Monday, May 27, 2013

5 People I would Love to Connect With

Recently I heard about the "WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere!" contest and it got me thinking about the people (living, dead or fictional) with whom I would like to connect. So here is my list:

1. Willy Wonka: The greatest chocolatier to have ever lived and the book which got me hooked to reading. It would be my honor to talk with him. His wit and imagination boggled my mind and I just wish he was real.

2. Oprah Winfrey: She is a women of substance, some who is self-made, who fought against the odds and succeeded. She is my role model and I want to become the personality she is. She not only inspires and helps people but she gives them hope. She can move masses and win elections by just a few words. Hence to be able to connect with her and learn from her would be the greatest gift of all times.

3. Albert Einstein: The man who single-handedly changed the way people perceived physics. His theory of general and special relativity is the reason that we have space travel and GPS today. His Nobel prize winning paper on the photoelectric effect is the reason we have CRT screens and TVs today. I can think of innumerable questions to ask him about our world.  

4. The Mayans: I would ask them about their infamous calendar and what it actually meant. But a translator may be required !!!!

5.Tom Cruise: He is my favorite celebrity of all time.

6. Margaret Mitchell: Gone with the wind is one of my all time favorite novels. And I would love to ask a lot many questions to it's author.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Increasing Gender Polarity

These days when I open the newspaper all I see are advertisements which claim to make a girl look like a princess. With a pink background and pretty tiaras, little toddlers dressed in puffy pink dresses with big smiles on their faces. And small boys, with gelled hairs and black sunglasses, posing with attitude suitable for a 35-year old.
And if I look around myself all I see is gender stereotypes being reinforced everywhere. With parents choosing blue and pink for their son and daughter, pink buses for girls, pink compartments in the metro just for women etc. etc........ All this makes me go WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE????

I for one am not a fan of the color pink, but I don't judge those who are. However, I do not like those who force it on others especially children. I mean, would a girl be any less a girl if she likes say red or black or any of those colors. Children have impressionable minds and the “smart” advertising people are exploiting them by conforming them to such stereotypes. Children today demand the princess themed parties, faux tiaras, princess themed bedrooms and parents today in a bid to give everything their child wants are complying with such demands without thinking of the long-term effects of such stuff. I read the article Gender Issues in Media and I strongly agree with the writer.
Moreover, such practices are so wide-spread and deep-rooted that many a time’s people do not even realize when they accept them as "normal". In the above said article the writer suggests some ways to curb this menace and I highly recommend them.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kidney Stones: Modern Technology to the Rescue

A kidney stone is an aggregation of certain materials -phosphorus, calcium, and oxalate- which gets accumulated in the kidney or the urinary system. Kidney stones are one of the most common ailments affecting people today. A list of factors can contribute to the formation of kidney stones such as weight, environmental factors, and cystic kidney diseases, which are disorders that cause fluid-filled sacs to form on the kidneys etc. They can also be hereditary. Moreover, they are incurable as it is a tendency of the body to form them.  

In my family, kidney stones have plagued every generation, from my great-grandfathers to my grandfather to my father and me. Also, my mother and her father had kidney stones too. In their time, the only way to treat kidney stones was to perform an operation on the kidney. The doctors would cut open the kidney and take the stone out. This was a very risky not to mention expensive procedure and was only used when the stone reached a certain size. Also there was a high risk of infection and other post-op complications. But today, thanks to modern technology and advancements in healthcare, a lot of new and safe options have come up to treat kidney stones.  Some of them are:

Shock wave lithotripsy. A machine called a lithotripter is used to crush the kidney stone. The procedure is performed by an urologist on an outpatient basis and anesthesia is used. In shock wave lithotripsy, the person lies on a table or, less commonly, in a tub of water above the lithotripter. The lithotripter generates shock waves that pass through the person’s body to break the kidney stone into smaller pieces to pass more readily through the urinary tract.

Ureteroscopy. An ureteroscope—a long, tube like instrument with an eyepiece—is used to find and retrieve the stone with a small basket or to break the stone up with laser energy. The procedure is performed by a urologist in a hospital with anesthesia. The urologist inserts the ureteroscope into the person’s urethra and slides the scope through the bladder and into the ureter. The urologist removes the stone or, if the stone is large, uses a flexible fiber attached to a laser generator to break the stone into smaller pieces that can pass out of the body in the urine. The person usually goes home the same day.

There are more procedures too like Percutaneous nephrolithotomy but the above two are the comparatively used more. You can find more information about the above at National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC). Moreover, not only are these procedures less expensive and less invasive they also reduce the chances of post op complications considerably.
Hence we can see how with the use of modern technology and advance techniques people's lives have been touched and changed for the better.

#this article is written as an entry to ApolloTouchingLives

Friday, May 3, 2013

A little note to Suzanne Collins....

Recently, when I was studying the structure of  the Aggregated diamond nanorods (ADN), I was reminded of this correction which I forgot to mention in my review of Catching Fire. Here's the quote from the book:

No copyright infringement intended.

I found this hilarious when I was reading this book. Pearls are primary made of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) and conchiolin. And the interesting fact is that certain mollusks form a pearl sac to protect themselves from a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside its shell, or an attack from outside, injuring the mantle tissue. It uses the pearl sac to seal off the irritation.

A black pearl and a shell of the black-lipped pearl oyster.
iridescent colors originate from nacre layers.
Furthermore, its diamonds that are formed by subjecting coals to extremely high pressures. In fact, for manufacturing of artificial diamonds, carbon beads are subject to pressures as high as 5 GPa at 1500 °C. This process is also called the HPHT method. So now you know better!!!