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Readalog Issue #2 | Thirteen on the Thirteenth (for Thirteen!)

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Readalog by Neha

October 13 · Issue #2 · View online

I collect words the way some people collect coins or butterfly specimens.
And this is where I share some of them with you.


We have subscribers! Yay! Thank you to all 13 of you. :D
Now, I severely underestimated the number of must-read articles/ stories that can add up over a week, when I proclaimed the number to be 3, last week. Or maybe in the excitement to curate, I went overboard this time. The list comprises 13 stories, and you must be patient with them (and read them all!).
Yet again, would love it if you could forward it to your friends, if you think they’ll enjoy reading this issue.

From around the Web
  • Artificial Intelligence is the buzzword of the year, and everyday there’s something or the other said about it by someone or the other.
  1. NewYorker’s Sarah Larson has been using Amazon’s Alexa for a while now, and you must read about her experience with it, in a tickling narrative here.
  2. And here’s Techcrunch’s Natasha Lomas taking Google to task, with her critical piece on the adtech giant’s blatant disregard for privacy, in the name of personalization.
  3. However, the pervasiveness of AI across industries is inevitable, and is the next pit-stop in the world of technology, much like the very concept of internet itself. Here’s a piece about the beginning of AI interventions in the fashion industry.
  4. Meanwhile, an Englishman spent 11 hours trying to make a fucking cup of tea, using his Wi-Fi kettle. Talk about commitment!
  • As we all dive head-first towards procuring newest gadgets as a testimony of our topicality, the severe collateral damage of this maddening quest is almost never discussed. In his article, Douglas Rushkoff makes a claim about the best smartphone being the one you already own, tugging at our collective conscientiousness. He might not succeed in converting a lot of us, but I just rolled back the decision to pre-order Pixel, deciding to stay put with my rusty but trusted Nexus 5, till it breaks down completely. Damn you, Doug!
    If you happen to be married (or not), and haven’t thought much about finances, you must read this delightful piece about the economics of dining out as a couple. And make better choices.Talking of marriage, loss of working capital is the biggest collateral damage arising out of the ever-increasing NRI alliances, where one-half of the couple (invariably the sacrificial woman) is rendered unproductive, thanks to the dependent H4 visa. In this poignant yet critical article, Diksha Madhok explores the desperation of Indian housewives in the United States of America.
  • In today’s violence-ridden world, we need all empathy that we can muster, just to exist. In this desolating account, Naomi Rosenberg shares how to tell a mother her child is dead. Prepared to be gutted, as you read this.
  • And here’s a delightful (and workable) peace proposal by Haseeb Asif, a journalist from the other side of border, suggesting an exchange of liberals of India and Pakistan.
    If you follow the world of startups (is there anyone who doesn’t these days?), you must be aware of the recent Uber and Didi deal. Here’s an excellent longread about the alleged ‘slaying’ of Uber in China, steered by the indomitable Didi CEO, Chang Wei.
  • Talking of startups, it’s been more than 2 years since Eat24 - a food-delivery startup - wrote a hilarious ‘breakup’ letter to Facebook, and it still remains one of the best things on the internet. If you haven’t read it, you must read it now. And if you have read it, you must reread it now. Oh, they also published a follow-up post soon after, describing their life post-breakup, which is equally mirthful.
  • Lastly, my most favorite read of the week. Somebody said it, finally! It’s NOT cool to not know how to do basic shit, we should just stop taking pride in it, displaying it as some badge of honor. Just think about it - is there anyone sexier than a person who knows his/ her way around things? No, didn’t think so. “We may have come of age in a decimated economy, but that doesn’t mean we should suddenly feel like it’s chic to still be struggling with basic life skills at 30.”
Book of the Week
The Association of Small Bombs. Karan Mahajan.
The Association of Small Bombs. Karan Mahajan.
Of all natural substances, milk has the most artificial smell.
In three words: Meandering. Haunting. Unpredictable.
Beyond the book: A 2016 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction, this is Karan Mahajan‘s second novel. His first novel, Family Planning, was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize and was published in nine countries.
Buy the book here.
Word Wise
kenopsia
n. the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet - a school hallway in the evening, an unlit office on a weekend, vacant fairgrounds - an emotional after-image that makes it seem not only empty, but hyper-empty, with total population in the negative, who are so conspicuously absent they glow like neon signs.
#FF
@miffalicious. Arathi is a writer, who weaves poetry with her words. Follow her for some of the most heart-wrenching and soul-enriching narratives, often strung together out of the mundane.
#OnLoop
Aa Jaao by Ankur Tewari and the Ghalat Family. Ankur is a stubborn musician, holding on to his almost fetish for no electronica (and thank goodness for that). His music evokes an intense nostalgia, with his velvety voice caressing the deep recesses of one’s heart. Aa Jaao is one of the songs from his newly released album, Side A/ Side B.
P.S.
Have you watched Up? (How can you not have?!) Do you remember Dug? He’s for real! Watch him chat unassuming visitors at a park in this short clip. You’re welcome.
With warmth and gratitude
Neha
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