not today!

. Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why should one force himself to live in a way the society wants him to live????? Is it not possible to break out of the society????? If that means living alone in an deserted island with no contact to outside world, when am I going to find that island????????

break the rules - 2 Laugh to death

. Monday, February 12, 2007

In the early 1950's, New Guinea witnessed an epidemic. It was called 'Kuru' - laughing death. The individuals suffering from this disease laughed for no apparent reasons. Such a laughter indicated death.
In New Guinea, the Fore tribe were severely affected. So much so that their tribe was driven close to extinction because of this disease KURU which literally means 'trembling with fear'. It is a neurological disease. Other than untimely laughter, the individuals suffered from loss of muscular coordination, tremor, difficulty in walking, loss of memory and difficulty to swallow at various stages of the disease. It is fatal and one dies within 3 months to 2 years of onset of the disease. The infection may reside without any symptoms for 2 years to 30 years.

It was first suggested that this was a genetic disorder and when it was found to be infective, this was ruled out. But, the agent of infection remained mysterious.
By studying the symptoms, it was believed that the agent was a slow virus. This was proved incorrect when the real culprit emerged. The disease was caused by prions. The idea of a protein being an infectious agent was not something, many of the scientists studying the disease, thought of.

One of the customs of Fore tribe was that they believed in paying respect to their dead by consuming their corpses. This cannibalistic ritual lead to the spread of prions very easily and effectively.

When they finally gave up their unique way of showing love and respect for their elders, the spread of the disease was controlled and the disease was eradicated.

Stanley Prusiner, who studied prions and described its molecular biology received the Nobel in the year 1997.

break the rules-1

. Sunday, February 11, 2007

If there is anything that fascinates thats science. Especially, the human body. How complex is this machine????? It has been more than 10,000 years (since we started living a life that is different from other animals on the planet), still we are no where close to proclaim that our understanding of the magnificently complex 'human body' is complete.

Nature had always eluded human comprehension.

Discovery of prions toppled the perception that infectious agents are viruses or any living organisms. Prions are proteins that are capable of causing infections on their own.

Prions are thought to be misfolded proteins that once inside a cell, could cause the normal proteins to misfold and prevent the cell from performing their function.
The famous Madcow disease and Scrapie are caused by prions.

You can expect more posts on prions in the following weeks.


Security….. whats that?

. Saturday, February 10, 2007

I attended the University of Madras’ Sesquicentennial Year Commemoration lecture.

The security was impressive. When I saw police men in large numbers outside the university I had no clue which VVIP is going to come there. I was stopped by the security outside the university’s entrance. In spite of showing my ID card, he did not allow me in because I could not tell him exactly why I was there. It did not make me angry. Obviously, it was my fault. In fact, I was thrilled that I am going to attend such an important function. After a few of my classmates reached the place, we managed to convince him that we will pose no threat to the visiting VVIPs.

After gaining entry into the campus, we realized that we will not be allowed to enter the Senate hall, without an invitation. And, we did not have any invitation. We were asked to wait. Again. Meanwhile, I found a place under a tree. There were too many uniformed men and women. Curiously, none seemed to worry why we were standing there.

After some time, thanks to the a few class-mates’ enthusiasm, I found myself waiting to register outside the hall. After a few questions, I wrote my name down on the piece of paper provided to me wondering whether I need to sign. There was no time to ask such questions. I was stopped (again), at the entrance to the hall by two men. These guys looked just like those you find in movies. All that they lacked were a pair of sunglasses. It was a little dark there and that’s probably why they did not wear them. One of them searched me and checked my bag. Well, I did not expect that. When he felt something in one of the compartments of my bag, he got interested. He started taking out all the contents. I am no terrorist. There were just pens. Old pens, that is - all those that I found difficult to part with for the past six months and kept them well-protected in my bag. It was time to get embarrassed. He took out all those bits of paper – bills, photo covers, etc., that were in my bag. Then he found a calculator. The one I had been using for over 7 years now. (Now, you know…. I can’t let go of things I love). After checking whether it is some kind of a remote control by ……. Well, pressing some buttons randomly and finding out if anything blows up. There was no explosion. He proceeded to the main section of my bag. It had my water bottle in it. He checked the base of the bottle. That reminded me of some report I saw on BBC recently about the gadgets, the 21st century terrorists use. Did he think I could be a terrorist??????? Well, when that question formed in my mind, I could feel myself smiling.

Anyways, I was happy that they were doing all they could to keep the place safe.

