Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Review: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Mrs DallowayMrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was an interesting read. I tried to read this book before but just a few pages in it and I lost track of whose head I was in and I stopped. This week I decided to revisit it and it took me by surprise. I think it is a literary masterpiece.

It is a classic, though it is certainly not for everyone. It is not easy to read and one has to deliberately keep reading. As one reads by... the depiction attention span of human thoughts is splendidly demonstrated. It encapsulates the stream of thoughts so beautifully. Reading it was like being able to read thoughts of the characters. Fascinating how a lifetime and the socio-political set up can be represented with just the thoughts of few people in the timespan of a day. Brilliant!

The characters were realistic and neutral. Woolf is not attempting to make you like or dislike anyone in particular. It pays a good compliment to the stark thoughts and veiled social expression by the characters. The plot is not outstanding but simple, it is not the soul of this book. The plot is just as a prop to keep the poetic writing together. It has many symbolism and motifs included in and thus is a very thoughtful writing by the author.

I am glad that I read it. I recommend it to you if you like reading classics. but this is not a place to start reading classics with. In the end, I would say this book is a work of art.


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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Open Journal: Post From Tumblr Blog #Throwback

I do this thing where I write my Journal as an open journal blog post on Tumblr. A friend sent me this post of mine this morning. I thought I can share it here...
http://karnikakapoor.tumblr.com/post/141510183071/open-diary

Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Hamilton: The Revolution

Hamilton: The RevolutionHamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Most of all my rating here is to the Musical. The book interesting and gives a lot of inside information on the production process of broadway shows and all that jazz ... I had no idea what all goes into a theatre production. This book tells from the whole process from very beginning. I am glad I picked it up.

However, my favourite part is musical by Lin_Manuel Miranda. Each line is so cleverly crafted! It is brilliant and awesome. Lin's writing amazed me. I am obsessed with it. I guess this has made me admire Musicals a lot more. It has revolutionalized theater for me. Wonder what Lin will come up with next.

This book provides references from the Revolution's history as well as general musical's historic prospects. Being born and bought up in India I was not taught about the American Revolution and Fight for freedom during my academic sessions. I owe it to Lin that now I am enthusiastic for that era of history. It has been forever glorified for me in a melodious way that makes it special.

The beauty of the way Lin tells the story is it makes one relatable to the characters. The story being told is factual yet so dramatic (dramatically told at least). Each character is humanized and is presented in a realistic manner and contemporary fashion. It makes you see the flaws of Historical Heros and also shows their vulnerability.

It was exciting to have women portrayed in a multidimensional way and not just as a "sidekick". History fails us in showing the role women played, but not in this scenario. It shows women thinking and acting like a human. If only we could see history through a lense where women were depicted as a fully functional and rational thinking human rather than a comely submissive possession. But then Lin mentioned what matters is "who tells your story".

PS I need to watch this on broadway so much! I really really wish I could watch it with the original cast. :(

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Monday, July 25, 2016

A Poem


A poem I wrote and my new Painting!
ta-da! double-treat! 


You weren't the cure,
you were the Ailment.

Like Cancer,
you were;
A mutiny of my own body. 

Scarcely deemed symptoms 
reflected in your smitten eyes, quite often.

I concealed them, 
with the benefit of the bittersweet doubts.

I, 
I who reads through the slip of pen
quite contrastingly,
I redeemed you in a self-destructive rampage.

Now you may be in a place far far away ...
(At least in my mind)
You are rotten-ing six-feets under
in a dreamy landscape. 



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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen: Book Review


Girl, InterruptedGirl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is one of the best memoirs on mental health that I have read. It is concise yet profound, explores some really interesting issue. It is one of those books that keeps you engaged, I read it while being bedridden with the flu and I couldn't put it down. The language and description are so beautifully done by Susanna Kaysen

Akin to a book based on the life of another author spending time in McLean (The Bell Jar) this book also shows the high contrast in the way women are facing sexism on day to day basis even now. Is the time just an illusion, has the feministic moment achieved so little in past 50 years that the changes in the life of women seem comparably insignificant. I had the same thought in my mind when I read Sylvia's book. Perhaps the perspective I am seeing it form is also location dependent. I live in India and those books are set up in New York ( of 50 yeas back). Perhaps the changes in eastern and western societies might be evident if considered independently.

