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Book Review - Ray Bradbury The Last Interview

This book is a collection of interviews by Ray Bradbury's biographer, Sam Weller.

Sam presents a glimpse into the final years of Ray Bradbury's life, which in itself is moving. It took a moment for me to realize the depravity of life during the old age, even as we constantly associate Ray Bradbury with his work on Fahrenheit 451, which he had written multiple years ago. This was the poignant part of the entire book for me, and it shook me a bit.

But despite this, the book is hip and is full of love. It is about the love that Ray Bradbury shared for books, authors and his craft. He encouraged everyone to follow their path of love and to true to themselves.

I got a glimpse into why Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, and how did he shape his characters. I haven't read Fahrenheit 451, but I had watched the movie and listened to the short version called blink of that book. It seems funny in retrospect that I had approached Farenheit 451 in these media, and not read it. But I will certainly read it and appreciate it even more now.

Stroke is Preventable

This medical journal paper Prevention of perioperative stroke in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery states that stroke is preventable.

I was motivated to read this as the topic is close to my heart. I approached and understood this paper using tools like Fermat's Library, histre for annotation and ChatGPT to understand medical terms.

Stroke was attributed to hypertension and an insult to psychology when patients with hypertension were subjected to hospital care for the first time. The prevention is possible by thickening the blood and working to reduce the hyper tension factors.

Fermat's Library

Thank you, Bram Moolenaar

Bram is the creator of vim software used by developers through out the world. He ":wq" from this world on August 3rd, 2023 in his inimitable, quiet way.

Bram influenced me. The splash screen that encouraged donation to a charity caught my attention like nothing else. Inspired by that splash screen, I started volunteering my time and donated money to many causes that I cared about.

I once had a brief interaction with Bram. He clearly said, he didn't need any money and encouraged all donations to causes he cared about. In one case, I had a brief email interaction with him to facilitate a donation, and he directed it to Kilbale children center, he volunteered with.

Thank you, Bram. Your influence will live on through the software you created and the people you inspired.

A selection of books I read in 2022

This book is about Amazon. I read this quickly to see the phrases used like "working backwards" and press release ahead of the design which are used even now.

This book is about American Farming. I couldn't complete reading it as it is a lengthy one, but the premise was America needs to take care of farmiing as a personal profession which people can care about. The mechanization has lead to "unsettling of america" is the point of the book. I took this upon recommendation from Mr.Sridhar Venbu in a tweet.

A beginners book on investing and finance. It is an easy read, and enlists why one should participate and invest in stock markets. It was recommended to me by friend, Krishnaram.

A philosophy book. It is about keeping an open mind.

I liked reading examples of talented people mentioned in this book.

Book to read after reading Learn to Earn. Easy and accessible. Recommends everyone create a personal portfolio and keep evaluating it.

I was captured by the narrative in the early chapters. A meta book about learning.

I got influenced, and started having a budget after listening to this audio book. It is a wonderful book, and YNAB app is a great tool. It shaped my life a bit with my approach to money and planning.

I revisit Albert Ellis every now and then. I read this to reinforce the principles of Rational Emotive Behavior taught by Albert Ellis and practioners. I find these helpful.

A fun book about kitchen science.

Listened only to the first Chapter of Ada Lovelace. The depth and details were amazing.

This is a science fiction book that helped me understand racism in america. It gave me bone chills. It is a very powerful book. Illustration and story telling captures the reader.

A very serious book on world economics, and presented graphically as a comic. What else do you need? An excellent book to understand how Economy works and plays a part in our every day life.

Measuring something for measurement's sake, a pointless activity as we don't know or define why, is the tyranny of metric. The premise of this book is how obssession with quantitive metrics is misleading.

A very good book about Bitcoin, and users of bitcoin in a social context.

Book Review - My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall

“Understanding what chimpanzees are like has made me realize that we humans are not so different from other animals as we used to think. What makes us most different is that we are far more clever than even the cleverest chimp, and we have words. We have a spoken language. We can tell stories about what happened a week or a year or a decade ago. We can plan for the future, and we can discuss things - one person's idea can grow and change as other people contribute their ideas. Great ideas become greater, problems are solved.”

  • Jane Goodall, My Life with the Chimpanzees

Jane Goodall shares her story for rest of us. Her love for animals, and nature comes out through every word of this book. I was absolutely thrilled to read this book. It is a wonderful book by a wonderful person.

