Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In slow motion

I must admit I have some kind of obsession with super slow motion (slo-mo) videos.  I think the capability of slowing down and actually observing what nature has to present, is a remarkable achievement.  And off course, Schwarzenegger riding his bike off a junction just appears so much cooler in slow motion.

But about the nature part, search for slomo on YouTube and you'll see some cool videos, some of them slowed down 20-30 times.

Creating nice super slow motion videos is not just about recording a regular video and then playing it at a slower speed.  It's about capturing a whole lot more information than what our eyes and brain can comprehend.  And then slowing all that information down to play it at a speed which humans can understand.

Humans on an average can perceive moving objects at 30 fps (frames per second).  Which is to say that, if we see 30 pictures one after the other within one second then we can perceive these pictures as a smooth motion.  Any slower, and we will find the experience jagged.  Any faster, and we will miss some pictures in between.  So, how does slow motion work?  You need advanced cameras which record at say 300 fps (it means they take 300 pictures of a moving object within one second).  Now if these 300 pictures are shown to a human at the rate of 30 fps, it's going to take 10 seconds.  See that! 10 seconds to play what actually happened in 1 second.  So, it appears to us as if it happened in slow motion.  And since the speed at which we see them is still 30 fps (ideal for humans), it still appears smooth to our eyes.

Anyway, what fascinates me is that other living beings who are capable of perceiving and interpreting things at a higher rate (let's say 60 fps) would watch us do things in slow motion.  "Those dumb humans", they might say.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Are you sure you are not dreaming?

Another gripping movie from Christopher Nolan, Inception does really well to keep you thinking.  The thought I found most interesting from the movie was whether we are all not really dreaming, having hidden our totem some place safe and unreachable?

Anyway, hats off to Nolan.  You truly are a master of story telling, Sir.  Telling such a complex story in such a short time and having people mesmerized by the ideas presented, is a special quality.  I can imagine the amount of thought, research and attention to detail that would have gone into creating this amazing piece of cinema.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Story of Randomness

If you have not read the book Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb you probably should. Irrespective of whether you are active in the markets or not, randomness plays a big role in life. The amount of their success people attribute to their skill and talent is usually much higher than they should. Randomness (also known as "just pure chance" or the "game of statistics") plays a big role in what happens anywhere at any time.

It is not to say that we should just accept everything as random and stop putting effort into anything. Quite the opposite actually.

I had an interesting discussion with a co-worker on this same topic yesterday. We both came out of the discussion with the conclusion that all efforts of mankind, all steps towards advancement are nothing but an effort to reduce randomness that nature has bestowed upon us. A sportsperson practices and practices just to make sure that he has seen most things that can happen on a sports field and when the big moment comes, he is not surprised by anything. In fact most practise whether for an interview, for a presentation, for an exam is in some way, an effort to reduce the role of chance. We build houses, wear clothes, live in air-codnitioned places to reduce the randomness caused by weather.

Simply speaking: nature is random, whereas us humans want things to be orderly and predictable. So the struggle continues.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Why am I here?

Why am I here? Other than the feeble possibility of becoming a well read author/blogger who has a huge fan following. I could then monetize this fan following by starting up paid news letters or just by putting some ads on my blog. Ads, that come through Google or others.

But, in reality chances of that happening are pretty low (I earlier said feeble which I think means the same thing..I like to repeat myself).

So, why am I really here? I hope to soon find out. But rest assured, if you are reading this blog, you are not wasting your time. People do craziest and sometimes most creative things when they feel they don't have to be in the spotlight. Blogging is just that for me.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

What's in a job

I like my job but I am not passionate about it. I am sure there are enough people in this world to make me feel comfortable about not being a minority. In the corporate world, "passion" seems to be the top requirement for any job. I have been honest a few times and told people "I am not passionate about my job but I will not let that small detail interfere with putting my best into my job". But if I lull myself into believing that I have found my passion, then I would be cheating myself. The fact that I haven't found my true passion actually forces me to keep looking for it, keep learning about things, hoping to find my real interest someday. Something I can do day in and day out without asking for "work-life balance" or without feeling the need for "compensation for putting in the hours".

The struggle continues.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

So it begins

Watch out for this space because this is where some of the most profound information in this world is going to be shared.