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Author of two fantasy novels, The Wildings and The Hundred Names of Darkness. Black River, a slow-burning literary thriller, is out in 2020.

Columnist for the FT, formerly NYT, Business Standard, editor of anthologies on food writing and on the Modern Review. Drives like a demon, cooks like an angel.

Explosive story from the reporter Peter Maass: were two jurors for this year's Nobel Prize in Literature duped by a debunked conspiracy theory?


I have written a new something plus given the oldest cat his IV drip at home for the first time, and am ridiculously proud of second achievement.

Also, that bit where you spike the IV bottle goes off really well if you pretend you're driving a stake through the heart of a vampire.

(This, below, is oldest cat. About 90 in billi years, but going strong.)

Let's tributes to legendary tribal & revolutionary freedom fighter on his birth anniversary, his life was a journey of indomitable courage, dedication & service to motherland, only tribal leader marked presence in parliament house.

The Twitter/Mastodon topic is being covered as a race to finish. I have a different take I think it is a first step in a different way of building durable networks and identities.

+ I'm old enough to remember the Web of the 1990s/ 2000s.
It was a maze. You followed hypertext links, stumbled into forums and early troll-caves, used Slashdot and GoTo, experimented with LiveJournal and Blogger.

It wasn't safe, it was filled with weirdness, appealed heavily to geeks and loners. Being on the web in that era was a serious trip.

But it wasn't corporate. It wasn't the tool of major governments, yet. It was defiantly decentralised, and when you were online...

... you felt free.

The slow shift towards a decentralized web. For activists from India/ Asia seeking privacy and a safe place to share information, check out Freenet. Started by EFF's Mike Godwin:


"There lay the trap: Power belonged to anyone who could harness the collective will of the citizens directly by appealing to their emotions rather than using evidence and facts to change their minds."

Lawrence Torcello on the future of democracy — a time of tyrants?

The ICSE board has dropped the story Jamun Ka Ped, by Krishan Chandra. The powers that be must be pleased: it seems they felt uncomfortable/threatened. Listen to RJ Sayema's wonderful narration. You will know why.

+ Sorry, @SanSip is on Mastodon, should have credited him in the previous tweet.

"The voluble Austen, finishing a sandwich, pronounces: “Well, we’re due an Asian century. I hope they do better by us than we did by them. And that it doesn’t blow up too badly round here, when it does.”

Sanjay Sipahimalani on John Lanchester's Fragrant Harbour, a novel that tells us much about Hong Kong:

Tash Aw:

"the terrifying and hypnotic accounts of ghosts and legends that form the core of Southeast Asian folklore: ... the spirits of women who died in pregnancy, known as pontianak, that came back to haunt (mostly male) travelers on lonely roads; shape-shifting shamans possessed by the souls of animals. Always, for me at least, these stories circled back to a single figure of fascination and fear: the tiger."

Guys, can you all give @Gargron and @stux a break? I see so many Toots asking for emojis and blue tick and l sorts of nonsensical things. This is not a for-profit platform (correct me if I'm wrong) like Birdsite. These guys don't get paid to create emojis for your validation.

Treat them with respect, please.

Jodhpuri hing, powerful but far more subtle than the asafoetida available in Delhi. Poor quality hing smells like old sweat; this has a rich, savoury, banquet-worthy scent, strong but not at all unpleasant, with a humming gold and umami basenote running through.

From To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout on the scent of Calpurnia's church:

"Hearts of Love hairdressing mingled with asafoetida, snuff, Hoyt's Cologne, Brown's Mule, peppermint, and lilac talcum..."

Do you know which tree this is? Was completely blown away the first time I saw it, on the Out of Eden Walk trail in North Bengal with Paul Salopek. Finally identified with the help of a kind friend.

This is the Duabanga Grandiflora. Called Bondorphulla in Bengal, Thora / Khukan in Assam and Duyabangga in Tripura (also where the botanical name comes from).

I stood transfixed beneath the tree while looking up at the low drooping branches swaying gently with the breeze.

@nilanjanaroy For me the way people got together for the floods in Kerala last year was amazing. Volunteers, resources, money, post flood activities all was amazing. Didn't happen the second time due to misinformation campaign done about the Kerala govt.

@nilanjanaroy - Long ago, a friend & I were in front of a store, the parking area was dirt, wind was blowing. An older woman drove up, got out of her car. She was coughing, shaking her head. I asked my friend "What's her problem?"

She walked toward us slowly, deliberately, looked me straight in the face & said "Dust." Her tone was absolutely neutral. Not a hint of anger. After she'd gone inside, I stood there, realizing she'd been kind enough to teach me a profound lesson I've never forgotten.

@nilanjanaroy I watched a naturalist friend get stung by a hairy caterpillar on the leg yesterday (not at all lethal, just itchy) and instead of getting annoyed, and swatting it, he carefully placed it on a plant and proceeded to pull (a surprising large number) jagged hair (that the caterpillar pierces the skin with) with tweezers, while accidentally pulling some of own hair. All the while saying, between 'ow' and 'ouch', 'what a fantastic creature, sej. Look what it did in just seconds'. 💜

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