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Writing papers for sake of writing papers…!! September 13, 2006

Posted by gantech in Personal thoughts.
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While I was at IITB, I had this wonderful opportunity of attending a lecture/discussion on Report writing. This was organized by the Research Students Association there. So it was basically meant to guide them on how to write papers and the multitude of reports that they would be writing during their stay at IITB. Well if you thought I was going to tell what I learnt there, here, you’re wrong. I actually picked an interesting point there.

 According to one prof there (a fairly young prof) a “Paper” is an expression of how thoughts flowed during your research. (The two profs involved were Dr.Swati Patankar (Bio Sciences) and Dr. Gadre (Elec) )

 Any good paper (“good” in that prof’s terms) has the following stucture.

1. What is the broader setting in which this piece of research is done. i.e what is it’s application ??

2. Work already done in that field.. blah blah blah.. giving references to what has already been done in that area.

3. Intro to your work.

4. The detailed description of your work.

5. Discussions on the results that you obtained.

6. And probable Off shoots from here. What more can be done. Or what is the next step in your research plan.

7. Full list of references.

According to the prof, this is the way the thought process flows while doing research. So .. anybody who writes a paper in this manner, should have done a fair job at research. Now comes my question !!

Suppose my only aim is to write papers, will that automatically ensure that I do a good job at it ? If the prof’s views are correct, then I guess it should be so. There are obvisouly some assumptions. Bad papers get rejected !! So if you write a good paper and it gets published, you have done a good job at it. Even if you weren’t interested in doing it in the first place. I was actually of the view that such a thing can’t be done. But seeing the enthu of people around me to get papers published, irrespective of whether they know something in that field or not, or are interested or not, I get the feeling that work without interest (and sometimes even knowledge) is possible after all. Our seniors app files go to the extent of saying that “

Don’t apply for a Ph.D without publishing a paper, even if it’s a conference held in Tarams !!

(btw, Taramani is a small town right behind our institute.) It definitely does not seem restricted to doing boring courses in your department just because the Institute Senate has told that such and such courses need to be done in order to get your B.Tech degree !! Infact when I met my Prof at Bombay for the first time to discuss what I was going to do there for the next 2 months, one among the questions that he asked me was “Do you want to publish a paper ??” I was totally taken aback. He seems to have been pretty much used to this and has adapted his way to using the students enthu to get his job done. Atleast that’s how it looks.

Now this thinking can be extended in many possible directions. Many of my friends just want to get a Co-ordship in Shaastra/Saarang… and say that they’ll do this FOR Shaastra blah blah.. !! So they aren’t interested in doing it, but for that Shaastra brand value (actually who cares about Shaastra!! It’s the brand value of the Shaastra Co-ordship that he/she gets that matters !) This seems to be the case more often than not.

So there are 2 ways of doing things.

1. Develop all the required technical expertise in a particular area. Then go ahead and do something with the expertise you’ve just acquired.

2. Set out to do something.. (hardly matters if you’re interested or not).. and learn all the required expertise along the way. Finsh it and then totally forget about it.. (Ofcourse you do retain some badge saying you did it.. that’s a paper in the academic case…and not to forget the Shaastra Co-ord certificate or badge in the other case !!)

I personally seem to prefer Route 1. Though it cannot stand on it’s own (there’s always some part of 2 that’s required.. atleast for motivation. !!)

What do you ??

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Mumbai blasts – Help July 12, 2006

Posted by gantech in Personal thoughts.
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Register at  http://www.indianblooddonors.com/

Or call up any of the hospitals listed here..

http://www.karmayog.com/lists/bloodbanksmumbai.htm

May all those pple involved in these blasts be punished..  !! There would have been atleast 120 pple in each of those compartments.. If the entire compartment has blown up (including the roof of the station in one case) I wonder if anybody survived at all !! The current number of 200 seems too small to me.. and at the same time.. imagining 120×8 pple dead seems too horrifying !!

I am just wondering.. why I never react to blasts in Kashmir.. and suddenly all this enthusiasm to help.. when it occurs in the place I live.. It’s gotta be 2 factors.. either bcos it’s the place I live.. or..I just got used to the fact that blasts do occur in Kashmir

btw.. I did register at that site.. and I am calling up a blood bank soon ..!! Damn my mobile phone charger !!

thanks for the link at Nanopolitan.. Otherwise I would have never got the numbers of so many blood banks !!

