Cool Animations and Softwares to use for them.

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Recently I have been obsessed with cool animations as I described in my last post. I then went around searching for even more and the world of tumbler and pinterest did not disappoint! Check these bad boys out (all of them are from Pinterest and Tumbler):

These look like some of the simplest ones to start with I am guessing, and I am going to use Processing and Blender which are open source softwares to learn how to start making these. The goal would be to move on to the following type of animations in the near future:

I am really excited to see what the next few weeks bring!

Beautiful Animations

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Recently, when I was revamping my website, I was searching for cool animations to satisfy the sci-fi junkie inside of me and also to motivate myself to learn how to create some of those. I will post some of these amazingly funky animations here for your entertainment. Note that none of these animations belong to me or are created by me. I stumbled upon them in random google searches using random keywords.

How cool are these, huh!!

Inclusive Logic

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A little bit about debating and privilege. It would be great to have the privilege to debate on everything as an academic and an ideal world exercise, but it is important to recognise that doing so, validates violence as a trickle down effect into the present day lives of many. Most debates I have seen in present day facebook are mostly by demographics who are not directly affected by the consequences of their so called academic enquiry. For example, a whole thread on abortion laws, where after the first five arguments, the women have disappeared. A whole thread on the Strumia comments, when (sometimes straight) white males (or people from a privileged background) argue about how no-platforming is not an option, and it continues, so on and so forth. If you have not faced a certain issue, it makes sense to learn from demographics who actually do face it rather than debating with/about them to satisfy one’s emotional satisfaction for a debate. In the search for an ideal world, we must be careful not to build an “ideal world” upon the broken skeletons of those demographics who do not fit into your neat pursuit of logic. Rather, inclusive logic is that which takes into account how things are in reality. In all of our realities. 

Can we, as humans, refrain from turning debate into a colonialism of someone else’s humanity and an invalidation of their self. Can we stop treating silence as assent? Or powerlessness? But rather recognise our own ability of eloquence as privilege?

This is in solidarity with something I saw on facebook written by someone called Sarah Maddux :

“When you debate a person about something that affects them more than it affects you, remember that it will take a much greater emotional toll on them than on you. For you it may feel like an academic exercise. For them, it feels like revealing their pain only to have you dismiss their experience and sometimes their humanity. 

The fact that you might remain more calm under these circumstances is a consequence of your privilege, not increased objectivity on your part. Stay humble.

 

Inclusive STEM, it’s time to stop being Hypocrites.

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Last weekend, I was at Amsterdam representing the University of Sussex as a part of our equality and diversity team. My team comprised of Claire, who is the Vice-Chancellor of Equality and Diversity, Nicola, Katy and finally Daniel .. whose project “Grapheel/IRIS” we were showcasing. The team got ready to deploy after a lot of brain storming and a slide show showcasing all the different initiatives that have been applied and have been really successful at Sussex. But Grapheel/IRIS, was a completely different project to be showcased in the conference than any others, because IRIS is a community app designed by Daniel, who is a blind physicist, for other vision impaired researchers like himself to have the resources to understand scientific figures better. How amazing is that?

Claire started her talk talking about how Sussex has been going about building a more inclusive Sussex, not just for people who have everything “normalised” going for them in the world, but for everyone who our ancestors should have taken into account before designing the structures of this world and the essential tangible and intangible structures in the work place. This includes women, LGBTQA people, people with a wide range of disabilities, carers, people who are trying to remake themselves such as ex-prisoners with a record, less-economically able people, racial minorities and so on. Claire focussed on how we can use our research expertise and our brain power to take these steps to completion and ensure their execution and at the right moment, Daniel jumped in to talk about how he lost his vision some five years back and how he did not want to let the various frustrations push him away from his passion to do research and he combined “Be my eyes” and “Citizen Science” to create a love child called “IRIS”. You can check it out here and sign up to become one of their esteemed ambassadors here.

For me, the conference was really really amazing. And in this blog post I would like to summarise the various things I took away from this conference and what I in turn, contributed to it. The conference was amazing in the way it brought together university policy makers, university professors and researchers working on the best way forward for an inclusive atmosphere.

  1. Inclusivity in AI training. We were shown the video clip of the AI humanoid Sophia
    as well as extensively discussed how easy it has been to past and present AI’s to learn from human bias on the internet and perpetuate this much faster. AI safety and AI governance has become a big issue, however I propose that we call it AI education to start from the bottom up approach of educating AI’s on diversity and inclusivity principles, starting them off with the right questions and data sets rather than go back and correct mistakes we see in retrospect.
  2. Redefining the definition of excellence in academia. Excellence is a spectrum which should potentially include normalisation to include challenges specific demographics face. This picture says a thousand words.
  3. Inclusivity in architecture (toilets, temperature) geared towards all genders, orientations and disabilities.
  4. Using our own scientific research to further an inclusive STEM.
  5. How to take into account invisible “disabilities” such as sexual abuse, or family responsibilities, emotional abuse, even pain during menstruation and fertility treatments which certain demographics undergo as opposed to other and how a lot of this and more certainly contributes to a power distance ( along with how it depends on the culture).
  6. How to make sure we go beyond unconscious bias but also consider and address conscious bias.
  7. How to overcome bias against ex-convicts in academia and the responsibility the media has.

There was a lot of debate and discussion on how to make sure we, as human beings can fluidly put ourselves in some one else’s experiences rather than denying them as something “foreign” and “lies” since we did not experience them firsthand. Related to this is the issue of addressing backlash against liberal movements and understanding since the losing of privilege does not come easy to people.

Would an AI government be able to fix these things? Apparently not, since the present day AI technology is spearheaded by straight white men who form only the creamy layer of a certain demographic. And the question remains, how do we go ahead?

