Saturday, July 22, 2017

About US jobs

Intelligence and patience are crucial

Where Do Pro-Social Institutions Come From? by pseudoearasmus. The Original post from two years ago has a number of comments.
 In the comments Peter T( Peter Turchin?) remarks "You reject CE, but “intelligence” and “patience” are learned characteristics, not innate ones (the capacity for them is innate but, given human genetic similarity but large group differences in these measures, the expression is clearly social). So they are themselves cultural."
Pseudoerasmus responds "But I rejected a very specific element of cultural evolution as the driver of institutional differences between populations — social norms — which were defined fairly precisely in the text above. And I did not say anything about the origins of the between-population differences in patience or intelligence."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Snake dance by P.Bhanumati
The dance does not seem too bad though "And speaking of her dance lessons, Bhanumati was characteristically ruthless in self-assessment – she remarked that it must have been a black day for the revered Guru [Vempati Pedda Satyam]when he accepted her as his disciple, fior her dance movements could easily be mistaken for a patient suffering from a particularly virulent fit of epilepsy!" from

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Violence against Dalits continues

More than 25 Dalit activists have been murdered in Tamil Nadu over the past year, says Madurai NGOThis kind of news does not seem to get much traction in the social media which is probably dominated by the more privileged. Going by the number of visits in this blog, I find posts about Dalits, manual scavenging etc get the least number of visits where as anything about Indian music, good things about Indian heritage get lord of visits. May be we develop immunity for things we cannot change rapidly.

Time seems to go after as one grows older

Times seems to go faster with age or so it seemed to me. Last week has been a bit slower, may be due to efforts to cut down smoking. It seemed ages but is only about six days that I am down to six cigarettes a day. Today, we went to watch Leila and Ava aged 11,9 on their Athletics Day at school. It was about 12C, drizzling and sometimes pouring, and windy. We went around the ground twice meeting the kids twice, watced one of them run, spoke to them and offered gloves and caps which were refused. After what seemed like a long time, we were resigned to kids getting sick by the end of the day and Lalita already planning to ask Gavin to stay home the next day. Then we checked our watches and found that we spent exactly 18 minutes at the ground. I googled and the first item I find is this Why does time fly as we get older?

Sanjay Subrahmanyam on decentralised violence

Lynch mobs seem to know nothing will happen to them, they’re implicitly meeting approval from higher-ups: UCLA scholar "Sadly, good parts of the international situation are also similar, so we should not think we are so unique. Turkey is witnessing the strengthening of Muslim fundamentalism and authoritarian government. In Russia, you have the Orthodox Church’s alliance with an authoritarian state. This is the new normal of neo-democratic states, which, when it suits them, say they are democratic, and at the same time, slowly shift the ground in society. If this is on the cards, politics has to come in, to pull society back from the brink. This cannot be just about civil society formations fighting a rear-guard action and taking on a political system. This is the time for the political system to show its resilience, or else we will face the consequences of one-party rule over years and years."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Some news from India

This is Not Faking News: Astrologers to 'Diagnose' Patients in MP Hospital
Priests dupe MLA of Rs 50 lakh promising minister post "It is learnt that the priests were introduced to the MLA by his relative, who had earlier approached the men for special prayers seeking an offspring. The priests had performed pooja and given him some herbs. After some time, he had been blessed with a child."
Four Sanitation Workers Die Of Asphyxiation While Cleaning Septic Tank In DelhiNEW
39 dead in 100 days while cleaning sewers: Bezwada Wilson
Mahagun Moderne residents move to ban Bengali, Odiya help; 13 slum-dwellers arrested "She says the general attitude is that these people deserve it, for daring to break into a gated society. “'Kaam bandh ho jayega, pet pe laath padega toh they'll understand what it is to protest against us' is what they think.” (When they stop getting work and go hungry...)"

The power of placebos partly explained

A conversation with David Shulman

Music, Culture, History: A Conversation with David Shulman with links to previous articles. Engaging as always.

Domestic help in India

A new book raises uncomfortable questions. This is the right time to read ‘Maid in India’, which exposes the ugly truths lurking in our homes I read the book. It is mostly about Delhi area. To begin with, it discusses some of the domestic help involves and the author visits their areas of origin from Jharkhand to Bengal, Orissa and the conditions that drove them to work in a far away place. Then there are more detailed stories of agents for domestic help, some of the organizations involved in the welfare of the people, court cases etc. some of the stories are involved and ongoing. As far as I can see, most of the reviews do not do justice to the book. A first book by the author, it is not perfect. There is a bias towards the workers but the author seemed aware of her privileges and often comparing the ratio of her earning to those of her domestic help and how the ratio is changing. Some of the later stories of cruelty, and a case where the domestic help chooses to stay with her cheating employers rather than go back home are very moving:
"‘So you’re just going to keep staying here?’ ‘Yes,’ she says. I ask that most Indian of questions: what about meeting someone and getting married? Starting your own life? ‘What for?’ she responds, with the most feeling she has shown so far. ‘I’m not interested.’ Then she vanishes to another part of the house."
This is perhaps one of the less painful ones. Some of these are possibly worth books of their own. The above review links to two such stories. There are also some 'success stories'.
How long it will Take India to move to more systematic domestic services is not clear. Moreover, the book is mostly about Delhi where there is lot of money and is the seat of central government with various power plays, which is different from other parts of India. There are also youtube interviews with the author Tripti Lahiri. Here is one:
There are also reactions like this:
"The real story, however, is not about the maudlin ‘Maid in India’ narrative being peddled by Left-liberal activists, some of them masquerading as journalists, in English language publications far and wide -— as far as The Washington Post, whose readers would not know Noida from Khirkee Extension.  Hating those who have worked hard to live a better life is fashionable and politically correct." from

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Corey Robi reviews some books on Hannah Arendt

"That careerism may be as lethal as idealism, that ambition is an adjunct of barbarism, that some of the worst crimes are the result of ordinary vices rather than extraordinary ideas: these are the implications of Eichmann in Jerusalem that neo-cons and neoliberals alike find too troubling to acknowledge." from Dragon-Slayers by Corey Robin. Somewhat convoluted and difficult essay for me but I came to the above conclusion long ago by myself.