KE SARA, SARA, what ever will be, will be …











{October 25, 2007}   Employee Rules and Regulations

Employee Rules and Regulations

*Dress Code*

 

It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary.

If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better,so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore do not need a raise.

If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore do not need a raise.

 

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*Sick Days*

 

We will no longer accept a doctor’s statement as proof of sickness.

If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

 

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*Personal Days*

 

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday and Sunday.

 

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*Toilet Use*

 

Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls.

At the end of the three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open and a picture will be taken.

After your second offence, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the “Chronic Offenders category”.

Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sectioned under the company’s mental health policy!

You are allowed to use the rest room only thrice a day and you have to swipe in and out from the toilet doors also.

 

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*Lunch Break*

 

Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy.

Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.

Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that’s all the time needed to drink a slim fast.

 

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*Mails*

 

Don’t read junk and forwarded mails.

 

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Thank you for your loyalty to our company.

We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore,

All questions, comments,concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.

 

The Management.

 

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{October 25, 2007}   The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Fruits and flowers… Waterfalls… Gardens hanging from the palace terraces… Exotic animals… This is the picture of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in most people’s minds. It may be surprising to know that they might have never existed except in Greek poets and historians imagination!

Location
On the east bank of the River Euphrates, about 50 km south of Baghdad, Iraq.

History
The Babylonian kingdom flourished under the rule of the famous King, Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC). It was not until the reign of Naboplashar (625-605 BC) of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty that the Mesopotamian civilization reached its ultimate glory. His son, Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) is credited for building the legendary Hanging Gardens. It is said that the Gardens were built by Nebuchadnezzar to please his wife or concubine who had been “brought up in Media and had a passion for mountain surroundings”.

While the most descriptive accounts of the Gardens come from Greek historians such as Berossus and Diodorus Siculus, Babylonian records stay silent on the matter. Tablets from the time of Nebuchadnezzar do not have a single reference to the Hanging Gardens, although descriptions of his palace, the city of Babylon, and the walls are found. Even the historians who give detailed descriptions of the Hanging Gardens never saw them. Modern historians argue that when Alexander’s soldiers reached the fertile land of Mesopotamia and saw Babylon, they were impressed. When they later returned to their rugged homeland, they had stories to tell about the amazing gardens and palm trees at Mesopotamia.. About the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.. About the Tower of Babel and the ziggurats. And it was the imagination of poets and ancient historians that blended all these elements together to produce one of the World Wonders.

It wasn’t until the twentieth century that some of the mysteries surrounding the Hanging Gardens were revealed. Archaeologists are still struggling to gather enough evidence before reaching the final conclusions about the location of the Gardens, their irrigation system, and their true appearance.

Description
Detailed descriptions of the Gardens come from ancient Greek sources, including the writings of Strabo and Philo of Byzantium. Here are some excerpts from their accounts:

“The Garden is quadrangular, and each side is four plethra long. It consists of arched vaults which are located on checkered cube-like foundations.. The ascent of the uppermost terrace-roofs is made by a stairway…”

“The Hanging Garden has plants cultivated above ground level, and the roots of the trees are embedded in an upper terrace rather than in the earth. The whole mass is supported on stone columns… Streams of water emerging from elevated sources flow down sloping channels… These waters irrigate the whole garden saturating the roots of plants and keeping the whole area moist. Hence the grass is permanently green and the leaves of trees grow firmly attached to supple branches… This is a work of art of royal luxury and its most striking feature is that the labor of cultivation is suspended above the heads of the spectators”.

More recent archaeological excavations at the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq uncovered the foundation of the palace. Other findings include the Vaulted Building with thick walls and an irrigation well near the southern palace. A group of archaeologists surveyed the area of the southern palace and reconstructed the Vaulted Building as the Hanging Gardens. However, the Greek historian Strabo had stated that the gardens were situated by the River Euphrates. So others argue that the site is too far from the Euphrates to support the theory since the Vaulted Building is several hundreds of meters away. They reconstructed the site of the palace and located the Gardens in the area stretching from the River to the Palace. On the river banks, recently discovered massive walls 25 m thick may have been stepped to form terraces… the ones described in Greek references.



