Saturday, December 31, 2005

a F-fractal-R-fractal-A-fractal-C-fractal-T-fractal-A-fractal-L world

We all trade and interact daily: some shop at grocery stores, some at a self-serve gas-station, others online and still others transact multi-million dollar deals over lunch or dinner. The money goes to banks which trade with each other within the country; cities trade with each other, as do states and nations.

We work at companies or at different institutions or are self-employed, but in our daily work lives, we jostle against each other, trying to be the best. The entities we work for (our companies, instructions or our-selves) jostle against each other, trying to be the best.

Within our bodies, the blood vessels split and split again as they nourish and sustain every single living cell in our body. Surprisingly, each set of branching looks like its "predecessor". The dendrites that facilitate the amazingly networked computer we refer to as our brain, split several times over in a pattern similar to the blood vessels.

These are just some instances of self-similarity from the countably infinite (could they be innumerably infinite??) examples that occur all around us. To me, this seems to vehemently suggest that there's a pattern underneath this all. I'm not implying the existence of God, but maybe a few "simple" "laws".

There is the second law of thermodynamics (paraphrased) "things tend to proceed in the direction of increasing entropy" or as Murphy stated it "Anything that can go wrong, will." But this isn't what I’m talking about. The 2nd law just makes a very detached, generic statement. It doesn't tell given a system how exactly it is going to evolve so that entropy increases, or even why. It just says things are going to hell (Ironically the final resting state of the universe would be when all mass/energy is uniformly distributed throughout so that everything will a uniform temperature fairly close to Absolute Zero Kelvin, quite unlike hell. Maybe that's what they mean by "when hell freezes over").

I'm more thinking about an explanation that tells given a system and its initial conditions (say, a tree of a particular kind with so many leaves and in this health with these environmental conditions) its state and that of the larger system it is part of (e.g. forest) at any time later would be determined by this "fractal" law. And I would love to use that on the stock/futures market :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

life and a sense of adventure

My last post "You have 0 friends" prompted a certain lovely lady to make the following remark... [quote]

ur 0 friends post shows that u have a really limited sense of adventure.just think of the adventure u r having fitting ur life, character, tastes and so on into those "neatly designed boxes" did u say?

the decidely (sic) odd qwerty keyboard also is a challenge. learn to find challenges in every thing...... u'll never find a place with out some. [/quote]

Firstly, let me express my honest gratitude for taking the time to comment on my post. It takes time, diligence and feeling, so thanks.

However, I would like to contest the allegation of "narrow sense of adventure”. What is adventure? I define it as pushing the limits of our existence... trying to determine where the bounds of lives are and how much can they be pushed, or better yet, breached. Would one still call that narrow? As narrow as the lady's suggestion of "finding a challenge in the decidedly odd qwerty keyboard"?

With all due respect, if someone "normal" thinks a QWERTY keyboard a serious challenge, they either have a very narrow view of their challenges, abilities or lives. It really isn't difficult at all to master the QWERTY keyboard. I'm not the most gifted or able, but I was able to self-tutor when I was 16, in a little more than a week. I've known of friends who did it just as fast, some faster.

What do I consider adventurous? Jumping off a plane, hang-gliding, standing inches away from the edge of a cliff and looking down when you know that you suffer from vertigo. "Ya right. Have you done any of those??" err... I have! And I must say, I've never felt better or more at peace with myself. Will I ever do these again? I'm looking forward to it...

"Learn to find challenges in everything you do...." sounds more like advice to an incarcerated inmate, who is coerced to make do with his / her restricted freedom. I on the other hand am free and capable to aspire to maintain that freedom. I find it a shame to willfully imprison myself within intangible, irrational bounds. I wonder if others feel the same way. If they don't, they are free to do as they please. It's their adventure!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

You have 0 friends

I've been hearing about Orkut, Friendster and bunch of other networking sites for a while. I've been given those umpteen invites to "join my friends" network. For the longest time, I felt these were a waste of time. I got one more today so decided I'll just go ahead and join-in. That way, the next time someone wants me to join, they can see that I am already there and they probably won't send me mail (what was I thinking).

