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When the clock strikes twelve

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(possibly not for the Germans)

Hickory dickory dock. The mouse went up the clock
The clock struck twelve, the mouse did well

to kiss and tell, that it was swell

Hickory dickory dock

Then the clock struck one, but the mouse had more fun
The clock had got stuck, as it ran out of luck

Hickory dickory dock


A poet, I’m not, as the petty lines above show. This time as the pen has run dry, I am mulling over how time flies or crawls in different circumstances. A deadline, looms ever larger and closer, inversely in proportion to your lack of control. And a surreal sense often envelopes one as time sometimes races, and sometimes stays still on the way to twelve. Basically it all depends on how enjoyable we find some activity, or how important it is for us. Even so, the flow of time towards a rigid cliff of a deadline is not a little mysterious.

I don’t think there is a magic wand to ward off all the butterflies and cold feet, but just think of all the things you can do on the other side of midnight!

The other other Friday bloggers: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad will have written more directly, possibly more amusing than merely musing.

Modern Democracy – success or failure

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Literally demo once meant people collectively. Or slightly disparagingly, democracy is “mob” rule in a sense. So; to demo or not to demo; that is the Q. Well, not too much much of demos these days.

But these days it looks as though we are on the road to serfdom. There are slippery bends ahead, so brace yourself, it is bound to be a dizzy tumble. It is a matter of when, not if, for at least a few of these ventures to stumble and fall. Since that is what democracies are, ventures, driven by a country’s leaders with differing levels of seriousness, commitment and acquiescence having come together at some point and deciding on how to run the country.

Humans, even though one might be loath to include politicians, have quite a few faults, never mind what they say in public. So people who desire power for it’s own sake can be loosely thought of as politicians. For there will always be politicians. So, with a cool head, what do you think? If one thinks it has all been a failure, it will be interesting to know of an alternative. I must hasten to add, at-least three generations of citizens should have prospered in their lives, reasonably placidly, both individually and collectively. I think the only commendable alternative in the recent past I could point to, would be Singapore. Some of you might object to this assessment and I shall not entertain a conversation on this matter. It isn’t a question of a few moderate or even serious mistakes or injustices perpetrated during a given government’s tenure. For that is the failing of an institution or two, to function properly. Even a careful driver in a good car may occasionally end up in a ditch. Any method is a way to manage the people of a country, it’s society and with all it’s rough edges, and it is certainly the case with democracy. The desire to smooth over the rough edges, only create the illusion of an ideal paradise, for the few, for a while.

In so far as ‘modern’ democracy is concerned, we might as well be referring to the twitterage? (A clever word that one — have I just coined it? — I have to point out these things you see, for many of my readers are the ICT crowd, they would easily be the most intelligent twits, had they been living north of the north pole).

Modern social (or is that anti-social) media does seem to increase engagement between citizens and politicians. Though, I’m afraid, it is very much a case of more heat than light. So the future isn’t very bright, just jolly hot, since it is time for Democrazy.

But all this is far too serious, since there will be always be people in the mix; it is instructive to keep in mind the difference between people and bacteria. The latter multiply by division and the former, quite the reverse. Decoded for the slow reader, usually an ICT professional “people divide by multiplication”.
(I just had to sprinkle some lame mathematics, eh what?)

The other other Friday bloggers: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad will have a perspective of some sort, I’ve yet to find out, but I’m sure theirs will be written well, even if saying only as much as my post.

Modern Democracy – success or failure

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Literally Demo, at one point meant people collectively. Sometimes, mob rule in a sense. But we can stick with ‘people’ shall we? So; to demo or not to demo; that is the Q. Well not too much much of demos these days.

We are on the road to serfdom with slippery bends ahead, so brace yourself, it is bound to be a dizzy tumble. It is a matter of when, not if, for a few of these ventures to stumble and fall. Since that is what democracies are, a venture of the country’s society, with individuals of differing levels of seriousness, commitment coming to an agreement on how to run the country.

