Redefining Literacy

Brilliant article on literacy. I can get used to that hope. This is also the reason, I am considering an mba. :-)

the collation of reading and writing with exposition and composition of text has caused a value bubble in literacy/school/workplace.
Currently the market for exposition and composition/condensation is rarefied and non-existent and definitely paid less than many other professions and probably less than even what people good at exposition and compositions/condensation would prefer.

For evidence look at teaching as a profession and those who do it and more importantly the motivations behind those professors and teachers.

One example of the same author and ribbonfarm blog is this post . Here he’s clearly expositing ideas more abstract the original Morning is wiser than evening proverb. He not only goes all meta , but constructs a good loosely coupled arc of quite a few concepts and posts he blogs about. And that last part is what makes me go back to his blog regularly, it’s very compelling story-telling. There are times, i hate his dense, writing style, because am not interested in all the cognitive work required to decipher the implications and end up speed reading, but keep going back to his blog for that coherence in his blog posts.

Some of them are very loosely coupled, some are tight, but most importantly they(blog posts and ideas in them) are like legos blocks, you can go back read, disassemble and reconstruct. I have come to believe that the dense, writing style is a necessary condition for this style of story-telling and rather very essential. Infact, I believe my preference for simpler, technical manual style writing is what stops me from becoming a better story-teller. The reason i believe this dense style is essential, is it allows the author write more in lesser time and more importantly, write about naturally complex/conflated ideas, without wasting too much time simplifying and disassembling them.

Ever since i read about cognates here . I have been obsessed about it and now that’s word that comes to mind to replace the legos block analogy with a new term. Unfortunately, reading about it on Wikipedia only makes me feel that the definition is very narrow. Perhaps that’s a good thing from the linguistics viewpoint. To me, the definition of cognate is: a summary of neurological states. In that context, i would say, language is a tool for transferring/transmitting/communicating cognates from on living being to another. And perhaps, that’s one of the reasons we have so many conflicts and issues in interpersonal relationships. As the material wealth gets mass produced more and more the lack of ability to transfer/communicate cognates becomes more and more evident.

And the culture of learning and repeating accurately comes in the way of expositing and condensing cognates from and into words. Infact it trains us to not do that at all or as that being a waste of time.

letting go

What do you do when you realize you have a chronic condition/problem in letting go? (i.e: when you realize that you have a tendency to never leave the past alone and an OCD to recall what your masters’ thesis guide would have said/actually said, what your ex-startup boss would have said/said, what your ex-colleagues said/would have said..) You sigh, accept it and learn to manage it. You learn that you do ruminate not just food, but thought past experiences, thoughts actions etc..

What do you do, you shrug, learn how to manage it.. easy to say… but these lessons are harder to learn……. for a couple of reasons
1. They are very intrinsic nature, and whatever people have tried to talk about have been biased by their metaphors.
2. It is vague and general enough to be a Research/subject area of itself on it’s own. Heck, i guess it would even take Marvin(the paranoid android) a long time get to some useful conclusions..

Well, you can also do another thing, start thinking about your mindspace/attention as an asset(much like money) and watch how you use it?? i.e the metaphors you are using..like this article on money.

Introspection

Clearly the computing substrate i have grown up uses algorithm on this priority.
1.recursion
2.pattern matching(probably a side-effect of strong memory)
3.Deductive Reasoning
4.Inductive Reasoning

Note Inductive Reasoning at the last?? that may be the reason, i haven’t developed many products so far.. I should include probabilistic Reasoning, but not sure where that comes in…

Application Development frustration..

As someone trying to glue together various pieces of software to get some thing done..A.K.A Application developer, the most frustrating thing to do is reading up existing packages and learning their api interfaces…function names, arguments, format of arguments etc…

But what happens when you are calling some code you have written a month ago as part of the same application, and can’t remember the exact format of the arguments you assumed when designing that…
That’s infact a reliable sign of your capacity to design apis. i.e: you may be bad at designing api’s or interfaces….

