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Weekly Bookmarks - Issue No 23

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First post in 3 weeks now, took me a while to properly catch up on my reading. Didn't want to send one out last week because I really hadn't read most of the things I'd bookmarked yet.

So, instead, we have a long list of ~30 things to read (mostly) , have fun!

As always, all links on this newsletter can be found here.

History, Culture, and Religion

Came across this article while scrolling twitter and found it very interesting.

In the wake of the news around the Taliban taking over Afghanisthan again, it is worth examining whether definitions of progress and modernity must be the same for everyone everywhere, I've seen this lens applied to Iran before the revolution, India today as well. There is work to be done everywhere, but, it needn't all look the same.

The Weaponization of Nostalgia: How Afghan Miniskirts Became the Latest Salvo in the War on Terror - Ajam Media Collective

Why is it that non-Afghans only care to learn about Afghanistan when there are pictures of women in miniskirts involved? By shifting the topic to women's clothing, broader questions around the problems facing Afghanistan become elided – and the discussion goes back to a simplistic dichotomy between Islam and secular modernity

Found this fascinating blog of a man who collects Roman coins, this one is about one particular coin, the post uses that as a starting point and jumps into the history of the coin and the period itself. At some point, I hope to be as passionate as this person is about something in life!

Founded in Blood: A Revealing Denarius from the Dictatorship of Sulla (81 BC)

I am very pleased to add to my collection this equally historical and handsome Roman Republican denarius serratus, minted by the moneyer Gaius Marius Capito in 81 BC. This moneyer, unrelated to the famous Gaius Marius, is known only from his coins struck during the dictatorship of Sulla - in the tense aftermath of his defeat of the Marians, second march on Rome and bloody proscriptions. The Damoclean sense of terror that prevailed in Rome after Sulla’s total victory is chillingly described by Pl

A small write up about Ludwig Wittgenstein, an origin story of the philosopher behind the man if you will.

How the War Made Wittgenstein the Philosopher He Was ‹ Literary Hub

A young man—not so young as some—is going to war. He is small, aquiline, Jewish, gay, cultivated, and preposterously rich. He speaks the high-toned German of fin-de-siècle Vienna, and has decent en…

A study confirming something we always kind of knew about online trolls

Online Trolls Also Jerks in Real Life: Aarhus University Study

New research indicates the internet doesn’t make people act like jerks, but it sure gives the jerks a big megaphone.

The gig economy seems to be becoming less useful for the target users, this is obviously focused on the U.S but, we can see similar trends beginning to appear in India.

Farewell, Millennial Lifestyle Subsidy - The New York Times

The price for Ubers, scooters and Airbnb rentals is going up as tech companies aim for profitability.

A woman who escaped her mothers cult writes about her escape and the cult itself.

How Sarah Green Escaped Her Mother’s Cult

Sarah Green escaped her mother’s cult, Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps, 22 years ago. She still thinks about those she left behind.

This is a newish India focused news/content outlet that seems to be writing interesting stuff, this one is from an episode in the mid 90s


For a few days in 1995, many Indians believed a religious idol had developed a lifelike ability to drink milk — a new story from India to the world, each week on Fifty Two.

Tech, Science, and Math

Lots of tech, some science, no math this time around, I'll compensate with my book recommendation.

I still have to put together the privacy related post but, yikes, who can you trust really these days.

Zoom to pay $85M for lying about encryption and sending data to Facebook and Google | Ars Technica

Zoom users to get $15 or $25 each in proposed settlement of class-action lawsuit.

I spent some time catching up on lithub after a long time, was surprised to find an article about the NFT writer, something I plan to explore soon!

The Rise of the Crypto Writer? On What Literary NFTs Might Mean for the Book World ‹ Literary Hub

Blake Butler had given up on publishing Decade. He’d written the novel in 2008, and its complicated structure and dense language rendered it virtually unpublishable by both commercial and avant-gar…

I typically don't listen to too many podcasts and people are often annoyed when I'm disinterested in their podcast recommendations, I wrote about some reasons here and followed up here , came across this post which explores the same ideas.

The Audio Revolution – Welcome to Dancoland

If I told you about a piece of consumer electronics technology that: A billion+ people own and use every dayHas changed those people and their world in some pretty radical and consequential waysGets more important every year, but not much attention - and the little attention we give it is mostly a sideshow that misses…

Maybe it's time to exit left from social media? It's a scary world out there.

The 11th Reason to Delete your Social Media Account: the Algorithm will Find You – Axiom of Chance

TL;DR: outrage mobs aren’t a bug. They’re a feature. After the introduction, there are five parts: the algorithm is real, the algorithm wants you online, the algorithm will find you, walk away from…

Amazing how badly Google has done when it comes to messaging apps over the past decade, I went from trying to be an early adopter of their products to just wishing they'd stop 'innovating' by 2017

A decade and a half of instability: The history of Google messaging apps | Ars Technica

Sixteen years after the launch of Google Talk, Google messaging is still a mess.

