Authors

NYTimes: ‘Sea Slaves’: Forced Labor for Cheap Fish

http://nyti.ms/1SJkF3U

“Labor abuse at sea can be so severe that the boys and men who are its victims might as well be captives from a bygone era. In interviews, those who fled recounted horrific violence: the sick cast overboard, the defiant beheaded, the insubordinate sealed for days below deck in a dark, fetid fishing hold.”

“The harsh practices have intensified in recent years, a review of hundreds of accounts from escaped deckhands provided to police, immigration and human rights workers shows. That is because of lax maritime labor laws and an insatiable global demand for seafood even as fishing stocks are depleted.”

Water: the weirdest liquid on the planet

Water breaks all the rules. Since the 19th century, chemists have developed a robust framework to describe what liquids are and what they can do. Those ideas are almost useless at explaining the weird behaviour of water.

http://gu.com/p/48ax5

Playing In The Temperate Zone | N. Ram

Playing In The Temperate Zone | N. Ram.

“The  schedule, format, and playing conditions of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 have been justly criticised: too long, too many gaps between matches for some leading teams, too loaded in favour of batsmen and teams winning the toss, batting first, and making 300-plus; and too geared to maximising TV ratings and revenues to the detriment of sporting value.”

“But why should teams be allowed to absorb losses and still progress? Why should the leading Test teams be given so many chances to make up for poor cricket or after losing to lower-ranked or less fancied opponents who played better on the day? It is time cricket lovers round the world issued a showcause notice to the ICC, and to the Big Three—the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the England and Wales Cricket Board, and Cricket Australia—who control the fortunes of the game.”

Why String Theory Still Offers Hope We Can Unify Physics | Science | Smithsonian

Why String Theory Still Offers Hope We Can Unify Physics | Science | Smithsonian.

“Experimental evidence is the final arbiter of right and wrong, but a theory’s value is also assessed by the depth of influence it has on allied fields. By this measure, string theory is off the charts. Decades of analysis filling thousands of articles have had a dramatic impact on a broad swath of research cutting across physics and mathematics.”

‘In 1976 I discovered Ebola – now I fear an unimaginable tragedy’

Peter Piot was a researcher at a lab in Antwerp when a pilot brought him a blood sample from a Belgian nun who had fallen mysteriously ill in Zaire. http://gu.com/p/4268p

Maryam Mirzakhani: The first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal prize

Maryam Mirzakhani: ‘The more I spent time on maths, the more excited I got’ | Science | theguardian.com.

The first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal prize discusses her life as a mathematician

 

Romila Thapar on the appointment of the Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research

“During the BJP/NDA government of 1999-2004, there was a frontal attack on historians by the then HRD minister M.M. Joshi. The attack focused on two levels of history writing. One was the content of school textbooks written for the NCERT prior to 1999, and the second was the attempt to prevent the publishing of some of the research projects of the ICHR, such as the “Towards Freedom Project”. The present HRD minister, who unfortunately is unfamiliar with academia beyond school level, gives the impression that in this case she may be doing what she perhaps was appointed for: Carrying out the programme of the old history-baiters of the BJP who now have a fresh innings.”
 
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/romila-thapar-smriti-irani-old-history-baiters-of-bjp/1/370799.html
 

Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroyd review – divine comedy, difficult man | Culture | The Guardian

A haunting biography captures the brilliance and the blemishes of a comic who fought his way from poverty to worldwide fame.

Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroyd review – divine comedy, difficult man | Culture | The Guardian.

Narendra Modi, a man with a massacre on his hands, is not the reasonable choice for India | The Guardian

Narendra Modi, a man with a massacre on his hands, is not the reasonable choice for India | Aditya Chakrabortty | The Guardian.

‘The standard apology for Modi comes in two parts. First, there is normally an acknowledgement that the chief minister of Gujarat bears some vague responsibility for the orgy of killing and rape that engulfed his state in 2002 – but, um, wasn’t that all a long time ago? And hasn’t he behaved himself since – or, as the FT put it yesterday, done his best to “downplay tensions” between Hindus and Muslims? This is followed by pointing to Gujarat’s rapid economic development and an appeal: shouldn’t the rest of India enjoy some Modinomics? Or, as Gurcharan Das, the former head of Procter & Gamble India, put it in a piece for the Times of India last weekend: “There will always be a trade-off in values at the ballot box and those who place secularism above demographic dividend are wrong and elitist.”

Given the enormity of the allegations against Modi, this is frankly pathetic.’

 

Economists: there is no such thing as the ‘economic approach’, John Kay in Financial Times

‘Economists: there is no such thing as the ‘economic approach’, Financial Times, 15 January 2014

“The model” — based on “the combined assumptions of maximising behaviour, market equilibrium and stable preferences” — “remains in vogue, not because its answers are right but because they are unequivocal, and supporters attach more importance to universality than to relevance”.

(via Jomo Sundaram)

Irfan Habib at the Symposium on 50th Year of Publication of “The Agrarian System of Mughal India”

Professor Irfan Habib speaking at the Symposium on 50th Year of Publication of “The Agrarian System of Mughal India” organised by the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, JNU, December 6, 2013.

(via Subin Dennis)

Why the WTO Needs a “Hypocrisy Clause” » TripleCrisis

Why the WTO Needs a “Hypocrisy Clause” » TripleCrisis.

A very well argued piece exposing hypocrisy of US government’s objections to the food security proposal of India and other developing countries at the World Trade Organization meetings in Bali.

India and climate talks imperatives – The Hindu

India and climate talks imperatives – The Hindu.

A well argued critique of India’s current position in climate negotiations.

“For too long, India’s official climate policy has portrayed the absence of a proactive stance on a climate agreement as a strategy to protect the country’s interests. Climate science as well as good climate politics demand that India shift to making clear to the world its commitment, in concrete terms, both to securing its developmental future as well as preserving the global environment.”

Thomas Sankara

A very interesting documentary on Thomas Sankara, Marxist revolutionary and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK4QHEwIpqc

NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations explained | World news | theguardian.com

NSA Files decoded: What the Revelations Mean for You

NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations explained | World news | theguardian.com.