Posts filed under ‘Travel’

Curious Cat, Butterfly Effect, 3 Buses Arrive at Once

There is a saying, but I’d rather say that it is an observational comedy quirk that one keeps waiting for a bus for ages and then suddenly, 3 of them arrive at once. This always rung true in an earlier life when I used to take the bus and I was always fascinated by this phenomenon as it seemed magical and annoying at the same time. Am sure, some graduate student somewhere in this vast planet is figuring it out but while science catches up, here is my imagination running wild explanation that involves a cute cat (colour me viral attention seeking but am told that everybody likes a cute cat, or rather the idea of a cute cat) and the principle of butterfly effect etc. –

Now that I thunk about it, I have also found that if one replaces the bus in an analogy reflecting life like an email or opportunity or guests or ideas et al., it has often held true. Well, your mileage might vary but the error could atmost be +/- 1 bus. No?

8 April, 2014 at 13:59 Leave a comment

80:20 Communications Golden Ratio – EMail Proof

In the 2-weeks since I have been back from my 2-year exile and got into corporate work mode, I have attended 2 seminars/conferences which irrespective of the context and intent, eventually become back-scratching sales expos of one kind or another. I digress but if it is all about fresh change and change is constant then by association, everything is constant, no? What will be has always been and such quacks with some weird Murphy law pertaining to conservation of change or constancy or something. Don’t believe it? Let us put it to the test shall we? An example is needed and email is as good an example as any given that it is still the primary means of corporate communication. I said it and meet me offline to debate.
Now it may be the case that I have been away from email research for a while with my finger-in-pie projects of Soylent, MIT Media Labs’ Social Network Fragments and IBM Remail gotten archived serving as footnotes in information sciences research but we made a starkling discovery half a decade back that email is the most sticky social network of all and 80:20 (or Pareto Law or Rich-get-Richer or Power Log or Long Tail Graph etc.) is the golden ratio for communication patterns in any circumstance. Ergo, as a quick thought experiment, if you take all your contacts and conversations in your inbox and chart them by age and activity, it will be a classic long tail. Not only do you communicate with 20% people for 80% of the time but the 80% of the activity will happen in the first 20% timeline of the relationship. A corollary was that if you broadcast something, 80% of it gets lost in the ether and this is what I will put to the test today for your greymatter exercise pleasure.
I am not a people person but having missed the chance to experiment in Amazon Web Services Cloud Computing Event in Bangalore, I thought I’d gather data in the NASSCOM Product Conclave and Expo 2010. Oh, the things I do in the name of research. I managed to gather 31 visiting cards (this has to be outmoded BTW for green and convenience reasons – where are vCards, BlueTooth, semacodes, Bump, digital IDs, card scanners in smartphones et al.) and the next day while memory is still fresh, broadcasted an LoL-inducing cute long mail saying hello and spouting philosophy. Note that the sample was quite diverse with some whom I interacted with deeply to some whom I had lunch/coffee and some from whom I got a visiting card without making any verbal contact whatsoever. All bases covered.
Results and Conclusion:
Enough talk. Let us look at a snapshot of a spreadsheet with a pie-chart –

I guess the data speaks for itself. (Silence + Bounce = 25) is 80% and any scientist would be happy to be proven right and plug ‘I told you so’ but am not really religious err… I mean as a real scientist (who is often seen as a heretic in the circles), I take great thrill in being proven wrong in the best interests of progress. Alas, life has been dull! I salute thee who replied back, pursued the line of inquiry, called up, glued on LinkedIn etc. who make up the 20% because without them, there would be no 80% split now, would it? Yin and Yang. As a parting trivia, funny/serious thing is that those who responded did it 80% by email as mode of communication. No wonder Facebook seems to be getting into email as per chirps on the interwebs.
Le Why?
The quick answer to this, I don’t know nor do I have the skills/education to pursue this other than half-baked observational theories which are dime a dozen. Maybe, someone will pick this up and explore but for that to happen, more data is needed and more people should report back broadcast/response ratios in their email.

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    13 November, 2010 at 19:00 2 comments

    Student Satellite Madness – VSSC ISRO India Trend

    A Jew comedian goes to meet a priest in a Church expressing concern over an acquantice of his converting from Christianity to Judaism purely for the jokes. When the priest asks, “And this offends you as a Yidd?” he says, “No, it offends me as a comedian”. This skit from Seinfeld TV sitcom is what flashed in my mind when I read, ‘Students Building their Own Satellites – Fantastic Emerging Trend in India’ as it offended me as a summer intern at VSSC, ISRO in 1999 because from what I know and saw, building a satellite is trivial if one has all the fabricated materials and instructions – much like assembling a PC which a 10 year old can do these days. In fact, ISRO gets shipments of DIY boxes from various countries and I saw first-hand what “building a satellite by students” involves for most part – tightening screws and running diagnostics. Heck, I did it myself. Inspite of my cynicism, am glad that a relatively better fad has caught on amongst the student population other than movies and cricket which might give those slugging it out a fighting opportunity to escape this 3rd world garbage dump to USA or UK or Australia and just about any country stupid enough to have them inspite of all the immigration hoops…

    The most difficult and expensive phase is sending the satellite into the ether and even more important is what you do with it after because otherwise, it is just space junk. I rest my case. Let me be and ponder why that chicken is crossing the road.

