The National: Google glitch causes confusion about Indian rupee conversion rate. “A temporary glitch in search engine Google’s currency converter tool on Wednesday showed the dirham-Indian rupee conversion rate to be much lower than it actually is, sparking confusion among Indian expats in the UAE. The Indian rupee was shown to have briefly plunged to about 24.8 versus the UAE dirham on Wednesday, according to rates aggregated by Google.” The rupee was actually worth about triple that.
The Hindu: Botanical Survey of India’s collection of rare paintings, dyes, fabrics and type specimens to go public
The Hindu: Botanical Survey of India’s collection of rare paintings, dyes, fabrics and type specimens to go public. “Apart from botanical paintings, the digital archive also displays rare natural dyes, fabrics and type specimens (the first collection that’s used for describing a plant). Each one of these rare holdings has its own story. Thomas Wardle, a Scottish businessman, whose business in silk dyes wasn’t doing well, visited the industrial section of the Indian Museum and, in one year, came up with about 3,500 samples of dye patterns extracted from 64 Indian plants. The 15 volumes of Wardle’s Specimen of Fabrics Dyed with Indian Dyes, published in 1886 and preserved with the BSI, has also been digitised.”
Indian Express: PIL against Google for showing Kannada as ‘ugliest language’ withdrawn after its apology
Indian Express: PIL against Google for showing Kannada as ‘ugliest language’ withdrawn after its apology. “The Karnataka High Court Wednesday disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to initiate legal action against Google India, after a query on the search engine for the ‘ugliest language in India’ returned Kannada as the answer.”
Mint: Tata-Cornell Institute (TCI) launches hub housing database of over 4,400 Indian FPOs. “Tata-Cornell Institute (TCI) for Agriculture and Nutrition on Wednesday launched a hub for Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) within its Center of Excellence in New Delhi. The hub, which features a first-of-its-kind database of Indian FPOs, has been created with a USD 1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation.” You can get an overview of FPOs here.
Washington Post: Massive randomized study is proof that surgical masks limit coronavirus spread, authors say
Washington Post: Massive randomized study is proof that surgical masks limit coronavirus spread, authors say. “The authors of a study based on an enormous randomized research project in Bangladesh say their results offer the best evidence yet that widespread wearing of surgical masks can limit the spread of the coronavirus in communities. The preprint paper, which tracked more than 340,000 adults across 600 villages in rural Bangladesh, is by far the largest randomized study on the effectiveness of masks at limiting the spread of coronavirus infections.”
BBC: Covid-19: The Indian children who have forgotten how to read and write. “Like everywhere else in India, schools have remained shut since March last year when the country went into lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19. Affluent private schools and their students switched to online classes seamlessly, but government-run schools have struggled. And their students – often with no laptops or smartphones and patchy access to the internet – have fallen behind.”
The Register: Yahoo! India! shuts! down! news! operation!. “Yahoo!’s Indian outpost has stopped publishing news – even news about cricket. ‘We did not come to this decision lightly,’ states an FAQ about the shut-down, adding ‘However, Yahoo! India has been impacted by changes to regulatory laws in India that now limit the foreign ownership of media companies that operate and publish digital content in India.’” Not surprising considering the regulatory situation in India, but also not great.
Firstpost: Online exhibition archives oral histories of the Kolis, degradation of Mumbai’s coastal ecology
Firstpost: Online exhibition archives oral histories of the Kolis, degradation of Mumbai’s coastal ecology. “Through generations, the Kolis have observed firsthand how the ecology has been disturbed, and given how closely intertwined their lives are with nature, have had to adapt to these changes. All this is evident in their photos, displayed at the online exhibition Through the Eyes of the Kolis: A Reflection of Mumbai’s Past, Present, and Future, created by the experimental think tank Bombay61 Studio, with The Heritage Lab and Ministry of Mumbai’s Magic (MMM).”
The Hindu: India has the world’s lowest survival rate of cinema. And this heritage needs attention. “In his book, The Death of Cinema, Paolo Cherchi-Usai refers to an article published in 1897 in which the life of a cinematograph frame is arithmetically worked out as ‘one-and-one-third seconds’. So, Usai says, it is the most ephemeral of things, whose life is even shorter than that of a firework, and he wonders whether film eventually exists only in the minds of its viewers. If so, physical preservation of film becomes secondary. Indian culture, with its penchant for concepts like maya and transience, seems to follow a similar attitude to cinema.”
AP: Georgia Teens Start Program to Teach Telugu, Tamil Languages. “From a young age, South Forsyth High School students Suhaas Bonkur, Krithika Kasireddy, Ritika Vemulapalli and Vinay Polaku began learning Telugu and Tamil, which are south Indian languages. When the four friends began hanging out, their speaking and comprehension skills strengthened, as well as their bonds with each other. In March, Bonkur began to develop an idea for a free tutoring service that would offer students of any age the opportunity to learn Telugu and Tamil. It wasn’t until his three friends jumped on board that the program started to take off.”