Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Romans and multiplication

Roman Numericals and Arithmetic “Multiplication using roman numerals is not particularly easy or obvious. You can do the trivial thing, which is repeated addition. But it should be pretty obvious that that’s not practical for large numbers. The trick that they used was actually pretty nifty. It’s basically a strange version of binary multiplication. You need to be able to add and divide by two, but those are both pretty easy things to do. So here goes:
Division is the biggest problem in roman numerals. There is no good trick that works in general. It really comes down to repeated subtraction. The only thing you can do to simplify is variations on finding a common factor of both numbers that’s easy to factor out. For example, if both numbers are even, you can divide each of them by two before starting the repeated subtraction. It’s also fairly easy to recognize when both numbers are multiples of 5 or 10, and to do the division by 5 or 10 on both numbers. But beyond that, you take a guess, do the multiplication, subtract, repeat.“

Monday, October 16, 2017

An oldish article about Alexander Marshack

I thought that I already posted this.
After the Ice Age: How Calendar-keeping shaped Early Social Structuring by Michael Hudson

New book again

It seems that I have been reading the dissertation. The actual book can be downloaded from here.

Language of the Snakes

Prakrit, Sanskrit, and the Language Order of Premodern India

Andrew Ollett (Author)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Interesting new book

For a few days downloadable, check rightand top corner.
Language of the Snakes: Prakrit, Sanskrit, and the Language Order of Premodern India Andrew Strand Ollett
Language of the Snakes is a biography of Prakrit, one of premodern India’s most important and most neglected literary languages. Prakrit was the language of a literary tradition that flourished roughly from the 1st to the 12th century. During this period, it served as a counterpart to Sanskrit, the preeminent language of literature and learning in India. Together, Sanskrit and Prakrit were the foundation for an enduring “language order” that governed the way that people thought of and used language. Language of the Snakes traces the history of this language order through the historical articulations of Prakrit, which are set out here for the first time: its invention and cultivation among the royal courts of central India around the 1st century, its representation in classical Sanskrit and Prakrit texts, the ways it is made into an object of systematic knowledge, and ultimately its displacement from the language practices of literature. Prakrit is shown to have played a critical role in the establishment of the cultural-political formation now called the “Sanskrit cosmopolis,” as shown through a genealogy of its two key practices, courtly literature (kāvya-) and royal eulogy (praśasti-). It played a similarly critical role in the emergence of vernacular textuality, as it provided a model for language practices that diverged from Sanskrit but nevertheless possessed an identity and regularity of their own. Language of the Snakes thus offers a cultural history of Prakrit in contrast to the natural-history framework of previous studies of the language. It uses Prakrit to formulate a theory of literary language as embedded in an ordered set of cultural practices rather than by contrast to spoken language.

Friday, October 13, 2017


V.B.Sowmya on her wall:
After all these years, the first thing I could think of when I face some issue is: "ask mom", irrespective of whether it is something relevant to her life experiences or not.”
remember back around 1958-59, I was rusticated because I was too interested in mathematics, stopped attending classes since I felt they were teaching too much rubbish. I was home with a few math books, one on abstract algebra and the other ‘Introduction to mathematical philosophy’ by Bertrand Russell. In the village, there was nobody to discuss mathematics. I often sat in the kitchen and used to tell my mother about all these exciting ideas. Much before that she had her own life, reading, drawing singing and so on. But now I was thrown out of college, she became very protective and used to listen to me. And talking to somebody helped some. Finally I had to go back to college to get credentials and facilities to do mathematics. But the empathetic understanding from my mother, whether she understood the mathematics I was telling her about, helped me at various stages. Now I see the same with my wife and children.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sai Padma

Noah Smith defends Richard Thaler

Defending Thaler from guerilla resistance But I keep getting this doubt expressed in one of the comments:
"Aren’t nudge advocates forgetting the minor detail that, given that governments (and nudge units) are made of people, they, very much as the people they want to nudge, are not immune to biases in the first place? Who will nudge the nudgers?"
P.S. some articles from Australia Articles on Nudhe Unit The most recent article in the series 
Government behavioural economics ‘nudge unit’ needs a shove in a new direction

Demise of the dollar, perennial topic

Extreme virtue

Meet R.Jalaja and K.Janardhanan, a rare couple, living on a quarter of their income so they can spend the rest in changing lives of others.”
A case of extreme virtue in The Hindu.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jim Shimabukuro articles

https://etcjournal.com/2008/10/01/jim-shimabukuro/ about online learning and related topics.
A sample articlefrom 2013 about Sugata Mitra:

Dark matter found?

A math problem for fourth grade kids in Melbourne

“If 5 * 3 = 4
2 * 8 = 2
5 * 1 = 6
6 * 3 = 3

find the value of 1 * 7 = ?“ 
Sent to me by my daughter. It took me full fifteen minutes to solve it.

From the Facebook Feed

I saw an interesting suggestion for India in the Facebook feed today, it may be old but I have not seen it before. A strong form of nudge?: 
’Restrict government jobs to those who studied in government schools’.