Monday, February 29, 2016

Is Language for Communication?

I Published another Hub!
All that is unpleasant with our world can also be traced to the cacophony we generate in our longing for success in life, or our objections to someone else’s search for the same. Is it that our idea about language is wrong? Published a hub on this topic
Shortened Hub link:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

More Reviews...

Two Tales of the Moon by Jennifer Sun has Lu Li, young daughter of a Chinese doctor, who escapes to USA, pursuing her studies to become a successful investment banker. Sage Donovan is her friend, whose brother Will is the proud owner of a flourishing cyber-security firm. The Chinese show interest in acquiring certain business interests in this country, which includes Will’s firm and he requests the services of a professional expert, Lu Li. Business interests take them to China, where Lu meets face to face with her past life and charts new avenues, to ponder about the future. Both the takeover, which comes to a fruitful end but not without unexpected twists, and their romance, which flourish but not without ethical dilemmas, life choices and coming to terms with the past, take place as planned.
Two Tales of the Moon by Jennifer Sun is a gripping tale. All characters are marked by their independent presence throughout the story, each familiarizing us with one facet of the modern business world, its international dimensions of the present times. The book is also replete with intriguing turns, sentimental moments and warm thoughts characteristic of a good romance, woven into the plot befittingly for the ripe and mature industrialist, the friendly banker and his doting sister who attempts to add romance into the life of her brother as well as her friend. All the events, the settings and their progression blend beautifully with the chosen characters, thus making the narration riveting while smooth flowing. A very good read, I didn’t really notice the pages turn, till I reached the last one.

‘THE  REAL REASONS YOU ARE STILL POOR’ by JAMES WAMANI is book about success, suggesting, an approach in facing the issues of life to achieve any thing. It gives a long list of reasons for ones failure, with a good discussion to elaborate each. Beginning with the most likely cause, You work hard but not smart, ten different reasons like, You think small, You will not ask or seek information/ advice from those who know better, are covered in this book. The book then turns to answers, how we can overcome these pitfalls. Propounding a four phase solution, it offers a comprehensive arsenal to help one in his quest for success. Describing the four A’s of success, namely, Aspire – Choosing ones dream. Create a clear vision of what your financial dream and financial freedom look like to you. Hold onto your vision throughout your journey, Acquire - Learning, the education, the facts, the figures, and the data you need in order to take action. The acquire stage is ongoing because the markets and the economy are always changing, Apply - Put the knowledge you’ve acquired to real use. Take action. With a small amount of acquired knowledge, you can quickly move into the apply stage, which will produce results, and, Achieve – One should feel involved throughout ones journey, achieving with each and every win or success.
‘THE  REAL REASONS YOU ARE STILL POOR’ by JAMES WAMANI book can boast of an easy narration and a friendly tenor. Simple explanations adds to its reader friendliness, however, as the points are covered more in its abstract, these might have to be tweaked to suit ones industry or business environment before adopting for use. Or this can act as a guide while forming ones plans or procedures for consolidating or bettering performance.

‘For seeing eye dogs only:  A non-fiction treatise on intelligence’ by Robert S. Swiatek introduces laughter as a good medicine, that too, the only one available without health insurance. His observations of the funny take us through the common lanes of our townships to present them in an uncommon manner. Beginning with the ubiquitous forms (placed at every place a citizen has to approach) that invariably contains a standard caution – “Filling this form is optional” and misbehaving soda machines that take revenge on needy customers, to end with an apt definition of monotony – synonym for monogamy, this book took me through some of the best gems of humor. Looking for the printed data at the bottom of kittens, leaves perspiring to make dew, and politics becoming a combination of many ticks, are few of those that continue to be with me long after I finished the book. 
‘For seeing eye dogs only:  A non-fiction treatise on intelligence’ by Robert S. Swiatek is a very good book for light reading, as well as for a deeper consideration, especially of the possibilities of bureaucratic jugglery. Well done Robert! 

‘LAUGHTER 101’ by SAMUEL UFOT EKEKERE is a manual for laughing out ones life. It starts with a declaration that life is complex and one may never know why it is so. The therefore book proposes inevitability of sadness, no two people at identical circumstances can never find themselves equally fulfilled. Examining this and other factors that activate laughter, Samuel teaches us how, those can be put to use in surmounting life’s troubles. How one can derive more fun from life, how that can boost health and well being as well as, how to assess the effectiveness of the changes in approach to life, are discussed in this book.
‘LAUGHTER 101’ by SAMUEL UFOT EKEKERE is easy to read, the book being written in simple conversational style. Highlighted actions and numerical steps make it easy to adopt these techniques in practice. A set of review questions and an index would have been a wonderful addition.

