Friday, November 27, 2009

Mystery of Sleep

As usual, I will begin with an aside here..

Whenever I think of my baby, I find in me a curious ability to get under her skin and visualize how she is feeling. How about you?

When pondering over today's topic of Sleep, I thought of a time when the baby was just refusing to sleep. The thought was so deep inside that I knew, the baby sometimes wonders why it has to sleep. And I wouldn't be too far off if I suggest those were my thoughts too (at times) when I was at that age

It all would depend on how engaged the mind is. You could be up all night doing something that deeply engrosses you, quietly working away. Or in a lecture you may find the opposite.

Actually, the lecture example can happen due to a very different reason - maybe you are deeply pondering over what is being said, and your thoughts connect to various linked ideas and you lose yourself just thinking, so much that you are not listening any more

Ok, so what am I driving at? I am saying, that Sleep is one sneaky bas****. Yes, that's what it is. It happens to most, if not all creatures on earth. And a lot of them sleep when the sun is down and wake up when the sun is about to arrive (I will discount the millions of humans who dont wake up strictly according to this. Humans are special, in the sense they dont respect the laws of nature and always trying to work around it - but I will leave that for another day)

If we lived in a bigger or slower planet, our sleep and wakeful times would be adjusted accordingly. Where's the proof, you say? There is no proof. It is an extension of the limited ideas in my head. Again, another day

So the Sun dictates our lifestyle. Really. This is profound when you think about it. We are like battery operated devices switching on and off according to some pattern defined by the universe around us. We are zombies that go to work when it's day and retire to bed for the night. day after day, night after night

We are a phenomenon of this universe

And how did this phenomenon start? If I answer that I would indeed deserve the Nobel prize or more

But, back to sleep. When we sleep, we dream. Dreams are ideas in our mind, but in a twisted, mangled form. It's like accessing the hard disk of a computer without consulting the file locations. The hardware running without the operating system being on. The television left running when the programming ends (remember those days?)

And how do we wake up? A lot of people have difficulty sleeping, yet no one has trouble waking up! When does our operating system boot up? And how does it remember what garbage the hardware has been throwing out from the hard disk? The memory cache! The RAM memory. We are looking just like a comuter. Or is it the other way around?

How similar we are to devices. It makes me wonder. Yet, I am amazed at the profound-ness of sleep

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Of small and big pictures

It's a corporate joke that your boss always wants you to look at the 'big picture'. What does that mean?

The words 'look at the big picture' expresses several ideas
- you are looking at something that you should not
- there are small things and there are big things
- there is a picture. use your imagination
- you are not looking

Now, this is very good material to make a joke for the book: "English is a wonderful language"

Using simple words you are effectively, under-handedly communicating some really vile ideas in a most innocent manner

Here it is again - a jump of logic. How is this supposed to be 'vile'? Imagine, you are little and you are walking by with your parents on the railway platform, and you see this really dastardly begger, with no hands or feet. How would you react? Your little heart would probably go out for that person. You might even be scarred
And you are made to walk by and do nothing. And later one day someone explains to you about the big picture: If you encourage these people then more people will come out and beg

How does this big picture look to you? To me, it is 'vile'. How? again lets see what it is telling us:

- you are looking at something that you should not
> Ignore these pathetic people

- there are small things and there are big things
> You see a beggar. But this person is not a simple beggar. He has designs of making money without working. And this is done by chopping off his body part by part

- there is a picture. use your imagination
> People are out there who want to do the same. They will blind themselves, cut their limbs off, eat dirt, but WILL NOT work

- you are not looking
> You have no idea how lazy people can be

I leave it to you to judge

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What fights matter

How to lead life?

This question is as open-ended as they come. What do you do with a problem of plenty (plenty of alternatives in this case)

What you do depends on your nature, your way of thinking. Your thinking is shaped by your past experiences and feedback. Feedback is what others around you give you.

The same must apply to others, too. Your feedback might be important to them - sometimes more than you think, in fact, but that, is a topic of its own, just like the several preceding sentences.

I delay my posts waiting for the right idea, but when I start I am flooded with dozens of others. Everything seems linked to each other. And yeah, where was I? A problem of plenty?

