Thursday, May 26, 2016

My insights on "broke, hungry and on trend"

My friend Parth shared this:
This article struck a chord somewhere... felt like sharing with all of you :)
https://www.buzzfeed.com/gayatrijayaraman/broke-hungry-and-on-trend

I found the article very good and helpful. Here's why.

1. It serves as a very good non-example for the young adults (I mean late teens too) who are just getting started with figuring out how they want to chart their careers. A non-example means: an example of what the instructor wants to teach the learner to NOT do. So, simple message : avoid damaging yourself / bankrupting yourself just to fit in. Bankrupting in monetary terms as well in other forms of wealth, like health, emotions, ideas, self-respect.

2. Exposure matters. Some people are able to figure out that there can be a better way to do things well in time. Some don't. Many realize something is wrong, but are not able to put it into words exactly what is wrong, and have not been lucky yet to come across alternative ways.

Some background:
For almost a year from mid-2011 to around Feb 2012, I was in the state I just described, as a primary school teacher in an educational fellowship program that had told me that there's just one way to do things. I was just not able to make things work, my heart was objecting the whole time but I didn't know why, I was not able to do anything in flow, even the simplest of things for other Fellows seemed just too difficult for me.

And then a book literally fell into my lap : John T Gatto's "Dumbing Us Down". My colleague had been gifted it by some faraway friend and for her it was just side material, as in her own experience she had succeeded very well at the fellowship. But when I read the first pages, my entire being came alive, like some light had just been switched on. I felt like this book was telling my story, and putting into words what I had not been able to since months. And it told me something lifesaving : that I wasn't failing at doing a good thing; but I was failing at doing something I wasn't supposed to do in the first place. I still have the email I wrote to my colleague in which I told her this thing is going to fundamentally shift the future course of my life.

Getting a brief idea of where to go next empowered me to end my fellowship that year and walk out, and then I met Jinan, Urmila, Murtaza who then pointed me to Swaraj. (there were some other events related to management's tactics too, but it was the book that gave me the clarity to see that those events were merely a fractal reflection of what we were doing in the classroom anyways, so rather than treating them as separate point I was able to see their systemic nature)

Bottom line : I needed the exposure. I needed to bump into this thing.

What was I doing before I got that exposure? Well, I was doing things that are the teaching equivalent of going hungry and bankrupt while appearing at starbucks with colleagues as per schedule and buying a mocha as per norm. Giving new tests ('assessments') to students while 10 previous ones piled up unchecked in my room, while their parents kept asking "can I get the paper you gave to my child last week so I can work on it with her at home?", "How much did my child score in the last one? What areas does she need to do more work in?" and I kept inventing generic bullshit to answer them while trying to appear busy. Trying one method of classroom control and another the next week without really knowing why the first one failed and finally calling in the aunty (school maids) to do the dirty work for me (technically I couldn't beat my kids into silence, but hey, the rulebook never said I couldn't get someone else to do it!). I was digging myself into a hole, and doing stupid things because I had no clue what else I could possibly do, no one to properly talk about this to, as I knew all the typical answers are just not going to work with me the way they work with everybody else.

Whew! Flashback to some pretty stormy times!

So when I read that article, I can relate with the people described there. They're as stuck inside a zero-sum game as I was. There are others in the same place as them who can manage things much better, just as there were other Fellows all around me, being no better than me in IQ EQ knowledge skills whatever, who could manage the same situations much better. But for these folks that the article talks about, it's just not working, and they're going to need an exposure to something to shake themselves out of the blind daze and realize they belong elsewhere. Maybe the article will do that.. like Dumbing Us Down did for me, it might speak to them what their heart wasn't being able to put into words all this time.

3. It's important to also get an exposure to alternative ways of being. Dumbing Us Down then proceeded to talk about 'all this shit is actually unnecessary' : by showcasing democratic schools and unschooling. So there we have a chance to go BEYOND that article, to convey that all that shit is actually unnecessary, that a totally different way of living and managing one's life and career is possible. And here I have great hope : The people identified by this article.. belong elsewhere, are the ugly ducklings (referring to the old childrens tale). If they get to check out some swans, they'll shift to the other worlds that we need to populate anyways. So dropping pointers to alternatives is what I'll recommend putting in as comments or responses to that article. Not rejoining in complaining, but pointing out to the ugly ducklings who have read that and thought "hey this is me!", that they are actually swans, that there are alternatives out there and they can thrive better there.

PS: Are YOU one of the ugly ducklings, for whom things are just not working out in the regular college / corporate job / family business scenario? Check out: http://www.swarajuniversity.org/

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

a hands-on gender sensitization/normalization activity for boys

I was raised in a household with 3 women (mom, a 7 years elder sis, a twin sis) and one where we did most of the chores. As the littlest and clumsiest runt of the litter, I was assigned tasks that carried the least risks. Which included hanging all the washed clothes to dry and folding them when dried; and to run to the shop nearby to get essentials (packaged products ie.. for picking the right veggies etc my mom couldn't risk it).

I was thus handling everyone's bras and panties from a little age; my mom taught me to especially check the crotch section of chaddis with my fingers to make sure they've dried properly before I fold them. Never experienced any kind of shame or ridicule from it.. it was the same as doing the gents' chaddis and banyans.

I was also sent to the shop to buy sanitary napkins too whenever suddenly needed, and was never told to hide them from view.. it was same as carrying a pack of tissues. At age 7 or so when I cracked a joke about a napkin's ad on TV, my mom immediately sat me down and explained me the entire menstruation cycle, and told me in clear words that it's a wonderful and essential inner cleansing ability that women have which enables them to successfully give birth later on, and that there is nothing wrong if a drop of blood is left on the toilet seat or here or there, I should just put water and wipe it off as any normal stain. I still felt uncomfortable with the napkin ads on TV for some years, but never made fun of them.

After growing up, seeing all the silly nervousness and taboo around these things amongst others I feel like I'm seeing the funny quirks of a superstitious race. I feel extremely lucky to have been raised in such a way by my late mother who grew up in a conservative Jain village household in Gujarat. I took time getting ok with seeing sleeveless, miniskirts, ladies shorts etc because I didn't see them when growing up; still get a nervous around those because of my conditioning. But bras and panties : no issues. I recommend to all parents of boys to make them do these chores as a daily/weekly practice, as a hands-on gender sensitization/normalization strategy.

this came out as a rejoinder to my friend Nancy's post: https://www.facebook.com/nancy.nayak.1/posts/1396513873708454
"Okay, we know women wear bras, do you need to show what sort?" my mother asked me. "Fine, may I leave my bras and panties to dry on a clothesline on the terrace?" I asked back. More rage followed—how could I have even thought such a thing? Neighbours can't look at them, their eyes will burn and kids will be scarred by nightmares. Such catastrophic, visionary and anxious consequences! The last time I checked, lingerie doesn't bite, or does it?"
She had shared this: http://theladiesfinger.com/bra_fear/ Why Do Bras in Public Terrorise Some People?


