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Showing posts from August, 2009

The Tyranny of Triviality

I was wondering why it is that humans are mostly interested in trivialities. The deep things to consider in life, I believe, could be these: what are the goals we have in life, what is the impact of our actions on the larger society, to question whether social traditions and customs serve a purpose or are merely deadweights, and always try to have some perspective about whatever joys and sorrows come our way in life. I must have missed many things in the above random list. We can add and subtract from this list. I am somehow interesting in reading about palliative care specialists ... the challenge of caring for an ageing population is a clear and present challenge for advanced nations and an emergent challenge or a lurking one for developing nations like India. It's therefore instructive to learn about how developed nations are coping with this issue. Recent days have seen a sustained rise in the prices of groceries in India. That would not be such a big issue in developed nations

Jinnah and Jaswant Singh

With all the uproar over MA Jinnah in recent days, here's my two cents worth. Chetan Bhagat made a point that the young generation of today doesn't care about who Jinnah is. For better or for worse, I think that's correct. The younger generation would be hard put to write one paragraph if asked to about who Jinnah was. Now, it's a different matter altogether whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. The young generation is busy playing with cell phones and texting and watching cricket and Bollywood movies — I am talking about the young generation in India, of course. The young generation would likely be ignorant about all history, not only about what Jinnah's role was. I love to ask this question to a gathering of youngsters (if the date happens to be August 15): why is India's Independence Day celebrated on August 15 and not on some other day out of all the 365 days of the year? Expectedly, no one knows the answer to that and indeed, nobody cares. The ot

Ted Kennedy Passes Away

I don't know why it hit me like a shock when I heard the news of his passing. May be, it's because I keep track of things closely, but I anyhow felt like a family member had passed away. The lesson I learnt from watching the eulogies and reading about him is that one can commit mistakes in life and pick up the pieces and move on. That's a very important lesson to be learnt for fallible mortals like me.

Alcohol is bad for unborn babies

Dr. Dipak Sarkar has recently received a $3.5 million MERIT award from the NIH "to continue researching the damaging effects of alcohol on the nervous systems of the unborn." Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a significant public health problem and may result in a wide range of adverse outcomes for the child," Dr. Sarkar says. "Many Fetal Alcohol Syndrome patients have problems coping with stress; they have learning disabilities, infections, and increased susceptibility to diseases," Dr. Sarkar adds. These problems stem from the alcohol-induced destruction of neurons in the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. These beta-endorphin neurons produce the endorphin hormone and are particularly vulnerable during the early development of the fetus. Sarkar's research has shown that a seemingly irreversible reduction in the number and function of beta-endorphin neurons results in a permanent impairment of stress and immune system functions throughout