{October 23, 2007}   Story of the Internet

“It [the computer] is the first metamedium, and as such it has degrees of freedom for representation and expression never before encountered and as yet barely investigated.”


Alan Kay, president of the Viewpoints Research Institute

 

 

The ARPANet – foundation of today’s World Wode Web

The foundations of what is known today as the World Wide Web were laid when Soviet Union’s satellite, Sputnik was launched in 1957. The US, not wanting to be superseded by the Soviet Union, set out on its own satellite industry. To facilitate this, the Advanced Research Projects Agency or ARPA was set up. A network was also set up to enable the military and different sections of the government to maintain communications with one another under all circumstances. It was called the ARPANet. Developed by Dr. J.C.R.Licklider, it ensured that the network had many standby links on top of the default ones and this ensured that, in times of crisis, no department would be cut off from the network. Gradually, renowned universities in the United States joined this network.

 

Invention of electronic mail

The 1970s were packed with new developments in networking technology. The email was invented in the early 1970s, followed a few years later by Usenet Newsgroups and Multipleuser Dungeons. Interactivity among strangers was becoming easier to achieve.

By the 1980s, the TCP/IP suite was defined as the standard communications protocol for the ARPANet.

Surprisingly, despite these seemingly rapid developments, only 5000 computers were part of this Net in 1986. Over the next few years, however, the establishment of five more supercomputer centers and the upgrading of the Internet backbone to a much higher speed of 1.544 Mbps (T-1) led to a quadrupling in the number of host computers. By 1989, there were 100000 computers on the ARPANet. Around this time, the Net was being used by two separate groups; the military and the commercial sector.

 

Birth of the Internet

The Internet was born in the year 1990 when the ARPANet officially split into two separate networks to further facilitate usage and prevent military secrets from being tapped into easily. They were the Milnet (for military use) and the NSFNet (for commercial use). The NSFNet was named after the National Science Foundation which was in charge of the Internet backbone. The backbone speed was upgraded again to 44.736Mbps (T-3 speed) and by 1992, there were as many as 1 million Internet users.

Today, there are about 605.60 million Internet users in the world.



{October 23, 2007}   The Great Pyramid of Giza

 

The Great Pyramid of Giza

 

The Great Pyramid of GIZA

It is the one and only Wonder which does not require a description by early historians and poets. It is the one and only Wonder that does not need speculations concerning its appearance, size, and shape. It is the oldest, yet it is the only surviving of the Seven Ancient Wonders. It is the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Location:
At the city of Giza, a necropolis of ancient Memphis, and today part of Greater Cairo, Egypt.

History
Contrary to the common belief, only the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), not all three Great Pyramids, is on top of the list of Wonders. The monument was built by the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty around the year 2560 BC to serve as a tomb when he dies. The tradition of pyramid building started in Ancient Egypt as a sophistication of the idea of a mastaba or “platform” covering the royal tomb. Later, several stacked mastabas were used. Early pyramids, such as the Step Pyramid of King Zoser (Djoser) at Saqqara by the famous Egyptian architect, Imhotep, illustrate this connection.

The great pyramid is believed to have been built over a 20 year period. The site was first prepared, and blocks of stone were transported and placed. An outer casing (which disappeared over the years) was then used to smooth the surface. Although it is not known how the blocks were put in place, several theories have been proposed. One theory involves the construction of a straight or spiral ramp that was raised as the construction proceeded. This ramp, coated with mud and water, eased the displacement of the blocks which were pushed (or pulled) into place. A second theory suggests that the blocks were placed using long levers with a short angled foot.

