Tuesday, April 25, 2017

small note on DataMeet projects

Regarding our ongoing projects, to be honest I'm more inclined towards
finding people with less skills but more time. Because the work to be
done that I'm seeing, requires time. And I've seen groups of highly
skilled people simply fail with the job on hand (nobody mentions
failure but the fact is we end up with no real outcome) because
everyone is looking for some automating hack that will fix everything
and highly skilled people think that the job needed to be done is not
worth their time and that somebody else (who doesn't exist) should do
it. Don't mean to discourage but just sharing something I have

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Interesting links from February and March 2017

Really overdue. But man a lot has been happening. I've actually seen so many more youtube videos that I just downloaded and didn't copy the link over here. And with the mainstream media pretty much omitting most of it out of their reportage (in many cases not even giving their side but just omitting completely), in the vaccuum I am seeing people being thoroughly confused about what's going on. Well, that's a good starting point.

I'm also seeing that Patreon.com has played a role of a great enabler for many independent media sources. It's an awesome example of how just a simple change in crowdfunding method (from funding for project to funding the persons doing the projects and from limited-time period to constant) has had such a massive impact.

Fwd: To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?

Forwarding a newsletter from VaccinesRevealed. I liked this line:
It's not always comfortable to discuss openly, but whenever we shut down the conversation, we're headed in the wrong direction.

To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate? That is the question.

That's exactly the question we really wrestled with during the creation of Vaccines Revealed.

I know this has been a controversial topic for some time, and I present it with absolute respect for your unique position on the matter.

Just ten years ago, vaccines were almost taken for granted, an obvious part of routine health. But just the word "Vaccine" now evokes strong emotion. And for good reason, our decision can impact those who matter most.

It's not always comfortable to discuss openly, but whenever we shut down the conversation, we're headed in the wrong direction. What I want as a parent and fellow human is to see all the facts about vaccines laid on the table so we can all make an educated decision.

Check out this new Series "The Truth About Vaccines"

The reason we created Vaccines Revealed was to start a dialogue - a healthy conversation so that we as parents can be making educated decisions concerning vaccinating our families.

As you know, I've been working to educate the public about vaccines for some time now, and I'm delighted to see others coming into the arena with us.

If you're as concerned as I am with what some are calling "the great health debate of the 21st century", there is something you have to see.

Over the next few weeks, Ty Bollinger, co-founder of the acclaimed series The Truth About Cancer is hosting a free screening of his new documentary series The Truth About Vaccines. You can check it out using the link below:

In this FREE 7-part documentary, Ty jumps head first into the choppy waters of the vaccine debate to investigate BOTH sides and to find out what parents need to know to make the right decision for their kids.

Traveling around the world, Ty interviews some of the top experts on the topic. What he compiled has resulted in another important series on the topic of vaccines.

There's new information constantly coming to light that you, your neighbors, and everybody in our community need to know about.

Click here and get the full details about this explosive new documentary series and how you can watch the whole thing for FREE.

Every voice in this issue has one thing in common - they want their kids to be as safe and healthy as possible.

It's frowned upon to even have this conversation in certain groups, but it will certainly be one of the most important health debates of our time.

With Purpose,


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Farmer loans waiver : How about an Unfair Interest waiver?

With Farmer Loans Waived Off, UP Govt Has Its Oh Darling Ye Hai India Moment

Reading this, an idea came to mind:

Why not waive off just the INTEREST on the loan?

Or, cap it off at a certain rate of simple (not compound) interest
like, say, 5% and bail out the remaining?

Let the farmer stay liable with fairness restored and liability
limited; "take care" of the unfair component only.

In the long run this would create an incentive for govt to CRACK DOWN
on unfair lenders.

Actually it could start doing so immediately, what with the
established precedent of enacting laws retrospectively going as far
back as the 60s. Or, even if not denying them the bailout, a
government can throw bureaucratic spanners in to ensure that the
lenders recovering this unfair component take ages to get it, same way
as is happening in subsidy schemes.

All this would give more power to RESPONSIBLE lending and recovering
and also responsible and safe borrowing; and severly discourage the
high-interest lenders. It would avoid the current adverse effect of
encouraging unsustainable borrowing by farmers. The farmers who do pay
off their loans.. will not be left looking like fools; only the
lenders who charged high interest will.

Addendum : Putting the data hat on, I'd also like to see a break-up of this mighty loans figure and see how much of it is the principal owed and how much is the interest built up?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

on what to do about North Korea's dictatorship


Historically it has been seen that with more and more sanctions
imposed on a country, the dictator's rule only gets stronger and more
unshakeable. On the other hand, lifting sanctions and removing the
threat of the outside enemy and continuously inviting for dialogue,
ends up making the soldiers question why all the strictness, the news
that the world isn't your enemy anymore passes down the ranks and
through the population, and gradually the nation breaks free from the
dictator's death-grip. What to do about North Korea? Well, threatening
them with annihilation since 50 years has caused THIS. Do you want to
continue the same shit or use your brains now?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Changing your website's domain name - a Walkthrough

Hi friends,

Yesterday I did a successful domain name migration for a client from a .cu.cc test domain to a .org final domain. (host remained the same so we did not move the site - only changed the domain / URL / address)
I've done a few earlier but there's usually some mess happening but this time after quite some corrections I managed to get some steps in order. So sharing what worked on my end.

Time warning : This procedure is one with some nervousness because there is a throw-and-catch situation : Imagine a very delicate piece of crockery has been tossed at you like a ball, coming at your hands but your eyes are closed and you don't know if it'll be caught properly or not. So it's good to plan things out and have patience. Also, in this the site's new address went "down" while the old test URL also didn't work for about 1 to 2 hours in my experience, so it is advisable to do it at a time when you're not expecting anyone to visit, like early morning or so.

Disclaimer : This is just my experience and things can go differently on your end. Apologies in advance if something goes wrong, but I probably won't be able to help you fix things.

My use case scenario : Domain (.org) is hosted on bigrock. Website is hosted on godaddy (single site, 30GB plan) and has been developed in wordpress while having a temp .cu.cc (free) domain name assigned to it. So the .cu.cc domain name was to be removed and the proper one was to be put.

Terminology : I will henceforth refer to "bigrock", "godaddy", "wordpress" to indicate the admins of the bigrock domain name management, godaddy web hosting cpanel and wordpress dashboard respectively.

1. Prep: open in different tabs and get logged in to ALL the places: wordpress, godaddy, bigrock, cu.cc. Also, note down and keep the customer care numbers of godaddy and bigrock on the side. (keep the customer id etc handy in a notepad window). In wordpress, backup everything.

2. Find Nameservers : Go to godaddy cpanel, and find "DNS management". In the new tab, choose your present site, click the settings wheel, and go through to seeing the DNS records. Now a large list of things should load, and probably in page 2 or the end you will see two nameservers listed, like "ns35.domaincontrol.com" . Copy these to the notepad window (and save!). More details here: https://in.godaddy.com/help/find-your-websites-nameservers-16140

2.1. Warning: We had got some nameservers mentioned in the initial hosting registration email, but they turned out to have been changed without any intimation from godaddy. The email said ns57/58 but in cpanel I found ns35/36. This caused unnecessary delay as for some time the new domain was pointing to the wrong nameservers. So always go into the cpanel and find the current suff and don't rely on the email if it is more than some months old.

3. Change Nameservers: Go to bigrock, open up your account domains listing and click on your domain to open its managent. Open "Name servers". Backspace out the existing ones and put in the new. Don't worry if there were 4 and you have only 2 now.. it's ok to leave the 3rd and 4th field blank. Save changes / Apply.

4. If you had earlier set this domain to redirect to somewhere else, then go to URL forwarding section (in bottom in bigrock), open it up and backspace/delete the URL completely and save changes.

4.1. Later on, in case the domain change didn't work yet, this URL forwarding could be a culprit... it might still be forwarding to an empty URL. For this in bigrock I had no other choice but to call up customer support and ask them to make sure there is no URL forwarding happening. Better to just do it from beginning, and inform them that you're making the domain point somewhere, please alert if doing anything wrong, what are the proper steps etc so all is clear from their side.

5. Ignore alerts : In the bigrock domain dashboard you will now see warnings / alerts about nameserver not being set properly. Check it out but don't change anything.. what they usually mean is that the nameservers aren't their's. That's ok; proceed.

5.1. Edit: Actually it's a good idea to take a break of an hour or more now, so that the DNS change propagates properly while your test site is still active. Didn't think of this earlier.

6. Go to GoDaddy cpanel. Find and open up the Change Main Domain name or similar sounding section. This is for changing the whole website's domain. Now.. keep this tab open but wait! don't make any changes yet.

7. Wordpress plugin : In wordpress, go to Plugins > Add new and install and activate this : "Search & Replace" See this page to verify you have the right one:: https://wordpress.org/plugins/search-and-replace/
Why this: Most online guides recommend Velvet Blues plugin, but in my experience I found that while it changes most URLs, it didn't change the image URLs of all the images, backgrounds etc on my site. I was using a pagebuilder so maybe there was some conflict there. But this plugin did the job properly. Additionally, this plugin is an open-source one (hosted on github) and gives more features free that are otherwise paid, especially the Dry Run and letting me see exactly what changes are being made.
Just install this plugin for now.. don't do anything with it yet.

8. Worpress URL update: Go to wordpress, Settings > General. Change both the URLs there to the new domain. ex: it was http://abc.cu.cc , I changed it to http://abc.org . And now we are beginning with the throw-and-catch. Go finish off your chores/toilet etc, drink some water and come back and have complete attention here.

8.1. Save Changes to save the change of wordpress URL. (press the Blue button!) The next screen should show error and in the URL bar or loading message you will see that it is trying to access the site using the new domain name. The crockery has been launched in the air. Don't panic. Proceed with next steps.

9. Go back to GoDaddy tab for domain change. Change it to your new domain. Keep out the www. etc.. just put in the name and extension like abc.org or the like. Save changes. It probably gives you some IP address and tells you to change the A record / IP addr of the new domain to this. Ignore it.. it's a flaw. When we do nameservers change, we do not need to do any of this stuff.

10. Go to cu.cc and login (or to the admin of whatever old domain you had developed the site in) Go to the management of the domain that we were using, and disable it by resetting or wiping out the nameserver, A record / IP address or whatever setting was there. If you were developing using a temp addr provided by GoDaddy (unlikely.. bigrock gives but godaddy doesn't) then don't bother doing anything.

10.1. It's important to disable the temp domain. When I didn't, my cu.cc domain was still pointing to my web sever's ip address, and visiting it surprisingly led one to a godaddy under-construction page and there was a link there that led straight to my godaddy cpanel! Serious security risk! :O

11. Recap : So we set bigrock to make your new domain point to your website's server. Then we changed the URL in our wordpress so it starts using the new path. Then we made the godaddy web hosting to change its name. Now it should "catch" the internet traffic that bigrock "throws" at it whenever anyone visits your site name.

12. It's now a waiting and praying game for the domain change to take effect, or to "propagate". Open a new tab and go to your site (new name). It probably gives an error. I found that some internet connections change their DNS and point to the new site more quickly than others.

12.1 There's a cool tool to keep track of this without wasting your time.. Go to this site : "Follow that Page" : https://www.followthatpage.com . Sign up to make an account, and add your new site name. Set the frequency to highest possible. Now that site will do the job of tracking changes for you and email you as soon as something happens. If the site name is still giving error 2 hours or more later, please call up customer care on the domain side (what to say I already wrote earlier).

13. I'm assuming that the "catch" has happened now : the website has been updated to the new domain name. Yay! Pat yourselves on the back! Now, few more steps left. You'll notice even though the site loads, images / backgrounds are gone and maybe some things look funny.

14. Login to your wordpress dashboard on the new path ( like abc.org/admin or abc.org/wp-login.php) .

15. Go to Settings > Permalinks. Set to whatever setting you want and save changes. This forces the system to set most of the internal links, menu links etc in order.

16. Go to Tools > Search & Replace. Take and save a backup of the database as advised, then go to the second tab. Search for : old site name. Replace with : new name. Keep them without http:// or other extra chars like /. (like : abc.cu.cc and abc.org ).. just keep the main stuff so you get a clean sweep. Select all tables by clicking the checkbox. Keep the Dry Run option checked. Click the Blue Button (do it!)

17. Give it time. It will come back to this page again, but on top there will be an alert message like "500 changes" or so. Click to see details. Skim through the large table that opens up, and if you need to then press Ctrl+A and Ctrl+C to copy this. How to paste : Open notepad or a simple text editor and paste. Then remove the extra lines at top and bottom, and copy this and paste into an excel and save it for your reference. You'll have all your changes in a neat table. Close the details page.

18. Repeat the find+replace, only this time check OFF the Dry Run option and click the "Save changes to database" option below it that is now enabled. Press the Blue Button again.. do it! Wait some time, and again you'll see the results.

19. Now go to your site and check it out. To ensure things, clear out your browser cache (Ctrl+Shift+Del, check off other things and keep only Cache chosen and set the time to all time). Refresh the page fully by Ctrl+F5. Or open an incognito window or another browser and visit your website from there. Now the images should display properly and the website should be fully functional (Yay! Whew! Drink water!).

20. In case something went wrong, call up any customer care that you haven't called already. If everything is ruined then apologies, but read disclaimer on top.

21. Oh ya, clean up. Log out of all the domain, cpanel etc dashboards properly, save your passwords etc securely and don't leave anything open for your cat to come and accidentally delete everything. And you might want to go back to Follow that Page and delete the site check. (just remembered!) (don't worry, pressing Delete button on followthatpage site cannot and will not delete your site. It only disables the site-checking service)

Happy Migrating!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Water powered vehicle by a grassroots inventor in India

Have you seen anything about this? Apparently the story broke last year. I saw the linked video on the OMG yeh mera India show yesterday. Wonder what's been happening since? I hope he's safe??

Raees, a mechanic in MP

25 lit water
mixed with
4 kg calcium carbide powder
creates acetylene gas
a modified maruti car engine runs on this gas

gives 60km mileage






... All the companies that are interested in Raees's water car project will have to meet his one condition - any plant to make new cars will be established only in his hometown in Madhya Pradesh.

What is happening in Sweden?

Hi friends,
February 2017 was a pretty active month for me off-the-laptop.. while
I did watch and read a lot of current affairs news and a LOT has
happened, I wasn't able to properly collect links and put out an
Interesting Links for Feb article. So instead I'm going to combing Feb
and March and hope to blog a combined Interesting Links post for the
two months together at end of this month.

Meanwhile, I wanted to put out this smaller collection before..
there's much to write about it but not now, just check out these
links. It's very moving and tragic, and looking at the dates on the
articles I'm simply amazed at how something so serious, with so much
crime happening towards women and children, was SO censored that most
of the people around me have no clue this kind of stuff even happened
over the past two years. It's surreal : if you took femnists in India
and feminists in the west I think we might find that they're standing
on completely opposite sides on this. And most of the women speaking
up here are consistently expressing how the worst suppression they've
gotten is from their own feminists.

I actually went through several titles to this blog post but just
can't think of anything that will properly summarize the content of
this post without making it prone to labeling as racism / xenophoia.
Hence the more vague title.. apologies. Anyways here are the links..
I've put excerpts but I implore you, especially if you're feeling like
dismissing this, please SEE AND READ IT ALL IN FULL first.

sweden: verge of collapse... (leaving out the rest of the title to
avoid triggering some people)

Sweden Close to Collapse
... In the last two weeks, more than 1,000 "unaccompanied refugee
children" have arrived from Germany via ferry; more than half of them
have now vanished and are listed as missing.
... Swedes who only follow the mainstream media get the impression
that all the migrants arriving are war refugees from Syria, but the
number of Syrians is actually less than half of the total: 2,864
people last week claimed to be from Syria. 1,861 claimed to be from
Iraq, and 1,820 from Afghanistan. Clearly, many people from countries
that are not at war are taking their chances and applying for asylum
in Sweden; but this is something about which the mainstream media does
not see fit to inform its followers.

Sweden: Summer Inferno of Sexual Assaults (aug 2016)
... Apparently, Swedish girls and women should learn to live with
being groped and raped -- or leave the public space altogether. The
latter seems quite in line with what Islamic sharia law prescribes.
>> one of the comments:
One thing that we will remember this era for, with utter shame, is the
total abandonment of women by the various 'Women's Groups'. They have
sacrificed any shred of credibility they once had on the altar of
left-wing political correctness.

Sweden: Sexual Assaults at Swimming Pools (March 2016)
... However, when we spoke to other staff members off the record, they
told us they had been given strict instructions not to report certain
things, and above all, never to mention the ethnicity or religion of
those who cause problems at the pool.
... It seems unlikely that Swedish politicians will start deporting
sex offenders. The politicians seem convinced that some education on
"equality" will change the ways of men, who, since childhood, have
been taught that it is the responsibility of women not to arouse them
-- and therefore the woman's fault if the man feels like raping her.
... Another public pool employee told Gatestone that the refugee boys
frighten away ordinary patrons and that more and more Swedes are now
avoiding public pools altogether. "Even Swedes who have bought
expensive season tickets stay away now, because they think the mood is
unsettling. Considering that they young asylum seekers get their
entrance fee paid by the municipalities, one could rightfully say that
tax money is being used to drive away those who would pay."

Sweden: Increasing Violence by Asylum Seekers against Swedes (June 2016)
... The daily Svenska Dagbladet reported that 30,000 people whose
asylum application had been rejected and were scheduled for
deportation, had gone missing. The police say they lack the resources
to track down these illegals.
... Three Somali men in their 20s, who took turns raping a 14-year-old
girl, received very lenient sentences -- and all three avoided
... "If you disagree with the establishment, you are immediately
called a racist or fascist, which we definitely are not. At times I
felt that this was what it must have been like to live in the old
Soviet Union." — Karla, on why her family had left Sweden for
... June 9: For years, the Swedish media has maintained that all who
claim to be unaccompanied refugee children are indeed children -- no
matter how wrinkled and grizzled they are. The notion that many of
them lie about their age, in order to get fast-tracked to asylum, has
been dismissed as a racist myth. However, an investigative report by
the public-service Sveriges Radio, showed that many are in fact
adults, resulting in grown men being put in the same facilities as
teenagers and children.
... Irene Sandqvist, Unit Manager at the Social Services Department in
Helsingborg, told the reporter that, in her estimation, at least 25%
of the "refugee children" are adults
... June 14: More and more Swedish police officers are leaving the
police force. A feeling of physical insecurity, low wages and
discontent with National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson are some of
the explanations given.
... June 14: An exceptionally lenient verdict against a rapist from
Yemen caused emotions to run high in Mariestad. Maher Al Qalisi
attacked a 13-year-old girl, knocked her off a bicycle, knifed her in
the face and raped her in a park -- yet, he only got 18-months'
probation and will not be deported. Al Qalisi claims he is 17 years
old, even though his Yemenite passport says he is 20. If he had been
tried as an adult, he would certainly have gotten a more severe

>> a common pattern emerging here: The Swedish govt seems to have made a policy decision to accept the stated ages of assylum seekers at face value (not even that) without any cross-checking whatsoever. So you could be 30 years old and if you simply state that you're under-aged, you can literally get away with something as heinous as rape. And then there is the issue of grown men being allowed to share accommodation with vulnerable refugee children. So many of these situations could be easily avoided through a more objective way of determining and deciding the person's age or at least whether the person is a child or an adult. There's so many ways to accurately tell using teeth inspection or other things.

Islamists Infiltrate the Swedish Government (April 2016)
... April 1: An Afghan man claiming to be a child was placed in an
institution for youths, where he raped a 15-year-old girl. The man
came to Sweden at the end of last year, and applied for asylum on
December 14. The next day, he was arrested for raping a girl at the
home for youths with psychiatric problems, where he had been placed.
The girl had several times reported that the man (who later turned out
to be at least 19 years old) was uncomfortably intimate towards her.
Even so, they were left alone one night in front of the television.
When the staff came back, they saw the Afghan raping the crying girl.
... April 4: Polygamy is against the Swedish constitution's demands
for equality and totally foreign to the Swedish legal system. Still,
Swedish authorities have approved hundreds of polygamous marriages,
law professor Göran Lind revealed. Men bringing several wives to
Sweden have had their marriages approved.
... April 5: A Somali known as "Muhamed" was sentenced to community
service for 180 hours, after brutally raping a 12-year-old girl.
"Black dick is expensive," he commented during the rape. Now the girl
is being stalked, threatened and physically abused by Muhamed's
friends and family. The local daily Sundsvalls Tidning interviewed the
girl, who told the paper about how she ran into the perpetrator's
family at a bus stop, and was beaten by one of his brothers

Sweden roundup: Another weekend of gang-rapes and sexual violence,
police forensics so understaffed suspects walk free
March 2017

Sweden: Rape Capital of the West (Feb 2015)

Update: articles from recent times:

Sweden: Migrants Slice Woman’s Throat Open, Murder Husband, Then Laugh About It
Police chief asks for reinforcements after five murders in recent days
... The victims were parents to young children and had been targeted because they were eyewitnesses to another crime and were about to testify, according to reports.
... Last month, top cop Peter Springare blew the whistle on the epidemic of crimes being committed by Muslim migrants, prompting a national conversation in a country where any criticism of mass immigration is treated by many as a racist thought crime.

“Swedish Spring”: Citizens Demand National Conversation on Migrant Crimes After Top Cop Goes Public
130,000 sign up for Facebook support page in less than a week
... Springare warned about how, “Our pensioners are on their knees, schools are in chaos, health care is an inferno, police have been completely destroyed,” as a result of soaring migrant crimes.
... Springare revealed that the crimes he is processing, which include rape, assault, violence against police, drug trafficking and murder, were almost exclusively committed by someone named “Mohammed” or a variation of that name. The suspects were also invariably from Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Somalia, or Syria.
... Springare acknowledged that his post was “not politically correct” but that he “doesn’t give a shit”. After the post received media attention, Springare was hit with an internal investigation on the grounds of “racial agitation”.
... His supporters are calling on political leaders to address an issue that has been considered taboo for years, despite constant riots, torching of cars, violent attacks and sexual assaults being carried out by Muslim migrants in cities throughout Sweden on a routine basis.
... Film makers who attempt to document the problems caused by Sweden’s Islamic no-go ghettos are routinely attacked. Ami Horowitz was viciously assaulted by a gang of Muslim men in Stockholm recently, at one point fearing for his life.
... The situation is so dire that even some Somali immigrants are considering returning home, saying that areas of some Swedish cities are more dangerous than their notorious homeland.
... Springare’s warning was backed up by Gothenburg police officer Tomas Åsenlöv, who revealed that cops were being told to implement Code 291 rules to hide “all information about the immigration-related crime.”

Second Swedish Police Officer Blows the Whistle on Migrant Crime Cover-Up
"The public has to be told all the facts now"
... “The Swedish public has to be told all the facts now,” writes Åsenlöv, adding that Code 291 is used to hide “all information about the immigration-related crime,” including a ban on publicly releasing photos of migrant suspects.
... Back in December, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) urged the country’s municipalities to prepare for war.
... Meanwhile, Peter Springare has been deluged with bouquets of flowers from the public, leading higher ups at his police station to ban members of the press from taking photos under the dubious justification that the flowers represent a potential security threat.

original faceookpost by peter springare:

Thought: Is it just me, or is anybody else also finding parallels between what's happening in Sweden and the Angry Birds movie?

