Friday, June 30, 2017

Different perspectives on Syria

Polish refugees in India 1942-48

Nivedita Majumdar's analysis some writers on subaltern resistance

In Silencing the Subaltern Resistance & Gender in Postcolonial Theory seems quite incisive. But I am not too sure about her conclusions about going back to class conflict more clearly formulated in Why We're Marxists.Both worth reading I think though I have problems with analyses using classes. Here is a speech by her One can find classes and class conflicts small big in many places throughout history. But it seems more amorphous and not that generally applicable all the time and keeps changing with the same person. The analysis by Nivedita seems to ignore human nature ( but Marx does not), qualities like status seeking, how the same person can be a worker at one stage and capitalist next.And then conspicuous consumption from those who cannot afford it because it happens all the time. It happens both in the east and in the west, for example wedding expenses. What she outlines covers a large swathe of what is happening but the actors keep shifting to different classes even if we ignore the multiple identity scenario. Are there any solutions? Bhaskar Sunkara suggests "Some broad outlines should already be clear: Worker-owned cooperatives, still competing in a regulated market; government services coordinated with the aid of citizen planning; and the provision of the basics necessary to live a good life (education, housing and health care) guaranteed as social rights. In other words, a world where people have the freedom to reach their potentials, whatever the circumstances of their birth." in Socialism's future may be its past. These days when one disruption on one corner of the world can affect many other corners, I think that we need this kind of local protection schemes to survive global onslaughts.
P.S.A discussion of Why libertarians should read Marx by Chris Dillow. I would add that at least indirectly, one should try to get an idea of what Marx said and tried to say and changes in his thinking. There may be short cuts which I tried to follow, reading articles and short books like 'Why read. Arc today?' By Jonathan Wolff and various posts in the blog 'Understanding Society' of Dan Little.

Perala Ratnam

Around 1970 (+-), I met Bharati Ashok Ratnam in TIFR, Bombay. He actually met me because he was friend with Nagisetti V, Rao who was classmate of mine from 1954-56. Bharati Ratnam's mother Kamala came from an influential family in U.P. He was very Hindu oriented and wanted Hindus to rule India and also said that he would soon be the director of TIFR. He said his father Perala Ratnam was from Perala, not too far from my native place and expected that his father to have ancestral properties which he hoped to repossess but the family has been out of touch with relatives in Perala. I said that the name suggested Christian background, that he probably came from poor Dalit background and may be that is why he never went back. Yesterday I met a Christian school teacher from Andhra in Melbourne. He remembered the name since it was the name of one of the few Christians who made it from that area.
The Wikipedia in French Perala Ratnam gives some information on him. He was the Indian ambassador to a few countries and it also leads to a list of books written or edited by him  Here. He seems to be a very talented man who wrote on diverse topics sadly unknown in the place of his worth. Curiously, there is also a mathematics article Algebraic Functions from 1949 published in 1949 in Tokyo attributed him. The Wikipedia page says that he was in Tokyo during that period. Perhaps, it was done by him as some sort of hobby.
I could not find about any more about him or his family. His son married a lady working in the library of TIFR and they migrated to USA. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 70. I met his father in Bombay as well as Delhi. He had one sister. I do not know whether Perala Ratnam is alive now, if he is he would be around 105. I do not know about his wife though at one time I heard she had a brother who was film actor.
So that is the little bit I know about a talented man who was an inspiration to a few young poor Christians in Andhra long ago. If I get to know any thing more about him, I will post again.

P.S. I contacted Rao Nagisetty who met Perala Ratnam several times in Moscow, that was where he was friends with the son Bharati Asok Ratnam. Rao tells me that it is the same Perala Ratnam who wrote the mathematics article mentioned above.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Recent news about Gobekli Tepe

Dead heads: Turkish site reveals more evidence of neolithic 'skull cult' :"The grooves and holes cut purposefully into skulls are far less ornate than the beautiful carvings of people and animals that decorate limestone pillars at the site, leading scientists to suspect that they were not for show, but instead helped others to string the skulls up with cord. 
Those who spent time at the site – there is little evidence people lived there – may have commemorated their ancestors by suspending their skulls, or displayed the skulls of their enemies. “They think the power from the dead is going to the living,” said Gresky."