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      30 August, 2010 at 17:28 Leave a comment

      India Map WRT Kashmir on Google – Humbug

      According to this source, there has been wide coverage to the fact that Google is showing the India map wrongly with respect to Kashmir. Previously, there was some dispute over the demarcation of Arunachal Pradesh which was shown as part of China or so. Wonder what happened to that? I did not follow that up because honestly my dear readers, I don’t give a damn. Who cares about this junk anyway? This reminds me of the ye olde adage ‘penny wise pound foolish’ because the bickering is about some rocky useless piece(s) of land when 99% of the “correctly” depicted land is going to the dogs. Seriously. We are talking about cartography and accuracy now? If you roam about at your own risk and find yourself in some region surrounded by neighbourhood enemy armies of Pakistan, China, Burma, Nepal etc. you are pretty much screwed and no amount of arguing that it is the fault of Google is going to help your situation. On the ground, reality is pretty much what the barbed wires and keep-out signs state what soil belongs to which country. My advise to all of you silly jingoists out there – get a life. But of course, politicians will get some mileage with some elections or the other around the corner all the time –

      Disclaimer first. The above cartoon is a mesh of 2 cartoons by Laxman. I could have drawn it myself but as a blue-blood software engineer by training, re-use is the mantra here. Hope ToI does not mind and am sure Sir Laxman himself supports a liberal CC license. With that out of the way, everything that has India in the headline and a foriegn agent sullying the name or borders of this great country is what feeds our fat netas. I will be surprised if such a speech as depicted is not being made in some panchayat elections as we speak to ignorant babus and clueless villagers.

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        26 August, 2010 at 02:15 Leave a comment

        Non-material Gifts – Dr. Seuss – Earthy Ideas

        Latest installment from Andy Lubershane as part of his Earthly Ideas series. This week it is “Non-material Gifts and a Tribute to Dr. Seuss”. OhNoRobot (webcomics search engine relying on crowdsourced transcriptions) still does has not picked it up and so, full-text (with satire) follows after the fold for my archival only…

        During the holiday season there is a lot of pressure to consume. Walmart becomes Wal-Santa and touts that it is now organic. Santa is one big buffoon indirectly telling us to go shopping, ho ho ho. But the truth of the matter is everybody likes presents and nobody wants to be percieved as the cynical evil green grinch (who once stole Christmas according to folklore) or frail old Scrooge (who had ghosts a visiting as per some silly book used as a metaphor too often) who have the gall to say that one hates gluttonic consumption, er Christmas. That is why lots of people are turning to “non-material gifts” which are presents that do not use up our natural resources but still make their recipients say, “whoa! awesome! tubul!”. Here are some ideas:
        * Tickets to concerts, sporting events and movies
        * Your own time and skills like free babysitting, gardening, cartooning, etc.
        * Unique food experiences (people eat anyway, so these are “material-neutral”)
        * Weekend getaways (no matter if it involves driving cars – humans are nomads)
        * Crafts made from old throw-away items that nobody needs
        This is what I have to say. This is a load of parrot droppings. Good luck to followers.

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          11 December, 2009 at 17:29 2 comments

          Manmohan Singh NRI Call – Return Home

          Good one by Subhani depicting the call by India PM Manmohan Singh to NRI’s to return home that has prompted the inodus (opposite of exodus, duh?) of crowds of poor unwanted expatriates back due to recession, Dubai shock, racist attacks etc…

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          7 December, 2009 at 14:14 Leave a comment

          Authorized Graffiti Paintings on Bangalore Walls

          On the last trip to Bangalore, I observed painted walls (with art that is) which I thought were the Indian version of graffiti which made me smile because after all, graffiti is a form of expression of bubbling anger mostly. I was soon disappointed because on digging deeper (read, chance encounter of an article in a magazine), I found this is a pesky initiative from the Greater Bangalore Muncipality Corporation, better known locally as Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike. The BBMP it seems is planning to fill up walls with art to give them an identity of sorts, improve the beauty/aesthetics of the neighbourhoods while creating revenue and exposure for many struggling artists and make the paintings serve as conversation starters to build a closer sense of community. Or something to that effect. A quick shot…

          I can only imagine what the future directions to lost tourists would be. “Go left on the painting that is about grief and suffering inviting the viewer to contemplate the evanescence of life speaking to the horror of ones own mortality and from there, take first right to the rather safe, predigested, bucolic genre scenes depicting the crass shallow values of the human condition”. While the former could be a banian advertisement and latter, a cinema poster, a tourist will be able to find the address in question and empty his bladder on the avant garde piece of a hole in the ground.

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            22 November, 2009 at 14:23 Leave a comment

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