Saturday, August 6, 2011

On Further Education

The student's biggest problem was a slave mentality which had been built
into him by years of carrot-and- whip grading, a mule mentality which said,
``If you don't whip me, I won't work.'' He didn't get whipped. He didn't
work. And the cart of civilization, which he supposedly was being trained to
pull, was just going to have to creak along a little slower without him.

The hypothetical student, still a mule, would drift around for a while. He would get another kind of education quite as valuable as the one he'd abandoned, in what used to be called the ``school of hard knocks.'' Instead of wasting money and time as a high-status mule, he would now have to get a job as a low-status mule, maybe as a mechanic. Actually his real status

would go up. He would be making a contribution for a change. Maybe that's what he would do for the rest of his life. Maybe he'd found his level. But don't count on it. In time...six months; five years, perhaps...a change could easily begin to take place. He would become less and less satisfied with a kind of dumb, day-to-day shop work. His creative intelligence, stifled by too much theory and too many grades in college, would now become reawakened by the boredom of the shop. Thousands of hours of frustrating mechanical problems would have made him more interested in machine design. He would like to design machinery himself. He'd think he could do a better job. He would try modifying a few engines, meet with success, look for more success, but feel blocked because he didn't have the theoretical information. He would discover that when before he felt stupid because of his lack of interest in theoretical information, he'd now find a brand of theoretical information which he'd have a lot of respect for, namely, mechanical engineering.

So he would come back to our degreeless and gradeless school, but with a difference. He'd no longer be a grade-motivated person. He'd be a knowledge-motivated person. He would need no external pushing to learn. His push would come from inside. He'd be a free man. He wouldn't need a lot of discipline to shape him up. In fact, if the instructors assigned him were slacking on the job he would be likely to shape them up by asking rude questions. He'd be there to learn something, would be paying to learn something and they'd better come up with it.

Motivation of this sort, once it catches hold, is a ferocious force, and in the gradeless, degreeless institution where our student would find himself, he wouldn't stop with rote engineering information. Physics and mathematics were going to come within his sphere of interest because he'd see he needed them. Metallurgy and electrical engineering would come up for attention. And, in the process of intellectual maturing that these abstract studies gave
him, he would he likely to branch out into other theoretical areas that weren't directly related to machines but had become a part of a newer larger goal. This larger goal wouldn't be the imitation of education in Universities today, glossed over and concealed by grades and degrees that give the appearance of something happening when, in fact, almost nothing is going on. It would be the real thing. "
- Robert M Pirsig - Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The above excerpt is an awesome direction , if some one is thinking of further education like Masters , MBA or a Doctoral Programme after having couple of years of Industrial experience !

Every Engineering aspect has a Science form behind it ( and an art form too which I wont talk about it here ) . A typical example would be to "build a Rocket" (Engineering ) we need "Netwon's laws" (Science ) , analogously in Software too , every aspect of building a product ( Design , Coding , Testing , Management ) has a science form behind it . Only when we abstract out our daily tasks as an engineer and look at the science form beneath it and see if we can apply any latest developments from scientific research ( theoretically advanced algorithms , testing methodologies , management lessons etc ) ( and practising such thing is an art in itself !) we can excel in making better products and better world !

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bloated Search Engines Beware

All the search engines are bloated heavily , the real results you are looking and need for are deep inside the results pages , not the first page , the first page contains of websites which search engine ( say google ) 'think's you are looking for and rest are nonsensical websites heavily optimized for search engines to grab your attention and get traffic for them , watch out guys , check this TED talk for further

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Intellectual Integrity

This is an excerpt in from the book , Quantum Philosophy
Although this chapter is to say that formalism is required in mathematics .This post is in awe of what a display of Intellectual Integrity somebody can showcase


What is known as the crisis in set theory is a striking event that deserves to be replayed in the spirit of what it was, that is, a drama lacking neither heartbreaking nor noble undertones. Here it is then, more or less as it might be seen on the stage.

Two characters are present as the curtain rises, Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell. The action is set in a temple, that of the goddesses Mathematics and Logic. At the back are full-size portraits of the great priests of the time: David Hilbert and Henri Poincaré. Other pictures, in subdued tones, depict Dedekind, Peano, and Cantor. A portrait of Frege himself appears on an easel in the foreground; it has just been retrieved from the storage room after
a long stay there.

