Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai Help

Mumbai Help has lists of the diceased and injured in the the recent Mumbai trajedy and links to other resources.
Report: Pak takes U-turn; to send representative instead of ISI chief
Comment by Moshin Hamid: Bound by sorrows
P.S. Rediff: Dawood provided logistics for terror attacks
Similar news from Outlook: The Gateway Of India
P.P.S. More on Dawood from Did a Criminal Mastermind Stage the Mumbai Nightmare? and Mahalo

Friday, November 28, 2008

High praise for Sehwag

Andrew Miller in Cricinfo:
"And then there were the Indians, for whom Virender Sehwag - more so even than the man of the moment, Yuvraj Singh - is a totemic influence. As Stuart MacGill once put it, after Sehwag had butchered 195 from 233 balls in the 2003 Melbourne Test, "It's not that he can't pick my bowling, it's just he doesn't care." Sehwag's last 11 Test centuries, dating back to that innings, have been gargantuan affairs: 195, 309, 155, 164, 173, 201, 254, 180, 151, 319, 201 not out, all scored at - or bloody close to - a run a ball. He deserves a place in history as the first truly postmodern cricketer, a player who has taken one tempo and extrapolated it to fit whatever length of contest is required."

And Rob Smyth in WisdenIndia’s Sehwag one of the greatest:
"Sehwag has been compared to Sachin Tendulkar, with whom he shares a bewitching little mastery, but a more relevant reference point is surely Lara. Like Lara, Sehwag scores monstrous hundreds at breakneck speed; like Lara, his form fluctuates wildly, surely a mark of the truest genius; like Lara, when the mood takes him there is absolutely nothing a bowler can do to avoid being pummeled.

In the eyes of many, those qualities elevate Lara above the other great batsmen of his generation – Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh – yet the fact that Sehwag has extended the Lara template ever so slightly seems to count against him, as if he has crossed the line between greatness and frivolousness. Quite the opposite. It is said of many sportsmen, but with Virender Sehwag it feels safe to opine that, truly, we will never see his like again. He’s not just great. He’s one of the greatest."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

They came by boats

says Outlook and
"In many was, this was India's 9/11, an attack on mainland India on a scale it has never witnessed. For a nation that has dealt with armed insurgency and terrorism soon after independence, this was still an unprecedented scale of attack. It was just not prepared for anything even remotely like it. "It is one thing to plant bombs and melt into the crowd. It is another to come in from the sea and launch an attack such as this," a senior intelligence official told Outlook."
It is difficult for me to think of any thing else today. I spent some of the best years of my life in this area, some of them about 200 meters from the Taj Hotel. Some of the visiting professors to TIFR used to stay there (those days the concessional rate was 2500 rupees for a month) and we visited the hotel often. It could have been there that Grothendieck attended a formal dinner barefoot but I am not sure. We used to wander around the second hand book stalls near CST (those days Victoria Terminus) and drench ourselves in the rains near Nariman Point when the monsoon started. It was like a second home to many of us who grew up professionally in Bombay. May the metroplois recover soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some online books in Telugu

Vizag Daily gives a link to Alpajeevi by Rachakonda Viswanatha Sastry.
I have been hoping to make diditally available Rallapalli Ananthakrishna Sharma's works. Some are already available though some pages on the first book are not too clear. Here are the links to Vemana an Shali Vahana Gatha Sapthashathi Saramu from the Digital Library of India (These were probably sent to me by Sri J.K.Mohana Rao long ago). Some four articles are in the 'vachana' section of Andhrabharati.
I read only two of his books long ago and feel that he combines deep traditional knowledge with modern scholaly approach. Another such person may be P.V. Parabrahma Sastry who studied Kotilingala coins from Satavahana period and also Kurkyala inscriptions.
See also తెలుగు పరిశోధన for links to Telugu digital books.

Peter Klein on universities

After quoting from an article Peter Wood What Ails College Teaching?, Peter Klein says in Education Quote of the Day:
"That’s from Peter Wood, whose subject is actually the division of labor at many large US universities between tenured/tenure-track faculty, who do research and teach small classes to graduate and advanced undergraduate students, and the specialized, non-tenured teaching specialists who handle the bulk of the undergraduate instruction, assisted by a “small army” of graduate and undergraduate TAs. Wood points out, rightly IMHO, that one day the universities may decide that the prestige and grant dollars and other bennies generated by the research faculty isn’t worth their high salaries, perhaps choosing to go the University of Phoenix route instead."
I think that there are not just two alternatives and as he says in an earlier article The University of Phoenix and the Economic Organization of Higher Education:
"Is the Phoenix model better or worse than the traditional model? Who knows. No one is compelled to attend the University of Phoenix. Why not let a thousand flowers bloom? Universities claim to promote experimentation, creativity, and diversity, but when it comes to experimentation and diversity in the production and delivery of higher education, the established universities express shock and alarm."

Monday, November 24, 2008

India Calling

From India Calling by Anand Giridharadas ( via 'Teeming Multitudes'):

"Countries like India once fretted about a “brain drain.” We are learning now that “brain circulation,” as some call it, may be more apt.

India did not export brains; it invested them. It sent millions away. In the freedom of new soil, they flowered. They seeded a new generation that, having blossomed, did what humans have always done: chase the frontier of the future.

Which just happened, for many of us, to be the frontier of our own pasts."

From Telugu blogs-1

Telangana Padakosam
from the main site
Discover Telangana

Prithvi Perepa

Prithvi has unusual background, he had his training in Kuchipudi dance for 18 years and then shifted to the study of autism perhaps after seeing a cousin and family suffering from the the effects of autism. He just completed his Ph.D and is currently in Melbourne attending a conference. He plans to return to India by 2010. A review of his primer on autism can be found here on page 12 and his papers by googling under 'Pridhvi Perepa'. He is the son of my friend Perepa P.C. Joshi.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

From Outlook 'Technology Special'

Top Indian Innovations :
"Bicycle Washing Machine, TV Remote-guided Robot, BioMass gassifier, Sanitary Napkin maker, Blind Man's stick", not much details or links. It is part pf their
Technology Special .
One of the articles is by Anil Gupta Real Science Is Humble . Excerpt:
"Another mentioned that radically new ideas are never allowed to grow, for the committees of senior experts—who know all the reasons why a new idea will not work—would make sure it does not get a fair chance. As if this wasn't enough, some added for good measure that they seldom got access to labs of excellence.

Is this the environment in which killer technological innovations or breakthroughs will come about? There are exceptions, of course, as many senior scientists (in government and outside) go out of their way in nurturing ideas from the formal and informal sector. Another reason to hope is the increasing irreverence among young Indian minds, which has taken long to emerge and is unlikely to be stifled by the mathadheesh (gatekeepers) of Indian science and technology."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Possibilities of an online English-Telugu dictionary?

This post రండి, రండి! Welcome of Chaduvari has useful information about Telugu resources on the net.
One example it gives is the site తెలుగుపదం where one can enquire or suggest the Telugu equivalents of frequently used English words (by Telugus in their everyday usage). Possibilities of a good online dictionary or one which may supplement the existing online dictionaries.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Links, Nov. 20

To be read again and ponder about.
Dani rodrik discussesMaury Obstfeld survey paper from Commission on Growth and Development in
International finance and economic growth:
Obstfeld thinks "There is also little systematic evidence that financial opening raises welfare indirectly by promoting collateral reforms of economic institutions or policies. At the same time, opening the financial account does appear to raise the frequency and severity of economic crises. Nonetheless, developing countries continue to move in the direction of further financial openness. ......A plausible explanation is that financial development is a concomitant of successful economic growth, and a growing financial sector in an economy open to trade cannot long be insulated from cross‐border financial flows. This survey discusses the policy framework in which financial globalization is most likely to prove beneficial for developing countries. The reforms developing countries need to carry out to make their economies safe for international asset trade are the same reforms they need to carry out to curtail the power of entrenched economic interests and liberate the economy’s productive potential." Dani Rodrik does not agree "This is an interesting hypothesis, but I am not sure I agree with the final sentence. Some of the most stupendous development successes of our time have been based on subsidized credit, a certain dose of financial repression, development banking, and managed exchange rates, all of which require controlled, rather than liberalized, finance. See South Korea, Taiwan (both of them during the 1960s and 1970s), and China, in particular."

