Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Playing God

If I write a program that fills “agents” with behaviors, and then introduce a lot of agents in the system, I know the agents wouldn’t have any purpose. Now think of these agents as drivers. I program them to be able to drive. Their purpose is not “not to hit others”; their purpose is to reach a destination without getting hit themselves. Let's say I assign destinations randomly every some-time-period. I also program them to maneuver left and right, give them a rear view mirror and so on.

Then I fill the system with too many agents to avoid hits altogether. As a last resort, agents don’t become motionless; they hit each other and die. In this program, I can be sure of all the factors that come in play when an agent near misses another agent – after all, I coded it!


  • Can I be sure that the factor of the agent’s purpose of reaching a destination played or not a role in the near miss? In the short term, apparently not; in the long term, definitely yes.
  • Can I be sure that any pattern that arises out of such near misses isn't the manifestation of collective activity of some benign bug that I left in the agents' code?
  • Can I be sure that the pattern in the collective activity itself is not a manifestation of a bigger universal truth like pi?

I am sure, if there is a God, he is one very confused guy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

'How to debate on the Internet' by Scott Adams

After yesterday's post, I seriously wondered to what length one can go to find reasoning, once he finds the conclusions beautiful.

I sent the link to some of my friends as well, and few of their responses, while they sit in my Inbox, remind me of an old post by Scott Adams.

- Portion of Scott's post begins -

If you are new to the Internet, allow me to explain how to debate in this medium. When one person makes any kind of statement, all you need to do is apply one of these methods to make it sound stupid. Then go on the offensive.

  1. Turn someone’s generality into an absolute. For example, if someone makes a general statement that Americans celebrate Christmas, point out that some people are Jewish and so anyone who thinks that ALL Americans celebrate Christmas is stupid. (Bonus points for accusing the person of being anti-Semitic.)
  1. Turn someone’s factual statements into implied preferences. For example, if someone mentions that not all Catholic priests are pedophiles, accuse the person who said it of siding with pedophiles.
  1. Turn factual statements into implied equivalents. For example, if someone says that Ghandi didn’t eat cows, accuse the person of stupidly implying that cows deserve equal billing with Gandhi.
  1. Omit key words. For example, if someone says that people can’t eat rocks, accuse the person of being stupid for suggesting that people can’t eat. Bonus points for arguing that some people CAN eat pebbles if they try hard enough.
  1. Assume the dumbest interpretation. For example, if someone says that he can run a mile in 12 minutes, assume he means it happens underwater and argue that no one can hold his breath that long.
  1. Hallucinate entirely different points. For example, if someone says apples grow on trees, accuse him of saying snakes have arms and then point out how stupid that is.
  1. Use the intellectual laziness card. For example, if someone says that ice is cold, recommend that he take graduate courses in chemistry and meteorology before jumping to stupid conclusions that display a complete ignorance of the complexity of ice.
Those are the basic tools that come to mind.

- Portion of Scott's post ends -

I am quite a fan of Scott Adams, regular reader of his blog, like him despite occasional disagreements, and do a good job of recommending God's Debris to my friends. Hence, I think he wouldn't have a problem with my stealing from his blog entry and posting here. I am also counting on the fact that I lack the talent to write anything that'll make people laugh out loud and that deserves some sympathy from the best professional humorist around.

The original post, by the way, is titled Results of Why I'm Stupid, but you need to know the context of past few posts by Scott in order to appreciate this one fully. I have pasted only the part that can be understood without context. You can find the original post here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rest Energy and Kinetic

1. Rest energy of a body - m c^2
2. Kinetic energy of a body - 0.5 m v^2

Leaving aside the formal definitions of these energies, I am linking the formulae to some philosophy:

  • The energy in you defines who you are.
  • Your mass is something you were born with.

  • When you are at rest 'who-you-are' is defined by the universe
    • By the mass it gave you, and
    • By the speed at which it moves

  • When you are moving, who-you-are is defined by two things
    • By the mass the universe assigned to you, and
    • By the speed and the direction in which you are moving

  • Independent of the magnitudes of these values, when you're moving, you're more defined by the speed and direction you choose than the mass assigned to you.

Friday, November 24, 2006

When will you call it quits?

Yesterday was the first day of year 2 of my salary-less survival. Not that this is the first time, I've gone through such a time. In fact, it is the fourth time. What makes this time special is that the last times my struggle periods (if-i-may-call-them-that) lasted for 3 months, 2 months and 2 months respectively. This time I've broken my record. I've just begun the 13th month. And I am hoping 13 proves to be my lucky number!

I often wonder how each of these times were different. And few of my friends who look at such a pathetic (their opinion) state, do find it intriguing that every time I got myself into the situation knowing fully well the repercussions - It never happened, I always did it! Let's see.

