Life with a kitbag

Years ago, as a college student, I took part in multiple NCC camps. It did actually shape quite a bit of my thinking and interactions. I was a highly introvert teenager, happy with her books and 2-3 close friends. Reading always felt much better than talking to people. Then I attended a summer camp for preparation of the republic day parade in Delhi.

It was a tough schedule, waking up early, Stealing tools from the next tent to align ours better, parle-G buicuits (too many packs, I took about a dozen home), music practice late in the night. I take pride in the fact that I participated in a singing competition and came third (leaving out the fact that there were 3 competitors).

However a highly interesting part was, how complete strangers become friends. How conversations were initiated abruptly yet with ease. How my classmate, who was a below average student, shined as an amazing human being carrying extra work load and helping out sick people.

My appreciation for “Catch-22” relies quite a bit on my NCC experience.

Knowledge sets you free

My highschool emblem had this Sanskrit quote “Sa Vidya, Ya Vimuktaye”. I have found this to be quite true in my life.

So when Wiemann talks about “the curse of knowledge” (why intuition about teaching often fails) I was intrigued. I started reading and realised what he actually means is not “the curse of knowledge”, it is more about “the curse of lack of knowledge”. I MAINTAIN, knowledge, with the right people, can work wonders.

Mathematicians: Sofya Kowalevskya

I often ask students, if you practice hard enough, will you be able to control a coin-toss? If yes, why is batting order decided by a coin-toss? If not, why not?, is not rigid body dynamics, ruled by Newton’s laws?

A part answer to that comes from the work of Sofya Kowalevskya, from her analysis of the differential equations that govern the rotation of rigid bodies.

What is all the more interesting is that essentially the same equations govern the roll of a dice of spin of a sattelite.

Her work has a quality of “mysterious” about it because she used a conjecture (unproven theorem) to get a set of solvable systems, without actually solving them. Now if the last statement has made you furious, I am sorry, the full story is very long, so some other time and some other place.

hands and height

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

Recently saw a study that connected the size of a hand of a person with his/her height. The regression looked reasonably linear.

There are also studies that show the connection between blood-pressure between two arms of a person and health. That makes me think there might be variety of correlations that we may look at, some simple questions to ask may be,
“Does the shoulder length of a person correlate with height? or weight?”
“How does BMI correlate with height?”
“what about the legth of a person’s foot and height?”
We know there is a correlation but how good is it? It would also be interesting to see is their is something special about the outliers.