Thursday, November 14, 2019

An overview of some of the work of George Price

The mathematics of kindness Several other links have been posted before.

Two women
And the current ‘acting’ president of Bolivia “In a deleted Twitter post from 2013, Áñez called an indigenous ritual of the Aymara people "satanic" and said that no belief system is better than the Christian God.[22]

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Energy Swaraj, by Chetan Singh Solanki

Individual vs group

When the Strong Outbreed the Weak: An Interview with William Muir
Muir’s experiments reveal a tremendous naiveté in the idea that creating a good society is merely a matter of selecting the “best” individuals. A good society requires members working together to create what cannot be produced alone, or at least to refrain from exploiting each other.  Human societies approach this ideal to varying degrees, but there is always an element of unfairness that results in some profiting at the expense of others. If these individuals are allowed to breed, and if their profiteering ways are heritable, then selecting the “best” individuals will cause a cooperative society to collapse. It’s a good thing that the early eugenicists did not have their way!
Muir’s experiments also challenge what it means for a trait to be regarded as an individual trait.  If by “individual trait” we mean a trait that can be measured in an individual, then egg productivity in hens qualifies. You just count the number of eggs that emerge from the hind end of a hen. If by “individual trait” we mean the process that resulted in the trait, then egg productivity in hens does not qualify. Instead, it is a social trait that depends not only on the properties of the individual hen but also on the properties of the hen’s social environment.”

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Janelle Shane on AI

AlisonGopnik interview

The mind at work: Alison Gopnik on learning like children Right combination of nurture and autonomy “Parents, it turns out, have an important role in fostering curiosity and exploration. Gopnik describes a recent study from Columbia University psychologist Nim Tottenham’s lab that updates classical theories of avoidance learning. If you put an adult rat in a maze and it goes down one end and gets a shock, it never goes down that end of the maze again. But young rats actually prefer the arm of the maze that leads to the shock—when their mother is present. And Tottenham replicated this result with three- and four-year-old children as well. If the child feels safe, they are more motivated by exploration than by a predictable outcome.”

Free downlads from California uni. Press

About 90 books, I downloaded this and a few more

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Cellular life

Cellular Life, Death and Everything in Between “We now know that cells can flirt dangerously with the boundary of death — and perhaps even cross it entirely — yet regain their lost function.”

Indian brains smaller

'Indian brain is smaller': IIIT-Hyderabad researchers create Indian Brain Atlas “The average Indian brain is smaller in height, width, and volume as compared to the western and eastern population like the Chinese and Korean according to the first-ever ‘Indian Brain Atlas’ created by researchers of the International Institute of Information Technology-Hyderabad (IIITH).” Research for medical purposes.
Check also The Human Brain Has been Getting Smaller Since the Stone Age and Neanderthals Had Bigger Brains Than Modern Humans — Why Are We Smarter?

Monday, October 28, 2019


To demonstrate how the figure of the comrade can be a figure for us, an operator for a politics of those engaged in emancipatory egalitarian struggle, I’ve offered four theses:
1. “Comrade” names a relation characterized by sameness, equality, and solidarity. For communists, this sameness, equality, and solidarity is utopian, cutting through the determinations of capitalist society.
2. Anyone but not everyone can be a comrade.
3. The Individual (as a locus of identity) is the “other” of the comrade.
4. The relation between comrades is mediated by fidelity to a truth. Practices of comradeship materialize this fidelity, building its truth into the world.
Together they articulate a generic political component activated through divisive fidelity to the emancipatory egalitarian struggle for communism. A comrade is one of many fighting on the same side. From Four theses on the comrade by Jodi Dean, a review of her recent book Comrade: An Essay on Political Belonging (Verso) by Macmillan Alvarez.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Criminalising begging

Breaking : 'Criminalization Of Begging Is Outcome Of Extremely Prejudiced Social Constructs' : J&K HC Strikes Down Anti-Beggary Laws  “Criminalization of begging is the outcome of extremely prejudiced social constructs of presumption of criminality against the poor and baseless stereotypes, in ignorance of the extreme exclusion and disadvantages faced by the poor who are struggling to survive. The criminalization of begging which makes poverty an offence, is intended to remove poor people from public spaces, deprive them of the Constitutional guarantees of inclusiveness and pluralism and results in further deprivation to them", observed the judgment given by a bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal. (Jammu &Kashmir High Court).

using AI to write with the mind

Narrative economics

The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors “Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller’s new book “Narrative Economics” opens with him reminiscing about an enlightening history class he took as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. He wrote that what he learned about the Great Depression was far more useful in understanding the period of economic and financial turmoil than anything he learned in his economic courses.”

Harvard again

Friday, October 25, 2019

Scott Alexander on indian economic reforms

I was vaguely aware that India had done relatively well, but I didn’t grasp the scale. This should be up there with the rise of China as one of the most important (and most encouraging) news stories of my lifetime. And if it was really due to the 1991 reforms, they should go down alongside Deng Xiaoping’s liberalization of China as one of the century’s great achievements........If we had a better understanding of what exactly happened and how it was reversed, it could be an important source of information for developing countries in the future.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Tim Taylor on global rise in services trade

Juan Cole on Russia Turkey deal

Learnt a new word today

Learnt a new word today ‘praxis’. Via Gautam Menon from the Sartre lines “a binary praxis of antagonistic reciprocity.”, which may represent any thing from boxing to capitalism to marriage. I prefer D,R.Nagaraj phrase ‘intimate enmity’ which he used to describe the relation between untouchables and others.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Long read on Snowden

Snowden in the Labyrinth by Jonathan Lethem, a review of ‘Permanent Record’ by Ewpdward Snowden

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Another on RCTs

Seems fairly comprehensive. WHAT RANDOMIZATION CAN AND CANNOT DO: THE 2019 NOBEL PRIZE by Kevin Bryan at ‘A Fine Theorem’.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Choreography by Ragini?

The famous Shankarabharanam thillana "Nadir deem tanadirena" (Moolaiveetu Rangasami Nattuvanar) was adapted into "Na ja, na ja baalam" by Anil Biswas in the Indo-Soviet co-production 'Pardesi' (1957, Hindi). This was beautifully choreographed for her sister Padmini by Ragini standing in for the choreographer from Bombay who did not show up in Russia. ” according to V.A.K. Rangarao in this report. This also occurs in the article Hindi film dance But does not mention the specific dance.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A new book on Arabs

Sins of our forefathers

“. . . I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:5–6)
Inherited Learning? It Happens, but How Is Uncertain

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Crisis of capitalism?

Why it is not the crisis of capitalism “It will either continue with its conquest of more, yet non-commercialized, spheres, or it would have to be controlled and its ”field of action” reduced to what it used to be.” says Branko Milanovic.

More on 2019 Nobel for economists

The ‘randomness’ of 2019’s Nobel economics laureates
An earlier article by Pranab Bardhan reviewing ‘Poor Economics’ and other books Little,Big:Two Ideas About Fighting Global Poverty

Russia emerging as the new power broker in Middle East

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2019 Nobel in economics

The Nobel Prize in Economic Science Goes to Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer
A Nobel for Randomistas   H Peter Dorman:”On balance, I think it’s fine that this prize honors experimentalism, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the larger picture.  Using experimental methods to incorporate more learning in program administration should be standard practice; perhaps some day it will be.  But the big problems in poverty and oppression are too complex and encompassing to be reduced to experimental bits, and there is no substitute for theoretical analysis and a willingness to take chances with large-scale collective action.”
Chris Blattman on Randomized trials “Randomized trials will join the pantheon of mediocre methods at our disposal.”

