Thursday, September 05, 2019

Regenerative agriculture

WA businesses take regenerative agriculture from niche to mainstream “Regenerative farming aims to balance modern science technology with age-old stewardship techniques to boost the sustainability and productivity of the land.”

Don’t worry

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

A Shailendra story

India needs such teams

Inheritance customs

Do Inheritance Customs Affect Political and Social Inequality? via MR. Traces of Emmanuel Todd.
Why are some societies more unequal than others? The French revolutionaries believed unequal inheritances among siblings to be responsible for the strict hierarchies of the ancien régime. To achieve equality, the revolutionaries therefore enforced equal inheritance rights. Their goal was to empower women and to disenfranchise the noble class. But do equal inheritances succeed in leveling the societal playing field? We study Germany—a country with pronounced local‐level variation in inheritance customs—and find that municipalities that historically equally apportioned wealth, to this day, elect more women into political councils and have fewer aristocrats in the social elite. Using historic data, we point to two mechanisms: wealth equality and pro‐egalitarian preferences. In a final step, we also show that, counterintuitively, equitable inheritance customs positivelypredict income inequality. We interpret this finding to mean that equitable inheritances level the playing field by rewarding talent, not status

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Supplementing farm income by using the fence

Nimble-witted Telangana farmer shows the way for others Growing luffa on the fence earns him about 2500 rupees in two days during the season and covers the expenses for growingcotton.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Mind controlling parasites

The macabre world of mind-controlling parasites
There have been earlier posts about toxoplasma gondii and possible effects on humans

Secularism and liberalism In India

The monk who shaped India’s secularism’s out Swami Vivekananda
Liberalism in india by G.P.Manish, Shruti Rajagopalan and two others

Caste a british construct?

Caste Wasn't a British Construct – and Anyone Who Studies History Should Know That By Ananya Chakravarti, but
A menu of laws- The pursuit of a Proctustean Dharma by Ranjan Joshi
Transformed the Ancient and Esoteric Dharmashastras into a Homoeneous Hindu!aw, "y Inorin E#tant Heteroeneous and Diverse Customary !aws and Practices, !eadin to the $idely Prevalent %isconception that the Hindus have Always "een &overned "y Dharmashastrs

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

An interview with K.R. Parthasarathy

A different kind of mind I interacted with him off and on since 1970.

A readable article on Poincaré work

using AI to identify a banana disease

During the British rule of india

Some things became more prominent during the British times (See for example, ‘Castes of mind’ by Nicholas Dirks, though I do not completely agree this). One of them seems to be dharmasastras, as Bernard Cohn pointed out ( I seem to be more in agreement with this). Check for yourselves.
A Menu of Laws -The Pursuit of A Procrustean Dharma by Ranjan Joshi 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

It seems that communism does not go away and

nor does capitalism Two Communist Lawmakers Are Suddenly Setting the Agenda in Chile May be because in one one thinks of the others and in the other one thinks of oneself. And there are both types of people sometimes in one person.

A Ghulam Mohammad song

Monday, August 19, 2019

A book about Indian science

A few years old Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World, By Angela Saini “Saini has produced an eye-opening survey of scientists in today's India. It shows in meticulous detail that, pockets of excellence notwithstanding, the overall state of Indian science and technology continues to be dispiriting.”

Marxism in brief

What it means to be a Marxist?  from Jacobin by Ramsin Canon

India’s move on Kashmir

More on itch

Following up on an old article of Atul Gawande on itch I notice this  Neuroscientists Hack Itching, Exposing a Mysterious Neural Circuit Also this earlier clarifications by him

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Comparisons between Rome and US

There have articles off and on about there are similarities between Rome and US. There seems to be one constant in many societies after ancient debt cancellation days: “A constant dynamic of history has been the drive by financial elites to centralize control in their own hands and manage the economy in predatory, extractive ways. Their ostensible freedom is at the expense of the governing authority and the economy at large. As such, it is the opposite of liberty as conceived in Sumerian times” This extends not only to other countries as in colonial times but also to their own people. From a review of  Michael Hudson book.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Health problems in the family

i have been occupied with some health problems in the family and it seems that they will continue for a while.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

On mosquitoes

How Mosquitoes Changed Everything “TThere’s a long tradition of history books that profess to explain the world through singular factors: salt or cod or the color blue. “The Mosquito” suffers from the necessary myopia of the genre (in addition to some florid writing, repetition, and digressions through blockbuster movies and the Western Civ highlight reel). Winegard notes that wealthy Romans built their houses on hilltops to escape mosquitoes, and says that the fad has continued to the present, with U.S. houses on hills selling at a notable markup. “Add the real estate market to the mosquito’s portfolio of influence,” he concludes, ignoring other possible reasons for this preference. His argument that mosquitoes are responsible for the Magna Carta and, therefore, modern democracy is a cascade of contingencies: the failure of Louis VII’s siege of Damascus during the malaria season of 1148 led to his separation from Eleanor of Aquitaine, which led her to marry Henry II of England, which led to the birth to King John, who sparred with his barons. Winegard doesn’t need these double-jointed reaches to persuade us of the hidden influence mosquitoes have had in shaping history and creating the world that we know today.”

