Articles

  • Some Troublesome Questions for Liberals on Borders [Current Affairs] – As the last few months continue to heavily challenge our belief systems and ideals, I’ve been trying a lot harder to consolidate my own principles, and what liberalism means for me. Immigration is being talked about a lot these days, and this article raises pertinent questions about the way we argue for it. In summary, we need to do a much better job at constructing more solid (including moral) arguments for immigration, rather than just relying on the economic ones.

  • Russians Engineer a Brilliant Slot Machine Cheat – And Casinos Have No Fix [Wired] – A Russian company found a way to reverse-engineer the pseudo-random number generator algorithms of some casinos, and managed to win much more than slot machines usually give. This is the story of how they operate.

  • A Chronicle Of An Imprisonment Foretold [The Fifth Estate][TW: sexual harassment] – A story of sexual harassment on the IIT Madras campus. It highlights the victim’s personal experience and the ineffectiveness of systems designed to deal with cases like these. Looking back to my time at IIT Bombay, none of this comes across as a great surprise, and I can only begin to imagine the plight of students who silently suffer harassment.

  • Parliaments around the world: what can architecture teach us about democracy? [Hansard Society] – This very intriguing article takes a look at how Parliaments are structured in countries around the world. The idea is to try and understand how political culture is shaped by architecture and also expressed through it.

  • The Magical Rationalism of Elon Musk and the Prophets of AI [NYMag] – Are those who worry about how AI will make humans irrelevant just doomsday prophets, using the power of “magical rationalism” to make the risks appear legitimate?

  • Announcing the first SHA1 collision [Google Security Blog] – The Google Security team announced the first SHA-1 collision. The computation they required for it is massive, but still accessible by today’s standards, which means it’s only a matter of time all systems using SHA-1 need to move away from it. Also check here for more information. This announcement was possibly overshadowed by “Cloudbleed”, the Cloudflare bug that was revealed on the same day. I haven’t yet read the analysis, so that’ll probably make it into the next month’s log.

Movies and TV Shows

  • Hidden Figures – The little-told and uplifting story of the role of black women at NASA during the 50s and 60s. As the US competed with the Soviet Union in the space race, several black women played key roles in enabling the first manned space flight and the moon mission, destroying barriers and stereotypes along the way. This is interesting particularly in contrast with the Civil Rights movement, which was at its peak during the same period.

  • The Man in the High Castle – I binged through Season 2 of this gripping alternative history series, which imagines what the world might have looked like had the Allies lost WWII. Highly recommended for history buffs.

Music

  • I’ve been listening to more of Zeb Bangash lately, and find this song quite beautiful. This song also reminds me of Spring, and makes me feel quite optimistic.

Miscellaneous

- nRT