Brad Setser This is the biggest financial crisis since the depression.
Brad Setser discusses The G-20 communique"
"It also reflects another reality: agreement on regulatory changes only required a deal among the G-7 countries, not a deal between the G-7 and the emerging world."
Is the US too big to fail?:
"Why are investors rushing to purchase US government securities when the US is the epicentre of the financial crisis? This column attributes the paradox to key emerging market economies’ exchange practices, which require reserves most often invested in US government securities. America’s exorbitant privilege comes with a cost and a responsibility that US policy makers should bear in mind as they handle the crisis."
Brad Setser says "The fall in demand for risky US assets was offset by a rise in demand for Treasuries and the sale of foreign assets by Americans. "
and "Of course, Treasuries aren’t entirely risk free. I don’t believe that there is a real risk the Treasury would default. Buying credit-default swap protection on the US is something by colleague Paul Swartz calls an end-of-the-world trade. But foreign investors holding long-term Treasuries are clearly taking a lot of currency risk — especially if they are buying in now, after the dollar has rallied …

The US is taking a risk too. The rising stock of short-term bills held abroad does potentially leave the US more exposed to a rollover crisis."

Sugata Mitra

whose TedTalk Can kids teach themselves? has been reported before has a profile in Wikipedia now. It has links to Hole-in-the-Wall site descring the spread of the experiment. I have been asking friends visiting Andhra Pradesh to envisage the feasibilty of this in A.P.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Telugu entertainment from old days

via Vizag Daily దిమిలి పొడుగు మనిషి ఆహ్లాద,అల్లరి పాటలు. Gives the link
Dimili Podugu Manishi,
apparently sent by somebody who heard the records in the 70's.
I do not remember these since I left A.P. in the 50's but they seem very interesting to me.
And Videos de Pather Panchali (1955) contains 'pather panchali theme' which I used as a lullaby for my children and now using for my grandchildren.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ethan Zuckerman on innovating from constraint

Innovating from constraint:
"I offered seven rules that appear to help explain how (some) developing world innovation proceeds:

- innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.)

- don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.)

- embrace market mechanisms (Giving stuff away rarely works as well as selling it.)

- innovate on existing platforms (We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in Africa, plus lots of metal to weld. Innovate using that stuff, rather than bringing in completely new tech.)

- problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)

- what you have matters more than what you lack (If you’ve got a bicycle, consider what you can build based on that, rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck, a metal shop.)

- infrastructure can beget infrastructure (By building mobile phone infrastructure, we may be building power infrastructure for Africa - see my writings on incremental infrastructure.)"
and some examples from Africa in Innovation from Constraint (the extended dance mix): 'zeer pot', 'biomass charcoal', 'knife-sharpening bicycle'etc.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My favourite Telugu scholar: Rallapalli Ananthakrishna Sarma

Spotlight on Rallapalli in The Hindu He turned the spotlight on Annamayya (via J.K. Mohana Rao in Racchabanda):
"Born on January 23, 1893, at Rallapalli in Anantapur District to Sanskrit and Telugu scholar Karnamadakala Krishnamacharyulu and Alamelumangamma, Sarma was initiated into Sanskrit, Telugu and music by his parents. Resenting unchavriti (ritual alms seeking) he ran away from home at the age of 13. Reaching Mysore, he placed himself under the guardianship of the chief of the Parakala Mutt. Guided by the seer, he studied Sanskrit and Prakrit at the Chamaraja Pathasala and became a master in both languages. He also studied music under the palace vidwans such as Chikka Rama Rao, Bidaram Krishnappa and Karigiri Rao. He could sing and also play the violin and the flute.

