Packers High! πŸ˜‰

LOL … Looks like Aaron Rodgers and I share a passion for washing dishes! πŸ˜€ Don’t believe it? No worries, The Raj always has the receipts to prove it ( https://therajblog.com/2020/01/11/therapeutic-value-of-dishwashing/ ) πŸ˜‚.
Hey Aaron, there have been quite a few lows this season for Packers team and fans 😒. The season could still end on a high I think. Could swing by Mr Rodgers neighborhood, we could go on a Ayahuasca trip and experience a Packers High! πŸ˜‰ What say? 🀣

What is justice? πŸ™

Fair play and justice have always been of high significance for me whether it be sports, politics, business, education, law or in other walks of life. In times when folks with money and power push the envelope on what is considered legal/acceptable, get away with it and are admired for that and repeat offenders are treated like folk heroes πŸ‘Ž expecting fair play and justice not realistic always I realize. Basic honesty and decency should not be too much to expect though. I like watching shows like “Dateline”, “20/20”, “48 Hours” to see how the investigative and judicial process works. The most heartening shows are those that feature investigators’ dogged pursuit of truth by collecting evidence and pursuing leads assiduously, lawyers arguing the case based on evidence bringing closure to affected families and reinforcing belief that the wheel of justice does move even if at times very slowly πŸ‘. The most heartbreaking shows are those where closure for affected families means just holding on to memories of victims or to objects associated with the victim/s like a pendant, sweater or a glove due to lack of physical body. 😒

It’s fascinating to look at the process and the players involved in the pursuit of justice. In criminal justice system the guilt of the accused is to be proved beyond any reasonable doubt. The reason is to minimize the possibility of accused person getting punished if he/she is actually innocent. I have wondered how some of the people involved in the process approach their work. Let’s consider a few

1) Cops/Investigators: They should have an open during the course of investigation while collecting evidence and following all promising leads. Does their training and experience help them keep their biases and emotions aside and check out all leads, especially if they have a suspect with the motive and means to commit the crime? Does the desire to take quick action against perpetrator/s come in the way of doing a thorough investigation?

2) Prosecution team: In trying to build case against the accused would they prefer to ignore any and all evidence that may not fit their case? Would they simply go ahead with their case and have the defense team poke holes in their argument/case?

3) Defense team: Is the only objective for defense to create reasonable doubt about the accused’ involvement? Would the defense team ask the accused to reveal everything relevant to the case to defense even if some of the facts may be detrimental to the accused’ cause OR would defense team clearly mention to the accused not to reveal any facts that may harm them (The defense team could then possibly claim no knowledge if unpleasant facts are unearthed by prosecution?). If there are multiple eyewitnesses to a crime and there is no doubt about guilt of the accused does defense lawyer’s training force them to still fight for a less stiff sentence by arguing temporary insanity for the client even if it’s not really true?

4) Jury: For serious crimes verdict is required to be unanimous. The jurors are likely to be from different backgrounds with different temperaments. Would aggressive juror/s bully and try to force other jurors (with different point of view) to agree with them? (If that does happen that would be like social media groups where a few attention-seeking and overly aggressive folks push their own agenda while ignoring or isolating those who disagree even if it’s for valid reason/s 😑)

5) Judge: Potential jurors are vetted for their biases before they are selected for jury duty to ensure their bias would not cloud their judgment. Is there a similar process in place before a case is assigned to a judge? For example, assume a judge is an avid biker and the case involves a hit-and-run involving the death of a biker. Would the judge subconsciously sustain or overrule objections based on their own likes and sympathies?

There are also instances in criminal cases where the defendant may make “Alford plea” which amounts to a guilty plea by defendant in criminal court but does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence. Generally this happens when defendant thinks prosecution has made their case strongly and as a result jury is likely to return a guilty verdict. Alfrod plea appears like a compromise and a neither here nor there kind of deal (A civil case equivalent would be defendant settling the case without admission of guilt and have NDAs signed to prevent any further discussion of the case).

Is the meaning of justice different based on the role of a person in a trial? For a prosecution lawyer is “Guilty” verdict = justice? Likewise does “Not Guilty” verdict mean justice for defense lawyer? Should justice mean victim’s family and friends and the accused’ family and friends knowing the full truth?

The question that keeps haunting me is “What is justice?”πŸ™

Grand Master Lessons!


