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Environment History Science What I read

Collapse Narrates How Historical and Contemporary Societies Have Succeeded, and Have Failed, to Live in Ecological Harmony

Via case-studies across history, Collapse offers a series of engrossing narratives, informed by impressive scholarship across multiple disciplines. Collapse illustrates how fragile is the balance between a society and its ecological environment; and offers actionable lessons in how we, as citizens, can demand that our own societies function more sustainably.

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Short story

Vocation

A series of loosely linked vignettes engaging with alienation. This story was featured in The Right-Eyed Deer.

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Gifted Education

Identifying Gifted Children

Image credit. A few weeks ago, in this column, we discussed why it is important to train our teachers in gifted education. We must address the advanced learning needs of high-ability children, not leave them to fend for themselves.  Read the full article at Deccan Herald.

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Environment History Science What I read

Guns, Germs, & Steel

Why is it that Eurasians colonised the Americas? Why, until European colonisation, did the Americas lag behind the Old World in population density and social organisation? Jared Diamond explores the far-reaching consequences of geographical differences on the emergence of densely populated, militaristic civilisations in Eurasia vs. the Americas.

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Flash story Microstory

One Day

A series of ten vignettes set in an Indian metropolis. The vignettes follow different individuals in different settings, over the course of one day.

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Gifted Education

Gifted children need teachers who set intellectual challenges

Image credit Gifted Education (GE) is the umbrella term for enriching, diversifying, and modifying curriculum to meet the needs of gifted children: the need for stimulation and challenge. Read the full article at Deccan Herald.

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Gifted Education

Nurturing Mathematically Gifted Children

This article was originally published by Deccan Herald. Image credit. *** A  crucial part of a nation’s human potential lies in individuals gifted in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Identifying and nurturing children gifted in STEM deserves special attention and presents special challenges. First, research suggests that the mathematically gifted stand out less than […]

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Book review

The Illicit Happiness of Other People (2012) is a Tragicomedy Illuminated by Subtle Psychosocial Analysis

*Illicit* is a satirical social commentary, a tragicomedy of self-sacrifice, crime, transcendence, and tragic redemption set against the insistent grime of a lower-middle-class family stranded between failure and social injustice on the one hand – and resilience and love on the other.

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Book review

Milan Kundera’s Slowness (1995) Is A Lucid Distillation of Philosophy and Subtle Psychological Observation

*Slowness* juxtaposes stories and characters, deftly interwoven, in a structure light and airy, never feeling crammed. It is informed by, and engages with, a deep philosophical and literary heritage. The thesis of Slowness is that we moderners have lost the gift for slow living, and thus for remembering. We live fast, therefore we forget – or is it the other way around?

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Microstory

One Day: Midnight

The tenth of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Night

The ninth of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Dusk

The eighth of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Evening

The seventh of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Late Afternoon

The sixth of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Mid-Afternoon

The fifth of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Noon

The fourth of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Midmorning

The third of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Morning

The second of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

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Microstory

One Day: Dawn

The first of ten microstories, following the lives of ordinary people, set over the course of one ordinary day in an Indian metropolis.

Categories
Book review Cognitive Science Science

The Third Chimpanzee: A Critical Retrospective

Amidst a global renaissance of xenophobia and antiscientific fundamentalism, Jared Diamond’s book is a valuable reminder that man is after all an animal shaped by his ecology.

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Book review

David Copperfield: Wise Friends, Unconventional Families, Reimagining Reality, the Dangers of Infantilising, and the Power of Circumstance

In David Copperfield, Dickens paints pictures of sage friends and family; reimagines the family unit; warns us of the dangers of overindulging children and infantilising adults, recreates aspects of his own life that he was dissatisfied with — and explores the power of circumstance in shaping human nature.

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Flash story

Re:Birth

A woman heals from trauma, and begins her journey back towards life — via love for two unexpected entities.

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Short story

Excuses

An immigrant with an apparently perfect life and unlimited empathy is driven by a guilty secret.

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Book review

The Tempest

Caliban: Heroic Anti-Colonial, Or Savage Rapist? Prospero: Pathetic Bookworm, or Forebearing Sorcerer? Best Be Gonzalo.

