Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scary story

by Marcia Angell, ex-editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, linked in several blogs (see, in particular, the comment by Felix E F Larocca MD which gives several more references):
The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?
The Illusions of Psychiatry
P.S. Daniel Little comments on the above articles Mental illness, big pharma and agent-based simulation.

Related In Medicine, New Isn’t Always Improved

From science articles (just added list)

In Tiny Worm, Unlocking Secrets of the Brain

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Women and collective intelligence

From Defend Your Research: What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women
"The finding: There’s little correlation between a group’s collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises."
via Mind Hacks post A dose of female intelligence
The original article:
Evidence of Collective Intelligence in the Performance of Human Groups

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Telegraph reviews "River of Smoke"

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh: review:

"His taste for obscure words aside, Ghosh can be a rather ponderous storyteller. Far too much of the book is taken up by windy letters from an English painter. But there are some nice comic touches, mainly involving characters talking pidgin English, and moments of real lyricism.

Best of all, Ghosh, through the depth of his research, lightly worn, has captured the many cross-currents of a fascinating historical period."

His "In an Antique Land" is one of the best books I read and I liked much of his non-fiction that I read. But I thought that his "The glass Palace" is a soap opera and this type of historical fiction seems to be a bit of cop out, which does not allow much discussion. I think that I will skip this book.

Dreaming of cancer

Recently on the way back from USA I was stuck in San Francisco airport for two nights, the first night because I did not check the times carefully and the second night because of United Airlines computer problems. It gave me chance to finish Siddhartha Mukherjee's excellent book " The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" and now I imagine that I have precancer conditions. May be I will give up smoking now. In any case, I am back home to celebrate my 70th birthday today.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kuffir on farmers

Kuffir wonders how farmers in India survive when the returns are so low:no mantras or miracles will work here . More in the Indian Farmers website linked in the article.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A comment in the post 'Academic Writing' by Amitava Kumar

From a comment in Academic Writing:
"A couple of years ago, I sent this as a puzzle to my colleagues in a course with a reading from Partha Chatterjee:

“The illusion of normative values is consistent with the legitimation of the nation-state. The logic of civil society carries with it the ideology of agency. Rival conceptions of collective identity have become implicated in rival claims to autonomous subjectivity, and the reification of capitalist hegemony opens a space for the historicization of the nation-state. The emergence of history as such functions as the conceptual frame for the politics of power.”

One or two sentences are from Chatterjee’s Nationalist Thought. The rest are generated from the U of Chicago Automatic Sentence Generator. No one guessed the auto-generated part correctly."

M.F. Husain RIP

One of India's most famous artists, MF Husain, has died in hospital in London aged 95 after years of self-imposed exile. For 15 years, I used to see his paintings almost daily in TIFR, Bomay (now Mumbai).

Buchibabu's article on 'kaaruloe shikaaru keLLea'

here in Koumudi.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Farmer Networks in Mexico

From Farmer Networks Hold Key to Agricultural Innovation in Developing Countries, Study Finds:
"In Yaqui Valley, credit unions hold sway among the majority of farmers, McCullough said. In addition to providing loans, crop insurance, fertilizer and seed, credit unions have taken over the government's role in providing technical expertise and management advice.

Valley growers also have a long history of working with the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, a world-renowned agricultural research center known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT.

But interviews conducted for the PNAS study revealed that most farmers take their cues from local credit unions and not from experts at CIMMYT. As an example, McCullough pointed to a collaborative effort between CIMMYT scientists and farmers to develop a nitrogen diagnostic tool that reduces fertilizer use without sacrificing crop yields.

The device, which gives real-time readings of nitrogen levels in the soil, proved early on that it could save farmers 12 to 17 percent of their profits. Yet most farmers rejected the new technology until CIMMYT researchers finally convinced credit union officials that it was a worthwhile investment.

"The most successful innovations that have been adopted by farmers in the Yaqui Valley have come from collaborations among researchers, farmers and local establishments, like the credit unions," McCullough said. Because of their considerable influence among farmers, credit unions should be included in any effort to effect environmental change in the region, she added."

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Last interview with Syed Saleem Shahzad

Splits in Pakistan's Military Over New Agreement to Cooperate with US
Syed Saleem Shahzad, A Pakistani journalist and correspondent of Asia Times, who was killed between May 29 and 31.

Salim Durrani wins C.K. Nayudu Award

Salim Durrani the only Test cricketer to have been born in Afghanistan wins C K Nayudu Award lifetime achievement award for his contribution to Indian cricket A first person account and When Salim Durrani did a Shane Warne .... Ramachandra Guha on Salim Durrani's background and career.