Tahsin’s Perspectives & Opinions

[Detailed Articles, Research Papers coming …]

  • Did Biological Evolution really happen?

Yes. But the process of Evolution is not ‘Natural Selection’. It’s ‘Evolution by Intelligent Design’, with corresponding changes in the Genome.

We’ll soon figure out (find evidence) that, Metamorphosis doesn’t happen only in Kafka’s World!

  • Opinion on Sharing Economy

Sharing Economy is one way of Introducing Efficiency into the Economy.

Caution: Regulation; Security; (Is it really going to make the particular “Service” better?); Macroeconomic factors (the effect on traditional jobs, traditional way of doing things) etc.

Our Economies and Institutions are vastly inefficient. Introducing “Sharing Economy” Models & Services (with caution) is (or could be, Depending on how it’s applied in the particular case) just one way of getting things work better.

  • Jesus is ‘The way’. So, should the followers of Jesus constrain themselves to the study of Biology and Social Sciences only (Assuming that Jesus never used ‘Technology’, nor studied ‘Physics’ as we know it today)?

Brain Scientists wonder about the Relation between Language and Thought. They ask: Does Language influence Thought? (It’s one of those famous yet-to-be-answered questions in Cognitive, Psychological & Behavioral Sciences.)

The answer: Language influences and shapes Thought.

Our Use of Language is Constrained by Each Individual’s ‘Learned Models’ for words and concepts that are being used.

When we use the term ‘Technology’, most of us visualize and mean ‘Complex Machines’ (Our ‘Learned Model’ for the word ‘Technology’).

Many reason: “There weren’t ‘Complex Machines’ in Jesus’s time. So, ‘maybe’ ‘Technology’ is not ‘the way’. And, wouldn’t it be better if we could completely go back to life at earlier times?”

To answer, we should first consider: Is ‘Technology’ really limited to Complex Machines only? Or more precisely: Is our Use of Language correct in this particular instance?

Any man-made object that Makes life Easier and Better for people is ‘Technology’. So ‘Wheels’ are Technologies. There were ‘Chariots’ in Jesus’s time; now, we have ‘Cars’; next: ‘Autonomous Electric Vehicles’. There were lamps, now we have light bulbs, and many are moving to LED bulbs. It’s Evolution of Technology.

‘Technologies’ we use today surely aren’t perfect. We are At a certain stage in our progression towards Ultimate Technological PossibilitiesNear future will bring Better Technologies that have Less to Zero Side-effects (e.g., Less to zero Environmental Effects – Electric Cars and LED bulbs), Technologies that are more Humane (Computers with near perfect Speech Recognition, human-centered design for Products), and Technologies that are nearly or equally as Complex as Life (Life-like systems built with Nanotechnology).

God created the Universe and God knows more Physics than any of you could ever imagine! Jesus is God.

  • Does Language influence Thought?

Answered above.

References

Tahsin’s Reading List: Medicine, Physiology & BioEngineering

BioEngineering, Biomedical Engineering

Computational & Systems Biology

Anatomy & Physiology

Neuroanatomy

Biochemistry

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Medical Reference

Medicine & Physiology for the General Reader

Looking Back And Connecting The Dots

Sometimes, it seems amazing when you look back at time and try to connect the dots

I came back to America last November (2011) with a newly found interest in Biology and BusinessFor me, one of the best things about living in America at that time was fast Internet connection. When you have fast internet connection, you do stuffs that you wouldn’t do otherwise. For me, it was downloading books – thousands of them!If I find a subject area or topic interesting, I usually try to learn as much as I can from books and the web. Then while learning about the topic, whenever I come across a new topic that I find interesting, I start following the same procedure

for the new topic of interest (recursively; if you prefer Computer Science terminologies!) – serendipity in action! 

I have always been fascinated by the prospects of improving health and brain power. Previously, my idea was to invent new technologies (e.g., stem cells, engineered organs etc.) for better health and more brain power. Books and ideas (e.g., human body version 2.0) of Ray Kurzweil and others have always inspired me. 

