Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Browsing "Localizing Development"

by Ghazala Mansuri and Vijayendra Rao, available online at several places. From The Guardian review:
"But their most striking conclusion is that although community participation has had some success in improving outcomes in health and education, it has been less effective in reducing poverty, or in building capacity for collective action. The most crucial factor behind successful community participation is "support from a responsive state", the authors argue.....The report has not gone unchallenged"
From another review:
"The new framework used by Drs. Rao and Mansuri examined how participatory interventions can repair civil society failure. "The same types of failures that happen at the market and government level - like coordination problems, and inequality in access to power and information - also happen at the social and community level,” says Dr. Rao. “Effective development projects need to address the challenges that arise from the intersection of all areas of potential failure – in markets, governments and civil society.”
Drs. Rao and Mansuri reviewed nearly 500 published studies of participatory projects and uncovered many common issues. For instance, most projects in communities with high inequality had worse outcomes because the most poor and marginalized members were not included in decision-making and rarely benefited from new resources. Also, participatory projects rarely built long-lasting cohesion in the community, and sometimes reinforced divisions between social groups. 
“From our report, the take-away lessons for governments and organizations are that they need to design projects according to a community’s context, make mid-course corrections if necessary, and learn to work within uncertain trajectories of change ,” says Dr. Rao. "
In case study from Indonesia, Abhijit Bannerjee and collaborators report ". However, while elite capture exists, the welfare losses it creates appear small: since formal elites and their relatives are only 9 percent richer than non-elites, are at most about 8 percentage points more likely to receive benefits than non-elites, and represent at most 15 percent of the population, eliminating elite capture entirely would improve the welfare gains from these programs by less than one percent."
I am still browsing through these reports which may take a few weeks or months but they seem interesting to me and not yet mentioned enough (as far as I could find) in the popular aid sites.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An economist looks at Whorfian hypothesis

From '5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think'(via MindHacks):
"While “futured languages,” like English, distinguish between the past, present and future, “futureless languages,” like Chinese, use the same phrasing to describe the events of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Using vast inventories of data and meticulous analysis, Chen found that huge economic differences accompany this linguistic discrepancy. Futureless language speakers are 30 percent more likely to report having saved in any given year than futured language speakers. (This amounts to 25 percent more savings by retirement, if income is held constant.) Chen’s explanation: When we speak about the future as more distinct from the present, it feels more distant — and we’re less motivated to save money now in favor of monetary comfort years down the line."

Can this be true?

From The Outlook 'Leash Here,Lash There' (via Brown Pundits)
"Pakistan sends back 50 stray dogs in response to one Indian stray reaching Lahore"
Manto's 'The Dog of Tithwal'

Monday, February 25, 2013

Minai on

Minai gives hints about using (Public Access Digital Media Archive, see also She also "So I took the liberty of using my account at (free signup) and creating annotations for all of the dances in the film (except Labor and Machinery which is already annotated). How convenient it is to be able to easily click on a description and go right to that particular dance.  I also added any facts and tidbits about the dances I found from various articles and theses/dissertations."

And then they were Dhonied

says Brydon Coverdale: "And then they were Dhonied. Pace or spin, strike weapon or part-timer, everyone suffered at the hands of India's captain. But he hurt Lyon the most, taking him for 91 of his 206 runs at a strike-rate of 124.65. Dhoni put Lyon off his game. If he tossed the ball up, Dhoni drove him down the ground. If he went quicker and flatter, Dhoni worked the ball easily through gaps. Having another spinner would not have changed anything.
As the session wore on and Dhoni attacked Lyon, while effortlessly milking the fast men at will, Michael Clarke was left wondering what more he could do? He tried fielders in close, he tried them deep. His men came over the wicket, they came around. Frustratingly for Clarke, they missed several half-chances. There was a sharp return chance to Clarke, a six that Henriques might have reeled in had he found a better position on the boundary. A crisp flick that Cowan couldn't grasp at short leg. All tough, but all opportunities."
One of the few days on which I watched cricket turned out to be a Dhoni special.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Salil Chowdhury on IPTA

