How All Systems Red by Martha Wells dispelled my fear of sentient machines

Many Science fiction books and movies feature sentient robots or Artificial Intelligence that has evolved to gain consciousness. These stories often end up in a man versus machine theme. The robots may crave power and think they are superior to the fragile humans and decide to kill them off. Or they may enslave humans in a matrix to use us as a source of their power supply. They may even decide to end some humans for the sake of preserving humanity as a whole.

There is differing opinion on how close we are to Artificial Sentience or Machine Consciousness. Continue reading

My Reading Slump in the Time of Corona

Like many others, I’ve been having a hard time reading this year. Trying to keep up with the news, being anxious about the state of the world, taking precautions like washing hands and obsessing over cleanliness in general leaves you physically and mentally drained.

Also, I just could not bring myself to read books and gush about them during a pandemic. It would be similar to Nero fiddling when Rome burned. Not that I have the power of an emperor to make a difference to the situation, but it still felt that way. Continue reading

7 Tips to get through the Coronavirus Lockdown

Many countries are currently enforcing restrictions on mass movements to curb the spread of coronavirus. Some have a nation-wide lockdown as a preventive measure. All non-essential businesses are shut down and people who can’t work from home are to be given leave. Only the essential service workers are allowed to go out. Police monitor the streets and people who roam around unnecessarily can be imprisoned. Continue reading

Revisiting the Pale Blue Dot

Today, February 14, 2020, is a very special day. It marks the 30th anniversary of the “Pale Blue Dot” image. This is a picture of Earth taken by NASA’s Voyager-1 after passing Neptune on its way out of the solar system. In this image, Earth appears as a speck of pale blue light. You could even say it looks like a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Continue reading

Common ways people fool themselves

We all lie to ourselves. We all fool ourselves. In lieu of April fool’s day, let me summarize some ways in which people fool themselves and how to get out of that. I’m not going to talk about psychology or rational theories on how cognitive biases work. This is just a layman’s view based on day to day life. Here goes:

  • Harbouring self-sabotaging thoughts

No one is perfectly capable of assessing their ability and self-worth. While some people overestimate their competence, others constantly Continue reading

My Favourite Lessons From Harry Potter

There is more to the Harry Potter series than meets the eye. Sure, we occasionally meet people who claim it to be a children’s book series, but every Potterhead will give you hundreds of reasons as to why HP is awesome. Take a step back from the spectacular world building, brilliant writing and interesting plot and you will observe many moral lessons.

The emphasis on certain topics, such as friendship, loyalty, courage, love, perseverance, righteousness, equality, sacrifice, community, hope, choice, etc., is pretty obvious. However, there are a few other things that grabbed my interest while reading the series again as an adult. In lieu of Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary, I reread the books and found myself more in love with the series than I did as a child. Here’s why: Continue reading

Let It GO! – A Toastmasters Speech

I had a short stint as a Toastmasters Club Secretary. Though I loved the meetings, I soon realized that the secretary’s role took too much of my time and I dropped off Toastmasters after a single term, which is 6 months. Every now and then, I missed speaking in front of the lovely crowd and listening to people’s inspiring speeches.

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a mesmerizing speech by my friend. Continue reading

My Women’s Day Reading List

I often come across book lists that feature women writers. This women’s day, instead of giving you yet another list of books by women, I wanted to share books for women and about women. No, this is not a list of “chick-lit”. And no, not a feminism 101 reading list either. I will post one in the future when I’m well-read on the topic.

In this post, I will be sharing books that have meant a lot to me, that are on my must-read list and that are constantly being recommended to me. This list will be across genres but will feature books that centre around women. Continue reading

Shortness of Life

We spend our life pretending that we will live forever. Death is something that we assume is always years away. We know we are all going to die eventually, but we always ignore this fact. When a loved one dies, it hits us hard and we regret the many things that we wanted to do with them or for them. We regret not having spent quality time with them and not having been in touch with them frequently because we were “busy”. We remember the fight we had eons ago and wished we had apologized or didn’t make a big deal out of the conflict. We regret not expressing our love. Continue reading

42 Quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

If you’re not familiar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (or H2G2 in short), you’re probably wondering why I’m listing 42 quotes from a series. It is not a multiple of 5 or 10, not a prime number, there is nothing special associated with it, so it’s kind of odd to list 42 quotes right? Well, the answer is at the end of the post. And if you read the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, which I strongly recommend, you may also develop a liking for this number.

Continue reading

Maturity

Struggles are tools that can make you stronger when wielded properly. Whether you are in a difficult situation or tolerating a difficult person, every challenge you face has the potential to transform you into a better version of yourself.

I don’t mean that you shall learn to fight back when you are exposed to problems. I’m not talking about becoming fierce and Continue reading

Unexpected Perks of Writing

Writing is a character building activity. I used to think it was merely to express oneself. I reasoned that unlike reading, writing cannot teach me anything. To my surprise, I learnt a lot after I started blogging and that did not just pertain to the topics I was writing about,  grammar, punctuation, writing style and blogging etiquette. Here’s how writing will make you a better person: Continue reading

Still I Rise – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s birthday is on 4th April. On account of it, I wanted to share one of her poems that always inspires me. This poem makes me instantaneously bolder and more confident. Every time I read it, I get a feeling that I can overcome any problem and deal with any villain. It also makes me realize that I do not have it as bad as others, and hence I should stop complaining. Continue reading

Thoughts on “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is a French children’s book. This classic is suitable for readers of all ages. I’d particularly urge adults to read it. The story is narrated by a pilot who crashes his plane in the Sahara desert and encounters the titular little prince. The little prince tells the narrator thought-provoking stories about his planet and his travels.
Continue reading