Sunday, June 15, 2008

On popular notions of
Lorenz's Butterfly effect

Friday, May 23, 2008

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

—Lazarus Long (Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973)

This is a quote I borrowed from Professor Hartemink's personal page.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A humble brew

If you are cold, it will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you. --William Gladstone, British Prime Minister

Better be deprived of food for three days than it for one -- anonymous, Chinese

What am I talking about? Stereotypes would have jumped to conclude it is beer. Not so fast boys, just wait for more...
More clues:
- It is usually associated with Zen Buddhism
- It can be had with milk or without milk, cold or hot, with lemon or with honey or both
- It hosts a storm in the cup if it has to.
- Everybody does not have a cup of it

You would have guessed it already, so enjoy some trivia:
- Across world, it is popularly known in Chinese Amoy dialect word; while in India and some other origin nations, it is its cousin, the Chinese Mandarin word that is popular
- Initially it was sold in Europe at $100 per pound along with such rare spices as ginger and sugar! (What? Sugar? A rare spice?)
- Due to its unpopularity with the high priests of those days, and inheriting a foreign origin, it attracted a 119% tax in Europe during early days. (And you complain about 12% VAT on Cigarettes today!)

Notes from Timbuktu

Intel has recently set a record for making the world's largest microchip. Incidentally, it also happens to be the hottest. Double whammy. Size matters. Every time one keeps the laptop in his lap he feels it. We make them feel as if the flop… ahem pop star Mariah Carey sat in his lap. Its hhot baby.

Sales and marketing has its tasks clear and cut. Buy one get two. Dual core. This, SMG believes is a good strategy to keep the stocks moving out of store. Plans are already in place for quad core. With all these developments, Intel anticipates a rush of sales. To be able to soak up the demand, it has ensured that there is enough stock with the distributors. Competitive after all, to keep the small players like Samsung and AMD at bay. We redefine the market. 'Sleep ahead' is the mantra. Our tag line: With Intel Inside, Business @ the speed of yawn. This is cutting edge.

In his congratulatory note to the employees, the CEO Otellini offered extreme freedom to his researchers to look for better options out side Intel labs. Employees expressed their joy by emptying cups after cups of fuming coffee over the table and discussing the pros of liberation from the burden of bunny. We call it freedom.

Markets have reacted positively. Populist leaders realizing the value in common man sharing Intel's success, have reduced the stock price. Now the Intel stock can be transacted as lower denomination change in your super market shopping. Not every time you buy a diaper can you carry coins. Easy money. If you have Intel stock in paper, all the more better. Its uses can range anywhere from 'something to blow your nose into' to 'essential toilet paper in emergency'. We extend the utility of stocks just as we did with our platformized chips.

Exciting times to be at Intel. We are proud to be extremely adaptive. The message flows top down just as the message is delivered. India site has absorbed Paul's directions into its genes. It has been decided that from today, there will be 2 hour meetings every day to discuss how to do our day to day activities more efficiently. Employees believe that working 8 hours a day is not efficient. They have cut down their active working hours to three hour per day. Managers, role modeling Intel values, have also adopted a 4 day work week with Friday being extended weekend. India is a large and diverse country. So many things to explore and a 2 day weekend is just not enough. We have social responsibility also to promote the remotest tourist spots.

Intel stresses the value of GPTW in these good times. Haven't you visited Timbuktu yet? Contact ES for further details. Taking employee weekend plans to be their priority, ES have opened a new in-person desk to guide your trips. Exciting offers in store to maximize extended weekends. One request though: Document your visits. India Newsletter takes a noble responsibility to publish rare adventures such as your brush with rabbits in the latest zoo you visited. India Newsletter also seeks to publish your exciting hobbies such as making dosa, watching NGC on TV, playing scrabble with your niece and many more.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

muthati bike trek

Two bongs and two gults on a new trail in two bikes. Our dear 'biographer and trek travelogue specialist' Santonu Ghosh tells you all.
A day out to Muthati

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

of the pen in sports

After a performance is over, when the arena is vacant, you need a story teller to reconstruct the exploits of past masters. Performers do their act and leave the task of chiseling it in history to the sports writers. Mere recounting of facts is deglorifying sport. We need heroes. We need dare devils. We need thrillers. We need the emotion.

Sport elevates spirits. To soak in that and tell the tale next day you need to be an artist.
I wish every article in Sportstar is written by Rohit Brijnath. Or better, I wish every word in the 3 sports pages every day is written by him.

Sure the classical chess is glorious, but who can deny the beauty in blitz? I don’t know if Rohit has written any magnum opus yet, but the 2000 words that he assembles every now and then sure delights sports connoisseurs. I wish he comes up with biographies and history of tournaments. You need more Rohits to capture the magic of sports in its sensational form.

Fun and jest are as much part of his articles as they are in a circus. But just don’t dismiss him to be silly, because along with them he serves you the finest literary creativity. Add the knowledge of a historian and analysis reminiscent of foreign affairs expert, you get a Rohit's article.

