Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How fat are we becoming ??!!

Well one of the weird (was alarmed actually) news snippet tht I heard in recent times..... " Obesity stops jabs hitting target "

Was in the field today collecting data for my research and heard over the radio (on NPR) about this. This makes me wonder whether going for longer needles is a solution to the problem! Shouldn't we be more concerned about spreading awareness about the serious health risks associated with a person being obese!

Are we kinda getting used to being fat that we are looking for these kinda alternatives?

And jst as I was abt to post this, one more article related to this problem came up.....( D'oh.....need to stop eating at mcds....need to start working out soon!)

damn....these studies sometime scare the sh#t out of me!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Swami Vivekananda's Chicago speech...

I've come across the full text of Swamivekanada's famous, and truly wonderful,1893 speech at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Illinois and I'm producing it below. Go thru the complete set. It really defines the meaning of a religion, the way one needs to practice it.

" Sisters and Brothers of America,

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: "As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, sources in different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me." Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal. "

Those who want to go through the complete set of speeches that he made at chicago, jst click the title of this particular blog.

And those who'd like to listen the audio of this great speech, click here.

This speech is a masterpiece.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Turning of the tide...

Atlast, some hope for the people of bihar.

After 15 years of misery ( at least these folks have woken up now!), the people of Bihar voted out laloo and his clan out of power. They have chosen development over cast and pseudo-secular politics.

It is now up to the newly elected CM to ensure that the trust kept in them by the people shouldn't be taken for granted and toyed around, like the previous governments did. It is a golden opportunity for the newly elected leaders to end the darkness in Bihar and fulfill the hopes and dreams of the people of this troubled state.

Anyways, this change is only the first step on the long road ahead for the people of Bihar towards progress and prosperity.

Let's keep our fingers crossed and wish them all the best. Let's also hope that this shldn't become one of those false starts, that always promised them good times ahead but ultimately ended in abyss.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The numerous faces of awkwardness....

Well it is getting awkward everywhere for this guy now......hmmm....Why is it so?

To be frank, when I saw the photo (without reading the contents of the story), i thought tht it might be another skit on the tonight show with jay leno by that dubya impersonator.

But had a grt laugh when I went thru the piece.

(Photo: I played around with the original AP photo a bit.)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Are you a poop sleuth???

Test your poop investigating skills................ :-))))))))

Well going thru my daily routine of the BBC browsing and came across this funny game on its Science & Nature page . Sounds a bit gross when you hear it the first time around....but you might even n joy the test of your poop sleuth skills at the end.....he he he he !!!!!

Apart from the fun, the Science & Nature page on the BBC portal is an amazing database of facts concerning the two topics. It makes a great read (leisure aswell as serious info.) for the buffs in both the fields.

Do check out the link.
And ha....it seems tht...i'm no gud at poop investigations!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bihar: One of India's many unending nightmares

It's not often that one particular region of a nation stands as an epitome of all the problems that a nation is facing or coping with. Bihar,a state in the north of India, is one such example.

Sunday's attack by 1000 odd Maoist naxals on a jail in Bihar really puts in perspective the extent to which lawlessness has penetrated the system in this state. The insurgents staged such a meticulous and well planned attack wherein the police of the town had to simply look from the sidelines as mute spectators without acting in anyway;this itself clearly shows the inadequacies of the administrative system there . It's almost like the coordinated attack on a Russian town by rebels a couple of weeks ago. This coordinated attack on a jail, that too during an ongoing state election is shocking and outrageous to say the least. Even to the standards of Bihar,where 14 murders, at an average, are committed every day and one kidnapping every four hours, according to a recent newspaper report, it is quite distressing. It simply symbolizes the total failure of the system as a whole from top to bottom.

For decades now, feudalism and authoritarianism dominated the politics and thus the governance in Bihar, making mockery of democracy,freedon and justice. Once this part of India, called the kingdom of nalanda, was known for it's glorious cultural, educational and historical heritage. It used to be the center for academic,poetic and theatrical excellence in the 11th and 12th centuries. In fact, it used to be the home of one of the world's oldest university-The Nalanda University.
Bihar now stands as the anti-thesis of what it used be.About 100 gangs are active in kidnapping and extortion in Bihar today. Of these, 21 operate in the capital Patna alone.
Failure of successive governments to introduce and promote land reforms, promote literacy coupled with colossal problems like poverty,large scale corruption,awful basic infrastructure,political patronage of outlaws and criminals have taken a heavy toll on the society and the way society works in Bihar today. And above all these issues...the caste of an individual.... has become the root of all the troubles that stem out in Bihar. To a large extent this holds true for the whole of India, but states like Bihar,UP,TN,Haryana specially stand out in this regard. Everything in these states is centered around the politics of caste.

