Saturday, December 02, 2006

Peace, happiness and sorrow

Everybody wants to be happy. To experience happiness continuously we have to make a choice to be truly fearless - in simple words peaceful. To be peaceful you have to make a choice not to be afraid of happiness or sorrow. To be brave you need knowledge - thorough and mature understanding of the perceivable aspects of happiness and sorrow.

Given that one has bounded rationality he will make choices that maximize the probability of his eternity. According to Brahma Kumaris we are eternal in abstract sense like the way a theorem in math is true in abstract sense. For a theorem to be "useful" it has to be "applied". Similarly we (souls) need bodies. Either in soul conscience (theory) or body conscience (practice) the tough part is in the finer details. We are not yet evolved to skip lot of details in the process of analysis.

Let's dig some details of happiness and sorrow that will help in finding peace. Happiness has been researched a lot and you don't have to be attached to your superficial analysis of happiness. No matter how detached you are from your fleeting views on happiness there is still a need for detachment from your perception of sorrow to complete the requirements for peace. In any optimization theory we have the techniques of zig-zagging or changing momentum to avoid getting stuck in local optima. Experiencing sorrow is a similar technique (designed by Nature) that drives us towards global optima in life and avoid getting stuck in local basins. You can also look at the section on adaptive benefits of depression here. There is no absolute detachment from anything it's just elevating yourselves to higher layers of perception and getting detached from lower layers. BEWARE, the act of being in higher layers of perception is in no way superior if you are not aware of the layers you have passed through to get there. Just to be in the layer where you are without effort to elevate is probably being lazy.

Streaks of thought: Streak 3

Streak 3:
For the newly designed old racing car Surviva from DAL logic is the control system (like gas, breaks, gears) morals (emotions, ethics, etc.) are the dashboard indicators.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cost of living

There's no such thing as free lunch. Most of us almost agree with it without even arguing about it. Result: Though we agree with it we don't like it. But I try to present somethings that might actually help in liking it not just agreeing with it. The axioms of human survival (like everyone wants to be peaceful, survive, be clear etc.) are of course assumed for this post as is with every other post on this blog.

There are different kinds of struggles based on the kind of society one lives in. The chief characteristic of a society that determines the kind is its interdependency structure. The more transparent the structure is, the less appealing is the saying. Hence the goal becomes to realize the structure. This requires mastery of your emotions and logic which you get by mental maturity. I will present some ideas about how to try to realize the structure.

The structure you are trying to realize is interdependency structure. Results in graph theory can be very useful. Consider humans as nodes in a huge human graph. There is an edge between two nodes if there is an interdependency between the two humans. Each edge has cost for its existence and maintenance. The total cost of all edges connecting a group of people decides the average cost of living for the group. Humans always try to optimize the resources they have to maintain the edges. The actual algorithms like finding minimum spanning trees, or shortest paths among nodes are in P. But more serious issue is that the graph is not revealed all at once. The graph is slowly built and a current model of computation namely streaming model comes to rescue. I am not aware with many results of streaming model in graph theory but research in this direction is very promising.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Streaks of thought: Streak 2

Streak 2:
Mind only business with most but do classify some as your heros. That will keep you motivated intangibly.

Actually this is a mirror streak of streak 1. Streak 2 reflects the actual mood in which I came up with streak 1.

Streaks of thought: Streak 1

I several times have flashes of thoughts in mind based on the situation I am in and it is not always possible to hatch it into a full-blown post. So I decided to add them as a series like those of my health posts. (Now that I have found out how easy that is.)

Enjoy the steaks err.. streaks.

Streak 1:
Classify a few as heros and for the rest mind only business.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cloaks of complexity

This post is about how complexity is one of the most important fuels (hence not misused) for efficient functioning of a society. Yesterday there was complexitycast release on Scott's reasons for believing P!=NP. At end of the cast Bill Gasarch gives his reason to believe P!=NP which is a one sentence summary of part of what I wanted to write:) I decided from now on to maintain a set of possible upcoming posts in the right-side panel.

Ethics, rationality, innocence, creativity, productivity etc. are all desired in society and appreciated and these traits make survival of many possible. Each of these traits have cloaks of complexity of different classes. I call them cloaks as most such traits are not really complex except for getting used (mature?) to them. As you get used to things you unveil the cloaks. While some cloaks can be unveiled by many as part of hardwired process in the society, there are cloaks which are too heavy to lift off like proving hard theorems and hard math. Any such harder cloaks can be handled only by a tiny proportion of the human population.

In my opinion it is this type of cloaking by Nature that keeps its existence. Now comes the main point. This process is adapted (as usual we borrow many things from Nature) by many systems in the society to keep their existence. Einstein once said: The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. This is not wrong if done with good and generous will. If people misuse this and put unwanted (unnecessary) cloaks of complexity it only hurts in the long run. The point is if they cannot uncloak any complexities provided by Nature they put new cloaks of fake complexity to uncloak them later on, much like creating false demands.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Contributions to society and reasons for balance

No one denies that one cannot survive in a society unless he contributes to the society.