Throughout their history, the pyramids of Giza have stimulated human imagination. They were referred to as “The Granaries of Joseph” and “The Mountains of Pharaoh”. When Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, his pride was expressed through his famous quote: “Soldats! Du haute de ces Pyramides, 40 siècles nous contemplent”. (Soldiers! From the top of these Pyramids, 40 centuries are looking at us)

Today, the Great Pyramid is enclosed, together with the other pyramids and the Sphinx, in the touristic region of the Giza Plateau. Also in the area is the museum housing the mysterious Sun Boat, only discovered in 1954 near the south side of the pyramid. The boat is believed to have been used to carry the body of Khufu in his last journey on earth before being buried inside the pyramid. It may also serve him as a means of transportation in his afterlife journey according to Ancient Egyptian beliefs.

Description
When it was built, the Great pyramid was 145.75 m (481 ft) high. Over the years, it lost 10 m (30 ft) off its top. It ranked as the tallest structure on Earth for more than 43 centuries, only to be surpassed in height in the nineteenth century AD. It was covered with a casing of stones to smooth its surface (some of the casing can still be seen near the top of Khefre’s pyramid). The sloping angle of its sides is 54 degrees 54 minutes. Each side is carefully oriented with one of the cardinal points of the compass, that is, north, south, east, and west. The horizontal cross section of the pyramid is square at any level, with each side measuring 229 m (751 ft) in length. The maximum error between side lengths is astonishingly less than 0.1%.

The structure consists of approximately 2 million blocks of stone, each weighing more than two tons. It has been suggested that there are enough blocks in the three pyramids to build a 3 m (10 ft) high, 0.3 m (1 ft) thick wall around France. The area covered by the Great pyramid can accommodate St Peter’s in Rome, the cathedrals of Florence and Milan, and Westminster and St Paul’s in London combined.

On the north face, is the pyramid’s entrance. A number of corridors, galleries, and escape shafts either lead to the King’s burial chamber, or were intended to serve other functions. The King’s chamber is located at the heart of the pyramid, only accessible through the Great Gallery and an ascending corridor. The King’s sarcophagus is made of red granite, as are the interior walls of the King’s Chamber. Most impressive is the sharp-edged stone over the doorway which is over 3 m (10 ft) long, 2.4 m (8 feet) high and 1.3 m (4 ft) thick. All of the interior stones fit so well, a card won’t fit between them. The sarcophagus is oriented in accordance with the compass directions, and is only about 1 cm smaller in dimensions than the chamber entrance. It might have been introduced as the structure was progressing.

New theories concerning the origin and purpose of the Pyramids of Giza have been proposed… Astronomic observatories… Places of cult worship… Geometric structures constructed by a long-gone civilization… Even extraterrestrial-related theories have been proposed with little evidence in support… The overwhelming scientific and historic evidence still supports the conclusion that, like many smaller pyramids in the region, the Great Pyramids were built by the great Ancient Egyptian civilization off the West bank of the Nile as tombs for their magnificent Kings… Tombs where Khufu, Khefre, and Menkaure could start their mystic journey to the afterlife.



{October 23, 2007}   Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is a very, very large and diverse field consisting of numerous AI-related sciences such as (hold your breath !) neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, robotics, linguistics – basically any research gravitated towards the artificial reproduction of the methods or results of human reasoning and brain activity (from The Artificial Intelligence Dictionary).

Then why is there so much Interest in AI?

There is so much interest in AI because of its wide-ranging applications – especially commercial ones. For example, researchers have written neural network software (software that employ internetwork of neurons to analyse data – similar to the human brain) that process stock market information to generate forecasts – highly accurate forecasts. Also, research in speech recognition could one day revolutionize the manner in which we communicate with electronic devices – we can tell them what do do, instead of having to press a multitude of tiny buttons. In fact, IBM’s OS/2 Warp 4.0 Operating System has built-in voice recognition capabilities – once voice recognition technology matures, this would be the rule, not the exception. Similarly, handwriting recognition technology allows us to write, instead of type. We no longer have to adapt to computers – computers will adapt to us. The applications are endless – Artificial Intelligence software can diagnose diseases (Expert Systems), coordinate machine systems (Fuzzy logic), aid in space exploration (intelligent robots remotely explore the planet Mars), translate documents between lanaguages (Natural Language Processing, NLP), etc. Just look at the impact of the virtual pet, Tamagotchi, on society today – and we have barely even touched the surface of mainstream applications of AI.


