Abstract Confusions

Complexity is not a cause of confusion. It is a result of it.

Category Archives: confusion

Abstract Confusions – 2011 in review

Got a nice report from WordPress. Though I did not blog actively in 2011, there are quite few posts that still cornered people’s attention. One of my new years resolution is to write more. So, sit firm and buckle up, here I come, 2012! 🙂

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

On Counting, Countability, Uncountability and Confusions thereof

The very basics of math skills are not taught by any one, it is inculcated from birth. In my childhood days, I remember how I got surprised by my grand mother’s mathematical (rather counting) skills. She was not taught in any school, she has to manage the household stuff, few farm works. She could never read a word, but still she could precisely count the number of coconuts, add subtract multiply or tally the rupee notes and settle the account. Counting is something that comes naturally to one. In fact I read some where, counting is not exclusive to humans, birds like crows can count till five. Another news item claims chimpanzees can even count better than humans.

Asian Advantage in Counting

Another article even attributes geographical / language factors for mastering the mathematical ability of remembering number. If you haven’t read it, here is the summary: the article advocates the certain languages (Asian in this case) have inbuilt advantage in manipulating numbers in mind. Because, the words for the numbers are smaller and easy to store, retrieve, manipulate.

Chinese number words are remarkably brief. Most of them can be uttered in less than one-quarter of a second (for instance, 4 is ‘si’ and 7 ‘qi’) Their English equivalents—”four,” “seven”—are longer: pronouncing them takes about one-third of a second. The memory gap between English and Chinese apparently is entirely due to this difference in length. In languages as diverse as Welsh, Arabic, Chinese, English and Hebrew, there is a reproducible correlation between the time required to pronounce numbers in a given language and the memory span of its speakers. In this domain, the prize for efficacy goes to the Cantonese dialect of Chinese, whose brevity grants residents of Hong Kong a rocketing memory span of about 10 digits.

It could not help me but to compare this with the counting in my mother tongue Tamil.  In English, we have to count fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen and nineteen, so one would think that we would also say one-teen, two-teen, and three-teen. Not the case. It is little bit in a different form: eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fifteen. Compare that to Tamil counting, 11 is pathinoonnu (பதினொன்று or pathu+one; ten+one), 18 is pathinnettu (பதின்னெட்டு or pathu+ettu; ten+eight). Read more of this post

Abstract Confusions: Year 2010 in Review

Following is the statistics for the year 2010.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how “Abstract Confusions” did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

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Statistics: When Numbers Lie

Mark Twain once said,

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Another quote by Steven Wright says like this,

47.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

And there is a detail account of how to lie with statistics. We all love numbers. Any talk with references to numbers is considered to be correct and appropriate.

How to Understand Numbers

Most of the time, it is people’s mistake in understanding the numbers presented to them. For example, understanding what numbers mean. Consider the following cases.

A corporation was able to announce the following the statistics: Total number of shareholders: 3003. Average shares per shareholder: 660. Looks nice, thats more like a democracy, every one has equal say in the proceedings, but in reality, it is just three people holding 3/4th of shares and remaining people holding 1/4th share. What looked like a happy number is actually not so.

Share Holding pattern - Average cheats

Share Holding pattern - Average cheats

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What’s in a Name? – A lot!

What is in a name? It is what people remember about you the first and the most. Some even say, your name can decide your character. Another news claims that which are the good names and bad names. Name could become very important. Recently, I had a chance to name my nephew. I was wondering, what could be a better name in 20 years from now? You change over time, you grow younger, and soon grow older. The name never changes.

But when it came to my name, it’s quite not same. Like all Tamilians, I too have a bigger name. For the record, the name is “Sree guruparan Palathurai Appachi”. Often shortened as “Guru”, there are few confusions around that, or at least I have seemed to cause a few. Read more of this post

To run or not to run in rain? – A math solution

Ever faced with the inability to take decision whether to run or not to run in rain? or in a snow fall? The question is of course not about running on heavy rain.Most of the time when it drizzles you are left with inability to take decision whether you should ran like mad to home or just walk into it. Friends who wait for the rain to subside have always one easy solution to take. Few brave people decide to fancy it and run in the rain. I always used to run and think afterwards why I ran.

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Best 10 Jobs in and after recession times

Always one is curios to do the best job. With economy going southward, it is only normal for people to save their job. And if you are not doing good work, no matter what job you are in, you will be laid off. Having said all this, I am looking into some of the best jobs around, in this recession time and afterwards.

Top 10 jobs, 2009

A recent study listed the top ten jobs. They took several parameters to identify the ideal career. And here are those results.

Mathematics all the way – One, two and three

The top most job is that of a mathematician’s. Work is fairly safe and interesting. All you need to do is, to take couple of lectures. Guide few Ph. D scholars and publish papers if any. Unlike other branch of studies, mathematics doesn’t surprise often. Apart from people who are doing cut throat research, there is no need to keep learning much.

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Abstract Confusions

I have changed the blog title to “Abstract Confusions”. I was looking for a suitable title for quite a long time. Previously the blog title was “Now I will have less distractions”. This the quote of great mathematician Euler. The blog title, ideally has to be of two words and not a dialogue or so, I was telling to myself. So, I started searching for a blog title.

I have decided that I will have a math jargon as the title. Searched a lot and couldn’t settle for one, that caused me lot of confusions (Ah, now you might have got the clue from where I got this name! 😉 ) I was equally impressed with so many blog titles from the blog-o-sphere. Among them, one stood out. It is “Abstract Nonsense“. Abstract nonsense is a technical term used in category theorem.

So finally I got – Abstract Confusions. I googled it as soon as I christened. There is no exact hit for the search. I searched for  this blog, and found it no-where. I was bit ambitious. I am waiting. 🙂