XKCD: assigning numbers

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Published on: April 23, 2022

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Science of Art

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Published on: March 12, 2022

An interesting article from inference-review.com on the growth of science of art. What can we learn from digitizing, coding and using algorithmic tools on database of items and paintings and other art.

Few tools and methods taken from different fields of science: probabilities, evolutionary principle, genealogy trees, networks and others. Interesting lis t of projects are also mentioned in the article.

“…For now, as always, it is humans who find meanings in the world and science is just a way of testing their truth. All that is required for the use of science, or any other rational method of investigation, is a consensus that those interpretations not be solipsistic and equivocal, but public and falsifiable.” 

“…The prospect of a science of art is, to me, dazzling. When I consider it I feel as Aristotle must have felt when he stood upon an Aegean shore and saw, for the first time, that living things might be the objects of science. A small shift of perspective and virgin vistas appear.” Art as objects of science…

More of this article here: [The Link]

[DOI: 10.37282/991819.22.16]

Meritocracy vs others

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Published on: February 13, 2022

Is success achieved only through hard work? It is not so straight forward. Environment, luck, systemic biases all play a role to some extent. Interesting discussions around meritocratic systems and their moral implications..



Review of The Dawn of Everything from LARB

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Published on: January 27, 2022

Came across this interesting review of book on human history – The Dawn of Everything, A New History of Humanity by Graeber and Wengrow. Recently had read the books from Y. Harari on this topic, which was refreshing. Looks like this could be an interesting book to check on.

Brief summary: “Nevertheless, The Dawn of Everything is a thoroughly mesmerizing book. Its new story about human history is provocative, if not necessarily comprehensive. The book’s great value is that it provides a much better point of departure for future explorations of what was actually happening in the past. There are almost unlimited possibilities here to build upon, and a much more fruitful critical perspective from which to think about human history.”


Also has a passage, which summarize the current thinking of human history, a teleological model. ” … Human societies varied a lot. Now they don’t vary as much, but the technology they employ is wildly more complex. People live longer, but they aren’t necessarily healthier or happier during their long lives. The overall average levels of violence may have decreased (although the massive variability in early human societies suggests that “average levels” is not a particularly useful way to think about violence, or really anything else in the archaeological record), but the violence that does happen is more spectacularly destructive. Most importantly: We can now fail on a global scale, and we seem to be in the process of failing.


More of this article from LARB here: [The Link]


[Harpers]: Routine maintenance: embracing habit in modern world

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Published on: January 14, 2022

Habit & Routine can be very helpful in some aspects but also can be crippling in other aspects. Came across this very interesting & thoughtful article about habits, its history, its relevance in social lifes from past and present, but also some thoughts on role of automation in society.

An interesting passage towards the end for balance & reflection:

“…But even the most ingrained human behaviors are accompanied by sensations that prompt us to pause and recalibrate when something goes wrong—a truth well known to anyone who has caught themselves driving home to a previous residence or gagging on the hemorrhoid cream they’ve mistaken for toothpaste. Ravaisson calls habit the “moving middle term,” a disposition that slides along the continuum between rote mechanism and reflective freedom. Weil, who similarly saw habit as a continuum, believed that we should strive to remain on the reflective side of that spectrum. The Stoics advised nightly meditation, so as to judge the virtue of the actions they’d taken that day, and Charles Sanders Peirce, the father of pragmatism, noted that in cases where habits have begun to work against a person’s interests, “reflection upon the state of the case will overcome these habits, and he ought to allow reflection its full weight.” It is this connection to thought that allows habits to remain fluid and flexible in a way that machines are not. Habits are bound up with the brain’s plasticity, a term James describes as “a structure weak enough to yield to an influence, but strong enough not to yield all at once.” Unlike algorithms, which lock in patterns and remain beyond our understanding, habits allow us to negotiate a livable equilibrium between thought and action, maintaining, as Weil puts it, “a certain balance between the mind and the object to which it is being applied.” .. ”


More about this article here: [The Link]


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Published on: December 28, 2021

Microwork is a series of microtasks, which sociologist Antonio Casilli defines as “fragmented and under-remunerated productive processes.” Companies break up big projects into small tasks that can be performed by anyone with an internet connection, then hire people to do them for very little money, usually through a third party that handles the staffing. Mega-corporations use private firms like Samasource, while smaller companies find workers through user-facing platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk, Fiverr, and ClickWorker…

While it is noted automation might remove jobs, however trend seems to be that there is rise of this microwork (which may not be sustainable or suitable). Read more of this here:


Some predictions for 2050

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Published on: October 31, 2021

Futurists are drawn to the sensational and the unlikely: brain uploading, magnetic floating cars. But the actual future will be more like today’s world. Here is an interesting list of predictions for the future by 2050. Some of them seems more US centric, but an interesting read nevertheless:

Technology related

  • There will be Martian colony
  • Marketization of everything
  • AI will be most futuristic impactful change in day-to-day life
  • supersensorium (supermarket like experience of entertainment) will grow
  • A mostly storeless society
  • Education will take place mostly online
  • Genetic engineering of embryos to avoid disease will have become common
  • Anti-aging tech will extend the health-spans of the rich


  • Huge improvements to standards of living
  • Families will continue to decline in importance
  • The future really is female
  • The rise of the throuple
  • A minority-led country

Political changes

  • The world will not war
  • The age of the mob will spur domestic turmoil
  • Soft totalitarianism will become the norm
  • People and culture will become boring


More of this here: [The Link]


History of what we call work

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Published on: October 5, 2021

An interesting article and review of the recent book by James Suzman about history of work and why we work in the first place. Long time ago, hunter gathering societies, worked minimally to get food and spent rest of time in leisure. How has society changed and can we go to a post-scarcity society where there is no need to work for make a living?

Book mentioned in the article

  • Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots, by James Suzman


Read more the article here: [The Link]

Book from the author of the article: Automation and the Future or Work, by Aaron Benanav

Digital collection: can such a thing make sense?

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Published on: September 24, 2021

Came across an interesting article reminising about the days and role of collector and collection of cultural items like books, music and other (physical) items. With everything becoming digital & online recommendations especially ebooks and spotify for music, the act of collecting and the experience of collection has changed significantly. Few excerpts from the article

“In the digital era, when everything seems to be a single click away, it’s easy to forget that we have long had physical relationships with the pieces of culture we consume. We store books on bookshelves, mount art on our living-room walls, and keep stacks of vinyl records. When we want to experience something, we seek it out, finding a book by its spine, pulling an album from its case, or opening an app. The way we interact with something — where we store it — also changes the way we consume it, as Spotify’s update made me realize. Where we store something can even outweigh the way we consume it.”


“Over the past two decades, the collecting of culture — like maintaining a personal library — has moved from being a necessity to a seemingly indulgent luxury.”

“Yet even with all its excesses of content, our era of algorithmic feeds might herald the actual death of the collector, because the algorithm itself is the collector, curator, and arbiter of culture.”


More of this in the article here: [The Link]



state of reviewing books

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Published on: August 11, 2021

An interesting article on the reviewing books and the profession of writers/book reviewers. Like many creative pursuits making a living or making a profession out of it is getting harder and harder. A creative writeup on this here.

A sobering conclusion from the article: “Despite all the odds, good reviews are being written in this wretched era, by staff critics and by freelancers. New, technocratic solutions are proposed every day: billionaire funding, paid newsletters, essays crowdfunded on the Ethereum blockchain, a new patronage system funded by NFTs of GIFs. How grim it all seems. We never really wanted to live in the future. Then again, the history of book reviewing is a history of frustration and disappointment. Why should our era be different? At the very least, we should put an end to the misery. Publications of means, adjust your rates for inflation and pay your writers on time. Publications without, we can do better: Just say no to CTRs (Contemporary Themed Reviews)”.


More from the article here: [The Link]

A good rebuttal from Gawker here: [The Link]

Puts out a clear call to action by reminding what critiscism is about: “If there is a problem with book reviewing the problem is that those of us who are good at it aren’t good enough, there aren’t enough of us, and we aren’t doing a good enough job of expanding the scope of literary discourse, to put it in touch with tradition and open it wide to new writing. I recoil at terms like “thought leader” and “gatekeeper,” but we do have at least the duty of helping to create the culture we want to live in, and that world should be full of infinitely various delights. The imperatives are to be stylish, to be thorough, to be funny, to be generous, and occasionally to be cruel. Boredom, envy, gray skies and gray sentences — these are the things we were born to kill.”


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