Saturday, August 10, 2013 : online image map creator

I just used this website to put clickable sections on to an image.. it's called an image map.

Inline image 1

Awesome tool... very user-friendly and it was all done in an hour or so!
Check out the result :

From Dictatorship to Democracy #GeneSharp

My connection with Gene Sharp's work:

In 2011, I was with an educational NGO that started getting very corporate, top-down and dictatorial. I came across "Dictatorship to Democracy" at the time and used some of the tips there in exposing our management's malpractices through an organization-wide email and disclosure campaign and successfully got an unfair termination of a colleague reversed.

The book came especially handy in analyzing and predicting the behavior and priorities of the managers and the upper leadership, and gave me an insight that ran contrary to what most colleagues were advising, but turned out to be accurate. It saved me a lot of time and energy and disappointment.

I've made a video of my experiences : (don't think I've mentioned the book anywhere though)

Of course, by then the core concepts of the organization itself had been exposed to be serving the opposite of what was claimed; and in keeping with this, the managers responsible for the unfair termination did not get sacked despite having been exposed and they even tried to set me up. So I walked out once the campaign was over and feel it was a good decision.

You can download a copy of the book from here:


Friday, August 9, 2013

Ladar Levison : closed his company instead of handing over his users' data to US Government

Salute to this guy!
Reblogging from

Meet the man who stood up to the U.S. Government and the NSA: Ladar Levison! Rather than give the government access to all the users' data (encrypted passwords, etc), he refused and shot down the servers and his company. Ten arduous years of work went down the tube. Like Edward Snowden, he put his well being on the back burner in order to stand up for our country, for Liberty and the Constitution. He dared to stand up to this rogue government. Here is the story:

When Edward Snowden emailed journalists and activists in July to invite them to a briefing at the Moscow airport during his long stay there, he used the email account "" according to one of the invitees. Texas-based Lavabit came into being in 2004 as an alternative to Google's Gmail, as an email provider that wouldn't scan users' email for keywords. Being identified as the provider of choice for the country's most famous NSA whistleblower led to a flurry of attention for Lavabit and its encrypted email services, from journalists, and also, apparently, from government investigators. Lavabit founder Ladar Levison announced Thursday that he's shutting down the company rather than cooperating with a government investigation (presumably into Snowden).

Lavabit's website now displays a message about the shutdown, available in full below, along with a request for help paying the legal bill to fight the government in court.

My two cents on the compulsory rural service for doctors debate

This is a response to one and many such articles, DownToEarth shared this on FB and invited comments :

"Are junior doctors justified in protesting against rural posting which has been made a condition for admission to post-graduate medicine courses?"

My response:
There are completely other reasons why this compulsion is a wrong thing. Modern medicine is a failed institution and a money-spinning industry. Rural areas need to preserve/ revive their traditional knowledge of medicine. Sending city-bred doctors to these areas will kill the traditional knowledge, and make rural folk unnecessarily dependent on unsustainable infrastructure for their health.

On the argument of rural health, it's quite obvious that poor health in rural areas is arising due to the influence of chemicals-based agriculture-on-steroids, reckless mining and processing industries dumping their pollutant waste in their ecosystems. If we really want to address these issues, shutting down all polluting factories and stopping the subsidies for and discouraging use of unsafe chemicals in farming, would be good places to start. Sending in more doctors will do nothing towards solving the problems - it'll only serve as a distraction and be yet another way to waste public money. Prevention is better than cure.

This push is less out of genuine concern for rural areas and more a ploy to expand the business of Big Pharma into unexploited sectors. In this battle of occupation, the doctors are being made unwilling, conscripted soldiers sent in to waste important years of their lives for some rich people's profits.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Grammar does not have rules, it has habits

Grammar does not have rules.
It has habits.

What we perceive as rules are simply derived from the way majority of the language's speakers, or at least some influential sources such as TV, movies, newspapers, magazines, spell-check in word processing programs (major influence on my shifting from 'colour' to 'color'... see, even now the first word is underlined in red! ) are speaking at the time.

With particular reference to English, that explains how there are exceptions in our languages for every "rule".

