Saturday, June 22, 2013

Monsoon, pissing rain in Kerala, tomorrow shooting beg of an environmental documentary!

Back to Kochi, halles of rain!

Swimming pools everywhere and raindrops...

Raindrops keep falling on my head

[originally by B. J. Thomas]

Raindrops keep falling on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he' got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling

But there's one thing I know
The blues he sends to meet me won't defeat me
It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Crying's not for me
Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothing's worrying me

Butch cassidy and the sundance kid. paul newman and robert redford making us forget our humdrum existence as only they did. Irresistible

Back to this hospital, AIMS, this time not to take cancer tests!

Meeting a team of cameramen, journalists to shoot tomorrow the first sessions of an environmental documentary!

Great to follow hard core academia studies by proper field trips, interviews...

Just like this great visit of Coimbatore facilities of SWM these past 2 days: commissioner's office, IAS, Engineers, Corporates dealing with waste:

Generation side:
·      Coimbatore population considered from 100 wards: 15 to 17 lks of people (1,5 to 1,7 Mio inhabitants taken into account)
·      Generation levels: Globally: 700t to 900t per day (up to 1100 t per day),  Number of households: 4,25lks, People under the PTL: 40 to 50%,  Generation from Low level clusters: 200 to 300g/cap/day, Generation from High level clusters: 800 to 1000g/cap/day, Average: 550g/cap/day

3 kinds of waste:
1.     SWM
2.     Biomedical waste: delt with by Pollution Control
3.     Industrial waste: mostly recycled and reused, scrap of iron…

Collection side:
2 steps:  Primary collection at source transported to Transfer Stations, Secondary collection from Transfer Stations transported to Velaloor: Vehicles used for collection between ½ t up to 21t

Step 1 handled by Coimbatore municipality: duty to collect from households to Transfer stations, nb sanitary workers up to 3000 people + 1000 outsourced
CCMC trucks max 4t per vehicule, max 60 kms return, trips, max 1 or 2 trips per day
 Sweeping of streets: every day in the morning
 Step 2 handled by concessioner:  transport from Transfer zones to Land fill, land fill operations, now UPL + BEIL, contract representing 30% of total costs of SWM budget, integrated project

3 main yards for Transfer Stations, 1 additional to come
PPP (Public Private Partnership) between CCMC (Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation)
Today collaboration: CCMC+UPL+ BEIL
UPL major Corp: United Posperous Ltd, with Tatva branch: environmental branch
Velaloor facility and dump fill site: UPL managing and responsible for it
·      Pre-processing: segregation of major items (big items, biodegradables, pillows, bed matrases…) processing and land fill facility
·      No vermicomposting
·      Only ‘City’ compost
Waste generated then treatment> innert material, disposed in landfill
Sanitary landfill with linear system started with impermeable layers
800t to 900t/day
200 to 250 trucks per day (smallest 1/2t up to 18t)
·      Receiving area: manual segregation: 20 people, major recyclables, matrasses, pillows, long trees branches…all material that cannot go to conveyers
·      Conveyers: only small material:
1st filtering goes through 2 stages, 2 outputs: >100mm, <100mm
<100mm mostly organic, biodeg
Recyclables venders: plastic, bottles, metals, coco shells…
Compost: 4 weeks windrow process, with composting agents: EM, and Natural Vell SWM, from Clever Organics

2nd stage: feeding, refinement section: 50mm filters, plastic eliminated
then destoner machine
Old material forming layers+ closing soil
Main Pb: soft plastic
Turning of piles weekly
Business model:
Composting sold as Tatva Shakti
300t to 400t per month: 2000Rs to 4000Rs per ton
RDF (Refused derived Fuel): 20 to 30t /month: 1000Rs to 2000Rs per ton

Other part of Dump fill:
Closing area with old waste from former times
Dump fill with 2 closing sites: 1 already achieved
1 in process: basic layers: geotex layers: prevent linkage and penetration
2 other closures in the city, beautiful gardens, landscaping…
Employees in Dump fill:
100 to 120, wages: 300 to 400Rs per day


RDF plant

And in the back of this picture, where workers live, on the reclaimed area, in front of the new hill to be closed up... not really... high-genic!

I now need to collect raw datas, put them into a statistical model, a linear regression, publish datas on 59 cities in India, 28 states and run a comparison between 2 examples with deeper analysis... suggesting other ways to engage communities, to motivate, treat workers...

Hoping this is all public-able material in Intl Journals and conferences...

Friday, June 21, 2013

End of 5 intense weeks of PhD methods...

real tough but necessary to conduct a proper research in the frame of a PhD.
Now looking at concrete projects in India...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Some say that sharing feelings is inappropriate...

So... what about the example of that good friend of mine as well part of my PhD ADC, amazingly smart, PhD from Berkeley, great poet as you will see hereafter, established in his faculty world, yet sharing very intimate feelings (which for a indian is even more daring!):
Here is one of the very personal email he sends sometimes on a monday morning to a circle of his friends/students...:

"Real men dont cry. thats what they say. Sometimes unreal men dont cry either :-) take me for instance. tears come tough to me. I've cried a handful of times in my life. And in that handful perhaps twice for my fathers accidental death more than twenty five years ago. Once soon after it happened, talking to a dear friend of him. And now on this trip to delhi when i was re-reading. the joint will he had written for himself and my mother perhaps thirty years ago. suddenly, spontaneously, the tears they just came marching in.
Sometimes the purity of a love just overwhelms you. such was his love. and will. at one level it was a classic will. written in the language that brings a sparkle to the lawyers eyes, and nudges the judges to nod their heads solemnly. a model will with attention paid to the important details. but that was not what made me cry. it was the love that broke me.  his immense caring for his wife, our mother. and the clear will that she never ever be made to feel less for his passing. an unimpeachable fairness in relation to his sons. provisions made for any debts to be repaid. for a foundation to help give access to education for those with the desire but not the resources - something he deeply cared for. consideration given to the uncertainty of future events yet to come. and thought given to people yet to come in his life. such as his youngest son's wife. my wife. 

And the real endowment, the real will - his and my mothers. That we inherit the integrity, love and respect that they gave each other and us - every moment of their lives. that we, their sons, honor and cherish each other just as they did us. and a will, a foresight that built in mechanisms to help us along the way. just in case :-)
"We have considered this point carefully. we do not want to leave behind disputes, ill-will and dissatisfaction among our children and we want them to live in peace, amity, and complete co-operation. after considering various pros and cons..."
Such love and such attention to detail? and so the tears came. some for the smallness of the spot fixed and match fixed world i see around me - the greed, the selfishness, the daily lies and insincerities, and that awesomely inexplicable pettiness. and some in gratitude. for the fortune of having as a father a person who showed us - through his life, his little and big actions, his born in the marrow of his bones integrity, his undeniable love and his living will - that there is another music one can hear too.  it will not be an easy comfortable life. but it will be the song of a river that runs far beyond, far richer, far deeper. all it takes to know that we have this choice too is one example, one life. one will :-)
The poem for this edition of the monday morning mail is a song by leonard cohen - one my favorite songwriter singers. what can i say about that lovingly etched by time face and that gravelly voice :-) and the magic of the man's words... 
"If It Be Your Will"

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will. 

Leonard Cohen

After this, if you still believe one should not share, stay in the cold, not take the risks of love, compassion, accepting alterity, differences...swimming proudly like a swan, beautiful, cynical, clinical perspective on life, not willing to make compromises, to share from a place of compassion, understanding, acceptance, making compromises...

or is it just "me being me"?

Heres a haunting version of the song performed by the man himself, maybe with music and notes you will change your mind:

Almost 4 weeks of hard work, 1 more to go

This is getting really stuffy!!!

Whole week of 8 to 12 hours of class per day, till 8pm, the whole weekend.
AQM (Advance quantitative methods), NIE (New Institutional Economics), QRM (Quantitative Research methods)...

These whole 4 weeks, between 8 to 12hours of class per day, with the compulsory night reading of prep articles, which take me forever!

Things to asses, compare, salaries, solvability, project with STATA...

Or these economical macro models:

"Contrary to theoretical expectations, measures of willingness to accept greatly exceed measures of willingness to pay. This paper reports several experiments that demonstrate that this "endowment effect" persists even in market settings with opportunities to learn." Coase theorem, Kahneman, 2000
The positivist approach in QRM and the french Auguste Comte to lead this trend of thought, which in my case does now improve my understanding of it all!!
My only source of contentement in 5 weeks was to have finished my own paper on:
       Technological Innovation in Social Innovation (SI) context: specificities of pro-poor solutions from an Indian perspective

Purpose – This study aims to investigate the relationship between High Tech and Low tech Innovation Processes in the context of Social Innovation (SI) with a particular focus on pro-poor innovations developed in India. After defining the factors that play a role in this interaction this study attempts to define a new way to look at social innovation especially in bottom up approaches that are way more qualitative and human resources focused.

