Blog Posts

Imminent fragmentation of a string of Global Village

One of the factors that make us a global village is our ability to connect over the internet and internet being a common highway for humanity to connect. With the advent of Russia discovering its renewed ability to develop parallel track, we may see an eventual fragmentation of the way we communicate.

A prelude to imminent fragmentation… everyone will copy this model. So far, we existed as a single earth, connected together by internet, making it a global village.

With the advent of Russian testing for separate DNS (domain name service, e.g. google.com), it will be talking a different language in a different world. Ultimately, others will follow suite and eventually, lobbies and multi-block reorganization may induce a multipolar world that may collaborate or in extreme situation, be at loggerhead with each other.

Russia considers ‘unplugging’ from internet
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47198426

Celibate Life for Serving the Lord?

Celibacy and renounciation is not a prerequisite to service of Lord or to mankind. Yes, it is a distraction from devotion but it is not absolutely required. Many religions consider it is a must, possibly because life and normal living itself is a beyond distraction from the path of spiritual service. How best can we confluence these divergent tracks?

Not that atrocities towards at places of believes are uncommon amongst Hindu and Muslim temples and Madrassas. The key question is –

Do we have to renounce normal living and be celibate for the service of our Lord to run the religious institutions. Celibacy is bot an absolute criteria but a matter of choice, and inter decision and personal philosophy. This ensures, less abuse – fair gender and others within their ecosystem.

Some religious practices have institutional stipulations that enforce celibacy and human nature (naturally) fights back. We see such abuses that later get institutionalized. Only if Pope opens the door for the clergy to be married and stat normal life, that we will see a true decrease in such incidences.

Changing topic to Hinduism and its evolutionary traits and practices. Reflecting upon how Hinduism has evolved after adopting such practices, itself provides a credence that this is a philosophy in evolution and has a longer life than predicted by most western historians.

The day we freeze evolution, we stop growing though and the only way to keep vibrant and dynamic is to keep listening, debating and evolving with a sense of accommodation and assimilation.

Sometimes back, during medieval period, that happened. We froze varna and subdued our women. We wiped out meritocracy by institutionalizing nepotism and feudalism. We created a majority subservient to those who captured the institutions – religious, social, family, political etc. thus weakening our institutions.

It takes time to dismantle but the time we unfreeze and evolve, we will see spurt in our spiritual and ideological growth. To those who says Hinduism is under attack, I agree. But it is bot external but our own internal shackles.

Pope admits clerical abuse of nuns including sexual slavery
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47134033

Welcome – Culture of ‘Forwarding’ messages! 

Forward is gradually getting deeply embedded within our social interaction. This isn’t an isolated phenomenon, this is gradually getting all pervasive and as part our inherent tendency to thoughtlessly contribute towards just not gossip, social malice but apathy and an agony to those affected. We were in the culture of rumor mongering but, now – welcome to the culture of forward instinct. It is a new norm, a new reality.

Barbaric not tribal instinct

I got a below message on our home owners community group. This is despite having created norms (we don’t call them rules) and governance. The intent of that group is to serve home owners that matters them directly. Below, please see the message. I removed personally identifiable information to protect privacy.

Barbaric not tribal 01

I knew it was fake but more so, I was concerned, why a message on kidney donation (from India) be seen in US. I contacted the number shared in the message and below is the reply from the gentleman, screenshot for your perusal. Can we call this barbaric? Definitely, this is not tribal. Tribal folks have better norms amongst themselves, so let’s call this criminal.

Barbaric not tribal 02

Is Due Diligence that difficult?

We need to do a little due diligence before indulging in public service of forwarding this message. Our forwards may be causing agony, trouble or harm to those who are directly affected. Even if those are mild, we are burning the bandwidth by taking away time from doing something concrete and productive.

Sometimes, I feel, our sense of social service is restricted to forwarding indiscriminately. We suddenly get that urge, that strong impulse –  to forward, may be “kisi ke to kaam ayega”. That forward relieves us of our impulsive instinct and provides a sense of having achieved something for social cause.

The Big Concern

With the volume of messages and our decrease bandwidth, just one instinct dominates, “forward”.  I feel, our amygdala is taking over our left frontal cortex, the part that is responsible for intellectual pursuit and decision making. There is another part that dominates the story. Normally, a part in our brain called amygdala, are responsible for flight or fight type emergency responses as well as our perception of fear. When Amygdala dominates Left Front brain, it is equivalent to ‘frontal lobe injury’. Some of these patients end up losing that decision making ability. Most concerning aspect for me is – , Are we getting rewired with these voluminous social media messages?

