Monday, September 23, 2013

Light: How do I explain Light?

The way the veil of darkness is lifted by those early rays,
The splendor of the rainbow created by the glimmer of those rays,
The way all life is nurtured by those rays from afar.

I know photons, I know photosynthesis, and a lot more.
But, I don't know how to explain Light.
Light, To a child, Who has never seen Light.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Obama's Speech at Jerusalem


I learnt about the history of challenges in the Middle East a few years ago, when I had read Tom L. Friedman's book 'From Beirut to Jerusalem'.


Today, I heard Obama's speech at Jerusalem - It may sound rhetorical, but then, leaders are supposed to inspire us and make us dream. Worth a watch - Hope floats!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Poor Economics by Banerjee and Duflo



I have been fortunate enough to get an opportunity during the course of my business-IT work to understand a few aspects of the banking and healthcare businesses.

This book helped me understand these businesses from a different perspective  - the perspective of people who according to economic parameters are considered poor – people who don't know where their next meal is going to come from or how'll they feed their kids [food and nutrition], who don't have a steady or guaranteed job [employment], who were not fortunate enough to get education to help them read and make informed choices [education], who won't get conventional loans as they'll never have collateral [banking], who won't be able to afford reasonable health-services when they fall seriously sick [healthcare and insurance] etc.

I found the views of the authors very pragmatic. They provide several examples and suggest that there is hope. Though, details-matter and one-size-does-not-fit-all while making and implementing policy.

Very highly recommended!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Foriegn affairs: Hillary Clinton's term

I liked the NYT article - "Hillary Clinton’s Last Tour as a Rock-Star Diplomat". It is about the work done by Hillary Clinton in the last few years as secretary of state. I think managing foreign affairs of a nation-state is one of the toughest things to do on this planet, especially if you are doing that for the USofA!
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

“Morning Birds” by Tomas Tranströmer

Last stanza of a poem called “Morning Birds” by Tomas Tranströmer  reads:

Fantastic to feel how my poem grows
while I myself shrink.
It grows, it takes my place.
It pushes me aside.
It throws me out of the nest.
The poem is ready.

I don't know of a better way to put the relation between a creator (poet) and his creation (poem).

The Humility!

(This is the work ethic that I would like to aspire towards.)
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Evolution: Nature, Humans, Robots, ?

Our human species evolved over a period of time. This evolution was aided by the right conditions (atmosphere, temperatures, water, cell mutations etc.) prevalent in nature. We humans in our evolution journey have harmed nature. Though, in the past few years, we have realized our mistakes and are making an attempt to correct them.

Taking this nature-and-human analogy, somewhat loosely, let's extend it to humans-and-robots:

We, humans, are creating robots - they are evolving through human knowledge. Over a period of time, I expect these robots will become more intelligent. (Some robots may be embedded within us, making us robots of some sort). At some point, they'll become superior and control human actions (or we'll become too dependent on them).

This, somewhat loose, analogy raises a lot of interesting questions:

(a) What will the robots evolve into? As humans created robots, what will robots create?
(b) What will these intelligent robots do in their quests? Like we invented farming, animal husbandry, stem cell therapy, genetic engineering techniques etc. - will they do similar things to humans?
(c) It can not be ruled out that these AI enabled machines will harm humans in their journey of evolution. Will they at some point appreciate us (humans) and try to protect us as we are attempting to do the same with nature?

Extremely curious!
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cycling to Pirangut

Today, I went cycling to Pirangut. Pirangut village is at the base of the ghat and you are going downhill for most part; so the ride is easy. On the way back, the uphill stretch has a gradual gradient - not very steep, but enough to make you sweat!

Route:


View Cycling to Pirangut in a larger map
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cycling to Bopdev ghat

I went cycling to Bopdev ghat. It was an easy ride. From the top of Bopdev ghat captured a view of Purandar fort.


Route:

View Cycling to Bopdev Ghat in a larger map

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cycling to Sinhagad

I went cycling to Sinhagad.

The uphill climb is tough, a nice steep gradient for about 7 km - I had to stop a few times. In the image below: the climb starts from left and goes steadily up towards the right almost 3/4 of the image-span. Though, all the hard work is well rewarded at the destination with some awesome hot spicy breakfast - pitla-bhakhri and kanda-aachar!

