29 January, 2005 at 18:53 Leave a comment

Everyone is a born Mathematician
Am a bit amused as to how people try to always think of other people in terms of stereotypes. It is almost as if they have prefixed notions and a set of boxes/bins which they try to categories/file people into. Perhaps this is only acceptable for MBA graduates to put everything into models and boxes! Anyway, whoever I meet, they ask me where I am from (for some stupid reason as if it matters in the scheme of things) and whenever I say I am from India (and that I do something related to computers), they immediately say “yeah, you Indians are good at Math”. This is not just useless students but equally blissful academics. The latter group made me think.
What is this all supposed to mean? Is it social etiquette and am I supposed to say “yeah, you British are good at smoking and alcoholism” or “yeah, you Europeans are good at totally useless shitty talk” or “yeah, you Americans are good at ignorance and arrogance”? I dont understand. Maybe I should but then it is annoying even for me to utter such things. I cannot ignore these ‘facts’ but I can atleast try to propound a theory on you hapless souls to dispel a stereotypical image of Indians.
I could do that in two ways. I can show that we are not good in Math and that our computer industry or whatever they call it (software, outsourcing, call-centers…) is just a myth not contributing anything to India’s economy and development. But no one would believe this as it is so deeply etched and popularized by mass-media (job-losses are always sensational headlines as they have a nice wee psychological shock pattern) that it is virtually impossible.
Or, I can show that everyone is good at Math. Well, some are more good than others but let us not get into cliched biased Orwellian legacies for the moment. Let us do something hands-on like say, a simple experiment. Stroll out. Pick up a stone and try to hit a tree or a pole or a car or a window or just about anything. Just throw it for gawdssake. Right, how did it go? This is not destruct-therapy mind you. Good throw mate.
<stick flickr image>
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At first you might succeed. But for most truthful people this need not be the case. So, try and try again. We are in the land of Bruce and caves and spiders mind you. Unless you suffer from motion dyslexia/spoonerism/amnesia, the chances are you will be able to strike the target at some point and can even become extremely good at it and could be even spotted by a MI6/CIA operative to be used to target schools and targets in war-strife regions. Anyway, what we just demonstrated is how good you actually are in Math. How is vandalism related to Mathematics, you ask me?
Well, let us look at what we did in matrix-vision and in slow-motion. Our eyes see a target. We sense the weight of the stone. We measure out the trajectory. Our brain signals the hand to go to the exact position and instructs our fingers to release the ammunition. It has to take into consideration the properties like length, elasticity, power of your hand.
Can we even imagine how much math is involved in all this?
This is something even electronics cannot manage as was observed with smart-bombs.
Indeed, if someone were to take some kind of measurements, we would see how much mathematics our brain performs…
Well, by this reasoning, everyone is born with a brain and so is intelligent too. But this is hardly the case. We still see people studying history, art, history-of-art, literature, business, languages, film and practicing music, racism, theatre, opera, war and we live in a world full of cruelty, protests, corruption, hunger, poverty, death ad-inf. in this world.
Yes, we are born with brains. Trick is to use it! Listen to your brain chum, it has lots of information and wisdom…
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I do not know if everyone of us has brains but we do seem to have something called a parietal lobe The area in the brain which plays a major part in touch, pressure and temperature. The parietal lobe would inform you the temperature of a hard boiled egg and would allow you to pick up that egg with just enough pressure to hold it and not crush it.
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Standard Fine-Print Disclaimer:
I hold no responsibility for any shattered windows or damage to trees or anything related to anything getting damaged by throwing objects. Blame it on wannabe mathematicians. But as always, if you become a millionaire, please send me some money.

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