Saturday, April 29, 2017

Shola jo bhadke lyrics with translation and from the film

an eclectic blogger

Tyler Cowen's stubborn philosophical attachments from FT Alphaville, may need registration. He is perhaps the most read economic blogger and may be quite influential. The attraction for me is;
"It is evident in his blog writing that Tyler becomes uneasy whenever consensus opinion shifts in his direction. Even if typically he doesn’t outright change his mind when people start agreeing with him, he does begin to caution against too much certainty and, in his posts, to highlight and articulate counterarguments to his own views."
Also from the article:
"Writing Stubborn Attachments might have been a way for Tyler to define his philosophical foundations while resisting that impulse to back away or heavily caveat his ideas. A way for him to state clearly: “Yes, I’m a libertarian — maybe a squishy and often iconoclastic one, but a libertarian nonetheless. I believe these things, and here is why.” No going back now… at least until he writes another one of these."

Friday, April 28, 2017

Discussion of a new book "After Piketty"

A discussion of the Book 

"After Piketty

The Agenda for Economics and Inequality
Some excerpts:
DELONG: Am I the only person who thinks the answer to this is pretty obvious—that Piketty made a mistake in calling the book Capital in the Twenty-First Century rather than Wealth in the Twenty-First Century? Because you may well believe—and in fact I firmly do believe—that the rate of return on actual useful machines and buildings declines as the proper physical capital-to-labor ratio increases.
The problem is that these marginal products of real physical capital, machines, and buildings is only a small part of the returns flowing to wealth, which are composed of monopoly rents of one sort or another, either acquired by antitrust forbearance on the one hand or by government license on the other, plus a whole bunch of other things, all the way down to the middle class and rich of the previous generation who don’t really understand that their investment advisors do not act as though they have a fiduciary duty toward them. Wealth deployed in order to maintain its own rate of return is a much easier thing to understand than how is it that if there are four machines competing for each worker, then workers are unable to drive down the price of renting any one of them.
( My impression: Michael Hudson has been saying this for a long time. Search FIRE sector )
Steinbaum: .......I mean, in fact you could say that the book is not really about a theory of why some people are rich and other people are poor, but by presenting the inequality statistics that he has spent his life putting together, he made that question and the fact that economics does not have a very convincing answer to that question front and center.
And so anybody who writes a paper about this or articulates a theory about why some people are rich and other people are poor owe something to Piketty, whether or not they want to admit that.

Stuart Hall on Gramsci and Thatcher projects  "Gramsci and Us" by Stuart Hallfrom 1988. With very interesting bits but I could not make sense of it as a whole. It seems to me that there are similarities between Modi and Thatcher projects and this article indicates how difficult it will be to counter Modi.  More about Stuart Hall.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

RameshRam explains Sadie and Bharatanatyam

Excerpts from Kafka's letter to his father

RT documentaries on India's water problems


Starting this November, I am planning to spend about 3 months in India in schools trying to see whether I can help in grades 6-8 in some schools for underprivileged children. I will start in Ongole area where I have contacts with social activists and start looking for a place where I may a fit in.
Though my father was a teacher and I have been around schools and universities all of my life, I have no idea about what is needed at the level of grades 6-8. I would be interested mainly in helping with mathematics If anybody knows, please let me know about any related material like the use of computers and games in teaching. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What Do Suburban Lawns and the Vietnam War Have in Common?

Dandelion Time via Lambert Strether of Naked Capitalism
"Answer: The herbicide 2,4-D.
You may be familiar with this herbicide as an active ingredient in “Weed ‘n Feed®”, “Weed B Gon MAX®”, Turf Builder® With Weed Control”, etc.. 
During the Vietnam War, it was an active ingredient in Agent Orange
On lawns it’s used to kill the dandelions, but NOT the grass. (Find out how it does this below). 
In the Vietnam War the U.S. military used it to defoliate the trees (so that they could more easily spot the Viet Cong).
You’re likely familiar with the term “Agent Orange” because of the controversy regarding the tragic health problems it caused to U. S. soldiers. (For current info re. this issue see here).
The serious health issues to both Americans and Vietnamese caused by Agent Orange are due to contaminants called dioxins produced during its chemical synthesis. (For more info on this see 2,4-D and dioxins and also here.)"