With regards to teaching grammar, I think what makes it so difficult is this inherent hypocrisy : the language doesn't seem to follow its own rules. It's because there were no rules in the first place : syllabus planners observed the contemporary practices and formed patterns from there, and then wrote them down in our textbooks as rules. I see this craze among veteran language teachers to keep inventing new models, formulas, tricks etc to set everything straight; newer and newer books keep coming out to explain it in better and novel new ways... they're just barking up the wrong tree.

We'd be much better off if we simply gave up all pretenses of order, and told the learners frankly that it's spoken/written this way because that's how the majority or at least the influential sources seem to like it. Maybe tomorrow people might start doing it differently, and then, voila! The rules, no, the HABITS of the language will have changed.

If you want the language to do a particular thing differently, then get a large number of people, or the influential people, to speak/write it your way and you will have CHANGED the grammar of the day. Yep, that's empowering to hear. And involving. And way more realistic.

And digressing a bit.. guess what other sectors ought to redefine their rules into habits?

Open Letter to Parents

Disclaimer: This is a rant. It's not coherent. The sentences are too long. I'm not going to try making it coherent. You have been warned.


I want to address this to parents who have achieved a definite degree of what we term as success in our society, who have worked hard to achieve it, who started out small, who struggled a lot and were able to secure a financially stable upbringing for their children. Some of you made it overseas; others made it big where you were but now you want your kids to carry on with your upward growth curve and make it big.

First: thank you for doing what was needed. Your efforts have borne fruit. Now, you might be expecting your kids to continue on the same graph.. to go ahead, break more boundaries, get even more financial success, a more secured future. To take your legacy forward.

But for some of you, you might find the same drive missing in your children. You might be hurt and confused if they are having other priorities (or none that matter in your opinion). You might even take it as a threat to your legacy or to their own well-being. Or you may have noticed it coming and arrested those tendencies early on in your kids' childhoods, taken the reigns over their post-school lives and made sure they studied hard and scored well, applied to this entrance exam in time, filled in their admissions at so and so place properly, kept daily checks on them even when they were away from home (before: phone, now: Skype) , made sure they "keep it up" (what??).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Canary in the Coalmine

Post on FB by Down To Earth,

By 2015, India is projected to have:
3 million schizophrenics
12 million alcohol dependents
20 million people with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder
25 million people with anxiety, phobias and other common mental disorders
Will India's proposed legislation and policy on mental healthcare bring relief to the mentally ill?
Go to

My response:

It would be cheaper to fix the root problems manifesting themselves in these various forms than to go behind each mental illness case and "fix" it.

Human beings are not mechanical robots. Our health defects happen due to the way of life surrounding us, the environment we are embedded in. 

The medical profession runs on the fatal assumption that "normal" life as it is, is perfectly OK. 
It's not. 

The increasing numbers of people falling to mental illnesses are like the canary in the coalmine. 
What should miners do if they see the canary rolling over? They should realize there isn't enough oxygen in there, get out and improve the ventilation. They should not just sit there trying to cajole the canary back to health or give it drugs to "help" it carry on.

Why our global society is collapsing

I found this para on the website of a Portugese peace village named Tamera (doesn't really describe it so do click to find out more)  puts much of what I want to say in concise. So, reblogging it here (and, of course, I fully stand for what is written ahead):

Excerpt from T E R R A N O V A
 - Project for a Free Earth written by Dieter Duhm, all rights to the original author and website :

Our current society is collapsing because of inner contradictions, which can no longer be solved by conventional means. The human being is a "Zoon Politikon" – a societal being and as such is subject to the laws of society. 

At the same time, however, in accordance with his physical and spiritual nature, he is a member of the biosphere and as such subject to the laws of organic life. 

If these two laws contradict each other, disease, criminality, violence and war arise. 

Today we experience a planetary culmination of this contradiction. We experience global epidemics of disease and violence. 

Humankind has organized itself in the wrong way. It has established a way of living that does not comply with the laws of life. 

We have reached an apocalyptic limit beyond which no survival is possible. 

To overcome this dead end, we do not need mega-cities, nor trillion dollar technologies for Martian colonization. 

