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Atharva Jadhav
Student at IIT Bombay by day, reader by heart. My linktree: linktr.ee/Addu_Jaddu

The idea of magic has been a vital part of everyone’s childhood. It is embedded within our collective consciousness, showing up in the stories we write and share with others. It has taken multiple forms in our hands, from a powerful force with no limitations to a corrupting influence that takes as much as it gives. Even in the scientifically-advanced world of 2021, many still believe in its existence, with several multi-million dollar industries relying on this belief to make money.

Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

Magic in fiction is classified on a scale of hardness, depending on how many restrictions and rules are placed…


There is not a single theory more featured in nightmares than Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems. Their presence exists as a conceptual black box, forever preventing complete understanding. When they were officially proven in the 1930s, they single-handedly put Hilbert’s dream for the future of mathematics in the realm of impossibility. Some claim they also stop us from ever knowing the complete list of rules that run our Universe, a grim possibility to consider.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

In the early 20th century, mathematics was going through a crisis of unprecedented proportions: several contradictions and inconsistencies were being found in the popular framework, necessitating an immediate…


I’ve already written about philosophical razors before in my very first article here on Medium, and I was going to leave it at that: after all, I had covered all the major ones and mentioned several others. Recent encounters with new kinds of stupidity and cajoling from some friends have, however, managed to get me to change my mind about writing a second part. Also, this topic is something I am familiar with and won’t take too much time to research; I’m dying trying to keep up with college as is.

The Emperor of Logic. Photo by Andrew Santellan on Unsplash

Let’s start with Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword– even its…


Ever since I was old enough to know the alphabet, I have wondered why the typical computer keyboard had such an odd arrangement of letters. After all, QWERTY is hardly a sensible ordering, being neither alphabetical nor zetabetical. I was determined to find out, though, and kept asking every adult I knew about it. My class teacher took to giving me candy to ensure I wouldn’t bring up the topic again (okay, she only gave it to me twice, but that was a big enough bribe for me at that time).

Photo by Laura Rivera on Unsplash

One Sunday evening, after my mother had had enough…


Humans have been obsessed with the idea of aliens for centuries: portraying them in our movies, searching for their traces across the galaxies, even coming up with bizarre conspiracy theories involving extraterrestrial shapeshifting kitten-eating lizards posing as politicians. Our curiosity has also allowed us to create an equation which gives a rough estimate of how many aliens we would make contact with within our lifespan as a species, but this comes with a caveat: it depends on several quantities we have no reasonable estimate for. It’s known as the Drake equation, after Dr. …


Over the years, humans have developed several thousand compounds for our use and amusement, be they inorganic or organic. Despite this, the search for new ones never ends. As our methods refine, we find ourselves capable of creating things previously thought impossible, like a hydrocarbon in the shape of a cube and a material lighter than air. We have a strange sort of fascination with reaching the extremes in anything, which led to the development of the substances I’ll be telling you about.

Taking Electrons from Oxygen

ClF3, commonly known as chlorine trifluoride, is one of the few reagents even master chemists feel uneasy…


Humans are, by default, bad at probability. Let’s take the infamous Monty Hall problem to illustrate this point. It goes like this: on a certain TV show, you appear as a contestant. In front of you are three doors. Behind two are goats, while the third has a cool sports car. Of course, you don’t know which door has what behind it. You can pick one of the three and claim whatever is found there as your own. You decide to go with #1. The game show host then opens door #2, behind which is a goat. Before you open…


I recently got a video on Whatsapp from a distant family member about how if a flea was the size of a human, it would be capable of jumping 300 meters into the air, and other ‘facts’ like this. It was crudely made, involving a serious voice combined with cartoonish animations, and at first I thought it was supposed to be funny. I promptly sent some laughing-face emojis and added a gif for good measure. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I got a call from my relative telling me how ‘horrible’ I was and how I ‘had no…


Being gay has its own advantages: Pride parades, doubling your wardrobe if you date someone your own size, and the ability to judge a story by reading its first two paragraphs. Since it is almost impossible to find good representation in mainstream media, many turn to fanfiction as an alternative. The problem lies in the fact that fanfiction is almost always terribly-written, and to be able to pick out the jewels from the avalanche of unintentional horror is a daunting task. Fortunately for you, I have perfected this art, and don’t mind sharing my knowledge.

That’s Fine and All, but Will I be Sued?

Before I impart my wisdom…


Ever since the explosion of the mystery genre during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, there has been no dearth of whodunnit stories. In 1929, Ronald A. Knox compiled a list of ten rules he claimed all good mysteries followed. Collectively known as Knox’s Decalogue or Knox’s Commandments, they embodied the spirit of the 1920s ‘games’, as they were called. A more comprehensive list of 20 rules was published by S.S. Van Dine, but they never reached the same popularity that Knox achieved. …

Atharva Jadhav

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