Monday, May 22, 2017

Much grief for nothing

Evan Williams, the (co?) founder of Twitter, Medium, and our own Blogger has recently apoligised for something.

That something, as per the Indian Express is:

It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that. If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry

 I have nothing to say about Donald Trump or America: because I am not an American. You know, not my zoo, not my animals. Secondly, he won in an election and not a civil war! Thirdly, how can we be sure that Twitter was the tipping point?

I do have an issue with Evan apologising, though.

I strongly think that he or anyone else does not have to apoligise for making something good. Lots of people, companies, governments, celebrities, schools, NGOs and others communicate via Twitter. I am sure most of these communications are positive.

It is also possible that Twitter might be used for illegal and immoral activities. If that is true, Evan might want to apoligise for it as well. That is certainly his choice. But I strongly think it is not required.

Moreover, do we think if Twitter was not there, this electoral result would be any different? There are many, many websites and services and apps and whatnot. Twitter was just the easiest medium at that time to reach lotsof people!

Looks like Evan's guilt is only for the fact that he made a great website. I would be happy to make a tenth of the impact he has had on the world!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

So, I have enjoyed watching the TV series The Big Bang Theory. One of the characters in that series went to space, and I was surprised to find out that one of the characters that went with him is in fact a real life astronaut.

Enter Mike Massimino!

And of course, Mike has written a book on his experience in space. Not only his experience in space, but also his first inspiration for it. And how, even though he had forgot about it, his life path took him to towards robotics. And then, his PhD and how he struggled and came on top with help of friends. And then, his selection as an astronaut and the struggles he undertook for that. And then, his struggles for becoming a part of the Hubble project and to be able to do a spacewalk.

All in all, the book, or at least the first two thirds is the story of a normal guy working hard, facing problems and succeeding with the help of friends and family. Then Mike goes into safety for astronauts in light of the incident involving Kalpana Chawla's demise. He then talks about his second trip before talking about his life after being an astronaut.

Here are a few parts I liked in no particular order:

Practice makes perfect. How often I practice my stuff?
The answer will leave me ashamed.

When you are screwed, you are screwed!

No more self made men! 

I wonder what eyesight has to do with so much
instrumentation in today's planes and shuttles.
At least it made the book a bit more interesting.

So, you are an astronaut?

I like this attitude.

And I think my stuff and time is expensive.

You mean the times I feel stupid have been
 my best times at school and in office?

I do not use pillows!  NASA's gotta dis-invent
their pillow thingies. Oh, wait.

The stakes are high indeed in space.

Earth as seen from space. Through the eyes and through the heart :-)

"The line isn't moving. The sin isn't moving. We are."

Sometimes the facts are a bit too simple.

"Being the right person isn't about being perfect;
it's about being able to handle whatever life throws at you."
More than anything else, this guy's humility and perseverance are the biggest lessons I got from the book.