❝ While electric cars are displacing global oil demand at increasing rates, new research shows electric buses are making a much bigger mark overall thus far.
Electric vehicles have displaced about 3 percent of total oil consumption growth since 2011, a larger share than ever before. And so far, more than three-quarters of that oil displacement has come from electric buses, Bloomberg reports.
❝ The report estimates that “for every 1,000 electric buses on the road, 500 barrels of diesel are displaced each day.” The same number of battery-powered electric vehicles only displaces 15 barrels of oil a day, by comparison.
Most of this is occurring in China, Bloomberg notes. A report last year found that of about 385,000 electric buses in the world in 2017, about 99 percent of them were in China, with rapid growth still taking place. The city of Shenzhen alone announced in 2017 that it had completely electrified its fleet of 16,000 buses.
Not that you’re going to see much about this on Fox News. Or most mainstream media for that matter.
❝ In India, they tell us that women can be anything we wish. We can be fighter-jet pilots, corporate CEOs, paratroopers, athletes — and, of course, prime minister. (We never get tired of reminding Americans of this, since the United States is still waiting for its first female head of state.)
But God forbid we dare to argue that, in 2019, menstruation should not bar us from praying at a temple. What sort of global power can the world’s largest democracy aspire to be when our monthly period is still used to make women feel like polluted pariahs who must be kept at a distance? Is this not repugnant modern-day untouchability?
❝ Last week, a 620-kilometer “women’s wall” made up of an estimated 5 million protesters drew global attention to the shame unfolding at the Sabarimala shrine in the southern Indian state of Kerala. For more than two months, there have been violent protests and riots over the entry of women at Sabarimala. According to mythology, Lord Ayyappa, the deity at the 800-year-old temple, was a bachelor god who took a vow of celibacy and set clear rules for the pilgrimage to seek his blessings. And thus, by custom, women in their reproductive years must keep away.
❝ The women’s wall is a fight for what agitators are calling “renaissance values.” Mobilized by the left-wing government in Kerala, the women, with their arms outstretched in determined defiance, occupied all the national highways across the state to protest the brazen discrimination at the temple. It may well have been the largest single gathering of women in the world.
RTFA. Don’t tell me how India is going to surpass China as the leading economic force in Asia. Please.
As long as spooky religious ideology holds political sway in a nation in the modern era, that nation is guaranteeing minor status for itself on the world stage. Start that way – or convert – and you are done for unless government and law resume normal service with justice for all.
❝ When I went to sleep last night, I was excited about the prospects of the new day. I had no idea that it would turn out to be one of those red letter days that teach you pretty much everything about life. Now that I think of it, it was a good parable for life, and a reminder of how despite our illusions, we are never really in control.
❝ The day started for me very early – at nearly 3 am. It is — in the words of my friend Liam Casey — the jet lag witching hour, when you lie wide awake in the bed, looking at the roof of the room. In my case, I turned and looked outside.
And what I saw was magical. A sky that was wholly adorned with stars. It was the most beautiful night sky I ever saw. I’ve never seen so many stars ever before. Never in California. Never in Death Valley. Never in Iceland. To be honest, never anywhere. It was simply fantastic. Stars were like the sparkling pearls embroidered with abandon into the black velvet that is the universe…
When Om is traveling, his letters, his posts are as magical as his photography. The talent he expresses with his vision of the world around us is as special and alive as any description or analysis.
Henri Cartier-Bresson is perhaps the most well-known photographer in India, or rather—an important distinction—the photographer whose work is most well-known. He first visited India in the fall of 1947. One of only two Western photographers granted access to Gandhi, Cartier-Bresson shot a series of portraits of the ailing leader the week before he was killed by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu chauvinist, in January 1948. Cartier-Bresson then covered Gandhi’s funeral and the national mourning that followed.
First published in Life magazine, these photos brought Cartier-Bresson worldwide recognition. They were also widely reproduced in India, and are today so familiar there that his authorship is usually forgotten. The same is true of many quieter, more tableaux-like photos he took on subsequent visits in 1950, 1966, and 1980. In “Henri Cartier-Bresson: India in Full Frame,” the Rubin Museum brings together selections from each of these trips.
Whether the Rubin Museum is an easy trip – or not likely – this article is worth the read. History comes alive. The photographer’s eye is well understood. We learn, we learn more.
❝ Among their many privileges, India’s wealthiest households can rely on a consistent supply of electricity and access to cooking gas. The situation is rather different for other social groups, however. My research has shown lower caste and tribal households have 10-30% less access to electricity and clean cooking fuel, even when controlling for other factors like income or education.
This is just one outcome of India’s caste system, which divides the country’s population into rigid and hereditary social strata. Caste discrimination was declared illegal in the Indian constitution – and positive discrimination was introduced to correct historical injustices. Those assisted by the constitution are the “scheduled castes”. They make up about 16% of India’s population and, despite affirmative action, still face many disadvantages.
❝ The “scheduled tribes” are another disadvantaged group. They include tribal or indigenous communities throughout India, and are outside the Hindu caste system. They comprise about 8% of the population.
❝ Despite substantial progress since independence, India still contains the largest number of energy-deprived people in the world, especially among these marginalised social groups. Access to modern energy has obvious direct benefits (lighting, cooked food, and so on), but it can also help micro-enterprises flourish and improve health and environmental quality.
