Friday, June 19, 2015

[jog-journal] Streaks

Streaks are very important. For today, I'd not have gotten up had it not been for the streak. Yes, the 2 day streak is the most difficult.

And not just that. I didn't even think while running today. I was testing the efficiency of my method to achieve runner's high. And it is pretty much efficient, for me at least. I ran faster and longer, today. But being unable to think is a side effect of running faster.

And while talking about streaks, I'm on a three day streak in learning French using Duolingo, today. I started my streak again because of my friend, who's on a streak too and catching up with me.

Looking at duolingo, social pressure and streak pressure must be the two things that makes one learn continuously.

On the way back I saw them playing Tennis at the courts opposite cosmopolitan club. That's when I remembered my failed attempts to learn Tennis and play like Federer.

Talking about Federer, I had once read that forehand was his great weakness once upon a time. But gradually, he turned it into his greatest strength. What is my greatest weakness?

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

[jog-journal] Is Runner's High Just an Energy?

Ever since finishing VJ James' Nireeswaran yesterday, I can't get rid of the idea that every thing in the universe is just energy. Our body is made up of molecules of various kind. But inside, they're just subatomic particles in different configurations. And protons and electrons and neutrons apparently have this wave-particle state. Everything is energy. So, the only question we have to ponder upon is "What is energy?"

The huge pipe laying work in Kukralli is still underway. But good people have kept the jogging trail untouched, as of now.

By the end of today's run, I realized that sprint interval training has indeed made one change in me. I can't run slow anymore. I can't jog. I have to run. If I try to slow down to someone's speed, I feel restrained, and soon, tired. Probably the stride length is longer now. Even chi-running has become impossible. I feel impatient at slow speeds.
 
And if you are unable to attain runner's high soon enough or at all, there's a simple trick to achieve pseudo-runner's high - just look at the trees, or the sky, or anything that doesn't move with you.

A day's run has been perfect if you feel a sense of peace and happiness flowing out from the middle of your chest.

On the way back I saw this Ola cab. Makes me wonder, how much would it cost to start driving one, and can it be a good part-time job? Imagine all those part time auto driving fuelled self-funded IIT education stories. The auto-rickshaws would be replaced by Ola and Uber cabs in the very near future.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Beautifying GNOME with Paper theme (Material design)

Last night while I was searching for alternative window managers I discovered this wonderful GNOME Shell theme called "Paper". After installing it, I'm enjoying looking at my computer screen.

Here're some screenshots.

Applications Overview. Look at the menu menu on the top right.

Nautilus with folder icons

Tweak tool showing the wonderful checkboxes and the settings I had to change to achieve the theme
Turning Global Dark theme on was a welcome addition to the Paper theme. Read about setting up GNOME with paper theme on my website.

Another useful app I installed is Synapse launcher. Ctrl+Space and it gives me access to everything I need.

With these, somehow, I feel like my computer has gained a few milliseconds in speed.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

[jog-journal] The mind game

If you sleep late, you wake up late.
If you sleep early, you still wake up late.
That's why they have invented alarms.

About one week since I last woke up early enough to go jogging. The body clock is so unreliable. Woke up to my phone's clock. Two snoozes only.

Today, my plan was to run the whole round. So I started slow. And quite unexpectedly I had to give up half way round. Therefore, the sprint-interval training I've been trying hasn't worked. Well, it wouldn't have worked, either. The intervals between sprints were too long. And the intervals between sprint-intervals were too long too :P

The idea of long distance running is not to let the heart rate or respiratory rate go above a threshold. Once you're past that you're in the sprint mode and you can't go far. But what I had was pure fatigue. The chest couldn't hold it. In fact, when I thought of finishing with a sprint in the home stretch, I had acute intercoastal myalgia, one of the differentials of heart attack had it come on the left side. But this one was, as always, on the right.

On the way to the lake there was an Indian Pariaah which showed cubitus varus. On the way back there was a lost pug looking for its owner.

