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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Black Hole - Darkness Visible

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A black hole is a very intensely concentrated celestial object. The news item found in Yahoo today on the powerful jet from black hole brings to fore the black hole again.

The dismal Situation waste and wilde,
A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd onely to discover sights of woe
Paradise Lost Book I-John Milton


Merriam Webster describes a black hole as
a celestial object that has a gravitational field so strong that light cannot escape it and that is believed to be created especially in the collapse of a very massive star

It has so strong a gravitational field that everything gets attracted to it and including light nothing can escape from it. So it is dark mass, black as hell itself. It is a concentrated mass. The movements of other celestial objects and certain gases swirling inward toward that make their presence identified.

Space.com has an interesting video; Nasa has also tried to make things easy to understand here; go to the hubble site to learn more and also see their images through Google to make your tour complete.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Housing Woes

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The economy of the US is the basis on which the world economy rests. If this suffers the world economy suffers. The news item in The New York Times should be an eye opener.

The recession is taking its toll. The first ones to suffer are the houses and there are more to follow. Everywhere, every street has a few houses for sale. The brokers have so many houses in their hands that they find it impossible to remember the features of every house. The federal rate cut has not helped. There is a news item that reports about a lady in Detroit, watching on her money carefully since many of her friends have lost their jobs and every other house in the street has put up a sale board.

The raising interest rates make people lose their dream house. "We couldn't keep up with the payments," she explained one dreary, wet Sunday morning in late winter. "The payments went from $1,700 a month almost to $3,000 a month, so this being my first home, my dream home, I had to lose it."

This may seem remote to many. But what has started with banks and other lending institutions making good billions in loss will percolate to others. Even now the building industry is affected. With food costs going up, gas prices soaring to the sky, the spending capacity of the normal man will certainly get crippled. So from the big corporate retailers of day to day consumables to builders of boats, everyone is going to feel the pinch.

The real problem is because the lenders believed on the stability of raising values for houses. They made people get into mortgages for homes, making them believe in the fallacy of owning them without paying the minimum down payments. Then there is this spending culture. I don’t think that any of these big business-house owners live in mortgaged houses, drive mortgaged cars or use their personal credit cards for airline tickets, which they expect the common man do.

It is the common man who suffers. All the urban properties are actually the properties of the mortgage writers. The public have been encouraged indirectly by the government to go in for huge loans to help businesses of varied interests. On the other hand, if the public have been encouraged to possess the house they live in and own the personal transport, his car, this precarious situation might not have come.

Big business is big business. How can the ordinary man escape from it?

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Coke and Minto

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A news item in Daily Telegrph on 23rd titled Record-breaking Mentos and coke explosions showing the video of people in Belgium making the coke erupt from the bottle into the air is some thing to be seen. Coke+mint=crazy fun a video news item at Yahoo.com can also be seen featured on April 28th, 2008.

Coke jets out when mentos are dropped into it. This seems to be the reaction of carbon dioxide to the presence of mintos. Its rapid expansion causes the eruption. This is explained as a result of the pores on the surface of mintos, since a smooth one does not induce the same effect. Google Videos has a featured item on this. You can view that here. You Tube feature can be seen here.

Have a nice coke day.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Shakespeare – his three Eves

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Shakespeare has created many beautiful and exemplary women characters. Some are to be pitied like Ophelia, Desdemona etc; some to be emulated like Rosalind, Portia etc; and appreciated like Beatrice.

Of all his women characters, there seem to be only three women, who can be called bad; Lady Macbeth, Goneril and Regan. The first is of course from the great tragedy ‘Macbeth,’ and the other two from another great tragedy ‘King Lear.’(I think it is because of the presence of two such in the same play, it is called the most tragic of all)

This seems to be not a coincidence. If one such had found a place in any of the romantic comedies, that would have also turned into another great tragedy. Villainy and cruelty seem to be much more tolerable in men rather than in women (even today). I remember Macbeth saying that Lady Macbeth has man’s qualities. A visit to a penitentiary for women should give one a real insight into the cruelties possible by women.

The woman, from ab ovo, had been the cause for man’s downfall. From Eve to these, we find the same thing happening. Rarely do we find women,
“too full o' the milk of human kindness.”

Women have come a long way form those we find in such classical writings—good, bad, innocent or tactful. Today we have many like Portia, Rosalind or Beatrice among us.
There seems to be another peculiarity too in shakespeare’s plays. No heroine seems to have a (live)mother.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Swollen fingers

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A few days back on returning from walk, I noticed something strange. On both my hands the fingers had swollen slightly and there was also a shine on them. The ring I was wearing did not come off easily. I did not think much of it, because the swelling disappeared in a few minutes and the ring came off.

But the same thing happened again. This time I went on an extensive Google search and found so many things about swollen fingers. They may occur due to wounds, particularly concussions, diabetes, and heart symptoms, among so many others.

This being spring in San Jose, I thought this should have occurred due to some insect bite. I used to cross a school play ground and so I preferred to believe that this should have been a slight allergic reaction of some insect bite. I saw some black spiders too in the living room and other places to add strength to my belief; so the preference above heart problems, renal failure or venous thrombosis.

But my perseverance bore fruit when I understood that long walks may make one sweat and lose salt. This is attributed to be a reason for the swelling of fingers or feet.

I tried to keep my hands open as well as closed, do all sorts of exercises, like playing the piano while walking and keep them on my head to prevent the swelling. I tried swinging them without causing any suspicion to others about my mental status. I also tried to grip the air and bend the forearm (forward, not backward), whenever I believed no one was nearby or watching me. But to me none of these helped much.

I have met people who used to swing their arms fast and rise them up into the sky as if they were going to attempt touching it. I used to envy them. Then one day I saw a man walking towards me with heavy dumbbells, one in each hand and continuously raising and lowering his arms, alternating them, which made me think of piston movements.