Komaravolu Chandrasekharan RIP

Some hope for plastic degradation

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

K.Viswanath wins Phalke award

The announcement. I have seen only two and half of his movies. He was born in Pedapulivarru on the banks of Krishna, Samudrala Raghavacharya was from the same place. Ghantasala married in that village. I was morn two miles away on an island inthe river Krishna and studied grade 9 in Pedapulivarru. It was originally a agrahara though the signs were not evident to me in 1951-52. Viswanath was not known then. But the other two were well known. I remember a visit byGhantasala. There were no toilets in most homes and he had to go out with a tumbler of water out to defecate. We children followed for a while. He had to stop on the way when village elders stopped to talk to him. Anyway, being away from home and then india, I did not see too many Telugu films. My introduction some of Viswanath films is through the wonderful blog of Minai. Here are her write ups about  of Viswanath films
Saptapadi 1981 and
Swarna Kamalam 1988
Here is Sri Atluri on Saptapadi In Movie Retrospect which has comments about making the movie.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review of a new book by Matthjis Krul

Book Review: Bas van Bavel, “The Invisible Hand?” Excerpt:
"....much of the discussion has been primarily concerned with the question “how did Europe come to dominate the world?”, and to some extent also the followup question, “when did, whatever it was that allowed this to happen, begin? “.
Bas van Bavel’s recent book, The Invisible Hand?, asks a very different kind of question. This book is not concerned with the rise of the West, but with the underlying economic framework that most mainstream economic historians use in understanding the long-run socioeconomic patterns that they study. Although the specifics differ by author, of course, most of the economic historical mainstream still presents the story of economic history, and with it the difference between poor and rich today, as that of the ‘unfolding’ of the free market. The main disagreements consist of what kind of institutional order was necessary to make that free market flourish in Western history, and to what extent such an order as the Western world has could be adopted by developing nations as a matter of policy. Although there are exceptions, for the most part the working assumption is still that more markets, freer markets, and strong property rights – read: strong enforcement of the power of property owners – were the core ingredients that the Western nations achieved and by which they prospered. Whereas others, failing to achieve such an institutional order, suffered and still suffer stagnation and poverty. It is in this light that these economic historians also read such historical sources on markets and merchants as we have: as analytical and political defenders of what Adam Smith called the ‘commercial society’.
Van Bavel challenges this narrative by re-examining the role of markets in economic history. His book aims to undermine the case that market societies are characterized by “virtuous cycles” while all other types of society have “vicious” ones. He takes as case studies a number of the most frequently invoked ‘success stories’ of commercial society: medieval Iraq under the Abbasids, the Italian city-states of the Renaissance, the Dutch Republic, and finally Britain and the United States. Van Bavel’s argument is that, unlike the boosterist argument about the glorious unfolding of the energies of the market leading these societies to prosperity and success, the actual story in each of these cases is quite different. Instead of a neo-Whig argument about the institutional order of freedom and enterprise, Van Bavel presents a more cyclical narrative inspired by the work of Karl Polanyi and Giovanni Arrighi.
Firstly, he distinguishes clearly between output markets and factor markets, and focuses his narrative on the latter: the markets in land, labor, and capital. Polanyi once called these ‘fictitious commodities’ to emphasize the essential difference between market exchange in the products of labor, which he saw as economic activity potentially compatible with a humane society, and the ‘unnatural’ phenomenon of commodification of land, labor, and capital themselves, which unleashed the terrible logic of the market and subjugated society to it."

