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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