Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Comments on the Gujarat textbooks / Dina Nath Batra scandal

Anyways we've been laughing at our textbooks all these decades; no difference now. This thing is so obviously stupid, it seems like yet another diversionary tactic to distract from the more seriously problematic things the new govt is doing. 

Running away from a constitutional obligation to hold elections in Delhi (what's next, come 2019 and they'll say the national elections are too much of an ordeal and should be avoided?). 
Giving blanket approvals to wiping out of the nation's natural resources. 
Branding people's movements as a threat to development. 
Imprisoning anyone who dares to offend the supreme leader. 
Putting a man having serious criminal charges as the president of the ruling party.

I think this textbook stupidity news is there to distract us from the more serious issues.

What happened last time

One thing the new central govt SHOULD be putting into our history textbooks : the stories from the Emergency period, how democracy was summarily flushed down the toilet under the garb of visionary leadership and strong, disciplined governance; how a nation was abused under the pretense of building a strong and united country. All while those who were supposed to defend it, obligingly looked the other way.

Those who forget their history, are doomed to repeat it.
In the years of our parents' youth, the ongoing slogan was "Indira is India and India is Indira". 
Another quote from the era, "You (journalists) were asked to bend and you crawled."
What's it going to be this time?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Worked out on a farm after such a long time

Fully tired yet energized by a day on a farm where 2 friends with similar stories as me are doing various farming experiments. Fully in rain and slushy, sweet smelling mud, we plucked weeds in the rice bed. We tried out some natural farming ideas, like tossed seeds over an area covered with grass, then chopped the grass so it covers the seeds. All in experimental mode. Had a great time talking with the group of 6 people on n number of topics, getting to know each other and finding out again that yes, being a little bit different than normal folks is ok, is good.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Open letter from Jewish body to demand end of Gaza massacre

In this time of tremendous suffering and fear, from Jerusalem to Gaza, and from Hebron to Be'er Sheva, we reaffirm that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, justice, and equality, and we mourn all those who have died. 

Our unshakeable commitment to freedom and justice for all compels us to acknowledge that this violence has fallen overwhelmingly on Palestinians. And it compels us to affirm that this violence has a root cause: Israel's illegal occupation. 

We are united in our belief that: 

The denial of Palestinian human rights must end. 
Illegal settlements must end. 
Bombing civilians must end. 
Killing children must end. 
Valuing Jewish lives at the expense of others must end. 

Only by embracing equality for all peoples can this terrible bloodshed end.

Jewish Voice for Peace : Israelies and Palestinians. Two peoples, One future

The Most Important Message For A 20 Year Old

The Most Important Message For A 20 Year Old - from Charles Eisenstein

Your secret suspicion is true.
1. The world is supposed to be much more beautiful than what has been offered to you as normal.
2. You have a magnificent gift to give, and the purpose of your life is to give it. And if you don't know what it is, then the most important thing you can do is to find it. Which might mean doing nothing for a while. Maybe you have to get out of the habit of doing things that are not your gift, in order to discover what that gift is, because it's been suppressed.
3. Something tremendous is supposed to happen to you. That big thing that you've been expecting? It is suppose to happen. 

The status so far of ab ki baar

Sharing a post by a friend on FB:

# A Chidambaram budget through Saffron lips of Arun Jaitley
# Key Ministries to 'Yes men'
# No action on Rapist Minister
# Appointing an encounter specialist as Party Head with complete disregard to morality.
# Corruption at public dealing points has gone up.
# Inaction on Inflation
# Fresh produce prices have shot up.
# Tolls on highways have shot up (Delhi by almost 50%).
# Continued encouragement to VIP mentality laal battee culture.
# Law & order on the ground is still the same - as bad or worse.
# Unwanted effort to saffronise education
# Fringe Party politicians taking centre stage through divisive talks.
# No action on Black Money (Electorate waiting for 150 days tall claim)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Declaration of Interdependence

When In the course of human events, it becomes increasingly necessary
to recognize the fundamental qualities that connect us,

then we must reevaluate the truths we hold to be self-evident:

That all humans are created equal and all are connected.

