The Bed of Procrustes by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Bed of Procrustes is a short book consisting of quotes by Taleb. Unlike his other books, this book is mostly a collection of quotes. Procrustes used to stretch/amputate his guests who won’t fit on his bed. Similarly, when our minds need to reduce information, we are more likely to try to squeeze a phenomenon into the Procrustean bed of a crisp and known category (amputating the unknown), rather than suspend categorization, and make it tangible. That’s the central theme of this book.

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A day in Phoenix Arizona

We started with the Wrigley’s Mansion. The mansion of the famous Wrigley’s chewing gum. The self-guided tour is free. And the paid tour costs 17$. Then head to Roosevelt street, the downtown area of Phoenix. There are lots of eateries and art galleries here. I would highly recommend having lunch here.

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Why Indian Passport remains weak

Indian passport remains weak, as per Henley’s 2021 index, India has visa-free access to only 59 countries and that obviously excludes the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Schengen zone.

Before ruminating on that, it is worth asking, why China, which is 5 times richer than India in terms of per capita GDP is not doing significantly better either. The island countries of the Caribbean with a population of less than a million have better access than China. Even war-torn Venezuela has a better passport including visa-free access to western Europe.

I believe that there are two dominating factors that decide the power of a country’s passport. First, how rich is the country. And second, how big is its population.

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Low code

I’m a big of serverless. In fact, in 2021, I believe that it should be the default choice and one should have a strong reason to deploy their own servers.

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A visit to Carlsbad Cavern

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is famous for the Carlsbad cavern. While Lava Beds National Monument is famous for its labyrinth of caves, Carlsbad is famous primarily for a single huge cave. There are several small caves around that require permits and specialized gear to visit.

I would highly recommend coming here early in the morning. You need to book a reservation in advance. The Carlsbad cave is huge. And while some people take the elevator, I recommend going down as well as up via the hike to have the fullest experience. It takes about 45 mins to hike up/down. And then there is a big room to explore at the bottom. There are ~50 marked stops to the bottom. Expect to spend about 3-4 hours in the cave.

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5 days in Gorkhaland (West Bengal) and Sikkim

The northern part of Bengal known as Gorkhaland and Sikkim is the Nepali-speaking region of India. This part is known mostly for its mountainous beauty. If you are flying in, Bagdogra is the closest airport. The airside of this airport is congested, so, I would recommend not to check-in too early.

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The Terrible Economics of running a Restaurant

A new Indian restaurant had opened within walking distance of where we live. We, actually, discovered it on the day of its inauguration (Muhurta). The owner politely told us to come back the next day. We did. We were fifth in the queue on a long line outside the restaurant. A phone call came in from an acquaintance. The call was a good way to pass an hour-long wait. We would have certainly left the queue otherwise.

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Double-negative jobs

There are positive jobs and then there are double-negative jobs.

Positive jobs when done well increase the revenue of the company. On the other hand, double-negative jobs when done well, prevent the loss of revenue. Consider HR, lawyer, physical/information security personnel, all are double-negative roles. If they do their job well, you won’t notice any harm. It is hard to justify spending on double-negative jobs. They don’t increase the bottom line. The shareholders question the spending. But when they don’t go well, you end up with huge losses.