An article worth reading in its entirety. Democracy not only must confront right-wing ideologues from fascists to supposed republicans, a significant part of the problem in many lands is the history of the dominant religion.
❝ Gradual reductions in coal in China and India put the two countries on track to better their carbon emissions goals.
According to Climate Action Tracker forecasts, greenhouse gas emissions from both countries are growing more slowly than previously predicted. The difference projects roughly 2 to 3 billion tons annually by 2030.
That would be sufficient to offset the expected underperformance of the U.S. — the number two contributor to world carbon emissions, behind China and ahead of India.
❝ American President Donald Trump rolled back the country’s emission controls, putting U.S. on track to miss its Paris Pledge mark. The U.S. is now on track to emit 400 million metric tons more than previously projected by 2030…
❝ …The other two top emitters are ardently fighting climate change by cutting coal use and boosting renewables. “Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping — or even slowing — coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle…
The analysts rated both China and India’s climate plans as “medium,” but said that Trump’s planned policies could downgrade U.S. from “medium” to “inadequate.”
Like most of his projects, you can expect Trump to Fail or Go Bankrupt. Running the US government, he may succeed in doing both in record time.
❝ Global arms sales over the last five years reached their highest level since 1990, with India continuing to top the charts as the world’s largest defense importer, a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has found.
Between 2012 and 2016, India accounted for 13 percent of global arms imports, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Algeria, said SIPRI, which tracks global arms purchases. Between 2007 and 2011, India accounted for 9.7 percent of global imports, still more than any other country…
❝ Despite rising threats, and a ‘Make in India’ program to encourage local arms production, India’s domestic defense sector is not capable of meeting New Delhi’s growing requirements…
“They spend a lot of time and also money trying to develop weapons in India and things just go hopelessly wrong,” Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with SIPRI, said, adding that leaves them relying on imports…
❝ …The shift under Modi to rely more on private Indian companies for defense procurement, could lead to success. India signed an $8.7 billion contract to buy 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation SA…Analysts also warned that structural changes to India’s defense purchasing would take a long time, given the lengthy timelines involved in defense R&D and manufacturing, as well as the necessity of meeting the military’s pressing requirements for combat-ready equipment.
RTFA for the gory details. Getting caught in the same sort of military-industrial complex that only shares ownership of the US economy with fossil fuel barons doesn’t seem like forward-looking economic design or planning. India might have more of a chance at long-term economic success working at building a mutual relationship based on peace with neighbors in the region. After all, they all were shoved into the same trick bag by departing Imperial England back in the day.
A culture of Klebsiella pneumoniae — Larry Mulvehill/Getty
❝ If you had any doubts about the “nightmare” and “catastrophic threat” of antimicrobial resistance, take a look at this new field report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nevada public health officials tell the story of a Washoe County resident who appeared at a Reno hospital in August 2016 with sepsis. Doctors found out that she was infected with a type of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, superbug called Klebsiella pneumoniae and quickly put her in isolation. Tests showed that the bacterium, which spread throughout her body, was resistant to 26 different antibiotics — or every antibiotic available in the US.
In early September, the woman, who was in her 70s, developed septic shock and died.
❝ What makes this case particularly alarming is that the infection probably didn’t originate in the US. The woman had spent significant amounts of time in India, and while there, was hospitalized on several occasions over two years for a femur fracture and later, bone infections.
India has a major superbug issue, particularly in its hospitals. The authors of the report suggest the patient may have picked up her infection while in hospital there…
❝ This is a frightening story of a deadly bacterium doctors couldn’t control — and the real limits of our antibiotic arsenal. But it’s also a reminder of how tricky the superbug problem will be to solve without a lot of international collaboration.
RTFA, especially if you think the GOUSA can solve all its own problems alone. Mobility, communications, ease of travel compared to what was available a half-century ago, all mean little to someone who thinks the world begins and ends at their county line.
The rest of us have to be concerned with staying alive.
❝ Police in India say they have arrested 70 call centre workers on suspicion of tricking American citizens into sending them money by posing as US tax officials.
A total of 772 workers were arrested on Wednesday in raids on nine fake call centres in a Mumbai suburb…
An estimated $36.5 million was extorted from Americans, police said.
❝ Seventy were placed under formal arrest, 630 were released pending questioning over the coming days, and 72 were freed without further investigation.
“The motive was earning money,” said Parag Marere, a deputy commissioner of police. “They were running an illegal process, posing themselves as officers of the [US] Internal Revenue Service.”
Marere said the year-long scam involved running fake call centres that sent voicemail messages telling US nationals to call back because they owed back taxes.
Those who called back and believed the threats would fork out thousands of dollars to “settle” their case, he said. The scam brought in more than $150,000 a day…
Americans are so fracking gullible. You get a voicemail telling you to callback the IRS – without ever checking on the phone number. You’re only calling back – much of the time – because you know you’ve been Trumping your tax bill, anyway. If they can pump you for how much you think you owe – it’s only a matter of playing the fish until you’re landed. You can go higher or lower. It’s all in the game.
Somewhere along the line you might notice your IRS agent has an accent. Perfectly reasonable in a nation of immigrants. If the boiler room is like most I’ve heard, you should also detect conversational background noise. And if everyone has the same accent – you’re in trouble, Bubba. The IRS doesn’t restrict hiring to any one ethnicity. 🙂