I seem to be inspired by people stories this week. Some say that Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory Television series has Asperger’s, a disorder in which individuals have various troubles such as trouble with social interaction. Often, parents of children who are challenged in certain ways become “brave-hearts” and “warriors” for the society. In today’s article, the author depicts his insecurities in parenting his child who has Asperger’s:
One of my colleagues tells me that she can function well with little sleep. But, it is tough for me. Lately, I read two (kind-of) contrasting articles – one said that sleeping too much is not good and the other said that getting enough sleep is necessary (I am posting the link to the second one). The latter one also talks about a mutation that some people have – a gene mutation that helps them function well with less sleep.
Sleep and humour; 28-Aug-2014
Inspired by the article mentioned above, a cartoonist depicts some sleep humour:
I did not know that so much could be said about a simple activity as walking. The author of the article takes us from walking once being a spectator sport to analysing what prominent people have had to say about walking. It is a fine write-up sprinkled with philosophy here and there.
I have seen mild cases of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in people; some people are obsessed about cleanliness, while some are obsessed about their fitness. For that matter, we all have our fetishes and obsessions. But, I haven’t seen an extreme case as shown in this article: here’s a case of a girl, who has an OCD about a lot of things.
The second one is another gem of an article. The link has been contributed by a reader.
While working for an organization last year, I came across a person who told me how hard he tried to break away from the perceptions of the society at large towards his kind of people. He would dress smartly, he would try and learn how to make his language more polished and he would avoid sections of the city in which those perceptions prevailed. If you belong to a particular class of people, how are you perceived and treated by others in the society? If you belong to a class of people who were treated inferior in the past, do those old perceptions go away completely? The past does not leave us so easily, does it?
The handicap of familiarization
My brother types fast as do so many people today. If he makes a mistake in the preceding word, he immediately uses the backspace to erase off the entire word and then types the word all over again. He does not, for instance, use the arrow keys to go to the second letter of the word to change it and correct the mistake; he just has to redo the typing part. I do the same; perhaps you do it too. And, in contrast is the other aspect:
Usually, I am particular about correctness (and other things) while writing – which means no spelling or grammatical mistakes. After writing, I typically go over the text to see if there are any inadvertent mistakes. And then, I post what I have written. Therefore, it is frustrating to see a typo slip off into the post after all this work. It happens with others too. In today’s interesting write up, the author tells us why our intelligent brains still miss out on our own typos and why we retype the words we made mistakes in:
Robot cars with adjustable ethics settings
Ethics is a tricky subject. While driving a car, if you have only two options – collision would result in five people’s death and a swerve to the right would kill one person – which option would you choose? What if cars came equipped with ethics’ options – if you didn’t swerve to save the five people, for example, the car would take control and by itself swerve and kill just one person instead. Even if it saves five lives, the death of one person is still an act of killing; who is responsible for that one person’s death – you or the car manufacturer? This is the question that the author of this article begins with and then he goes on to talk about giving options to the customer to choose an ethics’ setting – value your own life more than that of others, minimize legal costs, value others’ lives more etc. – and its possible implications.
Teaching is such an important work for the society at large. However, when I ask a class of smart youngsters on how many would be interested in taking up teaching as a career, rarely a hand or two go up (in a class of 50 to 60 students). The job of a teacher today is an underpaid and unattractive job; whether I have been in a small city or I worked in a metropolitan one, I have always seen a dearth of good teachers. The problem has remedies but the remedy is definitely not making education a business, as this editorial opinion says:
Helicopter parenting means hovering over your kids all the time – putting up with their ill manners, being not particular about discipline, and taking decisions for them when the children should be trying on their own. Have we arrived at the stage of Helicopter teaching when students need to be spoon-fed learning in place of being active learners taking responsibility of their own education? With helicopter teaching, will we be able to produce independent adults who can think for themselves?
Soccer defies odds (The link has been contributed by a reader)
Before world-cup begins, many kinds of individuals and institutions attempt to predict who will win the championship or who will reach a higher stage of championship. Most predictions fail. With so much of understanding about soccer variables, algorithms to use those variables, and intelligent people doing data-analysis, why do the predictions not work? More importantly, these predictions have important consequences for companies that advertise their products during world cup and for insurance companies. There’s more to football than passion, sport, sweat and a mad fan base – there’s money!
The helpful distance of politeness
I do not know how this writer can stop himself from having an opinion about people he meets; when it comes to me, I seem to have an opinion about everyone I meet. Well, today’s link points to an insightful write up on how etiquette helps – how keeping that little distance of politeness from people helps people be more comfortable. Some deep insights here –
Empathy and creativity
It must be our intelligence that enables us to connect X with Y and produce Z. Surprisingly, it is also empathy – both emotional and cognitive (mental) – that helps us understand the way things are and imagine better things. Shared by a reader, today’s article begins by analysing whether Sherlock Holmes had empathy and goes on to talk more about what is empathy and what-all it enables us to do.
Robin Williams and Suicide
Losing Robin Williams is sad. It is sadder that we lost him to suicide. Here’s a well-written piece on how brilliance and intelligence can be isolating, how fame is never enough for a fame-hungry star, how good work is never enough for a perfectionist, and why the death of Robin Williams makes such large ripples than most deaths.
Charles Bukowski’s letter of gratitude
As much as I liked the writing in the article mentioned above, I like to talk about people who are not only survivors but more. Here is a letter of gratitude from writer Charles Bukowski to a publisher – John Martin (whose help freed Bukowski of his day job and got him to dedicate his time following his passion – writing) – with some beautiful insights. Bukowski tells us about how slavery never left us and that we are slaves to systems, processes, and work in general. Worse, we go back every day to the slave job. He says it better himself: “They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work.”
It was Independence Day recently. When we talk about freedom, what does it mean? Today’s link is about somebody not having the freedom which she wants – in this case, it is the freedom to live the normal life of a child, enjoy the small pleasures of childhood and go to school. The article is a gripping story of a child-bride who murders her husband. I guess we tend to appreciate the freedom we have when we look at what others are missing.
What if journalists become entrepreneurs? Would journalism and money go well together? Here are some strong opinions on journopreneurship or entrepreneurial journalism: