Sunday, December 30, 2018

Trip to India

I was in Ongole for three months and could not access to post on this blog. I am back in Melbourne.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

on poverty

If the soul is ignored long enough, the body rebels by Sriram Shamasunder, MD, DTM&H is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF, and co-founder of Heal Initiative. He has worked extensively in Rwanda, Liberia, Haiti, Burundi and India. Recently, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship where he studied implementation in resource-poor tribal areas in rural India. In 2010, he was named an Asia 21 fellow as well as the Northern California Young Physician of the Year. 
The decline in America’s rural health system and its effect on my family by Sarah Smarsh

On Iran sanctions

Why India cannot join As much as Indians like to promote the virtues of the country’s services-led development model, the Iranian sanctions reveal an Achilles’ heel. If you’re dependent on importing crude from a sanctions-threatened country to fuel your economy, you’d best have some goods of your own to exchange for it.”

On MMT

On the rock-star appeal of modern monetary theory
An old article but Tyler Cowen links it again and there are some comments.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Off for a while

i am visiting India again for three months again and blogging will be sparse if at all. The aim is to interact with high school students about their mathematics home work. I will also spend a week with Mahan Mj in TIFR discussing JSJ decompositions.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ramachandra Guha has a new book on Gandhi

Here is an interview about it ish that Gandhi must be excommunicated, says Ramachandra Guha. I think Gandhi was complex personality and has been inconsistent. An excerpt:
"He engaged with people like Ambedkar, the Hindu orthodoxy he refuses to engage with beyond a point because he sees them as absolutely bigoted and benighted. From the perspective of 2018, you'll be told by the admirers of Ambedkar that Gandhi was moving too slowly in dismantling the caste system. But from the perspective of 1928, the main challenge to Gandhi was from the Hindu Right, which told him he was going too fast; that untouchability is part of our scriptures and how dare a bania like you who doesn't know any Sanskrit tell us how to manage our faith? You recognise Gandhi's dilemma only when you place the modernist critics like Ambedkar on the one side and the Shankaracharyas on the other. Hindu orthodoxy was totally opposed to him. The Shankaracharyas tell the British that Gandhi must be excommunicated. The Hindu Mahasabha ensures that he is met with black flags everywhere he goes as part of his tour against untouchability. He had to negotiate his path with great skill; it takes colossal courage to confront the entire might of your religious institutions. As he gets more assured about his control over the national movement on the Hindu social mind, he becomes more critical and radical in his approach to caste. So it's unfair to criticise Gandhi for being incremental in his approach to caste, because he has to deal with the bulk of Hindu orthodoxy before he frontally challenges the caste system, which he does, provoked by Ambedkar. Gandhi's path is all his own, and it's unappealing to both the radicals and the reactionaries."
A short review here
I still find him fascinating and try to understand him. One of his ideas seems to be some kind of local self sufficiency. I wonder whether the following is somewhat along those lines Via Campesina.

Why do I still try to do mathematics?

 It is off and on work after retirement in 2005, there is no money in it now and it is very hard work in the few strands that I still try to engage in. I have forgotten some of the elementary stuff and basic definition and to verify even simple things takes time and one has to be fairly sure of basic stuff before thinking about more advanced topics. In general topics, one is not so precise about basic concepts; perhaps there is a band width and fuzziness to many concepts which makes conversations possible. Then one can build on what seem more agreeable to one, confirm ones prejudices and continue to have some opinions about the world. But others have different opinions and often this results in acrimony and chaos. Perhaps mathematics balances this approach to some extent particularly when one is rusty. One has to be precise about basic concepts and it takes a lot of time to understand each sentence in an advanced paper. Hours and days go by and some feel for the topic develops and more precision later. In retirement, one is not in a hurry to finish things. I go on for days dreaming to see the ideas floating around and trying to reign them and then after months some understanding emerges. And in the end, one is a bit more certain about one's conclusions than in everyday life. It is some sort of meditation. Perhaps there are more human motives. One has earned some esteem from persons that one has respected for their work and may be one is still hankering for such esteem.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Rahul Banerjee on ‘Late Marx’

Rahul  Banerjee discusses ‘Late Marx and the Russian Road’ edited by Teodor Shanin here. Some parts of the book available at google books.Another review by Marc Edelman. There are also various discussions by Michael Hudson posted before. 

One on music

Music is not for ears
Joshua Bell is a star violinist who plays at the world’s great concert halls. People regularly pay more than $100 per ticket to hear him perform. Everything about the setting of a typical concert implies how worthy the music is of a listener’s full attention: the grand spaces with far-away ceilings, the hush among the thousand attendees, the elevation of the stage itself. In 2007, a reporter from theWashington Post had an idea for a social experiment: what would happen if this world-renowned violinist performed incognito in the city’s subway? Surely the exquisiteness of his sound would lure morning commuters out of their morning routine and into a rhapsodic listening experience.
Instead, across the 35 minutes that he performed the music of Bach, only seven people stopped for any length of time. Passers-by left a total of $32 and, after the last note sounded, there was no applause – only the continued rustle of people hurrying to their trains. Commentators have interpreted this anecdote as emblematic of many things: the time pressures faced by urban commuters, the daily grind’s power to overshadow potentially meaningful moments, or the preciousness of childhood (several children stopped to listen, only to be pulled away by their parents). But just as significantly, it could suggest that the immense power of Bell’s violin-playing does not lie exclusively in the sounds that he’s producing. Without overt or covert signalling that prepared them to have a significant aesthetic experience, listeners did not activate the filters necessary to absorb the aspects of his sound that, in other circumstances, might lead to rhapsodic experiences. Even musicianship of the highest level is susceptible to these framing effects. The sound just isn’t enough.”

Possibilities

Sperm count zero Long read.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Long read from Oliver Bullough

in The Guardian The real Goldfinger: the London banker who broke the world A review of the book Moneyland in The Guardian. The theme is familiar from Shaxon’s Book on Tax Havens reviews by David Runciman in LRB Didn’tthey notice?. But there seems to be more spice in the book.

Along different lines using more recent studies by economists How US Multinationals Shifting Income to Foreign Countries Reduces Measured GDP 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

George Orwell on freedom of the press

Apparently it was the proposed prefaceto ‘Animal Fam’ The freedom of the press

How big is the middle class?

The world is on the brink of a historic milestone: By 2020, more than half of the world’s population will be “middle class,” according to Brookings Institution scholar Homi Kharas.
Kharas defines the middle class as people who have enough money to cover basics needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, and still have enough left over for a few luxuries, such as fancy food, a television, a motorbike, home improvements or higher education.”
according to a new report.
 This may explain why activists like Rahul Banerjee feel frustrated.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Rahul Banerjee gets some rare seeds

Pearl Diving in Bharia Land  “Subhadra remembered that many years ago when our friend Jacob Nellithanam had been running a campaign to preserve indigenous seeds, he had brought a variety of Bajra that had long whiskers on its seeds when on the plant that prevented the birds from eating it. She said that we should get that variety as only then would we be able to revive Bajra cultivation in Pandutalav. So began our search for the whiskered pearl!”

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Carl Zimmer on the latest hybrid find

Longest train ride through India

From Dibrugarh in Assam to Kanniakumari Early this year, I took this train from Visakhapatnam to Ongole. It came seven and half hours late. But the waiting room was clean and nice, the ladies were constantly cleaning it and making decorations with ‘muggulu’ in front. There were a constant stream of transit passengers. I did not mind.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

David Brin on the Neolithic bottleneck

In Bio-Scientific problems and quandaries David Brin writes among other things:
But are we still evolving? Between 9000 and 7000 years ago, there appears to have been a plummet in genetic diversity among human males, in what’s called the ‘Neolithic bottleneck.’ An undergrad is now credited with coming up with an explanation. Heck the surficial hypothesis is obvious – that across that time, combative males prevented other males from breeding. But apparently this study's methodology for using available data to exclude other hypotheses was very clever.  Zeng surmised that intense warfare between patrilineal clans killed off so many men, only one was left for every 17 women.”

This should come as no surprise. Historical accounts show numerous societies doing this, even in historical times. Polynesia, for example, and the Mayan states. All of the adult males in a valley or on an island might be wiped out and replaced by the invaders who were likely related. (Indeed, I wonder that the authors of this study haven't zeroed in on those more recent episodes.) Nearly all of us are descended from the harems of the fierce men who won these struggles... helping to explain the "quirks" or unpleasant proclivities we see in many modern males, traits that are unsuitable for civilized living. Indeed, if this cycle were allowed to continue, it might help to explain the “Fermi Paradox” of why we don’t see high, alien civilizations.”

From Vinod Mehra’s memoirs

Interview with Jean Dreze

Review of THE TANGLED TREE A Radical New History of Life By David Quammen In NYTimes. And an excerptfrom the book. Despite what the review says, two women scientists are mentioned in the book “Meanwhile, the corn geneticist Barbara McClintock, discovering genes that bounce from one point to another on the chromosomes of her favorite plant, worked with very little support or recognition through the prime years of her career—and then accepted a Nobel Prize at age eighty-one.
Lynn Margul is, a Chicago-educated microbiologist unique in almost every way, shared at least one thing with McClintock: the frustrations BLUES1P_Quammen_TangledTree_KB.indd 13 6/21/18 4:06 PM xiv Three Surprises: An Introduction of being dismissed by some colleagues as an eccentric and obdurate woman. In Margulis’s case, it was for reviving an old idea that had long been considered wacky: endosymbiosis. What she meant by the term was, roughly, the cooperative integration of living creatures within living creatures. That is, not just tiny creatures within the bellies or noses of big creatures, but cells within cells. More specifically, Margulis argued that the cells constituting every creature in the more complex divisions of life—every human, every animal, every plant, every fungus—are chimerical things, assembled with captured bacteria inside nonbacterial receptacles. Those particular bacteria, over vast stretches of time, have become transmogrified into cellular organs. Imagine an oyster, transplanted into a cow, that becomes a functional bovine kidney. This seemed crazy when Margulis proposed it in 1967. But she was right about the matter, mostly.”

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Links, 12, August 2018

  Why do many friendships dissolve as we age?
Laziness helped to lead extinction of Homo erectus
A British photographer captures the Indian phenomenon of men non-romantically holding hands
On belief superiority “Finally and more promisingly, the researchers found some evidence that belief superiority can be dented by feedback. If participants were told that people with beliefs like theirs tended to score poorly on topic knowledge, or if they were directly told that their score on the topic knowledge quiz was low, this not only reduced their belief superiority, it also caused them to seek out the kind of challenging information they had previously neglected in the headlines task (though the evidence for this behavioural effect was mixed).”
Spatial navigation countrywise  “While age most strongly correlated with navigational performance, researchers also found that country wealth, as measured by GDP (gross domestic product), correlated with performance. The researchers say this relationship may be due to associations with education standards, health and ability to travel. They focused on GDP for this analysis as it was a standard metric available for every country, but as part of the ongoing research project they will follow up with further comparisons of other factors.....Comparing the country-level results to the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Index, the researchers found a correlation between country-wide gender inequality and a larger male advantage in spatial navigation ability. The gender gap in game performance was also smaller in countries with greater economic wealth.”

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Michael Hudson on whether Marx was right or wrong

Fromthree years ago The Paradox of Financialized Industrialization
All three kinds of crisis that Marx described are occurring. But the West is now in a chronic depression – what has been called Debt Deflation. Instead of banking being industrialized as Marx expected, industry is being financialized. Instead of democracy freeing economies from land rent, natural resource rent and monopoly rent, the rentiers have fought back and taken control of Western governments, legal systems and tax policy. The result is that we are seeing a lapse back to the pre-capitalist problems that Marx described in Volumes II and III of Capital and Theories of Surplus Value.
....
Bertell follows Marx in focusing on the production sector: hiring labor to produce products, but trying to get as much markup as possible – while underselling rivals. This is Marx’s great contribution to the analysis of capitalism and its mode of production – employing wage labor at a profit. I agree with this analysis.
However, my focus is on the causes of today’s crisis that are independent and autonomous from production: rentier claims for economic rent, for income without work – “empty” pricing without value. This focus on rent and interest is where I differ from that of Ollman, and also of course from that of Roemer. Any model of the crisis must tie together finance, real estate (and other rent-seeking) as well as industry and employment.
.....
In retrospect, Marx was too optimistic about the future of industrial capitalism. As noted above, he viewed its historical mission as being to free society from rent and usurious interest. Today’s financial system has generated an overgrowth of credit, while high rents are pricing American labor out of world markets. Wages are stagnating, while the One Percent have monopolized the growth in wealth and income since 1980 – and are not investing in new means of production. So we still have the Volume II and III problems, not just a Volume I problem.“
I wonder whether Michael Hudson is ignoring the reach of technology and our capacity for overproduction which made this inevitable.