They should have been suffering from swollen fingers. One thing I could not understand. I walk and so there is no possibility of raising those legs above my heart level to prevent them from swelling. They are at a much lower level. They don’t swell, but my fingers do. What should I do? Simple, I stopped going on walks, long or short.

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Apartment Hunting

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While selecting an apartment to rent, one has to be very careful. The first thing one has to consider may be the crime level in the area. Select an area which has a low record level of crime. This may also be the well protected area. Do you have children or babies? If babies, you may need a daycare nearby. See whether you can locate a good one. If it is school you want, search for the details of the schools in that area and then decide.

Next, one should consider the noise factor. If there is a freeway nearby, you may have constant swish sound going on all the twenty four hours. If the airport is very near, every ten or fifteen minutes you hear them. Don’t settle for any of these, if you prefer calm and peace. See whether there are possibilities for any kind of noise, told or untold. Areas near common places like grounds, exhibition centers, and schools may be avoided.

Next, find a place that is within some 30 minutes drive from your job. And also be sure that you have a large general market place, like Wall-mart or Lucky, nearby so that you get all you need easily. This will give you more time at home, proper rest and peace of mind. This will reduce your travel time and will keep you fresh when you arrive at job. In these days of mounting gas prices the above will certainly save a lot of money spent on gas.

These considerations will narrow down your search to one or two areas. Then you try to find apartments to suit your budget. A talk to any broker will give you an idea of the rental level. The floor may get importance, if you have to walk up. Don’t forget to ask about garage facilities and the common facilities that are needed. Ask and get clear information about the cost, otherwise, you may have to shell out extra dollars, not included in the budget. These may surface only after a month of occupying the house.

A few words about the advertisements. The ads may describe the places in high flung words and don’t take them all for true. They don’t want to bluff you, but want to sell. Have an open mind and expect to see the minimal facilities. The main thing may be the neatness and cleanliness with which the place and its surroundings are kept. That will indicate the type of service you get there.

Happy hunting!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Death to female Anopheles

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Today the 25th April is World Malaria Day and the world can be proud of having eradicated this disease in mostly all developed and developing countries. Once it used to be a stock question in all quiz programs on the name of the particular mosquito that spread the disease. This disease is caused by the parasite that gets into the body of human beings through bites from the particular female mosquitoes.


WHO says:
Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines.
Key interventions to control malaria include: prompt and effective treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies; use of insecticidal nets by people at risk; and indoor residual spraying with insecticide to control the vector mosquitoes.

In homeopathy China is an important remedy. I hear that the Father of Homoeopathy, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, is said to have first prepared the homeopathic preparation of cinchona or china. In San Jose the mosquitoes are big in size but don’t have the lines that are standard on anopheles.

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Allergy

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April and spring are one. With spring new life begins. The plants and trees go into full bloom. With spring the pharmaceutical companies also become active. It is a fresh season for fresh boom in business. Whenever one switches on the TV, one hears that very effective allergy medications are available even without prescription. These advertisements target people who are allergic to pollen particles and mould which are found in the air during this season.

Many types of allergies are found among us. Allergy is a health condition as well as a mental condition. I know people who are allergic to seeing dog, cat (dog and cat lovers forgive) or any insect—the worm in a vegetable, the worm in the wet soil, the snail, which we find everywhere now and of course, the spider, particularly the black ones. The rodent or cockroach allergy, particularly among women, is something one commonly comes across.

The smoke allergy is also very common. The smoke that comes out of the exhaust of an automobile, a person smoking a cigarette nearby, the pungent smell emanating from food while cooking or any smoke from burning materials are some sources of allergy.

Some are allergic to petroleum products and so they should be careful at gas stations. This may end up with permanent skin problem too. This being the season of insects some may wish to spray insecticides and pesticides. Proper precautions should be taken to avoid any bad effects.

Any food item that does not suit one can cause severe allergic conditions. One should be careful that the food one eats had not gone bad; this may create conditions that may turn to be not just allergic but fatal. Eating some vegetables or meat or fish may cause allergy. People may have to analyze their food habit to get rid of their allergy.

The bed may become an irritant as this may contain the dust mites. The mites are micro creatures and their figure will beat any from created to represent creatures from other planets. Everywhere you find them and so there is no escape from this. From the air we breathe to the bed we sleep on are places infested by these. This dust allergy, including the mite allergy, may result in various problems from itching of the skin, breathing problems to symptoms of hay fever.

I have seen people who are allergic to grass, creepers and plants. One of my friends used suffer for days from skin irritation seen as long red lines all over the body, if he went near any flowering creeper, let alone touch it.

Pets and animals in the house may also be responsible for certain allergic conditions. The hair of the pets may get into one’s lungs or get into the food one eats and cause problems. This is particularly dangerous for infants. The fecal waste found near the places where pets are kept may also cause allergy.

Air purifiers can be used to reduce the problems from pollens, mites and mould found in the air. The house, the bed we sleep in and sofa sets should be regularly vacuum-cleaned meticulously to remove the dust and hair. Allergy-proof bedding along with other precautions against allergy should be taken to prevent any suffering.

People who are allergic to some food item or other should maintain a detailed diary of the food they take (including the brand they buy and where they buy that). Anyone who is allergic to anything should maintain a diary of the food intake and his regular activities. This will create possibilities of understanding what actually causes the allergy.

Asthma is considered a severe form of allergy. It is true to a great extent that allergy is something permanent and there is no cure. The doctors can only extend temporary relief.

The best practice is to take preventive measures.

The Internet can help you find many procedures to help you guard against allergies of various types. You are sure to search for more. But it is better to learn more and then visit the web pages of companies. Visit

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/allergy.html

the web site of the US National Library of medicine and the National Institute of Health.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

April

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Zephyrus or Zephyr is the name of the west wind in Greek, the blowing of which marks the beginning of the spring season and all the associated joy. The end of the long wait for the spring season is reason enough to celebrate. The long winter and indoor cuddling come to an end.