17 March'17 :
The shocking truth about Sweden (the white rose mirror)

 27 March'17:
Story of a Somalian woman who migrated to Sweden as a teen and had to live under a radical version of Islam that was much more repressive than what she had grown up seeing in her home country (which is 98% muslim), and who has been attacked for her wanting to break free from it.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Notebandi 2.0

Re-posting from

I've been reading this author's newsletters and am finding this India-based source very good at big picture economic insights -- which for the first time I'm seeing being applied to the Indian scenario. If this was in the west it would have the "alt-right" label pinned on it. I'm seeing that starting from the individual-economic-freedom perspective rather than the more left-leaning collectivist / welfare-state perspective, there's new insights coming.

This page is initially about his upcoming book, but so much good information is shared here itself, so i'm capturing it. I especially liked the listing down of all the taxpayer-funded largesses by the government. Most shocking was the detail about the photo film company. Also helpful was the sharing of cases from other countries.

So check it out!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pune 2017 elections related data

Pune 2017 election candidates list
(scraped from PDF on pmc site. you can search this. )

Map showing new wards for 2017 elections, overlaid over 2012-17 map with the sitting 2012-17 corporators featured.
(digitized from pdf maps published on pmc website)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Importance of the feedback loop

Morning reflection: Flashback from an engg subject i had liked (control systems): any system's long term stability is decided by whether its feedback loop is effective or not. Often it's not even part of the core executive machinery but an outside / adjoining thing.

No matter how hi-tech or sophisticated the core, without a good feedback system any system will fail as even a tiny error gets magnified if not timely checked.

While things are going well (99.99% of the time), it often looks like that feedback mechanism is unnecessary and can be ignored/ done away with. But doing so ensures a later date failure.

Our prof was adamant that we take this principle and apply it to not just to circuits but to human systems like families, institutions, companies n govt as well. And he rubbed it in that no matter how perfectly you design your system, it will have errors, owing to everything from real world conditions to quantum mechanics. So rather than wasting tremendous resources in making the core system 100% perfect, he recommended it's better to just leave it at 80% and then devote resources towards making sufficient feedback mechanisms that will cover for the remainder 20%.

He pointed out how the bhopal tragedy happened precisely because the feedback was ignored as the feedback-givers weren'r part of the core executive.

And he showed us how those who have full faith in the system and self-righteously attack the feedback loops for "daring to question" or whatever are ironically the biggest unintentional threats to the system itself.

This basic engineering principle translated logically to need for democratic structures, for tolerance of dissent (and imho the need to shun self-righteousness wherever it arises). We also saw him implementing this at his own end : he was much less rigid compared to the other profs, more interactive and conversational, taking inputs, had an excellent sense of humour etc. 

Applying it further, I think an 80% system with 20% feedback would be much more fun and easier to live with than a 100% system with 0 feedback. What do you think?

Lots of learning happens when we apply basic principles out of the box! ☺

Friday, January 20, 2017

How violence at Trump inauguration might get hijacked by the establishment

Protests Erupt Before Trump Inauguration
Anti-Trump agitators descend on nation's capitol

CNN: If Trump is Killed During Inauguration, Obama Appointee Would be President
Network slammed for encouraging violence with bizarre report

Tucker Carlson Interviews Head Of Group Claiming To Be Behind
Anti-Trump Protest "Ruse"
FNC's Tucker Carlson interviews 'Dom Tullipso,' the alleged head of a
group that claims to be paying thousands of protesters a $2,500/month
... FNC's Tucker Carlson interviews 'Dom Tullipso,' the alleged head
of a group that claims to be paying thousands of protesters a
$2,500/month retainer to protest either against, or in support of,
Donald Trump at his inauguration this weekend. 'Tullipso' does not
admit that claims made on his website are not true and claims to have
an annual budget of more than $80 million.

>> The "hoax" part of all this doesn't make any sense.. like what's the motive, except... if it is following the classic intelligence agency strategy of setting off a red herring that mocks an act that's actually going on for real behind the scenes. So that if anyone spots the real thing going on and tries to warn about it, they get told "oh it was all a hoax, we already know!"
It very much looks like cannon fodder IS being recruited to stage
violence. Doesn't have to be direct out-and-out money paying. The
establishment has already spent more than enough efforts in
galvanizing a lot of anti-Trump people. They only need to facilitate
the logistics of transporting them to DC and to fan their anger now.

What I'm foreseeing : Like what happened in Ukraine and what we've
previously seen happening in Venezuela against Hugo Chavez, at the
height of it all, when live cameras will be on them, hired hitmen will
kill several anti-trump protestors during the protests - by gunning
them down, or setting off a bomb in the crowd, or both. The media will
immediately claim that Trump supporters did the killing and the
confusion that ensues will ensure that proper fact-checking doesn't
happen and the dominant opinion put forth will become "fact" just like
on 9/11 within hours everybody was echoing that Bin Laden did it even
though absolutely no real investigation had taken place yet. They will
fan the flames to promote full-on violence. During this time Trump may
or may not be assassinated. But even without this assassination, a
"revolution" to take down the establishment will have been unleashed
as an angry response to the killing of the protestors, just like what
happened in Ukraine.

Even on many videos and articles I'm seeing comments by people
pretending to be on the pro-Trump side aggressively calling for the
killing off of the anti-Trump protestors at the inauguration "if they
try anything funny", encouraging violence to the pro-Trump folks too.
So it could also happen that this encouragement succeeds and at the
inauguration there is an actual case of enraged pro-Trumpers killing
anti-Trump protestors.

If this does come to pass, the direct beneficiaries of this
"revolution" will be.. ironically, the establishment and the new world
order. Their agent Obama will get to stay in power or appoint another
puppet or Hillary herself will claim the throne.

Solution to this mess? Defuse tensions. People on both sides of the
argument who don't want more war to happen, need to publicly declare
opposition to violence, even if it is presented as a reaction to some
immense injustice like a televised gunning down or blowing up of
anti-Trump protestors. And Oh my God these people working on making
these protests happen on inauguration day need to realize they are
aiding and abetting the putting of people in harm's way. They need to
drop this whole attitude of righteousness and evil-painting. It is
much safer and non-manipulable way of expressing dissent by just
boycotting and starting to do local solution-promoting, like growing
your own food, not co-operating with bad laws.

The times are urgent. These people need to slow down.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

#ModernFairyTales - A story and a call to action

Got this on a whatsapp group. Brilliant, so sharing and I've put a
call to action at the end.