When Sarma was barely 18, his talent in Telugu was noticed by Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy, the Principal of the Maharajah’s College, who appointed him Telugu Pundit. His love for teaching and his mastery over his subjects ensured he received the love and affection of his students. During his tenure there, Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar, though many years his senior, often consulted him on the musical and lyrical aspects of the project that he was then working on – Chamundamba Ashtottara kritis. "
Rallapalli is one of my favourite Telugu scholars. I read his 'Vemana' and 'salivahanagathasaptasati' long ago but could not get hold of his other writings like 'rayalanati prajajeevitamu'. Some of his writings seem to be available in western libraries and I hope that efforts will be made to make them more accessible. I remember nice accounts of him in ‘Na Smritipadhamlo’ and “Sagutunna Yatra’ by Achanta Janakiram (Search for author "aachan't'a jaanakiraam"
at http://www.new.dli.ernet.in/ ), available digitally now from central libraries.
P.S. Krishnapriyan has kindly sent this:
Here is the list of books from the appendix of S. K. Ramachandrarao's
biography -

taaraadevi (1911) kaavya
raghuvaMsha kAvya anuvAda, svapnavAsavadatta anuvAda (1912) unpublished
mIraabaayi (1913) kaavya
liilAdEvi (1913) novel
shamiipUja kaavya (no date)
penugoMDa pATa kaavya (no date)
shrI kRUShNabhUpAlIyaM (1924) pariShkaraNa
shrI mahIshUru rAjyAbhyudayAdarshaH (1925) saMskRuta kAvya
bhArgavi paMchaviMshati (1926)
vEmana (upanyAsagaLu) (1929) vimarshe
shAlivAhana (hAla) gAthAsaptashatIsAramu (1932) prAkRutadiMda anuvAda
tALlapAka saMkIrtanamulu (1951-76) pariShkaraNa, saMpAdana
sAhitya mattu jIvanakale - (1954) kannaDa vimarshe
sArasvatAlOkamu - (1954) vimarshe
tenAlirAma virachita pAMDuraMgamAhAtmyaM (1967) pariShkaraNa, saMpAdana
jAyapa sEnAniya nRuttratnAvaLi (1969) pariShkaraNa, anuvAda
anaMta bhAratI (1977) saMkRuta kAvya
rALlapalli pIThikalu - (1978) munnunuDIgaLu,
mattu asaMkhya prakaTita kavanagaLu, munnuDigaLu, biDilEkhanagaLu

Friday, November 14, 2008

Christopher Ryan on Test Cricket

After the recent nonsense from Peter Roebuck and others, a welcome change Why ugly can be beautiful.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some science links

Evolution of the concept of gene, from abstract to concrete to diffuse and complex, by Carl Zimmer Now: The Rest of the Genome (via Shanti Gadde).

Related The Promise and Power of RNA (via 3quarksdaily).

Evolution's new wrinkle: Proteins with cruise control provide new perspective (via Evolutionary Psychology discussion group). Excerpt:
"The work also confirms an idea first floated in an 1858 essay by Alfred Wallace, who along with Charles Darwin co-discovered the theory of evolution. Wallace had suspected that certain systems undergoing natural selection can adjust their evolutionary course in a manner "exactly like that of the centrifugal governor of the steam engine, which checks and corrects any irregularities almost before they become evident." In Wallace's time, the steam engine operating with a centrifugal governor was one of the only examples of what is now referred to as feedback control. Examples abound, however, in modern technology, including cruise control in autos and thermostats in homes and offices.

