Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On Truth, Wikijustice and the Emergence of Digital Maoism

What does Truth mean in the age of Wikipedia? Simson Garfinkel explains in this extremely interesting article in MIT's Technology Review.

Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thought for the Day

Hey hey let's go kick asses
Taisatsu na mono, protect my balls
Boku ga warui, so let's fighting
Let's fighting love,
Let's fighting love.


Hey hey let's go kick asses
This is important:, protect my balls
I am a badass, so let's fighting
Let's fighting love,
Let's fighting love.

For the full translated version, refer to the video.

Courtesy: The anime tribute episode Good times with Weapons of South Park.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Joker Graphic Novel

A sneak preview of the new Joker graphic novel.

Awesome eh?

Yeah Panda, you can have your orgasm now...

Saturday, October 11, 2008


A lumbering, heavy feeling weighed Ghongha down, and he dragged his feet under the weight of that fat Python of Dejection. The Korean restaurant ahead beckoned him with promises of exotic dishes, beautiful waitresses and quaint English accents. He crawled towards Seoul's Soul.

The menu was in Engrish. The names of the dishes seemed to be in Martian. And from the girls who worked there as waitresses, he could as well have been in Paradise.

“Why don't you order a live octopus and tear it off savagely? Just like Oh Daesu in Oldboy? The cute waitress will locate the obvious symbolism in the act. And then you can cast me off...Besides, it's a long time since I had an octopus.”, the fat python hissed amicably and lazily crawled inside Ghongha's shirt.

But Ghongha had long since learned not to take the Python's advice seriously. He ordered the standard full course Hanjeongsik and quietly sat down to eat. The waitress was back again to check on him.

“Do you need a fuck?”, she asked him solicitously, full of unfeigned concern.

“Boy did you get lucky!”, whispered the Python and slid underneath languorously. “Looks like it's time for me to leave you for a while”, he added as an afterthought and flashed his fangs in a wide yawn.

Ghongha looked at the girl in bafflement. She was young, perhaps younger than him, slim and beautiful. She wore a casual, loose T shirt and jeans and wore no make up. Her long, straight, somewhat unkempt hair fell over her shoulders bewitchingly. She smiled at our hero and asked again deferentially, “ you need one?”.

Ghongha didn't know what to say. He felt the Python's iron grip in his heart tightening even further. Words escaped him and he could not understand anything anymore.

“Relax kid. You're gonna blow this away.” (Hiss...hiss).

“Fine, I'll leave you two to enjoy. She's a sweet girl. I like her. You probably need it too.”, he chuckled wryly and relaxed his grip on Ghongha, slid down his body and began crawling on the floor of the restaurant.

A gentle, grateful smile slowly spread across Ghongha's lips and he nodded shyly to the girl. She smiled her warm, sunny smile and said in her cute accent, “I'll be back shortly”.

And came back soon enough with a spring in her step and joy in her face.

“Here you go”, she said and left again.

Ghongha eyed the fork on the table in crushed bewilderment.

“Shouldn't have left your side at all”, laughed the Python maliciously and leapt back towards Ghongha's table.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nuggets of Wisdom -- 2

"When miserable, read Dostoyevsky".

PS: Or William Gibson. Just read Burning Chrome. Never has a painkiller acted so fast.

Monday, October 06, 2008

On the Roots of Human Irrationality

Standard Disclaimer:

The following is supposed to be a Game Theoretic take on the causes of human irrationality. Of course, being my own views and having been heavily influenced by what I have experienced and observed, they are liable to have many inherent biases built inside them and I do not think they are very correct.


Although in a game, a rational player would play the strategy that is expected to increase his payoff, altruistic people might not be amenable to such analyses because of the apparent disregard that they have for their own welfare (or self interest). I'd like to point out that 'altruistic' people can be included in the realm of rationality. This can be done by considering the fact that people, for whatever reason, may change the structure of the game (or perceive differently, the structure of the game) being played by assigning different numbers in the payoff matrix than what are supposed to exist objectively. Now it is possible that due to their philosophy of what they think is correct and right (as opposed to wrong), causes them to perceive their payoff matrices as different than what is perceived by other people. In this case, they are again maximising their payoffs as is expected of rational people by putting in a higher payoff on the strategies they ultimately end up playing.

Hence on the surface at least, I do not see a reason for a dichotomy.

The causes for the different payoff structure being assigned is what is discussed next.

In my opinion, the cause stems from the fact that the game being played is not Common Knowledge. The payoff structures are hidden somewhat and although (if the game is repeated) there can exist emerging patterns in the assignment of payoffs to different strategies by players, the fact that common knowledge does not exist causes the other players in the game to rely on their inbuilt, hardwired Bayesian Inference subroutines in their brains which inherently, are heavily dependent on the players' experiential domains.

This is, in fact the reason for superstitions. People seeing black cats crossing their path, relating it to previous mishaps in their own lives infer that the blame for some putative future accident rests solely on the puny shoulders of the cat. This is classic case of correlation being mistaken for causation.

Hence being denied common knowledge and public payoff functions, the game being played transforms dramatically into that in which guessing the behaviour of the adversary becomes a far more intractable problem of mathematics. Also, the prior programming of the individual by means of education (or the lack of it), experience, genetic hardwiring etc makes him prone to assess the game in a radically different way than is usually studied in formal discourses of Game Theory.

So perhaps the more meaningful question should not be "Why are humans irrational?" but "How are humans irrational?"