Reinventing America’s Cities

Nicolai Ouroussoff writes that “We long for a bold urban vision” in his NY Times piece “Reinventing America’s Cities: The Time Is Now.” Below the fold are some selected excerpts.

India too needs a bold urban vision, as I have been arguing for a while. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) for India, most of India does not live in cities. India does not have to reinvent its cities — it has to build new ones. Fortunately though, the world has learned a lot about building livable cities and India does not have to go about reinventing the wheel: India has to be smart enough to learn from the mistakes the others have made. India can — and must — build efficient cities. That’s the only way out for the hundreds of millions trapped in villages in rural India.
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YouTube bends over

YouTube has banned the James Randi Educational Foundation channel.

The reason is not yet known. I fear that it did so because of some religious group was offended by the JREF’s rational argument. Can’t really blame them since even governments are bending over. Recently the UN was the site of an unsightly scene where it was decided that any expression that offends the followers of one particular religion was to be banned. In India, they jailed a newspaper editor because thousands of violent thugs demanded his death for offending them by publishing an article that pointed out that certain beliefs are silly.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Freeman Dyson: The Civil Heretic

Excellent feature on Freeman Dyson in the magazine section of the New York Times. I like the man and agree with him on — among other things — global warming and the environment. (Or should I say that I agree with the man and therefore I like him?)

A few paragraphs of excerpts below the fold.
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The Sacred Ritual of Elections — Part 1

It’s been a while since I caught up with my contrarian friend CJ. I asked him what he’s been up to. I nearly dropped the phone when he said that he read in the newspapers that Indian elections were announced. It wasn’t the news of the impending elections that jolted me – I knew that already. The admission that CJ read a newspaper that was shocking.
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On Education, IT and the Government

In my previous post on “The Rational IT Policy” I claimed that there “is no need for any specific IT policy. The use of tools is the outcome of a set of rational processes which arise from a set of rational policies that address rational goals. IT use is a derivative demand, not a final demand. IT and its tools are an intermediate input to a process whose end result is desired.”
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The Rational IT Policy

So it’s time to unveil the IT policy that I had been promising for a while. I have already laid a bit of ground work in the previous three posts — “BJP’s IT for All“, “A Rational IT Policy: The Preliminary Bits“, and “Of IT and Pascal’s Wager.” In the following, I will conclude the introduction with a brief discussion on tools as means, and then present my version of a rational IT policy.
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Making of a garden city


Whether personal or societal, transformations generally require will and vision. In the case of personal transformation, unless one is a schizophrenic, a combination of intelligence, basic human values, determination, foresight and will is sufficient. For social transformation, something more is needed. Clearly leadership matters.

Here’s something to think about. Below the fold is an extended excerpt from the book, “Lee Kuan Yew: The Man and His Ideas” by Kwang, Tan and Fernandez. Indian leaders ought to take note. Or at the very least, they should read what Lee Kuan Yew has accomplished.
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How New Zealand Tamed the Great Depression

Gordon Dryden is a Kiwi friend of mine. Born in 1931, he dropped out of school at age 14 and went on to become — as he puts it — a legend in his own mind. He lives in Auckland and is co-author of UNLIMITED: The new learning revolution and the seven keys to unlock it.

Below the fold you will find an article adapted from a presentation by Gordon to New Zealand Futures Trust, Wellington, on March 17, 2009. As Gordon writes in an email to me, “The first bit might remind you of parts of India today – and the second half: other parts of India today.”
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Of IT and Pascal’s Wager

Technological Idiocy

Technological hubris is sometimes the result of infantile solipsism commonly encountered among those who are – paradoxically – at the two opposite ends of a spectrum of technical competence: those who are understand technology very intimately and those who have a very feeble grasp of what technology is. The former see the world and its concerns as merely a collection of technical problems just waiting to be solved by the available large collection of expensive technical wizardry; the latter are ignorant of technology but have a magical belief in the awe inspiring power of technology to solve all problems, technological or not.
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