Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Two Ghantasala songs from Paropakaram

This YouTube upload PAROPAKARAM-GHANTASALA FIRST PRODUCED MOVIE by Mukkamala1958 led two Ghantasala songs, the first of which I remember very well. Enjoy; if this does not work there seem o be a few other places.
Hridayama Sagipomma and Jodedla Naduma

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dosa in Pakistan

From 'The Outlook' The Dosa Fidayeen:
"Still, it’s true that at times dishes have to be rejigged to suit the Pakistani palate. The south Indian rasam could be a starting point. As Sunita says, “Pakistanis just can’t acquire a taste for it. It’s too watery for them.” There are others who have taken to filling chicken and keema in dosas. Call it a civilisational thing, some links are common, some a commingling that chefs on either side of the border conjure up with such ease. It’s a pity the politicians can’t break a dosa over the same."

Links June 28

Steve Johnson in More On The Shallows:
"...was the intellectual revolution post-Gutenberg driven by the mental experience of long-form reading? Or was it driven by the ability to share information asynchronously, and transmit that information easily around the globe?
actually sitting down to write out a response to something makes you see it in a new way, often with greater complexity. And that of course is the crucial flipside to the decline of long-form reading in the digital age: the increase in short-form writing. If we are slightly less able to focus because of the distractions of electric text, I suspect it is more than made up for by the fact that we are much more likely to write out our responses to what we do read."
Interesting comments too. One response to the question above:
"And, I would add, for ordinary, craftspeople, to gain access to books, reading and importantly book-keeping. These people, in the Protestant countries, were able to use these new skills to change the way they produced goods. To invent the putting out system that is the forerunner of capitalist production.

If slow reading was all that was necessary capitalism would have been invented by the upper class Spanish who had capital, access to science, and a diverse cultural tradition.

But the inquisition restricted what books could be printed. Printers moved to the Protestant countries; the Spanish Netherlands, and England. This made these countries print intensive and comparatively, to use Kevin Kelly’s phrase, made information, ‘fast, cheap and out of control’.

Printers in Holland produced, pornography, ballads, broadsides, playing cards, children’s books, business books and “how to” books. Holland became print intensive in the same way as the United States is TV intensive.

Literacy which had been limited to the upper classes became the definition of adulthood. Where more common people read there was more innovation and therefore more growth of all kinds."
And more.

Robin Hanson revisits Bowles and Gintis in School Attitudes:
"Here’s one accounting of three more specific functions of school:

* Legitimization: Repeated contacts with the educational system, which seems impersonal and based on reliable criteria, convinces students (and their parents) that they are ending up in an appropriate place in society based on their skills and abilities. Thus, people accept their position in life: they become resigned to it, maybe even considering it appropriate or fair.
* Acclimatization: The social relationships in the schools encourage certain traits, appropriate to one’s expected economic position, while discouraging others. Thus,certain relationships are considered normal and appropriate. Subordination to authority is a dominant trait enforced for most students.
* Stratification: Students from different class backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and genders are overwhelmingly exposed to different environments and social relationships and thus are tracked and prepared for different positions in the hierarchy. The different experiences and successes lead each student to see her place as appropriate."
And his latest post on the topic Schools Aren’t Creative.

Real painstaking research Coral Transplantation the Simple and Cheap Solution to Reef Restoration
P.S. From Forbes India: the conscience of capitalism a Lincoln quote:
“I see in the future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the future of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Two songs from Peddamanushulu

"Unfortunately when it was telecasted in the DD a part of the song (congressollu ninnu koluva gananadha .....communistlu ninu koluva gananadha) part was chopped of forever being an official channel. Anyway this song was banned on the AIR. "

Another famous song from Peddamanushulu Nandamaya guruda nandamaya - Pedda Manushulu(1954) - Ghantasala , modeled after Brahmam gari suutraalu. I think that the lurics are by Kosaraju Raghavaiah, the same person who wrote 'eruvala..' in 'rojulu marayi'. These for me are some of the best lyrics from Telugu films.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Abhijit Banerjee

in Abhijit Banerjee: Rigour In Social Policy:
"Politicians, journalists, donors--they all want stories of instant success. But it pays to research ideas thoroughly, and experiment in different environments before extrapolating social welfare schemes to a widespread audience."
from the series 25 Ideas To Change The World
P.S. See also the experiment in M. Rajshekhar's report Chhattisgarh: How workers improved healthcare for 18 million people.

