Notes on a New Senator, News Morale, and Emotional Clarity.

On Wednesday, an astronaut was sworn into Congress.

To me, this felt like a big deal; sending a man of science into a group that has spent more than a year denying empirical reality and exploiting opportunities to profit from it.

So, we have an astronaut in Congress. What’s next? Like many, I find myself returning to the same question as this year dragged on: “What now?”

Journalists professionalize that question. This year has been particularly hard on the news industry which is, like others, confronting a morale problem, onset by the emotional floundering from COVID-19.

Alas, emotions.

With the…

How Platforms are Redefining UI, UX, and Content Strategy

With the new normal of today’s e-commerce and endless streaming, we may feel that there is too much choice. Yet, it seems like the right choice often eludes us. Those who research “choice” have found that satisfying a checklist has little to do with what we really want. Instead, what we want is defined by what we experience.

John Keats expressed a similar concept when writing, “Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.” Today’s innovators should remember this mantra: Extraordinary experiences are hard to discount.

Over the past decade, importing behavior-informed design became the defining success for most new…

Investigating the Claims of Big Tech

The grand premise of innovation is that everyone benefits from it: technology not only yields great opportunity; it constructs great equality. The image of innovation is a redemptive one — but for whom?

Originally published by The Republic on March 6, 2020.

15 years ago, then-senator, Barack Obama, addressed a group of young Americans being awarded for outstanding achievement by the Rockford Register Star. He said:

And so you need to be the Idea Generation. The generation who’s always thinking on the cutting edge, who’s wondering how to create and keep the next wave of American jobs and American innovations…

Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, exhibit a new stage of corporate power. These organizations are so large, our views on them are inconsequential - they have effectively become too big to like.

Originally published by The Republic on August 20, 2019.

‘I don’t know why. They ‘trust me.’ Dumb fucks.’ You may be surprised that this message was written by Mark Zuckerberg during his Harvard University years. He was speaking of his classmates who were Facebook’s first users. Zuckerberg would become the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. Surprise aside, Zuckerberg’s question remains compelling and critical today: Why do we trust him? And, do we still?

Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, exhibit a new stage of corporate power. These organizations are so large they traverse borders, so wealthy they…

Between America’s Blackness and Whiteness

“Behind the Myth of Benevolence” by Titus Kaphar (2014).

Originally published by The Republic on March 1, 2019.

How would one describe America now? How could one? To do so is as much an exercise in contradiction as self-incrimination. From which stories, which facts, which heroes and villains should the collective American story be narrated? Where does truth reside in a country set between a white history, a black history, and the unsung others? Between Barack Obama and Donald Trump?

The American political intelligentsia suggests that America is ‘more divided’ than ever. This is a rather peculiar comment to make about a country that has enshrined the importance of…

Election season means that zombies resurface. Founding fathers and past luminaries are brought back to life, spoken on behalf of, and turn in their graves, apparently due to the state of our politics. This according to political pundits hoping to score some points for their party from the grave. There are the usual suspects — “What would Jefferson think?” “Washington would be horrified!” “Roosevelt didn’t stomach a gunshot wound for this!” And then, there are the more elusive, holy monument men whose legacies and views are simultaneously appropriated and denounced by Republicans and Democrats alike. No figure more articulates this…

Obama and Trump shake hands at the 58th presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017.

Originally published in The Republic on August 12, 2017.

In 1958, as a senator in the United States, John F. Kennedy published the book, A Nation of Immigrants. His brother, Robert F. Kennedy, who later became Attorney General, wrote a foreword to the book. In it, he reflected, “Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal. We have always believed it possible for men and women who start at the bottom to rise as far as the talent and energy allow. Neither race nor place of birth should affect their chances.”

If Kennedy’s words still hold true…

Originally published on November 8, 2016.

Illustration of Clinton as Goddess Durga slaying Trump as Mahishasura.

American mythologist Joseph Campbell had once said, “Myths are public dreams; dreams are private myths.” But, abnormal public frustration about this year’s election campaign suggests that “public nightmare” proves a better description. Growing sentiment about uncertain voter behavior, the ethical integrity of candidates, and mistrust with public institutions obscures debates about what this year’s election means to the American public.

Few candidates have been as enigmatic and “disliked” as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Having been overseas throughout this presidential campaign, I believe the widespread indecision and confusion surrounding this election suggests more implicit…

Originally published on August 31, 2016.

Last week, I had submitted my final coursework at the LSE; a 12,000-word dissertation that concluded my 12 months of study. Needless to say, it was a bittersweet moment, marking an inevitable end to what has been a challenging, enlightening, and liberating experience. Now, I find myself in a kind of limbo-state: from being a full-time student to a full-time professional. I’m looking for my dream job and hope to find a great flat in London where I can settle down. To reckon with this sense of uncertainty and potential, I offer the following…

Originally published by Media Diversified on October 04, 2016. This piece has been updated to reflect recent developments.

In Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare wisely writes, “If music be the food of love, play on.” As a musician and foodie, I’d like to (blasphemously) adapt these hallowed words for my own appetite: “If food is the music of life, eat on.”

I love food. Maybe too much. Probably too much. I am grateful to have inherited this noble love from my very adventurous parents, whose courtship was assisted by, as my mother puts it, “eating their way through Mumbai.”

Bluntly speaking…

Aarshin Karande

Audience & Narrative Advocate — Writes about tech policy, beliefs, and global affairs. Studied at LSE, Oxford, and UW Bothell. Indian Classical musician.

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