Archive for April, 2011
Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes
This book is *awesome*! Why? The author takes a short story, “The Library of Babel,” by Jorge Luis Borges and analyzes it along many different mathematical dimensions. The results are stimulating and accessible to non-mathematicians. The story is about a library, which is composed of:
An indefinite number of … hexagonal galleries. In the center of each gallery is a ventilation shaft, bounded by a low railing. … Twenty bookshelves … line four of the hexagon’s six sides… One of the hexagon’s free sides opens onto a narrow sort of vestibule, which in turn opens to another gallery, identical to the first — identical in fact to all.
What’s the implication of this? The author, William Goldbloom Bloch, takes us through combinatorics, information theory, real analysis, topology and cosmology (a tough chapter), geometry and graph theory, and more combinatorics. He explains things in an easy to understand way, and then if you want more, has “Math Aftermath” sections that get more in depth.
In the end, he gives a long list of suggested readings. I have started a list here http://amzn.com/w/236UZ2PNNR3W2. What math books do you all suggest?
Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes
I’ve been living in Bangalore since October. First training at ThoughtWorks University (TWU), now working for a UK client. The people and work has been amazing. Best of all is what we have done with Sukrupa.
Six years ago next month I was in Bangalore, volunteering with the non profit Sukrupa, a slum school founded by the amazing Krupathala Martin Dass.  And in January this year ThoughtWorks began working for the school in rebuilding their website and launching a student records project. I’m very proud for ThoughtWorks for investing with many dozen people to work on this, and for the honor to enable such a wonderful, high impact activity. This is part of the culture here. What a great place.
Below is a write up from TWU XX, which completed in February, and compiled by my colleague Pallavi from Australia.
TWU XX project for Sukrupa went live Feb 17 – Release 1 consisted of a redesign of the Sukrupa website www.sukrupa.org and a Student Record System.
Who is Sukrupa?
Sukrupa is a Bangalore-based NGO that works to transform the lives of children from the slums and integrate them into mainstream society. Heard enough and want to help? You can donate or explore volunteer opportunities at Sukrupa.
What did TWU-XX do?
- We met the most amazingly talented children, who made us realize that every child deserves an opportunity to shine no matter where they come from.
- We revamped and rebranded www.sukrupa.org to showcase the great work done by Sukrupa.
- We enabled online donations and are looking for ThoughtWorkers to QA our online donation widget. Any volunteers? ;-)
- We created an offline donations guide that offers the donor a variety of options to maximize donation.
- We produced an events summary to help track the many events hosted by Sukrupa (events are an avenue to showcase the talents of the children, and also to increase visibility with sponsors/donors).
- We are proud to say that we successfully delivered software in a one-click-deploy environment!
- We got completely upstaged by the Sukrupa children in ‘TWU’s Got Talent (or not!)’, witnessed by Roy, Trevor, Dan and Dave. Stay tuned for embarrassing videos and pictures.
- Sukrupa needs your help! Please donate and/or volunteer!
- This project with Sukrupa will continue with future TWU batches.
- ThoughtWorks’ involvement with Sukrupa is set to grow, with Rohit exploring other opportunities for us to help – Thank you Rohit.
- TWU XX has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only did it prepare us to be consultants but it also enabled us to carry forward ThoughtWorks values in our very first project.
- A big thank you to our trainers and clients for their endless patience.
- Thank you to the Bangalore office for hosting us and particularly the Admin Team.
My backstory on Sukrupa
 Back in 2005, a friend and I were on a five week project to have an art camp with several non profits in India. We attempted to film a documentary and capture children’s answer to “what do I want to be when I grow up.” We met with many non profits and schools in Chennai and Bangalore. You can read the old blog here, ArtView India. Sukrupa was one the organization that left a deep impact on me and I returned in 2007, as well as have worked with Krupa from the US in grant writing and publicity. I’ve been directly involved since 2010, connecting her with ThoughtWorks.