I Fight Rape Culture because...

Re-posting from https://www.facebook.com/logical.indian/posts/928887293907657

I Fight...!

"I fight Rape Culture because
When I told my ex boyfriend about my rape
He 'forgave' me.

I fight Rape Culture because
I saw my baby sister age overnight
As she told me about her best friend getting molested.

I fight Rape Culture because
My closest friend was abused as a child
And he told nobody but me.
It took him 13 years to open up.

I fight Rape Culture because
My friends admit to letting their partners f*** them when they don't want it
Then laugh it off as typical male behavior.

I fight Rape Culture because
Saying that you're raping someone is perfectly acceptable
If you're playing a video game.

I fight Rape Culture because
Men tell me they are insulted when women walking in front of them
start to walk faster.
As if their ego is more important than our safety.

I fight Rape Culture because
If I tell somebody their rape joke isn't funny
I am told that I'm uptight.

I fight Rape Culture because
It won't die out
Unless we kill it ourselves."

Sent by Pallavi Vatsa. Original source unknown.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Indian Supreme Court judgements in Swaraj Abhiyan case, pertaining to food & drought

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kavitha Kuruganti
Date: Fri, May 13, 2016 at 12:05 PM
Subject: ~GMfreeMH~ Today's judgement in Swaraj Abhiyan case, pertaining to food: Re: Judgement of SC in Swaraj Abhiyan Drought case

http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/FileServer/2016-05-13_1463120192.pdf


Directions 30. 

In view of the discussion and the conclusions arrived at by us, we issue the follow directions: 1. Each of the States before us shall establish an internal grievance mechanism and appoint or designate for each district a District Grievance Redressal Officer as postulated by Section 14 and Section 15 respectively of the NFS Act within one month from today, unless these provisions have already been complied with. The said Officer would also be entitled to address grievances relating to non-supply of food grains due to the absence of a ration card. 


2. Each of the States before us shall constitute a State Food Commission for the purpose of monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the NFS Act as postulated by Section 16 thereof within two months from today, unless a State Food Commission has already been constituted. 


3. In the States in which drought has been declared or might be declared in the future, all households should be provided with their monthly entitlement of food grains in terms of the NFS Act W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 18 of 21 regardless of whether they fall in the category of priority household or not. The provision made under the NFS Act shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other entitlement under any other government scheme. 


4. No household in a drought affected area shall be denied food grains as required under the NFS Act only because the household does not have a ration card. The requirement of a household having a ration card is directed to be substituted by an appropriate identification or proof of residence that is acceptable to the State Government. 


5. It is made clear that each of the States before us is fully entitled to provide any food grains or other items over and above and in addition to the entitlement of a household under the NFS Act. There is no restriction in this regard. 


6. The States of Bihar, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh must within a month from today make adequate provision for the supply of eggs or milk or any other nutritional substitute for children under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Eggs, milk or another nutritional substitute should be made available preferably five days in a week or at least three days in a week. The other States before us must make a similar provision for the supply of eggs or milk or any other nutritional substitute preferably five days in a week or at least three W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 19 of 21 days in a week. Keeping in mind the children of this country, financial constraints shall not be an excuse for not complying with this direction. It is a sad commentary that we should have to say this but we need to in the interest of the children of our country. 


7. The States before us are directed to extend the Mid-Day Meal Scheme for the benefit of children during the summer vacation period in schools, if the extension has not yet been made, within a week from today. The Union of India shall immediately approve any such a proposal in consultation with these State Governments. This direction is being passed in the interest of children in drought-affected areas. 31. We might mention that the Union of India usually brings into force a statute without putting in place the implementation machinery. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the mechanism for enforcing several provisions of the NFS Act has not been established or constituted. This is completely inexplicable. We fail to understand how a statute enacted by Parliament can be given effect to without appropriate rules and regulations being framed for putting in place the nuts and bolts needed to give teeth to the law or setting up mechanisms in accordance with the provisions of the statute. It is perhaps this tardiness in execution W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 20 of 21 that enables some State Governments to take it easy and implement the law whenever it is convenient to do so. 


..……………………..J (Madan B. Lokur) New Delhi; ………………………J May 13, 2016 (N.V. Ramana)

=================================
On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 4:15 PM, Kavitha Kuruganti wrote:
While it appears that Swaraj Abhiyan did not get all the prayers that it had sought for in its petition, there are many good things in the judgement that lay a basis for medium and long term changes in the way this country approaches droughts. 




Directions 101. Keeping all the factors in mind we issue the following directions: 

1. As mandated by Section 44 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 a National Disaster Response Force with its own regular specialist cadre is required to be constituted. Unfortunately, no such force has been constituted till date. Accordingly, we direct the Union of India to constitute a National Disaster Response Force within a period of six months from today with an appropriate and regular cadre strength. 



2. As mandated by Section 47 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 a National Disaster Mitigation Fund is required to be established. Unfortunately, no such Fund has been constituted till date. Accordingly, we direct the Union of India to establish a National W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 48 of 53 Disaster Mitigation Fund within a period of three months from today. 


3. Section 11 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 requires the formulation of a National Plan relating to risk assessment, risk management and crisis management in respect of a disaster. Such a National Plan has not been formulated over the last ten years, although a policy document has been prepared. We can appreciate that the formulation of a National Plan will take some time but surely ten years is far too long for such an exercise. Accordingly we direct the Union of India to formulate a National Plan in terms of Section 11 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 at the very earliest and with immediate concern. 


