A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

SciFi/fantasy makes for great reading when I’m overwhelmed with too much going on. And something like this is great to just sink into.

The resolution at the end is…. mindblowing! And of course, there can be no better way forward. This works even as a metaphor for life. 

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The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People, Susan Orlean

The author is (was?)  a writer for The New Yorker, and I picked this up more for studying her style of writing. Consider crafting statements such as this:

She has an apartment in Paris and a house in Beverly Hills, a room key in Manhattan, the story of Hollywood of the late sixties and seventies in her head, and no particular plans.

Wow!

There is a beautiful structure to her articles, most end with a poignant, wistful, cliff-hanging quality that leaves the reader wanting more. 

Much to learn…

 

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Whatever Arises, Love That: Matt Kahn

I came across an amazing quote from this book, so picked it up. However, I’m putting it down after a couple of chapters. There was no coherent framework or logic, and what I read just came across as a series of disconnected platitudes. I suppose in a couple of hundred pages, one would accidentally come up with a few sentences that sound like deep philosophy…

I guess I’m being overly critical, but I’m going to stick with the stoics and the Gita.

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Desiderata, Max Ehrmann

An old favorite:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. 

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

— Max Ehrmann

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AlgoAsylum Interns 2020-21

Looking forward to changing the world with a fantastic group of interns: Abhishek DeshpandeRaghav GaggarYash DamaniaYash ChaudhariSiddharth SrivastavaSamik PalRuchi PendsePurva BhalekarJanhavi SatheTahiti DeyShambhavi DeshpandeShruti DixitPallavi Raut, and Soham Joshi


And excited to be collaborating with (and learning from) Varad Deshmukh once again.


We’re working on applications (dyslexia detection, satellite image analysis, pollution monitoring, pandemic modeling, and vehicle modeling) and on technologies (information theory, TDA, decision trees, parallel computation, SVMs, and Fourier transforms) and the only common thread amongst all of this is that they’re all fun and exciting!

 

Stay tuned for more details once we figure out just what the heck is going on!

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Stories of Your Life and Others, Ted Chiang

I took an extremely long time to read this book, savoring each story for its originality and philosophy. And for the superlative writing. 

Arrival (the movie) is based on The Story of Your Life. I watched this as well as Tales from the Loop, which may very well have been based on Ted Chiang’s writing. 

As to the stories… I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but a common theme that I found was some form of circularity. Going back to the beginning, sometimes spatially, sometimes temporally, sometimes logically, sometimes physically (in the sense of physics) and sometimes emotionally. 

The Story of Your Life is meticulously crafted; Chiang conveys emotions by describing what happens rather than what is felt. And the key insights into how the visitors view time builds up slowly and is up to us to interpret more than him serving up explanations. The overall concept and perspectives on life and time left me with a wonderful analysis framework.

 

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