Friday, November 30, 2007

The proof is in the proving...

S sent me this link today, about the various techniques of proving theorems.

Vidhya had already told me one:
Proof by intimidation, which according to her, was proving by throwing tons of math at the reviewer :-) [read "abstract nonsense" below]

But this one has some more true gems. Here is a sample:
Proof by example
The author gives only the case n = 2 and suggests that it contains most of the ideas of the general proof.


Proof by wishful citation
The author cites the negation, converse, or generalization of a theorem from the literature to support his claims.

Proof by funding
How could three different government agencies be wrong? Or, to play the game a different way: how could anything funded by those bozos be correct?


Proof by eminent authority
``I saw Ruzena in the elevator and she said that was tried in the 70's and doesn't work."


Proof by personal communication
``Eight-dimensional colored cycle stripping is NP-complete [Karp, personal communication].''


Proof by reference to inaccessible literature
The author cites a simple corollary of a theorem to be found in a privately circulated memoir of the Icelandic Philological Society, 1883. This works even better if the paper has never been translated from the original Icelandic.

Proof by ghost reference
Nothing even remotely resembling the cited theorem appears in the reference given. Works well in combination with proof by reference to inaccessible literature.

Proof by forward reference
Reference is usually to a forthcoming paper of the author, which is often not as forthcoming as at first.


Proof by cumbersome notation
Best done with access to at least four alphabets, special symbols, and the newest release of LaTeX.

Proof by abstract nonsense
A version of proof by intimidation. The author uses terms or theorems from advanced mathematics which look impressive but are only tangentially related to the problem at hand. A few integrals here, a few exact sequences there, and who will know if you really had a proof?

Seriously.. go read the article :-).
P.S. Still down with a terrible cold .. gah!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Om Shanti Om - why I liked it

इतनी शिद्दत से मैंने तुम्हें पाने की कोशिश की है
कि हर ज़र्रे ने मुझे तुमसे मिलाने की साजिश की है
[itni shiddat se maine tumhein paane ki koshish ki hai,
har zarre ne mujhe tumse milaane ki saazish ki hai]

Yes yes, the above lines are borrowed [ from the alchemist - "If you really wish to achieve something, the whole world conspires to give it to you."], but so is the entire movie idea :-) [from Karz]

I went to watch Om Shanti Om today, expecting something like Main hoon na, full timepass, no brain - nothing more.

However, I must say I came back very impressed [and entertained]. Yes, the movie has the guest stars and the good looks and the glamor and the song-and-dance that is common in a big-budget movie -- but here is why _I_ liked it.

  1. Proper crediting - The makers made no bones about their inspiration sources - they even make a tongue-in-cheek joke about the "friends mein no thanks no sorry" dialogue :-)
  2. Self - targeted humor - This film is a very cute look at the movie industry, and SRK does not stop at making fun on himself either - be it the guy saying "he is much shorter in real life" to phir bhi dil hai NRI, and the other movie essentially being the same [reminded me of Zoolander's "poses" ]
  3. Jibe at press for SRK's "enmities" - The pre-filmfare interviews were very cute, since they were very much how the media portrays the rivalries - with AB senior and junior, as well as Rakesh and Hrithik Roshan's commenting as the media would report them :-).
  4. Great acting - by two people - the veteran Kirron Kher, and the relatively new Shreyas Talpade. The others also play their parts very well. About Deepika Padukone - well, I thought her acting was very nice, in addition to her drop-dead-prettiness.
  5. Special Effects - Watch out for them in the 70s section of the movie, esp the dhoom taana song. Good use of computers I say :-).
  6. The ending credits - I think the one thing I liked most about the movie was the ending credits. It was so nice to see that in a movie that was about a junior artist, the makers gave the technicians and other small people a chance to get their 5 seconds of fame. Kudos to Farah Khan!
There is more to write, but work calls.. if you have not watched it yet, I suggest going and watching it. Well worth the money

Finally, all I can say about the movie is, in the words of Mohabbat Man / Mongesh-da -- "oodi baba!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

For those missing the daily show and colbert report

Here are two videos... by the writers of the shows themselves :-).



very nice to see these videos... I wish they had an ad-driven website they could post their videos at. I would love to watch their creations. Also, I think the above writers do not lose any "ideas" if they post them online. The jokes lose their currency a few days later anyways.

So yeah.. go WGA!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

All of USC was our stage...

... and we were the players.

This past saturday, Nov. 10, I was part of the Vidushak comedy theatre group as we did our skit - TBD.

I went on stage and started with .. "I'm sorry Ladies and Gentlemen, but due to midterms etc, all my actors have ditched me. There will no skit today... BUT!.."

To know what happened after this, see the video yourself :-).

कोई शक?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bihar’s Waterman

How much time do three bulldozers take to make a pond 60ft by 60ft in area and 25 ft deep?

Now... how much time will one man, 56 years old, take to do the same thing, armed only with a trowel [khurpi or खुरपी in Hindi]?

7 years. Yes, for seven long years, Kamaleshwari Singh, a semi-literate farmer of Manikpur village in Barh block of Patna district, worked on this dream project, which is now bearing fruit.

From the article:
Manikpur village had no pond before Kamaleshwari decided to get one dug, thereby making a permanent source of water available to the residents of Manikpur.

What makes Kamaleshwari’s achievement more significant is that his initial inspiration for the job and his continued determination to keep digging for seven years came from his frustration with what he calls "nasty village politics". He was not a participant in village politics. A simple farmer who owned 12 bighas of land 15 years ago and now has only five bighas, he got entangled in the regular tide of crime in his village and surrounding villages. His elder son, who kept fighting pitched battles for supremacy with gangsters in the nearby villages, was killed. Kamaleshwari had to sell seven bighas of his land to fight court cases. Thoroughly disgusted, he once decided not to fight any court cases and to rather concentrate on "something constructive".

It is a great story of determination in the face of adversity.

"After losing my 26-year-old elder son, Siyaram, to gang war, I decided to forget all bitterness and start doing something constructive," Kamaleshwari told TEHELKA. As he started digging for the pond [...] in the summer of 1996, [...] the entire village started laughing at him. "[...]They even ridiculed me by calling me ‘Talabi Baba’. My own family tried to restrain me from this work, but I kept ignoring everything and got the pond ready in seven years," said Kamaleshwari, who studied only up to Class VIII.

The cool thing is, after so many years of hard work, it has finally brought respite to the villagers.

The 60-ft-by-60-ft pond has enough water even in summer for the villagers to bathe, wash clothes and feed their cattle. [...] In fact, the village, inhabited by people from various upper and lower castes like Rajputs and the Yadavs, has deep and complex caste divisions that disallow people from using one another’s resources. "But there is no caste division in the use of this pond," says Rakesh Kumar Gupta, a villager.

Here's to Kamleshwariji and his determination!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A very nice Holi video

I came across this on youtube the other day, and thought of sharing.

A wonderful video that showcases holi, reminds one of India, and manages to convey a message too.

gotta love the creativity of the people back home.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What is common between a cough syrup and a DVD player?

One thing I have missed in the states is witty ads. Somehow, the Indian ads have always been my favorite [yes, I like the European ones too].

So, when Pranay pointed me to the following, I had to see:

A very very nice concept indeed.

And from my side, dear readers, I give you the following:

waddaya say?