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Pocket reading list : Part 7

Albert Woodfox’s Forty Years in Solitary Confinement : I don't know if there's such a thing as solitary confinement in Indian prisons but the idea sounds kind of absurd. I've read a couple of other articles on the short term and long term effects of long term isolation, isolation not just from human company but isolation from pretty much everything on Earth other than food, water or air. This is the absurd story of how one man has been confined in solitary confinement and his attempts to repeal the state's decision and get out of jail have all been in vain. This article goes brilliantly with another one that talks about how much power parole boards yield in the USA.

Mapping how the United States generates its electricity : I love beautiful visualizations and there are a couple of news outlets that make good ones. This is one of those. If you're looking for more, Upshot by the NYT might be a good place to start.

New Laws Explain Why Fast-Growing Networks Break : Humans have been studying networks, in one form or another, for a very long time. We've been studying human migration or spread diseases in urban population and so on. This is a rudimentary review of the complex science of networks.

The Science of ‘Inside Out’ : I am yet to watch the movie but I've heard great things. Including the fact that depression and sadness were shown in good light instead of being depicted as bad things. Depression is something that everyone deals with at some point or the other in life and the sooner the social stigma related to it disappears, the better it is for all of us.  And the movie did a good job at talking about how human emotions vary between the genders and how they vary depending on age.

Nepal’s Aid System Is Broken. So These Lifesavers Hacked It : This is another great example of how awesome the internet can be if put to good use. We've all heard of the nepal earthquake and the disaster that ensued. Thousands of men and women poured in as part of relief efforts, coordinated by numerous teams from around the world. But there was a small number of people who did a better job than most apparently, by coordinating better with people on the ground and the localites.

Warren Buffett’s Family Secretly Funded a Birth Control Revolution : Birth control is a very controversial topic in the USA, from what I understand. Again, I don't know what the situation is in India, sadly. Given that most forms of female birth control are costly, especially UTIs, governments themselves aren't able to support the subsidize them to be adopted en-large. This is where a private donor came in to pitch in a lot of money. And all signs point to Warren Buffett's foundation.

Sentinel’s Mission to Find 500,000 Near-Earth Asteroids : At some point or the other, we've all read a story on how an asteroid is passing very close to the Earth and how there's a very good chance that it'll strike us and we'll be wiped off the face of the Earth. Well, the chances of that happening are low. Very low. But sadly enough, they're not zero. This is where the Sentinel comes in. It's an ambitious mission to discover and track almost all of the Near-Earth asteroids big enough to cause a substantial amount of damage to us if they happen to crash into Earth.

Absurd Creature of the Week: The Tough-as-Hell Antarctic Fish With Antifreeze for Blood : It never ceases to amaze me that even in the hottest, coldest, most acidic places on Earth, there is life. This is one such example of aquatic life in the Antarctic.

Into the deep : I'd read about flotation tanks at some point or the other and came across them in a weird trippy movie which turned humans that entered them into pre-historic animals. Either way, coming back to the point, flotation tanks are water bodies in which one is barely submerged and cut off of any sensory perception. It's hard enough to keep the voices and thoughts in my head from overpowering me when I'm around people and day-to-day life. I can only imagine what happens if they go into overdrive. But it is something I want to experience nevertheless.

Why We Hurt Each Other: Tolstoy’s Letters to Gandhi on Love, Violence, and the Truth of the Human Spirit : Isn't the title enough to lure you into reading the article. It's an interesting take on why love conquers all.

And that is the end of this series of posts flooding people's news feeds. I shall now try posting once a week, which will be the favorites of the week. But no more spamming posts on Facebook. I don't see any response and I am no longer motivated to be active on Facebook. There were apparently a billion (with a B) people active on Facebook yesterday. Doesn't make much of a difference if everyone just wants to be fed what they want to fear and if people don't have a thirst for knowledge anymore. It's a sign of a larger illness in our society, one which I hope won't persist.

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