Sound the bugle

Simple math solves heady problem

Posted in Mas despacio, por favor, The circus has landed by justescaped on April 25, 2007

Frustrated that their skills are largely ignored by the hero-worshipping adolatory babes, mathematicians (few of them) have started flexing their muscles by solving the one problem that mystifies all, one that of beer head.

SciAm reports:

“It’s exhilarating,” Srolovitz (the math guy) says. “I’ve always found this problem very sexy.”

Sexy or not, complex equations certainly provide a tantalizing hint at a future without beer-head; an elysium of free flowing beer on clean table tops.

Who knew that the solution to heady problem boils down to a single equation,

“According to the new equation, the change in volume….is essentially the sum of the lengths of the domain’s edges (imagine a honeycomb) minus six times the mean width of the domain, all multiplied by a constant that is particular to the material in question.”

The material in question, of course, being beer, the one beverage (other than water) that man and dog like alike.

But before we start celebrating, solving the equation could be harder than what your local bartender could tackle.

“‘It’s a very complicated type of evolution,”… “It’s going to be much harder to figure out how the network behaves.'”

But if that doesnt convince young kids to take up maths, then I dont know what will. Previous approaches to beer zen have involved undergoing rigorous physical training, as in the example here.

Math seems so much better.

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Kryptonite by any other name…

Posted in Mas despacio, por favor by justescaped on April 25, 2007

…is Jaderite.

Its a bad sign for the world that even before super-heroes are discovered, their nemesis are (literally) unearthed.

SciAm reports:

“The collective laughter of Lex Luthor, Brainiac and a host of other DC Comics villains was heard reverberating throughout Metropolis this morning, according to the Daily Planet.”

Such scientific insight comic-book writers have, and I detect a frustrated chemist lay hidden beneath. Real scientists, however, are more dull. Like the discoverer of Jaderite, Dr Chris Stanley, who proposes very non-super uses for the mineral:

“Borosilicate glasses are used to encapsulate processed radioactive waste, and lithium is used in batteries and in the pharmaceutical industries.”

Exciting stuff.

A massacre, not a tragedy

Posted in Uncategorized by justescaped on April 18, 2007

The happenings at VTech on Monday April 16th have numbed the senses; not because of the magnitude and nature of the crime, condemnable and heart-breaking as they are, but because of the inevitably irrational response it has provoked within different sections of internet communities – news media, blogs.

This irrationality has been summarized in this sharp post by Curious Gawker, which is cuttingly succinct. The same lines will be relevant the next time such a massacre (and NOT a tragedy) occurs.

The killing had nothing in common with a tragedy, except having an unhappy ending; the rest was a combination of malice and negligence, which left unchecked, will repeat again. Bhopal was a tragedy; but VTech, like Khmer Rouge, 9/11 and Columbine (and many depressingly others), was not. The victims in the latter suffered and died as a result of hatred and/or mental imbalance, where lies the tragedy in that? They were executed, massacred, murdered, anything but died tragic deaths. Calling it a tragedy sanitizes the event, giving it a feel of a misfortune which was terrible but unforeseeable, like an earthquake or tsunami. This was and should have been avoidable.

If anything, Cho’s decline from an (apparently) normal childhood in an (apparently) normal family, into a murderous raging youth can be construed as a tragedy. But that is unlikely to happen.

He and She

Posted in Poetry by justescaped on April 17, 2007

Unabashedly inspired from Vikram Seth’s “Round and Round ;

He

Stood forlorn in the shimmering dusk

As her shadow faded away

And the words he thought say she must

They never came his way

Ahead his dreams lay scattered

For just when it mattered

He couldn’t say it himself;

She

Wept as she walked in the melting snow

He didn’t ask her to stay

The state of her heart, she had told him though

Albeit from some yards away

For the words she had uttered

They’d tossed and they fluttered

And in the wind, were they swept away ;

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Pelicanese

Posted in Life pictorial by justescaped on April 15, 2007

Pictured by my friend Badri, using a Fujifilm Finepix 3200 camera in the winter of 2002 in Goleta, CA.