My first trek experience around chennai

the trek to nagalapuram on days 31-Dec-2011 and 01-Jan-2012
Ok, now that a couple of post trek write-ups are in, i am forced to keep my promise and write up… Since,it(the trek) was a last minute get-out of jail act for me , i’ll stick to my mental states(mostly affective) during the trek* .

To begin with, i was both excited and nervous about meeting a group of strangers and going on a trek with them. Not because, I haven’t done it before, but because i hadn’t done it in about year and a half(meeting a group of strangers face to face). Hanging around in IRC doesn’t count as meeting strangers, given the anonymity and protection of a computer and internet in between. I have been in my nerd shell for the last couple of years.It was my re-entry to trekking and social life(as in meeting and spending time with a group of people, not to mention sleeping :-)) Anyway after having been in a social exile* for close to 1 and a half years i bit the bulllet and went for the trek.

Anyway,first side-effect of it was fitful short sleep. So there i was out around 3.45ish planning to walk till vadapalani(from valluvar kottam)**.
Well, luckily, i hitchhiked instead and there i was at vadapalani just about 4. Now begins the frustrating wait, as these things go, whenever there’s a cab involved almost always it gets delayed, infact the earlier the start the longer the delay. I know this for sure now, and had a hunch before i started that early, damn if only i had followed my hunch. So there i was waiting for close to an hour, oscillating between going to koyambedu in one of the share-autos and waiting, well you know which side won out.(the lazy side, which demanded little thinking/work of course…:-P)

At the end of the trek,i.e the 2nd day, i was singing out aloud in that uniquely out of tune way i do. I mean the last time i can remember singing aloud in the presence of a bunch of people was also in a trek.. though i can’t remember which one… And my last trek before this was atleast a year and a half ago…

On the other hand, it also brought to me the reason i like to take responsibility and do stuff for others(aka philanthropy/social service) is because i have left over energy(only on the second day, did i really volunteer to help out, though it turned to be not necessary.)
Finally, i get in the cab, i find among a bunch of new faces, just introducing ourselves, to whoever is the nearest and focussing on getting the hell out of the mad,crazy,noisy,concrete jungle that is chennai… And SN is in the lead, with a google map for help and figuring out the route.Being barely awake, i can’t remember much of the discussion that was going on at that time.
Now we finally leave from vadapalani and go to koyambedu, where we pickup SV and a couple of other guys. Well, the moment we got down, we had sethu looking for anand, and somehow he didn’t register me telling him i am anand must’ve been my mumbling accent:-).. Anyway, i introduced myself twice as anand and things were fine..

And on we went till ottakavi where we were joined by the trio from bangalore. Now this was around 7.30-8.00 and this is where i starte my first mistake of not finding a breakfast right here.. and going for a chips packet instead #$#@$%***…
Anyway, on we went towards nagala till the road metamorphosed first into mud-filled maattu vandi paathai and later into not a road at all. At this point there was a small trickle of water flowing across the path and we decided to start walking from here, and not risk push the TT further…So as we get out in the hot sun, we split up the food and stuff, i chuck all my extra luggage i was carrying,Also making the mistake of throwing away the towel i had. i guess that makes me a bad hitchhiker in the galaxy….:-(

Now about half a kilometre in and the road (nay mud-path) became less of a path and more of a slushy land.about half a km more and we hit the dam we climbed up to see there’s no Dam wall or rather it has been flooded with water and is invisible, that must have been the first sign for previous trekkers to think that all is not well and going according to plan.Either way, they didn’t give any sign of panic and we started moving around the dam, instead of across as has been the norm in the past.

So as we started off pretty boringly or eventlessly, we reached till the first pool within no time or perhaps no events.. i can’t recall much going on except the usual chatter.
Ok, i’ll spare myself and you of repeating what others have already written and fast-forward to the end..
At the end of the trek,i.e the 2nd day, i was singing out aloud in that uniquely out of tune way i do. I mean the last time i can remember singing aloud in the presence of a bunch of people was also in a trek.. though i can’t remember which one… And my last trek before this was atleast a year and a half ago…

On the other hand, it also brought to me the reason i like to take responsibility and do stuff for others(aka philanthropy/social service) is because i have left over energy(only on the second day, did i really volunteer to help out, though it turned to be not necessary.)

