Net Promoter Score

How many of you answer every survey with the greatest interest and integrity? Then why do you expect others to?

If you live in the startup world, it would seem like everything is run by a net promoted score (NPS). There are founders who will live and die by NPS. The malady of NPS has not remained restricted to startups. Now, even when you visit the bank, they will send you a mail asking you for the NPS.

Net Promoter Score is nothing but a scale of rating from 1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest score an 10 is the highest. You can measure how likely your customer is to recommend you, how much they like your product, how happy your employee is within the organisation, just anything you can plot on a scale of 1 to 10.

How many times have you considered all factors before providing a rating such as this? If you are angry, you will give 1 irrespective of how well you were served on 50 previous occasions. 

Employees often use NPS as a tool against the organisation. Never ever have I got an NPS mail from the bank after I have had a harrowing experience. It is almost always sent to me after a pleasant experience. I am sure there is a considerable amount of statistical gaming going on. 

When you live by the sword, you die by it. NPS is a weapon of math destruction, and it has and will continue to destroy many businesses.

I wonder if Reliance even asked you for a Net Promoter Score? Massively profitable company, largest in India.

If you are an online e-commerce site and I do not even buy from you because I thought you were too expensive, what would my NPS be? You would not even collect it. 

One company that used to rely heavily on NPS and often scored well was UrbanLadder. If NPS was such a powerful tool and so reliable, UrbanLadder would not have been sold for pennies to Reliance.

In the long list of vanity metrics, NPS is another one that is taking many startups who cannot figure out their profitability first, to their graves. 

Learning by Proxy | Newspaper

You would suppose that organisations that are in the business of news gathering would foresee the changing trends in the world!

In the movie Jurassic Park, the scientists try to resurrect dinosaurs and it does not end well for anybody - even the dinosaurs. Now, governments are trying to do the same with businesses. It will not end well.

Newspaper

Newspapers first started in Rome, more as a public announcement system by the government. They looked like pamphlets rather than the form which we know today. Throughout history, information was disseminated by kings and governments by the issue of notices to the population. It was not until the 17th century when Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press and unleashed the torrent of words that continues to grow!

At the time, it was used to publish books. The first newspaper, as we know them today, was published in Germany in 1605.

As printing spread across Europe, so did newspapers, and all the countries got their own. Eventually, all the cities and towns had one of their own. The first newspaper in America was printed in 1690, by Benjamin Harris.

Those who learnt the craft of printing often created a newspaper of their own, since there were not as many books to print in those days. One such famous printer who learnt the trade from his brother was Benjamin Franklin and he ran a newspaper called The New England Courant, founded in Boston. To fill up the newspaper, Benjamin used to write letters to himself under various pseudonyms, the most famous was a widow called Mrs Silence Dogood.

News collection as a business really took off in the 19th century, thanks to the need to disseminate information about the markets. Paul Reuter, who was a book publisher in Aachen, started distributing pamphlets in 1848 at the beginning of the revolution. After experimenting with news collection using homing pigeons and telegraph, he moved to London to establish a news wire agency. He had had the experience of working with another organisation in France before moving to London, which was called Agence-Presse-France (AFP).

At the beginning of the 20th century, newspapers were the only reliable way to reach individuals and disseminate any information. So as enterprises emerged, they started using the newspapers to advertise.

Source: Ben Evans

The consistent rise of advertising and print through the 20th century was brought to an abrupt end by the internet. What is even more interesting is that the internet shrank the amount of money being spent on advertising! Advertising spends never recovered after the dotcom bust of 2000.

How we acquire our information has also been changing. We go to search engines rather than open up a newspaper. Most millennial do not subscribe to a newspaper at home.

Source: Ben Evans

Also, online advertising has two additional benefits - targeting and compartmentalisation. I can reach out to a very specific category of people through targeting. There was a story of a man using a Facebook ad to propose to his girlfriend! He was sure there would be no other person in that pin code who had gone to the specific school his girlfriend had gone to. Also, you can buy one $1 ad online, this would not be possible on any other media.

So what happened?

Of all the stakeholders in the advertising space, print has seen its share fall the most staggeringly. They have access to the halls of power in every country because of their work.

Their argument - search engines need to show relevant links. They use news links without paying for the value that they derive from them. Social media requires engagement, news drives an enormous amount of that engagement, and still, they do not get compensated.

So, in Europe and Australia, legislators have been pushing for laws that force search engines and social media companies to share their income with the publications.

