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Would you imagine a theorem invented as early as 600 BC is still used widely? Jim Massey in his course notes mentions that, this is the single most important theorem in mathematics (applied math as well) which stood against the test of this long a time gap. Frankly, I began to appreciate it more now (with the Abstract algebra course currently going…). Barely ever I had an idea that this is invented in the BC. However, the algorithm was probably not discovered by Euclid and it may have been known up to 200 years earlier. Historians claim that Aristotle was aware of this fact (which is 330 BC or so)

Since we are in the age of programming, let us write the algorithmic steps, rather than the math: The original algorithm of Euclid is,

function gcd(a, b)
while b ≠ 0
if a > b
a := a - b
else
b := b - a
return a

But we can simply write this in modern algebraic terms as

function gcd(a, b)
if b = 0 return a
else return gcd(b, a mod b)

This morning, finally I managed to reach Lausanne.

One of the greatest opera singer has left us. Sad to hear that Luciano Pavarotti left this world today, after fighting valiantly against cancer for a long time.

Looks like the year 2007 has cleared quite a bit of progress in Wimax chip development and entered the deployment stage. Even though there were hopes and at the same time skepticism about the realization of Wimax, this year has seen progressive signs of the product evolving to get integrated onto the notebooks and PDAs. Initially since the standardization phase, the big leaders emerged included Intel, Fujitsu, Samsung and few others. Thanks the big buy out of Flarion by Qualcomm, the latter must surely be having the cake ready as well. There were also very promising startup ventured to develop the Wimax chipsets for the CPE side. I am not quite sure whether there is any startup working full fledged, all alone to develop the co/network side solution. I have so far heard of Beceem, Altair, GCT and Runcom which are promising focussed startup houses develeoping and deploying the IEEE 802.16e chipsets. Among this Beceem is one company, where some of my former colleagues and friends working.

The simmering legal battle between Broadcom and Qualcomm are not yet over. Rather, it gets hotter day by day. These two fine communication firms have engaged themselves into a fight which was initially perceived as just another patent battle between two rivals, which is somewhat usual in the high tech industry off late. The Synopsys-Magma was one prominent fight which had stung and stuck for sometime, until recently when Magma gave up the suit, realising that, it was a case of ‘giving the stick and getting the whack’.

In the Broadcom-Qualcom case, Broadcom’s concern is the way Qualcomm is monopolizing the CDMA technology leading to 3G cellular phones. According to them [1] the licensing arrangements of Qualcomm failed to provide fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory licensing terms to users of technology incorporated into telecommunications industry standards. Broadcom asserted that Qualcomm’s licensing abuses included charging discriminatory royalties, collecting double royalties and demanding overly broad cross-license rights from its licensees, among other things.

[1]http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=QY4UKU1WCH5IQQSNDLPCKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleID=165600495

Last week I conducted couple of quizzing events in Bangalore. One at the apartment and the other at office. It is after quite a long gap, I ventured into this nostalgic event. It was fun recollecting some from my old notebooks and some I added with the context in mind. Of course the level of questions were all prepared for not strict quizzers but enthusiastic folks. In the end both the events turned out to be good. In Fairmont, some genuine quizzers were in and that made it more interesting, but overall a satisfying experience. Since the few ones I conducted in Synopsys, it was worth a try. The days of weekly quizzing at REC and inter-college events all came to my mind.
I am not sure, whether my rational to quit quizzing in 2000 for the mere waste of time and insufficient depth in topic were all quite true. If I were to look back, the fun of quizzing created a huge data structure of events and topics where in I began to appreciate depth in few of the subject of my interest. If I were to be back in high school and undergrad, I should still do this. The fun of knowing this world, the people and the trivia are little too much to resist.

I composed the list I prepared for these events. They are uploaded here [1]

Some of the sample questions used are:

  1. Ys was an opulent mythical city. It was believed to be the most wonderful city in the world. When the city collapsed and the Romans decided to build a modern city, they wanted the newer one to be as equal if not more to Ys, in opulence and magnificence. The native ethnic Britons and the Romans thus called the new city by this name, as it is known today. Which city am I talking about?
  2. This company was established in 1865 as a pulp, paper and rubber company on the bank of a river, from which the town and the company name itself derived. The name of the river itself originated from a dark fury animal which was known in the local language as the word, now given to the company. Knut Fredrick Idstam started this company. Later in the 1970s they have decided to venture into Communications and stormed into the world leadership. Which company am I talking about?
  3. Could you please tell me who the person on screen is? What is the significance of this presentation: Double points at stake: The ‘e’ is written little differently!