Image source: Wikipedia

Route:

View Cycling to Singhgad in a larger map

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cycling to Dive gaon

I went cycling to Dive gaon, via Saswad and Dive ghat.

Route:

View Cycling to Dive Gaon via Saswad in a larger map

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cycling to Lavasa

I went cycling to Lavasa. It is an amazingly scenic place and the roads near Temghar-Lavasa are fantastic!

Some Pictures:



Route:
View Cycling to Lavasa, Maharashtra, India in a larger map

By the end, I was extremely tired - I can't express that feeling in words. I believe, it was more to do with the summer heat. I am sure that without the motivation and support of my fellow cyclists, I wouldn't have been able to complete this one.
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cycling to Khed-Shivapur

I did my first cycling trip. [I got a new bicycle/bike yesterday :)]

Route:


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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vadodara Half Marathon 2012

I had participated in Vadodara Half Marathon 2012. Just came to know the time splits:

13.8 km in 01:19:55
21 km in 02:11:06

Source: Timing India

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quantum Theory

I quite enjoyed this. Must see!


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

World Citizens

I have always dreamed of a world without boundaries. It may take a while in the real world, but in the virtual world we are reaching there! Nice graphic.

 

Image Source Link: The Economist
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The world as I knew, growing up, is changing

Recently, when I saw Wikipedia blocked out in protest of SOPA/PIPA bills. It just struck me that a lot has changed (and is changing fast). Let me explain:

I began to understand the world around me in the early '90s. About the time when information technology (IT) started to become pervasive - I am a quintessential product of the information age. The major contributors being the telephone, television set, PC and beginning of the WWW era.

Back then all this technology was a novelty (well, expensive too): Telephone was a medium to talk to relatives living in distant places; TV was meant to see cartoons like Spiderman, He-Man Master of the Universe, Tom and Jerry and family serials like the epic Ramayana; Home computer was to try Logo - directing the turtle around, DOS commands, Lotus 1-2-3 or Wordstar.

IT was innocent (for me). IT was something not central to our lives.

Fast forward 20 years:

 Call (and even see) your relatives and friends for free
 Read your newspaper
 Pay your bills
 Buy movie tickets, see movies and listen music
 ...
 Wikipedia blackout
 Social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.) influences:
  Arab Spring
  London 2011 riots
  India anti-corruption campaign
 ...

IT has become central to our lives.  IT is not innocent anymore.

Information technology has become an integral part of our day to day lives. It has moved on from narrow individual realm to a larger realm of societies, nation-states and world. It influences decision making, at various levels, in myriad ways.

As times are changing and I grow up, I realize (even more) that it is important to use these technological advances responsibly and judiciously. I hope others do the same.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Mumbai Marathon 2012

I was looking forward to race day of my first full marathon on Jan 15th, 2012. I have been doing distance running for quite some time now (1, 2, 3), but 42.195 km is in a different league. In this post, I’ll tell you about my experience.

Preparation:

My preparation consisted of short runs on weekdays after work hours (as the work schedule permitted) and around 16-20 km run on either a Saturday or Sunday. On average, I did practice runs of 35-40 km per week for a couple of months - the maximum being 30 km run, once.

Going into the race day: I felt that I was under-prepared physically, but mentally I was determined to complete the race. The big question on my mind was: Is my body capable of going the full distance? This meant that I had to set conservative goals for the race. Hence, I decided (1) to complete the race, (2) to complete it within 6 hours (as that was the race timing cut-off) and (3) to change the plan per need.

The race day:

I got up at 4:15 am in the morning to reach the starting point of the marathon. [Note: A constant struggle with early morning timings is the ritual of going to the loo. Yes, the loo :) - our bodies are tuned to doing shit at specified time and in this case, shit doesn’t happen! Not a major problem, but definitely an inconvenience.]

Anyways, I reached on time. The race started, on time, uneventfully, without any fanfare (no movie stars, no minister speeches – they usually arrive late or speak more), which is the way I like it.

The easy part (0-21 km):

As I have done four half-marathons, I was pretty confident about the first half. A constant reminder I gave to myself was to run at a relaxed pace and not get enthusiastic (a good way to asses that is your breathing rate). So, the first 20 km were almost a walk in the park. En route, I did a couple of stops to stretch my muscles (picking the best vantage point: Sea Link bridge to do that!) and made a mental-note-of-appreciation for folks who were in their 50s attempting the full distance!