Poets have always expressed joy. Chaucer in his ‘Prologue to the Canterbury Tales’ writes

When that Aprill with his shoures sote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth


Canterbury Tales. Prologue. Line 1 (14th century Modern English)

This belief is ‘invoking spring is invoking good luck’.

T.S. Eliot in his ‘Waste Land’ begins with a pessimistic note suited to the name of the poem. He also mentions only spring in the very first line,

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

He has invoked April as it marks the beginning of another cycle.

For any one it is a time to feel happy. The desolate winter is over and the dull roots come to life with spring rain. One sees growth all over. The trees turn green and flower. The lawns show fresh green growth. The roses go wild and all paths, open fields and road sides are filled with colorful bloom. To see them is joy incomparable. A walk will make one feel at peace with himself and the world.

Outdoor activities pick up and this is the season for sports. Neville Cardus, the celebrated cricket critic, associated the play with the seasons because the English play-season begins in April and ends in August.

Life is a cycle going through birth and death; sorrow and happiness. Hope and patience are the main qualities required.

P. B. Shelley wrote in his ‘Ode to the West Wind’

O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

23 April UN International day of the Book

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Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. - Francis Bacon

Books have come a long way from the clay tablet to the hand held e-reader. The day is not far off when children may look at paper books with inexplicable doubt and wonder. They may not even think that people could have read anything from these contraptions.

April 23rd is the day marked by the UN as the International Day of the Book in honor of our immortal Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes, the great Spanish writer and author of Don Quixote, who are remembered this day.

A book on any subject like mathematics or computer codes is for study purposes. They have limited use. But a novel and some non-fiction are different. The benefits from the books go beyond sheer joy.

Reading a book will transport you to a world of its own, like getting into the ‘Time Machine’ of H.G Wells. Great writers have the power to hold you by the hand and take you on a tour with them all the way, like Dante who was given a tour of the worlds. We always travel with the great writers; many have imagined of traveling to strange regions. Mark Twain’s ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ is one that will transport you to the sixth century and introduce Merlin to you. There were foreseers like Jules Verne and Asimov.

Reading novels is considered to be a waste of time by a large section of the population and quite a few never read anything but the Craigslist. While children are encouraged to read books most grown ups never bother to read anything of general nature. TV, business or technical news and related journals and classifieds complete their routine. Book reading is largely left to literature students and professors and teachers of literature.

Reading in a novel may make it easy for one to understand any complicated scientific phenomenon. The technical writer will use terminology. But a writer like Arthur Hailey can make the Rx factor easily understood. Robin Cook can make anyone understand the dangers of a strange fever much better than a specialist. To know history, reading Scott or Alexandre Dumas may be better than any drab historian. The novelists create the interest necessary for pursuing history.

A few non-fiction writings among others which I enjoyed reading are 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' by Richard Bach, Chariots of Gods by Erich Von Daniken and The Third wave by Alvin Toffler.

A few quotes on books by great people will stress the importance of the day:

There is a wonder in reading Braille that the sighted will never know: to touch words and have them touch you back. - Jim Fiebig

Never judge a book by its movie. - J.W. Eagan 'Dracula' the film is not the same as 'Dracula.' the novel by Bram Stoker(Mine)

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. -James Bryce

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. - Richard Steele, Tatler, 1710

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. - W. Somerset Maugham

Books are a refuge, a sort of cloistral refuge, from the vulgarities of the actual world. - Walter Pater

The quotations here are from quotegarden

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

22 April Earth Day

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Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe
Paradise Lost – Milton

April 22 is Earth Day and it is fit to remember these first few lines of Paradise Lost. Man’s first disobedience has resulted in a great loss. Now he is out to destroy all the things created before him and meant for his use. Nature, to save itself, may prefer annihilating Man from the face of the earth. So it is fit to take immediate actions to save the environment and to leave this earth a safe place for our progeny. Otherwise man may have to find habitation in some other planet and, even as Asimov had foreseen, stay at a distance from this planet and tell the people that man originated on this uninhabitable planet called Earth.

This day in 1970 Gaylord Nelson arranged for the holding of the ‘Earth Day,’ which became an instant catch with nearly 20 million people participating in the movement. Even today the “Earth Day Network’ carries on this good work. Let us join hands with them to make this earth a safe place to live in. For more visit http://ww2.earthday.net/

‘Charity begins at home’ does not have the literal meaning alone but also means that any good work starts at the basic unit level—the home. So let every home in the world decide today:
To use only materials that will decay and use no more plastics bags but use only bags made of things that are environment safe
To use only materials that can be recycled
To remember to carry reusable bags for shopping
To use chemical fertilizers and other poisonous things sparingly and to carefully dispose of the empty containers in a safe manner
To keep the automobile in good condition and keep the exhaust fumes under control
To cut down the bushes and mow the lawn and use the materials as fertilizers on decay (Taking care of the lawn, bushes and trees and pruning them regularly would also keep the unexpected fire hazard down)
To conscientiously cut down on what we throw out and remember not to throw things out that may clog the gutter
To dispose of dangerous waste like used batteries, paint containers etc in the proper manner

To Unite and make a concerted effort to preserve Earth.

Search the web: Earth Day, environment, green earth, global warming

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Foot Care

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Some 75% of the American population is said to suffer from foot pain. The pains are said to have direct relationship with weight. When we walk, the weight that falls on the moving feet will be nearly one and a half times the weight of a person. More, if one runs or jogs. It is more or less like the impact result of vehicles on the move. So the most important thing is to reduce the weight rather than taking pain killers.

Using proper foot powder is recommended as one of the basic things in caring for one’s feet. Many suffer from ingrown nails, cracks or fissures in heels and painful varicose veins. These are just a few commonly seen problems. All the three are relieved by immersing the feet in lukewarm water for sometime, best before bed which may also help sound sleep.

