A Talk on Jupyter Notebook

Home Page of jupyter.org states, “The Jupyter Notebook is an open-source web application that allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations and explanatory text. Uses include: data cleaning and transformation, numerical simulation, statistical modeling, machine learning and much more.” It really is much more!

Whereas the name stands for  Julia, Python and R languages, it supports over 40 programming languages.

UC Berkeley states that within 3 years of its release, Jupyter Notebook is being used by more than 1 million academics and professionals in fields ranging from finance to astrophysics. Jupyter has won significant praise and support and emerged as the gold standard application for data science. The software is considered a game-changer for research.

We can use it for exploratory software development, writing technical reports, blog posts,  presentations, and even to write full length books. Some publishers accept manuscripts of books in notebooks.

I have been using Jupyter Notebook while teaching various subjects and am hooked on to it now.

On 9th August at 6:00 p.m., I’ll be talking at Bangalore Science Forum on “Jupyter Notebook for Learning, Teaching, and Authoring.” The venue is H Narasimhaiah Memorial Hall, National College, Basavanagudi. The talk may be streamed live on this facebook page.

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Facts & (dis)Figures in Times of India Story on Electoral Rolls

On 16 July 2017, Time of India(TOI) allocated 120 centimeter-columns to stories about the status of electoral rolls of Bangalore Districts. They miss some important facts and references and could give a wrong impression to the readers.

TOI: “In the process of cleaning the voters’ list, the Palike [BBMP] has noticed a remarkable tilt in gender ratio in the constituencies. It only goes to show that not all women have registered as voters.”

Neither all the women nor all the men have registered as voters. This is not a news. The “remarkable tilt” in gender ratio noticed by BBMP is not supported by facts. However, the statement gives a feeling that women are grossly under-represented.

Let us look at the facts.

Page 45 of Census of India 2011, KARNATAKA, SERIES-30 PART XII-A, DISTRICT CENSUS HANDBOOK, BANGALORE states, “The sex ratio is defined as number of females to 1000 males. According to 2011 Census, the sex ratio of the district is 916.”

Therefore, if a constituency has a sex ratio lower than 916, then, females have a lower representation. Also, if the ratio is higher than 916, then, males have a lower representation.

Assuming the census report to be valid,  15 out of the 28 constituencies of Bangalore have sex ratios higher than 916 and one has 916. When only 12 out of 28 (43%) constituencies have a higher representation of males, it is strange that BBMP finds a “remarkable tilt” favouring male voters.  We can argue that there is remarkable tilt against male voters.

Based on the electoral rolls published by the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, (CEO) on 10 Jan 2017, the following chart shows the sex ratios of Bangalore constituencies KA150 to KA177.

voterSexRatio

The aggregate sex ratio of voters in Bangalore constituencies is 911, which, ideally, should have been 916. As seen the chart above, 5 or 6 constituencies have a much lower representation of females.


As per the TOI report, the Election Commission expects 70% of the population to be registered as voters whereas as per census report, 68.22% of the population of Karnataka is equal or above 18 years of age. Despite that, 119 of 198 wards of BBMP have more than 68% of the population registered as voters. Though I have reported this bloat in the voter list with illegal entries, there is no response from the CEO or the Commissioner, BBMP.

The following issues continue to erode the quality of electoral rolls:

  • Lakhs of duplicated records and fake entries.
  • Virtual deletion of voters due to software and process errors.
  • Larger than permissible booth sizes, causing poorer voter turnout%.
  • Non-inclusion of approved claims and objections (additions, corrections, and deletions).
  • Scant data on section address.
  • Errors in name, age, sex, relationship, and house
  • Unreadable records in PDF documents published at CEO’s website.

With the Assembly Election due in less than a year, we citizens have a duty to demand a better quality electoral rolls and their management.

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Mind Your Numbers, Mr CEO

Times of India reported on 26 Jan 2017:  “Around 72% of the state’s population will vote next year,” said Chief Electoral Officer, Anil Kumar Jha, “We have added 7.35 lakh new voters to the list and have decided to delete nearly 3.5 lakh. The gender ratio is 968 females per 1000 males.”

