I Read 14 Books in 2012
14th Book: Lee Kuan Yew: HARD TRUTHS to Keep Singapore Going. A series of Interviews.
13th Book: Looking for Alaska- a novel by John Green.
12th Book: Steve Jobs thinking Differently: A Biography by Patricia Lakin.
11th Book: Rice Research and Development Policy: A First Encounter: Edited by R.S. Zeigler
10th Book: Scientists in Conference, the Congress organizer's handbook, the Congress visitor's Companion- By Volker Neuhoff.
Scientists in Conference is a one sitting book (220 pages) for reading and a prewritten DIARY for people organizing conferences. I takes away the time necessary to plan events.
Some GEMS from the book:
He who offers an inch may lose a yard.
If our organizer is himself a well organized human being, the sort of fellow who plans erverything well in advance, then the entire planning can be so conveniently spread over months that his everyday work need not suffer at all.
He who treats each small part with respect will be respected as the master of the whole.
The organizer should not be the one of those who find it hard to utter "thanks" even in cases where the help received is only slight.
To have confidence is good to check up is better.
Keep a notebook to serve as "idea bank".
Humor is a gift from god, but god doesnot distribute his gifts lightly.
If something has to be applied or asked for; it is better not to write right away but to seek a personal interview, preferably with the very man on whom the decission depends.
He who comes last to the mill is the last to get his corn ground- German saying.
There is always overlapping or cross pollination between program planning bodiies.
9th BOOK: THE MAN WHO FED THE WORLD
THE MAN WHO FED THE WORLD, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and His Battle to End Hunger- An Authorized Biography- By Leon Hesser.
Norman Borlaug was born on March 25, 1914 to Norwegian immigrant family resettled in the United States. From age seven to nineteen, he worked on the 106-acre (43 ha) family farm west of Protivin, Iowa, fishing, hunting, and raising corn, oats, timothy-grass, cattle, pigs and chickens. He attended the one-teacher, one-room New Oregon #8 rural school in Howard County, through eighth grade. On advice of his grand dad who said "You're wiser to fill your head now if you want to fill your belly later on" He pursued his studied in the university of Minnesota. To finance his studies, Borlaug periodically took jobs. One of these jobs, in 1935, was as a leader in the Civilian Conservation Corps, working with the unemployed on U.S. federal projects. From 1935 to 1938, before and after receiving his Bachelor of Science in forestry in 1937, Borlaug worked for the United States Forest Service at stations in Massachusetts and Idaho. From 1935 to 1938, he worked for the United States Forest Service at stations in Massachusetts and Idaho. He enrolled at the University to study plant pathology , received a Master of Science degree in 1940 and Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics in 1942.
From 1942 to 1944, he worked as a microbiologist at DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware. In July 1944, after rejecting DuPont's offer to double his salary, and temporarily leaving behind his pregnant wife and 14-month-old daughter, he flew to Mexico City to head the new program as a geneticist and plant pathologist.
In maxico he crossed one strain of wheat with another, trying thousands of variations to find those that would flourish in Mexican soil and resist rust and other parasites. In time, he hit on an unprecedented idea. The wheat-growing season in the central highlands, where Borlaug was working, took place slightly earlier than the season in the Yaqui Valley of Sonora, farther north. If he planted the same seeds at the highland research station during the summer and in the Yaqui Valley station immediately afterward, he could see his crops through two growing seasons in a single year. Planting the same seeds at different altitudes, where they were exposed to different temperatures, sunlight and rainfall, yielded a wealth of information and enabled Borlaug to create wheat varieties that flourished under very different conditions.
In the early '50s, Borlaug acquired a variety of dwarf wheat from Japan and cross-bred it with North American strains to produce a semi-dwarf strain with a thicker, stronger stalk, capable of supporting a heavier load of grain. Crossing these with his rust-resistant strains produced ideal wheat for Mexico's needs.
By 1963, more than 95 percent of the wheat harvested in Mexico was grown from seed developed by Borlaug. The country was now producing more than enough wheat for its needs and was exporting wheat to the rest of the world, while Borlaug's techniques were being applied to other grains.
In the 1960s, Pakistan and India were on the brink of war, and the entire subcontinent of South Asia was beset with famine and starvation. He began supplying seeds to India and Pakistan. Pakistan became self-sufficient in wheat production by 1968; India was self-sufficient in all cereal crops by 1974. Since then, grain production in both countries has consistently outpaced population growth. Borlaug's achievements in Mexico, India and Pakistan were hailed as a Green Revolution.
While crop failure and hunger persist in many parts of the world, the mass starvation predicted by many experts in the '60s and '70s were avoided by the efforts of Borlaug and his followers.