Keeping the feet clean, washed with soap and covered with clean and fresh socks will help greatly. Proper fit leather or canvas shoes and clean socks will keep one away from foot problems besides saving medical expenses. The best is to avoid shoes made of synthetic materials. Go bare footed, at least for some tome in a day.

The fissures may become extremely painful, if dust or sand affects them. Washing them, using a scrub, using proper cream to keep them from becoming dry and keeping them well guarded are ways that are recommended. Ingrown nails may also occur if people do not take proper pedicure care. A mistake may turn into life long pain. Reducing weight and waistline may be the remedy for most of foot pains and problems.

Want to see some interesting Quirky Shoes?

Search the web: foot care, pedicure, ingrown nails, fissure on heels, foot pain, foot

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Sun Screen lotion or cream and SPF

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Sun burn has always posed a problem to people, particularly for people with light skin. People with dark skin do not suffer as much as people with light color skin. So such people who are allergic to sun rays try to find a cream or lotion to protect their skin. It is reported that the UV rays that reach us from the sun are responsible for this. The skin turns red and for some the rays may cause severe burns. So it is natural to wish for and search for some help.

Exposed skin is normally affected, particularly the face. People who have out-door work and get exposed for a long time and athletes who train and take part in open air sports are the most affected. There are people very sensitive to sun's heat and are affected even when they remain in-doors. Such people certainly need to protect their facial skin to avoid serious problems.

Creams with SPF are applied to escape from the bad effects of hot sun. SPF is short for ‘sun protection factor’ which is found in such creams. They also carry a number like SPF15, SPF20, and SPF 30. This number is indicative of the time for which they protect a person from the bad effects of sun. If the unprotected skin turns red while in sun in five minutes, SPF 20 can extend the time some twenty times-about 60 minutes or an hour.

There seem to be specific creams for oily and dry skins. Titanium and zinc compounds and some herbal items are used as SPF. Many buy such products based on advertisements. One has many ways of analyzing these products on the Internet and it is advisable to look into what they don’t say by comparing competing products. It is also a must to know what type of skin one has, oily or dry and also analyze its sun sensitiveness.

Do proper research and then buy. It is better to meet a specialist in this field or a doctor and get professional advice on these matters before applying any product on the face.

Search the web: skin, face, lotion, cream, spf, sun screen

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Revolution in Writing

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The problem which one normally encounters in writing is making mistakes. Modern technology like telephones and cell phones made people lose the writing habit. Now writing in long-hand is nearly a lost art and beautiful handwriting is rare to find. The ordinary person avoids writing anything because he is afraid of making mistakes and making the whole paper look shabby.

Microsoft Word has eliminated this problem. This encourages many write without any fear of making mistakes. The word 'Word' now has become synonymous of MSWord. By the way the word 'Word' originally referred to God's words. (Gospel)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was god. John 1.1

The unique features, first made popular by them, have made writing easy for anyone. (This includes me too!) I wish to record here the best basic features that Word has, that are available for the intending writer, editor and publisher.

Correction of spelling, indicating space mistakes, suggesting the word (synonym or antonym) that one wants, rearranging sentences, formatting help like making letters and words appear bold or to underline are some ready features for the uninformed.

You may also add comments and keep track of the changes you make to any section by activating the 'track change' tool. Keep your writing within limited numbers by using the tool 'Word count'. You may select a particular area to count or check spelling. The great benefit is you have the material permanently saved and you can send that to anyone and still have the original.

Along with this you have others to help you in polishing your writing. You have online dictionaries to help you get the right word - Merriam-Webster, The free Dictionary, Oxford etc. There is a very useful web site called the Rhyme Zone You can get a lot of help including getting synonyms and antonyms here.

There are numerous web sites where you can publish your material. Most of them are free and you can use them extensively.

So today, technology which made writing and communicating easy and very mundane has come round to create beautiful avenues for everyone. Not just to write but also to publish. Now diamonds are free to pick up and are found everywhere and only you should find time strain slightly to stoop to pick them up.

Search the web: antonyms, publishing, searching, synonyms, writing

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Percolating Ethics

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A sheriff was found in a prostitute’s place, arrested and paraded through the streets. A mayor of a city was found having links with high-end call girls. Priesthood is misused. These and other news items bring to the fore how individual's ethics can affect the institution or organization.

Personal ethics form the core of the behavior of any individual and this can not but affect the institution to which the individual belongs. More so, if the person is in the controlling position. The organization or institution earning goodwill or losing it greatly depends on such people who have the decision making power. All situations warrant ethical decisions and such decisions are certainly affected by the decision maker’s personal ethics.

Parents to children; teachers to students; boss to employees; secretary to clerks; party leader to members; president to people.

Search the web: ethics, organization ethics, percolating ethics, personal ethics

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Euthanasia

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In capital punishment the execution of an individual is legalized by decree. Euthanasia, which is in simple terms, translates into ‘mercy killing,’ also has a basis. Religious institutions and orthodox people oppose this tooth and nail and the general public and law practitioners, the world over, oppose this since this may lead to bad practices getting a legal stamp.

Euthanasia is also a type of intentional killing like executing a person legally. On occasions, the individual may request for euthanasia, because of extreme suffering from much advanced stages of painful cancer or other diseases. The relatives of a person in coma or suffering from wasting diseases necessitating huge expenses may wish and ask for physician aided euthanasia.

Law experts and social workers caution that the law to allow euthanasia even under rigid or severe supervision may open up avenues for the misuse of it for personal gains.

The ‘Death with Dignity Act’ of Oregon is the one passed in the US, for legalizing assisted suicide. In Netherlands and Belgium they have passed laws allowing euthanasia, and one in an Australian region was repealed after sometime, during which four lives were honorably terminated.

Will calling it ‘assisted killing’ ‘voluntary election’ ‘through omission’ etc exempt euthanasia from being considered ‘killing’? The question looms large.