Instead, we need intelligent concepts for a new cohabitation of planet earth. 

We do not need reform, instead, we need a new direction of human evolution. We are at the beginning of the greatest revolution in history.

Misuse of tech and insanity of copyright

this was a recording of a play we had in our college's annual fest... and some how through all the noise and distortion...

Clicking on Dispute, I'm told about some pretty grave consequences should the dispute be rejected by some invisible decision-makers : my whole youtube account.. including several videos i've uploaded till now.. could be erased.

So.. yes. Long term : need to move away from youtube and all such "free" web services being offered by giant corporations. I certainly don't think the people who originally made it (and then google bought it for a bomb) had this in mind.

is nuclear power really safe?

similar stories you can find of the "adivasis" of the US and Australia where they're been mining & processing uranium.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Only an equal person is free

Reblogging this from Chitra Jha's FB page:

Making others feel important while putting ourselves down is a subtle strategy we use to control others. When we make somebody feel very 'high', we gain power over that person because we can either keep them high or throw them down. 

Staying on a pedestal can feel very good and special; most people enjoy that trip, and in order to enjoy they have to fulfill a few conditions, such as, "Don't do this; it doesn't suit you. Don't do that; it is below you. Keep your status." You see the manipulation! The man on the pedestal cannot live his own life. He is completely dependent upon others, who control and manipulate him, while making him feel like a god. That's the trick, and it is an ancient, time-tested trick. After staying on the pedestal for some time, people fear coming down and becoming ordinary once again. Others take advantage of this fear for their own gain.

Making others feel low or high are tools of manipulation and control. If someone is low they can be repressed and punished; if someone is high they can be thrown off the pedestal. Only an equal person cannot be controlled. Only an equal person is free.

So, beware from either climbing on a pedestal or making yourself feel lower than others. Both ways you can be manipulated. All pedestals are a kind of prison. Being ordinary is the only birthplace of freedom. Only ordinary people can be natural, alive and true. 

Considering each other equal in our ordinariness is the greatest respect we can pay to each other as human beings.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pointers that educators should take note of

A comment on FB inviting suggestions for improving TFI's (Teach for India's) methods led me to this rant.... (I'm putting line breaks here to make it more readable... apologies to the poor souls who had to read it in a continuous paragraph..)

Unnecessary repetition might be a good place to start. (the preceding comment had been erroneously posted 3 times.. oh how i love taking advantage of glitches) 

It might be worthwhile to consider what the world's leaders in alternative education / deschooling movement have been telling since decades 
(and which was never mentioned to us in Insti, (referring to Insitute, a 5 week training program that TFI put us through before our fellowship in which they'd promised to cover everything we needed to know about edu sector) making it the political equivalent of teaching a course on world history of freedom struggles without making a single mention of Gandhi, Mandela or any nonviolent freedom struggle) : 

That learning is NOT a product of teaching. 

That kids learn best about life by actually living it, not by spending valuable hours locked away from it. 

That exams/tests/assessments are probably the worst way to check for real learning. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Manifesto for Conscious Men

I came across this video, and the related articles, would like to re-post them here. I will state here that I am in total agreement with what is stated in the ensuing video and text, and want to share this with people I know and who know me.


An article about it:

It explores taking this further, and that's my broader field of interest : how to take it to the society-structure level.

The first, Riane Eisler, is a Scandinavian-born, U.S.-trained lawyer and economist.  Her most recent book, The Real Wealth of Nations, explains that brilliant thinkers, from Adam Smith to Karl Marx and beyond, have all failed to produce political systems that function for the greater good of all precisely because their models are all based on a flawed and destructive social artifact: the "Domination" system.  In Eisler's words, societies adhering to the Domination system have the following "core configuration":
  • top-down authoritarian control in the family and state or tribe
  • the subordination of the female half of humanity to the male half
  • the devaluation of caring, nonviolence and other stereotypically "soft" values in women and men
  • a high degree of institutionalized or built-in fear, coercion, and violence
In contrast, societies adhering to what Eisler calls the "Partnership" system would exhibit the following:
  • a more democratic organization in the family and state or tribe
  • the male and female halves of humanity are equally valued
  • values such as caring and nonviolence are highly regarded in both women and men
  • a low degree of institutionalized or built-in fear, coercion, and violence
Interested readers can dig deeper into Eisler's conception of these two "social categories" at her website.  To me Eisler describes an appealing possible future whereby our children can grow up in an environment that cultivates the highest human potential, as opposed to being poisoned by a pervasive culture of "fear, coercion, and violence," in the home and on the street.