In the past few years chess engines have gotten so much better that it’s now well-nigh impossible for even top-level human grand masters (GM) to beat the most advanced chess engines. Processing power, AI and quick risk calculation all combine to make it a much more difficult job to take on the machines and emerge victorious. Having played Grand Master rated computer opponent in Scrabble I can now understand, to some extent, the frustration and empathize with the feelings of experts who get crushed by computer overlords. Below is my experience playing GM rated computer opponent in Scrabble.
1) My win loss ratio hovers between 1:6 and 1:7. Meaning, on an average I win once for every 7 or 8 games I play against the computer grand master. I am glad I am just an enthusiast playing for fun and not an expert playing for a living πŸ˜€
2) It’s been a very humbling experience, at times even humiliating 😒 when the virtual opponent goes on double-digit game winning spree, for sure. It’s like taking on a very powerful and talented opponent with instant access to the best resources πŸ™ The idea is to test oneself against the best and savor the occasional victory πŸ‘
3) I am not sure if the alphabet tiles for a player get selected randomly as it should be. Too many times I have ended up with all 7 tiles being vowels or all 7 tiles being consonants making me wonder if the intent is to load the dice even more against the humans intentionally. πŸ€”
4) Even when the opportunity presents itself to use all 7 tiles (and get 50 bonus points for that) the value of the tiles themselves are minimal reducing the benefits of 2/3 letter/word multipliers. In the left picture of this post, in one of the games, I managed to hit two 3 x Word multipliers (effectively 9 x word value) with the word ‘ORIENTAL’. Apart from the fact I had to use one blank piece (which can be used as substitute for any alphabet that fits a word) which does not have any value the rest of the tiles also had minimal value. Even if couple of tiles had more than minimal value the final outcome (right picture) might have been different πŸ€”
5) The computer opponent (of Grand Master rating) plays quite a negative game πŸ‘Žin the sense it’s always on the lookout for drying up opportunity for opponent to place on a value multiplier square. Maybe an extension of “Best defense wins championship” thinking on the board

Most times, when I am playing or the player/teams I support are playing, I believe that the player/team that plays better wins and the losing side just have to take it on the chin and get back stronger. There are times though when the virtual opponent sneaks in a high scoring word at the end and wins after trailing the entire game and leaving me shaking my head πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈin disbelief and mutter a word that rhymes with itch but starts with a ‘b’ 😑 No sexism there though, if the virtual opponent had been Joey instead of Zoey I probably would mutter a word that rhymes with dastard but starts with a ‘b’ πŸ˜‚. Actually dastard wouldn’t be a bad choice either. πŸ˜…

Bottom line: Biggest lesson learned is “It ain’t over till the petite lady stings!” πŸ˜ŠπŸ™

Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions: 2022! πŸ˜Š

The race is on to find Jeopardy! champion for 2022! πŸ‘
The Tournament of Champions started on Monday this week, hosted by Ken Jennings. It’s a multiple-week event featuring some of the biggest winners from the previous season. This year the excitement level is even higher as the tournament features many super-champs. Three of them (Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio, Mattea Roach) with 20+ wins in the regular season got a first-round bye in a nod to their impressive run earlier πŸ‘Œ. The first week couldn’t have had a better ending with Friday winner hitting Daily Double! in Double Jeopardy! round back-to-back, betting it all both times and getting it right! πŸ‘ The first time his score doubled from 5,800 to 11,600. When his next clue selection also happened to be a Daily Double and he announced his intent to make it again a “true daily double” the shock was evident in Ken’s face. By the time I collected my jaw that had dropped to the floor on hearing “true daily double” wager πŸ˜‚ the contestant, Eric Ahasic, got the response right and his score jumped to 23,200! It’s always fun to see contestants bet big, get it right and win big! It’s a tribute to the quality of other two contestants that the game did not turn out to be a runway for the champ before Final Jeopardy! round. πŸ‘
This year’s tournament may very well be historic in that it features a non-binary person, a transgender, a lesbian, a turbaned Sikh. Fun to see diversity when it results from inclusiveness instead of being in-your-face. πŸ‘ Kudos to Ken Jennings for doing good as host. πŸ‘ When he immediately followed as host after the legendary Alex Trebek he appeared stilted and a little awkward and Mayim Bialik appeared more at ease as the host. Some of it may have been due to emotions as he was close to Alex, some of it nerves stepping into the shoes of a legend and rest of it for trying to stick to the Alex way of hosting too much. In contrast Mayim appeared to be more at comfort in front of the camera. At this time Ken is better as host of the show than Mayim IMHO. What has changed? While Mayim appears to be solid professional Ken brings passion to the job. Whether consciously or through feedback from others Ken has been more Ken and less wannabe-Alex! That passion combined with other p’s (product, participants, presentation) combine for a great watch. πŸ‘ When Ken praises a contestant for responding correctly to a difficult clue it appears genuine. Staying true to himself also means he brings in his own sense of humor. Of course, sometimes it may land well, sometimes it may not (I should know that from personal experience 🀣). Also, some attributes that could have been a disadvantage actually turns out to be a blessing. Ken speaks fast which means when he is hosting all clues are covered in a game pretty much always! I am all for no clues left uncovered in a game and maximizing winning for the contestants. Hopefully the rest of the tournament is thrilling too that the participation of super-champs promises, with a memorable ending for the tournament. Can’t wait to see what is in store! πŸ˜ŠπŸ™

