Happy New Year 2015

WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY, HEALTHY, PROSPEROUS AND PURPOSEFUL NEW YEAR 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Letters-59: "On Slumdog Millionaire"

1. Slumdog is a fascinating tale of the victory of hope over despair. But do we always need a Richard Attenborough or a Danny Boyle to bring us glory? Yes, because Bollywood is obsessed with the box office. Our movies are either extended video recordings of Indian weddings or an exaggerated attempt to transport us to the world of fantasy. A majority of our movies lack a good story and are dependent on half-a-dozen irrelevant songs. Very few producers attempt to make socially relevant movies. They lack the financial muscle, the propaganda machinery and the wherewithal to market their venture to the Academy. So till Bollywood achieves the size, scale and perhaps purpose comparable to that of Hollywood, we will continue to need foreigners like Boyle to redeem us. - Mithileshwar Thakur, Kochi.

2. Many have argued that Slumdog has exported poverty. Cinema is a medium of art, and the Oscars are a form of appreciation of excellence. For Indians, cinema is just entertainment and business. An Indian film should have 6-7 songs at the Alps, New Zealand and so on, a few fights, and artificial emotions. More number of producers should come up with realistic films and win accolades at home and abroad. The audiences must also change their attitude towards cinema. Till such time, we have to wait and hail others. - K.R.K.Prabhakara Murty, Vijayawada.

3. Slumdog Millionaire has created history and those who made it deserve to be congratulated. But apart from the genius of Rahman and Pookutty, what else is there for us to celebrate? The movie has shown to the world India's darker side. Apart from one or two scenes like the hero jumping into a cesspool as a child to have a glimpse of a hero, nothing else was exaggerated. The movie marketed India much more than the brochures issued by the Ministry of Tourism to showcase Incredible India. We, as a nation, should feel the pain. Imagine the plight of the children experiencing luxury in Los Angeles when they return to their routine life and stand in a queue with a mug of water outside a makeshift toilet awaiting their turn. I hope our elected representatives will do something to improve the living conditions of the poor. Let us collectively resolve that in future if somebody wants to make a movie on slums and slum dwellers, they should not even think of India. - Titus George, Abu Dhabi.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 26, 2009 ("Letters to the Editors")

Grateful thanks to M/s.Mithileshwar Thakur, K.R.K.Prabhakara Murty, Titus George and The Hindu.

S&T Watch-51: "Tailoring Plants for Biofuel Use"

Michigan State University researchers are speeding up identification of genes affecting chloroplasts' function. Plants could be tailored for biofuel use or delivering high levels of nutrients.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 26, 2009 ("Snapshots")

Grateful thanks to The Hindu.

Health News-20: "Helpline for Smoking Ban Violation"

A round-the-clock helpline at toll-free number 1800-110-456 has been set up by the Union Ministry of Health to report violations of the smoking ban in public places.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 26, 2009

Grateful thanks to The Hindu.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Letters-58: "Slumdog Millionaire: A Reality"

1. Slumdog Millionaire has explored the unhealthy, obscure and traumatic life led by slum dwellers. Is not it ironical that we appreciate reality when it is portrayed in reel life but don't do much to help in real life? We should draw inspiration from such works to make the lives of slum dwellers better. - Shalabh Katiyar, Kanpur.

2. Hearty congratulations to A.R.Rahman, Gulzar, Resul Pookutty and the entire team of Slumdog Millionaire. Why mar this moment of gaiety with controversies? India is undeniably one of the fastest growing economies. But Dharavis too are a reality. - Shalet Jimmy, Thiruvananthapuram.

3. Slumdog is a reality, not a fallacy. That is perhaps the reason why it has fetched eight Oscars. The fact that the film was directed by a British does not make the film any less Indian. Its story, setting, actors, music and emotions are all Indian. Rahman would have composed Jai Ho even if an Indian had directed the movie. Gulzar too would have written the same lyrics. Let us not take away their credit just because there was a foreign connection to the movie. On the flip side, a few millionaires earned name, fame and some more millions. In a few days the glory will fade, the euphoria will die, and the slum children will return to where they belong, forgotten and used up until another Danny Boyle, Mira Nair or Gurinder Chadha comes looking for them. - R.Venkataraman, New Delhi.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 25, 2009 ("Letters to the Editor")

Grateful thanks to M/s.Shalabh Katiyar, Shalet Jimmy, R.Venkataraman and The Hindu.

Health News-19: "Diabetes Jump"

Diabetes cases are soaring in Britain, jumping 74% between 1997 and 2003. Medical experts link it to rising obesity rates caused by unhealthy diets.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 25, 2009.

Grateful thanks to The Hindu.

How To-54: "How to Manage Change in Life"


How to Manage Change in Life


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Implementing a life's plan requires change.
Changes, adjustments, alterations, modifications or whatever it may be, are all terms we use to describe the things necessary to advance our lives in a new direction.

Steps

  1. It is critical to remain focused on the goal.
  2. Do not be engulfed in the euphoria of sticking to traditional ways of doing things.
  3. Constant review and evaluation of the process is essential in determining the level of change that needs to be attempted.
  4. Adjust your strategies and approach as necessary to accomplish your ultimate goal. The right adjustment at the right time may make a great difference.

Tips

  • The power to be is in you.
  • Fear of change is the elder cousin of procrastination, the thief of profit and greatness.
  • Sometimes what seems like a retreat is in fact an advance in a new direction.
  • Just remember that change is something that is meant to happen but can feel strange and bad because of the memories that we hold of the old and familiar. So to truly change, you don't need to forget but you just need to accept the change that was inevitable.

Warnings

  • Never be afraid of a change.
  • Adjust if necessary.
  • Timing of changes and adjustments are critical.
  • You need the energy it takes to affect the adjustments.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Manage Change in Life. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How To-53: "How to Motivate Staff"


How to Motivate Staff


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Helping to motivate staff can be difficult at times, especially if the staff doesn't feel motivated any longer.