Chance encounters

A Path Less Taken to the Peak of the Math World "June Huh thought he had no talent for math until a chance meeting with a legendary mind. A decade later, his unorthodox approach to mathematical thinking has led to major breakthroughs."
"When Huh was 24 and in his last year of college, the famed Japanese mathematician Heisuke Hironaka came to Seoul National as a visiting professor. Hironaka was in his mid-70s at the time and was a full-fledged celebrity in Japan and South Korea. He’d won the Fields Medal in 1970 and later wrote a best-selling memoir called The Joy of Learning, which a generation of Korean and Japanese parents had given their kids in the hope of nurturing the next great mathematician. At Seoul National, he taught a yearlong lecture course in a broad area of mathematics called algebraic geometry. Huh attended, thinking Hironaka might become his first subject as a journalist.
Initially Huh was among more than 100 students, including many math majors, but within a few weeks enrollment had dwindled to a handful. Huh imagines other students quit because they found Hironaka’s lectures incomprehensible. He says he persisted because he had different expectations about what he might get out of the course.
“The math students dropped out because they could not understand anything. Of course, I didn’t understand anything either, but non-math students have a different standard of what it means to understand something,” Huh said. “I did understand some of the simple examples he showed in classes, and that was good enough for me.”
After class Huh would make a point of talking to Hironaka, and the two soon began having lunch together. Hironaka remembers Huh’s initiative. “I didn’t reject students, but I didn’t always look for students, and he was just coming to me,” Hironaka recalled."
Huh tried to use these lunches to ask Hironaka questions about himself, but the conversation kept coming back to math. When it did, Huh tried not to give away how little he knew. “Somehow I was very good at pretending to understand what he was saying,” Huh said. Indeed, Hironaka doesn’t remember ever being aware of his would-be pupil’s lack of formal training. “It’s not anything I have a strong memory of. He was quite impressive to me,” he said.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Continuation of oil wars

: F. William Engdahl Has Washington Lost the Middle East After Qatar?:"There is a hidden thin red thread connecting the recent US Congress’ sanctions against Iran and now the Russian Federation, with the decision of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies to sanction Qatar. That red thread has nothing to do with a fight against terrorism and everything to do with who will control the largest natural gas reserves in the world as well as who will dominate the world market for that gas."
Check also Daniel Yergin's work on oil and Not all fossil fuels are going extinct.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Advice about reading scientific papers for non-scientists

How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists from LSE. Difficult to follow on more than one topic. Sometimes, the article comes attached with comments by other experts and responses by the author like this Agricultural Deskilling and the Spread of Genetically Modified Cotton in Warangal
But over time, I found it difficult even to read such paper. Now a days, I seem to be generally following some experts and follow their work on a trial basis. Off and on I read long reports like this by David Andow on BT brinjal

UP police woman Shrestha Thakur

Monday, June 26, 2017

Peculiar hotel rules

A smidgen of hope

"...history is not stained with blood spilled by animosities between partisans for broccoli versus cauliflower." from
Why your brain hates other people? By Robert Sapolsky with the subheading 'And how to make it think differently'.
But These boys got the same haircut so their teacher 'wouldn't be able to tell them apart.'

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tyler Cowan interview of Raj Chetty

Here. An excerpt:
"COWEN: If I’m trying to model the Raj Chetty production function and I described it as such, it’s a multiplicative model, so there is getting the data, but that’s not the key point.
CHETTY: That’s not the key point.
COWEN: There’s then some conceptual advance that allows you to see the data can test something that other people hadn’t seen, and then there are numerous stages of execution, and then there’s also recruiting and managing the team. There’s a whole bunch of different steps, and you’re trying to do well at each of them and very few other people can do well at each and every one, and maybe that’s the way to think about your moat. Is that fair to say?
CHETTY: That is our strategy. I think the other thing that’s extremely important is, we spend a lot of time on trying to achieve clarity. There are ways to write papers in economics that are more accessible to the public and thereby have greater impact, and there are ways to write papers that are more technically oriented and narrow the set of readers."

