Showing posts with label Narendra Modi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Narendra Modi. Show all posts

Friday, April 28, 2023

28: ChatGPT

Watch an A.I. Learn to Write by Reading Nothing but Shakespeare They are trained by going through mountains of internet text, repeatedly guessing the next few letters and then grading themselves against the real thing. ........ The largest language models are trained on over a terabyte of internet text, containing hundreds of billions of words. Their training costs millions of dollars and involves calculations that take weeks or even months on hundreds of specialized computers. ........ They learn statistical patterns that piece words together into sentences and paragraphs. ........ our model has learned which letters are most frequently used in the text. You’ll see a lot of the letter “e” because that is the most common letter in English. .......... It usually doesn’t copy and paste sentences verbatim; instead, BabyGPT stitches them together, letter by letter, based on statistical patterns that it has learned from the data. ......... They can learn the form of a sonnet or a limerick, or how to code in various programming languages.

Generative because it generates words.

Pre-trained because it’s trained on a bunch of text. This step is called pre-training because many language models (like the one behind ChatGPT) go through important additional stages of training known as fine-tuning to make them less toxic and easier to interact with.

Transformers are a relatively recent breakthrough in how neural networks are wired. They were introduced in a 2017 paper by Google researchers, and are used in many of the latest A.I. advancements, from text generation to image creation.

Transformers improved upon the previous generation of neural networks — known as recurrent neural networks — by including steps that process the words of a sentence in parallel, rather than one at a time. This made them much faster.

GPT-3 was trained on up to a million times as many words as the models in this article. Scaling up to that size is a huge technical undertaking, but the underlying principles remain the same.......... As language models grow in size, they are known to develop surprising new abilities, such as the ability to answer questions, summarize text, explain jokes, continue a pattern and correct bugs in computer code. ........... Some researchers have termed these “emergent abilities” because they arise unexpectedly at a certain size and are not programmed in by hand. The A.I. researcher Sam Bowman has likened training a large language model to “buying a mystery box,” because it is difficult to predict what skills it will gain during its training, and when these skills will emerge. ............... They are also prone to inventing facts and reasoning incorrectly. Researchers do not yet understand how these models generate language, and they struggle to steer their behavior.

Peering Into the Future of Novels, With Trained Machines Ready Who wrote it, the novelist or the technology? How about both? Stephen Marche experiments with teaching artificial intelligence to write with him, not for him. ........ The journalist and author Stephen Marche wrote “Death of an Author” using three artificial intelligence programs. Or three artificial intelligence programs wrote it with extensive plotting and prompting from Stephen Marche. It depends on how you look at it. .......... “I am the creator of this work, 100 percent,” Marche said, “but, on the other hand, I didn’t create the words.” .......... He asked if Marche was interested in using the technology to produce a murder mystery. The result of that collaboration is “Death of Author,” in which an author who uses A.I. extensively winds up dead. ......... To coax the story from his laptop, Marche used three programs, starting with ChatGPT. He ran an outline of the plot through the software, along with numerous prompts and notes. While A.I. was good at many things, especially dialogue, he said, its plots were terrible. .......... Next, he used Sudowrite, asking the program to make a sentence longer or shorter, to adopt a more conversational tone or to make the writing sound like Ernest Hemingway’s. Then he used Cohere to create what he called the best lines in the book. If he wanted to describe the smell of coffee, he trained the program with examples and then asked it to generate similes until he found one he liked. ......... “To me, the process was a bit akin to hip-hop,” he said. “If you’re making hip-hop, you don’t necessarily know how to drum, but you definitely need to know how beats work, how hooks work, and you need to be able to put them together in a meaningful way.” .

Thursday, February 09, 2023

9: Modi

Thursday, October 06, 2022

American Racism And Visas For Indians

Just from anecdotal evidence I get the impression the United States has been "punishing" India for "siding" with Russia. India is not. A lot of people I know are having visa issues. Visas that used to get issued within a week or two now have yearlong waiting periods. This is asinine. This is racism. Racism is a variant of the fascism virus. Liberty is the opposite of fascism. Donald Trump is a fascist. His last antic has been to threaten violence upon the Republican Senate Leader. Republican! 

You can not house liberty and racism in the same framework. 

Did you ask? Before you threatened Russia, did you ask India? Did you consult? Before you sent in weapons, did you ask? Did you consult? Was it a mutual decision that you should expect blind support? 

The Russian attack on Ukraine was a surprise to India. India did not have any say in it. India has disapproved of it. India has sent a lot of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. 

