Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Love Song

'twas a dreary and rainy night,
On the damp road, there was not a soul in sight.
After a long and tiring work day,
Towards home he started making his way.

He was working on a new theory,
Something to do with Quantum Gravity.
He was thinking of equations in his head,
When he percieved a silhouette.

He was fed up of walking all alone;
Wouldn't it be nice to walk with someone?
He walked faster, to catch up with the silhouette,
Till all between them was not more than a step.

All of a sudden, he heard a loud sound -
and he knew what was coming around.
He had seen this before on TV -
How a tornado can sneak up on you and me.

And without further ado he knew what to do -
To an underground cellar he had to get through!
He leaped immediately and dragged the silhouette,
Into an underground cellar.

The slihouette turned out to be an angry young woman-
Abduction wasn't her idea of fun!
Then all of a sudden, they heard violent windy noises above-
her cynicysm turned to gratitude and love.

He hadn't seen her for a second - but he was in love-
Her face was beautiful, her voice -wow!
They hugged and kissed like a song,
Made sweet love all night long.

It was too good to be true he thought,
He was right, for true it was not.
He had fallen asleep on his books
after giving them many blank looks.

And then he awoke to a realization that was rude;
It was a dream, she was not true!
So, he set on his way home,
The atmosphere was rainy, one of gloom.

And he did see a damsel ahead-
- a silhouette.
And sure enough, he heard those sounds
A tornado was surely doing the rounds!

He grabbed her to the nearest cellar,
She was outraged - I don't blame her.
Not a sound came frome above-
no tornado - and certainly no love.

She took out her cellphone, called the cop-
And he is now doing time behind the lock!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Exploiting Democracy: A peek at the government's future plans

An internal communication within the ruling congress party was intercepted. It distresses one and all that these are the people in charge of the bomb and responsible for a nation that is responsible for the future of the planet in many ways.

Dear Madam Sonia,

Politicians until now have avoided taking some bold populist measures. With electoral battles getting closer every election, we are proud to see that our political party has some up aces up its sleeve.

Print more money

The main problem with India is that poor people are poor. They have insufficient money with them. If money is distributed to everyone, everyone will have money. So, more money could be printed in the mints - and distributed to the masses. Now, everybody can buy food, and everybody will be happy. And to increase the efficiency further, leaves can be used instead of cash! (Borrowing an idea from the Hitch-Hiker's guide).

There will be a few (most probably educated) detractors. They might claim that this will result in rampant inflation - and that the common man will be no better off. These arguments might seem convincing, but the successful politician learns how to deal with such sophistry. All one needs to do is to call these people elitists - and point out that these people do not have the interests of the common people at heart.

Legalize, nay, make compulsory copying in Examinations:

The masses are not intelligent enough to work hard for exams; they are more given into smoking bidis before the same. Since only a small proportion (the "elite") can perform well, it is unfair to discriminate against others - for no fault of their own. It is wise to propose that a level playing field be established in the examination hall by allowing the transfer of data from one answer paper to another.

Students unwilling to share information with others should be disallowed from taking the examination and should be imprisoned for a month. Such a fine will act as a deterrent to these anti-social tendencies.

Such policies have yielded extensive electoral success to the Mulayam Singh and the Rabri Devi governments.

Allow Encroachment

Occasionally, the Indian Railways tries to get rid of people who dwell close to the railway tracks. It is proposed that Indian Railways be forced to allow these encroachments. Any deaths that result can be banned from the Hindi / Local media, so as to stem the propagation of news. It is important to preserve the notion that the nation enjoys a free press, though - for any repression would hurt electoral fortunes.

The stories may be shown on English media, since the elitists won't vote for us anyway.

Land Reform

A cue must be taken from Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Rich land owners and home owners constitute a very small proportion of the electorate. The poor masses comprise a larger chunk. It is proposed that the poor be urged to usurp the land of the rich man - and that the constitution be amended to allow what would currently be considered an transgeression of the Indian Penal Code. The rich man will not vote for us anyway, being an elitist. It is the poor we are worried about.

Will these measures not dry up electoral funding?

Before embarking on any of these revolutionary measures, it is proposed that the party procure large orchards everywhere - so as to possess ample leaves - thereby doing away with the need for electoral funding of any sort.

Yours Sincerely,

Manmohan Singh

Prime Minster and Chief Populist
Republic of India

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mother India : An Eternal Beggar?

