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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Scorpion

Taking note of two lines from adjacent episodes of a TV series I started watching recently.

Scorpion - season 02 - episode 19:
"It was not terrorism, was capitalism"

Scorpion -  season 02 - episode 20:
"There is nothing more stunning than seeing perfection with a little imperfection"

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Judgmental me

I am not saying I am judgmental,
But most of the time when someone forward those text messages with "rate me as a person on a scale of 1 to 10",
I have a ready made score for their personality calculated up to two decimal places and tips on how they can improve!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Qualitative and quantitative subjects

During a general elective lecture (which we computer engineering students are forced to take because the admin believes that it will make us well rounded people by some magic!)

Lecturer: "There are two types of subjects in the world. The quantitative subjects like pure mathematics, applied mathematics, chemistry -- the stuff you normally do. They have all these models, equations and universal standards to make decisions. On the other hand there are quantitative subjects which has a lot to do with the personal skills of the person. There are no models or equations to decide which piece of art is the best. It is just depending on personal judgement. You should understand that how you do good in a quantitative subject and a qualitative subject is very different"

Someone whispers "and then deep learning happened!"


PS 1: I don't agree with someone calling pure mathematics quantitative
PS 2: Yes, I do believe we humans are just intelligent machines, and therefore AI algorithms will do as good as we do in qualitative subjects in future.
PS 3: The story is slightly altered to make it interesting.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Law

Ironic things you hear in the law lecture :-)

"Racism was and is accepted in certain countries as a law. It is pathetic, it is bad, it is wrong. This is the DARK side of the law. The law itself is BLACK!"

Friday, October 6, 2017

"screwed up"-"nailed it"

How come "screwed up" and "nailed it" be so similar but mean totally opposite things?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fears and Phobias

This speech is co-authored as well! Again, I am not going to say which version is mine.
Gender crossovers might be found in the text.

Essay 01


Who here will admit to have phobia? I can see quite a few people. Almost all of has something that we are afraid of in our life. Good morning dear lecturer and my dear colleagues let me take you through the world of phobias.
 Now I want all of you to imagine a giant hairy spider crawling on your arm. It’s not doing any harm but it is just sitting there; for some of you, this is your worst nightmare. If you are one of those people you may have arachnophobia. Not familiar with the word? It is the extreme fear of spiders. If we define the word ‘phobia’, it is to have an extreme and irrational fear of something to a point where it is disabling and is considered a mental disorder.
The most common phobias are acrophobia, the fear of heights and glossophobia , the fear of public speaking. Most of the times people who say they have a phobia do not have a phobia, they are just afraid of that thing. Some psychologists believe that no one is born with a phobia, that it is learnt over time. You get scared about something, re-play it in your mind over and over again, making the fear worse until it becomes a phobia. For an example if a person fell down to a well in his childhood, that traumatic experience will make him an acrophobic and aquaphobic; fear of water over time.
I already have mentioned you four phobias. Well that is just a tip of an iceberg. You name anything; there is probably a phobia for it. I can tell you two types of phobias that most of you in this room will have. Nomophobia; the fear of losing your phone signal and anoptaphobia; the fear of staying single. There exist even stranger phobias than this. Bearophobia; the fear of gravity. That is really strange. I fear no gravity than there is some gravity. Then archibutyrophobia which is the fear of peanut butter sticking at the roof of your mouth. You may feel all these really funny but for the people who suffer from these phobias, those fears are real for them. These phobias affect hundreds of people around the world.
Talking about strange fears, the person who comes to my mind is my mother. She has a fear of birds, specially chickens and that also do have a name; alektrophobia . I know that it is really weird. I wonder what things in a bird can cause this phobia, whether it is their feathers or whether it is the fluttering of their wings. Also I have a friend who is extremely afraid of butterflies. Surely a butterfly cannot do you any harm. Out of all the other dangerous animals in the world why is she afraid of this innocent butterfly? Well that is the nature of these phobias. For some it may be very funny to fear a butterfly but for her it is not. You may wonder whether I have a phobia. Well I do have a phobia. I have a fear of speaking to people and also an acute phobia of public speaking. Almost 75% of the world population suffer from fear of public speaking; glossophobia. I know some of you here know this feeling very much like I do. Sweating on your forehead, with your knees shaking, your heart is beating so fast and some of you may even feel nausea.
 The world is a scary place, it's true. We are most of the times surrounded by things that frighten us. However, we seek out things that terrify us anyway… horror films, roller coasters, and all sorts of dangerous sports and other stuff. Why do we do it? I can't really tell you. But I think that it may be to remind ourselves we are alive. And if you ask me, fear is one of the liveliest emotions out there. Today being on this room in front of you I have embraced my fear of public speaking. I would like to invite all of you to step out of your phobias and embrace your fears.

