AlgoMantra, b. 2005

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The Bhook of Changez (The Hunger of...the Khan??)
Frenlish or Englench? I'm reading an essay called Liquid Grammar, Liquid Style by Thorsten Botz-Bornstein "On the East-Asian Way of Using English or Reflections on the "Linguistic Air-Guitar". He too shares my view that mutation of languages in East Asia represent the creation process on an entirely new language. He cites some hilarious phrases, and some very sensible observations: Asia this phenomenon is more frequent. Foreign language words are often used as effective tools without creating language by relying on their visual function. These words are to be understood as silent (to be seen rather than heard), expressing a style rather than a clear semantic message.

Of course, this transition is hand-in-hand with the shifting scales of power between the East and the West over the last century. In fact, languages are the real empires and they are not controlled by people (quite the contrary). Sanskrit was being studied in China extensively for this reason, the Chinese know the power of language. "Steal the beams, change the pillars.." says their 8-legged Book. The fact that a large population of urban Indians survive on Chinese street food (cooked by slant-eye d chefs from the North-east of India!) is evidence that the beams have already been stolen. By using EA English one intends, says Thorsten:

(1) To be respectful towards the English language (and thus to degrade oneself because "we cannot say these things in Chinese or Japanese"). At the same time, by distorting it, one ends up being disrespectful towards English.

(2) To colonize the English language by using it, though at the same time being aware that one is colonized by it through its use.

All this makes a lot of sense in terms of my own evolution as a writer/performer (and joker) but the most revelatory conclusion by the author is here:

from the outset EA English was not supposed to be "real English" but what people imagine English to be. The words in magazines, pictorial as they are, ask to be entered like one enters a dream. The words and sentences are silent and mysterious and the opposite of concrete: they have the fleeting character of words overheard on television or of words written by a talented computer which has language but no thought processes. They also resemble the language of e-mails because they have neither the presence of spoken speech nor the documentary commitment of traditional letters.

Bingo! Brillianto! And it is no suprise that he ends by a nod to Deleuze & Guattari (hurray!) or that he teached in Finland *wink*.
Monday, May 29, 2006
The Bridge Of Rama & Computability
What a glorious day! I have found a relationship between sequential logic, Rama's Bridge to cross over to Lanka. Also, another symmetry between Shiva Sutras (the laws of Panini's grammar for Sanskrit, a kind of periodic table for phonemes) & Mendeleev's Periodic Table of Elements (PDF). But it gets more mysterious, boys - think of the following process as an algorithm:

They stood in one long line and passed the hills from shoulder to shoulder, all the while repeating aloud the Name of Rama. Off and on, they also uprooted huge trees, and passed them onward to the bridge side, where Nala and Nila were casting the materials into the water.

The whole of that day they worked without rest and with no thought of food or sustenance. They built a length of 14 yojanas in one day. Refreshed by a good night's sleep, they rose before dawn, during the Brahma muhurtha itself, and resumed work. They acclaimed with cheers, "Jai to Sri Ramachandra, our Lord," and hurried to the various corners of the land in search of hills and mountains. They brought them on to the shore and piled them there for being used by Nala and Nila.

The second day, the bridge was extended by another twenty yojanas; the next day, they were able to build it for a further length of twenty one yojanas; the fourth day saw the bridge extending over a further twenty two yojanas. And, on the fifth day, by constructing a further twenty three yojanas, they completed the 100-yojana bridge in another successful spurt.

Thus, Nala and Nila, unconcerned with exhaustion or the need for rest, intent on fulfilling the task assigned by Rama for the completion of his mission, were able to announce in the Presence of Rama that the bridge was ready, because his Name and Form were ever before those who toiled for its completion.

Rama was informed through Sugriva that the hundred-yojana bridge, he had resolved upon was finished and ready to be used.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Algebra of Quota Protests
Emphasis: Control and generation of Electric power equals political power on a democratic stage. There is no difference, virtually. The government acts as a clearing, forwarding and distribution agent, sometimes by proxy.

