Archive for November, 2013

A proof is not just a tool for convincing skeptics

November 29, 2013

A proof is not just a tool for
convincing skeptics but also
an aid for better understanding
the true nature of the result.

György E. Révész

Did Albert Einstein retire?

November 26, 2013

Have you done reading about Albert Einstein?

I wonder if, after retiring, he gave up seeking to understand the mysteries of the universe?

I find it hard to believe that he would. From what I have read, he did it for the pure love and curiosity, not because it was “his job.”

I’ll bet he was thinking about the mysteries of the universe up till his last day.

Do you know?

Update (November 27, 2013):

A friend sent me this note:

There is the yellow legal pad he used the
day he died. I saw it in a museum somewhere.
It was scribbled with equations from his work
on unifying the four forces.


Pure knowledge – no agenda

November 17, 2013

I am reading a book. It has no extraneous words. There are no jokes in it. No lively dialogue. And definitely no agenda or marketing. The book’s purpose is simply to convey a body of knowledge. It is challenging to read. I have to think deeply about every sentence. I am crawling through it at a snail’s pace. But I have come to realize that there is a great beauty in this book and this gradual learning process. And it is refreshing to get away from the incessant marketing machine of our society. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone is selling their product, their point of view. Enough! It is time to bask in pure knowledge.

Speak better and write clearer using English-Prime (E-Prime)

November 17, 2013

Some scholars advocate using E-Prime as a device to clarify thinking and strengthen writing.

E-Prime (short for English-Prime, sometimes denoted É or E′) is a prescriptive version of the English language that excludes all forms of the verb to be. E-Prime does not allow the conjugations of to be—be, am, is, are, was, were, been, being— the archaic forms of to be (e.g. art, wast, wert), or the contractions of to be—’s, ‘m, ‘re (e.g. I’m, he’s, she’s, they’re).

For example, the sentence “the film was good” could not be expressed under the rules of E-Prime, and the speaker might instead say “I liked the film” or “the film made me laugh”. The E-Prime versions communicate the speaker’s experience rather than judgment, making it harder for the writer or reader to confuse opinion with fact.

More …


The one word understood by everyone, regardless of their language is …

November 16, 2013


Is pi an invented artifact or a natural phenomenon discovered ?

November 14, 2013

This is a common occurrence in mathematics: The first time a young student sees the mathematical constant π, it looks like just one more school artifact; one more arbitrary symbol whose definition to memorize for the next test. Later, if he or she persists, this perception changes. In many branches of mathematics and with many practical applications, π keeps turning up. “There it is again!” says the student, thus joining the ranks of mathematicians for whom mathematics seems less like an artifact invented and more like a natural phenomenon discovered.

                — Adam Brooks Webber

Want to be a “data scientist”?

November 9, 2013

Data science is the hot ticket these days:

Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century (

“A data scientist is someone who can obtain, scrub, explore, model and interpret data, blending hacking, statistics and machine learning. Data scientists not only are adept at working with data, but appreciate data itself as a first-class product.”

 — Hilary Mason, chief scientist at

This article has a neat diagram which shows the skills needed to be a data scientist:

Word of the day: autodidact

November 9, 2013

Autodidact: a self-taught person

This fellow is a great example of an autodidact: Eliezer Yudkowsky

He dropped out of high school. He taught himself everything.

Today he is one of the world’s leading authorities on Artificial Intelligence, which he taught himself. A few weeks ago he gave a presentation at MIT to over 200 staff and students. Pretty impressive for someone who never finished high school.

Yudkowsky’s interests focus on Artificial Intelligence theory for self-understanding, self-modification, and recursive self-improvement (seed AI), and on artificial-intelligence architectures and decision theories for stable motivational structures (Friendly AI and Coherent Extrapolated Volition in particular). Apart from his research work, Yudkowsky has written explanations of mathematical and philosophical topics in non-academic language, particularly on rationality, such as “An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes’ Theorem”