Thursday, March 31, 2016

Stuck in mathemtics again

Stuck in mathematics again. Found an interesting paper while finishing a program with Peter Scott. Is is about some stuff that I did not understand 20 years ago. I though that I would quickly go through it. Due to lack of practice, it is taking much longer and it also started raising other questions. It seems that I will stuck in this stuff for a few months.
Meanwhile, I keep posting on Facebook what look interesting to me without much background checking.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Siddhartha Mukherjee on Schizophrenia

Madness runs in the family A breakthrough interweaved with stories from his famikly:
"McCarroll assigned the problem to Aswin Sekar, a twenty-four-year-old student in his lab who was working toward an M.D.-Ph.D. at Harvard. “Geneticists considered it an almost intractable problem, but Aswin wanted something substantial—a real puzzle to crack" ......
Sekar e-mailed the data to McCarroll on the evening of December 31st. “We had friends for New Year’s Eve dinner that night, and the doorbell had just rung when the e-mail popped up,” McCarroll recalled. “Of course, I barely spoke to the guests. It was an unbelievable result. A kid in his twenties walks into a lab, defines the variations in one of the most complex regions of the human genome, and shows how the variants might underlie the risk of schizophrenia. Data that had puzzled so many people for so many years suddenly seemed to make sense.”

Michael Loolo on Cyndi Lauper

Interview with Patrick Cockburn

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cashless society?

Why we should fear a cashless society? by Dominic Frisby
 "Poor people and small businesses rely on cash. A contactless system will likely entrench poverty and pave the way for terrifying levels of surveillance"

St. Francis Before the Pope
At 5:35 the pope kisses the foot of St. Francis and around 6:00: from the Wikipedis article Brother Sun, Sister Moon:
One of the final lines (mirroring the anti-establishment attitude of the 1970s juxtaposed to the well-established tone of the film) places the sincerity of the Pope's response in question when an unnamed cardinal, observing what the Pope has done, comments to a bishop: "Don't be alarmed, His Holiness knows what he is doing. This is the man who will speak to the poor, and bring them back to us." 

Modern Life

From Al Jazeera report In the valley of guns and roses:
"In the heart of Bulgaria's Rose Valley, Irina is desperate to give her four-year-old daughter, Stefi, a better start in life. 
"She is struggling single mother, working two jobs to put food on the table. Her main source of income comes from her dangerous work at a weapons factory where she measures and packs gunpowder into artillery shells.
Struggling to pay the rent, bills, and Stefi's kindergarten fees, she moves out of her parents' rural village to be closer to her work - despite not knowing whether she can afford it.
Her only respite is singing, a talent taught to her by her late grandfather, which she uses to sing for extra money in local restaurants.
But as the rent and bills stack up, Irina is forced to take on a third job offering high-interest loans to equally desperate friends and family.
This is an intimate story about poverty and the price a mother is prepared to pay to ensure a better life for her child."
Check also the embedded video:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Not so long read about a blue print for new economics

Brian Arthur, Peter Turchin have been talkin about similar things.
Traditional Economics failed. Here's is new blue print by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer
P.S. Noah Smith in New paradigms in economic theory? Not so fast. "So I agree with about two-thirds of Hanauer and Liu's points. The others need tightening up, but not bad overall. The question is whether these ideas, together, represent a new paradigm in economic theory. Hanauer and Liu argue that they do, but I am not so sure. "

Long read: The Obama Doctrine

A sympathetic portrayal by Jeffrrey Goldberg The Obama Doctrine
Despite my misgivings about Obama, I am impressed.

Friday, March 18, 2016

India and Bharat

From Wikipedia  "The Republic of India has two principal short names in both official and popular English usage, each of which is historically significant, India and Bharat. The first article of the Constitution of India states that "India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states," implicitly codifying India and Bharat as equally official short names for the Republic of India. A third name, Hindustan, is a historical term for the north and northwestern subcontinent (especially during the British India period) that is now widely used as an alternative name for the region comprising most of the modern nations of the subcontinent when Indians speak among themselves. The usage ofBharatHindustan or India is dependent on the context and language of conversation."
So, it seems to be Bharat not 'Bharat Mata'
Sadan Jha in 2004 The life and times of Bharat Mata
A recent article in Scroll History Lesson: How Bharat Mata became a code woprd for a theocratic Hindu state by Shoaib Daniyal
From a Telugu article from 2006: "అయితే ఈ ఊహల ఆధారంగా మనకి ప్రాచీన కాలంనుంచి జాతీయతా భావం వుంది అని వాదించడం పొరపాటు......భావ కవిత్వానికి పూర్వపు రోజుల్లో “దేశం” అంటే ఒక ప్రాంతానికి చెందిన మాట – తూర్పు దేశం, పడమటి దేశం ఇలాగా. భూమి రాజుకి భార్య. అందుకే ఆయన భూపతి. ఆవిడ ఏ రాజు జయిస్తే ఆరాజుకి భార్య. భావ కవిత్వానికి పూర్వం దేశభక్తి అనే ఊహ కాని, దేశం మనకి మాత కావడం కాని ఎప్పుడూ లేదు. ఈ మాతృత్వపు ఊహ పూర్తిగా కొత్తది . భారతమాత, తెలుగుతల్లి ఇలాటి ఊహలు జాతీయవాద బలంతో భావ కవిత్వమే మనకు నేర్పింది."

Links, 18th March, 2016 mostly Todd related

No one knows why TYrumpi winning, Here's what a conitive scientist says by Geore Lakoff:
"What do social issues and the politics have to do with the family? We are first governed in our families, and so we grow up understanding governing institutions in terms of the governing systems of families."
That was via a David Brin post Political Delusions- Do we rationalize our emotional decisions?
That reminded me of Emmanuel Todd work. Here is a very recent article on Todd which has been in a preprint form for some time and linked before:
Testing Todd and matching Murdoch: Global data of historical family characteristics:
" Abstract:
This paper investigates the possibilities for the creation of a global dataset on family and household characteristics. This is done by scrutinizing and comparing two prominent data sources on family system classifications. We first focus on historical data, by comparing Emmanuel Todd's classification of countries by family systems with ethnographic data compiled in George Murdock's Ethnographic Atlas. Qualitative and quantitative tests show that the two datasets frequently agree about family traits. Nonetheless, substantial differences exist that are mostly attributable to the focus of the datasets on different regions, and the difficulties in translating local, descriptive studies to hard data. We therefore emphasize that it is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of the two datasets and emphasize that robustness checks are necessary in empirical research into family characteristics. We also compare these historical data with present-day data. This comparison suggests that family characteristics and the values associated with them can persist over long periods."
A 1995 article on Emmanuel Todd Keeping it in the family by Suzi Feay

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Kamal Dasupta song

Job description for US president

I wonder who of the current US presidential candidates fit this description. "America did not come by that power through its own innate genius. It acquired it, as do all empires, in no small part through war, invasion, subterfuge and exploitation. Spying and lying about it comes with the job description for which Obama applied and was reappointed." From Is Obama worse than Bush? That's beside the point by Gary Younge.

Childhood hero Kotha Venkateswara Babu

I entrusted my marriage to him since I did not trust my father. Here he is with Lalita in 1975 while I was away in Zurich. Sadly, he passed away in 1990 smiling in the face of cancer.

Interesting article and a comment

Why do we work so hard? by Ryan Avent in 'The Economist'
AL comments:
"Although it terrifically dissects the "Cant live without it. Cant live with it" nature of work it rests almost entirely on a single distinction between types of labour in the post-industrial world: immersive,creative & satisfying "cognitive" labour vs physically demanding & emotionally taxing "service" labour. This is a false and politically self-serving distinction. For all of the intellectual satisfaction of cognitive wagework, is it not relevant to point out that newer forms of appropriation (e.g., licenses, royalties and rents based on copyright and patents instead of ownership of products) have been devised by employers to still extract value from the creative class? The social inequality impacts of this self-valorization of creative work are equally profound: Becoming blind to the lives of others, not contributing to social life outside of one's narrow professional class, and the outsourcing of emotional work to caregivers are all mentioned in the article but not causally linked to cognitivization. "

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The rich are different

More on global economy

More on the political trilemna of the global economy by Dani Rodrik
A fundamental shift in the nature of trade agreements by Tim Taylor who quotes from an article of  Richard Baldwin:
"The megaregionals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, however, are not a good substitute for multilateralization inside the WTO. They will create an international trading system marked by fragmentation (because they are not harmonized among themselves) and exclusion (because emerging trade giants like China and India are not members now and may never be). Whatever the conceptual merits of moving the megaregionals into the WTO, I have argued elsewhere that the actual WTO does not seem well-suited to the task. ... 
"What all this suggests is that world trade governance is heading towards a two-pillar system. The first pillar, the WTO, continues to govern traditional trade as it has done since it was founded in 1995. The second pillar is a system where disciplines on trade in intermediate goods and services, investment and intellectual property protection, capital flows, and the movement of key personnel are multilateralised in megaregionals. China and certain other large emerging markets may have enough economic clout to counter their exclusion from the current megaregionals. Live and let live within this two-pillar system is a very likely outcome."
The new truth about free trade by Robert Reich
An economic lab where theories to die by Noah Smith

Monday, March 14, 2016

Land of contrasts

What New Delhi's Free Clinics can teach America about fixing its broken health care system by Vivek Wadhwa in The Washington Post
"It's actually a landrab in the name of a festival": An interview with Vimalendu Jha about WCF. More at The art of not living with dissent and its discontents
Interview with lawyers evicted from Bastar

Two talks on John Nash

David Card

A short profile of David Card The Challener by Peter J. Walker
From an earlier interview posted before:
" I've subsequently stayed away from the minimum wage literature for a number of reasons. First, it cost me a lot of friends. People that I had known for many years, for instance, some of the ones I met at my first job at the University of Chicago, became very angry or disappointed. They thought that in publishing our work we were being traitors to the cause of economics as a whole." 

Lloyd Shapley RIP

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Corporate raiders

Michael Hudson on modern corporate raiders :The commanding heights
William Dalrymple on The East India Company: The original corporate raiders : "The East India Company no longer exists, and it has, thankfully, no exact modern equivalent. Walmart, which is the world’s largest corporation in revenue terms, does not number among its assets a fleet of nuclear submarines; neither Facebook nor Shell possesses regiments of infantry. Yet the East India Company – the first great multinational corporation, and the first to run amok – was the ultimate model for many of today’s joint-stock corporations. The most powerful among them do not need their own armies: they can rely on governments to protect their interests and bail them out. The East India Company remains history’s most terrifying warning about the potential for the abuse of corporate power – and the insidious means by which the interests of shareholders become those of the state. Three hundred and fifteen years after its founding, its story has never been more current."

Jeremy Harding on Castro in Angola

A fascinating long read reviewing several books on Angola.
Apartheid's Last Stand:
"The pending collapse of the Soviet Union played its part in the regional settlement, but Moscow was still pouring in arms when the Cubans took matters into their own hands, and Mandela never failed to thank them for their role. The outcome in Angola, he said, had ‘destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor’. But the price was high. Angolans paid for the shortcomings of a war administration that was slow to learn the arts of war and failed entirely to administer; the population lived under a Soviet-style economy in which the only working outposts were vast, flourishing informal markets – Roque Santeiro was the biggest in Luanda (named for a Brazilian TV soap) – and Sonangol, the state oil company, which lubricated the war effort. South Africa made good use of Savimbi and played cleverly on Washington’s anxieties, compounding the chaos, repression and heartbreak in a mismanaged country: widespread hunger and disease; dispossession and displacement; provincial towns crowded with landmine victims; hospitals full of ailing civilians but bare of medication; ANC militants jailed in pits by their leaders, Swapo fighters tortured as traitors by their commissars; hundreds of Angolan ‘fractionist’ dissidents dead or jailed. Apartheid was a creature that fumbling, self-interested democracies in the West were unwilling to slay. Only another kind of monster, with friends in Havana, could point it towards the exit."

Friday, March 11, 2016

Labour mobility in India

I am not really of this but interesting if correct.
Why is labor mobility in India so low?: "Migration from rural areas of India to the city is surprisingly low compared with other large developing countries, leaving higher paying job opportunities unexploited. This research shows that well-functioning rural insurance networks are in part responsible for this misallocation in the labor market, creating incentives that keep adult males in the village."

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Links 11th March, 2016

Dani Rodrik's overview of current politics

The politics of anger : "If one lesson of history is the danger of globalization running amok, another is the malleability of capitalism. It was the New Deal, the welfare state, and controlled globalization (under the Bretton Woods regime) that eventually gave market-oriented societies a new lease on life and produced the post-war boom. It was not tinkering and minor modification of existing policies that produced these achievements, but radical institutional engineering.
Moderate politicians, take note."

An update on SRI

(via Shambu Prasad whose 2006 paper on adoptions of SRI in India was linked before)) SRI: A practice that transforms lives of women
See also The seeds of hope "She reaped 3,223 kilos of TRY 3 variety of paddy with just two kilos of the seed planted in 50 cents in 130 days. It was the highest yield adopting SRI method in the State for 2014-15. The award carried Rs.5 lakhs cash and a medal.....Women involved in farming activities is nothing new but there are only handful of them who are farmers. Though 75 percent of the agriculture work from sowing seeds to planting saplings, removing weeds and harvesting paddy are done by women, not many go on to become a farmer. “They find it difficult to balance between household duties and field work,” says Prasanna, “but what they miss here is just little knowledge about technical inputs in agriculture and expertise in man management. I focussed on these points and that stood me in good stead,” says Prasanna."

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Back to some mathematics?

My wife Jhansi thinks that recent struggles with mathematics suited me and that I should ontinue doing some mathematics. May be I will.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Did Dayabhaga help bengali wives in the nineteenth century?

From Reflections on Kulin polygamy: Nistarini Debi's Sekeley Katha by Malavika Karlelar
"Calling it 'wholesale polygamy', H.H. Risley commented that 'several middle-aged Kulins are known to have had more than a hundred wives and to have spent their lives on a round of visits to their mothers-in-law' (Risley 1915: 166). Not unexpectedly, many of these women who were widowed or deserted found their way to the brothels of Calcutta (Banerjee 1993). According to one official estimate of the mid-nineteenth century, out of the 12,000 prostitutes in the growing metropolitan area, almost 10,000 were the wives, widows or daughters of Kulin Brahmins (Chakrabarty 1963)......
It would not be out of place to draw attention to the fact that Bengal is governed by the Dayabhaga school of law which, in the absence of a son, grandson and great grandson, gives the wife a right not only in joint family property but also in her husband's self-acquired assets. The link between sati and women's inheritance has been discussed elsewhere (Nandy 1980; Mukherjee, 1957); here, it needs to be pointed out that the more liberal law of inheritance in Bengal appeared only to harden attitudes towards wives. Unwanted widows became prostitutes and satis as Kulin wives and widows were never welcome in their husbands' homes."
Some discussion of Benali famil names and castes here.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Travancore sisters and a cousin

Obscure songs from an unreleased film

India related links, March 6, 2016

Masters of their own world by Nahla Nainar :

"Ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8), we take a look at how self-help groups have raised the profile of rural women as successful entrepreneur"

Reality that stinks by Kuldeep Kumar : "..the belief that market forces operate solely on the basis of economic logic and eventually break down caste-based social structure is not borne out by the prevalent business practices and attitudes. "
This article from 2011 may explain some of current animosity against Sheldon Polloch in some Hindu circles Columbia Univeristy Professor broadens access to Sanskrit, the ancient language of the elite
On Mahishasura

Atiyah at 86

"The crazy part of mathematics is when an idea appears in your head. Usually when you’re asleep, because that’s when you have the fewest inhibitions. The idea floats in from heaven knows where. It floats around in the sky; you look at it, and admire its colors. It’s just there. And then at some stage, when you try to freeze it, put it into a solid frame, or make it face reality, then it vanishes, it’s gone. But it’s been replaced by a structure, capturing certain aspects, but it’s a clumsy interpretation." from 
Michael Atiyah's imaginative state of mind

Friday, March 04, 2016

Daisy Rockwell explains why she translated Tamas again

Tamas 3.0: How to retranlate novel already translated twice "Tamas is one of those rare Hindi novels that has been translated not once, but twice. The first translation, by the indefatigable translator of Hindi and Urdu, Jai Ratan, was published in 1981.
The second was undertaken by Sahni himself, who came to realise there were serious problems with the Ratan translation, and published in 2001. Ratan’s translation is marked by frequent omissions, inaccuracies and outright flights of fancy. Whilst Sahni’s translation corrects these, he was unable to resist the impulse, common among authors translating their own writing, to edit and revise the original work. Consequently, changes appear mysteriously here and there when the inspiration hit him."
Earlier article by Daisy Rockwell and Jai Ratan's translation at arvindguptatoys. More on Jai Ratan's translations  and some good translations by Daisy Rockwell. Her translation does not seem currently available for purchase.

More Geeta Dutt

Manan Ahmed on the recent Sheldon Pollock controversy

Why Sheldon Pollock "This attack on Pollock has a genealogy, more precise and more general, than what is readily evident– the Hindutva Right has long targeted historical production on Indian past that was anti-caste, anti-communal or feminist, and it has long targeted Sheldon Pollock for articulating how political imagination frames historical thinking."
Some contributions of Sheldon Pollock:
Sheldon pollock's introduction to Indian Knowledge Systems on the eve of colonialism
Sanskrit Knowledge Systems Project Some more here

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Virat Kohli sang this recently

Ramarao Kanneganti on 'Pollution and Urbanization'

Pollution and Urbanization includes links and comments

Still doing mathematics

Two books ( by Shedon Pollock and Amitav Ghosh)

seem to be available online.
'In an antique land' by Amitav Ghosh and a long meditation on the first four novels of Amitav Ghosh by Jesper Hansen
'Language of Gods in the World of Men' by Sheldon Pollock and an article by the same author 'Crisis in the Classics'. Check also
P.S. I had doubts about fictionalized version of history in Amitav Ghosh novels. But I did not realize that Ghost started in the subaltern group and one part of 'In an antique land' first appeared there. Jesper Hansen explains
"Ghosh’s argument here is in line with the one presented by the Subaltern Studies Group and also by Spivak. Power and the making of history - even the act of writing itself - are closely intertwined, and in the novel they are closely associated with the elite (wazirs, sultans, etc.). Thus Ghosh does not have direct access to Bomma and his life; rather he has access to Ben Yiju, so Bomma’s consciousnessmbecomes what Spivak calls a “negative consciousness”: a consciousness created by a (deconstructive) interpretation of the letters of the Geniza in which they were originally found. One of the questions is thus how much interpretation - and implicit in this question how much deviation from the verifiable “truth” - should be allowed. Ghosh’s answer to the question is definitely that fiction should be
allowed to see the possibilities in the facts rather than let the facts limit the fiction, which is also suggested by Claire Chambers’ argument that Ghosh is committed
“to the view that fiction is as valid a way of explaining events as the more
prestigious authority of scientific reason.” "