M.Krul seems to be some sort of Marxist, there are so many variations of. Marxism and I do not know his affiliation. Here is an interview with him four years ago when he was still doing his ph.d. New directions in Marxism

similar songs

india development related articles

Razib Khan on US-Saudi relations

The next French President?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Meanwhile Wozniak's predictions for 2075

Wozniak's world in 2075: 'bigger' Apple, Google, Facebook — and we'll be living in deserts
" New cities. Deserts could be ideal locations for cities of the future, designed and built from scratch, according to Wozniak. There, housing problems will not exist and people will shuttle among domed structures. Special wearable suits will allow people to venture outside, he said."

Drought in South India

Second of the articles South India's Drought Part 2: Chennai slum dwellers forced to beg for water, authorities remain helpless via Naked Capitalism.
Similar news from Ravi Kumar's wall about parts of Prakasam District: "ప్రకాశం జిల్లాలో సగం మండలాల్లో కరువు.
తాగు నీరు కోసం
ఇతర ప్రాంతాలకు వలస పోతున్న జనం.
సమస్యలు పట్టించుకొనివాళ్ళకు ఓట్లేసిన పాపం అనుభవిస్తున్న జనం."
About ten years I visited I.S.I. Campus for a few days. Women were queuing for water near taps when water was available just opposite to the campus. Inside the campus, we had 24 hour water service. Many of these institutes are deemed essential services and I have seen this in other cities too. Unless the conditions are extreme, there are not many reports even on Facebook. Are two indias developing like two Americas ?

Caste lives on, and on

By Prayaag Akbar I think these messages have to be repeated. My own guess about the stability of this system is whatever the origins, it gives men 1) status without working for it, and 2) wives again without struggle as in other societies. And a lot of time and effort is spent trying to preserve these unearned privileges. I do not see any hopes of Indian society improving without caste weakening somehow.

From Kevin Slavic six years ago

Appreciation from a nephew

Who I met after a long time "I wish more people would say "I don't know" like you do. I find it refreshing. I tend to plead ignorance a lot myself, but that is held against me more often than not. I've lived all of my life amongst people that have the answer right away. They're just bullshitting - both me and themselves."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Environmental memories

Two science reports

Little girl smiling after the Aleppo bus attack

Possibilities of collapse

How western civilisation could collapse in contrast to the previous article how we act and react depends on our limited abilities and inexorable forces we do not understand. With in this limited understanding "The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse."

A long read on knowledge

Long read. Perhaps we have to look for 'peace that passeth all understanding'.
"As long as our computer models instantiated our own ideas, we could preserve the illusion that the world works the way our knowledge —and our models — do. Once computers started to make their own models, and those models surpassed our mental capacity, we lost that comforting assumption. Our machines have made obvious our epistemological limitations, and by providing a corrective, have revealed a truth about the universe.
The world didn’t happen to be designed, by God or by coincidence, to be knowable by human brains. The nature of the world is closer to the way our network of computers and sensors represent it than how the human mind perceives it. Now that machines are acting independently, we are losing the illusion that the world just happens to be simple enough for us wee creatures to comprehend.
It has taken a network of machines that we ourselves created to let us see that we are the aliens."

Alien Knowledge: When machines justify knowledge

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Just finished writing

a draft of mathematics paper. I worked on it for about six months last year while revising an old draft. Suddenly some new results started appearing which were mildly interesting and seemed to clarify the earlier unpublished paper. But I could not quite work out the new results and their proofs. Then I went on a trip and did not feel like working on the stuff. But during the last month or so, some of the steps and arguments kept appearing. I would just sit in the garden, think about other things too but never wrote any thing down. I just let them soak and tried to see what would emerge. Then one day all of them seemed to fit together and it took about half a day to write the draft. It still seems to make sense. I am hoping that it is my last mathematics paper since other stuff seems to interest me more than mathematics. But I have spent nearly sixty years in mathematics. Sometimes, it seems to come without much effort whereas I used to struggle and work day and night until I more or less collapsed of exhaustion. So it goes in retirement.
May be doing research at 76 like me is not such an anamoly. One of my daughters Lalita sent me this.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

More on 'The Deep State'

Peter Dale Scott on 'American deep state'

