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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Airplanes !

This evening I was jetlagged, on the back of a 2 week vacation in In India where I travelled in the south and west (Thiruvanthapuram , Goa and Mumbai ). I was peeking out the window from my bed to see a constant stream of aircrafts flying along this narrow patch of the sky in the same direction each time, I google mapped my house with that direction to see where these planes were going, when I realized that was the direction one needed to look from my window for the planes taking off at Newark Liberty International airport. Was a strange yet obvious conclusion. I sat there for the next hour or so, just scanning the sky for the next airplane. Was a strange thing to sit down and think about the chaos around you. The buzz of activity, the sheer volume and density of information exchange.

just thought I should pen this stuff down and publish.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

United can win the title !

YES, as outlandish as that claim is, you gotta take it with a pinch of salt, coming from a very old faithful united fan who has grown up to watching them chase down big leads before, remember chasing down arsenal back in 2013 ? (the captain agrees with me here) I honestly am more hopeful than confident about my claim that united can win the title. I write this blog post to sit down and jot down my reasons for some objective perspective.

I support my claim using the following 3 reasons:

1. United have done this before (statistics),
2. We have a lot of goals in this side (championship wining sides always score a lot of goals).
3. We have been unlucky with injuries, imagine a fit united squad in 2015.

I dont make a strong case yet? let me explore with you, what other rival contenders going for them that would help united's chances

1. Chelsea:
  1.1 I got nothing, they are absolutely winning this if they dont fuck it up.

2. Manchester City:
  2.2 I see the problem with my claim now, they (city) look solid too, so they will win it if chelsea slip up, unless they fuck it up too, now I'm really hopping for too much,

The revival under Van Gaal has been impressive, maybe that's fueling my ambitious and hopeful reasoning.
this video sums up my mood

but then if you support united and were born sometime in the 80s, then you like me have enjoyed stupendous success, I mean really, we were scoring for fun, winning like its our right, last couple of decades especially, spoilt with so much success. We have got our rewards too soon, we can go without silverware for a very very long time (see liverpool fans) :)
actually doesn't matter to be honest, even if united never go on to win anything ever again, then so be it, it is what it is, and I still can't see my self not supporting united. Its done, can't be changed, no matter what.
Quoting Damien*, "You can change your country, your language, your religion, but you can't change your club",

to next season then. The flame of love and loyalty burns on inside...


*This past week I was in Goa for a weekend trip with the guys, I happen to bump into a young frenchman called 'Damien' on our way to our hotel from the airport.  Damien who happened to start supporting AS Monaco since he was 7, spoke about his love for the club and how he attempts to try and follow the club on his travels. We didn't get to exchange our contacts, so Damien if you ever read this, send me a shout !

Friday, March 14, 2014

you truly are the center of the universe !

now before I write anything, I want to clarify the title, its not intended to be cheesy or be poetic or whatever, no drama, this is a fact. you can check out the details in this really long (58 mins) talk by Prof Lawrence Klaus which shows why and how this is true for the observable universe. (roughly 48 billion light years in any direction from us*)

The "you" here is the individual reading the article, it simply assumes there is an observer who is the you, and by center I mean the physical location with respect to the boundaries of the observable universe.

anyways, enough about the title, now to the elaborate in a manner that could explain without needing to know anything about theoretical physics or astronomy or whatever.

so we have eyes, eyes that can see light, light coming from far away objects, in the sky, distinct stars, light years away going all the way up to the plasma of the big bang beyond which light could not penetrate. So these eyes are designed to only see up to a very small spectrum of this particular light, what we call the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. So yeah we see very little of this light . Also the stuff we see, gets red-shifted away from us due to the rapidly expanding universe we live in. Red shifted means , the light waves get so dark for us that we cannot see them anymore, but telescopes that can account for this redshift can see them. Now studying all the images from these rapidly moving away galaxy stars, physicists have calculated the rate at which the galaxies are moving away from each other and effectively us.
They realized a peculiar problem , everywhere they looked, they saw that the galaxies twice the distance away are moving twice as fast away from us, and it makes it appear as if we are the center of the universe and everything rapidly accelerating away from us, in a trillion years, everything will be too far away from each other that, each galaxy would be so far away from each other that light from one would get red shifted to zero because the space in between them would begin to expand faster than the speed of light. causing light to never catch up, which is really messed up if you think about for a minute. So to sum it up, you as the reader are truly the center of your observable universe because light entering your eyes seems to be coming from stuff thats all flying away from you giving you the illusion that you are the center of the universe. actually it makes every galaxy in the universe believe the same thing.  Hold that thought out for the first guy who discovered this, he must have scratched his head and said to himself .."uhm, thats odd, she was right , she truly is the center of the universe "(while referring to his wife) and so was he himself the center of the universe from the point of view from his eyes.,
sigh, what a crazy thought,

I am going to come back to this one and start adding references to external sources for most of the stuff I have claimed here as facts.

so next time your wife tells you she is the center of the universe, she is probably right ! and remember so are you.