The Irresponsible within us

Our social media adds more and gives us less. The downside is social agony, malice, cognitive dissonance and pulls us back as those lacking sensitivity. We can’t blame social media, it starts with us. Absolute barbaric behavior such as stone lynching has been widely reported due to irresponsible messaging. We are being exploited and our opinion are molded and dominated by intentional messaging. One of the dominant reason for the recent rightwing political wave across the globe is capturing of intellectual pursuit. Sometimes back, I wrote a blog on this. It is still relevant, so I am sharing the link. https://wp.me/p7XEWW-Uc.

Request all not to forward without due diligence, even if that means good for the community.

The Ailment – Part 2

 

As per the statistics published by as per the 8th Edition of the Status Paper on Government Debt released on Jan 19, 2019, the latest data available till September 2018, the total debt of the Central government stood at Rupee  82,03,253 crore, the corresponding amount till June 2014 was Rs 54,90,763 crore, the Finance Ministry’s data on government borrowings shows.

While the same white paper also projected the GDP to hit 7.5%. However, the rising GDP is not to the credit of the Government, Federal or State. So, despite the economy expanding, we still see mounting debt. To put it simply – those who are working hard, are truly increasing their output. However, servicing the union is drastically mounting. Let’s review select findings from the white paper.

  1. 35% of the current 82 Lakh crore debt is incurred in the last 4 years
  2. Velocity of debt accumulation was .84% from 1948-2014
  3. Velocity of accumulation has climbed to 1.14% since 2014-2018

 

Not sure if the spike since 2014 can be ascribed to devaluation. However, Its not Modi alone, let’s understand, he could not control the spiraling debt, it has been mounting since last 60 years. We and our media tend to be partisan, never issue based and our partisanship drowns our national interest and what we call as nationalism is actually pseudo inflated nationalism.

This is also a reason for the Rupee to depreciate against internal currency basket. That depreciating Rupee obviously makes imports, borrowing and servicing debts costly. Earlier i shared a clip on farmers loans. Unfortunately, farmer and the poor, who occupy the bottom of the food chain, really get squeezed due to these national macroeconomic malady. The unfortunate truth is that we are caught in the sensational and placating democracy model. This model induces the political dispensation to make concessions that in itself incur spiraling stare support for the masses (to win their votes). Consequently, the lure of power or its sustenance as a ruling party draws us further into this debt cycle which gets exponentially exacerbated with the passage of time. What’s the root cause? Of course the cause and effects are admixed above and the video by Justice Markandey.

Political Servitude to Pseudonationalism and Sensational Politicking.

 

This video from Justice Markandey is old but the facts remain true. We blame China but look at the quality of life, we find wrong when 1 million party workers are punished for corruption (of course there are underlying political reasons too), but corruption is punished, nepotism, communalism all are treated as perverse to the development of the nation. Here, we have pseudo nationalism, pseudo sense of religious identity and pseudo sense of glorious past to cajole us. However, the fact remains that the institutions formed to safeguard the purpose, themselves are under duress from our own sense of tolerance and indulgence. Be it corruption, communalism, nepotism, casteism, favoritism, we have totally devalued and eroded the system with our kind of Governance. Justice Markandey is bold to articulate that pain but rustic and rude to suggest its resolution. The next wave will capture, not our culture but subject us to servile economic conditions due to financial imperialism, mostly from east.

‘Waiting for Godot’ , a play by Samuel Beckett, in which the characters wait for the arrival of Godot (a fictitious character) who is a supposed to be a panacea for their problems. Our 70 year history is no different; we are waiting for the messiah who will help us through this impending economic imperialism. However, like the characters in Samuel Beckett’s novel, we too are engaged in a variety of discussions while we are waiting for Godot.

waiting for godot samuel beckett

India’s debt up 50% to Rs 82 lakh crore in Modi era 

Sabarimal Temple is about Choice

sabarimala

It is unworthy to dive and wade through a controversy which is already ravaging religious and political divide. Despite, it is never too late to share a perspective.

Since medieval times until recently, guardians of religion, especially those influencing the religious pulpit and dictating at the sanctum sanctorum, have treated women with lesser regards, often times humiliatingly. Though male chauvinism has perpetuated over the years, often I feel, women too contribute to their malady. I was talking with an IIT graduated with strong liberal views and I was surprised to hear her recantation of the age old dogmas. This IIT alumnus is not an isolated example, and not all highly educated women submit to the old dogmas. However, submission to these dogmas makes me think that women too contribute to this state.

However, times have changed and Women have become more aware of their rights. They have realized that it is time to stop this second class maltreatment. Women entering Shani Shingnapur’s inner sanctum after 400-year, broke the tradition. I am a strong proponent of equality between gender and women rights. I believe, though late, the global #Me Too, Women taking the wheels in Saudi Arabia are all signs of that awareness and assertiveness.