Let's take setting where people are aware of themseleves (souls?) and their powerful containers (bodies?) of a finite capacity. These containers are endowded to them at their birth and they are moulded as they grow and several hidden and measurable variables influence the process. (Usually there is a hidden variable hypothesis because not everything could be explained by variables that we can be aware of or measure.)

Measurable variables include like what kind of education they receive, level of richness they experience, level of security etc. Hidden variables are usually measured as probability distributions with some possible priors like assuming that events happen for eventual good to humanity. Though the containers have finite capacities their moulding process decides combinations of chemical elements that they can hold thus with a potential of exponential variety of containers. One can think of categories like nerds, businessmen, peacekeepers, radicals etc.

Depending on the combination that their containers can bear, people contribute and collaborate to experience their combinations. (They can experience their mixtures only when used).

The key element for a harmonious experience is probably the awareness. The awareness of ourselves and our containers (our combinations). It's because of existence of other combinations that we are able to experience our combination. So there's no point in one category ridiculing another. Some reactions might have to be done with extraordinary care: Think of human knowledge about nuclear reactions, there are excellent benefits if properly used and pandemoniac consequences if some factors (like awareness) are ignored.

Bottomline is to keep in mind that one only contributes of what he is abundant in: that what his container can hold. It is then upto the congregation of humans to decide how to synergize. This is possible when we have balance in the awareness of ourselves and our containers. This is why we need the balance that most people stress on having.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Health: Optimizing constraints

After you have walked the steps through childhood (don't know pretty much about health), adoloscense (obsessed with certain aspects of health, like looks) in the journey towards better health, time would come to start being more like adults:) Let me explain what it means.

A society invests most power and authority in the age group in which one is considered adult. There is a valid reason for that because that's the best productive stage for most people. Because people want many variety of things in that stage they are forced to try to make optimal decisions if they need to get all those and in the process they fulfill the needs of others as well since humans are very symbiotic in relationships.

So in any journey it makes sense to call you an adult when you are at a stage where you have to optimize several constraints and you will face this stage even in your journey towards better health (ofcourse if you are on the journey for long enough). What are the typical constraints you would have to optimize?

  • Money: Don't spend an outrageous amount on nutritional food, on gym fees, personal trainers, fancy short-cut health plans etc. Try to invest money like try to build a gym of our own.

  • Social life: Don't overfill the buffer of health benefits. Spare time for your other aspects of life as well and that is the key for longer term benefits.

  • Time: Even a 30 min workout (including changing, stretching etc.) will start working for you and hence be smart.

  • Health: Of course never let your effort for balance drag you back into your old habits.

This listing thoughs seem non-algorithmic is nevertheless useful for achieving balance (optimization of several constraints) as it provides cues for verification of balance. Walking on the line of balance is an art and there are several ways of achieving it. It is undeniable that there is nothing arguably right or wrong in art which is nevertheless very important.

A small note about making optimal decisions:
Humans always make optimal decisions but only relatively, based on what they perceive. That is every human being makes a locally optimal decision. Greedy strategy doesnot always work towards global optima but as you start being more like an adult your optimal decisions tend to be like global optimas because of the reason I explained, in second paragraph, about this age group being very influential in society.

Link to previous health post.
Added the link on September 25, 06 11:00AM

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Man, Machine and Math

Scientists and artists are both fascinated by one thing: Nature. Artists are more obsessed with causality while the former are with results. Both scientific and artistic efforts try to use rationality but under different bounds and are important. Working in bounded rationality is something that is hard to be avoided in this finitistic world. The most profound questions in science happen to be those that question causality like the quest for Unified Field Theory by physicists, quest for proof of P?=NP by mathematicians. Artificial Intelligence is one of the most coveted dreams of man that if realized has unparalleled consequences on machines. An artist can dream of a machine pursuing its dreams like in A.I. by Speilberg. A scientist can dream of finding proofs for most intriguing theorems automatically.

What is the main problem in realizing such dream machines or dream theories like unified theory? It's their complexity. Efficient representation of ideas is very essential in making them useful. Math is a popular tool that allows us to make judgements about different representations, to apply the ideas to a large scale avoiding manual errors, to give new insights which are elusive without it. There are many wonderous things in Nature that are not mathematical (or atleast not mathematized yet) like humans, plants, viruses etc. (BTW the P vs. NP question precisely asks whether humans can be completely efficiently mathematized in terms of their mathematical ability).