Susanna Kaysen Puts in a strong argument on the thin line between rejecting social norms and regarded as mentally ill. There were only a few points in the book when I regarded her as someone who needed to be in McLean, (While she sort of enlightens us with suicide101 and when she wants to make sure about her bones ...). Perhaps it was the 60s; it made me realize how much the Baby boomers were like the Millennials on "mental" front. Moreover, the Mental health diagnostics keeps on changing and many conditions are included and excludes depending on the need of time and social conditions. Currently, applicable DMS-5 updated in 2013.

The book is written in a nonchronological sequence, that was initially annoying but by the end, it made more sense. Kaysen's state was unstable and her perception of time was uncanny. Besides it has been written years after the incident took place and only a few, yet significant events are recorded. It is in a way, the perception of past from the present's eyes. It is random memories put together.

I recommend this book for mental health awareness; it is the first-hand record of someone who went through the process of suicide attempt, diagnosed as borderline personality and hospitalization. It is wonderfully written. At times, in writing is in the fashion of a stream of consciousness in which the author raises some very interesting questions.


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Monday, July 18, 2016

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse: Book Review


SiddharthaSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The critique of this book is absolutely subjective, as is the case of most philosophical books. Siddhartha is a cleverly put fiction woven around the Buddhist ideology set somewhere in 6th century India during the life and times of Gautama Buddha. It is interesting that the name of protagonist "Siddhartha" it is the name that Buddha's parents gave him. I grew up listening to Buddha's story. However, the story in this book is that of a wealthy Brahmin man named Siddhartha and his quest for nirvana.

I was anticipating it to be more of a spiritual/ religious book but it did not disappoint me by being so. It falls in the genre of philosophy. The protagonist, a well-educated man, is not content with the knowledge in the Vedas of Hinduism and seeks a deeper understanding of what "consciousness" is. He often is unsatisfied with the knowledge he gathers and hence changes his ways. No kidding our boy Sid in today's times would have been a badass hippie somewhere in Bhutan. #InsideJoke

Another interesting thing in the book is its idea of parenting. Often parents assume that their experience in life will be easily incorporated into their child's life and they will save the child from hardship by just telling their stories. However, the child rebels... The books show that child cannot be helped. Hence must be allowed to learn from their own mistakes. This may cause distress to the parents but the sooner they understand the better, that the child will live their own life make all the classic mistakes in the book and learn by his/her own experience.

The Writing style in the book is metaphorical and somewhat poetic in the essence. Despite being translated from German, I didn't come across any feeling of missing out something because of translation. Perhaps, my Indian-ness makes it conceivable. I understand the terminology such as Brahman, Sansara, Samanas etc... I reckon it would not be clear to many people.

These days I have been reading the books that are regarded as "religious" in the most literal way in order to understand ideas and arguments from a religious perspective (you don't want to know how some texts had enraged me!) Siddhartha, on the other hand, is one of those books that carry the zest of spirituality leaving aside the religious "politics". Besides Buddhism is a wonderful lifestyle/culture/spirituality/religion perhaps one of the most serene ones.

I recommend this book to people interested in the philosophical read. I would say I could relate the conclusion of the book to be in line with the "Spacetime Loaf of bread" theory, sprinkled with the idea of the following quote by Carl Sagan.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”



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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us by Jesse Bering: Book Review


Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OMG! this was some stuff! I read it for June book of the Banging Book Club. Boy did I learn something about paraphilias! I could not possibly keep track of all those Jargon and the terms for the specific "fetishes".

