Thoughts on Naomi Osaka’s French Open stand

Not everyone is comfortable with facing the mike. (Image courtesy mykhel.com)

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When I first heard about the tennis star, Naomi Osaka, refusing to attend the post-match interview at Roland Garros because of mental stress, I was a bit taken aback. After all, sports is all about mind games. If Naomi is playing a match, loses the first set, and goes down a break or two in the second, she needs to have an almost superhuman mental strength to make a comeback. Isn’t that what sports are all about?

But on thinking it over, I realized that I wasn’t being fair to…


The Indian government needs to ban WhatsApp for a month

WhatsApp’s championing of Indian’s right to privacy is not what it seems (Photo by Dids from Pexels)

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It gave me deja vu to see WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app, filing a case against the Indian government, and championing the privacy of Indians in the midst of a privacy debate between India’s ruling party and the opposition parties.

This has been going on for centuries. Indian kings fight each other over whatever. A foreigner comes in and attacks one of the kings. The other king silently watches on the principle that ‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend.’ …


Amazon killed my product review as it revealed how easy it is to generate fake reviews

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A month ago, I ordered a mesh metal strap for my smart band. The original strap was poor quality and I thought it made sense to pay ₹500 on a fancy metal mesh strap with a magnetic buckle instead of spending ₹300 on a replacement of the same poor quality original strap.

I didn’t really expect much for ₹500 but the strap was quite well engineered. The two negatives I could spot were the magnetic buckle looked like it might rust (it did) and removing the watch for charging would…


China's billion-dollar business of forcibly harvesting the organs of its minorities is estimated to have killed a horrifying 2,000,000 ‘donors.’ So why is it still business as usual with China?

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The first time, I heard China was harvesting organs for profit from minorities (like the Uyghurs and Falun Gong), I brushed it aside as another conspiracy theory. If China was guilty, Xi Jinping would be evil incarnate, far worse than genocidal maniacs like Hitler and Genghis Khan. The world made the mistake of initially turning a blind eye to Hitler’s atrocities. We are not likely to let history repeat itself, right?

Anyway, a few years went by, but the story just wouldn’t go away. Take the documentary appended below. It’s…


It’s time to give up all beliefs and rely only on what can be perceived

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I have recently been hearing a lot of parents complaining about kids and social media addiction. Some of these kids have totally lost the plot, and can’t keep even the most basic routines and schedules. They stay awake all night glued to their gadgets, fall asleep during their Zoom classes and mess up their studies, eat meals at odd hours, and generally display a complete lack of discipline. This has been exacerbated by being Covid-era, stuck-at-home kids. …


The world must insist on transparency on China’s use of forced labor

Courtesy Twitter

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In May 2020, the Chinese and Indian armies clashed on the Ladakh border and 20 Indian soldiers were killed. In the resulting anti-China patriotic fervor, Indians began boycotting all Chinese products. The Indian government even banned hundreds of Chinese apps including popular ones like Tiktok. These apps were collecting data on Indians and sending them to China, which obviously was a big no-no as we were on the brink of war with them.

Make in India VS Make in China

Boycotting Chinese was fine. But the problem was Indian products weren’t just good enough or simply didn’t exist…


It was all about weighing the pros and cons

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

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In the last decade, the Indian healthcare industry has turned into a blood-sucking business, almost totally devoid of ethics. This is why I generally avoid visiting hospitals unless it’s a serious infection or a critical illness.

Anyway, the second wave of Covid has just hit India and the infection rates look like they may exceed the first wave. Meanwhile, the Indian government has begun its Covid vaccination drive. My mother who is in the eligible age group felt it’s better to get it done with the Covid flare-up. As for my…


A look at how fake news is trying to rewrite the narrative in India

What’s not being said is as important as what’s being said (Photo by Sasith Mawananehewa from Pexels)

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So I was having this chat with my daughter and she tells me India is a mess. I say what? She wants to know if I have seen Greta Thunberg’s tweet about the farmers’ protests in Delhi. And if I was aware that CAA (India’s Citizen Amendment Act) had driven people crazy and localities were burnt down.

This conversation drove home to me how wide the gap between fact and fiction has become since the fake news phenomenon hit us. My daughter is a bright kid but if she’s unable to…


Dissecting a fake news article to learn what makes it tick

70 years old and still climbing strong (Photo @babulous )

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This is a companion piece to my ‘To spot fake news…’ post that reference the CAA and the Farm Bills, two new legislations in India that have generated a lot of heated commentary. One of the reasons for this brouhaha is there’s a lot of fake news muddying up the waters. So I thought it might be fun to dissect one of these fake news articles to understand how it works.

Anyway, one of the provisions in the Farm Bills gives farmers the freedom to sell anywhere, and bypass the middleman…


Our tendency to believe what we want to believe is what gives life to fake news

Are our biases letting us make fools of ourselves? (Photo by Alexas Fotos from Pexels) CC

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These days, ‘confirmation bias’ is beginning to trend. People are catching on to how politicians and their ilk are deliberately using this psychological ploy to manipulate our minds to believe what they want us to believe.

This post is my analysis of how ‘confirmation bias’ evolved from a belief of an individual to a belief shared by millions, and is the foundation of fake news.

My first encounter with confirmation bias

This happened in India’s pre-internet era, and it nearly saw me go under the knife.

I was a fitness freak in those days but had suddenly…

babulous

it’s an odd world

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