Most people agree that to understand a phenomenon completely one must be able to look inside the process. But when we start looking inside our own processes we start being spiritual. For example in one way or the other we try to reason out some important events based on karma philosophy. Though there is no consensus mostly because of non-verifiability scientifically, we eventually settle down for it. If someday we can formalize karma using math, which would certainly be extremely sophisticated and need lot more evolution, we could have unified field theory, more predictability of events in life etc. But then again we need room for growth even then. We don't have to worry unless we overturn the existing logical system.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Health: Dodging injuries

One of the most important preparations you have to make for a journey is to make sure you avoid bad sideaffects, injuries etc. In this post I try to give some tips on dodging injuries on your journey towards better health.

  • Workout has its own costs. It not only requires tremendous amount of dedication but also has ethics to be followed - the ethics to be responsible for your body. Just because you are dedicated and going to gym everyday you cannot do whatever you want to at the gym.

  • Make sure you have sufficient knowledge of what you are doing with weights or cardio machines. READ instructions, ask the personal trainers, ask the experienced people, read from magazines.
  • .
  • Don't be adhoc in the type of exercises you do. Make sure you concentrate on all regions of your body - roughly speaking upper, middle and lower body.
  • .
  • Give sufficient time for the body to recover after exerting it.

  • Make sure you strecth different muscles for relaxation after working them out.

  • Have plenty of water around you and drink before even you feel thirsty. Believe me dehyrdrating experience could be really nasty.

  • Take special care of your joints, especially knee joints.

  • Injuries can be checked using RICE.

  • When lifting heavy weights make sure you have someone monitoring you. Minor mistakes here could result in fatal or lifelong injuries.

  • Based on my friend, Reagan's advice, a good heuristic for judging a right weight for you is that you should be able to do atleast 4 reps and atmost 8 reps.

  • Generally speaking there has to be balance between using your body and being responsible for your body.

Link to health posts so far.
Edited: August 28, 06. 11:07 AM.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Incompleteness and room for growth

Recently I read an exposition on Godel's proof of incompleteness. There the authors Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman do a very nice job of explaining not only the proof but also triggering philosophical insights without loosing the details. The two main results of Godel's seminal paper are: any logical system capable of supporting Peano's axioms (simply stated a system supporting the well-evolved axioms and deducing abilities of humans)
  • could not be both consistent and complete

  • could not prove itself consistent without proving itself inconsistent
So why is the result so astounding or profound? One of the main reasons is that he proved (to be clear he used no meta reasoning) to show what great minds (like that of David Hilbert, Jules Richard) have been conjecturing about limits of human ability of mental conception. This result has many practical applications similar to those of the result by Cook's result on complexity of theorem proving procedures (the seminal paper in complexity theory). They both gave us reasoning ability to direct research efforts in their respective fields viz. logic and computational complexity (and algorithm design). There are results in almost all fields having similar effects (like result of Nash in game theory, result of Einstein in atomic physics).

If a system cannot be complete and consistent what reasoning can we take help of, to design and implement a system that is useful. No need to worry! We have pearls in pile of human-knowledge-jewelry known as probability theory, theory of statistics at our disposal. These theories for example helped building randomized algorithms, learning theory which unquestionably have proven to be useful.

The research directions consequent to any negative result like incompleteness theorem are essentially examples of positive thinking. The incompleteness theorem implies conjectures which intuitively are true but hard to be proven are always possible thus ineffect guaranteeing room for growth or increased depth of understanding. Look out for the recent exuberance over the potentially complete proof of Poincare's conjecture by Grisha Perelman who purportedly denied the Fields medal.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Anthropicism, science and time

Couple of weeks ago there was a fun contest on Scott's blog about coming up with best antrhopic statement. I took part in that contest (you can find my 3 entries in the comments of that post). The winning anthropicism was from Lev Reyzin.

Though my thrid entry was close to what the winnig entry implied mine was not stated with proper flavor of wit and context! But then I thought I have my blog to write about what I think on the topic:)

Anthropic thinking mainly questions of why things happen the way they are happening and the things of interest are related to human existence. Scientific thinking tries to focus on answering how things are happening not bothering too much about why they are happening. Eg. Physics answers how two bodies attract each other but does not bother why they should attract at all in the first place. Computer Science for example worries about understanding how to reveal what human mind works in a way that can be applied efficiently to machines. But it does not worry about why human mind works that way.

Anthropicism is an effort to accumulate wisdom with reasoning analogous to science. But it is different from science in the sense that it is not so straightforward to verify and replicate the process. Meaning that it might be practically less advantageous. Nevertheless it also tries to find truths in a meta theoretical and meta practical world. Also the history of humanity shows being obsessed with immediate practical benefits is not that a great idea.