The actor playing Frege appears to be in his fifties. He is unassuming but betrays a unique passion that can only be inspired by truth. Almost twenty-five years have elapsed since the publication of his short book on logic which had initially gone unnoticed. Bertrand Russell is thirty years old. He has the unmistakably sharp traits of an aristocrat and speaks with a slight Cambridge accent.

FREGE: Yes, my final book on the theory of sets is due to appear soon. It took me twenty long years of hard work, but it was perhaps worth the effort.

RUSSELL: You know very well what I think of it. Nothing as important as your first book had been written in logic since Aristotle; and your latest one, I believe, should definitely establish mathematics on a solid base. What an achievement for the honor of the human mind!

FREGE: Let us not exaggerate. It is true, at any rate, that the logic is sufficiently clear. As for the mathematics, I think one should begin with set theory and build everything on it. In fact, there is nothing simpler or more transparent than a set. When you speak of a collection of objects, everybody knows what you are talking about.

RUSSELL: Yes, it appears to be quite obvious, and yet, I have one nagging reservation.

FREGE: Which one?

RUSSELL: Something in your Begriffschrift that puzzles me. You say there, essentially, that an arbitrary set, and I insist on the term “arbitrary,” may always be taken as an element of another set. Do you still think so?

FREGE: More than ever. A major part of my new book is based on that fact, and the idea is repeatedly exploited. Do you have an objection? I thought it to be obvious. What’s wrong with the idea that any object can always be included in a set along with other objects?

RUSSELL: That is certainly what our intuition tells us. But I wonder if we can always trust it, and if it is not possible that intuition may deceive us when left unchecked even for an instant.

FREGE: All right, I can see that you have found a skeleton in the closet. Better take it out. What is it? This expression is due to Hilbert.

RUSSELL: Do you agree that, in principle, certain sets may contain themselves as elements?

FREGE: It is at any rate a direct consequence of what we said earlier. If you asked me for an example, I would propose the catalogue of a library, which can be one of the books placed on a shelf of the same library; or the word “dictionary” in a dictionary; or God, who says “I am who I am”; or the table of contents of a book, which contains the table of contents, or even . . .

RUSSELL: I see. But let us consider all the others instead, and designate by A the set of all those sets that are not elements of themselves. Now let me ask you a question: Does this set A belong to itself?

FREGE: Let’s see, this should not be difficult. Suppose it does, that is, that A belongs to A. Now, by definition, the elements of A are those sets that do not belong to themselves. Thus, assuming that the answer to your question is “yes,” we have a contradiction. Therefore, the answer must be “no.”

Are you sure?

FREGE: If I answer “no,” this implies that A does not belong to A. But then, by the very definition of A, it follows that A does belong to A. Good Lord, you are absolutely right! No matter which path we choose, it leads to a contradiction.

This is a paradox, what am I saying? An aporia, a catastrophe! It is the principle of the excluded middle that you have just called into question. But this is impossible, we cannot reject this principle, for there would be no logic left, all thought would collapse.

RUSSELL: I can see only one way out: to repeal what you have said
in the past and start all over from the beginning.

FREGE, after a moment’s reflection: There is no other solution. Naturally, my great project of rebuilding mathematics is shattered to pieces. Just when I thought I had succeeded! But, you know, what you have found is truly amazing, extraordinary. Congratulations!

It is a while since I came across something so interesting! (He leaves walking unsteadily, smiling and talking to himself.)

RUSSELL, watching Frege leave: What a demonstration of intellectual integrity! Such grace! I have never seen anyone pursue truth as honestly as he does. He was about to culminate at last a life-long endeavour, he who had been so often passed over in favour of others who did not deserve it. . . . He did not care, and when told that one of his most fundamental hypotheses is wrong, how does he react? His intellectual pleasure overwhelms his personal dis-
appointment. It’s almost superhuman. What an interior strength a man can summon if he devotes himself entirely to knowledge and creation, rather than to a vain search for honours and celebrity! What a lesson! (He also leaves.)