The main point of the author seemed to be, don't Judge or apply "morals" to the equation of sexuality. He specifically draws a line on the well-being of the consenting people on a mental, physical and emotional level. That should be the only prerequisite.

I disagree with all the pedophilia and hebephilia bits in the book. Because (as the prerequisite goes) the tone of the author didn't seem to be taking sides, however, that is something I cannot possibly "not be judgmental" towards. I understand Pedophilia is a condition that people will not normally act on if they just get the required stimulus via via visuals and stuff. Now, that kind of visuals (Child pornography) is banned and rightly so because employing a child in such a disturbing scenario is abominable. It is a difficult topic ...

The Book was witty at times which kind of lightens the mood. Anything that you can possibly perceive could be someone's "paraphilia". There were many instants in the book that grossed me out, Ugh!

Overall the book is comprehensive in its psychological approach. The author does justice to the book by including and citing the extensive scientific research and psychological surveys. I recommend this book to people who like to get their ideas and thoughts challenged. Trigger Warning: for people who get easily offended by sexuality.

The Stranger By Albert Camus: Book Review


The StrangerThe Stranger by Albert Camus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Stranger by Albert Camus is one book of my TBR. I enjoyed reading it as I had expected. The first half was somewhat distant resonance from the protagonist, despite being a self-narration. The tone of narration was cold and commenting indifferently. Only after reading a few pages one realises that the Protagonist is lacking the ability to relate on an emotional level. The narration sounded pretty much like that of a sociopath. Overall the theme of The Stranger makes life seems to redundant.

The Nihilism at its best and the debate on life being a subjective/Objective matter plays throughout the book in between the lines and in the mind of the reader.

The story by the end come across as humanization of a sociopath/psychopath and I cried (like I often do while reading, love to get myself some good crying! Ha! ). However, the narrator is indefinite to emotions and but fascinating how often he mention being annoyed. He denies playing the "social construct" games because that don't make sense to him. He doesn't believe in God and all that jazz as he evaluates the surroundings based on an empirical approach.

I liked it! I don't reckon I completely understand it. I felt something missing perhaps a gap in translation. I want to reread it someday. Recommended to people who like philosophical subjects.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching GodTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is such an important Feminist book! why no one recommended it to be before!?!
The most significant aspect of the story was the various power dynamics in various relationships in the protagonist's life. The innate need for submission by the woman was more than often a mandatory undisclosed requirement for the men counterparts to establish "ownership". It affirms the ugly truth institutionalized patriarchy. Body image and age shaming depicted is still so significant for contemporary society. Suppression of women sexuality and chastity depicted so powerfully.

Like other great literature (Huckleberry Finn, The Colour Purple, etc) this book hits the gut in a subliminal level on the race issue. Although, the people in the book are free from slavery the after-effect of the same is obvious. Caucasian skin preference and comparison of skin colour within the African-American community (as in the case of Janie and TeaCake) is remarkable and even exist in present times.

Covering plenty of issues, Their eyes were watching God, has the essence of a love story and is realistic in that sense. It takes half a lifetime for Janie (Protagonist) to finally find love that she craved for all her life. TeaCake just made to one of my favorite book boyfriends, He comes across as a romantic heartthrob (except for sometimes...). One of wonderful thing in their relationship was how TeaCake encourages Janie to try new thing and learn new things irrespective of social constraint.

I would have given it 5 stars if the vernacular was not as difficult for me to read. The book covers dialogs in an African-American dialect. Now, in general, I enjoy reading a creative vernacular. However, my mind was not grasping it. Perhaps, due to the lack of having any real experience with that language (except for the Orange is the new black Black girls team) So it was little difficult to follow. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that The vernacular has a lot to do with the stance of the time and place where the book is written and is an essential component of the piece.

I would recommend this book to anyone who prefer Feminist literature. I would advise reading a bit about the life of Zora Neale Hurston in order to understand her prospect of the novel.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes ~ Book Review

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was interesting! The book seemed like a "light-weight" love story, initially. I picked it up to get back on track with my reading habit (as I have been lazy lately). Surprisingly it was not a rainbow-butterfly-ish happy saga. It deals with some difficult topics, in a rather blithe manner that it don't weigh too heavily on readers.