An easy method for changing habits?

A Stanford University psychologist’s elegant three-step method for creating new habits via Lambert Strether at Naked Capitalism. I think that I already stumbled upon this in a small way and have been using Fitbit to manage my walks. More at the following which I have not read. https://www.tinyhabits.com 

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Autobiographical sketch from Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson: Life and Thought – An Autobiography it also provides a guide to some of his books, in particular the five volume series edited by him in collaboration with various others. I do not know Economics but generally what Michael Hudson said or says seems sensible to me. About a month ago, I borrowed from the library his five volume series of seminars and started browsing again. This will provide a guide to me while revisiting various books of his. A similar sketch from three years ago. Bibliography and his http://michael-hudson.com 

Lougi Zingales on Economics and feminism

https://promarket.org/every-good-economist-feminist/ :
The Columbia Business School faculty proposed an interesting default rule to resolve these power imbalances. In case of disputes between a senior and a junior faculty, the intellectual property right of a joint project should be automatically allocated to the junior faculty, to protect the weaker contracting party. Such a rule should be adopted by all departments.”

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Moving to cities

About U.S. But seems common in many other countries:
How to keep young people from fleeing small towns to big cities  "Communities also must change the way they train young people. One important thing Carr and Kefalas uncovered in their book about brain drain is that many communities have brought this problem on themselves. "Fueling the out-migration is a regional filtering system pushing some young people to stay and others to go," they write. "Teachers, parents, and other influential adults cherry-pick the young people destined to leave and ignore the ones most likely to stay or return. Civic leaders may lament the rural youth exodus and the accompanying brain drain, but they fail to see how their own actions have helped create the problem.""
Another about US excess Management Is Costing the U.S. $3 Trillion Per Year 

Gulzar Natarajan on Indian agriculture

India’s agriculture paradox- farmers subsidising consumers? “The conventional wisdom would have it that India's agriculture and its farmers are heavily subsidised and therefore inefficient. This is clearly not borne out by data. ”
Earlier Stabilising agriculture markets 

Monday, August 06, 2018

Top revenue collectors

Of the World’s top 100 economic revenue collectors, 29 are states, 71 are corporates And "There are 14 Chinese firms in the top 100, but 27 from the US".

Trump-Putin friendship

Some are optimistic about climate change

Economics How Changing My Economic Model Made Me a Climate Change Optimist:
"Two trends give reason for guarded optimism. The first is that governments have been doing many of the right things all along. Research support has gotten needed technologies invented, ever since NASA gave us photovoltaic cells. For many of these, directed support has overcome the barriers to commercialization. For a small few of these, policies in some places are moving us toward market saturation and fossil fuel prohibition. The EU has been pushing carbon neutral heating systems for buildings, and starting in 2021 this will be the standard for all new construction. ....
The second trend is an historical one. Virtually every technological transition people have studied has passed through a long preparatory phase, where new systems made barely a dent on the old, to an exponential growth phase that became self-reinforcing. I think renewable energy is turning this corner."

A Telugu song which travelled around

This is about the song.Manasaina cheli pilupu from jayamsimha 1955. M.L.Narasimham in his review of the film says "T.V. Raju’s music largely contributed to the movie’s success. He was assisted by the talented Sathyam. ‘Jaya Jaya Sri Rama Raghuvara’ (Ghantasala), ‘Madiloni Madhurabhavam,’ (Ghantasala & Rao Balasaraswati) and P. Susheela’s classical rendition ‘Nadireyi Gadichene cheliya…’ became popular. Some of the hit numbers drew inspiration from Hindi songs. The duet ‘Ee naati ee haayi…’ rendered by Ghantasala and P. Leela was taken from Ghulam Mohammed’s composition, ‘Jindagi dene vale sun…’ (‘Dil- E- Naadan’) and Rao Balasaraswati, A.P. Komala’s rendition, ‘Manasaina cheli pilupu…’ adapted from Shyamsundar’s composition, ‘chori chori aagse dilme…’ ( ‘Dholak’) are examples." AK in a post in Songs of Yore says in comment 113 
"I heard the songs again. Mansaina cheli pilupu uses the interlude music of Chori chori aag si dil mein lagakar chal diye. But the tune of the song is quite different which has been copied by Madan Mahan in Mera chhota sa dekho ye sansar hai and by Ramesh Naidu in Man soona tere bin haaye re, the links of the two Hindi songs have been given by KS Bhatiaji @101."
The links are This and This.
There are also Simhala versions like Mata aloke , this one by Jikki.