4. The Drought Management Manual is undoubtedly a meaningful and well-researched document. However, in view of the submissions made before us by learned counsel for the parties, we are of the opinion that since the Manual was published in 2009 several new developments have taken place and there is a need to revise the contents of the Manual. We direct that the Manual be revised and updated on or before 31st December, 2016. While revising and updating the Manual, the Ministry of Agriculture in the Union of India should take into consideration the following factors apart from others: (i) Weightage to be given to each of the four key indicators W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 49 of 53 should be determined to the extent possible. Although the Manual states that rainfall deficit is the most important indicator, State Governments seem to be giving greater weightage to the area of crop sown out of the cultivable area and not to rainfall deficit. For this reason, necessary weightage is required to be given to each key indicator. (ii) The time limit for declaring a drought should be mandated in the Manual. Although it is stated in the Manual that the best time to declare a drought, if necessary, is October, we find that some States have declared a drought in November and December and in the case of Gujarat in April of the following year. Obviously this is far too late. The impact and effect of a late declaration of drought has already been mentioned in the Manual and it is not necessary to repeat it. Hence the necessity of a timely declaration. (iii) The revised and updated Manual should liberally delineate the possible factors to be taken into consideration for declaration of a drought and their respective weightage. Haryana has added several factors as has been mentioned above. Similarly, Bihar has added some other factors such as perennial rivers while Gujarat has added factors such as the nature of the soil etc. While we appreciate that it may be W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 50 of 53 difficult to lay down specific parameters and mathematical formulae, the elbow room available to each State enabling it to decline declaring a drought (even though it exists) should be minimized. This would certainly be in the interest of the people who face distress because of a drought or a drought-like situation. (iv)The nomenclature should be standardized as also the methodology to be taken into consideration for declaring a drought or not declaring a drought. The Gujarat Relief Manual, for example, apparently refers to "scarcity" and "semi-scarcity". The State Government appears to be hesitant to use the word "drought" even though a drought or a drought-like situation exists. Similarly, due to a lack of standardization in the annewari system of crop assessment, Gujarat takes 4 annas out of 12 annas as a base for determining if there is a drought-like situation. In areas where the crop cutting is between 4 annas and 6 annas, there is discretion in the State Government to declare or not to declare a drought. On the other hand, Maharashtra uses 50 paise as the standard the annewari system for declaring a drought. There ought to be some standardization so that each State does follow its own methodology in declaring or not declaring a W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 51 of 53 drought. 5. In the proposed revised and updated Manual as well as in the National Plan, the Union of India must provide for the future in terms of prevention, preparedness and mitigation. Innovative methods of water conservation, saving and utilization (including ground water) should be seriously considered and the experts in the field should be associated in the exercise. Illustratively, dry land farming, water harvesting, drip irrigation etc. could be considered amongst other techniques. 

6. The Government of India must insist on the use of modern technology to make an early determination of a drought or a drought-like situation. There is no need to continue with colonial methods and manuals that follow a colonial legacy. It is high time that State Governments realize the vast potential of technology and the Government of India should insist on the use of such technology in preparing uniform State Management Plans for a disaster. 

7. The Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture in the Government of India is directed to urgently hold a meeting within a week with the Chief Secretary of Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana to review the apparent drought situation with all the available data and if so advised persuade the State Government to declare a drought in whichever district, W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 52 of 53 taluka, tehsil or block is necessary. It should be emphasized that there is no loss of face or prestige or dignity in the State Government declaring a drought if it is warranted, although succour to the distressed might be too late in the day. The Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare in the Union of India might also consider convening a meeting of the National Executive Committee and issue directions, if necessary, to the States of Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana and their Authorities in response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster. 

8. Humanitarian factors such as migrations from affected areas, suicides, extreme distress, the plight of women and children are some of the factors that ought to be kept in mind by State Governments in matters pertaining to drought and the Government of India in updating and revising the Manual. Availability of adequate food grains and water is certainly of utmost importance but they are not the only factors required to be taken note of. 



……………………..J (Madan B. Lokur) New Delhi; ……………………J May 11, 2016 (N.V. Ramana) W.P. (C) No. 857 of 2015 Page 53 of 53


--

===============

KAVITHA KURUGANTI
Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA)
www.kisanswaraj.in

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How To change the subject line of an email you are forwarding, on gmail

How To change the subject line of an email you are forwarding, on gmail.

1. You have pressed FORWARD. A new typing space has opened.


2. Move the mouse over the button just to left of Recipients box, and click it.



3. From the dropdown list of options that appears, please choose "Edit Subject"



4. Now you can edit your fwd email's subject like. Please write there a proper description that is relevant to the actual email.

Good non-examples of subject lines : try and avoid these:
  • Fwd: Please forward
  • Hi
  • Hello
  • Help needed
  • Help!
  • Urgent
  • Fwd: (no subject)
  • Request
  • Re: Digest



Friday, May 13, 2016

Describing Transition


Describing Transition : My take on it..


It is observed in nature, in electronics, in any system that there cannot
be an instant switch from one state to another. Even in digital circuits,
upon closer inspection we find there is a transition. Sometimes that
transition can be smooth, other times messy.

So applying that concept to the macro level, various initiatives like
Transition Towns movement started with first the acceptance of things as
they presently are rather than complaining about it.

Then we think up of how we would like things to be. And then we figure out
how we could transition from here to there.

The intermediate steps can be messy, and because they’re intermediate,
won’t be perfect.

Many times we build overly high expectations and then when something that
might actually take us towards where we want to go comes along, because
it’s not perfect, because it’s an intermediate transition step, we might
end up rejecting it out of hand and so fail to transition.

It could be :
  • a political option at elections that isn’t the perfect one that you had wanted but at least can help to keep the criminals & greedy folks out of the system, 
  • a technology that isn’t absolutely 100% clean. 
  • a chemicals-free healthy food product that had to be packaged in plastic as it was the only option available to the maker right now to get it to you without losing 75% of the material in transit. 
  • something that shouldn't be more expensive, but is for the time being due to financial compulsions. 
  • a solution that does 80% of the job but isn't able to do the most difficult 20% that no one else also is able to do yet, like a machinery upgrade in an industry that removes 80% of the polluting effluents.
  • having to charge money in order to make a living while advocating a better economic model / givftivism etc.
  • one family member compromising on values and staying in corporate job to be able to make ends meet for the family and so enabling the parttner to work in promoting giftivism, alternative models etc. 
  • creating opportunities for schools to adopt better practices while still wholeheartedly agreeing with unschooling concepts.
Invitation: Do you know similar situations? Write them in the comments section!

Some of these opportunities might still take us one step closer in a 100-step transition process, and so even if imperfect (and at times apparently conflicting with the overarching vision), can be a far better option than remaining stuck in the status quo.

Once you go a few steps forward, other opportunities might open up that you
can’t see right now. Kind of like that story of the dark road at night not being lighted all the way, but your headlights light up the first few meters and that is sufficient to go forward. On the way you might even find co-travellers and allies.

 

The flip side

By rejecting imperfect things by default, by staying locked in the status quo (and so unconsciously voting to prolong the status quo), we might not be taking a risk but will still be 100% guaranteeing that good things will never happen. Which is better? A 100% failure guarantee or a 1% chance of success? What would a tree have to say about this : a tree that generates 10,000 seeds of which maybe only a handful will grow to be trees? Does nature prefer to lock itself into the status quo because of a lack of assured guarantees, or does nature prefer taking a shot, and maximize its shot-taking ability to tip the probability odds into her favour?