Findings – The results are surprising in the sense that High Tech and Low Tech processes can be found in antinomy in the examples we chose to study. Yet the key factors that drive those processes end up not being technological but human. The way these human interactions can succeed in order to insure best implementation become core to social innovation processes.

2nd 43rd celebration of my Bday!

Indeed last year I was convinced for weeks that I had turned 43 after June 12th when i was only... 42.
How India can make you loose track of time, of references at time!

This time I even feel so much younger, probably because I am surrounded by MBAs around 22, maybe because I take good care of myself swimming every day, eating well, veggie, and sleeping sound! (after long hours of studying).

No real stress for basic life here, you only have to study.

And at times invite a few friends to celebrate, sing and rebuild the world.

And teachers that finally understand how to feed me! Chicken tandorri!

Which like their class, gave me a huge indigestion the next day!

And the magical touch of my friend Deepak, not only guiding my research and writing:

your birthday poem, my dear friend, is a beautiful prayer by one of my favorite saints...
                                                                                                               "My Prayer for You"
May God bless you all with health, long life, peace, prosperity 
and spiritual enlightenment.

May you all walk in the Light of God, with God, with your hand in his, with the whole of you in his palm. Live in God; love in God; serve God in all beings. 
May that Supreme Being dwell in your eyes and in your heart, 
seeing His own self in all; seeing God himself in all. 
May we thus swim in the ocean of bliss.

May the peace that passeth all understanding dwell in your heart, 
radiate from every pore of your skin, bathing everyone who comes within 
the circle of your aura with that inexpressible peace. 
May harmony radiate from you, 
dispelling the darkness of disharmony wherever it is found. 
May bliss radiate from you, dispelling the gloom of suffering, misery, 
and pain - physical, mental, moral, and spiritual.

May God lead us from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to Light, 
from mortality to Immortality.

Assert every moment of your life: "I am the immortal Self. I am not the body. 
I am not this finite, limited mind. I am the immortal 

May you be established in that Self-realization right 
Swami Venkatesananda

You are a child of love, light and joy. May you know and live this truth in this own life and may you never say again "if i finish my phd..." :-) 

Like a mantra... like the one he gave me for life: I AM HAPPY... so simple

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Getting high up...Meta Level...looking for a clear view...

in the beautiful Nilgiri mountains and valleys, just a few hours away from Coimbatore.

Going from Coconut groves to tropical forest ending in Tea plantations...

And this amazing locomotive, 80 years old, maintained by the... french government since 50 years... taking you for 4h30 from Metupalayam to Coonoor!

Leaving at 7:15am arriving at midday up-there, 

in the middle of an ocean of ...Green

The Water man and the Key man of the steaming locomotive looking after the whistling lady every hour or so...
Bringing me back almost 40 years ago when my parents took us from French Polynesia to a trip in Sri Lanka, at the time very peaceful.
Same fresh air, beautiful lines of tea plantations...
And the sand man as one of the key men for getting high! putting some sand on the tracks to help the grip of the old lady, climbing her duty every day in tourist season!

Now mostly indians looking for air, fresh air, and less humid rain!

Old english mansions now transformed into B&B ... for my pleasure and peaceful stay!

Local women packing the best tea leaves over their heads in baskets with their agile fingers....

Touching small temples where the loco driver lid a candle on the way.

Always a sense of divinity in the simplest places... moves... rites....sincerity.

Unfortunately getting only clouds and fog that weekend!

and some oldies in the streets of Coonoor, from Cadillacs to Ambassadors...

My favourite stands of flowers, of fruits.

And the kites surfing around of St Anthony Cathedral on a cloudy sunday morning after mass.
Now here is a key discovery for me: this is called jugaad in India: DIY, pro-poor innovation by local people: one tire is starting to peel off, the driver stops on the side of the road by a timber workshop he spotted, gets a blade and cuts off the part that was banging the bus structure...
and off we go again!
Some 10 kms further, the tire explodes for good, and we simply wait 'for some time' for another bus to come from the same company...

Nobody moans. I have never seen a country with such a level of resilience... french would have shouted, started to strike, brits queued but protested, italian would have agitated their hands...

Here, they simply smile... happy to be alive!