In October 1970 Nobel Peace prize was announced and Borlaug got it. The world for once survived from the famine and starvation, and proved Malthus wrong. Borlaug died of lymphoma at the age of 95, on September 12, 2009, in his Dallas home.
8th BOOK:THE LOST SYMBOL BY DAN BROWN
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to give a lecture at the United States Capitol, with the invitation apparently from his mentor, a 33rd degree Mason named Peter Solomon, who is the head of the Smithsonian Institution. Solomon has also asked him to bring a small, sealed package which he had entrusted to Langdon years earlier. When Langdon arrives at the Capitol, however, he learns that the invitation he received was not from Solomon, but from Solomon's kidnapper, Mal'akh, who has left Solomon's severed right hand in the middle of the Capitol Rotunda in a recreation of the Hand of Mysteries. Mal'akh then contacts Langdon, charging him with finding both the Mason's Pyramid, which Masons believe is hidden somewhere underground in Washington D.C., and the Lost Word, lest Solomon be executed.
Langdon is then met by Trent Anderson, head of the Capitol police, and Inoue Sato, the head of the CIA's Office of Security. Examining Solomon's hand, they discover a clue leading them to a Solomon's Masonic altar in a room in the Capitol's sub-basement, where they find a small pyramid lacking a capstone, with an inscription carved into it.
Sato then confronts Langdon with the security x-ray taken of his bag when he entered the Capitol, which reveals a smaller pyramid in the package Langdon brought in response to the request by the kidnapper posing as Solomon. Because the package had been sealed for years, Langdon was unaware of its contents, but Sato, dissatisfied with this, attempts to take Langdon into custody. Before she can arrest him, however, she and Anderson are assaulted by Warren Bellamy, the Architect of the Capitol and a Freemason, who then flees with Langdon during the melee.
Mal'akh is a Freemason with tattoos covering almost his entire body. He infiltrated the organization in order to obtain an ancient source of power, which he believes Langdon can unlock for him in return for Peter's life. As Langdon deals with the events into which he has been thrust, Mal'akh destroys the Smithonsonian-sponsored laboratory of Dr. Katherine Solomon, Peter's younger sister, where she has conducted experiments in Noetic Science. Mal'akh is also being pursued by Sato in the interests of National Security.
Mal'akh captures Langdon and seriously injures Katherine Solomon. He places Langdon in a tank of breathable oxygenated liquid, from where Langdon unlocks the code at the Pyramid's base for Mal'akh, who then flees with Peter Solomon to the Temple Room of the Scottish Rite's House of the Temple. Langdon and Katherine are eventually rescued by Sato and her staff who race to the House of the Temple where Mal'akh threatens to release a heavily edited video showing government officials performing secret Masonic rituals. Mal'akh, who turns out to be Peter's long-believed dead son, Zachary Solomon, forces the Word—the circumpunct—out of his father and tattoos it on his head on the last portion of unmarked skin on his body. Mal'akh then orders Peter to sacrifice him, as he believes that it is his destiny to become a demonic spirit and lead the forces of evil. Director Sato, however, arrives at the Temple in a helicopter, which smashes the Temple's overhead glass panel, the shards of which fatally impale Mal'akh. The CIA then thwart Mal'akh's plan to transmit the video to several leading media channels using an EMP blast, disabling a cell tower in the network path leading from Mal'akh's laptop computer.
Peter informs Langdon that the circumpunct Zachary tattooed on his head is not the Word. Deciding to take Langdon to the true secret behind the Word, Peter leads him to the room atop the Washington Monument and tells him that the Word—a common Christian Bible, the "Word of God"—lies in the Monument's cornerstone, buried in the ground beneath the Monument's staircase. Langdon realizes that the symbols on the pyramid's base spelled out the words Laus Deo which translate to Praise God. These words are inscribed upon the small aluminum capstone atop the Monument, which is the true Masonic Pyramid.
Peter tells Langdon that the Masons believe that the Bible is an esoteric allegory written by mankind, and that, like most religious texts around the globe, it contains veiled instructions for harnessing man's natural God-like qualities—similar to Katherine's Noetic research—and is not meant to be interpreted as the commands of an all-powerful deity. This interpretation has been lost amid centuries of scientific skepticism and fundamentalist zealotry. The Masons have (metaphorically) buried it, believing that, when the time is right, its rediscovering will usher in a new era of human enlightenment.
7th BOOK: When All you have Ever Wanted is not Enough: HAROLD KUSHNER (repeated reading in 2012)
6th BOOK: It’s ALL ONE CURRICULUM: Guidelines and Activities for a unified approaches to sexuality, Gender, HIV, and Human Rights Education
5th BOOK: I Know This much is True: Wally Lab
4th BOOK: HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE- VERNON HOWARD
3rd Book: THE DO'S AND TABOOS OF HOSTING INTERNATIONAL VISITORS - Roger E. Axtell.
2nd Book: The Vertical Farm: Feeding the world in the 21st century- Dr. Dickson Despommier
The dedication reads as below: “For the more than one billion people who, through no fault of their own, go to sleep hungry each night; and for the three billion more who will most likely arrive on this planet over the next forty years to join them in their suffering, if nothing changes.”
Fifteen thousand years ago there was not a single farm on the planet. Now we farm a landmass the size of South America. By 2050, we need added cropland of size of Brazil. This is the message from the early chapters of the book – Vertical farming.
Vertical farm is a solution to the waste in cities, the migration from villages to cities, long distance transportation of foods, and for making cities food sufficient. The cities of near future- with vertical farming system, shall meet the standard of self reliance. Using sun and other energy sources, the crops are grown in sky crapper tall multi storied structures with each farm as an eco system in itself.
Nothing endures but change
If we the humans were to suddenly disappear from the plant how plants and animal will continue their life (The world without us – Alan Weisman). The assemblage of plants and animals organize into mutually dependent network called ecosystems.
In techno-sphere- (Cradle to cradle- William McDonough and Michael Braungart), the urban centers have no apparent cutoffs regarding constraints of growth. Urban farming opportunities that arise directly from the creation of vertical farms provide jobs to migrants from farming background in villages. It is a better outcome for the displaced agricultural personnel to discover that they can still plant and harvest- that too in a controlled environment. No more praying for rain or sunshine or moderate temperatures: they could save their prayers for things like winning the lottery.
If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed
By 2050- the world population is projected to be 8.6 billion. The hunting was an advanced technique over gathering and scavenging strategies ( 2001: A Space Odyssey). Omiverous nature of the human made them survive over the generations.
Great Minds Think Alike
Don’t Worry Be Happy (page 68-69)
Author goes to Bhutan to explain the agriculture system. It begins “Stewardship is an integral part of our moral contract with the natural world that surrounds us. One place that still exemplifies this concept is the country of Bhutan, a land of gentle, friendly people.”
“Again, I could not help thinking that I had time-travelled back to the very origin of agriculture. These are the images I will take to my grave”. It ends.
There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered
The origins of 21st century agriculture can be traced back to the convergence of four things: The American Civil War, The discovery of Oil, The development of internal combustion engine and the invention of dynamite.
In early colonial days, the New Englanders tried and failed in farming. The native Americans helped the colonizers in farming corn. A six inch deep hole in the ground, a small fish and a kernel of corn was all it took , but Europeans unfamiliar with the need to fertilize in their new homeland- often left out the fish part, and many got the whole thing wrong from the beginning.
Basic nutrition, 1500 calories of disease free food, is already considered luxury in some parts of the world. If people are starving, and indeed they are, then its due to issues related to mal-distribution and mean spirited politics, not actual crop shortage.
For long I was looking for an answer to the question, why are the people in the agriculturally most advantageous tropics poorer than their counterparts in climate betrayed colder regions. I got the hint. I hope I can write that answer in my book.
There is nothing wrong with the change, as long as it is in the right direction
The definition of how much is enough is largely determined by the haves and not by the have-nots. The future wars in Middle East will be on water not religion or oil. Hydroponics, aeroponics and drip irrigation methods have improved vastly over the last ten years, to the point of revolutionizing the ways in which we can produce indoor crops at will. Despite all our cleverness, the connection between us and the rest of the world remain strong and immutable.
Advantages of vertical farm include:
Year round crop production; No weather related crop failure; No agricultural runoff; Allowance for ecosystem restoration; No use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers; Use of 70-95 percent less water; greatly reduced food miles; more control of food safety and security; New employment opportunities; purification of grey water to drinking water; and Animal feed from post harvest plant materials.
Be willing to surrender what you are for what you want to become
The choice is ours as to whether or not we will carry out our lives in an ecologically responsible fashion. The time has arrived for humans to reassess their place in the natural world, embrace and celebrate the differences between us and the rest of the creatures that comprise it, and incorporate a reverence for our origins that reflect itself in a new respect for the DNA molecule, no matter what forms it takes. In doing so, we will have achieved a major milestones in our evolutions: sustainability into the millennium level.
The First BOOK Read in 2012:From Third world to First- Lee Kuan Yeu- i started reading it in 2011.
One of the best autobiographies ever writen "From Third World to First"- Lee Kuan Yew.