Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A New Front In The Ukrainian Conflict: Russian Gas Imports : Parallels : NPR

A New Front In The Ukrainian Conflict: Russian Gas Imports : Parallels : NPR

It's an issue for the entire continent. About 40 percent of EU gas
imports come from Russia, and half of that is delivered by pipelines
that cross Ukraine. Russia says Ukraine still owes more than $2
billion in gas bills and has been requiring Ukraine to pay in advance
for the fuel it has been burning this winter.

Why should Europe be affected if Ukraine doesn't pay its bills?

Ukraine takes its Russian gas from the same pipelines that supply Europe

The only way for Russia to prevent Ukraine from taking gas, is to shut the pipeline down altogether.

has happened before, in 2006 and 2009, when many European countries had
their gas supplies cut because Russia was punishing Ukraine.

Ukraine temporarily cut off gas supplies to its eastern provinces, saying the pipelines had been damaged by fighting.

began using some old Soviet pipelines to ship gas directly to the
separatist areas, and it deducted the cost of that gas from Ukraine's

Ukraine views the separatists as Russian-backed
terrorists and saw Russia's move as an attempt to bill the Ukrainian
government for fuel deliveries that it couldn't control.

Friday, February 27, 2015

White and gold black and blue dress - Business Insider

White and gold black and blue dress - Business Insider

here is a dress that might be black and blue or white and gold. 

It started on this Tumblr page,
where a user posted a photo of the dress with the caption, "guys please
help me - is this dress white and gold, or blue and black?

"Your eyes have retinas, the things that let you
interpret color. There's rods, round things, and cones that stick out,
which is what gives your eye a textured appearance in the colored part.
The "cones" see color. The "rods" see shade, like black, white and grey.
Cones only work when enough light passes through. So while I see the
fabric as white, someone else may see it as blue because my cones aren't
responding to the dim lighting. My rods see it as a shade (white).

There's three cones: small, medium and large. They are blue sensitive, green sensitive, and red sensitive.
As for the black bit (which I see as gold), it's
called additive mixing. Blue, green and red are the main colors for
additive mixing. This is where it gets really tricky. Subtractive
mixing, such as with paint, means the more colors you add the murkier it
gets until its black. ADDITIVE mixing, when you add the three colors
the eyes see best, red, green and blue, (not to be confused with primary
colors red, blue and yellow) it makes pure white.

—Blue and Black: In conclusion, your retina's
cones are more high functioning, and this results in your eyes doing
subtractive mixing.

—White and Gold: our eyes don't work well in dim
light so our retinas rods see white, and this makes them less light
sensitive, causing additive mixing, (that of green and red), to make

Interview: Thamarai | Baradwaj Rangan

Interview: Thamarai | Baradwaj Rangan

Anal mele pani thuli? – Thamarai is swept up in this subject.
She segues into a relevant flashback about her husband, Thyagu, a
Naxalite, a social revolutionary who received the death sentence when he
was 20. A decade thence, he became a lifer and was released after
serving a term of 16 years. While incarcerated, he authored what
Thamarai terms the first prison literature in Tamil, a couple of
serialised stories (Suvarukkul Chittirangal and Kambikkul Velichangal) about life inside, which proved enormously popular when published in Junior Vikatan. (He also translated Das Kapital
into Tamil.) Thamarai became a big fan. She wrote an eight-page letter
to Thyagu, through the magazine, and eventually met him. They found they
had lots in common, like the fact that they had both survived a
traumatic first marriage. They gradually fell in love, and in 2002 –
after eight years, as if commemorating a year of courtship to each page
of the letter that brought them together in the first place – they got
married. After his release, Thyagu founded a political party named Thamizh Thesiya Viduthalai Iyakkam,
based on the principles of Tamil nationalism, aimed at retrieving the
lost rights and reinstating the lost pride of the Tamils, even those in

Lyricist Thamarai's Husband Thozhar Thiyagu Disappeared

Tamil Cine Talk – கணவர் தியாகு காணவில்லை – என்ன நடந்தது..? – கவிஞர் தாமரையின் முழு விளக்கம்..!