"And then the princess found herself locked in a tower surrounded by a
stinky moat with crocodiles and a huge scary dragon guarding the

read the mother, with her eyes wide and voice deep.

Then, she made a sad face and continued softly,

"So, the poor princess waited and waited for her prince to come--"

*"But, why was she waiting for the prince, mumma?!"*
asked the little girl, impatiently.

The mother added, "To come and save her, silly."

"But, mumma, why did she need a prince to save her?" the girl asked again.

"Uhh... hmm..." the mother was at a loss of words.

The little girl said proudly, "If it were me, instead of waiting for
years and years for a prince, I would have tamed the dragon and flew
out of the window."

I would have rescued myself."

She discarded the book and walked away,
"This princess is stupid."

The mother whispered with a broad smile,
"I guess it is time to rewrite the fairy tales."


*Lets teach our daughters to be self sufficient n independent rather
than waiting for a prince or a miracle to happen!*


Its an inspiring idea that I want to see becoming a reality. I want to
see a collection / listing of #ModernFairyTales.

Here's something from my end. While the story above was about women
taking more control over their lives, A few years back I re-wrote an
old Indian story, Eklavya, to touch upon the issues of caste / class
inequality, the "history is written by the victors" angle and the idea
of self-designed learning. I preserved the key events of the story,
but gave it a completely different perspective and different
cause-effect. Called it Eklavya 2.0 . Check it out!


And if you'd like to spark off something about this on the
twitterverse, here's some handy links:


Thursday, January 5, 2017

#Demonetization : intentions vs intelligence

Do we really need to get so emotional about this? Just a few simple points:

1. Only a small fraction of India's enormous untaxed income is held in cash.
2. The inconvenience caused to the public outweighs any potential benefits.
3. Terrorists etc can easily get aadhar cards or steal identity of
others and can do even more ghotalas with digital money.
4. It is much easier to print fake 2000 rs notes and hoard them than
it was to print fake 500rs or 1000rs notes.

I know many people were getting itchy and desperately wanted that
"Something MUST be done!", but brainlessly doing things that harm ONLY
your society's most vulnerable sections, don't even do baal-waaka of
the real crooks, and legitimizing it all with a patriotic brush or
glorifying compulsory sacrifice is any day worse than doing nothing.

Terrorism, hoarding, smuggling, black money, undeclared assets, swiss
bank accounts and worst of all corruption by bureaucrats and
politicians and control of your local police force by the biggest
goons of your area will continue unaffected by demonetization.

Dear supporters of demonetization, we're not questioning your
intentions. We are only questioning your intelligence.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

#pizzagate - NY mayor's letter?

This was posted on New York mayor Rudy Guiliani's twitter profile right before Twitter removed his account. Investigate later; Reposting for now.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

#Demonetization : Cashless economy, Digital currency : Trojan horse?

Hi friends,

As the excitement runs its course and gives way to clearer thinking, more and more articles are coming out now that are putting serious questions to previous and current grandiose declarations and assurances surrounding the Demonetization move. Sharing two such articles on digital / cashless economy issue. Enthusiasts for cashless economy, digitization-of-everything might need to eat some humble pie.

Don't forget the danger of digital black money

A quote from it : Digital platforms offer masking, scale, automation and remote operations, something cash cannot ever provide. It is, therefore, a dream come true for black money hoarders, terrorists and organised criminals. The combination of virtual accounts and anonymising money transfers creates unprecedented opportunity to launder and hide black money.

(emphasis added by me)

And another article serves as a valuable predecessor to it, published just 2 weeks prior to the demonetization announcement:
PM Modi must protect India's banking system from 'hack attack'

Quote from there: With the government reportedly placing the Consolidated Fund of India within the ambit of such technology "disruptions" by the NPCI, a non government public company, the questions are  not only of conflict of public and private interests, but even more seriously about not how but when will India in the grip of compromisable technologies witness a cyberwar that will destroy the banking and financial system in minutes.

It's worth noting that this author isn't from the anti-BJP side at all, heck he's been an adviser to the Goa BJP govt! See his credentials:

Dr Anupam Saraph, a professor, future designer and former governance and IT adviser to former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Global Agenda Councils of the World Economic Forum

#Demonetization : "Exchanging" notes behind closed doors? Really?

I can't believe the collective stupidity in assuming that influential black money hoarders will EXCHANGE their notes behind closed doors. You don't exchange money behind closed doors. You STEAL it. Especially when it's being printed out of thin air without constant public tracking of how much is being printed, where it's being dispatched etc.. without adequate mechanisms to catch out cash that goes missing in transit from RBI to banks.

sample pic of IT-raids going on where large stashes of new notes are being confiscated, from http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/while-you-were-waiting-queues-these-bureaucrats-were-caught-rs-47-crores-new-notes-53708

Ref link:
>> see the cases, the circumstances.. they're more ripe for outright stealing the new notes rather than exchanging them with old ones. Do you seriously expect the operators here to take double high risk : in getting the new notes out AND getting equal value of older notes in?? That too the latter would only happen AFTER a supposed transaction. So anyways for any exchange to happen behind closed doors / away from the bank counters, the new notes would primarily have to be taken away. Why would the operator bother breaking back in to put old notes? And he'd have to put them in another place, where the old notes are. And one can't easily explain this away in the accounting system. Much easier to simply burn them off and move on.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A few meme jokes on #Demonetization

Update: Found an awesome one shared by others on FB:

Fw: Open letter to PM Modi from a single mother of three #Demonetization

This was shared by a friend on facebook, who is the author. Keeping identity anonymous to protect the lady from the bhakts.

*Dear Modiji*

I voted for you. Because I *wanted change*.

Now I am confused because I have *no change* for the two thousand rupees you have given me.

I am a *single mother* of three trying to work and balance home.
I had fifty thousand rupees of *my hard earned money* at home for emergencies on the day *you declared them waste paper*.

This was *not black money*. This was money I had earned and *worked hard and saved.*

I know I can put them back in my bank but have you seen the queues

I took a holiday stood five hours outside a bank and got four thousand rupees in two thousand rupees notes.

