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Books that talk of Legends, Emotions, Fandom and a Soldier’s Autobiography: Here is a List!

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New Delhi, May 5, 2017: Embark on a journey with a real estate magnate living in the two worlds of reality and myth that blend as he seeks the answer to his existence; glance through different emotions and thoughts that are relatable to everyone. Also, know how some kinds of engagement with fans succeed and some backfire; read a highly motivating autobiography of a soldier who can inspire youth who dare to dream big.

That’s what IANS bookshelf has on offer this weekend. Read on!

1. Book: The Legend of Karna; Author: Karan Vir; Publisher: Frog Books; Pages: 227; Price: 299

Karan vir Oberoi, a real-estate magnate living in New York, has recurrent dreams of someone who looks like an ancient warrior clad in golden armour and wearing golden earrings. He feels a deep bond with the warrior but the dreams remain a mystery to him. After miraculously surviving an assassination attempt, Oberoi is determined to seek answers. His quest for truth leads him back to his homeland, India, where his true destiny awaits him.

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Karna, the legendary hero from the Mahabharata, is considered one of the most valiant and generous kings of his era. He defied social customs and traditions to achieve immortal glory by his virtues and skills. He became a king and trusted friend of Duroyadhana — the crown prince of Hastinapur.

Embark on a journey with Oberoi as the two worlds blend and as he seeks the answer to his existence. Will history repeat itself or will Oberoi choose to venture into uncharted territory? Unravel the mystery. Read the legend!

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2. Book: Seeds of Pomegranate; Authors: Irfan Nabi and Nilosree; Publisher: Half Baked Beans; Pages: 48; Price: 150

“Seeds of Pomegranate” very intriguingly brings across writings about dashes of love, half-promises and memories laced with infatuation, fleeting moments of desire and incompleteness.

The trails of these are thought to be long-entombed by the sand clock: A glance through the blurred maze of delirium. Nameless, yet familiar.

With around 50 small writings juxtaposed with pictures about simple things in life, the book offers to the readers a nice way to pass time. It also touches the complex thoughts and ideas running through the mind of an individual, but the narration is extraordinarily simple and readable.

3. Book: Super Fandom; Author: Zoe Fraade Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer; Publisher: Hachette; Pages: 318; Price: 499

Fans create, they engage, they discuss. From comics to clothing, the boundaries between fans and creators are blurring. This is the new fandom-based economy: A convergence of brand owner and brand consumer. Fan pressures hold more clout than ever before as audiences demand a say in shaping the future of the things they love.

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In “Super Fandom”, Blanar and Glazer explain this new era of symbiosis. For producers, it can mean a golden opportunity: Brands such as Polaroid and Surge, preserved by the passion of a handful of nostalgic fans, can now count on an articulate, creative, and, above all, loyal audience. Yet, the new economy has its own risks. It’s also easier than ever for companies to lose their audience’s trust, as Valve did when it tried to introduce a paid mode system for its Skyrim video game.

Examining key cases that span a wide range of consumer markets, the writers explain why some kinds of engagement with fans succeed and some backfire. Throughout, the authors delve into the history, sociology and psychology of fandom.

4. Book: Broken Crayons Can Still Colour; Author: Rakesh Walia; Publisher: Notion Press; Pages: 143; Price: 199

Captain Rakesh Walia’s autobiography “Broken Crayons Can Still Colour” is a highly motivating book and a must-read for youth who dare to dream big. An extremely absorbing and gripping narrative of his personal life, the book is difficult to put down once you start reading it.

Captain, as he is fondly called, has an amazing personality and a pleasant demeanour with no trace of his traumatic childhood experiences.

What makes the difference betweem success and failure? Is it one’s individual temperatment, the DNA or mere focus?

This book will answer all your questions. (IANS)

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Are We Alone In The Universe? Scientists Contemplate

This is a question that impacts not only science but theology, philosophy and other areas. It’s a curiosity. It’s part of being human.

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galaxy, universe
Hubble's view of a galaxy in Ursa Major, 65 million light-years away. VOA

The Hubble Telescope has given us spectacular pictures from space, from the dramatic image of the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, some 6,500 to 7,000 light years from Earth, to a snapshot of nearly 10,000 galaxies, including some that may be among the most distant known, existing when the universe was just 800 million years old.

Awe-inspiring though they are, they are not detailed enough to help us in our search for life in the trillions of galaxies across the universe. And physicist Justin Crepp says the prospects for finding life out there are very good.

“If tens of a percent of stars have planets that could resemble the earth and potentially have life, then the implications are that there are billions of them just within our Milky Way Galaxy.”

Crepp, an associate professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, has been hard at work answering the age-old question, “Are we alone in the universe?” As a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy, his job is to make recommendations on how and what the U.S. will explore in space over the next decade.

In September, the committee released its initial 260-page report detailing seven recommendations. First, it encourages NASA to fly a space-based mission to directly image and characterize earth-like planets around other stars and take pictures of them. But Crepp says that’s a very challenging technical problem.

“If you try to image a planet, you run into several difficulties,” he explains. “One is that their separation is very small on the sky. So, you need to spatially resolve and isolate the signal of the planet. So, you need a certain size telescope to do that. The problem is earth’s atmosphere blurs out the images, and so it exacerbates the issue.”

Another issue is that the starlight is so bright, scientists need to find a way to block it to see the planets around it. The committee thinks the technology to do that exists, but they must be able to get above the earth’s atmosphere with the right equipment to make it happen.

 

WFIRST, universe
WFIRST, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, shown here in an artist’s rendering, will provide astronomers with Hubble-quality images of large swaths of the sky. VOA

 

Better eyes on the skies

That leads to the committee’s second recommendation, this one, for the National Science Foundation: complete work on the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile, and start to build the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii. The new technology in these super telescopes will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Hubble, even though they are ground-based.

Their highly sophisticated equipment will also allow scientists to greatly enhance the work of the third recommendation: completing the partially funded Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope or WFIRST. When launched into space, it will search for and gather information on planets hundreds of light years away.

Crepp says that data will help scientists learn what the planets are made of.

“Is it a giant puffy atmosphere, or is it a rock or somewhere in between? Is it a water world? We don’t know the answers to these yet, but we’re just starting to get the first hints and inclinations what these worlds might be like around other stars,” Crepp said.

WFIRST, universe
Cosmic Crash with Dwarf Galaxy Reshaped Milky Way: Study. (IANS)

More importantly, scientists will try to determine if there are any signs of life.

The panel’s other recommendations include building new highly sensitive equipment, creating new ways for multidisciplinary teams all over the world to collaborate on various aspects of the project, and forming a profitable investor program to further laboratory, ground-based and theoretical telescopic research.

The big question

Crepp notes that people have wondered for millennia if our planet was unique in the universe, whether we are truly alone.

Also Read: NASA Hubble Completes First Science Operations

“This is a question that impacts not only science but theology, philosophy and other areas. It’s a curiosity. It’s part of being human. Is our world special? Is it isolated? Are there other planets out there that have life? Can we communicate with them? Are they our distant brethren? How are we related to one another? If so, what can we learn from one another? So, that’s the motivation for a lot of people on our panel to go to work on a daily basis.”

The report from the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Exoplanet Science Strategy will be reviewed by Congress. Portions of it may be included in the final 2020-2030 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, which will fund the continuing search for exoplanets and the study of extraterrestrial life. (VOA)