From an interview with Kalpana Biswas "You will notice that many such artists came out of the farming communities of different parts of India and joined the IPTA movement. These phenomena continued well after the Independence. But gradually we found that the movement lost its momentum. The groups started breaking up. Some still lament the fact that IPTA did not last. Personally I think that the movement did not die, instead it gave birth to multiple similar dramatic and musical groups, which followed the ideals IPTA was based on � art for the people and by the people. Those new cultural organizations sprang up all over India. After this happened, there was no need to have another organization called IPTA. This was one reason. Secondly, gradually visible cracks in the leftist political movements in India and abroad brought tremendous hopelessness among our intellectuals. We saw that China and Russia were bickering; Yugoslavia separated itself from the politics of Eastern Europe, and the politics in Vietnam took a different shape. We also saw that the Communist parties in France and Italy were going their own ways and proposing quite different things. These events created enormous confusion and frustration among our intellectuals and spawned several communist parties of various flavors, such as, CPI (Communist Party of India), CPI (M � Marxist), Naxalite (Leninist-Maoist), parties among other, and had great impact on our progressive cultural movements. Now, this confusion and hopelessness among the leftist intellectuals and artists helped abstraction in art rise again and champion art for art's sake. Gradually vulgarity became quite commonplace on the public stage, such as, cabaret dances were introduced in the public theatre, even in Jatras (folk theatres). This kind of onslaught on progressive cultural movement began because the united left cultural movement broke up. These days we are observing a new spark. Many artists of today are consciously thinking about ways to start a united leftist cultural movement. I have discussed this possibility with many of them. But I believe that we cannot bring back the old IPTA any longer. We cannot think of singing songs or staging dramas of that scale that we attained during those days. The biggest reason why we cannot do what we did thirty to thirty five years ago is that the climate of mass media of communication has changed radically during all these years. During those years not more than ten to twelve movies used to be made in a year, so we could stage our plays to rival the cinema of that time. In those days movies were the vehicles of clean story telling. Stories mostly from the works of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, and from Indian Classics were made into movies. Except a few, most of those stories were never a threat to our cultural revolutionary movement, so our radical plays could easily compete with the movies during those years. But the number of movies has gone up from ten a year to six hundred a year in last thirty years! And most of these movies are made in Hindi."
More in the interview and the site
I do not understand why many of these leftists kept their caste names .A few like Pucchalapalli Sundarayya, Kondapati Seetharamaiah droped Reddy from their names but a majority of leftists did not. Some farms of IPTA with other flavours still continue. Some recent activities in Hyderabad "Andhra Pradesh Praja Natya Mandali, affiliated to Indian Peoples Theatre Association will be organizing “Praja Kala Utsavaalu” in Ravindra Bharati here from January 7 to 9[2013]."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some good quality old films on YouTube

at I am just watching the 1936 film Amar Jyoti
From a comment in Songs on the Footpath, it seems that another channel of the same person is temporarily shut down. Some foreign folks are taking a lot of trouble to clean up some of old Indian films and make them presentable.

A young Suraiya (14) singing for Mehtab

From Sanjog 1943, which has several other Suraiya songs

Friday, February 22, 2013

Transmission of democracy

The Transmission of Democracy: From Village to the Nation-State by Giuliano and Nunn

Abstract. We provide evidence that a tradition of village democracy is associated with the presence of national democracy today. We also show that a tradition of local democracy is associated with attitudes that  are more supportive of democracy, with better quality institutions, and  with  higher levels of economic development.  Our findings  indicate  persistence in democratic institutions over
time,  and suggest the importance of traditional local institutions for wellfunctioning national-level institutions.
via Chris Blattman post The Athens Affect
Similar earlier posts here and here.