Now we can start thinking there is no point of anthropicism because it mainly works in a layer not immediately applicable. Well so far atleast we have not rated anthropic thinking as irrational thinking:) Science is a layer that is a bit above immediate feelings. Anthropicism is a layer a bit above science. Time is the ultimate judge in deciding what is useful and what is the truth because only time has the ability to question the basic assumptions or axioms on which all other theorems are built. So far anthropicism and science have passed the test of time and we did not need a layer much above anthropicism which is above philosophy which is above science which is above common fleeting experiences.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Health: Faring well on the plateau exam

Once you start your journey towards betterment you are tested by Nature for your patience, balance and dedication as those tests are needed to judge if you are really worth the end result.

So don't feel bad if you are experiencing plateau regions in your progress. Infact it's time to put in more effort to pass the test since it's exam time! Here are tips on how to do well:
  • Realize that it be a surprise test! For some people this might come early for some later.
  • Since it's a surprise test regularly check if you are on a plateau. Use proper ways like measuring waist line, measuring weight only in a reasonably periodical way, being realistic (by getting statistics from various expert sources) in expectations etc.
  • On the plateau:
    • Increase workout for atleast by 30 mins to your regular time.
    • Add more enduring exercises (like fat-burn or more repetitions) at the cost of perhaps reducing some impacting (like high-range cardio or heavy weights) ones.
    • Cut down on the weekly cheating from once a week to once in two or even three weeks depending on how long is the exam. You will know when the exam is over. Because instant result (like in GRE).
    • Unlike in some exams shortcuts don't work:) Think of it as a defence work where you are tested for real accumulated worth instead of your ability to be worthy. This is not an entrance exam it's like a midterm or even final (I don't know yet:))
    • Don't look at others' progress or strategies too much. Why? Because their question paper could be different and you would be wasting your energies for negative results.
    • This is an untimed exam. You won't be forced to finish. If you quit in between luckily no loss except for the benefit of opportunity cost. You would atleast be where you are. But this is not a great thing to do.
Link to health posts so far.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Realistic perception, perceptual reality

Is perception real or is reality is defined in terms of perception? This definitely reduces to the chicken-egg problem. But many deep philosophical questions are reduced to this problem. This problem is Ph-Complete (Philosophically Complete) that is if this problem is solved then any philosophical question can be answered. Now since we donot have a solution for this problem we have to focus our energies on approximations based on assumptions which is called practicality. We have to live with it. Even computer scientists cannot avoid such situations:) Lookup NP-Completeness.

Now the question I started with, is important in life to do something meanigful and worthy. Since we donot know what is the true definition of reality or perception what we can do is be efficient in balancing both. Dynamic balance of perception and reality is important in life. Live in the present. If you live too much on the past you are giving to much weight to perceptual reality and if you worry too much about future then you are having un-realistic perception. You can see a post that talks about unrealistic perception. Importance of balance in life comes from age-old wisdom. When you don't have any opinion or neither realistic perception nor perceptual reality it does not mean you are balanced - it just means you are ignorant of things around you. One has to constantly progress, do things but maintain balance. Only then balance is meanigful.

Importance of dynamic balance is hinted by Nature in it's every aspect: Earth is round, circle is a unique geometric object, there are cycles in seasons, most cosmic paths are closed even if very large. The heavenly bodies keep moving but are in equilibrium nurturing life and energy.

How can we try to achieve this balance? Science and Art are the answers. Science tries to give us realistic perception and Art contributes by stressing perceptual reality. Thus they both are, equally importantly, helping humanity. Morals, emotions etc. are like software for the hardware built by more objective Science.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Health: Organizing my posts

I have got couple of notes to write more about health. Some of my previous posts on health tips already cover some of these. So thought I will make a post organizing my previous posts.

1. Startup
2. King of nutrition
3. Breaking the habit

For every new health post hence forth I will add a pointer to it's previous one.

Happy journey.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Purpose of purpose

Understanding life has a lot to do with understanding its purpose. Why? Because we don't want to waste one of the most important resource time. Why time is important? Because it is finite. Well I can take more whys in comments if any body is interested.

When we apply for graduate schools or any academic jobs or highlevel jobs we are asked to describe, many times in written or a few times oral, of what our goal or purpose of applying for or working in that position is. This is because only then can they feel justified to invest in both their and our resources for society.

Most people search for their purpose when asked for. This is good and benefitial to society. But on an individual level if one wants to be really successful he needs to clearly understand the purpose of having a purpose in life and only then can he focus his energies effectively which is needed for success. But beware you cannot just describe anything that you want as purpose. You have to add wisdom and rationality for any desire to be called a purpose. This is possible only after considerable experience of the universe.

One essential phase in understanding the purpose of life is not having a purpose and feeling the need for it and honestly and courageously facing it to move forward to the phase of having a purpose. It's like building a bridge/building/subway system etc. We first don't have those, then we feel the necessity of those and then build them strong and effective and it takes lot of honest, courageous effort. The adjectives used for effort are non-scientific (but essential) and the effort would be scientific. The other phase is that it needs reevaluation, maintenance work too:) So the bottom line is just look around yourself in Nature and you will understand what are the phases.