India was buying oil in the world markets. India continues to buy oil in the world markets. If high oil prices are not a problem, why is California sending oil rebates to all its people? The Indian foreign minister has made the point that what India buys in a month Europe buys in one afternoon. China buys from Russia and sells to Europe. 

India is not a party to the war. India disapproves of the war. But it is also being realistic that it is not in a position to end the war. Russia is. Ukraine is. The US is. But India is not. 

Tiny bureaucrats who used to topple elected leaders in Latin America make these decisions. They be like, India! 

India is the CEO of Google! India is the CEO of Microsoft! India is the CEO of Twitter! India is Vice President of the United States. 

India is best positioned to engineer peace if peace is possible. So far it does not look possible. 

A peacemaker is not a yes man. A peacemaker without integrity will not succeed. 

Putin is not the only one who does not want peace. The military-industrial complex in America does not want peace. It is making big money right now. Don't turn off that tap. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

March 11: Ukraine, India

Ukraine Crisis Kicks Off New Superpower Struggle Among U.S., Russia and China Beijing and Moscow now hold a stronger hand in confronting the West than during the Cold War ......... Russia’s audacious military assault on Ukraine is the first major clash marking a new order in international politics, with three major powers jostling for position in ways that threaten America’s primacy. ........ Russia and China have built a thriving partnership based in part on a shared interest in diminishing U.S. power. Unlike the Sino-Soviet bloc of the 1950s, Russia is a critical gas supplier to Europe, while China isn’t an impoverished, war-ravaged partner but the world’s manufacturing powerhouse with an expanding military. .......... “We all thought we were looking at a Europe whole, free and at peace indefinitely,” said Michele Flournoy, who served as the Pentagon’s top policy official during the Obama administration. “We knew that Russia would conduct gray zone operations and that Putin would use his KGB playbook to create instability on his periphery. But a wholesale invasion of a sovereign country to reorient its government is a different moment.” .......... Beijing doesn’t really like Putin’s tactics ...... When pro-democracy protesters rose up in Hong Kong, Mr. Xi imposed harsh security laws, brushing off agreements his predecessors made giving autonomy to the former British colony and international financial center. ......... what the Pentagon in 2015 called the “re-emergence of great power competition” and shifted from its emphasis of counterterrorism operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. ......... Even with annual defense budgets that soared over $700 billion, coping with an urgent Russian-generated crisis while preparing for a Chinese threat whose peak is still years away presents an enormous challenge for the Pentagon. ........ “The United States is going to have to get used again to operating in multiple theaters simultaneously—not just militarily, but in terms of psychology and foreign-policy making” ....... Beyond the military, the new confrontation with Moscow might also accelerate a further fracturing of economic globalization. China and the U.S. are trying to unravel supply chains for critical technologies. Should the West impose crippling sanctions on Russian banks and major companies, Moscow is likely to become more reliant on Beijing, which has issued a digital currency and is building a payments system separate from the West’s. ..........

most Europeans see the Ukraine crisis as a broader threat to Europe.


Narendra Modi’s BJP Wins Big in Indian Elections Result of regional votes shows the enduring popularity of the leader despite the impact of the pandemic and a controversial proposal to overhaul the agricultural sector ......... It is the first time in decades that voters have returned an incumbent party to power in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP was also on track to win a majority in three other states—Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. .......

“He enjoys a huge, huge popularity among ordinary people.”

........ The BJP’s wins will strengthen the party’s control in Parliament’s upper house, where it doesn’t have a majority. ........ In a major upset, the regional Aam Aadmi Party, which runs the government of New Delhi, won a majority of seats in the huge farming state of Punjab and defeated the Indian National Congress Party ........ Its victory in Punjab now positions the Aam Aadmi Party, led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, for a bigger presence during the 2024 national elections. ...... He has cultivated an image as a pious bachelor and devout Hindu who is wholly dedicated to public service.