Google and a French publishers’ lobby said on Thursday they had agreed to a copyright framework for the U.S. tech giant to pay news publishers for content online, in a first for Europe.

The move paves the way for individual licensing agreements for French publications, some of which have seen revenues drop with the rise of the Internet and declines in print circulation.

Source: Reuters

For Google, their (always unsuccessful) moonshots have meant that they heavily depend on the ad revenue. They cannot afford legal hassles and they played nice.

Just a few weeks after Google threatened to leave Australia if the government forced tech platforms to pay for news, the search giant is suddenly showering money on its most demanding critics.

With groundbreaking legislation expected to pass this week or next, Google has sought to blunt the impact by striking deals of its own with media companies, including two in recent days worth tens of millions of dollars a year. Another, with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, was announced on Wednesday in a three-year arrangement that includes content from The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch and The New York Post.

Source: New York Times

The problem with this is, why not compensate for every link that you are pointing to? Who is a news organisation? Should Google pay to only those organisations that are large and have negotiating power? What about every blogger? Should they not be compensated as well?

An action taken to create the law has far-reaching repercussions! Also, these arguments can rear their heads tomorrow.

The governments, on their part, argue that news gathering organisations are important and they need to be kept alive. Well, in that case, you need to provide them with a subsidy, not force deals that certain companies need to make.

Facebook called the bluff and show them their place. They blocked all Australian news outlets from having their link posted or even being able to post their own links on Facebook. For good measure, they blocked all the Australian government sites, which they enabled later with an apology.

None of this should have been a surprise. Back in September we wrote about Facebook publicly saying that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia... and basically everyone ignored it. So, yesterday, when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.

And yet... it seemed to make tons of people freak out for all the wrong reasons. Almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook. And, look, I get it, Facebook is a terrible, terrible company and deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does. But this ain’t it.

Source: Techdirt

Facebook is a lot of bad things, but in this case, the only ones wrong are the government and the print establishment. The internet is inherently open by its construct. Everyone may link to everyone else, just like I have referenced a bunch of articles in this piece itself. Denying this openness is breaking the internet itself.

Also, are you telling me that the scoundrels at Fox - with whom Google has cut a deal as referenced above - really need bailing out?

More broadly,

If one cares about these things, it’s worth noting that a lot of Google and FB ad revenue doesn’t actually come from things that used to be in newspapers: many of their advertisers are SMEs that rarely advertised before, while many actual newspaper advertisers moved to things that don’t look like ads at all. The real estate agent that bought inserts now pays Zillow or Zoopla, and the soap company is paying Amazon for search placement (Amazon had close to $20bn in revenue from this in 2020, and perhaps more profit than AWS). Meanwhile, very little of the traffic on Google or Facebook comes from news, and very little advertising (and less with much value) appears next to news search results. Google didn’t take their money, any more than Boeing took money from the ocean liners. The internet destroyed the model.

Source: Ben Evans

The legislators are looking for a fall guy that they can easily pin the blame on. They are not seeking to understand the problem and find a solution. Print Media will probably go extinct or adapt. New York Times is an outstanding example of this.

The attempts to save newspapers from going extinct has gone to an extreme this time.

Then both parties bit into the dust. A compromise was struck.

Facebook announced Tuesday that it would lift a ban on Australians viewing and sharing news on its platform after it struck a deal with the government on proposed legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.

[...]

Facebook’s cooperation is a major victory in Australia’s efforts to make two major gateways to the internet, Google and Facebook, pay for the journalism that they use — a faceoff that governments and tech companies the world over have watched closely. Google also had threatened to remove its search functions from Australia because of the proposed law, but that threat has faded.

Source: Seattle Times

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English Troubles

Uber has had a tough time in England. They had their license suspended a couple of years ago and have had a tough time proving that they are a legitimate taxi operation. Now, their problems are going to stem from the fact that the law of land has deemed them a legitimate taxi operation. Ironic how irony works!

The employment status of Uber drivers is coming down to geography. In California, Uber convinced voters in November that its drivers are in fact contractors. In the UK this week, the highest court in the country wasn’t so easily swayed.

The UK Supreme Court ruled this week that Uber must treat its drivers there as workers, not as self-employed contractors. The decision paves the way for Uber drivers in the UK to get benefits such as minimum wage and paid leave.

Source: Quartz

Encouraged by his investors, Travis Kalanick created a company that was consistent at only one thing - its disregard for the law. The new CEO must clean out the mess that has been created.

