The first time I heard about a walking trail perched on top of the Karkonosze (Krkonoše in Czech) Mountains that meanders through the border between Poland and the Czech Republic multiple times, I was instantly intrigued. It is a moderately difficult trek of about 30 kilometres while traversing most of the prominent peaks of the Karonosze mountains in the Sudetes range. The first and the most obvious reason for this newfound excitement was my lack of trek fitness, and the second was an opportunity to witness the crisscrossing of boundaries between these two countries.
Arbeit macht frei – The story of an inverted “B”
As soon as you pass the entry blocks at the Auschwitz former concentration camp and assemble for your guide to brief the group, you’ll notice written arching over the main iron gate: Arbeit Macht Frei. It loosely translates into English as “Work sets you free.” A cynical lie that the Nazis propagated, as they starved, tortured, maimed and gave horrible death to 1.1 million people that were sent here during Nazi Germany’s occupation of Poland.
There are many stories, anecdotes and examples of true grit and character that come out of these fenced barbwires. One of them, however, is less known.
Story of the “B,” that’s upside-down
A careful gaze at the very gate with the cynical lie, and you can notice the letter “B” in the word Arbeit. It looks upside-down!
This may not look apparent to an unsuspecting eye at first, but someone with a basic knowledge of typography can confirm that it’s indeed inverted.
According to the International Auschwitz Committee, “…the prisoners placed their hidden message in the word “Arbeit”: they turned the letter “B” upside down. They were enraged by the endless fear, the everyday humiliations, the beatings, the hatred and the murder that they were forced to witness. They created a mark of their courage, their will to overcome the fear, to survive and later to tell the world about what happened in Auschwitz.“
Auschwitz – A lesson in humanity, for humans
A walking tour through these relics of not so distant past, one is reminded of the despicable atrocities committed by one group of humans on another. Similarly, there are stories abound of personal grit of some in the face of certain death, of innumerable selfless sacrifices and the sheer will of human survival.
Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite.Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
Executions took place in a courtyard between Block 10 and Block 11. Block 11 was known as the “Block of Death” by the prisoners.
The Auschwitz II Birkenau Concentration Camp
A short 30 minutes ride from the main Auschwitz I camp brings you to the biggest of the Auschwitz camps, and one of the largest killing fields of World War II.
Trains filled with victims from throughout occupied Europe arrived at the camp almost every day between 1942 and the summer of 1944.
The prisoners were forced to live in the barracks as they were building them; in addition to working, they faced long roll calls at night. As a result, most prisoners in the men’s camp in the early months died of hypothermia, starvation or exhaustion within a few weeks.
So, let us be alert – alert in a twofold sense.― Victor E Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake.
Working Remotely from the Hills in India
With advent of newer technologies and practise of better work culture, the way we approach work is slowly but surely changing. While it’s true of most new age startups, the experimental HR executives of technology behemoths are not too shy in letting their employees work form home or a location of their choice. The caveat: As long as work is done, and on time, it’s a win-win for all!
Advent of newer technologies and adoption of better work / personal life balance is slowly changing the way we approach work.
तो ज़िंदा हो तुम…
Film: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Written by Javed Akhtar, Recited by Farhan Akhtar
|दिलों में तुम अपनी
बेताबियाँ लेके चल रहे हो,
तो ज़िंदा हो तुम
नज़र में ख्वाबों की
बिजलियाँ लेके चल रहे हो,
तो ज़िंदा हो तुम
हवा के झोकों के जैसे
जो अपनी आँखों में
|Dilon mein tum apni
Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Nazar mein khwabon ki
Bijliyaan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Hawa ke jhokon ke jaise
Jo apni aankhon mein
|If you are moving
with an eagerness in your heart,
then you are alive
If you’re moving
with the sparks of dreams in your eyes,
then you’re alive
Learn to live freely
If you’re moving with
Inspired by a post from Atul Chitnis (1962-2013) – FOSS evangelist, Pink Floyd fan and a fine human being.
An eye-drop #hack
Here is a nifty way to insert your eye-drop by yourself:
- Uncap your eye-drop
- Point it over the corner of your eye (where it meets your nose)
- Drop desired amount
- As you blink a few times, it spreads evenly
इस दौर-ए-तरक्की में कब किस से मिलें,
जब खुद से ही मिलने का एक वक़्त मुक्कर्र हो
साभार – राम किशोर
Google “That’s all we know” Errors
Ever tried adding an event invitation sent to your Gmail?
It fires a *very* long URI, which, of course is too much to handle for Google Calendar. It humbly yields an innocent:
414. That’s an error.
The requested URL
/… is too large to process. That’s all we know.
Yes, this one precisely:
It appears to be a known issue and people have already forked it on places like Github. There is a workaround, but no permanent fix I suppose.
However, today my main point of contention is Google’s approach towards handling such errors. “That’s all we know.” — The (in)famous Google Blah page. Com’on Google, you’re not trying to be funny like us new age start-ups, having a fancy and sometimes kitschy 404 pages to impress people. Especially if Google fires up a 404 upon a search query, with no hints for users for the next step, it defeats the purpose of having an advanced algorithm and so much machine learning which Google prides itself over. TechCrunch did a piece over it when Google introduced them last year, a practice which we all thought was temporary, still persists.
Maybe just another hint from Google, of the boundaries between AI and human intelligence — Google’s 404 Fail Robot. With broken springs and parts.
EDIT: Am I being too skeptical here? Focusing more on such trivial errors, rather than on the solutions. I should fix my 404 pages first. :)
A season of astronomical delights!
I dearly missed two things in the last two days: Owning a aperture-rich Telescope and being at a place with minimal light pollution. I am a casual skywatcher and this month, specially, last two days have been nonetheless quite delightful for me!
Although the planets near to earth (Mars, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter) are visible to naked eyes quite often, but since December 14 last year, they have been sort of aligning together in some sort of pattern or visible at the same time in a clear night sky. On February 25, 2012 they were kind of aligning perfectly moments after dusk. I missed the Mercury as it almost followed Sun and wasn’t possible to notice it. However, I did take several sumptuous view of Venus, Jupiter and Mars and our very own crescent Moon with craters visible.
Moon, Venus and Jupiter: Degrees apart
Mars on the eastern horizon
Red bleak yet bright enough to notice.
Filter your own traffic on Google Analytics
Put this code in your browser address bar and hit enter:
Don’t forget to set the your_keyword as your unique word in Google Analytics filter settings (Cookie method of course).
…and to test if the cookie is set in the browser:
Still won’t work? It does for me, at least, so far. Post here, I’m working to find a full-proof method, especially after GA updated with new set of codes.