Saturday, October 12, 2019

John Le Carré has new novel

From the review :
His attitude to Brexit is pungently expressed in the new novel. “It is my considered opinion,” one of the characters declares to Nat, “that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none.”
'My ties to England have loosened': John le Carré on Britain, Boris and Brexit 

An old theme

Thursday, October 10, 2019

On Rawls

Neoliberalism and Rawls “[in a 1995 meeting] Rawls broke his own prohibition on commenting on current politics to say that the greatest challenge to American democracy, at that moment, was the systematic undermining of the fair value of the political liberties by the growth of capital and rising income inequality. As I recall, he described growing inequality as leading to a growing imbalance in political power and as a “crisis” that threatened the survival of democracy. I’m pretty sure he was talking about neoliberalism.“

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Kurds in Syria

Kurdish leaders mull cooperation with Damascus & Moscow as US pulls troops from northern Syria
Worried for Kurds in Syria, abandoned by US? Here’s an obvious solution but it will make Washington hawks MAD
Juan cole’s view
Portraits of Kurdish struggle at Jaconin gives a quick overview of Ocalan’s view of democratic federalism and its influence on Syrian Kurds. This experiment may now be now reaching an end. “The authors Öcalan encountered would greatly influence the future role of the PKK, in particular the work of the American social theorist Murray Bookchin. Bookchin advocated ecologically sensitive, decentralized power-sharing in local communities as the basis of all decision-making, suggesting general assemblies at the local level were the true path to democracy.
Öcalan critiqued the Marxist-Leninist roots of the organization and introduced the theory of democratic confederalism as a new way forward in 2005. “Democratic confederalism” advocates for self-administration in Kurdish areas, which could operate in duality with the Turkish state, as well as the other parts of Kurdistan. Democratic confederalism was described as not just for Kurds, but as a system that could be replicated by any population in the Middle East. This collective mass of small units could confederate with one another to form a new kind of local power that challenged the authority of centralized states.”

Monday, October 07, 2019

About learning

I came across the article below via various academics. Thanks to Suresh Govindarajan for some clarifications. The study is about undergraduate students. One of the techniques is mentioned below. But I am not sure whether it can be done uniformly for all subjects. Some mindless learning also may be useful. Perhaps the use of the technique below extends beyond the particular subject. “Learning occurs when we get something wrong and have to correct it. So a particularly effective way to teach something in a way that will stick is to put students in a position of having to arrive at the best answer they can, without hints, even if that answer is wrong. Then, after they have committed (preferably some time after), you can correct them, preferably with a hint (just one) to prompt them to rectify the error themselves. Psychologists who have studied this refer to the approach as introducing “desirable difficulties.” Google it if you have not come across this term before. (The term itself is due to the Stanford psychologist Robert Bjork.) “ STUDENT TEACHING EVALUATIONS ARE EFFECTIVE, BUT NOT IN THE WAY YOU THINK
My experience: I have read the article a couple of times now. I wonder whether some mindless learning and just staring at stuff without understanding may also useful since it may be difficult to follow the procedure described at the end (desirable difficulties) for all subjects. I describe my experiences. In college I studied Complex Analysis during the month before the final examinations and completely forgot about it after the examinations. Then in 1978, at the age of 37, I found that William Thurston has completely changed the area that I have been working since my thesis days. I could not understand any of it. I used to stare at the notes before going to sleep. Then in 1982, I realised some elementary aspects of it can be understood through Complex Analysis and started a seminar learning Complex Analysis along the way. Then in 1984 I attended a conference on Thurston’s work at work only to find that professors from various universities studying his notes word by word and trying to fill in the details. That gave a start and some understanding, enough to use some of it and even prove some related results, came bit by bit. Now in 1979, a collaborator Peter Scott used parts of Thurston’s work I did not learn and am going through the same process again. I do not really know what mixture of methods works in learning.

