Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.”
“The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research.
“By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.
posted by infini
on Feb 18, 2014 -
Why free speech loses in India
“The Hindus: An Alternative History,” an eight-hundred-page book by Wendy Doniger, an eminent professor of religion at the University of Chicago, will be removed from Indian book shops. Penguin Books India, which first published the book, in 2009, signed an out-of-court settlement with an advocacy group, the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, who claim to be defending 'the sentiments of Hindus all over the world.'"
posted by dhruva
on Feb 15, 2014 -
At first sight the search for peace and stability in Iraq, and the search for physical and mental fitness in the extreme contortions of modern Yoga seem to have absolutely nothing in common. But curiously they do. Both the terrible structural problems and distortions that underly Iraqi society today, and the strange, contorted poses that millions of people perform every day in things like Bikram's Hot Yoga, actually come from the fevered imagination of the British ruling class one hundred years ago. As they felt Britain's power declining they wanted desperately to go back into the past and create a purer and more innocent world, uncorrupted by the messiness of the modern industrial world - a new Eden forged both by strengthening and purifying the human body and by inventing new model countries round the world. And we are still suffering from the consequences of that terrible nostalgia. BODYBUILDING AND NATION-BUILDING
posted by timshel
on Feb 4, 2014 -
It drips on her head most days, says Champaben, but in the monsoon season it’s worse. In rain, worms multiply. Every day, nonetheless, she gets up and walks to her owners’ house, and there she picks up their excrement with her bare hands or a piece of tin, scrapes it into a basket, puts the basket on her head or shoulders, and carries it to the nearest waste dump.
A chapter from The Big Necessity
, a book exploring the world of human waste: A Brief History of Class and Waste in India [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia
on Feb 1, 2014 -
(2013) focuses on an American man who, after initially visiting as a tourist, moved to India to volunteer at the Arias Home of HOPE
, a home for HIV-positive children in Acharapakkam, near Chennai. He eventually became an Indian citizen by marriage. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious
on Jan 23, 2014 -
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
The Far Post
is a journalism series by Roads and Kingdoms and Sports Illustrated on global soccer culture that will run every other week until the start of "the largest theater that has ever existed in human history," the World Cup. So far there are five articles: Brazil 2014 Starts Now
by Laurent Dubois gives an overview of the history of the World Cup and what it means now. Messi in Kolkata
by Kanishk Tharoor is about a visit by the Argentine national team to Kolkata and the state of the game in India. Afghanistan United
By May Jeong is the story of the incredible triumph of the Afghan national team at the 2013 South Asian Championship. Soccer and the Street in Istanbul
by Izzy Finkel reports on the links between soccer and politics in Turkey. The Long Revolution of the Ultras Ahlawy
by Patrick Kingsley is the account of how hardcore soccerfans in Egypt, at the center of the 2011 revolution, have fared in the aftermath.
posted by Kattullus
on Nov 21, 2013 -
"Anyone can eat for free here, and many, many people do. On a weekday, about 80,000 come. On weekends, almost twice as many people visit. Each visitor gets a wholesome vegetarian meal, served by volunteers who embody India’s religious and ethnic mosaic. “This is our tradition,” said Harpinder Singh, the 45-year-old manager of this huge operation. “Anyone who wants can come and eat
.”" Behind the scenes at the kitchen
) at the Golden Temple that feeds 100,000 daily. More information
from the Golden Temple's website.
posted by jessamyn
on Nov 17, 2013 -
The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 separated many friends and families overnight. A granddaughter in India decides to surprise her grandfather on his birthday by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan) after over 6 decades of separation, with a little help from Google Search. SLYT
posted by esprit de l'escalier
on Nov 14, 2013 -
Around the time Ravi Shankar
passed in December of last year (previously
) his daughters Anoushka Shankar
and Norah Jones
were working on collaborative tracks for a new album with producer Nitin Sawhney
. While the project, which was half way finished at the time, was conceived and planned some time before Ravi Shankar's passing it comes as no surprise that many of the tracks became infused, shaped and sometimes entirely transformed by the immediacy of their experience of the loss of their father. Emotions of sadness, loss and reconciliation run deep within some of the recordings. The album's title track "Traces Of You"
is a filigrane dew sprinkled spiderweb gently spun from interlacing threads of melody and texture. An incredibly tender expression of what happens when the raw pain of grief is transformed into the bittersweet melancholy of memories, forgiveness and reconciliation. [more inside]
posted by Hairy Lobster
on Oct 25, 2013 -
Chinese Provinces and Indian States
: "local leaders are increasingly running much of India and China, which are home to a third of all humanity, from the bottom up. That is affecting how both countries act in the world, which means that these countries need to be understood from the inside out"
posted by Gyan
on Oct 25, 2013 -
The Walk Free Foundation
has released its latest report on the contemporary slave trade, the Global Slavery Index
(interactive map). As summarized
by Al Jazeera, over 29 million people are in some form of involuntary servitude, ranging from kidnapped fishermen to women forced into prostitution to child brides. The countries with the largest populations of enslaved people include Mauritania
, and Nepal
. Back in 2012, J. J. Gould wrote
on the difficulties in confronting slavery in today's society: In the West, and particularly in the United States, slavery has long settled in the public imagination as being categorically a thing of the past.... It can mean having a harder time recognizing slavery when it's right in front of us.
