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The Weaker Side of a Stronger Rupee Monday, Feb 4 2008
The mystic equation of Nature=God Monday, Aug 13 2007
Self Search Wednesday, Aug 8 2007
Be Unemployed – Get Salary – Live Happily Friday, Aug 3 2007
The process of scientific findings Sunday, Jul 22 2007
Science is an art of searching for the truth.
A truth that could be used for a better understanding of the functioning of this universe, documented in the form of scientific knowledge.
A truth that could be used to improve the quality of life on this planet, implemented in the form of technology.
So how does this art proceed?
Well, a scientist has two paths for a scientific nirvana.
The first path is that of theoretical science where the scientist thinks, thinks and thinks. More like a spiritual master who searches within himself for the truth. Then neurons and dendrites inside the scientist’s brain exchange millions of signals with a hope of finding an answer.
The second is that of experimental science where the scientist tests, tests and tests. The actual search takes place in the physical world, where all possible sensible combinations are tried out.
Now, to be honest, the above two paths are pretty idealistic. A Scientific fact finding process cannot be purely theoretical or purely experimental. It has to be a combination of the both.
So the actual two paths followed are as below.
The first path is the one which relies on the theoretical science, but at the same time makes use of available experimental evidence. All theoretical physics comes under this category.
The second path is the one which relies on the experimental science, but at the same time make use of available theoretical science. All experimental physics comes under this category.
It is very difficult to succeed in the first path. But if you succeed, it is almost sure that your scientific theory is unquestionable. The key to the success in the first path is how well you think, being out of any scientific prejudice.
What is scientific prejudice? Believing in a scientific fact without verifying its validity is what I call a scientific prejudice. People believed that if one second passes on earth and during that one second if we look at a neutron star, then the amount of time passed on that neutron star is also one second! Einstein came and proved otherwise! He proved that mass slows down time! To prove that he had to first come out of the prejudice of one second here is one second everywhere else in this universe!
The Cause of Scientific Prejudice
There is an interesting concept in the ancient Indian vedic culture called Shruthi and Smrithi. Shruthi is said to be the true knowledge, while Smrithi is what people CURRENTLY THINK to be the true knowledge! Vedas say that, when people who know Smrithi (or who know shruthi only partially) start asking more and more questions and try to find answers for the same, they will finally find the Shruthi !
Similarly, the science that we know today is what WE THINK is true today. In the west 500 years back people thought Earth was the center of the universe. That was the definition given by the then science. Aristotle thought new organisms were created out of nowhere! Some other scientist thought Sun to be a burning ball of fire and calculated that Sun would burn all its fuel and extinguish in another 5000 years! Somebody else said that if we travel in a vehicle faster than sound then we will die due to breathing problems. Other people then believed that Earth does not move!
That was science in those days. Today it is not. The science of today (Smruthi) is much more closer to the actual science (Shruthi) than it was 500 years back!
Another 100 years later some of today’s science might be proved wrong!
The Scientific fact finding path
The key to overcome scientific prejudice is to understand whether a fact that we know is scientific shruthi or smrithi ! It is easier said than done!
My suggestion for the easiest way to prove a smrithi, that is, to prove that a scientific theory is THE ULTIMATE TRUTH is to try to disprove it in every possible way. A true scientific theory will be proved right in all the efforts that are trying to disprove it. And if we find even one proof in the effort that disproves the theory, then, well, the theory then has to be thrown in the huge dustbin of abandoned theories.
More Experiments or More Theory?
Coming back to the two paths for a scientific nirvana,
Theoretical path is suitable if performing experiments is not possible. For instance one cannot do an experiment about how an actual blackhole forms, so we need to theorize the formation of a blackhole and at the most do a computer simulation of it..
Experimental path is suitable if very little data is available about the issue in question. For instance, about the evolution of life. A lot of scrambled data is available. The key is to try to find as many fossils as possible and then try to solve the jig saw puzzle as to who came first? an amoeba or an euglena or a virus? or if something new, if at all we happen to find it later some day..
So in theoretical science we first come out with a theory and then test it in the universal lab.. In an experimental science we first do experiments and then try to interpret the results to build a theory..
As I said earlier, theoretical science is very difficult as one needs to do a lot of thought experiments and has to be free of all scientific prejudices or the so called common sense to find out the truth that exists beyond our current perception.
