13-2021 Flavours of mathematicians

Recently, I posted an article about mathematicians. We spoke about the kind of things mathematicians do, I call each type of mathematician as a “flavour”. I did not know where I stood in this classification, since I was clearly a misfit in any of the “flavours” I had mentioned. So, I added one more flavour to suit me — mathematics missionary. This is the type who pretends to know mathematics, just waves his hands and talks endlessly whenever he sermonises on mathematics. You can also call him a mathematics vagabond

To borrow a religious metaphor, he is an evangelist who implores all to follow his GOD, mathematics. Whether you care for what he says, or disagree with him, he does not mind either way.

12-2021 Beaches you should visit in India !

Till recently, India was home to 8 Blue Flag certified beaches. Now, we have two more — bringing the total to ten !

The two new entries are ::

  1. Kovalam (aka Covelong) (near Chennai)
  2. Eden Beach (near Puducheri)
  3. Here is a list of all the ten beaches waiting for your visit. And of course there are many serene islands you can enjoy.

    Add this beach to your bucket list :: Malpe Beach, Udupi, Karnataka.

    Welcome to the paradise called India !

10-2021 How I ruined my Sunday evening .

tankbund sundayYesterday, 12/09/2021, I decided to experience the much publicised traffic-free promenade, along Tank Bund in Hyderabad. Tank bund is a major artery connecting Hyderabad and Secunderabad, and runs along the periphery of the picturesque Hussain Sagar lake. And my GOD , I was so disappointed /disgusted and had to curse myself for this faux pas. This experience proves how good-intentioned schemes can be ruined by reckless , irresponsible and uncivilised behaviour by the very people who should be promoting such ideas.

I saw how filth and garbage can be spread or dumped in the name of religious liberty. They say that there is an order of the high court which prohibits immersion of plaster of Paris Ganesha idols in the lake. What I saw, was exactly the opposite. Hundreds of policemen in the area kept watching helplessly as people kept dumping all their idols into the stagnant and stinking lake. Added to the mess and filth were also thousands of plastic bags, styropor/thermocole material, with many more nondescript garbage. Vive la liberte !

The traffic-free aspect was just a farce. Traffic had to pass through a major part of the tank bund, which made the crowd more congested all over. The density of traffic was much higher than other usual days. A considerable part of the walking space (or whatever was left free) was also occupied by hawkers and street-side vendors. Blaring loudspeakers made the evening resemble more like a sojourn in hell. But who cares ?

fun at tank bundIf you ever think of visiting tank bund on a Sunday evening, just drop the idea pronto. Do not fall for all the organised propaganda, stay away and feel safe.

Do not get carried away by all the colourful publicity. (see examples above). What you actually see at tank bund will not be so good or enjoyable.

Moral of the story : If you are looking for some peace and tranquility, tank bund is certainly NOT the place to go to. There are many better places in Hyderabad, to go and spend a serene evening.

Filth and garbage, or religious freedom ? You choose !


NOTE : Readers are welcome to send their own experiences and opinions, to the author at drpartha@gmail.com .

09-2021 Add this to the list

Add spoonerism to the list of tools which help enhance the
value of your English language

  1. Spoonerism (this one, see below for more details)
  2. Oxymoron
  3. anagram

Wikipedia defines “spoonerism” as :

an error in speech (aka play of words) in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched between two words in a phrase. These are named after the Oxford don and ordained minister William Archibald Spooner, who reputedly did this.

Here are some examples found in wikipedia:

  • “Three cheers for our queer old dean!” (rather than “dear old queen,” which is a reference to Queen Victoria)
  • “Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?” (as opposed to “customary to kiss”)
  • “The Lord is a shoving leopard.” (instead of “a loving shepherd”)
  • “A blushing crow.” (“crushing blow”)
  • “A well-boiled icicle” (“well-oiled bicycle”)
  • “You were fighting a liar in the quadrangle.” (“lighting a fire”)
  • “Is the bean dizzy?” (“Dean busy”)
  • “Someone is occupewing my pie. Please sew me to another sheet.” (“Someone is occupying my pew. Please show me to another seat.”)
  • “You have hissed all my mystery lectures. You have tasted a whole worm. Please leave Oxford on the next town drain.” (“You have missed all my history lectures. You have wasted a whole term. Please leave Oxford on the next down train.”)

