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Assorted links October 6, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in assorted.

NYTimes article that compares outdoor sidewalk cafes in New York to those in Europe writes :

New Yorkers have a highly evolved, unrivaled knack for glossing over the limitations, absurdities and dubious habitability of an unforgiving metropolis.

They walk into a friend’s 545-square-foot two-bedroom (one bath, no tub) and stammer: “Just $4,965 a month for this?” They walk into the Spotted Pig at 5:55 p.m. on a Tuesday night and exult: “Only a 90-minute wait?”

And they sit in a sidewalk cafe — sirens blaring, vagrants swearing and jackhammers jittering all around them — and sigh: “It’s so relaxing to soak up the street life.”

I bet that would be true of Bombayites as well. ( And so not true about myself 🙂 )


What perverse incentives do :

Did you know that Gurjjars get their children’s nappies engaged or that they sometimes marry children in the womb? Or that they worship the neem tree, don’t sell milk on special days dedicated to their deity Devnarayan and live up to the phrase “Dantli main myan nahin, gurjjar main gyan nahin” (A sickle has no cover and a Gurjjar has no knowledge). These quaint rituals and common phrases have become part of crucial documentation by the community to prove their tribal status.

For the last three months, Gurjjars have presented affidavits and made representation to the three-member committee headed by retired Justice Jasraj Chopra. In all of them, they have explained at length how backward they are.


Letter frequencies : To me this is like being on kryptonite 🙂


You probably heard of postsecret. I remember reading about this in mid-2005 when it just started and telling myself of how this will become a record, albeit anonmyous (and potentially noisy due to dubious/untrue ‘confessions’ therein) of the confessions of a generation. Tyler points to one such confession and suggests its more common than one might imagine.

Update : And Vir Sanghvi has an article on the other side of this phenomenon :

In our minds, there was always enough intellectual sophistication to distinguish between American soft power (as in the power of popular culture) and American hard power (as in foreign policy).




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