That we share the pursuits of life, liberty, happiness, food, water,
shelter, safety, education, justice, and hopes for a better future.

That our collective knowledge, economy, technology, and environment
are fundamentally interdependent.

That what will propel us forward as a species is our curiosity, our
ability to forgive, our ability to appreciate, our courage,

and our desire to connect...

That these things we share will ultimately help us evolve to our
fullest common potential.

And whereas we should take our problems seriously,

we should never take ourselves too seriously.

Because another thing that connects our ability to laugh...

and our attempt to learn from our mistakes...

So that we can learn from the past, understand our place in the world,
and use our collective knowledge to create a better future.

So perhaps it's time that we, as a species, who love to laugh, ask
questions, and something radical and true.

For centuries, we have declared independence.

Perhaps it's now time that we, as humans, declare our interdependence!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Generic Medicines app

This is to inform you that medicines are prescribed (by our great doctors) by brand name & not by the generics (Ingredients). Hence we end up paying more money for the same medicine.

Follow these few steps to know more & start saving on your medical bills.

1. Simply download HEALTHKART PLUS software on your Android device (

2. Search the medicine name

3. Type the medicine name which you are using (e. g. Lyrica 75mg (Pfizer company)

4. It will show u medicine company, prices and Ingredients

5. Now main point CLICK ON 'SUBSTITUTE'

6. Don't be surprised to see that same drug is available at very low cost also. And that to by other reputed manufacturer. 
e. g. Lyrica by pfizer is for Rs. 768.56 for 14 tab (54.89 per tab)
& same drug by Cipla (Prebaxe) is available ONLY @ Rs. 59.00 for 10 tab (5.9 per tab) 

Let the move by Supreme Court benefit everyone...

There was a big lobby by Pharma companies to stop generic medicines. But court kept the interest of common man and the medical need.

"Kindness Costs Nothing"

Greenpeace's "Dharnai Live" -first solar-powered micro-grid in Bihar kicks off

Today was a proud moment for us when we formally inaugurated the micro grid in Dharnai village in Jehanabad district of Bihar. We issued the following press release in Bihar & national media. GPI issued  the International PR simultaneously. Please check for IPR 


Press Release

Bihar village declares independence from darkness and anonymity

Greenpeace's first solar-powered micro-grid in Bihar kicks off with village ceremony

20 July, 2014, Dharnai/Jehanabad: Even as more than 300 million people still wait for electricity in India,  Dharnai in Bihar declared itself energy-independent today with the launch of Greenpeace's solar-powered micro-grid. The 100 kilowatt (kW) micro-grid currently provides quality electricity to more than 2,400 people living in Dharnai village in Bihar's Jehanabad district.

"While India was growing leaps and bounds, we were stuck here for the last 30 years, trying everything in the book to get electricity. We were forced to struggle with kerosene lamps and expensive diesel generators. But now I can proudly say that Dharnai is a leader in innovation. We have established our identity as an energy self-sufficient village and can compete with the country in its race to growth," said Kamal Kishore, a resident of Dharnai.

Costing Rs. 3 crore, the solar-powered micro-grid is a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind enterprise that provides 24x7 electricity to more than 450 households and 50 commercial establishments. This includes 70 kW for electricity generation and 30 kW for 10 solar-powered water pumping systems of three horsepower each. Built within three months and on a test-run since March, the quick-to-install micro-grid also takes care of 60 street lights, energy requirements of two schools, one health centre, one Kisan Training Centre (Farmer Training Centre) and 50 commercial establishments. It gives the village the mandate to not just a better life but also an ambition.

A quarter of the global population without access to electricity comprise the poor in India, where more than a third of the rural population lacks access to electricity. The decentralised, expandable and sustainable approach of the micro-grid provides that critical catalyst to power the new growth centres of India like Dharnai as well as bridge the deficit in urban areas. It is also a solution that can plug into the current government's focus on using solar power for energy access to every household by 2019.

