Leaving India Behind — #103

Should we get prepared for the musical chairs of country names?

Good morning,

I'm writing this from Utah.

One of my closest friends is getting married this weekend, and they're gathering 126 people at a ski resort in the mountains—a "small" American wedding.

It's stunning here. Wildflowers and mountains.

I used my jetlag to write an intro about how Newsletters are trending.

But the word count got out of hand. So, I'm turning it into next week's Thursday deep dive.


The universe might be telling me to stop writing this newsletter and have breakfast with the people I love enough to take a flight for — putting my climate conscience aside — to watch them say, "I do".

In the meantime, you have some reading ahead of you.



Five Small Things

PODCAST — The podcast How to Talk to People by The Atlantic is a new favourite of mine—for example, the episode How to Not Go It Alone, about developing deeper relations and community in an individualistic world.

MUSIC  If you haven't yet discovered Olivia Dean, I can recommend her debut album Messy.

FICTION I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai.

DIGITAL Google's The Shape of Dreams gives you a beautiful visual exploration of Google searches to interpret dreams.

ACTION  The Week is a pre-planned group exercise you do — during one week — with friends to learn about climate change. You get together three times, during one week (hence “The Week”). Every time you watch a 1-hour documentary film episode followed by a guided conversation for 30 minutes (or more if you want) to make sense of it all.

The News Section

Donald Trump's Facebook Return Vital for Funding 2024 Campaign

Politics, Social Media

Two years after Meta lifted its ban on Donald Trump, his return to Facebook is crucial for raising money to support his 2024 campaign. Trump's campaign ad impressions on Facebook and Instagram increased significantly in April when he was first indicted in New York City.

Facebook has 202 million daily active users in the United States and Canada — giving Trump access to millions of potential donors outside his traditional political base.

Since early June, the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee has spent over $500,000 on digital Meta ads. There is no public data available on how much money the Meta ads have directly raised for Trump's campaign. Still, higher impressions in digital fundraising ads can lead to more people clicking on the ads and potentially raising more money.

Trump's August 24 mugshot in Georgia has been featured in at least 18 different versions of campaign ads, accumulating over 1 million impressions in a week, and the Trump campaign spent just over $77,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads the week he was charged in Georgia.

The campaign ads on Facebook and Instagram direct viewers to a fundraising page for the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, which supports his campaign and legal fees, and the Trump campaign has claimed to have raised over $9 million since Trump's booking in Georgia.

The Trump Campaign's Facebook ads have changed little in content since his last presidential campaign in 2020, and a 2019 policy decision from Meta allows political ads with false information to remain on the platform. And the current political ads policy from Meta is not enforced (paywalled).

Indian President Using 'Bharat' In Title During G20 Dinner Sparks Speculation Of Potential Name Change

Geopolitics, India

Indian President Droupadi Murmu used the title "President of Bharat" in invitations for a G20 summit dinner, sparking speculation about a potential official name change for the country.

India is officially referred to as both "India" and "Bharat" in various languages and the country's constitution, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, influenced by Hindu-nationalist ideology, has previously changed the names of towns and cities as part of a broader agenda to move beyond the colonial-era.

Both "India" and "Bharat" have historical roots dating back over two millennia, with "India" derived from the Indus River and "Bharat" appearing in ancient Indian scriptures as a term of socio-cultural identity.

Traditionally, invitations from Indian constitutional bodies use "India" in English and "Bharat" in Hindi. However, using "Bharat" in the English invitations raised concerns that the government may be pushing for an official name change.

Changing India's name to only "Bharat" would require changes to the constitution, needing a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament. The timing of the controversy also coincides with a surprise five-day special session of parliament, fueling speculation that a name change.

The online joke is now that if India officially changes its name, Pakistan could claim the name India — since the Indus River and region that the name originates from is located in Pakistan. I wonder what country would then take the name of Pakistan? Musical Chairs.

Dating App Grindr Demands Workers to Return to The Office, Losing Half Its Workforce


The LGBTQ dating app Grindr recently decided to roll back its remote work policy, forcing employees to relocate or leave the company.

The policy, announced in early August, requires that roughly 80 of Grindr's 178 employees relocate to one of the company's dedicated "hub" cities (including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Washington DC) for in-person work twice a week.

This situation underscores the ongoing tensions between employers and employees regarding return-to-office policies, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many office workers into remote work.

According to a survey of 185 HR executives in the United States, 73% of organisations struggle to get employees to return to office. Mandatory on-site work policies have also led to difficulties in retaining workers, with 71% of employers forcing people back, reporting challenges to keep employees at the company.

Several employers, like Amazon and Meta, have enforced their return-to-office mandates, raising employee concerns about compliance and potential consequences.

Global Leaders Converge in New Delhi for G20 Summit


This weekend, world leaders gather in New Delhi for the G20 summit, bringing together the world's major economies. Its members - including the top 19 countries and the European Union - represent 85% of global GDP, 75% of international trade and two-thirds of the world's population.

Ahead of the summit, efforts are underway to draft joint declarations, including an infrastructure deal that could reshape trade between the Gulf and South Asia. However, this year's G20 summit highlights emerging divides within the group over polarised global issues, with several countries seeking increased influence in international relations.

