A journey back in time – Sumerian civilization

We are in circa 4000 BCE. About 6200 years back in time. Far calmer than today. Business as usual though.

We are located in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). A way more greener than today. The crystal water from Euphrates and Tigris have transformed the region into an oasis.

The Matrix – A movie series way ahead of its time

Matrix is coming back on the screen after almost 20 years. Boy, time flies I must say.

The Matrix is basically a computer software where humans and machines coexist. In the near future, machines have taken over the planet and humans have sought refuge in the center of the planet. We see the marvels of artificial intelligence today but this was prophesied in the movie back in 1999. They live in a constant fear of being killed. The Matrix therefore is an interface that eliminates the grim reality of the existence. It serves as a gateway to escape from the reality in essence. Today when we hear about the most ambitious project by Facebook named “Metaverse”, it is just a form of Matrix if you think about it.

Lacan’s elusive object petit a

Have you ever wondered why we keep chasing happiness and still never find it permanently? Why do our desires never cease and why do we keep running after material possessions? 

French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan had an interesting and mind-bending analysis on this subject.

Let us first understand the key terminology that the theory encapsulates.

Infatuation with Democracy

The situation in HongKong is worsening lately. Coincidentally, it started when the relations between USA and China turned sour due to trade disagreements. The protests not only tarnished the image of HongKong but also resulted in destruction, arson and casualties. The law and order was on its knees.  Even though the bill was withdrawn later, the protests only turned stronger. Perhaps, it had little to do with the extradition treaty.

Far yet so near

Last Wednesday was no ordinary. The event horizon team were able to engineer the first picture of a black hole. Since over a hundred 100 years, this has only been imaginary and theoretical. Not any more though.

The hazy window

We had a quick rainfall few days back. It was highly unexpected and quite a deluge honestly. Rainfall isn’t common in Dubai. It hardly rains but when it does, its a magical experience. The sweet fragrance of the soil, the thunder and the dark clouds feel so ecstatic. The rain washes every structure. Every dirty car and sandy skyscraper get its share of wash. All thanks to the rainfall. Roads are cleared of all the sand and they shine like polished boots.

The black shadow of our ego

Ego has been a weapon of survival for our species since the dawn of time. As a matter of fact, it transcends to animals as well. The world is full of predators and preys. The sense of ego or self-esteem gives the brain an additional boost to triumph survival. This sense communicates to our conscience that we are special hence we deserve to keep standing on our feet.

Ego can drive passion, enthusiasm, desire, creativity and at the same time put you in misery, self doubt, make one arrogant, pompous and so forth.

Beautiful songs that shall make you sad / cry

1) Kodaline – All i want

2) Johnny Cash – Hurt

2) U2 – All i want is you

3) Kodaline – High hopes

4) Lana Del Rey – Born to die

5) Kings of Leon – Walls

Coldplay – The Scientist

Worked, exhausted and soon to be dead

An Australian study conducted last year found that people who work for more than 39 hours a day are putting their health at risk.

Across USA, Australia, Europe & other countries of the developed world, employees tend to work for about 35 – 40 hours a week at an average.

The numbers are quite a shocker for Asian countries like Japan, Korea, India, China, etc. Here it is very common to work for 60 hours a week. In Japan, they have devised a term “karōshi” which means death caused by overwork.12% of employees in Japan work for over 100 hours of unpaid overtime a month.

Journey of life

In recent years, It has been concluded based on statistics that more people die by committing suicide than wars or natural disasters. As civilized society, we somehow did overcome medieval period of deplorable bloodshed but we found ourselves in another sinister adversity.

The adversity of depression is not natural phenomenon per se. Isn’t it strange that depression has seen this huge growth only in recent times? Technology is a two edge sword. It can help in instant communication but at the same time create anxiety in its absence. It has raised our expectations vis-a-vis with people.

Journey of a Soyuz spacecraft

Space exploration has always been a hallmark of national accomplishment. During the 1950 – 1980, USA and USSR were head to head in space exploration. Yuri Gagarin from Soviet Russia became the first human to be in space in as early as 1961. Since then, We have come a long way not just in terms of exploration but also in terms of technology sophistication.

