Thursday, November 17, 2011

When jokes go beyond a laugh

Sometimes they become science fiction. It’s amazing the way the human mind generates ideas when it’s just relaxed or having fun. The theme of my professors’ jokes is to make fun of slower students who don’t get things fast enough, in a friendly way. Today we were studying Digital Logic Decoders and I think their typical rectangular shape invoked the thought of a fridge in his mind and so he said, this isn’t a fridge although it could be if you can put a bottle of something in it and it gives it back to you as a bottle of something else.

It was funny. But my laugh went beyond the joke. I got high on the idea that this could one day be possible. If I want to hide some material, let’s say for example, gold, I would put it in that fridge that would encrypt that gold piece and make it look like it’s a lump of coal. (I remember hearing that there is indeed a way to convert coal to gold, but I’m not really a chemist and that’s not the topic). This kind of fridge (or reality steganography device) could be a great tool that could change how things are kept safe and if physicists get something like this, the scientific concepts could change how we manufacture things and view resources.

That was a serious joke. It could inspire someone to write a science-fiction novel. That is the kind of jokes I like, I hope all my friends would start joking in this thoughtful way. It made me think. Science and its fiction, is amazing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

life and the people in it

Life is process through which a person learns and develops. Learning and development is something that could be done through reading books, interacting with others (talking, arguing, fighting, etc.) and experiences that could be rich or poor and from which we can learn things that we should and those that we shouldn't. This is why life is a series of experiences, a series of things happening inside one's mind.

There is one particular thing that I needed to learn since a long long time. The ideas, the way of thinking inside others and all of those things that make up a personality, a mentality, are greatly affected by one's psychology and this in turn is affected by one's biology. These things vary greatly from person to another and in the same person as his/her mood changes. If I knew this very complicated fact, my social life would've been much easier and I would've been able to get along with people better.

One of my friends once pointed out to something that I think has been all along in me, which is that I don't get emotional. Things that upset most people are totally irrelevant to me and unfortunately I find myself unable to detect them. People think I'm just afraid or too shy, but I wasn't even capable of detecting a stimulant to respond to. This also made it difficult for me to know when I'm making people scared, frustrated, freaked out or whatever.

I used to indulge myself with the idea that human beings don't need to evolve anymore since they've got everything that they need to achieve anything. Anything. We have minds, high-level thinking and ambition. We're aware of our limitations and building solutions for those problems. For example, we don't need to evolve our brains in a way that is able to effectively retrieve all information in the world; we can just use information management systems on our fast computers, which is a tool we built. This idea might be true for some, but is certainly not true for most. I think that most people are too attached to their body, their primitive impulses and emotions and rarely characterized by profound thinking and a desire to discover, invent, change the world and progress.

In my mind that changed, we didn't need to evolve. Human beings as a species reached something so great, I thought. We reached the point where we have complete control (at least intellectually, mentally and not necessarily physically) over the world. We just need more time to discover more and invent solutions that would show how great we are.

Those people whose minds are less attached to their bodies and their primitive biological impulses are evolutionarily more advanced than those who are. This is why I think that human beings aren't really one single species. I'm not a biologist nor am I a geneticist so I might be crossing the line here but this is just a thought. What I'm trying to say is that if two persons have a human body and are capable of doing the basic things that we consider a typical human being should be capable of doing; we are inclined to consider them as belonging to the same species. I think this view is too physical. Evolution isn't necessarily a 100% change in all genetic make-up and isn't necessarily a physical thing. In today's world, some people are evolutionary better than others; we're already split into more than one species. Nationalities, geographical and ethnic boundaries are irrelevant here.

Maybe it is more accurate to attribute all differences between the members of the human species to developmental and environmental factors rather than genetic. This is a safer option given the fact that human beings kill each other (violence would be much easier when those 'people' don't belong to the same species). But this also raises questions regarding how we could solve problems on earth if the issue isn't about genes that need to be upgraded. The abstract solution is easily stated: give people a chance to experience things that develop them in a way that serves humanity. Carrying out this simple thing is hard given all the selfishness that is somehow embedded in our bodies (or that is engraved in our heads as we live life).

We need to think about solving problems. We need to have free and independent thinking. We need more ideas and more projects. We need to keep thinking about the world because we're part of it, and the problems of the world are our fault. So before your emotions take over to shush someone who's saying something useful or trying to make a contribution, defer the biological and primitive emotions to the mind and be in control of yourself.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Complex Systems and Prime Numbers

Sometimes I feel that the lives that we live, as complex systems, are very analogous to the prime number sequence. Every prime is a source of a very simple arithmetic sequence but the problem with prime number is that they never end and therefore there is an infinite number of pattern sources out there. Just like there is in real life.

The theory of complex systems state that simple actions could result in great and sometimes unexpected consequences. That’s because there are lots of other factors that inevitably affect the environment of an action and that environment only appears to be isolated from external events.