Let me narrow down the scope by defining 'lead life'. Leading life means you allow what is desirable to your heart to happen and avoid the undesirable. Or rather your conduct of yourself so as to have this effect

Now... this definition when followed will inevitably lead to conflicts and tension. Why? Because, fundamentally what you desire may be in demand and you may often find yourself in a situation where you are pushing and jostling fruitlessly with a crowd

And then there are those times when you need to put a firm foot forward and stand your ground.

How to recognize those moments? What fights really matter for you and for those for whom you are fighting? And when is it really time to give way instead of trampling on someone else's rights? After all, conduct should not be anything other than good and just

The answer lies in being honest on the inside. Recognizing what you are, your merits. AND recognizing the situation, other people and making a good judgment of where you stand. Yes, and that is the sign of wisdom

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Dynamic Personality

Childhood is a rich time

A child is in the process of formation. The foundations are being laid for future life. What a child wants to become, it can shape NOW.. and the child is doing just that

What you put into her head, she's gonna accomplish that in life. When you wield such power over someone's life..... do we want to go here? The power can sometimes be corrupting ........

Ok... what was the topic again? "Dynamic Personality".. Oh yes, I tend to forget a bit so I apologize!

A child is a very free individual. Free as in free of responsibility, much consequence, mentally free and inclination to experiment. A child can play any roles playing with her dolls. She can fit into any personality. It is all imaginative, and she can use any role in her life too, at whim

As she grows up, she adopts a bit of this, a little of that, according to where her life seems to be headed...... and as life sort of stabilizes, she has a practiced personality to deal with the life she got

Much of her choices are of course not original. She may see other people, and try to copy them. If her mom yells at the servant and she sees that servants are to be yelled at because thats how the work is getting done, she may apply significance to the "yeller" role and will record it for future use

Now as adults we have learned of many new behaviors. But we are still unable to change our patterns. In fact we are hard pressed to recognize them

But once we see the light, we are desirous of changing. But we find ourselves "locked" in our behavior.

The solution in this case, is to get a bit more imaginative. Get a partner, and do a role play. Imagine a situation. Converse with your usual behavior, and let the other person play the supporting role, ie, the environment. Then try an alternate role, and see how the 'environment' changes. Keep trying until you learn what is more likely to work for the environment...

About the Sun

First, a bit of vomit..

I mean, I am repeating here what I heard or read somewhere, without digesting - it may or may not be true

Fakirs, tantriks and certain other people, mostly in the philosophical field, drink intoxicating drinks, or do some kind of drugs (Ganja, Charas etc). By this they would go on a "trip", mentally.. and make them to think unusual and out of the box thoughts.

Now let me begin

BTW I mentioned the above, because what I am about to write has occurred to me without taking any drugs! I don't know how I do it but here it is

Visualize the Sun. What is burning in the sun? It's a whole lot of Hydrogen.

Is there Hydrogen on Earth? Yes, Of course. And since it is a light gas, it probably is found in the upper layers of the atmosphere

So our picture of hydrogen on Earth is, First the Soil, then other gases, then Hydrogen, then the lighter gases

What in case of the Sun?

What if?

Soil, Really, really, cool gases, hydrogen

The gravitational power of Sun is of course several hundred or million times more than Earth. It is natural that it would attract much more gases...

And like a gas burner, something caused the hydrogen to flare up.. maybe it is just the extreme pressure causing extreme heat.. or just a volcano.. and there is created a warm world protected by an extremely hot outer atmosphere.

All this is too crazy.. but perhaps a good theme for a Harry Potter or suchlike series

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where did we really come from?

Life fails to make sense for most rational thinkers

Are we really improvised models of insignificant life that started functioning by accident?

Too far fetched..

Then why do we take ourselves sooooooo seriously?

In this day and age, we are all familiar with DNA, which is a blueprint of the various cells our body is composed of

Who needs a blue-print? Who works with blue-prints? The answer is almost sad and unfortunate

What is the BIG difference between us and the machines we create? I say it is the sophistication

The machines we make are modeled on our own functioning. For example, like us, a computer has a short-term and long term memory

What goes to say that 100 years hence, we wouldn't be building a machine as sophisticated as us, or more? After all, we are good imitators. What prevents us from re-harnessing DNA to create absurd beings that are neither living nor dead, and capable of inhuman stamina, super-fast thinking and deadly strength?

