(TAR)get that – world’s longest running experiment touches milestone!

Duration – 80+ Years
Aim – To demonstrate that a tar-like substance has tendency to flow, but slowly.
Location – University of Queensland

Yes! On 23rd April, 2014 a milestone has been reportedly reached in the famous Pitch Drop experiment. The 9th drop fell after a gap of 13 years. It is the first time that the falling of drop has been recorded.

pitchThe late John Mainstone with the pitch drop experiment.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/pitch-err-this-worlds-longestrunning-experiment-finally-drops-20140423-373s6.html

Further reading :

1.Pitch drop experiment http://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FPitch_drop_experiment&ei=83tZU7iBMcnArAeK5oHgDA&usg=AFQjCNF6OJSe7V8HgmbDqF5on0QVoPeyyA&bvm=bv.65397613,d.bmk

2. http://smp.uq.edu.au/content/pitch-drop-experiment


Quantisation of Literature.

Imagine the strange strange world of atomic particles being illustrated using the character of classic literature. Today, I came across this book, Alice in Quantumland: A Charming Illustrated Allegory of Quantum Physics,written by a CERN scientist Robert Gilmore and published in the year 1999.

aliceThe book explains the subtle world of quantum particles through the looking glass of Alice. For a person like me who holds interest in literature and physics equally, the subject of this book holds my interest to a great extent. I feel that this book can help a person in grasping the concepts of quantum physics easily because the very way of explaining the otherwise recondite subject attracts one’s attention. It’s like paradigm shifting: seeing the same thing from a different perspective.

The journey starts with Alice falling into a rabbit hole while watching TV. The rabbit hole takes her to Quantumland, where she has experiences varying from the ones in the classical world.

I feel that such books tend to bring physics closer to the masses and so their reading should be recommended by the masses. 🙂

Reader or a Rereader??

I was going through an article citing Vladimir Nabokov‘s arguments from a 1969 BBC interview of his. This, to a considerable extent, has cleared my understanding of the statement  that ‘one cannot read a book; one can only reread it.

vladimir nabokovIncidentally, I use the word reader very loosely. Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader. And I shall tell you why. When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation. When we look at a painting we do not have to move our eyes in a special way even if, as in a book, the picture contains elements of depth and development. The element of time does not really enter in a first contact with a painting. In reading a book, we must have time to acquaint ourselves with it. We have no physical organ (as we have the eye in regard to a painting) that takes in the whole picture and then can enjoy its details. But at a second, or third, or fourth reading we do, in a sense, behave towards a book as we do towards a painting. However, let us not confuse the physical eye, that monstrous masterpiece of evolution, with the mind, an even more monstrous achievement. A book, no matter what it is—a work of fiction or a work of science (the boundary line between the two is not as clear as is generally believed)—a book of fiction appeals first of all to the mind. The mind, the brain, the top of the tingling spine, is, or should be, the only instrument used upon a book.

There has occurred a number of times when I find it difficult to comprehend the lines at once. So I just skim over that portion rather than rereading it. Rereading is definitely what I need to do.

Be a rereader and become a better reader 😉

50 Incredible Novels Under 200 Pages

Pretty quick reads for an avid reader are here…’The old Man & the Sea’, ‘Animal Farm’, et cetera et cetera 🙂


Springtime can make even the most devoted of readers a little bit antsy. After all, there are flowers to smell, puddles to jump in, fresh love to kindle. You still want to have a novel in your pocket — just maybe one that doesn’t require quite so epic an attention span. Never fear: after the jump, you will find 50 incredible novels under 200 pages (editions vary, of course, so there’s a little leeway) that are suitable for this or any season. For simplicity’s sake, the list makes no distinction between novel and novella, excludes children’s books, and only allows one novel per author. Read on to find a book to divert your springtime attentions, and since there are way more than 50 incredible short novels out there in the world, add any favorites missing here in the comments.

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Literary Meals for Thee!

Two days ago I came across an article describing about this book by the name Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals, authored by Dinah Fried.

ficThe book is in fact an album of the most memorable dishes from two centuries of popular fiction. Dinah Fried herself has cooked these meals, directed the scene as well as shot the photographs. The photographs are so lively and so close to the piece of writing that one might actually want like living the moments inside the novel and savor the dishes.

Thinking about writing such a book is, in my view, a prominent step towards popularizing the age-old and evergreen heritage of literature that some of the finest minds of our civilization have given to us. Reminiscing scenes from the literary masterpieces is an act to live by.

The album cites meals from the master works of literature like The Catcher in the Rye, To kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby and Moby Dick.

Have a happy meal 😉

Hail Carl Sagan!

carlsaganWe live in a vast and awesome universe in which, daily, suns are made and worlds destroyed, where humanity clings to an obscure clod of rock. The significance of our lives and our fragile realm derives from our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning.

The wise words of American astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan every single time get me into thinking ‘WHY ONLY WE?’

Yes. In this immense universe with overwhelming chances that a life form such as ours or different from ours might be flourishing somewhere around the corner, how can I be at peace with my constant curiosity! A civilization might be trying to extend its hands towards us in the same as we have been doing all along. We hear of UFO sightings, strange encounters, et cetera et cetera. They are most of the time linked to some conspiracy theories. There is so much waiting to be known.

But but but…what if, one day, the chances of existence of another life turn into an undeniable reality!! What if, in the coming decades, we get to meet our universal brothers and take universal consciousness to another dimensions! Its all so scary. But its worth it.

Curiosity is worth every penny…

Intuitio Scientificto.

Intuition. Gut feel. Whatever one might call it.

Intuition is what one feels about something from within without himself knowing why he feels so.

