Thursday, July 30, 2009

Life and the stars

There is an eternal dileema. The writer of this blog is confused. Even if he knows where the road leads.

This blog is dedicated to those who suffer. Those who are afraid to speak for themselves, yet they sometimes do and then regret it. Those who are stuck between life and the stars. Those who can see the desert of reality yet they have to play the game but inside them they cry. Those who are different yet not exactly confident about it and fight between the sense of normality and their need to be honest.

I know that I am still not making sense. For another time I don't try to have a plan in my writting, I just write whatever comes although in a poetical style. I just like to make atmosphere. I just like to inspire myself. I don't think whether anyone will read it or what people will say about it. The be me, don't care about the world mentality.

Sometimes I'd like to make a sense. Some of my posts will. Although it doesn't matter since people understand what they want to understand. This blog is for persons like me, lost between their need for individuality and their shame for being weird. And it's for similar persons who have made similar thoughts and sometimes they feel lost. I'd like them to read something and feel joy in the same way I'd bump into another blog putting my thoughts into words. Someone else feels just like me, has a similar passion and similar worries as me, and he hasn't succumbed into normality and forgotten who he is..

I listen to people who are a bit fanatic at first. But their ideas and feelings are close to mine. They say that they are geeks, different than the rest, prefer programming than beers and girls, wish to achieve something big instead of following what most others do, are hapilly lost into strange worlds while they are getting bored of real life. Most of them come to me years later and they tell me that they changed their mind entirely, they despise their old life style and that girls and booze is the meaning of life. Such a sudden change that saddens me.

Of course I can't ask from them to stay being like me, if they really discovered something greater in a more "normal" lifestyle. I wonder though what their real self is and what's their difference from my own state of mind? I feel like there aren't many people very similar to me, being in that middle state where I am more close to the stars than life, yet I resist total conversion but still being worried and unsure about it. I mean, there are geeks who are robotically sending fuckings to real life preachers and seems to not even be worried, being confident of their different lifestyle. There are also geeks who suddenly moved from the weird to the normal side and some even preach hard about it. I don't blame them though although I'd like to know what's on their mind that forced that sudden switch. But not enough geeks ruminating about these matter and not being able to decide even though they clearly are more close to the stars than life. At least nobody is writting a blog about it. I think.. (The exception is few posts from blogs of the autistic community where there is a declaration of difference based on neurodiversity. Although most posts are discussing autism rather than the humanistic/social factors of normality)

Life and the stars. It's an analogy. It should be beer and the stars as it started but it might not sound so poetic that way. Yet it's something I thought at a party. I was drunken and had great fun socializing (even though I notice that my way of "socializing" differs and has the geeky sides) when I nodded my head and looked up into the sky. I was lost for a while. People were sucked into the vacuum of socialization, predictable memes and jokes and casual chat were through the air while I was lost in my world. The social voices (where social sometimes plasmatic and memetic) in my background and the real world above my head. I could feel the two worlds between of them I was lost.

Someone told me (for a good cause) that one shouldn't cancel the other. You can have both the stars and the real life. Even the distinction between real and imaginary life is a lie. You are still alive if you ponder about the universe. Socialization asks for a different state of mind that is incompatible with minds similar to mine. Even though we are all social in our own way. But there is a big difference. Can life and the stars be combined when they belong to different states of mind? At least they can somehow coexist.

Cosmos is another name for the universe. Although except from 'world' it also means 'people' in greek. If I visit a cafeteria they ask me if there were any people(cosmos) in it. It is good that many people are there because it's considered social. Some people don't like to visit certain stores at moments where there are very few people there. I like it because it's quiet.

Cosmos was a word about the universe (cosmonaut, cosmodrome, etc). It later succubed to meaning the world (the earth). Now it even means people, a crowd of them, humanity. When you look at the stars and dream on they tell you to stay grounded on earth. They tell you to stay into world matters, meaning the matters that have to do with human affairs. See how things succumbed into lower states. See how fixated we are about other humans. It's not normal to be driven away from the stars and ignore the other people living in their social delusion.

