Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cheaper Chinese microprocessors will democratize productivity [COMPACTIDEA]

It's no secret that Intel's profit margins are outsized. Whether it's a poor fellow from Angola or a rich man in Switzerland, both have to make contribution to Intel's billions of dollars of annual profit. And why just call it Intel's profit? It's the world's people contributing to American profits with their sweat and blood, thus making Americans rich. The significant price different between AMD - also American - and Intel chips is proof already that Intel takes an exorbitant amount of profit on the chips it sells. I not only want this but also believe that a few years down the line Chinese-designed and Chinese-manufactured microprocessors [Godson/Loongson, ShenWei, etc.] meant for mass-market consumption will pose a successful challenge to the dominance and outsized profit margins of American firms such as Intel and AMD, based largely on significantly lower prices. The current prices of many of Intel's so-called "higher-end" CPUs are simply outrageous. If you want to be productive, you need a fast machine, but Intel wants you to pay a lot if you want a computer that doesn't irritate you with its slowness. Not good. Must be solved. Everyone has the right to be productive without having to pay a lot.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Just try to imagine the sheer bigness of India's potential! [COMPACTIDEA]

Excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article: 

"...India is almost ready to implement a tax code that unifies more than a dozen separate levies, effectively creating a single market with a population greater than the U.S., Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Japan combined."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Some thoughts on our Universe, time, space, length, Big Bang, God, etc.

  • I don't think it's either correct or complete to talk about the origin of only our "present" Universe [the post-Big Bang Universe that we live in and observe]. I strongly feel that we can't correctly understand this "current" Universe without simultaneously asking what existed before Big Bang [and also why].
  • Is space infinite in the real sense? It seems so. After all, there isn't going to be a wall to mark the end of space. Even if there was a wall, there would be something beyond it. But trying to imagine a "really" infinite space gives me a sort of headache. So much space? How can there be so much space? Is the word "so much" even correct? Because no matter how much space I talk about, it's surely 0.0000001% of some other, larger volume of space [which would itself be a minor fraction of an even larger volume, and so on]. Easy to get headache imagining this.
  • I do get this one thing quite clearly. The Universe cannot be finite. It has to be infinite [saying this without defining what is meant by being infinite], because if it's finite and measurable, then there must be something beyond this demarcated box.
  • However, it isn't necessary that being infinite must/should mean that if we keep going in one direction in the space, we must be able to continue endlessly. The latter is maybe possible but it shouldn't be essential. Why? Because it's possible that the shape/structure of space is such that if you start in one direction and keep going, then you eventually return to the same spot, much like revolving around a circle. But if this were possible, wouldn't it make space finite? Because we would be able to measure the total distance traveled? Seems wrong. Unclear.
    • Is it possible that this issue gets resolved if it turns out that when we start in one direction and ultimately end up at the place of origin [or "space" of origin], the distance travelled comes out to be what's known as "infinite"?
      • Or is it the case that once we leave the place/space of origin, we can never return to it?
  • Why is there anything at all, we must also ask? Why is there nothing/nothingness. No Universe, no us and no space. Now, as much headache the thought of really infinite, endless space gives, that much headache the thought of nothingness also gives. Now that we are here and we can think and observe, it becomes impossible to imagine this absolute nothingness. It seems like there has to be something [at least empty space].
  • And here's the trillion dollar/euro/pound/rouble/yen/yuan/rupee question. Why doesn't anyone talk about the trillions, or trillions of trillions of years before the relatively paltry 13.8 billion years that has been calculated as the age of our Universe? Why do scientists call Big Bang the beginning of time? Was there nothing, say, 500 trillion years ago? Or is it correct to say that time indeed resets every once in a while, and that it's correct to say that time indeed reset to zero - again - about 13.8 billions years ago? Such resets must've happened infinite number of times previously too [not any finite number of times, but infinite]. No scientist seems interested in tackling this question. What about a trillion quadrillion years ago? Something must have existed even back then, unless the very nature of time needs alteration. So like the space is endless, time too is endless backward [as well as forward]. You can keep thinking back and whatever largest number of years you come up with is but a tiny fraction of an even larger number of years, and so on endlessly. Another headache.
    • Now this point appears related to the first bullet point.
  • God?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

This shift from open, interoperable communication standards and applications to closed and proprietary services like WhatsApp and Skype is not good at all [COMPACTIDEA]

Phone calls, SMSes, and emails are open, in the sense that anyone using any device, service, application or hardware platform can send and receive communication/data/information over these protocols. Messages and calls made using WhatsApp or Skype, on the other hand, aren't open. The protocols are closed, proprietary and secret. The apps for these services are available on select operating systems only. So Facebook can decide, whenever it likes, that it won't develop WhatsApp for the BlackBerry 10 OS anymore, and kill the beautiful BlackBerry Passport phone in an instant. Giving such absolute power to nefarious private corporations is not good at all. We cannot and must not let ourselves be at the mercy of these greedy companies to do such fundamental activities as talking and messaging. Nor should we let these firms decide which hardware/software platforms are going to survive and which not. Open protocols and standards are an absolute must for all of us, a non-negotiable right which we must never cede.





Monday, April 10, 2017

Drawing a parallel between the composite material GLARE and different job roles in a company [COMPACTIDEA]

In BBC's program "Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections" [link] on the Airbus A380 [link 1] [link 2] [link 3], he says that a composite made of fibreglass and aluminium [GLARE] was stronger than either of these two materials alone [even when each material alone is used with the same thickness as that of GLARE]. Also, these two materials served different purposes within the composite [thus providing the composite with both sets of benefits, albeit with only half the magnitude each]. For example, cement takes the compression while steel taken the tension. Better together when facing the same situation, simultaneously. Makes me feel like this is the way in companies, where different employees are given different job roles [finance, marketing, operations, etc.]. Neither is sufficient by himself, but together they're stronger than either by himself. Each "material" in a company serves a specific purpose when facing the same overall situation.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Style must never trump functionality or safety/security [COMPACTIDEA]

VW is adamant about putting only one reverse light. Bad decision. Creates safety risk. Looks bad/broken. Shows Volkswagen's arrogance. They're prioritizing their convention/habit over functionality and safety/security. Implies they can do the same elsewhere [maybe they're already doing this manywhere]. Dangerous. Creates an opening for competitors that can be exploited [customers can be told how VW is being arrogant and is giving inferior functionality and putting people at risk].


Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Middle East doesn't have only three big airlines - it actually has four [COMPACTIDEA]

It's rather silly that almost every article/report out there talks about only three large Middle East airlines - Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad. Wrong. There are four, and the definitive fourth one is Turkish Airlines [if only fleet size is looked at, even Saudi Arabian Airlines could be included as the fifth one]. How in the world can any aviation expert worth his salt forget or not mention Turkish when talking about Arab/Middle East/Muslim airlines? Turkish Airlines is for all practical purposes identical to the "big three" Gulf airlines [in terms of size, ambition, and effect].



Friday, March 17, 2017

The concept of raiding offices of technology companies is becoming increasingly irrelevant and largely symbolic [COMPACTIDEA]

  • Does anyone seriously believe that the most nefarious conversations, deals, strategies/tactics, etc., of modern companies - especially technology companies - are present in physical form in their offices [e.g., on printed paper], ready for analysis/scrutiny for anyone and everyone? No. Such information is stored in encrypted form in the Cloud, or in miniature [encrypted] memory cards whose locations are unknown, or stored in conventional off-the-shelf online services but with plausible deniability [the very presence of an account or accounts with one or more of such services is undisclosed/uncertain/unknown/unprovable].
  • The practice of law enforcement conducting a "raid" on the offices of companies is thus reducing in its relevance. Little, if anything, is to be found in such raids. The information they're looking for is present [no doubt], but it's hidden away and obfuscated in a way that law enforcement cannot even detect or prove its presence, let alone decrypt it.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A quick search on online retail websites such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, Jabong, Pepperfry, Nykaa, Purplle, etc., quickly tells us what stuff is the "in thing" these days [COMPACTIDEA]

Best explained with an example. I wanted to replace my gas stove [made of steel], but was unaware that glass-top type gas stoves are "in" these days. How does one ascertain this claim made by a shopkeeper or a friend ["aaj kal kya/ye chal raha hai"]? Do a quick search on Flipkart, Snapdeal or Amazon or others and just glance at the top few results. That's the stuff which is "in" and "trending" these days.




