Thursday, December 15, 2011


I just woke up from a dream, where it seemed I was struggling with understanding/visualizing/solving some problem/idea, and something happens which switches my language/medium-of-thought and suddenly, a flood of things come into picture, and what seemed an impasse/stalemate bursts into motion. This reminds me how important "Language" or the "Medium of expression of conscious thought" is.
This also reminded me of two quotes one by a Turing-award winner and one by a Usenet-famous-lisp-hacker:

Besides a mathematical inclination, an exceptionally good mastery of one's native tongue is the most vital asset of a competent programmer.
- Edsger Dijkstra
[I never understood this quote until now]

languages shape the way we think, or don't.
- Erik Naggum

This gives rise to many questions, one of them is probably impossible to answer:
What is the language/medium-of-expression of the subconscious/unconscious if there is one?

Other questions are easier, but nonetheless interesting:
What is the optimum language for Mathematics? for Problem Solving?
I believe Hadamard (but I might be wrong) said that the solution/insight to a problem distilled from something he cannot describe (a mess of mental artifacts). Ramanujam would say that the solution came to him in his sleep where his village goddess would come and whisper it to him. This is probably related to the first question, but certainly if Ramanujam and Hadamard had a different language to visualize/understand prime numbers and other mathematical abstractions, then certainly it shaped their solutions. But what of us lesser mortals? I usually use a lot of formal machinery and concise notation to represent a problem, not too many diagrams. Some people use a lot of diagrams, some people have a whole solution of one piece of paper with random scribblings and no structure, some people might use linear structure, very much like a proof proceeds. Perhaps one has to just discover what his or her optimum medium of expression is and there is no one single ring to rule them all.
Note that I am not talking about how the final solution is written down, I am inspecting the creative/analytic process of solving a problem and its medium of creation/analysis. But what is about language that affects this process? Is it the form/appearance/syntax that affects it more? Is it the content/vocabulary/idioms? Is it the arsenal of problem-solving strategies that one as accumulated over time that are now in-built into your language?. Is it the association on form, association on content, association on form with content?
By association I mean the brain working at a meta-level on the expression (of the problem) itself and doing some computing such as associating, deriving implicit facts, connecting, recognizing structure in the expression, pattern recognition (with an inbuilt/stored solving strategy) etc. The bigger the language - slower the association? or the way brain works does it scale pretty well? ...

What about designing programs/software and then implementing it in some computer language? More on this in some other post.

ps: writing is hard, one has to organize a lot of ideas (and I had many good ideas to put into this post) into some structure, hold the whole structure of what you are going to say in your head and then like tetris let it fall (more organizing) into one coherent solid piece. I believe playing chess exercises your ability of holding a lot of things (moves) in your head and should improve ones writing. Knuth says writing software is even harder than writing books, I wonder what he meant by that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

collected quotes by others

In our acquisition of knowledge of the Universe (whether mathematical or otherwise) that which renovates the quest is nothing more nor less than complete innocence. It is in this state of complete innocence that we receive everything from the moment of our birth. Although so often the object of our contempt and of our private fears, it is always in us. It alone can unite humility with boldness so as to allow us to penetrate to the heart of things, or allow things to enter us and taken possession of us.
This unique power is in no way a privilege given to "exceptional talents" - persons of incredible brain power (for example), who are better able to manipulate, with dexterity and ease, an enormous mass of data, ideas and specialized skills. Such gifts are undeniably valuable, and certainly worthy of envy from those who (like myself) were not so "endowed at birth, far beyond the ordinary".
Yet it is not these gifts, nor the most determined ambition combined with irresistible will-power, that enables one to surmount the "invisible yet formidable boundaries" that encircle our universe. Only innocence can surmount them, which mere knowledge doesn't even take into account, in those moments when we find ourselves able to listen to things, totally and intensely absorbed in child's play.
-- Alexander Grothendieck

"The best thing for being sad", replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then -- to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn."
-- T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other twenty-two in dreams.
-Luis Buñuel

The beauty of the mathematical formalism ("M") is so that sometimes when you are completely clueless about the physical behaviour of the process, the "M" leads you on the way to unroll the mystery of the physical process, & then I admire calling it ("M") as a natural science in itself, not just a tool.
- s.rawat

