Sunday, July 31, 2005

Help on the way?

Powerful help I've got - Cascading Style Sheets - Designing for the Web, Third Edition, written by the creators of CSS - Lie & Bos. So maybe I can make this blog at least look a little better. The problem is that geekdom - engineering and science - has not left much of an ability to do good visual design. Lots of private experimentation is going on. Let's see if I can come up with something acceptable.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The badly neglected blog

The enthusiasm to write comes and goes in unpredictable waves. One thing which is true is that there is enough opinion around the web, enough to cover all points of view (I think!) and so there have to be other things to write about. Still searching......

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The less said, the better.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Current Affairs: The truth of the matter

An oldie, but still good.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Book: Spider-Man - Revenge of the Sinister Six

Spider-Man : Revenge of the Sinister Six
Adam-Troy Castro

One of my favorite childhood occupations was to curl up with a big fat volume of comic books. Alas, these came rarely enough, because comic books were somewhat frowned upon. The addiction continues into adulthood. This, however is a novel, not a comicbook. It is still just as engaging. In this novel we learn about Peter Parker's parents, why he was an orphan, and a mysteriously missing sister of his.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

History: Wavell on Gandhi, and on Primary Education

Lord Wavell, in his letter to King George, February 24, 1947; the last of his periodical letters as the Viceroy, wrote about the political history of India during his tenure. The following is a conclusion that Wavell had reached some time before September 1944:

"....A third conclusion, which only came to me some time later, was that Mr. Gandhi was a most inveterate enemy of the British, and did not desire a peaceful transfer of power; he wished the British to be finally driven from India by the force of a popular uprising. I think he still does".


Nowadays we wonder why the first government of independent India did not place more emphasis on primary education and basic literacy. Wavell, in the same letter, offers a clue:

"I have taken only a limited interest in education; partly because I found myself at variance with official Indian opinion on education policy, and partly because I could see little hope of much progress. The official attitude is that the stigma of illiteracy must be removed from India at once by giving elementary education to everyone. My own view is that this is quite impracticable and quite useless. India can only afford to spend a limited amount of money on education and it should be spent on providing technicians of all kinds, both for industry and agriculture, which India needs so sadly. Literacy for the whole population is unattainable for several generations; and can only be extended as India's wealth is increased by her technical progress. In conversation sensible Indians admit this, but say that for sentimental reasons they must maintain the slogan of universal literacy at once."

This thinking seems to have survived the British Raj. While a directive principle of the Indian Constitution that the government must provide for universal primary education, in practice, the Congress government and subsequent governments accomplished relatively little.

The excerpts are from "The Transfer of Power 1942-47" Volume IX, edited by Mansergh and Moon.

Book: Not a Girl Detective

Not a Girl Detective
A Cece Caruso Mystery
Susan Kandel

From the new books section in the library, it could just as well have been in the science fiction shelves as in the mystery shelf - as far as I am concerned. The murder mystery was incidental. Good science fiction imagines and populates new worlds. This book does the same for me. (By the way, I'm sure heavier fiction does the same as well, but I refuse to read anything that is not lighthearted or that is sordid. If one's reading is not entertaining, why read? Reading would become like a forced regimen of exercise.) The world of Cece Caruso may be a reality, but is utterly foreign to me - its people and their concerns. This is the world of the woman, with children, divorced, with no strong male character around. A mirror contrast from Andrew Greeley's world, where the men are many things, but the women are primarily sexual beings, in this world, women are strong, solitary, self-reliant and multi-faceted characters, and the men are cardboard figures. Cece Caruso has parallels with Jill Churchill's Jane Jeffry, but Caruso's world is wackier.

It occurs to me that Hindi dramas on Zee TV or Sony also have the same trend of having only weak male characters. Presumably the lesson is that these products are not directed at my demographic (male, patriarchal :) ).

Friday, July 01, 2005

Science: Ants has the strangest story about ants that you could imagine. A must-read!


It is a pity that we're destroying the world before we have had a chance to understand it.