There's two conflicting effects that any reservation policy would have: a negative impact on the meritorious and a positive impact on the backward masses - for argument's sake assuming that the caste based reservation system is an appropriate way to judge one's backwardness - something that many people (including yours truly) vehemently disagree with.

Certainly, India's masses need upliftment and encouragement - some preferential treatment is necessary to level the playing field. Some amount of reservations could be an incentive to pursue higher education.

But in a nation of limited resources, denying education to the genuinely deserving will result in a severe under-utilization of Human capital. Lots of future Homi Bhabhas, Adbul Kalams, C.V Ramans, J.C Boses etc. shall be denied access to quality education. Mother India shall have to beg for Nuclear Technology all over again.

But this could be a blessing in disguise. It is a bloody shame that we Indians rely on politicians to set up institutes of excellence. Arjun Singh has no incentive to see India develop. He does not want so see a prosperous India. The average politician's vision is restricted to seeing himself in a position of power in the near future. Future is certainly never an issue - especially if all decision making offices are run by octagenarians who might conk off any moment. Development is a tough idea to sell to an electorate already so cynical of empty promises. Arjun Singh chooses populist appeasement instead.

On a more optimistic note, I believe there is an ample case in favour of private research based universities in India. Just imagine: Intel wants some academic research done on some fundamental cooling electronic cooling techniqes. It collaborates with, say, Texas A&M university. It gives a professor a grant of $2 Million to do it. And the professor has to buy experimental equipment, pay his electricity bill, give the university its hefty cut, hire some graduate students (and pay their tuition, fee and monthly stipend).

AMD also wants similar work done, but somebody in their ranks has heard of a univerisity in India that can do the same thing for $0.6 million - and that's inculding the airfare. After all, paying a graduate student Rs 20000 per month ($500) instead of $1500 would do in India; expert tecnicians would work for a fraction of what they would would for in the US. Sending eperimental apparatus to India shouldn't be too tough either.

So, the contention is that there is a massive case for research based universities in India. And once, these "universities" reach a critical mass, they will attract excellent faculty from all around the world ... maybe even from India (if there are any - the reservations notwithstanding). And good faculty means excellent classes. Slowly but surely, India can still emerge strong. The people can still prevail over populism. But that will take too long.

But the era of the IIT as an institution of excellence is over. It breaks my heart to see my alma mater fall into the all-encompassing rut of mediocrity that the political class craves to retain India in for all eternity.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Exorcist 5: Hail Singh

Arjun Singh is India's Human resources minister, responsible for the 49.5% reservation disaster.

Arjun Singh woke up one day at 9:00 am and went to his bathroom. He took out his twig (he does not use a tooth brush) and started brushing his teeth. He then looked at the mirror and there was something on his lip. It was a moustache that covered (symmetrically) one third of his upper lip. He then opened his left palm, and saw blood marks shaped like a reverse Swastika on it.

He wanted to shout out in agony in Hindi. (Something like "Behe* ?hod"). But the terms "Das ist mir scheißegal." were inadvertently blurted out of his mouth. It was pretty weird; he had never spoken in German before. He had, actually, flunked geography in school and was under the impression that Germany was one of India's southern neighbours, along with Finland.

Singh, at first did not like his new moustache. He had seen a movie starring Charlie Chaplin long ago - but he had never caught the humour. The moustache made him look like that B-Grade comedian.

He tried getting rid of it (the moustache) using scissors, but the damn thing would not budge. He tried using a knife. The strands of hair did not break. He then realized that the only way get rid of it was to cut his neck. But he was not that insane ...... yet.

At 12:00pm, after a hefty lunch of Paneer Parathas (imported from the USA) and Chicken Tikka masala and prawn spiked with beef and pork, he went to his office. He was early: he would usually be in his office by 2pm. His secretary greeted him with a smile and said "Namaste Mantriji", the usual greeting. But a voice from inside told Singh to pause and correct her. He said "Namaste Mantriji not. Hail Singh with salute!".

Singh then started taking policy decisions. He scribbled "99.5% reservations" on his notepad .. and started doodling on the same. He drew a house, a cow (which looked like a sad dog) and a dog. While he was doodling so enthusiastically, his pencil inadvertently drew a vertical line tangetial to the first 9 in 99.5%, making it look like a badly written 4. He then told his secratary to get him some concentrated orange juice. The term "juice" almost sounded like "jews".

What has happened to the Arjun Singh that we all know and love? Why is he possessed by this monster? What has the ghost of Adolf Hitler done to him? Is there any hope for the country, which has been placed under such a racist and bigoted order? Will we ever know?