I read today in an article that intuition may not be a purely out-of-the-blues-I-feel thing. A research shows that intuition can be domain-specific, i.e. one can be very intuitive about one thing but blank on another topic. I too have observed the same.

Intuition is about the brain’s ability to pick up on certain recurring patterns; the more we are exposed to a particular domain of activity the more familiar we become with the relevant patterns.

So, intuition after all is not as unconscious a thing as it looks like. It, in fact, looks like the involuntary background work of one’s brain before yielding a decision based on past occurrences.



Cessation – The End

Her eyes were too small to gather the happiness she felt. He was right there.

‘Oh my…’, she ran to embrace him. But soon her senses came to life and she saw 5 strange creatures right behind him. They are not manly, she thought. Her body twitched. Fear started gripping her again. ‘Oh gosh…spirits!!’

‘Oh Zelda, my love! Don’t be afraid. Friends they are. I am alive…’, said he while embracing his beloved. Tears fell from her eyes onto his hands. The Bayon Beach was welcoming the embrace of love.

‘Behold! The dark horses’

The hollow reverberating voice startled all at once. Each one now eyed at the 5 unknowns. The 5 spirits.

‘We are the spirits of the past. The beacons of future we are. No less prime is our purpose of visiting our Mother.’

She felt consoled by his close presence, yet was unable to comprehend the voice.

‘Hearken to us. Rise from the dead. Else you will perish. The diggers of your own graves.’

‘Where are you from? Why did you choose my husband?’, asked she but felt it was better if she hadn’t.

‘The origin of us holds mere importance against our message. Our message to you. To the whole mankind!’

‘And what do you have to say?’, shouted Dave from behind, his temper loosening.

‘I say not what you’ll feel comforting, because times have gone. Time has changed. Man has changed.’

Cold winds started to blow. Everyone but the spirits started feeling a chill down his spine.

‘Through the ages have we traveled. From far back into the past, to the unknown voids of the future. None to the extent as us knows what man has done to his civilization. To his people. To the Mother Nature. And your husband, dear lady, is too one of them. You too are. You all are. And who are we but a speck on the canvas of nature. We hold no authority to punish anyone. Mother Nature has her ways for it.’

All were cautiously listening to the spirit, as if losing a single word of his might a have catastrophic effect.

‘We are no enemies. We are from amongst you. A part of the heritage of mankind. At times have we seen the zenith of civilizations bowing down to the greed of mankind. The selfishness. The greed of power. Of wealth. It consumes the very soul of man. And I can do no more than warn you. That the end is near. The man needs to wake now from the sleep of ill-will and rise above the chasm of downfall. Man needs to understand that its not me but we that matters. That there is a place for Love amidst the humdrum of life. That life is glorified by the accumulation of smiles and not wealth. Mother Nature has seen enough. She must suffer no more.’

Silence fell everywhere. It felt like man became conscious of the direction in which he is heading.

‘Give our message to all. And take this talisman to every place where you go’, said the spirit while handing over a pendant to Zelda. ‘The presence of talisman around people will connect their consciousness to ours.’ Zelda tightly held the pendant and moved back to her husband.

‘As of now, we shall leave. Our message to you must act as a beacon of change. Of positive change. I lay the rest in your hands. And I know that man has preserved hope for ages. That man will. Let that hope never die. Let it fruit into a prospering civilization.’

With this the whole of sky glimmered in the blinding white light. Everyone fell back thinking of a prospective explosion. But in a second it was all gone. The spirits had gone.

‘Are you fine dear?’, asked Zelda after regaining herself.

‘Yes I am. Because I must tell you it was the best day of my life. I have a lot to share. Let’s get home.’

‘And the pendant? The message?’, she asked curiously.

‘Ahh! The pendant too. Let’s go home first. I’m tired!’

They went along as she embraced him. His eyes had a twinkle of the stars as if holding a deeper secret. As if he held the key to forestall the cessation of human civilization.

Cessation – III

Everwhere befell dead silence. They walked inside.

‘I’m Dave from the INTELLIGENTSIA Corps, ma’am. There’s something mysterious going on at the Bayon Beach, and I’m afraid your husband might be in grave peril’, he told with stern look, while entering the corridor, to her.

Terror engulfed her. ‘How is he? Is he…is he…alive?’, she burst into tears.

‘I can see you’re very much consumed with worry, ma’am. Your husband seems alright. He called us half an hour ago to send a message to you. He wants you to meet her. He says its…its for the whole mankind.’

‘What do you mean?…the whole mankind?’, replies she with a relaxed yet perplexed look.

‘He hasn’t apprised us on the whole affair either. He says its someone from…from the sky. He stammered I mean…’

‘What do you mean from the sky!!’

‘I don’t know either ma’am. Its an enigma as of now. It sounded like he was gasping for breath. He sounded strange. No one ever sounded so strange.’

‘Just tell me what he told!’, she started losing her temper.

‘He told me its about…its about all the goodness in this world. I know it’ll sound weird to you. But these were his words. Please bear with me ma’am…’

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. This can’t be my husband! Go on…’

‘He told me people are destroying it. Destroying something. Something which is priceless and can’t be regained. I don’t know. I got so confused that…’

‘Just keep saying…’

‘He told about a chance. A chance for something. A last chance. He said we’re being watched over. That they’re here!’, his pupils dilated.

‘Who are here?’

‘Who have the privilege of bestowing us with a chance, he said. I don’t know. It went over my head. He wants you. Its all I know. Its the need of the hour. You’ve to come with me to the Bayon Beach.’

The Bayon Beach was submerged in its own mystery.

If only one cared…If only one listened…