The research, published in a recent edition of Physical Review Letters, provides corroborating data, Rabitz said, for Wallace's idea. "What we have found is that certain kinds of biological structures exist that are able to steer the process of evolution toward improved fitness," said Rabitz, the Charles Phelps Smyth '16 Professor of Chemistry. "The data just jumps off the page and implies we all have this wonderful piece of machinery inside that's responding optimally to evolutionary pressure.""

And a worrying development Neuroimaging Of Brain Shows Who Spoke To A Person And What Was Said(via Rajeev Ramachandran of 'Teeming Multitudes')

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Museum of Telugu inscriptions in Kadapa soon

Museum of Telugu inscriptions in Kadapa soon from The Hindu"
"A museum of Telugu inscriptions will be set up in Kadapa, besides establishing C.P. Brown Memorial Centre on Yogi Vemana University campus, its Vice-Chancellor A. Ramachandra Reddy said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the eve of C.P. Brown’s 210th birth anniversary at the C.P. Brown Language Research Centre (formerly Brown Memorial Library) here, he said the Brown memorial centre would function as an ancient language research centre in the wake of Telugu being declared as classical language. The varsity would modernise and digitize all the works of Brown. The centre would be expanded by acquiring land adjoining it at Yerrmukkapalle, Prof. Ramachandra Reddy said. Brown, second assistant to the then British Collector of Cuddapah, spent Rs. 2,714 from his salary in 1826 to cleanse the palm leaves containing the epic Mahabharatham, he recalled. He learnt Telugu to interact with local people in order to ensure an effective administration, propagated Yogi Vemana’s poems and compiled an English-Telugu dictionary."
Link viaఅవీ-ఇవీ .

Minister arrested for intimidating officer in India

Minister arrested for intimidating officer :
"The case arose when Mr.Pawar along with Mr.Verma went to meet Ms. Jain to complain that the Congress nominee from the Sonkatch, Sajjan Singh Verma, had not filed his ‘A’ and ‘B’ poll form in time. The two BJP men later had a heated argument with her on the issue and were seen on camera throwing a paper and banging the official’s table.

The administration has a video recording of the meeting, following which action was taken against the minister and his party colleague.

The Election Commission meanwhile ordered the transfer of Dewas Collector following laxity on his part in sending a report on the incident.

Ms. Jain also came in for praise from the Commission for performing her poll duties without any fear or favour and would be getting a letter of appreciation, official sources said."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Links, November 11

Economist's view discussion on Paul Krugman: Franklin Delano Obama?:
"What saved the economy, and the New Deal, was the enormous public works project known as World War II, which finally provided a fiscal stimulus adequate to the economy’s needs." Interesting comments with Anne posting an open leyyer from J.M. Keynes to FDR.

Yves Smith :AIG: The Looting Continues (Banana Republic Watch).

Obama to ask for troops in 'war we need to win'.

Ahmadinejad's letter to Obama sparks storm in Iran:
"On Friday, Obama offered a public reaction to the letter in his first post-election news conference, saying that he would review it and respond appropriately. But he also said that Iranian "support for terrorist organizations has to ease" and that its suspected development of nuclear weapons was not acceptable."

Brad Setser discusses China's financial stimulus plan in Does a bigger boom imply a bigger bust?.

Can you resist financial globalization?:
"# Evidence from prices and quantities shows the most limited globalization in China, followed at a distance by India, followed in turn by Thailand and then Korea.
# The extent to which countries have been hit by the recent crisis follows this ranking (in reverse order) almost exactly. In particular, Korea has been the country hardest hit despite many other preventive policies (including large reserve build-up) before the onset of the turmoil."

Mandela mourns icon Miriam Makeba . I heard only one (video) song by her but it was mesmerizing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Credit cruch may be a boost for science in some countries

From Credit crunch could boost science sector: analysts (via 'Naked Capitalism'):
"With thousands of job cuts at investment banks and hiring freezes at others, school-leavers and maths and science graduates could be increasingly attracted to the world of research and development.

