Watch India launch a record 104 satellites in one mission

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) just launched an amazing 104 satellites in one mission, setting a new record. Read the rest

The peculiar struggle to make parts of India "Open Defecation Free"

One of the high-profile campaigns by India's Prime Minister Modi is an end to the practice of defecating in public places, with access to toilets for all. Read the rest

Mobile recharging station operators in India sell tens of thousands of women's phone numbers to stalkers

Tens of thousands of women in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have complained to police about harassing phone calls from creepy men who bought their phone numbers from the operators of mobile phone recharging stations; they say the operators sneakily captured their phone numbers and sold them off to the stalkers. Read the rest

One year 40% HIV infection dropoff in London attributed to grey-market generic pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs

Taking pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs like Truvada before having unprotected sex with HIV+ people can significantly reduce the risk of infection (the drugs can also be taken after potential exposure); though this use is approved in England, the NHS does not yet cover Truveda prescriptions, so people who wish to take the drug are expected to pay £400/month. Read the rest

Mumbai's beggars and Trump Tower billboard: not fake news

Last weekend, your social media feed might have featured this photo of beggars sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai, in front of a Trump Tower billboard emblazoned "There is only one way to live. The Trump Way." Read the rest

A catalog of Indian style and design

Look, it’s Indian design! Everyone has heard of Japanese and Scandinavian design, but few know that India also has a long history of design. It doesn’t permeate the culture as deep as Japan or Scandinavia, but I know from living there that India does have a critical mass of distinctly unique objects. To help pin down the essentials of that style, this catalog of India design examples makes a case that there is a very functional design approach both in historic and modern India. This is the first book I know of that presents that style in one place.

Sar: The Essence of Indian Design by Swapnaa Tamhane and Rashmi Varma Phaidon Press 2016, 304 pages, 8.2 x 1.0 x 10.6 inches, Hardcover $52 Buy one on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

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Global trumpism: how India's brutal leader manufactures reality with trumped-up "polls"

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an authoritarian war criminal who is part of the worldwide surge of trumpist leaders and hopefuls, including Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte; Hungary's Viktor Orbán; Russia's Vladimir Putin; South Korea's Park Geun-hye; France's Marine Le Pen; the UK's Nigel Farage, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and others -- bound together by xenophobia, a lack of transparency, violent suppression of opposition, and savvy use of the internet. Read the rest

Youtube's new "offline first" product for India treats telcos as damage and routes around them

Yesterday, Google announced "Youtube Go," an "offline first" version of the popular video service designed for the Indian market where internet coverage is intermittent, provided by monopolistic carriers that have a history of network discrimination, and where people have a wide variety of devices, including very low-powered ones. Read the rest

In a leaked "weaponized information" catalog, Indian cyberarms dealer offers blackest-ever SEO

In 2014, an Indian company called Aglaya brought a 20-page brochure to ISS World (AKA the Wiretappers' Ball -- the annual trade fair where governments shop for surveillance technology): the brochure laid out the company's offerings, which ranged from mobile malware for Ios and Android to a unique "Weaponized Information" selection that combined denial-of-service with disinformation to "discredit a target" online. Read the rest

How you can help India's first free public library for the Tibetan exile community

Earlier this year, I wrote about a wonderful library project that Tibetan friends in India are putting together for a Tibetan exile community there, with the support of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Here's an update from my friend Phuntsok Dorjee, who is one of the organizers.

The Dalai Lama speaks to his followers at the Gaden Jangtse Thoesam Norling Monastery in Mundgod, 2014. REUTERS

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Indian workers staged one of the largest strikes in human history and no one in the USA noticed

Tens of millions of unionized public sector workers walked off the job last Friday in a one-day strike against PM Modi's plan to privatise public industries and increase foreign investment. It was one of the largest strikes in human history, if not the largest, and took place over Labour Day weekend. Read the rest

Mumbai Beach clean-up highlights marine waste epidemic

The shocking amount of marine waste washed up on Mumbai's Versova Beach led UN Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh to publicize a long-term cleanup project. Mountains of garbage, mostly plastic, have been hauled away by thousands of volunteers. Read the rest

Tiffin: a boardgame based on Mumbai's miraculous lunch-delivery network

More than 250,000 of Mumbai's workers enjoy a home-cooked lunch every day thanks to the dabbawallas, who bring tiffins -- stacking lunchpails -- filled at each worker's family kitchen directly to their workplace, in a miracle of coordinated logistics that consistently beats Mumbai's legendary traffic jams and attains unheard-of accuracy despite the low levels of literacy among dabbawallas. Read the rest

Why did 31 people suddenly die in a Pakistan village? A horrible mystery solved

In India and Pakistan, the variety of traditional sweets prepared for special occasions seems infinite. One popular treat is laddu (or ladoo), sweet little sugary carb balls. They're basically cookies, and they're munched at big celebrations--weddings, births, and the like.

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129 of Gandhi's speeches on India and self-rule

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "From May 11, 1947 until January 29, 1948, Gandhi gave a speech after prayer meetings 129 times. It was a narrative of his life and of the times. All India Radio broadcast his talks to the nation, and everybody stopped to hear what the Mahatma had to say. On January 30, Gandhiji didn't make it to the microphone. " Read the rest

McClatchy newspapers' CEO pleased to announce that he's shipping IT jobs overseas

Between 120 and 150 IT workers will be fired from the McClatchy newspaper syndicate (Scramento Bee, Miami Herald, etc), after they have trained IT contractors from India's Wipro to do their jobs. Read the rest

USA uses TPP-like trade-court to kill massive Indian solar project

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was on track to deliver deploy 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 ("more than the current solar capacity of the world’s top five solar-producing countries combined") but because India specified that the solar panels for it were to be domestically sourced, the USA sued it in WTO trade court and killed it. Read the rest

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