Monday, January 28, 2019

Road to Tokyo: Episode 5

My Road to Tokyo series hit a speed bump. Not unexpected. But being a hobby blogger, doesn’t really affect the larger picture. Hopefully, where it actually matters, the athletes, it is all smooth sailing. Anyway, back after a 4-month hiatus with Episode 5. 

So, what has changed in the interim since the Asian Games? Well, we had the first quotas booked and some action at the Summer Youth Olympics.

Anjum Moudgil & Apurvi Chandela have earned the Indian Shooting contingent 2 Quotas in the Womens 10m Air Rifle Event. However, it is the prerogative of the NRAI to decide which two shooters to award the Quota to. It depends on the form going into the Olympic year. However, well begun and we have the next set of Qualifiers for Shooting in New Delhi in February. Hopefully, home conditions will help India earn rich dividends.

Summer Youth Olympics
In the third edition Youth Olympics, India won its first Gold medal, and then added two more. To add to the sheen, these were all earned in proper Olympics events. Manu Bhaker & Saurabh Chaudhary winning Golds in respective 10m Air Pistol events while Jeremy Lalrinnunga lifted the Gold in 62 KG boys category. The young shooters’ continued golden run certainly augurs well for the future. We also got medals in Judo, Archery, Badminton and Wrestling. There were modified events in Athletics which earned medals but nothing to be read in them.

Team Sports
We are effectively out of running in Handball & Volleyball events, while the Womens Football team has made it to the next stage of the Qualifiers. 

Overall, still early days but its 2019 and jostling for Quota places will certainly hot up.


Monday, January 14, 2019

BookMarks #49: How to Invent Everything

Title: How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler 
Author: Ryan North 
Genre: Fiction, Pop History, Science 
Setting: Throughout Human History 
Published: 2018 

What if you are trapped back in time with no foreseeable way to return to your timeline? How do you build the things you are used to? Or basically how do you invent things before they were invented? 

The book presents an interesting premise. In the future, a time machine takes you back in time. But like any other machine, it can develop problems, but being stuck back in time, you can’t really call for “road side assistance”. While unable to repair the machine itself, you have this handy guide to help you figure out which era you are in, how to survive in that, and how to “invent” things you already know, so that the contemporary civilization gets a jumpstart to the modern age. 

The concept of time travel – while it is central to our story, the author has given a big caveat. Any alterations caused by your presence in the past leads to alternate timelines going forward in parallel, and does not disturb the space-time continuum as it exists in your original timeline. So there are multiple universes existing. 

The book is brilliant in teaching the basic guidelines for the major inventions/discoveries, and how one can build them from scratch. From inventing the wheel to building primitive computers, this book has it all. Depending on when you in the past, it can also act as a survival guide. Wondering what our friend Robinson Crusoe would have done with such a guide, when he was stranded on that island! 

Of all discoveries, writing is the most important one as it provides a medium to share information to the future generations, without which knowledge can get lost in time, as has been the case with many such discoveries, which had to be re-discovered multiple times! Probably one of the reasons why Europe thrived after the invention of the printing press while the likes of China, India, Egypt, Iran etc. became laggards in the technological race (my key takeaway from the book). 

Combining a bit of history, geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, logic, with humour this book is an interesting take on the major inventions and discoveries which happened to bring humankind to its current shape. Overall, a fun read, although some of the details do get a bit tedious but you can always skim through those! 

Previously on BookMarks: Chanakya’s Chant

Monday, January 07, 2019

Goodbye 2018

End of year MMXVIII AD. Time to reflect back on having completed another revolution around the Sun. 

From a chaotic beginning, being stuck at the airport due to a fog delayed flight to a calm ending, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it was a year of busyness where while not much happened, yet a lot actually did. 

This was a year of small trips, including some with same day return. The travel map expanded into the neighbourhood (Pune) and to middle of the country (Shahdol). The daily commutes kept getting longer and amongst other things even involved a helicopter ride! The 4G connection helped overcome the ennui of the daily routine though. However due to the occasional madness which collectively grips our cities, spent a couple of days with mobile data not available, which was somehow also a very liberating feeling. 

There was a 10 year college reunion. Frankly speaking, 10 years can change a place a lot, if there is desire to do so. There were many other WhatsApp groups planning a multitude of reunions. Waiting to see how many of them come to fruition. 

Book count increased but there is always scope for growth. Movie theatre visits may have dropped but were replaced by experiences like a play (and not just any play but The Mousetrap) and a couple of games of Kabbadi. 

But most importantly, 2018 was spent preparing for 2019! 

Wishing all readers a very Happy, healthy & prosperous 2019.