Saturday, May 18, 2019

Another Nehru interview where he discusses his own article about Nehru

Nehru’s last interview?
Namit Arora who posted this on Facebook says in one of the comments:
“A general comment. Nehru really has a great deal going for him, and I don’t wish to dwell on his flaws here, especially given the monstrosity that currently occupies that office (who is attacking Nehru for all the wrong reasons!). Nehru was a brilliant and reflective statesman, and it's astounding how far we have fallen today.

But, with that caveat, I’d note that Nehru, for all his talk of land reform, including in this interview, did very little on that front. He had regressive views on reservations, had defensive upper-caste attitudes towards the caste system, and did little to annihilate it in his 15 years in office. In the fight between Ambedkar and Gandhi, Nehru remained oddly silent, and didn't stand with Ambedkar. For a socialist country, he didn’t grant universal primary education the urgency it deserved – as did China. He also created the deadly AFSPA, which his great grandson is now trying to dismantle as a campaign promise. He mishandled Kashmir and led the country into a disastrous war with China. Scholars now also attribute some responsibility for Partition to him. Additional aspects of his legacy have been critiqued by later liberals, some of which I covered in the essay ‘No Saints or Miracles’ in my book.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Book review by Noah Smith

Book Review: The Revolt of the Public, by Martin Gurri “If you do not read "The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium," by Martin Gurri, you will not be sufficiently prepared for the world to come.

Well, you probably won't be anyway. No one will! But this book brings together a startling number of important threads of contemporary politics, geopolitics, public affairs, and media, and weaves them into a coherent, comprehensible, and very plausible narrative. And it does so far better than any other book, blog post, or Twitter thread that I have seen attempt to deal with these issues (including my own modest foray). So buy this book and read it.”
I just bought it.

Books and lectures

Why books don’t work by Andy Matuschak. Well not completely anyway. We know some parts work for some people some of the time. But overall comprehension of how and why they work is lacking. It is important for education to know some more and research seems much needed.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Sectional forest officer P.G. Sudha

Samir Shukla on some Indian academics

Worried Indian scientists and my friend’s sons
As the story of my friend is obviously unique and one of a kind, I hope that it is not linked by my readers with my scientist friends I mentioned in the opening paragraph in any manner.
We all know that most of the academic community toiling in Indian institutes have been constantly engaged in pushing science and technology ahead for benefits of the nation and the result is evident. 
The state of the nation clearly proves that our academic researchers exactly know what are the areas of research that the nation needs them to work on and hence no one should dare ask them what to do, or rather no one should dare ask them what they are doing at all.
It is nothing but sheer misfortune that with so many hard-working researchers toiling in India, we remain the only large sovereign nation not to have won even one Nobel Prize for science. So, let us not start making false assumptions on that irrelevant trivia.
It is also just some dirty trick of fate that, with all these scientists diligently working and solving the problems of the nation for all these decades, we still have billions living below poverty line and enduring a hell of a life, as there is no doubt that scientists have no role to play in the prosperity of a nation.”
My comment: I did not read all the comments but I see this sort of things by some approximate Anna Karenina principles: “All large groups are similar” and “The larger the group, the closer it is to the general populace around”. I think that our views of academics were formed when the group was small with few shining lights highlighted by texts of an earlier period.

Anya Parampil on Ricardo Hausmann and Venezuela

While unknown to most Venezuelans, Hausmann remains a key player in his country’s tumultuous politics. During a talk at the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston in November 2018, he eerily predicted Guaidó’s self-proclaimed presidency, telling the crowd “the international community is now focused on the idea that… January 10th is the end of the presidential period of Nicolás Maduro.”
“On January 11th, Nicolás Maduro will not be recognized as… the legitimate president of Venezuela,” Hausmann anticipated. “I think that’s an important date.”
On January 11th, when Juan Guaidó declared his preparedness to become president of Venezuela, the Harvard professor’s prophecy was fulfilled.
Almost two months later, Guaidó appointed Hausmann to serve as his representative at the Inter-American Development Bank. ” from Ricardo Hausmann’s 'Morning After' for Venezuela: The Neoliberal Brain Behind Juan Guaido’s Economic Agenda
Ricardo Hausmann seems to be a respected economist with a number of interesting ideas

An excerpt from a book by Aatish Taseer

The emperor of destiny
A search in Benares for Brahmins, the twice-born, leads to an encounter with a young member of the aristocracy of the mind”
The Twice-Born: Life and Death on the Ganges | Aatish Taseer

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Natural sequence farming

How weeds help fight climate change
Natural sequence farming has four main elements. First, restore fertility to improve the soil; second, increase groundwater; third, re-establish vegetation, including with weeds if necessary; fourth, understand the unique needs of a particular landscape.”

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Flightlessness of a bird evolved twice

Birds on an island in the Indian Ocean evolved flightlessness twice “The flightless rail is descendent from a species of flying bird known as the white-throated rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri).
In the layers of rock immediately after the last inundation event, Julian found some more fossil bones. 'We found the leg bone of a rail in these deposits,' he says. 'But from that one bone we can see that it is already becoming more robust when compared to the flying rail, showing that the bird is getting heavier and so losing its ability to fly.'
This suggests that once the sea levels dropped again and Aldabra reappeared, the white-throated rail once again recolonised the islands and became flightless, giving rise to the modern birds we see today.
'There is no other case that I can find of this happening,' explains Julian, 'where you have a record of the same species of bird becoming flightless twice. It wasn't as if it were two different species colonising and becoming flightless. This was the very same ancestral bird.'”

Noah Smith on Emi Nakamura


Just noticed the Wikipedia entry on Gudavalli. It has the picture of the library named after my mother Gadde Lalitha Devi. It is in the precinct named after Yalavarthi Nayudamma organised by Koduri brothers and the funds for the building were provided by my brother Gadde Kamalakar. In the days we lived in Gudavalli (1943-50 approximately) my mother used to get lot of books from the public library. Women did not go to the library those days I think. My cousin Gadde Babu Rajendra Prasad (Baburao) used to bring the books for her. It seems appropriate that her name is still associated with books in Gudavalli.,_Guntur_district