The Inner Monologue

by Amit Gawande

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The Paradoxes of Modern Life →

David Perell wrote an excellent note listing down a few paradoxes of modern life as per him. I was nodding along with each thought; contemplating the profoundness behind each of these naked truths of our lives.

Here is, for example, a thought on reading - “the books you read will profoundly change you even though you’ll forget the vast majority of what you read.” How true is that? I went through the list of the books that I have highly rated on Goodreads. I do not remember every detail from any of those books. But just a look at the title evokes a specific emotion within me, reminds me of how it affected me when I last read it.

I especially paused at the paradox of writing - “great writing looks effortless. But because the ideas are so clear, casual readers don’t appreciate how much time it took to refine them.” I can’t agree more. Every post that I enjoy, including this one from...

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These psychological tricks won’t work for me

I recently came across this interesting thread on Reddit asking “What is the most effective psychological trick you use?” It has some curious replies which are well summarized by BuzzFeed1 – they were blown away by these. For me though, they just won’t work.

  1. “To avoid workplace drama and be liked, compliment people behind their back” – Nope, don’t do that. Just never do anything to people behind their backs. A compliment not given to a person’s face is a compliment not given at all.
  2. “Saying ‘You’re right!’ instead of ‘I know’” – Don’t be afraid to say “I know” when you actually know. Passivity in communication doesn’t have any place at a workplace. Your words don’t make you an asshole.
  3. “On an airplane, if my seatmate is hogging the armrest or being too chatty, I grab the barf bag.” – Don’t be an asshole to your fellow passengers on an airplane. And let’s stop calling it an airplane –...

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Substack’s not scaming, but for sure it’s being dishonest

After Annalee Newitz original post, many are writing a lot about how Substack has been scamming writers who are spending time on their platform. The complaint is that the team behind Substack has promised the writers that their platform will make newsletter writing lucrative for all the writers. The scam, according to many writers, is Substack is not treating all writers equals. Here’s Annalee.

But, you might be saying, Substack mostly publishes tons of people who are not staff writers. Look at the thousands of newsletters on the site that are clearly not written by staff! No, it does not matter that technically anyone can jump on Substack and get paid by subscribers. Technically anyone can sing on the street corner and get paid by passerby, but that doesn’t mean they are on a level playing field with Megan Thee Stallion.

I agree, Substack is being dishonest, but not by giving special...

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No, You Can’t Own Your Computer

I want a computer that I own completely. I want a computer that does what I want it to do, not one that has a hidden agenda programmed into it at the factory. And, I want to have these capabilities regardless of what anyone has done to the Internet to prevent me from having them. I don’t want to be dependent on the whims of a government or the good will of a giant corporation.

Tie goes on to describe his ideal system and mulls over what he currently has to live with.

This made me think if such a system, or a group of systems for that matter - it’s not just a computer that Tie is talking about here - can actually exist. There’s no incentive for any organization, profit or non-profit, to build such a system. It will not be of interest for an everyday consumer, it would be too dull for him. He would, unmindful of the harms, load it with the unnecessary bloat, ruining the whole promise...

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We humans are back & so are emission levels

Global CO2 emissions came roaring back as pandemic-induced restrictions loosened (…) The rebound in emissions was driven by major economies including China, India, and Brazil. China saw a 0.8 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions overall last year, according to the IEA. Another analysis this week by the UK-based Carbon Brief website found that the country’s emissions rose even more. They found that China’s emissions were up 1.5 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 and that the boost was mostly due to a push to jump-start its pandemic-slowed economy with highly polluting industries like construction and heavy manufacturing.

We don’t learn much, do we? We haven’t yet got our lives back from the clutches of the pandemic – it still has its hold over our throats. Sure, we have vaccines now and most countries have started vaccinated the majority of their most vulnerable population. But we...

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FLoC by Google - A Short Story

Once upon a time, there was a village buzzing with happy lives. They used to visit their neighbours, interact with them. They used to have fun in their own little way. Each family was unique, and their likings were different.

Google is leading the charge to replace third-party cookies with a new suite of technologies to target ads on the Web.

One fine day, the villagers started seeing small pandals set up at the outer rim of the village. They had a few attractive, but unnecessary items on display, being distributed either free or dirt cheap. Most villagers ignored these new structures as they looked harmless – they were far away and not visible unless you scoured for them.

However, soon the village was full of ugly advertisements of varying sizes and colours for items they had no interest in. The villagers hated the situations; fretful murmurs were heard across every nook and cranny.

...

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Smile With Your Eyes, More

It happened again as I was on my morning walk today, passing through the familiar lanes. I have become habitual to communicate mutely, through smiles, with the folks I have acquainted with over such daily walks.

That uncle who ambles but never forgets to straighten up somewhat every time he sees me. That guy jogging with his headphones on yet makes a point to slow down to acknowledge my presence.

And I connect with many such folks (who I know I don’t “know”) daily for months and years now. Or at least I try to.

You see, it was easy to do that when we weren’t living our life through this dreaded pandemic. When masking the major part of our face wasn’t necessary. When we could spread our lips in a smile at someone, and say so much unsaid.

I am struggling to do that these days. I do smile, but I am not confident that the feeling touches the person. Or he or she reciprocates it.

I have...

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Choose your defaults

I am always keen on services that desire to keep things simple. When they don’t provide too many bells and whistles to the users to get distracted by. When they are easy on eyes.

I feel comforted when I see them confidently selecting defaults. Because that shows they have some principles that they won’t budge on.

Is it inconvenient all the times? Does it work for all? Does it limit their target audience? Sure, absolutely. But at least they are satisfied with what they serve.

I would always have a soft corner for all such services. Svtble is one of them.

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