Image by Rezwan

Overcrowded passenger ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj, Bangladesh

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

Remnants of Kiandra gold mine at New Chum Hill, #nsw #australia

November 14, 2014

Crossing Streets in Bangladesh

The cars are following the rules - the people not.

October 31, 2014

Quote of the week: The world is as flat as a self assembled IKEA Furniture

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sweden's recognition of Palestine as a state:
"The Swedish government should understand that Middle East relations are more complex than a piece of self-assembled IKEA furniture, and the matter should be handled with responsibility and sensitivity"
In reply, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom:
"I will be happy to send Israel FM Lieberman an IKEA flat pack to assemble. He'll see it requires a partner, cooperation and a good manual."

October 29, 2014

The Goats Of Bangladesh Facebook Page Is Sharing Real Stories Of Real Goats

Tired of watching the Humans of New York photo stories shared by your friends cluttering your Facebook timeline? Here is an honest attempt by some real goats of Bangladesh to reach to the world audience and make their voices heard.

The stories are simple, easy to understand - like this one:
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
"Had? What happened?"
"Mutton biryani."
(Dhaka, Bangladesh)
You can find many such inspiring stories. The goats of Bangladesh are also overwhelmed by peoples love:
"It is our pleasure sharing these touching stories with brothers and sisters of the human race. 
These are indeed, of course, and always will be, real goats, real stories. #GoB2014"
Image credit: Black Bengal Goat by Mamun2a via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.5

September 29, 2014

Your leave - when you want and as long as you need

Image credit Clayton State University
In most jobs there are annual holidays you cannot use flexibly. You don't get leave when you require it most or are forced to take annual paid leave when you don't want it. But there can be other ways to deal with it. What if there is not annual leave policy. You get the leave you need as long as your boss and co-workers are ok with it and your work is not hampered. How about it?

Sir Branson wrote in his blog about the new vacation policy that has been adopted by Netflix and also by his organization, Virgin:

The policy-that-isn’t permits all salaried staff to take off whenever they want for as long as they want. There is no need to ask for prior approval and neither the employees themselves nor their managers are asked or expected to keep track of their days away from the office. It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!

Branson continues:

The Netflix initiative had been driven by a growing groundswell of employees asking about how their new technology-controlled time on the job (working at all kinds of hours at home and/or everywhere they receive a business text or email) could be reconciled with the company’s old-fashioned time-off policy. That is to say, if Netflix was no longer able to accurately track employees’ total time on the job, why should it apply a different and outmoded standard to their time away from it? The company agreed, and as its ‘Reference Guide on our Freedom and Responsibility Culture’ explains, ‘We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine-to-five policy, we don’t need a vacation policy.’

The above are excerpts from Branson's book The Virgin Way. Blogger and social media expert Mark Hillary analyses Branson's ideas:

What Branson is really suggesting is that employees can organise their own working life - the company can reduce the rules and bureaucracy governing the working day and both should win from this more flexible arrangement. Individual teams at the front line of a business know how many people they need to keep the ship running, so they can work out their own holiday patterns.

I think we are going forward to an era of employment which is not location based or office hour based. As long as the job is done you can shape your life according to that. That will be your ultimate work life balance.

September 07, 2014

How hot or cold do you like your tea?

This graph has been drawn by a geochemist and a blogger. How cool is that?

August 19, 2014

Google Is Tracking and Recording your Location

Elizabeth Flux at Junkee.com uncovers a truth many of us smartphone users fail to realize. By allowing our smartphone to find out our location we are letting services like Google maps to record our movements. Here is a typical map of movements you will find from here:

Image courtesy Junkee.com
If you login at this site with the same Google login you use for your smartphone you will be able to find your Data updated daily. You will be surprised with some of the entries and wondering did I actually go there? Apparently due to loss of network coverage and the GPS not being turned on it records approximate location values. So don't rely on it to be used as a proof of something or an alibi.

Some of you may find that there is no data. And yes you did not turn the 'location services' in your phone on. So knowing this give you an advantage - you can be visible or simply switch your existence off from such services. The problem is that many apps and services (like Google now or Nike+ Running App) works only if you have the location services turned on.

