Jul 2007 BLOG

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2007-07-16 Avinash Dharmadhikari

Attended a talk by Avinash Dharmadhikari roughly entitled India in 2020. Roughly because he did not dwell much on it but simply seemed to imply the current upbeat trend to continue in his usual (not unfounded) optimistic manner. He did dwell a fair bit on history including a few definitions, and etymological origin of the word in marathi and English. The talk was flavoured with numerous references to Vivekanand and vedanta revealing his dnyan prabodhini past.

Two interesting questions came up (due to Mugdha and Ambardekar): Does the concept of nationity still carry any (real) weight given that we carry the baggage of innumerable different identities which don't necessarily conflict with each other, but are not consistent either e.g. Indian citizen and global citizen?, and What is the reason of Indians lacking consistency and not gettig to the top spot though doing very well in general and reaching high enough spots and developing overall?

I do not know how convinced the others were, but I was not very convinced with the answers. I agree that the concept of natioanlity is rather diluted, and the more diluted it becomes, the better it will be for humanity. But since the egos of rulers and politicians are unlikely to be diminished in the near future, that is here to stay for now. On the other hand, if we stop being selfish on wrong levels, and view the world in a more global and altruistic manner, then Indians will excel at all levels and all fronts. He did rightly point out that Indians (at least Hindu\'s carry a baggage of chalata hai which hinders growth in many spheres of life).

Overall though it was seen again how fluently he speaks peppering his talk with anecdotes, mostly his own with several small digressions. It clearly reveals the breadth and depth of his knowledge and actual work. What I would have liked was more stats and numbers and a general picture which he unfortunately did not present.

Incidently itihaas refers to \"this is how you know (as per legend/tradtion etc.) that it happened\".

Chanakya Mandal
2007-07-10 Text compression advances

Compression is apparently getting better. This should help solve problems like the following (among other genuine problems of the world):

A shuffles a standard pack of cards and passes it to B. The non-face side is directional. B just rotates the cards individually based on a strategy between C and himself and passes on the sequence of these 52 essentially binary values to C. From this c is to guess correctly as many suites as possible.

Text compression
2007-07-04 American Gods

Playing around with zeitgeist on LibraryThing saw the name of Neil Gaiman fairly high up. Had never heard of the guy. His American Gods seemed to have sold most copies so picked one up from the library on my way to Alaska.

It has a great concept and works on many levels, mostly subtle. I finished the book and did like parts of it, but it was way too verbose for me. Pages after pages spent on matters which could very well have been done away with. This is not life after all. Deals with religion, imported Gods and new Gods. May be it should have been called Some American Gods (but then it would not have sounded that fantastic, would it?) since they do miss out the imported Gods that now america claims to be its own and the entire mid-west etc. thrives own and makes the nation swoon (and thus tries to make the world follow). 3 stars out of 5.

Of course I should not blame zeitgeist. It still works on small number statistics and is based on who knows about librarything and who spends time getting there. Clearly its the techfriendly younger generation. That sort of proves a point about New American Gods. J K Rowling ruling the numbers is another clear indication.

Do try out LibraryThing. You may read better.


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