Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

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Location: Rochester, United States

Chronically curious モ..

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New House!

The middle one.. mine is the uppermost floor, the apartment to the left.

The kitchen needs work.

 does the bedroom! The living room is just a blank. So far.

El Laberinto del Fauno

Another film with an incredible young female lead role. El Laberinto... deceived me. Not the film itself, but the tagline "Innocence Has a Power Evil Cannot Imagine".

The film is quite raw and beautiful in a way that borders on grotesque. There is a starkness and a richness, both in the cinematography and the characters.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

America Update

All the scare about North American winters! Looks like I'm travelling with sunshine in my pockets: in New Jersey, NY, and Rochester, people swore that just till the day before you arrived it was close to 0 Kelvin, with enough snow to make the arctic circle blush.
The good thing was that with the temperatures climbing, nice 90$ Gore-Tex shoes were being thrown at you for 30-40$. Useful.

New Jersey

The place is marvelous. Although the first few hours were just roads, and more roads. Nothing there is really walkable. Some counties in that area apparently has the largest % of Indians in any US county.
I met more family, and a second cousin who's brilliant!

The main problem is the transportation! Luckily, there are scores of friendly people who don't mind taking passengers :)

Sooo.. have been bowling, to a bbq place, a film-watching session (Why We Fight). With pizza! American, not Italian pizza, but good American pizza.. the stuff we are used to in India.

Much more to look forward to:
  • Maple Sugar Tour & Pancake Brunch
  • Rochester International Council Wine Tasting.
I really Need More Hours...


Saturday, March 03, 2007

The secret is out!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Whale Rider

This is one great kiwi film. Basically, it's the story of Maoris in the modern world, and one old dude waiting for his grandson to carry forward the traditions. Only, he ends up with a girl instead, and isn't terribly happy. The most amazing thing of the film is the girl herself; both the actress and the character Paikea.

The attitide of Paikea's granddad towards her is nothing new... sexual discrimination is everywhere around us. But, what's perplexing is the contradiction: why would a clearly nice person (granddad) be so tied to the discriminatory traditions?

Here's a possible explanation. Suppose you wanted to change the memory on your powerbook. You might have seen the guy at the Apple centre change one earlier. Him, knowing what to do, removed his shoes before working, all the better to ground himself because he happened not to be wearing anti-static shoes that day. Then, he placed the powerbook on a dark grey mat, disconnected the power supply, removed the battery, used the back side of a bakelite-handled screwdriver to remove certain screws, and then flipped out the old memory.. and so on.

Now, as a naive user, how are you ever to know which of these steps are the important ones, and which can be substituted? Is taking off your shoes important? Was there something special about that dark grey mat?

Now scale this up to something like a Maori (or any other) tradition, which they believe is a way in which the world works. Would you be willing to take the chance and change any of the traditions and risk breaking the world itself?

This is also part of the story behind Sylvia's Recipe[pdf] by Gergely & Csibra (2006).