I’ve found little motivation to write in the last couple of months and so I haven’t bothered to publish the September log. But I didn’t stop consuming content – to the contrary, I read more articles than ever, so this is going to be a really long list.

Articles

  • You Are the Product [London Review of Books] – This is a long essay that critiques the mission of Facebook as a product and company, while considering the true role it plays in our individual and social lives. While there are many essays of a similar flavor floating around, this one deserves a mention because of its comprehensiveness and clarity.

  • Flamingos In The Men’s Room: How Zoos And Aquariums Handle Hurricanes [NPR] – Late August and early September have seen major hurricane damage. On that note, a relatively less thought of topic is how zoos prepare to protect animals during a major storm. This article gives some idea.

  • Can Love Sparked at Burning Man Last in Everyday Life? [Longreads] – A good story that took me for an emotional ride.

  • Equifax’s Maddening Unaccountability [The New York Times] – In the aftermath of the maddening Equifax data breach, there’s been a lot of conversation about how broken the system really is and how despite being evidently liable, Equifax will likely get away with little more than a rap on the knuckles.

  • Sex Redefined [Nature] – Quoting from the description, this article is about the idea of two sexes is simplistic, and biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.

  • The Sorrow and the Shame of the Accidental Killer [The New Yorker] – I recommend this article because it touches upon a relatively untouched topic (as claimed in the article) of pain and suffering: How do you live after unintentionally causing a death? To cause suffering to someone else is something that always troubles me, and accidentally causing death is a nightmare that I consider one of my biggest fears. I don’t know if you have considered or thought about this question, but this article also talks about some of the moral and philosophical treatment of it, including personal stories from individuals of course.

  • Scientists Can Now Repaint Butterfly Wings [The Atlantic] – CRISPR now allows scientists to literally pick colors on butterfly wings. That is utterly fascinating, and I would really like to catch up on the advancements made in this field

  • What I Told My White Friend When He Asked For My Black Opinion On White Privilege [Everyday Feminism] – This is not the first or only article of this nature, but it’s a good one. Either way, what it says deserves to be amplified. If you question the idea of privilege and oppression, or wonder what the big deal is, I hope you will read this with an open mind.

  • How Caste Gets Clickbaited: My Point Of View [Feminism in India] – How Dalit issues are reported in mainstream media, and the problematic nature of a majorly Savarna-controlled media take a patronizing tone.

  • Waiting for a Perfect Protest? [The New York Times] – A commonly mistaken way of looking at protest movements is assuming that they’re always completely sanitized and “peaceful”. This isn’t true today, and it wasn’t true in the past. That a protest against oppression isn’t perfect by some abstract standards is not a reason to discount it.

  • #HimToo: A Reckoning [TENACIOUS HELLPUSSY] – C. Christine Fair was part of the headlines over the last few weeks when she published a detailed account of all the sexual harassment she has faced over her lifetime. But more than that, she named and shamed all the perpetrators too. This article has come on the back of the widely circulated #MeToo movement, which seems to have had quite the impact, and we now seem to be living in an alternate reality where abusive men are actually facing some consequences for their actions.

  • The kind of problems black mathematicians wish didn’t need solving [Chalkdust] – Racism in the pursuit of mathematics – Unsurprising, but especially hard-hitting when talked about through personal stories.

  • Alt-White: How the Breitbart Machine Laundered Racist Hate [BuzzFeed] – BuzzFeed news’ explosive exposé of leaked Breitbart internal emails conclusively showed how Breitbart actively quietly supported and amplified far right extremists while publicly shying away from neo-Nazis. For anyone who had doubts until now, this is conclusive evidence that the mushrooming right-wing media isn’t simply benign opinions. Disturbingly, there was ample (if discreet) support from individuals in media, film, tech, and other traditionally progressive industries. A couple more articles that are worth reading together with this one: Seattle’s Super Secret White Nationalist Convention, and Undercover With the Alt-Right.

  • MDMA Mimics a Genetic Disorder Called ‘Cocktail Party Syndrome’ [Vice] – Filing under the list of potential medicinal uses of scheduled substances.

  • Gender Abolition as Colonisation [Medium] – Gender abolitionism is complicated, and not the easy utopia some people think it is. This article presents an opinion in that context, about how the white-centric perspective is quite central to current discourse among gender abolitionists, and how it doesn’t apply easily to other cultures.

Podcasts

  • How To Make It In The Music Business [Planet Money] – The story of Illmind, music producer, who talks about his story, and explains how the music business really works. If you don’t know much about this, be prepared for surprises!

  • Is Record Breaking Broken? [Planet Money] – Everyone has heard about Guinness World Records, and they seem to be recorded for a variety of quirky things alongside being somewhat of a road to fame. But, how do they really work? What are the incentives at play, and how does one really go about breaking records? This episode talks about it.

  • A Weed Boom, But For Whom? [Code Switch] – As marijuana legalization spreads across more states, one unfortunate side effect is that people of color (particularly African-Americans, who have and continue to bear the biggest brunt of arrests made for possession) are being left out of the industry. What are the dynamics at play here, and what can be done?

  • Be The Change [Hidden Brain] – What happened when a family tried to raise their child free of gender stereotypes? This is a fascinating story worth paying attention to.

Travel

Chicago – I went to Chicago for a weekend in September and enjoyed experiencing the grand architecture and some nightlife. The public transport system was surprisingly good and I also loved the food.

Moab – I visited Moab and Arches National Park in October, and saw some spectacular landscape.

Miscellaneous

- nRT