18 August 2014

Gremlins Attack!

It has not been a good few days for technology in my life.

My car is in the shop and won't be done until later today or Tuesday.

My newest laptop died this weekend, although my old spare that I am using now is limping along.

Sometime between 12:46 p.m. and 3:20 p.m. on Sunday, my office suite's phones, local area network, file server, and Internet connection died.  I think that our e-mail server also works through this network.  Also, since it was the weekend, the HVAC systems in our office were shut down and the lights went out every hour until I went into the hall to restart them.  Two and half hours later, I left the office too frustrated to try to make everything work.

While my car has been in the shop, I have been using the car2go smart car share system.  But,  on Sunday afternoon, the same time that the office systems died, I reserved a car that was supposedly at 1221 East Alameda Avenue, but after walking several blocks to get there, there was no car even though the system showed that it was still there.

Also, this weekend, my phone died for almost a day, although I hadn't realized that fact, because the batteries were dead.

Also, this morning, the copying machine had a paper jam even though it hadn't had one when I left on Friday afternoon.

I also learned that our managing partner and office manager were both on vacation (and our law clerk finished his summer on Friday), so the usual suspect to fix the tech problems were away.  One lawyer colleague, a former lawyer at the firm in doing some contact work, my assistant and I were it. 

We may not be back to the Stone Age, but we are definitely back to the Bronze Age of paper and pen, and maybe even to the Middle Ages when the printing press was invented, because we do have law books that we can refer to in the meantime.

I am currently encamped in Subway having a coffee and roll, and waiting for the cavalry to arrive, and trying to function with my spare computer and poached Internet service.

I'm totally blaming Gremlins for all of this mess.

14 August 2014

Sanskrit Resurected?

Before Israel became a state, Zionists worked to resurrect Hebrew, which had declined to the point where it was solely a liturgical language, as a living language. A similar movement, which has been embraced by India's Hindu nationalist party, is trying to restore Sanskrit, which is the source language for most of the Indo-European language of South Asia in much the same way that Latin it the source language for the Romance languages.
Sanskrit has somehow managed to remake itself as a living language. Universities around the world (including Penn), schools, and summer camps offer courses on spoken Sanskrit that are well attended, and there are villages in India where most of the people are conversant in Sanskrit. 
The reason I bring all of this up now is that BBC News Asia just published an article entitled "Why is Sanskrit so controversial?" which focuses on the political aspects of the spread of Sanskrit in recent times. One thing that I think needs to be made clear is that the modern rebirth of Sanskrit began long before the ascension of the BJP to power. 
"The 'Revival' Of Spoken Sanskrit In Modern India: An Ethnographic And Linguistic Study" (1998) 
Nonetheless, it is clear that the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well disposed toward Sanskrit and that this venerable classical language can expect to see additional gains in the coming years.
FWIW, the village in India linked above is home to three major Hindu temples and hence is not really inconsistent with Sanskrit's character is a primarily liturgical language with this village being analogous in some ways to Vatican City in Italy where Latin is still used as a living language by a community of ordained Roman Catholic religious officials.

A revival of Sanskrit, like the revival of Hebrew in Israel, could serve to unify a fractured Indian state as a nation whose current conceptual basis is multi-ethnic (in terms of ethnic identity and regional ethnic diversity, India is more analogous to the E.U. than to a particular European nation), but would do so at the cost of alienating non-Hindu minorities from this national identity.