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  • Stinker Emails - A Primer - Unreal Blog
    normally aggressive soul on the other hand may become an obnoxious sender of what are known as stinkers Stinkers are emails that are meant to inflict humiliation Given the importance of email communication these days you may find yourself seduced by the dark allure of stinkers If you do here are the first steps in mastering the art of crafting a stinker The trick is to develop a holier than thou attitude and assume a moral high ground For instance suppose you are upset with a team for their shoddy work and want to highlight the fact to them and to a few key persons in the organization of course A novice may be tempted to write something like You and your team don t know squat Resist that temptation and hold that rookie email Far more satisfying is to compose it as I will be happy to sit down with you and your team and share our expertise This craftier composition also subtly shows off your superior knowledge Emails can be even more subtle For instance you can sweetly counsel your boss regarding some issue as No point in rushing in where angels fear to tread and have the secret pleasure that you managed to call him a fool to his face Counter stinkers are doubly sweet While engaging in an email duel your best hope is to discover a factual inaccuracy in the stinker Although you are honor bound to respond to a stinker silence also can be an effective response It sends a signal that you either found the stinker too unimportant to respond to or worse you accidentally deleted it without reading it Beware of stinker traps You may get an email inviting you to work on a problem with a generous offer to help Say you take the bait and request help The next email copied to practically everybody on earth may read something like If you bothered to read the previous message referring to an email sent ten days ago to 17 others and two email groups you would know that Note how easy it is to imply that you don t know what you are supposed to and that you are in the habit of ignoring important messages We have no sure defense against stinker traps other than knowing the sender If a sender is known for his stinker happy disposition treat all his sweet overtures with suspicion It is unlikely that he has had a change of heart and decided to treat you civilly Much more likely is that he is setting you up for something that he will enjoy rather more than you At the end of the day don t worry too much about stinkers if you do find yourself at the receiving end Keep a smile on your face and recognize the stinkers for what they are ego trips If you enjoyed this post I m sure you will also like An Office Survival Guide La Sophistication Share this

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/stinker-emails-a-primer/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Quant Life in Singapore - Unreal Blog
    best thing a quant can hope for is a fair compensation for his hard work Money may not be important in and of itself but what it says about you and your station in the corporate pecking order may be of interest Empty epithets are cheap but it when it comes to showing real appreciation hard cash is what matters especially in our line of work Besides corporate appreciation breeds confidence and a sense of self worth I feel that confidence is lacking among Singaporean quants Some of them are really among the cleverest people I have met And I have traveled far and wide and met some very clever people indeed Once I was in a CERN elevator with two Nobel laureates as I will never tire of mentioning This lack of confidence and not lack of expertise or intelligence is the root cause behind the dearth of quality work coming out of Singapore We seem to keep ourselves happy with fairly mundane and routine tasks of implementing models developed by superior intelligences and validating the results Why not take a chance and dare to be wrong I do it all the time For instance I think that there is something wrong with a Basel II recipe and I am going to write an article about it I have published a physics article in a well respected physics journal implying among other things that Einstein himself may have been slightly off the mark See for yourself at http TheUnrealUniverse com Asian quants are the ones closest to the Asian market For structures and products specifically tailored to this market how come we don t develop our own pricing models Why do we wait for the Mertons and Hulls of the world In our defense may be some of the confident ones that do develop pricing models may move out of Asia The CDO guru David Li is a case in point But on the whole the intellectual contribution to modern quantitative finance looks disproportionately lopsided in favor of the West This may change in the near future when the brain banks in India and China open up and smell blood in this niche field of ours Another quality that is missing among us Singaporean parishioners is an appreciation of the big picture Clichàs like the Big Picture and the Value Chain have been overused by the afore mentioned middle level people managers on techies a category of dubious distinction into which we quants also fall to our constant chagrin to devastating effect Such phrases have rained terror on techies and quants and relegated them to demoralizing assignments with challenges far below their intellectual potential May be it is a sign of my underestimating the power of the dark side but I feel that the big picture is something we have to pay attention to Quants in Singapore seem to do what they are asked to do They do it well but they do it without questioning We should