Village Reconstruction Organization

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Village_Reconstruction_Organization  
"The Belgian Jesuit Michael A. Windey had served at St. Xavier's College, Ranchi, as a professor and as founding director of the Xavier Institute of Social Service.[4][5] A typhoon on the east coast of India in 1969 with floods that submerged Guntur drew him to Andhra Pradesh, ending his career as a professor as he undertook the task of reconstructing villages.[6] 
...
The organization assists with the construction of villages as well as facilities within the villages: schools and skills training centers, health clinics,[9] childcare and community centres,[21] and homes for children and homes for the elderly,[22] especially among the dalits.[23] Jesuit novices help with programs such as Bala Mela, construction works in villages, laying of roads, and archeological survey.[24]"

Inspiring persons

Dan Wang on how technology grows

 Long read with interesting points: How Technology Grows (a restatement of definite optimism) via Tyler Cowen.
Excepts:
"The goal of both pieces is to broaden the terms in which we discuss “technology.” Technology should be understood in three distinct forms: as processes embedded into tools (like pots, pans, and stoves); explicit instructions (like recipes); and as process knowledge, or what we can also refer to as tacit knowledge, know-how, and technical experience. Process knowledge is the kind of knowledge that’s hard to write down as an instruction. You can give someone a well-equipped kitchen and an extraordinarily detailed recipe, but unless he already has some cooking experience, we shouldn’t expect him to prepare a great dish."

"What happens when we stop the flow of knowledge up the stack? I think that the weakness of the US industrial robotics sector is instructive. The US has little position in making high-end precision manufacturing equipment. When it comes to factory automation systems, machine tools, robot arms, and other types of production machinery, the most advanced suppliers are in Japan, Germany, and Switzerland. I think the reason that the US has little position can be tied directly to the departure of firms from so many segments of manufacturing. How do engineers work on the design of automation systems if they don’t have exposure to industrial processes?"

"My favorite genre of the Bloomberg column has become Noah Smith dunking on the United Kingdom. Services make up about 80% of the British economy, and that has brought along a host of problems. These include low levels of productivity growth over the last two decades, extraordinary vulnerability to the financial crisis, and low levels of R&D spending by its biggest companies. Matt Klein has put forward a fun claim: “Take out Greater London—the prosperity of which depends to an uncomfortable degree on a willingness to provide services to oligarchs from the Middle East and the former Soviet Union—and the UK is one of the poorest countries in Western Europe.”"

Recent Michael Hudson report

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Rural finance in India

Edward Luce interview with Kissinger

It is behind a firewall. Internet search may help. Henry Kissinger:"We are in a very, very grave period"  some of the excerpts are in Trump, Putin & Helsinki: Kissinger still calls the shots . One excerpt "I think Trump may be one of those ļ¬gures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences.”

Monday, July 30, 2018

About Vitamin D deficiency

i do not understand this well. From what I can gather, higher doses are needed than those recommended by US. Generally many other countries follow US but Finland seemed to have bucked the trend.
US admits math mistake was made in 2010 in estimating Vitamin D, but will not change recommendations – Nov 2017
Improved health due to Vitamine D fortification in Finland
I saw the general idea in this article but did not understand it well. Towards the end, the previous article links to The big Vitamin D mistake whose introduction is clearer.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

India's linguistic diversity

Podcast: Two scholars, a century apart, record India's rich linguistic diversity from Scroll.in July 2016
The Centre Cannot Hold How GN Devy challenges our concept of knowledge from Caravan magazine, July, 2018
I posted the Telugu recordings in 2011 but none of the links work except this Voices from Colonial India by Sohini Chattopathay from January, 2011,
The Telugu recordings are Here, posted by sumanspati reddy from Hyderabad. At that time Hyderabad state was omitted since it was not officially ruled by the British.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

