Friday, July 31, 2015

tears in the rain: from 'blade runner'

this final soliloquy by ray batty, an android replicant, is without a doubt the best monologue in science fiction films of all time. interestingly, the actor, rutger hauer, improvised quite a bit on the lines, but it is a very effective delivery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoAzpa1x7jU

i consider it a must-see clip of about 3 mins. batty the replicant, has defeated decker, the 'blade runner' who is assigned to terminate him. and now that decker is about to fall to his death, batty saves his life; and then the dialog. The dialog!

i have no idea what are "attack ships off the shoulder of orion" or "c beams on tannhauser gate", but it is a beautiful ending. 

my favorite sci fi movies of all time:

1. 2001 a space odyssey
2. blade runner
3. solaris

oddly enough, in all three of them, the most sympathetic, 'human' character is a non-human: in 2001, the computer HAL who loses his mind, in blade runner, the replicant batty, and in solaris the sentient sea that's beaming hallucinogetic images into the spaceship that's bothering it.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fwd: Book Review: The Idea of Justice: Amartya Sen


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt


http://indiafacts.co.in/book-review-idea-justice-amartya-sen/
29-07-2015
This book review is jointly authored by Saradindu Mukherji and Shoumendu Mukherji.
The Nobel laureate in economics makes tremendous use of history, contemporary politics and value systems, with a generous mixing of moral judgement in The Idea of Justice (Amartya Sen, Allen Lane, 2009), like many of his publications and public lectures. This review primarily takes up only such matters.

The idea of justice—the origin of the very concept, its tumultuous growth battling the impediments on its  forward journey, its mechanism, and the debate over its effectiveness, is a formidable intellectual challenge, and so is Sen's critique of Rawls, regarded perhaps rightly as one of the most renowned philosophers of our times.  There is a very interesting discussion of the 'Rational Choice Theory' and 'Sustainable Development and the Environment' and more admirable is the way Sen makes them intelligible to the uninitiated. Throughout the course of history, the idea of justice has been conceived and administered in varying ways depending on the socio-cultural ethos and political systems that prevail in various countries.

The Supreme Court of India has opined, 'justice may be social, moral or legal, meaning between two contesting parties in a court of law, as per the record of the case based on evidence after a fair and impartial trial. Further, it has been held that to secure the 'ends of justice' is to act in the best interest of both parties within the four corners of the statute preserving the balance and sanctity of the Constitutional and statutory  rights of the individual and public at large.'

However, in the present times, the idea of justice as propounded by the Supreme Court of India has often been nixed by the belief that 'justice must be seen to be done (R v Thames (1974) 1 WLR 1371) ' at the cost of 'natural justice i.e. the right to a fair trial' in order to please our society at large where perception often triumphs over 'realism'.

An adverse public opinion is manufactured against the accused prematurely on sub-judice matters without weighing the evidence. This precedent is not only irresponsible but damaging to the very root of our legal framework. 'Rule of law' has two aspects—substantive and procedural, where each element complements the other. Compromising on any one over the other owing to exigency or for 'playing to the galleries' critically scuttles the 'due process of law' and results in'rule of law' becoming nugatory.

Be that as it may at the operational level, Sen offers a cross-country scenario of the concept of justice, spread well over many centuries in this work. We note with much optimism his plea for  clearly remediable injustices around us which we want to eliminate' ( p.vii).

... deleted

china's quasi-naval militia: its fishing boats

http://stockton.usnwc.edu/ils/vol91/iss1/13/

--
sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Ambrose Bierce on the Death Penalty

I have posted this before. Ambrose Bierce's argument is immortal. Yakub was not.

http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/17299/ 

"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," says the Theosophist, "is not justice. It is revenge and unworthy of a Christian civilization." It is exact justice: nobody can think of anything more accurately just than such punishments would be, whatever the motive in awarding them. Unfortunately such a system is not practicable, but he who denies its absolute justice must deny also the justice of a bushel of corn for a bushel of corn, a dollar for a dollar, service for service. We can not undertake by such clumsy means as laws and courts to do to the criminal exactly what he has done to his victim, but to demand a life for a life is simple, practicable, expedient and (therefore) right.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

a video analyzing the modi govt's work so far: gautam sen et al

https://vimeo.com/134699313

--
sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Quick notes: IS' death wish, Turkish double cross...

  • “Attacking in India is the Holy Grail of South Asian jihadists”: The document warns that “preparations” for an attack in India are underway and predicts that an attack will provoke an apocalyptic confrontation with America: “Even if the U.S tries to attack with all its allies, which undoubtedly it will, the ummah will be united, resulting in the final battle.” "Striking in India would magnify the Islamic State’s stature and threaten the stability of the region”. 


