problems

David Deutsch’s Qutotes

Not actually quotes… his law(David Deutsch is the author of ‘the fabric of reality’, a quantum physicist, another nerd in this world)

Every problem that is interesting is also soluble.

Corollary #1

Inherently insoluble problems are inherently boring.

Corollary #2

In the long run, the distinction between what is interesting and what is boring is not a matter of subjective taste but an objective fact.

Corollary #3

The problem of why every problem that is interesting is also soluble, is soluble.

Quotes taken from here

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Sun..Fun…Blodirun

This summer was very different from last summer. Last summer, I was injured and at home. So I ended up doing some constructive work for my research. This time around, summer was magnificence to the max. For readers in Chennai the importance of ‘summer’ is unknown…but here it makes a huge difference. Summer is when we can go out in actual non-Eskimo clothes. Summer is the best time of the year since it’s truly when the grass is green. But I have enjoyed this summer too much to my liking that it has pushed me to the limits of complacency. Most of my friends here in Minneapolis started to leave in May after making a job, in California invariably. So essentially it was one guy’s treat or the other. We had a party everyday. We bought a PS2 and played soul calibur (a weapons fighting game) and virtually beat the crap outta each other. I have some videos of my friends making really funny faces while playing this, that I now understand why Rajinikanth thinks he needs to make that face when he’s fighting. In the evenings we would play soccer which was great fun. In short I was so hard-pressed for time to do research. To make things worse, I joined our tennis ball cricket team which played some ‘serious cricket’ in a local league that comprised teams filled with imported TCSians, Infoscions and CTSians. Only that they preferred to be known as working for Walmart or BestBuy. What they failed to realize was that Walmart and BestBuy are nothing but the Saravana Stores and Vasanth & Co. of the USA. Anyways we were actually the defending champs of this tournament but we got our asses kicked in the second round and didn’t make it to the semi finals. One interesting trait of this series was that someone from our team dropped 2 catches in every match. I am proud that the roll of honor did pass on to me as well. I visited my friend in Michigan and got sloshed for the first time in my life there. I made some good friends there and got my first acquaintance to the World of Warcraft.

For people who are unaware of this game, here’s a south park episode on it.

http://www.southparkzone.com/episode-vid-1008.htm. It’s called Make Love not Warcraft :D.

This episode actually won the emmy award. (What’s happening to this world? :O). Now from then on I saw an interesting parallel between the world of warcraft and the ‘real’ world ( Please avoid elaborate discussions on the meaning of the ‘real world’. It’s a term for convenience.) As Stan’s father explains to his colleague in the South Park episode, in the real world I am Guruprasad Somasundaram, one of several research assistants to Professor Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, helping the cause of Robotics of computer vision to develop humanity. But in the World of Warcraft, he is Blodirun the Night elf druid. He’s a conjurer, he’s a spell-caster. He lives and fights for the alliance against the Horde. He lives in harmony with nature and uses the power of nature in his spells and possesses polymorphism…OOPS. He ‘s level 34 now out of a possible end-game 73. Blizzard entertainment has produced an ultimate life killer in WoW. If unattended or ignored WoW can kill your actual life. Or so they say; I think it has made me philosophical. I believe in the concept of the Matrix more than ever. (I think the concept has a name I am sure). I am also Hugi the dwarf hunter who has a pet snow leopard. MPD is not a psychological problem in the WoW. I am also doing great financially. I have 50 gold.

Anyways, to know more about this massively multiplayer online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), I seriously not recommend playing this game but limit your knowledge to what this post gives you. I am trying to get myself out of it.

In actual research life I went out filming. We filmed crosswalks all across Minneapolis and it’s suburbs to study vehicle behavior in various types of crosswalks. I worked with Curtis Hammond a researcher in the Human Factors Lab in the School of Kinesiology. The cameras did the filming and my code did the analysis; we were fooling around. He’s a versatile person who taught me some basic martial arts skills like throwing a screwdriver or a knife at a tree. The important factor for successful nailing was the amount of rotation you offered versus the horizontal velocity. In other words, during the time of travel the knife should perform a 180 degree rotation or if you are an expert, make it rotate multiples of 180 degrees over long distances. I also learned to use a staff to block and parry. Curtis is an expert of sticky-punching, which according to him suits his personality because it’s about parrying and avoiding blows and if possible break the enemy’s arm as opposed to attacking. He says he would never harm someone however pissed off he is at him. He’s one of those Americans who likes to make fun of Americans. According to him Americans are insensitive and selfish drivers. pfffff… dude! come watch us drive in India. Oh there’s one thing he can’t stand and drives him crazy ( actually me too) is talking on the phone while driving. I think people who talk on the phone while driving should be hanged without question.

In the WoW I am an expert at wielding staves and daggers. Oh wait! I am supposed to be out of it.

