We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The HOME - An aerial visualization

The HOME -

The theory of selfish gene by Prof. Richard Dawkins suggests that each individual at its core (gene) is selfish and most of the behavior of individuals is a result of such selfish activities. Individualism vs socialism. Capitalism vs Socialism. These are different philosophies. However, if one goes broader and broader in ones vision, the vision grows with me, family, state, country, world, Earth, Solar System, Universe .....

The Home is a unique vision of how humanity in its crux has been able to term mother Earth as its home. Its a story of human evolution on Earth and how in a single generation of last 50 years, the Earth has been drastically transformed like never before. So much that it threatens the existence of future generations.

Here is an excerpt .....

Internationally renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand makes his feature directorial debut with this environmentally conscious documentary produced by Luc Besson, and narrated by Glenn Close. Shot in 54 countries and 120 locations over 217 days, Home presents the many wonders of planet Earth from an entirely aerial perspective. As such, we are afforded the unique opportunity to witness our changing environment from an entirely new vantage point. In our 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has hopelessly upset Mother Nature's delicate balance. Some experts claim that we have less than ten years to change our patterns of consumption and reverse the trend before the damage is irreversible. Produced to inspire action and encourage thoughtful debate, Home poses the prospect that unless we act quickly, we risk losing the only home we may ever have.
More here.

Some tips on writing a research paper

Some steps in writing a good paper / article describing your research.

1. Think on the structure of the content and layout of the writing
2. Work on the abstract
3. Work on the introduction
4. Work on the conclusion
5. Work on writing what you did and how you did it, in the rest of the paper

This is how the individual section goes ahead. 

1. Abstract - Why is this problem important? What is the uniqueness of the solution that you are providing to this problem? Why others fail? What is your contribution? What are you going to describe in the paper.

2. Introduction - What context is needed to understand the problem? Why is the problem so much important? What is the solution that you are providing based on this context? What are some important characteristics and contributions of your approach? How is it better than other approaches?

3. How you do it, and what you do it. Description of architecture, components, algorithm, methodologies, work-flows etc.

4. Conclusion - What is the main contribution your solution provides, why this approach important, how this approach benefits, what are some future directions of thought.

Different iterations of paper writing -

1. Generate the entire content of the paper in the structure described above. Get the template Latex file for the paper and start writing in it directly. Keep placeholders for diagrams. When writing a paragraph, the first sentence of the paragraph should be an introductory statement, which gives crux of what the paragraph is about. Then describe the contents of the paragraph around this statement. Write long sentences which convey your thoughts and shorten them in the next review cycles.

State problem first and define the solution later.

2. Check if the paper reads like a story. Give it for a review to your adviser / friend. Ask for feedback. Do this as much as possible to have the final first version of paper.

3. Make corrections in the arrangement of the statements, paragraph structures, the way thoughts are expressed and story is told.

4. Shorten the statements and make them concise to convey the same point. Work on the tense and grammar to remove unnecessary words.

5. Check if some paragraphs do not fit in the story and re-write them,  add new paragraphs. Read the story again.

6. Work on fitting the paper in the given page number format and optimizing space. Lets assume the page restrictions is 4 in size. Start by looking at paragraph ends. Try to remove standalone words which create a new paragraph. Play with latex word rearrangement to rearrange words so that they are placed with minimal space. Replace long words with same meaning short words. Check grammar. Do this for each sentence in the entire paper.

8. Work on abstract, introduction and conclusion again to see if it introduces story line correctly and makes the correct impact. Try to understand what is the central message that your paper gives to the reader. Are you guiding him correctly in his reading process?

9. Once a good content is ready. Give the paper for peer review to couple of people. Remember, new people will have a new perspective to look at the paper and would provide you with critical feedback such as if story line is not clear, if some sentence is not fitting well and needs rephrasing / reordering / restructuring etc. Chose the peers to review in such a manner that some would give a technical feedback whereas the others would provide a language based story feedback. Improve on the feedback.

The central idea of a scientific paper is to convey the novelty of your research. Make sure your paper talks that loud and clear in best way in the abstract, introduction and conclusion section prominently.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Art of Patience ...

