Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who am I ? Random Nonsensical Rant

What would make more sense than to dedicate our lives to finding our true nature? But what if we don't have a true nature ? We have optimization functions : Self-gratification (local optimization), v/s Making the world a better place (global optimization); we have cost functions, and we certainly have priors. The problem is the problem is not time invariant. It changes, we change, as we speak, as we think.

While I sit and read blogs, while I sit and wonder how can Bayes not be the right answer, I change. Each person we meet, we see. The woman in the bus with the funky purple hat "imported from India", the old lady with her red lipstick, the people standing with "No War" signs on the streets, or the ones who clean the streets of garbage without being paid to.

People I never speak to challenge my understanding of the world, question what 5 years of my life are worth, remind me of the always ignored, but still always present optimization function, in a world with no feedback, in a world with no evaluation metric, with multiple realities, and multiple belief systems, and 6 billion people, most of whom believe they are the most important person in the world.

And yet we all do it, we all optimize over an undefined function. And turns out that the people unaware of doing it are the happiest of them all. Ignorance really is bliss, if happiness is what u want.

And so it seems who you are is all about your loss function. And then I wonder why I am taking the optimization class, when really what I need is decision theory.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Serendipity

Today I was looking for "good Indian Tea" in the Indian Store, and didn't find any of the 4 possibilities that I was looking for. :( But while I was looking, I found "Bombay Sandwich Spread" - authentic mild green chutney for sandwiches. I almost cried.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Would you?

So you go to a large art installation called the Mattress Factory. And on the second floor, the lights are dim. Extremely dim, so you can barely make out where the wall is and where is the entrance.

You enter a dark corridor. Pitch dark. 100% blind dark. You look back, but the door with the faint lights seems to have disappeared. You put your hands in the front, and find a railing. Turns out you are in a narrow corridor. You walk forward, holding on to the railing with one hand, and feeling for objects in the front with the other. And then the railing ends. And you find yourself in an enclosed balcony-like area, dark, empty, and you can hear your own echo.

And you can see what the artist wants you to see.
Empty darkness.
Echoing silences.

Would you switch on your phone light to see what the artist didn't want you to see ?

I would.
I did.
Its not worth it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Woman in Red

Two Girls ask "What do you wear that makes you powerful?" You can see the answers here. My favorite ones?

In the turquoise top, anything can happen.

Everybody needs a red purse... something that they can take with them every day to help, you know, just touch and give you confidence.

This outfit just does so much for me because at this point in my life I’m so proud of myself because it took so much for me to get here... It’s definitely my power uniform. (This was a doctor's coat)

So as you see right now I’m in bright red... I want people to pay attention to me and if you are wearing red people look at you. (Young woman, sexy red dress)

The outfit I wore today I think of as the incognito outfit.

Everything about me just me makes me feel powerful 'cause I'm a strong person. When I was younger I got teased for being dark skinned. Now there's nothing you can tell me, I just know I look good

I want to dress like this everyday. I feel empowered, I feel intelligent, I feel important…I’m ready to go to work

You have to have a red lipstick attitude.

Hey I still have got something going here folks… the red's just not for show, I've got some red inside. (Old lady, red jacket)

It turns out for me, feeling sexy makes me powerful. Low-cut top, jeans, and heels it would be. I'm sure that should tell me something, but I'm not quite sure what.

History Summarized

Margaret Morrison is my favorite building in CMU. Here's some pictures of one of the walls of the building.

1918

1937


1938

1946

1948


The begin of feminism? The pressure of feminism ?
1974


The hope?
1976

1999



2000 and a few others

Thursday, January 03, 2008

MindChange

online chin-scratching club Edge have asked their annual question. This year's it's "What have you changed your mind about?"

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2008/01/changing_minds.html

I resolve to think about this, and add what did I change my mind about to this post in the next 1 week.

Update :
As I do every year, in 2007 I again changed my mind about who I am.

It turns out I am not as selfish as I had imagined, not as nice as I had thought, not as rational. I saw my biases, didn't like all of them, found my honest-self, the one who I thought didn't exist outside of my best-self. I changed my mind about how important it is to look good, I finally made my semi-peace with my body.

I also changed my mind about how much math I was capable of knowing, how much I surprise myself, and the irony of having multiple personalities in my own head also struck me as funny ( a part of me anyways). In 2007, I started labeling all my desires with their origins, most of which were people. And started labeling(naming?) all the people who live in me.

There are too many voices in my head, and its hard to follow 1 path when the decision is being made by a committee, but unfortunately I like all of me too much to throw any one voice out.

Its a New Year

But its certainly not happy, not after this.