  • Obama fails the Kurds: Turkey's 'safe zone' a ploy to crush the Kurds. Turkey launches heaviest air strikes yet on Kurdish group. Why Turkey sees the Kurdish people as a Bigger Threat than ISIS


  • Giving up on govt schools: Rajasthan government's basic premise that private schools are better than the government schools, is grossly flawed. In fact, a five-year study between 2009 and 2013 by the Azim Premji Foundation in rural Andhra Pradesh suggests that private schools are no better than the government schools. The parents preferred sending their wards to private institutions, mainly because of uniforms, discipline, attendance in school (both of children and teachers), and social standing in the community.


  • Environment Minister's "achievements": Until November 2014, a total of 12,05,138 hectares of forest land was diverted for different projects in the country. Actual compensatory afforestation done over non-forest land received was just 7 per cent of the requirement.


  • Of Rasam and Rice: The Humble Lifestyle of Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam


  • Falling demand: Coca-Cola India effects first production cut in a decade


  • Wrong place for crony capitalism: Reliance shale gas returns turn negative in US


  • Rooftop revolution: Organic vegetable farming is taking off in Kerala


  • Salt Lamp: Alternative to kerosene/battery powered lamps takes two tablespoons of salt and a glass of water.


  • Caesarean epidemic: Brazil strives to reduce sky-high C-section rate


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Quick notes: High-net individuals, Iran pipeline...

  • Outflow of high-networth individuals: 61,000 millionaires left India for foreign shores in the past 14 years... Another reason why we should reject "development" that ignores quality of life.


  • Unconventional President: Here was the son of a devout Muslim who could quote most of the verses from the Tamil classic Tirukurral, played the veena, prayed at temples and was a vegetarian.


  • Secularism to go from Nepal constitution: The political parties were forced to take a U-turn after millions of people, in their suggestions and feedback on the new constitution, called for the removal of the word "secularism".


  • From the land of Graham Staines: Church in Australia hid 1000 child sex abusers. Notes relating to abuse claims were destroyed so they would not be discovered. 


  • Return 'Koh-i-Noor' to India: "Pursuing monetary reparations is complex, time consuming and potentially fruitless, but there is no excuse for not returning precious items such as the Koh-i-Noor diamond".


  • India-Iran gas pipeline: Ultra-deepwater pipelines have only become possible in the last decade or so, with the development of new seafloor mapping technologies, huge deep-sea pipe-laying vessels, and undersea robots or autonomous underwater vehicles that can carry out construction, repair, and maintenance tasks at tremendous depths.


  • Rename Aurangzeb Road to Abdul Kalam Marg


  • Reversing cataract:Scientists create eye drop that dissolves cataracts with naturally occurring chemical


  • Will Jaitley succeed in stone-walling this: The court-appointed Special Investigation Team on black money has suggested measures to check inflows through Participatory Notes, which are derivative instruments issued in foreign jurisdictions by an FII against underlying Indian securities.


  • Are night shifts killing me? There has been a steady stream of studies over recent years that suggests long-term night-working is extremely bad for your health.


  • How many showers would you skip to help the beef industry? By skipping 26 showers for every 4 oz hamburger you eat, you can offset the water used to produce it.


  • Kosher beachwear: ‘Modest’ Bathing Suits Make a Splash.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Quick notes: Steel debt, Diamond trade...

  • Indian steel industry and the banks' gamble: The Indian steel industry has $50 billion in debt, 10 times what the steelmakers earned in the last financial year. The more steel India produces at uncompetitive prices, the bigger the eventual hit to lenders, particularly state-owned banks. So it is in their own interest to cut off life support to producers, eliminating superfluous capacity.


  • Indian steel, then and now: The famous iron pillar of Qutab Minar in Delhi made centuries ago by our traditional lohars still stands proudly without rusting or corroding. The steel being produced by our modern degree-holders is of such poor standard that even the not too quality-conscious Railway Ministry has alleged that tracks made of SAIL steel crack up and corrode within months of installation, causing numerous rail accidents.

    Temples and houses made by our traditional sthapathis have withstood the ravages of centuries. Even as ruins, they look aesthetic and grand. The housing colonies designed and constructed by our modern degree-holding architects look like eyesores from the day they are built and start falling apart before they are occupied.

    If we take away the disadvantages that ignorance of English brings with it, our traditional technologists -- ironsmiths, weavers, carpenters, sthapathis and other metallurgists -- would fare much better in gaining entrance to scientific and engineering institutions as well as in the world of manufacturing.


  • Hedge Fund Intern: A 'monkey' could be a junior banker at a place like Goldman Sachs


  • How Indian families took over the Antwerp diamond trade from orthodox Jews: Indians have come to control almost three-quarters of Antwerp’s diamond industry. Antwerp’s Indian diamantaires are almost without exception Jains and tend to import personal cooks from India. Many wouldn’t even tolerate a non-vegetarian in the kitchen.