Learn the art of patience. 

Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. 

Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success. ~ Brian Adams

A new meaning of Democracy ...

A great quote by Pratap Bhanu Mehta in his article in "Indian Express", on "Mandate for a dream" , about landslide gradual change in the Indian democracy ...

"Democracy will not bring angels to power. But its dignity is something deeper, and altogether more enchanting. It allows for the greatest freedom: the capacity for reinvention. Democracy will give even devils a second chance. In doing so, it tames them, rescues them from their own hubris."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Global Indian company vs local Indian consumer

While reading different articles on Economic Times, I could not stop myself thinking about the different ways conditions in India could be improved for the common man ....

For example. When I read this article by Sunil Mittal about how he wants to replicate the success of "minute" calling in "Data revolution" in India, I felt emphatic. I felt happy because some day, I could imagine myself roaming around in streets of India and using Google Maps to find out in real time, the latest happenings around that street. A pure silicon valley dream, however, if we have enough data available in India, this dream should not be a distinct dream.

However, as I turned to read the comments on the article by various readers, I understood one difference immediately. In reading the article, I was looking at the global picture. The local picture was totally different. Go to any grass root level and there are enormous level service problems. From the irregular infrastructure, to in-adequate trained staff, to third class customer service. The real problem a customer faces is huge. 

So here is the next thing that I thought. What would be the best way a virtual customer service be provided. At present we have the concept of consumer forums, customer service departments, etc. where complaints for the services could be launched. However, most of the times, due to sheer number of complaints and lots of problems in the process, a customer still feels helpless and is totally clueless about whether he would get any justice at all.

Could there arrive some business model, which would provide guarantee of quality of service by linking together, the accountable company who is supposed to provide the services, the consumer who is provided with faulty services, and the intermediate third party who guarantees this service. Could technology be of any use in this case?

For example. The article that I read, itself could speak for itself. There is the article, which talks about hopes of data growth and there are consumer negativity. Could reaction to such articles which are also read by the company people be directly propagated to masses, to generate a support about inefficiency....blah blah blah...I know some private companies trying to do this, however this model could be more fine tuned to understand how it could be made to work in a better manner. 

Some time soon, I would wish to see a happy Indian consumer.....

Facebook, Google India and Indian judiciary

Newspapers and media are the pillars of any democracy. Freedom of speech is one of the main important criteria that makes Indian democracy ticks as against the other Asian giant "China". However, could Indian media be trusted for carrying out the correct set of news? What is the new wave of journalism and how technology could help in creating new age journalists, which is already happening with the advent of blogs, tweets, youtube videos etc.

I am extremely interested in how the case of the Internet giant Facebook and Google being sued in India, over objectionable content posting on its owned sites (blogger.com, youtube.com, orkut.com), defends itself in the Indian judiciary. Here is the article "Google India sued"...

The interest ranges purely out of the curiosity / concern that this is the only way an age old judiciary system in India might be able to understand / reform the needs of new age technological world, where virtual world of Internet exists. Indian people are an important part of this web and their contribution will increase as web spreads its roots in Indian hinterlands. Indian constitution which guarantees "freedom of speech", gives an Indian an ability to express his opinion freely. Do Internet companies like Facebook, Google, by providing a virtual wall to paint their opinions to people of India are doing any harm? If the constitution provides Indian citizen a right to express opinion, why Indian government does not sue the owners of physical walls in Indian land, on which derogatory remarks / objectionable are written, why does it not sue "Indian Archaeological Institute" of India, which is responsible for maintaining Indian forts and historical monuments, where objectionable material is posted and actual physical damage is done to the history?

I am super interested in how this lawsuit is going to be defended by Google and Facebook. Indian judges I believe are not capable of understanding virtual world and its prowess. This could be one historical movement where Indian judiciary system would have to understand how the web works and how the reforms in Indian judiciary to tackle the problems that arrive out of cyber laws are needed to be done.

Go Google ....Go Facebook...Teach our Judiciary the important lessons in the new world of Internet. If our Government is not doing anything to improve lives of its citizens, some indirect means like this are the only options ....

I am curious ....