Part - I

When you study at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, one of most enduring lessons you learn during the four-year course is a line attributed to David Gilmour : "If you give a stratocaster to a monkey, don't expect him to sound like Pink Floyd." The question the Indian government faces now is how many Givson Jumbos should be given out to rhesus macaques, how many Hobner F-holes to langurs, and so on, while the guitars gently weep.

According to the Manmohan Singh government, 27% seats at medical education institutes should be reserved for people of backwards classes (OBCs), perhaps even more. The students are arguing for a meritocracy, while the government leverages its options to protect the electorate. Both parties ignore the massive penetration of the Internet in India, and the merits of long-distance education. Is it possible that with the presence of countless cybercafes and mobile phones, educational institutions
may have to radically alter what they currently offer?

They have always offered degrees and jobs, yes, but there is a sudden realisation in the face of quota protests that some education could also be (possibly) imparted by these institutions. The Indian Institutes of Technology may admit some of the best brains in the country, but once inside - they offer little more than textbooks, bored professors, sexual repression, and out-of-date laboratory equipment. Please note that such an atmosphere can prepare you for hell in professional life, and as such, it is the best education you can get anywhere on earth. In comparison to this, the cybercafes of India offer everything except coffee - airconditioning in the summer, casual banter between cubicles, cheap rates for surfing, and occasional hideout for a
snog with your mate (IITs on the other hand, have a pathetic sex ratio).

The students of India are slow on the uptake that the institutions they are fighting to get inside "are" the factories that generate backward classes. Educational reservations are really mechanisms of distributing the profits of economic liberalization, and a disturbing type of bribery to the poor. After all, which sensible farmer would dream of reaping the harvest before he has sown it? Which teacher would expect a dakshina before his student graduates? The Government of India has a massive programme for self-employment, and it is surprising that self-education has never occurred to them as an alternative approach to learning. How can it, when the government has little or no role to play in it?

The real question is how many students of this country cheated through their 7th grade algebra paper, or solved the equations themselves. Here is presented the algebra of reservation quotas – for all to see and critique.

Part II

Asumption: There are two kinds of people – forward and backward.

Logic: It is common sense that only backward people would want reservation quotas, since it is only in their favor. If you're a forward rooting for backward quota, you are really backward in forward clothing and should be beaten up.

Algebra: Let us assume the population of India is P, and that Y people are already inside the said institutions which take in X people every year, and emit the same number annually. It is widely rumored that India is a democratic republic, where more than 50% majority is needed to pass any bill as a law. Now, the proposition of reservation quotas effectively says that:

More than 50% of X students seeking admission to institutions containing
Y people are backward, and therefore need at least 50% reservation for
those people (sic). X/2 students are backward, at least, and the same
number forward when they get in.

Number of people in society total at this time are (P-Y), out of which X are seeking admission. If India is a democracy it is necessary that more than (P-Y)/2 people are backward, and that is why they are given 50% reservation. X/2 backward people are added to the institutions and that same number pass out as 'forward" graduates or retirees. The total number of people of both kinds in society, outside of the Y people undergoing "forwardification" now changes:

Less than (P-Y)/2 would be added with X/2 = forwards

More than (P-Y)/2 – X/2 = backwards

For the reservation of 50% for forwards to remain in effect, it is necessary
that, assuming that the Y people who have gained access to institutions
do not count yet:

(P-Y)/2 – X/2>(P-Y)/2 + X/2
…………..which is an impossibility!

So the situation will keep oscillating between forwards and backwards
having the upper hand. In fact, it would be necessary to ensure that
more than 50% people remain backwards for reservation laws to be
effective. The law will unquestionable lead society to a situation
where a minority would be ruling over a majority.

A majority of Indians believe that this is already the case.

Part III - The Truth

1. All industries and large-scale organisations run on electricity, including
the supply of water, illumination, airconditioning, and communication.

2. The nation state depends on electricity to maintain its relevance. If the
government cannot provide electricity to its people, it has no reason to exist. The constitution was also printed on a Movable Type press (which runs on electricity too)

3. In 1910 when electricity was brought to Bombay, and mill workers were
expected to work overtime in the night, they revolted. This started the nationalism movement which overthrew the British Empire in 20 years.

