11 November 2009

Criticising Khamenei

Defying all conventions, a young mathematics student in Iran, Mahmoud Vahidnia, stood up and openly criticised Khamenei, talked about lack of freedom in Iran and lack of freedom of speech. His talk lasted 20 minutes. The official claim is that he is not arrested but, of course, we do not know for sure.

In a rational world, everybody and everything should be subject to criticism, questioning and doubt. There is no democracy without rationality. And this is true at all levels. At the moment we feel fear of raising a question we (should) know that something is wrong; and we should have the courage to admit so, at least to ourselves. Unfortunately, most will suppress their very thoughts and even subject themselves to self-brain-washing: this is the most comfortable approach.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant