BOOKMARK-4 & 5
By Manju Gupta
The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future – Just Enough, Vivek Ranadive & Kavin Maney, Hodder & Stoughton, Pp 243, Rs 499.00
This book talks of the day not being far when machines would be able to predict a person what would happen just two second before the event occurs.
Beginning with the story of Wayne Gretzky the book describes the greatest player in National Hockey League in America for his ability to know what is going to happen on ice a second or two before anyone else.
This prompts the author Kevin to set out to find how Gretzky’s brain works as a predictive machine. Computer scientists have now come to realise the predictive nature of the brain and his has become an expanding area of scientific discovery and the intersection of the two – computer science and neuroscience.
Wayne Gretzky as a youngster stood five feet eleven inches tall and weighed 170 pounds – a wisp compared to the average NHL players. He wasn’t even a particularly great athlete in a purely physical sense. He admitted, “Our team doctors tested my endurance, strength, reflexes and flexibility with machines, bicycles and drills. They tested every guy in the team and I did BAD in all the tests.” Yet he held every hockey scoring record there was.
His father taught him anticipation and Gretzky memorised hundreds of tricks and shortcuts – and then perfected them because he had no other way of succeeding on the ice.
(Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH; www.hodder.co.uk)
An unusual mix of facts and fiction as a social narrative
By Manju Gupta
Many a Hard Nut: Key Social Issues and Remedies, S Ganesan, Gyan Publishing House, Pp 297, Rs 750.00
Focusing on some of the most serious challenges that are faced by mankind today, this book provides an unusual mix of fiction, facts, realities, incidents and information culled from various sources, including the media.
Comprising of 15 chapters on diverse topics, each chapter deals with a topic of crucial importance for leading a safe and pleasant life. Some of the areas covered include religion and caste system, food security, energy security, terrorism, global warning, racism, religious intolerance, human rights violations and crimes that affect society. Not only these, even issues like corruption and scandals that are reigning and plaguing the society are discussed.
Targeting the young generation, especially the students, the topics aim to teach them to cherish virtues and human values. Presented in the form of discussions between the protagonist and experts in their respective fields, the topics analyse the problems of the people and suggest possible solutions to them. Some topics lay emphasis on social and administrative reforms and development of a good character.
Under the topic Religion and Caste system, the author narrates an incident that occurred at an Anganwadi in Ammapatti village of Tamil Nadu, where both Hindu and Dalit children were served separately. The Dalit children were instructed to bring their own utensils. They were not even allowed to play or mingle with the Hindu children. Once the Anganwadi is shifted to another building where the Dalit children are instructed not to wear footwear when entering Hindu houses. Even the Dalit parents are forbidden from doing so.
The book can be read in one go as it gives examples from real life and some of which the reader may already be familiar with.
(Gyan Publishing House, 23, Main Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-2; www.gyanbooks.com)