If you wanna talk to me, I would very strongly argue that we need to go beyond and above, calling all of these “women”/minority issues since this is just excuse culture. As Claire says, these are things which should have been normal in humanity since time immemorial. We have screwed up and are forced to do error correction and so, let us all call these measures as “Ecosystem management” and make it everyone’s responsibility since we all share the same ecosystem.

Here are some slides from things that sussex has done in strive towards an inclusive STEM policies which I put together and you can find here.

 

About a Singular Man

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Today the great physicist and mathematician that was Stephen Hawking passed away. I was lucky to have recently met him at a conference at Cambridge titled “Gravity and Black Holes”.

Roger Penrose writes an obituary here, John Preskill dedicated a poem and John Barrett writes a short memory.

While many can share the joy of having had a chance to talk to Prof Stephen, I cannot say the same about myself. Even though I do not consider myself as someone who gets tongue tied at the mention of celebrities, I did not at the right moment know what to say to him even though I was getting my picture clicked with him and helped click several pictures of him with his friends.

You have to understand, for a young PhD student like me, working on the exact same topics as him, meeting someone like him seems absurd. It could be delightful, but in the climax of all the emotions enveloping you, it just seems absurd. Why? You ask. Well, because, what do you say to someone like him? What do you not say? How do you approach him? How do you know you are not annoying him? Someone might say confidence is the sign of the truly intelligent and if that is so, then maybe I lack in it. But let’s come back to the story, there I was, standing right near him, getting my pictures taken after having humbly asked if that was okay with him (to which his secretary replied with a resounding yes!) and then, not knowing what to say. In the end, I thanked him for his seminal contributions and mentioned that it was very nice to meet him in person. But then I was flummoxed.  By this time, I had heard numerous quotes about his humorous and witty side and sat through talks regarding his earliest designs of the Gravitational Waves detector (and why it failed) as well as on his discovery of the Hawking Radiation. I had heard talks such as “The gravitational memory effect: what it is and why Stephen and I did not discover it” by Gary Gibbons, “Stephen, Gary, and the first gravitational wave detections” by Bruce Allen and “One step forward, one step back” by Gary Horowitz and had been reduced to spits of laughter at regular intervals. I had seen pictures of him bantering with students (and was jealous of all of them). I had (half) read the brief history of time, but fully read his earlier papers. I had watched a movie about him!I had already constructed millions of scenarios and broken sentences in my mind of what to say to him and rejected them as sounding too desperate and silly. And there I was sitting at a dinner in his honour and hearing personal stories about him.

It is all very well in movies and books, where the protagonist just goes up to their role model and just whips out their hand in a handshake and says in a suave manner “I want to be the next you, you know”. But how do you do that in the real world and not come across as a crack pot? Do I go up and discuss how I did not like the misrepresentation of his wife’s book in the movie, “The Theory of Everything”?  Or do I go up and ask him what he thinks of some of my crackpot ideas on space-time?

And so in the end, I settled for wishing him a very good health and thank for his inspirational work and told him that I was nervous having to come up and say something to him. And then just as I saw his finger twitch on his machine and was deciding whether to wait after having rambled on my words in one fast go (my friends would tell you how fast I speak), when his secretary thanked us saying “Stephen is very happy to hear your kind words” and with a wry look of disappointment, I slunk away and went to talk to his students and now amazing researchers in their own right, Fay Dowker and Strominger to discuss some hopefully interesting physics.

For a collection of of articles, videos and scientific papers linked to the work, see here.

This is not to say that everything about this giant must be romanticized, but that maybe someone else come forward inspired by his scientific legacy to inspire millions more in turn.  In fact, we must take the time to remember and thank his amazing wife and partners, for enabling him to reach the potential he has. We should take this opportunity to reflect upon the fact that so many other brilliant people do not have access to the same opportunities. Instead of worshipping people that succeed in spite of their disabilities, we may then enable more people with technology and support.

For me, what I will always remember is the starting of his talk where the motorized voice spat out, “Can you hear me?” which seemed like a voice coming from black holes or aliens from another planet directly reaching out to us to ask if we can hear them yet.

R.I.P

This post was originally published in The Quantum Messenger where I contribute occasionally.

What Mathematics Reveals About the Secret of Lasting Relationships and the Myth of Compromise. (Reblogged from brainpickings.org)

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Mathematics is ultimately the study of patterns — predicting phenomena from the weather to the growth of cities, revealing everything from the laws of the universe to the behavior of subatomic particles…

mathoflove

Love — [like] most of life — is full of patterns: from the number of sexual partners we have in our lifetime to how we choose who to message on an internet dating website. These patterns twist and turn and warp and evolve just as love does, and are all patterns which mathematics is uniquely placed to describe.

Read on to find more about the very interesting equations of love here.

Are humans continuously evolving?

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So if you’re asked “are humans still evolving?”, the answer is this: “Well, there’s some evidence that our species is evolving as a unit for traits like age of reproduction, but there is much more evidence that different parts of our species are evolving in different directions, adapting to environments that are geographically different or changing over time.” Read on more here.

The Fermi Paradox – reblogged from Wait But Why

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Everyone feels something when they’re in a really good starry place on a really good starry night and they look up and see this:

Stars-fixed

Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old “existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour.” But everyone feels something.

Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something too—”Where is everybody?”

Read on more on Wait But Why here

Theory of everything-interactive map.

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This one’s a really cool interactive way to learn about all the different promising theories we have in Physics today. It essentially maps out the mind-map for a theory of everything: what we know and what we don’t! I especially had fun moving the cursor on the map and seeing the optical illusion like convexing out! Have fun!

https://www.quantamagazine.org/20150803-physics-theories-map/