Mark had just gotten into MIT in Cambridge and he began mining cryptocurrencies more or less by accident. In November 2016, Mark stumbled upon NiceHash, which is an online marketplace where you can mine Cryptocurrencies for willing buyers. He started small, with a desktop computer topped up with a graphics card.

Within a few weeks, he had recovered the Rs. 8000 ($120) cost of his card, and earned yet another Rs. 13,500 ($200) which he used for buying another one.

e went up to his professor and asked for his old desktop systems which he had lying dormant. Because when equipped with a graphics card, those 'garbage' PCs worked just fine for mining. Mark switched from NiceHash to mining ether, which was then the most popular Bitcoin alternative.

Every time he mined enough ether to cover the cost, he bought a new graphics card and traded the leftover currency into Bitcoin for safekeeping. By 2017, he was running 7 computers and mining ether round the clock from his dorm room.

By September, his profits totaled 1 Bitcoin, which was $4,500 (approx. 3 lakhs) at that time. And just about four months later, when Bitcoin blew up and he'd diversified his portfolio, he had amassed well over 13 lakhs ($20,000) in digital cash.

What helped him?

In typical mining scenarios, electricity costs take up the highest fraction of operational costs. Mark benefitted because he operated his rig at his dorm, and MIT doesn't charge hostellers for electricity bills. The electricity and internet are part of the tuition.

What is mining?

Paper currencies are issued by the bank and thus they come to us printed as a physical entity, which we call banknotes. Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, on the other hand, does not come in a physical form. This creates a major risk from hackers, who can thus create Bitcoins from theoretically nothing.

Bitcoin mining is a way to keep transactions secure. Imagine a public ledger which has records of every transaction made through Bitcoin. This is what is called as Blockchain. In this ledger, you can't remove entries, and so to make a change you'll have to add another entry.

To keep Blockchain secure, it's distributed and hosted by various computers all over the world, and those computers are known as miners.


The Rule Breakers Guide to Cryptocurrencies: What Is Blockchain? — The Motley Fool 

uestions, asking them and lots of them. When we visited Varanasi as a part of our study tour, we're encouraged to ask locals questions and conduct interviews. I'm glad I could muster up the courage to take one such interview. And I'm glad I did. Here's the interview, redacted to prevent privacy of those concerned.

How did you actually make plans to come to Varanasi? Is it the place itself, or is it the kind of work that you do?
A: It’s actually related to my research because I’m working on temple architecture. So, for my Ph.D., I looked at the temples in Delhi, and then I got a chance to come to Varanasi by finding a residency so now I’m looking at the temples in Varanasi.

That’s so nice. So since you’ve lived a Delhi for quite a long time, could you tell us how do you find the culture of Delhi different from the culture of Varanasi?
A: Oh, it’s very different! Delhi is a metropolitan city. There are lots of people coming from different places, lots of facilities are available and the city itself is much bigger than Varanasi. The way people move and live in Delhi is very different than they do in Varanasi. In Delhi, people are very busy and concerned about their own work.

There aren't many rituals happening. I mean, there are rituals happening but they aren’t deeply rooted in the city unlike they are here, in Varanasi, I won’t talk about the very old Islamic parts of Delhi, they’re different. In Varanasi, people in a family have been staying together for generations, so there are things like food, power, culture, and music which have very old cultural roots in the city.

As an architectural enthusiast, can you throw some light on the underlying layers of fabric that intricately yet beautifully weave the city of Varanasi?
A: Although I’m not really sure about what is it that you’re referring to, but yes, this is also a difference between the city of Varanasi and Delhi. In Delhi, especially the southern parts of Delhi have very wide and paved roads. So the urban fabric is very different from the fabric that you have in Varanasi. Most of the city, at least the old parts of the city is small galis, so you can’t actually move through the cities with cars, you’ve to walk through the galis.

The first time you change cities of residence, you find yourself in a cultural shock, which can be either due to a difference in your expectations of the place and reality or in the lifestyle being different from your former place of residence. What were those shocks, and how did you manage to cope with them?
A: At first there was a huge difference, coming from a very small village in Germany, which had 500 people living in the village, so the difference was not only, like a change of country, or a change of setting, but generally, coming from a village and moving to a city where there are millions of people was a big change.  In Delhi, everything is within a walking distance.  In terms of living, I used to live in a hostel, which means the facilities I had were very basic, I didn’t have my own kitchen and I had to share my bathroom with 30 to 50 other girls. I wanted to do my Ph.D. so I couldn’t complain!

Coming and staying in Varanasi, of course, is very different because here I have two rooms, my own bathroom, there’s a kitchen where the cook prepares food every day, I’m not used to that kind of luxury, even in  Germany I don’t get to stay that comfortably.

A curious learner: Hey Ansh, I know a bit of basic HTML, can you help me learn more?