  • Pope Francis’s environmental message falls on deaf ears: Australia to earn $1.5bn a year from China cattle exports


  • The joy of less car traffic: Stockholm will ban cars for one day this fall.


  • Language and Minority: "While living in a different State, it is only appropriate for the linguistic minority to learn the regional language. The resistance to learn the regional language will lead to alienation from the mainstream of life resulting in linguistic fragmentation within the State, which is an anathema to national integration. The learning of different language will definitely bridge the cultural barriers and will positively contribute to the cultural integration of the country".


  • "Inspired" by film, Delhi serial rapist killed 40 kids: Ravinder has told the police his inspiration came from “Maa”, a Hindi film released in 1992, in which an actor was shown raping and murdering children.


  • Real Voice Lesson 1: Tune Your Voice Now


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Salman Khan - National Security Risk


A recorded phone conversation between Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan where Salman Khan boasts of links to Dawood, Shakeel and other underworld dons, and also prior knowledge of the Mumbai Blasts of 1992, was dubiously brushed aside as fake in 2005.

http://www.dawn.com/news/156941/salman-cleared-in-aishwarya-tape-case

Strangely enough, the actual voice recording is hard to come by and the specific part where Salman was chest thumping on his prior information of the Mumbai Blasts of 1992, is not available anywhere whether as audio file or transcript.


Why is not the Modi government going after this guy? Why is this traitor still free?






Monday, July 20, 2015

Quick notes: Biopiracy, Diet issues...

  • Biopiracy: India blocks Colgate patents for spices. Thanks to the traditional knowledge digital library (TKDL) database, created in the last decade to fight biopiracy.


  • A meatless argument: Both NPR and NYT have usually been liberal when it comes to coverage of the disastrous implications of a global meat diet for the environment, not to mention animal lives. When it comes to India though, not only have these environmental and animal ethics aspects been ignored, but a wholly insulting edifice of distortion and disdain has been erected on that silence about what “diet” issues are all about. Using the cliched and colonial trope of starving children, we are offered one more lesson in how Hinduism is somehow responsible for all that is wrong in India today.


  • Britain Does Owe Reparations - Shashi Tharoor:



  • Macaulay's children:

    Quora: Why do Hindu seculars in India fight for other religions while they abuse their own religion?

    Maria's Wirth's Answer: This is a long story that started in 1835 when a politician called Thomas Macauley pleaded in the British Parliament to replace the Sanskrit gurukuls in India with English education. He argued that if Britain wants to successfully subdue Indians, they need to be cut off from their culture. Macauley got his way.

    From then on, the Indian elite had to send their children to English medium schools, if they wanted them to make it in life. Naturally, the kids didn’t hear much about their own great culture and whatever little they heard, was negative. And since they didn’t learn Sanskrit, they could not check it out for themselves.

    Ironically, this happened at a time, when the European elite had discovered Sanskrit and India’s wisdom and were stunned by its depth. This discovery contributed to the so called era of enlightenment in Europe which resulted in a separation between state and Church.

    Yet Indian children were taught from mid-19th century onwards, how great and accomplished Britain was. It suited the colonial masters to have “educated natives” who held them and their lifestyle, including their religion, in high esteem. In return, they, especially those who had converted to the western religions, were allowed to feel superior to the ‘superstitious Indian masses’.

    Brainwashing works. And Indians proved that it lasts even over several generations. Those who abuse their own religion are generally “Macauley’s children” who feel proud that they are fluent in English and don’t realize that they have been uprooted in the interest of their former masters.

    These people never delved into the rich Indian heritage. Yet in spite of their ignorance, they claim that India has nothing to offer. They don’t really claim it: they shout it, so that any opposition to their view cannot be heard. Of course this is not a healthy state of affairs, but it plays out often on Indian news channels: Macauley’s children (or should I call them ‘anti-Hindu brigade’?) accuse and insinuate about Hinduism what the British convent schools had taught them. And of course they have a very favorable view of the “western religions” and are ever ready to support them.

    These people, so far at least, dominated the institutions, including those who are responsible for school syllabi and sadly the bias against their own tradition got perpetuated even in independent India.

    “Islam and Christianity are the only religions which treated  man with honour and equality” 5th graders learnt in West Bengal, as Arun Shourie pointed out in his Eminent Historians Page 68

    This is taken from my article. here is full article: Dalai Lama: “India has great potential to help the world”




  • First ever Sanskrit animatics film!:


Sunday, July 19, 2015

prof narayanan komerath massacres the rajiv malhotra smear campaign

difficult to withstand narayanan's withering criticism, well supported by quotes and references :-)

my piece on the rajiv malhotra imbroglio

actually, it turns out wendy has a new book she wants to push. so i suspect this whole charade is an elaborate PR exercise gone horribly wrong :-)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Quick notes: Solar canals, Yash Nelapati...

Cinematic Revolution - Made in India



The latest turn of events at the box office shows that the times, they are a-changing. A new cinematic path has been lit up, which beckons audiences and filmmakers alike:

http://www.newindianexpress.com/columns/ravi_shankar/A-Blockbuster-That-Busts-Old-Myths/2015/07/19/article2927707.ece

If Bollywood pretends to ignore this kick in the teeth, and continues orbiting around the Khanate, then it's time to throw out the Bollywood with the bathwater. There are other more creative talent pools rising who can reap the profits instead of them.



Incidentally, for those who don't speak Telugu, here's a translation of the lyrics for that nifty theme song:

http://telugupaatanamaata.blogspot.ca/2015/06/mamathala-talli-lyrics-and-translation.html



Friday, July 17, 2015

Quick notes: Saudi funds, Iranian port...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

[micheldanino] Please see my response to Mihir Sharma's abusive article in Business Standard


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michel Danino


 

 

From: Michel Danino


 

Please see my response to Mihir S Sharma's abusive article "The Rajiv Malhotra issue is a cautionary tale for publishers" in Business Standard:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/mihir-s-sharma-the-publishers-and-the-crackpots-115071401453_1.html

(My response is at the end of the article.)

 

I thanked the editors for publishing my response and added "I do hope Mr Mihir Sharma will in future take some care to distinguish between critique and abuse."

 

Regards,

 

Michel

 

 




--
sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

michel danino lectures at IIT Kanpur on indian civilization

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpLmekO2E3ZxfgHTkVMWDxnOv_lu5XEBl

--
sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity

Fwd: The psyche and the power of a 'Smart Troll'


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt


http://www.dnaindia.com/india/comment-the-psyche-and-the-power-of-a-smart-troll-2104891
Wednesday, 15 July 2015 - 7:30pm IST
Do not generalise and mix them up with abusive trolls.

Last Sunday was a busy one. On Twitter, at least. The sudden surge in activity on an otherwise lazy Twitter day, was all about the anatomy of Internet trolls – an article by novelist Chetan Bhagat. A few weeks before this, a senior celebrity journalist, a favourite of Internet Trolls, had also written an article on the same subject. In the last few months, or should we say since the advent of a brand called NaMo, the discussion on trolls has moved from private conversations to mainstream media. And of course, on social media, it's omnipresent.

It kept me wondering, why are we fighting for such an inane issue when India has much bigger challenges? A little research gave me some insight into the minds of trolls and those who claim to be trolled.

First, who is a troll? I asked this on Twitter and received hundreds of replies. Here are a few, in no particular order:

-    A user with fewer followers, who persists on giving unsolicited, contrarian views to a user with more followers.
-    Has come to mean a cheap abuse in India. Genuine Internet trolls however are very knowledgeable and cool people.
-    Any speech from anyone I dislike.
-    TROLL = watchdog.
-    Showing a mirror and embarrassing them with facts and figures is trolling.
-    Anyone who talks sense that is nonsense to others is a troll
-    Everybody is somebody else's troll.
-    For a left liberal, whoever calls his/her bluff is a troll
-    A Hindu who questions the facts? A Hindu who doesn't let them spin facts? A Hindu who is equipped with facts and exposes their hypocrisy.
-    If you disagree with me, or lose a debate, you are trolling.
-    Begaani shaadi mein abdullah deewana :)

... deleted

Fwd: Inequitable power dynamics of global knowledge production and exchange must be confronted head on


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/04/29/redrawing-the-map-from-access-to-participation/

he research environment in the global South faces many pressing challenges given resource inequality. Technical and financial issues aside, Laura Czerniewicz asserts it is the values and practices shaped by the Northern research agenda which contribute just as much to the imbalance. In order to confront these inequities, perceptions of "science" and research outputs must be broadened, and the open access movement needs to also broaden its focus from access to knowledge to full participation in knowledge creation and in scholarly communication.

Showing "The World of Science", the map below portrays global research production as expressed through science journals' publishing in the early 2000s. It makes a dramatic point about the complexities of global inequalities in knowledge production and exchange. What would it take to redraw the knowledge production map to realise a vision of a more equitable and accurate world of knowledge?

If you map the world by scientific research output, things look rather uneven. Fr

Disparities

... deleted

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Film Review: Bahubali

Filmmaker S. S. Rajamouli has turned out a grand mythological epic with Bahubali, a fictional story set in the past and drawing from various archetypes and stylistic elements of Hindu mythology:




http://www.bollywoodlife.com/news-gossip/9-box-office-records-which-ss-rajamoulis-baahubali-broke/

http://www.ibnlive.com/news/movies/indias-fastest-rs-100-crore-film-baahubali-creates-a-storm-1020011.html

This big-budget production has been doing great at the box office, and has even attracted the notice of various foreign film reviewers. Like "300" or Peter Jackson's Tolkien movies, Bahubali features top-notch visual fx, along with spectacular battle sequences on a massive scale. It also features traditional moral themes of honour, loyalty and sacrifice. The enthusiastic audience reaction to this movie may potentially trigger a wave of mythological cinema epics featuring film industry musclemen.