Book Review - The Computer From Pascal to Von Neumann

The Computer From Pascal to Von Neumann is a computer history book by Herman H. Goldstine. It surveys the history from the laws of thought by inventors across ages. It goes from earliest philosophers like Pascal, to mathematicians like George Boole, to implementors like Von Neumann.

The author reveals how these inventors built their theories on top of others. Almost everyone involved in this exercise had a shared objective for computers.

These inventors wanted to "free" mankind from the repetitive but mundane tasks.

And these inventors lived in different eras like Leibniz lived in 1600s, Charles Babbage in 1800s and Dijskstra (1930-2002).

When introducing Charles Babbage, author directly goes the motivation that drove the inventor.

The theme of Leibniz— to free men from slavery by the automation of dull but simple - tasks was next taken up by one of the most unusual figures in modern intellectual history, Charles Babbage

And here is how Dijskstra explains how and why Computers will exceed human reasoning.

In the long run I expect computing science to transcend its parent disciplines, mathematics and logic, by effectively realizing a significant part of Leibniz’s Dream of providing symbolic calculation as an alternative to human reasoning. - Dijskstra

(Please note the difference between "mimicking" and "providing an alternative to": alternatives are allowed to be better.)

Author also associated United States Military and Government to various advancements in Computers. The final chapters gave references to when other parts of the world got their first computer. I noted that India's first computers were in 1960s with Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Here are some interesting historical photos from this book.

Essays in Humanism by Albert Einstein - Book Review

Essays in HumanismEssays in Humanism by Albert Einstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There we Einstein's thoughts on various topics. He desired a World-Government, powerful and in control of Nuclear Weapons. Had a balanced view of both Socialism and Capitalism. Readily allowed his critics to address their rebuttal and answered that.

He writes In memoriam for fellow scientists and many other great leaders of the world. He feels guilty for being associated with development of Atom Bomb and urges Nations to work towards peace.

He shares ample stories about the difficulties Jews have through, supports the Uprising of Warsaw ghetto.

The books reveals social and personal side of Albert Einstein.

A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Steinberg

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and Unthinkable power to control evolution by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Steinberg is a book on gene-editing and a technology called CRISPR.

The book is a personal narration of Jennifer Doudna as she explains the development of CRISPR and it's discovery for use in gene editing. Rather than a review, this are notes while reading this book. CRISPR is molecular structure found in Bacteria, but now more popular term, commonly associated with a gene editing technique.

Given the technical nature of this article, I must have used the text from the sources only with slight modification for explanation. References should give the materials I consulted to write this post. In you notice technical inaccuracy, I aplogize, please point out, and I will correct it.


As I reader, I found reviewing biological terms helped me understand the material better.

DNA, the language of life. Figure from A Crack in Creation book.

Human Body is made of cells, in-fact trillions of cells. Each of these cells contain something called DNA. DNA is like recipe, just like a food recipe, but for building and maintaining living organisms.

Cells use DNA to make proteins. Proteins are the workhorses of the body, they do all the stuff we need to do to survive, from digesting food to making other proteins. Proteins are molecules made up of cells.

DNA is made up of a long combination of some very basic organic components called Adenine, Thymine, Guanine and Cytosine. Human DNA consists of about 3 billion of these. The sequence of these determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences.

In the nucleus of each cell, the DNA molecule is packaged into thread-like structure called chromosomes. A Chromosome is a DNA containing structure.

RNA are like cousins of DNA, which has an oxygen atom with it. One type called messager RNA, mRNA, act as carrier of information to different cells, carrying information from DNA to those cells to produce proteins.

So far, in above definitions, we didn't emphasize on heredity , that is, sending information from parent to child yet. As soon as we start talking about heredity, we use the term, Genes.

A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Each chromosome of human body has many genes.

If we take a single cell from human body, and find out the entire set of genetic information in the chromosomes of that cell, we call that a Genome. A Genome, from Gen e and Chromos ome, is the entire set of genetic instructions found inside a cell.

CRISPR in bacteria

Single celled organisms like Bacteria were using a technique to fight off some diseases. The term CRISPR was given to an identified characteristic in Bacterial DNA sequence, which was used to produce a protein called CAS-9, which in turn, helped to kill the enemy virus.

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and is a family of DNA Sequences found in genomes of bacteria. CAS9 stands for CRISPR associated protein 9.

The bacteria were found to capture snippets of DNA from invading viruses and use them to create DNA segments known as CRISPR arrays. The CRISPR arrays allow the bacteria to "remember" the viruses. If the viruses attack again, the bacteria produce RNA segments from the CRISPR arrays to target the viruses' DNA. The bacteria then use Cas9 to cut the DNA apart and kill the virus.