  1. Who said these words and to whom: I am speaking with you from the Oval Office of the White House and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made?
  2. This drink was originally named Bib-Label Lemon soda. Its inventor then considered and rejected 6 alternative names before deciding on the final name. Which drink?
  3. Edvige Antonia Albina Maino attended a certificate course in English at The Bell Educational Trust’s language school in the city of Cambridge. There, she met her future husband who was studying at Trinity College, Cambridge. Her marriage to him in 1968 took her life on a course that would later see her being named as the” Third most powerful woman in the world” by the Forbes magazine in 2004. Identify the couple.
  4. These are some of the facts about this company. Dead give away cluesJ
    The capital amount collected – $2718281828 , Natural Logarithm, Napier constant e = 2.718281828
    The total number of shares floated during initial public offer – 14142135 ( Square root of 2 = 1.4142135)
    Total number of shares offered during second round of IPO – 14159265 (Pi = 3.14159265)

Just name this company

  1. In an effort to put together the perfect tennis player, World Tennis magazine once chose the arms of Martina Navratilova, the hands of Stefan Edberg, the shoulders of Gabriela Sabatini, the
    torso of Ivan Lendl the mind of Michael Chang and my legs. Who am I?
  2. Cricket: Listen carefully though! Tell me, who is the only bowler who credit to have dismissed all the opposite side batsmen in a test match (Dismissed all the 11 players in either or both innings).
  3. Identify this city (See the image):
  4. By 1907, the term began to show up in high-profile women’s magazines and eventually, around 1912, it appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary. Which term. The word derives from an Old French word meaning “arm protector” and referring to military uniform. This later became used for a military breast plate, and later for a type of woman’s corset. Which term?
  5. I was born in 1852. My passions were mostly elliptic functions, integral equations, quadratic reciprocity, number theory etc. Unfortunately I was living my life during which there were lots of political struggle in France. I do believe that mathematics and research should not be influenced by Politics. As a result of my refusal to vote for the government’s candidate in 1824 my pension was stopped and I died in poverty.” This is what Abel had to say about me after my death. “He is an extremely amiable man, but unfortunately as old as the stones”. “I believe that I am quite highly respected in the Higher mathematics world these days.”. Who is this prolific mathematician?

[1]http://ratnu.tripod.com/quiz_purva.pdf

It is indeed heartening to hear that Kerala government imposed a ban on plastic. The ban has come to effect from 20th August 2007[1]. In the recent times, the havoc created by plastics on the ecology and environment in many parts of India necessitates this ban. Studies points out that, the flooding in Mumbai itself had its root cause stemmed to the drains locked by plastics bags. These plastic bags are very common all over from vegetable vendors to supermarket shopping, to carry the goods. Kerala has shown out a good example here and every state must follow this suit and impose restriction on usage of plastics. It is not very surprising that Kerala came out first with this new law to protect the environment and to some extend the livelihood of people. In the past, they had came out to ban smoking in public places. This rule is quite strictly implemented in this tiny state. I heard a real life incident when the police caught someone smoking near an (minor) accident spot in a hilly village road and fined him Rs. 500. From what I heard so far, the plastic rule is already enforced not only in towns and municipality areas, but also in remote villages, where village authorities randomly inspect plastic wastes dumped or abandoned in any locality. I hope this gets serious notice and let us hope that the rule stay on.

The plastic is such a messy waste that, most of the places in Bangalore are filled with the polythene covers. Many open garbages in the residential areas have piles of plastics. Interestingly some reports says that, the wandering cows in the city limits (I wonder why they are freely allowed to do so!) have their stomach filled with chunks of plastics. These cows easts the vegetable waste from garbage cylinders with lumps of plastic covers. This startling revelation came out when some of these cows were operated by the veterinary surgeons. A hugely worrying fact is that, their health is taken for a ride merely because of the insane attitude of we humans.

[1]http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070024722

“Like Lara, he has scored runs all over the world. I have seen him run down the pitch and hit Glenn McGrath over the top for six, and I have seen him hit me for six against the spin going around the wicket”

When the best spinner of all time, ever to have played the game of cricket say this, it means there is more than substance to it. Surely, Shane Warne knows what he is talking about. Anyone who has seen the Tendulkar era would rate him as one of the best batsman of his time, if not more. So, in my reading, Shane Warne got his assessment very neatly right. As the legendary spinner remarked, Tendulkar and Lara are two of the finest batsmen played during his playing era and there is only fine line separate these two. I personally, don’t prefer to separate them. To me, both of them complimented very well, and at times very similar too. One a right hand bat, the other left handed. One more flamboyant, the other text book perfect. Both attacking and times impossible to dismiss. One had the expectation of a billion people, while the other was more rebellious and often busy composing a symphony of his own class and date with destiny.

