On the predictability of randomness

If something claims to be random, it also means that it’s predictable. After all, it has to live up to the randomness. Is that right?

Well.. I can’t always decide for myself. Consider a perfectly fair coin. Let’s say you’ve done 50 tosses and only 13 were heads. The next 50 could go anyhow; they are, after all, independent experiments, right?

But on the other hand, if the Law of Large numbers must catch up, then there is a rather high chance that the next 50 should have more heads than tails in the next 50. Right?

(Note: This argument is incorrect. Find out why for yourselves)

As I see it, even though we know that mathematically, the next experiment is independent of the previous one, we, in practical life, so often bank on the Law of Large numbers to even things out (even though mathematically it’s not supposed to work that way):

Consider a game of Mafia. You have to make up your mind on whether a person A might be the healer or not, say. Now, of course you’ll go by what A says/does, etc. But suppose that A was the healer in the previous game, and allotment of roles happens via a perfectly random method each time. Now, though maths says that in this round, A has an equal chance of being healer as anybody else, our practical sense will surely assign a small weightage against A being healer now.

Some of you might still be thinking that you are the perfect mafia player who judges only by players’ actions. Well, suppose you’ve narrowed down the possible healers to A and B, and now there’s absolutely nothing left to differentiate between the two. Who would you pick?

My point is simple: Just because our brain understands probability well(I got a 10 on the Probability Course), does not mean it follows probability well (I’d pick B any day). Our brain just knows one thing: If something is truely random all the time, that in itself is a pattern.



If you are in linux right now, kindly print the first four lines of /etc/gdm/Init/Default and you shall find:

# Stolen from the debian kdm setup, aren’t I sneaky
# Plus a lot of fun stuff added
#  -George

Haha, you say(hopefully). But really, these four lines go to say a lot about the Hack Culture and why some of us hate Windows. Frankly, Win7 is a nice OS, I have no doubt. But it simply doesn’t make it easier for us to hack around. Some of us gain immense pleasure by putting together random stuff, probably pulled off from arbit places and patched together.. jugaad is the local term. The net result is probably that we have understood parts of how some other things work; more importantly, we have assembled something that works!

Like what, you may say.

Well, like this (you need shiki-themes installed for this to work). I wrote this last semester, and have added a keyboard shortcut binding to Ctrl-Alt-Space. So, I can rotate my laptop colours (wallpaper, theme, icons) at the press of a button. Note that the order has been chosen carefully to resemble the rainbow. I call it Shiki-Spin: (The right logo, if you wish to keep it handy on your gnome panel and link it to that script)

Big deal, you’ll say.. I can spin colours on my laptop. So what?

So, nothing.. This was just a glimpse of what is possible. How about, for example, being able to write your own kernel-level firewall, for added security? (Now you know what I did last summer :))

Bottomline: hacks can be much more than spinning colours. And Linux makes it so easy for us to hack around.

Last but not the least, respect to George. Thanks to him, we can log in! (Mythbuster: login is not a verb.. you don’t login; you log in.)

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The balance

Did you like Psycho? How about Saw? And Inception?

Chances are high that you didn’t answer in the affirmative to all three. Of course, surreal and humour are generally liked by all; not everyone likes horror; much less gore.

We often forget, though, that these are just various emotions of Navras.  Just the way our body needs the right balance of all nutrients, our emotional self also should be provided a balance of all emotions. We should learn to appreciate the emotions that we otherwise don’t. We will, too, once we look at it in the right light.

So, am I saying that you should force yourself to watch a horror movie even if you don’t like it, just for the emotional balance?

Well, I don’t know; maybe I am. But more than that, what I am saying is, instead of just shunning away from horror, we should face it, and try to see the beauty of that emotion as well.

I guess the navras manifests in every art form, and not just movie. Music, theatre, even drawing is full of them. But they aren’t all obvious.. it is easy to spot a painting that induces humour; but do you know, say,  a painting that induces heroism? If you do, post a link to it.

I was reading on Wikipedia:

In the Rasa method, emphatic “emotions are conveyed by the performer and thus felt by the audience,” in contrast to the Western Stanislavski method where the actor must become “a living, breathing embodiment of a character” rather than “simply conveying emotion.”

It probably means that performers of the Rasa method focus less on being the character, and more on conveying the emotion. Is that desirable? I guess one could argue from both sides: For one, the whole point of art is to reach out to the audience in an emotional sense, and the artist should be one with the emotion, beyond the character. For another, if the performer executes the script perfectly by being the very character that the script demands, then the art should move the audience without a forceful effort by the performer.

What is your take on this? Comment!

I’ll end this post with two irrelevant quotes:

“Common sense is that layer of prejudice laid down in the mind prior to the age of eighteen.” – Einstein

Restated, in a way:

“…every great theory begins as a heresy and ends as a prejudice.” – Unknown

I already have the feeling that my next post will be about these statements.

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The big one is here! Finally!
(Meta: I know what you are thinking this is about. Well, it’s not about it. More on that later.)
What with the delayed release cycle, I had thought it’s never happening. Finally, it is!
2 days to go for Gnome 3: Made for Easy
Nice tag line. I only hope it lives up to it.
I am excited. Each article I read online seems to show that an immense amount of thought has gone into making this big. Let’s wait and watch.

I would like to end(?) this post with a self-reference thing:
Meta: The one thing this article is NOT about, is the cup. Excluding metas, obviously.
(Meta: This blog post is a stub. You can help me by rating it, all the same)