P.S. I thought it was me who gave Raj his first computer. He seems to have forgotten. From an interview with his father, it was a Sinclair and he was three at that time.

Empowerment for the relatively privileged.

The poem 'Chopping Onions' is making rounds and drawing praise from other relatively privileged and successful people. It is one of the poems here. Recitation around 21:00 Here, may give an idea of the groups interested in such things.
The choice for the less privileged "Cut to the the 21st century. The latest census figures list only 32.8 per cent women formally as primary workers in the agricultural sector, in contrast to 81.1 per cent men. But the undeniable fact remains that India’s agricultural industry, which employs 80 to 100 million women, cannot survive without their labour. From preparing the land, selecting seeds, preparing and sowing to transplanting the seedlings, applying manure/fertilisers/pesticides and then harvesting, winnowing and threshing, women work harder and longer than male farmers.
Maintaining the ancillary branches in this sector, like animal husbandry, fisheries and vegetable cultivation, depends almost solely on women. So where are these women while the male farmers and their kakas furiously debate the future of farming, loans, subsidies and irrigation matters? Men get more than their share of visibility on TV, in governmental publicity material and within the banking sectors but millions of women farmers have no spokesperson from their ranks." from
The invisible women farmers

Another on the long term effects in development

"Are you surprised by these results? They fascinate me, honestly. Think through the logic: forced labor (in the surrounding villages) and extractive capital (rail and factories built solely to export a crop in little use domestically) both have positive long-run local effects! They do so by affecting institutions – whether villages have the ability to produce public goods like education – and by affecting incentives – the production of capital used up- and downstream. One can easily imagine cases where forced labor and extractive capital have negative long-run effects, and we have great papers by Daron Acemoglu, Nathan Nunn, Sara Lowes and others on precisely this point. But it is also very easy for societies to get trapped in bad path dependent equilibria, for which outside intervention, even ethically shameful ones, can (perhaps inadvertently) cause useful shifts in incentives and institutions!"

Another quote "But it is also very easy for societies to get trapped in bad path dependent equilibria, for which outside intervention, even ethically shameful ones, can (perhaps inadvertently) cause useful shifts in incentives and institutions! "

Saturday, June 24, 2017

From facebok feed

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Robin Hanson feels his age

I turn 58 soon, and I’m starting to realize that I may not live long enough to finish many of my great life projects. 
His Home page : And I'm not a joiner; I rebel against groups with "our beliefs", especially when members must keep criticisms private, so as not to give ammunition to "them".
Next book The elephant in the brain, its detailed outline 

Friday, June 23, 2017

On religious extremism

Religious extremism: the good, the bad, and the deadly by Lawrence R Iannaccone
  and Eli Berman from 2005-2006
 Abstract: This paper challenges conventional views of violent religious extremism, particularly those that emphasize militant theology. We offer an alternative analysis that helps explain the persistent demand for religion, the different types of religious that naturally arise, and the special attributes of the “sectarian” type. Sects are adept at producing club goods – both spiritual and material. Where governments and economies function poorly, sects often become major suppliers of social services, political action, and coercive force. Their success as providers is much more due to the advantages of their organizational structure than it is to their theology. Religious militancy is most effectively controlled through a combination of policies that raise the direct costs of violence, foster religious competition, improve social services, and encourage private enterprise.
 A recent discussion about British politics which partly uses the above paper
Irrational politics: is it about signalling?

Check also Eli Berman

The age of Trump?

I have been hearing about such incidents since 1953

Two more on democracy

Why do democracies fail? "The most crucial variable predicting the success of a democratic transition is the self-confidence of the incumbent elites. If they feel able to compete under democratic conditions, they will accept democracy. If they do not, they will not."
If you don’t like my govt, don’t take pension, use roads’: Andhra CM to voters

Check also Democracy leads to Islamism by Razib Khan posted earlier.