WhatsApp: Delete for Everyone πŸ˜§

WhatsApp introduced a ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature few years ago which allowed a person who posted a message to delete it. That feature is useful as it allows the person who posted the message to delete it if it’s posted in the wrong group or if it was meant for one or few members of the group and not for the entire group. Few months ago it appears WhatsApp extended ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature for WhatsApp Group Admins too (I discovered the feature by accident as I had been added as an Admin to a group which I either was not aware of or had forgotten). The feature in itself is not a bad thing. However, the way it’s been implemented is problematic IMHO.πŸ‘ŽWhy do I think so? There are multiple reasons
1) ‘Delete for Everyone’ is the first option when you choose to delete. I don’t know about others but I prefer to delete bigger files like audio, video clips after I am done hearing/viewing to clear space in my phone if I don’t feel the need to retain those files for future use. Would have preferred ‘Delete for Me’ as the first delete option instead
2) If ‘Delete for Everyone’ is chosen the deletion is done silently without confirmation or allowing the Admin to enter text for explanation. 😠 So, there is neither an option to confirm or cancel if ‘Delete for Everyone’ is chosen by mistake nor is there an option to enter text for deletion reason if intent is indeed to delete for everyone
3) To make matters worse it seems all other members of the group get notification that a group Admin has deleted a message while the person who deleted the message is left none the wiser if deletion was done my mistake. 😑This is a recipe for sowing discord or discontent in groups. I can imagine either getting angry reaction from other group members or getting a “silent snub” if a group Admin deletes a post by mistake. πŸ€”
To me it appears the same code that was developed to allow a person to delete his/her own post has been reused without much thought that the context is different if a different person deletes it for entire group πŸ‘Ž
Bottom line: When organizations try to METAmorph to either gain an early mover advantage or to stay relevant they sometimes spread their resources thin and end up not paying attention to detail πŸ™

Favorite bedtime story! πŸ˜Š

When my son was very young, he liked to hear bedtime stories. Wife generally read books or narrated stories. Sometimes the responsibility fell on me. I was too lazy to read and with my limited recollection of full tales my well of stories dried up pretty soon. ☹️ Only options seemed to be to either read a book or try to recollect full stories from my past reading. That would have made for too much effort for me but then I found a simple solution: Tell him his own story! Son warmed up to the idea quickly. πŸ‘
The basic structure of the story always remained the same!
Start with his birth and incorporate different activities into the tale. Activities could include things like reading, writing, math, biking, swimming, sports, music etc. In the tale, in every activity, when he started, he would suck and over time he would get really good at it. In some instances, he would even do well enough to get a prize! πŸ‘To test if he was sleepy, before every activity, I would ask how he did when he started. If he was not sleepy or sleeping yet he would enthusiastically reply “He sucked!”. πŸ˜‚ If I did not get a response it was cue for me to end the storytelling πŸ˜ƒ
The beauty of any solution lies in its simplicity and in this tale, I could add, modify or change elements based on whatever new activities he was currently engaged in or had recently taken part in. After a while whenever he said “Dad, tell me a story!” both of us knew what he wanted to hear πŸ˜‰
My reasoning as to why it always worked
1) It had a ring of familiarity to it πŸ‘
2) It always had a happy ending πŸ₯°
3) Kids (and many grown ups) like to hear their own praise from others! πŸ˜…