Two people asked me the route to Maharaja's. There was police blocking the entry to DC's office. Something is happening in Maharaja's.

And I met two professors, one colleague today. It's fun how jogging parks are central to Mysore. Maybe if there was a park in Mattanur, more people would have been jogging.

I had less thoughts today. That's good. The ultimate aim of running is to have no thoughts.

I do not like people who run with earphones, because those keep falling out of my ears. But then I saw this man at the University gate, he had a cooling glass and a huge headphone around his head and it was probably giving him a 3D surround. I hope running with music is a great way to keep running, although I have never experienced it. Have you? Feel free to comment.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

It's Based on Science, No Really

There are two kinds of people in the world - those who understand the meaning of the word "science" and those who don't. This post is about the latter set of people.

You know someone has no idea what they are talking about when you hear them say:

"Numerology is a science"
Even mathematics isn't strictly speaking a science.1 And numerology is based on what? Numbers. Where are these numbers coming from? Arbitary things like letters in your name, date of birth, etc. Do the numerologists even acknowledge that there are multiple calendars, multiple languages to write your name in, etc? How can numbers predict future?2

"Homeopathy is a science"
It is, if pure water is science. But seriously, the principles of homeopathy are in no way the reason why homeopathy even works for some people. It's the principle called "placebo" that makes Homeopathy tick. And the difference between correlation and causation is one that these people can't make.3

xkcd: Dilution


"Any kind of alternate medicine is science"
Read what I just wrote above.

"Astrology is a science"
Because planets exert gravitational influence on human babies? Yes, they do exert a force which can easily be calculated by Newton's laws, but if you follow through, the cars and buses outside the hospital in which your baby is born exert more gravitational force on your baby than the planets outside Earth.

"Ancient sages had vast amounts of knowledge, they knew most things that modern science is only coming to realize, and we have failed to explore even a fraction their knowledge OR Indians discovered zero and everything else in the universe that is discoverable"
No. Well, maybe Indians did discover zero before everyone did. You see I call it a discovery because nothingness is a concept that need not be invented. And I'm sure they did figure out the Bodhayana theorem too. But drawings of flying machines is not equivalent to flying. Stories about conception without sex is not equivalent to being able to do stem cell cloning or in vitro fertilization. Observing the binary-ness of a star system is not equivalent to a PhD in astrophysics. And no matter how smart your sages where I bet they wouldn't have used cellphones to talk to each other. Talking about cell phones,

"Cellphones causes cancer, kills babies, burns brain cells, and kills baby squirrels"
No. Simply no. Just because you can think up a plausible theorem it doesn't become true. Just because one kind of radiation kills people, all types do not. Just because your theory applies to something analogous, it needn't apply to this.4

"This world-renowned scientist/professor/doctor/faculty/student of this world-renowned university thinks this is science. So this is science."
No, in fact, it is the opposite that is true. This pseudoscience is being approved by those people, and therefore they're fake.

"You do not appreciate the science behind these because you are not open-minded. If you think more, you'll understand"
No, broad minded you! I have probably thought more than you did about your favorite pseudo-science. I have applied the methods of scientific rigor and realized that it doesn't hold. And that's why I vehemently oppose you calling it science. I am willing to put more energy into appreciating it, only if you have something new and logical to contribute.


It is so kind of you to believe in science and believe in only things that seem scientific. I urge you to grow a bit more and make sure things that seem scientific are scientific. Begin your journey at RationalWiki.



Footnotes:
1) Well mathematics is "the queen of all sciences", and it surely is very important in science. But it is too beautiful and abstract to be called science.
2) There's statistics and probability which can predict future with some probabilistic certainty. And of course a huge part of science is entirely based on probability and statistics. But then, you know how it goes.
3) Of course when it comes to correlation and causation there's a certain amount of trust we've to put on our ability to have avoided all the other confounding factors, but still.
4) Analogies themselves are useful only to gain clarity in thoughts, not to validate them. Building up from fundamental principles is the right way to validate ideas.

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