Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Amirbai Karnataki background song forgtten artists

There seem to be more like her sister Goharbai Karnataki (who had an interesting life with Bal Gandharva), Hirabai Barodekar etc. Music seems to be one thing which somewhat unifies the subcontinent.
P.S. See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eWlfejlJRQ&feature=related from the same people who uploaded the above http://www.filmimpressions.com/

What made Indian democracy work?

In a long article After Nehru by Perry Anderson, an ex-editor of  New Left Review:
"Why then has the sheer pressure of the famished masses, who apparently hold an electoral whip-hand, not exploded in demands for social reparation incompatible with the capitalist framework of this – as of every other – liberal democracy?
The answer lies, and has always lain, in what also sets India apart from any other country in the world, the historic peculiarities of its system of social stratification. Structurally, by reason of their smaller numbers and greater resources, virtually all ruling classes enjoy an advantage over the ruled in their capacity for collective action. Their internal lines of communication are more compact; their wealth offers an all-purpose medium of power, convertible into any number of forms of domination; their intelligence systems scan the political landscape from a greater height. More numerous and more dispersed, less equipped materially, less armed culturally, subordinate classes always tend, in the sociologist Michael Mann’s phrase, to be ‘organisationally outflanked’ by those above them. Nowhere has this condition been more extreme than in India. There the country is divided into some thirty major linguistic groups, under the cornice of the colonial language – the only one in which rulings on the constitution are accessible – of which, at most, a tenth of the population has any command. These would be obstacles in themselves daunting enough to any national co-ordination of the poor.

But the truly deep impediments to collective action, even within language communities, let alone across them, lay in the impassable trenches of the caste system. "
(via quarksdaily)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Brief glimpses of Lalita and Padmini in Kalpana (1948)

here (around two minutes)
But Indians may have to wait for some more time since the resored reels are stuck in customs godown. Hoever there is an adverisement announcing a DVD related to Kalpana.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Interesting paper

The Clan and the City: Sustaining Cooperation in China and Europe by Avner Greif and Guido Tabellini  (via Chris Blattman) Abstract:

Over the last millennium, the clan and the city have been the locus of cooperation in China and Europe respectively. This paper examines -- analytically, historically, and empirically -- the cultural, social, and institutional co-evolution that led to this bifurcation. We highlight that groups with which individuals identify are basic units of cooperation. Such groups impact institutional development because intra-group moral commitment reduces enforcement cost implying a comparative advantage in pursuing collective actions. Moral groups perpetuate due to positive feedbacks between morality, institutions, and the implied pattern of cooperation.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zachary Latif discusses caste

There seem to be mistakes and over simplifications but the thrust of the article seems right to me. There are some follow up posts as well.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strange ways of the market

US exports ehanol to Brazil and also imports ethanol of different grade from Brazil. Read the details, implications to food prices and a discussion of alternative enery resources in the discussion 'US ethanol policies set to reach their illogical conclusion'

Links July 24, 2012

To preserve competetion, nationalize the largest ones from NY Times
Wealth does not tricle down... from The Guardian about the $2 trillion dollars or so stashed offshore by the rich with a graphic on the off shore destinations and loosers. Surprisingly India is not in the list of top 20 loosers. But India figures in the next
Why India is so bad for women?
See also Captain Lakshmi Dahgal: A Life of Struggle :Freedom comes in three forms,” the diminutive doctor goes on to say on camera in her unadorned and direct manner. “The first is political emancipation from the conqueror, the second is economic [emancipation] and the third is social… India has only achieved the first.”

May be the last post for now by Carl Zimmer on Chromosome fusion in humans http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/07/23/and-finally-the-hounding-duck-can-rest/
A nice article on the real value of Higgs Boson
And Noisy sex may mean death for some flies
Finally Choking dog saves its own life by dialling 999 (via Naked Capitalism)
P.S. Data for developing world about secret offshore wealth

Sunday, July 22, 2012

gayegi duniya geet mere

From the 1962 film Mousimqar, seems appropriate for Noor Jejan to sing
There are better versions on the YouTube without subtitles
and some by Noor Jehan in concert

Saturday, July 21, 2012

US science quite healthy

says a new book Is American Science in Decline? by Yu Xie and Alexandra Killewald. A comprehensive review in an editorial of Current Science by P.Balaram Animal Spirits : A Powerful Prescription

