September 21, 2010

Inventing Immortality : A thought experiment.

A few days ago as the media likened the advent of the new cancer drug 'PLX4032' to the "penicillin" moment in medical history, it got me thinking.
This new medicine uses the treasure trove of information retrieved after the completion of the human genome project a decade ago to target only the cancer affected cells and destroy them.
The trial cases of this medicine have yielded extraordinary results as it dramatically cut down tumor size in 24 out of 32 patients with late stage malignant melanoma.
The prospect of further achievements in the bio-technology field excites me. Now that we have uncovered the secrets to our own gene, the possibilities are immense.

Just like that, I came across an idea of the "Immortality drug", I don't know how medically sound my argument may be. But I believe it is possible.
If I am sounding too optimistic or over assuming, the possibility of a miracle drug which will increase the life expectancy to maybe 200 years may not sound so far fetched to you.
Lets take that case, for your sake.
Maybe they have already invented such a drug, but they are not releasing it to the public.
Maybe they are selling it only to the high-flying billionaires who love their rich, lavish life so much that they are willing to spend some billions on this just to last a few 100 years more.

Controversy theories! we love them don't we :P

But in this case, it's probably not as crazy as it sounds.
What is the biggest problem threatening human civilization at this point?

The Environment.

Global Warming has been the concern of millions of esoteric environmentalist throughout the globe, however people still don't seem to be able grasp the concept.
The melting of the polar caps is going to drown Bangladesh and many such low lying areas by 2100.
We are currently in the no-win situation in which our population is rapidly increasing and the land and other resources supporting this population is rapidly depleting.
I couldn't spell apocalypse better for you.

Now just imagine what will be the impact of this miracle immortality drug on our society.
People will all of a sudden stop dying, and the concomitant population explosion that will follow will disturb the already delicate balance between the resources and consumers in the world.

As the world will strive to reach an equilibrium between the birth rate and the death rate, land will become the most coveted resource.
And not just land, every resource on earth starting with food, water, fuel to stay warm, basic sanitation will become scarce.
Throwing us back a thousand years, when wars were fought for land domination. When this situation occurs law and order will mean nothing.

Men will become savages to protect his basic rights and resources, population will fall because of wars waged in order to acquire land and fuel.
Then religion will again gain prominence, promising salvation for those war hardened men and a peaceful life for their families.

The civilization will thus complete a cycle and make a fresh start with only those genes which managed to survive this horrific ordeal.

Although the end of the civilization is inevitable, but is it better to expedite the process?

So safeguarding the information about the immortality drug for only the handful elite will be the safest bet for the researchers and their investors in order to protect us all.

Maybe they do have an immortality drug maybe they don't, but you wouldn't know would you?

September 16, 2010

The Monk who sold his Ferrari

This is my first book review / summary. Not because "The Monk who sold his Ferrari" was a very interesting read, because it wasn't.
It started off great but at times it got quite dull and repetitive. But one thing this book did do successfully was inspire me to start living better.

The "truths" written in the book, apply not only to overworked professionals who are well into their forties, but also to teenagers and college going students who have yet to face the cold brute hardships of life.

It's never too late / early to start. Start applying these "truths" about life and yourself, NOW.

I had chanced upon some of the concepts discussed in this book on my own, and I believed them to be true. So I am applying a bit of induction here and assuming that the rest of the points given here are also facts, and if not, it won't hurt to give them a try.
Because they are all focused towards making your life better and helping you achieve more out of yourself.

So I will share with you the points which I felt were most useful and usable in today's materialistic and hectic world.

1] Jot down your goals.
2] Analyze and face your fears on a daily basis.
3] Put off immediate pleasures for long term fulfillment.
4] Discover our talents and purpose in life.
5] Courage and Passion towards what you do.
6] The importance of breathing.
7] Constant Learning.
8] Advantages of live (vegetarian) food.
9] Importance of exercise.
10]Read books (Right ones)
11]In the morning : Plan your day.
12]End of the day : Reflect and analyze.
13]Words can have a lot of effect. Mantra.
14]Self Image is your governor. Enhance it using Mantras.
15]Your soul is a part of the soul of the universe.
16]Failure is not starting something.
17]Live a life to serve others.
19]Live in the now, practice ZEN.
20]Be grateful to life.

Some of the points may seem vague and debatable, to know more about them go through the book.
Use what you can out of them, because I believe they will help you lead a truly enlightened life.

(Wow, I sound like Robin Sharma :P )

September 03, 2010

My top 20 indie bands

Okay I know I haven't written in a while. But I promise I will write something as soon as I have time and a stable internet connection at home. And my lappy starts working again.
Yea life's been hard.