Maybe the analogy is subtle but an unexpected event is like a really huge semi prime. It would take us really long to realize that the number isn’t a prime, but a semi prime. And it would take us really long to realize that an unexpected sequence or result is actually related to that other hidden factor that we didn’t see before.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inside the Citadel

This is just greatness. The Combine’s Citadel is a massive structure of steal and technology used in their war against the humans (Resistance). Alyx’s Dog helped me to get inside the citadel by lifting one of the walls and when I sneaked in I found my way to some transport lines, some part of a production line. I thought that’s where people are processed to become transhuman combine forces.

The line took me through amazing parts of the great Citadel. A great and, though it’s weird to say, an impressive effort has been put into creating the Citadel. I just passed above 3 Striders and they did nothing to me. They were just passing through. I wonder if these are Combine creatures or just war machinery controlled or programmed by the Combine.

There were many small cells, which look like those that hold people, similar to the one in which Dr. Eli Vance was held captive in.

I also saw some devices that I didn’t recognize and 2 people being slaved into work. I recognized several Combine Gunships being stored and transported through the Citadel.

They took all my weapons when I was just dropped from the air into a field that dropped me down slowly. A confiscation field has been activated as a voice warned me. All my weapons has been stranded in the air and destroyed/taken by the devices, except for my Gravity Gun. The Gravity Gun seemed to have malfunctioned the confiscation devices. And then it dropped into the floor.

Transhuman Combined forces approached me with gun fire. Now I have to kill one with my gravity gun and take one of their weapons and continue the Resistance movement and find Alyx Vance and save humanity!

Whoa. The gravity Gun killed the 3 transhumans with one shot each! They didn’t drop any weapons though. The Gravity Gun seems to have been altered. It’s extremely powerful now. Colors white and looks like it’s almost going to blow up. The gun sends my enemies flying the air and drop into the group shocked and electrified! Yeah! My HEV suit could be charged to up to 200 now! I am the one!

Resistance From inside the Citadel. Freedom!

Morgan Freeman

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Attending a session on Paediatrics

I went to attend a Paediatrics session with my Dad today. A pharmaceutical company was sponsoring the event and featuring a vaccine to the Rota-virus called Rotarix. A logical path from death of millions of people to the Rotavirus was stated in a statistical but interesting way.

Diarrhea is the second most cause of child fatality in the world. And 40% of the instances of diarrhea are caused by the Rotavirus.

The other session was about “murmurs” in infants hearts. The doctor talked about the grades of murmurs and when someone should send the infant to the hospital in case of a murmur and when its ok. The doctor listed some questions asking when to send a child with murmurs and also listed some rules as to when to send a child to the hospital in case of murmur.

Interestingly, the doctor didn’t follow the rules in all of the questions. The rules were a mere suggestion as he said, and someone must take the overall context and his judgment in the end. I was lucky to have the chance to talk to him for a minute after his lecture. Unfortunately, like all the medical doctors I have ever known, their perspective on Computer Science is non-existent and as a consequence their faith in AI is very low.

The doctor agreed that he has to incorporate his own thinking and not follow the rules as there are no rules. The rules still provide us with useful information, as they roughly associate actions with murmur grades.

I wish I can meet medical doctors who are also enthusiastic about the applications of computer science and especially Artificial Intelligence in the medical field. They are the domain experts and if they are also the knowledge engineers, some great advances in the field of AI could be made.

For me I’ll just keep my mind lit up. I’ll dig and research AI techniques and make more medical doctor friends. Despite their relative computer-illiteracy (sorry), they are interesting and enjoyable people most of the time. I am looking forward to the day where I can also dig into medical research also.

The final lecture was by my Dad. He talked about an underestimated problem: Sudden Infant DeathS (SIDS) or Sudden Infant Unexpected Death (SUID). The factors are genetic, environmental and another that I can’t remember. The sad thing about SIDS is that many families don’t perform the preventative procedures that minimize the risk of sudden infant death. Good care should be taken around infants because they can simply die. SIDS is obviously untreatable; hope one day we’ll cure death.

Wild Fire

Wild Fire

This video game is awesome. Inspired by Imagine Cup 2010 theme, the game is about encouraging people to volunteer to organizations that aim to help the community achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. As you recruit volunteers and guiding them to organizations, and avoiding the bad ‘agents’ who don’t mind a Societal Collapse (that’s when you lose,) you learn about MDGs and read stories and facts related to the while in game.


The game’s music is very appropriate, calm and inspiring piano and soft tunes. The game’s graphics are simple and help clear your mind. I wish the game was a little more sophisticated though. The bunch of students from Thailand who created the game, deserved to win the Game Design Imagine Cup contest for the 2010 year. Hope they release another version of the game!


I haven’t been able to see the Twitter feature functioning, but it’s a cool idea to have Twitter integrated into the game.

By Implication is the company the students established. Hope they keep up the good work!