The only two such great people I know in modern history, whose most theoretical findings have been undisputed till to date are, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking
Stronger Rupee = Stronger India Friday, Jul 20 2007
Genetically Modified? No Thanks! Monday, Jul 2 2007
agent orange and agriculture and agro-biotech and agrotech and biotech and biotechnology and corn and dow and dupont and farmers and gene and genes and genetically modified and genetics and GM and growth hormone and gurudev and hitxp and India and indian and mexico and monsanto and Science and technology and vietnam 7:37 pm
Its 2050 AD
India refuses to vote in favor of a resolution brought by America in the UN. The resolution is about carrying out a military action on some country X for allegedly proliferating Nuclear technology. India argues that there is not enough evidence to support the American claims.
America gets angry and imposes sanctions on India! The american agricultural biotech companies like Monsanto implement the sanctions and refuse to sell seeds for crop cultivation in India! Indian farmers are left with no seeds! All these years they had been growing crops using GM (genetically modified) seeds patented by these american companies. They need permission from these companies to grow these crops, since these are patented seeds! Since the farmers had been growing GM crops for the past 4-5 decades now they don’t have stock of natural seeds either!!
The government of India is forced to vote in favor of the American resolution in UN in order to avoid a food scarcity in India!
American agricultural biotech companies announce a 20% increase in their annual license fee for GM crop cultivation. The cost of all food items in India increases proportionately !
Reason? Indian farmers have been growing GM crops and they need to pay for the annual license in order to continue to grow these crops!
The Genetic Story
Well, Dont think that the above scenarios are from some science fiction novel. This is a truth which I realised few days back!
There are about 5 major agricultural biotech companies in US that control about 85% of the food, like Monsanto, DOW, Dupont etc ! They grow and sell Genetically Modified crops and related food.
Did I say “Grow”?
Well, yes. These companies modify or insert genetic sections (genes, slices of DNA) from other species into natural crops. Say for instance Firefly genes are introduced into Corn! Now this becomes a genetically modified corn. This is a patented corn by the agro-biotech company which did the modification!
Firstly, farmers need to pay to this company to buy these genetically modified corn seeds to grow it.
Secondly and more importantly, since these are patented seeds, the farmers also need to pay annual license fees to grow this corn! You cannot simply grow this corn this year and then use the seeds that you got from this year’s yield and continue growing the same corn next year! You need to have valid license to grow the corn, without which it is illegal to grow this GM corn!
Farmers go for GM crops for various reasons. Increased yield, resistance to different crop diseases etc. At the same time they fall into the traps of these biotech companies! Slowly every where it will be only these GM crops that will be grown. The natural seeds of that crop are no longer available! Imagine what would happen if every farmer on this planet starts growing a GM tomato!
Or let us assume that for practical purposes, about 70% of farmers are growing GM tomato and 30% (since they have some common sense left and are not greedy) are growing natural tomato. Now the biotech companies increase the rate of GM seeds, or say cancel the licenses for some reason. Now, even if GM farmers want to switch to natural seeds, where is the supply for the 70% farmers? Can 30% of the farmers supply seeds of natural crops to 70% of them?
Well, this is even more dangerous. Agro biotech companies are using gene terminator technology to ensure that the poor farmers cant grow their patented GM crops illegally(?).
The gene terminator technology used in producing GM seeds ensures that the second generation plants of these self destruct! In other words, if you buy a GM seed from these companies and then grow a GM crop and then use the seeds of this crop to generate more second generation crops, then, lo, they commit suicide!
This is a crime against nature and against life on this planet. To quote Mike Adams “To deny farmers the ability to propagate seeds from one generation to the next is to enslave humanity in a system of corporate control that violates the laws of nature and God. Care to take a guess which U.S. corporation is engaged in this activity? If you guessed Monsanto, you’re right.“. Read more here...
Like all other technological advantages, this can also be used as a political tool by American government. Since these are patented by american companies, just imagine what will be the scenario if most of India is growing GM crops! We have to pay whatever license fee these companies demand! We cannot grow these crops if these companies refuse to renew the license!
By further fine tuning the genetic modifications, these companies can even sell comparatively low yield seeds to Indian farmers and sell relatively high yield seeds in US! This will give the US crops a competitive edge over Indian ones!
The agro biotech companies will be controlling the entire food chain from growing of crops, providing seeds to the final end product used by the consumers!
If nature has a specific genetic design for a crop, then there will be some reason to it. Genes are not independent stand alone units where you change one gene or add one and nothing else in that crop will be affected! 97% of human genome was thought to be junk and only recently researchers have realiszd that it is not junk and has its own role in making other 3% work. Changing or inserting a gene might add some new functionality, but at the same time what is the guarantee that it has not screwed up some existing feature of the crop? How can we guarantee that a GM banana has the same benefits of a natural banana?