posted by Cash4Lead
on Oct 17, 2013 -
How the internet is killing
the traditional nastaliq
script form of Urdu, and how Windows 8 might save it.
posted by Chrysostom
on Oct 13, 2013 -
is a story about India’s agrarian crisis and the growing inequality seen through the work of the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu
, P Sainath
. The entire film
is uncopyrighted and available to watch online. As Sainath says, "There are two kinds of journalists. One kind are journalists, the other are stenographers." As to the silence of the mainstream Indian media on the farmer suicides, he noted
"Tacitus despised Nero. His writings on the Emperor show us that. However, he wrote very little about his guests. Those who could pop that fig while human torches burned around them.
But then, come to think of it, the media of our time – the first-drafters-of history – are remarkably silent about this side of our own elite. Too many of whom are today just that. Nero’s Guests.
posted by spamandkimchi
on Oct 6, 2013 -
It's Your Fault
"Every sexual assault case in India inspires a string of stupid and hateful remarks against women. This is our response to those remarks." (SLYT) From AIB365, an Indian sketch comedy troupe.
posted by sweetkid
on Sep 21, 2013 -
Across three decades, his goal was to drive a scientist’s skepticism into the heart of India, a country still teeming with gurus, babas, astrologers, godmen and other mystical entrepreneurs.
Dr Narendra Dabholkar,
a former physician, was assassinated at age 67 earlier this week in the city of Pune. From Times of India:
"Since 1983, he was confronted time and again by many religious and spiritual gurus, and faced several threats and even physical attacks. But he rejected police protection for himself. 'If I have to take police protection in my own country from my own people, then there is something wrong with me,' he used to say. 'I'm fighting within the framework of the Indian constitution and it is not against anyone, but for everyone.'"
posted by storybored
on Aug 25, 2013 -
In 2008 the actor Rupert Everett hosted (seemingly from his apartment) a rather strange documentary: The Victorian Sex Explorer
( 2 3 4 5
), an attempt to follow in the footsteps of famed Explorer, translator, and author Sir Richard Burton
and convince us of Sir Burton's passion for sexual experimentation while laying in lots of bathhouses and visiting brothels. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk
on Jul 4, 2013 -
by founding curator, the Danish botanist Nathanial Wallich
at the premises
of The Asiatic Society
, the Indian Museum
* is the oldest
museum in Asia and the
9th oldest in the world. Referred to as a "museum of museums
", considered outdated
, its Victorian Era majesty
dimmed by modernization, the grande dame
of Indian history still
manages evoke paeans
to its otherworldly
With collections to rival the Smithsonian and the British Museums, it isn't just a storehouse of countless artifacts from the world over. The building seems to be a tiny world, an island in the midst of a busy street. The tall gates with their spikes are the doorways to different recorded ages. All those entering through the high steps are travelers in a time machine. But this is not all that Kolkata's Jadughar or "House of Magic" has to offer. Its jadu lies in the magic with which it houses portions of man's past. The high ceilings seem to stretch to infinity. Amid the silence there is vibrant life. Showcasing essential elements of different cultures, the dark, often dank, interiors show up the objects more sharply. Gradually the eyes grow used to the absence of light; the smell seems natural. It is this ambience that gently draws you in and makes the textbook history we are used to, a tangible living reality.
It remains a wonderful time-warp
with plenty of mangy-looking
stuffed animals, fish and birds, together with fossils so beloved
of Victorian collectors, as well as fascinating
Indian friezes, bas-reliefs and stone carvings and art
posted by infini
on Jun 7, 2013 -
Mau Mau to Midnapore: Confronting the brutality of empire There are certainly some Britons, including academics, journalists and human rights lawyers, who are aware of the realities of colonialism. However, in the society as a whole and in the media in the UK there are still far too many who seem strangely reluctant, even after so many decades after the end of the British empire, to come to terms with the true nature of colonialism or learn from the perspective of former subjects who had rebelled against it.
posted by infini
on May 6, 2013 -