The Cost of Free

We all yearn for nectar free, to drip from shortest tree,
In reach every gold sweet drop, feeling easy is tasty.
Then comes a lush forest crowded, with nectar are barks all shrouded,
The gold soon seems to be just yellow and the taste is clouded.

Had it dripped from high above and stayed there despite our love,
Had we had to waste some ATP, seldom would the pleasure halve.
Speaketh loud what’s in our skull, paying none is never dull,
More so it seems to be true, while we’re sunk in capital.

True, it’s futile to pay, price more than what they pray,
If your trade-off exceeds value, you should always have your say.
Yet free should never be, the cost of opportunity,
For then the costliest cost does become, the painful cost of free.

Arkadeep Mukhopadhyay

Advertisements

A Brief History of Acceptance

Let it be the medieval age, or the post modern twenty first century, acceptance of novel ideas, has proportionately remained difficult. Back then, overthrowing ideas held by the clergy to be accurate descriptions of reality, offered appreciable resistance against the ideas of developing science. The dark ages had a mesmerisingly ill effect upon people’s ability to alter their own beliefs regarding the workings of the Universe. Should it be wisdom of religion or discoveries in science, the mindset of humankind experienced a heartbreaking stagnation. But, boiling under the hood was the revolutionary spirit, that of renaissance. Art, religion, science and literature was set for a rebirth. The human mind opened again, the new ideas started to spread again and the word acceptance started living upto its name, again.

Just like the dark age, novel ideas in every age face some resistance from the people believing in the pre existing ideas. The funny thing is, the relative ratio of acceptance with respect to resistance seem to increase over the ages. This probably can be attributed to the gradually increasing openness of the minds of newer generation. The more we know, the more we believe, not blindly, but the more knowledgable clearly dedicate much more mental horsepower to a new idea. But we shall not forget that the more that is known, the faster new ideas take birth. So, even though the acceptance ratio has decreased exponentially, the absolute magnitude of rejected and resisted ideas remain a melancholic constant.

Recently, I had completed making a blockchain. Seeing the blocks get mined, and the hashes get logged on to my terminal while performing proof of work, my happiness knew no bounds. After completion, I uploaded the code onto GitHub. One of my neighbours had somehow gotten to know that I had done that and came over to me for a brief preaching of philosophy. According to that person, I shouldn’t have done that, as developing blockchains, mainly used for cryptocurrencies, in a country (India), where the government is known to disagree with the technology, by a medical student (me), is nothing but a sheer wastage of time and a disregard for the fundamental duties of a citizen.

I tried explaining, that perhaps the government did have a say upon BitCoin usage, but the underlying blockchain is a pretty much innovative technology, just like Bit Torrent is, even though its use for piracy is a horrible abuse. But I find it very difficult to convince people above 50 of a new idea, despite living more than half a millenia away from the dark ages.

I don’t hate this attitude of the elderly to always have a prepotentiation towards believing that the youth of the present is about to do something stupid, and oh-what-a-great-world-would-it-be if everybody listened to the elderly. Instead, I feel pity. For one day, when I will be a half a century old, I might respond to a new achievement of youth of thence with the preformed ideas of mine. I might become the same old rigid minded folk, who I find to be objectionable now.

So, instead of saying the aforementioned words to that neighbour of mine, I published them on my blog. Not that this will change the mindset of the elderly, but will give myself an opportunity to review my ideas at a future instance of time when my hairs will be grey. I believe, its only then, that I shall have the wisdom to judge these ideas judiciously, having experienced the phenomenon from either extremity of the spectrum.

Till then, I request the readers of this post, to leave their ideas regarding this topic in the comments…

COding for a mediCO

As the convention states, a medical student is fundamentally different from a computer science student, when judging on the basis of what conventions they consider as fundamental.

For example, a medico appreciates how the sciences of splanchnology is a layer upon histology which in turn lies upon cytology and a student well versed in computer sciences acknowledges that android runs upon a Linux kernel which in turn communicates with the processors and hardware using binary. Both the disciplines are about layers of complexity one above another with emergent properties at higher level of organisation.

Medical science, decodes its way down towards the realm of biotechnology and up towards population dynamics where it merges with sociology and the computer science, works upwards towards effective programming and probably artificial intelligence from the minute logic gates and transistors.

Their directions of innovations is what is fundamentally different. One is about finding out the cause of a given complex system while rendering it explainable by simple components, where as the other is about generating complicated systems using the simple existing resources.

But both of them, have the same goal : welfare of humanity. Often, they serve their purpose differently, but more often than not, they are blended into togetherness, as exemplified by algorithms of diagnostic machines like CT scans at the top to the digital thermometer at the bottom.