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pankaj Mishra's new book

review From the Ruins of the Empire by Pankaj Mishra (via 3quarksdaily) concludes
"The book concludes by tracing the painful legacies of Asia's responses to the west: Japan's near-genocidal pan-Asian revenge for earlier imperial slights; Maoism's disastrous pursuit of a post-imperial modernity; the violent anti-westernism of global Islam. Despite widespread western admiration for the contemporary Asian miracle, Mishra sees in China a country in which some "stand up, while most others are forced to stand down, and the privileged Chinese minority aspire for nothing higher than the conveniences and gadgets of their western consumer counterparts". He hails India as a democracy in which "numbers of the disenchanted and the frustrated" are growing, along with a huge sense of hopelessness among landless peasants. And to those who read China's and India's embrace of capitalism as a comforting sign of their reconciliation with western ways, he offers a warning. Environmental apocalypse, he anticipates, will be the final consequence of these centuries-old collisions between Europe and America, and Asia: "the bitter outcome of the universal triumph of western modernity, which turns the revenge of the east into something darkly ambiguous, and all its victories truly Pyrrhic"."
From a recent NPR interview Slowed Growth reflects China's Uphill Battle

"If you went back in the '90s, like people who didn't have a lot of money were looking to visas to get out, and may be opportunities in America. Now, it's all the winners who are trying to get out. Two of the biggest banks in China did this survey of their high net worth individuals, that $1.6 million in assets or more - which is a lot of money in China. Sixty percent in both surveys said that they were considering emigrating, maybe in the process of getting a green card.

And they said things like education for their children. You know, everybody in America raves about the Chinese education system. Well, Chinese people want for their kids, they want critical learning, which they can't really quite get in the Chinese system.

They're looking for clean air. And the other thing is they're looking for ways to, frankly, protect their assets 'cause there's no rule of law. And everybody sort of feels there that, you know, if something bad happens or if I get on the wrong side of the government, I could lose all that I've made"

Curry may be ancient

From the Science magazine article The ingredients for a 4000 year old proto-curry
by Andrew Lawler. Summary:
"When cooks in the ancient Indus River civilization prepared their meals 4000 years ago, the results may not have been much different from what you might order today in an Indian restaurant. Recent studies presented at the meeting found a surprisingly diverse Indus diet that incorporated spices such as ginger and turmeric, beans such as lentils and mung, grains such as rice and millet, and even bananas. An explosion in food-related studies, thanks to both new tools and new interest in rural villages, provides exciting clues to day-to-day life in the Indus, experts say. "
The article is behind a pay wall. The article says that the results from the teeth of humans dated between 2500 BC to 2200 BC in the town of  Farmana near Delhi, and also from a cooking pot found cooked ginger and turmeric. Apparently cow teeth from Harappa yielded the same material. Even banana turn up.but no black pepper or chilli pepper. "Examining two sites near today's Masudpur, west of Delhi, University of Cambridge archaeologist Jennifer Bates compared carbonized seed and phytolith density per liter of soil near hearths to determine the relative abundance of crops by period and site. Bates found that both villages practiced summer and winter cropping, and both ate wheat, barley, millet, and rice from early Indus times, as shown by nearby pottery; she also identified lentils and mung beans. Rice has long been assumed to be only a late addition in the Indus, yet one village apparently ate more rice than wheat or barley, although millet dominated."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Boot Polish" again on YouTube

I have posted about this film before a few times but many of the links have disappeared including some of the links to the reviews posted in
I find now the film is again available on YouTube with English subtitles.
The link to one of my favourite songs also is not working and I found a new link from Atul's Bollywoodsongaday

More gloom and doom

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/07/can-the-banking-industry-make-it-24-hours-without-a-new-scandal/ from the Big Picture
Regulatory Thrombosis  by Dan Little
Former Monsanto employee speaks again
Indo_US Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (from 2010)
There have been articles recently that education is not for everybody, some sort of hierarchy may be needed for society to function etc. Another article from reputedscientists in the same vein Social Status: Why All Men Are Not Created Equal

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Shubha Khote sings a bit

Dustedoff reviews the film and says that the title comes from a couplet of Kabir
Several nice songs in the film.

