Thursday, May 26, 2005

NOVA | Magnetic Storm | Impact on Animals | PBS

NOVA | Magnetic Storm | Impact on Animals | PBS

"There's no scientific evidence that humans have this "sixth sense," though curiously, our brains do contain magnetite, the mineral thought to aid other animals' brains in detecting the field."

It is surprising to note that little interest is shown on impact of changes in magnetic fields on human mind. May be people find it amusing to watch confused birds and animals than confused human beings.

Like ghosts in the movie Sixth Sense, people see only what they want to see. They obviously do not want to see their 'so-called' negative side.

'Sachin's injury not career-threatening'

'Sachin's injury not career-threatening'
Yeah Sure, His game is.

More on the mind

Man has been foolish enough to assume that his frame of reference is absolute. With this assumption, he can go about questioning the existence of God, creation, life etc., A realization that these questions come from an individual's frame of mind will be a humbling experience. At that time, these questions will sound too stupid.

Far from being absolute, our minds are too narrow and shallow that they can't comprehend another's person's equally shallow and narrow mind. How else can we explain the strained relationships between couples, parents and children, friends and neighbours?

Isn't it absurd that a genius like Stephen Hawking had a divorce?

Mind

Look at the way human minds have evolved. I view the mind as a very large database of facts... well more or less facts. It builds the database based on the inputs from sensory organs. This is too simple a statement, but the way mind builds facts are a little more complex and have been described in Vedas and philosophies of east and west.

So, we kind of know that the mind is built up of facts - to use a better term - information. It is good for us, right? Not always. So, what's wrong? As the mind got strong with more information, we stop experiencing. All inputs from the sensory organs are directed to the big program called mind for more processing and for more information.

So, when we see a flower, we don't just see it. The mind takes over - and goes through its database for its color, family, the people you can associate with the flower, the ones who gave the flower, the ones who crushed a flower and so on and so forth. This is a simple example that all of us can understand.

Here is a complex one. See if you can relate to it. Your boss or the client yells at you for a mistake you have committed. In the absence of mind, we will experience it, feel miserable etc., With the mind, we reason it like - 'Yeah, I made a mistake so what?', 'It wasn't my mistake.', 'Didn't he / she do the same thing some time back?', 'I should of get out this company where people don't have respect for others.'

The point is, it is the mind that takes you through these kinds of thoughts hoping that it will make you feel better. Unfortunately, it is true for a short time. Like any other event, this is also added to the huge database along with the associated emotion and is there for checking whenever a similar situation comes up, causing trouble as long as there is mind.

So, what is the option? Do I mean to say that you are supposed to feel miserable? Yes and No. Experience the feeling and accept the situation. It also means you accept yourself as what you are - someone who messes up tasks. It takes away the conflict on who you really are and who you want to be. Plus the event is not stored with the emotion. The next time you remember the event, it is likely that you will not get the same old feeling.

It isn't easy to stop the information from automatically flowing to the mind. But it is possible.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

My Microsoft Interview

There are pages and pages of notes on interviews at Microsoft. Here is mine.

I interviewed for SDE for the core group way back in 2001. My friends had warned me that the group is too picky and I stand a better chance if it were not the core group. I was foolishly optimistic.

The first interview went off well with a recursive algorithm for finding the number of paths from one corner of a chess board to the diagonally opposite corner. The second one wasn't bad either though I missed to use a clue in optimizing a binary search. The third one was with lunch. The interviewer was friendly. I came to realize that a lunch time interview at MS is more of an interview than a lunch. I was already hungry but couldn't do well with the lunch and the interview. I guess the fourth one wasn't bad. By the time I was there for the fifth interview, I was brain dead. My mind went totally blank for questions that are simple when I'm not hungry or thirsty.

I do regret not getting into MS, I feel the interviews were good and I wasn't good enough on that day.

MCA for Computer Educated Clerks

On the last day of college at Department Computer Science, University of Pune, our Professor Dr. Shankar gave a talk on our courses. The Government of India had asked him and another famous CS Professor (known for his language books) to formulate a PG curriculum for computer Science. Dr. Shankar created a course to create computer scientists, that was the curriculum we had. (Though not many from our Department went on to become Computer Scientists, even the students at the bottom of the class were good programmers even by the standards 15 years ago.)

The other professor created the curriculum which is now popularly called 'MCA'. In Dr.Shankar's opinion - that curriculum would create sophisticated clerks. What a prediction!

Of the current crop of MCAs coming out of every college hardly 1% is capable of writing decent programs; In addition to the street corner colleges, we have universities offering distance education (affectionately called as karas - for correspondence) and open universities offer MCA - of very questionable quality.

When you see an MCA in a resume, subtract 5 points; if you see distance education or open university subtract another 5; Conduct tests and evaluate based on experience. In the final score (out of 10), add this -10. That's what the person is worth.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Traffic in Bangalore

It seems traffic in Bangalore is a pet crib for most Bangaloreans. Chennai isn't far behind on the traffic chaos. With its less efficient traffic management and more corrupt traffic cops, Chennai must be worse. But thankfully, Chennai has a reasonable rail system and a road network that lessens the traffic woes.

I'm surprised at Bangaloreans, they keep getting bigger and bigger vehicles, with road space reducing everyday. Do they think of the traffic, losing patience and rising blood pressure when they go out to buy a gas guzzling SUV? Hope not.

I wish someone organizes some kind of race in testing conditions like Bangalore traffic. The formula 1 and dirt tracks are no match for a ride in Bangalore traffic. The existing types of race do not have the conditions one would face in Bangalore road. Bikes cutting 2-3 lanes in front of speeding cars, auto rickshaws crowding in front to get ahead in a signal, cows, horse drawn carts, cycles and the buses that have to fight for road space - driving with these conditions is total thrill.

If there are surprisingly fewer accidents in India, it is possibly because
a. The traffic is relatively slow
b. Indian drivers are highly skillful in controlling their vehicles and
c. A divine force is at work.

Friday, May 06, 2005

தமிழில் வலைக்குறிப்பு?

தமிழில் வலைக்குறிப்பு எழுதமுடியும் என்று ஆரம்பித்தேன். Blogspotன் எடிட்டருக்கும் என் கணினியில் உள்ள IMEக்கும் ஒத்துப்போகவில்லை. அதனால், Notepadல் ஆரம்பித்து பின் Blogspotன் எடிட்டரில் Copy செய்கிறேன். தமிழில் மிகச்சில மென்பொருள் கலைச்சொற்கள் பழகிவிட்டன. பல OpenOfficeஇலும், Office XPயிலும் நம்மை படாத பாடு படுத்துகின்றன.

Copyக்கு நமக்குத்தெரிந்த தமிழில் என்ன சொல்?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Continuation

This is a new concept in programming, I'm still trying to comprehend the use of it. One good reference is Sam Ruby's Continuations for Curmudgeons. One obvious use of it is in iterators. C# 2.0 offers to 'yield' a result and maintain the state of an iterator.

My doubts on this are-
What is the scope of the continuation? Does a function that offers continuation keep track of caller's context like thread from which it is called or the object context of the caller?

An obvious use of continuations is in paging of database query results. This is kind of like an iterator, and can be a lot more useful. Again, the question is - if databases can support a continuation like this, don't they need to keep track of the caller application and other context information?

I will post more when I understand more.