Towards the end of summer it became busy. I wrote two papers for the International conference on Robotics and Automation. I am not sure about their acceptance though. My professor thinks I am hardworking and I feel a little guilty about that. So it was all sun, fun and Blodirun in summer. There’s not much sun and fun these days.. and hopefully not much of Blodirun too in the future.

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To Pee Or Not To Pee

Let me give some facts and figures before I start. My office is about 14 kms from home and I ride there on my ‘Street Hawk’.. er.. XL Super, which has a top speed of 40(that’s in kmph) and goes from 0 to 30(again kmph) in as little as 300 seconds. Add to it my inertia and lethargy and the general morning traffic, on an average it takes me about 45 minutes to go to office.
The other day, just as I had started off, my ‘bladder-full’ sensors started sending alarm signals to my brain(you know how it feels, spare me the need to describe the sensation). Given that I am neither a NASA astronaut nor do i doubt that my lover is cheating on me, I have never had the need to use adult diapers.
Coming back, I had two options –
Option A – turn around, go back home and do it. I rejected this for Option B.
Option B – keep driving, let the situation evolve and hopefully my brain will pull out a better plan.
I did manage to pull out an idea – look out for public urinals and stop at the first one. I drove for another twenty minutes before I finally found one(and the only one) which turned out to be locked. Perhaps the manager of the place wasn’t expecting a client so early in the morning. It was then that i realized the flaw in the plan, something that I should have known earlier. People here don’t use a public urinal, in fact we don’t even need a public urinal, we have the WALL.
I don’t know much about how things work in the west, I think that out there a wall is just a wall, a boundary, that’s it. But here, a wall serves more than one purpose. It is where the political world announces their meetings to the public, it is where the entertainment world howls what’s showing and most importantly in the present context, it is where people do it. It can be the cornucopia of information or stink depending on your perspective. With every passing wall upon which my eyes fell, I was maddened by the urge to spray paint it and salinate the surrounding earth. However, the false dignity that I had assumed over the course of my life stopped me from doing it.
Things were getting really bad now, the bladder control unit was jamming my brain with the same signal(kinda like caught in an infinite loop), despite the fact that my brain had acknowledged the gravity of the situation and had responded back saying ‘wait for my command’. I started sweating profusely, and this certainly did not help the situation, which is ironic given that perspiration effectively performs a similar function. Clearly, the Creator hadn’t given much thought about load balancing in our fluid regulatory mechanisms(Now where should I report this bug?).
Somehow I managed to not cave in to the pressure and reached the office, and I don’t have to tell what I did first. It was bliss. I think it will the closest I will ever come to experiencing the so called ‘anandam that follows prasava vedhanai‘(roughly translates to joy after the troubles/pain of pregnancy), unless of course genetic engineering grows to stupid proportions and the woman with whom I am destined to have kids decides to mutate me with seahorse DNA.
My bladder control hasn’t been the same since that fateful day, if only I hadn’t cared for my false dignity. I choose to blame the government for this. I am so pissed off.

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Calvin, Susie, Miss Wormwood and my cousin

My six year cousin has achieved something I haven’t so far been able to do my entire life – kiss a girl. Apparently, he has got this pretty class mate at school, towards whom he must have been attracted for some time now, and one day overwhelmed by these feelings decides to spurt it out, and what better way to do it than a harmless peck on the cheek. Well all went well and his kiss was well received, only that his teacher caught him in the act. Now, this reminds of Calvin, Susie, Miss Wordwood and a situation Watterson came freakishly close to draw(I remember Calvin wanting to kiss Susie, did he?). The teacher, who I am told shares the looks and attitude of her great-great-great grandfather, Jabba the Hutt, didnt approve of this behaviour(perhaps, my cous’s suavity reminded her of Han Solo), and bounced him around like the metal ball in a pin ball machine. Once she was done feasting, she went ahead and informed his parents.
Now, it was my uncle’s job to talk sense to the boy, he had a man-to-man talk with him, advised him that such public display of affection is immoral and will not be tolerated in this society. He seemed to take things well. It looked like a done and dusted matter, except that the very next day, the kid goes and kisses the girl again, although this time taking care that ‘Miss Wormwood’ wasn’t poking around. But alas, the other girls in the class saw him doing ‘it’, and one of them turned out to be the reincarnation of Cinderella’s ugly step sister. The vestiges of countless-loveless-lives began to haunt her and in her anguish, she informed the teacher about the kiss. Well, the teacher decided that this time the crime went way beyond her jurisdiction and sent the boy to the principal. Gzzzzzzzz-Bang-Bink-Jish-Boing-Boing-Boing-Doun-Dash-Tish – Pin ball time for the principal. The second thrashing in as many days and the detention that followed seemed to have squeezed the dare out of the boy, no more kissing episodes have happened since. I don’t think he ever understood why he shouldn’t jave kissed, I imagine him talking this out with his Hobbes-equivalent buddy.

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