Be prepared for a hefty ticket price, but definitely worth seeing - you get what you pay for.

Quick notes: Bridging the gap, NYT's racism...


Monday, July 13, 2015

Quick notes: Wafer fab, 'A' film...

  • Indian Wafer Fab Will be Specialty Foundry: The analog/power wafer fab strategy is well-aligned to India's needs and is seen as an investable project."


  • 'A' film once, not so later: 172 films labelled "A" had been re-certified between October 2012 and March 2015 as "U/A" without following set procedure. Favoritism under Leela Samson?


  • National Agriculture Market: Big-Bang Reform for the benefit of rural population – A valid licensee of the National Agriculture Market should get access to any market in India; why is it restricted to within a state? Can The Government Pull It Off?


  • Air pollution may be causing deadly floods: Air pollution may be causing monsoons to hit South and East Asia earlier and harder. “Effectively it redistributed the precipitation from the wide area of the basin into the mountains.”


  • Raga Jhinjhoti:
     महादेव विश्वंभर
     जटा जूट त्रिनैन निलकंठ

     व्याघ्रांबर अोढे शिव
     भस्म लगा के अंग
     श्रुंगी नाद पूरन बाजत



  • Oil Giant To Build World's Largest Solar Project: The Miraah project will produce 6,000 tons of steam per day


  • Integral Coach Factory: The Debroy committee set up to find ways to reform railways has suggested autonomy for ICF, allowing it to face competition from the private sector. "Dangerous to expose ICF to competition at this stage".


Sunday, July 12, 2015

India Needs Real Reforms to Avoid Pipe Dream

Without real progress on economic reforms, the current BJP govt is in danger of India Shining 2.0 - the gap between rhetoric and reality is wide enough that more effort must be made to address it:

http://www.afr.com/opinion/india-needs-economic-reform-to-avoid-a-pipe-dream-20150712-giae6u

Industry Changes May Cloud the Future of India's Tech Economy

The future looks increasingly cloud-y, and if Indian tech firms don't adapt, they may not have a future:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/indias-outsourcing-firms-change-direction-as-cloud-moves-in-1436740981

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Harmful consequences of mindless meat consumption

Brilliant article by strategic affairs thinker - Brahma Chellaney regarding the harmful consequences of large scale Beef consumption for the environment and ecosystem. The cruel Western model of industrial scale livestock production for the purpose of slaughter to simply satiate the vulgar lust of human beings for animal flesh is simply unconscionable and unsustainable.

Enlightened minds - even in the West are giving up meat and taking to Dharmic traditions such as Yoga, Pranayaam and meditation.

Unfortunately, colonized and enslaved minds in India (Kancha Ilaiah clones) are enamoured of the failed carnivorous Western model and vigorously promote Beef as the panacea to "hunger, malnutrition, starvation" etc and insist on slaughter in the name of "modernity", "minority right to nutrition" etc.

In this context, I would like to state my theorem: "A Hindu willingly eating Beef is akin to committing incest with his mother."

Please draw your own conclusions.

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/climate-friendly-diet-meat-consumption-by-brahma-chellaney-2015-06

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fwd: China's new sweeping national security law has European and American companies shaking


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Cap


http://www.businessinsider.com/chinas-new-sweeping-national-security-law-has-european-and-american-companies-shaking-2015-7
ANDREA CHIN, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
Jul. 9, 2015, 10:36 PM

The mainland's sweping national security law and a series of related laws in the making have created legal uncertainty for foreign companies and new hurdles for their investment, said Michael Clauss, the German ambassador to China.

The European Union delegation to China sought clarification over the definition of national security and suggested specific changes in five pages of feedback on the draft of the new national security legislation during its public consultation.

"But none of [the changes] has been taken up," Clauss said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.

His remarks came after the National People's Congress passed a sweeping and controversial national security law on July 1 that defined any threat to the state's power, sovereignty, or the sustainable growth of the economy as a threat to national security.

The new law said that China would introduce a vetting scheme to scrutinise any foreign investment that posed a risk to national security.

Beijing is also deliberating at least three other related, but more detailed, laws on foreign investment, cyber security, and foreign NGOs.

... deleted

Fwd: Japan wants its first taste of a multinational defense project


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt


http://www.businessinsider.com/r-exclusive-japan-interested-in-joining-nato-missile-consortium---sources-2015-7
TIM KELLY AND NOBUHIRO KUBO, REUTERS
Jul. 9, 2015, 8:07 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is interested in joining a NATO missile building consortium that would give Tokyo its first taste of a multinational defense project, a move the U.S. Navy is encouraging because it could pave the way for Japan to lead similar partnerships in Asia, sources said.

