Friday, August 8

A Liberal Decalogue: Bertrand Russell's 10 Commandments of Teaching

Here's another amazing man pontificating on education. I'm proud to call myself as a liberal. The traditional liberal. Not the idiotic thing that the Americans have made it into. And we come from a long line of teachers kannu. Your father is a Professor. Your grandparents are professors. My grandfather was a professor. And so it goes back generations. Who knows you may also become one. It's one of the most rewarding of professions son. Not only you get paid to learn, you are constantly on a journey of exploration. 

But even if you become a corporate member or setup your own business, you will still need to teach. These principles are worth knowing and following. 



A Liberal Decalogue: Bertrand Russell's 10 Commandments of Teaching | Brain Pickings

by Maria Popova

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”

imageBritish philosopher, mathematician, historian, and social critic Bertrand Russell endures as one of the most intellectually diverse and influential thinkers in modern history, his philosophy of religion in particular having shaped the work of such modern atheism champions as Christopher Hitchens,Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins. From the third volume of The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell: 1944-1969 comes this remarkable micro-manifesto, entitled A Liberal Decalogue — a vision for responsibilities of a teacher, in which Russell touches on a number of recurring themes from pickings past — the purpose of education, the value of uncertainty, the importance of critical thinking, the gift of intelligent criticism, and more.

Thursday, August 7

Decoding the great Indian real estate ponzi scheme


Real estate is a horrible industry to be in. Supply is constrained. Governments take an unhealthy interest in it. People need housing. It's a strange place. 

So remember you will always need a place to live. Get an average house. Pay it off as soon as you can like we did. And invest in other industries which are more productive. 



Decoding the great Indian real estate ponzi scheme - Firstpost

A headline can sometimes tell you the complete story. The May 20, 2013, Hindi edition of the Business Standard had one such headline. “Intehan ho gayi intezar ki, aayi na kuch khabar ghar bar ki (Its been a long time waiting, and there is still no news of the house),” went the headline.

The headline was a play on the hit Amitabh Bachchan-Kishore Kumar song “Intehan ho gayi intezar ki, aayi na kuch khabar mere yaar ki (Its been a long time waiting, and there is still no news of my love) ,” from the movie Sharabi.
The story which appeared in the English edition of Business Standard as well with a rather drab headline
‘Supply blues persist in realty sector’, basically made two points:

Wednesday, August 6

Perceptive Travel - Rolf Potts in Rishakesh

Frankly son, if somebody gets all mystical and says crap like tantric sex, just smile at them. Lovemaking is simple. You have to be a touchy feely person. What happens before and after is perhaps more important than the actual act. Cuddling after is just a great thing. Take time to learn about your partner's likes and dislikes son. Learn to use all the senses, touch, smell, sight, hearing. Everything. And self control and discipline. You have more fun if your partner has more fun :)

Keep in shape. Engage with your partner. Laugh often and frequently son in and out of bed. And ignore advise like peeing in short bursts :)

Have fun son and stay safe. 

Perceptive Travel - Rolf Potts in Rishakesh

Tantric masters are reputed to be able to have sex for hours at a time. In a quirky ashram in the sacred Indian city of Rishikesh, Rolf Potts takes a crash course in this mystic Eastern discipline.

I. The Girl

You spot The Girl on your first afternoon in Rishikesh. She is long-limbed and graceful, and she walks carefully along the path, as if not to disturb the dirt beneath her bare feet. She wears loose cotton pants, and tiny bells in her hair. She is smiling. Her stomach is browned and taut; the tiny hairs on her arms are bleached from the sun. When she spots a cow in her path, she stops to stroke its neck and whisper into its ear. You watch, and you wish you were that cow.

You think to yourself: If I have come here to learn Tantric sex, I want that woman to be my partner.

II. The Holy Place

Rishikesh straddles the Ganges just below the point where the sacred river comes roaring out from the mountains. The water here is clean and cold: In the morning, Hindu pilgrims tip offerings of fresh milk from the riverside ghats; in the afternoon, helmeted tourists — Indian and foreign alike — bump through the current in rubber whitewater rafts. Monkeys chatter in the trees along the shore.

