Costs of switching to renewable energy

Interesting article in NYT.

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A Chinese project bigger than Three Gorges!

The Chinese governement is planning a project called the South-North Water Diversion Project. It would divert at least six trillion gallons of water each year hundreds of miles from the Yangtze, to the north China plain. Its $62 billion price tag is twice that of the Three Gorges Dam. The scheme is mired in concerns about its cost, its environmental impact and the sacrifices poor people in the provinces are told to make for those in richer cities. Here’s the article in New York Times.

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‘The Death of Merit’: A Documentary

“Linesh Mohan Gawle, a second year PhD student from National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi, committed suicide in his hostel room on 16 April 2011. He belonged to a Dalit family from Dindori Tehsil in Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh).

Linesh’s suicide is just one more addition in the growing list of Dalit students committing suicides in the country’s educational institutions, especially that of sciences and professional courses in recent times. ”

More here.



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Illuminating analysis of the Anna Hazare euphoria

I found this write-up on the whole event and the proposed Jan-Lokpal bill very informative. I hadn’t followed up on the event so closely, but after the initial optimism, I soon felt some reservation with the lightening-fast acceptance by the government. I learnt a lot from this note, do read it! Here it is.


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Walmart v. Women

Walmart faces a class action suit for paying lower wages to female emloyees. Yet another shocking malpractise from Walmart. This is an informative editorial in New York Times about the case. I also got to understand what class action suits are, and why they are necesarry.

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On pensions

An informative article on 401(k) versus pension plans – A bad deal for taxpayers.

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Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas

In the last five years, Justice Clarence Thomas hasn’t spoken a word from the bench during arguments, which has led Stephen Colbert to comment “the man is a rock…in that he could be replaced by a rock and I’m not sure anyone would notice.”
While he doesn’t participate in the court arguments, he does engage in partisan politicking. Here is a New York Times reprot on his spending 4 days in a retreat for political conservatives. The retreat was financed by the Koch brothers, who have used millions of dollars from the energy conglomerate they run in Wichita, Kan., to finance conservative causes.
On the heals of this retreat came the landmark Citizens United ruling. This decision (supported by Justice Thomas), freed corporations to engage in direct political spending with little public disclosure. The Koch brothers have been among the main beneficiaries, political analysts say.

For, more conflict of interests, read this.

Virginia Thomas, the justice’s wife, said on, a Web site for her new political consulting business, that she saw herself as an advocate for “liberty-loving citizens” who favored limited government, free enterprise and other core conservative issues. She promised to use her “experience and connections” to help clients raise money and increase their political impact.

Clarence Thomas was appointed to the supreme court by George Bush Sr. At the time of his appointment, he was accused of sexual harrassment by Anita Hill.

A scathing piece on Aljazeera which got me looking into this person’s details.

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PM response on 2G Scam, an article by P. Sainath

PM recently spoke to some media people trying to address the issue of 2G scam. This is an article by P. Sainath on how the media missed out on many important questions and how even on the ones asked, the PM gave shockingly absurd answers, like

The Prime Minister was not challenged when he virtually equated losses in the 2G scam with subsidies to the poor. “If auctions are not taking place then what is the basis for you to calculate a loss? … It is very much a function of what is your starting point. And also depends upon your opinion. We have a budget which gives subsidy for food, Rs.80,000 crores per annum, some people may say these foodgrains should be sold at marketplace. Will we say then because they are not sold at market prices, because you are giving them a subsidy, it is a loss of Rs. Rs.80,000 crores?”

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Twin musical Tesla coils

Got to this video from a NPR blog post on FireHero- some pyrotechnics to go with Guitar Hero :) and that was pretty cool too. check it out here.

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Dance of the Yi tribe on Pipa

Heard the Pipa (A Chinese lute) and the Erhu (a 2-stringed fiddle with a snake skin resonator), at the Morristown first night celebrations. Sounded beautiful! Here’s a video of ‘the dance of the Yi tribe’ on a pipa:

Erhu uses Python skin. Apparently “From January 1, 2005, new regulations require Erhus to have a certificate from the State Forestry Administration, which certify that the erhu python skin is not made with wild pythons, but from farm-raised pythons.”
I saw some “man made snake skin” Erhus online :)

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