4. Energy prices have been raised in the shadow of the protests, quietly - by Reliance. The government says that there is no more subsidy available. The UPA government has focussed most of its attention on nuclear plants and the energy problem since its inception.

5. All educational institutions depend solely on electricity for their functioning. They are, in fact, social machines that run on electricity. Can you imagine an IIT without electricity?

6. Essentially, reservation quotas are a way of distributing electricity (for studying) to aspiring students on a caste to caste basis. Shocking, isn't it?
Sleeby Gonsalves
apna Kottke babu has linked to the work of Canadian artist Rob Gonsalves and says his work is "part Salvador Dali, part Rene Magritte, and part M.C. Escher".

I agree with the last two, but Dali - certainly not! It is clear from Rob's work that he's into "merging dualism" in almost every painting. Dali was more scatter-brained than all of the above combined. Where Gonsalves, Magritte & Escher showed a highly defined conceptual continuity - Dali kept on trying to confuse himself so that his work is nothing short of hallucinogenic.

I do like his work - and here is one entitled "The Performer & His Audience". You will see that many of his other paintings borrow from the same theme. [[LINK]]
Saturday, May 20, 2006
The Sunday When Time Stopped
Listen to this nice BBC audio about Time (that mysterious instrument of social control):

the body's internal clock speeds up when facing a potential catastrophe, so that it can take in more information more quickly and function more effectively in an emergency.

I had documented at least one such experience in Worli Waterskate.

Link to More Strangeness:

1. A fish with markings that resembled a Koranic text has been found by Kenyan officials after vanishing from the fisheries office where it was stored.

2. Chladni Patterns On Salt (video)
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Cantometriks: The Global Jukebox

The theory I have been developing to analyse the "health" of societies is apparently called cantometrics. My essay Diplomacy In D-Minor was a step in this direction, clearly.

that the dominant values of societies fundamentally influence how their members sing; that this influence applies wherever folksong is found in its natural state; and that the world distribution of singing styles is patterned on the world distribution of human societies.

I think I have agree with this at this point on an intuitive level, until I make some further discoveries. If not, why is Himesh Reshamiah the ruling singer on the charts even as Gujarat burns? Does the pain of Gujarat use him as medium? If media are extensions of man, man is a medium/extensions of what? Ya Ali, his latest a call to the prophet by a Hindu. The symmetry of opposites here is almost unnerving to me. The essay anticipates my feelings:

For if music expresses our view of the world, then it will change as that world changes. In any event, Lomax tells us, there followed in the wake of this autocracy, a sorrowful, repining kind of song. It was heavily ornamented, melodically indeterminate, with narrow intervals and rhythmically free. This he calls the high lonesome complaint. It spread to the Orient in one direction, to the empires of North Africa in the other and down to the Wolofs of Senegal, before being carried from there into the mouths of Mississippi convicts and mule skinners. A staggering traverse by any standards, but the ball doesn't stop rolling even then. 'There are', he tells us, 'more than hints of this ancient song type in the so called big songs - the highly-ornamented and complex bardic melodies - that entertained the kings of Ireland in ancient times.

Listening to: Ari Ari (remix) feat Overseas, by Bombay Rockers
Monday, May 15, 2006
Back 2 Back
I had two performances back to back this weekend, after which I got solidly drunk and smoked up before crashing out. Anyway, as I had expected, data is slowly spilling onto the Internet.

Here is my Flickr photostream from the performance for Friday Club at Indigo (Colaba). Er..but the show was for their Sunday brunch.

Saturday: @BarCampMumbai I used LEMu 2.0 for the music, and Vick Crishna slipped in a nice coda on his harmonica towards the end. It was the first time I had trid to juggle so many things at once, and here are some reviews from blogs:

The DJ performance was ok, I liked the concept but could not understand the story. My fault though, as I got there late and left midway. - Entrepreneur Geek

And a very generous review by Rudra on BarcampLive (thanks, Dude!):

Just done with the AWESOME talk about LISP... it was great I shall up date the techie date later but right now just to update you all I am in a cool Entertainment Program by DJ Fedreu (if I am spelling his name correctly.). It is some story by some astrologer.