So anyways, I signed up. And then sat there for 15 minutes updating my profile. Telling the same thing over and over again. Trying to convince this HTML form, that yes, I do have a life. Trying to fit my life into those neatly defined boxes. What are my passions, what are my hobbies, what are the sports I play, am I straight? am I gay? What kind of women I want to meet, what kind of business network I want to create? What books do I read and what languages do I speak?

The feeling suddenly gets you: what if, your life doesn't fit in to those tiny little boxes? Hmmmn, does Rupert Murdoch have a profile like this? or Bill Clinton? Vajpayee (can he type? does he know how to get online?)? Britney Spears??

Then, after all of that, comes the amazingly shocking part: you have (0) friends. I know, I just created the profile and haven't added anybody, but think about it: "You have 0 friends". That sounds very uplifting! Here is another metric to judge you buy. Oh he has a 100+ friends, "must be popular", she has only 10+, "who wants to talk to her?" Another "box" to fit and define your life.

"But why are you taking this the wrong way?" "You are only saying all this because you don't really have any friends you can add!" Err... hate to burst your bubble, but I do. I just find it weird that instead of actually being out there, meeting, talking with people, we are being forced to confine ourselves to an XVGA view port into the world, where we deal with jpeg avatars of real people and communicate not with our hearts and tongues, but with our digits and a decidedly odd QWERTY keyboard.

We as a species have been chosen by nature for our strengths: communication, collaboration, creativity and ingenuity-in-overcoming-the-various-things-that-nature-throws-at-us. Birds can fly, so can we (airplanes, hang-gliders, hot-air balloons). The winter's really cold, and so we have fire. Food rots, we have refrigerators. If predators hunt us, we group and set up traps. Life is about finding challenges and conquering them, not fitting your life into a set/defined pattern.

Nature hates stagnation: randomness and egregiousness is encouraged over set, defined, deterministic attributes. Life at every level wants something different, something new, something more and something better. Better is very often just different.
The most basic form of life, the virus, does it. It mutates. So do our cells: human germ cells undergo meiosis to randomly scramble our genetic code so that we are always trying something different. So do we and so does the stock market.

Life does NOT and SHOULD NOT fit in to small, well-defined boxes. Don't just type, go forth and conquer. You'll make friends along the way.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Life's little pleasures

These are the things we live for: life's little pleasures. We slave through days, weeks, months, years and ages; tolerate the burden of existence; repel the ennui; fight disease in ourselves and our loved ones; triumph over rage; trounce defeat and post-pone our final moment all for this.

Not for a trophy, not for a mantle piece, not a photograph, not even a memory. Just the fleeting feeling, that evanescent perception of happiness for a vanishing moment, that moment when we close our eyes, rest our heads back, smile to ourselves, open our senses and feel gifted. Whether we believe in God or not, we thank Him for scripting that moment of pleasure in our lives.

Dear God (whether you exist or not), Thank you. For I just experienced one of those moments (I'm trying real hard to hold on to it, hence this blog).

What just happened? well nothing big really. just a little pleasure.

I was sitting at home, about to fall asleep when the mp3 player shuffled on to a song. I've heard lots of songs on my home theater, it sounds awesome, i know it. The lights in my room respond to my claps, i know it. My couch is comfy, i know it. The song, Tera Mera Pyaar, i've heard before. But i haven't felt all these together before, not like this.

I clapped twice and the lamp went off. The TV responded to my remote and its glow quietly extinguished. In that dark room, I lay down on the futon and the song happened to start playing. As the notes of the song flitted through the room with stereophonic precision (with some gratuitous help from my audio system), i closed my eyes, smiled to myself, opened my senses and felt gifted. nothing big really.

Thank You, Douglas Adams.

Thanks Douglas Adams for writing a trilogy (in 5 parts) with "Life, the Universe and Everything" as one of the titles (book number 3, actually). It makes the perfect title for my blog, as I shall comment on all those (and much more) in this blog of mine. Please accept this blatant "inspiration" from your work as my humble tribute to you.