Me

An excerpt from the movie Ghost in the shell 1995. Major Motoko Kusanagi’s (A cyborg) words…

Just as there are many parts needed to make a human a human,
there’s a remarkable number of things needed to make
an individual what they are.
A face to distinguish yourself from others.
A voice you aren’t aware of yourself.
The hand you see when you awaken.
The memories of childhood, the feelings for the future.
That’s not all. There’s the expanse of the data net
my cyber-brain can access.
All of that goes into making me what l am.
Giving rise to a consciousness that l call ”me.”
And simultaneously confining ”me” within set limits.

Status Update!

For a long time, I read Calvin and Hobbes everyday before sleeping. A good way to end the day. But the ten year collection got over a month back. Out of books, I bought “For the love of insects” by Thomas Eisner. Now, I read it in my free time and its a totally different world out there. I have long stopped watching wild life TV channels. I feel one spends 30 minutes watching an episode to get 5 minutes of information from them. You mostly get the adrenalin rush from watching a ‘deadliest animal in this whole planet’!. But in the book, the author elaborates on means by which discoveries were made, how a hypotheses is proven and dis-proven about an insect’s life and it doesn’t matter how deadly they are. You unravel the mystery and marvel at the complexity of insect life. The details were never this exciting and simple. You remember when you solve a tough problem and slowly and steadily you are reaching your aim and the excitment grows with every step?. It takes you through such experiences of the author, not always ending in great new discoveries, but the satisfaction in it. The book, I think surely achieves one of it aims, which is to create awareness about insect world. Whenever I see an insect now, I spend time analyzing what it is doing. I have this little knowledge about insects now that I don’t squash it or shove it away. Some time back I picked up this bug and noticed that they seemed to jump from my hand from the edge to the ground every time I pick them up. I guess they are already programed to know that they are light weight and a high fall doesn’t mean a hard fall.

I also read “Surely you are joking Mr. Feynman”. This book along with the one above, gives you new ways to think about day-to-day events. A colleague of mine mentioned that he always looks for books that change the way he thinks. These are those books.

Wrote an alsa driver sometime back and that has changed what I think when I listen to music with my headphones on. After all that work, I come home and plug my head phone. I start imagining numbers flowing from a file somewhere in the hard disk. I say to myself that its all numbers. All it does is hit your ear drums after going through the dac. I did all the testing with my headphone on. You see, while I am testing this audio driver, all I am doing in waiting for that glitch or pop sounds that come up. While configuring the codec mode and clock format, I am visualizing the data in numbers and the frame sync for the right and left channels. I also had to dump the audio data to verify if data is coming form the user space to the kernel space and then to the codec. All this has changed the way I experience music with my headphones on! Apart from all that, for the first time, I got to hear my work sing to me!

And I saw the anime movie ghost in the shell  and ghost in the shell SAC.

Salem…Shantaram

I visited Salem last weekend. My home town. I wanted to attend a marriage ceremony. Now, the reason I wanted to attend was that I had already missed one of my cousin’s. I made full preparation trying to recall the names of people I had met last time. I thought, this would be a good challenge for me. There is nothing else that I dread more than blinking at my relatives trying to recall their name when they can tell at least 4 facts about the recent events in my life. Though I should pat myself on the back for remembering almost everyone. The failure this time was this old lady who happens to be my mother’s uncle’s wife. I remember her very well now.

I am reading shantaram by Gregory David Roberts right now. I reached the chapter where Khaled gives Lin lessons on why the black market exists. I stopped after I read a para. I am preserving that section preparing myself before I read it. I am going to get a very different view point of why things are the way they are in the economy. A money lauderer’s viewpoint! Not the government’s banter about how wrong it is but why it is. More scientific and not opinionated.

Bungee… Sunglasses

I am a bit dissapointed with my todo list for this year. It has bungee jump in it. I don’t see that happening now. Its better if I am more responsible and not do it at least in india. Most of all, a person is no more. This blog has more to say about my day. I will add on a bit though.

1) When I registered, The organizers there just wouldn’t allow us to register for the next day. The argument was that there was no guarantee of the state of our health the next day and a medical check up must precede the registration. I was happy that they were taking safety measures. But it seems, that wasn’t enough.

2) I usually read all the useless stuff. But this time, I did not read the disclaimer I signed. I am assuming it would have said something like “allthough they follow the best safety standards, they are not responsible for any unfortunate event…”.

3) I did not notice any ambulance there.

4) May be there was something wrong with the procedure that was being followed. It should be corrected.

I don’t want to devote any more space to the incident.

I am switching to another topic.

I realized today that people with sun glasses irritate me. And if strangers talk with there glasses on, then I find it repulsive.

Update..

Remember this post about the well next to my house. Here is an update. Last month, I saw the water level in that well at arround 5 feet. And guess what, There was a tortoise, two fishes that were atleast 10 inches long (I did not see the fishes but people in my home) and a couple of eagles visiting the well everyday to chill out. Nice time pass for people in my home. But think about what’s going to happen as the water level goes down in Chennai’s summer. They are all going to fry. Leave the birds, they will survive. I wonder who played that horrible joke with those fishes there.