The flip side of getting addicted to Rohit is the fear of being opinionated. The moment I see a sports article, I look for the author. This biases. Only a cursory look at the article if it is any author other than Rohit. The article finishes in half the time.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sleeping few more minutes can save money

Alarm was never successful. The meager success it has is only in disturbing sleep. My experiments with the alarm on relationship between its distance from bed and its awakening strength have not yielded conclusive evidence of any relation. No correlation, certainly no causation.

The distances ranged from inches besides the pillow to several feet away. The only effect the distance has is the amount of time you are awake before sleeping again. This wakeful time ranges from few micro seconds to nearly a half minute of awareness of surroundings. When the alarm is just besides is the best, at least there is an excuse that it is too close to wake you up. The worst is when the alarm is kept at some walking distance. The action in this case is multi step. It involves walking towards the alarm driven by some unknown force and stopping it. The next step is to stand firm, half open the eyes, make a convenient note that it is still not morning, stare at the alarm, look around, cook up a few reasons why it is not bad to sleep five more minutes. Then set the alarm again and keep it besides the pillow. Yup, that’s right. True, a dreamer is an optimist. Believes in alarm again to wake you up five minutes later. And equally true, optimist never learns. Ends up waking half an hour later if it is a working day. Two hours, if it is a holiday.

Experiments are still continuing. These are only initial findings. Should publish results after more experiments.

One of the most startling observation from a recent experiment is some thing different. That the intervention of variable called strong reason to wake up is not enough to make the alarm wake you up.

4.45 AM 28th Jan 2006, Saturday. Alarm ringing. Previous night's late night movie is still unreeling. Hand goes involuntarily to the alarm. Bang the idiot. It is too soon, I know my watch runs 2 minutes fast. Few more minutes, nothing will be lost. Snooze.

Wake up again, this time voluntarily. 5.15 AM. Shit. What now? No problem. Just run. 15 min flat, ready to hit the road. 5.35 waiting at a junction for auto rick. Approaching light of an auto from far. Bad luck, it is occupied. Two more such autos. Observation from these three instances show that, in need the rick sound reaches you before light from the auto does. 5.40 still waiting. Finally there is a savior, 5.43, inside an auto, running full throttle. 6.00 AM Get down the auto and start running. Rush thru the under pass to reach a distant platform. Helplessly watch the last coach just passing. Sob. Chennai Shatabdi leaves Bangalore by 6 AM. It left at 6.02 AM. Feel like kicking self. Look back for reasons. Make some mental notes of Dos and Don'ts in these scenarios. BTW, waking up to alarm is not one of them :). I still think it is bad luck that I didn’t get an auto few minutes ahead. Surely I could have got in to the train if I got up at 4.45. But that is not the real reason for my missing train after all.

Any way, I have to go to Chennai. There you go, LalBagh Exp is at 6.30 AM. Several things can be done in 30 minutes. But, I can bet, buying ticket at Bangalore City railway station is not one of them. Some ingenuity there. In the same 30 min, I could cancel Shatabdi ticket and buy one for LalBagh. Cool. I save money for doing this too. Confirming the hypothesis, sleeping few-more-minutes can save you money! Some additional benefit. Get some exercise too, for running on the platforms and for standing 4 hours in the general compartment of LalBagh.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Competitive wealth

How much is enough? It is said that if one has just enough cash to survive and a little more left to have fun, then one should consider himself lucky and stop complaining. But who will pay for my luxuries? Who will cushion me against future shocks?

How will I feel good when I am not passionate about my work? I need at least some wicked satisfaction that I am higher in the pecking order by the money I make. Or to be exact my credit worthiness- How much will a bank bet on me if I go searching for a loan now. This is competitive wealth. What is important is not how much one needs/has but how one earns compared to others. Ostentatiousness commands respect. This race is for winning easy esteem. But the real excitement is playing the game. Ask any researcher.

Now what is competitive poverty?!! Yeh, there is competition to be poor too. Remember seeing college kids humiliating themselves by staking how poor they were in childhood? This really is an exercise of stressing superior cleverness. To show that, one has landed up at that place in spite of minimal social/financial help compared to compatriots; possibly because of one's brain power.

Chimps and humans

Its official. It seems, scientists have conclusively proved that Chimps are closer to humans than to any other apes. There is suggestion that the genus Homo should include Chimps from now on. Apparently, "In terms of life on earth, chimps and humans are really not that different to each other".
Jared Diamond has called humans the 'third chimpanzees'. The second being the promiscuous bonobo.
Doesn’t that explain our shamelessness?
Missing link in the evolution can be found every time you see the laloos and the deva gowdas. The purpose of their existence -ape the chimps and provide humor. The next research problem for the scientists is to find whether these dhoti clad folks are closer to humans or to the Chimps.