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Bits of India 2: The Secularism of the RSS

Photographer: Aashish R Gautam | Source: Unsplash Buyer beware: this essay has a higher than usual ratio of speculation to explanation. I am playing with two central ideas (illustrated in the flowchart below): What? The modern system — with the state and the…

Bits of India: Introduction

Photographer: Ron Hansen | Source: Unsplash The big news from my part of the world is that India organized the biggest, most expansive (and perhaps most expensive) elections ever conducted. Narendra Modi and the BJP were the clear winners. Not the…

The Tyranny of Experience

Photographer: v2osk | Source: Unsplash There’s no greater tyranny in my world than that of experience, by which I mean the ever more sophisticated versions of the claim “seeing is believing.” We are skeptical by nature, demanding evidence and proof and…

Earth Day 2019

Photographer: Guillaume de Germain | Source: Unsplash Many lifetimes ago in a different reality, the devas and asuras made a deal by the seaside. They were tired of dying and when one of them heard the secret to immortality lay hidden…

Computing Climate Change

Photographer: Markus Spiske | Source: Unsplash In my previous essay, I arrived at an unoriginal idea: that the computer is a mental telescope through which we can view the world. I didn’t say the universe is a computer because that would…

The Software Eaten World

Photographer: Markus Spiske | Source: Unsplash In accounting for the furniture of the universe, several intellectual traditions have settled upon two great organizing principles: Materialism: the world’s made of stuff and only stuff. If you can’t kick it, it don’t exist.…

The Bots of War

We think bots might have tipped the polls in the UK and in the US, but will South Asia host the first “war of the bots?” If you had asked me even two days ago, I would have laughed at…

DHK: Desi Henry Kissinger

Let’s say I was Henry Kissinger. I know, I know, but there was a time when I trained with the best to fake a vague European accent while pretending to be an evil genius. So let’s just say I am…

Earth Trek

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash Today is the 1st of February. Let’s just say I took January off and am now ready to take on a year long writing project. What’s it going to be? No surprise, it’s the same…

Geocracy

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash Institutions Institutions are the mechanism through which we impose collective order upon our lives. Some institutions are tacit, such as customs, habits and rituals. Why do people in many cultures drink and write with their…