Steps

  1. Make sure you're setting a good example of productivity and cheerfulness. Don't let your own moods distract other employees from their work.
  2. Develop your listening skills. This means using active listening to its fullest potential, not just pretending interest.
  3. Be clear about the purpose of the job, and the big picture of the company's mission and goals. Foster pride in working at that company, whether it is designed to make the world's best sandwich or build the world's best bridge. Make sure everyone knows the big picture and where their department and individual jobs fit in.
  4. Don't let your personal likes and dislikes blind you to who is actually productive on the job. Be fair.
  5. Don't sweat the small stuff. If you have a good worker who is frequently 10 minutes late, let them know that you expect them to be on time, but don't belabor the point if their work is otherwise above average. Employees are human beings with strengths and weaknesses, not worker robots.
  6. Set goals and reward the staff when the goals are achieved. The reward can be as simple as a star on the calendar and a bigger reward at the end of the month if there are enough stars for each day.
  7. Be open, friendly, and professional with the staff, they're your hard workers and deserve to be treated with respect.
  8. Make it an atmosphere where doing a good job is recognized and appreciated.
  9. Encourage communication among people who have to work together. People may feel blocked in and unable to relate to coworkers when they're hidden in a cubicle. Ask the staff how they would like to see the workspace organized and set up opportunities for people to work collaboratively.
  10. If you have a problem employee, do not avoid the problem. Talk to that person and make sure they know what they're doing wrong, as well as what they're doing right. Make a plan and a time chart to correct problem behaviors. If the employee will not or cannot improve after several performance meetings, and it is in your power to do so, terminate their employment. It is very demoralizing to the other staff members to have a fellow employee who isn't pulling their weight.

Tips

  • Think of ways to help people bond with each other and enjoy coming to work:
    • Do something purposely silly, such as playing a kiddie accordion during lunch hour. Make it fun to come to work. Laugh at other people's jokes.
    • Give the staff a break every once in a while. If there's something relaxing that people enjoy, rotate that "chore" around. For instance, if somebody needs to take the mail down to the mailbox, and several people like to get outside every once in a while, let various people do it.
    • Have a staff party, play games and give out prizes. Relate the games to the job. You could do a pop quiz to see how many phone extensions people have memorized, or who can list the most company products that start with a certain letter.
    • Make an idea/suggestion box, review it occasionally, and implement the good ideas. Take all suggestions seriously. Sometimes it's the unusual ideas that can revitalize a workplace.
    • Recognize that most people work for their living, and that encouragement goes only so far before people want raises when they are consistently productive at their jobs. If you truly cannot give raises, give perks to deserving employees, such as a better workspace, more interesting projects, or the chance to meet people who can advance that employee's career.

Warnings

  • Don't expect to be friends with people you supervise, even if you were friends before you were their supervisor. You are now primarily their supervisor, and casual or inappropriate speech, especially suggestive comments, can lead to lawsuits.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Motivate Staff. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How To-52: "How to Embark on Something New in Life"



How to Embark on Something New in Life

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

We often set out to accomplish many things in life and find we fail miserably. We spontaneously decide what we want to do and haphazardly pursue it. Like everything else spontaneously deciding to do something takes a bit of planning.

Steps

  1. Make a list of everything that you want to do. Obviously set your goals within the realistic realms of humanity.
  2. Begin by eliminating the most short term goals. For instance watching the first season of Lost takes a lot less time than learning Spanish.
  3. Schedule a time or times to accomplish that one goal. Do these one at a time. Unless one goal seeks to accomplish the other.
  4. Cross off the item off your list.

Tips

  • Organize activities in terms of difficulty level and timespan.
  • Avoid some of the common pitfalls of goal accomplishment.

Warnings

  • Try not to do more than 5 things at the same time unless you have had some practice.
  • Do not be discouraged if you can't accomplish a goal. There is more on that list.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Embark on Something New in Life. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How To-51: "How to Balance Work and Parenting As a Single Parent"



How to Balance Work and Parenting

As a Single Parent


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Are you a single parent who is tired of hiring babysitter after babysitter and never getting to spend time with your little angel? Always feeling burnt out? Never feel like you are going to catch up? Read on!

Steps

  1. Write down a list of all of your commitments and responsibilities and analyse it. The big commitments are easy to identify: working, volunteering, appointments, and activities. Don't forget to put the day to day stuff like laundry, dishes, and shopping on your list as well.
  2. Analyse your list of commitments. Is there anything on that list that you can resign from, delegate to someone else, or hire help with? Are there things you can rearrange or group together to save time doing or getting to? Make the necessary changes to your schedule.
  3. Buy a clean new calendar. Any calendar with space to write down what needs to get done will work. Weekly calendars work best.
  4. On your new calendar, start with writing your work schedule on it and then filling in the commitments that you have decided to keep. Colour coding helps to identify the different types of commitments you have.
  5. Hire or set up someone to be the primary caregiver (daycare, grandmother, friend or relative) when you are away and set the pay rate in advance. Target obtaining services for the time that you need someone on a regular basis to watch your child, usually during your work hours. If money is tight and you have to pay for someone to watch your child, target using a regular service only for your work hours and then promptly pick up your child after work. Hire an occasional sitter for special occasions.
  6. Try to line up about 3-5 people that you can call to watch the little one in different situations that may come up..and they will.
  7. Do something fun with with your child every week. It does not have to be expensive, but try to vary the activities instead of doing the same thing every week. It will give you both something to look forward to and will relieve stress.
  8. Always plan a month or two ahead, if possible. If you don't have childcare planned well in advance it will be much more difficult to find someone to watch the baby.
  9. Ask your boss/supervisor if you may be able to bring your child to work once in a while. Ask for a schedule change, if that would help.
  10. Spend undivided time with your chid every day. If the child, especially younger children and babies becomes to used to another person, instead of their parent, they could become more attached to the other caretaker.
  11. Make sure your child is happy, even if you have had a bad day and are tired. You will enjoy your rest even more once you know your child is happy. Your children's smile is well worth what you are going through right now.