So will we be able to control dissemination of our information? Apparently there is hope as you can delete your Google location history and you can opt out from location services.  

August 12, 2014

Killers Roam Free After Brutally Murdering a Defender of India’s Untouchables

protest inaction of the authorities in the rape case of Bhagana village, Haryana. Image by Rajeev R Singh. Copyright Demotix (11/5/2014)
Protesting the authorities' inaction about a rape case of Dalit women
in Haryana. Image by Rajeev R Singh. Copyright Demotix, 11 May 2014.
Almost 25 percent of the Indian population belongs to the Dalit caste, a stratum regarded as outside the social hierarchy. The country's government has increased its efforts to protect minorities like Dalits and indigenous peoples (known as Scheduled Tribes or Adivasis), but these groups continue to face discrimination, exclusion, and acts of communal violence. In recent years, a grassroots team of "Video Volunteer" correspondents began recording and reporting crimes against Dalits across India. In a recent post, Video Volunteers' Communications Coordinator, Kayonaaz Kalyanwala, revealed:
Statistics from different sources reveal that crimes against Dalits are on the rise. The State Minister for Employment Guarantee Scheme, Nitin Raut made a statement in May 2014 that, compared to previous years 548 more cases of atrocities were registered in Maharashtra during 2013-14.
On the morning of May 17, six people attacked Sanjay Khobragade, a Dalit rights activist from the Kaulewada village, in the Gondia district of Maharashtra. The reason for the brutal assault was a caste-based dispute about land. Khobragade was sleeping in his courtyard when when assailants set him ablaze, dousing him with kerosene. Khobragade succumbed to his injuries 6 days later at the Civil Hospital in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Khobragade recorded a video testimony before he passed away. (A warning to readers: this video contains graphic imagery.) Based on Khobragade's statement, police arrested 6 men. The suspects have strong political connections to the ruling Bharatya Janata Party, however, and managed to fabricate a story that Khobragade’s wife, Devakabai, and her so-called paramour, a poor rickshaw-puller named Raju Gadpayle, killed him when he discovered their affair. As the men Khobragade fingered for his murder went free, police arrested his wife and Gadpayale, torturing them until they confessed to the crime. Today, the 6 men Khobragade named in his dying declaration are free on bail, while his wife remains in jail.  Khobragade's son, Pradeep, has launched a petition titled, "My Mother Didn't Kill My Father. Investigate the Murder of Dalit Rights Activist, Sanjay Khobragade," which says, “We all know that by killing my father, the ‘higher-caste’ community wanted to set an example that Dalits should not speak up." Video Volunteers has highlighted discrepancies in the police investigation of Khobragade's murder:
It seems, the police and District level administration have conspired to cover up this case of Dalit atrocity and have therefore carefully plotted to highlight this as a murder plot hatched out of an extra-marital relationship.
Nilesh Kumar, a researcher at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, has studied a fact-finding report by the NGO Round Table India and concluded:
The Dalit woman, her body, her character has always been an easy target. In cases of caste atrocities, it is always a Dalit woman who is worst affected. A similar pattern was seen here. To shield the real accused, the police targeted Devakabai. They wove a fictitious story and accused her of having an illicit relationship. A 48-year-old woman was accused of getting sexually involved with her 41-year-old neighbor. The police, cleverly, got a few villagers from the dominant caste to testify in its support.
According to Round Table India, Khobragade lost his life over a dispute about land. He was involved in leading Kavalewada's Dalits in a campaign to build a Buddhist community center on land the government granted them in 2012. Members of the area's "higher-caste" Hindu community have opposed this plan, wanting instead to build their own temple on the same spot. If life for Dalits and other "undesirables" is ever meant to improve, the public will have to take a greater interest in horror stories like Khobragade's. Unfortunately, India's mass media has devoted very little coverage to his brutal murder. If laws and constitutional protections alone were enough to absolve Indians of untouchability, Sanjay Khobragade would be alive today.

The post was first published in Global Voices Online