Another word is 'reality'. Reality is everything that exists. When you look at the stars it's reality. But they tell you to get back to reality and they mean to be fixated with the human affairs and forget the stars. (Read about The Human Evasion, this analysis reminds me of the similar thoughts on the meaning of Cosmos)

But let's stick back to reality. The reality is that there are people like us and the rest of the world. There are reasons why I didn't evolved into a kind of human that enjoys their lifestyle. I am very interested into finding more about them. Why I am here? Why most people blame the geeky lifestyle? How can I live hapilly with this contradiction and how can I succeed giving the message to other people who have suffered because of that?

There are several answers. It can be neurodiversity. It can be psychology. It can be both. It's actually a mix of all, brain functioning, environment, family, evolution of personality. The fact is that we are here and we have a tension to look more to the stars than beer. We need to explore reality not just to be casually social. It's a pain to struggle being something different than yourself. Even if personality is evolved 100% because of psychology, it doesn't mean that it has to change into an entirely diferrent state of mind that normality dictates. You can't be happy by changing who you are. Maybe it slowly evolves into something that tries to be at peace with itself and the world (if it's possible at the same time) but don't expect to see someone always making this rapid switch. Some of the people say that they accept us but they want us to rapidly change into something that is not us. Not every person can be 'normal'.

I still don't like how big this text became and how confusing it might be (although I enjoy writting such texts) because it might not deliver my message. But I believe that people very close to me might be reading it and finding out that they are not alone..

p.s. I say beer in the last paragraph because the stars can be life too and so called real life can be delusional. Still not very nicely sounding (for the sake of being poetic) but I just felt angry at the last part, why isn't something life I said?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Inner conflict.

I said to myself. Something has gone wrong.
Then I stand corrected. Something has taken a different road.
Various scenarios of things that could have happened quite different.
And then the doubt that maybe some difference in the brain would grow a similar self no matter if we changed the variables.

And then the blame. That all these thoughts are excuses. And the confusion.
Excuses for what? What do they mean when they say it's excuses? Am I just making excuses about the excuses? Huh..

But it's not that bad now. I can accept things. I can admit facts. I am not that scared. And the inner conflict is not that painful. It's even cleansing. And it helps to admit facts that I was scared to do in the past. Because I want to know the truth, not to hide behind my finger. Although I like to admit things to myself but not to people who will use it to ensure their already predefined view on their holy right and my eternal wrong. It's like that these people always have the need to feel that their view of what's right and wrong in life is superior and that they even enforced that to people that differ from this view.

For example I can accept now that I could have followed a different path in a precious moment in my life. A path that it feels like not matching my current personality. In an early age, maybe around sixteen, it was a crucial moment that could mark the point of a great shift in my personality. I could either follow what was in my mind and my interests (being sucked into science, computers, programming, etc..), which I did and brought me to the point here and right now, or making a shift in my plans, not wishing to become a great geek but become a great dude. If that worked well maybe I wouldn't have a blog writing about these things today.

This is just a speculation of what would happen if I had followed a different route. I don't try to define the right path and the wrong path. I see these paths equally. Maybe something positive would have happened, some good friends who would be in the casual side of things not geeky side, yet be more friendly and supporting, could help me see the positive side of it. Maybe an experience with that girl in school which seemed to be interested to know more about me or supportive would drastically change who I became, but nothing happened from my side. Would a set of different variables bring different experiences in my early life that could bring the change or was it bound to never fit?

And so I became reactive to normality. Although it seems that I always didn't fit. If I did, I wouldn't be oppressed to act and look like the rest. It's not the certain point in history that mattered of what I became now, it was every point in history. The ideals of normality were oppressive to me because people were always oppressive to the way I was.

I am not unhappy of who I am. I am unhappy of the psychological oppression that bothers me. I am unhappy that I have an inner impulse to do something and then there is conflict. Emotionally I feel bad about certain things but thinking it more logically I figure out that I shouldn't. And all I get is this stupid feeling that there is an incompatibility between my desires and what seems accepted. And the blatant feeling is internal. It's like the people preaching that I should be normal but their voices living inside my mind. Sometimes I battle with my inner thoughts of blame.