Tips

  • Colour code your calendar with doctor's visits, work days, holidays, days off, etc.
  • Always make sure that baby gets your undivided attention and affection for at least 1 hour a day.
  • Hire or accept offers for help. It is amazing how much of a difference having an extra set of hands around for even an hour makes. Think about hiring a responsible neighborhood teenager to play or entertain your child while you get caught up on household chores.
  • Always thank the people who do help you. Helping you is something they don't have to do. Be mindful that their help might not be the way you may do something, but help getting a job done is much better than having do everything yourself.
  • Choose your battles and don't waste time on the ones that you can't win or get you to where you want to be. Same goes for friends, family, and obligations.
  • Keep items that you need to drop off in your car, a box in the trunk or passenger seat works great so they don't get lost. Combine trips to drop off items with your regular errands to save time and gas.
  • Make and freeze meals in advance. Not only is this a great time and money saver, eatting home cooked meals is usually healthier for you and your child too!
  • Get organized! Save time by knowing where everything is and having a place for everything so you don't waste time searching for items you need.

Warnings

  • Don't stress out when you do this, just relax and plan your schedule. Things get easier when you write them down and you are actually honest with yourself that you may be over committed.
  • If things don't work out, do be afraid to go back to what you were doing before. However, try giving any new plan at least a month or so to work. Just because the first day didn't go as planned doesn't mean the next day won't be fantastic.

Things You'll Need

  • A calendar
  • Markers to work with the calendar colour code system
  • A babysitter, a daycare, or a nearby relative
  • Pen and paper

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Balance Work and Parenting As a Single Parent. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Health Warning-9: "Dangerous Shampoo! Dangerous Toothpaste!!"

Two days back I received a mail from a friend in Dubai, forwarding material with the above caption. Though an infrequent user of shampoo, I was curious and went through the whole article. It was highly disturbing and so I alerted my people at home, who are regular users of shampoo. I am sharing the info with you and with a request to take care.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS is used as a floor cleaner. But it has come to light it is used in some shampoos and toothpastes also. Imagine what a floor cleaner can do to your hair and scalp or to your gums! It could damage the very roots of your scalp and the tender gums.

The forwarded note also warns all to ensure that the shampoos and toothpastes they use are SLS-free. It seems these are banned in Dubai and the friend has named a few shampoos. The names are:

Clear, Fructis, Vo5, Palmolive, Paul Mitchell, L'Oreal, Body Shop

However, we don't have to take his word; it can be easily checked and verified if you surf the net. All you have to do is type 'SLS Free Shampoo' or 'SLS Free Toothpaste' in Google.com to get a list of companies selling SLS-free shampoos and toothpastes. But then I don't know what these other so-called safe materials contain; what is the guarantee that they don't contain some other equally noxious chemical if not some other worse chemical? I feel that it would be wise to avoid all these things and resort to some simpler material, especially home-made preparations which our grandmothers were making and using. 'Simple Living and High Thinking' is really a lofty ideal to follow.

If you have more info on this or some better idea that you could share with us, you are most welcome to mail it to me.

Update

After posting the above, I found time to browse to find out more about SLS. I could easily find some more info. SLS could be really harmful and is a real health hazard. It could cause skin irritation and skin corrosion, besides hormone imbalance and eye iritation. It is also a suspected carcinogen. Take care!

Thanks to Natural Health Information Centre.com. The link to this article is:

The site contains a wealth of wonderful health information. It also gives a useful list of various SLS-free and Chemical-free Cosmetics. Those who are interested, may take a look at it.

Grateful thanks to Natural Health Information Centre.com.

Letters-57: "Attack on Dr.Swamy"

1. Temples of justice cannot be allowed to degenerate into platforms for display of muscle power. It is a matter of grave concern that an attack could take place in a court hall right in front of the judges by a group of advocates. All the guilty advocates in the attack on Janata Party leader, Dr.Subramanian Swamy (Feb.18, 2009) must not only be prosecuted on charges of physical assault, criminal intimidation and contempt of court, but the Bar Council must also take suo motu notice of the matter and debar the lawyers concerned from practising in any court of law. After the murderous attack by a group of law college students a few months ago, this incident shows how Tamil Nadu is becoming notorious for intolerance. It is Dr.Swamy's constitutional right to freely plead his case before the court of law. - Avuthu Srihari, Hyderabad.

2. The attack on Dr.Swamy is shocking. That the lawyers had the audacity to attack a person on the premises of Madras High Court speaks volumes about their unruly behaviour. The court of law is a sacred institution in a democracy and such behaviour by those expected to uphold the law is unfortunate. As a lawyer, I feel ashamed as such behaviour tarnishes the image of the profession. - Viraj Deshpande, New Delhi.

3. The total breakdown of law and order in the Madras High Court caused by advocates is condemnable. The court must summon the advocates concerned and prosecute them for contempt of court and their licence to practise as a lawyer must be revoked. This must be executed within seven days. - Air Cmde V.V.Nair VM (Retd), Manipal.

4. The dastardly attack is highly deplorable and amounts to an attack on democracy. There are many avenues to highlight the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils. The government should take stern action against the group of advocates and prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. - N.C.Sreedharan, Kannur.

5. It is time civil society stepped in and curbed such developments - be it a caste clash between students or the recent attack on Dr.Swami and an Assistant Commissioner of Police and others. If a person in Z plus security can be attacked with impunity inside a court of law in front of two judges, what is the fate of the man on the street? - G.P.Srinivasan, Thillaistanam.

