Columnists,Ajith de Alwis

Let us be more responsive and responsible!

Views - 215 Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:00

If one attribute has to be named that is seriously at an all-time low in Sri Lanka, then that is discipline. Discipline of all types may be but one area stands out. That is our sheer lack discipline with respect to waste management, where no amount o


Polythene and plastics: The guilt is ours!

Views - 2096 Thursday, 3 August 2017 00:02

 The Government of Sri Lanka has declared a ban and restrictions on the use of plastic bags and lunch sheets, etc. The new regulations are to come into effect from 1 September 2017.  The lunch sheet and the bag have been around for a lo


We think we cannot, therefore we cannot! Our power of self-doubt!

Views - 2037 Thursday, 20 July 2017 00:00

We need to place a different fuel to drive the economic engine. The fuel that is on everyone’s lips – except ours of course – is innovation and there is hardly any disagreement outside Sri Lanka, that innovation is being


Our tryst with mosquitoes!

Views - 3076 Thursday, 22 June 2017 00:10

This small specie – small in size but quite big in impact – is creating havoc among us these days. The Government has a serious emergency at hand consequent to mosquito bites and specifically the bites of one species – Aedes aegy


Submerged with guilt and neglect!

Views - 3121 Thursday, 8 June 2017 00:00

  Sahana software (www.sahanafoundation.org), which was developed after the tsunami by a few Sri Lankans, is an open source disaster management software and is identified as the world’s most popular open-source information manag


Tiny commitments from a thousand homes – mind separating matter!

Views - 3658 Thursday, 25 May 2017 00:00

     Some may be wondering after Meethotamulla where all the Colombo waste is going. However, I do have a feeling that most had no idea whatsoever where things were disappearing into until the pictures of Meethotamul


Colombo garbage: The smell of death and the despair of inaction!

Views - 4237 Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:09

    Colombo woke up to a rude reality when on Aluth Avurudu day at around 2.45 p.m. the accumulated heap of garbage at Meethotamulla gave way, resulting in the death of 33 with more than eight missing. The number of hou


Joining the greatest hunt in science – Sri Lanka with CERN

Views - 4657 Thursday, 20 April 2017 00:00

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha and the CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heurer sign an Expression of Interest Agreement to begin cooperation between CERN and the scientific c


March with intent and research with impact – SLAYS, you are important!

Views - 6274 Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:00

  Young scientist Shalini Thiruchittampalam was quite eloquent and with subtle humour articulated her research work ‘Probable chemical compounds from Sri Lankan flora for the treatment of neurodegeneration’ at the


Data that we have, situations that we do not see, decisions that we may not take…

Views - 5844 Thursday, 16 February 2017 00:00

A boy going to school on a misty morning up country. More than 500 schools in Sri Lanka are without basic sanitary facilities and only around 1,200 schools have science education going beyond Ordinary Level, while only 1.9% of GDP was use


Look, my streetlights are on!

Views - 6327 Thursday, 2 February 2017 00:10

I remember late Arthur C. Clarke used to write to the press quite often when we had power shortages – and there were many such instances I must say, indicating lit streetlights in Colombo in the middle of the day even in times of power short


Loosening ties and strengthening the economy

Views - 6237 Thursday, 19 January 2017 00:00

The Cabinet recently approved the guidelines for maintaining buildings in public institutions as green buildings and the proposal was made by President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment.&


A year in and a year out! What to do?

Views - 6939 Thursday, 5 January 2017 00:00

Dubai hosts one of the most expensive New Year’s Eve displays. Fireworks are launched from the Burj Khalifa,  the world’s tallest building     December 31st and January 1st are just two


Servants as Masters: Clouding judgment, stifling real growth

Views - 7019 Thursday, 22 December 2016 00:00

    Today we do have to ask some questions quite seriously from ourselves and others. What exactly are our goals that we have accepted and are supporting?  In Public Administration is it sacred conformance to circu


Researchers and elephants – we have a problem!

Views - 7147 Thursday, 8 December 2016 00:01

 John Dewey said that “every great advance in science has come from a new audacity of imagination” and these acts of imagination have to come from researchers. The numbers for Sri Lanka appear to be really worrying as the critica


From rhetoric to reality: Hot air to a hot climate!

Views - 7139 Thursday, 24 November 2016 00:01

Chunks of sea ice, melt ponds and open water are all seen in this image captured at an altitude of 1,500 feet by the NASA’s Digital Mapping System instrument during an Operation IceBridge flight over the Chukchi Sea on Saturday, 16


A City of Prosperity: A Tale of Two Commitments

Views - 8522 Thursday, 10 November 2016 00:00

It is interesting to view the Pittsburgh skyline at night from after going up the Duquesne incline, the means to which too is designed and provided. The sight and sounds demonstrate a city in business and today it is one of the most livable cities


Please don’t allow usual slips between the cup and the lip!