Two from Bloomberg

Razib Khan again

A commenter says "Razib, I am pleased to see that you have kept your options open. You seem to change your options as soon as new evidence is placed before you. I have seen you flip flopping depending on the strength of the evidence, at that particular moment in time . This shows an agile and very less biased mind without some pre-determined notions ruling your judgement. " from
Indian emetics, the never-ending argument:
"Ultimately the final story will be more complex than we can imagine. R1a is too widespread to be explained by a simple Indo-Aryan migration in my opinion. But we can’t get to these genuine conundrums if we keep having to rebut ideologically motivated salvos."
Another Democracy leads to Islamism:
"Eric Kauffman argues in Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? that modernization, economic development, and the expansion of political representation, integrates conservative rural populations and uplifts them all the while transforming the norms of urban areas.In other words, the rural bazar melds with the urban shopping mall, and both are changed. The 1979 revolution in Iran and its aftermath has been argued to be a victory of the bazar over the Western oriented gentry. In India the rise of Hindu nationalism is an assertion of the self-confidence of sub-elites from the “cow belt” who arose to challenge the Western oriented ruling class that had dominated since the early 20th century."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gomantak Maratha Samaj, interview with Dr. Anjali Arondekar

Complex genealogies of caste and gender
"...our Samaj was financially supported through the labors of artists such as Mogubai Kurdikar, Kesarbai Kerkar, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishori Amonkar. "

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Two on AI


Off and on, I have been trying to understand bitcoin business without much success. This article, possibly a bit dated, seems clearer than many I read.
The great chain of being sure about things
P.S. “The Blockchain Is Going to Revolutionize Central Banking and Monetary Policy” 

The next flash point?.

Different perspectives on possible confrontations between US and Russia in Syria. I will start with Juan Cole though I am no longer convinced of his 'informed comments':
Russo-US dog fights over Syria? By Juan Cole
A bit more to the left Spoiling for a Wider War in Syria by Robert Parry
And even more to the left Syria Summary - U.S. Attack Fails To Disrupt Push To Deir Ezzor from Moon of Alabama and regular reports here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

complex systems again

Society Is Too Complicated to Have a President, Complex Mathematics Suggest
"Most famously, the institute's director, Yaneer Bar-Yam, predicted the Arab Spring several weeks before it happened. He found that seemingly unrelated policy decisions—ethanol subsidies in the US and the deregulation of commodity markets worldwide—led to skyrocketing food prices in 2008 and 2011. It turns out that there is a very neat correlation between the United Nations food price index and unrest and rioting worldwide that no one but Bar-Yam had picked up......
"We were raised to believe that democracy, and even the democracy that we have, is a system that has somehow inherent good to it," he added. But it's not just democracy that fails. "Hierarchical organizations are failing in the response to decision-making challenges. And this is true whether we're talking about dictatorships, or communism that had very centralized control processes, and for representative democracies today. Representative democracies still focus power in one or few individuals. And that concentration of control and decision-making makes those systems ineffective."
Bar-Yam proposes a more laterally-organized system of governance in which tons of small teams specialize in certain policies, and then those teams work together to ultimately make decisions."
A more recent version here.

Cannabis again

I smoked cannabis for an Year around 1970. But I did not like the after taste and stopped after an Year. May be I should start again. One effect that I remember well is that it slowed down time and listening to music was wonderful, one seemed to hear every note.
Cannabis Reverses Aging Processes in the Brain
"Like any other organ, our brain ages. As a result, cognitive ability also decreases with increasing age. This can be noticed, for instance, in that it becomes more difficult to learn new things or devote attention to several things at the same time. This process is normal, but can also promote dementia. Researchers have long been looking for ways to slow down or even reverse this process.
Scientists at the University of Bonn and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) have now achieved this in mice. These animals have a relatively short life expectancy in nature and display pronounced cognitive deficits even at twelve months of age. The researchers administered a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in the hemp plant (cannabis), to mice aged two, twelve and 18 months over a period of four weeks."