The 12-country NATO consortium oversees development and shares the costs of the SeaSparrow missile, an advanced ship-borne weapon designed to destroy anti-ship sea-skimming missiles and attack aircraft. The missile is made by U.S. weapons firms Raytheon and General Dynamics.

In May, Japanese naval officers traveled to a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting in The Hague to learn more about the consortium, Japan's navy and a U.S. source familiar with the trip told Reuters.

Two Japanese sources familiar with the initiative said discussions in Tokyo were at an early stage, although joining the consortium would dovetail with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's more muscular security agenda, which included the lifting last year of a decades-old ban on arms exports.

... deleted

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Quick notes: Minority tag, Screen addiction...

22M US Govt Employees Exposed by China Hack Attack

Information on over 22 million US govt employees and their families and friends may have been obtained by China in a recent hacking attack:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/07/09/hack-of-security-clearance-system-affected-21-5-million-people-federal-authorities-say/

One has to wonder how much information China has hacked from India, which is far more vulnerable.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Gene Therapy May Cure Deafness

A new gene therapy trial has cured deafness in mice, and may potentially be tried out on humans in 5 years:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3153860/Gene-therapy-deafness-moves-steps-closer.html

The Idea of Plurality

From Erwin Schrödinger's 1944 work What Is Life?
As a reward for the serious trouble I have taken to expound the purely scientific aspects of our problem sine ira et, studio, I beg leave to add my own, necessarily subjective, view of the philosophical implications.

According to the evidence put forward in the preceding pages the space-time events in the body of a living being which correspond to the activity of its mind, to its self-conscious or any other actions, are (considering also their complex structure and the accepted statistical explanation of physico-chemistry) if not strictly deterministic at any rate statistico-deterministic.

But there is a randomness requirement for mind to break the causal chain of determinism To the physicist I wish to emphasize that in my opinion, and contrary to the opinion upheld in some quarters, quantum indeterminacy plays no biologically relevant role in them, except perhaps by enhancing their purely accidental character in such events as meiosis, natural and X-ray-induced mutation and so on — and this is in any case obvious and well recognized. For the sake of argument, let me regard this as a fact, as I believe every unbiased biologist would, if there were not the well-known, unpleasant feeling about 'declaring oneself to be a pure mechanism'. For it is deemed to contradict Free Will as warranted by direct introspection. But immediate experiences in themselves, however various and disparate they be, are logically incapable of contradicting each other. So let us see whether we cannot draw the correct, non-contradictory conclusion from the following two premises:

(i) My body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature.
(ii) Yet I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions, of which I foresee the effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in which case I feel and take full responsibility for them.

The only possible inference from these two facts is, I think, that I — I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt 'I' — am the person, if any, who controls the 'motion of the atoms' according to the Laws of Nature. Within a cultural milieu (Kulturkreis) where certain conceptions (which once had or still have a wider meaning amongst other peoples) have been limited and specialized, it is daring to give to this conclusion the simple wording that it requires. In Christian terminology to say: 'Hence I am God Almighty' sounds both blasphemous and lunatic. But please disregard these connotations for the moment and consider whether the above inference is not the closest a biologist can get to proving God and immortality at one stroke.

In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records to my knowledge date back some 2,500 years or more. From the early great Upanishads the recognition ATHMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts. Again, the mystics of many centuries, independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal gas) have described, each of them, the unique experience of his or her life in terms that can be condensed in the phrase: DEUS FACTUS SUM (I have become God).

To Western ideology the thought has remained a stranger, in spite of Schopenhauer and others who stood for it and in spite of those true lovers who, as they look into each other's eyes, become aware that their thought and their joy are numerically one — not merely similar or identical; but they, as a rule, are emotionally too busy to indulge in clear thinking, in which respect they very much resemble the mystic.

Allow me a few further comments. Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular. Even in the pathological cases of split consciousness or double personality the two persons alternate, they are never manifest simultaneously. In a dream we do perform several characters at the same time, but not indiscriminately: we are one of them; in him we act and speak directly, while we often eagerly await the answer or response of another person, unaware of the fact that it is we who control his movements and his speech just as much as our own.

How does the idea of plurality (so emphatically opposed by the Upanishad writers) arise at all? Consciousness finds itself intimately connected with, and dependent on, the physical state of a limited region of matter, the body. (Consider the changes of mind during the development of the body, as puberty, ageing, dotage, etc., or consider the effects of fever, intoxication, narcosis, lesion of the brain and so on.) Now, there is a great plurality of similar bodies. Hence the pluralization of consciousnesses or minds seems a very suggestive hypothesis. Probably all simple, ingenuous people, as well as the great majority of Western philosophers, have accepted it.