Indifference and Lack of interest in Academics March 11, 2006

Posted by gantech in Personal thoughts.
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I see many an example of this happening around me. Infact more of this rather than not (atleast that's what I infer from what I see). An indifference towards academics. Whenever one sees a person reading more than what has been taught in the class or something totally unrelated to any of the courses he/she's taking, the first question that pops up is invariably.."Putting enthu..eh!" or "Project work..???? under whom da ??" or "Why are you unnecessarily putting fight da ?? What's the point ?? ". The last question will come up if the answer to the 2nd qn is negative.

Seriously let me ask you one thing…do you chat with friends in a gumbal to practise for a GD in an interview.. (if you do.. then something's seriously wrong.. I suggest you had better visit a psychiatrist !!!).. Isn't it for one obvious reason…. FUN .. Why do everybody forget this when it comes to Acads..

Can't reading anything related to Acads be fun.. ??? Why not.. ??? Why do everybody consider Acads and fun "ends apart"… I sometimes get irked by this.. I know it's the Academic system to blame.. I can tell you that I myself don't know where I would have landed up.. if it had not been hammered into my head that IIT is the place in the world to be.. infact so much so that .. even after they (mean my parents) had given up after my failure in my first attempt to get in.. I didn't … Most people land up here because of such hammering and not because of an real interest in sciences or engineering.. I accept it's tough to get an interest in these fields when you don't have an exposure to it before you come here… But my humble request to those who don't find this (academics) interesting is that… Please don't deter and demean others' interests.. esp hard found ones..I mean people jump over so many things before they find something like "Love at first sight"

Management jobs December 27, 2005

Posted by gantech in Personal thoughts.
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Something that I don't like about Management jobs and people who do such jobs. You can't fix a Hi-Funda name for every trivial thing that you do. It's not you can't, but sounds idiotic to me.

Life at IIT October 21, 2005

Posted by gantech in Personal thoughts.
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This is in reply to a discussion at Nanopolitan.

Nope, IIT is not like school. It's not about being regular to class, taking down notes and all that stuff. It's about discovering your true area of interest. Not all (infact I can confidently say most) join Computer Science Engg or Electical Engg because they love it. You have an exposure to so many new areas. I am a student of Aerospace Enng at IIT Madras and apart from Aerospace I am also interested in Control Theory, Digital systems, Analog circuits, Operations Research, Listening to physics lectures from my friend Aswin on General Relativity, Cosmology, Quantum mechanics and anything related to physics, Differential Equations and Asymptotic analysis in Mathematics, Astronomy (infact we have an active Astronomy club) Open Source Software (yes I run Debian GNU Linux on my computer), Politics and the list goes on. All this just for the fun of it. This is one place where you have academic freedom like no other place. No worries about your future. Read what you feel like reading. Your CGPA is not everything. People went on to do a Ph.D in Political Sciences after doing their B.Tech in Metallurgical Engineering from here. Many people get into Physics, Management, IT, Economics etc. It's all about discovering your true area of interest. Some people miss that opportunity and realise it later.

General notion of the US in Indian households September 7, 2005

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My mother told me that my friend, who is an year senior to me, had gone to the US very recently to pursue higher studies. It seems that his mother told my mother that he did not study as "hard" as I did during his +1 and +2, but still ended up going to the US, and hence I need not have studied "hard". This shows that the notion in her mind is that going to US is the ultimate aim of every student and that if you are able to achieve it by simpler means then it is not worth putting in more effort. It was a similar response that I recieved my from my mother's elder sister, having "sent" both her sons to the US, when she came to know that I got an admission in IIT Madras. Even more aggressive was the response when I told her that me going to the US or any other country would depend on the field that I am going to specialise in and that if there are good professors in India who can guide me further in that field in Universities that have the required facilities, then the US or any other country would only be a secondary option for me. By saying this I presume that the very reason any body wants to pursue higher studies in the US, should be because there are not many colleges and Universities in India that can boast of facilities that are comparable to the ones that US Universities have in their field. There is nothing wrong in going abroad for higher studies if you stand to gain by education there and you help either "SCIENCE" or "INDIA" grow by doing it. My friend TJ's comments on this is another way of looking at it (will link it in another few days). But "Going to the US" should defy not be anybody's ultimate aim.