And since we don't live in a vacuum, there's a social obligation too. Your rejection of a good thing just because it doesn't fulfil your extreme expectations..

(Example insert : like expecting the vegan restaurant with a "green" in the name to be 100% plastic-free when they never ever committed to that at all, failing which you dismiss it as a fake/fraud, nevermind all the efforts they have been making despite all odds and taking on serious expenses to do the best that they can, nevermind the thousands of other restaurants out there whom you're giving a free pass with zero obligation and focusing all your negativity and judgement on just the one who actually gave a shit, who stepped out of line, took a great risk and tried to make things better),

...and sharing of your harsh dismissive stance with the larger community and using your perfect logic to justify your up-nosed high-horsedness, might actually DESTROY the chances of the solution you and others want from ever happening. Why would anybody even bother to try doing something nice ever again with people like you sitting around and waiting to insult any attempt at it in front of the whole community? Those who have done these kinds of things need to learn that they share responsiblity in prolonging the problem even if they weren't the original problem-causers.

Note: I'm upping the pace a bit here because the above example.. has actually happened just yesterday, with one dear friend of mine getting on the high horse and having done some serious amount of damage to another dear friend's initiative which by all counts did not deserve that kind of treatment; and the damage done might very well be permanent. So I have seen first-hand how bad things happen when somebody assumes a position of high expectations and perfectionism and unilateral definition-imposing (the 'green' in the name was never supposed to stand for zero-plastic.. my friend blindly assumed that without asking and judged the whole thing without trial) and forgets how to be nice in the process.

Conclusion

So in times of transition, it pays to be kind and humble and nice, to be accepting of what presently is, to not be perfectionist or have unrealistic expectations and
instead explore how we can move where we want to get, realistically, incrementally, positively and at many times, intuitively.

Project to make managing bus routes much easier for any bus authority : looking for a few creative coders

Hi Friends,

Please connect with anyone who would like to do some fundoo coding-for-public:

Design document: (a ppt slideshow) :



or click here:  Bus Route Information Management System

(lots of things ironed out since the last time I spammed you about this, and I've now broken it down to phases where initial ones would be fairly simple to implement)

Specific detail: As far as possible I want to pull this off on PHP/SQL/Javascript platform.

If you could connect me with a pune-based college's computer science department it would be heavenly!

Sharing a few of the slides to stoke your imagination.. 





(please see the slideshow shared at top for seeing all the slides. Slides have been updated since I made these screenshots, pls refer the slideshow for latest.)


    


Special thanks to PMPML officers, staff and fellow volunteers at PMPML Pravasi Manch for their constructive inputs and continued encouragement.

Disclaimer note: If you believe you're a .NET-only developer then this is not for you. And, absolutely no hi-fi advanced server/stack based solutions allowed which require complicated command-line installations on server side and need to be maintained as if they're some freakin' nuclear power plant. This whole thing can run off just 2 tables in its most basic form (phase 1&2), so let's keep things simple. Aur copyright / IPR ki baat ki toh chappal khayegaa.



Thanks for your time! Do connect if interested!

FAQ's about the Bus Routes Management System project


1. Why don't we just do live GPS mapping of all buses and wait till that happens?
>> a. I'm sure there's many folks already doing that; 
b. I feel that timetables and proper routes info for buses is something basic and necessary and cannot be substituted by live GPS mapping; 
c. I'd rather empower and make accountable the bus system people to do things properly, and enable them to keep up their obligation to the commuters of punctual and transparent service, instead of leaving everything to the map apps and giving leeways for last-minute delays and changes. It would be great to have BOTH instead of having to choose one.
d. The all-buses-will-have-GPS thing isn't here yet for each and every city and town in the whole country, and this solution shouldn't be limited to just one metro city.


2. Are there any deadlines for this?
>> Once you see the whole thing, the question that pops up for most is "Why isn't this available already, it's such an obvious thing!". I think that's because of the deadlines culture, and have witnessed closely how things have gotten messed up in Pune's bus system's case because of rushing and taking shortcuts. But anyways, if you do want to fix a deadline, how's this : Before your children grow old enough to commute on their own using public transport.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

about John Perkins

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44550.htm
More Confessions of an Economic Hitman: This Time They're Coming for
Your Democracy
John Perkins

More than the article, I want to share what inspires me about this man:

He's seen the deepest depths that mankind can stoop to, he's seen how
whole countries are deliberately messed with and how entire
populations' lives are toyed with. He's been there himself.

And just look at how positive he his, how deeply he understands that
we're all in the same boat, his compassion for humanity rather than
hatred, his hope rather than despair.

I have witnessed this repeatedly : people who do get exposure to
darkest sides and who get to witness real misery and who decide to do
something about it, are often the optimistic ones, the ones who have
so much hope and conviction that a better world is on her way, the
ones who are always smiling and never whining.

Whereas those who have been in comforts, who haven't really seen the
dark realities of the world, who haven't figured out what they want to
do about what they feel is wrong, I see them being really pessimistic
and hopeless and dismissive about humanity. I don't know about what
others may have seen, but this has been my observation.

If this trend is real, then what might this tell us about how we want
to raise our children? What if shielding them from the big bad world
is going to make them MORE despondent and hopeless and pessimistic
when they grow up? What if letting them know about what is really
going on in the world, is the key to empowering them to fix it when
they grow up?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How come suddenly flight ticket and iphone

Just backup-posting here a common reply to many people disparaging on social media about how some popular social icon is suddenly using iPhone and going on a flight when he's supposed to be poor:

Financial assistance flows in like water after you actually stand up for something that matters. Even many friends of mine who could never afford have received iPhones as gifts to help them with the good work they're doing. And air tickets can be bought FOR you by well wishers. This guy's well wishers aren't just your poor slaves.

Critics, thoda toh dimaag istamaal kiya karo
.

The Way of the Marathon - by Abhishek Thakur

Re-posting from my friend Kiran's FB post : https://www.facebook.com/kirangul/posts/10153802237647886

"THE WAY OF THE MARATHON

There are two distinct ways I have seen people engage in the social space.

The first is like a sprint. There is a burst of energy, like Bolt trying to run his 100 metres. Post a fellowship or a program, you are totally fired up. You realise that the world has burning problems, and you dive right in.

Soon, you have a social enterprise. Or, you are already volunteering 16 hours a day for some cause, relentlessly.

It's all great. You get acknowledgement from the people around. You have exciting stories to tell and feel the throbbing passion.