Articles on nation building: Pakistan

Several in Himal Pakistan, a nation? and the latest from Chapati Mystery
The Daughter of Islam

Some articles on boosting creativity

Boost Creativity: 7 Unusual Psychological Techniques
Get Creative: 7 More Psychological Techniques
(via MindHacks)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too much publishing

We Must Stop the Avalanche of Low-Quality Research from The Chronicle of Higher Education (via 3quarksdaily) says "Only if the system of rewards is changed will the avalanche stop." But I have also noticed desire even among non-academics to publish and now it is easy as Laura Miller comments in When anyone can be a published author.

Australia's first female PM

Gillard becomes Australia's first female PM after Rudd goes down without fight and Bob Ellis is not impressed: Julia Gillard: a political dill .

Two versions of a song from Suvarna Sundari

Musicologist Raja writes in Koumidi about the differences in Telugu and Hindi versions of a song from suvarna Sundari:
Hayi Hayiga Aamani Paade in Telugu
Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliya in Hindi

Rural Jal Yodhas

Rural Jal Yodhas. Among them Premji Bhai Patel and an article in The Hindu about him One man's initiative ensures water-security in drought regions . There do not seem to be any Jal Yodhas from Andhra Pradesh.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How language affects thought

Ed Yong has an excellent post on how language affects thought :New Nicaraguan sign language shows how language affects thought. Excerpts:
"This is a subtly different idea than the one espoused by the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which suggests that different languages influence how speakers think about their world. By contrast, Pyers’ results focus “on those aspects of human cognition that are dependent on acquiring a language, any language”. She says that the room tasks tap into a set of mental skills that “crucially depends on language and that this relationship between language and spatial cognition should hold true for speakers of all languages”.

The Nicaraguan signers may well reveal more ways in which language fundamentally affects thought, for other aspects of the language besides spatial locations became more complex over time. These include ways of signifying mental states, and Pyers has already shown that as these became more sophisticated, so did the signers’ abilities to understand the fact that other people can hold false beliefs. Meanwhile, Ann Senghas and Molly Flaherty, who worked on the current study, are looking at how the emergence of a counting system in NSL affected the numerical skills of the signers.

The grand idea behind all of these singular observations is that as human language evolved, our mental abilities became increasingly entwined with linguistic devices. Those devices are part and parcel of modern language, and thus modern thought. NSL, being a new language, is the exception that proves the rule – as it developed, so did the abilities of those who learned it, from their skills at visualising objects in space to their capacity for understanding the minds of their peers."
P.S. A long discussion in Language Log Hay foot straw foot.

Some science links June 23

More on Dunning-Kruger An earlier discussion by Robin Hanson; All Are Skill Unaware:"However, many psychologists have noted Kruger and Dunning’s main data is better explained by positing simply that we all have noisy estimates of our ability and of task difficulty." One of the comments in robin hanson's post give link to a paper which has links to many relevant papers Incompetence and The General Chiropractic Council . See also Recommended Reading For Chiropractors
And One reason why humans are special and unique: We masturbate. A lot. (via MindHacks postWhack on, whack off). I thought bonobos might be similar but do not know. Here is a review of a recent review of book on Bonobos:Book Review: Bonobo Handshake.
From Science News Forget mice, elephants intimidated by ants : "...overall the ants have such a strong deterrent effect that they have kept a whole acacia landscape in Kenya intact despite rising numbers of elephants,"
P.S.Post from a blog, apparently specialing on Dunning-Kruger The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Can We Profit? (via Economist's View)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two articles on music

Singing 'rewires' damaged brain
Romantic Songs Make Women More Open To Dates… (via MindHacks)

Internet versus live lectures

Chris Blattman in Internet versus live lectures: Live lectures win links to a paper Is it Live or is it Internet? Experimental Estimates of the Effects of Online Instruction on Student Learning which indicates "…we find modest evidence that live-only instruction dominates internet instruction." one of the comments "I just skimmed the paper but I think the results helps the case for internet lectures.
1. The marginal cost of an internet lecture is smaller, and the difference in costs is (probably) higher than the difference in benefits. So internet wins.
2. Internet lectures allow high quality teachers to teach more students. This effect is likely to be important ( my guess). The paper does not address that, but this is the main advantage of internet lectures."
Internet learning comesin many forms and it seems to me that one of the main adavantages is that one can learn at one' own pace and at atime in surroundings of one's choice.

Seealso The Outlook story about the Khan Academy and Physorg story Mobile learning with iPhone now possible.

'Hand in Hand' in the news

Hand in Hand about which I posted
earlier is in the news again: Dalit families employ RTI Act, get their land :
"The families were residing in hutments on poramboke land, when in 2008, Kancheepuram-based NGO Hand in Hand started working in the village by forming self-help groups and began development projects.

A Citizen Centre Enterprise was established as an IT empowerment initiative that helped villagers enrol for computer courses, register for voting, apply for ration cards, pensions or prepare petitions, a spokesman for the NGO said.