This mindset of my friend's mother is, I think, prevalent among the majority of the population who's sons or daughters are in that age group.

(The point is that I was awake on one particular night till about 2 a.m or so and his mother saw me "studying" through the window, and that's it, my mother was considered to be forcing me to study at odd times and that she was "torturing" me. Little did she realise that I was doing nothing more than writing an assignment to be submitted the next day at school and that I had slept for three hours as soon as I came from school)

Archanas at temples – Status show off or Belief in God September 7, 2005

Posted by gantech in Personal thoughts.
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I some how feel the Archanas in the Temples today are more of a status (mostly economic) show-off, rather than belief in God. I am not debating about whether God exists or not. Whenever I go to temples (which is a rarity and so my entire statement may be wrong) , I find that the talk among women is mostly about what sarees they wore or what necklaces they wear, and among men it is about where their son or daughter has gone for higher studies or their place of work. What is more important is people talking at home about the kind of "Archanas" or "Vadamala sevai's" that the other family did and that they should also do it as soon as possible. I have overheard this in many families (atleast ten including my own). And I live in Nanganallur, which is regarded as a temple town. Is this is a status-show off or are people foolish enough to believe that they are serving "God" by doing such things. And your status in temples is judged by the amount which you tip the pujari there everytime. It is generally in the hotels that we hear of such things. Not many actually notice these things.

This brings into light another question. By how many percentage points can literacy in India be increased if money spent on such things, is inturn spent on sponsoring a child's education. I say that the money can go through all corruption, bribery and all that stuff and still literacy in India can be imporoved by fifty percent.

Chaltha Hai Attitude and India’s development August 15, 2005

Posted by gantech in Personal thoughts.
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This is in response (Not a reply, but I was enthused to write this by seeing his blog) to my friend Kumar's post on the ways in which an Indian citizen can help his/her coutry.

The educated people have a lot more responsibility on their shoulders as compared to the illiterate ones. Those belonging to the former category should lose this "Chaltha Hai" attitude and those belonging to the latter should switch over the former category. The concepts of compassion and mercy should be thrown away when it comes to business. This is the main reason India is found lacking when it comes to quality. The idea to excel in whatever you do and always want the best must be developed in every individual.

When I call up my cable operator that my cable is cut, he just replies, "Yes, It has been cut, What can we do?" The newspaper guy "Sir, I had some personal problems. This will not happen on most days, But I cannot assure you that it won't happen" . And my parents tell me "That's how it'll be. What can he do , Paavam" It is this Paavam attitude that I want people to get rid of when it comes to business. How do I care if he falls into a pit while delivering newspaper or while repairing the cable. All that I know is I pay him some amount for doing something, and that he should do it. That's all. That's the way it should be ideally (that's according to me). It's a similar story in the govt organizations.

So, people do not take up responsibilities. Whether it comes to keeping your time, delivering newspaper, or whatever. I have heard that doctors abroad have a lot of responsibility when it comes to the treatment of their patients. Just one misjudgement and their career as a doctor is gone. To give an example that India is indeed changing in this direction is the Airtel ad that I saw recently. You don't get your phone repaired within four hours of registering your complaint, you pay a 100 bucks less in your next bill. May have a lot of clauses, but still this seems to be the right direction in which India will have to move to achieve it's dream of being a developed nation.

For our elders, Indian products have always been inferior when compared to "foreign goods". Precisely the reason why one can see so many "Foreign goods" shops here. They are apparently never out of business. This frame of mind has carried over to the later generations as well. Such a frame of mind is bad, but it didn't have any repurcussions as long as our country's economy was protected. In todays world of open markets (unless you have the power to dictate terms and remain a closed economy), one has to match world standards when it comes to quality to even be in the race for the top. Otherwise you simply DIE. That's it. The law of nature "survival of the fittest" holds here. The "Chaltha Hai" attitude again comes to the Foray here. Quality is not delivered because it is not expected. Tell me a customer who demands a car that runs for 50 years without any problems. The marketing manager will just ridicule you if you ask him this. It is not that such cars do not exist (e.g Mercedes Benz). Such quality is just not expected and hence not delivered.

My view is that only when concepts like "Customer is the King" "Quality and then Price" come into business and the "Chaltha Hai" attitude is totally abolished will India realise it's dream. These are apart from the things that my friend put in like abolition of religion and religion based prejudices etc.