The first time, I came to Delhi without a job, without a house to live in, and without a relative in town. Mistake, mistake and mistake. It was through sheer luck that I could find decent and secure dwelling on my day one. The first time, I spent money on my bike and went hungry so I could find a job. I was someone who made mistakes.

The second time, I lost two well positioned jobs due to my simple yet profound dumbness. I hated marketing / sales, I hated doing business, and I depended too much upon god-knows-what. Dumb, dumb, and dumb. The second time I spent money on keeping myself alive in Delhi winters and went hungry so I could find a better job. I was someone who had shown an aptitude for dumbness.

The third time, I left the job gotten above with much hardship at 04:30 in the morning cuz I couldn't take in the environment. I underestimated the chill of January in Delhi, I underestimated the fact that zero means no more than zero, and I underestimated the past hardships. Ego, ego, and ego. This was probably the worst of all times. There were no jobs in the market, the few that were, were those I wouldn't take (ego), and the ones I would, were not open to undergraduates. The third time, I spent money on nothing cuz I had none, and went hungry while looking for my kind of job. I was someone who had shown traits of arrogance and stubbornness.

The fourth time, which hasn't ended yet, I started a business. The question that one of my far sighted friends keeps asking me is "when will you think it's time to call quits". What a rhetoric question! It is never a time to call quits. Anyway, the point I want to highlight here is, this time I am not going hungry. This time, I am spending money on my car, on the right dresses, on making international calls etc. Yes, borrowed money. Yes, borrowed as personal loan - the kind with the highest interest rates. Yes, since a year. I intend to go as long as banks would let me. Then, I'll sell the car. Then, I'll borrow from my friends. Then, I'll borrow from my family whatever little they can afford. Then, we'll see. Of course, I know it'll never come to all this; we'll make money long before then, but if it does, I'm not setting a limit to how far I'll go.

So, I've proven myself as someone prone to make mistakes, dumb, arrogant, egoist and stubborn. After writing the last paragraph, I'm also certified mad and crazy. Oh yeah, irrational too.

I feel quite at home in this world.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lesson for an Entrepreneur Part 0

When the Gods are done

Though the fires rage,
And though the gods roar,
And waves mighty big
Prevail upon my shore,
And though the grounds howl,
And though the quakes come ..

.. The most beautiful flowers,
After the snow, .. blossom.

And when the Gods are done,
And when the lands lay bare,
When beasts stay hidden -
It's the Humans who dare.
And w
hen the earth needs help
And the burden is "to create" ..

.. The Great only Human
Can lift the mighty weight.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Across the fields of yesterday

I remember a poem, that has always touched my heart. It's by Thomas Jones Jr.


Across the fields of yesterday
He sometimes comes to me,
A little lad just back from play -
The lad I used to be.

And yet he smiles to wistfully
Once he has crept within,
I wonder if he hopes to see
The man I might have been.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nice things to say

I hope to add a happy ending to this piece sometime.

In a world,
Where it is difficult to find
nice things to say

Where it is easy to blame
other ppl for my faults,
their vices for my shame,
their rise for my falls;

Where it is easy to find
shelter from conscience;
And it is easier to be blind
to grudge, anger, vengeance;

Where it is impossible to say
a single nice thing to my friend,
cuz I'm busy planning the next day:
how to get offended, and offend.

I am no fool and I very well know,
Less of hatred could make things right.
But as I know - "It is all I have", so,
I save my bitterness with all my might.

[Update: Although I never got around to a happy ending for this piece, I did write a related poem: Choice things to say]

Sunday, August 13, 2006

There are no strangers

Rarely, have I used the word disgusting, if ever, to describe something.

Things are beautiful, sometimes ugly; people are interesting, sometimes boring; movies are good, sometimes vulgar, at times gory; performances are superb, sometimes mediocre, at times even pathetic; but disgust - now that's not a feeling one normally gets; even my friends, who seem to be quite fond of the word, I don't suppose really feel disgusted so often.

How about conversations? Can a conversation be disgusting? Without making up a story, without making you listen to a long prelude of sad / angry music, without a page long passionate preface, can a simple down-to-earth conversation make you feel disgusted? Can it make you want to cry out loud? Want to tear the walls of your room apart? Can it make you reconsider if you should've been in army? Can it make you cry? For strangers? Can it make you pray? Even if you are an atheist, like me? Can it make you tremble with anger? Can it make you forget values like 'forgiveness' and 'compassion'? Can it make you want to kill? For things strangers did to strangers?

Yes, it can. Have a look.

And who is a stranger? To the guys who put bombs in Mumbai trains, to the guys who planned & executed the 9/11 attacks, the businessmen working inside WTC were nomore stranger than the accountants going back home on 7/11. There are no strangers. There are no Indians; there are no Americans. There are no strangers.