Essay 02


Who here will admit to have phobia? I can see quite a few people. Almost all of has something that we are afraid of in our life. Good morning dear lecturer and my dear colleagues let me take you through the world of phobias.
First of all, let me tell you what qualifies me to speak on this topic. There was this little girl I know a lot about; somewhere back in 2005 she had to make a speech in front of the school assembly about the typical topic given back then “My country (put some topic here!)”. She wrote a beautiful speech for about a week, remembered all the lines by heart and boasted to her parents about how she is gonna make a speech in front of the whole school. Even her sisters were proud to applaud their big sister’s presence in front of everyone.
The big day came and she went to school in a bright white frock ready to make her speech. The assembly started and the usual agenda went on and then she was invited to the front. She went there, greeted the gathering and started the speech. But the words were stuck in her throat. She couldn’t make a single sound. My throat was dry and my knees felt weak. The whole audience was staring at me. I was scared. I felt humiliated. I wanted to cover my face and run away.
Seems like I’ve turned from third person to first person within the speech without even noticing it. I got carried away with the memory and forgot to keep the cover. Yeah it was me. I do suffer from the fear of public speaking—glossophobia– the world’s most commonplace phobia. I am one among the 75% of the world population who suffers from this problem. Enough about me, let us go to the topic.
Now I want all of you to imagine a giant hairy spider crawling on your arm. It’s not doing any harm but it is just sitting there; for some of you, this is your worst nightmare. If you are one of those people you may have arachnophobia. “Arachno” is for spiders. And “phobia” is to have an extreme and irrational fear of something to a point where it is disabling and is considered a mental disorder.
Next is the fear of heights and glossophobia. Let me show you a photo of another small girl. This time it is not me. Once she decided to ride a roller coaster even though she had glossophobia. Her fear is clearly visible on the photo (point at the projector).
You name anything; add “phobia” suffix and then there is probably a phobia on the medical books by that name. I can tell you two types of phobias that most of you in this room will have. Nomophobia-- the fear of losing your phone signal; and anoptaphobia-- the fear of staying single. There exist even stranger phobias than this. Bearophobia; the fear of gravity. They fear that they will be stuck Then archibutyrophobia which is the fear of peanut butter sticking at the roof of your mouth. You may feel all these really funny but for the people who suffer from these phobias, those fears are real for them. These phobias affect hundreds of people around the world.
Some psychologists believe that no one is born with a phobia, that it is learnt over time. You get scared about something, re-play it in your mind over and over again, making the fear worse until it becomes a phobia. That means we create our own fears. So why don’t we conqueror them as well? I assure you that it is exciting! That is why most of us watch horror movies, ride roller coasters, go bungee jumping and in my case I am making this speech! I hope u didn’t notice the sweat on my forehead or notice the fact my face is redder than usual. Today being on this room in front of you I have won my 11 year long battle against my fear of public speaking. I hope I made my 10 year old self proud in doing this. I would like to invite all of you to step out of your phobias and embrace your fears.

Power of a smile

This speech is co-authored :-) I am gonna put my version of the essay and  the original one as well. It is up to you to figure out which one is mine.
Gender crossovers might be found in the text.

Essay 01

Good morning dear teachers and my friends. How many of you have read the famous novel “Love in times of cholera”? Anybody? Eh.. There is a famous quote by the author of this book Gabriel Garcia-- “Never stop smiling even when you are sad; someone might fall in love with your smile”. (Point to someone) You there! Don’t smile! I am not gonna teach you about making people fall in love with you. Instead, I am going to talk about the POWER OF YOUR SMILE.

Smiling can be intentional or not. In the simplest interpretation the intentional ones are for greeting and the spontaneous ones are for happiness. But today, I am not going to stop at the primary interpretation. Let me go beyond that. Smiles do represent a wide spectrum of emotions. To begin with; the big ear to ear grins those mean happiness and joy. Then the beaming smiles of excitement when you get good results in an exam. And those evil smirks of mischief after pulling a prank on a friend. (Oh I see it on <Put some name here>’s face right now. What did you do to <Put the name of the person in front of the previous person>?)

Smiling is a language itself. Did you know that you can say you have no idea about something by smiling with the lower lip turned down? Or else that you can say “yes” or “no” with a smile plus a nod? There are some pretty complex smiles as well; like the nostalgic-homesick smiles with the eyes fixed on distant scenery out of the window. And then there is my favorite type, smiles to avoid conversations!