*if you are wondering how we know the universe is 40 something billion light years in any direction when the universe is only supposed to be 13.7 billion years
well the reason for that was left as a clue to the reader in the rest of the article, when I talk about how space between stuff is expanding, space itself is expanding , making everything accelerate away faster away from each other, so even though its been only 13.7 billion years since the big bang, the far away stars have moved further away from us by the time the light reached us, so the total time that light took to reach you could be 40 something billion years for very very young stars of the universe whose light just managed to make it to earth.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A brilliant post by Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

I read the above which was titled 'The Egg'
By: Andy Weir

I felt the title was a little bit of giving away the climax of this short skit, and I though I would want those stumbling upon my blog, could read this interesting story without giving away the end. Thank you Andy Weir for writing this.

hacker news discussion can be found here.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

wherever we go, there we are !

“Life on earth is a whole, yet it expresses itself in unique time-bound bodies, microscopic or visible, plant or animal, extinct or living. So there can be no one place to be. There can be no one way to be, no one way to practice, no one way to learn, no one way to love, no one way to grow or to heal, no one way to live, no one way to feel, no one thing to know or be known. The particulars count.”-Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are

Came across this quote today, wow I thought, this is amazing. Tries to sum up all of knowledge , all of reality and made simple. Makes me step back and think about this. I had a bartender tell me last night that I don't get philosophy. Totally random conversation followed ...

Life on earth is part of reality (I want to believe we are real and not some dream or matrix or whatever)
and its wrapped itself in as Jon Kabat above, unique time-bound bodies, microscopic or visible, plant or animal, extinct or living. beautifully expresses to me that how amazing our universe is (by universe I mean reality, be it multi verse or bubble universe or infinite inflation or any of dozens of theories) . I have lately taken a lot of interest in cosmology.

Cosmology from Wikipedia :

Physical cosmology is studied by scientists, such as astronomers, and theoretical physicists; and academic philosophers, such as metaphysicians,philosophers of physics, and philosophers of space and time. Modern cosmology is dominated by the Big Bang theory, which attempts to bring together observational astronomy and particle physics.                                                                                                              

I thought I shall let the collective brains of the authors on Wikipedia authors to describe who all do this.So basically a lot of smart people at universities of funded by private companies or government. There is a reason I want to bring that up because, I want to make sure I raise the bar before I write about my experience with studying cosmology. So I started my study like an average internet user, watching documentaries, YouTube channels like sci show, veritasium, and vsauce (really recommend them) , to get you started if you re interested try this video to start it off and get familiar a video of each of them in one play list, seriously hit the hyper link and lean back, in fact the series is called #leanback ! its amazing bunch of em.

Anywhoo so yeah I realized the moment you begin to dive in , Einstein's theory of relativities are thrown in the mix, which is pretty much the best understanding of reality we have thrown into several techniques used in the pursuit to ties the world of the big (like us, the stars) and the world of the small (think mesons and electrons) and these 2 worlds play by different rules of nature. It got to a point that I had to sit down and try and really understand what 4-d space-time curvature really f**king means. If you are beginning to lose me, I'd suggest you Google a bit to get up to speed with the videos out there trying to explain the theory.To better explain Einstein's theory let me attempt to use one of the examples written by an author from India from the Kodaikanal Observatory.Consider a sheet of paper being all of space a universe we are observing and consider there is an ant roaming on the surface. So this 2-d space we can say have multiple slices of different snapshots of  now.So sequentially we are stacking up moments of now as one big 3-d cube of stacked up pictures of the position of the ant on this 2-d space. Now imagine this 3-d cube structure the space time (the 3 dimensions of reality for a universe which has only 2 axes in space like the surface of paper for a fly). Now imagine taking a camera and taking a picture of every action of the ant runs around. Now if you stack em up then you can visualize the movement of the ant on the surface of the paper but at different time instants, now if the camera was rotated to make it appear the ant is doing stunts, its done by either rotating the camera along the x and y axis, i.e. the perpendicular axis on the surface, and turning the camera along perpendicular axis to the surface of paper (time) makes it change time. Of course one can argue that you can distort the motion of ant by simply distorting this stack of photos anyway, right ? think about it, if you distort this 3-d space like squeezing a soft spongy cube of a 2-d universe and having time as a 3rd dimension, then you can make it appear to change movements of the ants and make it appear as if it did a different type of movement than what it is doing, Now that you get this example and you agree that this 3d version of reality can have a shape when distorted changes the motion of the stuff in it, you can begin to understand our version of this 3-d space time, which is 4-d for us because the space we live in is 3d(ie has breadth, length and a height) and time is the 4th dimension for us. So what the example is showing here is that all events for any matter in a space time 3-d space is just a point in this space and the motion can be constructed by looking along the time axis and distorting space can affect how matter moves through space and time.

