Brown Pundits on Social Media-

We are now producing excellent content both on the blog & podcast; it’s time we really tried to push out our product on more platforms.

Please Like Brown Pundits On Social Media, spread the word if you can 🙂

Facebook Page

Facebook Group

Instagram

Twitter

Please subscribe and rate Brown Podcasts:

Apple

Libsyn

Spotify

Stitcher

Punditeers on Social Media (happy to add your name to the list):

Razib Khan Facebook Page

Xerxes Facebook Profile (I use it like a Page)

Omar Ali Twitter

Razib Khan Twitter

Xerxes the Magian Twitter

Ali Minai Twitter

Slapstik Twitter

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Gene Expression status update

Since people keep asking, I will post here (it will post to my total feed). Gene Expression the website kept maxing the shared hosting plan’s CPU a few weeks ago. I took it down because I didn’t want our host to blacklist it. When I have some time to spare that’s continuous I will get it back up, along with archives. The issue has been time (I used Cloudflare for what’s it worth). The host looked at the logs and suggested it might have been targeted by DoS attack.

The downside of me hosting the blog is that I have to do all the tech stuff. On the other hand, I have total control of the platform. In this day and age I am not going to give up the control, so just be patient. Honestly, I obviously don’t have as much spare time as I did when I started the blog as a 20something 17 years ago. But I’m not ditching it either.

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Our most popular categories

I’ve given myself the thankless task of “tagging” all my past posts. I noticed that we don’t have a tag on “Kashmir” (the only sub-region we do have is NWFP). It sparked a thought that for a Desi blog we really don’t discuss Kashmir all that much (even though it was going to drag the region into war earlier this year).

This mirrors the larger discourse on Kashmir where Indians & Pakistanis don’t seem as animated or defined by it as before. Two reason comes to mind: Continue reading “Our most popular categories”

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All things “Brown” with the Brown Pundits – thoughts on the Carvaka Podcast

Further to Anan’s post below I thought I would share a few thoughts of my own below.

BrownCast Podcast episode 15: conversations with a Carvaka

I enjoyed doing the video cast with Kushal and Omar (Razib was unfortunately not able to join in).

I let myself “go” in this podcast since I had to get up at 4.30 in the morning to get it done so I thought I earnt a bit of a respite.

Ordinarily I’m rather reticent on the podcasts since they aren’t my guests and I also don’t want to venture too many opinions; surprisingly I’m becoming more circumspect in my old age.

At any rate it was a great discussion lots of fun and my penchant for dramatically diverging the conversation was rather welcome (Omar was very on point and it was refreshing to see that Kushal was opinionated as opposed to simply querying).

We did a fair amount of India-Pakistan but I don’t think they were the conventional perspectives. I also have to acknowledge my own biases stem from my background and life experiences.

I wrote a longer post but I decided to private blog it since I didn’t feel it was entirely relevant and I meandered (as I do).

All in I enjoyed the conversation and I found Google Hangouts a surprisingly easy interface. It’s a nice feeling to be “Live”; it was so dark that I didn’t want to switch on video but perhaps I should have and treated the audience to the dawn of a new day..

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Admin note- be polite

I’ve been exceptionally busy these days since I’m trying to take Bubble Tap to franchise and it’s a lot of work setting it up.

I don’t want to detract from Omar (Episode 8) and Razib’s excellent podcasts (Episode 7). Of course it would nice to see more of our stakeholders support Razib’s patreon, Episode 9 is on Sanskrit.

However as an aside I found this comment by our resident Morisco to be incredible tactless:

Apologies for pinning this blog’s low standards on you Razib. I found it through your work originally and have gotten progressively more irritated that virtually none of the posts are above grade-level quality (your excellent posts excepted obviously).

