefits are more than simple "feeling good".... If the matchings are done properly, the interaction can give a right perspective to the technological challenges in the real world where resources are not as vast as America.

The underlying technology is nothing more than Internet, VoIP, etc. But organization of the projects from the developing countries and researchers and matching the two armies together is the main challenge. I've heard about many join projects between the west and the developing nations through international organizations such UN or universities... But can we take such an effort out of the typical bureaucratic circles and employ an army of part time professionals?

I'm quite excited about the idea and I'll be researching about it and write here more.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Maybe all that passion is wrong. Maybe he's right and there should not be that "one". Maybe we expect too much from "that" relationship? Maybe my romantisism is wrong and I should direct it to somwhere else. Maybe that "one" is out there, and maybe not. And if not, life is still beautiful...

I should not think of her. It should be practice not to think of any of those dreams. There is so much beauty all around the life and we dummies chose to enjoy one way of it, which actually never works well... This might become a major change. if I can...
Weblog Trackback by HaloScan.com