Adolf Hitler had done his homework well. After Eva Brown shot him during one of their fights, Hitler decided that he was going to teach humanity a lesson. Humanity was in profusion in both India and China. He saw that the Communist government in China was teaching its people a lesson on a daily basis, and did not need any external help. India, on the other hand, was threatening to become a world power, a power with immense talent and a high morale. A power with brains, that might one day steer the world away from global warming. What better way to stifle this emerging power than remove whatever meritocracy there remained? All he had to do was complete what the ghost of General Dyer (another misanthrope, who had lost his soul when he committed the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre) had done through the Mandal commission.

But Arjun Singh's inadvertent doodles had reduced it to 49.5%, necessitating the emergence of Idi Amin's ghost in the near future. But that is beyond the scope of this analysis.

After almost killing any justice in Mother India by passing the 49.5% reservation, Arjun Singh took a hacksaw and cut his neck (to get rid of that irritating moustache). The law had inspired him to cut his neck to solve the problem of his disgraceful moustache. His last words were, you guessed it, "Das ist mir scheißegal"!

P.S This post could have been called "The Exorcism of Arjun Singh", but the movie was so bad.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Re-organizing My Life

Do you know how humiliating it is to not undertsand what others speak to you? Especially, when you pride yourself to be fluent technically, and you are unable to understand them? Don't you often crave suicide?

For that is what happened to me recently. I was in class one day, and the class was going just fine, until, the professor insisted that the stress tensor was deviatoric, and that some other tensor ( I forget which) was anti-symmetric, and that a system of non-linear points had either saddle points or fixed points and that some were attractors. And there was something to do with invariants of second order tensors too.

I also writhe in shame when I see central limit theorem of calculus be used (as it is used often in Mechanics). If you're talking about the poles of an expression, I would look for the polar bears. I fear imaginary numbers like the average man would fear an agressive canine. Though I am comfortable with the Gauss and the Stokes theorems, I am petrified of Parseval's theorem, of Ricatti Equations, of variational calculus, of topology, of Banach Spaces, (and even Hilbert Spaces, for that matter). I still cannot recall the binomial expansion of (1-x)^n.

Mathematics has been a subject that I have not been paying attention to all my life. I believe the neglect has become quite criminal now. But, thankfully, I am still a student. I can still set things right. I have a chance to improve myself from the mechanic who knows only how to use screw drivers, to a mehcanic who knows how to use pnueumatic and hydraulic tools. Lots of interesting courses abound in the website. I should take at least four math courses, to set some damage right.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Feynman is a Hoax

A Tribute to Conspiracy Theories and the Idiots who spread them

Just like Einstein, Newton and Shakespeare before him and Stephen Hawking after him, Richard Feynman is nothing but a lowly hoax.

Feynman painted many naked women, wrote a lot of books, flirted around with everyone, grew Einstein-like hair, gave T.V interviews, traveled all around the world, got his car stuck in a snowstorm, moved to Caltech and basked in the salubrious Californian weather and gave some stilted lectures (which, strangely, have become quite popular among the students of today). If he did all this in his life, then, pray tell me, how on earth would he have found the time to do any credible research? Feynman unscrupulously reproduced the work of another scientist, an unfortunate individual whose name shall remain unknown for all eternity. I mean, why on earth would a theoretical Physicist work on wobbling plates?

It is my personal conviction that he copied the research from another scientist ( the real genius), killed the guy and shoved his body into a landfill, just like Einstein, who plagiarized David Hilbert's (Hilbert: a man with a lot of problems, 23 to be exact) equations of General Relativity, Lorentz's equations of special relativity and someone or the other's explanation of the photo-electric effect. I am sure that the Einstein summation convention was also created by someone else: probably an ancient Indian philosopher called Bhatti or something.

There is a popular anecdote about Newton: he constructed a cat flap (an opening in the door to allow the cat to go through) for his cat. And his cat got laid and had kittens. And he made another cat flap: for the kittens. Now, tell me, how could someone, so obviously deficient in the cerebrum, be capable of making significant contributions to mechanics, astronomy, calculus, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, optics - and everything else? It is my conviction that all Newton did was invent a system of plagiarism using which he could take credit for any work done in that field. I am sure he invented one such system for each field that he plagiarized.

This article is original and not plagiarized. If you need to kill someone for spreading this trashy libel, it is me. Feel free to be as abusive as possible in the comments sections of this post.