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/quant-life-in-singapore/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Perception, Physics and the Role of Light in Philosophy - Unreal Blog
    Not for nothing did the Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg wonder in his book Dreams of a Final Theory why the contribution from philosophy to physics had been so surprisingly small Perhaps it is because physics has yet to come to terms with the fact that when it comes to seeing the universe there is no such thing as an optical illusion which is probably what Goethe meant when he said Optical illusion is optical truth The distinction or lack thereof between optical illusion and truth is one of the oldest debates in philosophy After all it is about the distinction between knowledge and reality Knowledge is considered our view about something that in reality is actually the case In other words knowledge is a reflection or a mental image of something external as shown in the figure below In this picture the black arrow represents the process of creating knowledge which includes perception cognitive activities and the exercise of pure reason This is the picture that physics has come to accept While acknowledging that our perception may be imperfect physics assumes that we can get closer and closer to the external reality through increasingly finer experimentation and more importantly through better theorization The Special and General Theories of Relativity are examples of brilliant applications of this view of reality where simple physical principles are relentlessly pursued using formidable machine of pure reason to their logically inevitable conclusions But there is another alternative view of knowledge and reality that has been around for a long time This is the view that regards perceived reality as an internal cognitive representation of our sensory inputs as illustrated below In this view knowledge and perceived reality are both internal cognitive constructs although we have come to think of them as separate What is external is not the reality as we perceive it but an unknowable entity giving rise to the physical causes behind sensory inputs In the illustration the first arrow represents the process of sensing and the second arrow represents the cognitive and logical reasoning steps In order to apply this view of reality and knowledge we have to guess the nature of the absolute reality unknowable as it is One possible candidate for the absolute reality is Newtonian mechanics which gives a reasonable prediction for our perceived reality To summarize when we try to handle the distortions due to perception we have two options or two possible philosophical stances One is to accept the distortions as part of our space and time as Special Relativity does The other option is to assume that there is a higher reality distinct from our sensed reality whose properties we can only conjecture In other words one option is to live with the distortion while the other is to propose educated guesses for the higher reality Neither of these choices is particularly attractive But the guessing path is similar to the view accepted in phenomenalism It also leads naturally to how reality is viewed

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/perception-physics-and-the-role-of-light-in-philosophy/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Missing Events and Photos in iPhoto? - Unreal Blog
    thumbnails for a second and then they disappear The events seem to have the right number of photos They even list the camera model and exposure data You scratch your head and say to yourself Well may be the Time Machine backup didn t unpack properly or whatever May be the version upgrade messed up some data No sweat I can use the Time Machine and find the right iPhoto Library You fire up the Time Machine probably for the first time for real You restore the last good backup of the iPhoto Library to your desktop and launch iPhoto again Database update again Anxious wait Hey the damned events are still missing Panic begins to set in Mad Google for answers Ok hold down the Option and Command keys and launch iPhoto Regenerate thumbnails Repair the library Rebuild the Database Still the events refuse to come back How do I know all this Because this is exactly what I did I was lucky though I managed to recover the events It dawned on me that the problem was not with the restore process nor the version update of iPhoto It was the Time Machine backup process the backup was incomplete I had the old Mac and the old iPhoto library intact So I copied the old library over to the new iMac directly over the network not from the Time Machine backup I then started iPhoto on the new machine After the necessary database update all the events and photos showed up Phew So what exactly went wrong It appears that Time Machine doesn t backup the iPhoto Library properly if iPhoto is open according to Apple More precisely the recently imported photos and events may not get backed up This bug or feature was reported earlier and discussed in detail I thought I would share my experience here because it was important piece of information and might save somebody some time and possibly some valuable photos And I feel it is disingenuous of Apple to tout the Time Machine as the mother of all backup solutions with this glaring bug After all your photos are among the most precious of your data If they are not backed up and migrated properly why bother with Time Machine at all To recap If you find your photo collection incomplete after migrating to your shiny new iMac using a Time Machine backup don t panic if you still have your old Mac Exit gracefully from iPhoto on both the machines Copy your old iPhoto Library from the old Mac over to the new one after properly exiting from iPhoto on both machines Restart iPhoto on the new Mac and enjoy How to prevent this from happening Before the final Time Machine backup from your old Mac ensure that iPhoto is not running In fact it may be worth exiting from all applications before taking the final snapshot If you want to be doubly sure consider another automated backup solution just for

