Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How come suddenly flight ticket and iphone

Just backup-posting here a common reply to many people disparaging on social media about how some popular social icon is suddenly using iPhone and going on a flight when he's supposed to be poor:

Financial assistance flows in like water after you actually stand up for something that matters. Even many friends of mine who could never afford have received iPhones as gifts to help them with the good work they're doing. And air tickets can be bought FOR you by well wishers. This guy's well wishers aren't just your poor slaves.

Critics, thoda toh dimaag istamaal kiya karo
.

The Way of the Marathon - by Abhishek Thakur

Re-posting from my friend Kiran's FB post : https://www.facebook.com/kirangul/posts/10153802237647886

"THE WAY OF THE MARATHON

There are two distinct ways I have seen people engage in the social space.

The first is like a sprint. There is a burst of energy, like Bolt trying to run his 100 metres. Post a fellowship or a program, you are totally fired up. You realise that the world has burning problems, and you dive right in.

Soon, you have a social enterprise. Or, you are already volunteering 16 hours a day for some cause, relentlessly.

It's all great. You get acknowledgement from the people around. You have exciting stories to tell and feel the throbbing passion.

But sooner or later, burnout begins to loom on the horizon. The wake up call may be through a health crisis or a break up. It could be a parent losing patience or friends giving up on you. But it comes.

And with that comes disillusionment and 'giving up'. There may even be some bitterness – about how things will never change. There's a story about why it won't work or why you will get back to 'it' later.

But there is another way to engage with social change – the one I have seen the elders of this space choose.

This is the way of the marathon.

Just as you prepare to run for a marathon, this involves careful preparation. This preparation is at many levels. At the mental level it is understanding your cause. At the physical level it is taking care of your health. But the most important preparation is spiritual.

Social change can be a depressing journey. Consider your experience. Problems are super complex, solutions may not work and things keep getting worse. There are few blips of success. The work is time and thought intensive. And it is often underpaid.

In this scenario, spiritual practice is the fountain of hope.

After the initial burst of energy has fizzled, life can seem quite directionless. Many of us head back to corporate jobs. Others go for further studies, looking back at their social tryst as a youthful fling. Some save 'social work' for post retirement repentance.

But the way of the marathon requires each of us to care for ourselves. to nurture ourselves as the space through which Life will do its work. This journey is not for years but for decades spanning a lifetime – there is no exit strategy here.

My practices include journaling and meditation. On the path, the company of noble friends helps - these are others who are on the path and inspire me to keep walking. Self care includes eating healthy food, exercising and keeping the brain active.

The way of the marathon also involves preparing those around you to live with your choices. As they say, if you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.

The marathon way is also about learning to live within one's means. Creating a financial 'model' that allows us to sustain work in the long run is as essential.

Finally, there is no better way (or reason) to grow than to serve. Contemplation has to become a way of life.

I am preparing for a marathon (and already running it). And I'm looking forward to a joyful jog all the way to the finish line. Like every generation, we too will chip into the journey of the planet.

The only question is – will we get burned out by it or have a blast while it lasts!"

- Abhishek, our thakur.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The two-pronged team effort required to solve the farming problem

Its a two-pronged team that needs to work together here. 

We have the pioneers like all the wonderful people I've met practicing permaculture / natural farming who like scouts actually get out there, work independently of established systems, figure out the solutions and get proof of concept and relay it back. 

And we have the social workers who have deep connections who need to take this info and relay it to the masses and governments. 

This relaying and receiving of vital info needs some work. 

Many social sector people think the solutions are only for rich folks (who could afford to pioneer) because they see only the rich ones doing it first. (It has to begin somewhere, right? Even the petrol engine was too costly at first! So unfair & demanding to expect only the poor to solve the biggest problems!).

And our pioneers can lose patience after trying to do the social guy's job & failing frustratingly.

What both sides need to realize is that they need to work as a team. One prepares the medicine while the other prepares the patient to be able to take the medicine effectively.

The pioneer has to be by definition disconnected, hence she/he is unable to connect with and convince even the neighbouring villagers to adopt the solutions she/he has innovated.

The social worker has to be by definition connected and occupied in firefighting constant crises, hence she/he is unable to think outside the box and innovate solutions.

One can innovate but not scale or defend their solution in face of attacks by the mainstream. 
The other can scale up and defend the solution long enough to make it mainstream, but cannot innovate.

By working together, they can innovate AND scale.

The two shall complete each other. Yin and Yang shall join forces and that's how we're going to solve the farming problem, and turn every micro-region of this planet into self-sufficient in food, turn agriculture into a net CO2 sink, restore the ecological balance and win our planet back.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Why so much hatred for Kejriwal?

If you are curious to know why so many whatsapp fwds are going overboard with their hatred for Arvind Kejriwal, simply spend some time reading posts on this: https://twitter.com/ArvindKejriwal or this: https://aapdelhidiary.wordpress.com/

Kaam theek se karo toh opposition maaf nahin karegi :)

What's an UnConference?

This wrote itself this morning while I was trying to figure out a mailer for an unconference event we're doing next week here in Pune.
I'm separating the lines here to make it more readable.

What's an UnConference?

Imagine your last time at a conference, with a captive audience of everyone having to listen to one expert up on the podium, wishing you could get some more time to talk with the new friend you made at tea break. 

An unconference, also known as an open space event, decentralizes to multiple simultaneous breakout sessions where smaller groups can interact more intimately around a chosen topic. 