6. It is an assault not merely on an individual for his views, but also on the judiciary and the judicial process. Unlike other professionals, lawyers take oath under the Constitution to uphold the rule of law and democracy when they are enrolled as advocates. All the more reprehensible was the shouting inside the court hall against a particular community. It is time the Bar and Bench in Tamil Nadu sat together and found ways to avoid such incidents. - S.Ayyathurai, Chennai.

7. The issue between Dr.Swamy and the agitating lawyers being personal, casteist remarks within the court premises are in bad taste. The Chief Justice of the High Court and the Chief Justice of India should intervene and initiate action against the advocates concerned - S.Gopalan.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 19, 2009 ("Letters to The Editor").

Grateful thanks to M/s.Avuthu Srihari, Viraj Deshpande, Air Cmde V.V.Nair, N.C.Sreedharan, G.P.Srinivasan, S.Ayyathurai, S.Gopalan and The Hindu.

S&T Watch-50: "Cancer Sniffing Nose"

An artificial nose, similar to a dog's olfactory system, has been developed by Israeli scientists, so that it could sniff cancer at an early stage "efficiently".

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 19, 2009 ("Newscape").

A Wikipedia article on the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, mentions a team of scientists at UMass, led by Vincent Rotello, have developed a molecular nose that can detect and identify various proteins. The research appeared in the May 2007 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, and the team is currently focusing on sensors which will detect the malformed proteins made by cancer cells.

Related articles from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"CANINE CANCER DETECTION":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_cancer_detection

"ELECTRONIC NOSE":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_nose

"ODOR":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odor

"OLFACTION":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olfaction

Grateful thanks to The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facts & Figures-54: "Spending on R&D"

1. The European Union's overall spending on research is currently 1.84% of the GDP. However, it has set a goal of 3% by 2010.

2. Of the three major countries of the EU, only in the case of Germany, there is a marginal increase in allocation for R&D, while France and UK have registered a decrease.

3. The spending on R&D by the US declined over the period 2000-2006 from 2.74% to 2.61%.

4. Now, under President Obama, the US has earmarked $15 billion for research and science infrastructure.

5. While funding of research by business in EU countries declined from 1.05% in 2000 to 1% in 2006, the decline in US is 0.21%.

Source: "Research Funding Imperatives", Editorial of The Hindu, Madurai, Feb.18, 09.

Grateful thanks to The Hindu.

Letters-56: "Interim Budget, a Disappointment!"

1. This refers to the editorial, "Wasted Opportunity" (The Hindu, Feb.17). The interim budget is a huge disappointment to all sections. Pranab Mukherjee's presentation, enumerating the UPA government's achievements, sounded like an election speech. At a time when the aam aadmi is reeling under the impact of the global meltdown, the budget ought to have addressed the bread and butter issues. The government has indeed squandered a golden opportunity. - B.Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore.

2. There is nothing in the interim budget to show that the government is serious about tackling recession. Industry, which is in a deplorable condition, has nothing to rejoice at. Bereft of any bold step, the budget looks like an ordinary document. - Sagar D.Kokate, New Delhi.

3. The Congress-led UPA government has failed to address the brewing economic crisis. It appears that it does not want to be seen as addressing the crisis during its tenure. The government should have exhibited responsibility, as thousands are losing jobs across several sectors. - N.Sekar, Salem.

4. The government leaves behind a perfect economic mess for the next dispensation. The nation's economic health is nightmarish, and it may take several years to get the economy back on track. - A.Vani, Hyderabad.

5. Though a budget cannot satisfy all sections, it could have had something for everybody, instead of everything for somebody. There is every reason for the salaried and business class to feel despondent as their year-long wait for tax relief has gone in vain. A considerable outlay for the development of the rural sector is no guarantee that it will meet its end, if the past is any indication. - S.Ramakrishnasayee, Ranipet.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 18, 2009 ("Letters to the Editor").

Grateful thanks to M/s.B.Suresh Kumar, Sagar D.Kokate, N.Sekar, A.Vani, S.Ramakrishnasayee and The Hindu.

Open Access-8: "US Congressional Records Set Free!"

I am reproducing below a mail I received from Mr.Subbiah Arunachalam, which may be of interest to many of you. He has very kindly given the source as well, which is Peter Suber's article, "OA for CRS Reports" from "Open Access News". Some hot topics like "US Casualties in Iraq", "Causes of the Financial Crisis", "The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage in Medicaid" etc find a place in these reports:

"Congressional reports commissioned by the United States Congress and held till now as quasi-secret documents are now freely available thanks to Wikileaks. As of today nearly 6.800 reports running to more than 127.000 pages (and valued at nearly a billion dollars) are available to the public. Active contributors to this project include the Federation of American Scientists, the National Council for Science and the Environment and the Thurgood Marshall law Library of the University of Maryland.

It is only fair in a democracy that all reports generated using public funds are made available to the public."
Grateful thanks to Mr.Subbiah Arunachalam and Mr.Peter Suber, Open Access News.

Health Warning-8: "Laser Printers"

A new Australian study has shown that potentially harmful ultra-small particles are released by toners used in laser printers.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 15, 2009.

Detailed Wikipedia article on 'LASER PRINTERS":

Grateful thanks to The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Letters-55: "Pakistan's Admission"

1. It was not because of India's diplomatic campaign that Pakistan finally admitted to its role in the 26/11 attack. It was because of the arm-twisting by the United States and the other countries whose citizens were killed in the attack that Pakistan finally relented. - P.R.Mahesh Kumar, Chennai.

