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Nikhil Somaru
Philosopher hacker
Philosopher hacker

Nikhil's posts

Hello from humid South Africa :)

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Great opportunity for reflection 
So do things happen randomly? Cause and effect works perfectly when we see nature. A mango seed can only produce a mango tree and nothing else. But when it comes to human experience we say things happen due to good or bad luck or blame things on destiny upon which no law appeals. Think.....who determines our destiny, our fate, if not ourselves?

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Anyone out there doing the Stanford ML/AI/DB?

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Thinking About Thought

Vedanta classifies thought as being of two types; mind and intellect. The mind, by definition, is the seat of emotions, impulses and likes and dislikes.

In contrast, the intellect is the seat of reason, judgement and understanding.

These two flavors of thought represent in their entirety every thought you will ever have, and thus the motivation for any action you will ever perform (all action is motivated by, backed by, thought).

As a kid, I played with magnets a lot. One day, I bought a kit that contained a few differently shaped magnets and some iron filings. Placing the iron filings on a raised sheet of blank, unruled paper, one could place various magnets underneath and observe the shapes made by those magnets. The results were amazing and demonstrated empirically the presence of an unseen magnetic field.

Recently I applied this metaphor to thought itself. Iron filings, many in number, form the bulk of one's thought. When these filings, thoughts, are placed under the influence of a magnetic field (the intellect -- reason), they form beautiful shapes which represent a goal/purpose. Action then flows towards that goal and one achieves an effect relative to the size of goal one is able to conceive and pursue.

In contrast, when not under the influence of reason, thoughts are randomly scattered in a pattern that is neither desirable nor useful. They end up representing a drain on energy rather than a drive towards something meaningful.

Here's to directing, commanding life. Magnetise your thoughts, energise your life. Let the pillar of reason manage and shape your thoughts.

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"All dead things -- rotting corpse or stinking garbage -- when returned to the earth are transformed into things of beauty such as fruits and flowers and the wholesome things that nourish life. Such is the alchemy of Mother Earth"

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The Mother City at night
Cape Town at night as seen from the side of Signal Hill. Interesting feature are the different colour casts caused by the different types of lighting with the yellow coming from tungsten and sodium vapour based lighting and the blue from neon lighting.

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Facebook's new functions: coming soon after the UI change
Proposed Facebook Buttons - Any other suggestions?

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G+ Tips for new users
Welcome new Google+ users!

Experienced +ers, please share this to help out the newbies!

■ A wonderful Startup Guide to Google+ by +Saidur Hossain that has already been translated into 31 languages. This consists of 49 photos/slides that describe how to use the service. It has been shared more than 10,000 times on Google+. **

Google Plus 101: How to Get Started (good blog post for beginngers by Rana Shahbaz): **

The Google+ Guide created collaboratively by users in Google Docs: **

Millions of new users will be joining Google+ in the coming days. The doors are finally open. Google's home page invites everyone (over age 18) to try this service out. But for a new user, whether you have a "best thing since sliced bread" experience or a "ghost town" experience, depends on learning a few simple things and applying them.

Early Google+ users remember how fun it was to discover new features, shortcuts, and tips, and share them with each other. At one point, 120 users collaborated and compiled a Google doc that contained the best tips. There is a link to it below.

Here are some additional resources that about getting started on Google+. Some of them may be slightly out of date because Google+ is evolving and improving so quickly, but I've just reviewed them all to make sure they are still valuable - and they are. Hope they are helpful to you and all your new friends here.

■ The Complete Google+ Cheat Sheet:

■ Smaller Cheatsheet for navigation and editing:

■ Mashable's Complete Guide to Google+ (July 16):

+Craig Kanalley's 15 Tips for Newbies (July 13):

+Keith Barrett 10 Tips for Public Hangouts (Sept. 3):

And finally, here is a run-down by of the major updates that Google+ made to its hangouts yesterday:

More links to additional resources are provided by +Johnathan Chung at

Finally, if you try Google+ and feel skeptical at first, please follow +Tom Anderson who has the best posts nearly every day here on Google+, and also read this excellent article that he wrote for TheNextWeb entitled "How Google+ will succeed and why you'll use it whether you want to or not." (Tom founded MySpace and as guru +Robert Scoble says, "he gets social at a level even I can't approach.")

Google+ is here to stay. It will be a permanent social layer on top of Google's other web properties which are already used by one billion people each month.

By investing a little time and effort to set up and organize your circles and to install Google+ apps on your smart phone, you will soon find that Google+ empowers you to personalize your stream and your sharing like never before.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Please add a comment below if I'm missing a very helpful resource for beginners.
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