Do not miss the other interesting examples given in the above wikipedia page :flutter by (butter fly), Resident Pagan” (President Reagan) , US’s periodic practice of “Licking their Peaders” (Picking their leaders), NSA “poopin’ on Snutin” (Snoopin’ on Putin) and “phugging everybody’s bones” (bugging everybody’s phones).

08-2021 Lessons a pencil can teach us !

Lessons a pencil can teach us !

A young boy was watching his grandmother writing on a book. He asked her what she was writing.

His grandmother stopped writing and said to her grandson:
I am writing a story, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using.
I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special.
‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve seen!’

“That depends on how you look at things. It has seven qualities which, if you manage to adopt them, will make you a happy person who is always at peace with the world.”

  1. First quality: You must never forget that there is a hand guiding you. We call that hand God / almighty / supreme power and He always Guides us according to His Will.
  2. Second quality: Now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, it is much sharper.
    So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.
  3. Third quality: The pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes.
    This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the right path.
  4. Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.
  5. Fifth quality: It always leaves a mark.
    In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in every action of yours.
  6. Sixth quality : It gets shorter and shorter with use…. so also life.
    Make the most while it lasts.
  7. Seventh quality: It writes till the very end.
    Be useful and productive till your last day on this mother Earth
  8. ***

07-2021 Alan Turing is mine !

But who was Alan Turing ? Why is he so famous ?

If you are not too much into computer science, AI and stuff like that, you may as well assume that Alan Turing is the God of computer science. The proof, if required, comes from the fact that the world’s biggest prize/award in Computer Science is named after him, and also the fact that the fundamental (smallest) model of a computer was developed by Alan Turing ! He gave the real meaning of “computation”, at a time when there were no computers around !

To know more about this genius, see :: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing

But his life had a pitiable end. See : the man who knew too much .

How did I get to own Alan Turing ? I simply managed to get a 50 GBP note issued by the bank of England on 23 July 2021. Details are here :: the new 50GBP note .

I thank my dear friend Christian CHEVALIER who procured this treasure and mailed it to me promptly. Mille merci, cher ami.

I can now claim proudly, Alan Turing is mine !

06-2021 Copyright is NOT the “right to copy”

One of the most misunderstood terms in the English language is “copyright”. The word “copy” in “copyright” is a noun (denoting the original object, created by an author) and not a verb (denoting making a duplicate). The French have a more explicit and less ambiguous term: “droits de l’auteur”, which can be translated as “author’s rights”.

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. It is important to note that copyright protects only the “original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves”. An idea is an abstract entity. It is expressed in many ways : as words (prose, or poetry), as music (lyrics, or tune), as figures (map, sketch, diagram, drawing, painting, icon, sculpture, photographs, logos, monograms, emblems) , as computer programs, or in any other palpable form/medium). Such an expression (of an idea) is often called as “copy”.

warning !The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by restrictions and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. These rights frequently include usage, reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and “moral rights” such as attribution. Typically, the duration of a copyright spans the author’s life plus 50 to 100 years (that is, copyright typically expires 50 to 100 years after the author dies, depending on the jurisdiction).

Another term closely related to “copyright” is a “license”. A “license” is a legal instrument used for sharing the copyrights of the author. The license can be granted only by the author — the person who owns the copyright. A license is a formal document which specifies the rights being shared, and the conditions attached to this sharing. The license can come for free (gratis) or may require a “license fee” .

The difference between copyright and license is similar between an ownership document (of a house) and a rent/lease agreement (for the house). While renting out an apartment, the owner specifies various conditions (see examples below), but retains the ownership with himself. Another analogy would be like buying a train ticket. The passenger gets the right to use the train, the train still belongs to the railway company. The ownership is not transferred to the tenant (house) or the passenger (train). A more common place comparison could be the road license you obtain (by paying a fee — sometimes called as road tax) for your car or vehicle. Only the conditions of usage by the tenant/passenger/road user is formalised.