It made me think about my opinion and ethical standing on the certain issue. I can't say it helped me to develop an opinion, it kinda helped me realize my standing on the opinion I hold. The fascinating thing is, it shows how one don't have to agree with other's point of view in order to support them.

****Spoilers Ahead*****

Now, that said. I need to talk about the theme of the book and I assume that it could be a spoiler. So, don't read my review any further in case you are spoiler sensitive.

The theme of the book is about euthanasia aka assisted suicide. It is indeed a complex topic as it is challenging to pick if I am "pro or anti" towards the practice of euthanasia. However, the book made me realize that it is somehow an important option for people in with extreme disability. I remember while I was in high school there was a time when euthanasia was a front page news topic, many of my teachers and the "authority figures" were anti-euthanasia, and they had their reasons that I completely understand. I, back then, was not quite sure if I was for or against it. But currently, I think that it is a way to relief pain in an extremely unfortunate situation . In this book's case, it was the choice of the person in pain and I think that is how it should be, I understand that it is an unnecessary infliction of emotional and psychological pain for the loved ones. So yes! that is heart-breaking and the biggest quandary in the said situation.

The story also touches the theme of rape and post-traumatic stress related to rape.It highlights internalized victim-blaming. It is presented in a believable and contemporary manner which is why it is more thought provoking.

In the end, I enjoyed reading it.


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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Kaleidoscopic Window

This is my attempt at writing a Sonnet (following the strict rulebook). This sonnet is addressed to the person living in a house, with a kaleidoscopic window. That window overlooks protagonist's dwelling, they (the protagonist) assumes that the person looks over through the window every now and then.


I see your kaleidoscopic window,
during this scenario I contrive.
Wonder if my rare sights, innuendo
by my hollow eyes; in the dark, I thrive.  
Creeping the nighttime, searching my flashlight.
Heavy heart, hands clutching mug full coffee.
Run-run stumbles shunning to infinite  
remote deadlines. The catastrophe!
Dreadfully inadequate, did you see?
My eye sockets deep as the dead child's grave  
tragically dabbed and concealed by me.
Not diamond's glitter flawless or brave.
You witness the truth of uncensored slam.
Afraid of what you see? because I am!


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Monday, May 2, 2016

That's a Wrap

 During the month of April, I had decided to Blog every day by participating in A to Z blogging challenge. I am so happy to have successfully completed the challenge. This challenge has spurred me to blog more often (be it here or on my Tumblr blog.)

I started the challenge impulsively, assuring myself that I can totally back off anytime #NoQuestionAsked. However, I am the kind of person who likes to finish what I start (except for shitty books, looking at you fanfiction of vampire stories you are disgusting ugh!). Perhaps that is why starting is the most arduous task, for me. Sprinting onward is something I can do with a flow once I start something.

Blogging every day helped me organize my frizzy ideas. During the month's challenge, I was taking one post at a time. I was clueless about, what my next post was going to be. In the mornings, I would brainstorm idea on the day's assigned alphabet and list down the topics and in the night I would pick out one I was most inclined to jot down at that instant.

Somedays, I had so many Ideas, it was troublesome to pick one out whereas, on the other times, I was struggling to come up with a single topic. I always managed to post, nevertheless. By the end, I was mostly satisfied with the posts. I am glad by the end that I participated.

Thanks! To everyone who encouraged me to write. Following is the list of all my blog post during the month of April 2016. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing.
Best Wishes!


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zero

When I was taught numbers I was instructed to starts with, Zero, One, Two ... Whereas many of my contemporaries from other schools were informed that counting begins with "One". It was probably a thing that my kindergarten did irrespective of what other schools in the area were doing. I think it was rather thoughtful of my School to teach us numbers beginning with zero. However, zero was not always a number, but just in recent history.



