Posts

Fish Doorbell

Nice idea of a fish doorbell , putting technology to use in ways that help nature instead of  helping us to consume even more. Crowd sourcing to keep an eye on the fish that need to get through so they can breed. If you see a fish, press the digital fish doorbell. The lock operator is sent a signal and can open the lock if there are enough fish. Now you can help fish make it through the canals of Utrecht. Pressing the fish doorbell notifies the lock operator that there are fish waiting to pass. The operator can decide whether or not to open the lock. The lock seldom opens in spring, but can now be opened daily, if necessary. The fish doorbell allows us to work together to ensure that fish do not have to wait as long at the Weerdsluis lock. This is good news, because it means they are less likely to be eaten by other animals, such as grebes and cormorants.

Feeling Love

Sometimes you read a story in the news so heart-warming you forget a lot about the world is not right. When I read this, I shared it with J and she loved it. As a young person soon to be going out into the world on her own, I felt a story like this can serve as a shining example of what love looks like in the sunset years. Long after the days of guts and glory have faded, some dreams fulfilled and others left to waste, this is what remains. This is a story of a mellow love, grace and kindness that a young person does not quite experience.  When I read things like this  at J's age, I often wondered if anyone I knew could one day become who this man is. Back then the answer was either a no or I did not know enough to say yes or no. But his ability to love and give would have been evident to me even back then. I hope J will put this away somewhere in the back of her mind, as she goes about her busy days and that it will help her in some intangible way in the future. 

Data Headlines

Sexy headline but not much of a story  about so called "data poisoning".  The idea is that individual users who are hyper-vigilant about their privacy maybe taking all the right measures but it does not move the needle so collective action is needed: What if millions of people were to coordinate to poison a tech giant’s data well, though? That might just give them some leverage to assert their demands. There may have already been a few examples of this. In January, millions of users deleted their WhatsApp accounts and moved to competitors like Signal and Telegram after Facebook announced that it would begin sharing WhatsApp data with the rest of the company. The exodus caused Facebook to delay its policy changes. The magic number for the exodus to work is large enough to make a dent on the ad revenue. Until then it's not likely to bring about lasting change. That's in addition to people having the same notion about the trade-offs between privacy and convenience. Final

Coercive Culture

This story about phones being locked up by pre-installed apps for missing loan payments makes for sad reading. The culture of coercion leading to compliance allows for this to work. The same dynamics play out at the family and community level where no money has changed hands. People feel compelled to do things that they are not comfortable because they cannot withstand the coercive force of others that bears down on them. Weddings in India are a great example of this dynamic at work. Just about every move anyone makes is predicated by the amount of pressure applied on them by others. In the case of the bride's family it could range from the date of the wedding, logistics, the expectations of how lavish the celebration will be and so on. If the groom comes from a higher status family they hold all the cards and they can apply the force needed to bring the bride's family into compliance.  The relatives of each side will similarly be subjected to pressures to perform and deliver.

Turing Irrelevant

Trip down memory lane reading about the series of missteps by Yahoo . GeoCities was once cool, and I had my starter website there like millions of people back in the day. Many of these site were an eye-sore with loud, clashing colors, animated font and other travesties. Those were the disco years of the internet when compared to the modern design aesthetic.  Yahoo lives on while other relics of the time have long since passed.  Even with it's relevance declining every day, it is still good to see Yahoo around much like it is good to see a pay phone now and again that you could point out to the young and uninformed, explain that there was a time before cell-phones and if you got stuck somewhere with a car trouble, you used one of these to get help. Such relics of times past serve an useful purpose but knowing Yahoo it may not be long before they kill themselves entirely instead of hacking bits and pieces off all the time - might actually be a good thing too. Once its over people wil

Exhaling Finally

Adversity sometimes does good in our lives. One benefit of this difficult time as I observed it from the outside was that it brought my parents closer to the middle ground that had evaded them their marriage of fifty years. They realize they have to stick together, protect each other so the unit stays safe. There is no difference between one and the other.  The fiftieth anniversary came and went unnoticed in the middle of a lockdown. It was apropos in a sense, It was the marriage I had observed most closely growing up and one that left me with no desire for that institution. Age and a forced year long isolation from the world seems to have created some connections that did not exist. It is still an uneasy peace but there is some peace finally. I hope the day will come soon when they can safely drive into some offbeat destination in rural Bengal and spend a month away from it all.  But post-pandemic life may not be what we think it might be, J tells me her friends are not rushing to a

Good Women

Read this poem by Charles Bukowski and was intrigued by these lines: good weather is like good women-- it doesn't always happen and when it does it doesn't always last. That is intriguing and makes you wonder if you as a woman are as fickle as he describes or have known other women to be that way. Maybe there is some truth to it. The unwavering constant types might not be the most conventional either. They are able to stay that way because the their life circumstances remained relatively unchanged. But I was not sure where the poet was going with this. He clarifies in a bit:  a woman must be nursed into subsistence by love here a man can become stronger by being hated. That is an interesting point of view. I am not sure about women being nursed into subsistence by love but a lot of strong and powerful men are well hated and it does seem to serve them well