Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas in Yiwu

This was utterly fascinating. The biggest market of its kind in the Chinese city of Yiwu:

To get a sense of the scale and context I caught the shuttle bus that circles the Market. It took an hour to make a loop around the perimeter. I spent a day walking the length of the market by myself from District 5 to District 1, clocking in 22km of corridors according to the fitbit pedometer I wore. Perhaps I would have been better off accepting a ride from the men who circle the Districts offering to whisk you on a motorbike to an entrance of your choice for a modest fee.

This is the other side of the story of container shipping.

Leaders

The biggest benefit leaders provide to their followers is certainty. A good leader unifies the pre-existing delusions of his followers into a grand narrative they can believe in.

This certainty is almost always pathological. In reaffirming the delusions of his followers the leader prevents them from seeing the reality.

Lactose Intolerance

This was quite an eye opener. According to this source, about 30% of North Indians and 70% of South Indians are lactose intolerant. I never through lactose intolerance was a 'thing' in India. Most likely because we don't really have a word for it. Milk has always been an integral cultural part of (north) Indian diet (remember the whole butter stealing habits of Lord Krishna?) and, I guess, the idea of lactose intolerance just doesn't occur to people.

Also, I've often wondered about the absence of milk in Asian cuisines. Given that 90-100% of Asians are lactose intolerant, the absence is well explained.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Long running TV shows, like real life, become messy. There are more loose ends and fewer closures. That's why it's hard to write satisfying finales.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Indian National Contract

Clarissa has a couple of posts about how the US and Russian nation-states have been subverted by the breach of their social contracts:
This got me thinking about what the social contract of the Indian nation-state is. I'm forced to conclude that there is no contract or rather a state of uncontract between India and it's people. The State doesn't do anything for it's people and the people don't do anything for the State. In fact, the citizenry actively makes every effort to avoid it's duties to the state (taxes, public debate etc.) while the State makes very little effort to provide for the people. The people don't want the State to meddle in their affairs and the State doesn't want people meddling in its.