Cerebral Matter

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blah blah, unga bunga, yik yak…

Money from the future?

Perpetual (adj.): everlasting, valid for all time.

First rule of life – Nothing is perpetual. If your parents haven’t hammered that into your head, just passing through life would’ve made that abundantly clear by now.

Last night, rewatched this amazing and at the same time disturbing CNBC special call ‘House of Cards’. It examines the time line and the reasons behind the recent credit crisis:

The biggest thing that stumped me was the part where Wall Street assumed a perpetual 6-8% growth in the housing market. Now I know that speculation/assumption is the name of the game in Wall Street, but perpetual gains??

Everything they did was based on this perpetual flow of money. Essentially they were banking on money from the infinite future as their stepping stone. How crazy is that?

Link to the video: CNBC – House of Cards

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Filed under: General

Entertainment Today

Doesn’t it seem like everyone just shouts at each other these days?

I think it’s because conflict is drama, drama is entertaining and entertainment is marketable. Finding consensus and common ground is dull! Nobody wants to watch a civilized discussion that acknowledges ambiguity and complexity. We want to see fireworks!

We want the sense of solidarity and identity that comes from having our interests narrowed and exploited by like-minded zealots! Talk show hosts, political candidates, news programs, special interest groups…they all become successful by reducing debates to the level of shouted rage. Nothing gets solved but we’re all entertained!

— Calvin

Just 6 years old and more wisdom than all of the jokers on television combined. I couldn’t have put it in better words myself.

O Wise Calvin…I salute thee!

Filed under: General, ,

Pink is Aamir’s new obsession!

After having liked the tamil version of the movie, I finally decided to watch the hindi remake of Ghajini. As it turns out, it was a total waste of $11…well watching Asin probably was worth 75 cents. So, it was actually a total waste of $10.25.

Firstly, the movie is all about Aamir’s abs. He worked hard on getting his chiselled look, he’s dedicated to his craft, blah blah….I get it. You don’t have to drill the point in. About half way into the movie I’ve had enough of his buttonless shirts, shirt sleeves that have no practical value but showacse his biceps and the generously sprinkled oh so useless closeups of his abs. For god’s sake Asin has more clothing on her than Aamir Khan!

Which brings us to the obsession part…the guy is obsessed with the color pink and it’s shades.  Some people say pink is the new black. But even they have to admit there’s pink and then there’s “Oh my god I’m going blind” pink . I admit, bright colors on screen are necessary to add visual direction to the frame, make the characters pop etc. But this felt like the director got a great deal on pink cloth and so decided to stitch a 100 shirts for the actor with the same.

And if not pink then we can definitely use…ummmm say violet since they’re first cousins. Also by some miracle, if Aamir isn’t in pink , then someone around him definitely is. I think at some point I even spotted one of the villian’s one so many useless goons sporting a pink shirt.

By now if the visual assault of pink in this post hasn’t burnt out some cones in your retina…then you are definitely color blind. But I just wanted you to feel the same pain my eyes (and my wallet) felt when I wasted 3 hours and $10.25 of my life last night!

Filed under: Movies, ,

Designated driver…to be or not to be?

People always complain about being assigned designated driver duties. They crib about having to chaperone a bunch of drunks, keep them from killing each other or even someone else for that matter. Then sometimes as a bonus for all your good deeds there’s the sanitizing your car/restroom next day routine to take care of

True, some of those moments make you wanna kill your friends or ditch them outside the bar. But can you imagine all the laughs you’ve had escorting a drunken party home? Some of the funniest memories in my life involved me being a DD.

Here’s a the top 2 funny moments in my DD career so far. For reasons of anonymity, real names have been replaced by Drunk # 1, Drunk # 2 etc –

1. Drunk # 1 starts identifying every song being played in the caras a Metallica song. They play Hotel California…he still insists it’s a Metallica song. Meanwhile a random Drunk # 2  corrects Drunk # 1 saying “Dude…that’s not Metallica. that’s Iron Maiden!”