More importantly, this has far-reaching consequences for all startups that are in the gig economy space.

Both the stories above illustrate only one thing. That the internet has to be regulated globally and with a shared principal. These piecemeal approaches will not work.

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Insecure Amazon

Every time a legitimate threat has emerged to the Amazon business, the company has moved to either kill them with dirty tricks or they have worked hard to buy them out.

There is a new kid in town, growing faster than Amazon - Shopify.

Shopify is a Canadian company that provides the tools to build e-commerce sites. Last year, they also integrated delivery and fulfilment to their offering, seeing the large scale that they possess.

Source: Ben Evans

Shopify has a turnover that 40% of that of Amazon. Also, at its current pace, the company will match Amazon in a matter of 3-5 years. That has got to be sending alarm bells ringing inside Amazon.

Shopify can neither be threatened nor coerced. Shopify results from unhappy sellers looking for a direct route to their customers.

Amazon bought Selz

About a month ago, Selz, an Australian tech company, quietly announced it was being acquired by Amazon. Selz helps businesses set up and manage online stores without needing much technical expertise. In that regard its similar to Shopify, the fast-growing platform powering the e-commerce of an increasing number of small and large companies.

Source: Quartz

Selz does exactly what Shopify does. But that is also something that Amazon allows on its own site. Why get another company when you have built the stack decades ago?

Trust

Sellers don’t trust Amazon anymore, and they have seen repeatedly that Amazon does not care. So getting a company and running it at arm’s length while providing it all the financial firepower it needs to take on Shopify might be one way of doing it. It just may be too little, too late.

Sellers on Shopify includes the likes of Unilever, Heinz and others. They will not fall for these tricks!

Perseverance

In the summer of 1997, before I even had access to the internet, I used to cut out every article from the Times of India on space. It was in that summer that NASA landed its first rover on Mars called Sojourner as a part of a mission called Pathfinder. It was a shin-high rover that had cameras mounted on it. Enclosed in a pyramid surrounded by airbags that would deploy moments before it hit the surface of the planet.

Since then there have been several rovers slightly larger each time that have landed on Mars. But to perform the experiments that they wish to, NASA scientists needed a rover the size of a car. Now, you cannot toss a self-driving car with a lab built into it expecting airbags to cushion it!

This makes Perseverance a massive achievement. The rover landed on Mars through controlled descent using thrusters. The animation below would give you an understanding of what they had to pull off.

The thing that makes it challenging is that you get ONE chance to get it right, 150 Million Kilometres away. So you need every calculation to be precise.

How precise - When New Horizon launched on Jan 19, 2006, and reached Pluto 9.5 years later, it was off from NASA calculations by a minute. A journey of over 3 Billion Kilometres.

Images from the rover and the descent vehicle came in immediately.

Rovers are quite slow, they depend on solar energy and move at about a few metres a day. So this time the rover is also carrying a helicopter which will make it possible for us to cover more distance and get a fresh perspective of Mars as well.

There is no way to understate this achievement.

Also

It is very sad to see this level of environmental degradation. Wild animals eating plastic.

The engine of US238 blew up right after takeoff.

How the forest catches on fire. This is a controlled burn to clear the dried grass on the floor of the forest.

Will your iceberg float? Draw one and see.

How the youngsters are editing video. Watch till the end.

Death of a glacier.


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Learning by Proxy | Podcast | Newspaper

  
0:00
-20:52

This is the learning by proxy podcast for Edition 48 If you do not enjoy reading long-form, get the gist of it in about 10 minutes. 

This time in the podcast - 

Facebook showed the government its place

Uber and their English problems

Insecure Amazon

Perseverance

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You can also read the long-form blog at this link.

Would love to hear what you think about it, do leave comments below.

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Spotify -

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Right Place, Right Time

Being in the right place at the right time matters more than all else

In 1999, the Internet was a new paradigm. Most people did not even know what the internet was, let alone have a connection. In August 1999, Casey Fenton, along with a few of his friends in San Francisco, came up with an idea. He loved to travel and see new cities. Curious to see if there were others who loved travelling as much, but not the cost that is associated with it; he and a group of friends created a community platform called Couchsurfing. The idea - go wherever you want, find someone who is part of the community and you will be offered a couch to sleep in.

They were too early. They did not really take off because the internet was in its infancy. Communicating the concept to many people took time and money, and the tools did not exist. 