Today we use Zero in two main ways. Firstly it is a number that signifies a lack of  value and allows us to create larger number without the need to create new digits. Secondly, it serves as a middle value between the negative and the positive number line. Zero has most of the characteristic that other numbers have in the context of arithmetic operations, but not all.

In fact, zero is an intricate "number". I mean, can you divide a number by zero. Say we have three kittens, how do we divide them among zero? What do we get as an answer? Is the answer zero kittens because, well no one got any or is it three kittens because, there were no takers? Some say the answer to it is undefined or infinity. However, Infinity is not a number! it is a concept. The debate of division with zero is the classic mathematical paradox. Dividing by zero has the power to destroy the entire foundation of logic and mathematics.



In modern maths, we have many domains that are bolstered on the idea of zero. Our modern digital technology is possible because of Zero, the digital coding of 0 and 1. Everything, linked to the computer age depends on the existence of zero. When we use Zero in everyday language strikes as a number to us instantly. However, historically, this was not the case. Ancient human started counting to keep track of things and people, (primarily animals (sheep, hens) and their children). They counted using fingers and toes and Zero was irrelevant to their use.




The early civilizations developed simple number systems. The Babylonian used two symbols to arranged in different ways to indicate numbers up to sixty (shown above from around 2000 BC). Mayans and Greek also had their own number system. Moreover, all these civilizations had a rudimentary concept of zero as a placeholder, but it was often considered controversial. Basically, the concept of nothing landed the ancient greeks into existential crises. They struggled with the Idea of "How could nothing be something?" Moreover, The idea of zero and its arithmetic operations lead to a political crisis. In the fifth century, the Greeks Pythagorean brotherhood was threatened by the concept, as it proved that the Golden Ratio was, in fact, a fraction. The fraternity was sworn to secrecy. When Hippasus of Metapontum, a member of the same, said he would tell the truth about the ratio, the brotherhood killed him. (Well, too sentimental for our Maths, aren't we, bros? Those were the true nerds! #Passion. Links for full story here)


While the Western world was rejecting the idea, the Eastern world was embracing it. The early number system of India included nine numbers and a small dot (to represent the absence of number). In the seventh century, a mathematician called Brahmagupta developed conditions for zero in arithmetic operations, though he struggled with the division as we still do. As the trade amongst continents increased the maths of India found its way to the Middle East. It influenced the Arabic cultures and was used in traded by them. However, it was resisted in Europe because of an already established Roman numeral system. In thirteen century European system embraced the Zero-based numeric system, as the mathematicians were "killing it" with the new number system, referred Arabic Numerals System. (Ouch!)




By seventeen century mathematics started including in more abstract concepts such as calculus. Zero acts as the foundation to calculus. Calculus breaks down dynamic systems into smaller units approaching zero but never reaching the value. Zero is now the celebrity of numbers and most crucial one.


Let me know:
How were you taught to count, was zero included or was "One" the first number you were taught? How do you think division by zero should be treated? Do you think Zero was invented or discovered? 

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Yanking The Fairy Tale

One of the most influential ideas I ever came across in my life was to demolish the pre-existing Ideas on the basis of rationality. 


Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? 
~ Epicurus

One day, about five years ago, I was playing with my Five-year-old and three-year-old cousins with play doe, after all, it is a perfectly adult thing to do. I was shaping them toys shaped Cars, T-Rex, and Witches. My play doe skills are pretty impressive, So I must brag. As we were talking while playing my five-year-old cousin asked me a question. "Who made us?" She asked. "What?" I said to make sure that I caught the question right. She nonchalantly repeated her inquiry. Frankly I was unsure of what I should answer, understanding the delicacy of the question coming from a child. The fraction of second before answering her question, I had a mental argument with myself. If that was a verbal argument it would have lasted about five minutes. However, our brain is pretty fascinating and fast.

