Preach, Sagan !

preachsagan

For a long time, Cosmos has been on IMDB’s  top 10 TV shows of all time. It is no wonder that appetite for understanding of deep mysteries of cosmos fascinates people. Sagan’s Cosmos has a special place in popular culture here in West, well to be honest, even in Asia, Africa and other parts of world as well. His way of delivering the state of the art to his audience has been the bold identifier of the Science Communication in US and all over the world since 1980.

Tonight, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiers on FOX and National Geographic. Stay tuned for the awesomeness which belongs to prime time television !

Freddie

Summer 2004, sitting in my living room searching for a song or two, I was listening to random songs to past the time. Summer in India can get pretty hot, especially in May-June. A well chosen stream of songs hitting your eardrums loudly and lazily lying around doing nothing else, can get you through the heat. I was waiting for the result of an entrance exam and was very tentative to say the least. A month of vacation before going to college, nothing more depressing can happen to you in that age, well depending on how well you did in the exam.

Stage was set for my ‘search and destroy’ mission. Goal was to remove all the unwanted songs and find new ones. TV was playing some random MTV songs – some in Hindi and some in English. Yes, MTV in India is weird, as weird as or more so than in US counterpart. The song which caught my attention was Queen’s I want to break free’

 

I still remember how dumbstruck I was after watching that video. Well, another annoying habit of these music channels is that they often don’t play the whole song. That video is crazy to start with. And that song was stuck in my head instantly. It took me a while to find the name of the song. In fact, 6 days to be exact. I haven’t wasted my time listening to one song for that many times before or after that. Since then, I have been a huge admirer of Queen and especially, Freddie. His story is one of the most inspiring stories ever. His songs have given countless no of hours of sheer joy to millions across the world, including me.

A linear algebra teacher told my class last year, about him attending the Queen concert at Wembley. According to him, “Craziest ever! and not just in West London!! “. Here is one example of his stage presence.

Damn, He had a Voice! Not sure why the taste in music changes or how in many ways it still remains same, but his songs will surely be in my ‘Go To’ list of songs …..  In all of his songs and live performances, he was unapologetically, Freddie !

freddie1

Couretesy of freddiemercury.com/

Sci-Fi … Ever !

1. The Matrix (1999)  .. 9.5/10.0

The_Matrix_Dodge_this_(HD)_0893

 

2. 2001 : A space Odyssey (1968) … 9.4/10.0

Gary Lockwood And Keir Dullea In '2001: A Space Odyssey'

 

3. Contact (1997) …. 9.2/10

Jodie

 

4. Blade Runner (1982) ….. 9.1/10.0

blade-runner

 

5. Alien (1979) … 9.0/10.0

alien-chestburster

Next five (generally nobody cares after top 10. Not worth the effort to go further, even if there are many)

 

6. Gattaca (1997) … 8.5/10.0

gattaca

 

7. Jurassic Park (1993) … 8.5/10.0

jurassic-park

 

8. The Andromeda Strain (1971) … 8.5/10.0

Andromeda-Strain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Dr. Strangelove (1964) …. 8.4/10.0

dr-strangelove

 

10. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) … 8.3/10.0

close-encounters-of-the-third-kind

How do we know who WE are !

Experimental Philosopher Joshua Knobe talking about the idea of ‘True’ self …. Weekend divergence with a pinch of ‘Philosophical’ salt.

Seems like Experimental Philosophy is a very new branch of Philosophy, nonetheless, it is fascinating to know how can we find the connection between the abstract ideas of Philosophy of human mind and cognitive behavior of humans from Psychology perspective.

Edge

2013 HeadCon seminar was arranged by Edge and the state of the art in Social Sciences was the topic of discussion. 

List of speakers is pretty fascinating :  Sendhil Mullainathan: “What Big Data Means For Social Science”; June Gruber: “The Scientific Study of Positive Emotion”; Fiery Cushman: “The Paradox of Automatic Planning”; Rob Kurzban: “P-Hacking and the Replication Crisis”; Nicholas Christakis: “The Science of Social Connections”; Joshua Greene: “The Role of Brain Imaging In Social Science”; Laurie Santos: “What Makes Humans Unique”; Joshua Knobe: “Experimental Philosophy and the Notion of the Self”; David Pizarro: “The Failure of Social and Moral Intuitions”; Daniel C. Dennett: “The De-Darwinizing of Cultural Change. Also participating: Jennifer JacquetDaniel KahnemanAnne Treisman.

Don’t forget to get a double espresso shot before engaging yourself with any one of the videos ! I found Knobe talk worth mentioning among all. Well, all are very well put to say the least.

“A life in letters”

The most beautiful thing about English is that it has a way to bring you all those wonderful works of wonderfully beautiful minds crossing the boundaries of culture, country and prejudice !  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s  ‘A Life in Letters’ is such an example of brutally honest yet profoundly meaningful collection of writing. I wish I could have read it in high school. Yet, here I am.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s endearing letter to his daughter touches you instantly. There are few things about the world that you want to tell everyone as soon as you understand them. This is no different …..

 

Fitzgerald

(Source: F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters ; Image: Fitzgerald with both his daughter, “Scottie,” and wife, Zelda, via.)

 

August 8, 1933

Dear Pie:

I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.

All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs “Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”

Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up a Saturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me “Pappy” again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?

I will arrange the camp bill.

Halfwit, I will conclude.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about. . .

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love,

Daddy

P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. “Egg Fitzgerald.” How would you like that to go through life with — “Eggie Fitzgerald” or “Bad Egg Fitzgerald” or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear to God I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?

Love anyhow.

 

Cyclical ‘justice’ !

Brian Acton was networking with recruiters 4 years ago. Let’s check some of his tweets ….

and this one with facebook as well …

He and Jan Koum, started Whatsapp inc. four years ago. Today, Facebook bought Whatsapp Inc., a Delaware corporation, for $19 billion. Check out the the Media coverage and a document filed with SEC as well.

Crazy good, isn’t it ? !

Let the (word) War begin …

It has been nicknamed – “A Highly Anticipated Debate” !

Dr. William Lane Craig Vs  Dr. Sean Carroll !

greer

Source : Greer Heard Forum

“Next month I’ll be doing something related, although under quite different circumstances. On February 21 I’ll be debating William Lane Craig at the Greer-Heard Forum, an event sponsored by the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. It will actually be a two-day event; a debate between Craig and me on Friday night, and follow-ups on Saturday from other speakers — Tim Maudlin and Alex Rosenberg for Team Naturalism, Robin Collins and James Sinclair for Team Theism. I believe the whole thing will be streamed live online, and it will certainly be recorded for posterity.” —said, Dr.Carroll, about this debate.

It will be fun for sure ..  If you are lucky enough to be in New Orleans register here.

THE Perfect Day !

Peter Roebuck’s account of this battle —–

THIS was a day to remember, a day upon which Brett Lee made a startling first appearance for his country and Sachin Tendulkar stood alone at the crease defying formidable odds, and with courage and skill keeping his wicket intact.

It was a glorious confrontation between old and new, mighty and promising, an expression of the great gifts of the game, the brilliance of batsmanship, the excitement of pace and the powers needed to reach the gods. Meanwhile, a superb leg-spinner bowled with artistry and cunning as he pursued his own landmark. It wasn’t a day to stay in bed. There haven’t been many better.

Lee was a revelation. Thrown the ball as samosa-time approached and showing not the slightest inhibition, Lee began by bursting through Sadagopan Ramesh’s loosely constructed defence with his fourth ball, whereupon the orange-topped paceman celebrated with undisguised joy. Probably he did not know that the previous Australian to strike with his fourth delivery was Fred Freer, later to make his name as a footballer with Carlton.

Recalled for a second spring-heeled spell from the pavilion end as the wind shifted around, Lee struck again as India’s first drop fiddled at a ball too fast to permit an opportunity to think again. It was a fine start by a young man prepared to be himself in this most intimidating arena. Already Lee had shown his spirit by losing his wicket as fast bowlers ought, swiping at something subtle and lifting it into the clouds. Immediately the crowd took him to its heart.

Soon Lee was rested. Throughout he resembled a colt running a few furlongs for the fun of it. Recalled to the crease in the gloaming, Lee responded with the fiercest spell of the match, an explosion of athleticism and endeavour that destroyed the Indian innings. First he broke through Mannava Prasad’s push with a fast inswinger that did not bother with such minor matters as bouncing and instead went straight to the stumps like some guided missile.

Seeing the wicket broken, the crowd roared. Lee is the sort of bowler popular in the public seats. He excites people with the incisiveness of his approach, with a vitality inevitably missing from more seasoned practitioners who’ve seen a thing or two and nowadays rely upon attrition and craft. Lee is not an innocent he comes from Wollongong way but he has the enthusiasm of youth. Also, his style is simple. He’s been blessed with pace, a most precious gift and not to be wasted upon timid souls.

Lee struck again a couple of paragraphs later, removing Ajit Agarkar with another searing inswinger that crashed through the batsman’s defence in a manner that brooked no argument. Nor was that all.

Lee was smoking and promptly greeted Javagal Srinath with a flyer that the lugubrious paceman could not subdue. Immediately Anil Kumble was struck on the helmet by another lifting delivery from a man whose run-up was long and smooth and whose action seems natural and not affected by any kink.

As it turned out, Kumble had no intention of surrendering his wicket lightly.

sachin 116

Meanwhile, Tendulkar stood firm like St Paul’s Cathedral in the blitz. Any fool can score runs against tame bowling. Anyone can impress in easy circumstances. Like a true champion, Tendulkar rises in the tightest corners. He, too, had to keep an eye on Lee’s yorkers and took evasive action as the speedster flung down a bumper. It was a tremendous struggle between them, as the master craftsman fought tooth and nail while the gregarious youngster streamed in.

