"Contradictory Proverbs IV"

"The early bird catches the worm. " - Ancient Proverb.

Sure... but wait, doesn't the second mouse get the cheese?

No doubt, there are advantages to being first, but there is also a lot to learn from others' experiences.

An incident that happened a few months ago: I went to the hospital for some injections. The whole process took me less than an hour, but that was only because my friends who had been through the same process a couple days earlier knew exactly where to go and in what order. They had found those things out the hard way--by spending an entire day at the hospital! They got their shots earlier, but I got them done much quicker.

Of course, that was just one case and you can easily find a counterexample. As usual, it depends. It depends on what you're looking for. Maybe you want something, anything, but quickly. Maybe you want something better.

To sneak in another proverb, good things in life are worth the wait. Maybe sometimes it's better to be the second mouse than be the early bird?

P.S: Cheese > Worms !


"The Illusion of Choice"

Full disclaimer: Not one of my theories. This was told by one of my professors and I found it interesting enough to share.

If you were provided with the following subscription options for a magazine, what would you choose?

Option 1: Online only - $49.99/year

Option 2: Print only - $69.99/year

Option 3: Print + online - $69.99/year

If your reaction was "wait, why is option 2 present at all? No one in their right mind would choose 'print only' when they could get print AND online for the same price! ", read on.

Option 2 is provided only to give you the illusion of choice. Option 2 makes option 3 "look good".

If you were looking to purchase only the online version (for $49.99), you might be tempted by "what a good deal" the combo is. Think about it again--if you were offered only choices 1 and 3, would you have spent time thinking about option 3? Probably not.

With option 2 being offered, would you give more consideration to option 3 than if option 2 was not offered? I would!

The reality is that the online version doesn't cost them very much, and they can afford to provide this service for "free", when the end result is that they've got $20 more from you than you intended to give them.

Even if a small percentage of people who intended to spend $49.99 end up spending $69.99 instead, this has worked out very well for them, at little to no cost!

The same principle is at play at the fast food joints where they offer "combos" of burgers, fries and coke. I go there for a burger, not intending to buy a coke, but I take the combo because I get a "good deal", ultimately spending several dollars more than I intended to.

It's freakin' brilliant.


"Somethin' Stupid"

This is one of those things too.



As the first leg of the course comes to an end, a comment I've often heard is, "What? You guys don't have examinations?! That must be so much better than Engineering!"

Well, it's not. Not really.

True, there is no need for "last minute cramming" and one bad day cannot ruin your grades for the entire semester*. 

However, you cannot loiter about for the whole semester and study "just enough" a couple days  before the finals. This strategy may have worked for you during your undergrad, but it is not going to work now*.

(*Note: In theory. In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is. That's a whole new topic for a whole different blog post, but probably one that will never see the electrons of the Internet.)

The best analogy I can make is probably this: It's like asking whether Chinese water torture is better than waterboarding.

The point being: It doesn't matter! One is fast and painful; the other is slow and maddening.  But at the end of the day, both are torture!



Injections are underrated. They are stealthy; they can be painful, and have the potential to cause great harm. 

I hate injections. I try my best to avoid injections.


"25 Things About Me"

1) I got tagged on Facebook with this '25 things about me' thingee, but since I have to mildly rebel, I'll reply here instead.

2) I hate email "forwards". 

3) I am an internet addict.  

4) Most suitable D&D alignment? Probably lawful evil.

5) I don't like divulging information about myself. 

10) I'm gonna give you 25 things about me, but in base 6.  

11) This point intentionally left blank. 

12) I love pointing out your mistakes.  

13) I love taking things apart. 

14) I watch way too many TV shows. 

15) I love to read but hate to buy books.  You got any to lend me?

20) I'm still counting in base 6.

21) Am I ignorant and apathetic? I don't know and frankly, don't really care. 

22) I love animals. (They're so tasty. )

23) I believe parrots must be feared

24) I am apparently very predictable. I have been told this by multiple independent sources so it must be true. Also I apparently love using the words 'also' and 'apparently'. (And I am pretty sure many of you reacted "ahhh I knew I could trust hexium to do something like this!" when you read points 10 and 20. Who's the predictable one now, huh?)