Are the ideas of creationism healthy to teach? Science offers a conflicting historical story. I believe in understanding and calculated claims. Say, Quantum physics, we have many missing links in that field, However, the answer or explanation to those "missing links" is Not the "Divine Magic". The unanswered links become a quest and a mystery to be solved and is collectively resolved and iterated. Likewise, I do not think the location of Plant X will be sent across by the creator in a revelation. What impress me about the rational approach, is pushing the boundaries of human understanding. It is not just coming up with fairy tales to fill in the gaps (and adhering them aggressively, because some guy from some random time in history received a direct instruction from the creator).



I strongly believe that all the "Fairy Tales" are specifically unfair to women. Well here for the purpose of simplicity I am assuming only cis-gendered heterosexual people (No offence to LGBT friends of mine I totally know you get the worse of all the worlds and I stand in your support #Equality). Womanhood, related dogmas were something I was unprepared for during early adulthood. Despite being devoted my parents never strictly incorporated the Ideas of women/girls as the property of a male figure ... However, the faith very foxily rubs it on our faces. For instance; If they say, a mensurating teenage girl is impure to enter a building (literary!) in their faith, then I would need a detailed empirical reasoning for the same. Some may say a bleeding woman bleeds out impure blood and it contains toxins, which is not true! obviously! It is the lining of the uterus that comes out of vagina because it has no purpose to serve, as pregnancy was not established. If Period blood does anything it cleans the vaginal cavity and disinfects it. What basis are those convictions standing on, do anyone even care for a reason at all!



Damn! I am starting to get straight on the inferred issue! I had decided I will only "imply" the dreaded issue. Classic diplomat, aren't I? Let's carry on insinuating the argument. Because we all know if I start addressing each and every single issue on the topic this post will be published as Book. Besides, I intend to sleep a little more after finishing and posting it. Science on the issue of "fairy tales" is quite ambiguous, I mentioned in one of my post a thought experiment. In this post, I will point out another one. There is a very interesting new religion in the town called Pastafarianism. I would rather consider that if I must. 


I Identify as an Athiest, a few years back use to call myself Agnostic because I was not sure, I still am not sure about the answer to the bigger questions about the life, universe and everything (42, perhaps). People like past-me Identify as Agnostic because they don't want to hurt anyone's religious sentiments, but the fact is those sentiments are not bolstered by anything at all. The Theists, be it polytheists or monotheists are taught to follow the idea culturally in an Identity specific manner. It is more of a zealous following because let us face it they do not know either! they are doing what they are thought to do. Religion is a hereditary scam with many innocent victims (There, I said it! ). The ideas of divine intervention and exploitation on the basis of same is quite an arrogant thing to do.



When I was younger, I was explicitly told, "God made you". I was told with a beaming certainty that God was actually some distant relative who haven't visited us in a while, so I do not remember him personally because I was too young to remember being an infant. Since all the adults around said the same thing I believed them. (Won't you believe a thing told by masses?) Besides, we often talked about God. I was even told he was always watching us. Honestly, initially it was a little uncomfortable but since he was always watching I got use to pooping while being watched by God.



When I grew up those same adults who told me that, God had made me, encouraged me to look for logic and reason. Irony oh Irony! So yes I questioned all the dogmas asked for evidence and reason in almost anything. If I did not get enough information from basic sources about the topic in hand, I was lucky enough to be a millennial with access to hell load of information on the internet right at my fingertips. I think it is impossible to be ignorant in an era of the internet unless one is clueless about how to spot a reliable information source.




So back to our living room episode, some five years back. No! I wouldn't prefer feeding a young mind with information that I know is not rational. A Generation-Z child is even less inclined to fall for that. I simply told what I knew "We are a product 4.5 billion years of evolution". Well them I was not quite unequipped to break it down in 5-year-old's vocabulary. I was trying to explain in simpler words the meaning of  "Evolution". The child's parents entered the room I got some help from the child's mother as she broke it down [...] "Oh okay!" said the five-year-old.