The population of Karnataka is reported as 6.5 crores. Electoral rolls of the state have 4,88,78,784 voters – 75.2% of the population. The news report also states, ” … nearly five crore people are eligible to vote in the 2018 assembly elections, ” predicting that 77% of the population could be in the electoral rolls.

As per the census of India, 41.1% of our population is under 18 years of age, making 59.9% of them eligible to register as voters. We know that many eligible citizens are not registered as voters. Even if every eligible person is registered as a voter, of the 6.5 crore population of Karnataka, only 3.89 crore people could be of voting age. Karnataka already has more than 1 crore illegal entries in the rolls.

The estimated population of Bangalore is 1.01 crore. This would make about 60 lakh above 18 years of age. But, Bangalore has 84,91,017 voters in the rolls.

Rampant duplicate entries and the dead living in the lists are the main causes of bloated electoral rolls. Or, is the population of Karnataka 8.16 crores? Or is the census report wrong on population and about age demography?

Electoral rolls of Karnataka as a whole have about 26% bloat and those of Bangalore have about 42% bloat. No wonder the voter turnout% is low in the state. The basis of calculation is faulty. Politicians and election commission authorities have been barking under a wrong tree, complaining of voter apathy. Don’t we know the source of real apathy? Apart from giving demoralising impressions, triggering wrong actions, poor quality of electoral rolls would also increase malpractices in the booths.

Of the 13 states/UTs I have been analysing, Karnataka has the worst Electoral Roll Management practice. I have repeatedly offered my help to improve its quality, to which there has been no response.


Movement of population in cities is much higher than in rural areas. Bangalore is the second fastest growing city in India. The churn should have resulted in much higher registration and deletion of voters due to the movement of population. However, in the period between the recent two versions of electoral rolls, when voter counts in the state as a whole increased by 1.69%, Bangalore has seen only 0.72% increase. When the state has deleted 0.68% of voters (duplicated records and shifted voters), Bangalore has deleted only 0.50%. This also proves the apathy of Electoral Registration Officers in Bangalore.

 

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Opposition ‘Parties’:  Oppose Sans Grace

All the political parties – ruling and opposition – unite on the matter of Jallikattu. A few lives are lost in the game in a couple of days. Opposition parties unite against demonetisation and stall the process in parliament. “For God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business in Parliament. Disruption of Parliament is not acceptable at all,”  laments the President of India. Opposition MPs are not in a mood to listen to the old man as they are having a great party within the Parliament.

As the case for Kambala in Karnataka gathers storm, former external affairs minister SM Krishna, like a seasoned bull,  charges his party leadership that the party did not want time-tested leaders but only managers. He is unhappy about not being invited any more to the small parties in the party.

“Nandan Nilekani, a high-profile member of the opposition Indian National Congress party, has joined a committee to map a path to digital payments. ”  I admire that a visionary like Nandan Nilekani is not sucked by the petty politics and works with grace for a greater cause. I also admire the central government for choosing a member of an opposition party as an advisor for its ambitious project.


The Annual Budget attracts bitter comments from the opposition parties and admiration from thought leaders, economists, industrialists and common men.

Rahul Gandhi states, “the budget lacked vision. This government talks so much of being pro-farmer, but did nothing for them.”

Industry leader Mohandas Pai states: ‘…  it’s a budget with a focus on farmers, rural area, on the poor, on women, on infrastructure, on digital economy and bringing in good governance… Overall, one would say that it is a good budget.”

While Sitaram Yechuri of CPM calls the budget a complete gimmick, Shashi Taroor of INC makes tongue-in-cheek shy comments, “Some borrowed ideas that are good, some new ideas that may be good but are yet to be tested … ”

Kiran Majumdar summarises her comments, “Overall, with this budget, Arun Jaitley has tried to make an attempt at cleansing the nation of black money by bringing in more transparency and accountability with a view to make India an inclusive and equitable society. ”

Economic Times prints the views of ” Some of the top economists, tax consultants and market analysts”

  • “could not have been a better budget in the given circumstances”
  • It is indeed a pro-growth budget
  • It is a step forward to transform the economy into meritocracy
  • The budget seems to be well-balanced
  • a fiscally prudent reformist budget
  • The reaffirmation of the Governments focus on GST was very reassuring
  • workable and realistic budget
  • healthy allocation for housing, agriculture & rural sector and infrastructure development.
  • The reduction in corporate tax rates for small companies will give a boost to the startup ecosystem
  • efficient and sensible budget

 

 

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Learning How to Learn – Mann Ki Bath

The Prime Minister spoke to the students and parents of the country in his monthly Mann Ki Bath address. There are numerous issues of national and international significance that he could have talked about. I admire that he spoke about learning discipline and how to face examinations.