It liberates participants to go seek out what they're most interested in, with full freedom to move

It empowers participants to host sessions on topics they're interested in even if they're not experts but just curious

And, if you just want to talk at length with one or two people or play with kids or catch a nap, we encourage you to bunk sessions and do that! 

With that, we have a mela-like atmosphere with stalls and common spaces for random interactions. 

We also try to make the schedule have maximum room possible for unstructured interactions while still keeping a structure. 

We have an opening circle for settling in, orienting ourselves and planning the day's sessions, and a closing circle at end of event for regrouping and reflecting on our experiences.

Further reading: http://www.transitionnetwork.org/resources/how-run-open-space-event

>> Howzit ?!

For reference, see details about our event here. And below is the timetable we're following for this event:

Timetable:

When

What

9am onwards

Find the place, walk in and registrations

9.30 - 11.00 am

Opening circle

11.30 am - 1 pm

Breakout Session 1

1 - 2.30 pm

Lunch & Mela

2.30 - 3.30 pm

Breakout Session 2

3.30 - 4.30 pm

Breakout Session 3

4.30 - 5 pm

Tea & snacks

5 - 6 pm

Closing circle


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Invite for PUVU-4, Saturday 30 April 2016, 10am-6pm, @Yerwada (Pune Urban Village UnConference)

Hi Friends,


Inviting you to a fun-filled Saturday for yourself and the family, at the Pune Urban Village UnConference!

A day of celebration of our authentic selves, a day of sharing, caring and co-creation.
RSVP here!


Short version:
Event: Pune Urban Village Unconference, 4th edition
Date: Saturday, 30 April 2016
Time:  10am to 6pm
Venue: Thoughtworks, 6th floor, Binarus building, Deepak Complex, Deepak Nitrate Road, Yerawada, Pune.

Entry is free; for lunch by caterers charge is Rs.100/plate. You can bring your own food or get it from thela's outside the building's gate.
Click here : RSVP / lunch booking
Join the FB event page

Contact persons:
Urmila Samson, +91-9422-330-377
Nikhil VJ, +91-966-583-1250, nikhil.js [at] gmail.com
(please try to SMS/Whatsapp first)

Timetable:
When
What
10 am onwards
Find the place, walk in and registrations
10.30am-12.15pm
Opening circle and sessions planning
12.15 - 1 pm
Breakout Session 1
1 - 2.30 pm
Lunch & Mela
2.30 - 3.30 pm
Breakout Session 2
3.30 - 4.30 pm
Breakout Session 3
4.30 - 5 pm
Tea & snacks
5 - 6 pm
Closing circle

Special activity : Dariya Dil Dukaan! Please bring gifts that you would like to share with others!

Bring and put up posters about your initiative / organization!
Stalls : Most welcome. Contact us to let us know. Come on Fri 29th 5.30pm onwards to set up your stall. If more stalls, pls be accommodating to share table space. Note: footfalls expected : 100 to 200 ppl; no fees but no guarantees on sales either.

Directions: From Yerwada, take left at Gunjan theatre. After a chowk, along Golf course east wall , turn right at Sates tax office. Take left gate opp thela's, find tall office building 100m in.
by Bus: Route 24 from Katraj/Swargate/Station going towards MH housing board, get off at Sales tax office stop, after Netaji chowk. Cross the road to right side. Alternately, take a bus going towards Nagpur Chawl. See bus routes here.

Poster: (pls share among your networks!)


==================
The Long Version:

Welcome to PUVU 4;  A day of celebration of our authentic selves, a day of sharing, caring and co-creation.

Please do bring family, friends, elders and children along. Everybody is welcome.

(Note: all of the below will be adequately explained at the opening circle as well, so make sure you catch it!)

What's an UnConference?
Imagine your last time at a conference, with a captive audience of everyone having to listen to one expert up on the podium, wishing you could get some more time to talk with the new friend you made at tea break. An unconference, also known as an open space event, decentralizes to multiple simultaneous breakout sessions where smaller groups can interact more intimately around a chosen topic. It liberates participants to go seek out what they're most interested in, with full freedom to move. It empowers participants to host sessions on topics they're interested in even if they're not experts but just curious. And, if you just want to talk at length with one or two people or play with kids or catch a nap, we encourage you to bunk sessions and do that! With that, we have a mela-like atmosphere with stalls and common spaces for random interactions. We also try to make the schedule have maximum room possible for unstructured interactions while still keeping a structure. We have an opening circle for settling in, orienting ourselves and planning the day's sessions, and a closing circle at end of event for regrouping and reflecting on our experiences.

Further reading: http://www.transitionnetwork.org/resources/how-run-open-space-event

Dariya Dil Dukaan
Bring your stuff, we're having a big one!
Dariya Dil Dukaan emerges as a space to share and pass on things (clothes, books, jewelry, music, accessories, toys, just about anything) that we have enjoyed and now feel the need to give away/pass on/share. Many times we have these wonderful things that we don't feel the need for anymore or simply want to now give away. So, instead of selling or gifting away to people who may not really need or have any use of it, we offer it up in space where people come to give and receive such gifts. In the process, we also aim to move away from consumerism to conscious living by recycling instead of wasting. There is no keeping track of who gives what or who takes what but a lot of sharing of stories and love. We give and receive in joy and gratitude.

