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Bihar [Jul. 7th, 2010|10:34 am]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle

In terms of ancient history, Bihar is one of India’s most sophisticated states. Read more...Collapse )
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The yearly deluge [Jun. 15th, 2010|12:41 pm]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
The monsoon is here again.

It's not just the volume of water that falls from the skies, but the whole scene that changes.  For someone with that English urbanite attitude to weather - that it can be a convenience or an inconvenience, but not really anything of consequence - I am again startled by the difference between the rains of this four-month-season in India, and the rains under which I grew up in London.  I'm sluggish, heavy-lidded, and want nothing more than to curl up in the tawny light and sleep and sleep and sleep.  The pressure is different and the air is gloomy, and effect is to leave me in a mood as filthy as the drain water which bubbles in the gutters. 

Of course, the monsoon has far more serious consequences than this.
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We must not treat our autistic people as if they had an illness to be cured [Jun. 11th, 2010|11:32 am]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
A quick break from the usual environmental fare to react to an article that appeared in yesterday's paper.  'Autism and genetics: A breakthrough that sheds light on a medical mystery' relays the research findings of The Autism Genome Project, which has drawn the first link between autism and DNA.  The findings are fascinating, and research into autism - a condition that affects so many, but about which comparatively little is known - is sorely needed.  In fact, I find it unsurprising that the condition is represented in a person's genetic code.  But the article also refers to autism as a 'disturbing behavioural disorder'; a 'developmental illness' based on 'fundamental errors in a patient's genetic code'.  It is later inferred that autism is a mental disability.

To suggest that these variations represent an illness that can be treated sits uncomfortably with me, and I'm sure with many others.

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Greenpeace survey finds radiation 5000 times background levels in Delhi market [May. 14th, 2010|05:01 pm]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
Greenpeace radiation experts survey the Mayapuri scrap market in West DelhiA survey has today uncovered levels of radioactivity up to 5000 times background levels in Mayapuri scrap market, West Delhi, after the area was previously surveyed and declared safe by government authorities.  

"The distance between the contamination 'hot spots' that have been discovered today and the people who live and work in Mayapuri is very small, so there is concern as to the effect on their health" said Karuna Raina, nuclear campaigner with Greenpeace India.

The survey found dose rate levels of 200-500 micro-Sv/h in certain areas, meaning that the maximum legal dose for a person in a year could be reached after just two to five hours close to these 'hot spots', Greenpeace said.  The level of dose in the residential area was close to normal.  

The survey was conducted by Greenpeace radiation experts following the discovery of a cobalt-60 source in the Mayapuri area in early April.  The radioactive metal had later been traced to a gamma irradiator in the chemistry department of the University of Delhi, disused since 1985 and auctioned off for scrap in February of this year.  Authorities were notified when a scrap worker was admitted to Delhi hospital with symptoms indicating exposure to radiation, including a blackening of the skin and withering of hair and nails.  He was the first of eight victims to be admitted to hospital, including one 35-year old scrap worker who later died of multiple organ failure.

The accident has been rated as a Level 4 on the International Atomic Energy Agency's International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, and declared the worst global radiation accident since 2006. 

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India gets rowdy over nuclear liability [Apr. 15th, 2010|04:05 pm]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
It's a last hurdle before opening India's nuclear power industry to private investors, and proving a far bigger stumbling block than the prime minister imagined.  Attempts by the leading Congress party to pass a bill capping the amount victims may claim in the event of a nuclear accident have met with accusations that the government is selling Indian lives for cheap to pander to US corporations.  
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Oh fantastic. Bin Laden's on the climate wagon. [Jan. 29th, 2010|06:41 pm]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
I've been wondering where he's been, actually.  Or even where he's bin, harhar.  In terms of the climate change 'debate' (it's not a debate, it's a large body of scientific evidence pointing towards a conclusion), Osama bin Laden is so late to the party he may as well have just gone straight to the pharmacy the next day.  Perhaps he's a little cut off wherever he may be, but still: in terms of a stick to wave at the West he only has to look at the front page of, well, pretty much any newspaper for the last several years.  Read more...Collapse )
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A sad and bitter day [Dec. 19th, 2009|06:54 pm]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
Another day in Delhi - a beautiful day, funnily enough - but one defiled by acrid disappointment. I feel a bit heartbroken, though the outcome of the Copenhagen summit was, sadly, hardly a surprise.
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Clear vowels of hope [Dec. 12th, 2009|02:22 am]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
There's a legend in Asia that, if you light a sky lantern and make a wish, that wish will be carried to the gods in heaven and will come true. Last night, religious leaders representing Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jain, Hindu and Sikh communities joined hands with representatives from indigenous communities across India to send two thousand sky lanterns up into the night against the backdrop of India's Lotus Temple. Their wish: for a fair, ambitious and binding deal at Copenhagen.


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Planes, trains, and auto-vindication [Nov. 23rd, 2009|02:26 pm]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
I've taken three short-haul domestic flights in the last month, working for Greenpeace. It's terrible. I've done a lot of overnight buses, too, attractively hunched in the back row with a scarf wrapped round my head and a bottle of whiskey to smooth out the spine-crushing jolts of pot-holed roads, but on those three occasions deadlines meant overland wheels just weren't an option. You feel a bit of an idiot refusing a plastic bag and opting for the vegetarian meal in the departure lounge of a domestic airport.

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Solar Sign Language [Oct. 31st, 2009|06:25 pm]
Rainspotting in Bangalore

graceboyle
It’s a surprising finding, this roomful of African women soldering circuits.

In dry, hot Tilonia, where sunlight slanting through risen Rajasthani dust turns the air a soft pink, the few outsiders you see are European or from elsewhere in India. Nothing much grows here because of the drought-like climate - this year the monsoon season brought rain only twice - so herds of goat, buffalo, sheep and cattle crowd the roads, driven on foot every morning to find pasture. Women walk tall as columns across the flat plains, two pots of water balanced on their heads. They wear their brightly-coloured saris over their faces to shield from the heat, veils of hot pink, crimson red or egg-yolk yellow on the dusty landscape.

“We had no doubts about coming here,” says Belle, a 45 year old grandmother from Kisumu Village, Kenya, her head wrapped in a printed cotton cloth. “We were very courageous. We thought, ‘Yes! We can do it. We are African women!’ We wanted to make it to India and we did.”

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