What Is to Be Done? | The Los Angeles Review of Books

What Is to Be Done? | The Los Angeles Review of Books

The History Manifesto :: Home

should historians speak truth to power - and why does it matter? Why is
five hundred years better than five months or five years as a planning
horizon? And why is history - especially long-term history - so
essential to understanding the multiple pasts which gave rise to our
conflicted present? The History Manifesto is a call to arms to
historians and everyone interested in the role of history in
contemporary society. - See more at:

The History Manifesto

author: David Armitage , Jo Guldi
publisher: Cambridge University Press
pub date: 10.02.2014
pp: 175

Harrower’s watchful brilliance | TLS

Harrower’s watchful brilliance | TLS

 Australian novelist Elizabeth Harrower published four
novels: Down in the City (1957), The Long Prospect (1958), The
Catherine Wheel
(1960) and The Watch Tower (1966).

Elizabeth Harrower
256pp. Text Publishing. Paperback, £8.99.
978 1 922182 96 8
US: $24.95. 978 1 922182 29 6

Unnerved and a Bit Delirious | The Los Angeles Review of Books

Unnerved and a Bit Delirious | The Los Angeles Review of Books

THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, a first novel by Caren Beilin, is
bananas in the best possible way. Winner of the 2013 Noemi Press Book
Award for Fiction, Beilin gives a “boiling violet kick” (a phrase I’m
lifting from her prose) not just to taboo but to the form of the novel

Beilin launches headlong from the first sentence into terrain that
is both uncomfortable and strange: menstrual blood, the slaughter of
horses for industrial gelatin, anal rape, and sex with inanimate
objects. And at the same time, through often surreal juxtaposition, very
familiar subjects — becoming an adult, friendship, parents, sexual
awakening — are cast anew.

Boston’s Winter From Hell - NYTimes.com

Boston’s Winter From Hell - NYTimes.com

On Twitter, a satirical map of the transit system
has circulated, with entire subway and bus lines scribbled out with a
black line, marked with “LOL,” and “Don’t even.” Across the region,
mile-long lines of people stand for an hour or more, freezing in bitter
winds, waiting for shuttle buses that are supposed to replace the trains
and trolleys. Some have given up and walked home.

And it’s devastating for state and local governments. The City of Boston
has spent $35 million on snow removal, more than twice what it had
budgeted. That doesn’t include Cambridge or any of the surrounding
towns, or the state. It doesn’t include how much it will cost to repair
the devastated roads, sidewalks and bridges that will have been worn
away by snow, freezing, salt and rust. Incoming tax revenues will fall
because business and personal incomes are down. 

Helen Macdonald’s ‘H Is for Hawk’ - NYTimes.com

Helen Macdonald’s ‘H Is for Hawk’ - NYTimes.com

new book, “H Is for Hawk,” winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize and the
Costa Book Award, Helen Macdonald renders an indelible impression of a
raptor’s fierce essence — and her own 

'Overnight, everything I loved was gone': the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone | Technology | The Guardian

'Overnight, everything I loved was gone': the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone | Technology | The Guardian

I tweeted him: “Hi!! Will you take down your spambot please?”

Ten minutes passed. Then he replied, “We prefer the term infomorph.”

Someone called @jon_ronson was tweeting 20 times a day about his whirlwind of social engagements, soirées and friends

Paid news in The Hindu?

Paid news in The Hindu?

A Kerala government enquiry has pointed to instances which smack of
ads for coverage in the paper, and another report of a finance
inspection wing has questioned the manner in which it was given

a High Court order, the government of Kerala conducted an inquiry into
various allegations of corruption and misdemeanour against the Executive
Vice President of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and
(KSCSTE), V N Rajasekharan Pillai. The inquiry, which was conducted
by the recently-retired Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of the state
government, concluded that the accused had paid money for "infructuous"
advertisements in The Hindu to carry reports praising him in
order to help him get an extension of his tenure. "This is a clear case
of paid news," wrote the retired official.

