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Friday, February 22, 2013

Interesting readings

The liberal DNA by Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express.

Kanika Datta in the Business Standard on how Narendra Modi is becoming more accepted.

Ashoka Mody and Michael Walton interpret India's new willingness to accept high and unstable inflation.

In continuation of my posts Activism and wonkery are the yin and yang and Law and order: How to go from outrage to action, see The power of populists and naysayers by N. C. Saxena in the Indian Express.

Spreadsheets considered harmful.

Bank for the buck by Ila Patnaik in the Indian Express.

Nandini Raghavendra in the Economic Times about the global success of Indian television shows. Also see Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times.

A finer balance by Ila Patnaik in the Indian Express.

Nidhi Nath Srinivas in the Economic Times on the Commodities Transaction Tax.

All states in India, other than West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, had shifted their civil servants into the New Pension System. Now Kerala has moved! Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala, has been evangelising this.

Quick fix failures by Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express.

An editorial in the Indian Express on proposals to tax the rich.

Rajesh Abraham and Manju AB in the Financial Chronicle on the rise of rupee trading overseas.

In an interview in the Business Standard, Percy Mistry worries about the entry of business families in banking. We have seen the fit-and-proper process go wrong with stock exchanges, and must worry that strange characters will now become banks.

Emre Deliveli writes an interesting blog on Turkish economics as part of Roubini Global Economics. He has a post where he gets struck by a phrase by the Turkish central bank governor: `short-term capital flows could disrupt price and financial stability by causing excess volatility in lending and exchange rates'. As with a lot of what India's RBI says, it sounds like plausible mumbo jumbo and passes muster in the conventional low quality economic discourse, but actually betrays a lack of knowledge of monetary economics.

It has been an impressive set of weeks in the recent past for the intellectual life in Delhi.

William Gerrity on Slate on the experience of being attacked by Chinese hackers.

Sweden is often held up as the model of the welfare state. What is not widely known is that they are turning away from this. Read Adrian Woolridge in the Economist says The streets of Stockholm are awash with the blood of sacred cows. The think-tanks are brimful of new ideas.

John McAfee has an amazing post about how he penetrated the security of the government of Belize - and found mind-blowing secrets. Both elements -- how he broke in, and what he found out -- are worth pondering.

The US White House responds to a petition to Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016. The cost has been estimated at 2012 US GDP for 56666 years. But all is not lost. A mere 500 years at 3% GDP growth will turn this estimated cost of building Death Star into 2.16% of projected US GDP. The trouble is, there may be basic constraints to the notion of 3% GDP growth for 500 years.

I decided not to watch Zero dark thirty.

We knew that T. gondii hacks you to change your risk aversion. Now we find that the flu hacks you to make you more social.

I knew of a driver at MoF who sub-contracted the work of driving to someone else and kept the difference between the government wage and the market wage. Here's a similar labour arbitrage.

Nicholas Carr reminds us that to experience life is to break the shackles of the self.

A great note by Timothy Burke on the notion of investing in social network companies, and why facebook has this great proclivity to go bad on you.

Like Arduino, the Raspberry Pi seems to be working great. Pete Lomas has a great story in Wired magazine about the tradeoffs which went into it. Available in India for Rs. 3500. Can these trigger off a next revolution in knowledge?

In continuation of the ipad 2 having more power than the Cray 2, the computational capabilities of Curiosity are worse than a typical smartphone today.

Adam Gopnik has a beautiful article about Galileo's world, in New Yorker magazine, that makes us think about our own.


  1. Saxena's article on civil society was great. But, then I realized he is a member of NAC, which itself is a civil society group. So, not sure what to make of his article. What is even more odd is that if he is in NAC, why are govt policies so bone-headed?

    Subcontracting informally in IT is quite common. Even among H1Bs in the US, one guy gets on a contract, then gets his friends along (with made up resumes) and takes 10-20% of their hourly wage. He only needs to place 5-8 such people (in the same project) to earn a full wage. In particular, I know at least a handful of such Indian H1Bs who did this at Fannie Mae. The second level guys have to put up in miserable apartments with 5-10 other guys. But, they eventually work themselves into the same situation. The guys who are freed up are really horrible, since they have nothing to do and as you can imagine, that can lead to problems. Its quite pathetic, and its when I started to feel that H1B was being misused (but only by some). I can't object to the hustling which is a basic part of capitalism, but I can't accept it either. A necessary evil, I guess.

  2. Thanks for sharing these reads!

    Another good read I found today was on today's stern Budget

  3. Adam Gopnik has written a beauty!

  4. Wow, you have just created my reading list for the next week. Beautiful!


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