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
-Douglas Adams

"It is easier to reach God by playing football than reading scriptures" - Swami Vivekanand

Monday, August 17, 2009

a quote by rawat on formalism

The beauty of the mathematical formalism ("M") is so that sometimes when you are completely clueless about the physical behaviour of the process, the "M" leads you on the way to unroll the mystery of the physical process, & then I admire calling it ("M") as a natural science in itself, not just a tool.
- s.rawat

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

youtube complaints

1. I cant search my own favourites
2. Sorting doesnt work properly.
3. Comments dont follow their original tree structure. If I reply to a comment nested in a series of replies, it should appear like that, but that doesnt happen, unless you open the seperate comment page(Video doesnt show).
4. I cant customize and categorize my favourite videos.
5. I cant play a video in a loop
10. There is no *easy* feedback/suggestions/contact-us something on the youtube site.

Friday, June 19, 2009

pyar par bas to nahi

This is a lovely song by Talat Mahmood, from the movie
'सोने की चिडिया' . And its picturised on Nutan! yayyyyyyyyyy!
Music: O.P.Nayyar Lyrics:Sahir Ludhianvi

Good quality audio

Nice Lata song(Saagar Kinaare):

bas me hi nahi warnaa hum ud ke chale aayen:(

This is a song "जो हम पे गुज़रती है"
from 'मोहब्बत इसको कहते हैं'.
Music by Khayyam, lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri
and sung beautifully by Suman Kalyanpur.
I love her voice, very peaceful!

जो हम पे गुज़रती है
तन्हा किसे समझाएं
तुम ही तो नहीं मिलते
जाएँ तो किधर जाएँ

समझा है ना समझेगा
इस गम को यहाँ कोई
बेदर्दों की बस्ती है
हमदर्द कहाँ कोई
जो सिर्फ तुम्हारा है
वो दिल किसे दिखलायें
वो दिल किसे दिखलायें
जो हम पे गुज़रती है
तन्हा किसे समझाएं

जब जान-ए-वफ़ा तेरी फुरकत ना सताएगी
वो सुबह कब आएगी वो शाम कब आयेगी
कब तक दिल-ऐ-नादान को हम वादों से बहलायें
हम वादों से बहलायें
तुम ही तो नहीं मिलते
जायें तो किधर जाएँ

आ जा कि मोहब्बत की मिटने को हैं तस्वीरें
पहरें हैं निगाहों पे और पाँव में जंजीरें
बस मैं ही नहीं वरना हम उड़ के चले आयें
हम उड़ के चले आयें
बस मैं ही नहीं वरना हम उड़ के चले आयें
हम उड़ के चले आयें

जो हम पे गुजरती हैं
तन्हा किसे समझाएं

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

water wars

Read this excerpt from a book by Vandana Shiva:

Also read about

Shame that the respect for our holiest river is superficial!
Jai ho hypocrisy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lyrics from Bommarillu Song: Appudo Ippudo Yeppudo

Song lyrics for my friend Rawat to sing it.

अप्पुडो इप्पुडो येप्पुडो कल्लागनान्ने चेली
अक्क्डो इक्क्डो येक्क्डो मनस इच्चाने मरी
कलवो अलवो वलवो ना ऊहल हासिनी
मदिल्लो कलगा मेदिले ना कल्लल सुहासिनी
येवुर एम् अन्कुन्ना ना मनस अन्ते नुवे ने अनी

तीपि कन्ना इंका तीयानैना नेन्ने येदी अंटे वेंटने नी पेरअनी अन्टाने
हाइय कन्ना इंका हाइदैना चोटे एमिटअंटे नुवु वेल्ले दारी अन्टाने
नीलाला आकासम ना नीलम येदन्टे नी वालू कल्लल्लो उनदंनी अन्टाने

नन्नू नेन्ने चाला टिटकुंटा
नीतो सूटिगा ई माटलएवी चेप्पका पोतुंटे
नन्नू नेन्ने बागा मेच्चुकुंटा
येदो चिन्ना माटे नुवु नातो माटलाडावन्टे
नातोने नेनुंटा नीतोडे नाकुन्टे
येदएदो आइपोतादी नी जत लेकुंटे

Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Singer: Siddharth
Year: 2006

ps: you can get a high-quality vid of this song from: