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Preview: The Examined Life

The Examined Life

Where I torture reality till it confesses the truth

Last Build Date: Sat, 07 Apr 2018 07:36:45 +0000


The voice in your head

Sat, 07 Apr 2018 07:33:47 +0000

The Guardian reports that MIT Media Labs have developed a device that can read people’s minds and translate their thoughts into words. While this is a remarkable development, the piece makes it clear that the device cannot read your raw thoughts. You have to actually verbalize your thoughts, i.e. think out the exact words in your mind […]

The Pirate Game

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 11:00:19 +0000

The Pirate Game is an extension of the Ultimatum Game. While the Ultimatum Game involves 2 players and a few gold coins, the Pirate Game involves 5 pirates and 100 gold coins making offers to one another. Describing the problem and explaining the solution will take up too many words, but unless you understand the […]

Thoughts on the GST

Sun, 30 Jul 2017 07:16:43 +0000

Much reporting on the GST is about how tax rates have changed after the rollout. You may have read that a good or service was taxed at, say15% earlier, but will be at 18% now. I suspect that these reports are comparing on the basis of sales tax and VAT in the case of goods […]

In Defence of the GDP

Sun, 30 Apr 2017 02:12:17 +0000

The GDP as a measure has well-known limitations – in fact, I learnt about these limitations in the same chapter of the introductory Economics textbook that taught me how the GDP is calculated. The most glaring among these limitations is that voluntary and unpaid labour is not taken into account in its calculations. This tends […]

Arya Stark and Advaita

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 09:06:35 +0000

Arya Stark has had one of the strangest story arcs in Game of Thrones. She spends most of Season 6 getting beaten up, ostensibly in an attempt to become “No One”, but at the last moment, she declares that she is in fact Arya Stark of Winterfell. This has left many fans nonplussed. What was […]

It could get worse after Trump

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 03:50:10 +0000

I believe that Donald Trump is not an aberration, but that he is the continuation of the same tend that gave us Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, the Tea Party movement, the Occupy movements, Brexit, and a whole bunch of other people or movements. It is a well-established now that the communication and coordination tools associated […]

Sort by Weight

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 16:57:48 +0000

Here is an interesting puzzle that was published in The Guardian on Monday. The challenges is to find which of the four machines will sort objects into increasing order of weight. The way the machines work is that the four objects start at the  top and fall through the slides. When they meet at one of […]

Third Parties in the United States

Sat, 17 Dec 2016 08:55:55 +0000

The two-party system is well-entrenched in the United States, and the blame usually falls on the First Past the Post (FPP) system. It is true that FPP discourages third parties. Suppose that you have an election in one constituency, and three candidates A, B and C are competing to be first past the post. Now […]

Shyam Narayan Chouksey – the Movie

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 04:24:45 +0000

Shyam Narayan Chouksey is a great man who deserves to have a movie made about his life. More Indians need to know about this public spirited citizen. Back in 2002, Mr Chouksey was watching Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham at a theatre. The movie has a couple of scenes involving the protagonist’s son learning to sing […]

Capital Cities

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 03:55:09 +0000

10 years back, I wrote a blog post wondering why the capitals of many states of the US are not their largest cities. After writing that post, it occurred to me that the question ought to be reversed. Why should any state situate its headquarters in its largest city? Usually, cities are capital cities for […]