In the case of road license (road tax), you are authorised to drive on public roads, subject to your following a whole lot of (complex) traffic rules. You may use the road, but you do NOT own the road !

For a house/apartment :

Here are some common examples of conditions which can be specified in a rent/ lease document :

Usage: The tenant may not use the apartment for commercial purposes. The tenant may not store weapons, explosives etc. in the apartment. The tenant should not disturb the peace and tranquility of the neighbourhood.

Copying / distribution: The tenant may not be allowed to hire out the apartment to others. He is not authorised to sell or mortgage the apartment.

Modifications: The tenant is not allowed to make any modifications to the structure (e.g. breaking walls, blocking windows or doors etc.). The tenant may also not be allowed to repaint the apartment. The tenant may not add rooms or extensions of any kind.

Attribution: The tenant must retain the actual owner’s name and title in all documents pertaining to the house.

The train ticket analogy is pretty similar. Each train company can impose its own set of restrictions/limitations with the ticket you buy, for instance :

Usage: This ticket permits you to travel only between the stations mentioned in the ticket (via the route specified, if any). Some tickets also specify the train or the class you can travel, or even the dates and time of travel. Sometimes, even the compartment number and the seat number may be imposed.

Copying : You cannot use a copied ticket for travel. The ticket is not transferable.

Modifications: You cannot make any modifications to the train or compartment you are travelling in.

Like a rent/lease agreement, a license may adopt / impose similar conditions. The license may or may not require payment of any kind.

A license is a contract between the author and the user. The author is free to take any action, if the user violates any conditions mentioned in the license (copyright infringement). The author may take up
any legal step, like: simple , written warning, “cease and desist” legal notice, litigation, penalty, arrest and prosecution …… The availability and cost of such options may vary from country to country.

Certain businesses e.g. music and entertainment business, have advocated the extension and expansion of copyright and sought additional legal and technological enforcement. The computer software industry has its own adaptation. There is a plethora of licensing schemes adapted for the computer software industry. Two licenses stand out, for their popularity:
* The GNU General Public License (GPL), created by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).
* The Creative Commons License

These two licenses provide an unambiguous and standardised framework for sharing computer software or similar literary publications, and makes life generally easy for both the user and the author. It is generally painful and cumbersome for the author to detect all copyright infringement, all the time, and take up legal action against the alleged offender. The user feels assured that he may not have overlooked any invisible restrictions or rights.

Some social activists object to restrictions imposed in the name of copyright. Two examples of such movement are :

  1. Freeculture.org
  2. Project Gutenberg

Both these movements define a legal framework for overcoming copyright restrictions (in specific cases).

DISCLAIMER: The author is NOT an expert in legal matters. The above post is only his personal impression on copyright. Consult a qualfied and competent legal professional for confirmation on the above.

NOTE: All the downloadable material published by this author on the web, are licensed under a CC-BY-SA License.


05-2021 Oxymorons

Figures of speech in English make your writings interesting and worth reading. An “oxymoron” is a clever usage of two contradictory words,
to innovatively convey an idea. Here are some interesting examples of oxymorons (the last one is the most interesting) :

*1) Found Missing*

*2) Open Secret*

*3) Small Crowd*

*4) Act Naturally*

*5) Clearly Misunderstood*

*6) Fully Empty*

*7) Pretty Ugly*

*8) Seriously Funny*

*9) Only Choice*

*10) Original Copies*

*11) Exact Estimate*

*12) Tragic Comedy*

*13) Foolish Wisdom*

*14) Liquid Gas*

*15) Working Holiday*

*16) Toxic Honey*

*And The newest Mother of all is*

*17) Social Distancing”*

“And I Forgot to mention”..

” *Happily Married* ” !!*

See also : anagrams

04-2021 The man who knew too much

Who were the more treacherous ones ? The German thugs ? Or, The selfish English ?