Now what kind of purposes we can have. Based on history and current events we should have a purpose to live happily. For that we have to choose a proper method that will not get in others' purposes. After exploring for a while (for most people around 20-25 years of life - not kidding) choose a specific domain where you know you can contribute and work towards doing that. If that is not very satisfying then have a purpose to prosper because for that you have to do the above. It's just another way of looking at it - probably more common but not very insightful and nevertheless useful. Ofcourse:)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Health: Breaking the habit

There is a famous saying: Humans are creatures of habit. Maintaining health is part of human activity and hence is a habit. But there is also another famous saying Old habits die hard. The two sayings together indicate us potentials as well as traps. First saying indicates we can achieve things by habituating them and once done they are hard to break.

So for better health, we have to break a lot of habits like
  • Being lazy (eg. not workingout regularly)
  • No physical activity immediately after eating (eg. sitting comfortably after eating)
  • Underestimating calorie facts about food (eg. when nutrition facts are missing)
  • Being embarrased for looking at nutrition facts (eg. when buying or eating)
  • Being embarrased keeping track of your diet (eg. among friends)
  • Eating to reduce stress (eg. eating chips, nuts)
  • Eating when not needed (eg. not skipping dinner for an extravagant lunch)
  • Not considering snacks as a significant intake (eg. ignoring a pretzel/banana)
  • Qualifying food based on taste instead of nutrition facts (eg. Pepsi/Diet pepsi)
  • Not paying attention to popular warnings about health (eg. obesity/smoking)
  • Mishandling of achievements (eg. stopping workout for no reason because you know you can workout)

Though this post is intended to be a sequel to my health posts the power of habit is true for many aspects of life.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Relativity and the power of detachment

Recently I was reading about relativity. This gave me some added clarity of not only how Einstein was motivated but also how we can better understand our lives (which ofcourse undoubtedly are part of this universe).

Newton revolutionized thinking by making coinscious choices to hypothesize and test and thus came up with some very useful laws. That was a big step during those superstitious days. Einstein went a step further by proving that choice making is relative and there could be no reasoning for a preference towards a hypothesis. He showed that encounters (elements in space-time coordinates) are necessary and sufficient to describe the events in the universe. He builds up his arguments using a key fact that experience of the universe is very involved in describing universe. And later in time one of his very good friends showed that no formal system could be consistent or complete which implies there is no reasoning behind choosing a specific system.

Since all choices are equivalent atleast scientifically and universe is anyway precisely described in space-time coordinates we need not get attached to particular point in the universe, as things keep changing anyways with our measured time. Ofcourse this assumes rationality and that you want to be ahead (aware) of events happening in human society. Don't attach any transcendental values to systems, choices people make or preferences.

Eg. If you analyze labor standards in different countries there is no reasoning to say American standards are better or other standards are poor. If you define labor as the work people do labor for living (which is reasonable because all other work is made for extra it's not easy to standardize that kind of work) that is getting food and shelter then America by its wealth needs less of it and hence labor cost is high and hence standards.

So relativity besides its usual contribution gave us a paradigm of how to think in a world with changing experiences. Sprititually it is suggested not to attach to any wordly things. This can be suggestible even scientifically. Also you can feel the difference if you just live according to the situation not getting attached or stuck. Most importantly don't get attached to your feelings because they are the most flickering of all experiences.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Retaining relationships

We are all relatives of Adam and Eve and since 'relative' is a transitive relation we are all related to each other only to different extents. Human society and cultures weave amazing designs with relationships. There are plenty of aesthetic and real benefits from nurturing relationships. There are four key ingredients in a relationship - the objectivity and subjectivity of the two entities (people) involved. We have to be careful and rational in handling those four elements to retain or build any relationship.

A relationship it will last as long as both people involved in it find it useful in their own ways. Things get dull if their ways are almost identical and things get too messy if their ways are too different. But how do we know for sure how different two are and which is the best combination? Experimentation is inevitable and it is not wrong. Both the parties should be independent and be willing to participate in the experiments of building the relationship. There are protocols to be followed in the experiments. The protocols ensure safety simultaneously leaving some room for creativity. Different cultures have different protocols. So when we encounter change in cultures it might be a bit hard to decide which protocol to follow. But to keep things effective in life it's better to follow one's native cultures.

The usefulness of a relationship is usually both objective and subjective. The objective benefits can be easily made to be mutally win-win case by clearly and honestly applying logic. The unsurmountable problems come of course with little surprise from subjectivity. But we donot know how problematic subjectivity is until we build the relationship. If we find that subjectivity is too much of a problem then both parties can focus on objective part and limit their relationship to that level instead of ruining it. The best way not to ruin is stay away from the relationship. Don't overturn it making it bad to break it. That is just egoistic.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Inspiration, motivation and implementation

What does it take to work continuosly and be productive? Why is it hard not to get lost in unnecessary and useless activities? This might be because of inability to find inspiration. Inspiration triggers planning. Motivation is something that is completely situational sensitive and most necessary step for implementation. Each of the three phases are required for achievements or success. Implementation being the easiest and lowest level of effort hierarchy.