Humans, even though one might be loath to include politicians, have quite a few faults, never mind what they say in public. So people who desire power for it’s own sake can be loosely thought of as politicians. For there will always be politicians. So, with a cool head, what do you think? If one thinks it has all been a failure, it will be interesting to know of an alternative. I must hasten to add, largely at-least three generations of citizens should have placidly prospered in their lives, both individually and collectively. I think the only reasonable alternative in the recent past I can point to, would be Singapore. Some of you might object to this assessment and I shall not entertain a conversation on this matter. It isn’t a question of a handful of moderate or even serious mistakes or injustices perpetrated during a given government’s tenure. For that is the failing of an institution or two, to function properly. Even a careful driver in a good car may occasionally end up in a ditch. Any method is a way to manage the people of a country, it’s society and all it’s rough edges, and it is certainly the case with democracy.

In so far as ‘Modern’ democracy is concerned, we might as well be referring to the twitterage? (A clever word that, I have to point these things you see, for many of my readers are the ICT crowd, they are easily the most intelligent twits if they were living north of the north pole).

The world in five – Sunny, Stormy and very possibly cloudy

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It’s ironic, but my occupation these days is a lot to do with forecasting. So one might be forgiven for thinking this topic fits like a glove. Not by a long shot. My field is somewhat technical and quantitative, usually involving uni-variate time series, occasionally bi-variate or even multi-variate. Of autoregression and seasonality; having bemused most of my readers, I must make urgent amends.

About forecasting scenarios for the world, I’m jittery. I have been quite poor at forecasting (as most people are) what could happen in my own industry, let alone the world. But I have a card up my sleeve: There is a golden rule of forecasting, called, rather immodestly Srinivas’ golden rule of forecasting: You will be wrong. The point is: even if you are omniscient, an enormous ‘if’, you still have to resolve, and foretell the resolutions of observed contradictions at various scales.

So, bravely – as Sir Humphrey Appleby would have observed – here are the forecasts:

Sunny: The human race will be extinct, suddenly. Good for the world, not so much for homo sapiens, ho hum….. humans being collateral damage.

Rainy: We will continue doing all of what we are doing, only at a larger more intense scale: Polluting, bickering, consuming, wasting etc….

Cloudy: We will all be tired of the current excesses, and ease off by moderating our behaviour. Hmmmm…. this seems far- fetched, but maybe, (esp due to the reign of Srinivas’ golden rule of forecasting) just maybe, this is the outcome on the cards. On this happy note I sign off.

I’m late this time in posting, so have glanced through the other posts….. the Friday bloggers have a more sombre, less devil-may-care perspective: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad. Enjoy, if you may, laugh if you wish, but remember Srinivas’ golden rule of forecasting.

A Day In The Life Of M

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Warning: Wild fiction ahead, mind your sense.

No, nothing to do with J. Bond or blowing up a large installations for the greater good.

I could have written about the day of someone in the corporate world, who I might be acquainted with varying amounts of misfortune, or even my day, but that would be rather boring even for the patient, let alone me, and certainly not you, dear reader. Such a day is barely of any interest to anyone, I think the story of what M experienced on a special day might just allow you to have a small vicarious adventure.

On this special day M greets a slightly misty morning with a sense of joy and enchantment. There is so much promise, so much to do and so little time. What a lot to explore! A canopy of lush variable striking green stretches out, virtually unending, dotted densely with colourful clumps of flowers at various distances. A botanists treasure trove. Somewhere in that canopy dangerous creatures might be lurking, but M’s well developed instincts don’t trigger any alarm and there is a relaxed sense pervades.

