On TED talks, language lessons, and intermittent exercise

These summers started with certain expectations – I wanted to be learn more, and at the same time, do something to make myself healthier.

Learning more involved learning whatever was part of the internship well, gaining understanding of a few new languages, and perhaps picking up some concepts from the realm of relativity (the last remains unfulfilled so far). The internship goes well – one week remains, and I now have a really good understanding of JavaScript, some of its libraries, a much better understanding of Python, and more of its libraries, and of course, payloads of better understanding of web design. I am pretty glad I am doing this internship (one week remains), because it has helped me understand better this side activity of coding that I have been doing a lot, and now I understand really well what I like and what I don’t. Second year internship experiments have thus been greatly fruitful.

Moving on, languages! You can call me somewhat of a language enthusiast, for I simply love the experience and abilities that come with learning one. I did French back at school, know it to a very elementary level still, and recently have been grappling with Spanish, Japanese, and Russian. Too many, I agree! But I have this weird ambition of knowing as many as I can. Duolingo is helping a lot as far as French and Spanish are concerned, but the hunt for a good learning resource for the other two languages persists. Notwithstanding, I have been able to pick stuff of some significance from random sources online.

TED talks are simply brilliant. I have watched some recently, watched some old ones again, and want to share the ones that I really like. First off, Sam Bernes. He had Progeria, and shared his advice on living a happy life. The talk really moved me, and I probably see it once every week now. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36m1o-tM05g. Then, there’s one by Christopher McDougall – “Are we born to run?”. It was a revelation – I have been struggling to get running everyday, and gave up for like 15 days after some 10 days of minor running. I think it to be too strenuous, and music and Endomondo weren’t any help. This is, however, and I am hoping that I can incorporate the inspiration in me on a daily basis. Hopefully, then, in a future post, I might be able to get rid of the adjective “intermittent”. He has also written a book with the (almost) same title, and I am about to start reading it. I might throw in a review in a later post. Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-iGZPtWXzE

And before I forget, there’s “Art of Misdirection” by Apollo Robins. It’s great, and talks about controlling human attention. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZGY0wPAnus.

So that’s a wrap, for now. I’ll keep you posted on how the language learning and the exercise goes. À bientôt!





Why we explore Space

This letter is truly inspiring. It is a reply to a Zambian nun, Sister Mary Jucunda, who questioned Ernst Stuhlinger (then associate director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center) why billions of dollars should be poured into space programs when children across the world die of hunger. The reply is thoughtful, and even after so many years, is a strong inspiration to anyone who reads it. Please do.