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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

This guy lends an aura to politics in India that (almost) no one has ever done before. An educated chap’s angle. He has a PhD and two master’s degrees, all earned in a span of 3 years, and all got by the age of 22!

I’ve read some of Shashi Tharoor’s books (and how many Indian politicians have BOOKS to their credit before they turn 60?), and kind of like him. He has (AT LEAST) an alternate angle. See this book. It is sheer genius.

Of course, his higher education has almost entirely been outside India, but this fellow is Indian. Fully Indian. He bungles in according himself to the “Indian idea” of politics, and in the resultant image. See Suresh Kalmadi, for example. We are soooo lucky to share the same era as Mr Kalmadi. Him, Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jayalalithaa, Mayavathi, Karunanidhi, and so many others. We tolerate these thick-skins, but an honest guy who speaks his mind freely gets picked on. That’s Indian politics for you!

The Congress Party think-tank castrates this guy’s freedom of speech, since he is “not in sync.” He is often punished for speaking his mind. See here for a list of controversies the man is embroiled in…

But, isn’t that what democracy is all about? I mean, if someone who thought of walking the politician’s gamut cannot speak his mind, even in a jovial sense, then what exactly is “freedom”?

Who cares if he has married three times or thirty?! See this speech on TED.com. How many people in India, politicians or not, can speak like this? Judge for yourselves.

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Are you a confirmed bookworm? Do you ferry books wherever you go? Do you eat, sleep, and dream books? Do you spend a good portion of your earnings, and a huge portion of your free time, on books?

If so, are you aware?

We may be on the verge of a revolution of sorts. If you haven’t heard it already, well, the news is that technology is soon going to render obsolete the very pages that you flip. Not the books, just the physical pages.

Duh?!

I am talking about eBooks and eReaders. The technology skies seem pregnant with this thunderstorm, and it might blow shortly … have you aligned your mind to/against this possibility? Or are you going to get drenched?

Naah! What the hell! How can they just stop books and ask us to switch to some electronic nonsense! Anyway, it will be decades before all this touches our lives! — Is this your first reaction? Hehehe — read on!

The Stats

  • In the second quarter of 2010, for the first time in its 15-year history, eBook downloads outnumbered hardcopy book sales on Amazon.com. (Of course, you may know that Amazon.com is America’s biggest online retailer…)
  • BookBoon.com is the world’s largest publisher of eBooks. Can you guess their sales in 2009? 10,000,000 downloads. That’s right TEN MILLION copies sold.
  • eBook readability is a major point with almost all electronic product (mobile phones, tablet PCs, etc) releases. The Apple iPad (released April 2010; sales expected to touch 28 million by 2011!) comes loaded with eBook reader software (iBooks). Also see this.
  • One in ten Americans own some kind of eReader device.

Of course, the penetration is still too low to compete with real books. Check Wikipedia here for more info. See here and here and here about eBook readers.

However, it is the future that I am trying to portend. See this, this, this, and this. For debate’s sake, also see this. Then again, this and this.

Well…?

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You and I are but images projected by the brain, and what is the brain? A complex chemical reaction!

Neurons

VS Ramachandran is a world-renowned neuroscientist, specializing in cognitive neuroscience. He is considered one of the geniuses alive today, and has been conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2007.

Ramachandran is a latter-day Marco Polo, journeying the silk road of science to strange and exotic Cathays of the mind. He returns laden with phenomenological treasures…which, in his subtle and expert telling, yield more satisfying riches of scientific understanding. (Richard Dawkins )

I happened to catch this beautiful speech on TED.com … take a look.

Click here.

Oliver Sacks is famous for his novel Awakenings, which was adapted into a movie of the same name. He is a neurologist, and this is a great speech about hallucinations. Again from TED.com.

Click here.

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