Tendulkar alone could resist the force of this fierce assault. He seemed to be playing in a different match from anyone else except Sourav Ganguly. Unaffected by the wickets tumbling around him, and realising the need to push the score along, Tendulkar moved from caution to aggression as he launched a breathtaking attack upon the bowling. Eight long years ago he appeared in this land as a teenager with superb skills and enough spirit to fuel an entire team. Now he has reappeared as a man bearing responsibility and carrying it lightly, for he does not allow any situation to be his master. When Tendulkar reached his hundred the entire crowd rose in acclamation. His dismissal brought the crowd to its feet a second time.

It had been the perfect day. The visiting champion had scored a century, and a new fast bowler had arrived upon the scene.

This article was first published by Fairfax Media on December 28, 1999
Source :http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/tendulkar-and-lee-create-the-perfect-day-20131011-2vci1.html

Illusion !!

 

 

“Tonight I strike” – A short film !

This short film edited and created almost entirely using the 15 inch Hp Laptop (worth $1200). It is just incredible !

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life”

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s banquet speech in 1954 —

“Having no facility for speech-making and no command of oratory nor any domination of rhetoric, I wish to thank the administrators of the generosity of Alfred Nobel for this Prize.

No writer who knows the great writers who did not receive the Prize can accept it other than with humility. There is no need to list these writers. Everyone here may make his own list according to his knowledge and his conscience.

It would be impossible for me to ask the Ambassador of my country to read a speech in which a writer said all of the things which are in his heart. Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or be forgotten.

Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.

How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.

I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you. ”

Source: See here !

Specious notion …. Radical Idea !

This image has been making rounds around which got my attention, quoting Buckminster Fuller involving his radical idea about the twentieth century social norms ! I do understand that free thinking and loving what you do is very important but isn’t it worth noting that if enough people in the society can find their zeal in respective fields without getting bog down or distracted by the social anxiety of unemployment, huge strides will be made in diverse fields of civilization throughout ! Though I am not sure it will be a very efficient society representing the collective wisdom of humankind. There are enough kinds of drudgery out there which are disliked or maybe hated by many, yet very essential for betterment of society. The very idea is still worth pondering ….

bucky

The difference …

 

Akbar-and-Tansen-visit-Haridas

In the court of Akbar Badshah ( `Badshah’, loosely translated, means `emperor’), there was a musician called Tansen. He used to enthrall everyone in Akbar’s Court with his superb performances. Once, after such a rendition, Akbar started praising him sky-high and said, “There can be no-one else in this world who can sing so well”. Tansen disagreed, saying he knows of a hermit who lives in the jungle on the banks of Yamuna river who is far superior and that Tansen himself has learnt music from him for sometime. Akbar, who could not believe this, wanted to listen to this hermit in order to judge for himself. Since the hermit did not want any publicity, it was decided that Tansen will take Akbar near the place where the hermit lived and they should listen to his music without creating any disturbance.

They set out one day and reached the jungle near the river Yamuna, where, at a distance, they saw the hermit’s hut. As the sun was setting on Yamuna, with all Nature at peace, the hermit came out his hut, sat on a rock facing the river and started singing. Akbar could immediately see that this was music of a completely different class which Tansen could never produce.

On their way back, Akbar queried, “Tansen, you say he taught you music; clearly, he has held back some techniques from you”.

“No”, said Tansen. “I know all the technical aspects of music he does.”

“But, Tansen, then how do you account for such difference in quality ?”

“It is simple. He sings for Yamuna while I sing for Badshah”.

Source- Here !

Just say the word !

Genesis of a solo artist in a nutshell …  a pub owned by Richard Branson, When collins starts to performing crowd is bored at first, but then it gets interesting …. lyrical improvisation makes this gibberish super fun !

Ahh I want to make this song into a series of symbols which can be put together by a beautiful equation ! Feels like rush … and wait … waiting for Nirvana of self righteousness !

 

 

On ‘origin of the most important mathematical symbol in the history of mathematics …’

inpursuitoftheunknown

An equation derives its power from a simple source. It tells us that two calculations, which appear different, have the same answer. The key symbol is the equals sign, =. The origins of most mathematical symbols are either lost in the mists of antiquity, or are so recent that there is no doubt where they came from. The equals sign is unusual because it dates back more than 450 years, yet we not only know who invented it, we even know why. The inventor was Robert Recorde, in 1557, in The Whetstone of Witte. He used two parallel lines (he used an obsolete word gemowe, meaning ‘twin’) to avoid tedious repetition of the words ‘is equal to’. He chose that symbol because ‘no two things can be more equal’. Recorde chose well. His symbol has remained in use for 450 years.

— Ian Stuart,  In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World

Refer : Brain Pickings Article on this !