Search the web: euthanasia, mercy killing, termination

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Buy and Save

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If you Buy, you Save. That is the corporate truth. Buy for $50 and get half a loaf of bread and a 2 liter drink of your choice, absolutely free. You also save from 2% to 3% from the regular price, when you buy for $50 or more. I have actually seen the savings amount and the percentage printed out on the receipt. Otherwise I would not have believed that I can save like this. There are other ways you can save. You buy two sets and get one set free. Buy a packet containing 20 cakes of bath soap of the leading company and save $1.

A particular company who is a wholesale retailer charges entry money from those who want to buy there. There you can save a lot through buying large quantities -14 soaps, 24 large size paper towels, 72 bath towels and the like. The entry fee is a pittance compared to the savings you make when you buy there. This is a combo savings package. There are many benefits apart from the savings at the wholesale retailer. You save money in gas; you may visit this place only once or twice a year. The prices may go up. Since you have a year’s supply at home you are insured against any price rise. You need not even shell out the money immediately. You can save that and invest in mutual funds to earn more. Pay through your credit card and pay the credit card company at a leisurely pace, at your convenience. They never bother you as long as you meet the minimum payment requirements every month and use revolving credit. There are more savings waiting for you, if you pay every fortnight. I forgot how it works. But that seems to be a very easy way to save, they give huge discounts. The money value is saved The credit card company also gives you credit of points, which means indirect savings, which otherwise you may not earn and save.

There is another great savings announced by a company providing visual channels. They will make every room in your house, including your half bath, channel friendly, thus saving you a lot of expenses. The laptop company will give you an immediate savings of $150 and upgrades at very low costs and also waive any payment for 12 future months. Pay back through small monthly installments. So you can pay the cost through very leisurely installments spread over some six years. You just pay for the upgrades and take onsite maintenance and guarantee for 6 years, which is given at a discount from the single year maintenance and guarantee fee. This also includes a small premium amount for insurance. This provides for payment of the balance to the laptop company, if you die during the loan period. This holds good even if you happen to die during the first year. Here also you save.

The corporate retailers are very customer friendly and they know the predicament of the customer. So they create and open up every possible avenue for the buyer to make effective savings of a lot their hard earned money and also help them get the best services and materials at very low costs.

Start Saving now.

Search the web: Buy, spend, save, wholesale, retail

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Microwave Woes

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I received an email from a student asking me to pass on the information to all I know for their benefit. It seems a youth just 26 wanted to boil water and placed a cup of water into the microwave oven. When he opened the oven the water was not bubbling but when he brought it out of the oven, the water blew up on to his face causing severe burn injuries. He has problems in one of his eyes and the scar may remain forever.

The reason given by General Electric is that it is a phenomenon that most users of microwave overlook. No liquid should be heated for long. A cup may be allowed to stand for just two minutes at the maximum. The energy that gets built up remains passive until the liquid is moved or some other action like putting a tea bag in. That will make the liquid blow up with force.

Caution is advised in the use of such high-tech instruments.

To prevent

Never heat water in a microwave oven
Don’t heat any liquid for long – just two minutes for a cup full of water.
Better study the behavior of your machine and the heat it generates at various settings and decide the best method.
Immerse a wooden spoon or place a tea bag in water before you start microwaving.
Let the liquid stand for sometime inside the oven itself with doors closed. Open the door only after that and remove the container and then add anything like tea bag.
If you have a kettle, use it. (Both, electric or normal, are ok.)

NB:

A child recently suffered burn wounds because the mother was a bit careless while cooking (I don't think they were not using microwave)and the child was playing near by. The child was taken to hospital for treatment and the police took the parents into custody for being careless and for endangering the child. So better be careful while you cook.

Search the web: cooking, microwave
NB:
Yesterday I received the original email that is circulating and attached to that was a video of water suddendly spilling over on taking out of oven and something is added to it.
pilogui
28th May 2008
Watch video
video

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Sorrow or Happiness

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Lord Buddha renounced all the pleasures of this world seeing the sufferings of Man. He felt sad seeing the sufferings of Man and it is said that he associated the following as the main sources of sorrow or happiness.

The mother-child relationship is a basic source of sorrow or happiness and from this even the person who has renounced the world has no escape.

Any type of relating oneself with others becomes a source of sorrow or happiness. It is the affinity or affection one has that brings about either transitory happiness or sorrow.

Even slight acquaintance may be a cause; a person living in our neighborhood might have suffered a loss and that may make us feel sad. One living nearby winning a lottery may excite us.

Showing pity and sympathy can cause sorrow or happiness - seeing a child beaten or hurt may make one sad; the arrest of the person responsible, happy.

Belief is a strong source of sorrow or happiness and there is no need of confirmation and any information. Hearing from a trusted source is enough to make one sad or happy.

I have seen people laugh with P.G. Wodehouse and weep on seeing the sufferings of the hero or heroine in a film. The ability to feel with others who may be real or imaginary is another great source causing happiness or sorrow.

The title has 'sorrow' first to show that of the two fleeting things sorrow is sure to occur.

Find them all to be very mundane and wonder whether there is any escape and possiblity to transcend them and attain serenity?

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Asimov's Robots

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1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.


These are the laws that Asimov wanted enforced while programming the brains of robots. This may seem to be just fiction and not possible in real life. But the foreseer had certainly given a warning. This is just to stop the use of such robots as soldiers in war or other situations against fellow human beings. This even Shaw has foreseen, when he wrote about the East and West robot-armies meeeting and deciding to make Man their servants. If only such a precaution is possible for every research project, we need not fear the scientists and their political masters. If such care had been taken, we would not have had nuclear weapons and today need not fear the terrorists laying their hands on one.

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Autism

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The news item on the last day of March in cnn.com created a new doubt in the minds of many young mothers. Babies are expected to be given shots at regular intervals and mothers very carefully adhere to the schedule. The news item says,” Some parents believe that thimerosal, a preservative found in childhood vaccines that virtually every child gets, causes autism, because many children were diagnosed after they were vaccinated."