First let's see how to hone ability to be inspired. Be aware that you are human being and part of a big community which is highly interdependent. The work you do for community is credited and rewarded and the better you use your energy for the work the better are the rewards. Bottom line is be rational. Read and learn about great people to find inspiration. It takes time and lot of effort to be inspired.

Motivation is situational and hence we must be careful that we make proper choices to be in right situations whenever we can. Try to see situations with positive outlook and don't look at the world as completely adversarial. If you feel you are in a bad situation then realize early that the adversarial flavors of situations are only to train you to face tougher situations more effectively. After watching a very well done movie BLACK I feel that we must be very fortunate to be normal.

Once inspired and motivated implementation should be ruthless and is relatively not hard. But it is very easy to screw it up if one becomes unduely complacent.

I started this post on May 9, 06 but finished on May 11, 06 after watching BLACK.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Learning from losing

Recently there have been posts about rejection on Luca's and Lance's blog and an extraordinary comment by Oded. I was really impressed by the insight brought out by Oded.

His insight actually teaches a lesson of how to learn better from any kind of failure. We must strive for clear and real understanding of the situation and that gives us energy to courageously face it and cope up with it instead of letting it take us over. Many people think this kind of analysis is losers' attitude and to be practical we don't need any such waste of time. It is true that such an analysis is usually triggered when one is in loser's state but such effort of getting out of that state is infact one of the greatest applications of human mind. Infact such an analysis is actually a precursor to start being practical. Some people don't need these precursors but there's nothing bad about needing it. Afterall nobody is completely powerful. The absolute greatness is in ability to survive through odds. Ofcourse it's irrational to consciously choose to be in odds unnecessarily.

There is a thin line between learning from failures and justifying failures. We must be careful with that. We learn the difference as we mature.

Changed title on May 9, 06. 9:47PM US EST.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Health: King of nutrition

As a continuation to my health tips, I want to talk and point to benefits of Protein the King of nutrition.

Eating smart is one of the very important things to do in maintaining good health. It is very suprising because to be good these days, we have to do pretty much any thing smart:) Protein has tremendous benifits in helping weight management. I personally experienced the benefits. Your hunger remains controlled among many things. It is very hard for vegetarians to get good source of protein. By good I mean equivalent to that we get from non-vegetarian diet. But food technology research has progressed very nicely and we now have protein isolates that can be consumed, even gratifying your palate. Soy protein, whey protein, milk protein isolates come in delicious low calorie bars. Whey protein is also available as a powder form. Among all kinds of proteins WHEY protein seems to be the best. Here's a link to benefits from WHEY protein.

Intelligent Design and Evolution

Recently I watched about Intelligent Design and Evolution arguments because of this post on Luca Trevisan's In Theory and started a thought-thread that ran in the background of my mind and I summarize the results of that thread in this post.

People believing in ID say that people who are atheists are agnostics. They show some silly psychological tricks to prove their correctness. They argue that omniscience is not true and hence atheists cannot be true. Infact their argument can be applied against them. They are not omniscient either. What I saw was they were trying to induce fear (of violating ten commandments) to make people believe in ID. They don't seem to have better tools!?

Most scientists never claim about non-existence of GOD. In fact the closer one is to being a true scientist the more he refrains from any such claims. This is not being agnostic, it's simply being rational to be useful in life by bringing in real results for humans. Read my post about results.

If the goal of ID followers is to bring peace and harmony to world then they better be more philosophical or spiritual instead of trying to be scientific or trying to reduce the value of scientific efforts. True scientific effort is one of the finest services to humanity. It is well known in scientific community that proving negative results is much harder than positive results. If scientists cannot prove non-existence of GOD they won't claim it. They only shift focus to what they can do best with their ability to understand. This is why Theory of Evolution exists and there are lot of applications using this theory in coming up with practical heuristics for material design using nanotechnology, genetic algorithms etc. There might be some mysteries about evolution like this one on Scott's blog but this does not rule out Evolution. Ruling out things because of their mysteries without keeping in mind their major applications is not being very rational. It is important that these mysteries crop up which slowly but eventually will be resolved to give us progress.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Since this blog is about living. I plan to post about health tips which I started on my website.