My interest in Biology led me to books – which helped me discover that both health and brain power can be improved dramatically by natural means. Reading those books, I became aware of the benefits that a sound health can bring into your life. I incorporated a lot of health practices to my life. A lot actually – 

  • aerobic exercises and strength training 
  • mindfulness and deep breathing 
  • lots of blueberries and strawberries and nuts and yogurt 
  • and a whole lot of other changes in my diet plus supplements 


My quantifiable success – I lost about 40 pounds in a span of 6-9 months (from 192/194 to around 150)! 

My interest in Business, besides showing me ways to handle social problems in more elegant ways, led me to an advice: “Isolation is dangerous”. So I made myself a lot more social than I was.

Then, being social and conversing with others (time period: December 2011 – March 2012), I found out that I could actually think a lot better than I thought I did and I was amazed.

I was amazed at how much I had managed to learn by myself. I have never had the opportunity of learning from very good teachers or very smart peers (excluding a few days during Math Olympiad back in 2005). I had no one to guide me. I learned to guide myself.

I was inspired.

So when I came back to Bangladesh in March 2012, my inspired self returned to unsocial life spending time on nerdy stuffs!

Now, I am eagerly waiting to find out where my previous experiences take me next. 



Life is never this simple. I have left out a lot of details. But this is surely an outline.


(Written sometime in May-June 2012; enhancements later)

Research Problems I Want To Work On

  1. How do you create Advanced Artificial Intelligence that is better than human experts and understands and can reason about everything on the Web and in the real world?
  2. How do you Codify Biology at different levels of abstraction (DNA, Proteins, Metabolic and Signalling Pathways, Cells, Tissues, Organs, Body) so that you can predict and control? (Codification of Biology, Engineering Biology, Systems Biology, Computational Biology, Curing Diseases & Disabilities, Increasing Lifespans.) 
  3. How do you invent better tools, technologies (Imaging, Optogenetics) and Models for Understanding and Engineering the BrainHow do you Cure Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders?
  4. How do you Understand Complex Systems consisting of lots of interacting agents? (Application of Big Data; Inventing better Models, Mathematics, Algorithms to understand complex systems better; finding answers to age old questions in Sociology, Behavioral Science, Political Science, Economics & Business)
  5. How do you Design Materials and Nanostructures with required properties using Computers?
  6. How do you make Software Developers say 100 times more productive?
  7. How do you design an Effective Education and Learning and Research Platform?
  8. How do you create Platforms that empower people – so that the enormous potential in each and everyone of us is materialized?
  9. How do you take Human – Computer (networked) collaboration, intelligence to the next level?
  10. How do you integrate the Information World and the Physical World? (A world where the Physical world is completely aware of everything utilizing information from the Information World; the world of information is embedded in the Physical World.)
  11. How do you design Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies? (Fab-lab, 3D Printing, Automation)
  12. Exploration of new computing architectures – continuation of Moore’s law: exponential increase in processing power; computational power for data processing, intelligence; (Parallel computing architectures (e.g., GPUs); Molecular computing; Quantum computing; Cognitive computing / Neuromorphic computing)
  13. How do you solve Local, Social and Global problems (clean water, cheap energy etc.) utilizing massive collaboration and exponential technologies?
  14. How do you predict and prevent Natural Disasters?
  15. Joining the pieces of puzzle together to get a complete picture of the Ultimate Reality

Evolution of My Dreams and Realizations

My first ‘Aim in life’, as far as I can remember (It was 1988 / 89; I was 2 or 3), was to become a milkman. I mean, it wasn’t about being a milkman. I wanted to become the honest person appreciated by my parents – a milkman by the name Mubarak. (“I want to become Mubarak”, I used to say). So, what I truly wanted to become was a plain, simple, honest person. 

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Next, I wanted to become a building mechanic. I used to stare at people who built houses in awe. My uncle sent me a toy Mechanical Tool Box.

My next major change in aim occurred when I wanted to join the Military (age: 4-5). Each night, I used to stay awake until the National Anthem with the National Flag was played on BTV and give salute. I watched a Television program depicting Military life. One of my uncles quipped: “The secret: Tahsin wants to become the President!”.

