27 November, 2020

Browser html tests

According to https://html5test.com/ on my setup:
Dillo: (Doesn't have javascript, so no results)
Tor: 409
Palemoon: 427
Epiphany: 437
Basilisk: 466
Firefox: 509
Vivaldi: 526
Chrome: 528
Results for various popular browsers are also at:
https://html5test.com/results/desktop.html
Firefox has everything that I need, so that's the one I have been using lately, with just Facebook Container, Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere. (MX Linux also comes with an ad blocker).

Mahabharata

Upamanyu is accused by his guru or rishi of being too fat, so the guru puts him on a diet, gradually depriving him of begged food, milk and the froth of the milk. He herded the cows and went without food. Having been forbidden [to eat] ... one day in the forest, starving grievously, he ate the leaves of the arka plant (calotropis gigantea). And by eating the acrid, pungent, hot, ripe arka leaves, he was smitten in the eye and went blind..." eventually he fell into a well. His teacher said, "Sing the praises of the Asvins. Those divine healers will restore your eyesight." They do. They give him some "cake" to eat, and promise him that his vision will be restored.
About this, van Buitenen says: "Calotropis Gigantea is a bush widely spread in northern India: it has some medicinal properties: that it may cause blindness is further unknown." However, Wikipedia has this to say:

"... touching the sap [of the plant] and then touching the ocular surface may result in crownflower keratitis. Damage (poisoning) of the cornea endothelium results in corneal stromal edema and decreased visual acuity. Although there is some permanent damage to the corneal endothelium with decreased endothelial cell count and irregular shape, the remaining corneal endothelial cells usually recover with complete resolution of the corneal edema and a return to normal visual acuity. The condition is usually self-limited and resolves faster with topical steroids... " Wikipedia also mentions the tale.

22 November, 2020

I checked my name in the search engines and found that most recent references come from Hubzilla, not so much my personal instance, but the Hubzilla instances of others. My Hubzilla already isn't federating properly outside Hubzilla, through some bug or flaw. But that's not such a bad thing. Now I've turned on the no-federation plug-in by default, as well.

Link Stream

✭ Solomon Islands government preparing to ban Facebook | Facebook | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/17/solomon-islands-government-preparing-to-ban-
"Communications minister claims move is intended to address ‘abusive language’ but observers say it is linked to China’s influence"

People should stop using the monstrosity that is Facebook, but obviously it shouldn't be banned.

✭ How bad is Russia's Covid crisis? Packed morgues and excess deaths tell a darker story than official numbers suggest - CNN
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/11/17/europe/russia-coronavirus-pandemic-excess-deaths-intl/i

✭ Ma Jun: China has started to 'walk the walk' on climate crisis | Greenhouse gas emissions | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/13/ma-jun-china-is-beginning-to-walk-the-
“Some people have been found bringing products like ivory and rhino horn into China. I think, increasingly, people are starting to recognise that it’s immoral – not just illegal, immoral. Our younger generation of Chinese, they tend to have a much higher understanding of this.”

✭ Zoom’s Censorship of Palestinian Events Sparks Outrage
https://theintercept.com/2020/11/14/zoom-censorship-leila-khaled-palestine/
For
 all Zoom’s invocations of anti-terrorism laws, a spokesperson also noted that ultimately the company reserves the right to bar anyone from using its services, for any reason or none at all

Zoom’s intervention adds a new layer to the long-running debate on university campuses over the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but its implications reach far beyond that, several scholars and free speech advocates warned. The platform’s censorship has raised questions about the role of private tech companies in curtailing academic freedom and constitutionally protected speech, particularly in the context of public universities. The incidents also reignited criticism of a controversial definition of anti-Semitism promoted by pro-Israel groups and endorsed by President Donald Trump in an executive order issued last year, which critics say severely limits all debate of Israeli policy.

22 September 2020

The early hours of the morning are absolutely the best time of day in this part of the world, in summer; also the best time of day for sitting out under our pergola, with a citronella candle and a couple of joss sticks at least, to keep mosquitoes at bay. At least they don't carry dengue around here.

Money and the conflict

The Guardian has a story that first broke on BBC News Arabic, regarding the investments by Russian oligarch and new Israeli citizen Roman Abramovich in Elad, a right-wing group dedicated to using archeology in the service of supporting Israeli claims over the densely populated Silwan valley area of East Jerusalem. They try to show that King David lived there and use this as an excuse to take over Palestinian property. Today there are 450 heavily guarded Israeli settlers among 10,000 Palestinians, and they are not exactly good neighbors.

It's amazing how much of the conflict here is funded by foreign trouble-makers with dirty money. One of our village members is fond of saying that if we only had one tenth of the cost of an F15 fighter for our educational peace work, we would be able to do amazing things. But it's also true that we could do marvelous work if we had a tenth of the millions that flow into settlement projects from questionable sources. Oligarchs and plutocrats don't give to peace projects, of course, and even the small amounts of money that do flow into liberal causes from overseas are heavily investigated by the tax authorities. NGOs are required to publicly state whatever money has come to them from foreign sources, such as from EU grants, whereas settler groups like Elad somehow manage to keep their sources well hidden. Meanwhile, it is likely that the settlers themselves - those who are sincerely motivated by crazy religion or ideology - are simply being used as pawns in larger money making schemes. Like all colonialist projects, the whole enterprise is based on graft and greed.

"The extradition of Julian Assange would undermine freedom of speech"

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/21/extradition-julian-assange-wikileaks-democracy-not-criminal - Great article by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, no less.

Afternoon walk

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Still in Kochi

Still enjoying Fort Kochi, a town that is inherently interesting and enjoyable. Perhaps too many tourists, though thanks to them there are so many guest houses, restaurants and cafes. You can't have it all ways. But the kind of tourists seems to be wealthier and older than in most places in India, which influences somewhat the prices. There are still enough backpackers to ensure that there are also cheaper places to stay and eat. Prices go as low as 250 Rupees or less for accommodation in dormitories. I would not stay in such places. I have a pleasant, though non-A/C room with attached bathroom. It's clean and in a good location, close to the main tourist area, but on a quiet street.

I'm having trouble sleeping at nights due to the heat. I sleep best in the early morning. Then I wake up refreshed as if I've had a full night's sleep. It's true that I often have naps in the daytime. It's always been a puzzle to me why hot weather makes it impossible to sleep at night but is conducive to sleep in the daytime.

When they are open, I have breakfast at the vegan dhaba - just about the same breakfast I have at home: granola (actually muesli) with chopped fruits and coconut milk, together with a cup of coffee. The fruits usually consist of pineapple, papaya, pomegranate and maybe apple. I refill my water bottle there too.

I have lunch in mid afternoon in any one of various restaurants, then have a snack in the evening - a chaat, a sandwich or a dahi puri or something.

In the afternoon to early evening I walk on the promenade by the beach and sometimes sit on the rocks. There's always a pleasant breeze blowing from the sea. There are cultural activities, but these are of the kind specifically for tourists.
I've enjoyed taking many photos, just with my mobile camera, while here.