To my knowledge at least three mothers who have babies below a year, phoned up their physicians to know whether they should go ahead with the shots. I also hear that the hospitals do not record the administration of flu shots given to babies. This seems to be not a mandatory one. So the hospitals normally do not record the flu shots.

Autism is diagnosed only when the babies start showing abnormality in their behavior and speech. Details about what accually triggers autism are not found. So the fears of mothers are well founded.

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Lethal injection – Legal execution

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The Supreme Court has allowed the use of lethal injection to execute condemned prisoners. Lethal injection has taken the place of various other forms of execution as they are all now considered to be less human. The condemned is made unconscious using first an anesthetic and the killed using a lung paralyzing drug and another heart stopping chemical. This method is used to lessen the suffering of the condemned during the process of death.

That man has remained a savage and for long took pleasure in killing others cruelly. One would be surprised to see the cruelty he showed and innovative methods he used.

Very near to the present day method of using lethal injection was the execution of Socrates who was made to drink a cup of hemlock poison. Electrocution was another attempt to make death less painful. Gas Chambers used by the Nazis and others were also aimed at making death less painful. The army made short work of it by making the person stand in front of a firing squad. But these are very recent attempts at making death less painful and more humane.

The practices used by people in the olden days are worth recalling, at least to remember and avoid meeting out such treatment to anyone in future.

Beheading or decapitation had been practiced for long and the most notable beheading in history was that of King Charles I of England. The French revolution popularized the guillotine, a mechanical device used for mass decapitation. It was reported that large number of people used to witness the heads rolling out fast separated by the sharp knife falling on the neck and the blood jetting out into the air.

Jesus was crucified alive.

Breaking wheel was a method in which the person was tied to a cart wheel and cudgeled to death. Burning heretics and witches was normal practice in the 17th and beginning of 18th century. The great Saint, Joan of Arc suffered such a punishment.

Condemned persons were flayed in certain cases--removing the skin and leaving one to die. Impaling and sawing are other cruelties practiced on condemned prisoners. Crushing and breaking the neck bone, burying one alive, crushing one to death, using elephants to step on the prisoner, disemboweling, dismembering, leaving one inside the cage of a lion or tiger, drowning and dropping one into a snake pit were the various cruelties that history has recorded.

Stoning one to death was a known one for crimes related to sex. Tying one with bleeding wounds to a tree and leaving him in the sun to be eaten by ants or other animals was also practiced.

Man has certainly become civilized.

But is it not high time that we abolished capital punishment?

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Forgetting - Alzheimer's?

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Forgetting is associated with the functioning of the brain, particularly some loss of memory. The physicians extend this to loss of one's ability to think clearly and speak effectively. This is extended to the inability to carry on one's day to day chore and to act or behave in a strange manner. This in its advanced level is given the strange name Alzheimer's disease. Reports say that some millions suffer from this in the US alone. The sadder part of it is it is not curable.

Remembering to live normally becomes difficult for such persons. But retaining bad memories may also make one's life miserable. Listen to the immortal words of Macbeth said out of the great love he had for his wife Lady Macbeth:

Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?

Macbeth-Shakespeare


I am afraid that there is no antidote for forgetfulness too.

A report says that men are subject to be more forgetful than women. (livescience.com)
The above quote seems to indicate the same.

Remembering things may also turn into a disease. I have known people recollect incidents and words uttered in the past, even some 10 years before, to substantiate and argue their points. Civil law practitioners should have such a memory. If Hamlet had the power to forget, he would not have suffered. His suffering was because of thinking too much on the right and wrong and the pros and cons of his and others' actions.

This also proves why men in politics are more successful than women. It is because of their nature to forget what they say. With least compunction they can forget what they have uttered and act. So the normal forgetfulness is a boon rather than a disease—particularly for men.

What if we can selectively forget and live?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Where are we heading?

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A blog in livescience.com says “World Population to Hit 6,666,666,666 in May"

Population has always been a problem to the developing, underdeveloped and undeveloped countries. This explosion in population may seriously affect India and China, which have record population. Having a large population has made it possible for China to supply goods at very cheap rates.

Many Americans have started complaining that they are surrounded with foreign things-from simple items to laptops. The cost makes the Americans, go for foreign goods. A small hand held torch made in China is sold at less than $10 by a big American corporate in America, whereas an American made one would be somewhere near $50. Which will the normal American prefer? Even if a torch goes fut, he can buy another and another and still be paying less.

American companies order for clothes made in China and Thai. Thus they escape from paying the huge sums, which they may have to pay if they employed people in America. Such products are sold cheap by corporates here. This has made it possible for corporates to amass huge profits by denying employment opportunities to the hard working Americans.

India is another country which has improved its position not just through its skilled computer people alone but also of the standard of English they have. The increase in population may be good in one sense and bad in another. There may be more and more cheap labor but the governments will have to feed that many mouths.

The present recession in the US will not just affect the American economy and its people but the whole world. Any change in the US is sure to have far reaching effects.

The number 666 is said to have connection with Satan and the 10 sixes occurring in row may have triple Satan effect on countries. Already the price of petroleum has crossed the 100 dollar mark and reports say that the food prices in America are going up. India reports of abnormal increase in prices of rice and wheat as well as other food articles. The price rise has made people think of using potatoes in the place of wheat, even in rich countries; where poor countries are complaining about the use of corn for fuel.

Water scarcity is looming large; oil is becoming dear; food prices go up day by day; power generation is becoming costly; employment opportunities are in the downturn; recession has set in; population is increasing at a threatening pace.

Where are we heading?

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Water Cures

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I have heard these about water.

A small quantity of water sprinkled with force on the face can revive a person who has swooned.

Water is the main requirement when we feel very hot, or after tiring work. We never ask for food or anything to eat but only for a glass of water. But remember to take this glass of water in normal temperature and after the body has rested for a few minutes. Otherwise this is said to cause problems.