Why Is Russia Invading Ukraine and What Is Happening on the Ground? Ukrainian fighters put up fierce resistance as Putin places nuclear forces on alert ....... Russia is Europe’s major supplier of natural gas. ....... Ukraine’s defenders held on to Kyiv, and pushed back Russian troops in urban combat in its second-largest city, Kharkiv. ....... Ukrainian authorities have ordered Kyiv residents to stay indoors until Monday morning while they hunt for Russian infiltrators, who engaged in several shootouts with Ukrainian troops and civilian volunteers overnight. ....... “They have consciously chosen to hit civilians and everything that renders life normal. Power stations, hospitals, kindergartens, housing blocks—they are all targeted daily.” .......... Before the invasion, Russia had massed a fighting force totaling up to 190,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders compared with Ukraine’s 200,000-strong army, supplemented by tens of thousands of reservists. ........ Putin says the main objective is to defend the Russian-speakers in Ukraine, especially those in the two self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which broke away from Ukrainian control in 2014. ....... eight million Ukrainians died during World War II and that his own grandfather served as a Soviet officer during the conflict. ....... Before 2014, polls showed a roughly even split in support among the population for joining the EU or a Moscow-led economic bloc. In a November survey, however, 58% favored the EU, with 21% for Russia’s group. Polling data show that even people in the south and east, where there are many ethnic Russians and Russian speakers, are now in favor of the EU. ....... Russia’s military campaign marks the continuation of a policy that has seen Mr. Putin steadily expanding the country’s sphere of influence, reasserting Moscow’s dominion over former Soviet republics such as Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. ........ Putin excoriated Mr. Zelensky, calling him a terrorist and urging Ukraine’s military to oust him. ...... “This is really a pattern that we’ve seen from President Putin through the course of this conflict, which is manufacturing threats that don’t exist in order to justify further aggression,” she said. “And the global community and the American people should look at it through that prism. We’ve seen him do this time and time again.” ......... NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called Russia’s invasion an act of war, “deliberate, coldblooded and long-planned.” ........ Ukrainian Mig-29 jet fighters roared low overhead, in a sign that Russia, despite its formidable advantage in aviation and two days of relentlessly bombing Ukraine’s air bases, still hadn’t achieved full control of the skies. ........ Ukrainian artillery and tanks were moving through the city, and thousands of volunteers lined up at recruitment centers to receive weapons. On the roads south of Kyiv, armed villagers made their own roadblocks out of tractors and sandbags. ........ The Russian advance toward Kyiv has been slowed by antiair and antitank weapons, raising the possibility that Russian forces might be weakened by a lack logistical support before they can achieve their objective. The growing fear, though, is that Moscow may begin indiscriminate strikes against civilian targets to cow the Ukrainian government into submission. .

Endgame in Ukraine: how could the war play out? Russia’s failure to secure a swift win opens a range of possible outcomes ....... Ukraine is mounting a stronger than anticipated defence and western countries are supporting it with arms supplies. Meanwhile, Russia’s campaign has been beset by strategic errors, logistical shortcomings and intelligence blunders that vastly underestimated Ukrainian capabilities. ........ that Russia will win a comprehensive victory — remains the most likely outcome, given its overwhelming military power. ........ The civilian death toll will also be much higher than anticipated as Russia turns to more indiscriminate bombardment and deploys arms such as cluster munitions and thermobaric weapons. ........ many defence and intelligence officials say a potential retreat to western Ukraine — where Russia has so far made no attempt to seize territory — is a potential endgame. They have mooted Lviv, close to the Polish border, as a possible new capital for a rump Ukrainian state........ a partition of the country between its more Russian-speaking east and Europe-focused west........ If Russia were to attack and capture the port of Odesa, Ukraine’s third-largest city and long identified by Nato as a potential Russian target, it could cut off a rump Ukraine from the sea, crippling a crucial export route........ few think Putin would settle for failing to capture Kyiv or to topple the Zelensky government, given his stated aim to “demilitarise” the country and wrench it from its EU and Nato membership ambitions. ........ In talks in Turkey between the combatants’ foreign ministers — the most senior-level negotiations so far convened — on Thursday, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov denied Moscow had attacked Ukraine and claimed the US was funding biological weapons research in the country. Dmytro Kuleba, his Ukrainian counterpart, said seeking ceasefire promises from Lavrov was impossible as “there are other decision makers for this matter in Russia”........ while Ukrainian officials have suggested a deal on the status of Crimea and pro-Russian separatist-controlled regions in the east could be feasible, Kyiv has ruled out Russia’s broader demands that it become neutral and give up its military capabilities. ........ western officials say anything short of a full Russian withdrawal would mean that crippling economic sanctions against Moscow were retained. “We keep tightening the noose,” said one. “Putin cannot hope for a fait accompli and for the world to go back to some kind of [normality]. There has been an irreversible change.” .........