And during all these years the center, and for that matter the rest of India, stood on the sidelines and watched as the rule of law and the order in Bihar broke down to what it is right now. The center's role in this regard may be partly attributed to it's larger role to look after the whole country. However, that doesn't mean that it should stand aside when one government after the other in Bihar fails to fulfill or even guard the basic dreams and aspirations of its people.

The time has come for the central government in India to take a strong stand against the lawlessness and lack of order in Bihar. The center has to take concrete steps in restoring order and faith in people towards the administrative system.

Using the skills and services of the district collectors is a way that government should seriously consider, 'cause they are the only real hope for making constructive progress in a troubled state like Bihar. Being from the IAS cadre is good enough to entrust them with such a gigantic task, that would test their ability to full extent.

It is also time to crack down heavily on the growing and menacing problem of Maoist naxalism in India and send a message to anti-social elements like these that they will not be tolerated anymore now. The once noble ideology that was associated with them and identified with by the people has long been gone and they have become the problem itself not the solution that they proclaimed to be.

But it, as always is, comes down to the people of the state itself to find the solution for there problems. They have an invaluable weapon in their hands, the right to vote/political franchise , that can be a great defence and solution to all of their problems. They have to realize that caste politics may help them in their short term needs but it is like slow poison that will engulf the whole system finally.

(Photo: Relatives of a victim of the jail attack grieving outside the jail, Reuters)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The deceit continues...

It is really sad that the deceit of American people is still being continued by this administration. Even indictments seem to have failed to wake up this administration abt the quagmire of lies that it is sinking itself into it.May be they need some convictions at the top to come down!

Y'sday in an effort to hit back at a resurgent dems. and to contain the downward spiraling of his approval ratings...the president used a stage like Veteran's commemoration day to take political advantage. He not only called his critics of trying to change the history of the premise for war by accusing his administration of lying but he also pulled up the emotional card of hurting the moral of the troops by doubting the reasons for war!!!!!!!!.

He not only lies in the first place but now accuses his critics and dems as liars and of manipulation!!!!!!!!! What an a@@##l# he is!!!

How pathetic can it still become?!!

I don't think the GOP, and Bush himself, realizes that its prospects for '08 would continue to suffer as long as this administration keeps on lying about the reasons for going to war. Turning their back on the public and trying to tear down all those who seek the truth would only further dent their chances of winning the coming midterm elections and the next presidential elections .
Meanwhile the dems shld keep up the pressure and shldn't let this administration to get away that easily on any subject that would effect the Americans, afterall world peace is at stake.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

“Quote ... Unquote”

The thing about famous quotes is that once they get into your mind, they are hard to get rid of from one's thoughts. They keep on lingering at the back of of you're mind and sometimes may indeed inspire you to do something positive with your life or to other lives. Of course it isn't often that people get inspired by inspirational quotes and set upon doing something positive, but sometimes they turnout to be both inspirational as well as pure gems that get associated with the legacy of that particular statesman. Like, this one from JFK's Inaugural Address....
And so, my fellow Americans…ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world…ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
Simply brilliant, Isn't it?

I think this one kinda got etched into each and every American of that generation. I myself heard this one from my dad when I was in high school and I think I learned a bit or two about being a good citizen from it(...did i sound a bit melodramatic there?).

Then there are some quotes which are true epitomes of the political geniousness of the statesman...like this one...

"When I don't make a decision, it's not that I don't think about it. I think about it and make a decision not to make a decision."
The 9th Prime Minister of the Republic of India.
And then there are quotes like this one below....to be frank....they make you wonder how the person got there in the first place....though there is no denying that one can get a good laugh out of it... :-)))))

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
President Bush.
Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004.
He truly is a Pan !!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ignorance Is Bliss!!!

Yesterday the Kansas Board of Education approved new science standards that question the validity of the theory of evolution ( hey....Why is it still called a theory ?....we need to start calling it a law...What do u say? ) . And they also have redefined science !!!! (How in the hell did these guys get elected in the first place ?)

This means that now "creationism" could be taught along with (or more than) evolution if pressurized by local communities, a free ticket for the conservatives to push ideology. Teachers now might be forced to tow the line of teaching 'creationism' as a valid theory, thus leading to increased chance of confrontations in the classrooms and outside of the classrooms. This also means that we could also have students coming out of Kansas brought up in an atmosphere that belittles science as just another conspiracy of non-believers against the believers.

What an irony!!! A nation best known for some of the greatest advancements and technological breakthroughs in modern human history is facing a situation where a section of people still want to be the "Earth is Flat" group( Also chk this out...LOL!!!).And what makes it even worse is that the President of the country itself heads the group!!!

Maybe I'm reading too much into this...there is still a lot of light in the tunnel itself...democrats started the process of restoring America to its people with y'sdays gains....people of Pennsylvania began to strikeback for gud....Californians too joined in.....



Saturday, November 05, 2005

Is it really news????