Another Telugu autobiography

This is the fourth I read recently written by people from farmer families in Krishna -Guntur districts. The first two Bidabratuku (భీద బ్రతుకు) by Yalamanchili Venkatappaiah(1895-1997) written in1987 and nirjana varadhi (నిర్జన వారధి) by Kondapalli Koteswaramma written around the age of 90, describe the social conditions, exposure to inpendece struggle, nationalism, communism from 1930s. Both are short and excellent. Here is an interview with Koteswaramma. The third is the autobiography of Kodali Kamalamma (1916-)(online, made available by her children) written around 2008. She took part in the independence struggle is an atheist who followed Gora. Though the rest of the family seems somewhat traditional, she seemed to continue with her ideas and walked on burning coals at the age of 68 to debunk miracles. 
I just browsed through the autobiography of Katragadda Murari (1944-), a film producer from the same area with a similar family background and gives glimpses of the next couple of generations. The family is richer, the older generation supported both independence movement as well as communists and played hosts to several communists were underground in the late forties and early fifties. Murari grew up in joint family and there is much about his problems growing up the scars of which stayed on throughout his life. But it is a long and badly written book; possibly knowing the author's temper, nobody dared to help edit it carefully. Possibly lack of editing kept it very frank. There are tales of corruption in the educational system, powerful relatives helping to change grades or help to pass even in Medical schools. But we do not even get to know except indirectly much about the aspirations, strengths and weaknesses of the author. But the legendary Chakrapani who is not known to suffer fools gladly took him as an assistant without asking and kept him as an assistant until death. Chakrapani must have seen some thing in him, possibly on the basis of an article Murari wrote about parents and children at the age of 17. But we do not get any insights into the personalaties of the many famous people who flit through the book. I read to mainly because I saw few of the people mentioned and know almost all the names mentioned in the book. Except for a bit about Kavuri Ramesh Babu, I am no wiser. But the book is a powerful reminder of the dangers of the joint family system which was common those days. Now all our children are in Melbourne and come to our house almost daily and eat with us half the time. Sometimes, I am tempted to have a joint family set up instead of all us paying so many bills separately. The traumas of Murari will keep me away from taking such steps.
Interviews with Katragadda Murali
In the second part of the interview Murari talks about Bhanumati from 5 minutes  until 12 minutes, and a bit about joint family from 18 minutes.The incident with Athreya from about 18:40 in the first interview.
P.S. Sri Murari clarifies on Facebook that there was some editing
Mine was not a careful review or any such thing. Just a quick reaction to book that I found interesting about social conditions and hoped that more erudite readers would read and comment about it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

An interesting view of doing business in India

Stephen Manallack in The Age Why the Brits are better than us in doing business in India:
"British missions often include some element of philanthropy, while our own record has been patchy - some philanthropy but not every time. The Indian business leaders these missions meet have built generosity into their personal and business life - typically they rate people issues and community above share price as priorities - and choose to do business with others who share their view.
Ratan Tata, who recently stepped down as chairman of Tata Group, India's biggest conglomerate, summed up this generosity: ''Some foreign investors accuse us of being unfair to shareholders by using our resources for community development. Yes, this is money that could have made for dividend payouts, but it also is money that's uplifting and improving the quality of life of people in the rural areas where we operate and work. We owe them that.''
Although we see the British as formal and stuffy, in India they show the capacity to go with the flow and quickly tune in to ''Indian time'' and the flexibility that requires - while it is true that too many Australian missions fill their days with appointments and reduce flexibility.
Another adaptation that works well for the British missions is their culturally acquired sense of diplomacy and politeness, which they take to higher levels in India. The Indian culture is one that is often offended or at least misunderstands blunt communication - a challenge for our cultural background."

A Washington Post article on Big Pharma

'As drug industry influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias' via Dean Baker's post 'Washington Post gets award for reporting on corrupt pharma practices"
"Academics have “contributed to the quality, intellectual rigor, and impact of . . . clinical trials,” the editors of the nation’s top medical journals, including NEJM, wrote in an editorial in 2001. “But, as economic pressures mount, this may be a thing of the past.”
With the for-profit companies competing to run the trials, “corporate sponsors have been able to dictate the terms,” the editorial said."

More on Uday Shankar

I came across this write up by Nilanjana Bhattacharjya which discusses Uday Shankar's contributions to music. This seems to be part of a thesis. The music discussed is here. The music part is also discussed in mukto-mona net.Nilanjana also discusses Uday Shankar's construction of himself as a modern Indian artist. Nilanjana has also a published paper on the topic, but I have seen only the abstract.
Following Minai's alert,I have watched Kalpana. Bikash Mishra's review is close to what I think about the film.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Siddhartha Deb on New India

by Siddhartha Deb The Beautiful and the Damned: A Potrait of New India via Kafila. I was alerted to recent internet blocks by a post of Rahul Siddarthan. One type from India by a Gwalior magistrate is intriguing but the contents blocked seem harmless. The portrait of Arndam Chaudhuri by Siddartha Deb seems to me to be a sympathetic one. Arindam Chaudhuri seems to be providing a finishing school for the rich who did not go to elite schools so that they can move around with the influential in Delhi and other places getting some idea of what length of cigars to smoke etc. There seem to many schools of that type in Australia and USA catering to foreigners. Though many come broad for economic reasons, I have also seen some rich coming for finishing touches or just a foreign degree.
The other DMCA mentioned by Rahul  seems more chilling. From the Wikipedia article on DMCA I find that there are several sites criticizing it and efforts to modify it. May be days of bloggers saying freely what they like are over with several companies trying to make money by DMCA take down services; one of the new ways that US companies are trying to make money with manufacture sector declining. 'Interesting times we live in' as Rahul says.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bihar farmers breaking records

