Pudong Skyline in Shanghai, China as seen from the Bund, September 2015. Image by Arkadiy Birger

Pudong Skyline in Shanghai, China as seen from the Bund, September 2015. Image by Arkadiy Birger

Yet another F̶r̶i̶d̶a̶y̶  Sunday WrapUp — a quick and easy way for you to keep up with some of the things I’ve read, watched, played or experienced this week.

Fairness notice — this is a longer email than usual.

General update. I’ve been traveling last two weeks to Shanghai, China and Chiang Mai, Thailand so wasn’t really able to sit down and dedicate some time and mental effort to writing this update, especially with really poor internet connections in China and so many things blocked by the government’s firewall. For example, all of the Google products and services are blocked, unless you use a firewall software, which unfortunately didn’t work that well for me this time around.

But now I am all settled in Chiang Mai, Thailand (expect a separate blog post on the Shanghai trip, as well as Thailand, soon) and things are back to normal, so I am resuming the weekly wrap up emails, sending the Friday WrapUp on Sunday this one time, and also hoping to write an occasional blog post or two on things that interest me at the moment.

Movie – The Martian. Not much to add here, on top of all the media (and NASA) hype. It has just come out in the theaters worldwide, so I went to see it. Good movie, go watch it, but be warned, the book is way way better. I strongly recommend to read the book, but I am not sure if reading it before watching the movie is a sure way to ruin the movie for you. So maybe watch movie first, and read the book later. If pressed for time, an audiobook is probably a great, fast, fun way to get this done. In my humble opinion the book is nothing short of genius, while the movie is just good (it did get just 4 stars out of 5 after all).

Podcasts – The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You…)) with MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark. I think I spent a total of more than 35 hours in airplanes this past two weeks, so I was able to catch up on a lot of podcasts, but this one stood out. If you are eager to catch up on the modern scientific view of the Universe, latest cosmology theories, and (not too oddly) glimpse into the near and distant future of artificial intelligence and humanity, I can’t recommend this podcast enough. Sam and Max epitomize true scientist-heroes to me — logical, extremely critical and methodical, yet witty (and self-deprecating) and open to exploring anything new and bizarre as long as it can be substantiated by scientific methods.

Just a random picture, showing one of the ways multiverse might look like.

Just a random picture, showing one of the ways multiverse might look like.

Book – The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. I know, I know, this is probably the third of fourth time when I bring this book up. But I finally finished this monster of a book (25 hours-long audio version) two days ago!!!

I am not going to do a full review of the book here, of course. It’s a great book overall, and probably not something you would normally read unless you are professionally interested in oncology in some capacity and/or are affected by cancer in some way. The book not only gave me a much better of understanding of the history of this disease, but the current (as of 2010) state of western medicine, the economy, sociology and psychology of cancer.

I think where the book stands out, is the author’s masterful weaving together the history, medicine, politics, pharmacology and molecular biology with the raw, personal, painful patient stories (his own patients as well), both humanity-affirming successes and the gut-wrenching failures.

Note: please send any and all oncology-related book recommendations my way, as this is the topic I am interested in and want to expand my knowledge as much as possible. 

Blogs and Articles – Too many to list. Thanks to the Pocket App and ample offline time in airplanes and China, I was able to get through a whole lot of blog posts and articles this past week. 43 to be precise. Topics ranged from entrepreneurship and digital marketing to productivity and Chernobyl. A few that stood out and worth sharing with you are:

The Truth About “Homeopathic” Medicine by Tim Ferriss

Where Are Chernobyl’s Children? Photography in the Age of Disaster Tourism. Interview with a    NatGeo photographer Gerd Ludwig

Potential Tactics for Defeating Cancer — A Toolkit in 1,000 Words (oldie but goodie) by Tim Ferriss

The Timothy Hunt Witch Hunt, A joke told, a reputation destroyed.

P.S. As always, reply back and let me know anything I can help you with – what are you working on right now? Did you like this Friday Wrapup?

P.S.S. I’ve started posting the previous issue of this email on my personal website. You can see the archive here