Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Woof. Meow is too passe

CAT classes are extremely interesting, and everyone should attend a few, regardless of intentions of actually giving the exam. It gets most interesting, when a group of Motivated Engineers unilaterally decide that the the most Optimum way to solve a problem is to Formulate it as a Quartic equation and use a heady mix of Variational Calculus and Finite Element Techniques to solve it, while the instructor explains the solution in 5 seconds flat. Or, when some other Enthusiastic Candidate proudly announces to the class that the price of each apple is precisely (4 + 6i) Rupees.

Aw, ok, I made them up, but you get the drift.. Its been a long time since I liked something so much that I'm making up examples to prove it is nice :-)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Anything's possible

Anything. Yes, even that.

Note to Self: Get that Dale Carnegie book back.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Patience, Patience


I wonder what he had in mind when he typed out the last sentence in the slide.

Do go through the whole presentation sometime.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The best reality check for a course...

...is to think of questions that can be asked in an open book, infinite time exam.

How many courses are you doing, where the number of possible such questions tends to zero?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006




Update: I just noticed that this software uses Working Model as its Physics Engine!! Working Model (WM) is a 10 year old mechanism design software (Google for it, a free version is available for download), but it is rather cumbersome to use by inexperienced people. What these fellows have done, is to take a 'smart' PPT screen (they are avaialble at rather low rates these days), taken the output to a program, made it recognise patters like the cross and the 'O', and made it output a WM script. It would have been at most a month's work, but dear me, look at the results!

This is a case study in innovation ! If only I did not have this quiz looming gloomily over me, I'd have wanted to write a 5 page report on this :-( Probably I will, after the quiz :-)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

H9 e8

Sometimes, everything seems to just fit in. As Mukund would say, "Macha, its like someone is typing out everything I will do right behind me, and I almost hear the keystrokes ".It all started when I read Suze's post on living Here and Now. As the copious excess of posts on this blog probably indicates, I am all too guilty on all counts of consciously attempting to live everywhere but Here and Now,and for an utter contempt of doing one thing at a time. Some words sure do set you thinking, and that post is one most excellent example.

Such was the contemplative state of affairs, when I happened to meet with one of my very friendly profs, and started what may rather concisely be described as a Fart Session. The discussion veered from The System at IIT to Achievement to Ability to Distinction to Status to Probability and curiously enough, to Safety Factors. At this juncture, he made an enigmatic statement that set me thinking again : "Ships are safest at the harbour; Does it mean you keep them there?" I don't yet know why I think that is connected to all this, but somehow it seems so. Coincidentally that day, I needed to move over to Windows from my main course Linux for some commitment that was rather overdue (See?). The last time I had used Windows was a year ago, and thankfully it was still working. That partition on my drive contained some of my work of very long ago, and I made a mental note to search around for fun. Of course, my mental-note-memory can easily give Goldfish a run for their money. There have been times where I've finished making a detailed mental note, and promptly forgotten just what it was about :-)

I'd be forced to believe in Fat Tails to explain scientifically what happened today: I had plans for a hundred things, when all of a sudden, the LAN cupped. To cut a long story short, my comp is on quite the weaker end when it comes to disk space, and I have almost nothing stored on my own HDD. So, all I could do was search around whatever was there. I did, and happened to find two versions of the Requiem For a Dream soundtrack. The first one, the original by Lux Aeterna, and the second, called "Hope Overture".

Now, I have very little knowledge of music, and am totally lost when people speak of notes and meter and beats and scales. Among the only pieces of music that I have heard which actually feels like something, is the Requiem For a Dream soundtrack. RFaD is a sad movie about the ill effects of drug abuse; and imho, the soundtrack reflects this beautifully. You actually feel that the Violin lead is lamenting the terrible loss depicted in the film: that all is lost, that such ruin has befallen the characters; And the Hope Overture, with very, very little modifications to the original ( I don't know what exactly they have modified, except vaguely that a drum sequence in sync is mixed ) bring out the exact opposite: that there is hope, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Somehow, this immediately reminded me of an old paper clipping of the Spirituality Column of a newspaper of long ago that I have in my bag. That was the first time I came across Rudyard Kipling's wonderful poem, 'If'. I'm going to type it all down here, for every time I read the poem, there is something I learn from it.

If , Rudyard Kipling, 1895

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait, and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, dont give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim ;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you have spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them "Hold on"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

And strangely enough, this verse from the BhagavadGita :

ApUryamANam achalapratiSTHam
samudram ApaH pravishanti yadvat;
tadvat kAmAH ayam pravishanti sarvE
sa shAntim ApnOti na kAmakAmI.

"A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires — that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still — can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires."
The real Sanksrit meaning is much more deep, this is the most a translation can do :-(

Ah, my brief period of reflection is over: I can smell a vague malodorous scent from somewhere, and it can only mean something has gone Critical in the ancient heap of unwashed clothes lying around in the corner in my room.Action Stations !! May Day !! Code Red !! and all that, and Farewell till the next LAN outage or power cut :-)

Update: I found this hilarious translation of If- into Javascript, ROFL :D