Category: Uncategorized

Monday Reads – 06/07

landscape nature flowers summer
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We are now more than halfway through 2020, yay! Here are some interesting reads, as we enter the traditional ‘summer holiday’ season in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere:

Farmers’ markets go hi-tech – Starting off with an article that I can personally relate to. One of the surprising things in this lock-down, for me, was the access I had to excellent quality produce, especially fruits. Now, I understand that I am speaking from a position of privilege. But as this article covers, the use of technology has also helped (at least some) farmers get a better return on their produce than they might have received from traditional channels. I do hope this trend continues and grows.

Could adding a new public holiday boost the economy? – While staying in India, the thought that adding public holidays could boost the economy might sound very strange. My view is that most Indians would rather prefer to take some time off and chill at home or visit family and friends if they get a day off. This is very different in some other countries. And I have personal experience of this from my time staying abroad. In many countries, holidays are a time of going out, doing things (leading to increased spends). This article goes deeper into the economic ramifications of a day off.

What’s wrong with WhatsApp – It’s not been the best of times for Facebook recently. And this article goes into detail on some of the negative aspects of one of the most popular social networking and communications platform.

‘Travel will never, ever go back to the way it was’ – In my opinion, travel is one of the industries that’s been impacted massively by the current pandemic. The CEO of one of the world’s leading travel companies, Airbnb, feels that the changes are likely to be permanent.

Too Many Screens – Another change that we can all relate to is the increasing amount of time all of us are spending in front of screens. I am sure that we will agree that this is not healthy. As this article asks, “At what point do we turn it off?

Monday Reads – 29/06

laptop beside glass of water and pineapple
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Organisation culture, consumer mindset, How to Rest, Eat and more in this week’s set.

How to Sustain Your Organization’s Culture When Everyone Is Remote – While most of my work happens remotely, I used to work out a co-working space. I enjoyed the feeling of ‘going to work’ and being surrounded by other co-workers. I no longer do so, but there is no doubt that remote working can and must be impacting the culture at many organisations. “Culture is ultimately about the actions we take and make visible to others, and the meanings we invest in those — harder, but not impossible, to maintain from the kitchen table.

Are Recent Trends Here to Stay? – Some insights from Search trends on Google on understanding consumer mindset during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Lost Art of True Rest – When, if ever, do we really ‘Rest’? This is a question worth introspecting over, especially in the current situation.

Defund The Police – A great take on the movement against racial discrimination in the US. While the circumstances leading up to it have been very sad, it is nice to see some action being taken. This article highlights some more action that can be taken by corporates to sustain the movement and bring long-lasting and impactful change.

You’ve got five appetites — not just one – Over the past couple of years, I have consciously tried to eat healthier. I strongly feel that this is one of the best steps we can take to a healthier lifestyle. Definitely worth a read (and hopefully, action).

 

Monday Reads – 22/06

backlit beach dawn dusk
Photo by Cedric Lim Ah Tock on Pexels.com

We have just had a very interesting day (at least in India). Yesterday, June 21, was the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, The International Yoga Day, Father’s Day and Music Day. And in India (and other parts of Asia), we got to witness an Annular Solar Eclipse.

Here are a few articles to kick off the week:

The Lifelong Exercise That Keeps Japan Moving – While Yoga is undeniably a great practice to inculcate, another nation has its own unique way of ensuring its citizens stay fit. It’s called “Rajio taiso” and is broadcast daily on Japan’s national radio, streamed on YouTube and practised daily by Japanese of all ages.

Stop Preparing For The Last Disaster – Our tendency as a society is to prepare ourselves for a repeat of the last disaster. This article makes the thought-provoking point that a better approach might be to ‘step back…look at what made us so vulnerable to it in the first place‘.