It leads almost immediately to the invention of souls, as many as there are bodies, and to the question whether they are mortal as the body is or whether they are immortal and capable of existing by themselves. The former alternative is distasteful, while the latter frankly forgets, ignores or disowns the facts upon which the plurality hypothesis rests. Much sillier questions have been asked: Do animals also have souls? It has even been questioned whether women, or only men, have souls.

Such consequences, even if only tentative, must make us suspicious of the plurality hypothesis, which is common to all official Western creeds. Are we not inclining to much greater nonsense, if in discarding their gross superstitions we retain their naive idea of plurality of souls, but 'remedy' it by declaring the souls to be perishable, to be annihilated with the respective bodies?

The only possible alternative is simply to keep to the immediate experience that consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown; that there is only one thing and that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of this one thing, produced by a deception (the Indian MAYA); the same illusion is produced in a gallery of mirrors, and in the same way Gaurisankar and Mt Everest turned out to be the same peak seen from different valleys.

What Is Life? 
Erwin Schrödinger
1944

As China Stocks Plunge, NYSE Suffers Mysterious Trading Halt

China's precipitous stock market plunge continues, with no sign of abatement:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-stock-market-crash-punches-a-hole-in-xis-china-dream/2015/07/08/13d22e66-2579-11e5-b621-b55e495e9b78_story.html

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-stock-market-crash-is-just-beginning-2015-07-08

Strangely, the New York Stock Exchange has suddenly halted all trading, due to "technical problems":

https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/07/08/chinas-web-users-find-nyse-shutdown-hilarious/

http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/2015/07/08/nyse-mysteriously-halts-all-trading/


Given China's track record of cyber-attacks, there's always reason to be watchful of them. If a dire financial crisis (like a runaway stock market plunge) were to make that country's leadership feel threatened enough, there's no reason why they wouldn't attack the computer systems of foreign trading exchanges in order to disrupt them and impose a global "circuit-breaker" to save their own markets from meltdown.

Russia Bans Yoga as 'Evil Cult'

Russian officials have banned yoga on the grounds that it can be the basis for 'evil religious cults':

http://time.com/3942725/russian-yoga-ban-religious-cults-nizhnevartovsk/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-bans-yoga-as-part-of-crackdown-on-religious-cults-10355676.html

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Tata Invests in Electric Vehicles

Tata is investing in Ampere Private Vehicles Ltd, a producer of electric vehicles including motorcycles and scooters:

http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/ratan-tata-bets-big-on-electric-vehicle-company-ampere-in-coimbatore/article7396545.ece

Given his past interest in low-cost transportation options for the masses, it might be useful for Ratan Tata to take a look at the interesting approach that LIT Motors in California has been taking:






India, Pak Set to Join SCO

India and Pakistan are about to become members of the Shanghai Cooperative Organization:

http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/india-and-pakistan-are-set-to-join-the-shanghai-cooperation-organization-so-what/

I think one of the reasons this is happening is because China is now trying to upend the Russians to make them a junior partner, and therefore India and Pak are being brought in to mitigate the effects of that. Certainly, China's new "One Belt, One Road" initiative heavily affects Central Asia, and China did not bother to consult with anyone before embarking on this unilaterally.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Quick notes: AMCA, Fuel cookie...

  • From Tejas to AMCA: While the IAF will be praised if the AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, an indigenous Gen-5 fighter) meets its objectives, credit should really go to the unfairly vilified DRDO-HAL-ADA combine for leapfrogging three generations of technology in developing the fourth-generation Tejas fighter.

    In this process, the LCA project has catalysed an aerospace eco-structure, and a design experience, that will be the essential springboard to the AMCA. With much of these Gen-4 technologies currently being refined for the Tejas Mark II, the AMCA team can focus on the Gen-5 challenges.


  • Fuel Cookie from waste wood: 84% less wood and 98% less emissions than traditional open fires.



  • Air pollution makes your brain age faster, destroying white matter like a neurotoxin.


  • The Myth of Big, Bad Gluten: Maybe shifts in our intestinal microbial communities, driven by antibiotics and hygiene, have contributed.


  • Kalyug:


  • Chainless e-bike:

Lessons from Vyapam Scam: Free Up Education From State Control

The Vyapam corruption scam and the ensuing series of deaths around it are opening a new debate:

http://www.financialexpress.com/article/fe-columnist/editorial-vyapams-larger-lesson/96144/

While the West has plenty of private institutions of higher learning, India prefers state control over education. Absolute state control has encouraged state corruption, and we are seeing some of the effects of that in this latest scam affair. One answer to what we're seeing unfolding now is to free up education from the clutches of the state.