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/missing-events-and-photos-in-iphoto/ (2016-02-16)
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  • How to Avoid Duplicate Imports in iPhoto - Unreal Blog
    creation etc works like a charm if you are just starting out with your new digital camera What if you already have 20 000 old photos and scans on your old computer in My Pictures This is the problem I was faced with when I started playing with iPhoto I pride myself in anticipating such problems So I decided to import my old library very carefully While importing My Pictures which was fairly organized to begin with I went through it folder by folder dragging and dropping them on iPhoto and at the same time labeling them and the photos therein with what I thought were appropriate colors I used the Get Info function in Finder for color labels I thought I was being clever but I ended up with a fine but colorful mess with my folders and photos sporting random colors It looked impossible to compare and figure out and where my 20 000 photos got imported to in iPhoto so I decided to write my very first Mac App iPhotoTagger It took me about a week to write it but it sorted out my photo worries Now I want to sell it and make some money Here is what it does It first goes through your iPhoto library and catalogs what you have there It then scans the folder you specify and compares the photos in there with those in your library If a photo is found exactly once it will get a Green label so that it stands out when you browse to it in your Finder which is Mac talk for Windows Explorer Similarly if the photo appears more than once in your iPhoto library it will be tagged in Yellow And going the extra mile iPhotoTagger will color your folder Green if all the photos within have been imported into your iPhoto library Those folders that have been partially imported will be tagged Yellow The photo comparison is done using Exif data and is fairly accurate Note that iPhotoTagger doesn t modify anything within your iPhoto library Doing so would be unwise It merely reads the library to gather information This first version V1 0 is released to test the waters as it were and is priced at 1 99 If there is enough interest I will work on V2 0 with improved performance using Perl and SQLite if you must know I will price it at 2 99 And if the interest doesn t wane a V3 0 for 3 99 will appear with a proper help file performance pane options to choose your own color scheme SpotLight comments and if you must know probably rewritten in Objective C Before you rush to send me money please know that iPhotoTagger requires Snow Leopard and Lion OS X 10 6 and 10 7 If in doubt you can download the lite version and play with it It is fully functional and will create lists of photos folders to be tagged in Green and Yellow

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/how-to-avoid-duplicate-imports-in-iphoto/ (2016-02-16)
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  • How to save a string to a local file in PHP? - Unreal Blog
    into a file on the server and serve the file But what do you do if you don t want to give the whole world a way of dumping strings to files on your server Well you could do something like this php header Content Disposition attachment filename style css header Content Transfer Encoding ascii header Expires 0 header Pragma no cache print stylestr So just put this code in your foo php that computes the string stylestr and you are done But our trouble is that we are working in the WordPress plugin framework and cannot use the header calls When you try to do that you will get the error message saying that header is already done dude For this problem I found the ingenious solution in one of the plugins that I use Forgot which one but I guess it is a common technique The solution is to define an empty iFrame and set its source to what the PHP function would write Since iFrame expects a full HTML source you are allowed in fact obliged to give the header directives The code snippet looks something like iframe id saveCSS src about blank style visibility hidden border none height 1em width 1px iframe script type text javascript var fram document getElementById saveCSS php echo fram src styleurl Now the question is what should the source be In other words what is styleurl Clearly it is not going to be a static file on your server And the purpose of this post is to show that it doesn t have to be a file on the server at all It is a two part answer You have to remember that you are working within the WordPress framework and you cannot make standalone php files The only thing you can do is to add arguments to the existing php files or the plugins you have created So you first make a submit button as follows form method post action php echo SERVER REQUEST URI div class submit input type submit name saveCSS title Download the tweaked stylesheet to your computer value Download Stylesheet div Note that the name attribute of the button is saveCSS Now in the part of the code that handles submits you do something like php if isset POST saveCSS styleurl get option siteurl wp admin themes php page theme tweaker php save This is the styleurl that you would give as the source of your iFrame fram Note that it is the same as your pluging page URL except that you managed to add save at the end of it The next trick is to capture that argument and handle it For that you use the WordPress API function add action as php if isset GET save add action init array thmTwk saveCSS else remove action init array thmTwk saveCSS This adds a function saveCSS to the init part of your plugin Now you have to define this function php function saveCSS header Content Disposition

