Wednesday, 30 September 2015

My daughter, an economist says "Everyone thinks they understand economics." Be that as it may, my two bits is that for certain kinds of people, lowering the cost of borrowing is a green signal to borrow for unneccessary stuff..... borrow money and buy this bigger car, borrow and buy this bigger TV...there is no end.  This behaviour may be good for the country's economy, but leads to tragedy for many people.....burdened by debt they cannot repay and no savings for their old age... of course talking of saving for old age, with an interest rate of 6 or 7% or even lower, our savings are not going to fetch much.
Nobody teaches you to spend judiciously. The habit probably comes from upbringing ....conservative parents may produce conservative offspring or the offspring may be tired of the economies they were forced to practice and splurge.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

sustainability

We should have more such organisations
http://www.scidev.net/global/farming/multimedia/haven-simple-technology-mountain-living-innovation.html

Ever since the hype started about building toilets in every household in India, I have been wondering about where the sewage will be taken. Nowhere have I seen any mention of treatment plants in every village - forget village - every town. Does it mean there is no plan or that I am ignorant?
If  I am ignorant, of course I apologise, but if there is no plan, then what are they thinking about?
Individual defecation at random points in fields will be taken care of by soil microbes, but if they let out a village's sewage into their neighbouring water body, or just out, God help us!
I am by no means advocating open defecation, just that drainage systems and STPs must be in place BEFORE building toilets, or each toilet must have individual mechanism for treatment.
I keep thinking that of course people in the govt must have thought of this - it is so obvious- and there must be some mechanism in place, but I have never heard any mention of building STP in every village, only of building toilets.
A recent article in The Wire proves my fears are justified. I am truly apalled. 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

windows 10

Is it only me or has someone else noticed? ..................... I upgraded to Windows 10 and now, Chrome and Mozilla, open only after about 40 sec to a minute, sometimes longer and sometimes not at all, but the new Microsoft edge (which came automatically with Windows 10) opens as soon as you click it.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

babu-bots?

An Olympic-hopeful sportsperson could not get timely sanction to go for training, because some babu slept over it; a state water board runs a series of water testing labs manned by "chemists" who do not understand the tests that they need to perform regularly; the municipality dumps soil into an already stressed lake for the Ganesh immersion because some babu does not understand (that's the charitable view, it could also be that he understands very well and is filling up for a builder lobby); the author of one of the blogs I follow  says the state ground water officials do not take notice of research done on aquifers; forest officials organise vanamahotsav and plant single species of foreign trees to "rejuvenate" forests...........
Perhaps if we had no government, we would be better off. Today's paper says by 2030, 90% of the news may be written by bots, leaving only the extraordinary news for journalists to deal with. Why not have 90% of government run by bots?

Monday, 14 September 2015

Chemistry in the early 80's

A post in one of the blogs set me thinking............While big changes take place, one does not really realise it. It is only many years later, one looks back and sees the big picture.
When I was working for my PhD, we used second gen IR spectrophotometers, but towards the end, there were some labs where you could get an FTIR done. It was remarkably better resolved, but still, I did not really appreciate the big leap in technology--just happy to be able to identify bands unambiguously. I left soon after that.
Similarly, I used to punch cards on noisy punching machines and submit a deck for running on the computer. We would get a printout next day. As I was finishing my thesis, the whole system got changed and we were allotted terminals to directly interface with the mainframe computer. We thought it was cool, but again, I left before I had a chance to really get to work on this.
Since I left the field of scientific work totally, I did not really understand the significant changes that took place in the early 80's in India.
It is now in retrospect, I see that those were significant times for chemists, when instrumentation improved in large spurts.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

"development"

When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I thought this story was very clever.
The story goes like this... a man went into a restaurant and ordered some gulab jamun.
When the waiter brought it, he said "Take it back! I will have laddoos instead".
The waiter brought laddoos. The man ate and got up to go.
The manager said "What about the money?"
Man said "What money?"
"Money for the laddos".
"But I gave you gulab jamoon instead".

When the future generations ask "Why have you old people ruined our forests, air, land and water?"
We will say that "We gave you "development" instead".