China wants its 'Big Tech' workers to work less

Why Chinese Big Tech no longer dares say ‘996’ - Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech

Tech companies fear public outcry as much as they do regulatory crackdowns.

A list of crypto related stuff to read put together by a16z

Crypto Canon - Andreessen Horowitz

Here’s a list of crypto readings and resources. It’s organized from building blocks and basics; foundations (& history); and key concepts — followed by specific topics such as governance; privacy and security; scaling; consensus and governance; cryptoeconomics, cryptoassets, and investing; …

The pandemic and its effect on 'Knowledge workers' written by the author of Deep Work

Why Are So Many Knowledge Workers Quitting? | The New Yorker

The coronavirus pandemic threw everyone into Walden Pond.

With the rise of companies like MicroAcquire and the likes, there might a possibility to see a one member team build a billion dollar company in the near future.

The rise of the one-person unicorn

The way we build startups is changing, and with that change comes the rise of a new breed of company: bootstrapped, cash generative, and growing like crazy.

There's some worry about Vaccines and the new variants, I came across this post that tries to explain why we don't need to be overtly concerned if you actually look at the data instead of the headlines.

Israeli data: How can efficacy vs. severe disease be strong when 60% of hospitalized are vaccinated?

A surge involving the rapidly-transmitting Delta variant in heavily vaccinated countries has led to much hand-wringing that the vaccines are not effective against Delta, or vaccine effectivenss wanes after 4-6 months. This has fueled anti-vaccine sentiment suggesting the vaccines are not working, and causing much stress in vaccinated people that they are not as protected as they thought they would be.

On the other hand, it looks like ZeroCovid might not be happening any time soon, time to just get on with our lives I guess.

Why COVID-19 Is Here to Stay, and Why You Shouldn’t Worry About It

As many countries are going through another wave of infections, including some where the vast majority of the population has been vaccinated, many are starting to despair that we’ll never see the end of the pandemic. In this post, I will argue that, on the contrary, not only is the pandemic already on its way out, but the virus will be relatively harmless after it has become endemic.

Not everyone's 'Minds Eye' is the same, some are far more imaginative and scientists are trying to capture this and study it!

Can’t See Pictures in Your Mind? You’re Not Alone. - The New York Times

Scientists are finding new ways to probe two not-so-rare conditions to better understand the links between vision, perception and memory.

I thought the asteroids wiped out the dinosaurs, that might not be the case? Have I been living a lie? (Hint: Yes)

What Caused the Dinosaur Extinction? - The Atlantic

A Princeton geologist has endured decades of ridicule for arguing that the fifth extinction was caused not by an asteroid but by a series of colossal volcanic eruptions. But she’s reopened that debate.

Everything else

You can just learn to be more resilient apparently, not sure how applicable it is, but, was interesting to read.

How People Learn to Become Resilient | The New Yorker

Maria Konnikova writes about resilience and the skills that researches say can be learned to acquire it.

I hate ads, the ads business etc. On the other hand, it works so well and I've always found it fascinating and been keen to understand why it does. Read this recently on this topic.

Ads Don’t Work That Way | Melting Asphalt

There’s a meme, particularly virulent in educated circles, about how advertising works — how it sways and seduces us, coaxing us gently toward a purchase.

I've focused on my fitness over the past few months and have been reading up on things related to this. I've also been watching and playing more chess of late. I found an article at the intersection of these two things, maybe I should just double down on chess if it helps that much with weight loss.

Why grandmasters like Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana lose weight playing chess

You wouldn’t think that chess players, who sit for hours on end and extend their arms only from time to time, would struggle with weight loss. But they do. Inside the very real, very bizarre metabolic phenomenon gripping chess.

I don't want to overload about what's happening in Afghanistan, but, I read this today morning, pretty scary how quickly things can get out of hand.

‘This Is Actually Happening’ - POLITICO

Inside the Biden team’s five-day scramble as Afghanistan collapsed.

I heard of this man for the first time this week when he got suspended from twitter, naturally, I don't support suspensions in general, so I wanted to find out why, and I came across this article. Every day we surprise ourselves a little less.

Alex Berenson: The Pandemic’s Wrongest Man - The Atlantic

In a crowded field of wrongness, one person stands out: Alex Berenson.

A read out of a speech by Teddy Roosevelt that I came across last week.

The Man in the Arena is the only one that counts.


As promised, since I don't have much related to math above, this weeks book recommendation is math related!

Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh

Fermat’s Last Theorem book. Read 1,292 reviews from the world’s largest community for readers. The extraordinary story of the solving of a puzzle that ha…

Thank you for reading

That's all I have for this week.

Do subscribe if interested and do reply with interesting stuff