Monthly Archives: March 2009

Google Changes Everything, India Edition

Fresh from the Google Blog:

Until now, there hasn’t been a good way to send email to friends and family in Hindi, my native language and their language of choice. That’s why I’m happy to announce a new feature for Gmail that lets you type email in Indian languages. If you’re in India, this feature is enabled by default. If not, you’ll need to turn it on in the “Language” section under Settings. Once enabled, just click the Indian languages icon and type words in the way they sound in English — Gmail will automatically convert them to their Indian language equivalent.

They now support Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam (the native tongue of my father’s side of the family in Kerala). Note that these languages tend to be spoken in the south, particularly Malayalam and Tamil, two of the most prominent languages in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kerala particularly is the most literate and educated state in India as well as the only place that I know of that has ever had a democratically elected communist government. Keep in mind Kerala communism is intrinsically different from regular communism, which I put down to major differences in the structure and nature of Indian society.

Imagine a world where communicative barriers are so low as to be practically non-existent. It’s kind of like a reverse Tower of Babel effect.
Related thought: It seems to me that places like Kerala are extraordinarily fertile places for studies of political and micro-political behavior. Is it true for instance that certain political behaviors are more characteristic of large, densely populated places? And what effects do cultural differences have? Most of the work in political science that I know of uses datasets culled from Western populations; it would seem to me that some extremely valuable insights could be found.

Really Clever References, Garcia Marquez Edition

The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 6, at 1:21, features Marge reading a book called ‘Love in the Time of Scurvy’.

I nearly cried laughing.

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Welcome to my Blog!

Statement of purpose: This blog’s purpose will be primarily as an outlet for me to explore my interests in economics and other arenas. I’ll try to maintain a fairly rigorous standard as far as quality is concerned and hope be able to discuss a wide variety of topics. So that’s that.

What I’m reading this morning:

1. Discussion of certain linguistic memes in the NYT.

2. Rediscovered the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack, featuring Clint Mansell and The Kronos Quartet. Used to have the remixed version including tracks from Paul Oakenfold and Delerium, but lost it a few years ago. Does anyone have a copy? (Wait, I don’t have any readers yet).

3. Initially posted by others, but I’m going to be re-reading this fairly carefully: Brad DeLong on the Geithner Plan.