Monday, June 19, 2017

Samsaram (1950) songs

Here Among them a funny song by Relangi ( I do not know who the actual singer is. May be Dakhinamurthy or Relangi) lamenting the loss of his hair: 'nagubatu' The film was remade next year with a different set of actors by Vasan in Tamil and Hindi. Greta Dutt, Talat and others sang in the Hindi version (Sansar 1951) but many tunes are similar to those composed by Susarla Dakshnamurthy in Telugu. One by Talat in the Hindi version:
The Telugu version was possibly the first film of Savitri's and the first line spoken by her seems to be "Nuvvu achu hero Nageswara Rao la vunnave" from Samsaram 1950 M.L. Narasimham.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A comment by Namit Arora about India

I read only a couple of pieces by Namit Arora. Today, I saw a comment by him on his Wall which seems relevant to me and which jells with my experience in South India, particularly with the Kamma community. This comment is in  cost about the survey More Than Half Of India's Youths Want Military Rule, Ban On Inter-Faith Free Mixing In Public, Survey Finds. In the discussion:
Ali Minai If true, this is interesting in that younger people in most of the wod are becoming MORE liberal and cosmopolitan. Why is India moving in the opposite direction?
LikeShow more reactions
June 10 at 4:51am
Namit Arora Ali, that's a good question. But even if this survey is correct, I’m not so sure that India is moving in the opposite direction.  Civic sense was always terribly weak in India, given its strong historical investment in things like respect for authority, hierarchy, endogamy, nepotism, social conformity, religious taboos, family honor, etc. Add to this its very weak sense of the individual and his/her fundamental equal rights and dignity. In fact, the substrate is still quite feudal, esp. in the north. But having said that, I think it's likely that *on the whole*, Indians have more civic sense now than in the past, except it’s clearly far from enough for this day and age. They're simply coming from a much worse place, and most are still too ill-equipped to be good citizens able to do their part to make a decent modern society.

India’s huge diversity and syncretic culture were once natural bulwarks against fascism / majoritarianism but diversity and syncretism have eroded as new axes of identity mobilization have emerged (nation; a more aggressive Hinduism; etc.). Today’s mass communication, higher per capita incomes (freeing more people from basic struggles to focus on things larger than themselves), a truly shoddy school system severely lacking in critical thinking or civic education, unscrupulous demagogues, and the rise of unmet aspirations and competitive stresses of modern life have transformed Indian society (a million youth enter the job market every month; jobless growth is a big concern in India right now; many traditional sectors of industry have seen massive job losses)—and all this has made a large section of the youth more vulnerable to becoming part of various ‘banalities of evil’. It doesn't help that the country is now run by artful demagogues and unimaginative technocrats singularly ill-equipped to notice anything amiss. 

To your comment right below, I think only a few key Indian leaders and a tiny percentage of citizens stood for a liberal, secular democratic ethos, at least in principle if not always in practice. The masses never had much affinity for a liberal, secular, democratic ethos—that’s very much a product of modernity, to which India is very much a latecomer (modernity is coming on its own slow and imperfect pathways, with all the attendant risks of derailment and massive pain en route; clearly, this is no time to be sanguine).

Visiting Sandy

I visited Sandy ( our neighbour for twenty one years and now in a place for old people) today. She seems to have forgotten her age but knows that she is ninety plus. She remembers much older stuff well and regaled me with stories from the two world wars. The first was when her father went as a soldier to England during the First World War, went to a bank where he had connections and met her mother who was working in the bank. When they came back to Australia men and women were placed in different floors of the ship and could meet only on the deck. Apparently journeys were long and the ship owners did not want too many pregnant women on the ship.
And during the Second World War, her sister's boy friend was shipped off to Middle East. One of his friends offered to take her older sister to pictures. Those days, the tradition was the boy would buy chocolates which they would eat during intermission. Once, they did not come back by midnight, her mother was worried and they phoned the police. The policeman burst out laughing when he heard that a friend of the boy friend took her out and would not take the case seriously. First she thought they went out in his car and that is why the policeman expected them to come back late. But then, she said they came back in a taxi. I asked whether the car broke down and then she was not sure what happened.
And more stories of her cigar smoking and her mother asking not to tell about her smoking to her aunt when she visited England after the Second World War. But Sandy ended up sharing cigars with her uncle who was a representative for some tobacco firm in Holland. Except that Sandy did not really know how to smoke cigars, she only pretended to smoke and did not inhale.