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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Our Ex Planet X


This blog post is brought to you in the memory of Ex-Planet X aka Pluto (Not the Disney dog, he is fine!). Growing up in the 90's we were told we have nine planets. My school teacher told us an acronym. "My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets-MVEMJSUNP", So the order of planets was on my finger tips. 


Until one day in the August of 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto is not a planet any longer. The IAU imposed new rules for a heavenly body to be regarded as a planet.

  • It needs to be in orbit around the Sun – Check!
  • It needs to have enough gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape – Check! 
  • It needs to have “cleared the neighbourhood” of its orbit – Oh Crap!

So, just like that, an era ended. We often find ourselves lost in thoughts, of the time when Pluto was a planet, on the verge of crying. It has been a decay since the "break up", still cannot believe it. *Sigh* Now, Pluto is just a Dwarf Planet.



It is not a secret that many of us haven't quite moved on after our first Cosmic-Solar-Planetary Breakup. In case you are one of those people who has cried a river, watched "Love Actually" thousand times and listened to "Unbreak my Heart" on repeat and still not over the Pluto, then I am here to get you the ice cream, cuddle up with you as we read this post about our Ex PlanetX.





Let us take a walk down the memory lane of our disastrous heartbreak with our misfit beloved Ex PlanetX. Every time I hear a new planet X is "maybe" spotted I roll my eyes and think well it won't be as good as the Ex-Planet X was. Literary engraved with love and loyalty. How could anything ever be as good as our Ex-planet X, Pluto? 



Though we must understand it is over and it was never meant to be ...


Going Down The Memory Lane
It was in 1930, Clyde Tombaugh first saw our dear Pluto. However, in 1978, we made it "Spacebook official" that is, it was formally declared Pluto a Planet of The solar system and it was a hell of a ride. You see, we had a star-crossed prophecy to be united in a relation of Planet-Ship. It was in 1846, a wise man named Percival Lowell, after the discovery of Neptun, made a "prophecy" that a legendary Planet X is to be found. Since the orbit of Neptune and Uranus was wobbly, that indicated there was still an undiscovered planet in the outer Solar System. So, Lowell suggested there was a Planet out there to explain the wobbly orbit and motion of Uranus and Neptun (I totally intend the Pun). He called in a quest to find the "Planet-X", as the naming of a planet is the prerogative of the astronomer finding it. So our beloved Planet was referred as Planet-X in the fable. When Clyde Tombaugh saw a tiny dot of light he thought it was "the One". However in truth, what Clyde had found, was not big enough to explain those wobbling perturbations. Furthermore, they called the search off anyway,  calling that tiny dot "Pluto" and crowning it with the official status of the legendary PlanetX. Pluto was a planet, 1930-2006 (um! not that long time in the context of Planet-ship, though). 



New Horizons spacecraft's Flyby Stalking
In 2015, The new Horizons Spacecraft flew by Pluto. The mission was intended to understand the Pluto's system better. We saw our Ex love and with teary eyes, our heart was filled with love and our internet with memes. What can I say, it is all too fresh you see. We were still struggling to "move on". 



Reconsidering Taking It Back
After the flyby, many considered that we should take Pluto back. Although, with that proposal, we will have to take all the Draft Planets (like pluto) under the wing of Planet-Ship. Honestly, that will also make learning planets of the solar system a complex task. Also reconsidering and taking back an Ex always disappoints, It did not work out the first time for a reason! #ProTip, we learned it the hard way. 

Looking For a Replacement
So the legendary quest to find the Planet X was not over because the "Not-Big-Enough" Pluto was never the legendary Planet X. Theories about the mysterious Planet X is all over the internet. Some claim that the calculations by Lowell were faulty and there was never any "PlanetX". Some say NASA is hiding the PlanetX because the Bible [...] well let's leave the idiosyncratic fairy-tails aside. Long story short there is a lot of conspiracy theories on the internet.