Anyways music is always there for me. So here is a list of my 18 most favorite bands from my favorite genre.

2)The New Pornographers
3)Regina Spektor
6)The Shins
6)Death Cab for Cutie
7)The bird and the bee
8)The Decemberists
9)Andrew bird
10)The Postal Service
11)Camera Obscura
12)Bat for lashes
13)Belle and Sebastian
14)Casey Dienel
15)Man Man
17)Breathe out breathe
18)Rilo Kiley

will add 2 more later

June 15, 2010

FIFA : You may leave but the Vuvuzela is here to stay

I don't really hate the Vuvuzela, initially I thought it was a good idea, it gave FIFA Worldcup 2010, the feel of barbaric fights in the ancient colloseums, where the audience could be most aptly described as savages. But unfortunately after a while the constant monotone of the Vuvuzela gets too irritating to handle.
The Vuvuzela has certainly grabbed international attention, and thousands of football fans around the globe are literally begging FIFA to ban these obnoxious instruments of mass disturbance from the FIFA 2010 Worldcup in South Africa.
However FIFA announced that it would not ban Vuvuzela because only a minor population has a problem with it, but the rest of the world enjoys it.
I think FIFA should consider checking the web once in a while, there have been websites with almost 80,000 complaints and petitions against the Vuvuzela. Here is one petition to ban the Vuvuzela
People find the Vuvuzela sound obnoxious and irritating.
There have been complaints against the Vuvuzelas from the referies, players, commentators and the viewers alike. The sound of the Vuvuzela has been described by viewers as similar to the drone of a swarm of angry bees attacking the football ground.

The Anti Vuvuzela campaign, has opened up the market for Anti-Vuvuzela ear plugs, which are selling like hot cake in South Africa.
For viewers at home the immediate solution to escape the Vuvuzelas is to mute the sound and watch the match. However this kills out the commentary as well and people soon lose interest in the match.
Another solution with a little less compromise on the commentary is a 45 minute mp3 which claims to filter out the annoying sound of the Vuvuzelas by the method of phase cancellation, and the software for this is being sold for €2.95 at
However audio engineers have suggested that this might not actually work, because the sound generated by the Vuvuzela is too random, even though it may sound like a constant monotone, the amplitude can vary based on audience excitement, and this variation cannot be predicted so it becomes very difficult for any sound wave to completely filter out the sound of the Vuvuzela.

It's tricky even for the broadcasters to muffle out the sound of the Vuvuzela as the wave patterns show the Vuvuzela sound has six strong harmonics, and notching it down would make it sound horrible.
Read for more information on drowning out the Vuvuzela.

There are however other (free) methods that you may adopt to make your football viewing more bearable, according to another audio engineer, if your tv has a graphic equalizer, you can turn down the 300Hz frequency and bring up the other frequencies, this will drown out the sound of the Vuvuzela, however this may also cause the commentary to sound a bit unnatural and funny, but beggars are not choosers so for now this is one of the best methods we 've got.

June 09, 2010

Thought Train #1 : Robin Hood Release date to Flaw in Back to the future.

Thought train is tracing back the thoughts in your head to see where they came from.
It is an interesting exercise and you might be surprised to see how unrelated your initial thought and the final conclusion can be.

So, this was today's thought train

#1 Saw tweet about Robin Hood releasing in India next week.

#2 Googled and found out exact date of Robin Hood release.

#3 Remembered, last time I googled I found a page on Robin Hood goof ups, one of them was :
"A title card identifies the historical period as the "turn of the 12th century," but the story actually takes place around 1200 A.D., the turn of the 13th century."

#4 I began wondering how a year 12xx can be 13th century. The first 100 years. 0-100 AD must have been the 1st century, hmm.. that means the 100-200 must have been second.

#5 I then began thinking about a previous thought I had, on how it would be better if we calculated our money as multiples of 500. Meaning we should count Rs. 1000 as 2 units, this will give a more realistic idea of how much we have and how much we can spend, when we talk in thousands of Rupees.

#6 The idea of century was similar to my idea of 500 Rupee units. I thought we lived in 21st century now, and now when we think back 21 AD seems so long ago, and the technology then was so primitive. Then i began wondering if people in 2100th century (if humans still exist) will think back and wonder how primitive we (21st century people) are!.

#7 I began thinking, how much the technology would have improved by 2100th century, if only there was a way I could see all that in my life time. TIME MACHINE :D

#8 But then I thought that the chances of someone inventing a time machine in my lifetime is very less. So, if someone invented the time machine in the future, he could come back in time and tell us how to make one.

#9 Then I wondered, if he (someone from the future) has already invented the time machine, whats keeping him. Why isn't he coming now, and telling us how to make one.