"The glamour of the Wall Street jobs is gone, and that leaves more room for science and technology," said Georges Haour, a professor of technology and innovation management at the IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"Although the salaries are not the same, the salaries (in finance) are zero because people are being fired," he told AFP.

Britain's government has also marked the financial crisis as an opportunity to boost science and technology.

Science minister Lord Paul Drayson last month urged scientists who went to work in the City of London financial district to switch to teaching science subjects or science-related businesses."

Gender bias

Now that Lalita is in the hospital for delivering a baby, we have been taking care of Leila a lot of the time. Yesterday Jhansi gave her a bath and I helped a bit when Jhansi went to another bathroom to get soap. Later when her dad came Leila told him "Thatha gave me a bath".
Meanwhile I am browing through an arbitrary collection of books about Indian history. In the introduction 'Dravidian India' by T.R. Seaha Iyengar (1925, republished by Asia Educational Services, New Delhi, 1982), C.R Reddy said " The difficulty in distinguishing various factors of our composite civilization and giving them their due value. Such an analysis is bound to be largely speculative...'. A more recent book by Vinay Lal 'The History of History' seems to confirm this.

Views from Levittown

From The Transformation of Levittown :
"She thinks some of those who argued with her and insisted till the bitter end that they would vote for Mr. McCain just stubbornly did not want to acknowledge they had changed their minds. In the end, she believes they ended up voting out of a different kind of fear — fear for their own economic survival. Self-interest trumped racism. “They had to ask themselves if they wanted a really smart young black guy, or a stodgy old white guy from the same crowd who put us in this hole,” she said.

The people I met in Levittown were not on Mr. Obama’s e-mail list or among his donors, but they may be more likely than his younger supporters and more affluent ones to give him what he most desperately needs: time and patience. Like characters from the songs of one of Mr. Obama’s celebrity endorsers, Bruce Springsteen, many Levittowners have been weathered by life. They haven’t benefited from a lot of quick fixes. Others of his supporters say they’ll be patient, but I sensed these people really mean it. They were harder to sell, but they could end up being pretty loyal. "

Friday, November 07, 2008

Old Telugu songs back on YouTube

May be because of this protest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2pVHDz5i1Yy

Monday, November 03, 2008

Stephen Kinsella recommends

Best Economics Book Evarr:
"In lectures today a student asked me by text message which economics book they should read to get acquainted with economics. I mentioned that this is, in my opinion, the best economics book ever written, by Robert Heilbroner. Buy it, read it, and get smarter."
The book:The Worldly Philosophers.
It is cerainly very readable. I bought it thrice and read it twice. I think that Partha Dasgupta's "Economics: A Very Short Introduction" is also very good but of a different flavour. Here is David Warsh's recommendation Economics for Adults. May be one should also look for books on alternative economics.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Interesting book

I started reading the recent book Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure, and Urban Culture in Nigeria by Brian Larkin, after seeing this 1997 article Bollywood Comes To Nigeria. The book turned out be very interesting and as this blurb says:
"Media technologies were introduced to Nigeria by colonial regimes as part of an attempt to shape political subjects and create modern, urban Africans. Larkin considers the introduction of media along with electric plants and railroads as part of the wider infrastructural project of colonial and postcolonial urbanism. Focusing on radio networks, mobile cinema units, and the building of cinema theaters, he argues that what media come to be in Kano is the outcome of technology’s encounter with the social formations of northern Nigeria and with norms shaped by colonialism, postcolonial nationalism, and Islam. Larkin examines how media technologies produce the modes of leisure and cultural forms of urban Africa by analyzing the circulation of Hindi films to Muslim Nigeria, the leisure practices of Hausa cinemagoers in Kano, and the dynamic emergence of Nigerian video films. His analysis highlights the diverse, unexpected media forms and practices that thrive in urban Africa. Signal and Noise brings anthropology and media together in an original analysis of media’s place in urban life."
Some of Brian Larkin's papers can be found at his Bernard College Faculty site and the book as well as the papers seem useful to those interested in development problems.