Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kenneth Cukier Looks at What's Next for Machine Learning & Human Knowledge






Quote of the Day

To be a person of virtue you need to be boringly virtuous in every single small action. To be a person of honor all you need is be honorable in a few important things (say risk your life or career or reputation for a just cause, or live up to your word when nobody else has guts to do so, etc.)

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Aphorisms, Rules and Heuristics

Monday, September 29, 2014

Maximus & Two Rainbows !!





What is the Best Study Method?

  • Make a timetable; mine was 11 hours for study. It is first step to success. (I was studying, and interested in it, so I was giving my most of time to studying, you may have less than 11 hours of course. It just shows my dedication to study and dreams I had after studying. I was in a poor family; I knew without hard-work, I won’t be able to get along. After getting position, I was able to continue my study free. I also received prize money from government and a special training for more motivation and visits. Yes a Talent Award too.
  • Humans can concentrate for 40 minutes on a subject, or maximum 1 hour. Do change your study material/subject after every 40 minutes or 1 hour. But later on you can increase this time slowly to 2 hours. I did this.
  • Start time table by learning new things, after looking at the last day topics. Later chapters in books mostly have references from former ones. Learning new things at start gives you hope and makes you motivated.
  • Don’t start one subject or module after the other; take a break of 5 to ten minutes. In this time eat some chocolate, fruits and vitamins. Do some sit stands and go out to look in nature and have an analog (natural phenomena) thinking to refresh. This is a right click and refresh for you on your desktop to start another application.
  • Study each subject three times a day, design time table such that every subject has 3 shifts per day.
  • Take notes in the first shift, and rehearse them in second shift and so on. Notes should not be exact copy of the book text.
  • Re-allocate time for your modules in timetable after every, maximum two weeks. Or take your exams after one week and re-allocate based on the exam results.
  • Exam yourself sometime in the middle of the time table.
  • Have some extra time to look topics of this day you have studied, at the end of study time table.
  • Second day, start with looking at the topics of the last day. But never do an exam at the start of study time. Increase difficulty slowly from start to end.
  • Do some statistics on important and less important subjects or difficult and easy subjects and divide time with statistics methods. For example by first assigning the difficulty level to each subject like 40% and 60% etc.
  • If studying something which could be easily implemented in home or lab, don’t miss it. I, when studying biology, had tried to produce a new family of a tree though it was just a try and nothing resulted. I have been programming to simulate the physics concepts which helped a lot.
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Quote of the Day

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream in the dark recesses of the night awake in the day to find all was vanity. But the dreamers of day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, and make it possible.

- T.E. Lawrence

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Source of Bad Writing

Call it the Curse of Knowledge: a difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. The term was invented by economists to help explain why people are not as shrewd in bargaining as they could be when they possess information that their opposite number does not. Psychologists sometimes call it mindblindness. In the textbook experiment, a child comes into the lab, opens an M&M box and is surprised to find pencils in it. Not only does the child think that another child entering the lab will somehow know it contains pencils, but the child will say that he himself knew it contained pencils all along!

The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation of why good people write bad prose. It simply doesn't occur to the writer that her readers don't know what she knows—that they haven't mastered the argot of her guild, can't divine the missing steps that seem too obvious to mention, have no way to visualize a scene that to her is as clear as day. And so the writer doesn't bother to explain the jargon, or spell out the logic, or supply the necessary detail.

Anyone who wants to lift the curse of knowledge must first appreciate what a devilish curse it is. Like a drunk who is too impaired to realize that he is too impaired to drive, we do not notice the curse because the curse prevents us from noticing it. Thirty students send me attachments named "psych assignment.doc." I go to a website for a trusted-traveler program and have to decide whether to click on GOES, Nexus, GlobalEntry, Sentri, Flux or FAST—bureaucratic terms that mean nothing to me. My apartment is cluttered with gadgets that I can never remember how to use because of inscrutable buttons which may have to be held down for one, two or four seconds, sometimes two at a time, and which often do different things depending on invisible "modes" toggled by still other buttons. I'm sure it was perfectly clear to the engineers who designed it.

Multiply these daily frustrations by a few billion, and you begin to see that the curse of knowledge is a pervasive drag on the strivings of humanity, on par with corruption, disease and entropy. Cadres of expensive professionals—lawyers, accountants, computer gurus, help-line responders—drain vast sums of money from the economy to clarify poorly drafted text.


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Quote of the Day

The man of wisdom is never of two minds;
the man of benevolence never worries;
the man of courage is never afraid.

- Confucius

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wisdom Of The Week

Imagine you're an isolated brain floating lonely through the vast expanse of the Universe with all your thoughts, memories and perceptions just figments of your imagination. That's a depressing thought, but not a new one. There'd even be a name for you: you'd be a Boltzmann brain.

Boltzmann brains are of interest to physicists, in particular to cosmologists. The idea is that, according to quantum mechanics, there is energy in empty space which can fluctuate, producing particles as it does so. "If you wait long enough then these fluctuations will form, not just a particle here and a particle there, but a whole complex collection of them. A virus, or a little bunny rabbit, or even a functioning human being," explains Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at California Institute of Technology. "The idea is that a brain is the simplest thing that can randomly fluctuate into existence and can still be counted as a conscious being." Such a brain is called a Boltzmann brain (after the 19th century physicist Ludwig Boltzmann who studied fluctuations in systems that are made up of many particles, such as gases).

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The obvious problem here is the word "know" in the previous sentence. How do we actually know that we are not Boltzmann brains? Well, we don't, but we might as well agree that we are not. "[If you are a Boltzmann brain] then all your ideas about history, your memory, the laws of physics and the rules of logic have all just fluctuated into your brain," explains Carroll. "And therefore you have no right to believe them because other laws, incorrect laws, could also have fluctuated into your brain. So you can't simultaneously believe that you're a Boltzmann brain and have any good reason to believe you're a Boltzmann brain."

Paradoxically, this paradox lets us off the hook: there is no point in doing science if we're not happy to agree that we're not Boltzmann brains and that our observations about the world are real. "I would advocate to try to come up with theories in which we're not likely to be Boltzmann brains and then we're on safe ground," says Carroll.


Cosmologists really do think along those lines. One theory that has suffered Boltzmann brain problems is called eternal inflation. You can find more about it here, but loosely speaking the idea is that our universe constantly sprouts new self-contained regions, like bubbles popping up in a bubble bath. We live in just one of those regions and have no access to the others, which could be very different from ours. Here calculations have suggested that we're extremely unlikely to be normal brains. This discovery sparked lively debate about the theory itself, the way people calculate the probability of our existence, and the question of whether we are "typical" beings or very rare ones.


I
f all of this makes you wonder whether cosmologists have lost the plot completely, be reassured that most of them urge caution when it comes to untestable theories and such probabilistic arguments. "All of this so beyond what we can immediately observe and test, that we need to be very skeptical and cautious," says Carroll. "We can't be too confident that we are on the right track. We always need to be very, very humble about making these extrapolations."


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Quote of the Day

As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all - the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.

- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


Friday, September 26, 2014

Things That Cost More Than Space Exploration

  • What costs more than space exploration? Mistakes made by government unemployment benefit programs.
  • What costs more than space exploration? Money that has ‘gone missing’ from the US State Department.
  • What costs more than space exploration? Daylight Savings Time.
  • What costs more than space exploration? The Draft. (Not the NFL draft, the NBA draft, or any other sports league draft—the military draft).
  • What costs more than space exploration? Tea.
  • What costs more than space exploration? Paying off our student loans.
- More Here