At the same time M is imbibed with a sense of a mission. What is the mission? Ah, that is a bit difficult to say. But, no worries, it is a good idea to have refreshments before setting off. Stopping for a few wonder filled moments to take in the colour, the mystery of the surroundings and basking in the gentle rays of an earlyish Sun, M is all set. Not worrying, not knowing about the creatures, M spies a sudden movement ahead. What on earth is this! A bright flash of colour, a bright mix of various blues, of much lapis lazuli, a bit of cyan and some azure hues. Time stood still as M marveled at this unforeseen, actually never seen before butterfly. M doesn’t think, at least not consciously, of being a lepidopterist, but is gazing in wonder for a long while, as this unknown butterfly flits hither and thither. The Sun is a surely higher, and the wonderful butterfly is friskily moving from stem to flower to leaf to nothing, and certainly seems on top of the world. The butterfly alights presently, seemingly contentedly on a bright wild marigold.

M would dearly like to behold this wonder, and without thinking hurries forward to get it, closes on it with filament encrusted wafers, but the sparkling thing flits away equally swiftly and gets away. This surprises M for some reason, and triggers another lunge. No use, whatsoever. M is temporarily nonplussed, but renews the chase soon. The little glorious thing flutters by effortlessly and starts going around a cluster of flowers with an elegant but jerky movements so typical of butterflies, reminiscent of the great Ali as some solid citizens would say (hmmm… solid at the top possibly). M follows, round and round; the twosome engage in a merry dance,for a interminable duration and it seems to becoming increasingly frenetic. At least it is for M, not at all for the fairy like blue creature. M enjoyed this at the start, for what a fascinating creature was the object of the chase. But M is tired now, and carves refreshment, and is happily distracted to partake in some. The butterfly lazily hurries away. M keeps the attractive creature in peripheral view and takes in the changed surroundings.

It is much warmer now, the cool morning dissipated, what was nice and bright earlier is now quite just a bit too much to bear comfortably, due to the heat of the Sun. It is much higher already, it could be close to noon. So much to do, so little time. An angry mynah screeches as it dives on to M, unprovoked. M just moves quickly only just a little aside and is unruffled as the bird misses. The bird seems angrier, M couldn’t care less, serves you right you ugly brute, go away, and the Mynah does. Maybe M was too close to the Mynah’s nest. Doesn’t matter, there is so much to do, no time to waste. M restarts the hunt. The rising Sun has now changed direction considerably and is not rising any more, but has come down quite a bit.

M sets off in the direction of the still floating Flizuli as M vaguely named this ethereal butterfly. It would be a precious prize, wouldn’t it? The darned Flizuli hurried on, as M followed breathlessly. Again teasingly the ring-a-rings-roses follows. After a while the butterfly is bored and draws away to a higher branch. M stops, for lunch or something of that sort. Refreshed takes time to look at the new varieties of plants and colour around this Eden of a wood. Luckily no nasty creatures close by, but just some small succulent fruit. M takes a helping and then redoubles the effort to get that elusive creature. Spying it as it moves away to lower shrubs, M follows. This time Flizuli flutters away steadily and slowly towards the west. Now M is single-minded (difficult for some people, as they don’t have one, but I digress) in pursuit, must try harder! The Sun is lower now, but the colour of the sky is changing fast as it darkens with clouds. M doesn’t take much notice and is after Flizuli. As distance is covered, tall trees are fewer and many more shrubs crop up…. the grey sky takes up much more of the field of vision, so it is still bright. Hang on! the world seems to be ending abruptly in front. Not much to see but the sky ahead. Yet, M doesn’t pay much attention. The sky above is full of dark clouds, yet it is bright, since the sun is now low, and near the horizon there are no clouds. There is a rumbling sound of thunder and some thing else. M’s instincts are slowly awakening, but unable to alert. This is a completely new experience for M, as has been much of the day so far in a manner of speaking. M is hungry again, but fights it off for now.