Another interesting thing is that it seems like I am having a natural feeling of what may seem not normal and what is accepted. It's like nobody taught me what is normal and what is not and yet I can feel uneasy with some of my actions or thinking about acting in a certain way, nobody have told me before that the particular action or thought is not normal or a taboo, yet it's like I have a sixth-sense and in most cases it's proven that what I predicted to be not accepted it really gets the blame or makes people looking strange at me. No it's not a sixth-sense, it's meta-knowledge. Somehow I know from past experiences of people preaching normality or messages passed through the media or everyday life, what is safe and accepted and what could look peculiar and make me looking odd. Even about the things I have never seen any person doing, never being blamed, but I am just about to do. It's like I already know what "feels" abnormal and what "feels" accepted. So much conditioned I was in an age I can't remember. Not by a specific group of people but by the world around me.

Hopefully the more I learn about myself and the world, the more I construct a bigger and better image of the whole things that matter me. The more easy is it then for me to accept some facts I was afraid to do so that I can make my vision of things more clear and help me take things more easily. What I see now is that I have followed a path that led in my current personality with all the burden that comes with it, speculated whether I could have followed a different path, although I still found a high possibility that I was bound to become this or something drastically different in my environment should have happened for me to change. There are still things bothering me, there is anxiety, there are stupid inner conflicts, there are things that I might want but I don't follow all the standards to be successful in them (a job or hobby that makes me happy, courage and motivation to meet and talk to girls (actually this one was the cause for my recent inner conflict and this post)). But as I have the bigger image I can see what is missing, I can accept that I don't have some of these things because I am stuck somewhere, I can see the problem for each of them and possible loop holes I could follow that even with my current incompatibility as a personality with the norms I can still get what I want.

And yet the inner thoughts in my head say that it's all a big excuse to be lazy. The alternative would be what? To not think and just do? Sorry, I can't stop the rush of my thoughts. At least now I think I am moving somewhere.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Monty Fail

I wrote this thing on another blog and I thought it would be nice to write my findings here. For those who don't know it has to do with a twisted variation of the Monty Fall problem that bugged me for days. I first wrote about it in my previous blog entry. I am not the guy who spends a lot of time in endless discussions on twisted quizzes or counter-intuitive problems cause usually I am more practical, like who solves sudoku or IQ tests when I actually manage to write a new algorithm that is both clever and usefull? But this one for some reasons hit me and I became a little obsessed with it. I still don't know if it's 1/2 (I'd say, inspired by PHd comics that it's pi/2 :) but the simulation with my own rules does it even if the mathematicians prooved the problem differently (they didn't even defined if something happens when the host accidentally reveal the car,.. oh well just read at the end ps or just get familiarized with the monty hall/fall problems, except if you don't want to waste your time :)

For the Monty Fall problem (the second variation) there is too much controversy and that is I think because the description is kinda weird and I can't think of a way I could possibly simulate that in reality nor can I have a good insight (yet) of what is the difference or what hard math or a very deep perception of statistics or probability that I could possibly lack. Till now I thought this was also 2/3 and tried to find out why they say (Marilyn, the PDF with the probability math I still haven't read, etc) it's 1/2.

One think that is not explained is what happens if the host accidentally opened the car. This is not defined. It says that he slips in a banana and randomly happens to get the goat. So, does he always randomly slips and gets the goat (so that the game show makes sense) or is revealing the goat just a specific run (and what happens in this case) and in the other runs the host would possibly reveal the car too. Yet we are asked if in the specific run that a goat is revealed (but a car could be revealed in other runs too) what would happen?

Although to be able to check it in a simulation a rule must be set for what happens if the host chooses the car. So I invented my own two different rules for my simulation:

1) The unfair rule: The game goes on and the player switches from a goat to a goat and looses anyways. So, the host can accidentally reveal the car and make the player instantly loose. In a C programm the simulation really gets us the proposed 1/2. That's easy.