However, the story at Sabarimal Temple is different. It is in fact a desecration of the choice of Lord Ayappa. Lord Ayappa had chosen celibacy as his way of life and he wanted to stay away from the carnal world. Even if we are not to believe in his existence, it is about a choice and Sabarimal Temple represents that choice. Are we not to respect that, especially when we respect and accept prochoice (for abortions), or gender identity and preference (Guys and Lesbian)?

Sabarimal Temple represents a different ideology and we have to respect the views of that deity if we consider this as live and valid, if we consider it as a folklore, the reason to pay respect itself annuls.

It is interesting to read Suhrith Parthsarthy’s article on Sabarimala Singularity (Link provided in reference) as the authors wades through multiple facets of faith, equality and choice.

Also, criticism from other religious groups are most welcome, however, they should also abide and be receptive to receive reciprocal outsider perspective. This last statement is in reference to a IUML rally in support of the court verdict (reference below).

sabarimala-1

References:

Sabarimala: India’s Kerala paralysed amid protests over temple entry

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-46744142

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/shani-shingnapur-temple-trust-finally-accepts-hc-order-lets-women-in/

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-sabarimala-singularity/article24514458.ece

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/sabarimala-temple-row-not-only-hindu-outfits-iuml-too-supports-devotees/videoshow/66150798.cms?from=mdr

Risk of West Nile is real

I was in the front yard on Sept 9, 2018 and I had severe bites from mosquitoes. I mustn’t be the lone person. After talking with several folks within the community, I realized, it is an area wide problem. After reviewing the mosquito control measures from the City of Irving, I realized, our area was treated on August 15, 2018. However, after talking with City official, on spraying again and having an integrated management plan (a dual plan where city and homeowners concurrently treat on multiple occasion), I was told by the City officer that the CDC has set limitations, unless West Nile or Zika is detected, they cannot treat again. My question was simple – Do you want to wait for a family member to fall sick and than start treating the area or do we want a prevention before it happens? I talked with Leroy MacFarland. Talks with Mr. Dickens, Ms. Adrian are in progress. I will keep you posted. 

 

Zika

Risk of West Nile is real

How can I say so confidently? The Mosquito menace is huge; Dallas County Health and Human Services detected a positive West Nile Virus sample on Rochelle Street (See picture and link from City below).

West Nile in Irving

What is West Nile?

Obviously, we heard a lot and many amongst you know it. However, to recap, here is an excerpt from Center for Disease Control (CDC) “There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not have symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness”.

You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites. Please visit CDC on https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html to know more about West Nile and its health impact.

Fortunately, in most people, it is not dangerous, excerpts from CDC…”Most people  (8 out of 10) infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. About 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord)”. https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html.

What do we do?

Of course, if you have suspicion for West Nile symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider.

How do we ‘Prevent’?

That’s the reason for taking this initiative. Mosquito control is dual responsibility –

  • Local Government and the
  • Home Owners.

An integrated Mosquito prevention program is required for controlling mosquito menace. While City is doing its own rounds of fogging and environmental control, we as Homeowners have singular responsibility. We need interventions inside our home where City has no jurisdiction.

Both these activities have to be coordinated. We need the fogging program to happen in tandem. That means, while the city is treating your area, we need to simultaneously treat our yards. City alone cannot, individual home owners cannot do anything. It will recur.

How do we identify the problem?

In my view, generally, apartment complexes can be ruled out as a source since there are strict compliances. So I will focus on individual home owners and any property which falls within the purview of City.

Is your area covered?

The City has posted a schedule for the area. Zip code 75063 has been sprayed on August 15, 2018. Picture below.

75063 Spray on August 15

Has the city done enough?

Please check the map for the zip code affected the intervention from the city. Zip code 75063 was treated on August 15, 2018. Please see map here.

Can we call it enough?

Obviously NO.

Why?

  1. Please ask yourself if you can play or be outside at dusk time for 10-15 minutes without a mosquito bit.
  2. It takes several rounds to kill the live mosquitoes and their larvae are in different stages of breeding. If the intervention targets all the stages, it still needs multiple rounds of sprays.
  3. Even if your area is cleared, mosquitoes from distant areas may migrate into your areas. So you have to treat multiple times.

Can we blame City?

Yes and No

Why No?

Because if we haven’t done our part, we will see a persistence of the mosquito problem.

What action is required from me as a Home Owner?

We want ALL of us to treat the problem simultaneously with same intensity. That means, even if you have no problem in your yard, we want you to treat your yard.

When?

Along with other Homeowners and the while the city is doing mosquito intervention.

What do we need from you?

This is not a mandate, a voluntary initiative. We need few folks from each lane to identify the risk for individual homes. Once identified, those homeowners should aggressively treat their yards. One treatment is not enough, multiple rounds are required.

What are the other Mosquito borne illnesses?