So, recently NASA has announced that they are quite hopeful to find the promised PlanetX. The motion of many asteroids, that gets dislodged from the Kepler belt and fly into the solar system indicate strongly that there is indeed a Planet X. Multiple occurrences of this phenomenon have bolstered the evidence pertaining the PlanetX. Evidence are indicating that the planetX is ten times the size of Earth and have an orbit around the Sun that is about 15000 Earth years. Only the time will tell if Planet X will be found. The scientists studying the phenomenon at the Subaru Observatory in Hawaii believe they'll have an answer in 5 years.

Well, that will be a new start. However, even if the Planet X is a myth and we never find it. We are better off with the memories of the time when The solar System had Nine Planets, and Ninth Planet was Pluto.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Weirdness of The Colour Spectrum


Visible light, on passing through a prism, gets separated into its component colours of a rainbow pattern. That pattern is called the Spectrum of Visible Light; it includes Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. Each colour in this spectrum has a unique wavelength and that is its identity. 



Magenta, on the other hand, is an improbable colour! The weird thing about Magenta is that we do not see it in a the spectrum of visible light, which should technically include all the colours that are in the visible light wavelengths.




We see images due to the reflection of the image in our eyes. As the reflected light enters our eyes the Retina stimulate the brain. To see colours the reflected light stimulate a special kind of cells called cone cells. The cone cells send the signal to the brain and we get to see what colours we see. We humans possess three type of cone cells dedicated to Red, Green and Blue light. When we see an object that is Blue in colour the Blue cone cells are activated and they send a signal to the brain, likewise, when we see Red or Green objects the brain receives stimulus from the respective cone cells. 

Those are the three Primary colours that we see and every other colour is a combination of those colours. So when we see a yellow object Red and Green cone cells are activated and our brain perceives it to be something in between Red and Green on the visible light spectrum. Similarly, when we see Cyan the Blue and Green cone cells are activated simultaneously, as cyan is in between Blue and Green (the primary colours that we are capable of seeing)  

Our eyes cannot measure the wavelength of light directly. So we have three check-post on the spectrum namely Red, Green and Blue. Depending on the stimulated cone cell type we see the picture of objects as our brain perceives it. 

Now let us assume we see an object and our is stimulated by both Red and Blue cone cells. The colour we should be seeing must be something in between the Red and Blue on the above spectrum. However, the colour in between the Red and Blue is Green! But there is no Green colour clearly, as it would have stimulated Green cone cells. In such case, the Brain makes up a colour! That made up colour is (drum rolls please) Magenta! 



On the level of wavelengths, magenta does not exist! it is just the same old white light with the absence of green wavelength! Every other colour we see has a dedicated wavelength but magenta is a construct of the human brain and is purely perceptional. 

So how do we know that we all see the same colour as "Magenta"! or any other colour, for that matter! We all grew up being taught that the Sky is Blue and the Grass is Green. We learned our colours in a way that is highly subjective. We were taught on the basis of what we see. So, how can I be assured that my Blue and your Blue looks the same? Well, the answer to that is: We cannot be assured that we see colours in the same way! Colours are mental perceptions and there is no way (yet) to find out that we indeed see same colours. 

Some experts argue that the inability to explain colours in words is the problem and suggest that it is a lingual failure. Frankly I don't know if that is more comforting or seeing colours personally is more pleasant of a thought! All our perceptions, be it colours, taste or olfactory sense are our own we do not have any way to testify if we all sense and perceive things in the same way. In a way, we are all alone in out brains. However, we find ways to relate and connect and that is the beauty of it, we are all in this together. 




To solve the confusion on magenta not being in the visible spectrum we often use a conceptual representation called the colour wheel. It is bending the visible spectrum in a way that makes Red and Violet meet. Another  cool conceptual representation is this book called the colour atlas. Is it just me or do you also see a little hint on unperceivable higher dimensions? Alright, just me then!

  



PS: If your favourite colour is magenta, get over it! Technically it is not even a real colour.  

Colour Mixing 




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