Friday, May 05, 2006

World moving toward mediocrity

This is one topic that is troubling me for the last few years. Is the world moving towards mediocrity? Every era had its share of great persons in every field and the process of producing the greats kept on getting accelerated ever since 15th century. People like da Vinci, Newton, Keppler, Bismark, Adam Smith, Shakesphere... kept on arising in various fields and created various fields and revolutionized the entire society.

By the dawn of 20th century the process was in extreme speed. The world was seeing doyens like Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Neils Bohr, Alan M. Turing, Richard Feynman, Marie Curie, Max Plank, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Swami Vivekananda, Wright Brothers, Marconi, Edison, von Neumann and Claude Shannon.

But, can you name any living person now or any person born in our era (after 1930) who could belong to this hall of fame, of the world greats?

The world during the period of 1870 to 1930 saw so many inventions and breakthroughs. Extrordinary breakthroughs in Physics came in the form of Quantum theory, Electromagnetic theory, electricity, radio transimission, Semiconductors, Superconductivity, Radioactivity and Relativity (... I cant recount every great thing) and great inventions came in the form of telephone, radio, x-rays, electric motors, automobiles, airplanes, microwaves, movies.... How many great things have we invented in our era?

Where do we get to see physists like Einstein, Bohr, Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, Nichol Tesla, Feynmann and Mathematicians like Kurt Godel, Ramanujam, David Hilbert, Max Plank, Turing, Claude Shannon, in the current era? Where do we get the great economists like Keynes and Fisher or psychologists like Freud? Can you name atleast one great inventor of current time, whose work could be compared with Edison or Bell or Wright Brothers or Neumann? Why didnt we have such great persons in our era? Why the flame of the greats got almost extinguished by the 1960's? If we ask a person in 1940 about the list of top 10 all-time great physists, the list would countain atleast half from their own time. But, what about now? Can you name atleast one current physist who could be placed in the all-time list?

How many great breakthroughs in Computer Science are brought after its first 20 years? We are using almost the same model of Turing and most of the concepts (right from databases to algorithms to networks) are just refined, polished and engineered, but nothing revolutionarily new is produced that is comparable to the works of the first 20 years. Why didnt we do much in space sciences after 1960's and why didnt we produce any great airplane in the last 40 years?

In the previous era, world saw extrordinary leaders in the form of Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, Gandhi, Nehru, Mao, Hilter and Stalin (the last two are criminals against humanity) who commanded uncomparable control over their regions. There were extraordinary literary persons like Emerson, Mark Twain, Ayn Rand and Bernard Shaw.... There were these uncomparable aggressive businessmen like Herny Ford, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Alfred P. Sloan (the man who broughtup General Motors) . Where are their successors?

While we should expect the process of producing great things should have accelerated in the last 70 years, with the revolutions in communication and transportaion and globalization, it is dissapointingly low. I suspect that there is something that is fundamentally wrong. The great instituitions like MIT, Princeton, Cornell and Stanford are no longer producing great things that can change humanity. The papers are more of engineering improvements than revolutionizing things. The professors produce more of good works than extraordinary breakthroughs.

Fundamentally, there is an enormous pressure to perform. Students have to worry about careers, PhD candidates have to worry about graduating, professors have to worry about tenures and later a decent publication career. And this produces the fear that acts against the guts to produce something new. If a physics student proposes for something like a work of general theory of relativity or if a computer science student produces a new computing model, it will most probably be rejected and the admission committee or later the professor might advice the guy to work towards more ahievable goals. And the student might not have guts to go further and work against all odds and might even quit researching.

Thus, we are caught in a circle of mediocrity and we need great force to break this cycle. For this to happen, the current era people have to realize that history would call us the era of mediocrity and to avoid that we need to do something revolutionary.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Human rights activists are Stupid

I read with great interest the story of a 4 year old running for 65 kms in India. It was so amazing and being from a country which seldom produces olympic medals, I was thrilled. I always believed that India's greatest sporting talent remains hidden in rural India, which is untapped by all the sporting bodies. Thus, 90% of India, wherein almost all the potential remains, is underutilized due to red-tapism and poor facilities. Thus, this kid's achievement is a big thing as he is from that 90% India. But, immediately the insane humans rights activists are agog.

I always felt that the world's insanest human beings were within the forums of human rights. Those crazy fellows who dont dare to condemn crime empathaize with teh criminal instead of the victim. I never found any human rights activist voicing concern for a victim, though almost always they voice for the criminal who victimized the poor fellow. Now, those lunatics have immediately jumped to criticize the boy's coach and even threaten to implicate with child abuse and planning for murder. What the heck is this?

The human rights activist have not sounded anything when that boy was sold for $20 by his mother. They dont do anything to rescue the poor children from bonded labor, young girls from devilist girl rackets, they do nothing to change the condition of malnutrion and disease problems. But, when a success story is produced they jump to criticize the coach.

Once again, I'm convinced that the human rights activists are lunatics.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Blog in action soon

Sorry for not keeping my blog updated. I'm submerged in Thesis work and so having lots of articles at the draft stage that have not crossed the stage for publishing. Updates will be there by next week.

Take a Break.