London fire

From Bangla Deshmukh cricket captain

"With corporate money banking heavily on cricket hyper-nationalism, the game is often reduced to war by other means. With cricket stars being elevated to the dubious status of warrior-gods, it’s important that this phenomenon is put in the context of greater society, beyond nationalism and pride. Few do this better than Mashrafe Mortaza, the philosopher-captain-hero of the Bangladesh team.
He says, “I am a cricketer but can I save a life? A doctor can. But no-one claps for the best doctor in the country. Create myths around them. They will save more lives. They are the stars. The labourers are the stars, they build the country. What have we built using cricket? Can we make even a brick using cricket? Does paddy grow on the cricket field? Those who make courtyards using bricks, make things at factories, grow crops in the fields – they are the stars.”" in

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What about poetry?

Ramarao reminds us some lines of poem of Sri Sri on Swinburne
కవీ, నీ గళ గళ న్మంగళ 
కళా కాహళ హళా హళి లో 
కలిసిపోతిని; కరిగిపోతిని 
కానరాకే కదిలిపోతిని
 I have read very little literary stuff. This poem was not even in my syllabus. It was in my cousin's syllabus and was one of the poems he had to memorisze. But I still remember it  
అటజని కాంచె భూమిసురు డంబర చుంబి శిరస్సరజ్ఝరీ
పటల ముహుర్ముహుర్ లుఠ దభంగ తరంగ మృదంగ నిస్వన
స్ఫుట నటనానుకూల పరిఫుల్ల కలాప కలాపి జాలమున్
గటక చరత్కరేణు కర కంపిత సాలము శీతశైలమున్

 But according to Nannechoda From The Arrow and the Poem by David Shulman: 
"An arrow shot by an archer
or a poem made by a poet
should cut through your heart,
jolting the head.
If it doesn't, it's no arrow,

It's no poem."
"The thorniest, most fought-over question in Indian history is slowly but surely getting answered: did Indo-European language speakers, who called themselves Aryans, stream into India sometime around 2,000 BC – 1,500 BC when the Indus Valley civilisation came to an end, bringing with them Sanskrit and a distinctive set of cultural practices? Genetic research based on an avalanche of new DNA evidence is making scientists around the world converge on an unambiguous answer: yes, they did.
So far, we have only looked at the migrations of Indo-European language speakers because that has been the most debated and argued about historical event. But one must not lose the bigger picture: R1a lineages form only about 17.5 % of Indian male lineage, and an even smaller percentage of the female lineage. The vast majority of Indians owe their ancestry mostly to people from other migrations, starting with the original Out of Africa migrations of around 55,000 to 65,000 years ago, or the farming-related migrations from West Asia that probably occurred in multiple waves after 10,000 B.C., or the migrations of Austro-Asiatic speakers such as the Munda from East Asia the dating of which is yet to determined, and the migrations of Tibeto-Burman speakers such as the Garo again from east Asia, the dating of which is also yet to be determined."
From How genetics is settling the Aryan migration debate by Tony Joseph. 
P.S. I think that the origins of caste may also be clearer in a few years. Check the second paper (same as above) In this post by Razib Khan.

An ancient disease

An ancient disease
An earlier link to the efforts of Tata Prakasam Here

Friday, June 16, 2017

Why I distrust my comments

Why I distrust my comments on social and economic issues. I was in India during the emergency and did not really notice. I was in Delhi during 1984 and the events were just a blip. Too full of my own interests in mathematics and similar things. Now I try to think about other things. But...the only constant seems to be film songs.