China Engineers "Double Muscle" Pigs

Chinese scientists have created a "double muscle" version of their domestic pig:

http://www.nature.com/news/super-muscly-pigs-created-by-small-genetic-tweak-1.17874


With pork being a main staple food in China, then like the Belgian Blue cattle, obviously a hyper-muscular breed could help provide its citizenry with more protein.




With the Indian govt calling for a new 'green revolution' after the first one wore out about 30 years ago, it's worth asking if genetic engineering of livestock could provide useful dividends to the country, beyond just crop engineering. Even for those who don't eat meat, livestock are still a source of dairy output, not to mention farm work.

Communism meets Free Market Economics

The world just figured out that free market economics and capitalism are two different things.

http://www.businessinsider.in/GREECE-JUST-TAUGHT-CAPITALISTS-A-LESSON-ABOUT-WHAT-CAPITALISM-REALLY-MEANS/articleshow/47952397.cms

Greece has effectively voted to default on its debt to the IMF and the EU, and it is a massive defeat for Germany's Angela Merkel and the troika she led, which insisted there was no way out for Greece but to pay back its massive debts.

The vote is huge lesson for conservatives and anyone else who thinks this is about a dilettante government of left-wing idealists who think they can flout the law while staging some kind of Che Guevara-esque dream:

Wrong.

This is what capitalism is really about.

From the beginning, Merkel and the EU have operated from the position that because Greece took on debt, Greece now needs to pay it back. That position assumed - bizarrely, in hindsight - that debt only works one way: if you lend someone money, then they pay it back.

But that is NOT how free markets work.

Debt is not a guarantee of future payments in full. Rather, it is a risk that creditors take, in hopes of maybe being paid tomorrow.

The key word there is "risk."

If you're willing to take the risk, you'll get a premium - in the form of interest.

But the downside of that risk is that you lose your money. And Greece just called Germany's bluff.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

100,000MW of costly solar power can sink ‘Make in India’

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Swaminomics/100000mw-of-costly-solar-power-can-sink-make-in-india/

Narendra Modi has raised the target for solar electric capacity from 20,000MW to 100,000MW by 2022 at a cost of maybe $100 billion. This is a serious blunder. It will sabotage his “Make in India” plans by technically disrupting the whole electricity grid, and raising the cost of a critical manufacturing input — electricity.
(Stupid Goal) X (Competent Execution) = Disaster

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Quick notes: CM-ul-Mulk, Hydrogen production...

Friday, July 03, 2015

Ellen Pao Triggers Reddit Revolt

Having taken over leadership of Reddit, unskilled maverick Ellen Pao seems to be determined to drive it into the ground:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/07/03/reddit-revolt/29662485/

http://dailycaller.com/2015/07/03/ex-reddit-employee-says-ceo-ellen-pao-fired-him-because-he-had-leukemia/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102808806

Her dictatorial policies have triggered a revolt by the millions of users of the Reddit site. Clearly Pao doesn't seem to understand that she can't dictate to her customers, and if she does, they may just decide to go elsewhere. Reddit is ripe for being disrupted, should any rival step forth to offer comparable services - just as people once abandoned Digg for Reddit.

Quick notes: AfPak threat, Delhi publicity...

Fwd: For the first time, India uses 'right to reply' to cut short Pak's Kashmir blame game


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Capt.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/for-the-first-time-india-uses-right-to-reply-to-cut-short-paks-kashmir-blame-game/articleshow/47918727.cms
Rahul Tripathi, ET Bureau | 3 Jul, 2015, 05.39AM IST
NEW DELHI: Amid reports of Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Ufa in Russia, the two countries were locked in a bitter tussle at the ongoing United Nation Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva where New Delhi, for the first time, used its 'right to reply' to send a strong message to its neighbour. The right to reply is a special rule allowing a delegate to interrupt a speaker.

Under the Modi government, there has been a constant endeavour to name and shame Pakistan at international forums and the opportunity was used by India's delegation in Geneva as well.

In a statement, India also criticised Pakistan's move to raise matters related to J&K at the UN forum and asked Islamabad to look deep within over killings of innocent children atPeshawar in December 2014.

For the first time, India uses 'right to reply' to cut short Pak's Kashmir blame game

"A part of the territories of our state remains under the forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan. It is unfortunate that in recent times the people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have become victims of sectarian conflict, terrorism and extreme economic hardship because of Pakistan's occupation and discriminatory policies," India said at the UN.

The provocation came from Pakistan. It said: "The people of J&K have been denied their right to selfdetermination, subjected to consistent and forceful foreign occupation and their democratic rights have been usurped and suppressed by conduction of sham elections at gun-point."

The rebuttal from India underlined the fact that J&K has recorded 65% voter turnout in the recently concluded assembly polls, despite threats from Pakistan-based terror groups.



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sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity