thoughts

Infallible Memory: The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling

You rarely come across a story so powerful that you experience so many different feelings — at the same time. Ted Chiang’s ‘The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling’ does that. It evokes several strong feelings, one after another, that will leave you soul-searching.

Notes on Coffee

Recently, I picked up a new hobby: coffee. This note chronicles my journey.

Is the world population going to collapse?

Population collapse is a theory that says if the growth rates continue to decline the way they are decreasing right now, we would reach population zero. It is a stage where the population neither grows, nor declines. That is, the number of births plus in-migrants equals the number of deaths plus out-migrants. While this may sound cheerful, you may not have considered the pitfalls yet.

Bullets of Wisdom

Life is short for learning from your own mistakes; you need to play catch-up with people who tried new things. Most people do not document their learnings. The rare culturati group that notes their understandings in an essay easily trumps the large group, which keeps their learnings to themselves. I have read many interesting essays. Some of them stuck with me — like fingers working with super glue. I revisit them often.

Small Improvements

Bihar is one of the poorest states in India. Their over all literacy rate is 70% but there’s stark difference between girls (50%) and boys (70%). In 2007, the government decided to distribute bicycles to all girls for free in the hope to get higher school enrollment. The program was called Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojna (Chief Minister’s Programme on Cycle for Girls). The program had astonishing improvements.

Being Optimistic

Things are bad. We know that; everyone knows that. But you can choose to look at the positives. Granted, we’ll sometimes be cherry-picking. But not always. Life is like a box of chocolates; there will be good things about every negative thing and bad about most positive things. I want to be happy, so I look at the positives.

Stoned to Death at the Public Square

A problem with learning in public is keeping a strong note of how to avoid heresy. Back in the seventeenth century, if you said anything against God, even if the statement were true, you would be penalised. Sometimes it meant death. It didn’t matter if the statement was true. If you don’t believe me, just ask Galileo.

The best stats you’ve ever seen

There’s a famous saying: All models are wrong but some are useful. How much of statistics is wrong and how much of it is useful? Some thoughts on Hans Rosling’s popular talk on global economic development and optimism.

The Song of The Lord

Series: The Question of God

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, or the song of the lord, is a 700 verses long conversation between Lord Sri Krishna and Arjun. It discusses key principles of action and embodies more wisdom than I can grasp.

Food Choices in America

I had always wondered about the ubiquity of unhealthy food in the US and the blatant absence of fresh fruits and vegetables. Why are our supermarkets full of unhealthy chips, why does bread have corn syrup, and why do berries cost $9.99 and berries snacks cost $1.99!?

Biggest Social Advertisers on Facebook

Facebook provides data on all ad funding related to social issues, politics and elections. Here is a simple plot and table to explore the most prominent advertisers.

Some Website Stats

This is my digital garden. Here is it’s report card via Google Analytics.

Trying New Things

It is essential to keep experimenting with new things in life. We don’t know what would stick and be successful; we can only take guesses. Take notes; that’s the only way to keep a log.

Harvard’s Website

A university’s website tells a lot about it. Harvard — like all things in education and research — is a prime example.

Making Nails

Once upon a time, there was a nail-making factory during the peak of the industrial revolution in rural England. The workers arrived there every morning at 8 am and worked till 4 pm to make nails. Just plain nails. One day, the factory owner’s son visited the plant.

Billionaires and Taxes

How much do the super rich really pay? Until now, the answer was unknown — thanks to privacy laws. Recently, tax returns of the super rich was leaked to ProPublica. I thought of exploring the billionaires and their tax rates.

Arguments

There are three types of arguments. You can argue about what happened (past), you can argue about what’s happening (present), or you can argue about what’s gonna happen (future).

Imaginary Reality

We know less than we think and we don’t even know what we don’t know.

I Web, Therefore I Exist

Slides, recorded lecture and additional resources around my talk on how to create and control your digital identity.

My Name

I do not have a last name and it freaks people out.

Today I Learnt

This is my digital kitchen sink. Basically a dump of cool things.

Gartner Hype Cycle

Technologies come and go. The real question is can you predict its popularity?

Museums and Experience Tourism

Museums are a thing of past. Google has more over-the-top information than I need. Why not target for the experience instead of expertise?