"Even as the government is preoccupied with blaming the civil society for stopping energy projects, here is a village that has created its own energy pathway through an alternate model of sustainable energy. The coal-fired and nuclear-fired power plants of the country will not be able to reach the Dharnais of the country. Nor will they be able to address global climate concerns and India's commitments towards those concerns. India needs to seriously reconsider its energy strategy and prioritise renewable energy for social and climate justice," said Samit Aich, Executive Director, Greenpeace India, at the launch of the micro-grid attended by more than 3,000 villagers and community leaders from 25 villages. Also present at the launch were representatives from partner organisations CEED and Basix.

The micro-grid is operated in association with BASIX, a livelihood promotion institution as well as CEED, which is a network of NGOs and think-tank organisations in Bihar to support renewable energy development in the state.

The micro-grid has been set up with the approval and conformity of the people of Dharnai. So while it is a 100 kW system as of now, it can be expanded to meet the advanced requirements of the people.

"The micro-grid intends to be the answer to the intense policy and vision paralysis that India's energy sector faces today. The towns and villages of Bihar have been deprived of energy for decades now and we feel this is where the micro-grid can be the connect. We urge the Bihar government to follow and replicate this model," said Naveen Mishra of Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED).     

Greenpeace appeals to the government of Bihar to recognise decentralised renewable energy systems (DRES) like the Dharnai model for replicating and upscaling to provide energy to the dark villages of Bihar and create adequate regulatory structure for promotion of similar models.


For more information on the micro-grid, please visit

For the briefing paper on the micro-grid,

For a detailed manual on the micro-grid,

For the fact sheets on the micro-grid,

For photos please visit,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chemtrails justification : typical abuse culture logic

In response to a video:

It's the typical use of short term existential threats to justify even more long term damage. Happens in every abuse scenario, and needs to be called for the bluff that it is. Snowden may have gotten the info from inside the lockers, but he hasn't done the task of critically evaluating and thinking through this part; that's our job. The opinions of the secret American programs need not be the ultimate truth on the matter. If the chemtrail programs are stopped, then the consequences will be super-duper disastrous? Like how if a constantly abused wife spills the beans, the children's lives will be ruined? Heck no, truth is always less harmful than lies. The culture of abuse we live in has conditioned us to take instant inconveniences too seriously, while hiding the real dangers from view. Rather, we should thicken our skins, grow up and embrace the inconveniences needed to transition to truth. Also, thinking through the matter and questioning basic assumptions is necessary, specially the ones that trick us into believing these doomsday scenarios.

Consider what you shared about the Dust Bowl of 1930s. The American agriculture techniques were not adapted to the American climate. Lack of dryland farming techniques. Famines happen when agriculture doesn't adapt to limited-resources conditions. But there ARE ways to grow food and survive non-plentiful conditions. Switching over to more resilient agricultural practices is a far better option than the chemtrail program, duh! The basic assumption that the current system of agriculture is the ONLY way to grow food is flawed, and that throws the chemtrail justifications out the window.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sainath : revenues foregone in 2013-14 could fund the rural jobs scheme for three decades

P Sainath on Corporate Bailout #Rs. 36.5 trillion #Budget 2014

July 13, 2014 1:35 pm·

The revenues foregone in 2013-14 could fund the rural jobs scheme for three decades or the PDS for four and a half years.

By P. Sainath,

It was business as usual in 2013-14. Business with a capital B. This year's budget document says we gave away another Rs. 5.32 lakh crores to the corporate needy and the under-nourished rich in that year.  Well, it says Rs. 5.72 lakh crores  but I'm  leaving out the Rs. 40 K crore foregone on personal income tax since that write-off benefits a wider group of people. The rest is mostly about a feeding frenzy at the corporate trough. And, of course, that of other well-off people. The major write-offs come in direct corporate income tax, customs and excise duties.


If you think sparing the super-rich  taxes and duties worth Rs. 5.32 lakh crores  is  a trifle excessive, think again.  The amount we've written off for them since 2005-06 under the very same heads is well over Rs. 36.5  lakh crore.  (A sixth of that in just corporate income tax). That's  Rs. 36500000000000 wiped  off for the big boys in nine years.