There are people, and there're terrorists. It's "us" and "them". And it doesn't matter if some of us don't want to to be counted in the "us". We already are "us", courtesy "them".

Friday, August 11, 2006

Amol Palekar - English version

Previous poem, translated in English.

in my middle-class colony, there lies a middle class lawn

twenty five feet broad
about forty in length
with dull green grass, it's not really garish

often i wonder, "isn't the world round,

then how does every evening, it manages to get found
in a shape so squarish?"

Amol Palekar

This poem reminds me of Amol Palekar movies. Hence the title.

मेरी छोटी सी कालोनी में एक छोटा सा लॉन है

पच्चीस फ़ीट चौड़ा
कुछ चालीस फ़ीट लम्बा
ज़्यादा बड़ा नहीं विस्तार में

अक्सर मैं सोचा करता हूँ, "दुनिया तो गोल है,
हर शाम फिर कैसे आ सिमटती है,
इस चौकोर से आकार में?"

[Update: I translated this poem into English and it is available as the next post. ]

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I wish, and I get;
I control, and I win;
I imagine, and I create;
I ask and they do.

I am God
and I hate my job.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Wall

a new genre - Heart Break
title - shamelessly copied from Pink Floyd
text -

The Wall

don't let go of the wall
don't show them the flesh
they only like tender flesh
when it's stuck in their claws

the joys they promise
the songs they sing
the worlds they create
: all illusions they bring

the best of their baits,
is the dance they fake

u turn they follow,
u part they whole
u press they move,
u fall they hold

u miss they shoot,
u give they take

and the music takes over
and u melt in their arms
love dance they call it
it's the height of their charm

and u let go of the wall
like a fool, u let go of the wall

like a fool, u let go of the wall
while they laugh the winning laugh
and like a true fool, u only feel the pain
when ur flesh is teared off

the dance all broken, the music all stopped
fool! it was a deathwish, to let the wall fall

Remember don't let go of the wall
don't show them the flesh

u keep it all wrapped, its the only one u got
u keep it very safe, after-all its ur heart

but if u've done the unforgivable
and let the wall fall down
and if u see in their smile,
blood glistening around

don't waste another moment, hurry

gather the wall's pieces, brick it up fast
bless it with a kiss, seal it with the past
and never let go of the wall again
never show them the flesh ...

don't let go of the wall
don't show them the flesh
they only like tender flesh
when its stuck in their claws

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In latin style - the forgotten who

When you have fever, you tend to write sad poems. So did I, in the last 4 days.

While reviewing it, a friend passionately advocates getting them published. He emailed me in latin to make the effect more dramatic, arguing how unfair it is to the world.
Well, as I cannot write in latin (I don't know latin), I sent the reply in latin style. Hope it doesn't have any obvious grammer mistakes.

The world doth not fully comprehend
The world of a poet: a world so diverse.
It might rejoice but never can find the recces
Of her thought, or the drama in her verse.

The world only thinks: "this she speaks"
For there can be, no innocence in its view
& They that have the gift of understanding
Silent, indifferent, busy, distant; they are far and few

The world doth know numbers it sees; The world doth not know
That she is more than one, and she is more than two.
Words betray, and rhymes mislead. And the world fails to see
That when she writes, she writes as the forgotten who.

The first four lines, that the poet inks, cometh from her heart.
And the next four lines - two are just rhymes, two designed by art;
The rest of the lines - to her only one belongs, rest to someone new,
But the world doth not see, this 'someone new' and her apart

So shall I keep it hidden, deeming my art too high;
Lest the world finds and bids my 'sweet pretext' adieu.
Some hide in their skins, some in their worlds;
I hide in my words, and here shall I stay, as the forgotten who.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The angel of everything

What if there really IS an angel of everything?
and what if he asked you some day .. what do you want?
Imagine, u cud ask anything at all. What will u ask for.

My guess is everyone at such a stage will discover his altruistic genes and will end up asking for peace in the world, or enough food for everyone, or somethign else equally selfless.

But keeping that aside, what if you had to ask for something for urself - what will that be?
External beauty? The truth about the universe & the God? The truth about death? Inner Peace? Money? Fame? The ability to make a lot of money? The ability to become famous? The ability to invent Xerox machine?

And wudn't everytime the angel smile and give the same answer :)
YOU already have it, dumbo!

