Archive for December, 2005

Teaspoons? It is pencil in my lab!

December 30, 2005

Once in three months, I buy a pack of pencils, sharpen them all and leave them on my desk, near my computer and near the telephone. Sure enough, within the next week, when you have that important call to take, your pencil has disappeared from near the telephone table. The faster you replace the pencils, the faster they disappear. Within two  to three months, it is time to curse people, and go buy another pack. Till now, I was wondering what was wrong with my labbies — pinching pencils like this. Now, I am happy to realise that that our lab is normal with disappearing pencils and all that 🙂 And, I particularly loved this explanation:

One possible explanation for the phenomenon is resistentialism (the theory that inanimate objects have a natural aversion to humans), they write. This is demonstrated by the fact that people have little or no control over teaspoon migration.

Can I publish in BMJ too — though I have not tried labelling my pencils discreetly — which might make my observations slighly suspect?

Tips on being productive!

December 29, 2005

Here is an HOWTO: be more productive; link via digg. Have fun! I especially loved this:

One way is to get someone else to assign something to you. The most famous instance of this is grad students who are required to write a dissertation, a monumentally difficult task that they need to do to graduate. And so, to avoid doing this, grad students end up doing all sorts of other hard stuff.


Presidential read!

December 29, 2005

Via Cosmic Variance, I got a link to this essay by Gabriel Garcia Marquez about Clinton’s reading habits (from Salon).

A dark, sad day!

December 29, 2005

Yesterday, out of the blue, it came and hit us — terror attack on IISc. Random acts of violence such as this are committed with a view of spreading fear and panic (while, what they actually manage to spread is pain and sadness–in a place like IISc, it also spreads some curiosities about range of bullets, what they are made up of, how they are fired, and all such other academic questions). I hope that this incidence is but an aberration; more than that, I hope that the Institute and its ways of life will remain research-coffee-board-and-tea-kiosk-oriented. Our sympathies and condolences to the family of Prof. MC Puri and our wishes to a speedy recovery to all those who are hurt–physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Happiness is contagious!

December 28, 2005

Uma is happy about this; so am I. Are you?

Web design guide!

December 27, 2005

Via NCSI info watch, I learn about this Web Building Design Guide. Apparently,

The WBDG is the only web-based portal providing government and industry practitioners with one-stop access to up-to-date information on a wide range of building-related guidance, criteria and technology from a ‘whole buildings’ perspective.

Take a look; bookmark the page–might come handy!

This math is solid!

December 27, 2005

Here is a place where rapid prototyping, computer graphics and mathematics come together: a cabinet of mathematical curiosities is what it is called. I just loved this:

A collection of polyhedra is an obvious starting point. You can make them yourself out of wood or cardboard, use origami techniques to create fascinating paper variants, and on and on. Or you can buy a set, perhaps like the one shown below. Heftier and sturdier than analogous plastic or paper models, these glittering solids certainly garner attention when displayed and invite handling (see Pedagoguery Software at

The accompanying photograph was, oh, so lovely. Not surprisingly the article is based on a paper to be published in that amazing journal, the Mathematical Intelligencer. Don’t miss the article and the preprint. It is such a visual treat! Link via PTDR.

A true gift!

December 27, 2005

Here is some real good news:

Prentice Hall PTR is proud to publish the Bruce Perens Open Source Series with Bruce Perens, Series Editor. This series focuses on Linux and Open Source technologies, including new and emerging technologies; and it targets professional software developers, system and network administrators, and power users. The Bruce Perens Open Source Series is designed to give a voice to up-and-coming Open Source authors. Each book in the series is published under the Open Publication License (, an Open Source compatible book license. Electronic versions will be made available at no cost.

Link via /.  I cannot think of a better new year gift to the readers of this blog than this. There are some nineteen books. Enjoy and have fun.

A slightly delayed Christmas post!

December 26, 2005

Here is an essay about Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Link via bookslut. Have fun!

I thought all procrastination is good ;-)

December 25, 2005

Here is Paul Graham on good and bad procrastination; inspiring! Follow the link some other time 😉 The essay also links to a classic essay of Richard Hammond called you and your research.