Sajjad Hussain

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Two snake dances from S.D. Burmam and one from Naushad

Komaravolu Chandrasekharan again

"... in the rendition of the history of Indian mathematics, if there is such a thing, there is a bit of a TIFR-centric cosmology, and unless one lived in that multi-verse, they would not know anything about the greats. If others did not partake in that feast, it would only be natural that they cannot remember something that they never knew?" Comments Balasubramanian Ananthanarayanan on Rahul Siddhathan's wall. He is responding to Raghunathan's comment "He left India in 1965 to take up a professorship in Zurich, and, with that, he has been virtually forgotten in this country despite his immense contribution to the organisation and promotion of mathematics (and science) in India during his TIFR years." In Forgotten Genius.
KC was an unusual case. He spent only about 15 years (1949-1965) in TIFR. During that time, under his stewardship, TIFR produced mathematicians like M.S.Narasimhan, C.S. Seshadri's, Raghavan Narasimhan, C.P. Ramanujam and others and some of their students like M.S.Raghunathan, S.Ramanan...KC also organised conferences on mathematical education and also hoped that mathematicians after some experience in TIFR would shift to universities. These were successful. The unusual aspects are his personality and achieving so much in such a short time and leaving the institute when it seemed to be a going concern. I had met him a few times in Zurich and had some long conversations with him but I was a beginning research student in 1964 and had only minimal interactions with him there. So most of what I write below is based on gossip amd what I remember of my conversations with him.
Firstly he seemed both very attached to India ( he showed his Indian passport in 1975 with his place of birth Masulipatam) and at the same time kept many of the younger mathematician and colleagues at a distance though he seems to have inspired loyalty in many of them. He had taste and style of his own and found many of them uninteresting as persons. In a long conversation during 1975, he told me that mathematicians were like children. He rarely visited his kith and kin in Bapatla where his father worked as a headmaster and retired and where his uncles and nephews resided. As Raghunathan says, he had unusual operating skills and moved with ease and skill among some of the biggest mathematicians of the twentieth century. It seemed to me that his achievement in India is due to an unusual confluence of factors, funding from the government, autonomy, connections that he already made, desire to develop modern mathematics in India and not pushing his own research interests. He also had the luck of many brilliant youngsters channeled by Fr. C.Racine from Madras. By the time the School of Mathematics was going thing, his children were about to leave school I think and he left to take care of their education and family. After that he did not interfere in the schooll's affairs though indirectly he was in contact with some and friendly to those who met him. I vaguely remember him saying, but I am not sure, that there was nothing worse than interfering with what one has built after leaving it. He had a regular mathematical career later on but nothing as spectacular as he achieved during those 15 years in India. I am omitting his earlier influence in Madras and his helping Meenakshisundaram to Princeton and their work together.
P.S. Related Parsing the Math in D.D. Kosambi the Polymath 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A list of general history books from Razib Khan

Books I suggest you read so you won’t be misled as often I find that I read only five of them.

A database on terrorism

Links, 13th June 2017

Naomi Klein: ‘Trump is an idiot, but don’t underestimate how good he is at that’
Open data is about people, not just innovation Ana Brandusescu
TrueIndology or TrueFraudology – debunking a goldmine of fictitious historical claims and Part 2
37 Returns Instead Of 13—And Other Challenges Threatening July 1 GST Rollout via Madhukar Shukla, and some hing to cheer about from the same source
 All 30 from Anand Kumar’s Super 30 crack IIT; success rate of 88% over last 15 years : "All 30 students from Super-30, the Patna-based educational programme for underprivileged kids run by mathematician Anand Kumar have cracked the JEE (Advanced) exam this year, qualifying for entry into the prestigious IITs. With this, the institute has maintained a formidable success rate of 88% over the last 15 years of its existence, with nearly 396 out of its 450 students making it to the IITs so far. "

