25 March 2009

Simple ideas and Ghoti

Many a time I am awed by some simple ideas which I hear/know/see here and there. Sometimes I am ashamed to hear simple ideas – “why did this never occur to me?”. And sometimes I am confused – whether to appreciate the idea OR the fact that such an idea exists (and was overlooked).

The first time I found this distinction between these two things ((1) The idea itself, (2) Its overlooked existence) was when I read familythe “Selfish Gene” by Dawkins.

The solution which is always given for population control is “stop at two”. He says about “start at 30” or even 35. Very true, right? (2 is the number of children where as 30 (35) is the age at which you start). So if you start late, you may avoid following the stop at two option without compromising the population control. The growth  rate will be as good as “stop at 2”.  

(You could choose either to simply believe me, or do some calculation in mind)

Well, I had never heard of that idea and it struck me “Wow, it is so simple an idea and it never occurred to me, nor have I ever heard that”. So the idea itself is wonderful and its simplicity made me wonder why I never heard/thought of it.

A similar one which I heard recently was “Ghoti the Fish”. A friend pointed me to it and also explained it to me ghoti(“me to it” and its reverse “it to me” in the same sentence :) ).

The question is, how do we pronounce “ghoti”?

Clue: Enough Women Nation

gh – to be pronounced as gh in enough (like F)
o   – to be pronounced as o in women  (like I)
ti  – to be pronounced as ti in nation  (like SH)

So, we must pronounce Ghoti like Fish. “Ghoti the Fish” should sound “Fish the Fish”. Isn’t that cool? I think yes. Isn’t that a very simple silly thing? Then why, it never occurred to any of us who have always discussed about the pronunciation rules (or the lack of them) in English? Actually, that amazes me more than “Ghoti” itself. Here is the wikipedia link, the Ghoti thing was first mentioned in 1874 – yeah pretty old idea!

And the reason for this post is Do You Speak English. Worth watching! :)

Signing off, Sands.

19 March 2009

Reflex – should we think before action?

For the past few days, I am always in a very elated, wonderful mood. Well, I was never ever in bad moods but the past days have found me always in extremely good mood. :)

[On thursday] kenken_6x6_CNET_1.9.2008_solutionFor the first time in life I played a bit of Kenken while coming from the university, in the train. Since it was cold (snowing), by the time I reached home, my left arm/palm was frozen like a piece of wood. Kenken is a very nice game – I read about it in TIME.

You see, I am already wandering. What I wanted to tell was about my reflex. Remember the old post in which I reported about jumping out of my seat to take the falling kid in my hand – resulting in the fall of my iPod?

Two days ago,  while coming from university, I got down a stop earlier than needed and walked my way home.

I was enjoying my walk, looking at people. A kid was coming on its small bike. He was pedalling quite fast and a zigzag route on the asphalt was his choice of fun. When he was about 8-10 metres in front of me, I had this intuition/pre-cognition* that he’d fall.

Before I finished thinking, he was about 3-4 metres in front of me and was falling down. (no, no .. I am not yet that good at magic :) )

I rushed to him, and took the kid, raised him. She (it was a she) had started crying. I said “nichts passiert” (means : nothing happened) and patted her. By that time her mom and dad reached the spot. They thanked me and took over the crying child.

But then I realised - my camera and phone were lying down. I had just ignored the things in my hand and put them down in my hurry to get the kid.

Panasonic-LumixDMC-LX1Why didn’t I think before dropping? Honestly, NOTHING would have happened even if I were 5 seconds late to reach the kid.

I am not trying to sound too selfish. But that camera and phone are (at least to me) pretty expensive. And I didn’t even think before dropping them; I didn’t even know. And I am sure I wouldn’t the next time either.

Well, I shouldn’t complain about instincts and reflexes right? They were not developed to save lives not cameras. I know that, still I cannot be too selfless either, right? :)

Had it been the time of hunter-gatherers, those mom and dad would have given me a chunk of meat from their hunt, for helping their child. Well, then how do I include a bicycle in a hunter-gatherer-picture? Hmm, May be I am missing the point. right? :(

Signing off,

PS: Where was my reflex on the day I had accident? :) {I know the answer, but let it be my secret ;) }

PPS: I read about the theory of precognition somewhere and have now totally forgotten what/where! – it was long ago – yesterday ;)

17 March 2009

The hairy trust

As usual, a small smile for you… (just for you) :)

Yesterday was my birthday. Birthdays have never been that important to me. But I am starting to think different. It would really be fun to celebrate them. Well, I don’t know if I would throw a belated-b’day-party this year. But for sure I am doing it from the coming year onwards (of course, not belated)

On Saturday, I had been to a bookshop (my weakest moments are always in bookshops, I just can’t resist the temptation). And I wasn’t alone, a real voracious reader friend of mine was with me.

I picked up a book which I had been wanting to read since quite sometime ago. I asked my friend (who had already read that book, and loved it too) whether I may buy that book. She, who loves that book, to my surprise, told me not to. I cannot deny that her reply came as a bit of surprise to me.

But since she being one of the most straight-forward persons and I being the most naive* person, I couldn’t see the hidden design she had, for which she stopped me from taking the book. I didn’t think much of it and picked some other book which she recommended.

On Sunday, at midnight (technically Monday), I opened my gift from her and it was that book – the very book – but a much better print/edition than the one I was to pick. I was just so happy and was even laughing at my inability to connect things! :)

Wuthering HeightsAnd the book is “Wuthering Heights”. I just started reading it (just a couple of pages). The language is really good. I am not yet in a position to tell anything else about the book. I shall, later.

I have a day with nice weather and tons of things to do.
So, signing off,



PS: And no, there isn’t anything hairy about trust. I was talking with a friend about trust. I compared trust with hair. It takes a long time to grow it, and just a few moments are enough to cut it down. (And yes, the comparison was appreciated :) ) [The title was to attract readers :) ]

PPS: * well, don’t take ‘the naive thing’ too serious. ;)

7 March 2009

Catch a fish, Throw a ball

A very harsh self critic – I have been like that most of my life. I do boast/brag in front of others, but for myself, I always have/had set a real high bar (which I don’t happen to reach that often)

One thing I never thought I am, is a good observer. (In simple words: I never thought that I was a good observer ;) ) Especially, when I look at some of my friends, I find myself to be the worst observer I’ve ever known.

But, finally, I think I am improving in the game. I am seeing and observing things much more than I have done earlier. Perhaps my brain is growing? developing? ;)

booksSo, I decided to go for a walk in Munich – just to look around things. Even otherwise, walking in city is one of the best things I like. It is like an Energising thing for me – to walk through the main streets, the city centre and look at the crowd, float among them, go slow, go fast, look and smile at people… and finally enter a cafe and have a coffee, read a few pages from a book -  definitely one of the best things in life. 

I did it today. After realising that a sweet girl had taken over my duty at the library, I took the walk which I had been fancying for the past couple of days. From the library, I walked aimlessly (well, not really – as I was heading to the bookshop at the other corner of the main-city)

While enjoying the walk and observing the crowd, I decided to pick my books for the month. I usually buy 2 new books every month and try to read them (but I end up reading some other book) and the new ones always end up in the “To Be Read” pile.

I made a mental note that, this time I am going to take some book which is definitely NOT on Math/Philo/Physics. My next choice was…. hmm… yeah “Parenting” ;)

fly_kitesI know, I am not going to have a kid for another couple of years, but let me read it now itself. Or else, I’d not have time to do it when the time comes! (I am actually NOT a fan of parenting books and the book I took was not really the parenting kind of book. It’s more like “tricks of the  parenting trade”)

proof1ay9The book is “Catch a fish, Throw a ball, Fly a kite – 21 timeless skills every child should know”. So, not really parenting right? It’s just for the kid in me! ;) .. the kid which I am! :)

Hmm.. what a turn of things. From being harsh critic, I wandered through topics and reached the kid in me! :(

Signing off, Sands.

PS : About buying more books that I can read, have this small quote.

Buying more books than one can read is only the soul's reaching out for better and bigger things, and it is just this reaching that helps to raise us above the beasts.

1 March 2009

Let me criticise again …

But this time I shall be my own critic. One has to have a self-examination from time to time. I shall here present my vices (which are pointed out by some friends from time to time). I better list them out right?

  1. I value my time and I claim it.
    Well, there is nothing wrong with this - as far as I can think of. But the problem is, I seem to value my time more than others value their time. When I am busy, I don’t hesitate to tell “dude/dudie, I am busy, I gotta go”. I believe that everyone should do the same.

    And perhaps because of my pushy character, many people find it hard to deny me time. So, that ends up in a situation where I have my time when I want and I have others’ time too when I want. (It is not my fault but … they get a bad feeling as they don’t get my time when I am busy and they have to give me time even when they are busy – Nasty right?;)  )

    This is most probably an ability some people would love to have ,I guess. Still I need to put it as my number one vice. :( I am not planning to change this as I still do feel that my time is important. But I have to stop others feeling that I am preying on their weakness! ;)

    My time is precious, Your time is more precious – I know that.. but it’s your duty/right to claim it. Don’t complain that I am doing it. (I shall try to make it smooth and soft in future though)
  2. I tend to correct others
    I am a bit of a perfectionist. So, when I see someone doing something in a different way than mine (my way is the best way.. right? ;) )… I tend to give suggestions. Most of the times, my suggestions are accepted – but I happen to suggest even for silly things like ‘opening a bottle of wine/beer’ – where perfection is not that important. And people have their style – I must accept it.  

    To make it worse, I will be able to prove (with arguments) that my way is the right way.
    I have to control a bit of this behaviour of mine. May be control it more than a bit.
  3. I repeat what I said already
    This is another accusation. When I try to explain things, I tend to repeat things. To an extent it is true too. But I have not done enough research on this nature of mine – even though I have noticed it a couple of times.

    This perhaps is dependant on the other person’s body-language, response etc. More investigation is required. But if found to be true, it needs immediate attention.
  4. A bit of gluttony
    Well, is this a vice? At least the pope thinks so. For the same reason, I put it here even though without any intention of getting rid of this nature. ;)
  5. Way too talkative
    In almost any conversation, I happen to take more than 60% of all the time. All the same, there are some friends of mine with whom I end up talking almost 90% of the time and some others who give me only 5% because they take all the rest! ;)

    Still, I could work on this by making my conversation a bit more entertaining … so that others would love my conversation more & more and I can improve and get 75% instead of the present 60% ;)

That was a good list I believe. And I had been very honest in compiling the list. I might have left out some real bad nature of mine – which my friends-cum-readers are most welcome to point out. I’d be glad to know them and to make myself a better person.

Signing off, Sands.

PS: Long posts – that is another vice! ;)

PPS: Should I start this as a TAG? “Write 5 vices of yourself” or something like that? (it might get popular) ;)