Longreads and current reads

I have always respected longreads in journalism. Irrespective of their topic, all riveting longreads are a result of significant research and time. These are how I choose to spend most of my leisure time on the internet. They are like short fiction but only more informative, you always have certain takeaways and ideas at the end of each longread.

Recently, I came across an author in ‘The Atlantic’ – Conor Friedersdorf. The article that introduced me to his work ( I might have previously read his work, but this time his list of articles really caught my attention) is this – Slightly more than 100 fantastic pieces of journalism.

This list contains around 100 best longreads that Conor came across in 2015. I was very excited to have come across this and looked if he had done this before. It seems he has as can be seen from these:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/07/roughly-100-fantastic-pieces-of-journalism/390318/

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/05/nearly-100-fantastic-pieces-of-journalism/238230/

So, there went my longest articles to be saved in my Pocket – to read app. Conor also runs a mail list subscription where he shares brilliant longreads that he comes across. I believe it is totally worth it to be subscribed to that.

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Meanwhile, I have finally managed to finish book 4 of the malazan book of the fallen series – House of Chains. After having read the 3rd book i.e. Memories of Ice, I thought I’d read the best book of the series yet (and possible among all the 10 books). But I was proven wrong and how! This book was more riveting than book 3 and it was a beginning to what was to come for the surviving bridgeburners after Whiskeyjack’s incidents in book 3. I am currently taking a break from the malazan series wherein I make my way through the ebook of wait but why series on Musk.

This is the link for anyone who is interested.

https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B01CF5FY4E&asin=B01CF5FY4E&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_J6HYxbQYMVRHZ

This book unlike the biography by Ashley Vance, goes into the details of the companies Tesla, SpaceX and why Musk is able to do what he is currently doing. This book is born out of 4 blog posts on the wait but why blog, so the same can be read on the blog too. Tried reading Thomas Bernhard in between (‘Concrete’) but couldn’t continue and hence left in the middle. That’s that.

 

Books etc. for April 2016

Steven Erikson, House of chains
Galbraith, Career of Evil 
Finally finished Memories of Ice, book 3 in the malazan book of the fallen series. Was the best book in the series so far, glad to see more written about Anomander Rake, Whiskeyjack and Quick Ben. Big book but worth every page I read. Reading about Silverfox reminded me of Brienne, good intentions but of no avail. 
Interesting reads of March, 2016

The elements of statistical learning

Having just finished exams for the first flex of spring semester, I am looking at last two months of study in the master’s program I am in. The courses I will be taking are already going to make this time a lot more interesting (not to mention the invisible never ending job search :p). I have however recently seen that lot of machine learning aspects can be implemented using R and need not necessarily require expertise in Python. Although I am all in for learning and advancing my python knowledge, I have come to face the fact that my coursework will not be allowing me to do so.

Coming to the machine learning part, I will be using the following book for this purpose:

  1. The elements of statistical learning (2nd edition)

I have numbered this list because I plan to add more books in case I come across any as good enough to be added to this list.

I will be posting my notes, thoughts, doubts and links from the internet in this blog. I wish to help them serve as references for myself in future times. Hence, I will not be cutting any corners while doing so and will try to make them as rigorous as possible.

Also, as and when the time permits, I would try using LATEX.

 

Books – December 2015

I have finished the books I mentioned in my earlier post regarding books of Nov 2015 except for Deadhouse gates (Malazan book 2) which is still ongoing and shows no sign of nearing completion.

As a part of my travel during the winter break, in Phoenix, I visited an old bookshop where I picked up the hardcopy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel namely – The Remains of the Day. The bookshop was really old school, one like which I had never come across before. They accepted only cash and had paperbacks that would be the dream of any book collector. Although I was tempted to buy many of those books, I did not as I have decided not to get too many hard copies unless I have a bookshelf waiting for them back in my home.

I will be reading only this book for most part of January 2016 and hopefully be able to read more and better the upcoming year than I already did.