But on the other hand its awfully challenging to grasp the idea of a 3-d space and time a 4th dimension because we as humans simply don't have the physical intuition of what a 4-D object would like) And the the reason im talking all this (if you are still reading) is that Einstein's theory deals with tying together these theories of gravitation, electromagnetism space and time and relative motion between objects by crafting a nice equation where on the left side we have the curvature of our space and on the right we have energy and motion, and on the shoulders of his theory so many other theories are are based of. Remember Einstein was not some crazy scientist who sat and predicted stuff, right out of his brain and wrote the theory, If you bother to study the history, you will learn he was a guy relied on the math of tensors to prove the theory mathematically and also had to rely on real physical experiments done (for example the Michelson and Morely experiments that showed light seemed to have the same speed no matter which direction we test it in, contrary to popular beliefs at that time where researches expected to find the absolute motion of earth through this thing we refer to as ether, which is basically the medium through which everything flows). So yeah this theory also explained certain anomalies like the perihelion of mercury and its peculiar advance movement which was more than predicted by Newton, which had given rise to the Myth of the Vulcun planet (a small planetary body close to the orbit influencing the shift, but later proven by Einstein's theory of relativity). Einstein also made an amazing prediction on how much the sun would make the light rays coming from its sides bend and shift the apparent position of stars close to the sun, now this can't be observed because they couldn't see the stars in the day because the sun shines too brightly and its impossible unless its the total solar eclipse (yes Einstein theory was only taken seriously in 1919 after data coming from the telescopes that took pictures of the total solar eclipse to measure the shift in the position of the stars and see if Einstein's theory holds up, and guess what it did)
So yeah this guy really was a genius, I read a nice book written by James Malcom Bird (its about a bunch of essays written by a lot of guys attempting to explain theory of relativity for non physicists ) very very enlightening. I know so much now that its really mind blowing, thinking about how little I used to know about the universe and the understanding of what these guys are talking about when you say things like the universe is flat , (an amazing talk on youtube that I must say you have to watch if you want to check out something really really insightful and cool) anyway, so yeah this book is a great read and it really does a decent job, I mean it never really goes too much into the details of the kind of math or what a tensor is or how differential equations explain a curvature of a geometry of space time and show how space is curved. The reason I mention the Lawrence Krauss video is simply because  I started my journey with his book, A Universe From Nothing, Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing. highly recommend again if you are reading till here and interested in what I've been rambling about above. Anyway coming back to Einstein and the theory of relativity I can say (well there are 2 theories, one special theory of relativity and one general theory of relativity) , it has been really great to be able to claw at the surface of what the theory is about and how it explains so many observed phenomena. Like Lawrence says, its not knowing that's everything, but to test what you know and ascertain that you are right is everything. So after reading about a dozen essays, 2 books and multiple videos, I can safely say I understand the basic assumptions made by Einstein and also the idea of what curvature really means for a 4d space time. I still have some questions, like for instance how does negative gravity work ?, how space expands in itself, how does it maintain the same density, so more reading to follow...

I plan to come back to this post, keep it like a running article with updates, to come back post little tit bits summarizing my journey and keep this as a log of summary or any good examples summarizing the understanding in concise fashion. I continue to look for interesting topics to research in cosmology, but I am now going to read about gravitation lensing , black holes, supernovas, the science behind the cosmos, the world of the big.The world of the small. I hope its also a good journal for notes on the topic for me to come back and refresh.

I want to conclude from the famous quote by Luise Bogan that I probably should have begun with..

The initial mystery that attends any journey is: how did the traveller reach his starting point in the first place?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Religious Shit

Taoism - Shit happens.

Buddhism - If shit happens, it's not really shit.

Islam - If shit happens, it's the will of Allah.

Protestantism - Shit happens because you don't work hard enough.

Judaism - Why does this shit always happen to us?

Hinduism - This shit happened before.

Catholicism - Shit happens because you're bad.

Hare Krishna - Shit happens rama rama ding dong.

T.V. Evangelism - Send more shit.

Atheism - No shit.

Jehova's Witness - Knock knock, shit happens.

Hedonism - There's nothing like a good shit happening.

Christian Science - Shit happens in your mind.

Agnosticism - Maybe shit happens, maybe it doesn't.

Rastafarianism - Let's smoke this shit.

Existentialism - What is shit anyway?

Stoicism - This shit doesn't bother me.