25) Filling this list took way longer than I thought it would. 


"My Friend Ellie"

[The following is kinda sorta based on a true story, but some fiction may have sneaked in.  YOU WILL NEVER KNOW! HAHAHhahaa... 

Also, names may have been changed to protect identities. ]

Aditya paced around nervously in the hallway, knocking on David's door every few seconds. 

"Dude! We're getting late! The train is at 3:15; it's past 1 o' clock now and the station is almost 2 hours away!" he screamed. 

"Give me twooooooo minutes", came David's muffled voice from inside. 

Twenty minutes later, David finally emerged from his room, and the 'gang of four' (David, Aditya and two others) set out on their way to the bus stop, which was a 10-minute walk away. 

Walking towards the bus stop, they passed by a friend's house.  "Hey, let's just quickly visit Ellie before we leave," David suggested.  Aditya protested vehemently, saying they were already late and could ill-afford even a short diversion such as this.  

The rest of the group sided with David and said "it's better we visit Ellie", but to save time they decided to not to enter the house and just greet Ellie from outside. 

"In any case, the bus stop is just right there," they said, pointing to the bus stop that was now visible, less than 50 meters away. Aditya stubbornly refused to go, and just waited for the other three to come back.  

During the time the trio was at Ellie's house, a bus passed by.  This meant they had to wait about 5 more minutes for the next bus.  (Now 5 minutes is not a lot, but when you're cutting it as close as they were, every minute counts.) 

[The details for the next hour and three quarters are not very important for this story, so let's just flash-forward to Pi-time (3:14 pm). ]

The gang jumped out of the local train at a station which was across the road from their target station.  With hardly a minute to go, they made a mad dash through the heavily crowded platform, roads and commuter subway, towards the train. 

A couple minutes later, the train sounded its whistle and left the station. David and the others had caught the train with only seconds to spare; Aditya could not push through the crowd fast enough and was left behind. 


Now here's the thing: 

"Ellie's house" mentioned in the story was actually a Ganesha temple.

A believer would argue that since Aditya didn't go pray to Ganesha, He did not remove the "obstacles" (the people on the station) from his path. Aditya had it coming; he deserved to be left behind. 

Pragmatists would say that had the bunch not made a stop at the temple, they would have caught an earlier bus and made it to the station well in time. They wouldn't have to sprint through the crowd and the above point would be rendered moot.

Who is right?  I guess this is one of the things to which the answer we will never know.  


"Contradictory Proverbs III"

In today's episode: "Time and tide wait for no man" vs "Good things come to those who wait".

Good things come to those who wait? I call B.S!  More like "he who waits, gets left behind" or "time and train wait for no man, and especially not for me".  And I'm not just saying this because I'm bitter I missed a train waiting for others to get ready (and oh the irony, they successfully caught it!).  

Seriously, the train is never late when I am.  (Of course, this applies only to departures.  My arrivals are routinely several hours late.)

Oh and speaking of trains, here's a train of thought for you to pursue:

An empty train carriage is running out of control down a track.  In its path are 5 people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher.  Fortunately, you can flip a switch which will lead the carriage down a different track to safety.  Unfortunately, there is one person tied to that track.

Would you flip the switch?

(... to be continued. Some time.  Maybe.)


"A Shoe"

[Disclaimer: Content may be NSFW or offensive. Read further at your own risk]

A friend's blog post questions the truthiness of this report --a study showing that men sneeze when thinking about sex.  

Actually it's like this:

1) Men always think about sex
2) Men sometimes sneeze

Conclusion: When men sneeze, they think about sex.

It's Logic! 

P.S: Yes, I am aware that Snopes has debunked the claim that men think about sex every 7 seconds, but I also know how sinister Snopes is.  I prefer to believe the words of great philosophers such as Chad Kroeger and Jonathan Davis instead.

