Newspaper Garbage Bin Liners

Newspaper Bin Liner Collage
For almost 4 years, we went without newspapers. Flipboard & Feedly were the primary source of daily news (link to an older post YES to News, NO to Paper). Business news from Business Standard, global news from BBC, local news from Deccan Herald, editorial & opinions from The Hindu — it was the best of many worlds. And there were no stacks old newspaper to take care of.
Then came the diktat from our housing society that only newspapers are to be used to line the wet garbage bins. There was no way out of this, but to start buying newspapers again.

The local delivery boy defaulted to The Times Of India. Unfortunately nothing had changed with this publication over the years. It was as trashy. Focus on sensationalism rather than news. It has its pluses, but the negatives far outweigh. Even though we started it for the garbage bins, where the ToI rightly belonged, it seemed so wrong that we were contributing to its circulation. We changed over to The Hindu.
The Hindu has been a revelation. It has positively changed over the years. More pictures, but in moderation. More importantly, pictures are relevant to the news. Without worries, we let the kids read it. It even runs Calvin & Hobbes.
It does as good a job as any with lining the bins too. It has helped that I’ve discovered a cool way of making bin liners with newspapers from The Alternative.

Picture courtesy:

Reading Discoveries Of The Year

One of the things I intend to do more of in 2014 is reading books, especially of the non-IT & non-business variety. This quest has already led me on to a few discoveries. 

1. Having finished reading a book mid-week, I found myself without a book to read at bed time. Remembering an Amazon feature, I Googled (this word is still highlighted as a grammatical error) to learn that I can indeed borrow a digital book from another amazon user. A few whatsapp messages later, I was gleefully experiencing the lend or borrow Kindle books feature of Amazon. Coincidentally, the first book that my sister lent me was Start Something.

2. It was mid-way through yet another week that I finished Start Something & found myself with the prospects of not having anything for bed time reading again. This time I chanced upon the free eBooks collection of Amazon. Autobiographies, thrillers, classics, etc., this is surprisingly very well stocked & I wanted to get started on many titles all at once. Do note that one doesn’t even need to own a Kindle to indulge in this collection.

3. I resorted to an online recommendation to decide which book to start with. The Thirty-Nine Steps was 1915 novel, described as racy & just 100 pages (minimizing risk exposure). The clincher for me was that this book was a prelude to the now common man-on-the-run genre of Hollywood movies. I couldn’t stop smiling the first few pages – I had completely forgotten such writing existed. This book was read soon & thoroughly enjoyed!

Wishing for many more such serendipitous discoveries during the course of 2014 .. thanks to the years goals & resolutions. 

List of Uttarakhand Relief Donations

While most of our media has moved on from covering the disaster at Uttarakhand, the job of rebuilding the devastated areas & the lives of those affected is far from over. The looming winter season only makes the effort required urgent to avoid the calamity becoming worse than what it has already been.

It is not the time to think about the portion of your contribution that might not reach those it is intended for. Instead make a contribution with the faith that every paisa that reaches the ground is absolutely essential in making life a little bit better for those who are living through a hellish situation. Make a contribution because generosity is its own reward.

If you are thinking of make a monetary donation to the Uttarakhand relief work, use the below list of organizations working for the cause. This is neither a recommended list nor an exhaustive one. If you can add to the list, please leave a comment with the details so that some other reader can use the same. 

Action Aid
ActionAid International
Art Of Living
Association For India’s Development (AID)
CRY India
CRY - Non-Profit Organization
GroupOn India
HelpAge India
Indian Red Cross
Mountain Children’s Foundation
Oxfam India
People’s Science Institute
Pragya India
Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, (PMNRF)
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
Save The Children
Seeds India
The Indian Express
Uday Foundation
Uttarakhand Chief Ministers Relief Fund
Uttarakhand Logo
World Vision India
World vision India

Highlights of Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post

(Photo courtesy CNNMoney)

The news world is abuzz with news & conversations about the Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post. Here are a few points in the announcements that caught my attention:

  • Bezos’ first communication to The Post’’s employees elaborated clearly where the priority lies – the customer.
    • The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners.
    • We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there.
  • How often do we get to hear about an individual’s decency as a deciding factor in world of mergers & acquisitions? In the case of Jeff Bezos, it seems quite often.
    • From Donald Graham’s statement: “Jeff Bezos’ proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for The Post.
  • As seen in earlier cases earlier (like when Zappos was acquired by Amazon), values finds multiple mentions in Bezos’ communication.
    • When a single family owns a company for many decades, and when that family acts for all those decades in good faith, in a principled manner, in good times and in rough times, as stewards of important values – when that family has done such a good job – it is only natural to worry about change.
    • The values of The Post do not need changing.

It will indeed be interesting to see how Bezos will try & innovate The Post out of its financial misery. What kind of innovations will we get to see in the world of news publishing? After the medium, is it now the turn of the content to play a role in Bezos’ & Amazon’s vision?