We put these issues to the editor, Malini Parthasarathy, for her response. 

Mobile apps are helping Western-raised Muslims date like everyone else

Western Muslims Swipe Right To Find Their Match on ‘Minder’ - The Daily Beast

Bio-data requesting fair complexions verses “wheatish” complexions,
salary and career expectations and emphasis on green card holders have
been met with derision by Western Muslims who see sites, such as the
ubiquitous shaadi.com, as a meat market for those searching for a free ticket from the mother country to the promised land.

The mobile “halal dating” app Minder—think
Muslim Tinder rather than a Pakistani auntie chaperoning with a
bat—launched its website around Valentine’s Day and has already received
almost 2,000 requests for approval.

Ishqr is a Muslim dating site that does not allow users to see the faces of the profiles they are interested in before swiping on. Its goal is to remove the superficial and connect people based on personality. Crescent is on Instagram and will launch an app for iOS and Android phones soon. And Salaam Swipe, created by Canadian-Muslim Khalil Jessa, plans to launch this year. Jessa said the Muslim community is a huge untapped market, particularly in the mobile space.

Even groups that seek more real world interaction are looking to get into the apps space. Sobia Nasir, who founded Muslim matchmaking concierge service Single Muslim Intros (SMI) with her brother Ali Nasir, said their platform organizes events for singles to meet through organized mixers and individualized lunch and dinner dates that are completely set up through a concierge service. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Surgeon Sergio Canavero will be embarking on a project to implement the world's first human head transplant

Human head transplant just two years away, surgeon claims - CNET

Take, for instance, the work of Russian transplant pioneer Vladimir
Demikhov, who in the 1950s successfully transplanted dogs' heads onto
the bodies of other dogs, creating living two-headed dogs (the linked video contains content that may be disturbing for some viewers). Or Doctor Robert White, who transplanted the head of one monkey on to the body of another in 1970 (the same warning applies).

New Scientist.

In a paper published in Surgical Neurology International,
he has outlined his technique: first, both the transplant head and the
donor body would need to be cooled in order to slow cell death. Then,
the neck of both would be cut and the major blood vessels linked with
tubes. Finally, the spinal cords would be severed, with as clean a cut
as possible.

Joining the spinal cords, with the tightly packed nerves inside, is key.

Xiao-Ping Ren of Harbin Medical University in China, who recently successfully performed a head transplant on a mouse -- intends to test the technique on lab mice. 

Experts rethink belief that tech always lifts employment as machines take on skills once thought uniquely human

What Clever Robots Mean for Jobs - WSJ

Wall Street Journal reporter Timothy Aeppel spoke with faculty
members across the Institute about how advances in automation could
impact the labor market. Aeppel notes that MIT economists and
roboticists meet regularly to gain a better interdisciplinary view of
the current state of automation.  

Conference explores how wearables and other technologies are changing how we connect and conduct business

Inventing “civilization 2.0” | MIT News

included a tech competition that gave three student teams — which are
developing novel drones, facial-recognition software, and black solar
panels — a shot at a $3,000 prize. The winning team, Waterfly, is
developing a fully automated “swarm” of drones that can talk to each
other to help with data retrieval.