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Modelling the emergence of novelties

Mathematical Model Reveals the Patterns of How Innovations Arise
Abstract of the paper:

Dynamics on expanding spaces: modeling the emergence of novelties

Novelties are part of our daily lives. We constantly adopt new technologies, conceive new ideas, meet new people, experiment with new situations. Occasionally, we as individuals, in a complicated cognitive and sometimes fortuitous process, come up with something that is not only new to us, but to our entire society so that what is a personal novelty can turn into an innovation at a global level. Innovations occur throughout social, biological and technological systems and, though we perceive them as a very natural ingredient of our human experience, little is known about the processes determining their emergence. Still the statistical occurrence of innovations shows striking regularities that represent a starting point to get a deeper insight in the whole phenomenology. This paper represents a small step in that direction, focusing on reviewing the scientific attempts to effectively model the emergence of the new and its regularities, with an emphasis on more recent contributions: from the plain Simon's model tracing back to the 1950s, to the newest model of Polya's urn with triggering of one novelty by another. What seems to be key in the successful modelling schemes proposed so far is the idea of looking at evolution as a path in a complex space, physical, conceptual, biological, technological, whose structure and topology get continuously reshaped and expanded by the occurrence of the new. Mathematically it is very interesting to look at the consequences of the interplay between the "actual" and the "possible" and this is the aim of this

Womb-less to boost productivity

A Boris Johnson story

My Boris Johnson story by Jeremy Vine Read it to the end says Naked Capitalism

Monday, July 15, 2019

Some food researchers

The fact is, in order to avoid exacerbating climate change, the amount of cultivated land should not increase. No new piece of rainforest should be cleared to make way for new fields, according to the UN's plan. Every additional calorie must, therefore, be created on existing fields and pastures. It may sound counterintuitive, but according to the UN, in order to produce food sustainably in the long term, more intensive agriculture will be needed.
New technologies may offer a way out of this dilemma, helping farmers to bridge the gap between high yields and environmentally friendly processes. Three scientists provide examples for how this could be achieved:
  • Donald Ort wrote his doctoral thesis about plants' biochemical processes. Today, he is a professor at the University of Illinois. According to an evaluation by the firm Clarivate Analytics, he is one of the most influential researchers worldwide.
  • Rebecca Bart heads a group of researchers at the private, non-profit Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and specializes in plant diseases that can destroy entire harvests.
  • Jean-Michel Ané has a PhD in cell and molecular biology and is a professor at the University of Wisconson-Madison. His focus is on understanding symbiotic relations between plants and microbes that could replace fertilizer.“ Plant researchers brace for population explosion 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Dorothy Sayers on teaching

Lost tools of learning From 1954. Somewhat similar to Scott Newstok article “How to think like Shakespeare”. The article is behind a firewall. It seems that Newstok is writing a book along similar lines which will come out soon. Here is an article about a Newstok article. For more recent studies try Clevelands by Lucy Crehan

Thursday, July 04, 2019

No look defence

On democratic dissent in India

Vertical farming

Review of a film on Bob Dylan
I assumed many of those around me had fetishized Barack Obama as a savior even while he was waging endless wars and killing American citizens, bailing out his Wall St. and bank supporters, and jailing more whistleblowers than any American president in history, and that Dylan had accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from this icon of rectitude who had served to quell all thoughts of rebellion and whose war victims were not counted by those who bought his brand since God was on his side. 
Here in this darkened dream factory in a hyper-gentrified “liberal” town, my mind was knotted with thoughts and questions that perhaps the film would address.”

A job is a job
I always had problems with the argument that a job is a job and we should not worry about the morals involved.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Dalai Lama worries about Europe "The whole of Europe (will) eventually become Muslim country? Impossible. Or African country? Also impossible," he said, adding that it's better to "keep Europe for Europeans." he said.  According to Emmanuel Todd “Germany (1.4), Japan (1.4), and South Korea (1.2) had reached rock-bottom values that prohibit the natural renewal of the population and require either the use of mass immigration or the acceptance of demographic decline.”

Abburi Chayadevi RIP

One of those moments. At a book inauguration, I was supposed to present the book of the moment to Abburi Chayadevi. I saw her sitting in the front row. Being a novice in ceremonial matters, I got down from the stage and gave the book to her. Then I was told that she has come up to the stage and I have to present the book to her so that all in the hall could see. I think Avula Manjulatha who was setting next to me explained how those things were done.