Humans vs mosquitos

Diseases spread by bats, rats and rodents are far more easier to control and contain compared to those spread by mosquitos. Unlike bats and rats, mosquitos are too small to kill 1 by 1. The are tiny, have huge breeding rate and they suck blood surreptitiously. Most times we tend to notice a mosquito bite long after the event.

Mosquitos spread deadly diseases like malaria, dengue, Chikungunya, yellow fever and many more. Malaria being the most lethal disease that kills more than a million people every year. Most of them being children and affects close to 300 – 600 million people every year. This number is more than 2 times the population of entire middle east (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Yemen).

Under a banyan tree

Growing up, I have seen abundance of banyan trees. In-fact my native place was informally known as banyan city owing to its huge reserves of the trees. Banyan tree like other trees do not bear any fruits so on that front, it might not sound as prospective as a mango tree for instance. However, banyan trees are huge in size and they can provide lots of shade underneath it.

Bat sh*t scared

We are all scared of bats. They look bit dangerous, especially when they are resting upside down! In fact bats can even sleep in upside down position, All thanks to the evolution.

Bats cannot fly like birds as their wings cannot produce enough lift. Neither can they run and propel themselves in air like airplanes as their legs are too tiny. Therefore, the best way is to reach a high position, dive, flutter & fly.

Precious water

Recently Cape town came in to limelight for being the first city close to run out of water. The government put regulations in place in the month of February to force 50 liters supply per person in order to salvage the situation. However, with the current crisis and severe drought since last couple of years, situation will only become worse henceforth.

Propaganda of patriotism

There is no glory in war. War is a tool to establish supremacy built on the human tendency of greed & selfishness. From time immemorial, government across the world spend lots of money and resources in order to propagate patriotism in people and boy it has worked like a charm.

We are so brainwashed in to thinking that a soldier exhibit courage, valor, grit, gumption and what not. We are conditioned into thinking that they are sacrificing our lives for the country. Truth is far from the projection. Nobody wants to lose their lives and live in horrible environment of fear & fight.

The church of scientology

Founded by L. Ron Hubbard (LRH), Scientology is a new age religion based on the principle of self discovery and attaining zenith of your spirituality.

The core idea is to create a a world without wars, criminals and insanity and where people have freedom to rise to greater heights.

Hubbard was a pulp fiction writer who had published thousands of science fiction stories and tales while writing for leading publications. Scientology was some how conceived in the realm of his fictional stories.

Life in debt

Dubai is a place full of shopping malls, skyscrapers, high end hotels, luxurious cars, giant supermarkets and many other places that will lure you into a spending spree. Most banks here provide free for life credit cards, loans at low interest rates & mortgages. I get call every other day from some bank trying to sell any of these products. Most of these banking products look very attractive and beneficial from the face of it. it gives you opportunity to get those expensive shoes or the latest iPhone irrespective of your current bank balance status.

Burgeoning population & the shadow of war

About 20 years back, having a graduation degree was a hallmark of excellence in academia. A graduate had a specialized knowledge and it was fairly easy to land up on a high paying job. As a matter of fact, it was quite common to first start on with the job and learn about the role subsequently in those days.

Believe it or not, few months bank i got to know about an individual who has a masters degree and working as a janitor. When he was awarded with the degree, his ambitions had no limits.

Epic movie scenes – Inglorious Basterds (2009)

This movie was instrumental in making me an avid devotee of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. I had watched Pulp fiction, Reservoir dogs and Kill bill series previously and they were all marvelous in every aspect, however, this movie was just incredible.

I particularly like 2 scenes in this movie which i regularly watch again and again (like how i did today).

The first one being the opening scene. You can watch below

These songs will give you goosebumps

Like most, I am really fond of listening to music especially on my way to work and back. House, prog. rock & EDM are genres i listen the most. However, i do like to listen to those timeless classics from time to time as well. Below are few songs that i play regularly:

1) Closer – Kings of leon

This song is my top pick. It is 1 of those underdogs that never got its due recognition. The song enthralls and take you to a different world.