A Good Governance Rights Protection Committee (GGRPC) was then set up to train villagers in citizen rights and duties. “With the help of this committee, the villagers learnt to use the RTI Act to unearth information on the allotment details of the land,” the spokesman said.

Armed with the RTI information, villagers prepared an application with the signatures of all the beneficiaries along with the land patta copies to be forwarded to the local administration with a copy sent to the District Collector.

Positive response

To the delight of the villagers, the application evoked a response from the administration. District Collector Santhosh K. Misra undertook a visit to the village.

He personally supervised the handing over of land to the beneficiary families. The villagers plan to raise bank loans to build their own homes and start agriculture."

P.S. An old Hand in Hand News Letter an interview with Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One of our favourite vegetables

Luffa acutangula
A telugu blog post about Luffa skin chutney బాసూ, బీరకాయ తొక్కల పచ్చడీ... Some other recipes; google 'బీరకాయ' for many more recipes. Jhansi's favourite curry is బీరకాయ పాలకూర.

Friday, June 18, 2010

An article by M. Rajshekhar on Bhopal tragedy

ET Special: Bhopal after 25 years.


Ashtavakra phenomenon?

Carl Zimmer in The Switches That Can Turn Mental Illness On and Off:
"Our experiences can rewrite the epigenetic code, however, and these experiences can start even before we’re born. In order to lay down the proper pattern of epigenetic marks, for example, embryos need to get the raw ingredients from their mothers. One crucial ingredient is a nutrient called folate, found in many foods. If mothers don’t get enough folate, their unborn children may lay down an impaired pattern of epigenetic marks that causes their genes to malfunction. These mistaken marks might lead to spina bifida, a disease in which the spinal column fails to form completely."
He further explains some research which indicates "Child abuse may leave a mark on its victims in much the same way that parental neglect affects rat pups. Abuse seems to have altered the epigenetic marks in their hippocampi. As a result, they made fewer stress receptors on their neurons, which left them unable to regulate their stress hormones, leading to a life of anxiety. That extra stress may have played a part in their committing suicide." And "And the influence of environment doesn’t end with childhood. Recent work indicates that adult experiences can also rearrange epigenetic marks in the brain and thereby change our behavior. Depression, for example, may be in many ways an epigenetic disease. Several groups of scientists have mimicked human depression in mice by pitting the animals against each other. If a mouse loses a series of fights against dominant rivals, its personality shifts. It shies away from contact with other mice and moves around less. When the mice are given access to a machine that lets them administer cocaine to themselves, the defeated mice take more of it."
Another excellent article from Carl Zimmer. More links in his post in The Loom:
Epigenetics and the Brain: Woo-free Coolness.

Binayak Sen remarks

in Hunger, Dispossession and the Quest for Justice:
"There is an annual incidence of 87,000 cases of multidrug resistant tuberculosis and an estimated annual mortality of 370,000 persons.

And yet, a recent WHO-based systematic review study which established a consistent log-linear relationship between tuberculosis incidence and BMI was unable to include a single Indian study. Similarly, a Cochrane systematic review of randomised control trials of nutritional supplements for people being treated for active tuberculosis did not include a single Indian study in its ambit."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Audacity in Science

A series of articles in Science MagazineThe Audacity in Science Series by Anne Sasso. From a response: Perspective: Audacity is Overrated:
"I conclude that audacity is a commendable trait in some successful scientists and a driving force in some scientific discoveries. But it is not a substitute of incremental and methodical science -- which can also produce major breakthroughs. And it is not the best approach to training young scientists for the long journey of career-building, which may or may not lead to transformative work or even research careers. As senior investigators we have a responsibility to provide our students and postdocs with the best mentorship and (often conventional) training while at the same time promoting innovation, creativity, and independence. I believe that's the best way to produce the next generation of Olympians with the fewest broken necks.

It may also be useful to remind ourselves that, as mentioned elsewhere (subscription required), "there is no recipe for original science; it happens anarchically and by accident, in spite of, rather than because of, scientific institutions." I would add in spite of, rather than because of, audacious scientists."

Monday, June 14, 2010

William Easterley reviews Matt Ridley's new book

A High-Five for the Invisible Hand. Choice quote:
"[N]atural scientists have remarkably low standards for reasoned argument when they discuss social science, as compared with the rigor they bring to their home fields."
Parting remark:
"So read “The Rational Optimist” for its fascinating history of trade and innovation. But also ponder whether the debate over markets can move forward while it remains a purely religious war. Those willing to confront honestly all the doubts about the “free market” might then actually be persuasive in arguing that it is the worst system humans have ever tried — except for all the others."
P.S. See also the discussion in Aid Watch and George Monbiot's review The Man Who Wants to Northern Rock the Planet.
Discussion in Economist's View

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nice photographs

and diagrams in NL architects: hong kong boundaries crossing facilities. The probem "hong kong has traffic on the left where china has traffic on the right." (via Rajeev Ramachandran's google reader)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some of the issues from Bhopal tragedy

seem to be clarified in these articles How Anderson Was Allowed To Get Away and Is it too late to ask Arjun Singh about Bhopal?. From the second article:
"The fulmination against Anderson is fashionable but futile. So too is the excoriation of Judge Mohan P Tiwari, the chief judicial magistrate of Bhopal. He is under attack because he handed out only two-year sentences to the accused in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy trial.