This year’s theme was “Enabling Society” — or how technologies “are enabling better connections” between humans and businesses

Self-healing gel can be injected into the body and act as a long-term drug depot

New nanogel for drug delivery | MIT News

could be useful for treating cancer, macular degeneration, or heart disease

current versions aren’t always practical because must be implanted surgically

Google's find-a-bug event is no more, but anyone unearthing a Chrome or Chrome OS vulnerability can still get their hands on some cash

Google ditches Pwnium hacking contest in favour of year-round prize of 'infinity millions' | ZDNet

Tim Willis, a 'hacker philanthropist' on the Chrome security team, wrote on Google's security blog

A Reader's Manifesto - The Atlantic

A Reader's Manifesto - The Atlantic

Interviews: "A Reader's Revenge"

B. R. Myers, the author of A Reader's Manifesto, argues that the time
has come for readers to stand up to the literary establishment.

modern readers need to see that intellectual content can be
reconciled with a vigorous, fast-moving plot, as in Budd Schulberg's
novel What Makes Sammy Run? (1941) or John O'Hara's Appointment in Samarra (1934). Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square (1941) and Roy Fuller's The Second Curtain
(1953) are British psychological thrillers written in careful,
unaffectedly poetic prose; both could appeal to a wide readership here.
By the same token, many of the adults who enjoy Harry Potter would be
even happier with Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy (1946-1959) if they only knew about it. Suspense fans would be surprised to find how readable William Godwin's The Adventures of Caleb Williams
(1794) is. Americans should also be encouraged to overcome their
growing aversion to translated fiction. To discover Shiga Naoya's A Dark Night's Passing (1937) and Enchi Fumiko's The Waiting Years (1957), two heartbreaking classics of Japanese fiction, is to realize how little we need a white man's geisha memoirs. 

Feel free to disparage these recommendations, but can anyone outside
of the big publishing houses claim that the mere fact of newness should
entitle a novel to more of our attention? Many readers wrestle with only
one bad book before concluding that they are too dumb to enjoy anything
"challenging." Their first foray into literature shouldn't have to end,
for lack of better advice, on the third page of something like Underworld

Writer Unboxed » A Reader’s Manifesto: 12 Hardwired Expectations Every Reader Has

Writer Unboxed » A Reader’s Manifesto: 12 Hardwired Expectations Every Reader Has

The reader expects that the protagonist will be flawed and vulnerable

The reader expects that everything in the story is there strictly on a need-to-know basis, even the weather.

The reader expects that at the end of the story the protagonist
will emerge changed — seeing the world through new eyes — and that we,
the readers, will emerge changed, as well.

The reader expects a clear and present force of opposition, with a loudly ticking clock.  

How Dinosaurs Could Help Us Fight Malnutrition | Bill Gates

How Dinosaurs Could Help Us Fight Malnutrition | Bill Gates

For example, some researchers recently looked at the relationship
between gross domestic product and childhood stunting and, to everyone’s
surprise, they found no correlation—until Nathan pointed out that they
were using the wrong statistical methods to analyze the information. The
methods he suggested instead—based on his work on dinosaurs—showed that
the relationship was actually even stronger than many people in the
field had thought. And that could have a big impact on how policymakers
and health-care workers approach the problem of childhood nutrition.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I Switched to a Standing Desk, So Now You Should, Too - The New Yorker

I Switched to a Standing Desk, So Now You Should, Too - The New Yorker

For me, the choice was easy. Until somebody describes a WebMD article
that changes my mind, I will use a standing desk. In a few months, I
even plan to switch to a treadmill desk, which is a great way to prepare
for eventually using a swimming desk. 

Small-time Bitcoin miners set out to strike crypto-currency gold. A lot of them went bust.

How Small Bitcoin Miners Lose on the Crypto-Currency Boom-Bust Cycle | The New Republic

14 Epic 'Game of Thrones' Memes - Photos and Images

14 Epic 'Game of Thrones' Memes - The Moviefone Blog

The Tangled Roots of English - NYTimes.com

The Tangled Roots of English - NYTimes.com

The peoples of India, Iran and Europe speak a Babel of tongues, but most
— English included — are descended from an ancient language known as

Archaeologists find that wheeled vehicles emerged around 4000 B.C.,
suggesting the proto-Indo-European speakers began to flourish some 6,500
years ago on the steppe grasslands above the Black and Caspian Seas.
This steppe theory, favored by many linguists, holds that the
proto-Indo-European speakers then spread their language to Europe, India
and western China, whether by conquest or the appeal of their pastoral

The standoff between the steppe and Anatolian theories of Indo-European origin persisted until 2003. 