Further reading: http://udaipurtimes.com/dariya-dil-dukaan-shopping-without-money/


Timing
Timetable shared at top. Learning from previous puvu's, we want to value everyone's time and be punctual. We'll start dot on time, and finish at 6pm sharp so no one has to miss the closing circle.


Food
Thoughtworks' regular catering is providing full thali of healthy cooked food, at Rs.100/plate if you register in advance. We need to get a headcount to avoid wastage or shortage, so kindly register here by Thursday 28th night. Our volunteer will take payment in cash and give you your lunch coupon on Saturday morning.
You can get food from home and also share with friends! You'll get plates, cups, spoons to use and can heat things in the microwave. Also, there are regular thela's outside the campus so you can step out during lunch-break and eat there too.
For walk-ins who want to have the TW catering's food, there is usually extra food cooked. If available, you can buy your plate after 1.45pm at Rs.150/plate (pay at counter). This is to make sure the people who registered aren't left without food, hoping you understand! Best to register now.


Cleanliness
This beautiful venue is very generously provided to us free of charge, and on weekdays is an active office space. So please help us in cleaning up properly at the end of the day if you can stay back for a bit after 6pm.


FAQ's:
  1. Venue is disabled-friendly? >> Yes.
  2. Toilets? >> Plenty, and clean ones. It's an IT company.
  3. Venue is Indoor/outdoor ? >> Indoor, air conditioned IT company space. Sorry, no real grass or trees though.
  4. Stalls? >> Most welcome! Please contact us directly. Please come to the venue on Fri 29th Apr, 5.30pm to set up your stall.
  5. Can I schedule and announce a session in advance? >> You can announce, but you can't schedule it. The very essence of this event is that the people who have gathered co-create the day together. What you're planning, might very well get grouped with something similar someone else has planned. So please be patient till the opening circle is done. Also, note that the sessions have to be two-way interactions, not monologues. Please use the FB event page to announce your intention of doing the session and get others interested.
  6. Can I screen a film?  >> No, not this time, sorry. We really want us to disconnect from technology/consumption-mode and talk to each other, do hands-on things together. Please choose some other event for your screening, or collaborate to do a screenings mela sometime! You can do short clips as part of the session, but we'll leave you to hook up screens etc yourself.
  7. Can I access the wifi? >> No. If there's a special need, please get in touch. The computers in the session rooms usually have net on.
  8. Can I shoot photos / videos? >> For sharing with everyone, yes! We need you! If taking something focused or shooting a session, please take your subjects' prior permission. If kids, please take their permission for sure and locate their parents to share with them.
  9. Breakout session? >> Literally! There will be around 6 spaces available, so in that one session slot, upto 6 parallel sessions with different topics can be happening. We'll have a central board where info will be posted. Check out some pics to get an idea.
  10. What topics will be covered? >> That's the catch: even we don't know yet, as they gets co-created in the morning circle! Expect topics around alternative life paths, wellness, healing, learning, societal issues, sustainability, ecology, current events, emotions, life experiences, hands-on activities, etc.
  11. What about my kids? >> Kids are the kings and queens of the unconference! They'll have all the common spaces to play to their heart's content, and there will be activities and games going on to participate in. We also want the kids to get free from parental supervision and create their own experiences with peers. On safety: last 3 events, no major incident. That said, do take care. Do you want to host a hands-on activity? Please contact us!
  12. But my child is a baby / toddler >> The venue also has a creche room for toddlers. Check out pics on our FB page! A lot of babies have come and enjoyed all past PUVU's, there is space for diaper changing etc, helpful people all around and very clean washrooms.
  13. Snacks? >> On gift economy basis, we'll collect contributions during the day for buying snacks (probably samosa) for everyone. You can also bring snacks from home and share. Humbly requesting to minimize plastic waste. We also hope there'll be stalls selling delicious things to munch on during the day!
  14. How can I help make this awesome? >> Please contact us immediately! We need volunteers for decorations, chart-making, timekeeping, registrations (best way to get to know everybody!), note-taking, recording, etc
  15. I have filled registration form, but did not get any confirmation? >> Of course you're confirmed.. we invited you! We're not stopping anyone from coming. The event is free for all by default (but bring an ID for the security check at the gate!). By RSVP'ing, you have confirmed that you will come. Still, let's check if we can do some automation here to send an auto-confirmation email...
  16. If I call you up when the event is just starting, or just few hours before to ask for directions to the venue or for any other clarifications for which I have not bothered reading the FAQ's properly, then will you answer my call? >> No. Because there will be 10 others like you calling at the same time. We can answer your queries, or we can do the event. Not both. Besides, see what's written at top: please try to sms/whatsapp first.


Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday the 30th!
Cheers,
PUVU-4 Organizing team

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Swaraj University Course Design Questions

Swaraj University Course Design Questions
Designing a course syllabus is all about choices. Things to think
about when working on syllabus:
1.      What are the main topics you would like to cover to introduce
someone to the field? What are you choosing to exclude?
2.      What is the history of the field?
3.      Who are the important authors / pioneers / experimenters in the
field and what ideas have they contributed?
4.      What are the trends happening in the field?
5.      What are the innovations happening in the field?
6.      What are the key debates that are going on in the field?
7.      What are interesting projects / experiments / organizations going
on regarding this topic around the world?
8.      What are key learning materials in terms books, articles, videos,
exercises, games, models, frameworks, websites, etc?
9.      Talk to your mentors, what do they suggest?
Extra Questions:
1.      What kind of homework will you give?
2.      How will you evaluate the learners?
3.      How will you get feedback on your course?

