You know you are a Geek when….

  1. You start this list.
  2. You contemplate categorizing the points as ‘necessary’, ‘if and only if’, and ‘sufficient, but not necessary’.
  3. You open your laptop before you open both eyes.
  4. Totally nonsensical jokes like “U C Perls and Rubys in Java” actually make sense to you.
  5. You argue over blog posts with friends.
  6. You realize that Kryptonite being element 126 is obvious.
  7. People tell you so.
  8. You take up a tough mathematics elective in the second coolest semester, are thoroughly thrashed, and still swoon over it as a spurned but loyal lover.
  9. You would rather stay in your room than head bang at a rock concert.
  10. The reason you are still awake at 2:00 A.M. is that you are updating software.
  11. You get over your Google fixation and go for ‘more versatile’ products, i.e. ditch Chrome for Firefox.
  12. You would rather have a girl’s chat id than her phone number.
  13. You say ‘wow’ when you see an article about gray goo or mob-controlling robots.
  14. You answer ‘Age of Conquerors’ when anyone asks what you favourite game is.
  15. You prefer to describe curves in the human anatomy as continuous, differentiable and bound functions.
  16. You realize that the curves on the graphs are more attractive.
  17. You’d rather have a person taking apart his or her computer than have that person endorse and use Microsoft products.
  18. Your behaviour is influenced more by the sitcoms and shows you watch on your laptop than by the people around you.
  19. You have a sudden urge to use Greek symbols like ∏, ω and ψ in your blog post.
  20. The crowd disperses as soon as you say “Did you…..” or “I think…..” or “So….”, or, for that matter, anything at all.
  21. Dinosaurs entrance you as half-inch long plastic toys with toothpaste, as life size, 2-D images on the screen in Jurassic Park, as the paper equivalent of the same, and as posters hung up in your room.
  22. You feel you are qualified to name psuedo-geeks as such.
  23. Your field of vision shifts from free food to free software.
  24. You prefer taking steps in recursive functions.
  25. You work out a problem, then take a long hard look at the solution, mutter “Crap. Inefficient looping”, and start over.
  26. You suggest two friends to use different permutations of shampoo and conditioner so that you can find out which one is better.
  27. You blank out when someone asks you your future plans, think hard, and then reply “Err. Study, I guess…..do a Masters, get a PhD or two….should keep me busy for the next ten years, before I decide what to do.”
  28. You finish the strips on www.xkcd.com and www.phdcomics.com in three days, rolling on the floor with laughter as you go through them.
  29. Star Wars makes sense to you.
  30. Casablanca seems bathetic.
  31. You decide that Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics must be included in the Constitution in order to give robots equal rights.
  32. You start admiring these t-shirts.
  33. People start yelling at you for tweaking things on their computer so they run better.
  34. You make a quiz that even inveterate geeks find tough.
  35. You suffer withdrawal symptoms while not doing the day’s sudoku.
  36. During a laidback internship, you remark that you would like to see the simulation center.
  37. You borrow a friend’s new mobile to admire it, and end up being locked out by your room mate after you have been missing for over two hours.
  38. You try different concentrations of soap in water in bubble blowers, and thus infer the optimum concentration for stability.
  39. You complete 1000 perfect games of beginner Minesweeper while watching a series.
  40. You classify Batman as a non-scifi action-drama movie.
  41. You desperately try to get 42 points on this post.
  42. You actually enjoy being called one.
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Quatrains for the Geek- Part 2

As the yellowing paper, of old,

Has begun to crumble and fold,

The withered alpha and theta

Have flown off as lost data.

The Processor says “No more”,

“Mercy on me, I can do only so many chores”,

The screen blanks, black, then blue,

The HD purring wildly too.

Ah, the light! It comes bright and white,

A shining beacon of hope at 12 in the night.

But alas! It was not to be.

Now, do what you will, that data you will not see.

The Wait

Every now and then, people, we all go through an odious phase that I unaffectionately call ‘The Wait’. Well, bibliophiles like me, anyway. This is the interregnum between two great books, once composed of the long dark nights spent waiting for the next Harry Potter, now marked by repeated appeals to friends to beg borrow or steal books for this literary soul.

