13 January 2008


Last week I finished reading "Longitude" by Dava Sobel.

A truly wonderful book. Normally I don't find books with some historic stuff interesting. May be because this book has some scientific stuff, or may be simply because of the author's magic, I found the book good.

In the historic times, it was not at all easy to calculate longitude, the thing which we all take for granted in the modern era. What all techniques did men try to find out the longitudes of places? The science and politics behind it are well explained here.

It was no wonder that the English ruled the world for centuries - because it was they who found out the longitude calculating device - "A watch which worked". Yes, a watch/clock which has very limited error, which shows the time of a place with standard longitude (Greenwich) - that's all needed to calculate the longitude of any place. But there was no such precise clocks during 16th, 17th centuries!

The book also tells you about "How Greenwich became the standard location/time?".

Another wonderful thing I did was doing two online courses - Linear Algebra @ MIT and Basic Physics @ Berkeley. The algebra course was a couple of months back. There are two more lectures to finish with the physics classes.

The classes by Richard Muller, "Physics For Future Presidents", is simply wonderful. He teaches all the things one needs to know. Also, he gives some advice too - which would be very good for teenagers. Starting from the simplest stuff, he takes the students to Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. Simply awesome.

Knowledge -- of anything, let it be science, philosophy, technology, life, politics... - is simply wonderful.

Signing off, Sands.


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