From The Guardian article India's Rice Revolution:
" Kumar, a shy young farmer in Nalanda district of India's poorest state Bihar, had – using only farmyard manure and without any herbicides – grown an astonishing 22.4 tonnes of rice on one hectare of land. ............That might have been the end of the story had Sumant's friend Nitish not smashed the world record for growing potatoes six months later. Shortly after Ravindra Kumar, a small farmer from a nearby Bihari village, broke the Indian record for growing wheat.....
Tests on the soil show it is particularly rich in silicon but the reason for the "super yields" is entirely down to a method of growing crops called System of Root Intensification (SRI). It has dramatically increased yields with wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, aubergine and many other crops and is being hailed as one of the most significant developments of the past 50 years for the world's 500 million small-scale farmers and the two billion people who depend on them."
The article also discusses the controversies surrounding SRI. From what I gathered from some sctivits in A.P. Bihar, the method works, labor intensive during the first years and particularly suitable for small farmers. It is being practiced in several Indian states.
Cornell site on SRI
A couple of earlier posts on SRI  SRI in Tiruchi and More on SRI. The second links to a post of Duncan Green about the slow adoptation of SRI
P.S. A follow up article in The Guardian

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tobin project book on regulatory capture

Preventing Regulatory Capture: Special Interest Influence and How to Limit It  mostly about USA
At the moment the articles are downloadable but it will come out later as a (probably expensive) CUP book. I expected it to be dull but the articles I browsed through so far are quite readable. Among them
Preventing Economists' Capture by Luigi Zingales
Cultural Capture and the Financial Crisis by James Kwak
Possibly related:
The Tyranny of Political Economy by Dani Rodrik and commentary by Sandip Baliga The Dark Side of Political Economy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Miscellaneous links, February 14, 2013

Can Boosting Immunity Make You Smarter? by Carl Zimmer. Some clues to why our brains do not seem to work that well whwn we are sick.
The Riddles of Ashis Nandy by Vijay Prashad " If this is what he intended to say, this is precisely what he did not say."
The Enlightenmenr's 'Race' Problem and Ours by Justin Smith has quotes from Kant and Hume: " Kant dismisses it on the grounds that “this fellow was quite black from head to toe, a clear proof that what he said was stupid.”" and a aimilar one from Hume.
Bt Cotton is Failing:Blame the Farmers by Glenn Stone
Ramachandra Guha-History's Footman-a Profile by Anita Nair, the author seems to have writer's block.
A strange blog' isomorphismes', he/she seems to know every thing; may be will tell us about the abc conjecture some day.
P.S. I just read Ramachandra Guha's article on D.R. Nagaraj in 'An anthropologist among Marxists and other essays'. Apparently, Nagaraj wrote an introduction to one of the volumes of the collected works of Ashis Nandy. His introduction does not seem very complementary if the excerpts are any indication. Nagaraj also seems critical of Kancha Illaiah's well known book which I did not like. It seemed more polemics than an organized study. The Middle Stage has a post on Nagaraj book 'The Flaming Feet'. It also has a link to Guha's boo and at the moment Guha'a article on Nagaraj is available at the link.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Generalizing from one example

I have been trying somewhat unsuccessfully to grow Indian vegetables like Luffa (beerakaya), bottle gourd (sorrakaya) in Melbourne. Last year I had one Luffa when one of my daughters decided that it was a weed and pulled out. This year they are both flowering well but I did not find too many bees or butterflies around, there were plenty earlier, to pollinate them. Then one day I noticed that some bees came to drink water when Ava was playing with water. Now I changed to watering the vegetables in the morning so that there would be some wetness in the morning and even kept trays os water near the vegetable beds. Still I find only a couple of butterflies around and I am reduced to pollinating by hand.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Precision farming?