The Internet really became accessible only after the introduction of the smartphone which was around 2007/2008. By that time, the founders of Couchsurfing had truly lost their excitement about the company. Casey left by 2011, only remaining the chairman of the board. The company is still operational, but the site feels like one that was created in 2005.

Right place, wrong time.


In July 2007, Magali Boisseau started a company called BedyCasa in Montpellier, France. You would not have heard of the city unless you follow Tour de France. The idea - people have spaces available in their homes and they could accommodate those who would like to stay there. It creates an extra source of income and provides a cheap place to live in for travellers. While the company scaled in Europe, they found it hard to raise capital since Europe did not have a healthy venture capital ecosystem back in the day. After trying valiantly for close to a decade, the company closed down.

Right time, wrong place.


Three jobless friends living in an apartment in San Francisco wanted to make some money to cover rent. Obama was preparing to run for president, and the primaries were on. They put the one extra bedroom with an airbed on the internet for rent. As a publicity stunt, they created a cereal called Obama-Os. In 2008, they sold more cereal than rooms.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a couple of years earlier, four entrepreneurs came together to create an entity that would support founders who had great prowess in technology but could not deal with the business of fundraising. They called this initiative Y Combinator.

Brian Chesky found Y Combinator and together they got Airbnb enough money to survive and then succeed.

Right place, right time.


Same idea - different outcomes. Any of the three companies mentioned above could have been a runaway success. Exactly the same idea.

More than how hard you work, being at the right place at the right time matters more.

Learning by Proxy | Media Mogul

When you think of those making big waves in the media business, do you think of the Obamas?

Media is not something you see former Presidents get involved in. But these are unprecedented times. How many times do you have a President ask people to attack his own government?

The Obamas are using their smarts to create media assets and why not? They have the appeal!

New Media, New Moguls

Obama was broke (not really, but you know…) before his presidency, he became quite affluent thereafter.

Trump (claims) to have been affluent before his presidency, he will certainly go broke.

Obama improved the influence that America had internationally. Even allies did not want to speak anymore with America after the Trump presidency.

Obama is the anti-Trump

Trump was a media celebrity before he went into his Presidency. No production house wants to touch him with a barge pole now.

Obama was an unknown commodity amongst the media even when he was a senator, he may well turn out to be a media mogul after his Presidency.

When Barack Obama decided to run for the Senate, his wife Michelle asked him “and how will we pay for this?” Barack, who had written an obscure title at the time called Dreams From My Father, said, “once this is over, I will write a book and the royalty from it will cover our costs.” He wrote The Audacity of Hope.

Barack Obama’s rise to the presidency was fuelled by his ability to understand and control media. Not just news media but also print, books, TV shows, etc. He used the same to canvass hard for the adoption of Obamacare.

Now that his presidency is over, he is looking to turn this into his financial legacy.

Both Michelle and Barack Obama have thrown all of their energies behind making money through media assets that they create.

Soon after the presidency was over, Michelle Obama released her memoir called ‘Becoming’ in 2018. The book sold over 2 million copies.

In the same year;

In May 2018, the Obamas launched Higher Ground Productions by signing a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce scripted and unscripted film and television projects, with the goal of the company to lift up diverse voices in the entertainment industry. Michelle Obama stated, “I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others.” In February 2019, Priya Swaminathan, Tonia Davis, and Qadriyyah “Q” Shamsid-Deen joined the company, with Swaminathan and Davis serving as co-heads, and Shamsid-Deen serving as a creative executive.

Source: Wikipedia

Higher Ground Productions released its first movie (documentary) on Netflix in August 2019 called American Factory. The documentary chronicles the setting up of a Chinese glass factory in America and the cultural clashes that break out. They also released another documentary about the disabled called Crip Camp. The book was turned into a movie, also called Becoming and distributed through Netflix.

While Netflix has remained the pillar for distribution of video content, the company also partners with Spotify to distribute The Michelle Obama Podcast. This was released in July 2020.

As the heated elections were coming to a close, Barack released his first of the two books describing his presidency called Promised Land.

Michelle Obama had campaigned hard for child nutrition as the first lady at the White House. Therefore, she is releasing a cooking show next called Waffles and Mochi on Netflix in March this year.

The new slate encompasses both TV and film projects, including a film adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s critically acclaimed novel “Exit West” and a biopic on Tenzing Norgay, who was the first person to reach the peak of Mount Everest alongside Sir Edmund Hillary. The company is also prepping a U.S. National Parks docuseries and a series adaptation of the Angeline Boulley book “Firekeeper’s Daughter.”