Hey curious learner, why not! Everyone wants to have a cool website (along with a fidget spinner) these days. (And no, Amazon isn't giving them together) First we're going to download some cool softwares, which would help you to code faster.
You can try either Notepad++ or Sublime Text. They're both free softwares, and you can download them using these links. I prefer to use Sublime Text for coding in HTML.

Getting started with Sublime Text

The beauty of this editor is the variety of shortcuts it has to offer. Let's not waste time. There's this way to just open up Sublime Text and get started with coding; and then, there's this way which is likely to be beneficial in the future so let's stick with the latter.

Create a folder

Websites have their own separate folder. This makes searching and uploading files to the server easy, and helps us to be organised. So first create a new folder. I'm creating a folder named
. Next, open Sublime Text and do this:
File menu > Open Folder...
Browse and open your new folder and you're done. Remember this step.

Create the file

index.html will be the main file of the website. A front page sort of thing, it's called the homepage. Now, I'm sure you remember the old school typing
and so on. We won't type it manually, we'll ask Sublime Text to type it. Here's how:

Press Ctrl+Shift+P

A small box opens up. It's called Command Palette (I didn't know it's called that, I had to look that up just to tell you). Type

Basically what you've done is that you've told Sublime Text that the language you're typing is HTML. The
means set syntax (I knew this).
Now type
(you don't even need to type
, just type
. As soon as you do that, you'll see a menu like this:

Press Tab two times and see the magic! Finally, put something between the title tags and the body tags and save the document as
in your folder. Why don't we match our files? My
after doing all this looks like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
 <title>My good ole webpage</title>
 Hello, I'm Ansh Sharma. Welcome to my website :-)

Save this file and try opening this with your favorite web-browser. Also, congratulations, you've successfully crafted your first website.

This wiki can also be viewed over GitHub.

When I found the walls at the National Gallery of Modern Arts brandishing abstract works, which is my new-found area of interest, made by Australian tribals, I couldn't resist arranging a tryst. I'm dropping a quick post featuring some of my favorite works:

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. ~ Rumi

Most of the folklore that I keep posting on this blog is from what I can recall as far as my memory allows me to. I had a teacher back in school, Ms. Aryama, who used to teach us Sanskrit, and she oft-times talked about the mirroring nature of human beings; as to how humans are just like mirrors, and how our own behavior can go a long way in influencing the opposite person's reaction to your opinions and beliefs.

So, highly inspired from the saying that goes:
Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Mahatma Gandhi.
She wanted us to behave in the same manner we wished our colleagues or acquaintances to behave in, in order to get them mirror our own spirit and soul.

I was a fan of this philosophy ever since, but the story she used to narrate this was rather weird, to like it or not, as I usually emphasize, is rather subjective, but the point here is it stuck, and that made all the difference.

A weird story, here goes...

nce a king wanted, as kings usually want, to do something substantial. We all seek an escape from oblivion; art, writing and architecture are merely some ways we can get any close.

He thus contemplated and settled on an idea of arranging a painting competition as a quest to find out the best painter in his kingdom. Time passes him by a few days and he decided upon two finalists that would, for a month each, stay in one of the palace’s luxurious halls as the king’s guest and spend their days painting to win, a prize, of course, and then their is, moral gratification.

But wait, what if they cheat? They could’ve looked at each other’s work because they were in the same hall and so the king decided to put a circular curtain around both of their work-spaces.

Thirty long days, it was autumn, the first painter could’ve been painting drawing conscious inspiration from the window he was near to. We couldn’t really guess what the second painter was up to, though, this guy was rather elusive.

The king walked up to them to decide upon which of the two masterpieces would hang behind the walls of the throne for the others to feast their eyes to. The first painter revealed his work.
Jaw dropping realism and attention was paid even to the minutest of details.
And when the second painter removed his curtains, every single soul present around was flabbergasted. Not a word was spoken for what seemed like eternity. Because what the second painter had drawn, was exactly the same as the first one! In fact, it was actually better.
The second painting had a characteristic shine to it that the first one lacked.

But, it was impossible to cheat! Was one of them sneaking around? Negative, the guards, who were appointed on duty to prevent this mishap, but apparently had failed, confirmed. The king, now confused, frustrated and baffled, took to inquiring the two. The second painter explained what had he been doing for the past month.
I didn't paint anything. All I was doing was polishing the surface I should've been drawing on. I kept on doing this till the curtains were lifted. My canvas, by now, had become a mirror. When this mirror witnessed the first man's work, and because the painting was a masterpiece and of great quality, it absorbed and embraced it.

Which tells us to...

Polish our inner selves to get them to be like mirrors, so that the next time we see a good quality, the mirror within us embraces it and the quality becomes one with our own self.

I was out on a walk with a close friend of mine, and it's a tale of that sultry evening in August, which you can only see getting any better when you're bitching about a common classmate that everyone hates.

