Navin Kumar

New York, NY, United States

Someone is shy

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Comments & conversations

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Navin Kumar
Posted over 1 year ago
Cameron Russell: Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model.
After watching the video, I tried to jump between the beginning and ending portions of the video. Is it just me, or prior to her wardrobe change, was she more stentorian? I'm not sure if the high heels modify the pitch as I know sometimes posture can change the voice, but apart from her physical appearance, it seemed her voice also changed to a softer, higher pitched one after the wardrobe change.
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Navin Kumar
Posted over 2 years ago
Phil Plait: How to defend Earth from asteroids
The explosion is not a chemical explosion but a pressure-wave induced explosion. Take a look at this high-speed camera footage of a bullet going through an apple and a banana: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4526819805867391097 Inside the apple and banana, if the bullet were traveling slowly, it would just enter and exit leaving a hole-shaped burrow, much like slowly jabbing a pencil through chocolate cake. Because of the bullet's speed relative to the resistance of the medium, the bullet creates a pressure wave as it passes through. This space.com article talks some more about asteroids exploding in the atmosphere: http://www.space.com/5950-asteroid-exploded-earth-atmosphere.html An explosion can be triggered by expanding gas, as with nuclear bombs that heat the air and cause it to expand, or with TNT which chemically combusts to create CO2 and O2 gases that expand from denser, solid matter (and heats the air since it's exothermic). But an explosion can be any shock wave moving outward from the center. When an asteroid hits the hard rocky surface of the earth, an explosion occurs as the kinetic energy is transferred to the surrounding rock as shock wave energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_wave). That's why a room-sized asteroid can leave a mile-wide crater. Similarly, if an asteroid is moving fast enough, the atmosphere will seem "hard" enough for much of its kinetic energy to be converted into shock wave energy (and heat from friction). When a smooth asteroid fractures and breaks off into numerous jagged non-aerodynamically shaped objects, further shock waves are created as these non-aerodynamic objects suddenly transfer even more kinetic energy into shock wave energy. P.S. Regarding your teapot v bomb analogy: If your teapot were moving at 3,000m/s, it'd have the explosive power of a kilogram of TNT (4.1 megajoules). Remember, kinetic energy = 0.5mv^2, so something moving 100 times faster has 10,000 times the energy.
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Navin Kumar
Posted almost 3 years ago
Philip Zimbardo: The demise of guys?
Couldn't these results simply be because males have wider distributions than females? In many genetic disorders, males vastly number females. Polydactly occurrence is "2.3 per 1000 in white males, 0.6 per 1000 in white females", a nearly 4x higher incidence level (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polydactyly). Cerebral Palsy occurs in males 1.33 as frequently as in females (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_palsy). These are non-environmental disorders, so they illustrate that the differences are not necessarily a failure of society. So it's quite clear that there are more males at the low-end of the spectrum. But you cannot compare the averages if one side is unconstrained yet the other side is bounded. What I mean is, if 30% of the class scores a perfect 100 on a particular exam, then aggregated exam scores will be inherently flawed because those 30% are not being differentiated. A wider distribution will appear to have a lower average if its low-end is unbounded, yet its high-end is. Case in point, 5% of my high school class scored a 1600 on the SAT (1998). Within that 5%, some were average students who studied hard, others achieved a perfect score without effort. By having so many students in one bucket ruins the high-end of the distribution. Juxtapose that with the low-end of the distribution, with the worst performers achieving 1050, well above the minimum score of a blank submission. The consequence is that we have lots of statistical data about the low-end of the spectrum but no good data about the high-end. And with grade inflation, the trend worsens. At Stanford, 50% of the graduate class receives As. Such behavior will amplify differences in the low-end but mute the differences in the high-end. This is not a Larry Summers claim; I'm not claiming to know how the high-end varies across gender; rather, I'm pointing out that we have insufficient statistical data to talk about the high-end, and therefore don't know the real averages.
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Navin Kumar
Posted about 3 years ago
JD Schramm: Break the silence for suicide attempt survivors
I agree with Linda in that suicide doesn't have to do with success in the objective sense; rather, it deals with self-worth, and often the more idealist minds are the quickest to become disillusioned and get trapped in despair. I know of folks who scored 1600 on their SATs, heirs to millions of dollars, take their lives, and it had to do with their view that the rewards life had to offer did not compensate the anguish they felt they were enduring. That pain and suffering can be caused by anything, by a jilted lover, survivor's remorse, or ceaseless taunts. And the environment can make anyone, even a 1600-scoring heir to millions, feel that. Depression is very analogous to anorexia. Depression is no more a disease for the unsuccessful than anorexia is a disease for the morbidly obese. Anorexia stems from the desire for perfect beauty, but the pathology leads to anything but beauty - it leads to acid-eaten teeth, sickly hair, an emaciated frame, and an utter lack of the verve and spark of life - in sum, the antithesis of beauty. Analogously, depression stems from the desire to extinguish pain, but the pathology leads to anything but - it leads to seclusion, bitterness, forfeiture of hygiene, joyless void, and complete self-absorption - in sum, a wretched being in further turmoil. These become vicious circles, the anorexic perceives glares of disgust as further evidence that more weight needs to be lost, and the depressed perceives increasing ostracism as further anguish that requires escape - with the ultimate escape manifesting as suicide. What any pathology needs is a remedy that reverses the steady deterioration of the situation. The remedy for the anorexic is constant reinforcement that true beauty is about health and cheeriness, not starvation. The similar remedy for the depressed is the constant reinforcement that true freedom from anguish is forging new memories, deeply happy ones, by living life to the fullest, not through escapism.