2. Despite the relentless diplomatic pressure India and other nations exerted on Pakistan to get to the bottom of the conspiracy leading to the Mumbai terror attack and bring the conspirators to justice, Pakistan did everything to derail the investigation. In this context, Pakistan's 30 questions to India, some of which refer to possible local involvement in the attack, are hardly surprising. At a crucial time, when the whole nation was required to stand firm in its resolve to eradicate terrorism from our neighbour's stated policy, some of our politicians unfortunately played into its hands. - Capt.T.Raju(retd.), Secunderabad.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, February 16, 2009 ("Letters to the Editor")

Grateful thanks to Mr.P.R.Mahesh Kumar, Cpt.T.Raju and The Hindu.

Monday, February 16, 2009

India Watch-13: "World's First University"

The world's first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects.
Detailed Wikipedia article on "Taxila":
Grateful thanks to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eyecatchers-135: "Smarter Energy Meters and Tips for Saving Energy"

Google has developed a smart tool called PowerMeter for easy access of energy consumption details. This tool, which is under test, will receive information from the Energy Meters fitted in your home and show in your iGoogle Homepage how much energy is actually being consumed by the different household activities. For example, how much energy your TV, your Fridge, your Washing Machine, your Water Heater, Outdoor lights consume every day. This information will help you to cut down where you find energy is consumed too much.

This is expected to help you to cut down 5 to 15% of your monthly energy bill. Over 40 million homes in USA are scheduled to get these smart tool over the next three years with support from President Obama's Administration's proposed stimulus package.

For More details and More Tips to save Energy, see Source:
www.google.org/powermeter

Congrats and Grateful thanks to Google.

Facts & Figures-53: "Six Lakh People Lose Jobs in January"

Claire Gutierrez of Harper's Weekly Review (February 10, 2009) informs quoting The U.S. Labor Department announced that 598,000 people lost their jobs in January and that the unemployment rate rose 0.5 percent to 7.6 percent, and that employed women were expected to soon outnumber employed men.

Grateful thanks to Claire Gutierrez and The Harper's Weekly.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How To-46: "How to Embrace Your Inner Child"



How to Embrace Your Inner Child

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Remember what it was like to be kid, running around without a care in the world? Well, stop remembering and start embracing your inner child! Here are some ideas for reconnecting with the trusting, fun-loving and perceptive part of you that may just have disappeared under piles of hard work and life's trials.

Steps

  1. Retry the things you loved doing as a kid. Such things include going to the playground, the toy aisle or a cartoon movie session.
  2. Stop obsessing over the small things. Kids are carefree! Let go of worries and see if the world around you tumbles. You'll be surprised that it doesn't. And maybe you'll regain some clarity and perspective.
  3. Kids are able to feel something intensely and then move on quickly from it. Try it. Feel what you feel without judging the feeling ("I shouldn't feel this way") so that you can move on from that feeling without holding onto it. It works!
  4. If you have kids, do the stuff they like to do. Swing with them or trick-or-treat with them. Look at the world through their eyes. Build castles and mud highways with them. Get dirty, blow bubbles, toss balls over the neighbor's fence and fetch them back sheepishly. Jump rope and eat snack-sized puddings.
  5. Stop obsessing over calories. Have a lollipop. Have a chocolate fudge coated something that looks so fattening it just screams "eat me". Run around madly afterwards as a kid would do and you'll soon burn off those calories!
  6. Never say the phrase "I'm too old". Try "I'm in my middle youth" instead.
  7. Turn everyday chores into something fun:
    • Doing the laundry? Lie in the basket of warm laundry; well, your head at least!
    • Digging holes outside? Play in the mud.
    • Cleaning your room? Dance to some music.
    • Decorating? Paint rude words on the wall before you hang the wallpaper over it.
    • Shoveling snow? Play in the snowbanks or build a snowman. Throw a snowball at your grumpy old neighbor's porch.
    • Cooking for supper? Gather some creativity, imagination, and inspiration. Mix weird tastes for a different culinary delight.
    • Doing the garden? Get yourself dirty. This is what you can do to bring out the inner kid in yourself.
  8. Come back to Earth gently. Sure, you will eventually have to return to responsible adulthood. But learn from the fun that childhood teaches. Learn to always cast back your memory to fun childhood times and the things that made you feel safe, fulfilled and happy. Build on those memories in a way that allows you to be the responsible adult influenced for the better by the carefree child inside.

Tips

  • It is probably not a great idea to "act like a kid" at work unless you work in an especially creative place. Some bosses and colleagues will likely be spooked by sudden rash changes such as turning up to work on a scooter dressed in polka dot shorts. Then again, maybe it's just the shake-up everyone else needs too.
  • While seeking your inner child again, don't ignore your responsibilities as an adult towards your children. When you are responsible for children yourself, behaving irresponsibly around them is an absolute no-no. You are still the adult and you have examples to set and teach them. This means attending to their safety at all times and not exposing them to dangerous conduct. In other words, if you want to bungee jump, leave the kids at home.
  • Just remember, you can embrace your inner as long as you want. Don't let the adult world make you grow out of loving the happiness and freedom of a child.
  • You don't stop having fun when you get old, you get old when you stop having fun.

Warnings

  • Always beware those who scold your "immaturity" and "childishness". Possibly jealous of your newfound wisdom, they're also likely to be afraid of change - yours, theirs, anyone's.
  • Keep in mind that as an adult, you will be held directly responsible for any rules you break.
  • This activity is also called exploring a child within you. It precedes the next step of exploring the healer within you in Reiki. You can explain your detractors of the healing aspects of this activity.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Embrace Your Inner Child. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How To-45: "How to go for Your Dreams"



How to Go for Your Dreams


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Everybody has dreams, even if they're buried deep inside childhood fantasies. Here's how to find them and make them come true.