Russian retreat, Putin toppled

......... Ukraine’s resistance so far has raised the possibility that Kyiv could continue repelling Russian efforts to seize key cities, especially if western weapons supplies continue to bolster the army’s capabilities ......... Putin himself could be a casualty of a failed invasion. They argue that the Russian president, who has ruled for more than 22 years, might be toppled by Kremlin elites, or by Russian military or security officials angry at his handling of the war, or by a groundswell of protest among Russian citizens furious at falling living standards...... the key to ending the conflict in Ukraine was increasing opposition to Putin inside Russia ...... However, Putin’s grip on power is arguably stronger than it has ever been, thanks to draconian new legislation in effect outlawing independent media in Russia and leaving Kremlin-controlled outlets as the sole source of information....... Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said this week that plans — mooted by the west but now ruled out — to supply Kyiv with Polish MiG fighters would be a “very undesirable and potentially dangerous scenario”. In turn, Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, has warned Russia that attacks on western supply lines to Ukraine would represent an escalation. ......... “Putin wants less Nato, he’s getting more Nato,” Stoltenberg said this week. “He wanted to divide us, he is getting a more united alliance.”

Won’t fight in Ukraine, direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War III: Joe Biden Joe Biden stated that the United States would not fight in Ukraine, and that a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia would result in World War III. .

Communication, visibility and delivery: How Yogi bulldozed Akhilesh Yadav's caste calculus The BJP has become the only party since 1977 to breach the 40% vote share mark in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. ......... Yogi Adityanath has become the first Chief Minister in 37 years to retain power after completing a full five-year term in Uttar Pradesh....... The Election Commission data showed BJP bagging a 41.3 % vote share. In 1977, the Janata party had touched a 47.8% vote share high in UP. ........ The BJP swept the UP polls, winning 255 of the 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party settled with 111 seats. ........ The BJP swept the UP polls, winning 255 of the 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party settled with 111 seats. ....... The free ration delivery along with the cash transfer scheme of the BJP government has given the party a big boost in this election. With the help of these two schemes, the BJP was able to mobilise poor voters, cutting across the caste and community lines. . 'If Congress wants...': Mamata Banerjee hints at 2024 alliance against BJP Mamata Banerjee said her party can get together with the Congress to defeat the BJP in the 2024 general elections. ...... The grand old party, which has been reduced to an all-time low in the recently-concluded elections, accused the Trinamool Congress of being “agents of the BJP” in a sharp rebuttal. “The TMC is the biggest agent of the BJP. Rather, TMC should merge with Congress if it is so serious about fighting against BJP,” Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said. ......... On Thursday, Kolkata Mayor and senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim offered: “The TMC has shown how you can put up a fight against the BJP and defeat it (in Bengal). It is high time that Congress merges with TMC and fights under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee.” ....... The Trinamool chairperson had sent shockwaves across the Congress camp in December with her “the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) does not exist anymore” remark. The attack didn’t stop there. Editorials in the TMC mouthpiece “Jago Bangla” continued its criticism of the grand old party, writing: "Congress is a failure... UPA is over..." It even went on to say that the Congress “has locked itself in the freezer”. .

How Arvind Kejriwal has disrupted Mamata Banerjee’s India plan ahead of 2024 The 2022 Assembly Elections have put Kejriwal's AAP as the major contender next only to BJP and Congress while Mamata's TMC suffered losses. What does it mean for the two parties as it gears up for 2024 Lok Sabha elections? ....... After winning the Punjab election, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the only party after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress to have a majority government of its own in two states or more. Even the Communist Party of India-Marxist does not have majority in two states. ........ With Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh going to the polls later this year, Kejriwal’s party has a chance to cross the threshold to enter the elite club. ....... Arvind Kejriwal, on the other hand, has been working to strengthen the AAP in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat for the late-2022 elections. The AAP contested Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand elections. Both gave forgettable results for the AAP but the presence was recorded. ....... The AAP’s success in the Punjab election has given Arvind Kejriwal an edge over Mamata Banerjee in their competition to replace the Congress as the BJP’s principal challenger in 2029 if not in 2024. Soon after the Punjab victory, AAP leader Raghav Chadha said, “The AAP is going to become the challenger of the BJP. There is no doubt in my mind that in the times to come, the AAP will become the national and natural replacement.” .

After massive drubbing in 5 states, G23 battle for all-new Congress intensifies The G23's fight for a new Congress has heated up following a landslide defeat in five states in the Assembly election. ....... An intense power struggle has begun in the Congress hours after humiliating electoral setbacks in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, and Manipur. ....... ‘G23’, or the group of 23 dissenters, is closing ranks once again to force the leadership issue. Unlike the August 15, 2020, missive that had questioned Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s style of functioning, this time around, the focus would be on "democratising" the decision-making process in the Congress. The target is the composition of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), an emergency session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), accountability for the recent poll debacle, and the completion of organisational polls. ........ Priyanka in Uttar Pradesh drew a good crowd, but neither seats nor votes polled justified her efforts. Old Congressmen from UP, leaning on an old film song, said she should have understood the distinction between crowd curiosity and votes. The song from Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi is "woh hans ke mile hum pyar samajh baithe". ......... Team Rahul was in a daze. A day before the results came out, Rahul’s picture of having a triple ice-cream sundae with faluda was apparently circulated to convey how confident he was about getting Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Goa. Three scoops for the three states. The poll outcome came as a shocker. It explains why Congress has gone into a shell again. .