Genetic Algorithms

As with many other methods of artificial intelligence, the concept behind genetic algorithms is that nature has successfully created intelligence in the human race and so, if we follow as closely as possible the way intelligence forms in nature, we may possibly create something that can solve the sort of problems that “true intelligence” is required for. The aim of genetic programming is to ‘evolve’ an algorithm to suit a particular problem by random alterations and a system similar to cross-breeding of plants and animals.

So how do we make a genetic Algorithm?

In real life, most organisms (that is, those which consist of more than a single cell) have a number of chromosomes which contain many genes, blocks of DNA that store all the required information for the body to synthesize proteins. (Proteins are required to build muscles and other body tissues, as well as the plasma membranes which surround every cell in our bodies).

Humans have 46 chromosomes that code for every required protein in the body and contain all the information required to create an entirely new human being. The reason that all humans are different is that when gametes (sperm or eggs) are created (through the process called meiosis), a process called ‘crossing over’ occurs. This is where different chromosomes from an individual are ‘blended’ together, creating entirely new chromosomes which are still valid, and contain a mixture of many different characteristics from the individual.

Genetic algorithms use this concept to create programs that change in a semi-random fashion in order to work towards a particular goal. Firstly a series of programs are randomly created, and the ones that work the best (produce results the closest to the required ones) are “bred” together (their genetic material combined) and another series of programs is created. As before, the best-performing programs are picked out and the required qualities eventually become more and more focussed as more “generations” of programs are created.

What sorts of programming tasks are suited to genetic Algorithms?

If you think of what has happened in nature, where an entire race of intelligent, thinking and feeling beings has been created by a very similar method, starting with nothing but a mixture of various atmospheric gases and lightning (it has been shown that it is possible to create amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, by passing electric current through a mixture of gases thought to exist on the world millions of years ago), who knows what might appear though the genetic algorithm system?

It’s very good at finding solutions to problems that are difficult or impossible to solve using “traditional” programming – things along the lines of the “travelling salesman” problem and factoring large prime numbers, where there is no obvious solution other than just intuitively trying various values that may be correct.

* Maze Solving

* Sorting

* Games

* Money

* Robotics

And what USEFUL things can you do with Genetic Algoritms?

Hmm, that’s a harder question ! Well, all of the above problems have applications in real life!

  • The stock market prediction should speak for itself! <grin>
  • If a perfect solution to the “travelling salesman” problem could be found, this should lead to a method to factorise large primes, and thus break the currently most sophisticated encryption algorithms.
  • Chess has always been seen to be a measure of intellect and strategic ability. Skills learnt in the process of playing games such as chess and the Japanese “go” are meant to translate well into leadership ability or the ability to command well in a war or another strategic exchange – a large-scale version of the game. When the perfect unbeatable chess-playing program evolves, is trained or whatever, it may turn out to be effective in world war three … or whatever !

What sorts of problems are common with genetic algorithms?

When applied to problems more complicated than playing tic-tac-toe or navigating a vehicle around a single maze, the program required begins to get more and more complicated, and as its length increases arithmetically, the number of possible programs increases geometrically. Thus the process of evolving solutions to complex problems can take a huge amount of time: the probability of randomly hitting the correct solution if you generate a program decreases as the problem increases in complexity, and thus the process of iterating towards a perfect solution can take a much longer time.

All in all….

As with all artificial intelligence, genetic algorithms show a lot of promise for the future, even though they may not be particularly helpful at the moment. Stock market predictions and control mechanisms for robotics stand to benefit from these, as genetic algorithms have already made amazing “discoveries” (how to make a robot ‘limbo’ under a pole and so on … see above) and as computers get faster they should continue in this manner.


