Thursday, December 29, 2011

Photo of the Week–Meijin and Barkya


They’ve just had their baths in readiness for the New Year. Meijin is growing a new winter coat. It’s very cold here, and Barkya likes to warm his bones in the early morning sun. We all do actually.



Monday, December 26, 2011

WIFI - Fallacies, Biases, and Heuristics

Design 13


Wikipedia's List of fallacies

“A fallacy is incorrect argumentation in logic and rhetoric resulting in a lack of validity, or more generally, a lack of soundness.”

Wikipedia's List of cognitive biases

“Cognitive bias is a general term that is used to describe many distortions in the human mind that are difficult to eliminate and that lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, or illogical interpretation.”

Wikipedia's Heuristic

“Heuristics refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery.”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Practice and Plans

Violin2bI read an interesting idea in the Reader’s Digest booklet – ‘Personal Excellence’ – that arrived unexpectedly a couple of days back and cost me Rs. 400 to get it away from the Postman. One of the writers wrote about how we needed to continually practice living our life. Not exactly new or earth-shattering, but I hadn’t quite thought of it from the ‘practice’ angle. I mean, I know practice is essential for drawing, for painting, for writing, for music. You really don’t get anywhere very far if you don’t practice. If you can’t get a drawing right you keep repeating it or try different variations until you get it right. You don’t give in to frustration, or at least you learn not to. And that is why I think everyone ought to take up some craft or the other, so you understand the benefits of a continuous, sustained effort – it’s one of the most fulfilling things on earth to get that awkward paragraph right, to master that seemingly flummoxing piece of music. The same effort ought to go into living your life philosophy, instead of getting despondent and falling off track when things don’t work.

“It is really pointless to make plans,” a friend of mine said recently. “I make plans and they don’t work out or at least in the way I want. That happens all the while. So why bother really?”

I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. I’m never going to give up making plans and lists. How are you ever going to do something worthwhile, see something worthwhile, be something worthwhile if you don’t have a clue about it all, about what you want? Whether a thing works out your way or not is quite secondary – knowing the direction to take and at least getting started is the important part. And then, of course, comes the equally crucial part of putting in enough time and effort, and keeping on with it. Anyway, so planning beforehand is necessary for me. I don’t want to drift through my days mindlessly, although on occasions I might.

On the whole, I’d rather have my head up in the rosy clouds of possibilities than in the smoky haze of doubt and worry.

My greatest supporter, of course, is Meijin. I turn around from my desk and there he is, chewing his carrot nearby. He looks up and cocks an inquiring ear (he’s always all ears for me).

I say, “Aren’t I the greatest thing since sliced bread, hybrid tea roses, and blue gladioli?”

And he goes, “Whoooooooooo-OOOOOOOOOOOOOO-ooooooooooo-OOOOOOOO!!”

Which translates to, “And also since Entire Cantaloupe Slices, Whole Carrot Sticks, and the Entire Bag of Pedigree!!”

It is so touching when someone shares your faith.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Learning Curve - Apollonian Gasket

Vihart - Doodling in Math Class: Infinity Elephants


This is a really fun video. If math had been taught this way in school,  I would have totally converted.

Here's Emil Ernerfeldt's app for creating an Apollonian Gasket.

An Apollonian Gasket, incidentally, is a fractal.

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