After all that, I entered the hall. It was impressive. Not magnificent or spell binding, but impressive. I found a seat in the middle of the hall. I was able to check out the building properly from there. I had plenty of time to do that as we arrived 30 minutes before the VVIPs. At the beginning, I pitied for my lack of artistic intelligence to appreciate the art works there. After a few minutes though, I managed to find places where renovation was either incomplete or was so badly affected that efforts to renovate was not successful. I realized that the hall was no where close to perfection. The hall looked pretty small. Smaller than what I expected.

There was a mild music playing at the background as people settled down. It was nice. My attempts to identify the instrument used to create that music reminded me of my ignorance about music.

The PM arrived 10 minutes late. People in the hall became silent as soon as he sat down. But no one had any control over the noise from the beach road traffic. Now I realized that the hall was not the best place to listen to speeches. The echo in the hall made it very difficult for me to comprehend the PM’s accent. The silence in the hall also revealed the University’s mark - the screeching noise from one of the electric fans. Again, the echo prevented me from zeroing in on the source.

After the lecture, the PM was ready to be brainstormed. He took only a few questions. One interesting question was from a middle aged man who asked his question in a language that many like me assumed it to be Italian. He asked the PM about Italy recognizing India as a major tourist destination. The PM was generous and answered in his fluent English - or so that’s what I believe.

I did not find any security personnel at the entrance/exit. Fortunately, I did not have to go through that again.

What did I learn from this?

The Senate hall is not all that impressive!

What security check means!!!

Above all, before you go for some seminar/conference/function etc., find out what it is all about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

. Friday, February 9, 2007

Hi everyone! Let me take you through the first 21 years of my life in the following few lines. I was born in Chennai, a city you’ll find near the southern tip of India on the world map. When I was born, it was called Madras.

The first few years of life were as unadventurous as it is now. I had to go through the ordeal of adjusting to a new school environment only once, that too when I was 12 or 13. Although I have some memories of that, it’s not worth sharing here.

Being identified as a calm and studious boy in school was not a good thing after all. During my childhood and in the early teens, I tried so hard to maintain this image and to avoid the tag of “trouble-maker” that I constantly suppressed my originality to please those around me. This includes teachers at school, parents at home. I didn’t do this consciously as I was of the idea that that’s what I was supposed to do. Well, I don’t regret that for it had molded me the way I am.

The assumptions that formed in those days resulted in the essential fabric of my ‘self’. I can’t elaborate on that for I’m still trying to understand what that actually means. And this blog is one of my serious attempts towards realizing that. Towards the beginning of this journey to realization. I had this irresistible urge to change this. But it wasn’t easy breaking away from the world. And certainly not possible to make a U turn. After a few adjustments here and there, I found a way out. I may not be able to create interest in things I ignored earlier but I can let myself follow my passions. When I can’t tell the world what I thought of something, I can certainly spend hours and hours thinking about it, telling myself. This may sound weird. But it does help. You learn to view things from different perspectives.

Having realized that I had taken an incorrect decision, I continued this journey without much satisfaction.

After I completed my final year at school, the fear of the mysterious and the unknown future began to tighten its hold on me. A few depressed weeks later, I got admitted to a college in Chennai itself. It wasn’t what I wanted. My dream of becoming independent remained one. And it still is. Change was not something I could handle easily. It’s almost always painful. Mentally. The college, though not very different from the school environment, was different in many ways. It took me a few months to get adjusted to the new subjects and the new environ. After three years at college, I found myself in a similar situation trying to adjust to a totally different atmosphere – the corporate world. Before I could settle down, I’m back with books, tests and exams.

Doing post graduation was the career step I wanted to take after UG. But, I didn’t have any subject in my mind. Now here I am, trying to master what is probably the most nascent field of science.

Hope this gave you an idea of who I am.

Gotta go now, Bye.


my first post!

. Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Oh, you are in my first blog.
Is blogging an alternative to the most unrestricted freedom - thinking????????
Well, let me look at this a little closer. Is it possible for me to blog everything that comes to my mind? Especially, when its about those I interact with everyday, those who affect my life in many ways and those who are likely to visit this page and read this?
It sounds outrageous. Outrageous... because one cannot be honest in a transparent forum like this. The reason.... well, there are more than one reason.
1. you simply can't hurt others.
2. Many a times you realize that your understanding of an individual is never complete.
3. You just can't afford to express your true thoughts about someone.

So, why am I here?
I love to experiment. Especially if it involves some kind of thinking for I am too lazy to do anything that involves real effort. From what I understand, blogging lets you think. It gives you an opportunity to voice your views without inhibitions (in most of the cases).
But there is probably one main reason why Im here. And, that is I want to be heard. The voice in my head is constantly heard by me. but. But, it simply does not exist beyond my imaginations, beyond my mind. This is an attempt to give words to those random voices, an attempt to cyber-immortalize those transient thoughts.