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My mom told me of an incident that took place when I was a baby of few months old (1986). One day, General Ershad was delivering a speech (who was then the President). My mom was studying for her exams. I was lying right beside my maternal Grandfather. My Grandfather suddenly started praying loudly: “God, grant my wish and guide my grandson to become the President and lead the Nation.” My Grandmother called my mom, “Come! Quick! Look how your dad is praying for your son!”     

During my First grade, a serial had an enormous influence on me: “The sword of Tipu Sultan”. Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali were my childhood heroes. The serial drew me to History. I was deeply influenced by another historical novel during 3rd / 4th Grade – “Khun Ranga Path”. Besides History, books on General Knowledge were among my favorites from an early age. My father bought me my first “General Knowledge” book (Encyclopedia) around 5. Then I discovered “General Knowledge” books (Encyclopedia) in my aunt’s house. Later, I started buying Encyclopedia myself. I used to stare at the Globe of the world and fantasize (
Grade 3 / 4). I fantasized first becoming a King of Ancient Bengal, then King of Myanmar (Burma) and later lifetime President of Kazakhstan. 

I remember playing computer games at one of our relative’s house during Fifth grade. Almost everyone around me wanted to become a Computer Engineer at that time. So I thought I should try to become one myself – a Computer Engineer. 

During my middle school years, I was a voracious reader of novels. Reading novels was the most fun activity I could think of. I could understand different writing techniques employed by novelists. Becoming a novelist, writing great novels was my dream during 7th to 10th grade (1999 – 2002). For living, I would become a Physician or Engineer or Architect. That was my plan.

During 9th / 10th grade, I made up my mind to study Medicine (there was huge encouragement from my parents) and become a Physician besides writing novels.

When I read a book on Psychology (my mom’s book on Educational Psychology from her M.Ed. course), I understood that an intense interest in the workings of the human mind was the chief reason I wanted to become a novelist. Moreover, Literature could only depict subjective human experience, but the objective theories of Psychology applied to all humans.

I thought that I could become a Physician and specialize in Psychiatry or Neurology.

Studying Psychology helped me understand the essence of Science: To understand experimentally provable General Rules that govern everything we see around us.

Studying Psychology books gave me the confidence that: I can come up with original ideas, and that I should question what is written in books.

Trying to understand the theories of Psychology in terms of my own experiences and what I see around me, made me aware of the connection between Real World and the world of Books and Theories.

As I later diversified and ventured into different branches of Science, these realizations and understandings proved invaluable.

One day, as I was preparing for my high school (11th grade) Entrance Exam (later it was decided that Entrance would be based on results of matriculation exam), a Chapter on different forms of Energy from my Physics book grabbed my attention. I thought: maybe I could work on both Psychology / Neurology and Physics. I went through my 9-10th grade Physics book. I bought and read other books (Undergraduate level Physics Textbooks, Stephen Hawkin’s A Brief History of Time and others).

I thought and wrote down my understandings and realizations. I tried to come up with new Theories myself.

Physics taught me to understand “everything” in terms of fundamental constituents and few fundamental laws that govern things we see around us.

Physics made me realize the necessity of learning Higher Mathematics.

Mathematical Olympiad was gaining popularity in Bangladesh at that time (it was 2003). I bought Books and started solving problems.

One of the books published at that time was “নিউরনে অনুরণন” (“Resonance in neurons”). The idea for the name: it’s better to create resonance in your brains’ neurons by solving Mathematical problems rather than leaving the neurons idle!

I found out: the more I worked on problems, the better I could think! My Neurons really were resonating!

My interest in Psychology helped me appreciate brain function improvement and Mathematical Problem Solving. I discovered ways of improving brain function myself.

It was an amazing realization – I could become anyone I wanted if I worked in the right way.

Other Sciences started grabbing my attention.

Psychology drew me to Neuroscience – the Biology of what happens in the mind. Physics led me to Cosmology (the study of the evolution of the Universe) and some of the books described evolution of our planet and Biological evolution. Evolutionary Biology was among my favorites.

At that point, I saw my future as a Scientist: trying to understand the truth and decode the Laws of Nature.

I became interested in Computer Science and Engineering as I read an article portraying the field of Artificial Intelligence. The article was written by Dr. Ali Asgar included in one of his popular science books (Grade 11). I bought Undergrad Texts on Artificial Intelligence and started reading.