[...]

Higher Ground Productions is co-led by Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis, along with Ada Chiaghana and Alex Pitz. The company expects to make additional project announcements in the coming months. Other recently announced projects include the animated pre-school series “Ada Twist, Scientist” and the hybrid comedy series “The G Word with Adam Conover.”

Source: Variety

The couple is working hard to ensure that they put a formidable lineup of content out there and they are just getting started. Also, in the print format, their only play till now has involved writing books. I am sure that there is much more to come. Also, the news is another thing that is completely broken. Would they have a potential answer?

This is going to be an interesting space to watch.

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Myanmar

Burma was consolidated into a country over 3 centuries, starting in the 16th century. Then the British walked into the country in the 1880s and called it theirs. After the second world war, with their economy in tatters and their loot of the colonies complete, the British did not see a point in holding on to and administering the colonies.

Burma was granted independence in 1948 and it was named as such to represent the Barmar ethnic people. A democratic government was in place till 1962. After being under the military council for 12 years, the country got a constitution in 1974. While the military conducted elections in 1990, which Ang San Suu Kyi and NLD won; they decided not to accept the result.

In 2015, the country conducted fresh elections to move towards democracy. NLD won. According to the power transfer agreement, 25% of the legislators were supposed to be military appointments. This is also part of the reason Suu Kyi did not act against any of the military atrocities against the Rohingya. She knew she was hanging on to power by a thread.

In the elections held in 2020, the military legislators fell to 8%. This was unacceptable, and the military started calling the elections rigged. The military played Trump.

It was the military that wrote the constitution of the country in 2008. It must hurt when you make the rules and still lose at the game.

Then the pushback.

The speech and the army’s assertion prompted the United States embassy and diplomatic missions of 15 other countries and the European Union in Yangon to issue a joint statement “oppos[ing] any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition”.

Myanmar’s democratic transition had been a work in progress. The results of the 2020 election, held during the pandemic, were being seen by the NLD as a mandate for its plan of constitutional reform, through which it aimed to do away with the military’s role in politics and governance. But this was never going to be easy, given the tight constitutional restrictions for amendments.

Source: Indian Express

People took to the streets, and hundreds were arrested.

And then the pushback to the pushback

China and Russia, on February 12, pulled out from a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution regarding the situation in Myanmar due to the military coup.

The resolution was approved by consensus during a special session in Geneva. It called for the release of detained persons including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. It also stressed on the need to refrain from stressed the need to refrain from violence and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.

Source: Reuters

For China, a lot of the rare earth metals that they need comes from Burma. The last thing that they would want is hostility. We are in the second week of protests and they do not seem to abate. Remains to be seen how the situation turns. The military on its part does not seem inclined to give up power.

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Storytelling

I had attended a course called the Power of Stories to fuel Innovation conducted by Jennifer Aaker at Stanford University. One thing that she covers in the course is the subject of making a story viral. In her course, she used the example of an Indian in the US who needed a bone marrow transplant since he was suffering from Cancer. Given that the odds of a bone marrow match were 1:200,000 it was essential to get many people to come out and test for a match.

His wife started running drives looking for people willing to test and provide their bone marrow. To get the reach that was needed, she and her friends created a ‘toolkit’ which allows anyone to set up a sample collection centre, spread the word about it and get the samples. The toolkit would have email templates, poster templates, step-by-step guide to setting up a sampling drive, etc. The idea - if someone wants to help, make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

When the Chennai floods happened, there were kits like this distributed to help with food donation and support.

While I have not seen too many startups adopt this approach, I have seen a lot of activists take this up and one such activist was Disha Ravi.

Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code lays down the punishment for sedition. The Indian Penal Code was enacted in 1860, under the British Raj. Section 124A forms part of Chapter VI of the Code which deals with offences against the state. Chapter VI comprises sections from 121 to 130, wherein section 121A and 124A were introduced in 1870. The then British government in India feared that Muslim preachers on the Indian subcontinent would wage a war against the government. Particularly after the successful suppression of Wahabi/Waliullah Movement by the British, the need was felt for such law. Throughout the Raj, this section was used to suppress activists in favour of national independence, including Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, both of whom were found guilty and imprisoned.