Pieces of advice and guidances on cracking examinations and how to score high are plenty. Coaching to get admissions to higher education courses is a big business.

“Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects” is the most popular course from Coursera. I have benefitted by following some of its guidelines. I also highly recommend the simple book A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)  by Barbara Oakley.

If you would like to read intense books on the subject, then read The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge.

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Stale Data at Election Commissioner’s Website

ECI site provides a good feature to search for voters from all the states/union territories of the country. The problem is that ECI provided data is not synchronised with that published by the Chief Electoral officers of the states and union territories.

Technically, it is a bad practice to provide the same service from two different agencies using different applications and different data sets. If there is a compelling reason to do so, then the two organisations should follow data discipline, make user experience identical, and synchronise the data. Unfortunately, National Voters’ Services Portal does not follow these common sense principles.

During the past year, in a few emails I had communicated the problem to the Director-IT at ECI, but he seems to have ignored my observations.

Situation today:

Voter data at ECI site seem to be what CEO Karnataka published in Jan 2016. The CEO has published two more version since then – in Oct 2016 and  Jan 2017. Voters registered since Jan 2016 do not appear in at ECI site. The voters who have been deleted since Jan 2016 continue to appear in the lists at ECI site.

Navigating from a page at CEO website you can open any voter list and search for the added and deleted voters at ECI site. The added won’t appear and the deleted would show up. Also, the voter serial numbers would differ from those in the list.

Stale and unreliable data published by the apex body of electoral organisation can confuse the voters and lead to wrong actions,  further deteriorating the already poor quality of electoral rolls.

On National Voters’ Day on 25 Jan the President of India will honour various officers of ECI organisation for their “excellent services” to the country.

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Good and Bad Blood are Both Thicker Than Water

Yadavs Mulayam and his son Akhilesh. Bad blood. No – they both have good blood, but there was bad blood between them. Mulayam expelled Akhilesh and his loyalists from the political party, which he thought was his. Before the opposition could have a gala party to celebrate the weakening of SP in the new year’s eve, Akhilesh is accepted back in the party. A prodigal son? Mulayam may soften the situation with such thought, but Akhilesh did not seem repent. Prodigal father? We do not have a moral story to support this.

In 2006 when HD Kumaraswamy parted ways with INC and formed an alliance with BJP to usurp power, his father HD stated that he was ashamed of his son’s act – an unholy alliance followed by stabbing a friend on the back. Did it run in the blood? Most of us would have forgotten how HD treated his mentor Ramakrishna Hegde. On the day HD was to be sworn as the CM of Karnataka, his supporters beat Ramakrishna Hegde with chappals in the stairs of Vidhana Soudha. After denouncing his son in public, it was reported that HD watched the swearing ceremony of Kumaraswamy on TV with glee. In a couple of days, HD publically pardoned HDK and the loyal son and doting father was in the same party. Now the father and son have a great party – most others having left it stinking and sinking.

Madras witnessed the extra-vagrant wedding of Jayalalitha’s foster son DN Sudhakar. I was in that city on that day, inconvenienced and very irritated. Madras became Chennai and Amma disowned the son. She dis-disowned the son again, it was reported. However,  when he came to visit the Amma at Apollo hospital in October last year, he was not allowed entry. Bad blood? There is no common blood between this Amma and this once foster son. Is there water? Amma’s fame is partly due to her fight for Kavery water with the state where was born.

The ever-attempting-to-rise son-of-Sonia is out of the country, partying the new year in a city where his father met his mother at a party in a restaurant. His party would wish him to be fishing in the troubled waters of UP  with the next assembly elections in mind.

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