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On a humorous note:

“In every chaos there is an order: A very good writer wrote a rather nice book. But there was no title to it yet. He asked his friend for suggestions. The friend asked him if there was either a drum or a guitar mentioned in the book, to which the author replied in the negative. The book then had the title: A story without drums and guitars.”

(Endre Szemerédi, slightly paraphrased)

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On June 23 last year ACM organized a special event to celebrate the birth centenary of Alan Turing with 33 Turing award winners in attendance. Needless to say most of the presentations, lectures and discussions were quite fantastic. They had been placed as webcasts on this website, however rather unfortunately, they were not individually linkable and it was difficult to share them. I noticed day before yesterday that they were finally available on youtube!

One particular video that I had liked a lot was “An Algorithmic View of the Universe”, featuring some great discussions between a panel comprising of Robert Tarjan, Richard Karp, Don Knuth, Leslie Valiant and Leonard Adleman, with the panel chaired by Christos Papadimitriou. You might want to consider watching it if you have about 80 minutes to spare and provided you haven’t watched it earlier!

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After an interesting conversation with somebody recently I was looking around and aggregating simple mathematical facts that have somewhat crazy proofs. Like for all such questions, I found a great MathOverflow thread and decided to share this gem from there:

Fact: \sqrt[n] {2} is irrational for any integer n \geq 3.

Proof: Suppose it is not. Then \displaystyle \sqrt[n] {2} = \frac{p}{q}, then 2 q^n = p^n , or p^n = q^n + q^n contradicting Fermat’s Last Theorem.

Although a commenter there mentions that the argument is essentially circular (which I find fascinating), but other than that it made me laugh, what I find interesting about this answer and an accompanying comment by Greg Kuperberg is that it made me realize that Fermat’s Last Theorem is not strong enough to imply the irrationality of \sqrt{2}.

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An interesting parable due to Niels Bohr:

Once upon a time a young rabbinical student went to hear three lectures by a famous rabbi. Afterwards he told his friends: “The first talk was brilliant, clear, and simple. I understood every word. The second was even better, deep and subtle. I didn’t understand very much, but the rabbi understood all of it. The third was by far the finest, a great and unforgettable experience. I understood nothing and the rabbi didn’t understand much either.”

Came across while reading “Proving Darwin” by Gregory Chaitin.

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Not only is it not right, it’s not even wrong! – Wolfgang Pauli

I just found a delightful joke concerning Pauli while rummaging through my email, thought it was worthy of sharing!

The phrase “Not Even Wrong” ofcourse was famously coined by Wolfgang Pauli, who was known to be particularly acerbic to sloppy thinking. The wiki entry for the phrase has the following story on how it originated. Rudolf Peierls writes that “a friend showed Pauli the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli’s views. Pauli remarked sadly,”Not only is it not right, it’s not even wrong!”

Coming to the email which centers around being “Not even wrong”:

Wolfgang Pauli

Exactly, Pauli could be pretty scathing in his reviews. Visiting physicists delivering a presentation would dread seeing him in the audience. Pauli would sit and listen and scowl, arms crossed, and shake his head. The faster he shook his head, the more he disagreed with you.

The joke goes that when Pauli died he asked God why the fine structure constant has the value 1/(137.0) … God went to a blackboard and began scribbling equations. Pauli soon started shaking his head violently…

Note: I didn’t write this but apparently I read it somewhere a few years ago and mailed it to somebody. I googled for parts of it, but couldn’t locate the source. If you happen to know, then please link me up!


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Hate You + MRF + Coffee

Okay, a very quick post and so  I’d make it pointed.

1. A lot of work is on in the background and that’s making access to the internet limited, thus limiting writing. A lot of that work should sometime be up on the blog one by one. Though I can’t promise a time frame.

2. I had an occasion to meet a couple of my “blog’s readers” in the last week. And it was an amazing time discussing CV topics (as they happened to read some posts on CV). Will come back to this again.


Hate You:

EDIT: I know this saying is too cliched. But I have an extremely silly reason to put it up.

Just came across this Gaping Void cartoon and it’s just too true!

hate you jpeg 400That “something” could actually be anything! Wouldn’t write why I put it. :)


Markov Random Fields:

I hate to use my blog for this, but anyhow anybody who has some experience working with Markov random fields and would have the time to discuss some things?

If yes, I would be extremely grateful if you could write me an email at either :







I have noticed over the past year that there are a number of regular readers (who have endured some poor and eclectic posts and sparse posting ;-) from Leuven, Belgium.

I should be there for a fortnight pretty soon. Going by my experience in the past week I think it would be an extremely interesting experience to catch up over coffee!

Please send me an email if you’d be interested, we could possibly work out something. Please write to:




As a meaningless aside: I always stayed away from Tea and coffee till some years ago. I rediscovered coffee thanks to a very dear friend. So now I can say I am qualified to say “Let’s meet up for coffee”. I wasn’t earlier to be honest.  :)


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Today this blog completes one year. I started it last year as a part of a resolution with a number of aims in mind. I am not sure if they have been met at all. So I am kind of disappointed. But then I can give a good fresh try this year (maybe the use of “year” is only figuratively speaking, I know everyday can be a “new year”).


In one year the blog received 33909 hits. Well, just about okay I guess.

Suggestions are most welcome in the comments or through email if you have something in mind. If some of you are willing to write a guest post on an idea/topic of your choice then you can e-mail me for the same. We can work things out.


Please Note: I might not be as regular with the blog for the first 4 months of this year for a multiplicity of reasons. Probably they are too private to be discussed here. However I will try to post once in a while. And I will try to stick to the mean number of posts for the previous year.


Here are some posts from last year that might be looked at in case you missed them (In order of posting):

Note: I am only including posts that can be of general interest.

1. The Working of a Bird Swarm.

2. Adaptive Routing taking Cues from Stigmergy in Ants.

3. Problems with Orion like Projects.

4. Altruism in Animals.

5. Swarm Paintings: Non-Human Art.

6. The Need for Heretics in the Society.

7. REAL Viruses of the Mind.

8. Kafka to Red Ant: A strange Metamorphosis.

9. Peace.

10. The Radical Ideas of Thomas Gold.

11. Smart Man, Wise Man, Feynman!

12. American Prometheus.

13. What makes Terrorists?

14. Voronoi Art.


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