News in India today is undergoing a dramatic change, for good or worse! The good old days of seeing some meaningful & quality news on the national network or at least from production houses like NDTV and Aaj Tak are gone. News in India is heading in the direction of the news in the west, giving importance to hype and so called 'celebrity' news rather than to the real news.
It's really sad to see the standards of the content in the news bulletins falling to new low levels each day.One can safely say that this degradation of standards ,in news, in India began with the advent of too many private 24-Hour news channels at once. In order to grab the viewership ratings , to increase their Ad revenues , news channels are competing with each other to give importance to "hype" rather than quality of the content in the news.

I mean just think about this once.... when a news channel carries the wedding of a celebrity or an awards function or a fashion show as its leading headline of its bulletins rather than an issue that really matters.....u know that the standards are not the same as they used to be.Even most of the so called infotainment websites in India like indiatimes, rediff, sify etc. are really reaching new lows to grab attention of the public, putting senseless news items as their front page stories.

For example, look at this headline that appeared a couple of months ago on indiatimes.com... I swear this is true....

" Are girls more promiscuous than guys?"

come on.......for god's sake is it really "news" ??? I mean I don't have an issue with the topic, hell that is what the freedom of speech/expression is all about....but isn't that kinda needs to be discussed in other sections. Aren't there more important issues like corruption,poverty, high HIV rates.... that need to be addressed and dealt with?

what's the solution then? How to change this situation?

To be frank, one can't totally blame the cable news media for this pathetic mess...after all they are doing this to stay in business in a very competitive market. Then who's going to deal with this situation?

Well the responsibility of this lies with the people of the country itself. The public passively accepted this at the first place and they only could change it now. It is only up to the people who watch and read such news to change the way news is going to be presented in the future.They have to really herald in the change so that news remains news. Objective news networks like BBC or Public networks like PBS are required in todays world, not some nonsense cable news channels that really harm the society without anyone noticing or realizing it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Good Idea...

Yesterday I was googling for Widgets and stumbled upon this website of BBC. It is kinda platform/forum/front-whatever u may call it- where BBC encourages its viewers to use its content feeds to make new widgets...... obviously on a non-commercial basis . I believe that the popular BBC Weather widget on dashboard ( aka Apple Dashboard ) was a result of this effort of the BBC. A brilliant way to promote its brand name, though I seriously doubt whether an organization like BBC needs that at this point of time.

Check out the website, makes an interesting read. I personally found the prototype of the Talking TV guide quite amusing. They call her Charlotte. I think I've heard this kinda idea before....something on the lines of a virtual newsreader. Ah...now I remember...Ananova is her name..hadn't heard of her/it since then though!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Another postcard from space...

Well one can't stop oneself from posting these pictures......Can you?

: Last month, a Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft docked with the International Space Station. The spacecraft was launched a few days earlier from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Pictured above, the approaching Soyuz spacecraft carried the new Expedition 12 crew to the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS), as well as fee-paying spaceflight participant. The Expedition 12 crew is expected to stay on the ISS for about six months, while replacing the Expedition 11 crew who had been on the station for about six months themselves. About a week after this image was taken, the Expedition 11 crew returned to Earth in the Soyuz capsule, along with the spaceflight participant. The Expedition 12 crew will carry out repairs on the ISS, explore new methods of living in space, and conduct research in space including a kidney stone experiment.

Day 2:Delhites rise,GOI still in deep sleep!!!

Indians over the centuries have learnt to speedily recover and pick themselves up from various tragedies....they might be events like natural disasters or an event like a terrorist attack. One may attribute this to them for being targets of continuous pillage over the centuries or just say they all have strong will of life and have learnt the lessons of survival the hard way. Whatever it might be....they have once again shown that terrorists can't stop those who love and value freedom from carrying on with their lives. These acts of terror would just make the will of the people more stronger and would make them more determined than ever to carry on with their lives.

I Salute the Delhites for their fightback.

Meanwhile the government of India ( GOI ) continues to sleep in deep slumber. I don't know when our government is going to stand up strongly against such acts of terrors and terrorists???? It is obvious that some elements across the border have taken for granted the inaction by various governments over the years as a sign of weakness on the part of the people of India. Continued terror strikes, hijackings,bomb blasts etc., are stark reminders of this and the response of the GOI hasn't always been effective to say the least. Added to this, the various governments across the border haven't stopped aiding and supporting these elements all these years and god only knows why the international community to a large extent continues to ignore this support of terrorism against a democratic and free country ??!!! Some countries still haven't completely learnt the lessons of turning a blind eye to such elements for their own selfish reasons.

It is high time that the GOI conveys a strong and clear message to the harmful elements across the border once for all. It should also make it clear to the government across the border that India wouldn't tolerate these acts of terror anymore and their failure to stop these acts would be dealt with strongly and in an appropriate way.