A recent interview with Putin

Interview with the Financial Times Lionel Barber A mixed bag. He objects to, correctly in my opinion, imposing western type democracies in countries Libya and at the same time does not want Europe to take many immigrants. He also ignores the western business interests in various third world countries which often cause refugee problems and talks blithely of ‘refugees and narcotics’. Healdo seems to ignore the demographic problems in countries like Germany, their low birth rates. Overall, he seems to be a conservative politician with some sympathy for Trump. It is possible that the link may disappear in which case there are many excerpts from the interview in The Moon of Alabama blog

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

An old documentary on yoga

This land is your land

From the first version:
“One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
By the Relief Office I saw my people —
As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if
God blessed America for me.
[This land was made for you and me.]”
From the Wikipedia article on the song This land is your land
Reminded of this after constant attacks on Dalits and Moslems in India.

climate and homelessness

For those that think homeless people migrate to warmer climates.... “Homeless people do tend to congregate in more urbanized states.  But again, climate has nothing to do with propensity for homelessness.”

English cricket captain sounds like Trump

'They can do what they want' - Morgan won't do a Kohli if fans heckle Smith, Warner
Spectators pay a lot of money," Morgan said. "They can do what they want.“

I was student of this college when it was all male

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Will there be war?

Will he? Won't he? How Trump's impulses are driving his Iran policy
Back from Iran War Brink: Trump wants to Walk back Iran Crisis that He created with Severe US Sanctions
And Seth Abramson on Twitter
Suggest the likeliness of war. As Juan Cole says towards the end of his article:
Again, this crisis is of Trump’s making. His conviction that he could stiff Iran without consequences, all for the sake of looking tough with his MAGA base, was a serious miscalculation. It is the problem with having an ignorant and yet opinionated man at the helm of the US government. He is guaranteed to make basic mistakes that put the US on a war footing even though that appears to be the last thing Trump wants.
Unfortunately, Iran will provoke again, and next time the US warmongers may win the argument.”

Friday, June 21, 2019

A Hemanta Kumar song

MH370 story nearing completion

A review of ‘Lineages of Modernity...’ By Emmanuel Todd

Review:Reversing into the future: welcome to the paleo world by Andy Martin. An excerpt:
"If economics is conscious behaviour, and education and religion are our subconscious, then it is still family relationships that form the deepest level of our unconscious life. Hence it is around individualism that the clash (or at least divergence) of civilisations will occur. Todd sets out a table in which different societies are compared in terms of their core values under various headings to do with attitudes towards equality, feminism, endogamy and authority. The “anthropological distance” between the Anglosphere and Denmark (hello, Danes!) is zero. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the combined distance from Saudi Arabia is 7.5. I think we can assume, in the aftermath of Khashoggi, that the Saudis don’t exactly prioritise press freedom. Todd offers an equation which explains 9/11: “Maximum incomprehension + intimate association = hatred.” On the other hand, we shouldn’t be so Russophobic. We are closer to Russia (1.5 distance) than Germany (2.5)."

Climate change happening faster than expected

UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful, court of appeal declares

UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful, court of appeal declares “Later, Fox was understood to have privately told at least one MP that he expected that the review process called for by the court would take about 10 weeks – and would not lead to any of the previous licensing decisions being overturned.
Arms trade campaigners say that Paveway, Brimstone and Storm Shadow bombs of the type used by the Saudi air force in Yemen are covered by separate “open licences”, which have not been suspended by Fox, and are only under review. “The bombs will continue,” one source added.”

An Incredibly Detailed Map Of Medieval Trade Routes

An Incredibly Detailed Map Of Medieval Trade Routes “The map above is probably the most detailed map of Medieval Trade Routes in Europe, Asia and Africa in the 11th and 12th centuries you can find online. It includes major and minor locations, major and minor routes, sea routes, canals and roads.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A passage from Emmanuel Todd’s recent book

A passage from’.’ by Emmanuel Todd:
“Despite high and comparable educational levels, their birth rate indicators diverge in proportions that imply different destinies. By 2015 (again), the United States, with 1.9 children per woman, the United Kingdom (1.9), Australia (1.9), Sweden (1.9), France (2.0) and Russia (1.8)were not too far from the threshold of 2.1, which essentially makes the replacement of one generation by the next possible. On the other hand, Germany (1.4), Japan (1.4), and South Korea (1.2) had reached rock-bottom values that prohibit the natural renewal of the population and require either the use of mass immigration or the acceptance of demographic decline. We will see how these differences are easily explained by the subterranean persistence of distinct family values, those that concern the status of women in particular”
Todd’s family systems is described in the second of the articles listed here by Brian Micklethwait

