Web Notes: March 2023

March 11, 2023 [bookmarks] #from-the-interwebs

Blog: Russia, Ukraine and the Donbass War

All you want to know about the history of Russia, Ukraine and why they are fighting. It's always more complicated than one would think.

Interview: Jed Perl and the purpose of art

Blog: Collect as many lottery tickets as possible

Why and how to increase the surface area of your luck: "Do things with low downside and large upside."

Blog: Tribalism, whether left or right

Article: Paul Erdos in Madras

Where he composes this ditty:

This is the city of Madras
The home of the curry and the dal
Where Iyers speak only to Iyengars
And Iyengars speak only to God.

Blog: Acceptance is a superpower

Blog: How few books sell

How well does the Pulitzer prize translate to bestsellers list? Not very well.

Interview: Ruth Harris on Vivekanada

The author comments thus: "What I particularly liked about Professor Harris’ biography was her underlying sense of generosity towards the man—unlike other more recent efforts which devolve into a gotcha scholasticism with little insight to Vivekananda’s life-journey itself. In one sense, she sees him as no different than most of us, as somebody trying to figure things out things as he goes along; but she also sees in him somebody who was not like us—as one, who despite living in the world of telegraphs and steamers, he belongs to a great lineage of Hindu monks who sought to address the times they lived in, and the ones that are to come, using the vocabulary of their present and past to assert that the world is a manifestation of God, which nevertheless is in great need for human intervention, generosities, and willfulness. He argued that this way—of thought, action, and compassion—was the way of the Upanishads and Dharma itself."

Article: Pedagogy and the designed childhood

Blog: Ramanujam and Dreams

Blog: Mainstream media and madness

The media has always promoted mass hysteria - Iran, Kuwait, War on Terror etc.

Blog: Freedom House Chicanery

Article: The American Press and Russiagate

Article: Caste and Kinship in Telugu Migrants

Interview: Tagore, Gandhi and Nationalism

An excellent interview with Ashis Nandy on Tagore and Gandhi, their motivations and influences.

Article: A Bahujan's take on caste in USA

Blog: Review of R Balakrishnan's Journey of A Civilization

R Balakrishnan is an author and former bureaucrat devoted to establishing the antiquity of Tamils as a civilization at odds with rest of India. He has a book making some claims around the same, one that has been making rounds on the internet, heavily promoted by the powers that be in Tamil Nadu (The minister PTR gifted the book to Raghuram Rajan). This is a review of the book critically examining the claims.

"Iravatham Mahadevan, to whom this book is dedicated, says it cannot be earlier than 2nd Century CE. The first time its name is mentioned is in Irayanar Akapporul which is dated sometime after 8th century CE. It is the same story with the other works of Sangam. In all probability, the corpus which is available to us was written between First Century BCE and 4th Century CE. It was compiled several centuries later. What is more, the urban societiy it portrays is strongly influenced by Vedic, Jain and Buddhist religions. It speaks about Vedas and Veda- chanting Brahmins. Tolkappiyam speaks about them. Maduraikkanchi and Pattinappalai do too. Almost every god of the Hindu pantheon appears in these poems. Thus, one has to be very brave to make a claim that he has found a point where the Indus civilization ends and Sangam texts commence without the intruders from the Gangetic plains butting in and spoiling the show. The author is one such brave person."

Blog: Become and educated layman

Review: The Habit of Interestedness: On Eva Brann’s “Pursuits of Happiness”

Blog: Doing Anything

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