2) The rerun rule: If the host randomly reveals the car then that run is simply discarded (and not counted in the total runs) and we setup a new one and try again. Now in this one I initially made a 2/3 but when I explained the monty hall/fall problem to my brother he surprisingly came with nice ideas to use in my simulation. My mistake was that when I had a new run with the 3 doors, getting the car I started the simulation again but with the same contents in 3 doors. That means, if I had GOAT CAR GOAT and the host opened the 2nd door with the car, I reran with the same GOAT CAR GOAT (didn't randomized again a new set of doors) and randomly the host would select the 3rd door and let the run continue. But this was like canceling the mistake of the host and selecting always the goat, bringing it back to the old monty fall (not hall) problem, thus 2/3.

He actually told me:


"In the occasion of the second or third row the host has a 50% probability to fuck up and select CAR. In the 1st row the mistake will never happen. So if you change your simulation programm so that a wrong choice actually reruns the game by shuffling the car/goats order in the doors, you will get twice times the first row than the others. In the first row if you switch you certainly loose. So you have two cases that switching makes you loose (two times the 1st row) and two other rows (2nd and 3rd) that switch makes you win. This is 2/4 aka 50%."

And so it actually worked in simulation for both rules getting 50%.

p.s. Although I don't think that the people who originally invented the Monty Fall version of the problem thought of these rules for the solution. If they had they would be more precise. Somehow I feel that the Monty Fall is a slight variant of the Monty Hall deliberately made to get a 1/2 effect maybe to justify the several PHDs who did it wrong on the first problem and say that, they understood the Monty Fall variation from the description, not the Monty Hall description. They say that Marilyn had an unclear description of the initial problem. But Marilyn's description is just plain right. It's the Monty Fall variation that has an unclear or misleading or not complete (needs more data) description for me. It's just a counter-intuitive problem that most of us reply 1/2 at first sight. Did all of us thought of the Monty Fall problem? No. We just didn't see the whole image, just hide the revealed car and worked independently of the initial choice. A common pitfall. I don't believe that all those PHDs and especially other non-mathematical people just got it different. They got it wrong with a first guess as I initially and my brother and my friends did.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I am normal!

Today I woke up and realized a big thing that nobody wants to discuss. The fact that I am normal! Who, me? Who despises normal? Who would not possess this title as a complement or honor but as an insult? Me, normal? Huh..

But I am. And that's the irony. Sometimes it comes as an enlightenment and I get a little excited about it till I forget it. Sometimes I think it harder and I arrive at very interesting conclusions that help me brighten my self-esteem because according to the facts I should have a higher self-esteem right now. And as time passes I will be becoming more engaged into the specific idea and that will help me embrace what I am and move on for the better.

Another irony is that most people who look like or pretend to be "normal" aren't really. Those are the weirdos, those are the most abnormal, unnatural beings on the planet. There is a lack of symphony between their inner wishes and the persona they decided to play and they don't address it. They never discuss it. They think that it wouldn't look normal, it would look silly, stupid if they revealed their true feelings, their true intentions, their true self that might not exactly look like the perfect model of "normal". These all sound wicked but I will try to explain just right now.

They are the weirdos. I am the normal. That's the best irony in years!

Does it matter if I don't resemble the common norm? Is it a problem if I am getting obsessed with specialized hobbies? Does it harm you if I like solitude or if I sometimes talk to myself? Do I have to look and act like the way you want me? Would it be natural to not act freely based on my true motivations and emotions but instead hide my true self and nervously trying to resemble some kind of a "standard" human being? Isn't it the most natural thing in the world that all of these years I stayed true to my original self and was honest enough even to you? This is normal in it's truest sense.

What is a normal person, a common joe, a model for imitation? Who would say they match perfectly that model? Even not perfectly? Who will or have defined it? It's ill defined! You can't just set some interpretation of the "normal" and expect all people to be just like it. Are we some kind of soldiers that have to all look alike? What about individuality?

