That annoying thing for a reader!

Two minutes silence for all the characters who have ever died in books.

Only a reader can feel the loss of a fictional character. It is as if a part of himself/herself has died with the character. Books offer its readers new places to dwell…or to dwell forever. It is, for him/her, the only permanent home because he/she knows that books shall forever be with him no matter what. And he can anytime recline in the comforting pages of the book.

And so imagine the nightmare when one discovers his favorite book missing! Like this, several things can annoy any reader…

 1. When you discover that your bookmark is missing from the book in your hand and you find your world turned upside down.

2. When you receive a call from your friend informing that he has lost your book, and you have to say, ‘Ohh…it’s not a problem’ when inside you feel like killing him.

3. When you are just about to start reading a great book, and at the same time someone asks you for borrowing that same book, and you are in a dilemma whether to reply with a blunt NO or give in with a heavy heart.

4. When you are going through a serious moment in a book, and your parents call on you for doing some household chore.

5. When a much awaited book is out and you are unable to buy it immediately because of lack of funds.

6. When you want to discuss about a book you have just finished with someone and you discover that everyone else is ignorant of the nail-biting journey you have been through.

And the worst of all…When you turn the last page of an immensely great book which you never had wished to get finished. 😦

A Tale of Two WebCities

It was a landmark event in the world of social networking.

Fifteen years ago, with the mobile industry still to boom, man had limited alternatives to be in contact with their dear ones who lived in far off places. I remember how, back then, my family members used to write long letters to their relatives, and patiently had to wait for the reply.

A very less fraction of the world population back then would have imagined that one could keep their far-off relatives on their fingertips. The birth of Orkut will always have a pivotal place in the history of social media.

In the year 2006, when Orkut was turning three, I saw how children of my age back then joined it with much excitement. It was an entirely new experience. Writing scraps. Writing testimonials. People started understanding, even if in the least sense, what actually social connection means. Many got the platform to spread their skills among the like-minded. India has been de facto among the largest fan bases of Orkut and I have seen it as well.

I had made my first Facebook account in the year 2007, and it was a barren land back then. No people. No applications. No talk-in-the-air. Facebook was stagnant. Orkut was booming. Orkut was good. And all good things must come to an end. And GOOGLE has done so. With the shutdown of Orkut around September this year, a major chapter of the rise of modern social media will close. But its memories shall always live.

Adios ORKUT.

The “post hoc ergo propter hoc” Fallacy

I was reading this witty book by the name ‘Plato and a Platypus Walk into A Bar’wherein philosophy has been explained using the medium of jokes.

Herein I came across this philosophy of “post hoc ergo propter hoc” Fallacy.  Quoting from the book:

The phrase describes the error of assuming that because one thing follows another, that thing was caused by the other.

It means ‘After this, therefore because of this.’

We all have encounters with incidents where someone reaches to a wrong deduction by following a wrong path of logic. Here is a joke from the book where this fallacy seems at work.

Every morning, she steps out onto her front stoop and
exclaims, “Let this house be safe from tigers!” Then she goes back
Finally, we said to her, “What’s that all about? There isn’t a tiger
within a thousand miles of here.”
And she said, “See? It works!”

The book is a must read. It brings philosophy, which people take to be something of lesser worth, closer to them. Happy reading 😉

Asimov on Science & Spirituality.

Read it in an article today. He appeared on the David Frost Show and delivered his irreverent wit in full brilliance when badgered with the G-question. The account goes like this:

[Frost] said, with neither warning nor preamble, “Dr. Asimov, do you believe in God?”

“That rather took my breath away. It was a dreadful way of putting a person on the spot. To answer honestly, “No,” with millions of people watching, could arouse a great deal of controversy I didn’t feel much need of. Yet I couldn’t lie, either. I played for time, in order to find a way out.

He said, “Dr. Asimov, do you believe in God?”

And I said, “Whose?”

He said, a little impatiently, “Come, come, Dr. Asimov, you know very well whose. Do you believe in the Western God, the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition?”

Still playing for time, I said, “I haven’t given it much thought.”

Frost said, “I can’t believe that, Dr. Asimov.” He then nailed me to the wall by saying, “Surely a man of your diverse intellectual interests and wide-ranging curiosity must have tried to find God?”

(Eureka! I had it! The very nails had given me my opening!) I said, smiling pleasantly, “God is much more intelligent than I am — let him try to find me.

(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:

Further reading :

1.Pitch drop experiment,d.bmk


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 😉

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…