An overwhelmed healthcare system, and lessons in using data to avoid crises

Photo of MRNA COVID 19 vaccine bottle
Photo of MRNA COVID 19 vaccine bottle
Source: Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0)

As of last week, international news outlets have finally picked up on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in India. The rage and shock in the news, coupled with devastating photographs of Indians struggling to survive in a state infrastructure that has abandoned them is understandable — after all, the only reason India received much attention was that it could no longer ignore the numbers.

And herein comes the Indian morgue crisis or, more aptly, its “descent into COVID hell”.

With a total of 3,62,649 confirmed COVID cases on the 4th of May, a day that also saw an estimated 3,445 deaths…


When informed consent, artificial intelligence and bioethics hold a complex conversation.

Photo by jorien Stel via Pexels

If a patient is unable to say “no” to a life-saving procedure, should their life be extended even if the prospects are poor?

If an infant has no hope for survival, should their organs be donated to someone else who does?

Can artificial intelligence (AI) accurately predict disease outcomes across race, gender, and socio-economic lines?

These questions might look like the biggest of grey areas, but bioethics might just have the answers.

But what is bioethics?

In the 1960s, revolutionary developments in healthcare like organ transplants, artificial ventilators and prenatal testing introduced unprecedented ethical problems.

The machines and procedures that were helping people stay…


Serving up some chai to go with that misogyny

Photo by Thiago Matos via Pexels

Trigger Warning: non-graphic discussion on sexual violence, victim blaming, rape.

It’s difficult to figure out where to begin writing an article that effectively encompasses the most recent and horrific gang-rapes that occurred in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh this September, and link it back to an inherent rape culture without feeling like you’re screaming expletives into the void.

On September 14, 2020 in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, a young woman was allegedly gang-raped by four men, and battled for her life for two weeks before succumbing to her injuries on September 29. …


And how a young man managed to solve what firefighters and engineers couldn’t.

Graffiti of child sipping on pipe
Graffiti of child sipping on pipe
Photo by Shukhrat Umarov on Pexels

It’s story time.

One day, a truck driver tried to pass under a low bridge, but miscalculated the height and wedged the truck underneath the bridge, unable to move.

When emergency services, firefighters, and engineers arrived on the spot to find a solution to the traffic jam being caused, they debated — should they dismantle the truck? Knock off parts of the bridge?

When a young man passing by saw the commotion, he said — why not just let air out of the tires?

This is what we call out-of-the-box thinking, or design thinking.

But how is this relevant to…


With their accompanying ethical and technical challenges.

Black and white, old photo of a man’s side profile, writing a letter
Black and white, old photo of a man’s side profile, writing a letter
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

In 1960, outside a quaint anthropological museum, Marceline Loridan pulled up her sleeve to show the numbers tattooed on her arm to her curious friends, who didn’t know about the Holocaust’s connection to the persecution of Jews. She later walked through the Place de la Concorde in Paris, talking to a camera about the anguish of living in Auschwitz, and of returning to France after the liberation.

Her fragmented monologue of memories, captured on film in Chronicle of a Summer, makes up the essence of ethnographic filmmaking. …


And the modes of representation that affect the filming process.

Person with light curly hair holding a popcorn bowl and illuminated by a TV screen they’re staring intently into
Person with light curly hair holding a popcorn bowl and illuminated by a TV screen they’re staring intently into
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.
- Dale Carnegie

This quote sums up ethnographic films almost as a whole. When you study an aspect of someone’s culture (in essence, a part of them) so much, they tend to be more open to talking to you — under the right social, economic and political circumstances.

But when you go to watch a film, you want to know what genre you should expect. Will it be an open-ended, poetic sort of film? …


Debating women’s ability to achieve enlightenment, according to Hindu mythology.

Street art in Sao Paulo of woman with three eyes and holding up a hand with an eye on the palm
Street art in Sao Paulo of woman with three eyes and holding up a hand with an eye on the palm
Photo by Claudia Barbosa on Pexels

A beautiful woman walks into a bar and…

Having spent the last 37 minutes scouring the internet for appropriate endings to this joke, I can safely say there are none. Therefore:

She doesn’t.

She walks into King Janaka’s court, a gorgeous young renunciant-intellectual eager to discuss emancipation and enlightenment with a king who claims he’s always open to debates — a popular practice for kings, to encourage the patronage and lively religious debates with wandering scholars.

She’s welcomed in.

Not because she was a renunciant though, but because she was a beautiful young woman. …


And how to be the hare that beats the tortoise.

Long coated brown dog leaping out of water
Long coated brown dog leaping out of water
Photo by Shane Aldendorff via Pexels

Marketing never sleeps.

At any given moment, marketers have multiple channels and campaigns open alongside the daily grind of deliverables they need to get done within a day. On top of all that, why does everyone else seem to want to sit around and discuss Schitt’s Creek?

But it isn’t just marketers who are always connected — customers are too. They’re switching from screen to screen and device to device, with ever-decreasing attention spans. We can no longer afford to take three weeks to develop an emailing strategy, approve it, test run it, and finally put it out.

Now, businesses…


Your ability to understand customers’ struggles and desires is what makes a business successful.

Focus on woman’s blue eyes in broken mirror shard
Focus on woman’s blue eyes in broken mirror shard
Photo by Ismael Sanchez on Pexels

What’s the simple truth about business?

No customers = no profit.

But if everyone knows this, then why do some businesses struggle to retain and capture the attention of their audiences?

Your ability to put yourself in your customer’s shoes — understand their struggles, needs, desires, aspirations and surrounding social environments is what can make your business successful. After all, all people want is to be understood.

First conceptualised in the 1980s by software designer Alan Cooper, business personas (also called marketing personas) are data-driven profiles that represent core sections of your ideal customers. …


What’s the process behind your Google search on how to cut hair yourself in quarantine?

Spiderweb speckled with raindrops with a hazy background of red cherries and blue tinges
Spiderweb speckled with raindrops with a hazy background of red cherries and blue tinges
Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels

Google: Why were cornflakes invented?

You’ll get around 5,01,000 results in 0.54 seconds (depending on your Internet speed, too). But how did those results end up there?

The Search Engine Crawler.

Before you search, a web crawler grabs information from thousands of websites and organises it in the search engine’s index. For a quick history lesson — the first crawler on the World Wide Web (WWW) came out in 1993, developed by MIT with the purpose of measuring the growth on the Web. An index was created soon after from the results, thus creating the first “search engine”.

Known by…

A. Sharma

A Generation Z kid studying sociology and searching for the Fortress of Solitude.

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