THE CHOIR: The temple has been shaken and it is cracking. Is it an earthquake? Paradoxes are piling up. The Cretan liar has been resuscitated. There are also Richard’s and Burali-Forti’s paradoxes, besides Russell’s. Are we to become everybody’s laughing- stock when it has been pointed out that an eleven-word sentence suffices to define “the smallest number impossible to name with less than twelve words”? Is logic only an illusion?

HILBERT, entering the room: Calm down, please, and do not panic. Look those fearsome paradoxes straight in the eye. They are all alike. They all carry the same sign, that of the whole considered as a part. The library’s catalog is a list of all books. Epimenides, the
Cretan, says that all Cretans are liars. Your eleven-word sentence refers to all possible definitions of a number.

This story shows only one thing: that Frege had not gone far enough in his efforts to formalize mathematics. He thought he could trust his intuition, if only a little, regarding sets, which appear to be so limpid. It was his sole mistake, and it is our duty to correct it. From now on, logic and mathematics will be entirely formal. (He leaves, followed by a thoughtful Zermelo, who would take up the task proclaimed by Hilbert.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011


KLUGE : The Haphazard Construction of Human Mind , by Gary Marcus

An awesome ( introductory ) book for who ever wants to start learning about brain or who ever want to understand why we are the we are ( in terms of how our brain functions in various aspects , in various chapters on , Memory , Belief , Choice ,Pleasure , Language and few others.

In this book, the author discusses several bugs in our cognitive make up

confirmation bias
No matter what we humans think about, we tend to pay more atten­tion to stuff that fits in with our beliefs than stuff that might chal­lenge them. Psychologists call this "confirmation bias." When we have embraced a theory, large or small, we tend to be better at noticing evi­dence that supports it than evidence that might run counter to it.

mental contamination
Our sub­jective impression that we are being objective rarely matches the ob­jective reality: no matter how hard we try to be objective, human be­liefs, because they are mediated by memory, are inevitably swayed by minutiae that we are only dimly aware of.

The bottom line is that every belief passes through the unpre­dictable filter of contextual memory. Either we directly recall a belief that we formed earlier, or we calculate what we believe based on whatever memories we happen to bring to mind.

anchoring and adjustment
During the process of anchoring and adjustment, people begin at some arbitrary starting point and keep moving until they find an answer they like ( for questions or situations where they have no clue about answer )

This is very interesting which needs an example , consider the below scenario

Imagine that the nation is preparing for the outbreak of an un­usual disease, which is expected to kill 600 people. Two alterna­tive programs to combat the disease have been proposed. Assume that the exact scientific estimates of the consequences of the programs are as follows:

If Program A is adopted, 200 people will be saved.
If Program B is adopted, there is a one-third probability that 600 people will be saved and a two-thirds probability that no people will be saved.

Most people would choose Program A, not wanting to put all
the lives at risk. But people's preferences flip if the same choices are
instead posed this way:

If Program A is adopted, 400 people will die.
If Program B is adopted, there is a one-third probability that
nobody will die and a two-thirds probability that 600 people
will die.

"Saving 200 lives" for certain (out of 600) somehow seems like a good idea, whereas letting 400 die (out of the same 600) seems bad — even though they represent exactly the same outcome.

Only the wording of the question, what psychologists call framing, has been
changed. This is what precisely all advertisements , politicians and bureaucrats do .

in­ adequate self-control,
Which we all know ;)
the ruminative cycle,

the focusing illusion,

shows how easy it is to manipulate people simply by directing their attention to one bit of information or another.

motivated reasoning,
Our tendency to accept what we wish to believe (what we are motivated to believe) with much less scrutiny than what we don't want to believe is a bias known as "motivated reasoning,

and false memory,
not to mention absent- mindedness, an ambiguous linguistic system, and vulnerability to mental disorders

and very well said about paranoid

Once someone starts down that path — for whatever reason, legitimate or otherwise — the person may never leave it, because paranoia be-gets paranoia. As the old saying puts it,
even the paranoid have real enemies; for an organism with confirma­tion bias and the will to deny counter evidence (that is, motivated rea­soning), all that is necessary is one true enemy, if that. The paranoid person notices and recalls evidence that confirms his or her paranoia,
discounts evidence that contradicts it, and the cycle repeats itself.

( This blog post is my notes on few excerpts , suggest readers to read the complete book )