(had a tough time hunting this down just now, so making a backup on the blog)


Monday, April 11, 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Interesting links for March 2016

Interesting links for March 2016

Tips on cleaning your data for mapping

Offering a few tips for teams that want to put their data on a map:

1. Bring your data to a flat excel table. Avoid having any merged cells in the header. Keep the headers in the first row only; from row 2 onwards your data should start. Example: If you had a super-header of "Expenses", and sub-columns of 2011 & 2012, then turn that into two distinct columns titles like "Expenses_2011", "Expenses_2012".

2. Even for the data rows, please clean this up. Un-merge the cells, repeat common information or delete that column (like, first column in your file is useless - there's only one state right?).

3. Make a new latitude column and a longitude column in your table. You have to assign lat-long to each row.

4.For bulk finding lat-long, this tool might help:
http://sahbhag.in/files/googlemaps-latlong-from-address.html
Copy-paste the locations column in the textbox, and it searches with google maps and takes the lat-long of the top match. Disclaimer: zero guarantees for accuracy! Note: wait for it as it cycles through each location. Once it's done, you can copy-paste the output CSV textbox and paste>import wizard in excel, or save as a .csv file and open it in excel / calc, etc.

5. To manually find lat-long of a location by clicking on a map, here's a good tool: http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html

6. Once your data is simplified and ready to be machine-readable, you can now upload the excel/spreadsheet to a mapping service. I'll recommend two: CartoDB : http://cartodb.com, and Google MyMaps: https://www.google.com/mymaps/


Example: Recently for Pune we got a little data about accidents, and some entries had lat-longs. So I was able to use my free account on cartodb.com to make this: https://nikhilvj.cartodb.com/viz/25be79a2-ed62-11e5-9bf6-0e8c56e2ffdb/map
Its nowhere near publishing levels because the data we've gotten isn't proper. But this could give you an idea.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

[Rethinking] Why we shouldn't rely on corporate media reportage of Panama Papers leak

Don't get satisfied with our media dangling just a few celebrities' , dons' and businessmens' names.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/04/corporate-media-gatekeepers-protect-western-1-from-panama-leak/ (article copied below)

Further links:
Video: What I learned from the Panama Papers - Corbett Report
>> illustrates how the coverage is predominantly targeting America's opponents only with little to no direct evidence; while the status quo remains untouched.

Video: The Largest Leak In History, What You Need To Know About The Panama Papers by WeAreChange

Article on zerohedge on how tax havens are shifting to the USA

Here Are Some Of The Americans In The "Panama Papers"

‘US pretends fighting tax havens while creating its own’

'Who’s funding this?’ CIA & MI5 whistleblowers question credibility of Panama Papers coverage
...While neither Vladimir Putin nor any members of his family were mentioned in the Panama Papers leak, most Western media chose to break the story with the Russian president’s photo.
...Meanwhile, both experts question the speed with which the information contained in the papers is being released, calling on the news outlets to make all of the information public instead of holding on to it, creating a mystery where there shouldn’t be one.
“There is an obligation for the people who hold these documents to release the full text. I would caution people that the main points are not out [yet] – all we see so far is what the corporate media selected for us to see, while certainly [there are] people in the US who do not want [everything] released until after the presidential primaries,” McGovern stressed.

https://www.popularresistance.org/newsletter-political-revolution/
Good analysis, covering both what the papers confirm (that the world's financial system is rigged to help the wealthy avoid taxes legally), and the questionable intentions behind targeting only of those who have defied US and Wall Street hegemony.


Video, by WeAreChange again: Panama Papers Psyop, Complete Inside Job by Real Elites

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/857593/41ede47ee4/1620022255/156fe052aa/
Newsletter from Local Futures / Economics of Happiness
... But while the media has focused mostly on individual cases of wrong-doing, it’s far more important to change the corrupt system that enables all of these abuses to occur.



Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak


Whoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained and all involved in tax avoidance. These Panamanian lawyers hide the wealth of a significant proportion of the 1%, and the massive leak of their documents ought to be a wonderful thing.
Unfortunately the leaker has made the dreadful mistake of turning to the western corporate media to publicise the results. In consequence the first major story, published today by the Guardian, is all about Vladimir Putin and a cellist on the fiddle. As it happens I believe the story and have no doubt Putin is bent.
But why focus on Russia? Russian wealth is only a tiny minority of the money hidden away with the aid of Mossack Fonseca. In fact, it soon becomes obvious that the selective reporting is going to stink.
The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that "much of the leaked material will remain private."
What do you expect? The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named "International Consortium of Investigative Journalists", which is funded and organised entirely by the USA's Center for Public Integrity. Their funders include
Ford Foundation
Carnegie Endowment
Rockefeller Family Fund
W K Kellogg Foundation
Open Society Foundation (Soros)
among many others. Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.
Expect hits at Russia, Iran and Syria and some tiny "balancing" western country like Iceland. A superannuated UK peer or two will be sacrificed – someone already with dementia.
The corporate media – the Guardian and BBC in the UK – have exclusive access to the database which you and I cannot see. They are protecting themselves from even seeing western corporations' sensitive information by only looking at those documents which are brought up by specific searches such as UN sanctions busters. Never forget the Guardian smashed its copies of the Snowden files on the instruction of MI6.
What if they did Mossack Fonseca database searches on the owners of all the corporate media and their companies, and all the editors and senior corporate media journalists? What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on all the most senior people at the BBC? What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on every donor to the Center for Public Integrity and their companies?
What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on every listed company in the western stock exchanges, and on every western millionaire they could trace?
That would be much more interesting. I know Russia and China are corrupt, you don't have to tell me that. What if you look at things that we might, here in the west, be able to rise up and do something about?
And what if you corporate lapdogs let the people see the actual data?
UPDATE
Hundreds of thousands of people have read this post in the 11 hours since it was published – despite it being overnight here in the UK. There are 235,918 "impressions" on twitter (as twitter calls them) and over 3,700 people have "shared" so far on Facebook, bringing scores of new readers each.
I would remind you that this blog is produced free for the public good and you are welcome to republish or re-use this article or any other material freely anywhere without requesting further permission.
##############