But sooner or later, burnout begins to loom on the horizon. The wake up call may be through a health crisis or a break up. It could be a parent losing patience or friends giving up on you. But it comes.

And with that comes disillusionment and 'giving up'. There may even be some bitterness – about how things will never change. There's a story about why it won't work or why you will get back to 'it' later.

But there is another way to engage with social change – the one I have seen the elders of this space choose.

This is the way of the marathon.

Just as you prepare to run for a marathon, this involves careful preparation. This preparation is at many levels. At the mental level it is understanding your cause. At the physical level it is taking care of your health. But the most important preparation is spiritual.

Social change can be a depressing journey. Consider your experience. Problems are super complex, solutions may not work and things keep getting worse. There are few blips of success. The work is time and thought intensive. And it is often underpaid.

In this scenario, spiritual practice is the fountain of hope.

After the initial burst of energy has fizzled, life can seem quite directionless. Many of us head back to corporate jobs. Others go for further studies, looking back at their social tryst as a youthful fling. Some save 'social work' for post retirement repentance.

But the way of the marathon requires each of us to care for ourselves. to nurture ourselves as the space through which Life will do its work. This journey is not for years but for decades spanning a lifetime – there is no exit strategy here.

My practices include journaling and meditation. On the path, the company of noble friends helps - these are others who are on the path and inspire me to keep walking. Self care includes eating healthy food, exercising and keeping the brain active.

The way of the marathon also involves preparing those around you to live with your choices. As they say, if you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.

The marathon way is also about learning to live within one's means. Creating a financial 'model' that allows us to sustain work in the long run is as essential.

Finally, there is no better way (or reason) to grow than to serve. Contemplation has to become a way of life.

I am preparing for a marathon (and already running it). And I'm looking forward to a joyful jog all the way to the finish line. Like every generation, we too will chip into the journey of the planet.

The only question is – will we get burned out by it or have a blast while it lasts!"

- Abhishek, our thakur.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The two-pronged team effort required to solve the farming problem

Its a two-pronged team that needs to work together here. 

We have the pioneers like all the wonderful people I've met practicing permaculture / natural farming who like scouts actually get out there, work independently of established systems, figure out the solutions and get proof of concept and relay it back. 

And we have the social workers who have deep connections who need to take this info and relay it to the masses and governments. 

This relaying and receiving of vital info needs some work. 

Many social sector people think the solutions are only for rich folks (who could afford to pioneer) because they see only the rich ones doing it first. (It has to begin somewhere, right? Even the petrol engine was too costly at first! So unfair & demanding to expect only the poor to solve the biggest problems!).

And our pioneers can lose patience after trying to do the social guy's job & failing frustratingly.

What both sides need to realize is that they need to work as a team. One prepares the medicine while the other prepares the patient to be able to take the medicine effectively.

The pioneer has to be by definition disconnected, hence she/he is unable to connect with and convince even the neighbouring villagers to adopt the solutions she/he has innovated.

The social worker has to be by definition connected and occupied in firefighting constant crises, hence she/he is unable to think outside the box and innovate solutions.

One can innovate but not scale or defend their solution in face of attacks by the mainstream. 
The other can scale up and defend the solution long enough to make it mainstream, but cannot innovate.

By working together, they can innovate AND scale.

The two shall complete each other. Yin and Yang shall join forces and that's how we're going to solve the farming problem, and turn every micro-region of this planet into self-sufficient in food, turn agriculture into a net CO2 sink, restore the ecological balance and win our planet back.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Why so much hatred for Kejriwal?

If you are curious to know why so many whatsapp fwds are going overboard with their hatred for Arvind Kejriwal, simply spend some time reading posts on this: https://twitter.com/ArvindKejriwal or this: https://aapdelhidiary.wordpress.com/

Kaam theek se karo toh opposition maaf nahin karegi :)

What's an UnConference?

This wrote itself this morning while I was trying to figure out a mailer for an unconference event we're doing next week here in Pune.
I'm separating the lines here to make it more readable.

What's an UnConference?

Imagine your last time at a conference, with a captive audience of everyone having to listen to one expert up on the podium, wishing you could get some more time to talk with the new friend you made at tea break. 

An unconference, also known as an open space event, decentralizes to multiple simultaneous breakout sessions where smaller groups can interact more intimately around a chosen topic. 

It liberates participants to go seek out what they're most interested in, with full freedom to move

It empowers participants to host sessions on topics they're interested in even if they're not experts but just curious

And, if you just want to talk at length with one or two people or play with kids or catch a nap, we encourage you to bunk sessions and do that! 

With that, we have a mela-like atmosphere with stalls and common spaces for random interactions. 

We also try to make the schedule have maximum room possible for unstructured interactions while still keeping a structure. 

We have an opening circle for settling in, orienting ourselves and planning the day's sessions, and a closing circle at end of event for regrouping and reflecting on our experiences.

Further reading: http://www.transitionnetwork.org/resources/how-run-open-space-event

>> Howzit ?!

For reference, see details about our event here. And below is the timetable we're following for this event:

Timetable:

When

What

9am onwards

Find the place, walk in and registrations

9.30 - 11.00 am

Opening circle

11.30 am - 1 pm

Breakout Session 1

1 - 2.30 pm

Lunch & Mela

2.30 - 3.30 pm

Breakout Session 2

3.30 - 4.30 pm

Breakout Session 3

4.30 - 5 pm

Tea & snacks

5 - 6 pm

Closing circle


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Invite for PUVU-4, Saturday 30 April 2016, 10am-6pm, @Yerwada (Pune Urban Village UnConference)

Hi Friends,


Inviting you to a fun-filled Saturday for yourself and the family, at the Pune Urban Village UnConference!

A day of celebration of our authentic selves, a day of sharing, caring and co-creation.
RSVP here!


Short version:
Event: Pune Urban Village Unconference, 4th edition
Date: Saturday, 30 April 2016
Time:  10am to 6pm
Venue: Thoughtworks, 6th floor, Binarus building, Deepak Complex, Deepak Nitrate Road, Yerawada, Pune.

Entry is free; for lunch by caterers charge is Rs.100/plate. You can bring your own food or get it from thela's outside the building's gate.
Click here : RSVP / lunch booking
Join the FB event page

Contact persons:
Urmila Samson, +91-9422-330-377
Nikhil VJ, +91-966-583-1250, nikhil.js [at] gmail.com
(please try to SMS/Whatsapp first)

Timetable:
When
What
10 am onwards
Find the place, walk in and registrations
10.30am-12.15pm
Opening circle and sessions planning
12.15 - 1 pm
Breakout Session 1
1 - 2.30 pm
Lunch & Mela
2.30 - 3.30 pm
Breakout Session 2
3.30 - 4.30 pm
Breakout Session 3
4.30 - 5 pm
Tea & snacks
5 - 6 pm
Closing circle

Special activity : Dariya Dil Dukaan! Please bring gifts that you would like to share with others!