Friday, January 13, 2017

I like the idea of universal basic income and I think it'll spur entrepreneurship and risk-taking [COMPACTIDEA]

When food and a basic life of dignity is guaranteed, people will feel much more free and fearless to pursue their dreams [rather than worrying about meeting daily expenses for basic necessities of life - food, clothing, shelter, communications networks, etc.]. This'll make them go after their passions [academic or in arts or in business or in philanthropy] and will also dramatically encourage startups. Whether or not these expected benefits will outweigh the negative effects [some people becoming lazy so they don't work at all] is to be seen.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Better software tools - which are expensive - artificially inflate the capabilities of folks against those who aren't as well-endowed [COMPACTIDEA]

  • Good example is Grammarly. It proofreads a body of text and correct grammatical errors [and also suggests "better" and "heavier" words], thus making a person's writing appear more sophisticated and mistake-free than his or her actual capability. Basically an incorrect and inflated impression of the person. Truth gets hidden. But since Grammarly is expensive, only the rich folks can afford it, thus making them look more intelligent than those folks who don't have as much money. Clearly not good, since this is another way in which difference in economic status leads to difference in academic/professional status [and in this particular case the difference isn't real, it's only apparent]. In this sense, money perpetuates inequality, since richer folks become more likely to be able to score higher, to get jobs, etc.
  • Similarly, someone who can afford Microsoft PowerPoint at school/college is likely to be able to make better-looking presentations in lesser time, compared to someone who, say, can only "afford" LibreOffice, thus perpetuating inequality.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

It's possible that the 'Comments' section of The New York Times is actively being rigged in order to help Hillary Clinton [COMPACTIDEA]

Based on information in leaked emails, it's okay to conclude that Hillary can go to any lengths to win this election. Any amount of corruption and rigging are okay for her. Why are top/most-recommended comments on NYT articles extremely/unusually pro-Hillary, while comments on other publications [FT, WSJ, etc.], either not so pro-Hillary or outright against her?

FT article endorsing Hillary as well as FT's tweet about it both have extremely anti-Hillary [and anti-FT] top comments.









Top comments on this shamelessly pro-Hillary piece on NYT are also extremely pro-Hillary. They don't seem like normal comments written by ordinary people, but feel like professionally crafted paragraphs composed by experts at Hillary's campaign, with caution about Hillary carefully sprinkled here and there in order to appear balanced and not blatantly fake.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Why do we eventually get bored of those songs which we initially like a lot, if we keep listening to them repeatedly [COMPACTIDEA]

Is it the case that we humans tend to get desensitized over time? Happens for both good and bad things [bad things start to feel less bad with time, as we "get used to" them and they become sort of "routine", while good things too no longer feel "that" good, perhaps because the exoticness/novelty of those good things becomes less exotic/interesting/novel/unusual for us and becomes more of "routine" stuff].

Happens certainly for good songs. Initially they feel so good that we feel we can keep listening to them over and over again. But as we do this, the excitement reduces with time, and eventually comes a time when we might even skip them. Also happens for comedy shows. Something that's very funny the first time becomes not so funny when watched repeatedly [this seems more explainable - because there was a "surprise/unknown" element when we heard it the first time, and now that we already know what's coming ahead so the surprise factor is lost permanently and thus we do not laugh as much].

The overall point is that it's possible or rather probable that us folks tend to get "bored" over time.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Can a Diwali fireworks rocket ("aatishbaazi") keep going up and up and eventually escape the gravitational force of Earth?

I used to wonder this during school days, when I would play with fireworks rockets such as Lunik Express or Whistling Rocket during Diwali days. I used to think that since this rocket is "overpowering" Earth's gravity for at least some seconds, it shouldn't be the case that it can't keep doing the same for longer and longer, to the point where it breaks free from Earth's gravity [almost, that is]. I used to ask myself what would happen if this rocket was filled with a little more of the explosive mixture so that it rose a little bit more? And so on.

It was only yesterday that I realized that each gram of extra mixture that we add to the rocket increases its starting weight, thus requiring more starting force [hence higher rate of combustion of the mixture] to lift the [now heavier] rocket. If we want to double the upward range, we can't just double the amount of mixture. The new amount of mixture also has to "carry the extra weight of the additional mixture" by burning at a higher rate, thus reducing upward range to less than twice. And so on. A rocket that's large enough to break free from Earth's gravity will likely become analogous to commercial rockets, as dictated by relevant equations.



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Are the people of a very advanced civilization living virtual lives by implanting their consciousnesses inside us, the characters of their simulation?

  • Hard to comprehend/understand, but our Universe has been around since "ever". Our scientists talk about some billion years ago as the starting point, but it isn't difficult to realize that there's infinite time before any time interval that we speak about.
    • Important caveat: If our Universe is indeed a simulation run by a very advanced civilization, then our Universe of course can have a finite starting point [the point where their video game was started]. However, the parent Universe in which folks of that advanced civilization live [assuming they themselves aren't a simulation of someone else] has been there since "ever".
  • Mankind already spends so much of its time inside all sorts of video games, including as characters inside virtual reality games [virtual worlds] such as Second Life. Proof enough that people seek to "escape" real life and live a more ideal/exciting virtual life, even if for only a while. Perhaps some aspects of the real world aren't always good, and solace is achieved within the world of video games.
  • Fair to assume that similarly the folks of that very advanced civilization sometimes want such an "escape". Maybe they have technology so that a dude in that civilization can implant his consciousness/mind/personality into a character inside the video game which we are [assuming we believe in the simulation hypothesis] and live a virtual life as a human being. Maybe all of us folks are actually "them" - our bodies are virtual and our perception/understanding of our minds is actually a subset of their actual/full consciousness [that is, each of us believes that we fully know our own minds, but perhaps we just can't access/feel/read/see those contents/portions of our minds which they've restricted our access to, and which belong solely to them and they do not want to make a part of the simulation]. Maybe they immensely enjoy playing in this world that they've designed. Maybe they've put concepts and phenomenon in this world that they dream of [or miss], like love or simplicity. Maybe due to incredible technological advancement those folks are so machine-like now that they just can't be simple or "cute" anymore.
  • Lastly, we know about only till a few billion years back. But the real Universe has been around forever. So this "forever" is "enough" time for development that's far, far, far ahead of anything that we are or anything that we can imagine. So it's likely that there's a much, much, much superior civilization our there, and that we're simply their game, and that we might never encounter anyone else.
*****

Jan'17

Just felt that it isn't necessary that we're a simulation. It could very well be that we are the "creation" of aliens. Maybe it's some aliens who discovered our Earth as a far-off planet suitable for [one type of] life, and maybe it's them who planted the seeds of life here. Perhaps they're watching us all the time, but in a way that we can't detect their presence. Ain't necessary that we're a simulation. Perhaps we exist at the same time as them, and maybe we are their creation.

*****

May'17

It's possible that us humans are actually the equivalent of "computers" of the aliens who created us. Maybe we are a real creation or a simulation that they've run and maybe we're just finding solutions to their problems, such as diseases, ageing, etc. Just like we use computer simulations to come up with solutions for [some type of] problems, maybe us humans are their computers which, by the way living our lives, are finding solutions to their problems. It's possible that they've purposely limited our lives to 100 or so years, so that this limited life forces us to find solutions quickly and desperately. Maybe it's actually them who're trying to find cures to cancer, AIDS, ageing, etc., and they've just replicated the problems here and want "us" to find the cures, for them. Maybe all this evolution and Darwin stuff is simply analogous to brute force, like trying all possible combinations in order to move towards solutions. Also possible that we're such a solution-finding simulation run in a fast-forward mode [also possible that the "speed of time", whatever it is, is slower in aliens' lives than it is here in our lives].

*****