How exactly is it Judge Tiwari's fault?

On September 13, 1996 the Supreme Court ruled that the accused would be tried under Section 304 A of the Indian Penal Code rather than Section 304 Part II. Section 304 Part II deals with culpable homicide; Section 304 A refers to death caused by negligence. It is not a subtle difference.

What is more, if found guilty under Section 304 A the maximum sentence is two years. The chief judicial magistrate of Bhopal handed down the heaviest punishment within his power. He could not overturn a Supreme Court ruling and try the accused under a different section.

Justice A M Ahmadi, who was chief justice of India in 1996, has asked why a review petition was not filed against his ruling. Rachna Dhingra, an activist, says precisely such a review was filed by the Bhopal Gas Peedit Sahyog Samiti fourteen years ago; it was, she says, rejected without giving any reasons.

The prime minister says he is setting up a new group of ministers to re-examine the issue. It is a waste of time and energy. The chance to question Warren Anderson in any meaningful manner came and went on December 7, 1984. Handing out lengthy sentences was not on the books once the Supreme Court decided to try the accused under a section where the maximum sentence cannot exceed two years.

Warren Anderson is not coming back to India. Those who stood trial are, most probably, not going to get a more severe sentence. But is it too late to question Arjun Singh, and is it too late to draw appropriate lessons where the Nuclear Liability Bill is concerned."

Two Raj Kapoor films on YouTube

Looking for children's songs, I noticed two Raj Kapoor filme on YouTube:Bollywood Classic: Boot Polish (Part 1)
AB DELHI DOOR NAHI 1957 P 01 OF 15.avi
Both have several songs with children like
and the famous Manna Dey song:
Lapak Jhapak tu--Boot Polish

Vladimir Arnold RIP

Vladimir Igorevich Arnold , one of my heros during student days passed away on 3rd June. I met him briefly in Bombay when I was a student; it is difficult to imagine that there is only three years difference between us. Here is an old interview and an obituary in NYT.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Discussion on gated academic communities

Gated communities of the academic kindin Nanopolitan and by Rahul Sidharthan Universities and cities . My understanding is that original European universities were gated and that the American universities develped differently in that the role of the state was much more limited. David Larabee contends here that education in USA has increasingly become a commodity and is market driven and this has has been "highly destructive to both academic learning and social equity".
David Labaree's Understanding the Rise of American Higher Education.... is mentioned earlier . Larabee's paper also includes a discussion of William Clark's "Academic Charisma and the origins of the Research University" and the role or lack of it in the rise of American Universities. I am not sure how far the American models apply to India where the state has a large role in the education system.

P.S. Related. From a review of Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform:
"Dewey's Dream describes several other programs and projects initiated by the University of Pennsylvania in its attempt to partner students, faculty, and diverse members of the Philadelphia community together in the work of solving real world problems. For any university educator or administrator interested in facilitating collaborative community problem-solving projects, part 2 should be required reading for its presentation of concrete strategies."

Friday, June 04, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Links, June 2

Richard Florida reports in Global Innovation Paradox:
"It’s commonly thought that even though globalization was shifting manufacturing jobs from America to lower-cost, more efficient, off-shore competitors, the U.S. retained a vast lead in high-end innovation. But are the powerful forces of globalization now leading to the off-shoring of America’s innovation and R&D? New statistics from the National Science Foundation (via Mike Mandel) certainly point in that direction."

The invisible hand works in mysterious ways: What We Don’t Know, and Perhaps Can’t by Edward L. Glaese, an economics professor at Harvard.

Chris Blattman discusses Does brushing your teeth lower cardiovascular disease? and one of the comments links to this from PhD comics on The Science News Cycle.

Chapati Mystrey's fifth post on Ahmadis We Are All Ahmadi V: Erasures . An earlier post by Juan ColeWhy Pakistan needs the Separation of Religion and State; Atrocities by Taliban against Ahmadis.

Juan Cole reports Historic UNSC Condemnation of Israel, and of Gaza Blockade;
World Body Demands release of Aid Activists, Ships

P.S.Cosma Shalizi comments on Blattman post