Here's the link to some, I already wrote.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Experience, non-determinism and heuristics

There's one thing that people inevitable seek in judging/rating some one and that is experience. So it's worth to see how to optimize gaining experience. Wouldn't it be great if we have an algorithm with polynomial time bound for the problem. Well, there is but the catch is that it is non-deterministic and is in NP. It is: "If you are statistically doing good among your peers then you are optimally gaining experience". This indeed can be verified can't it? The assumption here is that we have an objective performance measuring system. Infact many such important problems can be solved like this. Leaving the problem of proving/disproving P=?NP to great complexity theorists I will talk about how to effectively live with non-determinism. Fits my blog title:)

The most important tools in coping with non-determinism are learning and heuristics. Everybody uses heuristics either being aware of them or not. For example theoreticians use to find connections between various axioms and existing theorems and practioners use to find connections between various experiments and existing results. Infact heuristics is the main reason we produce something actually worth verification process (the key step in non-deterministic processes). This verification is usually statistical. There was a significant progress in complexity community when this was actually proven. Check PCP theorem. Learning and heuristics go hand in hand. From the feedback of verifying the heuristics we learn to improve our heuristics and then learn better. As time passes by we master this loop and gain experience which is what we wanted to solve. Now we know that though the problem of sorting can be solved optimally in O(nlgn), Quicksort implementations are much faster than most other O(nlgn) sorts and this analogical reasoning I think also applies in how fast people gain experience.

For this post my heuristics were mainly from Computer Science. My blogging is about living (because I like to ponder on that) and I will pick heuristics from various fields like psychology, medicine etc. because living life is an NP problem that requires heuristics in a wholistic approach.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Maturity, System and Equilibria

Maturity is a very important state that one has to strive to get to as quickly as possible. As we grow mature we see higher perspectives of life and we streamline our energies accordingly and thus be more useful and productive. Knowledge is one of the key tools that lets people mature. Why? Because knowledge helps us eliminate unncessary and unestablished correlations among events in life. We establish lot of correlations based on our background and our experiences so far in life. But if we want to grow, change we have to leave those traits back with our past.

Thanks to lot of research in dynamics governing games in life, people are able to design efficient systems that can aid in growing mature. The more secure we are the higher the probability that we mature sooner. After all maturity in some sense is feeling more secure. So given that what do we have to do? Understand different systems and choose one where we are more comfortable. The faster we do this the greater we can achieve. I would recommend read biographies of lot of great people.

How does system help in getting mature? Well, if it can provide security, half the work is done. People tend to choose collective strategies that are close to some equilibria. But to choose so they have to arrive at those points by making choices. They can make proper choices if they are let to explore the choices in the first place. Most of us must have seen the picture below where the curved surface creates a stable equilibrium and the straight surface an unstable one. A system must provide a stable equilibrium where people can toss around and explore choices but (within certain limits) are assured to be safe in the system. This way I think system can help for people to reach mature equilibrium points sooner.

One main reason why I stress on system is that we have energies and enthusiasm to explore to make big choices when we are young but unfortunately in developing countries that's when system projects lot of insecurities. That's why in my opinion better systems can help!

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Rationality as I mentioned in one of my previous posts is, because of finiteness of this world, inherently bounded. The consequence is that people should not worry unnecessarily for not grasping the absolute truth in it's entirety. The bounds of rationality can only be extended by palpable results or outcomes. And only that is, in my opinion, true contribution. Reaching the existing boundaries is learning and this is not equivalent to contribution. These extensions of boundaries can be at different levels and some people extend it so impactfully that it might take centuries for people to reach those boundaries as is in the case of Einstein's theory of relativity.

Results are important for another reason. You earn credit but something should offer it and that is society. Without society there is no credit, let alone it's earning. Society in general offers credit if you do something for it. The proportion of society you influence influences the amount of credit you get. If you do something only for yourself you get credit because you also belong to society but the credit you get is only from you and that would be proportional to the size of your presense in the society. Eg. Size spanning your family or street or colony or department etc.

Now above said, to get results you should start living effectively, which in my opinion is a paraphrase for living in the present. Do not try to know answer for everything. Why? Because usually the main burden of a problem is not the problem itself but the questions like Why did this problem show up? Why for me? What if I donot solve it? Does this mean something? What did I do wrong? Now it is clear that with all such questions we are not focusing our energies in solving the problem but in finding answers to questions which might be well beyond our bounds of rationality. This is being very ineffective. So we should strive to avoid such drains of energy and be mindful about the bounded rationality and start living in the present (bounds) and be productive.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Attitude for accolade

It is often said that winning is attitude. Attitude is something which we build over a long-period of time. Mindfulness of events happening in one's life helps him to learn a better (winning or successful or positive) attitude. Examples of attitudes we learn are discipline, security, individuality, independence, interdependence etc.

Almost all successful people have these attitudes. It's a different story if they are aware of it or not. If they are aware (and expressive) then they can be useful to the society by more than just being successful. Since humans are social beings some attitudes come almost by default that let them survive. The more complex attitudes like interdependence are the key for higher levels of success (or I guess semantics of success change over time to indicate only higher level achievements:)).