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Philosophy Politics Science What I read

Notes on Christopher Caudwell’s *Studies In A Dying Culture*

These analytical essays illuminate aspects of contemporary capitalist culture: including literature, liberty, and psychology. Underpinning these essays is the insight that a commodified approach to art and life erodes fundamental human relations, and impoverishes our souls. Caudwell argues — not for regressing into an imagined “glorious past” — but for us to fight together for a future of universal human dignity.

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Book review

The Ocean At The End of the Lane is An Intriguing, if Unsubstantial, Magic Realist Fable

The Ocean At The End of the Lane (2013) is the first I’ve read of Neil Gaiman. I begin with my usual caveat: this is a speculative novel, and I seldom like books in this genre. I’ve begun trying it regularly, and I liked this book better than some others I’ve tried recently. Still, if […]

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Book review

The Hottest Day of the Year

The Hottest Day of the Year: In A Place Out of Time, Women Oppress Each Other, Repress Themselves, And Finally Break Free

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Environment Flash story

Promises

A microstory about the possibility about systemic change.

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Book review Environment

The Overstory

Richard Powers’s The Overstory Is an Unflinching Examination of Nine Humans’ Fight for Forests

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Environment Personal Essay

Saving the World: Individual Action and Systemic Change

Captain Planet exhorted 90s children to save the world — while also showing us how large industry and government inaction stack the cards against meaningful change. Thirty years on, was Captain Planet right?

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Short story

Sanctuary

Volume Three of Fearsome Critters is out, with my short story “Sanctuary.” Set on a solo weekend trip to Benaras, “Sanctuary” fictionalises a friend’s psychoglocial journey. A journey of healing from trauma, rediscovering oneself through reflection (with aid from psychedelics), and recovering one’s faith in people and purpose in life.

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Book review

The Sellout (2015) is Incisive and Relentless, But Falls Short of Greatness

The first third of The Sellout’s 288 pages is hilarious. After that, Beatty recycles himself… I would’ve enjoyed getting to know Foy Cheshire, the leader of the faux-intellectuals and the book’s chief antagonist. As it is, Foy remains a theatre-mask… The Sellout is excellent, but not great. Mesmerised by its brilliantly coloured flat characters, it the novel misses opportunities to humanise its characters.

Categories
Book review Politics

A Passage to India Argues Powerfully Against Orientalism and Imperialism

In this book review published at Qrius, I revisit E. M. Forster’s best-known novel. A Passage to India demolishes the racism that sustains imperialism; the novel exemplifies the power of literature to catalyse social progress

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Film review Uncategorized

Black Mirror’s Scathing Social Commentary Is A Wake-Up Call for Contemporary Democracies

In this critique published at Countercurrents, I explore a genre-changing television series. Black Mirror does best when it shows how, in a world that’s almost this world, mass media and social media cause problematic behaviour at the mass level.

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Book review

Orwell’s Essays Presage His Masterpiece *1984*

In this feature published at Countercurrents, I examine how Orwell’s nonfiction engages with the issues that make his fiction so powerful.

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Book review

Book Review: Gerald Durrell’s Encounters with Animals

A review of one of British conservationist and hilarious writer Gerald Durrell’s less-known gems.

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Book review

Charles Dickens’s Bleak House.

A critique of one of Dickens’s less-known but most masterful novels.

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Book review

What I Read – A selection from Aesop’s Fables

Some life lessons from an ancient Greek fabulist.

Categories
Book review Science

The Ancestor’s Tale Offers a Fascinating Journey Back to our Roots

In this review published at Countercurrents, I examine Dawkins’s encylopaedia of the tree of life.

Categories
Book review History Politics

Mark Tully’s No Full Stops in India exposes the decades-long roots of contemporary India’s social chasms, systemic injustices, and communal tensions

In this article published at Qrius, I explore the continuing relevance of BBC journalist Mark Tully’s book of essays on India.

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Environment Science

COVID-19: Past, Present, Future

In this article published at Countercurrents, I explore the history of zoonoses in shaping civilisation, and review the steps we must take to obviate future pandemics,