Yet a lot of people try to look the way most people accept as "normal" and I bet they are in constant fear that someone will reveal their true identity. I guess that several people are doing this. As long as I meet and observe people I see masks. Most of them just keep their masks and are friendly. Few of them go even further and try to criticize or harass you for being different than the norm. I think that all those people are geeks in disguise. They keep their true self, present another accepted and praised one and even come to you and preach that you should be like them. It's like having split personalities. Really, is there something more unnatural, more abnormal than living a double life and beg the other ones around you that differ from this scheme to do the same?

Really, normal does not have to be focused on some kind of activities or specific life style. Most people have it really wrong here. There can be normal geeks and scientists as there can be normal people that are good at socializing and regular activities. It just have to come naturally. I remember an old friend who in the sense of the misguided definition of "normal" he was perfect. Ubersocializing, very good with girls, funny, nice, talkable also with a light interest in our hobbies (D&D or computers for him). I instantly felt that this guy is a rare occasion because all these things on him came so naturally. You know what he told me when he saw me worrying about things? First he acknowledged my specialized interests and focus, he told me all the positive words, he persuaded me that it's just me and it's natural to be me and wished me good luck. He never had the need or motivation to blame me instead of support me. That guy happened to follow some of the current standards of normality so well but just because it came naturally from inside him. And he was much nicer and accepting than all those preachers of normality who only blame while they aren't the best examples of the truly natural normality.

The next time someone comes near you and starts blaming you for not being "normal", you just need to tell him that he is asking you to try to be unnatural. Or even better tick him off by noticing his vices. Everybody has some of them. Nobody is perfect in the image of a norm. But the most severely deluded and ill-fated are the ones who fearfully try to stay in the norm and beg you to follow the same root.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Mind twisting

It's been three days since I started obsessively analyzing a simple probability problem and different versions of it. Several years ago a friend told me the story of a woman who baffled several mathematicians by insisting in her extreme sounding solution which proved at the end to be true, and her case made an impression on me yet my friend couldn't remember her name or I didn't googled it enough then. And just few days ago I was ecstatic to find the story at Coding Horror.

I won't explain the problem since it's very nicely written in the link above and many people might be familiar already with it (please visit the link first if you aren't). It's just funny that after you read the problem you initially say 1/2 and it sounds so logical, you read 2/3 and you are certain that she is wrong, even though her explanations are quite simple and they are truly making sense (even to the math illiterate), while even famous mathematicians say this can't be right, till a call for trying to simulate a probability experiment proves them wrong. I tried the same thing in a C program and it really shows after few runs. There are even java applets that let you play the game of the problem for several runs and report the probabilities. Wow! (It's funny to read the story on the site of Marilyn and grin at the reactions regardless the simple mathematical or empirical explanations.

Of course I didn't described the problem but sent you into external links because it's not the one I want to discuss (it's already resolved) but the extension of it.

Say that you have the three doors again, you start with your choice and later the host opens one of the two remaining doors but randomly this time (not deliberately revealing the one with the goat). This means that he could also mistakenly open the door with the winning car. Although because in that case the show would be disaster it assumes that he gets lucky and randomly chooses a door with a goat. What's the possibility of switching from your initial choice to the alternative remaining one?

I would assume at first that since the host selected the goat, whether he did it deliberately or not this occurrence returns us back to the first version of the problem. You have taken one door and the host reveals a goat, your probability of switching is still 2/3. But both Marilyn, the wikipedia article and some mathematical pdf explanation states it's 1/2. And that's where the baffle begins.

First of all the example is quite imaginary and I could not easily think of a practical way to do the many runs and find out the experimental results. In the classic problem the host would deliberately select the door with the goat. So if he knew that one of the two doors contained the car he wouldn't chose it at all to not ruin the show. In the description of the extended problem the host forgets which door has the car and randomly chooses one of the two remaining doors, although it assumes that he luckily avoids choosing the door with the car. One could mistake that by thinking that even in several runs he always gets uberlucky to always not hit a car. But if I understood the description well you could assume that in that particular run he gets lucky and selects the goat yet the rules of the game is that he could even have chosen the car (someone would say that we don't care what would happen then since we only analyze this run). Yet I still have some good arguments why switching might not be 1/2.

