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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Food, hunger and studies

Hunger and food are a delicate issue for any graduate student.

As an American graduate student, I used to crave for free food such as Pizza, sandwitches that used to get served in seminars. Seminars also hosted free food to guarantee an audience to fill the rooms. Thus it was complimentary for both hosts and attendees.

I have always wondered how easy life would be if one could satisfy ones food needs without much efforts. Food is considered one of the basic needs for life. What if there is an amazing answer to let humans live off without having any food for days like some animals for example, beers do when they hibernate in winter.

Huge amount of defence research gets done to prepare food bars which would stuff maximum energy in minimal quantity which soldiers can carry with them when on mission in remote areas and toughest environmental and geographical conditions. Astronauts are provided with special kind of food to let them sustain in space. 

General public at the most gets the energy bars (Cliffhanger brand from US) that can help make one feel full for some time. But, by far a good solution does not exists. Is there a market for such a product? What if there are pills for different type of food items which would make you feel full and provide the body with enough energy that would have obtained by eating normal food. Worlds food problems could be solved and there would be much peace. But considering the fact that it takes 15 years for a drug pill to get introduced in market, after its first envisioned and the amount of research money spent (up-to 1 billion dollars) on these drug pills. Creating an artificial food pill looks a herculean task.

Who would eat such food because after all many people live their life so that they can eat to fullest and live to enjoy :) I would be the first client if such a pill would ever come in existence.  I would love to eat a pill which would make me feel full when I am working on some deadline, and without having enough time / will to prepare and eat food.

I wish. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Google Science Fair and the world

Could a worldwide technology competition for high school kids, be considered as a benchmark for understanding the competitiveness of countries across world? Could the results be analysed to understand the spread and interest of technology across the world?

I came across Google Science Fair results, which are displayed below, by mapping winners from each country on Google map.

This is interesting because, there are some major observations that could be drawn from this map.

1. Most entries are from US. Within US, they are distinctly from West Coast and East coast. Rest of the US seems to be lagging behind.

2. There are just three map pointers from Europe. Within Europe there are three entries from Spain. What about Germany, France and other major European countries?

3. Three entries from India. Two from Banglore and one from Lucknow.

4. Major ethnicity of the participants is Asian (Indian / Chinese).

This raises different questions such as.

1. Why there are no participants from rest of the US?
2. Why Europe is lagging so much behind?
3. Why not more participation from other Indian cities like Pune, Mumbai etc.?

Of-course, this shows only winners, and we do not know the total number of entries submitted. But, whatever number that might be, this shows that the technology is limited to a very few privileged sections in the world, and its mass spread in education stays limited.

I can hypothesize some of the answers based on my observations so far, but it will be premature to comment based on them yet. I think the socialist agenda in most European countries is to blame, which has reduced competitiveness in people overall?  I think so.

I wish to see more map markers across all over the world when Google conducts these competitions in near future.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Technology, knowledge, talk and Implementation

Technology has made a lot of information available to people in a very convenient manner. The more information people have, the more knowledgeable they become, and the more topics they have to discuss and debate.

However, one strong observation that I am having is, these debates need not result into actions most of the times. People are happy to talk about things at length, without taking conscious efforts to change things. The pleasure of intellectual debates pleases most people, with an intense feeling of satisfying intellectual hunger to certain extent. We see academics debating on complex issues, research papers being written to length, committees being formed, but implementations many times lack the same rigorousness that is seen during debates.

What is it that can make people take action and implement instead of just having debates and discussions? Implementation requires discipline, persistence, hard work, and motivation. Is this where humans differ from robots, that humans can think and everybody thinks differently, where as robots are programmed and will do what one is asked to do.

Can humans be programmed to act like robots in certain circumstances? Imagine, 4 people having a strong debate on some complex issue, and after the debate is over, they actually implement the things that they strongly debated about during discussion. And this pattern is repeated, across every discussion. A kind of robotic behavior, where pattern is repeated  multiple times always. The productivity will be huge and so will be the outcome of such discussions.

Knowledge will be useful in the best possible manner, if some thing of this type could be achievable for solving certain complex problems. The problems which have eluded mankind because of lack of consensus and lack of willingness to implement the solutions. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dancing and the context

Is dancing a means of entertainment, a means to relax, a means to earn money, or a means to express art?

I was left wondering when I watched a video on YouTube about air stewards dancing in an Indian airplane, on an Indian song, as an attraction theme on Indian Independence day.

Why do girls like to dance? Why India is associated with dance and festivals and colors, and not with many other characteristics?

Why when a bar girl dances in a bar, her dance which is done for earning a living is considered bad for society, but when girls dance at family weddings it is considered a part of culture? Why when dignitaries in 5 star hotels watch girls dancing while enjoying their expensive liquors not immoral? Why when girls are whistled at during college dance shows it is considered Ok and a part of the youth culture, but when girls are whistled at on road it is considered a matter of morality.

So context matters. Contexts are decided by the society. And so society decides what context is good and what context is bad. How should one decide upon then about how good a society is? For example, western society, eastern society, or a hybrid society.