Blacks & whites

While having an interesting conversation with a friend, We hit a pertinent question which led to further discussion. Why was human development across the globe not consistent? Why Africa region never saw glory years in its history even though humanity as we know it in our current being (sapiens) started from the same place.

Food for thought

Every living species need to consume nutrients to create energy via which it can survive. We, the human species, generally eat 3 square meals a day. We make sure we plan our meal so as to ensure necessary supplements of vitamins, minerals and proteins. With advances in agriculture, We have enough flexibility to carefully plan our meals.

Food is an essential part of our being. Nature can provide to everyone unfortunately we fellow humans cannot. Everyday scores of people die due to hunger and malnutrition in the age where we are commissioning missions conquering frontiers of space.

Bloodshed & beyond…

War in Yemen

13,700 people died due to war in Yemen
50,000 children died of starvation in 2017 alone
17 million people are affected due to the famine caused by the blockade of supplies inside Yemen
3.3 million people are suffering from acute form of malnutrition
612,703 cases of Cholera has been confirmed due to the devastation of sewage and sanitary system in the war. The estimated number of Cholera cases are as high as 1 million people in last 1 year alone.
2.5 million people have been displaced because of the bombing and destruction

Civilizations and the quest of nirvana

The idea of heaven and hell is pretty much embedded in outlook of social life and has been accepted since time immemorial. I have summarized them civilization wise as below:

Mesopotamian / Sumer civilization (4500 BC):

Mesopotamians believed in netherworld which is equivalent to hell. It was a dark place with no return. However, there were no punishments or torture. It was supposed to be just a place that is dull and mundane. There was no concept of heaven as well. Everyone who dies and have proper burial / funeral will be transported to netherworld. There will be 7 gates to the netherworld and the dead will transition after judgement from court of the Annunaki.

The glory of Alauddin Khalji

If not for Alauddin Khalji, the total population of Indian subcontinent would 1/10 nth of the current.

Khilji dynasty founded by Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji ruled large parts of Indian subcontinent between 1290 and 1320 AD. Alauddin Khalji ascended the throne of Delhi in 1296 AD after the death of his uncle. He had exemplary experience in administrative field. He had served as Governor of Kara and Oudh during his predecessor’s rule.

He used to look like below and not like the ripped version of Khal Drogo as depicted in the movie.

Why do we have different skin complexion?

Lately we have been observing a spike in racism related incidents since a couple of years. The fundamental question persist. Why do we look different? Is it due to the evolution process?

The answer is yes. In around 1835, Charles Darwin on his exploration voyage arrived on Galapagos island near Ecuador where he made a startling discovery. He observed different variations of a songbird called native finches. The Galapagos islands were a group of 13 island and he observed different variations on different islands.

Peanut allergy

In last couple of years there has been a huge surge in food allergy cases especially those involving peanuts. The cases literally doubled between 1997-2002 and its been on rise since.

It accounts to 150 – 200 deaths every year and close to 9500 children are admitted to hospitals due to some form of food allergy.

The symptoms can show in matter of minutes to few hours. Some of common symptoms include hives, irritation on skin, running nose, swelling, blockage of throat, etc. It can even cause Anaphylaxis or cardiac arrest.

Man vs machine

We have seen massive progress in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) over last few years.

By harnessing advanced machine learning capability using neural networks, We have been successful in replicating the power of a human brain.

Deep Blue computer developed by IBM turned heads when it defeated world champion Garry Kasparov in 1st game of a six match series. Human brain eventually won as Garry won the series (4-2) but this was the first step towards realising the advent of AI.

450 million USD for a painting!

The painting(above) was sold in an auction held by Christies for a whopping 450.3 million dollars this week. That is an extraordinary price. This painting is named “Salvator Mundi” and it is known to be painted by Leonardo da Vinci. It has become the most expensive work of art ever sold.

The painting dated around 1500 shows Jesus holding a crystal orb in 1 hand and raised 2 fingers on the other suggesting benediction.

Short history of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is considered to be the holiest city by all 3 Abrahamic faith namely Christianity, Islam & Judaism.

In last few days, it has again come into limelight after US president, Donald Trump declared it as a capital city of Israel which got criticism and condemnation from several countries and massive protest by Palestinians who also regard it as their capital.

