Wednesday, October 17, 2007

poetic-routing dept.


I think that I shall never see
A graph more lovely than a tree
A tree whose crucial property
Is loop-free connectivity
A tree which must be sure to span
So packets can reach every LAN
First the Root must be selected
By ID it is elected
Least cost paths from Root are traced
In the tree these paths are placed
A mesh is made by folks like me
Then bridges find a spanning tree

-- Radia Perlman.

Extract from her paper on the Spanning Tree Protocol.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

red-faced dept.

The Communists have done it again -- screwed up a good deal for India and scotched a chance for its nuclear rehabilitation.
Although the decision to defer the general elections for a deal that will eventually be pushed through is a good one by the Congress government.
They probably could have avoided all this by putting the agreement up for debate in Parliament though.

Monday, October 15, 2007

homeo-apathy dept.

Homeopathy is quite popular in India. It is quite common for practicing homeopaths to have long queues of waiting patients outside their doors, and have established clinics. There are many Homeopathic Colleges throughout the country, which presumably churn out thousands of Homeopathic doctors and pharmacists each year.

I have been taken to Homeopaths (mostly for recurring sinusitis, which seems to be a popular reason to go to a Homeopath :-)). I have always asked -- What exactly is Homeopathy? And well, if you ask that question, no one really has an answer. Its quite astounding really -- well-educated people, even technologists will not be able to tell you the scientific basis of Homeopathy. Most will tell you its based on administering inorganic compounds in small amounts -- which is not true at all.

The sad truth, unfortunately, is that its a bogus science -- much like reiki, astrology, intelligent design and other fanciful theories. Most Indians will be shocked to learn this, I bet. Especially the thousands of freshly-minted Homeopaths themselves, who are poised to make their living using principles that do not stand the test of scientific method.

Ars Technica published an excellent article some time ago about the pseudo-science behind Homeopathy. Recommended reading.

But seriously, this article scares me -- I know quite a few practicing Homeopathic Doctors -- I will not look at them in the same way again. Over the years, the scientific method as a system for exploring the world has worked for me so well, I really cannot deal with any profession that lacks a sound scientific base or rational explanation.