Source: Wikipedia

A law that was used by the British to suppress Gandhi is being used to arrest a college student. Disha Ravi was apparently the girl who sent across the farmer’s protest toolkit which Greta Thunberg tweeted out.

Ravi, the founder of the Bengaluru chapter of Thunberg’s climate justice movement Fridays for Future, has been charged with sedition—the crime of inciting hatred against the government.

Delhi police say Ravi is a “key conspirator” in the “formulation [and] dissemination” of the “toolkit” document containing methods for supporting the farmers’ protest.

Police allege she also started a WhatsApp group and collaborated to make the document. “She was the one who shared the [document] with Greta Thunberg,” they said.

Source: Time

Support has been coming from various quarters. But most importantly from the Alma Mater, which also is one of the older colleges in Bangalore.

The alumni of Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru have issued a statement in support of 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi, condemning her arrest in connection with the toolkit case involving the ongoing farmers’ protest.

As many as 330 former students have, so far, put their signatures on the statement that was released on Tuesday evening by the alumni of Mount Carmel College. “We unconditionally express support to her, her family in this time of distress and are proud of the work she has undertaken in the field of climate change activism,” it said.

Source: MSN

Reminds me of a dialogue from the movie Social Network

Cameron Winklevoss: You’re not thinking about what it’s gonna look like.

Divya Narendra: What’s it gonna look like?

Cameron Winklevoss: Like my brother and I are in skeleton costumes chasing the Karate Kid around a gym.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

Obviously, nobody in the government thought what it would look like! Having said that if what Gandhi did was sedition, then the question arises is what is Disha doing really wrong? Also, this is not the first. There have been a string of arrests made under the sedition law which includes students from various institutions and this will not be the last.

Takes me back to one line in the American declaration of independence.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Source: National Archives

If you see what is being done and believe that it is absolutely wrong, then it is your duty to act against it.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana made the observations Monday while granting bail to the accused, Devilal Burdak and Swaroop Ram, who were charged under sections of sedition, statements conducing to public mischief, forgery, and using forged documents.

In his order, ASJ Rana noted: “The law of sedition is a powerful tool in the hands of the state to maintain peace and order in the society. However, it cannot be invoked to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling the miscreants.”

Source: Indian Express

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Climate Change Vs Republicans

Climate is winning so far as I can see.

Source: New York Times

Just for your reference.

Source: ABC

The cold weather seems to be headed for the red states and is delivering some of the worst winter storms in recent history.

The past few weeks have been tough in the Midwest. I mentioned this in the last post as well. The Southern states in the US are freezing over.

Millions of people across Texas faced their third day without light or heat — and many without water — as the state remained in the frigid grip of winter storms. Pipes froze and burst across the state, icicles hung from kitchen faucets in Houston, ambulances in San Antonio were unable to meet the surging demand and the county government in coastal Galveston called for refrigerated trucks to hold the bodies they expect to find in freezing, powerless houses.

[...]

The power outages were national, with tens of thousands without electricity in Kentucky, West Virginia and Louisiana, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks electricity outages. More than 160,000 people in Oregon remained without power on Wednesday morning.

Source: New York Times

Things have been so bad. Stuck in the cold without electricity, people are taking to sitting in their cars with the engines turned on and dying of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

At least 31 people in eight states have died in the winter storm that has swept across the United States this week, the authorities said, with car crashes and carbon monoxide poisoning responsible for many of the deaths.

In Houston, a woman and a girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after a car was left running in a garage to generate heat, the police said. A homeless man was also found dead at an overpass. And a man who was found dead on a median in midtown Houston on Monday was suspected to have died from the extreme cold, the Harris County sheriff said.

Source: New York Times

Not only that, a tornado swept through North Carolina uprooting infrastructure and homes. After an autumn of fire, America is experiencing a winter of ice. Amazingly, there are still people living in the country who deny climate change.

There seems to be no respite coming soon. The weather is expected to stay this way for the next few days.

Source: Ventusky

Here is what is happening. There is a stream of warm water from the equator that gets heated in the Atlantic Ocean and makes its way towards England. This is called the Gulf Stream. As the ocean warms, the Gulf Stream pushes further into the Arctic. To compensate for this, the cold air move south overland, onto Russia and North America. You can see this clearly in the image above.

Happens every year. This year has been particularly worse.

For the moment it is - Climate 1 : Republicans 0

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Also

When the road is iced up and you decided to go for a spin.

Texas!


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What we think, we become ~ Buddha

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