CRISPR in Bacteria. Figure from Crack in the Creation.

CRISPR Shaping Human Genome

The CRISPR-Cas9 system works similarly in the lab. Researchers create a small piece of RNA with a short "guide" sequence that attaches (binds) to a specific target sequence of DNA in a genome. The RNA also binds to the Cas9 enzyme. As in bacteria, the modified RNA is used to recognize the DNA sequence, and the Cas9 enzyme cuts the DNA at the targeted location. Although Cas9 is the enzyme that is used most often, other enzymes (for example Cpf1) can also be used. Once the DNA is cut, researchers use the cell's own DNA repair machinery to add or delete pieces of genetic material, or to make changes to the DNA by replacing an existing segment with a customized DNA sequence

When CRISPR was determind that it could be used in lab on living organisms, the potential for shaping the genome unfolded.

First time ever, in over 100,000 years, we have ability to shape the Homo Sapien evolution by mechanisms other than random mutation and natural selection.

In humans, CRISPR can be used to do a precise repair and produce a normal protein from a non-functional gene.

CRISPR enables scientists to edit and fix single incorrect letters of DNA from 3.2 billion letters that comprise the human genome. It can also be used to perform even more complicated edits to Human DNA.

A relatively straightforward DNA editing has transformed every genetic disease, at-least the diseases for which we know the underlying mutation(s) into a potentially treatable disease.

CRISPR on Animals

CRISPR has been used to create gene edited mouse wherein the genome of the embroyo was edited and introduced back into womb to have an offspring with the desirable characteristics embedded at time of birth.

Gene Edited Mouse. Figure from A Crack in Creation.

And we have used gene editing to create animals desirable characteristics

Gene edited animals. Figure from A crack in creation.

This is currently used in practice. Like Recombinetics uses gene editing for dehorning cattle, a safer method than physical dehorning using hot iron-rods.

Pigs as Bio Reactors

An important field of bio technology is regenerative medicine, desired by human society who are fighting of some disease eithe naturally or have lost some ability due an accident.

Many scientists see the pig itself as a source of medicine. It is seen that we might be using pigs as bioreactors to produce valuable drugs like therapeutic human proteins, which are too complex to synthesize from scratch and can only be produced in living cells.

Scientists have already been looking to other transgenic animals to produce these biopharmaceutical drugs, or farmaceuticals, as they’re colloquially called.

Revivicor is a company that is using CRISPR to produce regenerative medicine, following the process exactly outlined above. A workflow from their website gives the details on how Pigs are used as Bio Reactors for regenerative medicine.

Malaria Resistant Mosquitos

The deadliest animal on earth, Mosquito can also be killed using CRISPR. The idea seems to create malaria resistant mosquitoes using gene editing so that the entire family is disabled from being a carriers of malaria.

CRISPR for Therapeutics

CRISPR can be utilized to edit the germ cells outside the body. The edited germ cells can be planted inside for beneficiary aspects.

Ex-vivo CRISPR therapy. A Crack In The Creation.

For targeted drug delivery, like fixing the lung or particular muscle instead of injecting the drug into blood stream.

In-vivo CRISPR therapy. A Crack In the Creation.

Adult Homo sapiens are among the last animals to be treated with CRISPR, human cell: have been subjected to more CRISPR gene editing than those of any other organism.

Scientists have applied CRISPR in lung cells to correct the genetic mutation that causes cystic fibrosis, in blood cells to correct the mutations that cause sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia, and in muscle cells to correct the mutations that cause Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Scientists have used CRISPR to edit and repair mutations in stem cells, which can then be coaxed to transform into virtually any cell or tissue type in the body.

Even as CRISPR continues to be useful, it's power as a technology and it's potential misuse is a concern for everyone.

Whether we'll ever have the intellectual and moral capacity to guide our own genetic destiny is an open question - one that has been in my mind since I began to realize what CRISPR is capable of. - Jennifer Doudna

And Jennifer Doudna shares her stance as she says, that the nature will still be our supreme master.

Any mutations that CRISPR might make—intentional or not—would almost certainly pale in comparison to the genetic storm that rages inside each of us from birth to death. As one writer put it, “Genetic editing would be a droplet in the maelstrom of naturally churning genomes.” If CRISPR could eliminate a disease-causing mutation in the embryo with high certainty and only a slight risk of introducing a second off-target mutation elsewhere, the potential payoffs might well outweigh the dangers. - Jennifer Doudna