Feb 2004 BLOG

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Mar 2004

Feb 4 2004:
Came across this plethora of links about why one should not use adverbs. In some cases, they are right, but certainly not always. On avoiding the use of adverbs in creative writing
Feb 5 2004:
May go to Malibu State Park on sunday to see if I can find any migrating Monarchs in the Sycamore grove there. 2 years ago had been to Santa Barbara to see them. Will also do some bird watching with Jon as he leads the Audubonners. Monitoring the migration of Monarchs
Monarch location in Coronado
Continue to read H G Wells' "An outline of history". Am currently reading about the rise of Christianity. He writes in a wonderfully concise way and yet expresses himself very well. A couple of links to Mark's gospel which he feels is likely to be more authentic among the 4.
Mark's Gospel links
Mark's gospel - text
We will be loading postgreSQL on nirgun to finally replace Calliope's DPOSS database. I have dabbled long enough in databases and feel that should do something substantial. Will be transferring all the Sybase tables. Should I load it on my new G4 too?
Documentation
PostgresQL on Mac OSX
Perl and postgresql - part I
Perl and postgresql - part II
Postgres 101
Feb 6 2004: Jesus talked about kingdom of God, Paul made him a sacrifice, Constantine adopted Christianity as the calming principle. There has been a big evolution. Jesus to Constantine
CE 30 - 313
Other Biblical timelines
On the merged origins of Islam and Judaism. Abraham and David and Solomon and Issac and Ismail. A Jewish timeline link
Abraham
It is difficult to locate a good Hindu timeline. It occured to me today that as humans spread around on the Earth they had various sacrificial traditions that coincided with harvest seasons. In some places people came out of it: Abraham 4000 years ago, Gautam Buddha 2600 years ago and Jesus 2000 years ago. Hindus have continued their old traditions of idol worship and clearly are the largest such set. That explains why Hinduism is not *a* religion. It is just a modified continuation of the old practices with modern day reasoning thrown in. Interestingly, that does not make it any more inferior or superior compared to all these other religions. A hindu timeline link
Another hindu timeline link
7 Feb 2004: Swami asked today how come Indian horoscopes have Uranus etc. when they were not known when the panchanga was made. Well, they were added on later. Here is an interesting article with some interesting points. The Hindu: 20010410
Some sites for Jay's math. Brainboosters
math problems
challenges
9 Feb 2004: Got an account on the NCSA machines. Have to use kerberos to access the QUEST data there. The transfer speed is about 1 MB/sec. Both these are terragrid centers. If the terragrid is actually used, the rate should jump up at least n-fold where n could STILL be limited by disk access. Kerberos
User guide
Discussed about using KDensities for "anomaly detection" at the GRIST meeting. Need to access Matthew MSSQL from my mac using RDC. MSSQL FAQ is rather poor. Thankfully, using it is fairly straightforward. RDC
MSSQL FAQ
11 Feb 2004: Attended the Watson lecture by John Schwarz: "String Theory: Past, Present, and Future". Pretty tame since he wanted to be understood by all laypersons who, it is commendable, flock the public talks just like at the Athenium. Shows their pride in Caltech among other things. Anu had gone with me.
Had read Brian Greene's book "elegant universe" a couple months back. One of the most impressive semi-popular books I have come across in recent years.
Abstract
Schwarz' site
PBS Greene link with NOVA streaming video of Elegant Universe
12 Feb 2004: Watched 3 movies recently:
Munnabhai MBBS: A Sanjay Dutt movie that is actually good. A gangstar faking as an MBBS has a go at actually trying to become one.
No. 17: An old Hitchcock. Not that great. Too much play on shadows for any substance.
Rebecca: Another Hitchcock. Good but too few twists for my liking.
IMDB links:
Munnabhai MBBS
Number seventeen
Rebecca
14 Feb 2004: Had a "nightout" at Shrini's place with fellow LA-"gathis". It was fun. Besides doing things like introducing chronology and chatting on all kinds of stuff like Gandhi-Shivaji and so on, played blackjack with a single deck with reshuffling and no stakes and argued how this is quiet different from what they do at Las Vegas where n-decks are used and cards do not go back in thus letting the deck go hot or cold depending on which cards have been used so that card-counters can get a small advantage. Hacking Las Vegas, MIT style
Did not have so good a day at cricket after having kept up all of previous night, driving back from Irvine and being on the field for 5 hours. Did take 2 good catches. Sandip Sane was here, so got to see his good batting. Got 4 disinct Phillipines coins from Vivek (among the bunch he gave).
16 Feb 2004: Watched "10vi Fa". The concept is good, but the direction etc was not great. Has some similarities with "cool runnings". Cool runnings