The Guardian on Terry Deary

The Man Behind the Horrible Histories
From the Wikipedia article on Terry Deary:
 "I've no interest in schools. They have no relevance in the 21st century. They were a Victorian idea to get kids off the street. Who decided that putting 30 kids with only their age in common in a classroom with one teacher was the best way of educating? At my school there were 52 kids in the class and all I learned was how to pass the 11-plus. Testing is the death of education. Kids should leave school at 11 and go to work. Not down the mines or up chimneys, mind, but working with computers or something relevant. Everything I learned after 11 was a waste of time. Trigonometry, Boyle's law: it's never been of any use to me. They should have been teaching me the life skills I was going to need, such as building relationships, parenting and managing money. I didn't have a clue about any of these things at 18. Schools need to change."
From The Guardian article:
"He still harbours a profound mistrust of all things school-related, and is unhappy that Horrible Histories have become classroom texts in some schools ("If they're part of the curriculum, kids will get turned off them. Then how can I be subversive?")"
And the final indignity, according to Wikipedia, Deary received an honorary doctorate for education from the University of Sunderland

Two Telugu translations

Street corner science

from Leon Lederman (via Ed Yong)
Many more on YouTube.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dani Rodrik's prognosis

in The New Global Economy's (Relative) Winners
"Those that do relatively better will share three characteristics. First, they will not be weighed down by high levels of public debt. Second, they will not be overly reliant on the world economy, and their engine of economic growth will be internal rather than external. Finally, they will be robust democracies.
Having low to moderate levels of public debt is important, because debt levels that reach 80-90% of GDP become a serious drag on economic growth. They immobilize fiscal policy, lead to serious distortions in the financial system, trigger political fights over taxation, and incite costly distributional conflicts. Governments preoccupied with reducing debt are unlikely to undertake the investments needed for long-term structural change. With few exceptions (such as Australia and New Zealand), the vast majority of the world’s advanced economies are or will soon be in this category."

Discussing emerging maket-economies, he says

"Domestic demand-led growth will be a more reliable strategy than export-led growth. That means that countries with a large domestic market and a prosperous middle class will have an important advantage.

Finally, democracies will do better because they have the institutionalized mechanisms of conflict management that authoritarian regimes lack. Democracies such as India may seem at times to move too slowly and be prone to paralysis. But they provide the arenas of consultation, cooperation, and give-and-take among opposing social groups that are crucial in times of turbulence and shocks.

In the absence of such institutions, distributive conflict can easily spill over into protests, riots, and civil disorder. This is where democratic India and South Africa have the upper hand over China or Russia."

Brenda Rosser reminds us that it is Thoreau's birthday

Economy:Lives of Quiet Desperation and quotes from Thoeau's Walden (one of our txtbooks in Intermediate, Andhra University 1954-56) which has this passage
"...Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind..."

From Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom'

More about the show here

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Maybe the best mathematician living at the moment

according to J.P.Serre of  P.Deligne.  Interview and write up here
via Not Even Wrong
Long ago (1974, Paris) I lived for few months in the same apartment complex as P.Deigne. I remember him as a very nice person who liked Indian pickles. I did not dare discuss any mathematics with him. He used to leave his apartment door inlocked so that Grothendieck's girl friend and baby could use it when they wanted.

Pakistan experience with generic drugs

Ayyaz Kiyani writes in India goes down the generic mrdicines path
"Pakistan was one of the first countries, in 1972, to introduce the Generic Drugs Act. The policy brought out by the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s People’s Party was politically motivated and poorly designed. Soon after its promulgation, the parties hurt by the new policy (doctors lead by the Pakistan Medical Association and the Big Pharma), got together and started to conspire against the policy. They lead a ferocious campaign against it alleging generic drugs were of poor quality and low efficacy. Unfortunately, the subsequent lack of regulation or control of generics led effectively to the market being flooded by poor quality drugs, and the scheme needlessly failed a couple of years later."
He hopes that India will fare better.
Ed Yong writes of Silk cages that preserve vaccines and antibiotics for months without refrigeration
A commenter says that it will help if factories are not blown up
P.S. See also A historic move to make drugs affordable and India refuses to hike cancer drug price

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bose's second paper?

While reading a popular Outlook article about S.N.Bose http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?281539, I came across this passage
"There is also, it must be said, a group of scientists who believe that Einstein let Bose down: if he had helped Bose get his brilliant second paper published, they allege, he’d have almost certainly won the Nobel."
From http://www.vigyanprasar.gov.in/scientists/snbose/bosenew.htm
"After reaching Paris he wrote to Einstein requesting his permission to work with him and also for his opinion on his second paper. Bose wrote:

“My heartfelt gratitude for taking trouble of translating the paper yourself and publishing it. I just saw it in print before I left India. I have also sent the middle of June a second paper entitled, “Thermal equilibrium in Radiation Field in the presence of Matter.”
I am rather anxious to know your opinion about it, as I think it to be rather important. I don’t know whether it will be possible also to have this paper published in Zeitschrift für Physic.
I have been granted leave by my university for 2 years. I have arrived just a week ago in Paris. I don’t know whether it will be possible for me to work under you in Germany. I shall be glad, however, if you will grant me permission to work under you, for it will mean for me the realization of a long-cherished dream…”
While Einstein did not acknowledge the receipt of Bose’s second paper but this time Einstein replied. In his letter to Bose dated November 03, 1924, Einstein wrote: “Thank you sincerely for your letter of 26 October. I am glad that I shall have the opportunity soon of making your personal acquaintance. Your papers have already appeared sometime ago. Unfortunately the reprints have been sent to me instead of you. You may have them at any time. I am not in agreement with your basic principle concerning the probability of interaction between radiation and matter, and have given the reasons in a remark which has appeared together with your paper…We may discuss this together in detail when you come here.” Bose was naturally disappointed by Einstein’s comments on his second paper. However, he started thinking deeply about the objections raised by Einstein. He informed Einstein that he was attempting to answer Einstein’s criticism in the form of a paper. In fact Bose had shown the manuscript to Paul Langevin(1872-1946) in Paris, who thought it worth publishing. However, the paper was never published."

Siimilar accounts appears in http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0508/0508237.pdf with mention of much stronger criticism of the paper by Einstein, in  Stachel's article "Bose and Einstein" and Wali's book on Bose, but these are too technical for me. In any case, no injustice seems to have been done to Bose. Bose himself seems to have said "“I was like a comet, a comet which came once and never returned again.”

(quoted in NY Times article http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/the-man-behind-boson/)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Online education potential

From Guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2012/jul/04/open-educational-resources-and-economic-growth
"But what crystallised at the Unesco Congress are the larger economic implications of the OER (Open Education Resources) movement and its potential to dramatically expand the global knowledge economy. As policymakers struggle to apply traditional fiscal and monetary tools to mend world markets restrained by weak purchasing power, accelerated learning based on OERs could do more to stimulate global economic demand and growth than all the world's tax holidays combined - then multiplied ten-fold.

Moreover, there is mounting evidence that learners can be trained more quickly using OER. A recent study conducted by scholars associated with Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative demonstrated that students who use OERs can obtain the same or better learning outcomes in half the time compared with students using traditional methods."
Link via Marginal Revolution post Measuring the results of on-line learning
The linked paper
I never liked classes and mostly learnt  (mathematics, but it may not be possible in all subjects) myself. I think what helps is having people to talk with. Possibly online tutorials and learning with a group of friends and other avenues are worth exploring. See also the earlier post http://gaddeswarup.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/interesting-discussion-on-education.html
( where the Stanford president John Hennessey and Salman Khan of  Khan Academy discuss even the possibility of medical education online) and the posts about Sugata Mitra

Snehprabha Pradhan remembered

Another star with an interesting life http://cineplot.com/music/snehprabha-pradhan/ The article also includes a famous song-dance by her from the 1940 film Puran Milan. Several pieces by a British soldier Edward Sparkes who was friends with her are available on the net. It seems that he wrote some things about India on the ship while coming to India and a juxtaposition of pictures was found objectionable by Indians and there was a protest in which one of the leaders was K.A. Abbas. Abbas accepted Sparkes' explanations about the juxtaposition and actually liked some of what Sparkes wrote and invited him to visit him. That is how he got to know Snehprabha who became an interesting part of his life until after a few years after the war. Sparkes also has stories about Ram Gopal. General Thimmayya and some of the theatres of war. I have not looked for independent confirmation of these stories but at least some of it rings true. Every section of  http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/sparkes/india1.htm has a link to the contents and one can go back and forth. I mainly read the sections about Snehprabha and Ram Gopal.
From what I can gather, Snehprabha Pradhan (1920-1993) had an eventful and full life. She was the daughter of social workers (the father married her mother who was a widow and much younger than him). She entered films to help the family. After some success in Hindi and Marathi films and a colourful life ( apparently, she was one of Dev Anand's dream girls) she married and more or less disappeared. This information is from the above link in Cineplot and one of the comments  in
There are also more posts of her songs like
I remember reading somewhere, but cannot find the link now, that after marriage she reentered Marathi stage and was too busy and did not have the time or inclination to struggle back into Hindi films. Like Kanan Devi she seems to have spent the last decades of her life in social work. Probably much more information will be available in Marathi publications. Altogether, it seems to be an exciting and rewarding life. I will end with a link to the famous song-dance which appeared in several sites

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Shanta Apte remembered

Her profile http://cineplot.com/shanta-apte-profile/
A seies of videos to remember her on YouTube, one of which is

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Higgs Boson explained

Too big to fail

Glaxo Agrees to Pat $3 Billion in Settlement via Dean Baker. But
"Despite the large amount, $3 billion represents only a portion of what Glaxo made on the drugs. Avandia, for example, racked up $10.4 billion in sales, Paxil brought in $11.6 billion, and Wellbutrin sales were $5.9 billion during the years covered by the settlement, according to IMS Health, a data group that consults for drugmakers.