First of all somebody should give an insight of what would happen if in a specific run the car is revealed. Because it matters if some of us wish to run a hundred of runs in experiment or computer simulation to be convinced. In that case, would the host say "ooops", pause the show to create a new arrangement of goat/car placements and start from scratch? This is like discarding the cases where he accidentally chooses the car so he always chooses the goat bringing us back to the initial problem with the 2/3 solution.

The second alternative would be that there is a special rule that says, if the host randomly reveals the car the competition goes on normally and then the player looses anyways. In my simulation program I removed the code that denies the host from revealing a door if it's a car. And then I don't care what would happen in real life if such a thing occurred and just run the simulation. A switch between the unrevealed doors will move from a goat to a goat and the player will loose anyways. Say that it's unfair rules of the show. This simulation gives a 1/2 after several runs. The problem though is that it doesn't suppose that a host slips in a banana and randomly reveals a door that happens to be a goat, etc, etc. It takes as valid that he reveals a car too.

There is something seriously wrong with the description of the second problem. It assumes that the host randomly chooses a door yet again it claims that it has to be a goat, yet it's still could be a car but it never is, while it doesn't claim what it would happen in the case it ways which isn't necessary seems we assume that it randomly is always (or in one run) a goat. I mean,.. it's as crazy as Schroedinger's cat!

A way it would make sense is to split it into four categories. Two of them happens before the game starts, the other two take place just after the host reveals a door.

I say to a friend that I want to go to a game show where at the end there are the three doors and the host always randomly reveals one after my initial choice. He speculates:

Case 1: If accidentally revealing a car forces the host to cancel this run and do it again from the beginning (and the next one accidental car choice, recursively forces him to discard the next run again) then the only valid run that finally happens is the one where he reveals a goat. This goes back to the original problem with the solution of 2/3.

Case 2: Accidentally revealing the car by the host results in the unfair rule of the player loosing. Either he switches or stays he gets the goat. Remember, I am not in the middle of the game, my friend speculates what are the possibilities either I switch or not based on the unfair rule. I don't know yet if he will select a goat or a car in the future. It tells me that if I play such a game in the future and given the possibility to switch, I have a probability of 1/2 to win either way.

I am already in the last part of the show, I have already chosen a door that I don't open yet and the host is about to reveal another one of the two. In the situation that the rule of case 1 was valid (discarding the revealing of the car mistake and doing it again) it would still fit in the old problem with the 2/3 solution. We only discuss now the situation when the unfair rule is at work.

Case 3: The host accidentally reveals the car. Either switch or stay gets a probability of zero.

Case 4: And now for the most important case. This is the one that is described in the problem in my opinion. The answer for this matters the most. The host randomly revealed the goat. He actually gave you an advantage! There was a possibility that he would hit case 3 but he didn't and your turn comes after that fact. He eliminated some negative odds of choosing the car concerning the unfair rules are at play. I can't think but the fact that it brings us to the old goat problem with 2/3 probability. While scientists, wikipedia and Marilyn says 1/2. This is where I am still baffled what am I thinking wrong!

It's hard to think that all those people have made a mistake again, so maybe I should have a look at this article (at the monty fall problem) and decide. I hope the theoritical math of this one can also give me a practical view of how this solution could apply and be explained using your perception in the real world. I'd like to see the theoritical proof and then see if somehow it also makes sense in reality. And how could someone create a probability experiment on this one? How to make the host randomly open the door yet he always chooses the goat? Doesn't this eliminate the other case of taking the car? Doesn't this converge our simulation to have several runs that look like the ones in the old problem bringing us the 2/3 result again?

If I am really wrong on this one then I would like to hear some proper explanations of why the 1/2 persists? The old problem sounded baffling but wasn't at all when you thought of the explanation. But the new one, if I get a proper answer it will either be something that changes my perception to something ever more crazy or the not so interesting yet revealing answer that the description of this problem and the way it's solution is suggested suffers from bad logic.

It will surely occupy my brain for more days. What a mind twister!
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