The butterfly seems to be going underground in a trice. M generates a burst of speed to catch up with the diving butterfly. Flizuli has happily just joined her family: brothers, sisters and cousins in blue around a lower shrubbery garnished with bright flowers. As M sights Flizuli just below the heavens open up. This wonder filled moment of distraction has caused M to overshoot. Close to the top edge of the thundering waterfall large droplets of rain and waterfall beat down upon M at the same time. The sun is low but bright as it is setting in the distance. The sunlight catches the spray and the heady colour cocktail of the rainbow, butterflies, flowers is the last sight M experiences while perishing in the depths below.

After all many a Mayfly lives just for a single day; A day in its life can very well be all of its life. Who is to say that M’s life wasn’t full of joy, purpose, wonder and thrill.

The other other Friday bloggers will have a more personal but surely more interesting a view to offer: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad. Could be a voyeur’s place.

Recipes for grandchildren, if not grandparents

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Under supervision

The recipe (for what?) is like this….

  1. Collect two or more of the little tykes.
  2. Provide a fairly large set of safe ingredients (no alligators)
  3. and make sure that deep frying, large fire roasting, etc is avoided for safety reasons.
  4. Ask one little tyke to design a recipe, to be made by another under guidance(of the first tyke) and supervision (grand-parent)

NB: Of course please see that their ideas aren’t strenuous, impractical or fatheaded, and be alert so as to stave off disaster.

By the time they finish, they will be quite hungry. The resulting product will be eaten by both/all the tykes and the grand-parent(s) prepared to be a fine actor; Hopefully they will eat without too much complaining. This will also teach them about food, company and collaboration, if not also conversation. Now, on another day the second tyke designs for the first one to prepare a dish/meal. If there are one two many tykes, a round-robin scheme should be arranged.

I’m sure that the other Friday bloggers will have more mundane, but kindly advice/thoughts: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad

Power

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oh for heavan’s sake! .. the cursory glance at Maria’s post shows she has pinched the thought in my mind, regarding Lord Acton’s dictum. Not really, I wasn’t really inclined to write about power in the normal sense, but I will take a stab. I choose a different path. As I’d indicated elsewhere, the third R of education interests me. Not something Ramana, would have suspected when he suggested this most arduous of topics.

I am inclined to elucidate on something called the power law. It is a term to describe a general mathematical relation, where a quantity depends on another quantity raised to the power of some constant. Such a relation is said to follow the power law. The law of gravity

G = SomeConstant x R-2

can be thought of as following a power law. So this means that farther you go from the sun/earth the gravitational pull will fall very quickly. Another manifestation of a power law is that there are many more towns with smaller populations than towns/cities with larger populations.

However it is useful to know of the existence of this sort of relations, as many entities in nature are subject to power laws. This law (in various strength or power) rules over many things. This is the reason I write about the power law, as an awareness of this law gives one the power to understand and handle situations which otherwise would be mysterious and hence upset calculations. Pareto’s 80/20 rule is also a power law, in form, though it is often explained in a colloquial manner. Summed up snappily by ‘the vital few and the trivial many’ whereupon we obtain a perspective of power holding, if not power.

An interesting aspect of the power law (or even Pareto’s law) is that it is scale free. Which means, if you take the 20%, even within this, 80% will have relatively small impact vis a vis the 20%. That is 20% of the 20% (ie 4%), will make up 80% of the 80% (ie 64%) of impact/effect. This can be extended indefinitely, but the next step means that the 1% will be worth about 50% of the whole.

{ If you’d like to know more about Power laws, Pareto etc…. here is a good explication. Apparently, each additional equation included in a book for the general reader, will halve sales. I hazard loosing interest very quickly by including the equation above. This also seems to be an illustration of a power law, but not really, it is even more difficult to picture. As an aside the current pandemic, isn’t guided by the power law, but by an even more beastly mathematical relation the exponential, which decent people shouldn’t have anything to do with, but unfortunately still are affected by anyway. But that is not for this post.}

I feel that the other other Friday bloggers will have a more engaging, but less mathematical perspective, and surely as interesting a view to offer: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad

Living in the now

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… and here; or living ‘in the here and now’. Can’t be blogging, as this is pretty distant from living in the here and now, isn’t it? Is here and now actually in cyberspace and not in, what is sometimes called the ‘real world’? Alright then, init?

This question exercises me. I’m sure that the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) can be safely ignored, as something on social media being of real importance is remote. I wonder if the digital natives lost touch with the first five senses, skipped the sixth and latch on to an inimical sense of cybertouch. Well, what of myself? How do I try to live in the now? I’m quite happy leafing through a book, what I miss these days is a nice cafe to hibernate. But I must admit that usually, it is much more of inane interruption rather than immersion. I think I know why that is the case, because they usually don’t play the right sort of music. Therefore it is neither ‘here and now’, nor is it ‘then and there’!

My surmise is that living in the now, is quite difficult, unless you are a student preparing single mindedly for exams, or are exploring something of deep interest… Atleast I can’t think of anything else. So for most of us, we will be living in neither now or then…. Or maybe I’m missing the point. I must stop rambling… ttyl.

STOP: , BUT, I can’t…. living in the moment. Here is something I just happened to bump into last night. I’ve not read the book, but it promises much. ‘Permanent Present Tense’ by Suzanne Corkin A somewhat literal perspective of our topic: In 1953, 27-year-old Henry Gustave Molaison underwent an “experimental psychosurgical” procedure—a targeted lobotomy—in an effort to alleviate his debilitating epilepsy. The outcome was unexpected—when Henry awoke, he could no longer form new memories, and for the rest of his life would be trapped in the moment.

I hazard that the other other Friday bloggers will have a more constructive perspective: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad

Medical Practice today

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A peep, no link, just a hint.

That is a slightly inaccurate title for what follows, but only slightly. I shall simply provide a path to an entertaining sketch regarding (a somewhat irregular, but commendable) patient practice along with doctor practice. The basic subject is a bit much for me, so my strategic retreat…. However, I aim to please. Of course, compared with the rest

…this will be the most enjoyable post … and the reason for this most audacious boast?

Ah, the material is not mine and you will have to lift a few fingers for it; but please see that your computer/phone sound system is top of the pops.

Go to that audio-visual trove, youtube and first type ‘pixie goodness’ in the search field and pick the first result (Rowan should be waiting, Pixie isn’t half bad) play and be exceedingly pleased. I think you will be gagging for more… in which highly possible case…. type ‘sellers sophia goodness’. One of the rare instances where the remake is an improvement on the original.

Why, all this mystery? Just for the sake of it, I don’t like to spoon-feed intelligent birds, by putting a link to youtube in my posts. Don’t mention it.

but other views, I dare say a bit more serious but very relevant, are here: Seven other Friday bloggers: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad.

What’s the fuss for

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We must make a fuss about, what we make a fuss about. Is the comma placed correctly? A short, yet convoluted sentence that, eh what?

Well, this is because the things one makes a fuss about, reveal something about the type of person one is. Is it the wilting rose on second plant in the slightly misshapen flowerpot? or the dangling participle? or the smudge on the windscreen? or possibly the demolition of that quaint, distinctive auditorium making way for the neat but ugly steel and glass office building sheltering blank faced, mindless, self-important yuppies. Or maybe the new education policy, which is a bit of a curate’s egg, but that is a different discussion.

So, even if we cannot always fuss over what others are fussing about, each of us can make a fuss about what oneself makes a fuss about! This is a path (not the only) to self improvement. What the newspapers hyperventilate and people focus on, while ignoring more important matters is a result of fussing over the insignificant. What we fuss about, is a reflection of what we attach importance to, and by default exclude much that could be a path to elevation.

I shall now, with a moderate amount of fuss, encouragingly point to seven other Friday bloggers: Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Maria, Shackman , Ramana and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Maria.

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