One thing that was very different from my earlier experiences was that while running the first half I was planning for the second half - observing the route (uphill and downhill gradients) and deciding on the possible options (the route is mostly the same on the way back – see map below). During the 7-10 km (Peddar road area) it was pretty evident that the long uphill gradient was going to be tough. I was almost certain that it was going to be a walking zone on my way back (If, I was able to make it!)

The tough part (21-42 km):

With the first half completed. I ran the 21-26 km with a slightly reduced pace without any troubles. (Around 25 km, I was thrilled to see Shivaji Park - Sachin Tendulkar’s cricketing education happened here). After the 26th km, I felt something strange, it was not pain in the legs or cramps, it was a feeling of emptiness - as if there were no lungs or stomach or guts, somebody just vacuum-sucked-my-upper-body kind-of-feeling… (I don’t know why – it might have to do with depleted sugars/electrolytes in the body or a bite of banana I had a few minutes earlier. Anyone?). This meant that my race plan had to be reevaluated.

The next decision was rather simple, take a couple of km at a time and evaluate the situation along the way. I followed a slow pace, small strides and kept doing it for the next 6 km or so – walk, run, walk... By the end of 32 km it was becoming difficult. I checked the elapsed time was around 3 h 45 m, which meant that I had sufficient time to complete the remaining 10 km. Also the uphill gradient of the Peddar road was approaching. So, I decided not to be heroic and take it easy - now on, it would have to be walking all the way.

I started walking the remaining 10 km at a brisk pace. Walking in high humidity of Mumbai with no breeze and the temperature rising is no fun, even if it is scenic south Mumbai’s Chowpatty. At every water-station, I had a gulp of water to keep myself hydrated  - a good Samaritan provided Parle-G glucose biscuits too. This brisk walk was strenuous on the legs, but not taxing. I completed the last kilometer with a gentle jog to the finish line. Elapsed time: 5 h 26 m 56 s.

At the end of the race, my feelings were mixed. Mixed, because I think with some more practice under five hours should have been easy for me. Also, may be I was more conservative. But, then completing the first marathon is a reasonable achievement. Hopefully, now that I know what my body is capable of physically, I can plan better for the next time. Until then, happy running!
Race Route:
Race Certificate:
Race Time Splits: Link here.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The holographic prinicple


I had read a book about black holes and the holographic principle by Lenny Susskind. Recently found a video where those ideas are being discussed. It also talks about what next.


Link to the Video

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I had read a book about black holes and holographic principle called by Lenny Susskind




Link Here

http://worldsciencefestival.com/videos/a_thin_sheet_of_reality_the_universe_as_a_hologramhttp://worldsciencefestival.com/videos/a_thin_sheet_of_reality_the_universe_as_a_hologram</p>


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Walkin’ in the rain

I was walking in the vicinity of the place where I stay. And, it was drizzling lightly. The visuals that I saw, the sounds that I heard and the smells that I sensed are put in simple words below. I call it: Walkin’ in the rain.

Rain-drops on my foggy glasses
Smell of soil
Fresh cool breeze
Clean and new look, everywhere
Flowing stream on the hill near by
Distant hill hiding behind clouds
Grass seen nowhere yesterday, trying to reach the sky today
Sun and clouds playing hide and seek
Rainbow across the street
Flash of lightening here, roaring thunder there
Walkin’ in the rain

Potholes
Traffic jams
Commotion at cross roads
Rickshawala charging more than usual
Drivers splashing water, pedestrians yelling
Passing by cyclist looking at the broken scooter
A honk here, a honk there
Walkin’ in the rain

Raincoats
Colorful umbrellas popping
People running for cover,
huddled under trees, at bus stop and on porches
Cows too!
Walkin’ in the rain

Boys playing football
Kids splashing water in puddles
Moms’ yelling: Come In Kids
Dirty clothes galore
A sneeze here, a sneeze there
Walkin’ in the rain

Drenched me
Sneezing me
Exhilarated me
Walkin’ in the rain

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I have attempted to write poetry in the past: 1, 2. This is my third attempt. I am still not satisfied with the above completely. Please consider this as a work in progress version. Do post your suggestions or feedback.
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