17 Feb 2004: Downloaded the new omnigator for my topicmaps. The XTM syntax seems to have been made stricter. Can not use spaces in ids any more. Can not use multiple # in XREFs. Have to rebuild my topic maps. Oh these standards! Sometimes the standards change. This one has not, but clearly the implementation has. XTM standard
19 Feb 2004: A few weeks back Jay amazed us by describing fairly accurately, though rather broadly, V. Ramachandran's work on "Phantom's in the brain". I have since borrowed his book from the library and have started persuing it. Among other things he mentions phenomena as depicted in "Memento" where a person can not form new memories when the hippocampus is damaged. What I do not understand is how then can they go through an entire story, or as depicted in Memento, remember what aim you ae after? Audio lecture's by Ramachandran
Memento
21 Feb 2004: Played 2D kitie with Jay - a game of my/our inventing (to be called "jammat" henceforth). He found it fun. Its a little better than just kitie. Std kitie (I am not sure of the spelling - could not find a link) involves dealing 9 cards and making 3 triplets: triples, or sequences, or pairs etc. One with better triplets wins. In the 2D version we require the cards to be arranged in a 3x3 matrix thus generating 8 triplets (3H, 3V and 2D). It is trikier to arrange them thus. Again, the one with better triplets wins. in 3D one will have 39 triplets making it intractable (almost). It will start resembling set or 4-in-a-row in some fashion.
Details Deal 9 cards each to all the players. If you wish to have equal probabilities or if there are more than 5 players, use multiple decks. Each player now arranges the 9 cards in a 3x3 matrix (to get 8 3-ples: 3 vertical, 3 horizontal and 2 diagonal).
1 2 3 4
| | |/
c c c-5
c c c-6
c c c-7
     \
      8
The player tries to maximize the following types of 3-ples in that order:
  1. A triplet: 3 kings, or 3 4's etc. 3 Aces are the highest
  2. A sequence: 6-7-8 or 3-4-5 or A-2-3 or A-K-Q. A-K-Q is highest and 3-2-1 lowest (though some games treat the later to be higher). Also, the 3 cards could be in any order i.e. 2-3-A is the same as A-2-3. A "pure" sequence (i.e. a sequence all of whose cards are from the same suite) is higher than an ordinary sequence. In fact, any pure sequence is higher than every non-pure sequence.
  3. A color: 3 cards of the same suite e.g. 3, 5 and J of Hearts. If tw players have colors in the same round, the higher cards (A counting as highest followed by K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2) determine the winner. All suites have the same value i.e. there is no suite-hierarchy.
  4. A pair: 2 cards with the same face value (and clearly of different suites unless multiple decks are mixed) e.g. H3, C3 and C7. A-pair is highest followed by K-pair etc. In case of tied pairs, the third card decides the winner.
  5. highest card: when none of the above combinations is possible, the higher cards determine the winner.
Once the 9 cards are arranged to maximize the above combinations, players compare their 8 3-ples with those of others. Highest 3-ples are compared to the highest of the others. One who wins more 3-ples is the overall winner.
Card games
23 Feb 2004: Saw "Pulp fiction". The acting is solid, the fiction is pulp. Recognized its shades in "Waisa bhi hota hai - part II" that we had seen a few weeks back. The later, however, had an underlying theme making it watchable. Pulp fiction
Waisa bhi hota hain - part II
24 Feb 2004: In an old issue of Sci-Am (1991-10) found a strategy for the memory game devised by Zwick and Paterson. paper: under mathematical games
25 Feb 2004: Have substituted music and radio in car by audio books. Found something by Updike which I didn't like much. But then quickly got "Alice in wonderland" and Khalil Gibran's "The prophet". Will next look for "Winnie the Pooh". John Updike
Alice in wonderland
The prophet
26 Feb 2004: Watched "Good Will Hunting". The emotional angle seems to have been overdone a bit, but its good. Good Will Hunting
27 Feb 2004: Watched Leonard Bernstein's 1959 talks/shows at the New York philharmonic - Young People's Conecerts - about "what is classical music" and "what makes music symphonic". Very good. Leonard Bernstein
Did a few experiments from "phantoms of the brain". One was partially succesful. In it Anu felt her nose was elongated by about a foot. She sat with her eyes closed while I used her index finger to touch Jay's nose and synchronously touched her nose with my index finger. When one varies the gaps in the touching, the "elongated" feeling comes about as the "body image" of the brain changes.
28 Feb 2004: Saturday cricket was a complete waste. We had the choice of playing on a small ground or a match with some others. The latter was chosen but we had to play with their harder MRI ball.
Went to Patrick's concert at the Occidental college. It was good but there were too many different things for a starter like me. Patrick played the French horn. Concert
29 Feb 2004: Oscar's will be presented this evening at the Kodak center. TCM has been showing award winners in different catagories over the last month. Best movies are being shown currently. I have been taping a few. 10 done, 5 to go. Oscars

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Mar 2004