Parkour… You :)… Self Modify … You :)

Try “Mirror’s Edge”. It’s awesome. I thought only shooting was fun in games. But this one is amazing. I am considering upgrading my desktop PC at home just for this one :). And I have never played a game in good urban scenario in broad daylight. A look at the games wiki page says that it has a new lighting solution. I just know that lighting is just some value at the vertices of those polygons. Nothing about how to get those values. damn!

Apart from that I recently came to know of ways to optimize code by modifying code at run-time. Take a look at the man pages of mprotect or mmap and keep your eyes open for PROT_EXEC!

Enjoy!

Ghajini… please give us a break.

So the ban on Ghajini has been lifted? The Hindi version is a remake of Tamil version. And the Tamil version is remake of ‘memento’, Chistopher Nolan (Remember ‘The Dark Knight’?) directed that movie. Now the tamil version is not so straight from memento either.  Infact one particular section in that movie is taken from the french movie ‘Amelie’. I am pretty much sure that the hindi version of ghajini is ditto of the tamil version. But lets see. By the way, watch out for the scene where she helps some kids cross a road block  by swinging them on a gate nearby. That is taken from amelie. I am sure that scene is there, though the Hindi version is not yet out. Lets see.

I am fed of this crap.

Suddenly, out of nowhere…

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HAPPY DIWALI PEOPLE!!

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Some works (books here) show what thinking different is about. They surely make you think from a different angle. What can be more valuable?

1) ‘Hitchiker’s guide to the galaxy’ (which I stopped reading midway, since it changed my thoughts to an extent that I thought I should stop it unless it makes me go crazy and for the good of people arround me, apart from another incident). Seriously. Pan galactic gargle blasters, nutrient content in a towel and about whales appearing out of thin air became a regular joke from my side among guys who had never read the book. I would try to explain to them what its all about and laugh it out. I secretly knew they would kill me some time. They didn’t because suddenly, for no reason, I stopped reading the book. Read the book and come back and read my previous sentence 🙂 . If you have read “The foundation series” by Isaac Asimov, then nothing like it. You will love HGTG more.

2) “Fooled by randomness”. A book that Rakesh bought but never read and I sneaked in to finish. Get me some more books dude, keep up the good work.

Lady fortuna plays quite an important role in one’s life. I thought I was all alone when I used to shout how lucky I was and I could have been a zero otherwise. I can recall plenty of incidents when I was just so plain lucky. The author goes on to show how luck plays an important role in our lives, how probabilty is misused and misinterpreted, about survivorship bias and more than that, what can one do about it! I won’t elaborate on the “what can you do” section. Watch out for that section, it has just two paragraphs and will get you. It puts in simple terms, in all the randomness and chaos that afflicts us, his advice on going through life. He seems to hate giving advice. He makes an exception in those two paragraphs. There was no long sermon in that book. Great!

I got hold of ten years of ‘calvin and hobbes’ series. Cool stuff to read during a break.

And next weekend I am off to kudhremukh. Trek time! More leeches! More conquests! Yeah!

Cage Or A Safehouse?

In my home in Chennai, I noticed a very peculiar incident. I will have to describe the scenario first.

The balcony in my home looks straight at an open area. This area is about 800-1000 square feet. This place is not yet occupied since the whole plot is a well. Yes, you read me right. It is a huge dry well. This is a weird case in my locality, since in Chennai, people occupy whatever space they can to build a house. The owners of the plots surrounding the area have built walls arround it.

An year back when I had come home, I noticed, a puppy stuck in that area. It would try to jump over the wall  throughout the day, but could not. In the night, it would spend hours crying, before it slept (And letting us sleep). It soon grew up and jumped the wall and escaped to freedom. My mom and neighbours were pretty much happy about this. Feeling a sense of greatness at having helped a life? Or simply happy for that dog? 🙂

This time, I heard some noises in that plot and to my shock, found that there are arround 4 puppys in there. What the heck? I asked my mom about this and she said, it is the same dog that was stuck here last year that has given birth to them. And she pointed ” What a stupid dog to come back to this cage and give birth”.

On a second thought, I don’t think that anyone (I mean ANYONE) is so stupid. Last year, I remember my mom keeping a wooden plank against the inside of the boundary wall so that it could escape. But the dog woudn’t. So she and the neighbours resorted to feeding it everyday. I think, that is exactly the reason it is back. The best place for its kids to stay would be inside the closed walls. A safehouse were you get food everyday, protection from the streets and yeah when you grow up, jump the wall and face the streets. Got to face the streets spread the genes right?

I have been reading this book, “The Selfish Gene” By Richard Dawkins and hence the last sentence in the paragraph above. Its worth a read. Its rare to get books that can put complex scientific subjects in layman terms and still be accepted among the scientific community as well. One must read this book.

And yeah, what a bitch!