Steps

  1. Get in touch with your dreams. What do you fantasize about doing with your spare time? What extraordinary future makes you feel a little bit more alive when you imagine yourself in it? What did you dream about when you were a child? Think about it ...And write it all down.
  2. Identify mental obstacles that stand in the way of your dreams. For example, maybe you've always dreamed about becoming a painter, but you were too worried about what people think, or about not making enough money. In this case, your obstacles are ego and finances. Ask yourself honestly: What's more important, achieving my dreams, or getting respect from my peers, or being financially secure? If I had to choose between my dreams and my other concerns, what would I choose?
  3. Make changes in your life. If you're not already working towards your dreams, you're probably trapped in a cycle that keeps you locked away from them. Break the cycle. For a lot of people, that means changing careers. (Read How to Switch Careers.)
  4. Set clear, inspiring goals. Goals are like pillars that support your dreams.

Tips

  • Discovering your dreams is an ongoing process. Often, as you try to make your dreams a reality, you learn more about what you want. For example, you might have dreamed about becoming a vet, but in the middle of vet school, you may realize that your dreams involve training animals rather than treating them. Don't be scared to adjust your course as you learn more about yourself and what you want out of life.
  • Believe in yourself
  • Keep moving forward and live in the now. If you have trouble letting go of something in the past, e.g. something you feel bad about, then write it down on some paper and then destroy the paper- ripping, shredding, anything as long as its gone and you can move forward to follow your dream.

Warnings

  • Don't lose focus if something that appears better comes along.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  • Daily Quotes - an inspirational quote will give you the strength to strive for your dreams and goals

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Go for Your Dreams. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How To-44: "How to Realize Your True Potential"



How to Realize Your True Potential

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Every human being, regardless of race, sex or spiritual belief, has the incredible capacity to accomplish far beyond their wildest dreams!

Steps

  1. Unlearn what you have learned. As children, we all have fantastic dreams of accomplishing what many adults believe to be 'unrealistic'. When we grow up into adults, we 'learn' the rules of the world and those dreams no longer seem possible. The first step in realizing your true potential is to cast off concrete beliefs about what you believe is possible in the first place. Take some time and actually inventory what you believe about your talents and capabilities - these beliefs were suggested to you by society. Identify exactly your career inhibiting beliefs. Make a choice to no longer allow these beliefs to govern you or your capabilities. Insert new convictions and beliefs that do not impose limits on your talents. Use the power in your subconscious mind, and master it over time with self-suggestion, hypnotism and constant positive input. (There are books on how to do this, much too many to list here).
  2. Realize what it is you have! Inside your skull is a fantastic and extremely powerful biological machine that is, still to date, the most powerful computer on earth! Research tells us that we have over ONE HUNDRED BILLION neurons in our brain, and that each of those neurons have connections to anywhere from 5000, to 200,000 other neurons - creating an infinite number of possible thought combinations! Do you think for even a moment, that we have this advanced machinery just to 'survive'? You have this in your head right now - appreciate it and use it!
  3. Aim High! Dream Big! Think un-realistically! The people who have achieve the most in their lives were those who had big plans and ideas and who were able to cast off the negativity of other people. You simply have to not care anymore about what others think and, to quote Nike, " Just do it "
  4. Focus on what you can do, and other and better tools will be put in your hands as your move through your plan. People fail because they immediately fasten their attention to the negative. Change your thinking and work the part of your plan you can, do everything you can!
  5. Shield yourself from negativity. If you are in a negative environment, get out! If you have negative friends, drop them. What is in your mind is more valuable than all the gold in Fort Knox, so protect it!
  6. Remember where you came from, and you will know where you want to go.
  7. Always appreciate everything, even if you feel like something could be negative, really understand that there is no right or wrong way to do something. Be thankful for your mistakes, and let them go! Because there are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn.
  8. Enjoy the moment. Live the moment. Forget the future or the past.
  9. Constantly give yourself positive messages and support! Listen to self-help audio, read books and keep company that is positive. Hang up positive quotes and messages everywhere; in your office, at your home, in your car.
  10. Never quit. Thomas Edison's most outstanding quality is the same thing that made him a success; it was not that he was so much smarter than everyone, it was just that he never quit. It took 10,000 failures to make the light bulb. Never quit.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Realize Your True Potential. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

How To-43: "How to Accomplish a Goal"


How to Accomplish a Goal


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Everyone has dreams. Whether they are big or small, they have vast importance in our lives. But, the procrastonator in all of us doesn't have to win. With just a little bit of planning, accomplishing a goal is a simple task.