I would like to discuss a bit about interdependence. Humans have a wonderful potential namely cooperation. To unleash it we need what I call detached interdependence. To learn that, we need to remember that we belong to the whole and at the same time we cannot have/gain absolute control of the whole. We have to do things in a detached style that is do things without worrying too much about results. For that ofcourse we need another attitude called security which again is our choice and is influenced by the system we are living in. We should axiomatize that we won't be unnecessarily insecure.

I would like to show how mindfulness helps.

This is a rough plot of success vs. time for two hypothetical students from two different scenarios.
The top curve is of a brilliant student with very productive environment (environment that drives attitudes by default). The bottom one is that of a brilliant student with not so productive environment. The thing to kept in mind to have a useful attitude is that the blue lines are (or could be made) equal in length. The slope in the bottom curve can be interpreted to be difficult and more enlightening probably because of its difficulty.

(Edited: April 21, 06)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Risk in life

In my previous post I talked about people taking risks. Rational people try to do activities that keep them involved and busy. If survival is not an issue then the most promising thing that can keep them so is taking risks. That's exactly why many rich (either in thoughts or resources) people like to take risks and time has been convincing us that taking risk is essential for growth. I went on hiking for my first time in my life yesterday even when the weather forecast said it would snow badly. I would have never imagined doing such a thing before adjusting myself to lifestyle in US. Ofcourse the activity itself is not at all important but what I think is that activities like having risky hobbies (eg. sky diving) and having passion to realize hidden potentials have similar kind of base thinking and such style must either be built into the society or be learnt for experiencing the higher purpose of life, ofcourse if one cares about it. This whole post might turn out to be trivial to many, who might not have had background similar to mine, but not to all.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Logic for life

Logic is a reasoning technique. It is very useful to be applied for reality or build potential for reality. Assuming that reality has correlation with our experience in this world, emotions are also REAL. In the never ending battle between emotions and logic in gaining control over human judgemental ability, one should not let either win but let the battle (activity) keep going so that we experience progress.

We all know there is no absolutely complete system from Godel's incompleteness theorem. Logic needs axioms, learning needs biases. We should try using logic to learn proper biases in using emotions effectively and use emotions to learn appropriate axioms for logic to build useful SYSTEMS that can penalize any extremities. History shows the first direction is harder than the second. People tend to do and assimilate things that they are comfortable with. The second direction seems pretty saturated. While there is lot of work to be done in the first direction. Most of powerful axioms like axiom of choice, axioms of equality etc. have already been found and assimilated. People gained justified power by working in the second direction. What I imagine is that there could be lot's of potential for better living if some effort is put in the first direction. Spiritual organizations etc. seem to be working in that direction. There have been such organizations that are very successfull but very few.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Rationality and class system

The world is inherently (atleast since we cannot understand infinite) is finite. So we have to be rational in this world to be happy and peaceful. That is we need reasoning. The hard part is not coming up with reasons but implementing them. Example is class system in society. This was initially built for effectiveness in human cooperative actions. The not so good thing is that most people have a wrong perspective of this system. The truth is that it is not hierarchical in the sense of superiority it is just modular and hence might be hierarchical in the sense of engineering.

The second-order system (or the governing system) that manages the society should be able to grant sufficient freedom and open-up paths for sliding through different modules (classes) in the society and it should have necessary constraints (usually revealed as deterministic parts of outcomes of efforts) so as to avoid thrashing (as in OS) and increase through-put of every human.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Living in a developed, liberal country

One can see a more enlightened view of living in a developed country when he can compare it with that in a developing country. I call this tool as "Contrast thinking". Will post about it some time later.

Very obvious thing is one CAN pursue whatever he wants to. The developed system should take into account most possibilities that can arise in the process and make sure society is safe and prospering. One of the most important directions is research. Playing around with borders, limits of ultimate "perceived truths" is possible in a country like US for a guy with not so shiny academic background. For success first thing is we need to ADJUST to the buffered life style of US. We have to make sure that we don't under-fill the buffer or over-fill the buffer (because of the defensive survival mode) that is prevalent in most developing countries.

It's often thought that people in US can think out-of-the-box and most others don't. This probably is a close to being a fact. To be like a real developed society member we have to understand that there is no ABSOLUTE truth and we just have to play our role effectively according to the situations we are in. We don't need more brain cells but We have to GET USED TO that thinking. Risk taking is REQUIRED to exploit any potential fully because it psycologically and physiologically triggers efficiency spots because of the responsibility of taking risk. People in US are more risk taking because they have to. People in most other countries refrain from it because they have to. So base thinking is same for all humans (they do because they have to). I can expand on why people in US have to take risk... but that itself is worth another post. But to be smart - be a Roman while in Rome (old cliche but very useful).