Views - 7528 Thursday, 27 October 2016 00:00

  The spectacle of a garbage dump burning and schools being closed and the residents moving around with handkerchiefs covering their noses and mouths at Badulla was news for more than one day. Even Air Force helicopters had t


Lest you forget! Please recycle from a damn good budget – S&T wise at least!

Views - 7924 Thursday, 6 October 2016 00:00

As a scientific citizen with a firm belief that the way out from this ‘economic near mess’ is by way of rapid use of science and innovation, I believe firmly that the Budget for 2016 presented last year had so many positive ideas and a


Colombo Resolution: Be resolute in action!

Views - 8726 Thursday, 15 September 2016 00:00

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to South Africa and Singapore Shehan Rathnavale of COSTI/Ministry of Science, Technology and Research presenting the Colombo Resolution at STS Forum Sri Lanka 2016     An impo


Science and Technology for Society: The Colombo Gathering

Views - 9233 Thursday, 1 September 2016 00:08

In 2015 the STS Forum in Japan witnessed the presence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe     It is quite rare that we have big scientific forums in Sri Lanka. Even though we speak of MICE tourism, Sri


An Ode to a Father: Reading makes a full man!

Views - 7713 Thursday, 18 August 2016 00:00

  In the landscape of Sri Lanka today reading is a rarity. Public libraries or public resource spaces are much less visual in towns and city centres than hoardings of places to fill you up! Even though millions are spent at t


The Future We Want: Foresight for Sri Lanka

Views - 9293 Thursday, 19 May 2016 00:00

In the Oval Office, FBI Director Robert Mueller (centre right), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (far left) and other security advisers brief President Barack Obama (foreground, right) following the April 15, 2013, Boston Mara


The future of our nation - A future of men of science

Views - 7312 Thursday, 5 May 2016 00:00

 It is not necessary to be agitated the moment you see the heading, perhaps with the nation’s future only directed to be with men of science. We live in a world where issues are kept alive so as to give purpose to some people to live or


Why on earth are we not learning?

Views - 8588 Thursday, 21 April 2016 00:00

The problem of solid waste in Colombo and the suburbs has been a burning issue for many decades. The number of meetings, court proceedings, workshops and symposia and internal and external reports on managing this problem should total out to a si


Banking the intangible – An asset class that really matters

Views - 7256 Thursday, 7 April 2016 00:00

Courtesy: WIPO/Sébastien Couture     Our economy is in interesting times but I wonder for those who are at the centre of the process whether it is a time for enjoying. Waking up to find As having become Bs


Making the future happen

Views - 6398 Thursday, 24 March 2016 00:00

  Our society needs to be alive for science and technology. While we re-enact cricket matches and relive old melodies via musical extravaganzas, we effectively  demonstrate our preference for a few areas with limited potential


Seeking our own manager type: Serendipitous Manager

Views - 6231 Thursday, 10 March 2016 00:00

  In Government organisations Wednesday is the Public Day, where the public come into seek redress to their multitude of issues. Government officials are supposed to be present on this day ready to serve diligently the public. You wil


Toilet 2.0: Going circular with our toilet manners!

Views - 6117 Thursday, 25 February 2016 01:04

It may be that a good morning is not quite good if one cannot let go of the waste load and the morning ritual of cleansing is an essential element of daily life. Depending on the way in which you carry out the task, you may identify yourself eithe


The dependency of our independence

Views - 4703 Thursday, 11 February 2016 00:05

   Sri Lanka quite proudly celebrated the 68th anniversary of her independence and did introduce quite a few important variants too to the way it was carried out. There is no question, like individuals, a nation too can cry out f


Today's Columnists

Automation and machine learning: Helping organisations extract deeper value from data

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The world is in the midst of a data explosion. Humans are generating an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day1, according to Forbes, and more data was created in the past two years than in all of human history. No wonder data now r


SL tourism: From TOM to experience the brand in 2019

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Last week I had just crossed the border that separates Laos from Thailand and was on route via land to Thailand. My mind was on Laos – a country branded globally as ‘Simply Beautiful’ (backed by the ADB in 2018) to attract visitors into the cou


Questionable (or absurd) official report on poverty indicators

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The latest Report issued by the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs on ‘Poverty Indicators’ is both questionable and outrageous.1This Ministry is under the responsibility of the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. Most of the sta


Teaching the younger generation to observe professional ethics is the need of the hour

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

When Sri Lanka got independence in 1948, it was one of the most promising nations both in Asia and in the Commonwealth countries. It had luckily emerged unscathed after the Second World War unlike our neighbours. Sri Lanka furthermore did not have to


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