With  Rs. 36.5 trillion  –   for that is what it is  –   you could:

  • Fund the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for around 105 years, at present levels.  That's more than any human being could expect to live. And a hell of a lot more than any agricultural labourer would. You could, in fact,  run the MNREGS on that sum, across the working lives of  two generations of such labourers. The current allocation for the scheme is around Rs. 34,000 crore.
  • Fund the Public Distribution System for 31 years. (current allocation Rs. 1,15,000 crores).

By the way, if these revenues had been realized, around 30 per cent of their value would have devolved to the states. So their fiscal health is affected by the Centre's massive corporate karza maafi.

Even just the amount foregone in 2013-14 can fund the rural jobs scheme for three decades. Or the PDS for  four and a half years. It is also over four times the 'losses' of the Oil Marketing Companies by way of  so-called 'under-recoveries' in 2012-13.

Look at some of the exemptions under customs duty.  There's a neat Rs. 48,635 crore written off on 'Diamonds and Gold.' Hardly aam aadmi or aam aurat items. And more than what we spend on rural jobs.  Fact: concessions on diamonds and gold over the past 36 months total Rs. 1.6 trillion.  (A lot more than we'll spend on the PDS in the coming year).  In the latest figures, it accounts for 16 per cent of the total revenue foregone.

The break-up of the budget's revenue foregone figure of Rs. 5.72 lakh crore for 2013-14 is interesting.  Of this, Rs. 76,116 crore was written off on just direct corporate income tax.  More than twice that sum (Rs.1,95,679 crore)  was foregone on Excise Duty. And well over three times the sum was sacrificed in Customs Duty (Rs. 2,60,714 crores).

This, of course, has been going on for many years in the 'reforms' period. But the budget only started carrying the data on revenue foregone around 2006-07. Hence the Rs. 36.5 trillion write-off figure. It would be higher had we the data for earlier years. (All of this, by the way, falls within the UPA period). And the trend in this direction only grows. As the budget document itself recognizes, "the total revenue foregone from central taxes is showing an upward trend. "

It sure is. The amount written off in 2013-14 shows an increase of 132 per cent compared to the same concessions in 2005-06.

Corporate karza maafi is a growth industry, and an efficient one.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Death : Life's change agent

Steve Jobs on "Death"

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help
me make the big choices in life.

Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--
these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you
have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there.

And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent.
It clears out the old to make way for the new."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Arvind Kejriwal's hangout / video message to Maharashtra volunteers

Just watched the 21 min video, and must say I'm so GLAD with everything that Arvind has said.

I'm sure there are going to be many disagreements and disappointments. While this message might make a lot of people leave, I have a feeling that it will encourage a much larger number of people who had left much earlier, or who hadn't joined because they didn't like the direction and attitude then, to come to AAP.

If we keep aside everything and really go back to the beginning, then there's clarity. We have to be a people's movement, do work for the people, and then the people have to compel us to stand for elections when they see it as the most efficient way to get their problems solved. Not the other way around! I'm feeling happy to see this message put loud and clear, feeling happy about this course correction. There can be infinity-squared blamings on what has happened so far ("if like this then why did we do this this and that", "then they should not have this and should have that" etc), but for the way forward, I think this is much better.

This chimes in with the model of the new AAP-like political party that's emerging in the US from the Occupy movement.
It co-incides also with the model of the Five Stars Movement in Italy, again AAP-like, and they now have 100+ people in the Italian Parliament. And with so many people's movements across South America where they are blooming after over a century of corporate oppression.

There's a book i would recommend for clearing confusion :
It covers a lot of topics like separation vs interbeing, the temptation to control, the dangers of being ruled by the fear of failure.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ivan Illich on education, and more..