Also, I sent out mails to friends of mine asking what was/were their facorite read(s) of 2015 so that I could make a to-read list for 2016 that was rich in diversity. Once I hear back from a decent number of them, I will create a blog post here with the names of the books they replied back.

My favorite reads for 2015 have been the following books

1. A Clutch of Indian Masterpieces: Extraordinary Short Stories from the 19th Century to the Present by David Davidar

2. Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India’s Poorest Districts by P. Sainath

Both these books are filled with short stories, some of the best I have read and they are sure to stay with you for a very long time after you have read them.

Out of Eden Walk

Of the many idiosyncrasies that define me as a person/individual, one of the most evident is the want to share anything good that I come across, with those around me, those not around me. But I often realize that there aren’t many who would appreciate what I want to show them (I am not saying that is good or bad – people differ, perspectives differ). Most of these ‘good things’ are articles/posts/pictures that I come across online and others are information that I learn from a book that I just finished reading, or a discussion that I want to have.

“Out of Eden walk” is one such thing that I would like to share to all those around me. It is one of the most amazing projects- or rather – ideas that I have had the luck to come across in the past few years. What I have come to understand over time is that – in order to appreciate an idea or an activity, your perspective needs to be aligned with that activity or the ideology. Without this, true appreciation is not possible and whatever your understanding of the idea/action only transitory and inadequate. This understanding has helped me to be non-judgmental (oh yes!) in numerous scenarios and when I have gone back to them after some time, I indeed have been able to look at them with a view that is wider in its scope and understanding and ability of perception. I have digressed a lot from the topic of this post already, so I would stop my random rumblings here.

“Out of Eden walk” is a walk that a journalist ‘Paul Salopek’ is undertaking. From an article on livemint (published  here), the walk can be described as:

It is a long, audacious and wondrous journey. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek is following what experts broadly believe is the trail followed by the first human migration out of Africa—the path traced roughly 60,000 years ago when we left the cradle of our origin and began to spread across the planet.

More about the walk can be found at these two websites –

http://outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com/

http://www.outofedenwalk.com/

Although the above site covers almost everything you would like to know about the walk, here are a few more interesting links that might be of interest:

http://pulitzercenter.org/projects/out-of-eden

https://instagram.com/outofedenwalk/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/22/paul-salopek-out-of-eden_n_4324375.html

I want to share more of my thoughts about this, but I should be moving. I hope to return to this in one of my upcoming posts.

P.S: On a similar note, there is another journalist who collects her experiences and posts them on the web – notably on the social media. Please note that I have called these her ‘experiences’. This is because, she often attaches a story to every post (most of them pictures – and she is an amazing photographer) which makes you connect with what the picture is trying to convey in a much better way.

Here are the links to her work and related websites (I especially like her Instagram feed – some amazing pictures interspersed with brilliant storytelling):

River diaries – http://riverdiaries.tumblr.com/

Instagram feed – https://instagram.com/aratikumarrao/?hl=en

Her twitter feed – https://twitter.com/AratiKumarRao

http://www.ficusmedia.com/

 

Malazan and Metamorphosis

Off late, I have been trying to work on a certain call volume forecasting project which has gotten me into reading up on ARIMA and ARIMAX and for once I understand them more than as a abbreviations.

I have also been looking into interesting articles around the web as is the case most of the times and have come across this interesting novel with glowing recommendations (not from me)

The name of the novel is – Metamorphosis of a Prime Intellect

Here is the link – Metamorphosis of a Prime Intellect

Also, I have started reading the fantasy series ‘Malazan’. The book 1 (Gardens of the moon) is currently on my reading-now shelf. I like the author’s writing style, especially the fact that there is a lot that we have to figure it ourselves. Not sure by when would I be finishing all the ten books in the series but for now I am going to stick with it.

Other updates include a change in my job. Hope to share the updates soon 🙂

The Raw Note

‎”In Washington DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About four minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At ten minutes, a three-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At forty-five minutes: The musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After one hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?”

Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myq8upzJDJc