GMO efforts in India

The upper crust

Accounting before writing

How the world's first accountants counted on cuneiform by Tim Hartford. More on the topic in
Urbanization and Land Ownership in the Ancient Near East (Peabody Museum Bulletin, #7)  check also Labor in the Ancient World  both in a series edited by Michael Hudson and others.
From an article in the first book "Record-keeping served as a centralized control and scheduling device long before writing became a vehicle for personal self-expression, literature or abstract philosophy" says Michael Hudson in "From sacred enclave to temple to city", one of the articles in "Urbanization and land ownership in the ancient near east" edited by Michael Hudson and Baruch Levine."
Comment from Sreenivas Paruchuri There is a wonderful book by Peter Damerow et al of Max Planck Institute for the history of science, Berlin. In fact the MPIWG-Berlin had a large working group on Cuneiform and done some pioneering work. As a mathematician you may like to explore their website and also the person: P. Damerow. 

The original German title is: Informationsverarbeitung vor 5000 Jahren : frühe Schrift und Techniken der Wirtschaftsverwaltung im alten Vorderen Orient; Hildesheim, Franzbecker 2004 (1st ed. 1991)
Au: Peter Damerow; Hans J. Nissen and Robert K. Englund.

The book is translated into English: Archaic bookkeeping: writing and techniques of economic administration in the ancient near east, University of Chicago Press 1993.

Monday, June 12, 2017

C.Narayana Reddy RIP

The south-north divide in India

Emmanuel Todd has written about the differences in terms family systems in 'The causes of progress' The theory is that because of the different family systems (asymmetrical and exogamous in the south and north), women have bigger say in the south and that is supposed to be one of the reasons why South is more progressive. There is also table on page 180 describing these briefly. Now some of the economic reasons below:
The United States of South India
The Protesting Tamil Farmer Pays For The UP Farmer’s Loan Waiver
Apart from this Hindutva seems stronger in the North and the desire to impose Hindi from time to time does not help. May be the division is not inevitable.

Possible dangers(another) from global warming

Long-dormant bacteria and viruses, trapped in ice and permafrost for centuries, are reviving as Earth's climate warms
"In August 2016, in a remote corner of Siberian tundra called the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Circle, a 12-year-old boy died and at least twenty people were hospitalised after being infected by anthrax.
The theory is that, over 75 years ago, a reindeer infected with anthrax died and its frozen carcass became trapped under a layer of frozen soil, known as permafrost. There it stayed until a heatwave in the summer of 2016, when the permafrost thawed.
This exposed the reindeer corpse and released infectious anthrax into nearby water and soil, and then into the food supply. More than 2,000 reindeer grazing nearby became infected, which then led to the small number of human cases.

Me, may be last year

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Meghdoot 1945, jagmohan song, kamal Das Gupta music

Weekend reading links from Gulzar Natarajan

" Finally, Kenneth Arrow's "cautious case for socialism" is hugely relevant for today. It resonates strongly with all my latent socialist instincts." says Gulzar Natarajan, with me too.
Weekend reading links from Gulzar Natarajan

Arthur Upfield's Bony novels I generally read about any thing systematically but I think I read all these in the 1960, as well as many by Eric Ambler, Ngaio Marsh,..Though I do not remember much, I remember the descriptions of the outback compelling nc may revisit some of them again. More about Arthur Upfield.

About criminals among Indian politicians

Does Democracy Encourage Criminal Politicians? Devesh Kapur interviews Milan Vaishnav who authored a new book on the topic. More a status report than any exciting new findings.

About DUP

Five things you need to know about DUP politicians and science from New Scientist about May's new partner.

About US health care

"I would say look at the bills, see if there are errors, question things that don’t look right. One common thing is after surgery, when a nurse or someone comes in and says, “Do you want me to help you walk down the hall?” You say OK, and you see that come up on a bill as a $300 physical therapy charge. Say, “No, that wasn’t physical therapy. All I did was walk down the hall.”" from 
More Money, More Problems: How Profit Hijacked U.S. Health Care