Friday, June 14, 2019

A small success

A small success. I visited Heal Paradise a few times and once invited Aruna Tella to visit the place. Recently, she tried to send two children of one of the persons in Swadhar Greh to Heal Paradise since the lady is destitute and lame and has no resources to look after them. Though the institute was started with the idea of serving India (there are also artificial limb section and one for the deaf), some bureaucrat decided that these institutes should serve only the districts where they were located. Aruna contacted the organisers and told them that it is privately funded autonomous institute and cannot be dictated by bureaucrats and they offered to take up the fight. Meanwhile she phoned one of the bureaucrats concerned and told him how unjust his attitude was and also contacted some local child welfare organisers and requested them to protest. All this happened in a few hours and now the children are offered schooling there. Except for the initial medical check ups, the schooling with all the residential facilities will be free. I am very pleased that I have been supporting Aruna impressed by her altruism and courage and what all I did in the episode is suppling a few phone numbers. Even from abroad, it seems possible to help the poor in India a little if one knows some good local organisers like Aruna Tella and Rahul Banerjee.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Heal Paradise

and an interview in Telugu with the founder Dr. Satya Prasad Koneru
It is a school for orphans where the needs of the children like food, clothing and education are taken care of. It also has centre for articulations limbs which are given freely to the selected poor and centre to train the deaf. I visited it a few times since 2017, interacted with the students discussing their mathematics courses and had several conversations with the founder. Seems to be a modest mean and it is a surprise that he got as far as he did. This came up recently when Aruna Tella tried to send there two children of woman from Swadhar Greh in Ongole. Suddenly there were some obstacles from state bureaucrats and seem to be getting sorted out now.

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy

The untold story of Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy with glimpses of Abdul Salam along the way

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Janaki Ammal

A glorious yellow bloom in honour of botanist E.K. Janaki Ammal in passing, the article says “Records of her life available publicly note that caste and gender discrimination forced her move to the U.K. where she joined the John Innes Institute, Norwich, as a cytologist. ”
A long write up about her Gender, race and science in twentieth-century india: e. K. JanaKi ammal and the history of science  by Vinita Damodaran gives more details. A shorter version here. Some excepts from Vinita Damodaran’s article:
“Born on 5 November 1897 to a lower caste family of North Malabar, Ammal had a chequered ancestry. Her mother was the illegitimate child of John Child Hannyn- gton of the Madras Civil Service, a member of a well known imperial family who had resided in India for some generations.24 Her father, who retired as a sub-judge of the Tellicherry Court, came from an educated family of the Tiyya caste; he was an employee of Hannyngton and had chosen to marry his illegitimate daughter once his first wife died. The elder daughter of Hannyngton from his Indian mistress was married to an Anglo-Indian and became Martha Feukes.25 The younger daughter, who retained her Indian name Devayani, married E. K. Krishnan in 1878. Hannyngton clearly led the double life of many British civil servants in India. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it had been a regular practice for East India Company officials to have Indian wives.”
One of the early references to brahminism is by J.C. Bose in a 1917 letter”“you know that Brahmanism and priestcraft are not unknown in English science. The evil is far more accentuated here [in India] where the number of scientific men are few, and where wire pullers have succeeded in securing positions of authority”
And “Darlington was typical of the scientific mentors of his period in that in extending his largesse to female employees under him, he often formed intimate relationships with them, if only briefly. Janaki was to prove no exception and in three of her let-ters written in the 1930s she indicates her emotional involvement with him. This was only to be a brief interlude but the relationship was one that was to dominate her life. “

Born on November 1897 to lower caste family of North Malabar, Ammal had chequered ancestry. Her mother was the illegitimate child of John Child Hannyn-gton of the Madras Civil Service, member of well known imperial family who had resided in India for some generations.
 Her father, who retired as sub-judge of the Tellicherry Court, came from an educated family of the Tiyya caste; he was an employee of Hannyngton and had chosen to marry his illegitimate daughter once his first wife died. The elder daughter of Hannyngton from his Indian mistress was married to an Anglo-Indian and became Martha Feukes.
 The younger daughter, who retained her Indian name Devayani, married E. K. Krishnan in 1878. Hannyngton clearly led the double life of many British civil servants in India. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it had been regular practice for East India Company 
officials to have Indian wives.
Born on November 1897 to lower caste family of North Malabar, Ammal had chequered ancestry. Her mother was the illegitimate child of John Child Hannyn-gton of the Madras Civil Service, member of well known imperial family who had resided in India for some generations.
 Her father, who retired as sub-judge of the Tellicherry Court, came from an educated family of the Tiyya caste; he was an employee of Hannyngton and had chosen to marry his illegitimate daughter once his first wife died. The elder daughter of Hannyngton from his Indian mistress was married to an Anglo-Indian and became Martha Feukes.
 The younger daughter, who retained her Indian name Devayani, married E. K. Krishnan in 1878. Hannyngton clearly led the double life of many British civil servants in India. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it had been regular practice for East India Company officials to have Indian wives.