Thanks to some connection between the facial muscles and the brain, we can get the positive emotions even by imitating a smile by clenching a pen between the lips. Smiling can also reduce your stress level – something we all suffer from these days. The simple action of smiling can soften your breathing pattern reduce the heart rate, thus the stress level. Moral of the story (look around)—you cannot be so busy that u don’t smile when you are stressed with the next MA1023 submission.

Ever wonder why are we always asked to smile in photos? It is because people usually look their best when smiling. Smiling can make you look more attractive. When you are facing a job interview you may think that your appearance is just about wearing nice clothes, but it is not. You have to wear your suit with a nice pleasing smile. So the next time when you are dressing to impress someone, make sure that you a beautiful natural smile on your face.

There was a time I believed the smile to be the most powerful expression for all the above reasons. But I was wrong. I have been through bad times as well as good times in my life. I could smile with no effort in good times but it was not easy in hard times. But I always knew good times are on the way. It gave me strength to smile even through the hard times. But few months ago I went on a social service project of the rotaract club at the cancer ward and met a society who has no good times coming around the corner. Their bad times do last until their last breath. And they had no reason to smile!
I am not going to give you the long details of the day. After a few efforts on getting them involved in fun activities we witnessed the miracle-- smiles on the faces on the people who did not want to smile. Believe me when I say this; to smile is not the most powerful thing. It is to make others smile even when they don’t want to!


Essay 02

What is more beautiful than a blooming flower; what is more charming than a lovely sunrise? I hope you guessed it right – yes, it is your smile! Good morning my dear teacher and my colleagues! Today I would like to share my thoughts with you on “Power of your smile”.
When talking about smiles, what comes to my mind first is something that happened to me when I was a kid. At that time I was in grade three, my classmates and I went to an elders’ home to sing carols for the elderly. That was the first time I visited a place like that, so I was a bit nervous. First of all our job was to go and speak with the elders and ask things like how they are and what will they be doing for the Christmas. I still remember what my teacher said to me when I was reluctant to do that, “Most of them just need a friendly smile, so go ahead and smile”. So I kept on smiling the whole day even when we were singing carols. Some smiled back at me and some didn’t. However as a small kid I did not understand why my teacher asked me to smile but now I understand what great things a simple smile can do.
Smiling is a very natural response that shares your happiness with others. Smiling happens without much thought. When you see our friend doing something silly, you smirk, when you are recognised for your top performance at the exam, you beam and when you have done something wrong and you go off without others notice, you grin. There is a smile for every time and most of the feeling: compromise, happiness, excitement, sarcasm and love. There is a lot of power in this little smile.
How often do you smile in a day? If you are not smiling frequently, make sure that you smile whenever possible because that will make you happy even when you are not happy. There is a serious relationship with your body and your brain. It turns out that the simple acts of smiling sends a message to your brain saying that you are happy, then the brain will pump all the good things to your body. It is interesting that people have found that you will just feel happy even if you clenched a small pen between your teeth, imitating smile. It is a wonder that a smile can make you happy and at the same time, it can make someone else happy too. In that sense, if you smile well you are making this world a better place to live in. Imagine, if all the people you met each day would smile. How great this world would be?
Smiling can make you to reduce your stress level. These days almost all of us live in some kind of a stress. The simple action of smiling can make your breathing and heart rate reduced, thus reducing your stress level. This point out that smiling is beneficial for your health. The next time you're stressed about work make sure that you smile even if you don’t want to!
Ever wonder why are we always asked to smile in photos? It is because people usually look their best when smiling. So smiling can make you look more attractive. When you are facing a job interview you may think that your appearance is just about wearing nice clothes, but it is not. You have to wear your suit with a nice pleasing smile. So the next time when you are dressing to impress someone, make sure that you a beautiful natural smile on your face.
A smile adds many more plus points to your life other than in the things that I mentioned. Smile is of no use unless it is given away. It may only take just a few seconds to gift a smile to someone. Therefore smile. Find the whole world smile back at you. Thank you!

Monday, October 2, 2017

ආදරය කුණුහරපයක් ලෙස සලකන සමාජය

ආදරය කුණුහරපයක් ලෙස සලකන සමාජය; කාම අපරාධ සරල මානව අවශ්‍යතා ලෙස දකී.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Light pollution







Let me start my speech with a question from our teacher.


What brought you here? Obviously it is the z score and your talent in Mathematics is what brought you here. But we all prefer somebody giving that poetic reply about the floral beauty and scenic surrounding calling you here to Peradeniya from the distant parts of the country. And what else? Humming of bees, colonial architecture and Robarosia trees. Once we agree that the love of flora is what drove us here; it is immediately followed by the Ptolemaic notion, the notions that tell us that we are at the center of the universe. We feel special, we felt that we are the privileged students among everyone in the country. And we convince ourselves that we are in "heaven"on earth.