Climate change activists and deniers: you're both right and you're both wrong

Environmentalists, beware. Time to see through the facade. The authorities' intentions were never aligned with the common good to begin with. Their main intentions have been control and extraction of wealth, and they will do whatever it takes to push ahead with it, they are especially keen on hijacking the environment movement.

This factor is what is pushing many people into denying climate change : for many the fight is with the exploitative policies and intrusion into citizens' lives being pushed in the name of environment. And then we have pollution-reduction advocates who get so desperate for ANY way to halt the exponential CO2 rise that they go into denial about the covert government agendas behind pollution control laws.

So I'm going to take a step here and make a statement : To environmental activists and climate change deniers : You are BOTH correct in what you're most passionate about. The problem is that you're passionate about two different things, and you're both ignoring what the other guy's concentrating on, while your push in your area of concentration is causing problems for the other.

What both of you need to realize is that your being right does not automatically make the opposite end 100% wrong.

Climate change is not one big hoax being peddled to rip people off and end their liberties. It is a reality that is being peddled to rip people off and end their liberties.

Climate change activists aren't agents of a grand conspiracy pushing a hoax; they're concerned about the planet's ecosystems rapidly becoming inhospitable to life.

Climate change deniers aren't agents of Big Oil or blind upholders of the status quo : they're just against being ripped off by rogue authorities, increasing state control and policing of people's lives, and the exploitation and violation of human rights.

From subsidizing to taxing solar

Spain Levies Consumption Tax on Sunlight
Proving that idiocy truly has no bounds, Spain issued a "royal decree" taxing sunlight gatherers. The state threatens fines as much as 30 million euros for those who illegally gather sunlight without paying a tax.

Time to see through the facade. The authorities' intentions were never aligned with the common good to begin with. Their main intentions have been control and extraction of wealth, and they will do whatever it takes to push ahead with it, they are especially keen on hijacking the environment movement.

The Dandi Salt March in the Indian independence movement is a good example of a civilian population's response to ridiculous taxation : break the unfair laws en masse. That's the only way to go about it; no point in negotiating with the exploiters.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Is there really NOTHING we can do?

There are so many times when I've heard "there's bad shit happening all over, being done by vested interests, against the common good. They control everything. What CAN we do? We can't do anything about it. There is NOTHING we can do."

Well, avoiding the usual motivation / moral / philosophical / love-all dialogs, I'm going to try following another trail of breadcrumbs.

If it were true that there was really absolutely nothing that we, as simple people, could do...
Then please explain to me why there is such a large need for these vested interests to prevent the information about their activities from getting out? Why the massive censoring campaign that's underway in all corporate and government controlled media right now? Why the massive disinformation campaign wherever information is being leaked? Why the secrecy? Why the distractions? Why the attacks on whistle blowers? Is all of that being done just for timepass?

If it were true that there is really nothing we can do, then why go through so much trouble? Keeping truths from getting out, is an immensely expensive, resource intensive, time-consuming, high-stress process. Given how greedy they are, why would the vested interests even need to bother to do ANY of this, if there were really NOTHING that simple people could do?

It's because the premise is wrong. It seems there is a LOT that simple, ordinary people can do. It appears the vested interests are not in complete control; they seem to have everything to lose from more and more people becoming aware about their agendas. Not even getting to the point of people actually doing anything : even just awareness spreading seems to be scaring these guys out of their pants. Why else would they go through all the trouble to keep people in the dark??

What CAN we do? I don't really know the details. But I would suggest, as a battle strategy, that you do precisely what frightens your enemy the most; do precisely what your enemy is doing everything to prevent you from doing.

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