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.