I am going a bit out of the topic here. I want to allure to the fact that, the more we find out about how the specii work, the more it matches a machine

What then gives us the right to take ourselves with such great seriousness? We should knock it off..

So you think you are very bright?

As grown-ups we know there are situations in life that can leave us stumped. No matter what your current standing in life may be, you have definitely been in not-so-enviable positions.

When Circumstance decides to have its say what can a person do?

Circumstance affects us in the strangest ways. We seldom realize where it is hitting us from. It could be as simple as a bus conductor or government or police official reacting to a spat with his wife and making hell for you

Yet when we see a person who is not faring well, we seldom think: oh, there might be some circumstance in his life. We quite narrowly dismiss it as some foolish person who didn't see the pitfall as clearly as we did, and congratulate ourselves

And again when it happens to us we look around for some respite and some mercy....

When will we ever learn?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When was the last time..

This one is for those moments of existential dilemma: why am I alive, and what am I doing that's in any way significant

What you may be undergoing is actually a mental rejuvenation. You must, from time to time, move away from the scorching heat of intense mental activity. If you don't, then eventually you may force a point where you are mentally so tired that you will begin to see negative thoughts more often

What your mind may be actually telling you, is that it needs an oil change real bad..

All is well if you have been with me so far.. but now I am going to the other extreme. It is for you if you have lost the part of you that brings you to your office desk everyday and makes you work and give your very best

When was the last time you didn't feel like stopping?

Like when you were young and were out playing with the gang and your mom was yelling out to you to come home and you were refusing

Do you remember any of those sentiments?

Suppose you were in the stock exchange in a day the Bull went crazy - didn't you wish the day would never end?

Describe to yourself the sentiments on that day when you didn't feel like stopping what you were doing - and record it for the day the opposite sentiment strikes.. I think, a nice blog idea..

Friday, August 14, 2009

Browser as a weapon

Being a techie I can't help getting into such a topic even in a blog like this. But then, this is a blog of my thoughts. And, had it existed 10 years ago I might even have described AJAX (in concept) in it

My post comes from my own experience with testing web applications by firing http packets at it (not a lot of that, but enough)

Any hacker knows (and probably most users realize) that the browser is a window to the Web Server. What happens inside a web server is a result of what you send to it via your browser.

The code in a Web Server, if written carefully, should do all the data validations even if already carried out in the browser. However it is quite common for a Web Programmer, especially a novice, to just do the validation in Javascript on the browser and take the incoming data for granted in the Web Server

In case you didn't catch it, the keyword in the previous para is "Javascript" - as in "disabling Javascript"..

However this is not even the beginning of what I would like to express here.

When a Developer writes a code for the Web, he uses the commonly available browsers. He may be the best coder in the world, but he will certainly miss writing the proper code for a browser that he does not know exists!

Imagine this: A spy agency downloads Mozilla source (or makes a browser of their own, for that matter). Now, this browser would not work the same way as regular ones. The regular browsers allow the programmer to dictate how it should behave. However, this browser would be fully under the control of the user. If the user wishes, it would validate some data, and skip others - to mention the tip of an iceberg. It could do session substitution, and in a jiffy have access to all your mails. It could pose as literally anyone, provided knowledge of ongoing sessions are available to it. To what extent are the web servers security-aware? No one has an account of that - or am I wrong?

For the techies, let's do a session - What features would you put in a hacker's browser?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What does it "FEEL" like?

What does it feel like,
- being the outer rubber on the tire of a moving car? How tough a tyre must be? How convenient for a car? How did they hit upon the rubber idea? Where did they first find rubber? Is there any substitute for it? Metal is noisy and wont go smooth..