But, hating is a strong word. And I say we don't usually hate things, ideas or even people. What we perceive as hatred may be just be something or someone that we don't understand. As for me, there was a point of time until which I couldn't appreciate art.

So, I tried to ask him into why'd he think that he hated that guy. Turns out that it was because he didn't even try to appreciate anyone. His remarks were always condescending (Oops!). So, even if my friend had burnt the midnight oil and came up with something outstanding (we're working on models made out of cardboard back then), he would come up to him and remark, "Sheesh! That's nothing to be proud of, anyone could have done that."

Appreciation, I said. How important is it?

Well, there's folklore...

nce upon a time, an old man, probably in his 70s, went up to a famous artist. His tired and weary eyes were devoid of excitement and his pale brown skin displayed some deep and prominent wrinkles.

This young artist, though, was at the zenith of his career, extremely skilled and flamboyant, which made him the best candidate to get an honest critique from.

The old man handed him some paintings he'd been working on the past few days while pleading him that he'll not be offended and he's seeking an honest review. The artist, held his intense stare at the works for a quite a while, and sighed deeply and said, "I'm sorry, but the man who drew this paintings has really no knowledge of what is art. I'm sorry."

To this the old man, took out some more works from his torn and worn out bag, and handed them out to the artist, "And what do you think about these?", and one could clearly see the artist's eyes gleaming with a newfound energy. "Wow! Amazing!", he almost jumped out of his seat.
These works are out of the world, whoever this person is, he could become an idol in this field of art, I'm sorry, but is he your grandson?
It was evident that the old man's eyes were becoming wet as he collected his work to put them back in his bag. He answered, almost as a whisper, for he couldn't bring himself to speak,
No, this is me, when I was my grandson's age. I had a natural flair for painting, but no one appreciated my work like you did today. So, I never continued. Only if someone back then said I was good, I could've been an artist extraordinaire.

Which brings us to...

Appreciation can make or break a person's life. And it can make you favoured for taking the time to value someone else's work. Beware, this is difficult, it takes courage to appreciate someone who's doing the same things you're doing, better than you are doing. Perhaps it makes you feel like it’s some sort of a competition. But this shouldn't stop you from appreciating someone. Or should it?

Lastly, when someone appreciates you, be sure that you're accepting it.

Appreciating art was something I wasn't always good about, it all came to me over these years as I went about studying artists and architects alike. But there's this thing around which I couldn't just wrap my head, abstract art. There's this guy named Mark Rothko who is into abstract expressionism. For instance, here's one of Rothko's works, Four Darks in Red (1958).

So, while one of my friends back at my university, School of Planning and Architecture, went about singing praises on how deep a meaning his works hold and how some of them are valued at millions (one of his work was sold for $87 million), I asked myself,
Isn't this something I can do, too? Or, for that matter, we all can, too? What actually is abstract art after all, painting swatches?
This was all happening while we're huddled together in a metro train slithering its way through the subways of the city while we're on our way to an art exhibition at Gallery Threshold (hosted by Ms. Tunty Chauhan) displaying Pandit Khairnar's works which were critiqued by Georgina Maddox.

While we waited in the metro, where the breeziness of air conditioned gusts flowed freely, my friend tried his best to convince me that abstract art can be though of as a stage or a level, and isn't a stage or a level that you can reach when you're just starting out in the field of art, because that's when you'd be testing the waters, and also that's when you're just naive. What made Rothko's work stand out were the fact that they were created by Rothko, because years of exploration has made him achieve a level on which you and me aren't at yet.

He even beautifully quoted Picasso!
There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.
We reached where there was a hall, the walls of which proudly displayed works of Khairnar, and while I meditatively tried to engage in a conversation with the works of his abstractness, Pandit Khairnar stood there besides me, albeit silently and still, and it was his works which did all the talking.

Our brain is terribly wired. It forces me to look for forms even when I know I was looking at an abstract art, and so I could see dark patches in his work, which looked almost like spots in his paintings. On inquiring him, he said that they weren't intentional. It's just something that he had in his personality that he later found being transcended into his art. And that's when it struck me.

Beyond the abstraction of the celestial that he consciously wanted to portray, beyond the romance of day and night that he witnessed in the skies, there was a sub-conscious that sneakily made its way into his art forms, and that is what forms the aura of the whole artwork. And also that's the reason why I can't paint a square swatch and sell it for potentially millions, because as of now, my personality cannot descend into my work, it'll only comes with years of exploration.

I couldn't really have learnt this if I hadn't had the chance to see the artist and his works together. I asked him to pose against his favorite work, the one which he felt himself the most attached to, and it was this:

I'm grateful to Vandana Kothari Ma'am for this enlightening lesson and the wonderful insight that came with it.

MARI themes

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