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Navin Kumar
Posted over 3 years ago
Stop punishing kids in primary schools for being wrong.
I think schools should reflect life more -- and currently they do not. Life rewards rare, chance excellence. Schools rewards consistency. I know several folks who never fared well in school because, three out of four times, they'd get 100/100 and be the first rank, and yet one out of four times, they'd forget to do the homework and get 0/100. By taking the arithmetic average, the school decides they're on par with someone who consistently achieves 75/100 and has no grasp or mastery of the subject. Companies are wiser, because real money is at stake. They look for complementary talent because they know they can take the best ideas from each one. While schools look at the individual scores 100, 100, 0, 100 and see "75", companies look at the improvement such an individual would make to the business, the "ROI" of the individual. A company that assembles a small group of individuals who individually score 100 or 0 will see the group collaboratively achieve 100/100. Contrast that with a similar arrangement involving those consistently scoring 75. Due so some slight non-overlap, a small group of folks consistently scoring 75/100 may achieve 93/100 collaboratively. The end result? The higher scoring former group gets paid more. In the real world, individual value is obtained as the 'per capita' group value. If you make the group better, they value you. If you're redundant.. well, "your position has been made redundant" has become code for "you're fired". Schools should stop ushering people towards consistency and mediocrity. They should promote exceptional talent, allowing students to take risks. Students who can solve the hard "challenge" problems on a test while not making time to complete the easy problems should not be bucketed in with students who consistently solve the easy problems and never once attempt nor solve the challenge problem.
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Navin Kumar
Posted over 3 years ago
Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers
I agree with memorization being critical in primary education. My elementary school took advantage of the most powerful driving force of any school child -- social status. My math class was turned into a "sporting" event, children racing against each other competitively to solve addition and multiplication problems. Victors were given candy, those who lost would have to keep battling until they won. This created an informal ranking, and every child, even the lower ranked ones, strived to beat their adjacent peers to improve one notch. The #5 yearned to beat #4, the #28 yearned to beat #27. Many educators dislike competition, under the impression that self-esteem would be lost. However, I can attest that most children already compete on how pretty they looked, how tall they were, or what designer clothes they wore. Adding arithmetic as just one extra dimension in the pantheon of esteem-adjusters didn't hurt morale any; if anything, it brought focus back on doing schoolwork.
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Navin Kumar
Posted over 3 years ago
Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers
I like the notion that emphasis should be less on calculation and more on understanding. However, I think there are many ways to achieve this without computers. My father used to play the classic "higher" or "lower" guessing game with me on numbers from 1 to 100. This taught me the value of finding the midpoint between two numbers, long before I understood division. I quickly figured out I should pick a number that had an equal number less, and an equal number higher. I soon discovered my father would cheat, and purposely choose "higher" or "lower" to make me search in the larger area if I failed to sever the area equally. If I played the game perfectly, choosing the exact center each time, I would keep dividing the area in equal parts until my father was pigeonholed to one number and couldn't run away. I later learned this number of steps conceptualized logarithms. I loved these games, and it didn't occur to me as a child that the winning strategy involved math.
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Navin Kumar
Posted over 3 years ago
Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty
You are correct that both genders benefit from being seen as the most fit among their peers. Keep in mind, though, that in the Pleistocene era Denis Dutton refers to, society is pre-monogamous, and males compete where the winner can impregnate dozens of women, whereas females do not have to compete for being fertilized, but instead compete for affection so the father of her offspring pays more attention to her children than the other children of his. In today's monogamous society, the dynamics between men and women are equal. Both genders only find a single mate, and women do have to compete for a monogamous relationship with a "great catch" just as men do.
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Navin Kumar
Posted over 3 years ago
Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty
Sexual selection works in two ways: one is being able to identify the fitness of a potential mate by merely looking at them, the other is to trick a potential mate into evaluating your fitness higher than it truly is. This occurs in natural selection as well -- animals evaluate whether a prey is poisonous by looking at them (e.g. brightly colored fish are considered poisonous), and prey try to look especially poisonous (advertising their poison with even more visibly brighter colors -- and a few non-poisonous creatures do so as well to fool predators). We see sexual selection at play in the modern world. Youthful looks are beautiful because it correlates with fertility. However, make-up and plastic surgery can trick the evaluator, as non-poisonous fish with bright colors trick predators. Song and dance are considered beautiful because they demonstrates physical and mental skill, but special-effects and marketing can sell easily manufactured products as highly skillful.
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Navin Kumar
Posted over 3 years ago
David Bismark: E-voting without fraud
The danger with paper receipts is that union leaders or influential peers can ensure compliance by verifying the votes of their subordinates. That has always been the difficult catch-22 of elections. On the one hand, we want to ensure our vote is counted the right way, but on the other hand, we want to ensure our boss or union leader or spouse cannot badger us for a receipt to confirm we voted as they want us to.