Bring and put up posters about your initiative / organization!
Stalls : Most welcome. Contact us to let us know. Come on Fri 29th 5.30pm onwards to set up your stall. If more stalls, pls be accommodating to share table space. Note: footfalls expected : 100 to 200 ppl; no fees but no guarantees on sales either.

Directions: From Yerwada, take left at Gunjan theatre. After a chowk, along Golf course east wall , turn right at Sates tax office. Take left gate opp thela's, find tall office building 100m in.
by Bus: Route 24 from Katraj/Swargate/Station going towards MH housing board, get off at Sales tax office stop, after Netaji chowk. Cross the road to right side. Alternately, take a bus going towards Nagpur Chawl. See bus routes here.

Poster: (pls share among your networks!)


==================
The Long Version:

Welcome to PUVU 4;  A day of celebration of our authentic selves, a day of sharing, caring and co-creation.

Please do bring family, friends, elders and children along. Everybody is welcome.

(Note: all of the below will be adequately explained at the opening circle as well, so make sure you catch it!)

What's an UnConference?
Imagine your last time at a conference, with a captive audience of everyone having to listen to one expert up on the podium, wishing you could get some more time to talk with the new friend you made at tea break. An unconference, also known as an open space event, decentralizes to multiple simultaneous breakout sessions where smaller groups can interact more intimately around a chosen topic. It liberates participants to go seek out what they're most interested in, with full freedom to move. It empowers participants to host sessions on topics they're interested in even if they're not experts but just curious. And, if you just want to talk at length with one or two people or play with kids or catch a nap, we encourage you to bunk sessions and do that! With that, we have a mela-like atmosphere with stalls and common spaces for random interactions. We also try to make the schedule have maximum room possible for unstructured interactions while still keeping a structure. We have an opening circle for settling in, orienting ourselves and planning the day's sessions, and a closing circle at end of event for regrouping and reflecting on our experiences.

Further reading: http://www.transitionnetwork.org/resources/how-run-open-space-event

Dariya Dil Dukaan
Bring your stuff, we're having a big one!
Dariya Dil Dukaan emerges as a space to share and pass on things (clothes, books, jewelry, music, accessories, toys, just about anything) that we have enjoyed and now feel the need to give away/pass on/share. Many times we have these wonderful things that we don't feel the need for anymore or simply want to now give away. So, instead of selling or gifting away to people who may not really need or have any use of it, we offer it up in space where people come to give and receive such gifts. In the process, we also aim to move away from consumerism to conscious living by recycling instead of wasting. There is no keeping track of who gives what or who takes what but a lot of sharing of stories and love. We give and receive in joy and gratitude.

Further reading: http://udaipurtimes.com/dariya-dil-dukaan-shopping-without-money/


Timing
Timetable shared at top. Learning from previous puvu's, we want to value everyone's time and be punctual. We'll start dot on time, and finish at 6pm sharp so no one has to miss the closing circle.


Food
Thoughtworks' regular catering is providing full thali of healthy cooked food, at Rs.100/plate if you register in advance. We need to get a headcount to avoid wastage or shortage, so kindly register here by Thursday 28th night. Our volunteer will take payment in cash and give you your lunch coupon on Saturday morning.
You can get food from home and also share with friends! You'll get plates, cups, spoons to use and can heat things in the microwave. Also, there are regular thela's outside the campus so you can step out during lunch-break and eat there too.
For walk-ins who want to have the TW catering's food, there is usually extra food cooked. If available, you can buy your plate after 1.45pm at Rs.150/plate (pay at counter). This is to make sure the people who registered aren't left without food, hoping you understand! Best to register now.


Cleanliness
This beautiful venue is very generously provided to us free of charge, and on weekdays is an active office space. So please help us in cleaning up properly at the end of the day if you can stay back for a bit after 6pm.


FAQ's:
  1. Venue is disabled-friendly? >> Yes.
  2. Toilets? >> Plenty, and clean ones. It's an IT company.
  3. Venue is Indoor/outdoor ? >> Indoor, air conditioned IT company space. Sorry, no real grass or trees though.
  4. Stalls? >> Most welcome! Please contact us directly. Please come to the venue on Fri 29th Apr, 5.30pm to set up your stall.
  5. Can I schedule and announce a session in advance? >> You can announce, but you can't schedule it. The very essence of this event is that the people who have gathered co-create the day together. What you're planning, might very well get grouped with something similar someone else has planned. So please be patient till the opening circle is done. Also, note that the sessions have to be two-way interactions, not monologues. Please use the FB event page to announce your intention of doing the session and get others interested.
  6. Can I screen a film?  >> No, not this time, sorry. We really want us to disconnect from technology/consumption-mode and talk to each other, do hands-on things together. Please choose some other event for your screening, or collaborate to do a screenings mela sometime! You can do short clips as part of the session, but we'll leave you to hook up screens etc yourself.
  7. Can I access the wifi? >> No. If there's a special need, please get in touch. The computers in the session rooms usually have net on.
  8. Can I shoot photos / videos? >> For sharing with everyone, yes! We need you! If taking something focused or shooting a session, please take your subjects' prior permission. If kids, please take their permission for sure and locate their parents to share with them.
  9. Breakout session? >> Literally! There will be around 6 spaces available, so in that one session slot, upto 6 parallel sessions with different topics can be happening. We'll have a central board where info will be posted. Check out some pics to get an idea.
  10. What topics will be covered? >> That's the catch: even we don't know yet, as they gets co-created in the morning circle! Expect topics around alternative life paths, wellness, healing, learning, societal issues, sustainability, ecology, current events, emotions, life experiences, hands-on activities, etc.
  11. What about my kids? >> Kids are the kings and queens of the unconference! They'll have all the common spaces to play to their heart's content, and there will be activities and games going on to participate in. We also want the kids to get free from parental supervision and create their own experiences with peers. On safety: last 3 events, no major incident. That said, do take care. Do you want to host a hands-on activity? Please contact us!
  12. But my child is a baby / toddler >> The venue also has a creche room for toddlers. Check out pics on our FB page! A lot of babies have come and enjoyed all past PUVU's, there is space for diaper changing etc, helpful people all around and very clean washrooms.
  13. Snacks? >> On gift economy basis, we'll collect contributions during the day for buying snacks (probably samosa) for everyone. You can also bring snacks from home and share. Humbly requesting to minimize plastic waste. We also hope there'll be stalls selling delicious things to munch on during the day!
  14. How can I help make this awesome? >> Please contact us immediately! We need volunteers for decorations, chart-making, timekeeping, registrations (best way to get to know everybody!), note-taking, recording, etc
  15. I have filled registration form, but did not get any confirmation? >> Of course you're confirmed.. we invited you! We're not stopping anyone from coming. The event is free for all by default (but bring an ID for the security check at the gate!). By RSVP'ing, you have confirmed that you will come. Still, let's check if we can do some automation here to send an auto-confirmation email...
  16. If I call you up when the event is just starting, or just few hours before to ask for directions to the venue or for any other clarifications for which I have not bothered reading the FAQ's properly, then will you answer my call? >> No. Because there will be 10 others like you calling at the same time. We can answer your queries, or we can do the event. Not both. Besides, see what's written at top: please try to sms/whatsapp first.


Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday the 30th!
Cheers,
PUVU-4 Organizing team

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Swaraj University Course Design Questions

Swaraj University Course Design Questions
Designing a course syllabus is all about choices. Things to think
about when working on syllabus:
1.      What are the main topics you would like to cover to introduce
someone to the field? What are you choosing to exclude?
2.      What is the history of the field?
3.      Who are the important authors / pioneers / experimenters in the
field and what ideas have they contributed?
4.      What are the trends happening in the field?
5.      What are the innovations happening in the field?
6.      What are the key debates that are going on in the field?
7.      What are interesting projects / experiments / organizations going
on regarding this topic around the world?
8.      What are key learning materials in terms books, articles, videos,
exercises, games, models, frameworks, websites, etc?
9.      Talk to your mentors, what do they suggest?
Extra Questions:
1.      What kind of homework will you give?
2.      How will you evaluate the learners?
3.      How will you get feedback on your course?

(had a tough time hunting this down just now, so making a backup on the blog)


Monday, April 11, 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Interesting links for March 2016

Interesting links for March 2016

Tips on cleaning your data for mapping

Offering a few tips for teams that want to put their data on a map:

1. Bring your data to a flat excel table. Avoid having any merged cells in the header. Keep the headers in the first row only; from row 2 onwards your data should start. Example: If you had a super-header of "Expenses", and sub-columns of 2011 & 2012, then turn that into two distinct columns titles like "Expenses_2011", "Expenses_2012".

2. Even for the data rows, please clean this up. Un-merge the cells, repeat common information or delete that column (like, first column in your file is useless - there's only one state right?).

3. Make a new latitude column and a longitude column in your table. You have to assign lat-long to each row.

4.For bulk finding lat-long, this tool might help:
http://sahbhag.in/files/googlemaps-latlong-from-address.html
Copy-paste the locations column in the textbox, and it searches with google maps and takes the lat-long of the top match. Disclaimer: zero guarantees for accuracy! Note: wait for it as it cycles through each location. Once it's done, you can copy-paste the output CSV textbox and paste>import wizard in excel, or save as a .csv file and open it in excel / calc, etc.

5. To manually find lat-long of a location by clicking on a map, here's a good tool: http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html

6. Once your data is simplified and ready to be machine-readable, you can now upload the excel/spreadsheet to a mapping service. I'll recommend two: CartoDB : http://cartodb.com, and Google MyMaps: https://www.google.com/mymaps/


Example: Recently for Pune we got a little data about accidents, and some entries had lat-longs. So I was able to use my free account on cartodb.com to make this: https://nikhilvj.cartodb.com/viz/25be79a2-ed62-11e5-9bf6-0e8c56e2ffdb/map
Its nowhere near publishing levels because the data we've gotten isn't proper. But this could give you an idea.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

[Rethinking] Why we shouldn't rely on corporate media reportage of Panama Papers leak

Don't get satisfied with our media dangling just a few celebrities' , dons' and businessmens' names.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/04/corporate-media-gatekeepers-protect-western-1-from-panama-leak/ (article copied below)

Further links:
Video: What I learned from the Panama Papers - Corbett Report
>> illustrates how the coverage is predominantly targeting America's opponents only with little to no direct evidence; while the status quo remains untouched.

Video: The Largest Leak In History, What You Need To Know About The Panama Papers by WeAreChange

Article on zerohedge on how tax havens are shifting to the USA

Here Are Some Of The Americans In The "Panama Papers"

‘US pretends fighting tax havens while creating its own’

'Who’s funding this?’ CIA & MI5 whistleblowers question credibility of Panama Papers coverage
...While neither Vladimir Putin nor any members of his family were mentioned in the Panama Papers leak, most Western media chose to break the story with the Russian president’s photo.
...Meanwhile, both experts question the speed with which the information contained in the papers is being released, calling on the news outlets to make all of the information public instead of holding on to it, creating a mystery where there shouldn’t be one.
“There is an obligation for the people who hold these documents to release the full text. I would caution people that the main points are not out [yet] – all we see so far is what the corporate media selected for us to see, while certainly [there are] people in the US who do not want [everything] released until after the presidential primaries,” McGovern stressed.

https://www.popularresistance.org/newsletter-political-revolution/
Good analysis, covering both what the papers confirm (that the world's financial system is rigged to help the wealthy avoid taxes legally), and the questionable intentions behind targeting only of those who have defied US and Wall Street hegemony.


Video, by WeAreChange again: Panama Papers Psyop, Complete Inside Job by Real Elites

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/857593/41ede47ee4/1620022255/156fe052aa/
Newsletter from Local Futures / Economics of Happiness
... But while the media has focused mostly on individual cases of wrong-doing, it’s far more important to change the corrupt system that enables all of these abuses to occur.



Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak


Whoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained and all involved in tax avoidance. These Panamanian lawyers hide the wealth of a significant proportion of the 1%, and the massive leak of their documents ought to be a wonderful thing.
Unfortunately the leaker has made the dreadful mistake of turning to the western corporate media to publicise the results. In consequence the first major story, published today by the Guardian, is all about Vladimir Putin and a cellist on the fiddle. As it happens I believe the story and have no doubt Putin is bent.
But why focus on Russia? Russian wealth is only a tiny minority of the money hidden away with the aid of Mossack Fonseca. In fact, it soon becomes obvious that the selective reporting is going to stink.
The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that "much of the leaked material will remain private."
What do you expect? The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named "International Consortium of Investigative Journalists", which is funded and organised entirely by the USA's Center for Public Integrity. Their funders include
Ford Foundation
Carnegie Endowment
Rockefeller Family Fund
W K Kellogg Foundation
Open Society Foundation (Soros)
among many others. Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.
Expect hits at Russia, Iran and Syria and some tiny "balancing" western country like Iceland. A superannuated UK peer or two will be sacrificed – someone already with dementia.
The corporate media – the Guardian and BBC in the UK – have exclusive access to the database which you and I cannot see. They are protecting themselves from even seeing western corporations' sensitive information by only looking at those documents which are brought up by specific searches such as UN sanctions busters. Never forget the Guardian smashed its copies of the Snowden files on the instruction of MI6.
What if they did Mossack Fonseca database searches on the owners of all the corporate media and their companies, and all the editors and senior corporate media journalists? What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on all the most senior people at the BBC? What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on every donor to the Center for Public Integrity and their companies?
What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on every listed company in the western stock exchanges, and on every western millionaire they could trace?
That would be much more interesting. I know Russia and China are corrupt, you don't have to tell me that. What if you look at things that we might, here in the west, be able to rise up and do something about?
And what if you corporate lapdogs let the people see the actual data?
UPDATE
Hundreds of thousands of people have read this post in the 11 hours since it was published – despite it being overnight here in the UK. There are 235,918 "impressions" on twitter (as twitter calls them) and over 3,700 people have "shared" so far on Facebook, bringing scores of new readers each.
I would remind you that this blog is produced free for the public good and you are welcome to republish or re-use this article or any other material freely anywhere without requesting further permission.
##############

PS: Sincere apologies if you got multiple copies of this email. And, here's the obligatory Disclaimer.

Monday, April 4, 2016

What if we need some disobedience of rules to survive?

Here's a thought arising from seeing something about the nature of water (read the full post here).
Although water (H2O) is a liquid, it breaks nearly all the rules that liquids are supposed to follow. It just doesn't behave the same way that the liquid forms of other elements or compounds behave, and it has characteristics that are totally unique; inapplicable to any other element or compound in existence.

Life on planet Earth is possible because of water.
It is precisely the law-breaking, rule-bending characteristics of water, and its unique properties, that make life possible.
If water followed all the rules obediently like the other liquids do, then life on Earth (and probably elsewhere) would not be possible.
In a system as ruthlessly rigid, unrelenting as physical science, because one little compound decided to chuck the rules, life became possible, sustainable, thriving.
In what other systems in our lives : relationships, love, friendships, education, healthcare, jobs, governance, finance, technology, science, law, justice... can a little breaking of the rules be existentially essential to making life possible, sustainable, thriving?
And mind that even in physical science, if all the elements and compounds went about breaking rules in an unthinking way, that would make life impossible as well. So I'm not going there; I hope you don't either. The "little" word is key. Besides, water's antics don't seem chaotic or unintentional to me; there's something holistic and positively constructive about it. It's not a rule breaker in the negative sense.

But let's look at the other extreme. What if, by going overboard on strictly and absolutely applying all the rules down to the very last detail, without any allowance for any exception at all, we will end up making life unlivable?
If that is so, then should this inform the demands by social movements, democracy, transparency, accountability campaigns, activists etc? Can they make room for this in their advocacy and proposed reforms? Can they figure out where to draw the line?

Check these out for more research:
https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_our_loss_of_wisdom
Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world.
(this talk gave some of the first disruptions in my own thought processes, challenged what I believed to be right, and made me question some things I have been standing for since long)
John Oliver's Last Week Tonight show on youtube : many of his episodes focus hilariously on the vastly shitty consequences in various fields in the US of what Barry Schwartz is talking about.

PS: Sincere apologies if you got multiple copies of this email. And, here's the obligatory Disclaimer.

4th phase of water : Dr.Gerard Pollock

4th phase of water : talk and research by Dr.Gerard Pollock

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-T7tCMUDXU


Opens up a whole lot of questions, thoughts, and possibilities about water, its connection with light, what role it plays in our bodies, and this might call for a fundamental re-learning of what water is, and (indirectly, as an outcome should you choose to apply it) offers a fresh perspective to relook at the traditional practices of holy water, therapies using water, etc.

Quoting excerpts from the second link:

nothing short of ground-breaking. The fourth phase of water is, in a nutshell, living water. It's referred to as EZ water—EZ standing for "exclusion zone"—which has a negative charge. This water can hold energy, much like a battery, and can deliver energy too.

"There's a famous website (www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/) put together by a British scientist, Martin Chaplin. Martin lists numerous anomalies associated with water," Dr. Pollack says. "In other words, things that shouldn't be according to what we know about water...

The more anomalies we have, the more we begin to think that maybe there's something fundamental about water that we really don't know. That's the core of what I'm trying to do. In our laboratory at the University of Washington, we've done many experiments over the last decade. These experiments have clearly shown the existence of this additional phase of water."


"We found that if we put a simple tube, like a straw, made of hydrophilic material, in water... there's water flow through the tube at high speed. This happens spontaneously. But it shouldn't happen spontaneously. The common idea is that if you want to drive fluid through a pipe or tube, you need to apply pressure. But we have no pressure here. There's no pressure difference between the input and output. But flow builds up spontaneously, and it keeps going.

Recently, we found that if we add light, the flow goes faster. It means that light has a particular effect; especially ultraviolet light, but other wavelengths as well. It speeds up the flow. We think that somehow the exclusion zones (EZs) are involved because inside those tubes, there's a little annular ring of exclusion zone, and inside that is an area full of protons... It seems that the exclusion zone and the pressure of these protons are driving the flow."

-----
From Charles Eisenstein's essay:

Let me emphasize that this is not a New Age book by someone of questionable scientific credentials. This is a book on chemistry, albeit one easily accessible to lay people. Pollack is a highly decorated professor at the University of Washington, author of numerous peer-reviewed papers, recipient of the 2012 Prigogine Medal, and editor of the academic journal Water. I mention this because in a field fraught with what some call pseudo-science, but what I'll politely call speculative inquiry unburdened by scientific rigor, paradigm-busting theories attract an inordinate degree of hostility.
...
One would think that after two hundred or more years of modern chemistry, something as fundamental and seemingly simple as water would be thoroughly understood by now. Before reading this book, I took for granted the explanations my high school and college textbooks offered for evaporation, capillary action, freezing, bubble formation, Brownian motion, and surface tension. Everyone else assumes the same thing, which may be why the conventional explanations are seldom scrutinized. However, as The Fourth Phase of Water demonstrates, a little creative scrutiny reveals severe deficiencies in conventional explanations.

-------

The website www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/ does a great job of listing all the ways water doesn't behave like a textbook liquid, and one would be amazed to see how this *cheating* of the laws governing most liquids by water makes life on this planet possible.

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