Age of Stupid

Sustainable future workshop

Exploring a Sustainable Future

A 6-day Workshop at Auroville

September 14-19, 2009

Fee: Rs.8000

Register before August 16, 2009

What is Auroville?

Auroville is a universal township, located in Tamil Nadu, India, about 8 km from the town of Puducherry (Pondicherry). Auroville is recognised as the first and only internationally-endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, also concerned with – and practically researching into – sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.

The Auroville community has experimented with many sustainable technologies since it was founded in 1968 and has a solid basis of achievement in the areas of reforestation, renewable energy, appropriate building technologies, water and sanitation, including decentralized wastewater treatment systems. (For more information on Auroville, look up the website: www.auroville.org)

What is the workshop about?

‘Exploring a Sustainable Future’ introduces some of the Auroville technologies and explores an integral approach to sustainable practices. This includes exploring inner sustainability, without which humanity will not be able to achieve a permanent change of consciousness.

The workshop includes theoretical sessions, practical demonstrations and site visits. In the classroom sessions, we will cover topics such as the environmental crisis, concepts of sustainability, water harvesting, wastewater treatment, solar energy, earth construction, food, community-building and wellness. We will take you on visits to see practical applications of sustainable principles. You will also get an opportunity to experience activities that explore the inner dimension.

We presume that you are coming to the workshop because you are concerned with the state of the world and are looking for solutions. We will do our best to widen your perspectives – about the world, the state of the environment, your society, your lifestyle, and yourself. One week is too short a period to effect deep changes, but we want to show you what is possible. We believe that ideas, technologies, and practices are less crucial than the effort to change one’s mindset.

The workshop will be an intensive one with sessions from 8.45 am to 9.00 pm every day. You will have some group assignments too.

What will the workshop NOT cover?

The workshop is not a detailed training programme on any of the technologies being experimented with in Auroville. If you only want to learn the technology of earth construction, ferrocement, solar energy, etc., skip this workshop and look for the specialized courses offered from time to time in Auroville.

Who will be the workshop faculty?

The sessions will be handled by an interdisciplinary group of Auroville residents, assisted by some external faculty.

Any other details?

The workshop is limited to 25 participants and will be conducted in English. Boarding and modest shared accommodation will be provided in Auroville at the Center Guest House, Centre Field, Auroville, located at the very centre of Auroville not far from Matrimandir. You can reach Auroville by the East Coast Road from Chennai (2.5 hours). It is about 8 km from Pondicherry (Puducherry).

Participants are expected to arrive on Sunday 13th September around 4 pm and leave on Saturday 19th September after lunch around 2 pm.

Please note that while we will give an introduction to the Matrimandir, at the centre of Auroville, and will view it from the outside, there will be no possibility to visit the inside of the Matrimandir during the workshop. Those who want to go inside should arrange to visit either before or after the workshop. Bookings can be made by phoning 0413-2622268.

Could I bring others with me as non-participants?

We are sorry we cannot accommodate non-participant family members, children, or friends. You are welcome to visit Auroville with them on a later occasion.

What is the workshop fee and how does one make the payment?

The workshop fee is Rs 8000/- including boarding and lodging from Sunday evening (13th September) until Saturday afternoon (19th September). Please make the payment only through a crossed cheque payable to ‘Auroville Maintenance Fund’.

If you are very keen on attending the workshop, but cannot afford the full fee, please give us reasons why we should offer you a partial scholarship.

How do I register for the workshop?

For registration, kindly write to :

Vandana Sanjay, avworkshop2009 ATT gmail DOTH com

Ms. Vandana Sanjay was a participant at the last workshop that was conducted in April 2009. She has volunteered to do all the preliminary work for the September workshop. She will be able to answer many of the queries you may have.

If necessary, you can also get in touch with the following member of the workshop team:

Prof.R.Rajagopalan, rrgopalan2005 at gmail dottt com

Applications and payment should reach Ms. Vandana Sanjay at the latest by August 16, 2009. You will receive an immediate email confirmation. If your application is received after we are full, we will have to regretfully return your cheque.

Garbage

Language oriented programming

The best way to write programs is to write a programming language and then start programming in that language.

If anybody thinks it is too much of effort and this statement is just an exaggeration, then I would like to disprove these thoughts in this post. My experience says that this sentence forms a basic philosophy needed to write good programs.

As usual wordpress is not good place to write about code! So refer to my original post here.

Teacher

Briefly:

Teacher is a new form of book which interacts with the reader and takes intelligent decision of showing selective contents depending on how the interaction with reader is going on.

The Idea:

Imagine that Albus Dumbeldore takes up challenge of giving all possible knowledge to all mortals on this earth. But unfortunately in Hogwarts there are not enough teachers to handle the huge student population. After high level meeting with ministry of magic a solution comes up. The ministry decides that all good teachers from earth should pour their knowledge in library of Hogwarts in the form of magical books. The magical books can be printed or manufactured in myrides of instances. Books being plenty in number can cover the population. And also books being magical, can teach interactively like a teacher. Ok so coming back to realities from fairy tale! Teacher is an interactive book (to start with an e-book running in a browser!) which keeps its eye open to take feedback from reader in various forms (How to take feedback is not decided yet!). After every section or paragraph it collects inputs from user and learns what percentage of the knowledge the reader has grabbed. Once it is satisfied with the knowledge level of reader it moves ahead to give next level of knowledge. If it is not satisfactory then it rearranges its contents in the coming section such that it exactly addresses that issue which reader did not understand in previous section.  In fact at end we might even have complete report of a student how he went with studies! And many reports from many students can also form a good feedback (with actual statistics) in restructuring of the book.

What issues does it handle? :

Knowledge is available from books as well as from teachers. Best teachers have limited reach. They can teach only few university students. Best books can cover much more students. But limitation with a book is that it has knowledge in static form. Good teachers judge from audio and visual feedback to adjust what concept to teach next. My concept “Teacher” will have mechanism to take feedback from reader and change itself so as readers of different capabilities go with different pace. At the end the book should have done the task of delivering desired knowledge to the reader irrespective of grasping power of the reader.

A challenge for grown ups

Are we too many?

“The Earth is not just an ordinary planet! One can count, there 111 kings (not forgetting, to be sure, the Negro kings among them), 7000 geographers, 900,000 businessmen, 7,500,000 tipplers, 311,000,000 conceited men– that is to say, about 2,000,000,000 grown-ups.”

This is passage from a book, The Little Prince. These figures are old because the book is old enough to not to have recent figures. And one should also consider the fact that author might not have had access to Google and/or wikipedia😉 Now we, the people form a big number of 6.7 billion. With this number increasing, all the developed nations are worried. They think (god knows whether they really think so or they just pretend it!) that we (meaning…they actually point to we, the third world countries!) humans have grown too much in number. They talk a lot about population and ways to prevent population growth.

I am writing this to break this myth. Yes it is myth. What on earth makes you guys think that there is too much of population? can you guess how much physical area all human beings take up on earth’s surface? Before reading ahead just make a guess and write down your guess in square kilometers.

If you have written down the figure, let me start breaking the myth. Let us imagine that we decide to pack all humans closely and then measure the total area used by them. We will make all human beings stand for a school assembly in disciplined manner. Let me give “just” comfortable space for every human being. In one square meter 4 people can stand very comfortably (that even accounts for obese people around!). That means that we totally need 6.7/4 billion square meters in total for all human beings. can you imagine how big is that number?

6.7/4 10e9 sq meter = 1675 sq km!
= 40 km x 40 km!

40 km x 40 km just covers one big city in India or a small island in sea! Thats it! All humans beings total do not occupy too much of area on earth! We occupy only 1675 sq km out of total 510,065,600 sq km area available on earth!