After that I had no energy to stand in queue to deposit rest of the money

Elated with my money I went to the milk stall.
The man very curtly told me if you have change buy the milk because I have no change
He showed me his own two thousand rupees notes he got from the bank.
These are useless he grumbled

I went to my favourite vegetable vendor
She had very few vegetables
What happened I asked her
She said she had very little money to buy vegetables
Then she looked at me warily and asked, Memsaab you will give me change for the vegetables?
I have no change

I looked at the two thousand in my hand and said I have this
She removed her two thousand and showed me. I also have only that.

No milk no fruits for the kids today

My head was throbbing I went to the chemist.
A board greeted me
We will accept only hundred rupees.
We accept higher denomination currency only if you use the complete amount with us

Went to grocer asked for bread and butter and a bottle of water
Went to pay with my two thousand rupees
He looked at me sadly
Aunty I have no change but since you are a regular customer you can pay me later
I took the goods and hailed an auto

Instead of the usual surly, Kidhar jaana hai he belted out, Choota hai to baitho.
I showed him my two thousand rupees he showed me his

I started walking home
Tired I reached home
Gave the kids bread butter and water
They looked at me puzzled, Mom why we don't have proper food today? they innocently asked.

I showed them the crisp new two thousand rupees

This is Monopoly money? The young one asked innocently .

Yes it is, I replied because it can buy only imaginary goods

Called the boss. Asked for a leave next day
He said, why? Did you not get to exchange your money
I said, Yes but it was no use the crisp notes were useless anywhere I went
So what will you do with another leave he said. They will still give to another two thousand rupees.

I said I don't want leave to go to bank I want leave to start a protest.
What, he exclaimed

I said, no one seems to be protesting this arbitrary decision.

Those with black money are still sitting in their AC palaces.
They are not standing in queues to get their own money.
The ones with black money are now poorer by a few crores but what difference those few crores will make when they have so much.

It's us the common folk who are bearing the brunt of this abrupt change Modiji thought of.
I can't use my own money, old or new.
Can you imagine how many like me are there in this country who are so badly hit by this.

My boss was quiet.
Where are you staging the protest?
I will join you.

>> again, I'll remind the casual arguer : You're challenging a single mother of three kids to prove her patriotism to you by standing in long queues.. for getting more useless pink notes that she has already stood in line for. Go cashless? My father and brother recently got cheated by PayTM's "cashless" solution twice in a row; the money they transferred never reached the shopkeepers whom we know well and trust to not be frauds. PayTM is just not responding.

Update, 11.12.16: Check out this article. Could the story above be a consequence of this..
Printing of Rs 100 Notes Stalled as Focus on Rs 2,000 and Rs 500
... "The Reserve Bank of India’s preoccupation with printing the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes has almost completely stopped the printing of Rs 100 notes – at this point in time, the most sought after currency – leaving the country staring at a potentially huge financial and economic crisis."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Seeing contours for a location

1. Go to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/map_input
2. If you have a .kml of your chosen location, upload it. If it's in another format, you can use geojson.io or mapshaper.org to convert it to .kml or .gpx.
3. If you don't have any file, find your lat-long location and type it into the given textbox in the way they've instructed.
4. Click on "Draw the map" button. In the window that opens, change the map layer to "OpenTopoMap" or "OpenCycleMap". They show the contours with height in meters.
5. Go back to the Make page and change the settings, like width n height default zoom level etc to get the map you want.
6. There will be a link to download the page showing the map to your computer, so you can just open in next time (still needs net) without having to enter all these parameters.

Printing / Taking large screenshot:
1. Do this on Firefox browser; Chrome doesn't have this feature yet.
2. Create your map with larger width and height, and high zoom level. Through trial and error, adjust these to get just the right large map window (use scrollbars to move in it) that shows all of your area at the zoom that you want and you don't need to click-drag the map.
3. Now screenshot the entire window (including the portions out of view). Press Shift+F2, a command console opens at the bottom. Type in this command:
screenshot --fullpage

4. The screeshot is saved either in the downloads folder of your device, or it asks you where to save it and what name to give.

Some more tools:



Interesting links for November 2016

A LOT has been happening this month!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

when someone's lived experience defies your "knowledge"

When people's lived experiences defy and question your "knowledge",
you need to modify your "knowledge", which at the end of the day is an
opinion - rather than outright denying their experiences.

When does a nationalist turn into a fascist?

When does a nationalist turn into a fascist?

If your love for your fellow countrymen is more than your hatred for
whom you perceive to be its enemies, then you're a nationalist.

If your hatred for whom you perceive to be its enemies, exceeds your
love for your fellow countrymen, then you become fascist.

This is reflected in the decisions you take and the ones you approve of.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The purpose of pre-election polls?

While there are others, the ones I've noticed are :
Delhi State Elections, both of the last 2 times;
Bihar State Elections
and then internationally:
Brexit referendum, UK
Presidential Election, US

What do these elections/referendum have in common?
In all of them, the polls commissioned and shared by the dominant
mainstream media channels and newspapers of that country and
internationally, in the run-up to the grand finale, all mispredicted
the result, massively. They said sun and pointed at moon.

In all of these cases, the reigning establishment - the dominant
status quo - the side that the corporate elites backed - was what was
predicted by the polls to win, but lost. And the other
anti-establishment side, which depending on the occasion was
relentlessly attacked by the media in all kinds of ways, ended up

And these were landmark fork-in-the-road occasions too : times when
there were clear and distinct choices to choose from, where the
electorate actually had a choice rather than the tired old game of
choosing one of identical options.

So what was it that made all these pre-election (and pre-referendum)
polls fail so badly? While there have been many post-mortem
explanations, I'll try to introduce a different angle : by
re-examining the question.

What is the true purpose of these pre-voting polls?
Conventional answer : to guage and report the public sentiment and to
predict what the vote's outcome would be.

But if that were true, then these polls have been failing
catastrophically and consistently, and you would have expected to see
some serious disruption and course-change in this industry. Yet the
same pollsters and the same people did them and reported them, both in
India's case and in USA-UK's case.