Psychology and Neuroscience always grabbed my attention. So when I found out that there is a subfield in CS that tries to emulate intelligence on computers, I got hooked instantly. 

Later, I participated in International Mathematical Olympiad, and met people who were serious participants in programming contests and I felt that I really liked contests and competitions. Besides, computation seem to be everywhere – required in almost every branch. I could do Physics and Biology on Computers. I read an inspirational book (“Medhabi Manusher Golpo” – Prof. Dr Kaykobad) which depicted lives of eminent Computer Scientists and students of Computer Science. The choice was either Physics or Computer Science and Engineering, but my parents wouldn’t let me study Physics. Choosing Computer Science and Engineering also made sense when I considered practical aspects. I thought: I could still pursue my multi-disciplinary interests besides studying CSE at college. 

The Majors I considered at that time included: Computer Science and Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Nanotechnology / Nanoengineering & Bioengineering / Biomedical Engineering.

[If you find my life and my understandings interesting you might like Looking back and connecting the dots.]

Lets move a few years forward … During March / April 2013, I thought, I should analyze and understand and learn from and codify everything I see around me – just as I did with the sciences and engineering. I started with the political situation in Bangladesh. I wanted to figure out what would happen if I start my own Political Party. Next, I applied my analysis to other domains: Mechanical Engineering, Economics, Computer Science.

I discovered new thinking tools along the way. Previously, if I found something interesting, I used to look it up on the Web or download a book. But now, whatever I try to understand, first I develop ‘a model’ in my mind just by thinking and then fill out the blanks in my model by asking questions and reading and learning.

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I come across new understandings and realizations almost on a daily basis. I look forward to share my newer understandings at sometime in not too distant future: “Living to tell the tale”, truly!
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Studying Medicine [Letter to Younger Siblings]

I have always spent a great deal of time on learning “how to learn” and studying “how to study”. #MetaCognition
These days I am jotting my ideas down. I thought about messaging some advice to my brother and sister both of whom are studying Medicine. This is what the advice looked like.


1.  Imagine your Dream coming true. Feel happy! Think how becoming a great Physician can help turn your dreams into reality. (Say to yourself: Yes! I can turn all of my dreams into reality!) Now stop doing everything else and start studying! Motivate yourself regularly.

2. Ignite curiosity. (Say to yourself: hey I understand only a few isolated concepts about how we see things [with eyes]! Now, I really want to understand the Visual System as a whole thoroughly!)
As you read, never lose sight of the concepts you wanted to know and the questions you had in mind – when you started out. As you learn, pose questions to yourself and study-think to find out answers to those questions. Write the questions down if necessary. (Say to yourself: So now I understand how Image forms on the retina, but how does the signal reach the brain?)
Get excited! (Wow! I never knew that there was a primary visual area and a secondary visual area!) Feel proud of yourself! (Say: Yeah! Now I understand the visual system better!) Become passionate!

3. Just as we build model of a person (he is such and such), build Model of each of the systems of Human body and integrate “every” fact and concept you learn to those models.

4. Build models of Systems and Subsystems: Cardiovascular system (subsystem: heart), Nervous system (subsystems: spinal cord, eyes-vision, brain, etc.). Integrate whatever you learn about a system in that system’s model. Visualize – try to see everything in your mind’s eyes. As you learn new concepts, integrate them into respective models. Draw Pictures, Diagrams. Write on those pictures, diagrams.

5. Consider Hierarchy of Systems (how cells make different tissues, tissues make different organs).

6. Learn how Systems Interact (e.g., stress triggers hormonal responses {endocrine system}). Visualize – draw – use graphs/networks (diagrams with lines connecting different systems).

7. While learning pathology, build Models of Diseases. Now model how different systems (cardiovascular, immune) work/dysfunction (as a result of e.g., a particular class of virus / bacteria) to give rise to diseases and the treatment plan. (Say, so this is why the treatment plan for this disease is that!)

8. Can’t find answer to one of your questions? Can’t understand something clearly enough? “Google”!  

9. Never forget to Visualize! When you visualize / draw diagrams, you can take in a lot of information at a time, organize all the knowledge and all the facts you learn seem real.