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


https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/25/bob-dylan-the-culture-industrys-destruction-of-dissent/
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

https://youtu.be/EYzZ3jBQEQw
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

https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/dalai-lama-who-has-been-living-in-india-as-refugee-for-70-years-warns-europe-about-refugees-370123.html "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 https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/russias-president-putin-explains-the-end-of-the-liberal-order.html#more

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 https://mobile.twitter.com/sethabramson/status/1141928933866311681?s=12
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’.https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Lineages_of_Modernity.html?id=AdKcDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y..’ 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.
24
 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.
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 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.
24
 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.
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 regular practice for East India Company officials to have Indian wives.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Some articles on Indian languages from Mint

Konkani: a language in crisis “Konkani became the first Asian language ever printed, in the first volume published by the first press set up in the continent, in Goa in 1556. Later, the first modern grammar book of any Indian language was Arte da Lingoa Canarim, published in 1640 by pioneering English Jesuit Thomas Stephens. By the middle of the 17th century, there was a substantial body of Konkani literature in print, described by Fordham University’s late polymathic linguist and scholar Jose Pereira as “a great achievement...far in advance of any modern Indian tongue".”
How a Bihari lost his mother tongue to Hindi 
“Your Tamil pain
Is brother to my Bhojpuri pain—
Language is merely a morsel for the deceitful beast...”
Kamrupi: a language with no army “The idea of a Bengali language and identity are relatively new. “The first native name for Bengali was Gauda-bhasa, probably coming into use as early as the 16th century," writes Chatterji. “This name continued down to the beginning of the 19th century, nay, even later, side by side with the new name Vanga-bhasa or Bangala-bhasa." Raja Rammohun Roy, the first Bengali to write a grammar of his mother tongue, called his work Gaudiya Vyakaran, meaning the grammar of the Gaudiya—not Bengali—language. It was first published in 1826, in English. 
Kamrupi roots
In neighbouring Assam, it was Kamrup—meaning Lower Assam and North Bengal, not the Ahom territories of Upper Assam—where the early stalwarts of Assamese culture did their life’s work. Assam from ancient times was known as Kamarupa till the end of Koch rule in the 17th century, according to the renowned Assamese linguist Upendranath Goswami.”

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Amherstia nobilis

Amherstia nobilis new to me. Apparently it can be seen in several campuses in Mumbai but I missed it during my long stay there.
https://youtu.be/GFfsPvGOGPY

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

DK Pattammal following Saigal

https://youtu.be/f-KkC-geGKg
Anyway, coming back to the old Devdas, the songs are all great. But one of the reasons why Balam Aye is stuck in my head is because its tune was copied faithfully for the Kalki Krishnamurthy song Poonkuil Koovum Pooncholaiyil Oru Naal! You can hear DK Pattammal sing it in this youtube clip where SS Mani plays the gramophone disc with the song. I wonder when Kalki composed it, though I am quite certain that his song followed the Hindi original. After all, Pattammal began recording only in 1938 or thereabouts.” says the author in Musings on some film songs-1. Another similar story From Thandi Hawayen to Konjum Purave.

Mothers and sons

Bonobo moms play an active role in helping their sons find a mate
Interestingly, bonobo moms did not extend similar help to their daughters, nor were there any observations of daughters receiving assistance in rearing their offspring. "In bonobo , the daughters disperse from the native community and the sons stay," Surbeck says. "And for the few daughters that stay in the community, which we don't have many examples of, we don't see them receiving any help from their mothers."”

social supermarkets

competitive moms

Madhukar’s Shukla on scale in social projects

The "Jetty Project": Is "Scale" necessary for "Social Change"? “Many such small, yet transformational changes, happen because the local social entrepreneurs (as we would call them) are uniquely positioned to do make them happen - they leverage the highly contextual, and often tacit, local knowledge to identify critical social problems, mobilize local resources and develop a solution which is relevant and viable in the local context.”

Bilkis Bano case

Gujarat riots gang-rape survivor receives justice after 17 years “Legal experts and activists say Bano's case is unique, marking a rare instance of justice for a victim of sexual violence during communal riots.”

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Another Nehru interview where he discusses his own article about Nehru

Nehru’s last interview?

https://youtu.be/zlTfXWFQYGQ
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.”

Friday, May 17, 2019

Bob Hawke RIP


Popular forever: the intellectual larrikin that was Bob Hawke by his press secretary Barrie Cassidy
Bob Hawke rise was predicted by an Indian soothsayer Ramakrishna Sarathy Future Perfect ( Sarathy said that he was correct about 70 percent of the time and hoping reach 90 percent).

Madhukar Shukla on scaling