Like the demand and supply curves of a price by quantity plot, they intersect at some intermediate point, a point at which both these sciences could be embraced by the same individual and attain a successful equilibrium of discovering and solving problems. At that sweet ideal spot, every new technological innovation has a purpose in healthcare and every need in healthcare finds an opportunity to better itself using technology.

It is quite a horrible analogy, merging in a concept of economics to tie in medical and computer sciences. But, what it does provoke us to think about is that, complete ignorance in either of these fields even for a person from a completely different discipline is not beneficial.

The world shall thrive when the everybody can diagnose when to call for expert help when there is something wrong with their bodies. The world shall thrive when everybody can write themselves a program in a language of their preference that would take care of their repetitive personal tasks which require no creative intervention.

At the end of the day, the medical science is craving to find out algorithms to cure specific diseases while the computer science is craving to yield chaotic yet creative behaviour out of algorithms. What a field is working towards is exactly what the other one is working away from.

What interests me is that sweet spot in the middle, which is probably dynamic in nature, where both the sciences merge and serve each others need while solving each others problems.

With that mission in my mind, I code. Even though, I am a medical student. I know, I shall never sit in a conventional exam where I would be tested upon my knowledge of codes. Yet, I truly believe that such times await me, in which I will have to use wisdom from the computer sciences to solve a problem in medicine.

That’s why when I learn coding, besides my normal medical studies, I do it only in terms of projects. I learn as minimal of theory and basics as possible. And then, dissect and debug down the completed projects of mine to understand the inner workings of the algorithms I have used.

Fueled by the thought that emergent properties appear at higher organisation levels, I take the completed project as given and then learn a little of basics to substitute and understand the effects of those. Ultimately, building another project as the icing on the cake.

Thus by combining the top down and bottom up principles of learning, I try to maximise the fun and understanding of the sciences I am interested in. The reason why, these two approaches work so well together, I believe, has to do with the fact that almost every order of growth in nature is that of exponential, giving birth to non linear dynamics of multiplying and diminishing complexity as we dive deeper or fly higher with what we had started.

To finish this off, here is my GitHub Repo where I upload every project I complete in coding.

Books

Google estimates that there are 130 Million. Library of Congress has ’bout 30 Million. Archive.org has about 10 Million.

All these books exist, yet to each one of us a unique group of ones are special. To me, there are quite a few. Not only the ones that I have already read. But, also the ones that I am willing to read.

Ever since childhood, I had wished to own a collection of ‘something’. These, as I now know, are the weirdest forms of wishes, as they have a variable, namely, something, in their defining statement, which makes it real enough to exist in our minds yet abstract enough to not exist in reality!

That’s why, I have finally decided, that it will be Books. Books, at least the most important ones are in Public Domain. They are easily available. They take very less digital space. They are (mostly) timeless. And has more than the cumulative elegance of every other human attempt to share knowledge.

From today, I start officially, I will often update about my favorite books.

What’s Special with Books?

Well, books utilise the most advanced technology ever invented by human beings. Language. Yes, language may not feature in the top 10 lists of “cool new tech”, but from an evolutionary point of view, no other ‘technology’ have been so incredibly used. It also allows us to travel to a different time, appreciate abstraction, get mesmerised my metaphors, explore emotions and applaud alliterations, while literally losing ourselves among literary devices.

Books are pretty much the definition of humanity, probably because the definition itself has already been printed in some book.

Why? Like, Seriously!

I am Learning. Slowly.

That’s why.

When I first got started with my Internet endeavours, I was filled with perfectionism and a desire to find out the ultimate formula for success. Lately, I have realised that I haven’t really thought through my wishes and recently I have just realised why! That why however, is partly redundant to the why in the title.

Talking of ‘why’, the reason I ended up with WordPress is because, it is undoubtedly the most reliable and discoverable among the other social medias and microblogs.

Along with this blog, there’ll be a GitHub Repo and a YouTube Channel.

Also, I will be repeatedly promoting and featuring my other brands here, including the scientific Deep Ark and the humorous Antarctica Daily. It will take some time, but within a month I will get this blog up and running smoothly.

This blog will be located in real time, unlike AD which began back in 0000 AD and Deep Ark which is timeless. This blog, however, will be far from perfect and will follow no specific rules and regulations and I must admit that everything that I do online, is just for recreation, my real goals and challenges all lie in the real life, which I try to fight through under the cover of my warm blanket, upon my comfortable bed!

In case, you haven’t already realised the what of why here, well I have been talking about the reason I finally restarted my personal blog back at WordPress.