Steps

  1. Set a realistic but challenging/inspiring goal. Take a big dream, like "I want to be famous", and break it down into smaller, more manageable steps, like "I want to star in a science fiction movie", "I want to go to three auditions a week", "I want to move to another city" and "I want to save $5000 so I can move." Make the goal big enough to challenge and excite you, but not so big that you hesitate to take the first steps.
  2. Plan ahead. Once you've broken down your goal into pieces, write down the steps on a piece of paper to make sure you have everything thought out. One of the worst things that can happen is you're almost to the point of your goal, but you're not sure what to do next. Also, give yourself deadlines for each step. Otherwise, you'll end up procrastinating and never achieving your dream.
  3. Brainstorm ideas. Are there different ways to reach your goal? Write everything down that you can think of in three minutes, no matter how silly or impossible it may seem. For example, you could go to acting school, or maybe you could land a spot in a reality show that would get you started.
  4. Ask. No one can tell you exactly what you should do to achieve your goal, but one of the best sources for guidelines is to ask those who have done what you hope to achieve. Learn from the experience of others without trying to imitate them.
  5. Define and describe your goal. Write down when you want to achieve it. Write down the reasons why you want it. Write down what it would feel like after you have achieved it. Figure out exactly what it will take to get it. Be realistic about the time things will take. Many people don't allow themselves enough time, and give up too soon.
  6. Be positive. Your goal should be written and have positive intent about what you want to bring into your life. This is very important, since the focus of your goal should not be centered around describing a problem you want to eliminate.
  7. Make contingency plans. Never forget about the problems that might come up on the way, and prepare for them. Positive thinking is important, but preparedness is better than being shocked or devastated when obstacles appear.
  8. Learn from mistakes. Making mistakes should be a subject at school to teach all children how to learn from them, instead of trying to avoid them. In the pursuit of a goal, you are likely to make some mistakes. Don't see them as bad or get angry. They are important to correct you and to lead you to success.
  9. Draw on all your past achievements that are relevant to your goal. No matter how small you perceive your achievements, list them anyway. It could be something small, such as joining a healthy eating mailing list, to coming home from work late, yet preparing a tasty nutritious meal for your family in under 30 minutes. Once you review your list, you will be amazed at how all those small achievements soon add up, and how much you are really capable of doing.
  10. Visualize. Close your eyes and imagine yourself accomplishing your goals. Where are you? How did you get there? How do you feel? Do this often. Don’t get swayed easily with the noise and happenings going on outside. Put your attention on what you are trying to achieve. Remember the goal, and you will have control over the discomforts and difficulties. A good way to visualize is to practice self-hypnosis.
  11. Listen to your internal dialogue. What you are saying inside affects you physically, emotionally and mentally. Is your defense system inside trying to make you stick to your past, limiting beliefs and perceptions? Take over and challenge your inner critics. Monitor any excuses you might be making in relation to your goal. For example, saying "I don't finish work until late and won't have time to cook!" You must recognize that if you are truly passionate about your goal, it is up to you to make time.
  12. Make a list of your personal strengths in relation to your goal. For instance, if you have a healthy eating goal you might want to consider strengths such as your level of commitment to eating healthily, or the fact that you enjoy cooking and experimenting with new recipes or even that you are an excellent cook. The list of personal strengths you can draw up is endless.
  13. Seek help. Find the information, skills and knowledge that you need from other people, books, and audio or video programs. Speed up your learning process by emulating what other successful people have done. You save time and get results faster. Self-hypnosis audios are a powerful way to help you get fast, permanent results.
  14. Create benchmarks or milestones. A benchmark is something you can use to measure your progress and know you're on track. For example, you can write "The first stage of reaching my goal will be done when I'm in the Entertainment section of the newspaper!" or "I'll know I've reached my goal of being famous when I'm a guest on Oprah."
  15. Make a timeline. Draw a horizontal timeline with a dot at each end. The left end represents now, and the right end represents a point in the future. Specify what you want to happen and when, from now until then.
  16. Be passionate. Striving towards a goal without passion is like a fire which slowly runs out of fuel to burn. Get excited; this will mean that you will love what you are doing. Methodically check your behaviors against impassioned dreams developed as a child. Always share the child within amongst your potential peers. This empowers the Law of Attraction that shapes the dreams of the child into the creative force of the adult.
  17. Revisit, evaluate, and if necessary, adjust your goals. Keep a written record of your goals in a place where you'll remember to read them every day. They'll change and adjust over time as your life does, so keep them up-to-date.
  18. Consider new opportunities and options that come your way. Sometimes things have a way of unintentionally leading you exactly where you want to go.
  19. Start working towards your goals today. Ask yourself, "What can I do today to get one step, however small, closer to achieving my goals?"
  20. Persevere. Now that you've got the momentum going, don't let it stop! Some steps may seem less exciting than others, but make sure to stick to your plan until the end!

Tips

  • Don't forget the words of Lao-Tzu: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
  • Be true to yourself. Your goal won't be nearly as sweet if you achieve it by doing things you're not proud of.
  • Make sure your goal is SMART:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Realistic
    • Team-oriented
    • Time-related
  • Put it in writing. Writing reinforces thoughts. Even if you are the only one to see what you've written, writing down your goals can give more power to your intentions.
  • Always stay in a good mood when finishing your goals (get your mind right AND SMILE). Not that it's the law but science has proven goals get finished 2 to 20 times faster when you're in a good or great mood. Imagine any goal you want, getting finished 20 times faster! How easy is it to focus when you're not in a good mood? Don't get tricked into slowing down!

Warnings

  • Things don't always work out as you had planned. Stick to your goals, but be flexible.
  • Don't share your goals with people who might tear you down. But, conversely; find someone close to you or a coach who will play the devil's advocate role - as learning to challenge yourself in new ways can help you to improve and get closer to your goals.
  • Do not be tempted to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. If something doesn't fit or it doesn't feel right, try a different approach.
  • Please remember that every coin has two sides. Do not be rigid in accepting or rejecting any advice. Goals such as freedom struggle are not necessarily Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related; nevertheless, they created history.
  • Often times, when you get good at accomplishing goals people tend to become more likely to distract you. In psychology that fact of life is summarized like this: "Dysfunctional people hate seeing healthy progression of character in others". So don't let it get to you and recognize it, or that can get out of hand! Now dysfunctional, doesn't mean mentally or physically handicapped. But if someone has a problem finishing tasks in any area of life, when they see you being successful, subconsciously their mind will convince them to build up sabotaging circumstances for you. That can also be summarized by the other psychological analogy "You become who you hang around. You stay the level of skill as who or what you believe". So just remember to believe the ones with the good results when faced with a important choice.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Accomplish a Goal. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Eyecatchers-134: "Obama Slips!"

President Obama's two cabinet nominees had to step down. Reason, they have not paid taxes. Tom Daschle, Health and Human Resources Secretary and Nancy Killefer, Chief Performance Officer, who is to oversee budget and spending, have been caught in tax scandal. However, to the credit of Obama, he admitted that he had made a mistake and had vowed to make sure that it did not recur. As admirers and well-wishers, we can only appeal to Obama: "Take care, Obama!"
Source: The Daily Mail, UK.
Detailed Wikipedia articles on "Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer":
Grateful thanks to The Daily Mail and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Eyecatchers-133: "The Obamobile"

Received today a mail from a friend about President Obama's Special Official car with photos and details. It was fascinating and I thought I would share the info with you. Here goes the info.

