Many Mes

Photographer: Andrew Seaman | Source: Unsplash MeMe and YouMe The Buddha, peace be unto him, is famous for declaring there’s no self. Strictly speaking, he denied the existence of an abiding, permanent self, especially the metaphysical Atman of Brahmanical Hinduism. We are born, we grow into adulthood and then we pass away. Some think we restart that…

Startup Thinking

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash Startup Thinking I have a firm leg in the doom and gloom camp. My friends alternate between sending images of the burning Amazon and pictures of Amazon — the company, not the lungs of the planet — replacing all jobs with robots. Not that I mind; all that misery gives my optimist brain something…

Money can’t buy me love

Photographer: Fabian Blank | Source: Unsplash Man is the measure of all things. So sayeth Protagoras, ancient scientist. If you’re the religious kind you might condemn Protagoras for idolatry, for only God has the measure of all things. Or if you’re William Blake, you might condemn Isaac Newton for succeeding at the task. Newton By William…

Lynchings are acts of terror

If you’re Indian you know this already and if you aren’t you may not care, but in this note, I want to pay attention to a new innovation in the annals of violence: the Whatsapp driven lynchings of muslims accused of being rustlers of cows, though like every other innovation, it’s spread to lynchings of…

Planetarity: the ABCs of our planetary future

TL;DR: Planetarity == Solidarity with all beings on this planet. If that piques your interest, read on…. On January 1st, I took on the minor ambition of reimagining our planetary condition as my new year’s resolution. It’s best seen as a counter-revolutionary manifesto. Wait, what? You didn’t think we were living under a revolutionary regime,…

Data is Power

I wrote this a couple of years ago, but the lessons are as valid today as when I wrote these words. One advantage of living in the Boston area is the chance encounter with smart people in a neighborhood coffee shop or PTA meeting as the case may be. I had coffee today with a…

Two Dimensions of Data: Newsletter #25

What was that old saw: in God we trust, everyone else bring data? Data and information are the bedrock of modern society. Money, numbers, bits; however you count the beads, it’s data everywhere. Yet, there’s no real understanding of data among scientists and scholars, let alone the general public. Even the experts view information from within…

Weekly Newsletter #7: Data

Everything you can do, you can do better with data That’s the new nerdism. We think our obsession with data is brand new, but data predates big data by a huge margin. In fact, data and bureaucracy go together. Ever since someone notched a stick or chiseled a stone, we have been collecting data. I…

Weekly Newsletter #2: 8th August, 2014. Unity in Diversity

I think it was Nehru who used the term “unity in diversity” in his book Discovery of Indiato describe India and it’s culture. Then, as now, India was an incredibly diverse country. No single language, religion, ethnicity or political persuasion unites the country as a whole; and yet it moves. It’s the opposite of the…

The Frog in the Data Well

Surveillance is ubiquitous these days; in fact, a Soviet KGB handler would be shocked how easy it is to find out intimate details of a mark’s life. There’s no need to threaten or coerce either, though that doeshappen sometimes. Information is central to control. We have known that for ever. Spies are the world’s second…