Month: October 2019

You might have heard about the Sentinelese people of north Sentinel island. Anthropologists are of the opinion that the Sentinelese have been isolated approximately since last 60000 years. A young christian missionary got himself killed in 2018 while trying to declare Jesus to them. Why did the Sentinelese kill John? From Sentinelese context, probably he looked funny, sounded funny and was invading their space. One theory is John tried to speak to them in some tribal language. Well if they understood him, they could have killed him because he came to claim their territory for a foreign god. For us this is the closest reference to how we might have been like in stone age. You and I have come far away from that.

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Around 100 years ago we only knew of one galaxy, our Milkyway and that was our whole universe. The sun and the planets of our solar system seemed still too far away. Today the estimate is there are between 200 billion to 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe. Now if you let these numbers sink in to your head, suddenly our sun and the planets of our little solar system seem like neighbors. With time human beings have always discovered new outer limits of distance, squeezing the last known outer limit. Something like starting with a dot and keep moving in larger and larger circles. If we ever encounter a creature from another world in next 100 or 1000 or 10000 years, our planet earth will seem like one entity without borders. Until then we can assume there will be divides. To a man of that time, the meaning of foreign will be totally different than ours. As it was for a man 100 or 1000 or 10000 years before us. Let’s keep this in mind and move ahead.

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Ton of information and a lot of research. Few things I have did not like are: 1)I did not like the way it is organized. Sometimes there are sudden changes in narrative, you feel like you are reading a different book. 2) Somehow I found the last part a bit boring, it seems like the concluding part could have been a bit more elaborate. But overall it is a very good book for anyone interested in this topic.

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I came across the name Elizabeth Holmes in 2018 when her company “Theranos” was shut down. Did not know much about this company until that time, perhaps because they were yet to actually deliver something big. The more I began to read about it the more it got me interested. This book is written by an investigative journalist John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal, who began questioning the technology and practices used by Theranos in 2015, which led the company once valued at 9 billion USD to go bankrupt and eventually be shut. Holmes and Sunny Balwani, the number two executive are scheduled to face trial in July 2020 on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They may face up to 20 years jail time.

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I was particularly interested to read this book after I came across a news article somewhere about the falsity of ISRO spy case of 1994 and the investigation debacle by IB. The author Nambi Narayan was a prominent ISRO scientist with at least two major contributions of Indian space science.
1. Making India’s first liquid propulsion engine VIKAS with French SEP collaboration that is part of ISRO’s workhorse PSLV rocket.
2. Striking a deal with Soviet/Russia in getting seven cryogenic engines for India.
In November 1994 he and five others were accused of selling India’s space secrets to Pakistan through the help of Glavkosmos of Russia. In May 1996, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Ernakulam accepted the CBI report discharging all the accused and proclaiming the ISRO espionage case as false. After that he has continued fighting legally with the state government, police and IB for the injustices done. Last year he received a compensation of INR 50 lakh (5 million) from the state government. The book travels to and forth in time covering author’s autobiography, ISRO’s journey and the spy case.

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