Obaid Siddiqi (January 7, 1932-July 26, 2013), pioneering scientist and institution builder, transformed molecular biology in India

Nobility in the face of tragedy: He died of serious injuries after he was accidently knocked down by his neighbour’s two-wheeler; his family won’t file a complaint against the young man:

‘Catalyst of a Culture of Creativity’, obituary by K. Vijayraghavan

His research:

His 80th birthday celebration:

‘Woody Allen’s Best & Worst Movies’, Malcolm Jones in The Daily Beast’

‘Annie Hall’ ‘Match Point’ & More (Video) ‘At 77, the director’s latest, ‘Blue Jasmine,’ is hitting theaters, bringing his total to—who’s counting? Malcolm Jones on the 10 he loves, and a few clunkers.’


Nadezhda Popov, famed World War II woman bomber pilot, dies at 91

From the obituary in The Economist:

When she was 19 or 20, she “could turn her aircraft over and dive full-throttle through raking German searchlights, swerving and dancing, acting as a decoy for a second plane that would glide in silently behind her to drop its payload of bombs. That done, the second plane would act as decoy while she glided in to drop bombs herself. She made 852 such sorties in the second world war as a pilot in the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, later named the 46th Guards in honour of its courage.”

Obituary in the New York Times at

‘Queen Elizabeth Rips Chris Christie on Gay Marriage’, Borowitz Report, The New Yorker

‘Look, I know he has to appeal to the crazy right wingers in his party,” she added. “But the fact is, he’s not as forward-thinking as an eighty-seven-year-old lady who wears a crown on her head. It’s pathetic.”’

Narendra Modi’s repugnant analogy

Brinda Karat writes: “In defence of the insulting and repugnant ‘kutte ka bachcha’ analogy he used when asked in an interview about the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat, Narendra Modi tweeted ‘In our culture every form of life is valued and worshipped.’ Except, he could have added, if you are a Muslim or a Christian.”

(Note: Brinda Karat quoted the term kutte ka bachcha, the exact words used by Modi, throughout in her manuscript; the term was changed to “puppy” when published.)

P. Sundarayya, 1913–1985: A Centenary Tribute

Introductory notes by V. K. Ramachandran, B. V. Raghavulu, and Madhura Swaminathan

“Present-Day Agrarian Relations in Andhra Pradesh” by P. Sundarayya

From Editor’s introduction:

“The article itself is of extraordinary documentary value. Its skilful and critical use of secondary sources of statistical data and primary empirical information, which is clearly influenced by Lenin’s use of Zemstvo data and Mao Zedong’s use of first-hand material, is methodologically very instructive. Its attempt to characterise different farming systems, typologies of farms and farming practices in different agro-ecological regions of the State must stand as a lesson to contemporary students of the agrarian question. It is an important new addition to the literature on the modern economic history of farming and agrarian relations in Andhra Pradesh.”

Figuring out sarcasm online: why take a chance, just get this algorithm-based analytics software!

‘French company Spotter has developed an analytics tool that claims to have up to 80% accuracy in identifying sarcastic comments posted online. Spotter says its clients include the [UK] Home Office, EU Commission and Dubai Courts.’

Authorities ‘use analytics tool that recognises sarcasm’:

Snowden update, July 2, 2013

‘This kind of deception from a world leader [President Barack Obama] is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me…I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.’

Edward Snowden submits asylum applications

Some background:

Profile of Sarah Harrison:

Snowden’s letter to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador:

Transcript of WikiLeaks press conference on Edward Snowden’s exit from Hong Kong:

China’s Spaceflight Success Sets Stage for Big Space Station

China’s objective is a 60-ton, multi-module space station by 2020.