How 'Delhi model' facilitated AAP's historic Punjab sweep The AAP’s historic victory in a state with no reliable voting base and a weak and invisible party organisation is a fairy tale story almost similar to what the newbie party achieved in the Delhi elections in 2015. ........ the 2022 elections have proven to be a Waterloo for the old and established parties in Punjab. ....... How did an eight-year-old party achieve this magical feat in a state where its party unit was dissolved by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal over indiscipline after the 2017 electoral debacle? Behind the AAP revolution in Punjab, there is a single and uncomplicated factor that has vastly shaped the insurgent party’s historic victory: the ‘Delhi Model’. ......... a key factor was the electorate’s disillusionment with the established parties in the state. This is nowhere more prominent than the ruling Congress party which, despite winning an inspiring election in 2017, allowed itself to be consumed in factionalism and leadership war. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s unceremonious removal by the party’s leadership from Delhi, his running feud with newly appointed party president Navjot Singh Sidhu and the party’s known Dalit face Charanjit Singh Channi’s elevation to the hot-seat just months before elections played a key role in the party’s debacle. ....... a disillusioned voter in Punjab was desperately looking for a change and a new template of governance that could address deep-rooted corruption, patronage politics and end elite control. The Kejriwal government’s ‘Delhi Model’ of governance based on efficient delivery of public services found a strong resonance among voters in Punjab. The Delhi Model, as has been aggressively promoted by the AAP government, comprises four crucial planks of welfare delivery - quality school education, healthcare, water and electricity at affordable rates. ......... After it won the landslide in 2015 in Delhi, the AAP government singled out education as a key area of building its credentials. With slogans such as ‘education first’, the AAP-led government infused a fresh dose of energy into a moribund education system, especially the government-run schools in the capital. The AAP government under the leadership of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, allotted the highest funds to education, introduced new teacher training courses for students, and infused money to improve the ailing schooling infrastructure. A concerted and much focussed effort produced quick positive results. For instance, a Delhi government school, Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya in Dwarka, was ranked number one among all government-run day schools in India, while two others have made it to the top ten in 2019. Since then, many other schools have joined the rank. The net result is that more and more students from private schools are joining government schools in Delhi. ........ Beyond school education, there has been a visible transformation in healthcare access and quality. Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics have acquired national and international attention in the last few years. What also helped the broader appeal of the Delhi Model is that additional packages such as electricity subsidies (free up to 200 units), free bus rides for women, drinking water for 24X7 have earned the goodwill of most residents of the national capital. AAP’s back-to-back landslide victory in 2020 despite facing a massive challenge from the BJP is a vindication of the success of the Delhi Model. .......

the Delhi Model that assures corruption-free and efficient delivery of public services.

........ The party managed to connect with the women voters by promising them monthly cash grants of Rs 1,000, buttressing the narrative of a dignified life for women in some way within a societal setting marred by traditions of patriarchy. This seems to have worked given AAP’s good track record of delivering its key promises in Delhi and Kejriwal’s own image as an anti-corruption activist.

G23 members demand new Congress chief, seek emergency AICC meeting G23 members Kapil Sibbal and Manish Tiwari held a meeting at former leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad's house on Friday. .

Arvind Kejriwal's AAP marches forward to become a national party | Infographic The victory in Punjab has turned Arvind Kejriwal's AAP into a fledgling national party with a simmering potential to replace the Congress as the main opposition. .

Arvind Kejriwal model of governance is now becoming national identity in politics: Manish Sisodia on AAP's win in Punjab . .

Congress preps post-poll strategy, opens backchannel talks with like-minded parties As the countdown to the declaration of state assembly polls’ result starts, Congress gets down to implement its post-poll strategies. .

The great stall of Kyiv Ground reports from Ukraine and western intelligence indicate that the key to Ukraine’s fight against Russia lies in the resilience being shown on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv. ...... US intelligence assessments estimate that Ukraine’s Air Force still has operational jets along with TB2 Unmanned Combat Aircraft Vehicles (UCAV). Coverage of these assets has so far kept Russian air strikes away from the capital, although the capital has been hit by missiles. Ukraine still has 56 operational fighter jets in its inventory and the Ukraine Air Force is still flying anywhere between 5-10 sorties every day ...... Russia has launched 328 cruise missiles on civilian facilities since the invasion began. .

