Friday, January 25, 2013

Reading List: January '12 to January '13

  1. The Pale King (David Foster Wallace)
  2. A Game of Thrones (George R R Martin)
  3. A Clash of Kings (George R R Martin)
  4. A Storm of Swords (George R R Martin)
  5. A Feast for Crows (George R R Martin)    
  6. A Dance with Dragons (George R R Martin)
  7. Black Hole (Charles Burns)
  8. Distrust that Particular Flavor (William Gibson)
  9. How to be Alone (Jonathan Franzen)
  10. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K Dick)
  11. Underworld (Don DeLillo)
  12. The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls)
  13. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (Philip K Dick)
  14. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (Philip K Dick)
  15. VALIS (Philip K Dick)
  16. Point Omega (Don DeLillo)
  17. Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri)
  18. The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri)
  19. The Book of Illusions (Paul Auster)
  20. The Adolescent (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) (reread)
  21. Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan (Zac O Yeah)
  22. कसप (मनोहर श्याम जोशी) (tr. "Who Knows?" (Manohar Shyam Joshi))
  23. सूरज का सातवाँ घोड़ा (धर्मवीर भारती) (tr. "Sun's Seventh Horse" (Dharmveer Bharati)) (reread)
  24. आधे अधूरे (मोहन राकेश) (tr. "Halves Incompletes" (Mohan Rakesh))
  25. Foundation (Isaac Asimov)
  26. Foundation and Empire (Isaac Asimov)
  27. Second Foundation (Isaac Asimov)
Recent acquisitions:
  1. गोदान (प्रेमचंद) (tr. "Cow Donation" (?) (Premchand))
  2. 51 अनमोल कहानियाँ (प्रेमचंद) (tr. "51 Invaluable Stories" (Premchand))
  3. कर्मभूमि (प्रेमचंद) (tr. "The Land Where One Works" (Premchand))
  4. हरिया हरक्युलिस की हैरानी (मनोहर श्याम जोशी) (tr. "Hariya Hercules's Surprise" (Manohar Shyam Joshi))
  5. टाटा प्रोफेसर (मनोहर श्याम जोशी) (tr. "Ta ta Professor" (Manohar Shyam Joshi))
  6. लहरों के राजहंस (मोहन राकेश) (tr. "Tides' Royal Swans" (Mohan Rakesh))
  7. आषाढ़ का एक दिन (मोहन राकेश) (tr. "A Day in (the month of) Aashaadh"(Mohan Rakesh))
  8. पैर तले की ज़मीन (मोहन राकेश) (tr. "Ground Beneath the Feet" (Mohan Rakesh))
  9. प्रतिनिधि व्यंग्य (हरिशंकर परसाई) (tr. "Representative Satire" (Harishankar Parsai))
  10. 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Short Photo Essay: December '12 - January '13

Anime OLRs a Bunch - Part 2

  1. Aeon Flux: Okay this isn't an anime, but it's a series that's worth the attention of those interested in watching animated series generally. Set up in a bizarre, dystopic universe, this dialogue-less, graphic, violent and sexually suggestive series is nonetheless a rare feat of exploration of that highly elusive meeting point of commericial-yet-highly-experimental art. Grade: A
  2. Paranoia Agent: The great Satoshi Kon disappoints (Arun will now proceed to disembowel NF). It's an entirely forgettable anime series about a supposed street runt who wields his baseball bat to attack people having crises of one sort or the other. NF has a strong suspicion that he didn't get the series at all and will view it again to give the great Satoshi Kon the benefit of doubt, may his glory spread far and wide posthumously as well. Grade: B-
  3. Avatar: The Last Airbender: Okay this isn't an anime either but it's the closest the US can get to co opting the art form; and it's hardly bad! It milks the shonen anime genre for all its worth and is able to form a very coherent and plot driven narrative. Except for the first half of the third season in which Zuko seems to be rehabilitated, the series is excellent throughout and deserves all the accolades that were directed towards it. Grade: A
  4. FLCL: Also known as 'furi kuri', this six episode anime is hard to describe if you haven't seen it yourself. It's hyperkinetic, supremely, lavishly, overwhelmingly stylized and almost utterly incomprehensible on a first viewing. It's also very funny. One couldn't give it high marks for substance (and maybe for a six episode series one shouldn't have high expectations in this regard anyway) but it scores so damn high on style and visual extravagance that the experience is completely worth it! Grade: A-

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Anime OLRs a Bunch - Part 1

This is a brief review of the various animes Nanga Fakir's watched in two years - from early 2011 till the end of 2012. As always, the OLR in the title refers to 'one line review' where 'one line' is to be interpreted rather broadly.