The bone of contention is a rock which in on top of a natural hill (mount Moriah for christians, mount Marwah for muslims & mount Moriyya for jews).

The mughal empire

The word “mughal” is a persian translation of the word “mongol” which also explains its origin.

Mughal empire was a prominent empire that controlled vast parts of present day India and Pakistan for nearly 300 years (1526 – 1857). In the 12th – 15nth century, Pakistan and northern India was under the clutches of Delhi Sultanate. The first sultan of Delhi, Qutb ud Din Albak rose to power under the Mamluk dynasty after Muhammad of Ghor was assassinated. He had no children so Ghurid Empire was dissolved and power was split under various generals of the empire.

Restaurants – the art of deception

Restaurants like any other business want to increase their sales. In my previous article, i had outlined the same about Supermarkets.

The ultimate objective for restaurants is to do sales of the items which are priced high and in general make customers eat more hence, make more money.

The first step is lightning and the decor of the restaurants. Nice dim lightning makes body comfortable, brain relaxed and hunger levels up.

Humans – The most destructive species

There were close to 17,460 white rhinoceros in 2007. Today, only 1 northern white rhinoceros is left today in 2017. The last male of his species counting his final days in Sudan Zoo.

Our greed for rhino horn has led to this. Its a systematic extinction cleverly engineered by us. We are the smartest, strongest species and we are taking undue advantage of our prowess.

The tallest slum

Most of us know that “Tower of David” is located in Jerusalem and that citadel was constructed about 2000 years back. It derived its name through the early Christians who believed it was palace of King David.

Lets now navigate to Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela is 1 of the worst performing economies of the world. With unemployment reaching to a staggering 10.5% and around 8% people living in abject poverty, There is no surprise that the ambitions of citizens have been curtailed and massive resentment across.

A life not lived

Kowloon walled city was demolished in 1993 after a lengthy eviction process. The settlement was insanely populated due to large scale migration of Chinese during world war 2 and occupation of Hong kong by British.

Most of the settlement was built haphazardly by the settlers themselves. As it was not governed by any authority, crime flourished along with illegal trading. The population was an incredible 3.25 million people per square mile!!

Idea of teleportation

Most of us have watched “The Centurions” that used to be telecasted on cartoon network in 90’s. The 3 main protagonist Max Ray, Jake Rockwell & Ace Mccloud used to be teleported from the their space station “Sky Vault” along with weapons by 2 magic words “power extreme!”

Teleportation has always been an imperative theme in many Sci-Fi novels and TV shows.

The crusades

The battle of Guadalete in the year 711, 712 let to the inception of Islamic conquest in Hispania when the Visigoths were defeated by the army of muslim berbers & arabs.

During the times of Umayyad caliphate, Islam was widespread and had entered into Europe through Spain. Abd Ar Rahman I was the first Emir of Cordoba followed by Abd Ar Rahman II.

The rise of the islamic caliphate

In the 6th century, the middle east did not have any uniformity in terms of religious following. Most had idol, pegan beliefs.

Prophet Mohammed started preaching Islam across several regions of middle east. Islam as a religion had all ingredients to attract vast following. There was wide spread discrimination during the middle ages in terms of skin colour, in terms of class, in terms of demographics, social status & many other types of segregation.

Genghis Khan & the mongolian horde

Genghis Khan was born as Temujin on August 18, 1227.

His father died when he was merely 9 years old as a result of poisoning by rival tribe.

Timujin married Borte when she was just 17 in order to expand his tribal support. However, rival tribe attacked his tribe resulting in him running away to save his life. His wife was kidnapped by the rival tribe.

The anonymous billionaire

In october 2008, a person / group with pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” published a tectonic shifting paper on a digital currency system which was named as “Bitcoin”.

It was first of its kind peer to peer currency system with no central authority or supervision. To put it simply, it is like “torrent” of currency where every participant has a journal of transactions of everyone so no single entity can exert their control over it. The underlining technology “blockchain” is now implemented to solve various complex problems of governance.

Cant resist chocolates & ice creams?