But believe me when I say we are not that special! Flowers do bloom everywhere. They do wave to the dry winds in Rajarata, shine brightly under the warm sun in Jaffna and spread their fragrance along with the salty smelling winds in Ruhuna. Despite whatever we convince ourselves to be, they do emerge through cracks in the "concrete slabs" within our counterpart in Moratuwa. We arn't special for having flowers. But each place has a different type of flowers. Their fragrance may dependon the soil, their color on the sunshine and their size on rainfall. Simply floral beauty if geography specific.


On a personal note; for me it was never about the flowers!






Have you ever taken a moment to gaze into the night sky? Have you peeped out of the windows while you were studying late night, looked up while you were making those late night phone calls while wandering in the balcony, laid down on a roof top with a bottle of booze or even seen a session of the planetarium.


"Twinkling little stars" have always been the most amazing part of nature for me. I have been in love with the glittering lights even before I knew them to be burning fission engines. Let me tell you why!






Stars are the same everywhere! We see the same shining dots in the big black umbrella wherever we go. Unlike flowers; stars are not geo specific. You cannot go away or reach closer to stars how much you try. They don't end at your fence or you don't find more of them in Peradeniya than in Colombo. I fell for stars over flowers because of their indifference over narrow human invented boundaries.






But there are some fine details about stars that many of us fail to grasp coz we don't concentrate enough to reveal them. If you take a moment out of your busy lives and lay on a lawn to look up into the night sky; naturally you might be tempted to count stars. But I bet you will loose count after a while. Then you might actually start noticing how beautiful they are. This is when you understand the lesson about appreciating things without trying to quantify. In other words happiness doesn't depend on HOW MUCH you have got but on how u appreciate the beauty of the universe around you. and of course GP112 is not absolute!






Marking the extents of the cosmos have been the dream of every stargazer from the earliest of times stretching back to the Babylonian era. But this has proven to be a quest with no end. Today we are pretty much convinced of the limitlessness of the universe. I find the very thought of being just one of the billion humans; humans being one of the millions of species on earth and earth being one of the eight planets revolving around the sun-- who happen to be just one medium sized among the infinite amount of stars to be a great relief for all my day to day life problems. This knowledge makes me wonder how petty all our great personal hardships are with respect to the cosmic standards.














I hope all of you know what constellations are. They are the images we create by connecting the stars. The constellations as we know are just the connections agreed upon by some famous astronomers in the past. They have in scripted the mythology, stories and fables of their times between the heavens and made them to be heard up until now. But can't we do the same?


To be frank the night sky is just a randomly distributed array of pixels awaiting to be connected into images of our own perception. What if you or I connect these glittering dots with our own imaginary lines? Wont we be able to create our own constellations? And write our own tales between the heavens! Let me tell you apersonal secret. I have grew writing my own story between the stars. The three bright stars in the belt of Orion knows everything to do with the three members of my family; and the pole star-- well known for guiding explorers in unknown seas always reminds me of my sixth grade teacher whom I consider to be the best mentor ever. Castor and Pollux are obviously the ones to remember the memories I share with my best friend. Whenever I wanted the affection of my family, guidance of a mentor or craved the warmth of friendship all I had to do was to look up into the sky.






But during the past couple of years I felt some difference in the night sky. Some faint stars have disappeared from the sky with the faint memories they carried. Some bright stars aren't as luminous as they used to be and they don’t scream loud with their stories as they used to do. The flickering patterns are much different from what I am used to and they don’t seem to resonate with the rhythm of my thoughts or else the heartbeat as they used to do. Something ought to be wrong with the stars. Is the universe nearing its end or is my eyesight failing. Listen to my friends and you will find out.

Software vocabulary

Isn't it rather odd how much software people use the words like
"Build from scratch" ,"Full package", "Rip it", "Burn it", "Install on bare metal"
compare to people who actually do them on the physical world?

I posted this on fb and got this comment
Madushan Nishantha: To further complicate​ the confusion consider the phrase "I killed all the children because the parent was struggling for resources"

Something to giggle about

Imagine a world where everyone had something to giggle about-- some joke they cannot stop thinking about.
That grumpy bus conductor who keeps complaining about passengers not carrying change had a mischievous grin and that hot tempered professor turns to the blackboard so he can let out the suppressed giggles.
World might actually be a pleasant place by a several folds than what it is as of now!

Heart ♥ reacts

Do you remember when people were afraid to display affection, to express love was taboo and the FB HEART REACT changed everything?