December 25—Recommended Sunday Reading

The best Sunday reads

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NH National Bureau

Three writers from three cultures on Christmas

“They tried to kill us, we escaped, let’s eat.”


This cheery summary of Jewish festivals may distress you. You may prefer the December holidays to be a season of light-hearted consumerism, when we mark the birth of Jesus by telling children that an obese, sherry-loving bachelor will climb into their houses at night and leave small gifts in hosiery. Surely there should be no place for death, or darkness?


Perhaps you’re right. But how else are Jews to face the fact that all our festivals commemorate attempts to exterminate us? How can we teach our children sweet little songs about Passover or Hanukah without mentioning the point of it all: slavery, plagues, oppression, bloodshed? In The Guardian.


Webcamming redefining the rules of pornography

Instead of the sleazy pornographer or the shady trafficker, the webcamming industry is driven by a very different force: the mainstream corporation. With no easily identifiable victim, and an above-board financial operation, the world of webcamming has confounded lawmakers and anti-sex work campaigners alike. For the moment, at least, entrepreneurial women are free to participate in a legal form of sex work, which they have the power to define. In The Independent.


Cyber security in India is frighteningly weak

Manpower is probably our biggest problem in cybersecurity. Unfortunately, we do not have enough experts to train people. Most universities lack expertise to offer comprehensive curriculum, resulting in a severe shortage of degree programmes, diplomas or even private training to generate the requisite manpower. The policy makers seem to be confused as to what cybersecurity expertise entails.


Most cybersecurity researchers in India are actually experts in cryptography, which is only a tool for cybersecurity. It is rare that a cyberattack is based on breaking cryptographic algorithms. Usually, weaknesses in the implementation of crypto-algorithms compromises a key. But the bigger dangers lurk in the network, in the routers, in the operating system, in the application software and also in the overall architecture and protocols. India mainly needs experts for securing hardware, networking, system architecture, software and protocols. In Deccan Herald.


Seven graphic memoirs to end the year

One morning, Amrita brought along a book for me. It was Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, translated from French to English by her cousin, book editor Anjali Singh. I hadn’t heard of it then. It was only later that I would learn the fascinating story of how Singh acquired the translation rights for the book, after chancing across it on a friend’s bookshelf in Paris, thereby triggering the global success of not only the book but also the genre. Amrita’s copy was her most prized possession, a beautifully produced, signed first edition. It was a testament to the progression of our friendship in bookish terms that she had permitted herself to part with it—if only for the weekend. In Scroll.in.


Gujarat, A Love Story

Desperate to stay in touch, he smuggled a phone to her. Their families believed they had snapped the relationship, and the two went unnoticed for five months. Then, one night, the time they would usually talk, she was a little too loud. “We were arguing. The noise woke up my mother,” she says. The phone was confiscated. While he managed to get another phone to her in two months, her angry parents went to his house demanding that he be “stopped”. That was around a year ago. In The Indian Express.

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