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/how-to-save-a-string-to-a-local-file-in-php/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The Moon and Sixpence - Unreal Blog
    at cynical and misogynistic best or worst depending on the perspective in the early part of the book especially in his descriptions of Mrs Strickland and her children We should condone this appearance of misogyny as a pardonable foible of a genius I think More than that I see it as an effort a successful one to balance the callousness of Strickland s disappearance that soon follows Such balancing devices can be found throughout the book Perhaps to soften the shock of Strickland s seemingly inexplicable renunciation of his family his son s hypocritical account of his later life is cynically ridiculed right in the beginning of the book The unfortunate Dirk Stroeve so cruelly used by Strickland is also a buffoon who elicits derisive laughter rather than sympathy Stroeve s groveling adulation of Blanche perhaps serves to iron out the overtones of sexism or misogyny permeating the story Blanche Stroeve s betrayal is counter balanced with her own abominable indifference to Stroeve which in turn gets evened out in what she receives from Strickland What an abyss of cruelty she must have looked into that in horror she refused to live Strickland curiously walks unaffected through all this death and mayhem larger than life tortured by his own private agonies of the soul well beyond our comprehension and his own Even in his callousness what Strickland invokes in Maugham and even Stroeve is not merely a natural indignation but an overwhelming compassion astonishingly The misplaced compassion is perhaps a device to prepare the reader for Strickland s sordid and horrible death Maugham employs a variety of techniques to make the narration sound natural If I was a fiction writer I would study these techniques very carefully and try to employ them myself To begin with Strickland is a fictional portrayal of Gauguin but Maugham takes great pains to pretend that the narration is not fictional Even the narrator Maugham himself is portrayed as fallible and contritely so to lend credibility to the narration For instance Maugham gets exasperated at Stroeve s weakness and is later ashamed of himself for getting angry The book has its elitist moments When asked if it was better not to have known Stroeve replies The world is hard and cruel We are here none knows why and we go none knows whither We must be very humble We must see the beauty of quietness We must go through life so inconspicuously that Fate does not notice us And let us seek the love of simple ignorant people Their ignorance is better than all our knowledge Let us be silent content in our little corner meek and gentle like them That is the wisdom of life It is as though the gift of inquiry and knowledge is given to a precious few a special club to which Stroeve and Maugham are privy This elitist attitude permeates not only Maugham s works but all great works of literature it is only by masking his sense of

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/the-moon-and-sixpence/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Average Beauty - Unreal Blog
    female face He even created a set of hybrids by making linear combinations of the two with different weighting factors He then showed the results to a large number of people and recorded their preference in terms of the attractiveness of the face The strange thing was that the average face looked more pleasant and attractive to the Japanese eye than any one of the individual ones In fact the most attractive male face was the one that had a bit of female features in it That is to say it was the one with 90 average male and 10 average female or some such combination I don t remember the exact weights The researcher went one step further and created an average caucasian face as well He then took the difference between that and an average Japanese face and then superimposed the difference on an average face with exaggerated weights The result was a grotesque caricature which he postulated was probably the way a Japanese person would see a caucasian for the first time This reminded me of the time when I visited my housemate s farm in a small town in Pennsylvania a town so small that the street in front the farm was named after him I went with his parents to the local grocery store and there was this little girl sitting in a shopping cart who went wide eyed when she saw me She couldn t take her eyes off me after that May be seeing an Indian face for the first time in her life she saw a similar caricature and got scared Anyway my conjecture is that an averaging similar to what the Japanese researcher did happens in all of us when we migrate First our minds see grotesque and exaggerated difference caricatures between the faces we encounter and the ones we were used to in our previous land Soon our baseline average changes as we get more used to the faces around us And the difference between what we see and our baseline ceases to be big and we end up liking the faces more and more as they move progressively closer to the average normal face Here are the average male and female faces by race or country Notice how each one of them is a remarkably handsome or beautiful specimen If you find some of them not so remarkable you should move to that country and spend a few years there so that they also become remarkable And if you find the faces from a particular country especially attractive with no prolonged expsosure to such faces I would like to hear your thoughts Please leave your comments Male Faces Female Faces I couldn t trace the original sources of these images If you know them please let me know I would like to get copyright permissions and add attributions There is more to this story than I outlined here May be I will add my take on it as a

    Original URL path: http://www.thulasidas.com/average-beauty/ (2016-02-16)
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