P.P.S: The title of this post is a really, really bad pun, which I truly apologize for. 'A shoe' sounds like 'atchoo', which is an onomatopoeia for a sneeze.  Adidas is 'a shoe', and also an acronym for "All Day I Dream About Sex".  (Really pushing it, but Nike is also 'a shoe', and they say "just do it".)

P.P.P.S: I am sneezing as I post this. No comments.


"Time Travel Theory"

Donnie : Where did you come from?
Frank : Do you believe in time travel?

(Frank is the <spoiler>time-travelling ghost rabbit</spoiler> from Donnie Darko.)

So, do you believe in time travel? Of course, everyone time travels--as you're reading this, the seconds are passing by and you're travelling forward in time. But obviously, that's not the kind of time travel I'm talking about here.

The possibility of visiting the future, and/or changing the past has always fascinated humankind. Time travel is a popular recurring theme in books, TV shows, movies and even games. Great philosophers such as Cher and Lene Nystrøm have wondered aloud what they would do if they could "turn back time".

Is time travel really possible? The answer (of course) is "it depends". :)

For a possible explanation of how time travel might work, one has to go deep into the nature of "time", and that of the universe itself. While an in-depth discussion is beyond the scope of this post, a brief description follows.

We all know the three dimensions--length, breadth and depth, but it is hypothesized that there are at least 10 dimensions (some say 11, some say 26...). It is tough to explain this because the concept is almost impossible to visualize with the capacity and capability of the human brain.

Now think of time as just another dimension. “Time travel” thus just becomes a linear journey along a single dimension. Imagine you are climbing a ladder or walking along a road. As you climb higher (or walk further) you can see things that you couldn't see before. If you climb down the ladder (or walk back), you can again see the things you were seeing before. Now suddenly, time travel doesn't look all that far fetched--you move forward in time and see things that are going to happen; you move backward in time and see things that have already happened. (Of course, this is an overly simplistic view and ignores a lot of variables, but I think is sufficient to get the point across.) This linear movement in the 'time' dimension can be called a 'timeline'.

So far so good. Now, let's complicate this further. Suppose, at every instant in time (here an ‘instant’ is unfathomably small), the "main" timeline splits into infinite other timelines, where each timeline varies from the other by the tiniest amount possible. Every single event that can occur at an instant, and all combinations of other events that can occur simultaneously, are covered by one unique timeline. Now we designate one of these simultaneous timelines as the "primary timeline".

Thus at every instant there exists one primary timeline, and infinite “tangential timelines”, which are nothing but timelines where the infinite other possibilities (which didn't happen in the primary timeline) happen.

Still with me? Great! To understand the next part, one must first know an important characteristic of a hologram -- every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole. So, if you split a hologram, you will end up not with two halves, but in fact with the equivalent of two (but smaller) wholes.

So now, how about we view the “universe” as one gigantic n-dimensional, extremely detailed, super-hologram, where all possible timelines exist simultaneously? This would mean that every smallest ‘part’ of the universe contains ALL the information in the universe. What does this imply? For one, you and I are part of the universe and hence we would contain within ourselves all the information in the universe--past, present, and future!.

Clearly, then, you already know everything that has happened, and everything that will happen. You just don't know which one is going to be the 'primary' timeline at a given instant of time.

(This of course leads to a lot more questions, the answers to which are beyond the scope of this discussion. For example, what determines which timeline becomes the primary? Is there a single primary timeline for the whole universe or does each entity in the universe have its own primary timeline from its point of view?)

The primary timeline at any instant is what is perceived to be the "present". However, under certain circumstances it is possible to access information in other timelines (these timelines may or may not be at the same 'instant' in time) and this inter-timeline information exchange is what leads to phenomena like 'premonitions' and 'deja vu'.

Once "the present" is defined so, "time travel", including changing the past and peering into the future, becomes a matter of simply(?) choosing the right timeline!

See how simple that was? And if I'm right, you knew this all along!

(P.S: Does some of the content of this post sound familiar? Then you also know why!)