China. Chinese President Xi Jinping is skipping the summit, and Premier Li Qiang represents China. While China is currently facing growing domestic issues, its global impact is so substantial that the United States, represented by President Biden, aim to showcase that the United States and its allies are superior economic and security partners in comparison.

The United States views China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative as a Trojan horse for regional development and military expansion. President Biden, therefore, plans to propose a $200 billion increase in lending power for the World Bank and IMF to support developing countries, countering China's Belt and Road initiative.

Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin is not attending the summit, and India proposes a G20 statement condemning the war in Ukraine that accommodates the views of Russia and China to avoid an impasse.

United States President Biden intends to emphasise the impact of Russia's war in Ukraine on developing countries, including food and energy security and inflationary pressures. This year, Ukrainian Presidency Zelenskyy was not invited to the summit, suggesting that the G20 want to return to focus primarily on economic issues, building consensus around climate finance, food and energy security, debt relief, sustainable development and digital public infrastructure.

India. Currently holding the G20 presidency, India has had a big year confirming its importance as a significant global power. India became the fourth to land on the moon; it surpassed China as the world’s most populous country and the United Kingdom as the world’s fifth-largest economy.

India is well-positioned as a global intermediary because it is respected and is seen as credible from many sides, due to steady economic growth and increasing influence and favorability in international relations. In June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a red carpet welcome in Washington, and President Biden aims to continue strengthening ties with Indian Prime Minister Modi.

The Insights Section

A Secret Goldmine: The White Noise Podcast Phenomenon Worth Millions for Creators


However, an unexpected goldmine has emerged for content creators: white-noise podcasts. As of January, white noise and ambient podcasts clocked in at a remarkable 3 million daily consumption hours on Spotify.

Featuring repetitive sounds like ocean waves and bird calls. These unique podcasters earn more than $18,000 monthly through Spotify-placed ads. Spotify's algorithm favours "talk" content over music, inadvertently pushing these shows.

According to Bloomberg, an internal Spotify document highlighted the challenge and considered redirecting this white noise craze to more cost-effective content (without Spotify-placed ads). Doing so would boost Spotify's annual profits by €35 million.

80% of American Women Still Taking Husband's Last Name at Marriage


While younger women are more likely to keep their names when getting married, the tradition of taking the husband's name is still strong in the United States, with 8 out of 10 American women taking the husband's name at marriage.

A recent study from the Pew Research Center shows that 79% of women took their spouse's last name, 14% retained their last name, and 5% hyphenated both names ("Jones-Smith"). For men, 92% kept their last name, 5% adopted their spouse's last name, and less than 1% hyphenated both. (The sample size for individuals in same-sex marriages is too small to analyze separately).

Factors influencing women's decision to keep their last name after marriage include age, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity.

  • 20% of married women ages 18 to 49 say they kept their last name, compared with 9% of those ages 50 and older.

  • 26% of married women with a postgraduate degree kept their last name, compared with 13% for women with a bachelor’s degree and 11% for women with some college or less education.

  • Democratic women are twice as likely (20%) as Republican women (10%) to keep their last name. Further, Liberal Democratic women are most likely (25%), while conservative Republican women are the least likely (7%).

  • Hispanic women are more likely to keep their last name (30%) compared to White women (10%) and Black women (9%). Black women are likelier to hyphenate their last names, while White women are likelier to take their husband's last names.

Applying Ethical Principles: A Framework for Ethical Review of Influence Operations


The United States Department of Defense (DoD) struggles to understand how to plan and execute influence operations ethically. These challenges include concerns about the appropriateness of any influence activity, a lack of explicit review of ethics in the influence-planning process, and separating the ethics of force from the ethics of influence in military operations.

The DoD lacks a dedicated framework for the explicit ethical evaluation of influence activities that don't purely evaluate them from a legal perspective.

The primary ethical concern regarding influence operations is their potential threat to personal autonomy. Although influence activities inherently pose risks to autonomy and raise moral questions, existing research identifies scenarios where such activities may be justifiable.

Based on this, the Rand Corporation has developed a principles-based framework for (military) practitioners to determine the ethical impact of a proposed influence effort and guide the creation of a statement that explains the ethical rationale behind such an endeavour.

Key findings emphasise that influence operations should consider necessity, effectiveness, and proportionality. The operations should aim for legitimate military outcomes, be deemed necessary to achieve these objectives, employ means that cause minimal or targeted harm, exhibit a high likelihood of success, and avoid unintended second-order effects.

The framework can inspire any company looking for a structured way to review the ethics of its operations in any domain.

Europol Report Estimates That 90% of Online Content Could Be AI-Generated by 2026

Disinformation, Artificial Intelligence

A Europol report from 2022 is currently making the rounds online, warning about the increasing amounts of AI-generated synthetic media on the internet. For example, AI-powered tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney generate or manipulate media using artificial intelligence.

The report focuses on disinformation, predominantly driven by deep fake technology, and estimates that 90% of all online content could be synthetically generated by 2026.

The massive increase in synthetic media has led to a more considerable risk of disinformation. Trusting visual and auditory recordings is becoming increasingly challenging when potential artificial manipulation is more likely.

That was all for today. ✨ I hope you learned something new.

PS. If you have a friend you think might join this newsletter, I would love it if you passed it along. 💕