"So a $3 billion settlement for half a dozen drugs over 10 years can be rationalized as the cost of doing business,” Mr. Burns said. "
From Barclays Libor Scandal... by Aditya Chakraborty:
"Through tampering with lending rates, financiers at Barclaysand elsewhere distorted everything from how much home-owners paid on their tracker mortgages to the deals struck by pension funds purely to pump up bank profit margins and their own bonuses. The lawsuits for Barclays alone are likely to cost billions.

Against that, the punishment meted out to Bob Diamond's company barely figures. The £290m fine slapped on it by regulators is tax-deductible, making it equivalent to just 13 days' profit. In any case, the bill will be paid by shareholders, rather than traders or senior management."
And a Bloomberg editorial There's Something Rotten in Banking via Naked Capitalism July 3rd Links.

A vigorous dance

but seems incongruent with lyrics. I do not mind vigorous dances like this

Teaching fractions

There seem to be suggestions that some kids never get fractions http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/the-myth-of-they-werent-ever-taught/
"Teachers know something that educational policy folk of all stripes seem incapable of recognizing: it’s the students, not the teachers. They  taught. And why they don’t remember is an issue we really should start to treat as a key piece of the puzzle." The conclusion seems to be that some kids cannot be taught.
I think that fractions are hard to understand teach "The history of teaching fractions is long and colourful. In 1958 Hartung wrote, "The fraction concept is complex and cannot be grasped all at once. It must be acquired through a long process of sequential development." This sequential development of the fraction concept needs to be well understood if we are to develop widespread access to learning fractions with understanding." says http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/secondary/mathematics/years7_10/teaching/frac.htm
I myself find confused about (a/b)/c and a/(b/c) until I remeber that it is a notational problem. In any case, I would find it difficult to teach the division of a fraction by a fraction. The words like 'negative', 'irrational', 'complex' indicate the difficulty of the concepts and the suspicion with which they were received. I do not think that there is much point in saying that some kids do not get it. These are difficult conceptually and notationally and it takes a long time to get them and one has to experiment with different methods of teaching and perhaps group learning..

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Interesting discussion on education

John Hennessey (Stanford president) and Salman Khan (Khan Academy) discuss higher education and digital technology.
Steve Hsu seems pessimistic but the discussion and comments paint a more optimistic outlook of combining online education and university education. It seems that Stanford and Khan Academy are discussing the possibility of medical degrees with that kind of combination. It may be also worth remembering Sugata Mitra's experiments on learnibg in groups posted earlier.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Links, July 1, 2012

Discussion of Jonah Lehrer transgressions http://blogs.plos.org/thepanicvirus/2012/06/28/sciwritelabs-8-1-the-lehrer-affair-consequence-free-plagiarism-and-rules-for-blogging/ Perhaps Jonah saw success too young and too early and may be this is a way of challenging himself.

Rajiv Sethi on 'Fighting over claims" http://rajivsethi.blogspot.de/2012/06/fighting-over-claims.html and Paine for once comments more or less  in prose "super sir superb".
Rio+20 report 'longest suicide note in history' (via Ed Yong Sunday links)
How global mining corporations undermine democracy from Triple Crisis
Excerpts from 'Dylan Grice - The tyranny of targets: process, outcome and the complexity of it all"  in http://www.zerohedge.com/news/keynesian-lunacy-targeting-outcomes#comments. one excerpt "But I’d argue that for even mildly complex systems, any outcome is the wrong thing to target. As we just saw, targeting one outcome of such a process changes that process, and changing the process subsequently changes all the other outcomes. In any kind of complex system where the underlying outcome generating processes aren’t well understood – whether a company, or a society – the effects of changing the process won’t be well understood either. Unintended consequences must ensue." The full article may be available in a few weeks for non-subscribers.
Finally a recent review of one my favourite Telugu movies from Cinema Chaat Devadasu (1953). Recently I watched a few Telugu movies mentioned in http://cinemanrityagharana.blogspot.com.au/ and enjoyed them. Then I watched a couple of Telugu movies famous for their songs 'Anarkali' and 'Suvarna Sundari' and found them terrible except for the songs. But in Devadasu I liked both the songs and the film. Surprisingly Vedantam Raghavaiah directed all the three films.