The rest of the comment is unabashed Muslim propaganda about how the Arab invasions of the Middle East were actually a blessing (cue eye-roll).
Anyway I will be deleting all of his following comments on this blog until he makes an apology and rescinds his comments. If not I’ll simply ban him.
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Constructive feedback please –

Episode 9 has generated some interesting comments and I found these two comments to be the most interesting:

Okay, some feedback on the Podcast (s). Firstly, I like it. The range of topics is wide enough and conversations informative enough as well. Secondly, you guys need to invest in better Audio recording systems. Early podcasts had an issue where Omar could barely be heard and this one has an issue with massive and unacceptable lag which leads to long moments of silence. This leads to listeners fatigue and also increases the podcast needlessly. It is irritating. Though Omar voice issue has improved in recent podcasts the volume intensity of different speakers is still not consistent, some are louder and some less so. This needs to be dealt with. Thirdly, regarding this particular Ep9. content was good listen so no qualms there but man the long “Aaaa” pauses in speech are just too irritating after a while. Razib is a more fluid speaker. Fourth. Zack also needs to go on less redundant windings. He says the same thing multiple times worded differently. It is unnecessary, esp on a platform of Podcasts. Stick to the point and be concise, respect the listening audience to have a certain level of contextual grasp. I hardly doubt you guys are making this podcast to be some sort of educational material for 10-14 year olds. Listeners already have a certain level of grasp, stick to a standard and move on rather than spending minutes on redundant things. You guys seem new to this Podcast game and hence seem to be having above issues. Podcasts is a platform which is very mature now hence the sort of feedback I listed above, these are basic stuff on this medium but I think you can improve overtime, it is just about rounding off the edges because the core(content) is solid so majority of the battle is done anyway. Best of luck. Looking forward for more from you guys.

This chap hasn’t donated to the Patron account (or if he has, hasn’t mentioned that) and spews opinions on the whole podcast. It’s discourteous because we haven’t actually asked for feedback and what gets my goat is unqualified opinions; either invest or shut up.

The amusing thing with Xir Var is that he presumes that we really care as to whether he liked the podcast or not.

This isn’t me being defensive; I dislike the lack of respect by anonymous commentators and I always will. My persona is somewhat public (though it’s rapidly paring back as I grow tired of the phone and online word) and I think it’s unfair to parry with opponents in the dark.

FWIW I had wanted to step out of the podcast with Slapstick because I thought that Razib and SS would have had a much more fruitful conversation but I stayed on simply to make the logistics work.

This was the first comment that I read that pricked my ears and I thought was out of line:

This was my first podcast, as the topic interested me. By the first 3 minutes upon hearing assertions of Vedic originating in BMAC and etymology of Atharvaveda is based on the root Athar = fire in Iranian I was extremely amused. That amusement pulled me through a few more minutes and it ended, when I heard Pashto and Persian are dervied seperately and directly from a proto language. At that point i decided to stop the cast at about 18 minutes in. To be fair to real scholars who have or may come on the podcast in future, you guys might want to seperate the streams into something like BrownPunditWannabe for amateur hobbyists and BrownPunditReal for guys who actually can back up their assertions with something concrete. Also this is nothing personal against slapstick, everyone has their personal views. Just my thoughts.

I understand there is such a thing as jealousy but to attack SS in such a manner was simply unwarranted.
My patience is growing thin and so is my libertarianism (I’m turning into an authoritarian in my old age) and I don’t see the point of such callous disrespect.
Both of these comments could have been couched in much more dignified ways (while retaining the feedback) without coming across as condescending or patronising.
The sad part is that I had wanted to write my post on Collette but instead I’m simply issuing a broader notice as to my moderation style. It’s a grey area, to be fair, but considering that this is an unpaid hobby I don’t expect gratuitous (and anonymous) condescension acceptable anymore. Especially to those of us who take the time and effort to make the blog what it is (I also notice it’s not the regular commentator handles that are falling foul of our standards).
Commentators may presume that they are doing a favour by reading BrownPundits, leaving a comment or hearing a podcast. The numbers are extraordinarily healthy and rising with or without individual commentators and BP has a life of it’s own hence why I’ve toned down the Masalification on my side.
Also finally for what it’s worth I do happily admit that I fluff a fair bit but then I’m kind of “learning on the job” and it’s going to take a few more podcasts for me to get it right and to understand the “rough knowledge” of the listener.
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Where readers come from

I looked at traffic from Jan 1 of 2018. Here are the top 30 cities, standardized by the # of users from the 30th, Indore:

CityUser #
Bengaluru6.6
London5.7
Mumbai5.7
New Delhi4.3
San Jose4.3
New York4.1
Lahore3.9
Pune2.9
Karachi2.8
Chennai2.7
Mountain View2.4
Islamabad2.3
Kolkata2.0
Hyderabad2.0
San Francisco1.9
Toronto1.9
Chandigarh1.6
Chicago1.6
Washington1.5
Los Angeles1.4
Cambridge1.4
Spartanburg1.3
Lucknow1.3
Ahmedabad1.3
Austin1.2
Rawalpindi1.2
Noida1.0
Sydney1.0
Melbourne1.0
Indore1.0

The average session form San Jose lasts more than 10 minutes and people look at 4+ pages. This is in contrast to all readers who are closer to 5 minutes. Also, I find it funny that we have more readers from Mountain View than San Francisco. I don’t think it’s just Google crawlers, the sessions average nearly 7 minutes.

If readers want to they can use this as an “unlurk” post too. Basically, you can say who you are if you are so inclined.

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A quick note on BP housekeeping

As per the request of Kabir I’ve closed comments on the post below. I’ll delete it soon. His new blog is here: https://kabiraltaf.wordpress.com/.

A few quick notes to be clear:

  1. Three people have admin privileges here. Omar, Zach and myself. In various ways, we’ve been associated with this blog eight years now.
  2. Myself, honestly I have only occasionally read blog posts by those besides Omar and Zach. Those I found interesting I did read. Until recently I very rarely read comments except on my posts.
  3. To be honest, “some shit went down.” I don’t know the origins (posts have been deleted) or the relationships or the origins of the beefs, though I waded in a bit. The only people I added as contributors to this incarnation of BP are Omar and Zach.  I honestly have no idea who anyone else is.
  4. I’ve been noticing the increased Indian traffic with wonder and concern. Wonder because talking to people of your own nationality/culture all the time is boring, concern because cultural differences are difficult to bridge.  I know this personally because I was a commenter and a little bit a contributor to the Sepia Mutiny blog, and the cultural differences came up and aroused hostility between people of good will. To give a concrete example a front page contributor told their story of rape and some of the India-born commenters said some things that they thought were helpful but no one born in the USA would think were helpful…rather, they were offensive. At least to us.
  5. Zach and I have come and gone (I have another blog and write stuff elsewhere when I feel like it), Omar is the one person who has kept blogging here over the years. If only Omar contributed that would be sufficient. He’s busy right now with moving so Zach and I are having to step into this mess.
  6. Some of you are mad at me because I’m offensive to you in what I post or mean to you in the comments. If I’m offensive to you (or Zach or Omar or anyone) you don’t have to read this blog. We are not monetizing it. As for the comments, I would not engage/read comments unless I was frank about who should or shouldn’t contribute. Comment sections which are  laissez faire turn into shit-shows quickly and the blogger usually never reads them. I’ve traditionally been very active in comments when I control the means of production (I don’t read comments when I contribute to National Review or India Today or when I contributed to mainstream media).
  7. Some fair warning that I am very sensitive about two things: comments which might be indicative of physical intolerance of atheism, and comments which make imputations about my life. The first is just because I know people who were friends with murdered Bangladeshi bloggers. I’m not the most sentimental person about the country in which I was born, but I would never visit in the current climate. The risks are low, but I have a family, a wife and kids, and I can’t take the risk (people in my lab used to make fun of Bangladesh for atheist killing, and it was kind of funny since I was the most atheistic person they knew). And about that, people need to stop commenting about what they think they can glean about me in regards to my personal situation. I’ve been more open recently partly because I wanted to talk about my kids’ genetics, so  I had to admit in 2011 I was married and that I was going to be a father. But really I try to keep that shit offline. As for my personality, Omar has met me in person and can vouch for the reality that I don’t really have a separate “online persona” (as can many scientists who know me more from real life than the internet).

Finally, some of you know I’ve been at the forefront of communication about South Asian genetics. Like many things, this kind of fell into my lap because I know genetics, and I don’t live in South Asia and so am not part of any major social-political groupings (I’m not left-wing and some Hindutva types attack me as a Muslim). But honestly, I’ve been impressed by how clear-eyed and honest many Indian journalists and thinkers have been about the new research. And this has made me more optimistic and engaged in Brown Pundits’ future direction.

Also, BP has a twitter account. Most it pushes content right now from this blog.

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