Mar 2007 BLOG

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2007-03-26 IFA, PHCs and non-parallel governments
Drs. Prithvi and Surekha Sharma visited Arunachal Pradesh to look at some of the PHCs run there on the principle of Dr. Sudarshan (Padmashree 2000, Karuna trust). They presented a video of their visit at Mate's. What was most interesting to me was that the organization obtains most of the money from the Government and runs in it a health care center that the government could not. It also educates the people about their rights. Thus, they do not form a separate parallel tract but try to mainstream the activities that should have been mainstream in the first place. In the long run that is likely to be very effective.

To support their cause IFA (India Freinds Association, Simi Valley) has a fundraiser on April 28 at Thousand Oaks. The Sharmas have adopted this as their project and will stick to it. Courses for horses: they bond with people they have spotted to be doing good work and support them by locally raising money. Being doctors, and working for a PHC project also satisfies a key criteria I have bene siding these days: niche work. Do what you are best at.

Yes, it is slow, but that aspect can not be helped.

Dr H Sudarshan
IFA April 28 2007
2007-03-23 A nation decieved: gifted children left behind
Learnt some shocking stats yesterday at a GATE meeting. For every 100 USD spent on a child with 90 <IQ<110, 3000 are spent on a child with 40 < IQ < 60 (which wasn't shocking) and 0.05 on 130<IQ<150 and 0.0002 on IQ<160. (need to get student stats to understand that better).

But in general I have seen how the gifted are routinely left behind

There are a few ways to get around that, to an extent. The Templeton report is a good myth buster.

The Templeton National Report on Acceleration
2007-03-22 Analogies and mappings
Saw the video of a conversation between Robert Wright (Nonzero) and Daniel Dennett. One of the point being discussed was if consciousness is just the physical brain. Dennett seems to suggest (or agree) that the physical set-up of the brain is what there is to consciousness. I do not believe that is what he said, but that is not what I want to get at here. They were talking of a point of being Dennett (like Negel's being a Bat) and he said that anyone can be Dennett. What I feel is more important than the physical structure is the ability to form analogies, to make mappings. A structure that can generate such mappings out of the blue, may be even imagine them, is conscious. Anything that can make connections has a greater ability of survival. Survival, with or without reproduction, is consciousness.

Interestingly, it is false analogies, or misleading analogies, that is the worst enemy of consciousness that can be swayed i.e. false consciousness.

Dennett with Wright
2007-03-17 Democracies at war
Attended parts of a workshop involving CS and other fields. Included a talk called Economic decision making. It is paraphrased here. Some references and quotes changed but the gist maintained. Postelwaite started by saying that the main questions asked are the big ones like: will reducing tax improve the state of the blah. There are tables for all countries involving say a hundred params on which one can try to base decisions. Is Russia a good country? Answer may go either way. Are we likely to be at war with it? It turns out that not many democracies go to war against other democracies. One can try to bring in other params like GDP, education levels, natural resources. So the answer may really be a much more complex one based on many variables. Audience 1: but is it not much simpler? Just ask if Bush is in power. (Laughter). Quick reply: Yes, of course. That does very well. But then if we ask will UK and US have a war in 1832, the answer comes back: No, becuase Bush and Cheney are not in power. Audience 2: but is it not the leaders who play the main role anyway. Instantabeous reply: yes of course, so a better question to ask is: is the IQ of the leader below 85. (more laughter) Audience 3 (finally someone defending his bush, a rarity in academic circles?): but there are so many countries he has not gone to war against. Lightening reply: Give him time. He still has two more years. ... If one asks question like which 13 of these 100 params account for 75% of the significance, it is a toucgh question and will take years on a fast computer and may not be easy to approximate (not much response from the CS audience). When I say that, I do very well with economist audiences. ... That remins me of another quote: If you do not know what you are talking about, why be precise?
2007-03-12 Actors behind the masks
Got a chance to meet the actors at the regular katta - Sapre residence. Girish Joshi, Vivek Bele, Sandesh Kulkarni, as also Anand Ingale, Sharvari Pillai, Mukta Barve, Damles and Mohan Agashe. Most of them clearly felt very good after the maiden (and excellent) performance yesterday and that reflected in the sometimes lenthy monologues of responses to the questions. But that did bring out their devotion to the art and to the experimental stage. For some it also borders on commercial. In fact, at least one of them believes that people should use their remotes to shut them off from lousy serials rather than ask them to not act in lousy (but lucrative) serials. They are, apparently, just experimenting with the medium. I agree that people who do not wield their remote (or even those who do) should not TELL them to not act in such serials, but I believe they can ask them why they do act in them, and feel free to include their replies in making an opinion of them. But anyway, for many even God does not play the devil.

Thinking about the intension of the author as maakadachyaa ... being a political satire, I felt that it is really about interpersonal relations. Everyone knows what politics is, what political leaders do. But everyone believes that their married life is private. So the audience laughs because they identify their lives with some aspects of the strife.

Also, one is not supposed to take the obvious for real because it can not really happen. Really? Why does it have to really happen? Is it not really happening on the stage? Parallels yes, but then they are mere analogies.

Apparently, they don't reuse devices. Or they are at least not standardized. Like the conceptual listening. But that seems to be such a waste. You will never be able to build higher order structures that way. Where is the Glass Bead Game?

2007-03-10 Final Draft and maakaDaachyaa haatI champaigne
These were the two marathi plays I watched today. After a long gap was I watching a complete Marathi play. Both were good.

Final draft was about a professor rediscovering himself through a student who he tries to improve. It touched upon many interesting points, the main being how individuals try to do unto others what they fear to do unto themselves. People try to change others because they are afraid of a change. Slightly repeatative and somewhat miraculous, it managed to hold attention throughout.

makaadachyaa ... was lighter and graver at the same time as it concerned the holy relationship of marriage. Or at least the holier than thou attitude that is sometimes involved. A few interesting concepts and twists and interchanges between three friends and a girl who literally walks on to their lives. It touched wonderfully upon what a girl may seek in a husband (but not vice versa) and what matrimonial quarrels are made of. A bit slow in some parts, they put in enough laughs to be just right. shankaraa barobar aandhaLI koshimbir took the cake.

I wish they could stick to the schedule though.

final draft
maakadachyaa hati champaigne
2007-03-08 From the Chemoautotrophic Pioneer Organism of Life to Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya
Attended a talk with that title by Dr. G%C3%BCnter_W%C3%A4chtersh%C3%A4user, the originator of that theory.

It was interesting to learn how the three main types of life may have evolved (he does not accept the symbiosis theory for evolution of Eukaryotes (real nucleus) from bacteria and pre-cells).

Archaea have different sided lipids than the other two. He did not reply though as to why there are no organisms with real nucleus and same handed lipids as the Archaea. Nor if the handedness or foldings of amino acids/proteins have much to do with this early segragation.

Eukaryotes 1, G%C3%BCnter_W%C3%A4chtersh%C3%A4user
Archaea 1, 2
Bacteria 1, 2

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