PS: Sincere apologies if you got multiple copies of this email. And, here's the obligatory Disclaimer.

Monday, April 4, 2016

What if we need some disobedience of rules to survive?

Here's a thought arising from seeing something about the nature of water (read the full post here).
Although water (H2O) is a liquid, it breaks nearly all the rules that liquids are supposed to follow. It just doesn't behave the same way that the liquid forms of other elements or compounds behave, and it has characteristics that are totally unique; inapplicable to any other element or compound in existence.

Life on planet Earth is possible because of water.
It is precisely the law-breaking, rule-bending characteristics of water, and its unique properties, that make life possible.
If water followed all the rules obediently like the other liquids do, then life on Earth (and probably elsewhere) would not be possible.
In a system as ruthlessly rigid, unrelenting as physical science, because one little compound decided to chuck the rules, life became possible, sustainable, thriving.
In what other systems in our lives : relationships, love, friendships, education, healthcare, jobs, governance, finance, technology, science, law, justice... can a little breaking of the rules be existentially essential to making life possible, sustainable, thriving?
And mind that even in physical science, if all the elements and compounds went about breaking rules in an unthinking way, that would make life impossible as well. So I'm not going there; I hope you don't either. The "little" word is key. Besides, water's antics don't seem chaotic or unintentional to me; there's something holistic and positively constructive about it. It's not a rule breaker in the negative sense.

But let's look at the other extreme. What if, by going overboard on strictly and absolutely applying all the rules down to the very last detail, without any allowance for any exception at all, we will end up making life unlivable?
If that is so, then should this inform the demands by social movements, democracy, transparency, accountability campaigns, activists etc? Can they make room for this in their advocacy and proposed reforms? Can they figure out where to draw the line?

Check these out for more research:
https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_our_loss_of_wisdom
Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world.
(this talk gave some of the first disruptions in my own thought processes, challenged what I believed to be right, and made me question some things I have been standing for since long)
John Oliver's Last Week Tonight show on youtube : many of his episodes focus hilariously on the vastly shitty consequences in various fields in the US of what Barry Schwartz is talking about.

PS: Sincere apologies if you got multiple copies of this email. And, here's the obligatory Disclaimer.

4th phase of water : Dr.Gerard Pollock

4th phase of water : talk and research by Dr.Gerard Pollock

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-T7tCMUDXU


Opens up a whole lot of questions, thoughts, and possibilities about water, its connection with light, what role it plays in our bodies, and this might call for a fundamental re-learning of what water is, and (indirectly, as an outcome should you choose to apply it) offers a fresh perspective to relook at the traditional practices of holy water, therapies using water, etc.

Quoting excerpts from the second link:

nothing short of ground-breaking. The fourth phase of water is, in a nutshell, living water. It's referred to as EZ water—EZ standing for "exclusion zone"—which has a negative charge. This water can hold energy, much like a battery, and can deliver energy too.

"There's a famous website (www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/) put together by a British scientist, Martin Chaplin. Martin lists numerous anomalies associated with water," Dr. Pollack says. "In other words, things that shouldn't be according to what we know about water...

The more anomalies we have, the more we begin to think that maybe there's something fundamental about water that we really don't know. That's the core of what I'm trying to do. In our laboratory at the University of Washington, we've done many experiments over the last decade. These experiments have clearly shown the existence of this additional phase of water."


"We found that if we put a simple tube, like a straw, made of hydrophilic material, in water... there's water flow through the tube at high speed. This happens spontaneously. But it shouldn't happen spontaneously. The common idea is that if you want to drive fluid through a pipe or tube, you need to apply pressure. But we have no pressure here. There's no pressure difference between the input and output. But flow builds up spontaneously, and it keeps going.

Recently, we found that if we add light, the flow goes faster. It means that light has a particular effect; especially ultraviolet light, but other wavelengths as well. It speeds up the flow. We think that somehow the exclusion zones (EZs) are involved because inside those tubes, there's a little annular ring of exclusion zone, and inside that is an area full of protons... It seems that the exclusion zone and the pressure of these protons are driving the flow."

