Monday, February 19, 2007

Latex 000

Popularity decides pronunciation. It is popularly pronounced as how you would pronounce latec.

I have got several requests for giving quick and short tutorials on using latex for writing reports, papers etc. I intend to add several posts that might help those who have basic knowledge about HTML to start being able to typeset beautiful documents.

Latex is similar to HTML. It's just more powerful. It helps in producing beautiful mathematical formulas nicely aligned. Now take for granted that this is the best typesetting software used for printing articles in journals, books and producing pdf files.

You need 3 basic components to be able to use latex.
  1. Compiler(Most Linux boxes come with a compiler already installed. MikTex is a popular compiler for Latex on Windows.)
  2. Editor (any standard text editor would do but I recommend WinEdt)
  3. Viewer (either YAP or any pdf/ps reader)

Hello World:
Once you have the above basic components it's time to say "Hello World!". As the html files have .html as extensions the tex files have .tex in their extensions (too trivial but mentioned just in case).

Download the sample package and just open a command prompt, go to the folder and enter pdflatex Sample command twice. You have to do it twice to generate references. This will generate Sample.pdf in the same folder with bunch of other files. Open the pdf file to see the output.

End of class 000. I will add more stuff slowly or on demand. For those of you who have more urgent needs you can download the package and compile the tex file using following sequence of commands to generate the output pdf file.
  1. latex jfrExample
  2. bibtex jfrExample
  3. latex jfrExample
  4. texify jfrExample.tex
  5. dvipdft jfrExample

A very good reference can be downloaded here.

Once you start using latex you can take off on your own by "googling" but if you have any specific questions I might either help you directly or help you better google.

Errata: I fixed instructions on how to compile sample package. Please read the Hello World section carefully!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Karma - anthropic anlogue of evolution?

Science is all about hypothesizing and verifying hypotheses systematically and in repeatable way. Evolution is taught in science classes and it’s used for scientific explanations for many questions about our assumptions in life sciences. The problem with evolution is that it is not really verifiable. Nevertheless it is a conditioning that has proven to be useful heuristic for many practical applications for life. A similar kind of conditioning which is more anthropic in flavor is the theory of Karma. While the evolution does not center the humans it does center our perception. Karma unlike evolution is anthropic but like evolution does provides us with very satisfying explanations for many though not all events happening in life. Evolution also has it's cracks! Like evolution suggests survival of the fittest, karma also suggests to work hard to be fit and survive and motivates us to put efforts in the right direction. In fact the law of karma is one of the essential seeds of hope, which unquestionably is biggest strength of human mind. Karma can be called science if the anthropic principle is prevalent in science.

Now karma seems to be anthropic analogue of the theory of evolution. Do other theories or concepts have anthropic analogues or use anthropicism? Yes. For example we have anthropic computation, anthropicism in cosmology, in physics etc. As Scott uses anthropic computing to give a very strong argument against suicide, the anthropic principle used in life sciences (karma) can be used as a strong argument for hope! Do most theories or concepts benefit from looking for anthropic analogues? I don’t know but it would not be truly surprising if the answer is yes. What would be surprising is the process of it’s discovery and conceptualization.