Thursday, November 22, 2007

How does a Human calculator do this ?

An Amazing article about a mathematician .
Alexis Lemaire has broken the record for finding the 13th root of a 200-digit number. It's an incredibly hard calculation so how does the "human calculator" do it?

Fancy yourself as a bit of mental arithmetics buff, one of those who relishes totting up the bill after a restaurant meal for 12, one of those who looks down their nose at calculator users?

Well try this for size.

The task is to find the 13th root of 85,877,066,894,718,045,

The answer's 2396232838850303. Multiply that by itself 13 times and you get the above. Even with a calculator you wouldn't beat Alexis Lemaire doing the calculation in his head.

Alexis Lemaire breaks the record in Oxford
On your marks... Lemaire prepares to break the record at Oxford
Last week, at Oxford's Museum of the History of Science Lemaire broke his own record for the task, taking it down to 77.99 seconds. Mental athlete he may be, but he speaks of his hard work in much the same fashion as any other kind of athlete.

"It is quite difficult. I did a lot of preparation for this. More than four years of work and a lot of training every day. A lot of memorising. I need three things - calculating, memorising and the third on mathematical skills. It is a lot of work and maybe a natural gift."

There is a long-standing fascination with those who can accomplish astounding feats of mental agility. The "ordinary" human wants to know how, but sadly the geniuses and the savants can only offer fragments of insight into how they function, and the scientists who have studied them rarely offer a definitive answer.

Researchers have tried to link problems with the brain either through trauma or malformation to extraordinary mental abilities - one of the theories being that damage to one area prompts compensation in another. Brain scientist Dr Allan Snyder has suggested that everyone may possess such abilities but be unable to access them.

Transforming numbers

Kim Peek, the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Rain Man, has a malformed brain and a below average IQ and yet is able to rapidly read books, memorising vast swaths of information.

I have these associations between places and numbers - some places are imaginary, I try to vary so I don't confuse the numbers
Alexis Lemaire
Lemaire explains that what he does is about transforming raw numbers into other structures so he can "see" the answer to the problem.

"When I think of numbers sometimes I see a movie, sometimes sentences. I can translate the numbers into words. This is very important for me. The art is to convert memory chunks into some kind of structure.

"I see images, phrases, actions. It's very tactile, sensitive. I have these associations between places and numbers. Some places are imaginary, I try to vary so I don't confuse the numbers. It's important to memorise. I have to be precise."

Lemaire's explanation is similar to that of British savant Daniel Tammet. Tammet set the world record for reciting pi at more than 22,000 digits at the museum in 2004.

To him, each number has a distinct colour and appearance, some beautiful, some not, with each complex calculation making up a landscape.

Icelandic in a week

But his skills also stretch to words, with Tammet having reportedly learned Icelandic in a week after a challenge.

It's safe to assume that Lemaire's brain processes don't involve the words "carry one". But there is an explanation for some of what he does. The memorisation he talks about is a series of algorithms, such as a set to tackle the first five digits of the 200-digit number.

He has refined these processes to mind-boggling lengths. For the much simpler calculation the 13th root of a 100-digit number, the first record was set at 23 minutes in 1970. Now Lemaire can manage the calculation in under four seconds.

And whatever the mental processes that lead him to the answer, the fact that he can do this in seconds and without pen or paper remains awesome to the "ordinary" brain.

Can you beat this geek ??? try hard :-)

Courtesy : cnn-news

Monday, November 19, 2007

The ugly face of Politics has popped up again !!!

Politics - Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. Although the term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, politics is observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. So this is the definition given in the wiki.

I seriously follow the indian politics and its happenings. Nothing suprises me when a party stab another party (either in opposition or coalition)in their back. So once again the ugly face of politics has popped up again. This is what we witnessed in Karnataka.

Once again, it is Janata Dal-Secular chief who is being blamed, with CM dubbing it the worst betrayal in his life. The week long power at Vidhan Soudha didnt last long and one of the excuses quoted by JDS was BJP not signing the MOU. This was just an excuse and the original reason being pressure from his family members.

The family politics once again comes in to picture similar to those of the Gandhi family , karunadhi family and their heirs.Lets hope for a better government comes into power. The sources now pointing out that the JDS will join hands with Congress and form a coalition government at Vidhan Soudha , which will now gives chance to the other son of JDS chief to head the state, sounds that each one needs to enjoy at the center.

So this is called "Opportunistic Politics" and iam not sure whether to feel sorry for BJP also , because thats how politics shows its ugly face.

Anyways thanks for reading my thoughts, I guess now you have better things to do than following "Indian Politics" :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Will the super Jumbo make a good captain ?

Its been a long time waiting for Anil Kumble to don the test side. Its better late than never!!! Everyone was taken by surprise when the selectors announced Anil as the captain for crucial test series against Pakistan. He is still going strong @ the age of 37 , and the selectors didn't have another choice after Tendulkar turned down the captaincy offer and they thought Dhoni was too in experienced to be the test captain.

But this has come @ a time when the team is molding well under the captaincy of a young ,determined Dhoni.But the selectors had other thoughts in their mind and finally landed on kumble. Maybe they could have thought about Ganguly or Laxman who by his class is underestimated player for India.My first question is , Will this be a stop-gap arrangement as test captain Or Kumble will be preferred for a long run ??

Kumble as a leg spin bowler is strong , determined and fierce. He is always out there to get wickets and any captain in the last 2 decades wouldn't have got a better spinner than Kumble to have played in their team. He has plenty of aggression on the field which was displayed when he bowled with a broken jaw against the Indies.

But my big question is Will he make a good test captain ???
He might not become the best test captain ever to captain India, but he can surely prove a point across to all his supporters that he can don the big job of captaining the Indian cricket team with sheer aggression and commitment to the sport.
Hail the Jumbo !!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diwali Dhamaka !!!

Diwali - The festival of lights , was a great occasion celebrating @ coimbatore. When am @ home it gives me a feeling of joy and excitement. To the excitement came all sorts of sweets and dishes.

This is one occasion where we old friends of mine (Schoolmates) meet up and have some fun. I was always passionate to watch movie on a big occasion like Diwali and i didn't miss the boat. I was lucky enough to watch 2 decent movies Vel & Kanamoochi Enada. So Diwali was a fun filled holidays for me back @Coimbatore.

To summarize briefly my Diwali was meeting friends , Sweets , Some good movies and Ind - Pakistan Cricket Series :-) & will be travelling back to bangalore where all the good stories end :-).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Are you experiencing the Height of Boredom ?

Guess What ?? You sometimes feel that you don't have any work to do and everything seems to be ordinary , which means you are going through one of those boring days :-)

I find myself happily njoying through these links ..

Boring days ahead ?? click here

Some of really turn me on and keeps me working hard :-)

Is it the EOR for Dravid in ODI's ?

So we have come to a breaking point before the start of the Pakistan Series , the Selectors are going tough with the current form of Ex-Captain , Rahul Dravid. The Chairman of Selectors , Dilip Vengsarkar said in a statement that "Dravid was rested". This is a very dangerous word in Indian Cricket. We have seen this happening to all the players previously who have been left out.

So does this auger well for the Indian Cricket or Is this an end of road for Dravid in ODI's ? I am not sure which is a better question here , anyways without dravid the middle seems to be working fine. He collected a meagre 70 odd runs in the 6 ODI's played against Australia. With this stating as concern , Dravid was dropped with the statement that he was rested and needs a break after the tough series in England.

The Wall of Indian Cricket has once again collapsed to the pressure thrown up by the youngsters in the rungs of ghambir , Uthappa , Dhoni himself after leading the Indian side to WC win in T20. The Selectors are playing it hard on the seniors and statement "The place in the Indian team should not be taken for granted", this sounds some bells alarming for the senior players in the team.

The Calm, Cool personality and the experience of Dravid will be missed for the first 2 one dayers, which the Indian selectors seems to have forgotten. Take a look at his profile through the years!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Why we are they way we are ??? - Book Review

"The games the Indians play" by Ragunathan is one of those book i would like to keep it in my book shelf for a long time from now. It typically symbolizes the Indianness of the Indians.

Key questions asked by the author that really gave light to my attitude being an Indian, Why are we a nation that is individually so smart and collectively so na├»ve? Why do we mistake talk for action? Why is our self-worth massaged only if we have the 'authority' to break rules? Why are we among the world's Why do we dump our garbage at he neighbour's doorstep…Can it be our climate, population density, poverty, colonial past or even genetic encoding?Why are we among the world’s most corrupt? Why do we jump red lights? Do we have proper answers to these questions , the answer is "NO". We either blame others for this or we blame the system :)

It all about the attitude of the Indians and Raghunathan carefully applies various strategies and neatly describes the iterations of dilemma. Just follow all the strategies , game theory to analyze the life style of the Indians and make sure it make sense to you as well.

Read the book and you will surely realise that as an Indian you have committed so many horrendous crimes. We can make our country a much much better place to live in. We the future generation of India will take very initiative and will leave no stone unturn to make this country a heaven on earth.