A bit more about ”Growth” by V.Smil

Just got a copy of “Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities” by V.Smil after seeing a mention of it by Ashutosh Jogalekar. One problem that has been bothering is ‘interest rate’ which has been with us since Mesopotamian times. Apparently, the problem was solved in ancient times by periodic debt cancellations, as pointed out by Michael Hudson. I feel that growth is related to this since as long as there is interest on money, growth is needed in at least some important parts of the economy. I wanted to see how Smil handles this. A first look at the book shows that Smil does not even mention ‘rate of interest’. I will still read the book since it seems to have a lot of ‘facts’ but doubt whether he really solves the problem of growth.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Resentment epidemic in the west

The West Has a Resentment Epidemic “What has changed in the last generation, however, is the level of economic and wealth inequality between regions of Western countries. As Joan Rosés and Nikolaus Wolf have shown, regional divergence began in the 1980s with globalization and deindustrialization, and it has deepened in recent years.
If we are to understand the depth of populist anger, we must look to the economics of regional resentment. In the United Kingdom, for example, a person’s position on leaving or remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum was linked to the geography of the nation’s housing market, with research showing that property prices are one of the best predictors of whether voters supported or opposed Britain’s vote to leave the EU, even at the ward level (the smallest electoral unit, of around 5,000 to 6,000 voters).”
How does this apply to India?

A bit about this blog

i have not been looking at the comments for more than three months since there has been a medical emergency in the family. My apologies to those who might have commented. In any case, my aim has always been to keep links in one place for future reference. Links disappear and so I used to copy some passages from the links. But now even that has become rare due to some pressures at home and moreover Facebook has taken over some of the functions though it is difficult to find old posts there.

Book review review of a book on aggregate production function

Book Review: The Aggregate Production Function and the Measurement of Technical Change: ‘Not Even WrongThe book has been linked before and was freely available online for a while. May be still available.

Saudi Arabia realising its weakness

Long read on EU

Friday, October 04, 2019

Infinite growth

The delusion and danger of infinite economic growth is attributed to Robert Solow who said "If it is very easy to substitute other factors for natural resources, then there is, in principle, no problem. The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources" (Solow, R. (1974). "The economics of resources or the resources of economics." Amer. Econ. Rev. 2: 1-14) via

Another We must leave growth behind by V.Smil

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Evolution of Gandhi

Evolution of Ganndhi’s thought by Irfan Habib. Starting as a middle class prejudiced person, Gandhi seems to have changed his views and evolved to what is still an enigmatic personality. Irfan Habib attributes some of it to Gandhi’s exposure to the poor after his return from South Africa.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Gandhi 150th

Gandhi’s 150th anniversary soon. Though it is not fashionable to admire Gandhi, I have always been an admirer of Gandhi without agreeing with him on many things. Of course, it is difficult to say what he finally believed since he changed his opinions on many issues. On one issue I am passionate about, he finally said “Caste has to go”.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

On Saudi missile strikes

India’s flailing state

Premature Imitation and India’s Flailing State “We argue that one reason that India passes laws which are incongruous with its state of development is that Indian elites often take their cues about what is normal, good and desirable from Western elites. There’s nothing wrong with imitation, of course. We hope that good policies will be imitated but imitation in India is often premature. Premature because India does not have the state capacity to enforce the edicts of a developed country.”

VElcheru videos

An unequal burden

An unequal burden Via Madhukar Shukla with the quote "...for the GST paid on the purchase of any input – whether fertiliser, pesticide, pheromone trap, tractor, drip/sprinkler irrigation systems or other agri equipment – the farmer has no means to using it for reducing his tax liability (ITC - Input Tax Credit)... The actual reason is simply that all farm produce attract zero GST. Hence, there’s no way a farmer can claim credit to the extent of GST paid on purchases when he makes a sale..."

On Snowden revelations

Looking back at the Snowden revelations
The brilliant thing about the Snowden leaks was that he didn’t tell us much of anything. He showed us. Most of the revelations came in the form of a Powerpoint slide deck, the misery of which somehow made it all more real. And despite all the revelation fatigue, the things he showed us were remarkable. ”

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

India’s flailing state

Premature Imitation and India’s Flailing State “We argue that one reason that India passes laws which are incongruous with its state of development is that Indian elites often take their cues about what is normal, good and desirable from Western elites. ” 
Lant Pritchett used this term before

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