I'd like to offer a different purpose.

The purpose of these polls is to influence the final vote.

By repeatedly telling you that side A is going to win and that's what
most of your fellow citizens support, they seek to make you believe
that is the side you should be supporting too.

"You" is multiplied millions of times over. Everybody is privately
told that "A is what everybody else is supporting so you better do it
too. And if you are believing otherwise then you better keep your
mouth shut to avoid any rejection / embarrasment amongst all the
people you live and work with".

Under normal circumstances, come voting day, and people do as they've
been told, and then the final result of the vote is.. totally in line
with what the pollsters had predicted. Everything works as planned and
so nobody finds out what really happened. Did the polls just predict
the vote or influence it.. heck, the results were the same so nobody

What we miss out noticing, is that what the polls had predicted, ended
up influencing the actual vote, and so rather than the poll being a
reflection of what will happen, what happens on voting day ends up
reflecting what the polls were predicting.

That is, the final vote obeys the polls.

This would be difficult to achieve with just one source and one
station, but if the dominant status quo manages to co-opt the whole
umbrella of public information discourse : all or nearly all the
mainstream newspapers and TV news channels and magazines and academia
networks and now even virally shared items on social media, then they
can successfully guide the public into voting the way they want them
to vote.

The only occasion when the chinks in this mechanism's armour show up,
is, as is true in industrial applications, under failure conditions.
That's when the proverbial curtain gets caught up in the winds of
dissent and is momentarily lifted. revealing a brief glimpse of what's

On the occasions I mentioned above, I believe that's what has
happened, and the mainstream media got caught in the act trying to
influence the final vote. We have caught them abandoning journalistic
standards and trying their hardest to influence the vote. Heck, even
after the vote they are STILL trying to influence the outcome.

The true purpose of the widespread, repeated and v-high-coverage
pre-vote polling by mainstream media is not to predict the vote, but
to make it go the way they want it to.

What's the alternative?
Well, first things first, what a good researcher would do is to cut
out all the external factors that may influence the experiment. So
yes, these polls need to be recognized as what they really are and
taken down from their current highly respected position. Rather, they
serve only the ends of the competing parties, as a market research so
they can guage where they are and strategise what to do next. Let the
parties do their own research if they truly want to stay ahead of the
curve, instead of mainstream news organizations wasting millions in so
unreliably doing their job for them.

Instead, we would benefit a lot more if that much time were instead
taken up in letting the competing sides offer their arguments and
submit their information.
Isn't it silly, that at the very start of campaign season, before the
public has had any chance to even go through the options on the table,
they are being bombarded with predictions of what the outcome would

It's the equivalent of going to a restaurant with your family and the
waiter, instead of giving you the menu, starts yapping about what that
family over there is having and what everybody else is having and so
what you should be having. Imagine asking this waiter for the menu,
and he gives you only a list of what most of the other people are
having instead of what all the options on the menu are, with the
most-ordered item on top with percentage points and all the prices
removed. If you enquire about the other options available, this waiter
starts bitching and trash-talking about the other options, so as to
make you choose the one he's recommending. Then you ask him for the
actual MENU and he tells you, "No, I'm not going to give you that. If
you're so desperate for it, why don't you go to our restaurant's
official website and look it up yourselves?"

You're damn right we will. We don't need to give a shit about what
everybody else is ordering; we're distinct individuals and we want to
order what we want to eat ourselves.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Would anti-Trump protests even happen if what they claimed about his side was true?

An observation about the anti-Trump protests.

If all the myths of Trump supporters being intolerant violent
extremists etc WERE true, then all these "F**K Trump. Kill Trump"
protests and riots and social media declarations wouldn't have
happened at all. They have happened only and only because the
participants - whether paid or not - feel safe that they will not get
physically attacked by violent extremists. Just look at other
countries where true tyrants (elite-backed I must add.. why do people
miss out that little detail?) have come to power : the dissenters have
no choice but to shut up for some time and be very, very afraid at
least during the first days when the winning side people are
triumphant and belligerent. I don't see any of that happening in the
US right now.. the anti-Trump voices are only getting shriller, more
violent and more provocative with no retaliation coming from the side
that they have been claiming is violent, intolerant etc etc.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The I-dont-know-who-to-trust syndrome

You've been believing A since some time now.

A had told you some really bad things about B, and said you should
never trust B. And trusting A, you stayed well away from B all this

But suddenly some new information has emerged, in a separate matter,
which puts your trust in A in question. It has turned out that A had
betrayed your trust and has been lying to you.

So now you no longer trust A.

When asked who do you trust, you say "Oh, it's all so complicated, I
don't know who to trust anymore".

But wait a minute. What about B?

"Oh, I can't trust B, no way!"

But who told you that B can't be trusted?


Doesn't the fact that you can't trust A anymore, lead to the
possiblity that whatever A told you about B might also have had some

It would be foolish of course to blindly go to the opposite extreme
and blindly trust B suddenly. But what if your learned,
indoctrinated-by-A complete aversion to B needs a re-evaluation?

What if you need to re-look into what B has been telling, with a fresh
set of eyes?

What if A's deception had included painting an ugly image of B and
preventing you and B from finding common ground together?

Then by resorting to "I don't know who to trust anymore" instead of
re-examining your aversion towards B, aren't you still making A win in
their game of deception, even after having known that A is fraudulent?

What / who have been the As and Bs in your life?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Diwali message with a twist

This Diwali,
instead of wearing a new dress,
*can I change the way I address people?* This Diwali,
instead of cleaning an already clean house, *can I work on scrubbing my dusty heart?*
This Diwali,
instead of lighting up my doorway,
*can I question my pathway to ignorance?*
This Diwali,
instead of stuffing myself with sweets, *can I give up the bitterness in my heart?*
This Diwali,
instead of bursting crackers,
*can I burst my egoistic pride?*

Spread Love ❤ and Happiness Friends 😊 Happy Diwali  🙏

-- shared by someone named prachi on a whatsapp group, but can't verify if she's the author. Anyways the message is universal.

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