Artificial Neural Networks

What is Artificial Neural Networks?
In order to further the main aim of artificial intelligence (to create a computer system that mimics the human brain as well as possible), the artificial neural network was created as an example of the closest possible artificial intellect to a real brain.

The human brain consists of a huge collection of neurons (brain cells), each of which has a large number of connections to other neurons in the brain or the spinal cord. Electrical signals travel along these connections, and each neuron processes its inputs and generates a set of output signals which are then sent to neurons that it is connected to.

A neural network functions almost identically, except that there are far less neurons in the network: the human brain can contain many billions, but a neural network could not possibly contain this many with today’s computer systems due to limitations in memory, disc space, and processor speed.

A large number of nodes (computer neurons) interact together in the same way as neurons in the brain, with many inputs coming into each neuron, which then produces one or more output signals to send to other nodes. Each node contains an activation function which determines how to process the incoming signals and to produce an output.

It’s not just based on the human brain, is it?
Quite right! While the concept of the neural network is based on the human brain, various other examples of this sort of idea have been found in nature. Of course in brains of other “higher organisms” (that is, animals which have human-like brains) but also in other behaviour.

Some animals have only primitive networks of nerves, which are very much like artificial neural networks. While the amount of nervous tissue present in animals like this (fish, insects etc.) is relatively small, they still manage to swim, fly or run in formation, hunt, attack, defend themselves and many other important actions that would take a huge amount of traditional programming to write (and a very strange processor, if we’re talking about programming a fish!)

An example of a neural network operating in the real world between organisms (i.e. not inside the physiology of one particular organism) is an ant colony. Each ant has its own particular job, and it is told what to do by a complex interaction of other ants. Each single ant can only process several simple commands, but when you combine that with the number of different sorts of ants and their “programmability”, it seems to be enough to allow the colony to effectively defend itself, ensure that its members have enough food to survive, and perform other important functions necessary to its survival.

What is Activation Function?
The activation function is, in effect, an algorithm which decides what the particular neuron to which it belongs should do in reaction to inputs coming in from adjacent neurons. It places ‘weightings’ on all the inputs, mixes them together in some way known only to the activation function (or a strange biological reaction in real life) and spits out an answer, or many answers in the brain: each neuron is connected to many others. In a “multiple” situation such as the brain, each neuron may have a number of activation functions, each to decide the output sent to any of its neighbouring neurons.

Activation functions are not necessarily static: neural networks have a particularly useful ability – they can ‘learn’ the proper responses to particular situations. There are various ways of ‘training’ a neural network, some involving directly programming the neurons, but usually having something to do with pouring a huge amount of data through the system and having a separate program alter the weightings in each of the activation functions in order to produce the correct results as dictated by some outside idea.

For example, if you were predicting the stock market, you’d get the predictions from a few decades back, run them through the network, and try and adjust the weightings so that it would successfully predict which stocks to buy and which to sell at any given time. Once the neural network could successfully predict trends in pre-recorded data, put it into the real world, where, hopefully, it will implement the skills it has learned beforehand and make you money!

We can make money with these things???
Yes … sometimes! They aren’t always accurate, and of course you have to find the proper program for the job. A team of researchers, amazingly enough, managed to make an AI program that would do stock market predictions rather well – check out the Genetic Algorithms page for more info on that.

What makes neural networks worthwhile?
* Neural networks are particularly useful for situations where the relationship between inputs and outputs is complex and would be difficult to program.

* Neural networks can adapt to different situations without specific programming.

* Neural networks are fast and can withstand noise in data

There must be a downside, right?
That’s quite true! Think of how long it takes to “boot up” a human. The human brain continues to grow with the rest of the body up until around the age of 18-20 years, and during this time new neurons are continually being created and ‘trained’ for their own particular purposes (for example, speech or movement). It takes a long time for a human to learn to balance; around nine to twelve months to learn to walk, and much longer than that to teach one to use all of its senses properly (to understand spoken and written language, to talk etc.).



et cetera