There are certain food items that are irresistible in many ways. Most of us would pursue to buy an ice cream or a chocolate when we see one in store.

It is like having a kind of consciousness within us that urge you to grab it. That part of your consciousness will drive your behaviour by self assuring excuses.

cold weather & common cold

2 of my colleagues are sick and off from work with same symptoms today. Coughing, running nose, sore throat, headache & exhaustion. Coincidentally, they are not alone. There is a big spike in such cases during the summer to winter transition.

The problem is referred to as common cold or viral flu in general. The influenza virus which is responsible for this, is conducive to cold and dry weather. It is able to survive for longer and thus spreads quickly. Moreover, it can multiply / replicate faster as well.

Origins of Gold

In my previous article “How it all started…”, I expressed on how a star fuse elements of our periodic table in its core.

Also, how star cannot fuse iron and it leads to a big supernova explosion.

The question arises, If this is true how do we find elements in periodic table which are higher then Iron are produced? For e.g. Gold, Lead, Plutonium, etc.

Shades of conquest (Byzantium, Nova Roma, Constantinople, Kostantiniyye, Istanbul)

Greeks around 657 BCE founded Byzantium. It was significant because of its strategic location that connected it to east and also in terms of defence. it could only be attacked from the west as rest sides were covered with sea.

Because if its prominent location and fertile land, it was marred with wars in the early times. It was a centre of Persian wars between Greeks and Persians. Persians were hell bent on conquering Greece and city kept changing hands between Persians and Greeks. It was later conquered by Spartans who made peace with Persians (Persian king Xerxes) and provided their full support to Persians in exchange of letting them govern Byzantium.

Man in the mirror, Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar was the most prominent leader of roman republic. He was born on July 13, 100 BCE. His parents were believed to be decedents of roman goddess, Venus.

Though respected his parents did not have much money. Caesar’s father died when he was 16 and same year he married Cornelia who also belonged to noble family and her father supported Caesar’s uncle, Maurius to come to power. Unfortunately, his opponent Sulla came to power.

Antimatter, What and How much can I buy for?

Some time during the creation of the universe 13.8 billion years back after the big bang, matter overpowered antimatter. During the early stage after big bang the universe was unstable. Matter and antimatter reacted and obliterated each other in big release of energy repeatedly.

Some how at that time matter won against antimatter and it survived. Since then, whatever we see on planet and around our solar system and space is all matter.

We are all Equal.(period)

All human beings have almost identical genes. My genes would have around 99.9% match to genes of my friend who helps me with cleaning my car or Elon Musk for that matter. No matter you are of different color, creed, belong to different religion, have a different orientation or any other difference that you can spot with your eyes does not translate in difference of your core building blocks (DNA).

Where exactly are we!

Our planet earth has about 510.1 million square kilometres in surface area. We are part of the solar system with sun in the centre. Our sun is whopping 109 times diameter then the earth.

Our solar system is roughly 122 AU in diameter where each AU (Astronomical Unit) correspond to 150 million kilometres!

Humans vs virus, World war 3?

In 1346 – 1353 around 200 million people died of a deadly plague known as Black death. The plague was so severe that it approximately wiped out 50% of total european population.

The virus originated from rat flea carried by rats and spread through ships that used to ferry for trade.

Genesis of Life

After earth was formed, it was too hot to host any form of life. It cooled off over millions of years.

The gas clouds consisting of hydrogen and water vapor began to settle.

How it all started…

Today with help of cosmic background radiation and other methods, we are able to trace back the sequence of events, which led to the creation of earth.

13.8 billion years ago, a catalytic event took place. We have named it “Big bang”. We are not certain what exactly caused this event. There are several theories but cannot be conclusively established.

The curious case of starlings

Starlings are small to medium size birds. They appear to be black from distance but are dark blue glossy coloured.

Shakespeare has described starlings vividly while writing Henry IV. They mimic and imitate sounds. They usually travel in big flocks.

Religion, Capitalism & Belief System

Throughout history we have witnessed the existence of far more superior species on the face of the earth. Dinosaurs, Mammoth & Megalodon are to name a few.

All these are no more with us but an inferior species like homo sapiens survived through this entire period of evolution.