Even for the ability to become invisible! All you got to do, is discover it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Value System "buddha" - "वेल्यू सिस्टम" बुड्ढा

खून जवान, पर "वेल्यू सिस्टम" बुड्ढा
कर सीना चौड़ा और सर ऊँचा
(मुझे पैसों की बड़ी ज़रूरत है)
मैं अपना सपना बेचने, बाज़ार पहुँचा

सोचा सपना मेरा प्यारा है, सबको सुनाऊँगा
थोड़ा सपना बाँटूंगा, थोड़ा पैसा पाऊँगा
होंगे नये दोस्त, नयी दुनिया, नयी किस्मत
करूँगा मेहनत, मिल बाँट कर खाऊंगा ।

यार, सर, मैडम सब मिले, नई दुनिया हमें बड़ी रास आई -
एक महीने में मार ली हमनें, सारे जीवन की मुस्काई
फिर ट्रेन से तेज़ धड़्कते दिल के साथ
सर जी को सपने की 'प्रेज़ेंटेशन' दिखाई -

इधर सर जी का माथा सिमटे, इधर हमारा डर डोले
पर फिर सर जी के होंठ हिले, भगवान प्रसन्न हुए, बोले -
"हम तेरे दोस्त हैं, 'डील' बिल्कुल 'फ़ेयर' करेंगे
बस साथ तेरा ज़मीर दे दे, फिर पैसे चाहे जितने जो ले"

ज़मीर की भी कीमत? ये 'डील' हमारी समझ ना आई
सही गलत की कदराई, हम तो करते हैं भाई
सो हमने सर जी से कहा "जी ज़मीर 'इज़ नाट फ़ोर सेल'"
और सर जी ने कर दी हमारी, रस्ता नपाई!

सब में होता है एक सर्वहितैषी गुण; दिल मेरा डोला -
"फ़ोर वन्स गुड" को उसने "फ़ोर मेनी'ज़ बेटर" से तोला
साहस की कमी ने, लिया द्विधा का रूप
और भीत पुरुष मेरे मन का, चित्कार कर बोला -

"नहीं नहीं सर जी, कुछ तो दया कीजिये
इस निरे मूर्ख को क्षमा कीजिये ।
इन पैसों की मुझे बड़ी ज़रूरत है
ज़मीर तो क्या, आप आत्मा भी लीजीये ।

जो दाम कहें आप, उस दाम पर दूंगा
बेच दूंगा ये आत्मा, पितरों से लड़ लूंगा
इन पैसों की मुझे बड़ी ज़रूरत है
आप कहें बस, आपके नाम ये जान कर दूंगा ।"

यूं टूट ही जाता मैं, जैसे कच्चे का धागा
पर भीत पुरुष मेरे मन का, डर 'उस' से भागा
'उस' के आगे क्या टिकता किसी रूप में भय
अभिमन्यू मेरे अन्दर का, जैसे सपने से जागा

मुठठियों को भींच कर, साँस अपनी खींच कर
वो गरजा मुझ पर, "रे कायर! होश कर"
और बोला आहिस्ते से, "भूल मत मनुज है तू!
भूल मत मनुज है तू, पग उठा कुछ सोच कर"

"ये मृत्यु है। तू मृत्यु से मत हार मान
भूल कर भगवान को, स्वयं को पालनहार जान
डर रहा है किससे तू? कौन तुझे छू सकता है ?
स्वयं को विजयी जान, तू आप को प्रहार मान"

"तू शान्त है तो शुभ्र है, तू उग्र है तो लाल है
अग्नि है विकराल है, आन्धियों सा काल है
कीर्ती भव, यशी भव; जयी भव, विजयी भव
और याद रख सही है जो, सत्य उसकी ढाल है ।"

"तू धर्म है, तू युद्ध कर, तू वीर है, प्रहार कर
चिन्घाड़ कर प्रतिकार कर; नर है तू न हार कर
न मौन रह अन्याय सह - कुछ दम्भ कर! कुछ मान कर!
है ब्र्ह्म तू, तू विष्णु है; शिव है तू, सँहार कर ।"

"तू लौट मत यूँ हार कर, निकला था तू कुछ ठान कर
ठीक है, तू लघु सही; मुझ अभिमन्यू का तो ध्यान कर
अन्तस में तेरे रहता हूँ मैं, इतना ही तो कहता हूँ मैं -
न मौन रह अन्याय सह - कुछ दम्भ कर! कुछ मान कर!"

अभिमन्यू रहा जीता सदा, हर युद्ध में, हर काल में
कहाँ से टिके उसके आगे, भय किसी भी हाल में ?

तो अब मैं उठता गिरता हूँ; गिरता हूँ, फिर से उठता हूं
चिर-धर्मयुद्ध है लड़ता हूँ, अभिमन्यू की जय करता हूँ ।

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Shiting FROM Yahoo!

Yahoo! 360 advertisement / sales team is definitely a great team ... they actually force stuff in your hands and you thank them for it!

But apparently there is this competition thing going in there. Customer care has taken the challenge to ensure they loose more customers than the sales team can gather. They seem to be winning.

I am moving my blog from yahoo! to blogspot.