Ice, very cold water or even water in normal temperature, when applied to edema resulting from concussions, arrest the edema, and stop the clotting of blood which otherwise may take months to become alright. This has the same effect as applying ice pack. I have seen that such treatment has given good results and the mark which otherwise would have lasted for years has not occurred.I have had experience of this recently and so I believe strongly that this is true. The most convenient thing is most of us carry water bottles with us.

Water from falls is believed to cure even mental illness. The water brings with it the herbal essence which is said to be the reason. I have heard that Samuel Hahnemann found his first remedy on hearing that Napoleon’s sick forces got well when they crossed a river into which a branch of the cinchona tree had fallen. The water falling on the vertex is believed to cure.

We have heard of people saying that water at a new place may cause problems. Bath can be taken in cold water at any new place. But it is believed that immediately after bath, three drops of the same water placed on one’s palm and taken three times would make the water compatible.

Water in normal temperature is used for most of the homeo remedies. But mag. phos is seen to relieve colic pains when it is taken in hot water. Magnesium phosphate dissolves in hot water.

Luke warm water is seen to help problems of the feet. Those suffering from varicose veins may find some relief if they keep their feet immersed in lukewarm water for sometime before going to bed or when they feel discomfort or pain. Old people who have tired feet and feeling may get relief by this and also sleep well aterwards.

I have heard that if you are taking bath in cold water the first place to get the feel of water should be your head, particularly the vertex. It will stimulate the nerves and make you feel refreshed.

If ice cold water by chance is used on feet, the chances of the nerves getting affected are more. This may even cause temporary paralysis.

Hot water should be first poured on the feet and then the head. This will caution the nerve center on what is coming.

A glass of hot water taken early in the morning will help one free oneself without straining.

Now it is said that hot water taken after food stops assimilation of fat and thereby helps the heart.

People who take only cold water may experience lot of stomach problems. A lot of water intake or any liquids may also cause obesity. Those who want to reduce weight and want to get into shape may try hot water and stop taking lot of water, soft drinks of any type and particularly stop beer and avoid hot drinks.

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Water

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Water has always been a life preserving and saving liquid. In trying to colonize other planets man’s main search is for water which has both hydrogen and oxygygen. So the presence of water in any planet is indicative of life in there.

Photographs received from other planets are analyzed for marks of water or other life indicators. A recent one showed a figure like human being sitting on a rocky surface. This created a lot of furor and many vouched that it is a woman with her hair spread and sitting on a rock.

Another photograph of Saturn seems to show the presence of water, creating a lot of confidence among scientists. These and other discoveries make one believe that life is possible where right conditions are met.

Issac Asimov and Erich Von Dainiken should feel very happy.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Moral and Spiritual Courage

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We are what we are and identified by the moral and spiritual courage we have and show. To oppose a wrong we require these. Fear psychosis is used by many, including the dons, who mastermind the underworld. Our fear of physical pain, suffering,loss of the position we hold or the status in society, including the loss of money and other assets make us accept many of the wrong doings of people. Family may also suffer. So many of us succumb to the suppression inflicted on us by others.

Basic moral courage and the will power not to accept a wrong doing will always make us feel happy and satisfied and fruitful. The means through which we try to reach our goals are of more importance than reaching the goal.

The news story about the old woman who fought against the robbers who wanted to snatch away her purse is noteworthy. The courage she had shown was phenomenal. She should have let go of the purse, if she had thought of her physical safety first. It is doubtful whether any of our law enforcers would have shown such courage.She was not afraid of youth and superior strength. What made her fight should have been the ingrained moral strength and the will power she had.

Let us salute her.
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National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

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April 13–19, 2008

'Out of sight, out of mind’ so goes the saying.

The sufferings of a victim of a crime may not remain a matter of public interest for long. The news is a fleeting one and the suffering remains personal.

Readers lose interest in a crime when new and bizarre ones arrive. The news media forget the suffering souls. With new victims added daily, the law enforcers can not find time to trace back or remember the old victims. Out of sight and publicity may not lessen the sufferings of victims of past crimes.

Many might have suffered physical disabilities and some mental agonies and some may even remain unrecovered from that state of shock. Some may remain ignorant of what can be done to alleviate their problems and some may remain resigned to their fate, while some others may be incapable of claiming their rights. They may also require help to come out of the stigma got affixed to them.

Making the rights of victims of crimes a common knowledge should help such victims and their families.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Ethics: A loud thinking on the basics

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Personal ethics, organizational, business, professional, social or communal ethics are various ways in which they are classified. The personal ethics is the basis on which the other ethics are formulated.

When we call personal ethics, it means the behavior of a person or the values on which a person’s actions are based. Ethics are the guidelines adopted for behavior. There are no personal ethics without taking into a one’s interaction with others—family included.

Ethics are "moral principles that control or influence a person's behavior," explains the Oxford dictionary. The choice of these principles depend on the individual’s understanding of right and wrong formulated by the community in which he is born and brought up and the teachers who guide him through the early formative years. The reading of the personalities and the people who become popular through the news media and politics also play a great role.

If a bootlegger takes his son on his tours and carries on his clandestine work before his eyes, the boy should think nothing wrong in bootlegging or extending that to drug trafficking too. The father is the first hero of any child and no wonder he takes after him.

The teacher, particularly those teaching the young during the formative years, has to adhere to certain standards. A teacher can not claim that he can play cards, get drunk publicly before his students during his free hours away from the school. A teacher can not be a cabaret dancer during the night and teach young children during the day and claim that to be her personal. Let us have a discussion on workplace ethics at a later time.

To say the least the ethical principles followed by any grown up individual is largely dependent on matters that have force to affect his understanding of right and wrong at the formative years.

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Two of a Kind

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Man and woman; day and night; summer and winter; Heaven and Hell; good and evil; light and darkness; God and Satan and ephemeral and permanent.

'God created the Haven and the Earth. God divided the light from the darkness.’ The Bible.

"And all things have We created in pairs in order that you may reflect on it." The Holy Koran.