There is news of precision farming from various states of India. It seems to me that these are different types of using science and technology and precision farming refers to something else. From a 2008 article in Hindu:
"‘Precision Farming’ is a term that appears to be misunderstood by agriculture scientists in India. This name is indiscriminately used by agricultural institutions to seek funding for their project activities. There is a need to create awareness and present information on precision farming as it is understood in developed countries.
Several steps in scientific farming have been used for more than half a century in western agriculture. They include laser planning of land; chiselling; minimum tillage; complete analysis of soil samples for 12 or more essential plant nutrients; fertilizer placement in the root zone; mechanical and chemical control of weeds; integrated pest management; siphon irrigation; drip and micro-sprinkler irrigation; and ploughing back crop residues in the soil. Indian farmers with their limited knowledge and scanty practical experience on scientific methods of farming are still to adopt most of these steps in their farming operations.
However, the concept of precision farming is outside the domain of these techniques. It is strictly based on the Global Positioning System (GPS), which was initially developed by U.S. defence scientists for the exclusive use of the U.S. Defence Department. The unique character of GPS is precision in time and space. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan released it to various civilian uses such as navigation, earthquake monitoring, and synchronisation of telecom networks.
The initiation of GPS into farm operations is less than a decade old. Its use is fast spreading to all aspects of farm operations and beyond. Some of the areas in agriculture where precision farming is taking hold with implications for the economics of farming are listed below. "
The methods of Grobopatel seem closer to this. Perhaps the government can sponsor similar projects to help 'small' farmers.
P.S. Actually, I am not convinced that 'precision farming' in the above sense is the way to go in all parts of India. There are too many ndependent small farmers and it is not clear that one such sweeping method suits all of India. Whatever the name, the methods described in the above links seem quite attractive too. My feel is that several such methods and the possibilities of adopting precision farming in some areas should all be explored.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

More from Atul's bollywood song a day

I keep finding it difficult to find them again, so this is mainly making it easier for me to find them again. A 1944 song from Bharthari
Two recent posts by Arun Kumar Deshmukh on C.Ramachandra with interesting anecdotes about Lata Mangeshkar and others
P.S. I do not know Hindi or music but I listen to a lot of light songs and some Hindustani classical music. Even though Lata and Rafi have several popular songs I have not been keen about their singing whereas I can listen to almost any song by Saigal or Geeta Roy. I do not know why. Arun Kumar Deshmukh's first post above has some hints. When the same song was sung by Lata and somebody else like Talat, usually the later has been popular. May be in spite of all her skills, Lata did not put her heart into many songs though her voice seems lively in some duets with C.Ramachandra.
And the latest about the end of the affair and a nice duet

Friday, February 08, 2013

Another Telugu book

While reading Kondapalli Koteswaramma's autobiography yesterday, I was reminded of another book I saw in a cousin's place last year with the photo of an old woman walking on burning coals to show that there were no miracles involved. I inquired and got a pdf file of the book  విరామమెరుగని పురోగమనం. It is the autobiography of Kodali Kamalamma (Kamalamba), slightly older than Koteswaramma. There are many differences. Koteswaramma was a child widow introduced to politics after her second marriage by her communist husband Kondapalli Seetharamaiah. It seems that Kamalamma's husband Kodali Kutumbarao did not take much part in politics. But he did not discourage her, though I heard there was some friction when the villagers needled him about his wife's activities. In Kamalamma's case, the inspiration seems to have been mainly her own with encouragement from her mother and readings of Gandhi, Budha and Gora. Generally, the family life seems successful with son a doctor and son-in-law with a Ph.D working in USA. She made a trip to USA to visit her daughter but carried Gora's books with her.  Though she did not like caste, creed or religion the children married with in caste and the usual ceremonies were observed even though her heart was not in it. When her husband dies she refused to go through the ceremonies herself, but let the children do what they wanted. Around the age 74 she walked on burning coals to show that no miracles were involved and at the age of 80 established an atheist centre Gora Nasthika Mitra Mandali,  in Inkollu, Prakasam district (her autobiography was published by this centre). One of her grandsons, Sharat  (photo currently on page 8 of the photo section, with her daughter and son-in-law photo on the same page) after a Ph.D in Molecular Biology decided to teach in school and is continuing with teaching. Kamalamma is now 96 and not as active as before.
P.S. There are many people that I know mentioned in the book and a reference to my father Gadde Veera Raghavaiah as మహాకవి జాషువా గారి వీరాభిమాని.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

