I’ve been refraining from talking about the Dharun Ravi case, because it’s pretty complicated. On the one hand, after reading the New Yorker article and other material, it’s pretty clear Dharun is a grade-A jerk. And Tyler Clementi’s death was a terrible tragedy. But on the other hand, 10 years in prison is a serious thing, as Ta-Nehisi Coates points out. Ashvin shared a link to a blog post on “Deporting Homophbia”:

I have been Tyler and Dharun in a post 9/11 U.S. that accuses white men of exploiting the rest of the world and accuses brown men of destroying it. I have been Tyler and Dharun in a post 9/11 world where white men advocate for homosexual rights and advance homophobia and where brown men are understood as always homophobic. I am being presumptuous, so let me stop.

It’s an interesting take on things, and has made me think about the media coverage of the event and if and how Dharun’s race has played into how the story has been told.

Via Kamalika I learned about a lawsuit against IMDB.

A gem from SMBC via Cosma. The Beef Tensors are a nice touch.

Sepia Mutiny is shutting down, and Amardeep has some closing thoughts.

We always get to hear these stories about how service providers needs differential pricing for network traffic because they can’t make money, but then stories like this make me question the integrity of the complainers.

I heard Of Monsters and Men on KEXP and their show is sold out in Chicago, boo. Here’s their crazy video though:


The linguistic diversity of mustard seeds

From Thangam Philip’s book Modern Cookery:

Mustard seeds (Brassica nigra) :
Hindi – rai
Tamil – kadugu
Telugu – avalu
Kannada – sasuve
Oriya – sorisa
Marathi – mohori
Bengali – sorse
Gujarati – rai
Malayalam – kadugu
Kashmiri – aasur

A recent discussion with Lalitha Sankar and Prasad Santhanam brought up this linguistic diversity. Clearly sorse/sasuve/sorisa/ come from the same root as sarson, which are mustard greens. Maybe aasur is derived from that as well, but where do the others come from?

It turns out that the Farsi word is خردل, or khardal (thanks to Amin Mobasher for the help), which is probably the source for the Tamil/Malayalam.

But, much to my chagrin as a Maharashtrian, I do not know the origins of mohori, nor do I have any in my kitchen right now (soon to be rectified by a trip to Devon)!


I’m heading off to Mexico in less than 12 hours for a week during which I hope to disconnect : no email, web, or phone. I guess I’ll miss the majority of the post-Bin Laden news cycle. In the meantime, here are some more links because I am too lazy to post content.

Speaking of 9/11, this is simply terrible.

An interview with George Saunders, one of my favorite authors.

Blackwell’s proof of Wald’s Identity, as told by Max.

Long pepper looks fascinating and tasty!

Can Voter ID Laws Be Administered in a Race-Neutral Manner? The short answer is no. The longer answer is a 30 page paper.

Frank has blogger about our trip last weekend to The 2nd 8th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational. My arteries may never be the same again.

There are no more typewriter factories. This makes me especially sad, as I have a 1914 Underwood No. 5 that I love (and lug).


Yes yes yes, all my posts are link posts now. I swear, I’ll get back to something more interesting soon, but I always promise that.

People post funny things to ArXiV.

Razib discusses new studies of the genetic origin of Indians.

Tips for food photography. I seem to know several food bloggers now.

A new study about bullying.

The University of Michigan is allowing longer tenure processes. This is in part to address the pressures of getting tenure and starting a family at the same time, but also particularly the culture in the medical school, where “very few faculty in medical schools actually take advantage of such policies [to halt the tenure clock].” The academic Senate Assembly was opposed to the change.


More content-ful posts to come soon, I swear. I got sidetracked by job applications. ‘Tis the season, you know…

The REAL STORY of Alice and Bob. Classic investigative journalism (h/t Bikash Dey)

Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls gets panned. I should mention that the play was done at MIT my first year there and I still remember it as one of the most affecting pieces of theater that I saw during my time there (and maybe after as well).

Scott McLemee on the poverty of the Rally to Restore Sanity.

Winners of the SD Asian Film Festival “Interpretations” contest. Like contentless scenes from your acting/directing class, but with film!

SAALT put out a report called From Macacas to Turban Toppers: The Rise in Xenophobic and Racist Rhetoric in American Political Discourse (PDF). Reading it is keeping me up past my bedtime. (via Sepia Mutiny).


It seems as good a time as any to link to this chestnut from McSweeney’s. Warning : full of highly profane language.

Did you know Krish Eswaran has a blog? Neither did I, until today. He appears to not be updating it, however. C’mon Krish, more posts!

Andrew Gelman pins down one of the things that annoys me about arguments based on personal finance — it’s not true that we do things for money or for fun, unless “fun” is really broadly construed. Plus there’s this zinger at the end: “as a statistician, I’m not impressed with an argument when it doesn’t work on the example it’s been applied to.”

A pretty cool video on hand-pulled noodles.

More chaconne than you can handle.

Via CT, an amazing cartoon in which Donald Duck meets Glenn Beck.

How to write about Pakistan, inspired by the classic How to write about Africa.

Joel Stein on Edison, NJ : poor taste (needs more curry?)

Joel Stein has an truly atrocious piece in Time magazine, which opens with

I am very much in favor of immigration everywhere in the U.S. except Edison, N.J.

I can see how Stein is sort of trying to be funny, but the whole piece has a stink (like uncooked hing) about it that got Anna up in arms and Mimosa writing:

But really, what bothers me about this piece, why it didn’t strike me as satire, is that it seems to assume that there really is a dominant narrative out there, i.e. that “white” culture is where it’s at. Assimilation is not an option, it’s a requirement for these rude new aliens – but of course, that assimilation is on the dominant narratives terms.

Klein’s response:

Didn’t meant to insult Indians with my column this week. Also stupidly assumed their emails would follow that Gandhi non-violence thing.

Perhaps he thought the emails would also be curry flavo(u)red?

On that note, here is a quote from Amitava Kumar’s Passport Photos, which I am enjoying right now:

If the word ‘curry’ doesn’t have a stable referent or a fixed origin, how can its changing use by postcolonials be seen as a sign of resistance?

Amardeep Singh responds to “On Yankee Hindutva”

I just wanted to link to Amardeep’s timely post on Vijay Prashad’s analysis of Hindu organizations for desi youth in the US. Two interesting points to me were:

  • Religious practice in the US tends to become more like “going to church” (Amardeep cites Sikhs going to Gurudwara as an example).
  • Shadowy secret global Hindutva conspiracies are strawmen of a sort. The things I’d like to see are concerted challenges and alternative organizations to the VHP-A.

It’s timely because I’m rereading Prashad’s Karma of Brown Folk right now as part of my self-imposed South Asian-American Cultural Studies Bootcamp, sponsored by the UCSD Libaries. More posts on that to come in the future I hope.