"The difference between God and man is one of degree. Ultimately they are one and the same." Adwaitha.

Incidentally, the last one is a Hindu philosophy saying that there is no duality but all are one and the same. They define that it is like the reflected images of the sun found in many vessels filled with water. Monism and dualism are not two opposed things, but things which vie for equality.

Man and servant, knowledge and ignorance, truth and falsehood and life and death are seen as opposed to each other but in truth they, all these ‘two of a kind’ things, complement each other.

Did God destine them to be different? Or are they the same seen differently by different people? This dilemma will always linger.

“Beauty is Truth, Truth beauty…” Keats.

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Death and Destiny

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Death is something that is preordained on the day a life has been conceived. So it is impossible to avoid death. But man always tries to find ways to bypass death and live forever.

I have heard the story about a small mouse which heard from the wise owl that it was going to die in a few hours. It went into a house and hid itself thinking no danger could come from any of its regular enemies like the eagle, snake or cat.

The god of Death happened to pass through the room and saw this mouse hiding there. He said in a casual manner, “Hi! Are you here?”
The mouse was very much afraid, wanted to find some other hiding place and ran out.

An eagle that found him running fast, understood its predicament and assured him that it would not harm him in any manner but would take him away to a place some 10 miles away which should be far off from the reaches of the god of Death, who was found roaming in that area. Mouse thought that to be good idea and after getting a promise that the eagle would not harm him left with him to the hiding.

As promised the eagle left it in a precipice where there were many small and big rocks to hide behind. The mouse was very happy that it had traveled a long way and got away from the god of Death. When it just felt happy and sleepy, a big serpent caught and started swallowing it live. The god of Death passed by and was happy to note that the mouse had arrived at the predestined place of 'Death from Sepent' from the far off place where he last saw the mouse.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Vegetarianism

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"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way in which its animals are treated." -- Mahatma Gandhi.

Even during these days vegetarians find it hard to travel and are always worried about getting vegetarian food. In many places in the world people can never believe that one can live totally on vegetarian food.

Even in place like San Jose, the case is the same. I find that many Indians who have migrated to the west, whose families are pure as well as orthodox vegetarians, have accepted non-vegetarianism on two counts— the problems faced in getting materials and preparing vegetarian food and cost. Non-vegetarian food is cheap, compared to vegetarian food and the difficulties in cooking that. In such regions you get a variety of cheap non-vegetarian food.

Vegetarianism is a deeply rooted thing and considered to be part of Hindu culture and of its religion, Hinduism. Even people, who are non-vegetarians, do not take non-vegetarian food on certain important dates, considered to have religious importance.

Many claim that physical strength has a direct relationship with non-vegetarian food and vegetarianism is associated with moral strength and will power. While the former is disputable the later seems to have some truth in it.

To Gandhi, vegetarianism was the base from which renunciation and satyagraha evolved. They became the most powerful weapons before which all guns and cannons became helpless.

A taste of meat is only a remnant of age old days. If only Man comes out of it, he can call himself of the most modern.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Eyeless among Bulls and Bears

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Buying stocks is an investment. Investment means expecting returns. It is more like any other business; even like a farmer expecting to harvest good returns. When we have some spare cash, it is human to try to make that earn for us. Buying stock is one way of making our money work for us.

Wait a moment.

"I agreed to accept money to not report suspicious trading activity to upper management at Assent," “Broker pleads guilty in U.S. trading case” Yahoo News, 04/12/2008

Such people are out there.

These make the innocent investors’ lose money. During the recent downtrend some billions have disappeared into thin air. When companies and banks lose the Governments extend a helping hand. But from the faceless individual investor even the shirt he is wearing is taken away.
There are many to extend free advice and analysis on buying stocks. From your friend who has invested in stock to the broker and online advisors as well. The temptation normally occurs through hearing rumors of friends making good profits and stories in magazines of people striking a fortune in stock market.

Be sure to select a company on which you can say in a few easy-to-understand words what it does.

Success and good returns make one happy and confident.

Success breeds success??!!

After all is said and done, it is buying stocks that surely opens the gates for future prosperity.
I know of people who hang the picture of Ambani and go for daily jobbing.

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Eldorado turned into a rich religious Harem

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Religion is misused again and again. Fear of God and Fear of Man had been put to serve personal pleasures.

“Venturing beyond the brilliant white limestone walls of their compound would consign them to eternal damnation, their church leaders preached.” Yahoo News.

Fear psychosis and brain washing techniques, under the guise of religion are evoked to create a servile generation.

Man can never remain servile and will act to free himself and liberate his soul at the right time is clear from the untraced phone call.

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Is UFO the answer?

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Travel through space has always been the dream of man. But the problem of speed and the distance that the present vessels can cover at their present optimum level of operations seem to stand in the way of any great achievement.

Can we say that the future vessels be modeled on the spherical UFOs, the shape of which has become popular?

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Freedom and Liberty

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"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." -Thomas Jefferson

Freedom and liberty are used as synonymous terms but are not synonymous. They are verily different from each other.

To test, put your pet dog on leash. That will show their importance.

Liberty follows freedom.

You open the lock and the man behind bars becomes free. Now he is at liberty to act on his own.

Freedom of self, freeing the self from its own clutches, or understanding of the inner being is the most difficult thing. The possessions are the impediments and the love of luxury stops one from understanding oneself. Freedom from material possession or 'Dispossession' frees the self to travel at liberty in search of a meaning of the self and the ONE.

'Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult' -Samuel Johnson

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Giving or Gifting?

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It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.


A gift is something special. We have many words which are very near in meaning--endowment, donation, bequest, bestow etc.

Giving is gifting in its higher sense. It may mean an action with good intention of helping another, without any ulterior motive.

It should be an act of pure love. Charity and benevolence, in their real nature, belong to this class and largesse or munificence is characteristic of the blessed and gifted people. The real end of gifting is to end up with giving.

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata

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