A preference for boys over girls

No observer of India can avoid noting that India lives simultaneously in several centuries: the modern and the ancient jostle for space, the highly technically qualified mix with the illiterate, the filthy rich live cheek by jowl with the abjectly poor. It is all chaotic and thoroughly confusing. Like in many other countries, contradictions run wide and deep in India. Indians worship powerful goddesses but the status of women is generally deplorable and girl children are frequently neglected and even severely abused. Continue reading “A preference for boys over girls”

The World in 2036 – Nassim Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is an awesomely successful investor, public intellectual and author of many best sellers. The wiki page on NNT says that–

“Taleb criticized the risk management methods used by the finance industry and warned about financial crises, subsequently profiting from the late-2000s financial crisis. He advocates what he calls a “black swan robust” society, meaning a society that can withstand difficult-to-predict events. He proposes what he has termed “antifragility” in systems; that is, an ability to benefit and grow from a certain class of random events, errors, and volatility as well as “convex tinkering” as a method of scientific discovery, by which he means that decentralized experimentation outperforms directed research.”

The Economist published a brief piece by him in 2010 titled, “The World in 2036: Nassim Taleb looks at what will break, and what won’t .” It has aged pretty well, and I suspect that he’s largely accurate. Here it is.
Continue reading “The World in 2036 – Nassim Taleb”

Twenty Books

A few weeks ago, my friend Rajesh pointed me to a list titled, “20 Books You Should Read in Your 20s.” I didn’t like the list; some of the books were too heavy for the average 20-something-year old. Certainly, as a specialized reader, a 20-year old could read many of them but not as a general reader.

It occurred to me that lists like that could not be very useful for the general public, anyway. We all have distinct preferences and interests. That implies, list of books have to be tailored to fit the person. I asked myself, what would the list have looked for a 20-something-year old me? Here is that list. Continue reading “Twenty Books”

A Lee Kuan Yew Anthology

Recently, Mr Zane Austen assembled “The Comprehensive Lee Kuan Yew Anthology” (PDF, 200MB.) I quickly scanned through the over 12,000 pages. For people like me who think that LKY was one of the greatest  benefactors of humanity in the 20th century CE, it is a good reference work. (Hat tip: @smjalageri via twitter.)

AMC – Africa

Oumou Sangaré

Considering that I’ve been listening to music for many decades, it’s not surprising that I have around 5,000 favorite songs. I’m not exaggerating: I do have 5,000 favorite songs.

Those songs give me pleasure and joy, solace and comfort. I know them intimately, each of them associated with treasured memories. Many of them I can still recall when I first heard them, and why they entered my collection of favorites.

Today I would like to present three foreign language songs. I consider Bengali (my mother tongue), Hindi and Marathi to be domestic languages, and consider English to be a “native” language since I think, read, write and speak it better than any other language. The rest are all foreign languages to me, including French which I understand a bit of. Continue reading “AMC – Africa”

A Simple Puzzle

Here’s a list of how many of something that the following countries have:

      • India 154
      • China 95
      • Japan 129
      • Russia 188
      • United Kingdom 171
      • Germany 456
      • France 433
      • Greece 54
      • Mexico 81
      • Pakistan 33
      • Mystery country 20,242
  1. What is that something which China has 95, and India has 154?
  2. Which is the Mystery country which has 20,242 of that something?

Fabulous prizes for the right answers.

Stephen Fry

I confess that I have strong likes and dislikes in almost everything — concrete or abstract. That goes for people as well. Of course, I have my economist heroes — Hayek, Buchanan, Friedman, et al — and anti-heroes (who shall remain unnamed.) Among politicians, my greatest hero was Lee Kuan Yew and the greatest villain Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

I began to think about this today because a friend told me that Nassim  Nicolas Taleb considers Edward Snowden to be a fraud. I liked NNT’s book Antifragile. He’s obviously very intelligent and highly opinionated (which is a good thing, in my opinion), has enough “f u money”, and is widely celebrated as an intellectual. But he’s often needlessly mean and vicious to people. Continue reading “Stephen Fry”

AMC – Kabir Bhajans

Veena Sahasrabuddhe

I love bhajans. The wiki explain that the word bhajan connotes “attachment, devotion to, fondness for, homage, faith or love, worship, piety to something as a spiritual, religious principle or means of salvation.”

On its historical roots, it notes that “in Hinduism, Bhajan and its Bhakti term Kirtan, have roots in the ancient metric and musical traditions of the Vedic era, particularly the Samaveda. The Samaveda Samhita is not meant to be read as a text, but sung as it is like a musical score sheet that must be heard.” Continue reading “AMC – Kabir Bhajans”

The Netherlands Welcomes DJT

This is totally off-the-wall irrelevant since this has nothing to do with any contemporary event. But we do need a break from all the doom and gloom. What gloom, you ask!

Moments ago a Silicon Valley friend of mine sent me a picture which I couldn’t figure out. That’s the picture on the left. What’s that, I asked. He said that that was my neighbor (well, these days he lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington DC) falling off his bicycle.

Imagine if that guy dies or become incapacitated. God forbid but that would mean Ms Kamala Harris becomes the POTUS. So let’s all pray that to the Lord of the Universe and ask him to keep the senile old man alive till Jan 2025. Please. Continue reading “The Netherlands Welcomes DJT”

World without Economics

Guess where

The world can get along fine without economics and economists.

Imagine being shipwrecked on an uninhabited island with a bunch of your companions. Unfortunately there’s no chance of being rescued but fortunately the island has lush vegetation and is nicely wooded. To flourish, or even just to survive, you need skills and technology.

To survive and thrive, you would need people in your group who could farm, build shelters, make cloth, mine and refine ores, make tools, provide medical services, and do a whole variety of things. One profession, however, you wouldn’t need are economists. A society can get along perfectly well without economics and economists.

Or can it? Continue reading “World without Economics”

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