In his book ‘Metaphysical Elements of Ethics’, Immanuel Kant presents moral philosophy as a doctrine specifying the duties of all humans. The duties that are easily understood have already been grouped together as jurisprudence or external laws. Though we generally regard them as separate, the laws should be considered as a subset of ethics and subject to the very same considerations that mould our ethical behavior. Kant has brought out an interesting aspect of moral principles, those ones, where the principle could be specified rather strictly and in an unambiguous manner, or the ends could be clearly measurable, became laws. And all duties where no tangible measurement is possible came to be termed as ‘virtues’, the field of ethics. Terming these as indeterminate duties, this book examines the many facets of ethics, of virtue, conscience and morality.
‘Metaphysical Elements of Ethics’ by Immanuel Kant is not an easy book to read, even when due allowance is given to the complexity of its topic. But it does examine many sides of the subject, which as the author mentions is a collection of ‘problems encountered while discussing duties’, answering many of the questions that were troubling my mind. Like “Love is a matter of feeling, not of will or volition, and I cannot love because I will to do so, still less because I ought (I cannot be necessitated to love); hence there is no such thing as a duty to love.” How all the questions that had answers of hazy nature happen to join together to make ‘ethics’, is one interesting idea narrated here.

This Book, ‘IT IS S.A.D.: THE LEFTIST BRAIN EXPOSED: Why Conservatives and Leftists Think so Differently’ by Rooster Bradford summarizes author’s efforts in trying to convince folks of the best form of government for us, given that we are flawed. Rooster Bradford, with his conservative roots and, an acquired leaning to the left thanks to the influence of his mother, examines the question – “Why leftists and conservatives think different?” The book notes the logical inconsistencies, recognize the differences and draws conclusions. The author identifies the most significant disability of the left, as an impaired common sense and, this book examines the origins of this feature.
Beginning with an interesting quotation from Winston Chuchill, “The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of the Blessings, the inherent blessing of Socialism is the equal sharing of its Misery”, the book, ‘IT IS S.A.D.: THE LEFTIST BRAIN EXPOSED’ by Rooster Bradford contains many episodes and reflections on the author’s journey from a conservative in his childhood, where his father’s influence played a pivotal role, to rather left leaning, when swayed by his mother’s convictions. It examines the qualitative differences between conservatives and the liberals, and how, the approaches differ on all matters of societal life like tolerance of power, debate, or representative functions. The antipathy, the left exhibits for certain words, for example divorce and the suggested replacements, dissolution, or disillusion (same sex couple), the varied perception on all matters affecting personal or social life and the penchant to embrace the unreal, and long list of other features of the left – right divide, the obscure ones in addition to the obvious, make this book a an interesting companionand a good reference.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Man may not be.....

Man is not intelligent enough to find what is good for him, but as men, they however do.
I think we can safely say, the more intelligent one is, the lesser, the quantum of errors committed. In that case, can’t how often we err, become a measure of IQ? It seems so, since the popular definition of intelligence takes into account both the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations (Merriam Webster), and the distinctions one is aware of about a given concept.  Other definitions, like “the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations” and “the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria.” also support such a view. This is true even when we observe other areas or aspects of our lives that are distinctly human, such as leadership intelligence, social intelligence, emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and positive intelligence, where, to be free of error can be thought to be as a sign of intelligence. Also, none of the commonly occurring sub-domains of intelligence, namely, Visual-spatial Intelligence, Verbal-linguistic Intelligence, Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence, Logical-mathematical Intelligence, Interpersonal Intelligence, Musical Intelligence, Intrapersonal Intelligence, as well as Naturalistic Intelligence.

And we say, to err is human. (The best selling writing implements at Amazon, are those with eraser attached!)  But not to err is something associated with all other forms of life. Does this imply that those are more intelligent than humans?

To answer this question, let us re-examine in earnest, the whole gamut of life and living, both for humans and for all other forms of life. In fact we can safely reduce this rather wide area of search, to just two aspects of living. One, how good or effective is their approach as far as comfort and longevity of life, and two, what is going to be the load on environment and how much of resources get depleted in each generation that can be a measure of the longtime survivability of species.

Now when I look at our life and living, a good bunch of contradictions arise.