-----
From Charles Eisenstein's essay:

Let me emphasize that this is not a New Age book by someone of questionable scientific credentials. This is a book on chemistry, albeit one easily accessible to lay people. Pollack is a highly decorated professor at the University of Washington, author of numerous peer-reviewed papers, recipient of the 2012 Prigogine Medal, and editor of the academic journal Water. I mention this because in a field fraught with what some call pseudo-science, but what I'll politely call speculative inquiry unburdened by scientific rigor, paradigm-busting theories attract an inordinate degree of hostility.
...
One would think that after two hundred or more years of modern chemistry, something as fundamental and seemingly simple as water would be thoroughly understood by now. Before reading this book, I took for granted the explanations my high school and college textbooks offered for evaporation, capillary action, freezing, bubble formation, Brownian motion, and surface tension. Everyone else assumes the same thing, which may be why the conventional explanations are seldom scrutinized. However, as The Fourth Phase of Water demonstrates, a little creative scrutiny reveals severe deficiencies in conventional explanations.

-------

The website www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/ does a great job of listing all the ways water doesn't behave like a textbook liquid, and one would be amazed to see how this *cheating* of the laws governing most liquids by water makes life on this planet possible.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

expressing a little about my recurring pattern in matters of love

I'm feeling angry at myself, and sad, for keeping on falling in love,
at various times, with a woman who it turns out will never want to
love me back, while completely ignoring that there is at least one
woman in my life at that time who would gladly love me back if I just
paid her a little more attention. I usually find out only much later,
when she has moved on.

The communication paradox

Sometimes it feels like I can get my point across to any person on
earth except the one person I really want to communicate to.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Organic Terrace Gardening weekend workshops in Pune (various places) over April 2016

Pls see attached poster for full details.

Facilitated by Hemal Patel, who was among the organizers of the recent
Sustainable Living Pune Convergence last Sunday.

Contribution: Rs.1000/person, 50% discount for kids/students.

Contact number: 9011355709 (Hemal)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Please don't give up on love

A prayer for an anonymous friend..

Please don't give up on love yet. Let time pass, let the wounds heal.

Don't be so hard on yourself; don't go too much into the concept of
what happens on outside being reflection of inner defects only.. it's
all nice n spiritual n all but I think there can be times we take that
too far. We're only human, babaa, there's no need to witch-hunt each
and everything about ourselves. Heck, what characteristic has manifested
as a negative in your experience in relationship, might even have a
positive manifestation in another sphere of your life. By trying to eliminate
one, what if you end up degrading even what's good about you? We
might be better off seeking structures, being in environments that better
accommodate those characteristics of ours, that channel them
constructively.

You may have to analyze your patterns till now and change the way
you look for love. Girls with great looks do attract the worst-fitting
of the males around at first tries :P

Consider these..
  • Simplify your tastes (especially when it comes to consumerism),
  • Raise some bare-minimum ethical / health standards that had earlier been lowered in the interest of being progressive, non-judgemental, unconditional etc,
  • Introduce some grounding parameters, like alignment with causes you're passionate about, or integrity etc in worldly life too (yes, it does matter, our worldly and personal lives aren't completely separated. Extent u decide.),
  • Involve community in the search, let your close friends / folks whom you gel with, find and recommend someone, or ask them to help you evaluate someone you're considering.

But please don't give up on love. There will come a time when you'll be
ready for it again, and if you make room for it in your life, it will
be wonderful, something that will make all those trials and
tribulations worth it.

Let it slumber, but please, please don't give up on it. You deserve this. It
will happen, please let it when the time comes.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sustainable Living Convergence - March 27th 2016, Pune

Just writing in to say that this event was AWESOME. Attached are some
newspaper clips and a graphic, thought I'll put it up on the blog once
for posterity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Event : Sustainable Living Convergence, Sunday 27th March, full day @ Gandhi Bhavan, Kothrud, Pune

Inviting you to the Sustainable Living Convergence, Pune!

Mark your calendar & be there on Sunday, 27th March @ Gandhi Bhavan, Kothrud, Pune with your friends & families from 10am to 8pm

Registration is mandatory in case you are having healthy lunch with us else entire event is having Free Entry.

For Registration Contact on below numbers :-

Neeta Agarwal - 9175905462
Sharad Bhojane - 9850223494
Priya Phulambrikar - 9766623409
Hemal Patel - 9011355709
Bhushan Patil - 9850000313

OR log in to our website:
http://sustainablelivingpune.org/Registration

This convergence is a place of gathering for Sustainable Living Members to know more about challenges & resolutions related to Food, Air, Water, Energy, healthy lifestyle. These natural resources of Mother Earth once in abundance & available in purest form are scarce & highly polluted in today's times. At convergence you will be interecting & listening to our Sustainable Champions working in synchronization with Mother Earth where how we can turn around from this point.

The future generations are relying on us to hand them over a better,cleaner & healthier planet. Come be part of this full day event on 27th March at Gandhi Bhavan, Kothrud, Pune

Press coverage on 22nd March's Pune Mirror. See the clipping attached, or see link: http://www.punemirror.in/pune/civic/Selfless-quest-for-sustainability/articleshow/51502131.cms


(on behalf of Hemal Patel and the organizing team)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Education as the Domestication of Inner Space - by Layla Abdel Rahim

Forwarding an article from one of my first mentors who led me to the unschooling world, Jinan:

have you come accross Layla Abdel Rahim?  Worth exploring her explorations.