  1. Code Geass (Season 1 and Season 2): Fabulous series! Think of it as Death Note meets the best of the Mecha genre - the devious mind of Lelouch is the high while the irritating character of Suzaku is the low point. The second season doesn't live up to the brilliance of the first though. Grade: A+
  2. Denno Coil: Suffice it to say that it's the best anime (not just a science fiction one) that NF has seen in the recent past. Although one could argue that Code Geass is more fun, in terms of sheer originality, story and brilliance, NF was completely won over by this Hayao Miyazaki meets Masamune Shirow science fiction spectacle (courtesy the fabulous Akemi Anime Review). This wonderful achievement in the art of anime direction deserves a standing ovation! Grade: A+ 
  3. Boogiepop Phantom: Another wonderful series. Psychological horror meets artsy, sepia tinted backdrops and multiple POV storylines that converge to a satisfying whole. Grade: A
  4. Full Metal Alchemist: A 51 episode saga of two siblings in an alternate reality who learnt the principle of alchemy the hard way (toka koka - the principle of equal exchange). A very well directed story of their journeys, travails, courage and eventual victory. All in all, a classic bildungsroman. Grade: A-
  5. Trigun: In a science fictional world, a 'peace and love' proclaiming hippyish gunslinger 'Vash the Stampede''s appearance at various villages causes their utter destruction despite the protagonist's apparent best efforts. To contain the damage, two ladies from an insurance agency tail him and so does the mysterious gunfighter priest. Hilarity ensues and so does terrific fighting. A cracker of a background score doesn't hurt the series at all! Grade: A-

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


This is a test post to check if MathJax rendering of Latex has been effectively integrated into Blogger.


The following is a well known point about completion of product measures:

Consider measure spaces $(X,\Sigma_X,\mu)$ and $(Y,\Sigma_Y,\mu)$ where $\mu$ is the Lebesgue measure. For the sake of definiteness, let's set the spaces $X$ and $Y$ as the unit interval $[0,1]$ and the sigma algebras $\Sigma_X$ and $\Sigma_Y$ as the standard sigma algebra of Lebesgue measurable sets on $[0,1]$.

Now we want extend these "coordinate" measures to the product space $X \times Y$. A natural way to do so is to define a product sigma algebra on $X \times Y$ by forming the smallest sigma algebra containing all sets of the form $A \times B$, where $A\in\Sigma_X$ and $B\in\Sigma_Y$ are measurable sets on the $x$ and $y$ coordinate spaces respectively. (For our example, these are just the intervals $X=[0,1]$ and $Y=[0,1]$.)

That is, the product space on which we are defining a product measure is:

$$(X\times Y;\sigma\{A\times B:A\in \Sigma_X, B\in \Sigma_Y\}; \tilde{\mu})$$

For a measurable rectangle $A\times B$, 

$$\tilde{\mu}(A\times B)=\mu(A)\mu(B)$$

In the spirit of this product measure space, let's see what happens once we put $A=\{x_0\}$ (just one point). Then of course, our standard construction yields:

$$\tilde{\mu}(A\times B)=\mu(A)\mu(B)=0\cdot \mu(B)$$

for any set $B\in 2^{Y}$, not just in the sigma algebra $\Sigma_Y$.

And here is where all the trouble starts! How so? Well for all sets in the sigma algebra $\Sigma_Y$, 

$$\tilde{\mu}(A\times B)=\mu(A)\mu(B)=0\cdot \mu(B)=0$$

but for all sets $B\notin \Sigma_Y$ (and their existence is guaranteed - Vitali sets are an example), the above equation is not well defined! However the set $\{x_0\}\times B\subseteq \{x_0\}\times [0,1]$ and this larger set does have measure 0!

Hence the product measure $\tilde{\mu}$ must be completed as well! We can do this in the standard way: take all null sets with respect to the new measure $\tilde{\mu}$ and construct a new sigma algebra generated by such sets and the old product sigma algebra.


Yes, it has!

Friday, January 04, 2013

अथ मोनू उवाच

"ज्ञान वह कंघी है जो बाल झड़ने के बाद ही प्रयोग की जा सकती है।"