Steven Pinker’s bestseller ‘How the Mind Works’ opens with an interesting observation, “animals do not ill treat humans, even when humans are on the wrong side”. On top of it they have to put up with unspeakable aggression from humans, even when they are not on the wrong side. Why don’t we accept the possibility that it is so because animals are more civilized? Just like among us, the more civilized we are, the more accommodating our nature. (We are ready to put up with more assault!)

Or, take child birth. More and more importance is being attributed to unassisted childbirth, both for the comfort of the mother and for containing the trauma. But all other forms of life already are following this latest finding.

Humans do everything they can to save them from the damage done by natural calamities as well as forms of extreme violence but follow everything in their life style that can harm them. Whereas all other forms of life show a rather resigned approach when it comes to the inevitable but, scrupulously avoid anything and everything except those well established as part of their diet and life style.

During my younger years, both as a student and while employed, I have always noticed a striking alacrity, in each and every one of us towards solving others’ problem. The capacity to solve such issues used to be taken as a desired talent and the more incapable one was in doing own job, the keener, the urge shown to correct others. (This urge many a time brought the imaginative in us, to fore. Each of us used to be having quite a good amount of responsibilities on our head, at least some of those which needing urgent attention. All but the essential ones we postpone. And the ones which happened to get served would be in receipt of our attention, till we find an excuse for not continuing with the attempt!)

In short, though no human can look after himself, all humans look after others and hence they survive well, as a species.

This in fact is a good description of human nature. As individuals, we bother about other individuals and, as a group we are worried about other groups, and as a country we are always concerned about other countries. All these either end in close cooperation or result in horrible fight, both of which we do remarkably well, but when it comes to anything in between, we always are found wanting. We are severely error prone, whenever we are left to ourselves.

Can we say, man is not intelligent, but men are?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Review: Einstein and the Universe

‘EINSTEIN AND THE UNIVERSE: A POPULAR EXPOSITION OF THE FAMOUS THEORY’ by CHARLES NORDMANN, translated by JOSEPH McCABE, begins with a summary of the difficulties in following the wonderful treatise of Einstein. As he puts eloquently, ‘frightful monsters, sometimes rectangular and sometimes curvilinear, which are known as "co-ordinates, are always there for us to see." They bear names as frightful as themselves "contra-variant and covariant vectors, tensors, scalars, determinants, orthogonal vectors, etc. These strange beings, brought from the wildest depths of the mathematical jungle, join together or part from each other with a remarkable promiscuity, by means of some astonishing surgery which is called integration and differentiation. Einstein may be a treasure, but there is a fearsome troop of mathematical reptiles keeping inquisitive folk away from it”. Hence the author has chosen to drive with the whip of simple terminology, and approach the splendor of Einstein's theory.
As promised, this book is a whiff of fresh air, in the deep jungle of relativity; more appealing as the author has carefully guided his wonderful dissertation away from all such apparitions, and other impediments to easy learning. He begins with interesting historical anecdotes and foundations laid by many forerunners of the great scientist. It begins with Poincare, who in any case, is the leader of those who regard space as a mere property which we ascribe to objects. If some malicious spirit were to amuse itself some night by making all the phenomena of the universe a thousand times slower, we should not, when we awake, have any means of detecting the change. The world would seem to us un- changed.  How, out of the contradiction of the ethers behavior, this conflict of two irreconcilable yet indubitable facts, Einstein's splendid synthesis, like a spark of light issuing from the clash of flint and steel, came into being, is explained in the chapter, Einstein’s solution.
In the chapter Einstein’s mechanics, the book tells how Einstein's theory, as a direct effect of what it teaches in regard to space and time, completely upsets the classical mechanics.  While introducing the discussions on the flow of time, the author, by giving the example of an observer, who while receding from the earth at a speed greater than that of light, sees terrestrial events happening as if he were ascending the stream of time, makes the whole topic remarkably succinct. How the velocities are not added together in equal proportions and indefinitely for a given observer, as classical mechanics maintained. How mass increases with velocity. How gravitation is not a force, as Newton thought, but simply a property of space in which bodies move freely. How every moving body freely left to itself in the universe describes a geodetic, are only some of the other challenges taken head on. A brief historical background is added to each and every concept when introduced fresh, making the flow of new ideas smooth and breakfree.
The author deserves special credit for making the subject amply clear without needing the help of complex equations or symbols. I always wanted to read a book like this. Learn happily the challenging concepts of relativity, space and time. Put to rest, threats from mathematical monsters.

What is success?

All that is unpleasant with our world can easily be traced to our longing for success in life, or our objections to someone else’s search for the same. Is it that our idea about success is wrong? Published a hub on this topic
short link