Education as the Domestication of Inner Space
http://www.fifthestate.org/archive/391-springsummer-2014/education-domestication-inner-space/

How Ivan the Fool Defeats Civilized Pedagogies
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTYHgXEwlG4

Wild Children – Domesticated Dreams: An Interview with Layla AbdelRahim


"Schools teach children the principles of death and of suffering. They
do not teach them the principles of life, which is diversity, which is
being out there in the world. They teach them within closed systems,
within closed buildings and walls, separated from the rest of the
world. They teach them that violence is legitimate when it is applied
from the top to the bottom and that it is illegitimate when it is
practised in resistance or defence of diversity and life.
http://layla.miltsov.org/wild-children-domesticated-dreams-an-interview-with-layla-abdelrahim/


Layla AbdelRahim is an interdisciplinary author who uses a variety of
research methods and disciplines to understand civilization,
wilderness, and our place in the world. Her recent book, Wild
Children–Domesticated Dreams: Civilization and the Birth of Education
(Fernwood, 2013), examines the connections between civilization,
domestication, and education relying on her journal entries as well as
on anthropological and ethological research.

For more on her critique of education, civilization, literature, and
culture visit her website: www.layla.miltsov.org

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Web-mapping Pune's Development Plans for better citizen engagement

Open invitation for Pune citizens: All the latest development plan (DP) maps (as released by PMC website.. ) have been pinned on to web map. Please go to this page:
..and use the dropdown or previous/next buttons just above the map to cycle through the development plans. Note that when you zoom in, the DP map will take time to load (use slider on right side to fade in or out the overlaid DP map), but it will load properly in about 10 seconds.

Here's something you can do that might help in bringing more transparency to this matter. At any point on the map, if you click, you get the exact latitude-longitude of the point. You can select and copy that (press Ctrl+C).

So, the wrong places, misallocations, deletions etc that were mentioned recent petitions.. please identify them, copy their exact lat-long points, and then write it out in the comments section at the bottom of the page, with lat-long (this is key!), so that it's publicly available, and then other people seeing the page can go to that location and check it out and give futher inputs. Also it would be great to just zoom in to your own neighbourhood, check out the DP map for your area and explore the various allocations etc.

Happy mapping!

Tip: You can post comments anonymously also, by checking on the "I'd rather post as a guest" option when you are typing your comment.

Addendum : What if instead of treating the DP as a black box and approving / rejecting the whole thing, we as citizens went about this a little more smartly? What if we could pin-point precisely what is wrong/suspect while also appreciating the work done by the DP creation team and pointing out what are good examples of wise planning? And what if we took it to the next level : what if citizens can make constructive suggestions to not just reject but fix the planning process? I don't know where this might lead, but hey, it's worth a shot :)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Simple is more mature

We attended a wonderful session on Sacred Capital last week, led by
Siddharth Sthalekar.

He shared how as he got to know more and more about how the money
system really works, his advice (as a reputed financial advisor) got
simpler and simpler. He offered this simple talisman-type thing:
If he/she seems like a nice person,
you like what they're doing,
and the world needs more of them,
then invest in them.

I felt myself connecting with this. I couldn't help but feel that this
applies to even other realms.

Over the past few years, in multiple interest fields, I'm converging
on similar thoughts : that keeping things simple is actually a sign of
wisdom and maturity, whereas making things overly complicated implies
immaturity, and is another example of the tricks the mind plays to
maintain its hegemony. Could it be that going complex only serves to
deviate us from the simplicity of reality?

So that brings me to one focus topic...

Ladies!

He's a nice guy.

You like what he does.

And the world needs more people like him.

Please. Forget all the other complications.
Just say yes!
:D :P

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Trip for students by Academy for Earth Sustainability

From my friend Aditya:

Last month, 40 of our students spent a week with the Academy for Earth
Sustainability <http://www.aeslife.in/>, for their Eco-Embark program.
Located on a farm in Karjat, Maharashtra, the program introduced children
to sustainable living, diving into critical issues around and solutions for
food, water, waste, and energy.

I am an educator and a difficult one. I am a thorough planner and i always
expect that from people who work with children. I am writing to all of you,
because that's what I found extraordinary about the program of AES. They
were heartful and soulful and skillful in their way of dealing with
children and their understanding about sustainability!

They were wonderfully communicative about the program design and it was so
beautifully custom made for us! :D It was not just do-do-do-do but it was
about reflecting emotionally and intellectually! :)

If any of you parents, educators are looking for something heartful and
valuable for your children, I recommend this. You can get in touch with me
to know my experience on <comment below>. I work in Hyderabad and I took
children all the way from here and it was worth all the effort :).

If someone wants to know more they can directly contact Chandan Mulherkar
at [..] chandan [at] aeslife.in .

This is NOT an advertisement. This is an honest sharing for I want more
children / adults to meet these inspiring people, who care so much about
the Earth and are doing something about it :)
Love,
Aditya

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Great-boxing

Heres a thought thats coming up for me this morning. Its a bit controversial, so apologies if offense caused :

If there is a wonderful person in my life whom i respect highly for some wonderful traits in their personality, if i put him/her up on a pedestal and praise and idolize them, then i don't really have an inclination to implement those good practices in my own life. Because thats only something that "great people" can do.

But on the other hand if I see that person as another person who's not very different from me, then it becomes my responsibility to also implement those good traits in my own life. I cannot excuse myself saying that only great people can do that.

I wonder if that is one reason why we make mahatmas and bhagwans out of our best humans : so that we can escape from the responsibility of emulating those good traits? I know there are other reasons also, but I want to provoke these questions:

What are good traits in my idols that i am refusing to inculcate by boxing them into the great-box and saying i can't be like that?

Is my refusal to do so, then leading to problems in my life that those idols don't have?

Am I then claiming that I have too many problems so I cannot be great like those people? Isn't that then an implicit accusation that those people I respect have it easy and aren't really so great after all? So doesn't this policy (of great-boxing people) become self-contradictory and self-defeating?

Breaking out of that cycle, would my respect for that great person be higher and more authentic if I considered him/her as another human being like myself?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

An India who loves the World

Saw this in a comment on a youtube page.. it's a new phrase I'm seeing and I'm liking it... How about working towards making...

An India who loves the World


(saw on https://www.youtube.com/user/satyamevajayateshow/discussion)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Interesting Links for February 2016

Interesting Links for February 2016

Story: the 99 Club

Story: (shared over whatsapp)

Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was not happy at all.
One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; Why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy?

The King asked the servant, 'Why are you so happy?'

The man replied, 'Your Majesty, I am nothing but a servant, but my family and I don't need too much - just a roof over our heads and warm food to fill our tummies.'

The king sought the advice of his most trusted advisor. After hearing the story, the advisor said, 'Your Majesty, the servant has not yet joined "The 99 Club".'

'The 99 Club? And what is that?' the King inquired.

The advisor replied, 'To truly know what The 99 Club is, just place 99 Gold coins in a bag and leave it at this servant's doorstep.'

When the servant saw the bag, he let out a great shout of joy... so many gold coins. He began to count them. After several counts, he was at last convinced that there were only 99 coins.

He wondered, 'What could've happened to that last gold coin? Surely, no one would leave 99 coins!'

He looked everywhere, but that final coin was elusive. Finally he decided that he was going to work harder than ever to earn that 100th gold coin.

From that day, the servant was a changed man. He was overworked, grumpy, and blamed his family for not helping him make that 100th gold coin.

And he had stopped singing while he worked.

Witnessing this drastic transformation, the King was puzzled. The advisor said, 'Your Majesty, the servant has now officially joined The 99 Club.'
He continued, 'The 99 Club is a name given to those people who have enough to be happy but are never content, because they're always wanting that extra 1, saying to themselves:
"Let me get that one final thing and then I will be happy for life."

We can be happy with very little in our lives, but the minute we're given something bigger and better, we want more ...and even more! We lose our sleep, our happiness, as the price for our growing needs and desires.

That's "The 99 Club"...
Zero Membership fee to enter, but you pay for it with your entire life! ☺

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Beauty of the Mosaic by Rosalina Chai

I loved listening to this at last week's Awakin Circle:

http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=2138

Beauty of the Mosaic
-by Rosalina Chai

For as long as I recall having memory, I've found mosaic incredibly
mesmerising. Alongside the increasing presence of grey hair on my head
grew my awareness of how aptly the mosaic can serve as a metaphor for
perceiving and understanding the human condition.

Mosaic is at once intricate yet majestic. And it is precisely its
brokeness that lends mosaic its perception of fragile beauty - the
space between the tiles is as much an intricate part of its language
of beauty as the mosaic tile itself. And isn't this true too of our
humanity?

Whilst there are numerous titles out there extolling the necessity,
power and beauty of our essential brokenness, more often that not, our
daily interactions with our fellow human beings appears to be
motivated by unconscious "should-ism" that demands perfection of one
another. What is it about brokenness that we find so offensive?

What would happen when we accept and embrace that being broken is an
essential part of humanity's be-ing? What would happen when we cease
to label brokenness as bad? What would it take for us to cease
labelling brokenness as bad? I can imagine one certainty ... more
peace.

Accepting and embracing brokenness is not the same as using another's
brokenness to feel better about ourselves. Rather, it is an
acknowledgment of our common humanity. When I accept my own
brokenness, and do not judge myself harshly because of it, I find
myself capable of more compassion towards others regardless of whether
I am aware of the form of brokenness they've experienced.

Finally, it is the coming together of many many many mosaic tiles that
the meaning of its language of beauty is expressed. We were not meant
to be alone in our brokenness. We were meant to come together, so that
another form of beauty may be birthed through the collective.

I would like to leave you with this story.

At the beginning and end of time, Truth was a beautiful glowing orb.
One day, the orb was shattered into shards that outnumbered the stars
in the universe by one to infinity. These shards became souls. Thus it
is that each soul represented one part of Truth. But Life intervened,
and many souls believed that they were Truth, and so Hatred was bred.
But some souls held onto the memory, and attempted to remind the souls
who've forgotten.

I do not know the end of the story as it is yet to be written. But I
do know that when all the souls are reunited, the space between the
shards would be where the light shines through. And that Truth's
beauty would then take another form.
Roslina Chai is an author, mother, and "seeker of beauty, curator of
experiences, and holder of space." She lives in Singapore, and the
excerpt was originally taken from her blog.
(http://www.mosaik.sg/writing)

- See more at: http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=2138#sthash.TZWNQ5Fh.dpuf

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Article on a teenager murdered and then accused

You need to read this. Hopefully with some empathy and without rhetorical explaining away.
http://thewire.in/2016/03/02/the-second-killing-of-ishrat-jahan-23407/

And try to understand the consequences of continuing the hatred that makes things like these happen. We can't keep on chalking up everything to the Mughals, at some point we need to take responsibility and start behaving better than the Mughals did.
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