2.  Drunk # 1 is trying to recite Barakhadi (Marathi alphabet) and forgets most of it. Drunk # 2 meanwhile is trying to correct him without realizing that he’s messing it up himself.

There are many more moments that were too funny to be described in words. So, to all out there make sure you take our turn being the DD. Not only is it a responsible thing to do but if you are lucky it’ll be the most fun you’ve had at a friends expense.

The precious few ‘I laughed so hard, I peed a little’ moments ensure that I will take on my DD duties eagerly and willingly the next time.

Filed under: People,

Things of a random nature…

Saw this interesting/funny post on Jay’s blog. I haven’t been tagged by anyone cos I haven’t blogged in 2 years…it’s all my fault and my fault only. This will be held against me in a court of law for sure. Anyhooo…here are 7 weird/ random things about me.

1. My family calls me ‘kothi kai'(translation: monkey hands). Thats cos I always keep fiddling with objects in my hand…twirling a pen, throwing and catching my cell etc.

2. I absolutely dislike soda in any form or kind….no coke, pepsi, montain dew for me!

3. Once, I won the 2nd prize in a running race…even though I distinctly remember finishing 7th out of 8 participants. Guess the others were disqualified 🙂

4. I’ve had a black eye (like the one’s you see in cartoons) without even getting into a fight.

5. I absolutely suck at every conceviable form of sport. (As can be derived from pts 3 & 4).

6. I absolutely need music in my ears when I need to concentrate.

7. Someday, I would like to drive into the sunset and never come back.

Thanks Jay…for getting me restarted on my blog!

Filed under: Personal

Some guys are too much…

Peter Shih is a very good friend of mine. He’s originally from Taiwan but has been in USA since the age of 6. Met him in the Algorithms class…one helluva brain this guy has! Give him any problem anywere and he’ll come up with at least 2 different solutions to the problem.

No wonder then, that he is the Chief Strategist for the UMR Solar Car Team which placed 4th recently in the recently held solar car race. He led from the front in the $200,000 project to build the solar car…designing power optimization algorithms, weather prediction stuff, et all. The guy spent days and nights holed out in the team garage chipping away at the computer, making the car better. The guy has no qualms about learning stuff which are in no way related to Electrical Engineering (he’a an M.S. student in EE) so long as it makes the car run better.

He loves Indian “curry”…well for him everything is curry of some form or the other 😀 The last time I went to his place we had excellent pasta! And played on his XBox for hours 🙂

He’ll be back on monday from the race. Will call him over for some spicy rasam!

That’s John Chaloupek….my team leader at CTEL. Well, team leader less and friend more. He’s the kinda guy they tell you about on TV when talking about the computer revolution. Long hair (usually in a pony tail), long goatee and always wears black !! Black shirt, black trousers, socks, shoes, hat, bag….heck even his umbrella is black 😀

Is one of the best programmers I’ve seen and an extreme caffeine addict. In fact he was the main force behind getting a coffee machine up and running in CTEL. Also works for Dr. T, and has been in the university for 2.5 years now and going strong towards completing 3. Poor John….gets screwed royally by Dr. T in his research.

All that apart, the guy has an amazing sense of humor and most often than not our weekly project meetings turn into a laughing frenzy! Met him in the algorithms class as well and he was usually the one sitting with a blank look on his face just like me 😀 Converted any and all of Peter’s algorithms into C++ just for the heck of it. Is originally from Czechoslovakia but he too moved here at the age of 6.

Hope he gets started on his thesis soon…

Filed under: Personal

Why Computers Sometimes Crash!

Read this aloud. It’s off an email I got…one of those few I decided to read instead of deleting. Whoever wrote this is a freakkin genius………

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort, and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn’t hash, then your situation’s hopeless and your system’s gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house, says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol, that’s repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall, and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse; then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, ‘cuz sure as I’m a poet, the sucker’s gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy’s getting sloppy in the disk, and the macro code instructions is causing unnecessary risk,then you’ll have to flash the memory and you’ll want to RAM your ROM, and then quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!