Ivan Illich was one of the first people in modern times to start challenging mainstream factory schooling, in "Deschooling Society" in 1973. This excerpt, and the page having it, might give you a link between rethinking education and the thoughts that go against institutionalization and statism:

Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavour are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question. Ivan Illich Deschooling Society (1973: 9)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Back to the Land UnConference, Pune, 19-20 July 2014

Dear Friends in and around Pune,

We cordially invite you to the Back to the Land UnConference, Pune, 
An informal, co-creative gathering of thinkers, doers and dreamers
To share and collaborate about the transition to a more sustainable way of life

Date: 19 & 20 July 2014 (Sat-Sun)
Time: 9 am to 6 pm
Venue: Indradhanushya Environment Education and Citizenship Centre, nr. Mhatre Bridge

Who can come: Everyone, kids and elders included.
Fees: Zero
Please see the website for more information and to register :

This is a pilot event, and we hope to conduct more such events : small, easy and frequent, to deepen our connections and start doing things together. Due to capacity constraints, we have to limit the number of participants to 100. If we cross the capacity (a good problem to have!) by the time you register, we'll put you on waitlist, and at the next event you'll have priority. But there is an exhibition space that will be open to all during the two days. Registration closes on 12 July 2014 11:59pm.

Tentative schedule:
Day 1 : Saturday, 19 July 2014
9 am - 10 am          : Doors open, people start arriving, informal interactions, putting up charts / posters / exhibits
10 am - 11 am        : Morning gathering. Announcements, Short introduction, Explanation about the event, Co-creating sessions
11 am - 12.30 pm : Session 1
12.30 pm - 2 pm    : Lunch break, see exhibits, informal interactions
2 - 3.30 pm               : Session 2
3.30 - 4 pm               : Tea break, informal interactions, music
4 pm - 5.30 pm       : Session 3
5:30 pm - 6 pm       : Evening gathering, people sharing their learnings, takeaways, feedback

Day 2 : Sunday, 20 July 2014
9 am - 10 am           : Doors open, people start arriving, informal interactions, putting up charts / posters / exhibits
10 am - 11 am        : Morning gathering. Announcements, Games, Co-creating sessions
11 am - 12.30 pm : Session 1
12.30 pm - 2 pm   : Lunch break, see exhibits, informal interactions
2 pm - 3.30 pm      : Session 2
3.30 pm - 4 pm      : Tea break, informal interactions
4 pm - 5.30 pm      : Session 3
5:30 pm - 6 pm      : Evening gathering, people sharing their learnings, takeaways, feedback, plans ahead

We're looking for volunteers who can help out at the event, photographers, video graphers, voice recorders for each session, and musicians / singers (no electronics besides mic!). Students are welcome! You'll get a letter of appreciation and we'll feature you on the website. Write back to us!

Please forward this email to the people who you think may be interested. Share the poster on facebook. And quick! Limited seats available!

Contact Persons:
Nikhil Sheth : 9665831250, nikhil.js [at]
Urmila Samson : 9422330377, umrilasamson [at]
Please try to SMS/Whatsapp first before calling.

Thanks for reading this far! Feeling good about this? Then sign up quick! :

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Swaraj University Admissions 2014

Swaraj University is a community of individuals who are on the same boat as you. They are creating their own paths by stretching themselves, seeking to find meaningfulness in life and by building deeper perspectives to understand the self, soil, and society..  
If you or anyone you know would like to know more and be a part of this process, please visit our website and send this out to people.
You can also call 08764279302 or write to for more details.
The orientation meet for joining this program is coming up soon, on the 12th and 13th of July 2014. Hurry and hit the Join button on our website.
Copyleft © 2014 Swaraj University, NO rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eco-school to Eco-university

From a mailer from :

Dear Nature Lovers,
Greetings from oikos !

What should be the main goal of human race…
To live happy and healthy life and let future generations live the same ?
Obviously education should be focused to earn a livelihood in a cautious way.

We are totally dependent on Nature for survival.
But our education system seems to deny this fact.

Current education increases aspirations of people towards -
maximum generation of wealth and standard of living
with respect to highest consumption beyond needs.
Question is whether we really get happy and healthy life after that ?

Even if we accept that comforts and contentedness has increased,
number of diseases and hospitals are equally increasing.
We still feel that technology can provide solution for everything,
… even deteriorated life style and dwindling resources.
Also technology based solutions, being expensive, are enjoyed only by few rich.
And many poor are deprived of it, so crime increases.