For those in India relying on the benefits and cure of herbal medicinal systems like Ayurveda, can we consider the GM banana to have the same ayurvedic features of a natural banana? Imagine the implications when we start substituting GM crops for natural ones in Ayurveda! Then if it doesnt work, you will find people saying Ayurveda is wrong! Without even knowing the actual truth.
Seedless grapes! Have you ate it? Well, now they are useless grapes! Seedless grapes are GM grapes, the benefit? well they are seedless. But is that all? Well, as I said, they are useless too. If you have heard that grapes are good for heart and so, are eating grapes, then seedless grapes are useless for you! Because the best natural cardio vascular medicine good for your heart muscles is found in the seeds of grapes! I hope food is not a fancy item, to say you want seedless, skinless, etc
God knows what other food benefits you are missing by consuming GM food with missing parts in it!
Take the example of Mexico. The Mexican farmers are alleging that their natural corn crops have been contaminated by American Genetic corn. Biotech companies might have patented these crops. But how will the pollinating bees know about it. They dont differentiate between natural and GM crops, do they?
Now corn is also being genetically modified to be used as a source of ethanol, to produce alternate fuel for petroleum. But lo, this is not that corn which can be consumed. You cannot eat this corn, because it is NOT meant for that. The mexican farmers allege that their corn might also be contaminated by this non-consumable variety of corn! Imagine eating corn which is actually meant to run your car!
See this news report on washington post and also this letter from the president of the american corn growers association. Finding a difficult time in Europe and to some extent in US too, these companies are pushing their GM crops into a relatively unaware India. Remember the Monsanto – BT cotton row and farmers protest a few years back in India?
The GM products are NOT tested for their long term implications on consumer health. By testing I mean the effects on human health on consuming these products over a period of years!
Some of these GM companies were also sued by vietnam victims for war crime! See this report . The victims alleged that the defoliant chemical used by American army against the vietnam, called the agent Orange was produced by these companies. Agent orange was a herbicide sprayed by the US military planes on Vietnam forests to cause trees to shred off their leaves so that the US forces can see the vietnam soldiers and kill them! Only later it was found that agent Orange was indeed highly carcinogenic – it causes cancer. Poor innocent vietnamese people who are even today paying a price for this blunder.
Let me give you an example. The milk sold in USA is the milk obtained by giving hormonal injections to the cows for higher yield. At the same time as a side effect of this unnatural production, this milk also contains a larger content of growth hormone protein! This is the same growth hormone protein in humans too! This is NOT supposed to be given to the body unnaturally, It has to be produced inside the body naturally. But this is the milk that they drink in America! The result, most girls in American today have puberty even before they reach the natural age for it!
For those in India, the next time you get milk make sure it is from a natural source. Better buy it directly from a milk vendor nearby who owns cows. They don’t give hormonal injections to their cows. The milk you get in Indian villages where the milk vendor milks the cow early morning and supplies the milk at your door step, is the milk in its true natural form. These cows are worshiped and there is no unnatural treatment of any kind given to these cows.
Ever since I came to know about the story of genetically modified products I have even stopped eating American Corn!! Next time you buy a food product, make sure there is no GM content in it.
Else while you think you are eating corn, it might actually have a bit of firefly in it! What you think to be Potato might have a bit of Moth in it! See images below from a video published on youtube at – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGAzKDTxwxI
And who knows! There have been no long term studies of the effects of GM products on humans! What happens if you eat GM food for 5-10 years? Well, nobody has tested that! Probably you might be offering yourself as an experimental sheep for this testing! You eat GM food at your own risk! Beware next time you see very fat and long banana, huge tomatoes etc. In UK GM food is always marked as Genetically Modified. In US as of today, GM food is not separately marked as GM food. I don’t think that in India it is marked as GM food either!
Below are two videos posted on youtube related to the GM controversy. The first one is about Genetically Modified food. The second one is about the effects of consuming milk produced by giving hormonal injections to cows!
Asimov’s laws – Natural Vs Artificial Intelligence Wednesday, Jun 6 2007
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Asimov’s Laws – Natural vs Artificial Intelligence
Brains and Branes Saturday, Jun 2 2007
Are our brains sophisticated enough to understand branes?
For those brains wondering as to what branes are, well they are a speculation of the string theory (the theory that is expected to describe everything physical about our universe!! well again its another interesting fact to note that the string theory which was expected to describe our universe has now ended up speculating multiple co existing universes like ours!!!) Branes are membranes that exist in higher dimensions of space (9? 10?). Imagine a sheet of paper that can move about in all 9-10 spatial dimensions. Well, yes, string theory requires that the universe have many more spatial dimensions for it to explain everything about the universe, sorry multiverse!!
Coming back to the brains, are our brains well equipped to understand the functioning of this universe?? Well, that is not the question here.
The real question is an even more fundamental one.
The mental picture of the universe created in our brain with the help of our sense organs, does it correspond to reality?
In other words, is the universe we see the same as the universe we live in. Are we getting an incomplete partial picture based on the capabilities of our sense organs?? Or is it just a mere mapping of the universe into our brains and it has nothing do with the real picture at all??
Consider the example of what we see through our eyes. Our eyes recognize light rays that enter it and send the information to the brain, which then maps it to our visual information in the visual cortex.
The question here is, do our eyes see everything?
Answer is an obvious ‘No’. Our eyes can identify only a part of the electromagnetic spectrum i.e. the light whose wavelength is between 400 to 800 nanometres. We DO NOT SEE light that falls below or above this so-called ‘visible range’!! In other words we are blind outside the so called visible range.
Of course, yes, we have developed instruments, which can identify light outside the ‘visible range’. For instance radio telescopes, X-ray telescopes, Infrared goggles etc.
But when we see the images from these instruments, we map the contours to some color that falls in the visible range!!!!! In other words, we can never see how that real world looks like!!! For instance, if we assume that our eyes were capable of also seeing light waves between 1000-1500 nanometers, how would it look like???????
Now being convinced that we DON’T SEE EVERYTHING, let us discuss about whether at least what we see really corresponds to reality or not!!
We see a red rose. We identify its color as red. Now what is this red? Is the rose really red, or is it just a visual interpretation given to it by our brain??? Well, first lets talk about primary colors: red, green and blue. We call them primary colors !! Why?? Because the cones (cells that identify colors) in our eyes identify only these three colors (to be more precise, only these three wavelengths!) Any other color we perceive is a combination of two or more of these colors.
In other words, primary colors are primary ONLY for human eyes. Not necessarily for every other species on this planet!! So even what we are able to see is just a mapping done based on the light information received by our eyes. Then what does the world really look like? Or does it have something called real look at all??
Probably any audio/video or other information that we receive is ‘perceived depending on the ability of our sense organs’ and this perceived information ‘mapped by the brain’s imagination’.
If this is the case, then what about the scientific theories, facts etc that we build based on our observations of this universe?? Do they correspond to reality atleast?? Well as long as the observation maps the expectations, we can say yes. But we cannot say that it is the only way universe is working. While we might have observed that 2+2=4, we cannot say ONLY 2+2=4 and nothing else is 4. Probably we might have derived based on our observations that 2+2=4, where as universe itself might be functioning as per 3+1=4. We will never know it because the end result is the same aka 4!!!
This is something similar to what Einstein had to say about theories. It is like we are given a wristwatch that shows time accurately and then we are asked to find out how the watch actually works and we have to do that without opening the watch !!
Now, we might come up with an explanation as to how the watch is working and it may perfectly fit the observation. Somebody else might come up with another explanation and even that might fit the observation!! But what is the real mechanism based on which the watch is working?? Based on our earlier discussion on reality, here we are not even sure that we are observing everything about the watch, let alone explain how it works!
Oh my god, so isn’t there any thing called reality at all??
Well, I think there is. The quantum entanglement! Particles sharing information in spite of being physically light-years apart!! The physical universe that we see may not be a direct mapping between reality and observation. We continuously try to refine and redefine our understanding, but as I showed earlier we can never be sure that it is the reality, because there is nothing called reality in the physical universe we observe!! It is only a interpretation of our brain of the information it receives from our sensory organs which are again limited by the capabilities of their observation!
The reality lies in the universe that we feel. Probably that is the reason why ancient Indian seers (scientists of those days) attempted to observe the reality not by opening their eyes, but by closing them and investigating inwards, where in the real truth lies!! Observing from within does not have any limitations imposed by the sense organs, and that is simply because when we observe reality there are no limitations for that observation.
KaTaPaYaDi – World’s Oldest Hashing Algorithm Monday, May 28 2007
algorithm and ancient and code and consonants and gurudev and hashing and hitxp and India and Information Technology and innovation and IT and katapayadi and language and mathematics and melakartha and programming and sanskrit and Science and vedas and vedic 8:11 am