Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Python Software Foundation - SfePy : GSoC 2013 : Week 8 & 9

Hi Pythonistas,

It has been quite busy lately and I have done some extensive research in this period to come up with the final set of equations of my problem.

Have a look at an awesome example I tried out which is a legacy 'mixing elbow' problem using SfePy.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Python Software Foundation - SfePy : GSoC 2013 : Week 7


This week was spent on midterm evaluation.
The next biweekly report (Week 8&9) is coming soon.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Viral Content == Dirac Delta Function

Ever wondered how a viral content looks?
How can people go crazy over it and get over it in such a short time?

With the new Google Trends toolkit I visualized some of the most viral contents I could recall.

Some things which went viral regionally -
Harlem Shake vs Honey Bunny (Worldwide)

Harlem Shake vs Honey Bunny (India)

Vodafone vs Idea
Doesn't these graphs remind you of the Dirac Delta Function we studied in our undergrad?

PS. If you find any interesting Google Trends search, do share it in the comments below.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Fifth Estate

Burke said that there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all.
- Thomas Carlyle (1841)

In Britain, the three estates of government referenced Parliament: The House of Lords (the Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual - nobles and clergy) and the House of Commons were the earliest system of checks and balances, with each estate in place to ensure that neither of the other estates became too strong. The clergy couldn’t dominate — but then again, neither could the nobility, and neither could “the people,” whether they were people of wealth or people of more common means.

The americans established a unique, experimental and untested form of democracy, which divided the powers of government among three branches. This was a new concept of the “three estates.” They carefully crafted the legislative, the executive and the judiciary branches with an elaborate method of checks and balances. In a young nation which had just won its independence from an authoritarian British monarch, these checks and balances were of the highest priority.

But soon it turned out that three estates were not enough - Someone needed to keep an eye on the people in power. So the concept of a "Fourth Estate" — what we know today as the press (the "press" includes all news media, not just newspapers) emerged. Throughout the nineteenth and the twentieth century the freedom of press was debated, but it played a crucial role in influencing the msses. It was the only link they had with the Government. In the later half of the twentieth century the sanctity of the press became questionable due to commercialization and political influence. 

The Fourth Estate was toppling.

Charles Darwin once said -
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
It was high time we change, so we took the things in our own hands. In the past fifteen years, the spread of the Internet and other advanced technologies had a dramatic effect on the way people access and perceive information. One of the most revolutionary technological novelties that characterizes the modern "digital revolution" has been the explosion of the world wide web. It has impacted numerous facets of international politics including elections, media reporting from zones of conflict, and corporate and congressional policies. They also have potentially significant implications for policy making of the future and for national and global security. It has been suggested that the internet deserves the title of the "Fifth Estate".

As a matter of constitutional tradition, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume that governmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it. The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship.
-Justice John Paul Stevens, in Reno v. ACLU, 1997.

The current debates on internet censorship is nothing but analogous to the earlier debates held on curbing the power of press. Decades ago the press exposed the Bofurs gun scandal which involved the then Prime Minister Gandhi who was accused of receiving kickbacks from the Bofurs Company to the story of the Fodder scam which involved embezzlement from the treasury of the Indian state of Bihar. And today we have Wikileaks exposing the US Government. This is the prime reason internet censorship is being talked about. But supressing this new wave of the people is morally wrong.

Web censorship, is only part of the government's efforts to control information flow. The more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. 
It is high time we say no to internet censorship.