#10 Then I remembered all those movies about time travel, which postulated how things would go horribly wrong if someone messed with the space time continuum. Which reminded me of the movie "Back to the future".

#11 Then I realised there was a flaw in the movie, if Marty prevented his parents from getting married, his existence would be erased from the future (that was the whole theme of the movie),BUT if Marty's existence was erased from the future, then he wouldn't have returned in time to change the past anyways, thereby actually ending up not changing anything.

In your FACE Steven Spielberg :D

March 22, 2010


Determinism is the view that every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences.

Click here to find out more

The two major arguments against Determinism are :

1)The Quantum Mechanical Model
2)The Problem of First Cause

Firstly, I confess
I have not studied philosophy, ever.

While thinking randomly,I stumbled upon the concept of Determinism. I found out that this concept (or similar) already exists in philosophy (Wikipedia \m/), this got me interested in it.

I think my definition of determinism slightly varies from the ones that are usually followed, because it doesn't fail when I introduce Quantum uncertainty in it.

The fundamental question is :

If something is determined (something that is bound to happen) is it wise to say, that it can always be predicted ?

and the answer to the question is NO! , not always

To correctly "predict" an event, one must know all the properties of the system at a given state and also all the rules based on those properties which determine the workings of the system.

And it is next to impossible for man to find all the properties and rules of the universe at any given state, because
he himself is a part of the universe.

So, Quantum theory proves that the position/momentum of a particle cannot be "determined" to an arbitrary degree of accuracy.

I think, here is where most people get confused.

Note that the word "determined" here, means human capacity to comprehend.

The reason for uncertainty in the Quantum Mechanical model is, to observe a particle one needs to throw photons (light) or electrons or something at it, and the study of this photon (which reflects back after hitting the particle) reveals information about the particle under observation.

BUT, as soon as the photons hits this particle, it changes the particle's momentum and position, so by the time light returns to your eye, the position and the momentum of the particle has already changed.

This means that we can never determine (predict) the next state of the universe, because we can't ever find out the correct position and momentum of a single particle.

But this does not mean that the particle does not follow rules, in fact if we eliminated the need to "OBSERVE" we would be right on track.

Which means that given the current state of the universe, the next state of the universe is UNIQUELY determined.

It cannot be predicted because as soon as we try to observe it, the properties we are trying to observe will change.


The universe cannot randomly go to any state it wants.

An example of the application of this concept will be, you reading this post was determined at the time of the Big Bang although it could never have been predicted, but nevertheless the universe could not have gone through any other sequence of states which would have prevented you from reading this post today.

All said, this description still does not address the problem of first cause, but this certainly takes care of all doubts linking determinism to Quantum Uncertainty.

February 07, 2010

The Quark Experience

Yesterday our annual technical festival QUARK '10 ended.
It's not a technical festival anymore btw, its an INNOVATION FESTIVAL and India's first in that matter, big deal :-/ .

Anyways, the most memorable thing about QUARK were the messages.
We had this Messaging System set up for sending notifications via SMS to participants.

The intention was noble :P, however like most well intended plans, even this one went horribly wrong.

They sent way too many SMS's, and people had no option to block them, and the students kept on cursing and they kept on sending and it was a big mess.

I mean this was one of the messages :

Q.Who is the leader of ducks ?
Ans. Frog
Bcz frog is Mainduck. (main duck)

LOL, even though i enjoyed the joke, this example serves my purpose of demonstrating how useless some of those messages were, for the participants.

It seems this guy, Nitant Tattar (name changed), who was in charge of sending these SMS's seemed to be really enjoying this, when asked "Why he was sending so many?" his reply was "I control the population", with that he probably meant he controlled the "crowd". But again, who knows.. :P

So now that Quark is finally over, its good to see my mobile phone not vibrating every few minutes, I decided to write

An Ode to The Great Nitant Tatar . . .


That friendly vibration in my pocket
what could it be, ahh just fock it..
that dwelling place wherein my cell abode
I set my phone to silent mode
Whom could it be?
it could be she..

expectantly i reach for thee,
peee peee peee peee
rose from within the crowds
that dreadful sound
it's all around.

big and small
fools and wise
take your phones,
and stand in line
check your messages one more time
just being formal, ain't no crime
friends, family, loved ones who?
you may think, u have a clue
with expectant glee
you stare at the screen
but alas, its just my work
that was another one from TM-Quark

Then finally we got to meet,
the real man behind the scenes,
"I control population" remarketh he
summer breeze and winter chills
did he say, he sells i-pills?
no you fools!,that's not what he meant
What he meant was
he controls thee