Weekend reads

  1. There is little in Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget that will stop the Indian economy from slowing down. C Rammanohar Reddy says in the Hindu that the government seems to be ignoring both global and domestic headwinds.
  2. The Budget section on financial measures showed a level of competence and domain expertise that few associate with the Narendra Modi government. Mihir S Sharma says this is the bright spot of an otherwise middling Budget on NDTV. Read also this thread on a positive aspect of the Budget by “Sonali Ranade”.
  3. If you don’t want to read about the Budget, maybe a football-playing cow instead? Smita Nair in the Indian Express introduces us to BallGai, a Goan cow that has gone viral.
  4. Code that collected personal data for use in measuring credit-worthiness was embedding inside apps that delivered Sai Baba stories and Ilaiyaraaja songs. Gopal Sathe in the HuffPost reports on how CreditVidya used “middleware” to scrape all sorts of data.
  5. Foreign journalists often parachute into countries and then hire local journalists as “fixers” to get them information without any credit. Priyanka Borpujari writes in the Columbia Journalism Review about how “the title ‘foreign correspondent’ has long been synonymous with whiteness, maleness, and imperialism”.
  6. “Translation, after all, is literary analysis mixed with sympathy, a matter for the brain as well as the heart.” Teju Cole in the New York Review of Books writes about translation, literature and how writing can save lives.
  7. Cephalopods, like the octopus, tend to live fast and die young. So why are they so smart? Ed Yong in the Atlantic examines why these animals may have developed intelligence.
  8. George Orwell’s 1984, published 70 years ago, is still very much alive all around us. Think, writes Louis Menand in the New Yorker, of how easily we press “I accept” on online terms and conditions, or how politicians so naturally talk of those they disagree with as treasonous.
  9. Martin Longman says he was not plagiarised by Trinamool MP Mohua Mitra in a viral speech last week. But, as he writes in the Washington Monthly, he did become internet famous in India.
  10. The end of Budget week is as good a time as any to go look at some gorgeous goats. No jokes. The Guardian has a collection of pictures of photogenic bakras.

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