LOL…

Filed under: Technology, ,

Wanna go home………soon!

Life for the last few weeks has been pretty down! My routine – up…lab…lunch…lab…chat…still in lab….down! And invariably the up is just 3 hours away from the down time 😦 There were times when I didn’t even see my roomies for a few days! The only social contact are with the bunch of guys in my lab…who are busy with their own work anyways. There’s a joke going around that my biological clock runs on Indian time…well it’s sorta true 🙂

I finished one year away from home this July and all of a sudden I’m begining to miss it a lot! It gets worse when a bunch of newbies arrive on campus all hyper to be in Uncle Sam’s land. They are standing there talking about home and friends and the local dhaba. It get’s so frustrating…feel like welding their mouths shut. But then, even I must’ve been a “hyper-diaper” (That’s what I call all the newbies) when i came in.
😀 But, I’m the senior now and that has it’s own perks. Like asking the guy to handover all homemade food to us! And then devouring it in a jiffy.

I just absolutely need to get back home to India…real fast….@warp speed even. Have a lot of catching up to do! India, here I come…soon, sometime.

Filed under: Personal

3 posts old and already taking a break…

I’m just 3 posts old and yes…I’m taking a break. No personal reasons, just going to freak out in Florida for a few days. Be back in some time 😀

Will see a freakin beach after 10 months…mannnn how I miss the beaches of Bombay.

Filed under: Personal

Who am I?

Well, well, well… I took this test online called the ‘Cattel 16 Factor Test’. The link was sent by a friend and the email promised me the most accurate picture of my personality ever. Yaa..right! Anyways, I gave it a try and here are the results –

Cattell’s 16 Factor Test Results

Warmth |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Intellect |||||||||||||||||||||||| 74%
Emotional Stability ||||||||||||||| 46%
Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||||| 54%
Liveliness ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Dutifulness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Social Assertiveness |||||||||||||||||||||||| 74%
Sensitivity |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Paranoia ||||||||||||||||||||| 62%
Abstractness ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Introversion |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Anxiety |||||||||||||||||||||||| 74%
Openmindedness ||||||||||||||| 50%
Independence |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Perfectionism |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Tension ||||||||| 30%

So, I am emotionally unstable, an extreme introvert, as dutiful as a dog….mannnnn why did I even bother to take the test. It’s such a load of crap X-(

There are lots of such tests available all over the internet. But seriously, can you tell all about me just by looking at how I’ve answered a set of pre-defined questions? I mean who answers these set of questions accurately? At least I didn’t. Yeah, maybe 70% of them were accurately answered (after pondering for a lengthy 0.78 seconds) but the others…click, click,click,done.

Ask someone to rate his negative traits on a scale of 1-5 and I’m damn sure it won’t go above a 3, even if he actually is the devil himself. On the other hand, ask him to rate his good side and I’m sure it won’t be below a 3. So, the final result would most definitely be biased towards the positive side of one’s personality. After all, I wouldn’t want you to know that I’m a disaster waiting to happen 😀

Now let’s look at it from the tester’s point of view –
If by some miraculous way, some test does highlight your negative traits in your face, do you think you’d take that test again? Or, recommend it to your friends? You’d be embarrassed to let them know your results. And heaven forbid if the same test shows your friend out to be the reincarnation of Gandhiji himself 🙂 So, in simple logic…give people results they feel happy about, would like to talk about. They will then copy the link into their chain of emails and shoot it of to new ‘victims’. Perfect marketing strategy huh?

Now, not only did the test give me crappy results, it also made me give up half an hour of my TV time to write this blog! But, I guess my 90% dutifulness rating compelled me to warn you people about what a load of bull these tests are.

Filed under: Personal

Sudi G

I am 34% optimistic, 23% nerdy, 18% funny, 15% lazy, 7% sarcastic and 3% athletic with an intense craving to know more than my brain matter can ever handle.