One for the recruiters:
What does 7 years feel like? Yes, I don't have *Recent experience in a language. But I have n number of years in it, and am an expert of it
Or let me put it this way. You spend 7 years in prison. In the 9th year, I ask you, How was prison life. You most likely DIDN'T give which answer?
- It was terrible. I missed my family. My wife deserted me. My kids turned to drugs. My daughter turned preg at 15. I got regular beatings in prison. These 7 years were pure unforgettable hell for me
- It was the worst part of my life. I wish I had never been involved in this crime. It's a worse punishment on earth than the devil could have given me in hell
- It is an indelible part of my life. I lost everything. True, I gained a few friends and won a lot of sympathy, but I will never forget this experience till the day I die
- Prison? What are you talking about? I am a moron, and don't remember where I was yesterday


About Karate and stuff

Allright - when opening any topic, there are so many other things that can be talked about. Nothing, it seems, can be mentioned or considered in isolation. This is part of "relationship with truth". The implications are profound

Let me begin by connecting the 'Karate' word found in the title, with my own life, primarily because this blog is connected with my life.

Yes, I learned some Karate in my teen years. Developmental years are so full of questions and options, you don't know what you want to do with your life. But what you do know (if fortunate enough) is you are preparing for being a fully fledged adult some day.

The helplessness, insecurity, self-doubt of a child growing into a man (or woman) needs to be addressed at some point. My own tryst with Karate began as an antidote to the fear in my mind growing up bullied by most

What Karate did to me was, gave me a leeway to tap into my real underlying physical strength, so I could defy someone should a need arise.

What is Karate for me?

First, some points on what I consider it NOT to be:
- Some means of getting into fights and winning
- Defending against adversaries or showing off
- Even, playing cool (often to detrimental effect)

Yet, to a teenage mind these things are hard to get right

Now the part about what it is, and how it should be used
- A "real fight" really takes place at a mental level. I was once attacked by a group of drug addicts. I gave up the moment the fight started. Why? Because the settings of the fight was not of my choosing. It was completely dark. I didn't know how many of them were there. Some were behind me. It started with a guy from behind me hitting my head with a blunt weapon. I didn't know what other weapons they had.
If you really want to learn to fight, then concentrate on these kinds of scenarios. If I were to run a dojo, I would form groups of students who would unexpected jump on a target student. I would even entail the services of another dojo or organization to do the work, because the surprise element should not be lost. To add to it, I would assign everyone to walk through a dangerous place every few days and give their report (but would secretly flank him/her with a rescue team that I would outsource).
- It is anxiety control. When you are in a real confrontational situation, your heartbeats go all but crazy. If you truly want to be a good fighter, or a fighter at all, you must learn to deal with the extreme state of caution
- It is anxiety inversion. Behave or talk in such a way as to deter the adversary.
- It is game theory. Understand how to apply the carrot and stick. The physical fight always, always comes LAST, and it's best not to even hint towards it but simply to preserve your ground gently, maybe with some humor

Does your Sensai teach you to work on yourself? I would say jump on him some night and find out how good he really is - even an initial reaction would do the trick, for knowing him better (you don't have to get hurt for that!)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The horse carriage

You will have to wait a bit for the "Relationship with truth" write-up.. in fact, I am debating whether I can really do justice to that topic

Anyway, I mentioned it here to avoid burying it under new posts

Today I want to take a horse's point of view, of a horse carriage.

A horse is burdened as it is by his blinders. I remember wondering how frustrated a horse might be feeling under his blinders. When I was little, things like these would leap out to me. My perceptions and sensitivity were much keener.

I once saw a goat skinned alive in a road accident and it lay there bleating helplessly, neither bleeding to death, nor able to get up and leave. There was a huge traffic mess and heavy vehicles moved slowly inches past the animal.

The scene never left me for several months and I wonder to this day what would have been the its ultimate fate

The goat had a placenta-like covering beneath its skin.. and in different circumstances it would have been quite interesting to examine

Anyway.. coming back to the horse...

I boarded a horse carriage only one time in my life. I must have been around 10 or 11 at that time. It was a full carriage and I was supposed to squeeze up in front. I couldn't help wondering if the horse would feel better off if I boarded on the back, because it was a two-wheel carriage.
If the back of the carriage were heavier (significantly enough), the carriage would have an upward force on the horse as it moved. Maybe it would struggle a bit to get a grip on the road, especially when moving up-hill. If the front were to be heavier, it would strain the front ankles and bear down on the creature down-hill
This could perhaps be avoided if the carriage were a four-wheeler.