Remembering the enigma 67 years after his death : Alan Mathison Turing

Based on :

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing

2. Alan Turing The Enigma, by Andrew Hodges, Pub.: Simon & Schuster (1983)

Alan Mathison Turing

Born: 23 June 1912, Maida Vale, London, England

Died : 7 June 1954 (aged 41), Wilmslow, Cheshire, England
Cause of death : Suicide (suspected but not confirmed) by cyanide poisoning

This is the enigmatic true-story of an intellectual giant who is the basis and reason for our modern digital world. Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing machines are a central object of study in theory of computation. In computational theory, Turing machines are considered rivals to Alonzo Church’s Lambda calculus. Although Turing’s proof was published shortly after Alonzo Church’s equivalent proof using his lambda calculus, Turing’s approach is considerably more accessible and intuitive than Church’s. According to the Church–Turing thesis, Turing machines and the lambda calculus are capable of computing anything that is computable. John von Neumann acknowledged that the central concept of the modern computer was due to Turing’s paper.

Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre. While working at Bletchley Park, Turing, who was also a talented long-distance runner, occasionally ran the 40 miles (64 km) to London when he was needed for meetings, as he was capable of world-class marathon standards. He would often be seen riding to work, on his bicycle. To match his
prolific physical stamina, he had an incredibly bright mental prowess.

Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Despite all his incredible accomplishments, he was never fully recognised in his home country during his lifetime because much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act. On the contrary, he suffered utmost humiliation and shame, based on a flimsy and questionable event, and died a pitiable death.

During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre that produced Ultra intelligence. Turing played a crucial role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic. It is estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by more than two years and saved over 14 million lives.

In 1952, Turing was arrested and charged with “gross indecency” under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Homosexual acts were criminal offences in the United Kingdom at that time. Turing was convicted and given a choice between imprisonment and probation. His probation would be conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal physical changes designed to reduce libido.He accepted chemical castration treatment, with DES (diethylstilbestrol), as an alternative to prison. He accepted the option of injections of what was then called stilboestrol (now known as diethylstilbestrol or DES), a synthetic oestrogen; this humiliating feminization of his body was continued for the course of one year. The treatment rendered Turing impotent and caused breast tissue to form, fulfilling in the literal sense Turing’s prediction that “no doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I’ve not found out”.

On 4 September 1939, the day after the UK declared war on Germany, Turing reported to Bletchley Park, the wartime station of GC&CS (Government Code and Cyber School) and created all the formidable magic which went against the Germans and their enigma machines. But in 1952, Turing’s conviction led to the removal of his security clearance and barred him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British signals intelligence agency that had evolved from GC&CS in 1946, though he kept his academic job. He was denied entry into the United States after his conviction in 1952, but was free to visit other European countries. Turing was never accused of espionage but, in common with all who had worked at Bletchley Park, he was prevented by the Official Secrets Act from discussing his war work. According to the conspiracy theory, it is possible that the secret services considered him too great a security risk and assassinated one of the most brilliant minds in their employ.

Turing was appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1946. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1951, the anti-climax was reached in 1952 when he was arrested for homosexuality.

Heart-broken, humiliated by the very people whom he saved, embarassed, insulted and treated as an untouchable, Turing put an end to it all in 1954 by biting into a (suspected but not confirmed) cyanide-laced apple (he was just over 41 years). There was no autopsy performed and there was no coroner’s report on his death. Only a haphazard, half-hearted “investigation” was done and only speculative reasons were found. In 2009, following a campaign (by brilliant people like Stephen Hawking), British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated”. Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013, some 59 years LATER than his mysterious death.

And 8 years after that, in 2021, the UK Government released a 50 Pound currency note in his honour, 67 years after his death/suicide (See: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/polymer-50-pound-note ). Since he died when he was just 41, he should have lived up to 108 years (67+41) to see all these reconcilliatory gestures (aka eye wash).

Will any of these gestures make him rise from his grave ?

Who were the more treacherous ones ? The thugs Germans ? The selfish English ?