There is no value for morals and self realization.

There are ways wherein we can earn a better future, based on natural wealth.
Nature is the best guide for us to make livelihood.
Education must consider any facet of life as subset of nature.
If we ignore this fact, effects are coming back to us in the form of climate change.

So education, be it primary, higher or graduation level, must have ecological perspective.
Prakash Gole had suggested a new education stream - 'Eco-school to Eco-university'.
Students coming from such education system may take care of nature as well as
sustainable, happy and healthy living  options !

Education should not be a burden and formality for students.
It should facilitate enjoyment.
It should incorporate morals.
It should improve learning ability.
It should also improve ability for self realization.

And this is best possible through learning in company of nature…

Sunday, June 15, 2014

On IB accusing Greenpeace and other NGOs

This accusation by IB analogous to accusing a mother of decreasing the family's income when she prevents her husband from selling their daughter to the sex trade.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Elephant in the Elevator

Why the whole overpopulation debate  is so ridiculous.

Imagine this situation: There's several different kinds of animals in an elevator, and the panel beeps and says it's too heavy: some occupants will have to get off to reduce the weight so that the elevator can proceed. There's several hundred ants in the elevator, dozens of butterflies, some squirrels, foxes, tigers, a couple of bears and one elephant. The elephant is assuming leadership of the elevator; and imploring all the ants to get off.. "there's too many of you! Please, you need to reduce your numbers to something like ours (elephant and bears), only then can this elevator move ahead."

That's what's happening with the overpopulation debate.. or should I say monologue (the other side is silenced), right now.

It's not about what the population is. It's about how much is the consumption.. the carbon footprint, the resource depletion, the burden being put on this planet etc.

All the so-called overpopulated regions of India, Asia, Africa : are on a per capital level consuming NOTHING compared to USA, the West. Even in absolute terms, when you trace out the consumers of the products of all the outsourced industries and credit those consumptions to their original masters, it's still the West (US mostly) cornering the top.

Now, let's put on the thinking hat of Efficiency and think in those terms. Supposing you were really proceeding with reducing the population as a means of cutting down the planet's resource depletion. Where would you begin?

Logically, the first step would be to list, in descending order, the populations of the world with their resource consumption statistics. Maybe an index that combines food, fuels, petrochemicals, expenditure, electricity, minerals etc. You would make a descending list of countries, with the countries having the highest per capita consumption at the top. If necessary, you would split the countries where there's a distinct difference between different regions. For example, India's metro cities stand in stark contrast with the rest of India. So list them separately.

Then, using the principles of maximum efficiency, where would you begin? Naturally, you'd begin at the top.

It makes obvious sense, doesn't it? Taking a white upper-class American off the planet is far more efficient and easier than taking out some 1000+ Africans or Indians who are consuming less than he is.

So, here's where the ridiculousness if this whole overpopulation topic manifests : Anyone who was honestly, sincerely believing that controlling the earth's population of human beings is an acceptable way to prevent runaway resource depletion.. would have to be talking about starting with depopulating USA first, followed by whichever countries, regions you have on that list. The poorest parts of Africa, Asia would have to be the very last on the list. Only after you've seriously, satisfactorily brought down the populations of the "West".. or at the least, after you've shut down most of the industries they've outsourced and which are heavily subsidized by the corrupt governments of the developing nations : only then should you even begin to look at the rest.

Instead, what do we get to see? Like the elephant in the elevator, we see mostly white-skinned, upper class people, belonging to the demoraphics that consume the most, talking in alarmed tones about overpopulation, and pointing fingers at the guys who are at the bottom of the consumption charts.

Complete hypocrisy.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

HOW TO send audio to the HDMI-connected TV

We now have HDMI cables to connect the laptop to a projector or large LCD/LED TV for screening something.
The HDMI cable also sends sound; and if you're screening movies etc on a big-screen TV, then it's best to use the TV's own audio rather than getting a separate set of speakers.

