On the Tail of the Tiger

A captive tiger at Bannerghatta National Park, Bengaluru, India. PHOTO: Rosanna Abrachan

A captive tiger at Bannerghatta National Park, Bengaluru, India. PHOTO: Rosanna Abrachan

The world has seen the population of individual wild tigers dwindle from 100,000 in 1913 to just about 3,200 now. Classified into six species, a majority of these surviving cats belong to the specie panthera tigris tigris, more popularly known as the Bengal tiger, that are found in India. Here too, their population, estimated to be between 20,000-40,000 at the turn of the 20th century, reduced to fewer than 2,000 by the 1970s, mostly due to hunting and poaching. It has now inched to 2,226, making India home to 70% of the world’s total tiger population.

Continue reading

A House For and By the People

This Swedish house was designed by two million people. PHOTO: Tech Insider

This Swedish house was designed by two million people. PHOTO: Hemnet

Technology and democracy – two great forces to reckon with in today’s world. And when these two come together, it exemplifies what community of thought and the powers and possibilities of science can do. Take the Hemnet House. Designed collaboratively by 2 million people (the population size of Jamaica, Latvia, Slovenia and more), the house stands for the greatest tenet of democracy – for the people, by the people.

Continue reading

A 3D Printed Shell for Fred

Fred the tortoise received a 3D printed shell after a horrific fire destroyed his original. PHOTO: 3DPrint

Fred the tortoise received a 3D printed shell after a horrific fire destroyed his original. PHOTO: 3DPrint

This one’s a win for goodwill and technology, a fine example of how how ideas can traverse diverse spaces and change lives. The high cost of human prostheses has long been a challenge for amputees and people born with missing limbs, but 3D printers have begun to change that. Unlike traditional manufacturing, 3D printing can create an object in almost any shape by reading a digital model. Using cheap materials, companies and non-profits can now print simple prosthetic hands and arms for as little as $50. And animals like Grecia and Derby, and now Fred, stand to gain, too.

Continue reading

The Most Continuously Staged Performance in the World

In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, this Ramayana ballet, performed in the Javanese style—a finessed form, associated with slow and deliberate movements—has been running continuously since 1961. PHOTO: Griyayunika

In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, this Ramayana ballet, performed in the Javanese style—a finessed form, associated with slow and deliberate movements—has been running continuously since 1961. PHOTO: Griyayunika

Java is one of the main islands in the archipelago nation of Indonesia, home to the country’s capital, Jakarta, and almost 60% of its population. The powerful Hindu kingdom of Majapahit flourished here from about the 13th to the 15th centuries, leaving its impact on culture, language and landscape. Temples in honour of Vishnu and Shiva are scattered through the islands, words from Sanskrit make appearances in the language, and names from the Mahabharata and Ramayana dot establishments and shops across cities. Still, in modern-day Indonesia, Hindus account for less than 2% of the population.

Continue reading

A Learning Laboratory (Stop Motion Video!)

Yesterday, Jonathon, Siobhan, Milo, and I moved into one of the new Raxa Collective properties under development. As the four of us huddled silently under our covers, the backwaters of Kerala’s nighttime accompanied Jonathon’s ghost stories…

Instead of spooky tales, though, today I want to share with you another story Jonathon narrates, Raxa Collective presents “A Learning Laboratory.” It’s a short video, Jonathon (narrator), Sunnie (illustrator), Siobhan (director), and I (producer) put together with the help of all the staff and summer interns to highlight some of the best anecdotes of how Raxa Collective’s Cardamom County ecolodge has acted as a “learning laboratory” for its staff, international trainees, and summer interns.

Enjoy!