my thoughts.....

constellation, assimilation, formation and expression of my cerebration!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Power of another perspective.....

I don't think I found anything in recent times as fascinating as the theory behind Global Positioning System. I happened to read about this couple weeks ago. My amazement lies in how the power of one more perspective empowers GPS! Without drifting away too much in explaining how GPS works, GPS - the gadget that you keep one of your eyes on while driving - continuously seeks the help of three or more satellites, each of which know where they are revolving around Earth at a given moment, to give you the direction.

GPS gets a first piece of information from one of the satellites - the piece is nothing but how long GPS is away from the known location of the satellite. That basically helps GPS to locate itself at a center of a circle - the circle obviously gets bigger as the distance between the satellite and GPS increases. This is quite analogous to you were walking in the middle of nowhere almost a century ago and someone whom you accosted told you are 50 miles away from one of your known places A. He did not quite help you yet! You have basically at least 150 directions to choose from! - obviously due to your walking in the middle of nowhere. The number of directions are based on the number of arcs of 2 mile each that constitutes the circumference of a 50-mile radius circle. You were dejected and running out of your energy and hoping for one more person on your way to give you more useful direction.

Few more were passing by you saying the same thing - you were 50 miles away from the place A. You were very frustrated and finally decided to start walking in a random direction and luckily a person walking by you who 'd known that you were 35 miles from one of your other known places B. You were starting jumping up in the air as this piece were of immense use. You had to now choose from only two directions! See here how it works. Please also remember here people in the last century had a terrific sense of direction despite their habit of getting lost!

When the first person told how long you were away from A, you could have been on any point onthe circumference of the bigger circle. After the second person told you about your relative position from B, you now could be on one of the two intersecting points. You chose to walk in one of the directions and and try to get a sense of the direction. If you were lucky, you 'd reach home. If you were not, you 'd walk all the way back - some of the milestones like some strange trees or some earthly marks or small mountains 'd help you here! - and walk towards your home. This is obviously better than trying out 150 directions one by one!!

If you were too lucky to have a third person told you how long you were away from one another of your known places C, you 'd have known exactly where you were and saved all your energy! This is exactly the principle behind GPS. Is not amazing how much power another perspective adds - by reducing the possible 150 directions to mere two in the case explained here. Is not it also amazing how simple math behind intersection of two circles could be exploited!

I am amazed beyond the words when realizing the power of another perspective. When I was in India, I had never imagined Idli and Sambar and breakfast were ever separable; I had never imagined you could drive on the right-hand side of the road; I had never imagined you could finish your work sharply by 5'0 clock; I had never imagined my parents are not actually obligated to support my studies; I had never imagined you could apply so much of your knowledge in real life; and so on. How living in another country like US has changed lot of my perspectives and expanded my mind is quite amazing!

When I was watching only Tamil movies few years back, I believed you always have songs in a movie; I believed you always have a hero and a heroine in a movie; I believed a movie is always dramatic and sentimental; I believed a movie always ends happily; I believed a movie should run for 150 to 180 minutes; and so on. I don't need to tell you I don't believe in any of these any more!

Two different perspectives of Stonehedge - one from the very familiar front and another from a rare top

When you learn one more language, your mind gets another perspective too. When i was only speaking Tamil, I had not known you could pretty much reverse the order of subject, verb and object in a sentence; I had not known you could speak with just 26 alphabets; I had not known that scripts could be much less art-like; I had not known you could have more phonetic variations to pa and ka etc; I had not known the same alphabet could sound very different in different words; an so on.

Making a new friend could change a lot in your life. A friend of mine completely changed the way I study and imparted the importance of fundamentals permanently in my mind. Another friend of mine showed me the horizon of knowledge. Another friend of mine showed me what self-confidence is. Another friend of mine showed what street smartness is. Another friend of mine showed what responsibility is. Another one showed what experience is.

Sharing your life with an opposite sex is an ultimate experience in one's life. How an opposite sex could influence you, motivate you and make your life better is unutterable by words! I realized what Love is. I realized what sensitiveness is. I realized what kindness is. I realized what patience is. I realized what an art is. I realized what beauty is.

So, always make new friends; learn one more language; travel to one more country; watch movies of another culture; most importantly be a heterosexual! You will get another perspective in life and position yourself better in this globe. you would not keep wandering in life and end up losing all your energy.

Getting another perspective after all helps you to get a sense of direction in life!


  • at first it was difficult to understand the relationship between the gps and perspectives. but in the end, it became quite clear and a good read. congratulations.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 24, 2008 at 6:07 AM  

  • Gr8 analogy..

    FYI: never always a GPS gives you the correct direction. if you use it in NewYork city you are always lost.

    Eever so often when you learn new things from a culture it always tends to be the ills . If we take in the good and leave the bad its the road to betterment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 25, 2008 at 5:35 AM  

  • I some how landed on this page and the contents of this blog seems too far fetched that my brown matter cannot relate...

    By Anonymous lakshmi subramanian, At September 5, 2008 at 8:50 PM  

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