dining in Kerala (just FYI: Total cost for 2 – around 4 dollars each!)

Kerala is a state in south India. Like Yorkshire in England, it is referred to as “God’s own country”. Obviously the phrase means, the big man above has a private garden of his own and he assiduously is gracious in welcoming you to come and stay!

But i would first venture out to say that food makes God’s own country so satiating an experience. The hindu  has this delightful article. Total cost for 2 – around 4 dollars each!

Hot black tea arrives on cue, as soon as we take our places. The tea is free and unlimited. The menu, a polished wooden board, presents a variety of naadannon-vegetarian options with an entire side dedicated to seafood delicacies. The gastronomic adventure kicks off with fluffy appams and fiery Kottayam neimeen (king fish) curry. Appam soaked in super-spicy chilli gravy is a delight to have with well-cooked cubes of fish. It is the same story with puttu and Kainakari duck. The thick, peppery curry has duck pieces that melts with a bite and is perfect with the soft puttu.

Meanwhile, the centrepiece of the feast arrives. Marinated in an assortment of spices, wrapped and cooked in banana leaf, the classic avoli pollichathu arrives in a steamy bundle dressed with tomato and onion slices. The fish, big enough for two, is fried and flavoured to perfection. After devouring it within no time and still not having enough of it, we go for a final round with prawn roast and appam. Fat prawns cooked in masala gravy arrive within a few minutes in an earthen platter. Chunky prawn doused in the caramelised gravy sets off an explosion of flavours when had with the appam. We wash it all down with another glass of black tea and call it a day.

Apart from the usual assortment of breads, Pankayam also serves special puttu variants with chicken, beef and mutton. For those looking for flavoured rice, there is the Pankayam pulao. Chicken and quail fries too are on the list.

Although most of the fish delicacies are available all through the day, traditional sadya is the only main course option at lunch with a never-ending supply of pappadam and lime juice.

SCOTUS – Formidable Lineup of cases

supreme court 2017

The highest court in the US is often the final word on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, and final appeals to stay executions.

It hears fewer than 100 cases a year and the key announcements are made in June. Each of the nine justices serve a lifetime appointment after being nominated by the president and approved by the Senate.

Cases are usually brought to the court after they are appealed from a series of lower courts, although in time-sensitive cases, lawyers can petition for a hearing. The court’s opinions can also create precedents, directing other judges to follow their interpretation in similar cases.

In recent years, the court has expanded gay marriage to all 50 states, halted President Obama’s immigration orders and delayed a US plan to cut carbon emissions while appeals went forward.

Occasionally, the Supreme Court will revisit an issue in a new case and change their own precedent, a move anti-abortion activists hope will come to pass with a new conservative justice.

The case that interest me the most is Carpenter v United States, which is another application of 18th-century rights to the 21st comes in Carpenter v United States, a case asking whether the right to privacy extends to information beamed out from mobile phones. In 2011, when Timothy Carpenter was arrested for organizing a series of armed robberies, the FBI built its case on four months of mobile-phone data showing where he was when the crimes took place. This information was retrieved under a law permitting phone companies to divulge information to corroborate “specific and articulate facts” relevant to a criminal investigation. By placing Mr Carpenter within a stone’s throw of the robberies based on the antennae through which he placed and received calls, the FBI was able to map his movements and convict him without ever securing a warrant from a judge. In Carpenter, the justices will ask whether this tactic violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures”.

source

here and here

 

Gloria E. Anzaldúa, mestizaje, and caste system

I was reading about the google doodle today – Gloria E. Anzaldúa, and then reached out to my Hispanic colleague to explain certain terms

and a term that caught my attention was “mestizaje”( meaning a state of being beyond binary (“either-or”) conception, into academic writing and discussion. In her theoretical works, Anzaldúa called for a “new mestiza,” which she described as an individual aware of her conflicting and meshing identities and uses these “new angles of vision” to challenge binary thinking in the Western world.)

Here i feel her thinking is similar to mine – i always felt slightly amused by the binary thinking of the western mind, be it Caucasian feminists lesbian lawyers that i have known here in DC or white evangelical protestants, or black reformed Calvinists (they all are, in my opinion, struck in the time- loop (using star trek parlance) of Judaeo-Christian ethics – there can be no resolution because THE ONLY possibilities are A or A’ )

I often felt the arguments I encounter among them as simplistic and binary.

Further investigation of Mestizaje yielded this …

Created by Hispanic elites, the sistema de castas or the sociedad de castas, varied largely due to their birth, color, race and origin of ethnic types. The system of castas was more than socio-racial classification. It had an effect on every aspect of life, including economics and taxation. Both the Spanish colonial state and the Church required more tax and tribute payments from those of lower socio-racial categories…

A tale of 2 Americas, by the way of Turkey, Greece

TURKEY GREEK

I love America. I love the ‘Just do it’ attitude of many of my friends and well wishers. I love the Shenandoah Mountains, Country Roads, and Rafting across the Yampa River for a week with Sierra Club, I love Disney World, Hardy Boys, Universal Studios – islands of adventure, john Muir, the conservation efforts and the capitalism exploits.

One thing that I slowly got used to is what this article so lucidly states, the ignorance to – “The second is the America of coups and occupations, military dictators and CIA plots, economic meddling and contempt for foreign cultures.”

I have had a conversation with a state department diplomat who actually got offended that my Dad mentioned it to her. The reality of the second America.

What’s more – Is the seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards – “Truth”? It used to bother me that people can say anything without actually being held accountable for. They would state something as a matter of fact as if they just spoke the Bhagavad Gita.

Suzy Hansen writes “This may be particularly true of those Americans who came of age in the 1990s as the United States triumphed over the Soviets, its status as a benevolent superpower somehow confirmed. The ugliness of the Cold War was largely forgotten. I remember the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine portrayed in my ’90s-era education as great international acts of charity, of which Turkey had been among the lucky recipients. But when I moved to Istanbul, Turks taught me about the more complicated aspects of the United States’ long relationship with their country: that thousands of U.S. soldiers had occupied Turkish soil in the 1950s, and how, throughout the darkest days of the Cold War, most Turks believed that the United States was manipulating their military and their citizens. I had come expecting Turks to be foreign to me. It turned out we were profoundly, tormentedly, related.”

Well, there is no word that was just created by Suzy – tormentedly. Exactly, that proves my point I guess.

What about Greece?

“It wasn’t just Turkey. After the financial crisis in Greece, I interviewed many intellectuals and other citizens there who offered historical explanations during which they referred — casually, assuming I knew about it — to an American intervention. I’d never heard of it. But it was a pivotal moment in contemporary Greek history: Thousands of Americans arrived in Athens as part of the Truman Doctrine, propping up an authoritarian regime against Greek communists and leftists and demanding that Greeks imitate the American way of life. From the late 1940s to the 1970s, American military personnel, diplomats and spies provided ample support to the Greek government as it tortured and persecuted its citizens. This history, our history, was part of them. I haven’t met any Americans for whom it was part of their identity — most never knew about it. It wasn’t at all part of mine. “

Hurricanes and Physics

IRMA AND JOSE

Why do hurricanes or typhoons move counter clock wise in the Northern Hemisphere, and Clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere?

the above is the current state of the two hurricanes as of 1:20 pm EST.

When i was young i never ever understood pseudo forces. It did not make sense to me at all! why would they make up ‘fictitious forces’!

Well, now I know why !! Because the rotation of the earth!

earth rotates from west to east (the sun first rises in the east!, right?) so if you imagine looking down from the north pole: We see it first rises in New Delhi and then in Washington DC. DC has to “catch up” it has to go to New Delhi. So west to east!

Because of this rotation – any wind rising up near the equator (the air is warmer and it is lighter- so it rises up) is “pulled” in the direction of rotation . that is makes like pulled pork! Pulled wind is like pulled pork. Tasty and dangerous!

pulled wind

If Earth did not rotate as it does, we would have high-speed winds of almost 480 km/h (about 300 mph) gusting from the poles to the Equator and back!!

this force is called the Coriolis Force

 

Thurgood Marshall – the lawyer for the “little man.”

Thurgood marshall.jpg

On August 30th, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.

I was speaking with Darron my colleague – He is also African american and had worked somewhere up in the echelons of the pentagon – He recollected names as if he just read them in the morning pages.

Stokely Carmichael – Trinidadian-American who became a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement and the global Pan-African movement.

Dorothy Irene Height – the president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004

Shirley Anita Chisholm – she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress

Sheila Crump Johnson co-founder of BET, CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, and the first African-American woman to attain a net worth of at least one billion dollars.

Barbara Charline Jordan. The first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives.

Darron called them the political legal prong of the African American struggle for justice. The Black Intelligentsia

Thurgood Marshall’s parents instilled in him the appreciation for the US Constitution. Local Howard university connection also! After graduating from Lincoln University in 1930, Marshall sought admission to the University of Maryland School of Law, but was turned away because of the school’s segregation policy, which effectively forbade blacks from studying with whites. Instead, Marshall attended Howard University Law School, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1933. (Marshall later successfully sued Maryland School of Law for their unfair admissions policy.)

Marshall won 29 of the 32 cases he argued in front of the Supreme Court, all of which challenged in some way the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine that had been established by the landmark case Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The high-water mark of Marshall’s career as a litigator came in 1954 with his victory in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. In that case, Marshall argued that the ‘separate but equal’ principle was unconstitutional, and designed to keep blacks “as near slavery as possible.”

Awesome Mr. Marshall, sir!

 

 

“Beyond loyalty the harsh requirements of security”! – “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.

openherimer

On July 14th 1954, the Physicists Robert Oppenheimer (1904 – 1967: easy way to remember is: 18th century beginning to next 75 years roughly. 1900s) was on Time Magazine’s cover .

Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the "father of the atomic bomb" for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Time read as a caption: “Beyond loyalty the harsh requirements of security”!

After he had seen the fireball glowing after the bomb had been dropped. This quote has become infamous and it is actually chapter 11 verse 32 of the Bhagavad-Gita, a scripture which has been revered by Hindus for thousands of years.

He is said to have famously quoted on “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.

July 16 1945 was the first atomic bomb test. August 9, 1945 the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

(One of the planes in the squadron – for the Bomb dropped on Hiroshima was called “Necessary Evil" flown by Captain. George W. Marquardt- his duties: Strike observation and photography)

The story of the Gita is that of Arjuna, a human prince who has been summoned to a war between princely cousins. Arjuna doesn't want to fight — not because he lacks courage, or skill, but because it is a war of succession, so his enemies are his own cousins, his friends, his teachers. Arjuna does not want to kill them. He confides in his charioteer, who turns out to be the god Krishna in a human form. The text of the Gita is mostly Krishna telling Arjuna why Arjuna must go to war, even if Arjuna does not want to do it.

Krishna's argument hinges on three points: 1. Arjuna is a soldier, and so it is his job — his duty — to wage war; 2. It is Krishna's job, not Arjuna's, to determine Arjuna's fate; 3. Arjuna must ultimately have faith in Krishna if he is going to preserve his soul.

Arjuna eventually starts to become convinced. He asks Krishna if he will show him his godlike, multi-armed form. Krishna obliges, showing Arjuna an incredible sight:

At Franklin Roosevelt’s funeral he read a passage from the Gita chapter 17 verse 3 ,

“Man is a creature whose substance is faith, what his faith is, he is”.

A thousand simultaneous suns

Arising in the sky

Might equal that great radiance,

With that great glory vie.

Arjuna is awestruck and spellbound:

Amazement entered him; his hair

Rose up; he bowed his head;

He humbly lifted folded hands,

And worshipped God. . . .

Source from here and here

You can listen to what trump said here 

"They will be met with fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before,"

USA is doing great!

usa

For 38 weeks in a row – straight weeks, since Donald Trump was elected the 45th U.S. President the market has been in a bullish trend. That is it has been around 269 days of relentless bull (a very, very mature bull market though – it is a eight year old bull market!!).

Many people got left out, because they predicted the market collapse. The market is a leading indicator of the overall health of the economy of the USA

S@P gained around 18%

DOW gained around 21%

NASDAQ gained around 23%

41 times DOW hit new highs!! 41 times!

Monday August 21, 2017 is a coast to caost solar eclipse and some people as usual are predicting dire straits for USA. They may or may not be right. But as of today USA is doing great!!

But for the naysayers, here is some good news too…

Electronics for Imaging – EFII, collapsed 41% in thousands of times more volume than average. This might be a time to time to buy Put Options. Remember Enron accounting irregularities! – Thursday was quarterly results and they failed to release it , citing issues over revenue recognition!!

Applied Optoelectronics – AAOI, plummeted 27%. The maker of optical-communications devices forecast current-quarter revenue that was well below estimates. fiber optics industry group is #1 rank in all industry groups.

Trivago- TRVG, collapsed 18% to a three-month low after the travel-booking company reported loss in the quarter.

Impinj- PI, skidded 23% in more than seven times its usual volume. The tracking-chip company beat Q2 sales and earnings views, but gave a soft outlook.

USA is doing great!

usa

For 38 weeks in a row – straight weeks, since Donald Trump was elected the 45th U.S. President the market has been in a bullish trend. That is it has been around 269 days of relentless bull (a very, very mature bull market though – it is a eight year old bull market!!).

Many people got left out, because they predicted the market collapse. The market is a leading indicator of the overall health of the economy of the USA

S@P gained around 18%

DOW gained around 21%

NASDAQ gained around 23%

41 times DOW hit new highs!! 41 times!

Monday August 21, 2017 is a coast to caost solar eclipse and some people as usual are predicting dire straits for USA. They may or may not be right. But as of today USA is doing great!!

But for the naysayers, here is some good news too…

Electronics for Imaging – EFII, collapsed 41% in thousands of times more volume than average. This might be a time to time to buy Put Options. Remember Enron accounting irregularities! – Thursday was quarterly results and they failed to release it , citing issues over revenue recognition!!

Applied Optoelectronics – AAOI, plummeted 27%. The maker of optical-communications devices forecast current-quarter revenue that was well below estimates. Before Friday’s drop, Applied had best-possible IBD ratings. Its fiber optics industry group was ranked No. 1 of 197.

Trivago- TRVG, collapsed 18% to a three-month low after the travel-booking company reported loss in the quarter.

Impinj- PI, skidded 23% in more than seven times its usual volume. The tracking-chip company beat Q2 sales and earnings views, but gave a soft outlook.