Thursday, April 16, 2020

What Could Work In India

Shutting the entire country down at once was an excellent decision grounded in science and economic realities, the least expensive decision, but an incomplete decision. Not shutting down was clearly not an option.

Testing is not an option in India. The large scale testing required to reopen the country simply is not on the table right now, or even in the near term.

The first priority has to be to feed people, now that they are in their homes. The entire development budget is frozen anyways. Redirect as much of that as necessary to feed people. Reward them for staying home by delivering food to their homes.

Three weeks are enough time for the infected to get symptomatic. Anyone with cold and cough is not necessarily infected but will have to be assumed so for now. They should be encouraged to self-identify and isolate themselves further inside their homes. If there is a third symptom -- fever -- that self-isolation should be more strictly enforced. But if the three symptoms are persistent and the fourth symptom -- shortness of breath -- also shows up, chances are the fifth and the sixth also will: loss of the sense of taste and major pain. That is guaranteed infection. The government must by then have erected tent hospitals in every village. Commandeer factories to manufacture tents at a rapid clip, not necessarily ventilators. The New York story has been 80% of those who end up on the ventilator never come back. They don't make it.

Inhaling steam and drinking hot water seems to work in many early-stage cases. At the cold and cough stages that should be encouraged through mass education campaigns.

Modi and Imran should hold an emergency video summit and call a complete ceasefire and truce and agree to recognize the LOC (Line Of Control) as the permanent border now and until further notice and take their armies away from the border and into their villages: to direct distribute food, to erect tent hospitals, to maintain law and order. These, as well as other first responders and health care workers, should be the first in line for testing. Should you end up infected while serving, you should be isolated immediately.

Lady police officers should be deployed to reach out to domestic abuse and domestic violence victims. Tent shelters should be erected for those in need.

Hopefully, by then India will have figured out a way to implement large scale testing to gradually reopen the economy. It is okay if that is a few months away. In the meantime, keep people in their homes and keep feeding them.

This is the least expensive option. Carried out well, when the economy reopens, there should be a V-shaped recovery. India might even see double digit growth rates in the rebound. Otherwise more people will die in this pandemic than if there were nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Monday, April 06, 2020

The Virus Asks For Out Of The Box Thinking

  1. The three week lockdown imposed upon India is the right thing to do, and every country will have to follow suit. It is the cheapest way. Testing is not available.
  2. But India executed it badly. You have to have a plan to feed everyone. Just stay home. We will feed you for three weeks. That means the demand and supply thing will have to break. This is an emergency. It is still demand and supply, but there is no money involved. You feed everyone who is hungry. You deliver food to homes.
  3. Three weeks are enough time for the infected to get symptomatic. You identify them and you isolate them. They basically stay in their homes, the mildly symptomatic do. One thing to try is you hover your head over boiling water in a bowl, and cover your head with a towel, and you inhale the steam for a few minutes. The dire cases go to the hospitals. The world's factories need to produce the basic equipment and medicine like FDR produced planes for World War II. Call a truce to the China-US trade war. It was always stupid. Now it is fatal. You don't want a Spanish Flu redux. You don't want a hundred million dead.
  4. The non-infected will have to go back to work otherwise on top of the pandemic we will have tremendous hunger. And if the hunger is widespread enough, societies will start to collapse. That is chaos. You will see uncontrollable riots. But too many jobs will have been destroyed in three weeks. Many people will not have the option to simply go back to work. You need Universal Basic Income. Every human being on earth should be given $100 a month immediately. No questions asked. It can not be a one-time thing. It could easily be a year. Done right, it can be indefinite.
  5. But $100 will not cut it in a place like the US. You will need $1,000.
  6. This UBI is the only thing that can resurrect the world economy.
  7. This virus can not be tackled in any one country. It will have to be tackled simultaneously in every country.
  8. We need a world government. And we need it at zip speed. I would not mind if someone like Barack Obama steps in to become the first President Of The World. Gordon Brown has broached the idea. Former heads of state are best positioned to rally around the idea and make it happen.
  9. When the vaccine shows up -- the best estimate is 18 months -- and hopefully it comes in the form of a band-aid, it needs to be taken to everybody. Only a world government can do it. A world government with real teeth.
  10. This is the dress rehearsal for climate change. The coronavirus is forcing the world to do what needs to be done to fight climate change.
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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

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Doctors say it is only a matter of time before Covid sweeps India With its densely packed cities and under-funded medical system, India has little margin for error....... Cases of coronavirus in the world’s second-most populous country have ticked rapidly higher the past week, raising alarm over the ability of India, with its fragile health-care system and battered economy, to handle a virus crisis of the magnitude of China or Italy’s. While India has seen 27 deaths and just over 1,000 cases, experts fear the real tally could be much higher and say the disease is already spreading in the community.

Authorities say there’s no evidence for this and have not significantly ramped up testing.

....... a place where the poor live in close quarters and the social distancing measures being advocated in the west are almost impossible...... epidemiologists say the numbers could be staggering. A University of Michigan-run study predicts the country could have

915,000 coronavirus infections by mid-May, more than the case load for the whole world right now

...... India is not looking hard enough for new cases, with one of the lowest testing rates in the world....... The country had tested just 35,000 people for coronavirus as of Sunday.... That’s despite 113 local government laboratories and as many as 47 private labs now authorized to process tests....... “I can’t see why India will be any different.” ..... Mass testing would be an unnecessary strain on resources, they say, with each test costing Rs 4,500 . Officials also say a ramp up in testing risks sparking a panic....... he and colleagues are seeing an influx of cold and flu cases...... the virus spreading to as much as 10% of the population -- some 130 million people. John worries the lockdown came too late.

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German minister commits suicide after 'virus crisis worries'
'It is like wartime': Arundhati Bhattarcharya backs strong, radical measures to save economy Former State Bank of IndiaNSE -5.23 % chief Arundhati Bhattacharya has called for very strong, radical reforms to deal with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
G20 FMs, central bank governors decide on joint effort The ministers decided on delivering a joint G20 Action Plan, which will outline the individual and collective actions that G20 has taken and will be taking to respond to the pandemic, while also highlighting the medium-term measures needed to support the global economy during and after this phase.
View: India isn't US, it must get its people back to work as soon as possible Low income countries have a more fragile economic and social fabric than developed countries........ Just outside my home in Delhi, migrant workers flow by all day, their fates unclear. They are walking home to villages near Lucknow, Kanpur and points beyond, jammed together in packs. None knew when their next meal would come or how long it would take to get home. Almost all said they understand why the government locked down the country to contain a deadly disease. If they die of hunger on the road or when they get home jobless, they say, it doesn’t matter....... New Delhi imposed the strictest lockdown measures in the world, designed to keep1.3 billion people at home, on the logic that if the pandemic gets out of control, India’s frail healthcare system won’t be able to cope. It was hard to imagine the exact economic fallout. But harrowing images of migrant workers flooding out of the major cities by the tens of thousands have made the unintended consequences painfully clear...... In India, it is the normally probusiness upper class that wants to keep stringent containment measures in place for as long as it takes to control the virus. Left wing intellectuals call this approach a “socioeconomic purge”, which will save only those who can afford to isolate themselves.

The rest risk death by starvation if not the pandemic.

........ In the US and Europe laid off workers can file immediately for unemployment benefits, and some European governments are now funding companies to keep employees on the payroll through the pandemic......... social distancing is impractical in poor, crowded societies, most sub-Saharan nations have not imposed lockdown. ...... Even China’s authoritarian regime, which effectively sealed off Hubei province and its population of 60 million, would have been hard pressed to extend the lockdown nationwide. Now, it is rapidly lifting those restrictions, at the calculated risk of a second wave of infections arising from returning workers......

mass unemployment and poverty also raise mortality rates, and that a lockdown induced economic depression could conceivably prove more deadly than the virus.

...... It is fine to junk pre-crisis deficit targets but not basic economics...... The hope is that the measures the government has already taken and the notion that warm weather slows the spread of coronavirus will prevent the virus from spreading at an exponential rate. If that hope proves mistaken, it will be very difficult to change course. But for now the government should be thinking about ways to ease the nationwide lockdown when it expires on April 15.

View: GoI needs to collect & analyse patient dataset to generate policy insights
Asia's largest slum Dharavi reports first coronavirus casualty The 56-year-old victim with no travel history owned a garment shop in the area...... Over a million people live in the 5 square km maze of dirty lanes of Dharavi, in cramped huts and next to open sewers.

Trump urged to pause H1B visa programme after job loss amidst layoffs A body representing American tech workers has urged Trump to suspend for this year the H-1B visa program.
China starts to report asymptomatic coronavirus cases
Sino-India ties will emerge stronger, scale new heights after COVID-19 pandemic: China Both the counties have finalised an ambitious 70 celebratory activities, a host of cultural, religious and trade promotion activities round the year besides military exchanges to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations...... at their second informal meeting in the Indian city of Chennai to properly manage their differences on border issues and maintain peace and tranquility in the region..... "China and India are the only two countries in the world with more than 1 billion people each. As long as one third of the global population can join hands, they can yield more benefits for not only themselves but also the wider world. The ongoing (coronavirus) epidemic fight offers a chance to do exactly that"

25,000 NCC cadets, retired military health professionals, 8,500 army doctors on standby, while 9000 forces’ hospital beds provided for coronavirus pandemic
Six COVID-19 patients die in Maharashtra, toll rises to 16
God goes online as places of worship shut doors to save people All major religious institutions are opening up online channels to stay connected with their devotees........ The muezzin calls out the faithful to prayer five times a day. But nobody comes to the mosque. These days, devotees spread out janamaz in the confines of their homes to pray. This, perhaps, is happening

for the first time in 1391 years of Cheraman Juma Masjid

in Kerala, where an azaan has not beckoned believers to the mosque. ..... the oldest mosque in Indian sub-continent...... we’re live streaming the daily rituals on Facebook for our devotees… These bits are getting a lot of view these days – especially from devotees residing abroad .... The Our Lady of Good Health Basilica at Velankanni (Tamil Nadu) attracts over 2 crore visitors every year. The church, which remained open even in the aftermath of 2004 tsunami (which caused the death of over 500 pilgrims), is shut for the first time in 50 years. The authorities have decided to conduct the ‘Mass’ indoors, and stopped ‘baptism’ and ‘confirmation’ rituals. ..... “The priests are conducting Mass two times a day…

The morning Mass – at 6AM – is live telecast on the Church website and on Youtube.

We’re witnessing a lot of visitors on our Youtube channel these days,” affirms Fr. A. Anto Jesuraj of the Velankanni church..... “There are 600 hotels here, employing thousands of people; all are shut now… The flower and fruit-sellers are not open anymore; this putting pressure on farmers who are sitting on piles of perishable stock. There are roughly 1000 beggars who live on alms given by devotees who come here… Now they don’t even get food to eat,” says Yadav..... The lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus is almost total in all towns that huddle around important religious centres. Poor locals who earn their livelihood selling flowers, fruits, chaadars and incense sticks are now a worried lot. With no devotees around, only prayers may help them tide over.

Ready to help India to procure ventilators, but scaling-up production a challenge: China A number of countries including the US and India, are trying to procure ventilators needed for hospitals to deal with the demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese ventilator producers say it is not easy for them to ramp up production as they also needed imported components.
Five more test positive; COVID-19 count rises to 46 in Punjab
India's response to Covid-19 has been pre-emptive, pro-active: Roderico Ofrin, WHO India's response to Covid-19 has been pre-emptive, pro-active and graded with high-level political commitment. India has shown ‘whole of government’ approach and is adopting ‘whole-of society approach', said WHO regional emergencies director of South-East Asia, Roderico Ofrin

The Virus And The Politicians

Something that is the Great Depression and World War II combined is going to be a tall task for anybody, let alone mediocre politicians elected to high office, but the scale and rapidity of the spread of this pandemic, now virtually gone to all countries and spreading fast still has particularly exposed deficiencies in leadership, both of individuals and political systems. This is no argument against democracy, for South Korea seems to have done pretty well so far. It is said the genius of the US constitution is that even an idiot can run the country. I never fully bought into that.

But those who doubted Trump's ability to deliver from the get-go now find themselves uncomfortably with front seats to the unfolding tragedy. And Trump is not alone. There is this guy in Brazil basically inciting riots. He is a Trump clone. Modi's three weeks closing down of the country was not a bad idea, but the implementation was so shoddy, there was no implementation, there was just an announcement; as if the demonetization disaster was not enough. India finds itself with crowds of people moving around reminding many of a similar phenomenon during partition. Instead of being inside homes, people are clogging the roads.

The NYC Mayor has been missing in action while he takes to the cameras like he were some opposition leader demanding action. NYC has become Italy and it still is not seeing lockdown.

It is always easier when you are not actually running a country. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown went on record asking to set up a world government from scratch. That is the most sense any politician has made during this pandemic so far. Gordon Brown should rally as many former heads of state as possible to the idea and make it happen.

Angela Merkel is a chemist by training. And it showed.

Both China and South Korea, and also Hong Kong and Singapore, all with diverse political systems, have done a pretty good job.

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