But you might find it difficult to get the sound to come on the TV instead of your laptop. Ideally this should happen automatically but I guess we'll have to manage with some manual tweaking right now.

If you're playing video on VLC player, you have to go to Tools > Preferences (or hit Ctrl+P on keyboard)
See the screenshot below... 
click to enlarge

1. you have to set the Preferences window to show All settings (bottom left)
2. Navigate to Audio > Output modules > DirectX on the left side tree
3. Your plugged in HDMI device should appear in the dropdown list on the right. Choose it.
4. Press Save button on bottom right.
5. Don't panic if the sound is still coming from your laptop. You have to STOP the movie, and start playing it again for the change to take effect.

I went through some trouble to get this straight. Here's hoping you find it easier. Once done, you can really feel the difference as the sound comes on the TV nice and loud.

Note: You'll probably have to use the same technique to change it back when you want to hear sound on the laptop again. Don't panic if you're playing a movie later on and there's no sound coming!

Rethinking Property, Housing


Q. Another area of your work which is becoming increasingly popular in anticapitalist circles is the idea of the commons. Could you briefly explain what it means and why it is important to the struggle against capitalism?

DH. Let's examine the question of housing for the moment. It is almost standard thinking that in order to get housing you have to be a homeowner. Therefore the private property system dominates housing provision. I think that's really problematic. For a lot of people being a homeowner is not good economics – they don't have the incomes. But being a tenant is a vulnerable situation. So, you might want to have a completely different kind of property regime for the delivery of use values to a significant section of the population.

I think there are ways to try to reorganise what goes on in housing provision through common property regimes. Not state-owned, I want to be clear. This would be social housing which would be co-operatively developed, managed and structured. There are interesting schemes in the United States, for example, called 'limited equity co-operatives'. If you participate you can't sell out at a market price. You can only get close to the value you started with. If you got into the housing co-op for €100,000 and twenty years later you want to get out – you get €100,000 plus the inflation or something similar. You can't go and sell it for a million. So this means there is a permanent pool of housing which is available for a population that can't afford a million but could afford €100,000 on a reasonable mortgage.

On housing provision, we have to get out of that frame of mind that says 'the only way you can really do this is through home ownership'. That idea of home ownership has been pedaled for political and economic reasons. Most people have absorbed the idea that this is the only way in which housing can be provided. Arguing for a different property rights regime seems to me to be critical. Many areas that have been commodified need to be returned to a common property idea. I think education and health care are common property rights. To the degree that our world is not delivering good use values for those things it is because it is privatised and turned into a private property right. I'm concerned to support wherever I can initiatives which start to generate common property rights regimes in place of private ones.

That common property regime is not state ownership. We've got a dichotomy right now between state and market which is misleading. Neither state nor market but a collective form of provision.

New political party in US emerges from the Occupy Movement

I love their short, single-sentence style Manifesto, and Plan pages. Also, the intentions are very clear and boldly not trying to compromise with mainstream fallacies. They're very much imbibing the principles of Swaraj which override economic policies, ideologies etc because you just basically do what the particular area in question needs.

Here's a line from a video that I really identified with, and would love to see manifesting in AAP:
"For 364 days in the year we are going to be a humanitarian movement helping people solve their day to day problems..."

Article: Why JP Singh is every Indian farmer's best friend

How did an unassuming Varanasi farmer and school dropout come to be sought after by farmers, praised by experts and awarded by the government for his famous seeds?

His claim to fame? He develops indigenous, high-yielding and disease resistant varieties of plants.  So far, he's perfected more than 460 types of paddy, 120 of wheat, 40 kinds of arhar dal and three of mustard. He's also grown a special type of wood apple or bel, one that yields 8-10 fruits in a single bunch, multiplying harvests for poor farmers.

One million farmers in about seven Indian states swear by the seeds he provides. He sells them for Rs 30-40 per kilo, compared to the Rs 200-300 that agents charge for genetically modified (GM) crops. Still, his crops outperform the GM ones on yield. And from their grain, farmers plant for the next harvest - something they can't do with a GM crop.