Anyway, if this was a social psychology experiment, this would be the report/analysis of the results..

The results are in:
1. I do enjoy preaching and indulge in it as often as i can (just ask VR, how many times i launched into a lecture, when he tried to even make a minor suggestion :-P)… I want to say teaching but am not sure that it the difference is subtle.
2.I am about 10-20% less fit than I was 4-5 years ago and it’s time to s tart working out just to maintain the current fitness. and hopefully work my ass off to get back to that old fitness level.

3.And my love/cate relationship with limelight continues**

4. I realized why i loved aval as a favourite evening snack when i was a kid.. The high fibre-to-calorie ratio.Darn it’s one of the stuff with high fibre content that can hold of the digestive acids for a long time. Clearly a bowl(200g??) of (raw)aval can hold off about 60-70% of my lunchtime hunger…That’s darn amazing…given how little it looks and weighs..

5.Oh for all my fantasies about having grown up i still have trouble resisting a race/competition for alpha/leader status.. The fast climb from the first pool and my attempt at trying to keep pace with the leader and getting slowed down extremely later because of that overexertion earlier.

OTOH, there are some areas where i can compete, without The climb to the 50m falls on sunday… long, bare-footed,treacherous due to the slipperiness and stream.. Well i still couldn’t keep pace with SN, who was way ahead of me, but i had the endurance to keep following him and not fall behind. Wise of me not to quicken up to match his pace..:-) Clearly my sprinting abilities are limited, at the moment and i should really train for high speed activities… instead of endurance activities. My endurance abilities seem to be on par with the average, while sprinting is not..

6. Also am not as ‘living in the present’ as i would like to fool myself into. a,Losing the wallet in the TT, while getting off to home, b, Not picking up the change of clothes/memory card in phone/towel at the start of the trek..Oh and also not discussing with SN before the trek about using floaters and ignoring the shoes part.

Also, I better watch out on how to manage my hunger. When i have gone hungry for too long a time, i tend to take too many risky shortcuts.(The attempt to take lead on the first day during that steep climb up from first pool, after breakfast, The river crossing while climbing down on the second day towards the first pool.)
Luckily for me, in general there’s a huge safety factor built into my system, that i can pull it off, but i would rather not have it linked to my hunger,but would like to be able to choose to do it deliberately. In other words, i still maintain that i could have pulled off that river crossing, and could have pulled off that climb rate 5 year ago…

On the good side, i did show signs of tempering my first reactions with relatively neutral exceptions…(i.e that argument with S about amount of food i eat, first reaction was to swear, instead managed to turn and pick up more food and walk away.)

Also, when L fell down and people were shouting, i waited to try and have a look at what the actual situation is… Ofcourse that doesn’t count, because i didn’t know swimming anyway, and couldn’t have done any much by instinctive reaction, which was to just jump in(as stupid and cavemanish as it is Darn…..:-)

Overall all of these lessons + a couple of days away from the hustlebustle of chennai, for the price of a few cuts and bruises, sore shoulders and stiff neck, hell, let’s do it every weekend……It’s a great deal….No one can beat it, if you think you can go ahead:-)

And my perceptive ability to sense how others’ feel about a conversation is out of whack indeed. .Just remember the number of times i went on about something with S(good vs bad me quoting steve jobs obliviously) and VR(Branding, why a post-trek has to be edited brand image gyaan etc..)
Honestly, the social exile has worked in that sense of becoming indifferent to other people’s feelings.. Remember the argument with VR towards the end of the trek at the river crossing just before the first pool.

Anyway, i ended it up on a high note after all. As i said, i don’t remember singing aloud(as horribly off-tune as only i can) in the presence of people in atleast a couple of years, so it was quite refreshing.

** — Sigh..Looks like am doomed to be dogged by it throughout my life.. Ah.. well i might as well face it and enjoy facing it..:-P Seems it’s the same case with rigour and/or discipline.

* — Well, in the sense of the amount of
contiguous time i spend in the company of others. i.e to say less than 10 hrs in a room.