20 November 2020

Early afternoon sun

Took half a day off from work to enjoy the gorgeous sun this afternoon. Was on the terrace of Rootstock with Sharmila. Met our old friend Abby there too. The topics of discussions varied widely from Ghenghis Khan to “Is time a real or imaginary concept?”

20 November 2020

Scripts of five different languages

After storm Zeta and learning the Greek alphabet, I had this crazy idea – albeit not too crazy as far as my ideas go – what if I tried to learn the script of another language?

I remembered, while in Mongolia, I had great difficulty reading their language. So, figured maybe I should try some language with a Cyrillic script. Settled down on Russian. The language has 33 letters and 10 vowels. Eventually got the hang of the upper case and lower case. The pronunciation was a different thing though. There are lots of sounds that are not there in English language (some are there in my mother tongue Bengali). A lot of the letters look like English but have nothing to do with the corresponding English letter. I am still struggling with the difference in pronunciation of “Й” and “ы”. All in all, was interesting to pick this up. I am going to keep trying to identify the letters in words and pronounce them thru the end of this year.

So, with English, Bengali and Hindi (based on Devnagari script), that makes it 5 different scripts for me. (I am not counting German and Spanish since they are too close to English).

Thinking of picking up one more. Tamil has a very different script. At one time, I had taught myself the script (back in 1985). Maybe I will brush that one up…

20 November 2020

Puzzles in a Singapore class

Yesterday, my blog reminded me of this incident from seven years back when my friend from Singapore – Jyotsna – had pointed out that puzzles from my blog were being discussed in the classes of Singapore. And she asked me to post more.

So, here goes a fairly interesting puzzle:

Imagine a pharmaceutical company in a race to find a cure for coronavirus. It has come up with 1000 chemical formulas as potential anti-virus vaccinations. Those chemical formulas are sitting as solutions in 1000 different beakers in their lab.

However, only 1 of them is effective. In fact, it is supereffective. Even a small trace of it injected in a rat’s body will extinguish the virus within 7 days. The other 999 are of no use. They also know that you can mix those chemical formulas up and the resultant concoction will retain all the properties of the original formulas. Put simply, in a combination of solutions, if you have even a little of the effective formula, the whole combination is supereffective. Else, any combination of those other 999 solutions is totally useless.

One catch is that the pharma company has exactly 7 days to win the race to a vaccination. Which means it gets only one time to inject rats with the various combinations of the chemicals and see what happens by the 7th day.

As if that was not enough, there is way too much demand for rats – apparently lots of pharma companies are trying to do experiments for the vaccination.

Finally, they have to find out the exact solution with the effective chemical formula – there is enough manufacturing capability to make only one of those solutions in a scaled manner.

What is the minimum number of rats the company has to procure to conclusively prove which one of the chemical formula is the ultimate solution against the virus? How would they do the experiment?

Category: Puzzles | LEAVE A COMMENT
19 November 2020

Survived a mile of run

To test out how much the calf has recovered, I gingerly put in a mile of very slow run. In fact, it was split into two runs of half mile each with two more miles of walk. The good news is that the leg held up fine. Did quite some stretching after that to take no chances…

Here is to hoping the long road to recovery has started…

Category: Running | LEAVE A COMMENT
16 November 2020

Missed this year’s “bhaiphonta”

Today the “bhaiphonta” ceremony was celebrated at my dad’s place. Three years back, I had surprised everybody at his place by showing up on this day. That was 34 years after the last time I had “bhaiphonta“.

Then last year, I tried surprising everybody again. Except my sister and her family and my brother and his family were elsewhere. (They had no idea I was going to show up). I had spent the whole day with my parents.

This year, thanks to Covid, I have to reconcile myself to seeing the pictures on Whatsapp.