So much pain in hundred pages

Autobiography of Kondapalli Koteswaramma in Telugu. Review in Indian Express
Woman Extraordinaire
I could not read it one sitting; every few pages I had to go out to brace myself for the next parts. Early parts are reminiscent of Yelamanchili Venkatappaiah's autobiography giving glimpses of the social structure of Krishna district village life in the 1930s and 40's and then moves on to communist movement, beginnings of Praja Natya Mandali, social changes, struggles and the gradual evolution of one extraordinary woman. Nobody is blamed, all told in a matter of fact voice. So much is packed into a few pages. Along the way, we get glimpses some extraordinary gentlemen like Pucchalapalli Sundarayya and Chandra Rajeswara Rao and many other examplary men and women of that era. Considering the difficulties her children had when both parents went underground, perhaps many of the others took to safer options. I her own case, the struggles seem to be going on even with the third generation but in a less painful way. At a personal level. I was able to learn some about the life an old friend Kavuri Ramesh Babu during the period that I lost touch with him; he was the husband of her daughter Karuna.
I understand that the publishers are planning an English translation. I hope that regional language translations will also come out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Mark Thoma discusses 'too big to fail banks'

in 'The case for and against too big to fail banks'. Surprisingly, there are no references to the writings of the British banker Andrew Haldane on the topic. For an outsider like his speech
'On being the right size' where he estimates the subsidy to TBTF banks and the so called economies of scale for such banks seemed important "There is no longer evidence of economies of scale at bank sizes above $100 billion."
Gulzr Natarajan's summary here.
Check also his speech on socially useful banking and the discussion by Yves Smith.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Kalpana online

From Minai who also explains how to proceed. Even I could follow the instructions but was afraid it may go off any time and watched without a smoke break. Not knowing Hindi, I could not follow the general theme of Uday Shankar's vision of India or the love triangle or how dances fit in to the overall scheme. But I loved the dances without gymnastics and the very pleasant music. Will watch it again with somebody who knows Hindi.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

A documentary on inequality

mostly about USA. From The Guardian Review
"Any synopsis of the film runs the risk of making it seem dry again, but essentially it describes how the middle classes have come to have a smaller and smaller portion of the economic pie. And how, since 70% of the economy is based on the middle classes buying stuff, if they don't have any money to buy this stuff, it cannot grow. Meanwhile, the government has allowed the super-rich, the "one per cent", to take more of the nation's wealth. Half of the US's total assets are now owned by just 400 people – 400! – and, Reich contests that this is not just a threat to the economy, but also to democracy."

A Nirmala Devi(Arun) song

from Anmol Ratan (1950) . Nirmala Devi seems to have sung in films for over four decades and is also well known classical singer. From the Wikipedia article on her son Govinda "Govinda’s father, Arun Ahuja, was born in pre-partition GujranwalaPunjab, Pakistan on January 26, 1917.[5] He studied in an engineering college at Lahore. Veteran producer Mehboob Khan brought him to Mumbai in 1937 and cast him in Ek Hi Raasta as the leading man. Arun was notable for acting in Mehboob Khan's Aurat (1940). Govinda's mother, Nazeem who was Muslim had converted to Hinduism and adopted the name Nirmala Devi.[6]Arun and Nirmala first met during the making of the film Savera, in which they were cast opposite each other. They married in 1941.,,,,Since his father was unable to work, Nirmala Devi brought up the children through hard times in Mumbai."
A duet with Lakshmi Shankar

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Links, Second, February

Bill Black, the author of 'The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One' gets impatient with Matt Yglesias
Triple crisis on  a critical report of IMF by its own evaluation office and the African experience.
Ed Yong on the wisdom (or stupidity?) of crowds "After all, the rules that shiners obey are so simple that they should be a doddle for natural selection to produce. You don’t even need a brain to pull off the same trick—just the ability to respond to the environment, and to stay as a group. Cells can do that. All sorts of animals can do that."
Carl Zimmer on the parts of life "
Clune’s study suggests an evolutionary route to modules: as networks become more efficient, they become more modular. But once the parts of a system emerge, natural selection may then favor modules themselves, because they make living things more flexible in their evolution. Once life’s Legos get produced, in other words, evolution can start to play."

 (See also the nozzle example and the new twists in the studies above)
And a Geeta Dutt song via atulsongaday.

Currency counting macnines in India

seem easily available and not expensive.
From a recent post in Churumuri "The residence and offices of Karnataka BJP leader K.S. Eshwarappa were raided by the Lok Ayukta recently, acting on a complaint of “assets disproporation to the known sources of income”. Besides obnoxious amounts of gold and silver that is the new-normal, among the items seized was a currency note counting machine which he claimed was being used as a “toy” by children in the house."
From The Age "As currency-counting machines become as routine as washing machines in politicians' homes, Indians are enjoying the irony of dishonest people using such machines to check the honesty of the people giving them bribes."

Friday, February 01, 2013

Learning together

EurekAlert (via Mark Thoma) reports on a study Working alone wo'nt get you good grades
See also Sugata Mitra's Ted talk linked here.