An interview from 2014 with alink to part 2. Both together form ' new introduction to the paperback version of The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy, Updated Edition (copyright 2017),'
More about him at
He is also on Facebook
Via a comment in MR How to think about "The Deep State"

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Coming water problems

Community based rice banks

Anaj Bank frees Dalits from fear of hunger in Bihar "
Community managed rice banks in several areas of Patna district in Bihar have released hundreds of Dalit families from the exploitative practices of powerful landlords by ensuring food during the lean season."
From the article:
"Kumar, who leads Pargati Gramin Vikas Samiti and started the Anaj Bank with support from Action Aid on 2005, said groups of women in each village have been running the Anaj Bank with their own support system. “Action Aid has stopped its support in 2013,” he told “Since then, groups of women in dozens of villages have been managing it successfully without any support from outside.”
For setting up the Anaj Bank, a group of women in each village was initially given Rs 5,000 cash to purchase rice and Rs 2,500 to purchase big drums for storage. “Every year during January, February, and March, people return rice that they have taken on credit as per its terms that enable us to store enough rice for giving again on credit during the lean season,” Kumar says.
More than 500 women are associated with the Anaj bank in dozens of villages. “In each village, 10 to 15 women have been doing community farming. They have taken 2-3 acres of land on lease. It is a new phenomenon in this locality.”
The Anaj Bank was set up in 65 villages — 30 in Bikram, 20 in Pali and 15 in Naubatpur. According to Kumar, no hunger deaths have been reported in these villages of Dalits after the Anaj Bank started functioning."
This is where Non Resident Indians can help. Locating local organizations which do this kind of work takes some effort since there are also bogus NGOs and also many whichsoe are using for promoting their own careers. With some other established organizations, lot of the contributionsgo to the salaries of the personnel and only a small fraction actually goes to the poor.
After about ten years, I have found some organizations both formal and informal which seem reliable. But some of them do not last as people get weary after years of dreary work.

Lawrence Wilkerson on Korea

Not much fuss about this in the west

Lists of books from pseudoerasmus

 More frivolously assembled lists of books and it has links to his previous lists. I have read some of the books from this list and tend to read such books. I am not sure now how well non-English, American writers are represented. I would add Emmanuel Todd and other writers like Ramachandra Guha  but they may be some somewhere in the lists. In addition Razib Khan often discusses a subset of similar books in his blog.
There is a new series of 'expository' tracts from AMS which are free online.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Common-law country

From a comment in MR in a post about new Supreme Court order about 500 metres from highways for bars
"First, India is a ‘common-law’ country like the UK, US is, as opposed to a ‘civil law’ country. This matters because the “spirit of the law” must be obeyed in a common-law country, not the “letter of the law”. What this means is that having a “zig-zag” of 500 meters is not in accordance with the “spirit of the law” (contrary to AlexT’s title), but only with the “letter of the law”. In a “civil law” country, this ‘trick’ would work so that the shopkeeper can serve alcohol, but not in India. That’s the theory. In practice, in these developing countries there’s only one law: the golden rule. He who has the gold, rules. So a quick bribe to the local official in charge will solve any problem. That’s probably how the shopkeeper in this story got around the law in India. 
Internet: Common Law Countries: The United States, England, India, Canada Civil Law Countries: EU, pretty much everywhere else."
It also links to this article with nice pictures.

Why women don't report sexual harassment

Economies of scale

Ghantasala modulates the same phrase in several ways
'Emanene' said in so many ways. As 'barago' says, once as question, then with anxiety, soothing and agitation.
More about the film here

A Ghulamm Mohd. Song

George Monbiot reviews a book on alternative economics
Tosards a new economy, articles from Dissent
The current ways, at least in USA "67% of the US economy is dependent upon Americans spending money they don’t have on shit they don’t need."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nalband mutation

In The Hindu Interpretation of a malady: how scientists zeroed on one family's rare and crippling disease
From the summary of an earlier research by Suvrat Kher"3) The findings indicate that there is a larger amount of genetic variation between Indian groups than there is between say European groups. This the authors suggest is a result of a small number of individuals founding different ethnic groups that then remained endogamous and therefore genetically divergent. This has important medical value as recessive diseases may correlate with ethnic groups."

Some India related posts at MR

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Two for April

It is spring in the northern hemisphere. A post by Ramarao Kanneganti brings back these lines:

"APRIL is the cruellest month, ....,,
Memory and desire, "
 And from Mahe Jabeen for any season
"అతనెప్పుడూ అంతే
ఒంటరిగా రమ్మంటే వసంతాన్ని వెంట తెస్తాడు"
Which roughly translates "He is always like this.
I keep asking him to come alone but he brings spring along"

The second poem with translation here

Rules of memory

Beautifully rewritten "The US and Japanese team found that the brain "doubles up" by simultaneously making two memories of events. 
One is for the here-and-now and the other for a lifetime, they found.
It had been thought that all memories start as a short-term memory and are then slowly converted into a long-term one.
Experts said the findings were surprising, but also beautiful and convincing."

Raghuram Rajan update

Jinnah did not want partition:Ayesha Jalal

Some of it new to me is Chapati Mystery

One more about Richard Feynman's sister

From Ahutosh Jogalekar Imagine you are a student again. Similar to the motto in my blog.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Rohan Pavuluri

Forbes on his venture Upsolve "It sounds like a contradiction in terms: Millions of Americans may be too broke to go bankrupt. But with studies showing that more than half of U.S. households can’t come up with $1,000 in cash in an emergency and a third have no savings at all, it shouldn't be surprising that the $1,300 cost of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a hurdle many debt-ridden consumers can’t get over.
That dilemma struck a Harvard sophomore named Rohan Pavuluri as odd – and a potential opportunity. He turned his curiosity into a nonprofit,, that has pulled in more than $70,000 in funding and support from universities and the hedge-fund-sponsored Robin Hood Foundation. Upsolve’s mission is to try and help poor people avail themselves of bankruptcy, what Pavuluri – himself the prep-school educated son of two physicians – describes as “one of the best parts of American capitalism.”"

Monday, April 10, 2017

Steve Keen interviews Michael Hudson

Fixing the economy sort of jump,ed. parts understandable and generally interesting. Sample:
"Now think of the circular flow. The whole of economics was founded by a doctor, Francois Quesnay in France that looked at a national income like the circulation of blood in the body. But you have this blood being drained - 75% of the circular flow now is drained for what we call the FIRE sector - finance, insurance, and real estate."
And stuff like this:
"Peshine Smith was the law partner of William Seward, who everybody had expected to be the presidential candidate. But by being so outspoken against slavery, they decided to get a gray figure. Someone nobody had ever heard of that was - they hoped would be completely mediocre. Abraham Lincoln.
Are you kidding?
He made William Seward secretary of state, and after Seward resigned, he made a trip around the world and went to Japan. And they said, we want to break away from England’s free trade policy. So he sent Peshine Smith over to be an advisor to the Mikado, who they waited till the British ambassador went on vacation, passed protective tariffs. And Smith went native and had a Japanese mistress and wore a sword when he went out in a kimono and everything and introduced protective industrial policy to Japan.
Which is what turned it from being a rural colony of totally feudal in 1868 through to an industrial super power that could challenge the Germans and the Russians in the First World War."

Saturday, April 08, 2017

More from India

The Uttar Pradesh Association of Dead People, land records and all that.
The Beef Ban Effect "Slaughter bans and the bans on transportation across states, violently enforced by bands of gau rakshaks, deprive the farmer of any resale value for their cattle."

Trump intervenes in Syria

Nobody seems to know why. Longtime observer of the Middle East, Juan Cole seems to think that Assad might have been responsible for gas attack since his army is depleted and weary. He does not spare either side but I do not know how neutral he is. Here are two posts by him:
The Latest
And Slightly earlier.
In the earlier post, though he does not give any evidence to show that the Syrian government is responsible, he says "Some Syrian military units have a chem team in case they face being overwhelmed by a more numerous enemy. The Syrian army was 300,000 before the war. It is at most 50,000 now. That number is not sufficient to control the whole country, though with the help of the Lebanese Hizbullah and Iraqi militias and some Afghans dragooned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, plus vigorous Russian air support, they have been able to fight off the rebels and to take most urban areas. The small number of troops means that when they fight in a rebel-held territory like Idlib Province, they are tempted to deploy chemical weapons to offset their small numbers."
With he propaganda by the governments being what it is, we may never know, as in the MH 17 case.

Squid and octopus can edit and direct their own brain genes
"Unlike other animals, cephalopods – the family that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish – do not obey the commands of their DNA to the letter.
Instead, they sometimes interfere with the code as it is being carried by a molecular “messenger”. This has the effect of diversifying the proteins their cells can produce, leading to some interesting variations.
The mechanics of cephalopod RNA editing are still being investigated.
“When do they turn it on, and under what environmental influences? It could be something as simple as temperature changes or as complicated as experience, a form of memory,” says Joshua Rosenthal, lead author from the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, US."

Friday, April 07, 2017

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Community Resource Persons

Community resource persons are torchbearers of a resurgent countryside
"Over the years, civil society organizations have been struggling with the uncomfortable question of how to reach a large number of citizens in many locations? It is rather a disturbing question since many of the NGOs engage with village communities as a so-called outsider. The NGO professionals come, interact with the village community, work with them but when the deadline of the project is over, most have no option but to wind up their operations or wait for another project to begin. Very few continue to engage with the community in the same area with their own resources.
More than the phasing out of the projects, the fundamental question has been about the community taking charge of its own developmental processes and ownership what in academics is known as agency. Do communities continuously remain in the mode of recipients or is there a way out when they become not just initiators of their developmental agenda but also become torchbearers for other communities outside the geographical boundaries that they belong." 
There are many more like VRHP, NRHM,... I do not know whether there is a list somewhere of such organizations and their work.

Quantum physicist attack the Riemann hypothesis

A Quanta article by  Natalie Wolchover
"As mathematicians have attacked the hypothesis from every angle, the problem has also migrated to physics. Since the 1940s, intriguing hints have arisen of a connection between the zeros of the zeta function and quantum mechanics. For instance, researchers found that the spacing of the zeros exhibits the same statistical pattern as the spectra of atomic energy levels."

Once in a while I try to see what Trump is up to

Trump resets US-Saudi relations "In the end, Trump is not wedded to any particular foreign policy ideology and has no set policy for any bilateral relationship, other than that he wants to make sure America gets a good deal."
More if strikes in Yemen 
Trump has changed his position on Assad 
But tdoes not seem to add up "And this of course begs the question. With the Syrian Army and its allies in a comfortable position in Syria, making advances across the country, and recovering lost points in rural Hama, why would they now resort to using chemical weapons in Nusra Front occupied Idlib? It is a very simple question with no clear answer. It defies any logic that on the eve of a Syria conference in Brussels and a week before peace negotiations are to resume, that the Syrian government would blatantly use the non-existent stock of chemical weapons."

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Human trafficking in India

from the Logical Indian blog some excerpts:
"Close to 80% of the human trafficking across the world is done for sexual exploitation and the rest is for bonded labour and India is considered as the hub of this crime in Asia."
"According to an article in Firstpost, Delhi is the hub of human trafficking trade in India and half of the world’s slaves in India. Delhi is the hotspot for illegal trade of young girls for domestic labour, forced marriage, begging and prostitution. Delhi is also the transit point for human trafficking."


"Fundamental theory of demand and supply is applicable to this situation as well. Men for work generally migrate to major commercial cities and from here the demand for commercial sex is created. To fulfill the supply all sorts of efforts are made by the suppliers like abduction etc. Young girls and women belonging to poor families are at higher risk.
Then comes the economic injustice and poverty. If you are born to a poor family in India then you are at a higher risk of being sold. If you are born to a poor family and a girl then these chances further increases. Sometimes parents are also desperate to sell their daughters to earn money.
Social inequality, regional gender preference, imbalance and corruption are the other leading causes of human trafficking in India."
And "Haryana, with the country’s worst sex ratio of 879 girls to 1,000 boys, now has to increasingly import brides from poverty-stricken states such as Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa. It’s the same story in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh where female foeticide is high and the sex ratio skewed. According to the 2013 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, 24,749 children and women between the ages of 15 and 30 were kidnapped and sold into marriage across the country."
Rahul Banerjee reports of similar cases  in A dangerous mix of patriarchy and developmentAparna Krishnan remarks on Rahul Banerjee's wall "The women lost when they were unwanted. Now they lose again when they are wanted."

Joan Feynman

From Auroras to anthropology “Women can’t do science, because their brains aren’t made for it,” Lucille Feynman declared to her eight-year-old daughter Joan. The news was a huge blow to the little girl’s ambitions which, at the time in 1935, were firmly set on following her brother Richard into a life scientific. “I remember sitting in a chair and weeping,” she recalls.
"The path of Joan’s life would be changed significantly one night when Richard woke her up and told her to get dressed and follow him out into the street. He took her away from the house and the street lights and out onto a wide open golf course nearby with a big dark sky above them. “I can still remember in my mind’s eye the green lights dancing in the sky”, Joan recalls of the flickering northern lights Richard had lead her outside to witness. “He told me that it was an aurora and no one knew what caused it exactly.”
In that moment, she was hooked. And whilst the doubts about a woman’s abilities to undertake a career in science, planted in her by Lucille, remained, Joan’s interest in science continued to be fuelled by Richard’s progress through university. Before he’d left home, her brother had made a deal with her that whilst away at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), studying for his bachelor’s degree, he would answer any science question that she sent him."

A retiree solves a mathematical problem from 1972

 A retiree discovers an elusive proof- and nobody notices
"AS HE WAS brushing his teeth on the morning of July 17, 2014, Thomas Royen, a little-known retired German statistician, suddenly lit upon the proof of a famous conjecture at the intersection of geometry, probability theory, and statistics that had eluded top experts for decades.....
Proofs of obscure provenance are sometimes overlooked at first, but usually not for long: A major paper like Royen’s would normally get submitted and published somewhere like the Annals of Statistics, experts said, and then everybody would hear about it. But Royen, not having a career to advance, chose to skip the slow and often demanding peer-review process typical of top journals. He opted instead for quick publication in the Far East Journal of Theoretical Statistics, a periodical based in Allahabad, India, that was largely unknown to experts and which, on its website, rather suspiciously listed Royen as an editor. (He had agreed to join the editorial board the year before.)
With this red flag emblazoned on it, the proof continued to be ignored. Finally, in December 2015, the Polish mathematician Rafał Latała and his student Dariusz Matlak put out a paper advertising Royen’s proof, reorganizing it in a way some people found easier to follow. Word is now getting around. Tilmann Gneiting, a statistician at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, just 65 miles from Bingen, said he was shocked to learn in July 2016, two years after the fact, that the GCI had been proved. The statistician Alan Izenman, of Temple University in Philadelphia, still hadn’t heard about the proof when asked for comment last month."

The feudal republic of India

An article from The Outlook by Pranayama Sharma. Though the article appeared on April 1, much of it rings true "Freedom from colonialism was meant to be a harbinger of a real freedom at all levels, an abolition of the old order built around entitlements and privilege. And yet, all around us is a scenario brimming with those signs and elements of power. A new feudal order is upon us, in a variety of forms. The political class may exemplify it, but its grandees are no sole copyright holders. Everyone wants a piece. All institutions, all spaces, all realms of life are marked by an unholy scrimmage. And it’s produced a new breed that has swamped the landscape: the Ugly Indian."

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Raghavan Narasimhan 1937-2015

I just learnt that one of my teachers in 1964 Raghavan Narasimhan passed away in 2015.
His obituary
My recollections:
His course in 1964  was excellent. We learnt in six months what would have probably taken a couple of years. When he was a college student, he translated several monographs and kept those written translations. I learnt some topology from his translation of Alexanderoff and Hopf. But I never got along well with him. He learnt too much mathematics when he was young which might have tempered his creative juices and it seemed to me his creative achievements were not compatible with his talents. Moreover, he suffered from insomnia. Once in a while, there were pretensions of understanding some stuff without really knowing it and it was not difficult to bullshit him. There seemed to be an undercurrent of trying to impress westerners and his estimate of other Indians seemed depend on how well they were impressing the other westerners mathematically. He wanted chelas around as he was a bachelor for a long time and he tried to carry it on in Zurich too but after a while settled down. I met him a few times in Chicago in Pavaman Murthy's house. Last time I was there, may be around 2007, Pavaman wanted to invite him for dinner but I did not want to see him. So, I missed my last opportunity to see him though he could be often helpful. In the 1980s, he offered to translate a German paper for me. A complicated man, a good man in many ways but not my cup of tea since I did not like to be pushed around.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko RIP

The name has been familiar but I do not remember reading him. Going through the recent write ups about him, I found this little excerpt from 'Zima Junction'
"I had no doubts about harmonious answers
which could and would be given
to every question.
But suddenly, this felt necessity
of answering these questions for myself.
So I shall go where I started from,
sudden complexity, self generated,
disturbed by which I started on this journey.
Into my native forest among those
long-troden roads I took this complication
to take stock of that old simplicity,
- like bride and groom, a country matchmaking."
An article about him from 2014 What Writers Must Do: 'Love People'

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Some stories from India

About a new book of working women 'Lady Driver'. More about one of the drivers Hemlata's rough ride
Health documentation of women by women in rural Maharashtra

A green revolution to end plastic rule via MadhNalanda University ViceChnancellorukar Shukla's wall who has links to contact some of the entrepreneurs

Rahul Banerjee reviews a book on bedtime stories for children by Suresh Edina. More discussion on his wall

The current government's efforts seem to be in more ideological direction with both short time long term view from the appointments of an RSS man to head a historical research body to the appointment of Nalanda University Vice Chancellor. Even their transfers are causing some uproar
"Opposition parties have accused the BJP-led Central government of attempting to derail the excavations at Keezhadi since Hindutva groups are uncomfortable with its findings. They said that the excavations have added strength to the idea that an advanced and secular Tamil civilisation – independent of the Hindu tradition – may have existed in the South during the Sangam era. "

Friday, March 31, 2017

Refusal to cheat. The wonderful Richard Feynman
See the uploader's comment " A classic example of Feynman's clarity of thought, powers of explanation and intellectual honesty - and his refusal to 'cheat' with misleading analogies... ". He also has comment in the comments.

Sunita Narain discusses meat consumption in India

Why I don't advocate vegetarianism "But the most important reason I, as an Indian environmentalist, would not support action against meat is that livestock is the most important economic security of farmers in our world. Indian farmers practice agro-silvo-pastoralism, that is, they use the land for crops and trees as well as for livestock. This is their real insurance system, not the banks. Livestock is also not kept by large meat businesses but by big, small, marginal and landless farmers. It works because the animals have a productive purpose: first, they give milk and manure and then, meat and leather. Take that away and you will take away the base of economic security of millions in the country, greatly impoverishing them." and more. Worth a read or two.

Follow the money: A new development?

Money laundering property market/: "Transparency International has released a new report, entitled Doors Wide Open: Corruption and Real Estate in Four Key Markets, which has identified Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA as the top four spots targeted by corrupt officials or criminals for real estate crime.  Australia is the worst, failing to address 10-out-of-10 loopholes."
A list of tax havens, several associated to U.K. And US.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sergei Bodrov Jr.

acted in and made a few charming films. Then he died in ice slide, see
Though I am not particularly in to films, I kept remembering some of his films. May be he has that star quality. Here is one of them

Where are the moral police?