John Lanchester on ten years after 2008

After the fall The early parts are familiar. Towards the end, he talks of the missing wealth:
"The frustrating thing is that the policy implications of this idea are pretty clear. In the developed world, we need policies that reduce the inequality at the top. It is sometimes said these are very difficult policies to devise. I’m not sure that’s true. What we’re really talking about is a degree of redistribution similar to that experienced in the decades after the Second World War, combined with policies that prevent the international rich person’s sport of hiding assets from taxation. This was one of the focuses of Thomas Piketty’s Capital, and with good reason. I mentioned earlier that assets and liabilities always balance – that’s the way they are designed, as accounting equalities. But when we come to global wealth, this isn’t true. Studies of the global balance sheet consistently show more liabilities than assets. The only way that would make sense is if the world were in debt to some external agency, such as Venusians or the Emperor Palpatine. Since it isn’t, a simple question arises: where’s all the fucking money? Piketty’s student Gabriel Zucman wrote a powerful book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations (2015), which supplies the answer: it’s hidden by rich people in tax havens. According to calculations that Zucman himself says are conservative, the missing money amounts to $8.7 trillion, a significant fraction of all planetary wealth. It is as if, when it comes to the question of paying their taxes, the rich have seceded from the rest of humanity."

Pay it forward

the Wikipedia article Pay it forward. I came across this in Second shot coffee. Possibly one unconsciously knew it and practiced it off and on.

Eric Weinstein on inequality

Excerpts and comments via Arnold King who says “I would describe the interview as a set of very interesting threads, which to my frustration are left dangling. I don’t know whether the fault lies with Eric, the interviewer, or the editor.” one of the comments says that there are some podcasts which are more satisfactory.

On Khemchand Prakash

 KHEMCHAND PRAKASH : DIL NE PHIR YAAD KIYA by Sushrut Vaidya, a comprehensive article on his life and work.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Three books in one review

By John Lanchester : Can economists and humanists be ever friends? Very nice article like some other things he has written.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Assignment

Barefoot: worlds apart by Harsh Mander
"I accepted an invitation three years ago to teach a semester course every year on poverty and governance to the MBA students in this business school. The challenge of speaking about hunger, homelessness, want and discrimination to a classroom of some of the brightest achievers in the country — who, within months of my course, would be recruited to jobs which would easily place them in the top one per cent income bracket in the country — was daunting. But I found my students intelligent, engaged and caring, as young people anywhere are.
A different exercise
Instead of an examination at the end of the course, I asked my students every year to each find one impoverished person, in Ahmedabad or elsewhere, and try to learn about their lives, write their stories, and share these with their classmates. Their first reaction was usually one of understandable panic: how could they cross distances imposed by history, class, power, language and so much else; they were convinced that these were insurmountable. I assured them that what was required was no more than one human being reaching out to another, and if they could approach them with true respect and empathy, the people they were trying to learn from would, in all probability, reciprocate."
More about Harsh Mander. He is the author of Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Interview with Cornel West

Cornel West: 'Obama was never the revolutionary Mandela was'
Now, Barack Obama - you have a neo-liberal black president of the most powerful empire in the world; he was never a revolutionary figure in the way Nelson Mandela was.
He has always been a neo-liberal politician. He was a black face of the American empire and he [has], in my view, commit[ted] war crimes with his drones in Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia and Libya.
So, I think the people have the right to protest because you don't want Obama to come in and act as if somehow he is connected to the revolutionary Mandela. Now, on the other hand, it is also true that you want a variety of voices to be heard in these lectures."......."
Sure, there is a big difference. Barack Obama was the brilliant, poised, neo-liberal face of the American empire. Donald Trump is the know-nothing, xenophobic, white neo-fascist face of the American empire.
There are some continuities between Obama and Trump in terms of foreign policy and in terms of Wall Street friendliness, but there are some discontinuities ... Obama was never the explicit xenophobe that Trump has been since he took office.
And there is a difference between a neo-liberal and a neo-fascist. Both of them, for me, require serious critique.
But there is a difference between a neo-liberal who has some kind of concern about spectacle, some kind of concern about style, and some kind of concern about the rule of law - even if the rule of law is very tilted against the poor.
But with neo-fascists, its just his raw, crude, gangster to the core and xenophobic, and has no concern for the rule of law. That is what you get with Donald Trump.“
P.S. an exhaustive article on the topic by Paul Street:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/02/obama-a-hollow-man-filled-with-ruling-class-ideas/

Monday, July 16, 2018

The need for religion

What Religion Gives Us (That Science Can’t) By Stephen T.Asma . There have also been life long non-religious people like Bertrand Russell. It would have been interesting to compare with that group and check for any common elements that kept them going.