I am going through a particularly bad Wait right now, having just finished Thomas Hardy’s ‘Jude the Obscure’. In case I didn’t publicize it when I read my first Hardy way back in 2001, he was a visionary and a great writer. Not a bit like D.H. Lethargic Lawrence, whose pen seems to stretch each syllable to infinite lengths. Hardy is more like, say, Wilde. He doesn’t show you a funny side. You see it. The satire is obvious and the gloom of the novel is like Gotham on a particularly damp afternoon. Sadly, after this book was panned by the insular people of that day, he muttered “Never again”, and walked away into the sunset composing poems (No, he probably didn’t, but face it, it’s much more dramatic this way).

I did find a great book thrust into my hands the day I finished reading the last page. ‘Great Speeches’- a simple title for a relatively thin volume, in which were included some of the greatest words ever uttered. That ray of light has been imprisoned in my book shelf, my access to which has been restricted of late due to some going ons. I occupied myself with sudokus unattempted and articles unread, and the faithful National Geographic issues that I had already gone through. The Reader’s Digest arrived and went, spent of any useful information that I could glean from it, though it did give me that classy line- ‘Pyrites of the Carribean’.

The Wait is wearing me down. As a vampire thirsts for blood, I thirst for books. Little reason remains in this state, a struck man subsisting on dregs through blogs and newspapers, as a mendicant survives on the generosity of others. Fact is, I’ll still be surviving on the generosity of others once the books arrive, but hey, I’ll have more to survive on.

I could develop a theory around the Wait, but why should I have all the fun? I am sure there are loads of you who would like to fill in the details. Plus, it gives me a chance to subsist for a few more days on the comments if any.

Oh, and to anyone whom I’ll be meeting in a few days, do get some books.

The Beanstalk

Phee phi pho phum. Never could resist the Greek alphabet. As certain obscure characters would have observed, there is a certain air of defiance about them, superannuated though they may be. And so I grasp the omega and drive the psi into the stem, clinging on to gammas and thetas on the way up. Up. And up.

In a totally non-literary (and hence, unimaginative) view of things, I notice how succulent the beanstalk actually is. Green and tender. Huge dew drops drench me like rain itself. Amidst my trepidation of being trapped in a six foot diameter bubble and dying of the lack of oxygen at high altitude, I can’t help but wonder at this – freak?- of nature that has enraptured me much like a butterfly captivates a child’s attention; there is no fear of the thing itself. And childlike curiosity leads me on to discover more. I climb, thinking what an excellent find this is- now I can have greens all year around. Clearly, the rules of climate do not apply.

There is a distant tree house. Or is it a pod. “Come on, me boy. It ain’t peas you’ll find there.” Right you are, I tell myself, and continue on the leafy path. And an iPod falls on me. So much for not finding pods. I turn it around in my palm and look approvingly upon 120 GB of pure, high quality music. I can SEE music. And the air fills up with musical notes that none on Earth can deciph. I use my newfound knowledge to weave music, much like Eru in the Silmarillion. Then the beanstalk sways. Who’s Jack, I wonder? Who’s the giant?

Am I the giant? Or has Jack mistaken the diminutive figure a thousand feet up to be an anthropoid of gargantuan proportions? The beanstalk crashes, the iPod does a double flip, and the music stops. I fall back supine and close my eyes in deference to the Grim Reaper, who clearly has a problem approaching beanstalks. His scythe splits asunder when it strikes the stalk, and I laugh. I laugh with joy for the cerulean waters that surround me, I laugh for the green that has now enveloped my very being. And the music starts playing again. Oh, sweet symphony that one may never hear in real life……

Shut Up!

While people have been finding the last post on this blog hard to digest (literally), I’ve been throwing up over the pathetic state of affairs in Orissa. And yes, I, for one, concurr with our PM that it is a national disgrace. But more than that, it is again a sign of the depravity that society can fall to when instigated by the insular race of Neanderthals who calim to be the true inhabitants of this country. True inhabitants! What brand of sophists would stoop to such lows of turpitude? And to cap it all, even the sacred date of October 2 was not left unblemished. It isn’t just a shame for the nation. It is a shame that people like these are called humans. It is a shame that they live and walk amongst us under the guise of ‘brothers in faith’.