Or maybe not. Why? Because it is easy to design poorly. A design fault may make a yoke a tad too low for the horse, and it would have to put up an upward pressure on the front wheels..

Who wants to be a horse?


Friday, August 7, 2009

Self definition

This just occurred to me..

Can you imagine some key or significant situation in your life, where, if you had behaved differently, or reacted differently, you would have had an entirely different outcome?

Suppose you imagine someone else (whom you know) in that situation - what would that person have done?

No one is perfect. Most of us would be happy to change ourselves in some albeit small way or the other. Yet the change we seek, however simple, just eludes us. We are unable to. Of course, if you are an exception case, congratulations to you.. but please read on...

Some of the reasons we are unable to change, according to me (and my readings), are:
- We don't know any other way of being
- As we grow older we lack the imagination, daring (or sheer innocence) to experiment with a different way to be
- We are locked in by a reputation imposed by the world surrounding us. Imagine a convict, even though he may have been not guilty. When he comes out of jail, is it easy for him to get a job? His jail term has set the course of the rest of his life - and suspicions and accusations will always haunt him. Others' fears may well act as a self-fulfilling prophecy

However, let me come back to the point I was trying to make here.

It is, that, to change, we
- need a role model
- really understand in our gut, what makes him/her tick. Why his behavior works. And how we can make it work for us
- make our minds flexible and innocent to take on and play a different role
- get away from old acquaintances and escape getting locked in
- avoid getting internally locked in by our own mind. Overcome negative thoughts or lack of conviction by gentle persuasion and inner diplomacy
- perhaps a supportive partner would help - but don't count on it

Well.. it so happens that I am coming to the REAL point only now, after saying all the above words..

How to answer the question "Who am I"?
You are whom you are locked in as. The younger you are, the more difficult it is to answer, because you can change. You become someone by continually practicing being in that role. As the great Shakespeare said .. The whole world is a stage, and we are all but actors

So, in my opinion, it is best to be what you want to define yourself as. Now, that reminds me of the curious psychiatric case of a lady having 18 different personalities, each of them oblivious of others

In that light, let me re-word my opinion.. no .. let me allow it to remain dormant. I am going to write another entry "Relationship with truth". And let's see if we can make a connection between the two entries

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Early thoughts

From time to time I remember some old ideas and thoughts from my childhood. I will try to maintain these using a title similar to this one..

Just remembered while watching the carpenters..

How to draw a straight line if I am not allowed to use a scale, a thread, or any such man-processed instrument/thing?

How to draw a perfect circle?

I remember having thought about these a day or two, before some ideas struck me.. I don't want to remember what they were right now .. so you can think of an answer as well

Where did this thought come from? It is from the recursive questioning.

Q. How to draw a straight line?
A. use a ruler

Q. To make a ruler you need to get a straight line first. Assume you are making the world's first ruler
A. Stretch a thread

Q. Fool! A thread is woven from cotton with the help of a machine. To make that machine you needed to draw several straight lines.
A. mmmm how about a hair ..?

Q. You are taking the fun out of the question. Try a better answer

I later plucked a hair and examined its structure. It wasn't all that uniform...

Logs and back-logs

Dear Dad

When I was little, - and this is just my chance to reveal to you - I used to make several 'notes' - about you I should treat my children, what I would do and what I would not, etc

However I never had blogging back then. If I maintained a diary it risked getting lost, falling into "wrong" hands, embarrassing me, and felt somewhat wrong, because I was after all a kid with no understanding

So this blog is an attempt to re-construct that which was lost in the humdrum of the past 3 decades. You (and my other readers - though 0 in all at time of writing) may feel that many of my ideas here are kiddish. They are meant to be. To explain, I want my sayings here to reflect my young mind. I may not be feeling the same now, or my feelings have evolved and morphed into something else, or perhaps disappeared. So a little pinch of salt here and humor there would serve good..

I don't want to conclude on that note, however. There will be ideas here that will elevate this blog and make the discussions and incidents interesting (hopefully). I know there will...

At present feeling dry of ideas so signing off ..