Break out of the box and the fake dream chase

We really need to break out of the box that India's mainstream media has trapped us in. It rarely ever covers what's happening on planet Earth.. India is treated as if we're in some different world alltogether. At the same time, we are shown fantasy images of how the West is and we are made to believe that our sole purpose in life is to mimic them. We are not at all shown the reality. 

1. How many people reading this know that the US has the largest % of its population in jail? 
2. And nearly half of its jailed population are the US's "Dalits" (blacks and latinos). 
3. Also, it has the highest number of murders and random shootings happening, 
4. and a huge number of citizens getting shot dead by police in times of confusion. 
5. It has highest rates of cancer and addiction to pharmaceutical drugs. 
6. Its children are forced to take psychotropic drugs to get them to behave properly in the classroom, and are getting permanent damage in the process. 
7. Their meat industry is equal to Nazi's concentration camps.. horrendous abuse, extremely horrific way of killing animals and esp of cows happening there at enormous scale. 
8. There are more people homeless in US than there are vacant houses that have been taken over by banks over failed home loans ("Mortgages, foreclosures"). 

All these details are left out by India's media and we are made to believe that the US is some magical fairyland whereas that is not the case. Their upper classes are similar to our upper classes. If you only focus on them, you would think that even India is very well off. Plus, it's a mathematical impossibility for India to "get there".. US is at its place because it exploits India, Asia, China, Africa etc. India does not have any more Indias, Asias, Chinas, Africas on this planet left to exploit. And we shouldn't anyway. The dollar is the world's reserve currency and the US can print as much as it wants to escape reality; India cannot do that. In the blind chase of aping the US, India is quickly getting all the negative realities of US and far worse.

So, break out of this box as well as out of this fake dream chase : this wild goose chase that the media has mentally trapped us in.

Article about accident in May 2014 at Koodankulam nuclear power plant

Exposed: Not following of safety, emergency or transparency standards, and hiring of unskilled contract labour, without any adequate protection or training, at the plant, who are migrants and cannot be tracked down later for checking for long term radiation effects.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Video: How Television and Sports are used to control the masses

While this video is from the US, the same formulas have been played out very recently in India too, and I think when you watch this video you might have some "aha" moments. On the optimistic side, I must note that hoodwinking the people has been getting progressively tougher and more expensive and risky; and the social isolation that empowered this all has passed its peak and is now on the decline.

Pune riots : triggered by FB posts? Really??

Roads and Highways Blocked.
A young professional murdered.
Stone pelting at several cities in state.
Number of buses were burnt.
Shops forcefully shut down for over 2 days.
Lot of private vehicles were also damaged.
Just for the sake of protesting against a FB post.
And we still have people who say "someone triggered it".

If the people of Maharashtra were really so trigger-happy and violent and easy to provoke, then some cyber criminals would have simply hacked into a few fb accounts and wiped out the population by now. No, sir, let's not insult the people of Maharashtra. 

This wasn't triggered. It was planned.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wall of Films : 500 documentaries hand-picked to change the world

An email from a parallel universe

<Sfx: mysterious space music>
Could this email have come through an inter-dimensional space-time warp from a parallel universe where an alter-ego of mine might be living a life path that i might have been on had i not diverged from the de facto script in 2010?

what might your alternate-universe life look like?

(read below to understand)

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Jun 3, 2014 1:08 PM
Subject: To: Nikhil D. Sheth / Purdue University

Dear  Nikhil D. Sheth,

As stated by the Purdue University's electronic repository, you authored the work entitled "A Micromechanical Spectrum Analyzer" in the framework of your postgraduate degree.
Due to the fact that we are currently planning publications in this subject field, we would be pleased to know whether you would be interested in publishing the above mentioned work with us.

[..] Academic Publishing is a member of an international publishing group, which has almost 10 years of experience in the publication of high-quality research works from well-known institutions across the globe.

Besides producing printed scientific books, we also market them actively through more than 80,000 booksellers.

Kindly confirm your interest in receiving more detailed information in this respect.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

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