And then the poor. The ignorant. The common man. We think we have it tough with an economic crisis. There, people are being killed because they failed to put up saffron flags to declare undying support to an evil cause. I watch the news, then watch it again, and then, finally facing what is, lament the abyss that humanity has fallen into. But is it any good? To quote from a truly meaningful movie “This article can probably stir up the hearts of a few people, maybe even make someone write a cheque, but it is not going to stop it.” Unfortunately, such tacit disagreement with the state of affairs makes no difference.

I know there is a lot more I could do than just write about all this. I am sure you know there is a lot more you could do than just read about it. But what we have in vision, we lack in courage. We lack the intrepid determination demanded of those who wish to make a difference. And weeping for our weakness is going to get us nowhere.

I could not act. Maybe this post can give you the courage to do so. Maybe it will let me overcome my fears. Maybe…..

The Gustatory Science of Tasting Cocoa and related Stimulants

If you are wondering about the extraordinarily prolix topic, I’ll mention that it has always been by dream to publish a proper scientific paper, though not necessarily in a proper scientific journal. Plus, being an ardent supporter of free knowledge (yeah, I hate you guts, SD and APL), I decided this is as good a place as any to do so. Oh, and don’t mind the format.

Abstract

The author (thank you, thank you) has extensively experimented on tasting cocoa, milk and sugar based products (popularly known as chocolates) and has collected data that shows the ideal order of chocolate consumption. The paper assumes all chocolates as equals, and has relied on Toblerones as the defining brand of the same.

Introduction

While human kind has managed to truly appreciate the value of chocolates, the ideal order of consuming chocolates of different cocoa contents has never been discussed or even pondered upon. This is partly due to the fact that the pure ecstasy that people experience drives any thought of rigorous experimentation from their minds, though it is the author’s personal opinion that the actual problem lies in the fact that almost all the connoisseurs belong to the harried and disorganized student community. Therein lies the main hurdle to the meticulous research demanded by this field. Fortunately, there being some really geeky fans of the food item in question, the data we desire can be obtained through sheer willingness to consume the aforementioned product.

Experiment

Eat, eat and eat more chocolate (oh, dear God in heaven!).

Results

The conclusive effect that was expected to be produced by the ideal order was the intense craving for more chocolate mixed with the contentedness that brings about languor and the inordinate desire to procrastinate, yet being in enough check to reach for another bar of chocolate. The results were tabulated as follows.

Order                    %Cocoa                 Time for procrastination                  Time taken to reach for another bar

In the interest of keeping this paper short, only the ideal results have been given. The ideal curve follows a classic Gaussian distribution curve on the Time ratio (Reaching time/Procrastination time) vs percentage cocoa scale.

Inference

The Gaussian distribution clearly shows the perfect combination of chocolates desired. It predicts that a white chocolate serves to tingle your senses and prepare your mood for the beauty of the moments to come. The white combination of milk and nut flow down your throat, flirting with your taste buds while leaving them thirsty for cocoa.

The second bite must be one of dark chocolate, preferably 70 to 100 % cocoa. The deluge refreshes your taste buds, giving you the high you desire, a bittersweet symphony playing under the roof of your mouth. This also sufficiently gets rid of the sweetness of the previous bite and the swooning taste buds will now cry for more.

The third is the most important bite of all, and cannot be allowed to go wrong, or the optimal time ratio is missed by several microseconds. The chocolate used must be a 50-50 homogenous melody of milk and cocoa, with the tolerance for cocoa being +10 %. As the bite melts into heavenly nectar in your mouth and travels through the interstices of your teeth, you realize then that there is nothing more beautiful in the world, and that nothing else matters. A string quartet plays as you reach a cocoon where, given a choice, you’d be ensconced for the rest of your life. And then you realize…..that you need another dose of the same, and you start up from your comfortable seat, sacrificing that blissful position for a greater good.

References

All research here is purely original and has not been mentioned in any other paper, SD or APL or elsewhere.