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Sagnik Sarkar
"Keep calm, and stay awesome."
"Keep calm, and stay awesome."

Sagnik's posts

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Announcing the Weekly Brief: The Best of My Experiences of the Whole Week Hand Crafted for You

Instagram is now my social media platform. But one must not forget one's roots. Google+ was where I learnt the ropes of social media.

For those of you who have been loyal followers of mine on Google+, I do not intend to disappoint.

Especially for you, who values long-reads and deep reflection, is the Weekly Brief: a hand-crafted, curated blog post on the best I've seen, come across and experienced throughout the whole week. For you to add value to your life from.

What can you expect? Motivational quotes, articles on self development, science, psychology, photography, fashion..... literally anything under the Sun that has the potential to add value to one's life.

Check this space every weekend, starting this weekend. My first weekly brief will be published soon.

Meanwhile, perhaps you would be interested in checking out my completely refurbished blog? I'm sure you'll like it:

Bonus: For anyone wondering why I made the shift to Instagram and what you can expect out there, check out this justification I wrote:

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I'm now on Instagram!

It has so happened that over the years, I’ve built up a routine such that in any day, I will have come across something amazing.

Maybe, after having read some amazing blog or an article in a magazine, come across motivational quotes, done some photography, gone out somewhere, taken an online course, learnt something, read a book….. the possibilities are limitless.

So I thought, why not share this with the world?

Instagram is my platform of choice for this purpose. In my Instagram profile, I share the best of what I've learnt, experienced or come across every day, so that you can then proceed to experience those experiences which continue to add so much value to my life everyday.

Check out my Instagram profile:

Wondering why I made the shift to Instagram? I've written about that, and what you can expect on my Instagram, here:

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Begging is an art. But this guy is a genius on another level. A job at PwC would suit him better, perhaps?

Image Credit: +Mad Over Marketing (M.O.M)

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The Best, Most Successful Propaganda Model Ever: The Diamond Engagement Ring

In the Western world today, spending a lavish sum of money on a diamond ring while proposing your future wife or husband is something taken for granted and considered customary.

Yet, it wasn't always so. Diamonds weren't always customarily sine qua non to this ritual.

Behind the scenes of this ritual lies the highly successful propaganda model of De Beers, the largest diamond cartel in the world, which created artificial demand and supply by abusing its trade monopoly and a hugely successful, sustained marketing campaign. Of course, all for their own profits.

Read the story on The Atlantic:

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Unaccountable, Unreviewable Algorithms: Judge, Jury and Executioner

Algorithm are just code, seemingly innocuous. It is an instrument which, in the right hands is a scalpel and in the wrong hands a bad weapon.

The 21st century runs on algorithms. Everything from matching criminal suspect profiles, machine learning, DNA fingerprint lookup, search engine algorithms, predicting future diseases, looking for patterns in data, sorting and sifting job applicants, intelligence analysis.... there are innumerable instances where algorithms play a crucial, often completely automated role.

If algorithms thus get to play judge, jury and executioner in our life, we should have the right to review and challenge the code that does anything from deciding whether you get a job to whether you spend years in prison.

That's where the problem is. This article on Aeon Magazine makes the point:

A variety of legal and statutory regimes, trade secrecy for instance, are used to hide these algorithms that get to dictate our life from us.

The question is, are we, as a democratic society that works on the principle of balance and counter-check, willing to let unaccountable algorithms designed by the powerful dictate our life?

It is a disturbing question, and it requires us to act fast.

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Want Happiness? First chose what flavour of it you want. Then go for it.

Another wonderful blog by Eric Baker on his blog, Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

This one speaks of the 4 "flavours" or types of happiness, and why all but the last two are superfluous, and the last the best.

More on these types, and more importantly, simple ways to strive towards achievening it:

Because, who doesn't want happiness, right?

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Analyzing Rape Culture: How it is so, and possible solutions

It is a rather unfortunate reality that every time crimes against women are reported in the media, there are many, many voices who indulge in the disgusting practice of victim blaming.

The woman is singled out, her dignity stripped in public, everything from her dress to choices in life are put under scrutiny, not as much the crime and the criminal.

In this post, S.O.U.P. explores the disgusting reality of the prevalence of rape culture, analyses why it is so, and finally suggests some possible solutions.

Do give it a read. Arpita Choudhury writes on S.O.U.P.

I am honoured to be one of the founders of S.O.U.P. More about this awesome community in a future post. 

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The Independent: Ireland passes law to become world's first country to fully divest from fossil fuels

Ireland has voted to be the world’s first country to fully divest public money from fossil fuels.

The Irish Parliament passed the historic legislation in a 90 to 53 vote in favour of dropping coal, oil and gas investments from the €8bn (£6.8bn) Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, part of the Republic’s National Treasury Management Agency.

The exodus continues

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A former MIT researcher has come up with a super-fast solution to analyze data, almost a 100 times faster! All thanks to your graphics card, once again.

You probably thought that the graphics card you use on your laptop or PC, known as the GPU, is only meant from gaming. Far from it.

The most difficult part about gaming is the complex calculations required to be performed to render the scenery. These calculations can get really complex with the game and increased graphics quality. Since conventional CPUs are far too slow to render these in real-time, we use GPUs optimized for this purpose.

GPUs utilize a variety of innovations (compared to CPU) such as a large number of cores for parallel processing, very fast memory, etc. to make them adept, very fast at these calculations.

It's conventional use it to render scenery. But, seen objectively, a GPU is basically a super-fast mathematics processor (in specific instances).

This speed of graphics cards has been used these years to brute-force passwords (a process where you try all possible combinations for a password until the right one clicks) way faster than a conventional CPU would take.

Introducing MapD, a database analytics platform that is super-fast, because it runs entirely on GPUs (conventional ones run only on CPUs or a mixture of both):

This novel platform, combined with a sophisticated visual engine, allows the user to query complex databases and get results nearly instantly, about a 100 times faster than conventional solutions. Such as, you can get a tweetmap on your screen almost instantly!

No doubt, this is a very significant improvement for Big Data Mining, and its possibilities are limitless. MapD is now open for sale, and a significant number of high-stakes players are after it.

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Making Money Grow by Circulation: The Crux of Economics

Economics runs on the fundamental principle that the value of money increases the more it circulates.

The concept is rather simple. Suppose you spend ₹ 20 to buy a packet of chips. The shop-keeper uses that ₹ 20 you gave him to, say, buy a bottle of coke. So, all in all, your ₹ 20 has done the work of ₹ 40. The money remains ₹ 20, but the value of goods traded recorded is ₹ 40.

Likewise, the more frequently money changes hand, the more "work" it will do, the more value will be reflected in the economy.

Governance, essentially, is the art of increasing and maintaining this circulation.

You take money from one group of people, usually the rich, in the form of taxes or payment for goods and services, and invest it in the form of subsidies provided to the poor, urban infrastructure, etc. The money you put in the hands of the poor and those who built the infrastructure ultimately comes back to you, whether voluntarily as payment or in the form of the taxes.

The more masterful a government is at this carefully balanced art, the better is their economy, the better is the value of their economy.

All economics essentially boils down to one simple concept: keep money circulating. That's the easy part.

The hard part is figuring out how to do it. And that when all hell breaks loose, that's when you need economics.
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