President Obama's specially-built limousine is officially called "Cadillac One" but popularly known as "Obamobile". It has a lot of special features. It can withstand rocket and chemical attacks. The petrol tank is armor-plated and is filled with a specially designed foam which prevents it from exploding even if it suffers a direct hit. Doors are also armor-plated. The driver's window is tough enough to withstand armor-piercing bullets. The body is a combination of dual hardness steel, aluminium, titanium and even ceramic to break up possible projectiles. The dashboard contains a communications centre and GPS tracking system. The boot contains oxygen supply and a firefighting system. It also contains a foldaway desktop, laptop computer with wi-fi, state of the art satellite phone and direct line to the Vice President and the Pentagon. It is equipped with night-vision cameras and pump-action shotguns, tear gas cannons and bottles of President's blood on board in case he needs an emergency transfusion. The tyres are Keviar-reinforced, shred and puncture-resistant, with steel rims underneath, enabling the car to escape at speed even if tyres are blasted away. The price of the car is, hold your breath, Euro 300,000!

S&T Watch-49: "Holes in Earth's Magnetic Field"

The Earth behaves like a huge magnet and the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth like cocoon that protects it from harmful particles coming from the Sun as solar wind - a stream of charged particles spewing from the Sun at 1.6 million km/h - especially during solar storms. The magnetic cocoon diverts the solar wind particles away from the Earth's equatorial and temperate regions. But if the particles are energetic enough, as is the case during severe solar storms, then they can penetrate deeper into Earth's atmosphere. But that happens only around the poles where the magnetic lines of force converge, giving rise to spectacular displays of auroras seen in polar latitudes.

But it has now been discovered that occasionally holes appear in Earth's magnetic shield. Recent observations made by THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms), a fleet of five small NASA satellites, have revealed the largest hole yet seen in the magnetic field that protects Earth from most of the Sun's violent blasts. Observations from THEMIS show the Earth's magnetic field occasionally develops two holes, allowing solar wind to penetrate the Earth's upper atmosphere. The holes are defying many of scientists' previous ideas on how the interaction between Earth's magnetosphere and solar wind occurs: From the location of the holes the whole interaction appears to work in a manner that is completely the opposite of what scientists had thought.

It has been known that the sun's magnetic field shifts its orientation frequently, sometimes becoming anti-aligned. It was earlier believed that more solar particles entered Earth's magnetosphere when the Sun's field was oriented opposite to the Earth's, but the opposite turned out to be the case here. Data from THEMIS showed that twenty times more solar wind passed into the Earth's protective shield when the magnetic fields were aligned.

Using computer simulation, scientists have been able to find out how the holes develop. They have discovered that two holes frequently develop in Earth's magnetic field, one at high latitude over the Northern hemisphere, and one at high latitude over the Southern hemisphere. The holes form over the day-lit side of Earth, on the side of the magnetic shield facing the Sun.

This discovery not only has implications for scientists' understanding of the interaction between the Sun and Earth's magnetosphere, but for predicting the effects to Earth during the next peak in the solar cycle.

Courtesy: "Recent Developments in Science and Technology" by Biman Basu (Email: bimanbasu@gmail.com), Dream 2047, February 2009, Vol.11, No.5.

Grateful thanks to Dr Biman Basu and Dream 2047.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Health News-33: "World Cancer Day"

World Cancer Day is observed every year on February 4 with the objectives of Increasing awareness, Encouraging its prevention, Detection and Treatment. World Cancer Day targets the general public through global communications and encourages policy makers to make cancer a political priority.

The campaign advocates the following for prevention of cancer:

Providing a smoke-free environment for children;
Being physically active;
Eating a balanced, healthy diet;
Avoiding obesity; and
Avoiding over-exposure to the sun

For detailed article on "World Cancer Day": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Cancer_Day

Grateful thanks to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Newsletters of Interest-1: "Science in the News Weekly" from American Scientist

"Science in the News Weekly" is a free e-newsletter from American Scientist, the magazine of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. It is a digest of science news stories appearing in the mainstream media. If you subscribe to it, you will get it in your mailbox every Monday.

For example, the 5th issue of January 2009 (January 26-30)contains links to interesting articles (I am giving only short titles of these articles):

1. 10 sci-fi gadgets on the horizon
2. Whether doctors are downplaying side-effects of cholesterol drugs
3. The Six greatest mysteries of our solar system
4. Climate change
5. Mars rover, 'Spirit'
6. A distant Jupiter-like planet
7. Disappearance of woolly mammoths
8. Reprocessing of Spent Nuclear Fuel
9. Transition from Analog to Digital Television
10. Digital Preservation and Authentication of War Crimes/Atrocities
11. Flexible Computer Display Screen
12. Sensors for monitoring soil moisture and temperature
13. Food Safety
14. Influence of Heredity
15. What we have learned since Darwin published his famous book 150 years ago

Sigma Xi also has other interesting e-newsletters:

1. American Scientist Update (gives an early peek at each new issue with hyperlinked capsule descriptions of feature articles, columns and book reviews).

2. Science in the News Daily (Provides a concise daily roundup of stories from the mainstream media, with links to the original articles; latest developments in the fast-paced world of science and technology)

3. Scientists' Bookshelf Monthly (offers book news, discussion and reviews from American Scientist Online, including previews of new book reviews when they are first posted, links to exclusive author interviews, highlights of forthcoming science books and book chat from the editors).

If you are interested, just click to go to their site and subscribe to the newsletter of your choice:
http://www.americanscientist.org/subscribe/page/free-e-newsletters