Ice Bucket Challenge: Just saying

As a lover of science, mathematics, and basic well-rounded logical arguments, I find incompletely supported arguments extremely annoying!

Lately there have been a lot of people complaining about how the Ice Bucket Challenge is the stupidest thing ever. One of the most popular arguments that has gone undisputed in my circle of friends is that the Ice Bucket Challenge is wastage of water while people are dying of thirst in Africa. The inhumane living conditions in some parts of the world are no joke. However, the argument is, kind of, invalid.

Consider this, the flow rate in shower heads in the US are mandated to stay below 2.5 gallons per minute. This is roughly 9.5 litres per minute. Most of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos I have seen involved buckets which were sized somewhere between 4-6 gallons (~14-23 litres).

Most people I know wait a good half-minute (to 2 minutes) in the shower before the water attains the optimal temperature. It is a luxury most of us have gotten used to. That amounts to the wastage of anywhere between 1.25-5 gallons (4.75-19 litres) of water. I am assuming people perpetuating this argument have R&D’ed, theorised and optimised their daily shower routine to the point that their water wastage is far below the water content of the median ALS Ice Bucket Challenge bucket.

I am certain that most people I know do not have water consumption habits that are optimized to an extent where their water wastage on even a weekly basis is below 5 or even 10 gallons (~19 or even 38 litres). I haven’t even accounted for the average toilet flush (1.6 gal. per flush or 6 litres per flush) or cooking habits, or the several other tertiary activities we go about on a daily basis that (inefficiently) consume water.

As for my Indian friends that have attacked the challenge, I have one word for you: Holi! You may not apply cold water to the burned area.



(Holi is an Indian festival that often involves people throwing color and water on each other. In some parts of India, like my hometown, it is virtually impossible to leave your house on the day of Holi and last 15 minutes without getting drenched.)

Now, getting to the water problems in Africa. Here is a map of Africa:


You may notice that most places in Africa that are suffering from water deficit in Africa have easier access to water from the Atlantic, Southern and Indian oceans, Mediterranean and Red seas and other lakes and rivers within the continent than to the water in Europe or North and South America. One of the primary concerns with water scarcity is not the lack of water. It is the lack of water fit for consumption. It is not economically feasible to transport water inter-continentally, or even to purify salt water. Reverse osmosis is expensive.

My point is this: There are going to be people who are going to hate. It is the mere nature of social dynamics. But please just think through the arguments you buy into before you perpetuate them. Besides, the social media (accidental) geniuses that made this viral have done an immense job for the ALS Association. I wonder how much it would have cost them to pay for advertising at a comparable scale.

It is, without doubt, one of the most successful pyramid schemes I have ever seen.


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It’s enough to make you cancel your reservation

Originally posted on Blogdramedy:

A vacation is supposed to be your time away from the crazy. Remind me never to travel to any of the same vacation spots these people have booked. I’ll take that upgrade and trade you a bus tour of “OH MY GOD THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS!”


1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”

3. “On my holiday to Goa in India , I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”

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Fuck you, Ann Coulter

So Tessa sent me a link to this article titled, “America’s Favorite National Pastime: Hating Soccer” by Ann Coulter.

I’ve grown indifferent to the general attitude towards (real) football, aka soccer, in the U.S. My argument is that your opinion is invalid if you do not understand the sport to begin with. But, it was a Friday morning, and I was technically done working. So, I read the article, and realized I had to stand up to her bullying a brilliant sport.

So, fuck you, Ann Coulter; here’s my defense for football.


Ann Coulter: “Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer … The blame is dispersed and no one scores anyway.”

The fundamental concept of a team sport is being a team. When you play football, you play for something bigger than yourself. You play for your friends, your teammates, your club, or your country. You’re proud to vanish in the background if that’s what’s best for the team’s success, and that can be heroic in its own way.

Besides, your claim is invalid. There is individual glory when the goal-keeper makes a save, a striker shoots a goal, or a player excels on the field. And even while there is individual glory involved in football, by no means is it a yardstick to judge a team sport.


Ann Coulter: “Everyone just runs up and down the field and, every once in a while, a ball accidentally goes in.”

First and foremost, that’s what she said. Second, the use of the word just is far from justified. But since it is clearly an expression of unintelligent bias, I’m going to let it slide.


Ann Coulter: “Liberal moms like soccer because it’s a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys. No serious sport is co-ed…”

I have wanted complain about this for quite a while. I, personally, respect a sport quite a bit by its capacity to allow diversity in its athletes. This was one of the primary reasons I dismissed American Football as a sport for the longest time. Skill, to me, is far more important than strength.

The size of your body is predetermined. You can go from being a 55 kilogram skinny guy to being uber-muscular and weigh 80 kgs. But there is going to be someone who belongs to a higher weight class altogether without trying. If a sport through its very nature would make it almost impossible for an athlete of great skill to compete with a moderately skilled athlete of a higher weight class, I dismiss its claim of being a superior sport.

American Football’s primary flaw, in my opinion, is that it primarily caters to people with a larger build. Even the quarterbacks are roughly over 6′ and weigh close to a 100 kilograms (220 lbs) and above.

I have seen quite a few people of immense skill struggle to keep up with moderately skilled tall people at basketball. It is painful to see people fail simply because of genetics. But, I don’t really attack basketball all that much because it still values skill to a great extent.

The beauty of football is that it values skill over strength. A person with superior skill easily trumps a person with superior strength. It’s intelligent!

I would rather play football with a bunch of athletic girls than play American football with a bunch of overweight guys whaling on each other.


Ann Coulter: “No other sport ends in as many scoreless ties as soccer.”

That is a good, albeit un-researched, observation. What is your point?


Ann Coulter: “The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport.”

Strength and endurance are admirable traits. But I completely disagree with you when you say that the prospect of major injury is a necessity in sport. The prospect of physical harm may be inherent in many sports, but it is not a necessity.

This would fall into the pool of misconceptions about sports where people equate entertainment with greatness. I am sure you also dismiss Chess and Snooker as valid sports because, “the fuck is this shit?! No player been roundhouse kicked in their fuckin’ face in over an hour. This ain’t no sport for a man, ain’t it?!”

Getting into illicit fistfights is disgraceful, and a sign of lack of will power. It is a sign of weakness.


Ann Coulter: “You can’t use your hands in soccer.”

Hence the name, football. There is a whole other sport called handball out there. But I’m sure you will not like the idea of not being able to use your legs there.

Besides, the statement isn’t completely correct. You forgot about the goalkeeper.


Ann Coulter: “I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer.”

I’m sorry.


Ann Coulter: “It’s foreign.”

Yes it is. As are you. #Burn

And neither is a valid reason to hate.


Ann Coulter: “Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it’s European.”

I cannot vouch for all the liberals out there. But I am quite sure the love for the metric system arises due to its simplicity, and hence superiority over the imperial system. The imperial system is British. I hope you are aware of that. Not that its origin affects my judgment, but I find it highly hypocritical when some (several) people in the U.S. openly bash the British, and then (virtually) make love to the imperial system the very next second.

PS: 147.2 centimetres is actually roughly the height of my shoulder.


Ann Coulter: “Soccer is not catching on.”

If the number of viewers goes up by 10 people, viewership has increased even though there are millions of people in the U.S. It is catching on. What the news stories did not mention is that, and I agree with you, it is catching on slowly.


For your trouble, I am going to share something priceless with you – the one true valid argument against football. Diving/Simulation. Rant about that all day, and we’ll respect your opinion.

And then, we’ll play football. Because we love it!