The Reasons Why People Become Incompetent At Work – Many of us might have heard this phrase in corporate life – “Every employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence“. But I did not know, until after reading this article, that the quote was termed by an educationalist called Laurence J Peter, back in 1969. And it continues to remain valid even 50 years on. It leads one to wonder – what is it about the corporate fascination with ‘climbing up the ladder’ that has led to the persistence of this phenomenon?

iAddiction – On a related note is this article on ‘the pursuit of dopamine‘. It states that ‘Technological change is vastly outpacing our species’ ability to adapt to an endless barrage of stimuli. This discrepancy in modulation has exploded our levels of teen depression and social chaos.‘. And it suggests that we practice the art of ‘slowing down‘ to combat this effect.

 

Monday Reads – 15/06

seashore under white and blue sky during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Articles about Travel, Sustainable Food, The Art of Listening and more in this week’s list:

Why travelers need to rethink their attitude to travel – There is no doubt that travel is one of the worst affected industries by the pandemic. While the industry is cautiously reopening, the recovery is going to be slow. And there is a strong likelihood that things might never go back to ‘normal’. As this articles states, “Each of our individual drives to travel will be different, but as we’re all likely to travel less, it’ll be a lot more important to really understand why we want to travel somewhere so that we can really appreciate it.”

How to feed the world without destroying the planet – This is an article from last year, but still very pertinent. As the world’s population is expected to touch 10 billion by 2050, the article looks at what would need to change across the way we produce and consume food to ensure that everyone has access to a healthy diet.

Coordination Problems: What It Takes to Change the World – “It’s possible to change things on a large scale if we are able to communicate on a much greater scale. When everyone knows that everyone knows, changing what we do is much easier.

How to Disagree Well – Of late, I have started to see more articles trying to connect observations while working at home (typically related to family) with business situations. This is one such post. Worth a quick read.

Bird-watching at Kaikondrahalli Lake

After nearly 3 months of lock-down, I have been feeling a touch of cabin fever lately. So, this weekend, I decided to head off to nearby Kaikondrahalli Lake for a bit of bird-watching (with my mask on, of course).

Kaikondrahalli Lake is an example of a success story in public participation to conserve Bangalore’s natural heritage. A citizen’s initiative ensured that the lake was not destroyed by rampant construction. I am not sure if it’s still being maintained by the citizens, but it is a nice lake in the neighbourhood. It’s not very large, and the good part is that it’s not been completely ‘beautified’, but rather parts of the lake have been left ‘as is’, providing a variety of habitat not often seen in other, more ‘developed’ lakes.

I have come bird-watching a couple of times before to this lake. But right from the time I started my walk around the lake this time, I was struck by the sheer number of birds that I could see all over the lake and the trees on the small island at the centre of the lake. There were 2 groups of over 60 dabchicks (Little Grebes) each whereas I had never before seen more than a couple of these birds together. The small island at the centre held a flock of over 12 Painted Storks. The trees by the side of the lake had numerous cormorant nests and parents were busy constantly feeding their chicks. I also saw numerous Grey Herons where before I might only have seen a few of them on a single water body. I did not see too many non-water birds, but by the end of my relatively short walk of about an hour, I had spotted about 32 species. Not bad, I would say!

Here’s the full list of birds that I spotted:

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Indian Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Spot-billed Pelican
  6. Purple Heron
  7. Grey Heron
  8. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  9. Indian Pond-Heron
  10. Cattle Egret
  11. Little Egret
  12. Painted Stork
  13. Oriental White (Black-headed) Ibis
  14. Glossy Ibis
  15. Spot-billed Duck
  16. Black Kite
  17. Brahminy Kite
  18. Common Moorhen
  19. Purple Moorhen
  20. Common Coot
  21. Blue Rock (Feral) Pigeon
  22. Rose-ringed Parakeet
  23. Asian Koel
  24. White-breasted (throated) Kingfisher
  25. Black Drongo
  26. Common Myna
  27. Jungle Myna
  28. House Crow
  29. Jungle (Large-billed) Crow
  30. Ashy Prinia
  31. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  32. Purple-rumped Sunbird