Survival in future

Survival of the richest : The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind by Dougla Rushkoff
Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It’s a team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.”

Another inspiring story

Saturday, July 14, 2018

SriSri influence on an IAS officer

https://www.clipzui.com/video/l3q4b5g3q3o4f3q4c41553.html starts around 36:27
Meet Pallavi Akurathi – The Daring IAS Officer Who Is An Inspiration To All The Telugu Medium Students! also A battle I didn’t need
“Ironically, all that effort to learn English, and the humiliation faced along the way, seems ridiculous now. A majority of our daily transactions are in Kannada. I would be a miserable administrator if I were proficient in English but didn’t speak Kannada. While one’s comprehension of English is already tested in the mains, what sense does it make to exclusively ensure the English proficiency of administrators? she wonders. “Even today I cannot understand the poetry that a 6th standard ICSE student writes. How can a government school student, who studies all through only in a regional language, be asked to compete in English comprehension with those from English-medium schools? Can you imagine how unequal the battle is?”

Friday, July 13, 2018

Time investment

Exposing modern slavery

The hidden face of modern slavery by Jean Allain
The Bellagio-Harvard Guidelines state, in part: “To determine, in law, a case of slavery, one must look for possession. While the exact form of possession might vary, in essence it supposes control over a person by another such as a person might control a thing.” The control may involve physical constraint, but control may also “be evident in attempts to withhold identity documents [as in the case of the Thai prostitutes]; or to otherwise restrict free movement or access to state authorities or legal processes; or equally in attempts to forge a new identity through compelling a new religion, language, place of residence, or forcing marriage”. 
Professor Allain says that “this is the essence of slavery: that one person controls another as if they owned them. So the slave no longer has a say over their life, and is forced to do the bidding of the person who controls them.””

More on Mahesh Kathi

It seems that what was used is  Telangana Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act, 1930.: “Among those who are targeted specifically in these laws include “bootleggers, dacoits, drug-offenders, goondas, immoral traffic offenders, land grabbers, gamblers,” as listed by these Acts." ” The same law law was later used to stern Swami Paripoornananda who wanted to organise a march against a Mahesh Kathi. From https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/what-externment-law-telangana-cops-used-ban-mahesh-kathi-hyd-84500 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Inter caste marriages in India on the increase says The Guardian

Intercaste marriages and grooms who pay their way: welcome to the new India :
Hitesh Dhingra, co-founder of dating app TrulyMadly, believes there are two reasons for the enlightened views expressed in the survey. One is that young Indians, as users of the internet and social media, are exposed to new ideas that challenge traditional social mores.
The other is that, as more millennials choose their partners using dating apps and websites, they are more likely to focus on personality and compatibility than caste and religion.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sheila Dhar on Bhimsen Joshi

From Raga’n Josh
The following video may give some indication of his performances:
A longer version here 

Pankaj Mishra reviews ‘Ants among elephants’

God’s oppressed children  “The result is a book that combines many different genres—memoir, history, ethnography, and literature—and is outstanding in the intensity and scale of its revelations......At such moments, Gidla’s book achieves the emotional power of V.S. Naipaul’s great novel A House for Mr. Biswas, which describes the solitary struggles of a descendant of indentured laborers.....Rather, “it is a battle for freedom…for the reclamation of the human personality”—an arduous, never-ending battle in which Gidla’s book represents an all too rare victory.”
I have repeatedly mentioned and quoted from the book. There has been very little response from the upper caste bloggers so far. There are lots of posts about Trump or Vedas but this book has  eenstudiously ignored by the Indian netizens. Even among the Dalits, there is resentment among ambedkarites. She seems a difficult personality if her internet comments on all kinds of issues is any indication. But the book is excellent.

Miracle in Thailand

All out of the cave
How Buddhist meditation kept the Thai boys calm in the cave
When the 12 Thai boys who’ve been trapped in a cave and are being rescued one by one were first discovered by British divers a week ago, they were reportedly meditating.
“Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting. No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing,” the mother of one of the boys told the AP, referring to a widely shared video of the moment the boys were found.
Turns out that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded on June 23, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach. According to multiple news sources, he taught the boys, ages 11 to 16, to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy through their two-week ordeal.”