In some way, this assessment of Shane warne must be kept along with the very similar remark Don Bradman made about Tendulkar ten years back. He was equally candid to state that Tendulkar was one current batsman, who nearly resembled the Don himself in technique and stroke play. Now, we have the two best best players of all time, one batsman and the other bowler agreeing when it comes to the finest batsman since Bradman. Not many would disagree. If they do, then it lacks substance and proper reasoning. If you really look at the critics of Tendulkar, they are all guys who pass remarks based on 2 or 3 failures in a series. For example, when India exited the 2007 world cup in the very first round, there were furies and sounds for his head. Mind you, only he was targeted. What is the rational for such huge clamour? He played 3 innings and scored only one 50. True, he failed in two innings and one of the loss was enough to pack the bags. That is not quite the reason to singularly blame a batsman of his class for the exit. Common fans reactions at times are expected because the expectations from Tendulkar when he go to bat for India is beyond what words could describe. They want him to score at least a 100 in fewer balls with a minimum of few sixes and some down the lane whack. They want him to this every single time he go out to bat. In the hey days, Tendulkar could hit Mcgrath for sixes with consistency, but that is not going be a practical norm for every match. To add more masala there will be occasional senseless remarks by people like Kapil Dev, who out of the blue try to belittle him with remarks like ‘He never lived up to expectation’. Firstly, he gets it wrong when he uses the word ‘never’. Perhaps he didn’t drop in intentionally. Hindi to English translation perhaps change the meaning of the content considerably. Perhaps, but I don’t know! Secondly, he must understand that, it is easy to throw wild criticism without facts. Someone become hero not because he/she does something once in a blue moon. They build on to prove their mettle time and again, over a considerable test of time. In Tendulkar case as well, he earned the respect of millions of cricket lovers because of the sheer performance on cricket field. Let us admit and enjoy his game, as much as you can.

Tendulkar and Lara are once in a while phenomena. Unfortunately Lara is not there in the big scene anymore. Thankfully we still have Tendulkar, at least for a few more years. While he is there we can cherish for some class on a cricket field. By no means, we can expect him to be a machine to do a routine bash job like a quad core processor. When he does it, it is one of those ‘making it feel better’ proud moments to enjoy a sport. Let us appreciate those moments. As they say, once he is gone from the scene, there wouldn’t be too many such things in the pipe to hope for!

By the way, the list of Shane warne’s top 50 positions are largely his observation. We must accept his rational. It is very hard to put a number to a player, because the measure is not quite always black and white. I for instance would consider Steve Waugh in top ten, when Warne consider him at 26th position behind Lehman. Steve Waugh was not merely a match saver to me. He was much broader in scope than Shane Warne’s remarks. He might not have been as gifted and flamboyant as his brother younger by a minute, but he often fixed a high valued stamp for his wicket. That made it extra hard to get his wicket. One another aspect of Steve Waugh, I liked is his urge to push for a win, irrespective of the risk involved, at least at a majority of times.

The top 50 from Shane Warne’s list of cricketers, from his playing era are [1]

50 Jamie Siddons
49 Darren Berry
48 Brian McMillan
47 Chris Cairns
46 Dilip Vengsarkar
45 Waqar Younis
44 Alec Stewart
43 Michael Atherton
42 Ravi Shastri
41 Justin Langer
40 Kapil Dev
39 Stuart MacGill
38 Sanath Jayasuriya
37 Stephen Harmison
36 Andy Flower
35 Michael Vaughan
34 Bruce Reid
33 Allan Donald
32 Robin Smith
31 Tim May
30 Kevin Pietersen
29 Shoaib Akhtar / Craig McDermott
28 Saeed Anwar / Mohammad Yousuf
27 Jacques Kallis / Shaun Pollock
26 Steve Waugh
25 Darren Lehmann
24 Brett Lee
23 Stephen Fleming
22 Martin Crowe
21 David Boon
20 Adam Gilchrist
19 Aravinda de Silva
18 Merv Hughes
17 Matthew Hayden
16 Andrew Flintoff
15 Graham Gooch
14 Rahul Dravid
13 Anil Kumble
12 Mark Waugh
11 Courtney Walsh
10 Ian Healy
9 Mark Taylor
8 Ricky Ponting
7 Muttiah Muralitharan
6 Wasim Akram
5 Glenn McGrath
4 Allan Border
3 Curtly Ambrose
2 Brian Lara
1 Sachin Tendulkar

[1]http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/shane_warne/article2364258.ece

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