Watch: How The Extremely Long Shots In ‘Birdman’ Are Made - DesignTAXI.com

Watch: How The Extremely Long Shots In ‘Birdman’ Are Made - DesignTAXI.com


A Glimpse into the Political Economy of Downton Abbey

The paper determines the role of the gentry in stifling the
manufacturing development of formerly industrial southern England. An
increasing divergence in economic composition between south and north is
discussed, with particular reference to de-industrialisation in the
former. The expanding estate system and emergence of a specific culture
among landowners is described. Finally the case is made that this gentry
culture was instrumental in reducing or redirecting southern enterprise
during the industrial revolution.

Gentry culture and the stifling of industry

the industrial revolution, the landed gentry in England stifled
manufacturing near their country homes, structuring the land, rural
society, and local education to further the growth of large estates
devoted to hunting, fishing, and high-society gatherings, Eric L. Jones
writes in the Journal of Socio-Economics. As a result,
manufacturing operations became concentrated in northern areas of the
country, where they flourished, although the owners of factories and
mines continued to spend their money on expanding and renovating their
rural estates. In 1914, the gentry owned half of England; by 2000, less than 1% of the land remained in the gentry’s hands.

► During the classic industrial period Southern England

► Simultaneously the estate system expanded in the

► Landowning gentry, especially new entrants, consolidated a
distinctive culture.

► Gentry culture disliked manufacturing and
systematically discouraged it.

Does Altruism Exist? - Wilson, David S - Yale University Press

Does Altruism Exist? - Wilson, David S - Yale University Press

David Sloan Wilson, one of the world’s leading evolutionists, addresses a
question that has puzzled philosophers, psychologists, and evolutionary
biologists for centuries: Does altruism exist naturally among the
Earth’s creatures?

The key to understanding the
existence of altruism, Wilson argues, is by understanding the role it
plays in the social organization of groups. Groups that function like
organisms indubitably exist, and organisms evolved from groups.
Evolutionists largely agree on how functionally organized groups evolve,
ending decades of controversy, but the resolution casts altruism in a
new light: altruism exists but shouldn’t necessarily occupy center stage
in our understanding of social behavior.

After laying a
general theoretical foundation, Wilson surveys altruism and group-level
functional organization in our own species—in religion, in economics,
and in the rest of everyday life. He shows that altruism is not
categorically good and can have pathological consequences. Finally, he
shows how a social theory that goes beyond altruism by focusing on group
function can help to improve the human condition in a practical sense.

Boyhood: Movie Review: 12 Years of US Lifestyle and Films

ரசனைக்காரன் பக்கங்கள்: பிள்ளைப்பருவம்

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Look Again The stories of Edith Pearlman. BY JAMES WOOD


What happens when you offer Kale Chip at New Yorker


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Onion.city – a search engine bringing the Dark Web into the light | Naked Security

Onion.city – a search engine bringing the Dark Web into the light | Naked Security:

The Dark Web is reflecting a little more light these days.
On Monday I wrote about Memex, DARPA's Deep Web search engine

on 11 February, user Virgil Griffith went onto the Tor-talk mailing list and announced Onion City, a Dark Web search engine for the rest of us.
The search engine delves into the anonymous Tor network, finds .onion sites and makes them available to regular users on the ordinary World Wide Web.
Up to now the best way to search for .onion sites has been to get on the Tor network using something like the Tor browser, but Onion City effectively does that bit for you so you can search from the comfort of your favourite, insecure web browser.
The site can do this because it's a Tor2web proxy - a bit of software that acts as a go-between for the regular web and the Tor network.