As in other holy places in India, the dread-locked sadhus near the river do a steady side-business posing for tourist photographs. Middle-aged Indian men stroll the alleys, offering you marijuana in the same chirpy, unconcerned voice one might use in offering snack pellets to a pet gerbil. Kids here tug on your sleeve and ask you for ballpoint pens. You did not initially come here to learn Tantric sex. Rather, you stopped here en route to the Himalayas, on the recommendation of a yoga-obsessed friend. You are not much into yoga, but one charm of travel is that it frees you to be a dilettante. Just as you tried scuba diving in Thailand and windsurfing in Galilee, you intend to try yoga in Rishikesh and decide later if you really want to make it an active part of your life. Advertisements for yogis are pasted everywhere in Rishikesh, and you sometimes stop to read them. Your favorite comes from a certain Swami Vivekananda. “I mix the rational understanding of the West with the mystical approach of the East,” his flyer states. “I will not bother you with religious nonsense, weird rituals, dogmas, or superstitions.” The true selling point, however, is printed at the bottom. It says: “SUNDAYS: A step-by-step approach to the oral secret tradition of the Tantric schools of India and Tibet.” You don’t know a lot about Tantra, but you’re pretty sure it’s a technique that allows you to have sex for hours and hours at a stretch. You elect to remain in Rishikesh until Sunday and pay Swami Vivekananda’s ashram a visit.

Monday, August 4

Nathan Heller: Is College Moving Online?

A long read son. Whilst it won't impact you or perhaps even Diya, a significant change is coming to higher tertiary education. The Gutenberg bible was the start. When the link between 1-2-1 teaching and learning was broken. When the bible in local languages was made available, it didn't need a priest / teacher to teach religion or education. Slowly life is changing. 

You don't have to be in a classroom to learn. But you personally have to have a degree as that is a qualification. A union card if you will. You heard the discussion over the weekend son. One needs to be at the top university. Oxford and Cambridge are it. Then LSE and others. Or if you want to study in Harvard or MIT. 

But you will face the students who have studied online. As potential employees, customers, tax payers and shareholders. Their behaviour and economic incentives will be slightly if significantly different. The trick is to know and recognise this difference son. 



Nathan Heller: Is College Moving Online? : The New Yorker

Gregory Nagy, a professor of classical Greek literature at Harvard, is a gentle academic of the sort who, asked about the future, will begin speaking of Homer and the battles of the distant past. At seventy, he has owlish eyes, a flared Hungarian nose, and a tendency to gesture broadly with the flat palms of his hands. He wears the crisp white shirts and dark blazers that have replaced tweed as the raiment of the academic caste. His hair, also white, often looks manhandled by the Boston wind. Where some scholars are gnomic in style, Nagy piles his sentences high with thin-sliced exposition. (“There are about ten passages—and by passages I simply mean a selected text, and these passages are meant for close reading, and sometimes I’ll be referring to these passages as texts, or focus passages, but you’ll know I mean the same thing—and each one of these requires close reading!”) When he speaks outside the lecture hall, he smothers friends and students with a stew of blandishment and praise. “Thank you, Wonderful Kevin!” he might say. Or: “The Great Claudia put it so well.” Seen in the wild, he could be taken for an antique-shop proprietor: a man both brimming with solicitous enthusiasm and fretting that the customers are getting, maybe, just a bit too close to his prized Louis XVI chair.

Nagy has published no best-sellers. He is not a regular face on TV. Since 1978, though, he has taught a class called “Concepts of the Hero in Classical Greek Civilization,” and the course, a survey of poetry, tragedy, and Platonic dialogues, has made him a campus fixture. Because Nagy’s zest for Homeric texts is boundless, because his lectures reflect decades of refinement, and because the course is thought to offer a soft grading curve (its nickname on campus is Heroes for Zeroes), it has traditionally filled Room 105, in Emerson Hall, one of Harvard’s largest classroom spaces. Its enrollment has regularly climbed into the hundreds.