West Nile is not alone. The list is long –

  • Zika
  • Malaria
  • Chikunguniya
  • Equine Encephalitis (Eastern and Western)
  • Dengue
  • St. Louis Encephalitis
  • Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)
  • La Crosse Encephalitis (LACV)

Do we have Zika, Malaria or Chikungunya identified in our area?

Please call City of Irving or Dallas County.

Remember, the risk is real. We all have to act now.

Read the links below for additional information.

Irving Mosquito Control Program – https://www.cityofirving.org/816/Mosquito-Control-Program)

Irving area with proven positive West Nile Virus sample – https://www.cityofirving.org/DocumentCenter/View/25998/S13—RutgersLasalle-PDF
CDC Prevent Mosquito Bites https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html

CDC Mosquito control – https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/vectorcontrol/index.html

West Nile Prevention from CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html

Integrated Mosquito Management –  https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/vectorcontrol/integrated_mosquito_management.html

Zika Virus Infographics https://www.cdc.gov/zika/comm-resources/infographics.html

TOP 5 THINGS EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT – ZIKA https://www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/Top5.pdf

 

A route to sell (debt)?

While the world is busy with Islamic terrorism, rising pockets of right wing political confluence, reactions to lopsided economic policies (Trumpism), rising carbon dioxide, green house gases, population pressure on nature and infrastructure, we are hardly realizing the emerging imperialism that will drive the next few decades and the struggle of mankind understanding and dismantling the effect of these economic aggression. This should not be considered as a plunder by any outsider, a third country. These are our own dilemmas that are subjugating us to emerging exploitation. Hambanbtota, CPEC, Africa are all examples of such crisis in making.

Hambantota – A White Elephant on Sri Lanka’s Backyards

NYT Ship Cargo

Sometimes in childhood, our parents always insisted to remain contained within our means. I never realized the importance of this in the context of nation and its economies, until I analyzed the huge infrastructure investments and its negative impact on the economies of Sri Lanka, Kenya, Pakistan and many African nations. The build huge airports, docks, railways etc. that were costlier beyond the business value they provided. Let me take two examples – Sri Lank built their Hambantota ports despite the feasibility studies indicating to the contrary. Only 32 ships docked in an entire year. Such hugely expensive infrastructure became a classic example of a white elephant for not Sri Lanka and all economically poor countries. Sri Lanka was unable to service the debt for this project and the terms of the lease also meant, Sri Lanka to lose the lease to this 15, 000 acre of land for 99 years.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/25/world/asia/china-sri-lanka-port.html

Nairobi Mombasa Railway – Can Kenya service the loans for a lavish railroad?

Obviously a cash strapped economy such as Kenya has to rely on outside assistance for financing and technology to build this 300 mile long rail line. Does this mean this infrastructure was not required? Time and again, countries have been taking recluse to Keynesian philosophy and fiscal policies. Over the last more than 9 decades, it has provided a solid foundation for decision making in infrastructure investment. However, that does not mean a cash deprived country like Kenya should built one of the most sophisticated railway to breed communication and economy. It simply cannot sustain the financing. A simpler economic model would have been feasible.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/01/kenyan-conservationists-protest-as-chinese-company-starts-work-on-railway

China Pakistan Economic Corridor – A classic case of Conflict of Interest

At least, China should utilize this route through Pakistan built with Chinese financial assistance and with the aid of Chinese companies and man power. It deprived $62 Billion dollars of Pakistan’s precious foreign currency in building this economic passage that passes through complex land and even more complex political corridors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93Pakistan_Economic_Corridor

From Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Senegal, Rwanda Mauritian, Morocco, Zimbabwe – No shortage of underperforming deals

Consulting firm, McKinsey computed that, Chinese loans accounted for about a third of new debt by African governments. These are not lone countries, the list runs long. Gullible minds were only aware of China as a power house of cheap obsolescent products. However, these infrastructure projects turn out to be not just imperialism but ravaging the countries and its people. In Sierra Leone, the presidential elections are heavily influenced by China. Djibouti has an official military Chinese base. Scores of examples are coming out into the open from such investment decisions that will influence the fate of nations and its people. It isn’t economic imperialism, it is neocolonialism

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/08/31/chinese-aid-and-investment-are-good-for-africa/

https://thediplomat.com/tag/chinese-investment-in-africa/

https://thediplomat.com/2017/07/china-officially-sets-up-its-first-overseas-base-in-djibouti/

While we resent the devaluation of currency, these are currency raiders. While the West plundered the East, these are times of economic poaching and Neo Colonialism of the poor nations.

Johns Hopkins School of International Studies

Rail roads, ports or expresses way all infrastructure to support China to expand it’s market and sell its products? Or else, China should help build these African nations with factories and manufacturing units that will financially enable these countries to be on their own.