Saturday, March 5


Urine is a curious bodily fluid, which is frequently made a butt of ewwww and ick jokes and expressions, but I somehow think this has been overdone. While reading this: and I quote:

What are the pros and cons of using camel urine as a medicament? The question was recently tackled in the journal Dirasat – a peer-reviewed research journal published by the Deanship of Academic Research, University of Jordan. In Vol 37, No 1, 2010, authors Mohammad A. Al-Natshah, and Isma’eel M. Al-Braishi, examine the history and philosophical aspects of its use in their paper: A Look at the Tradition Narrated by Okal and Oraynah, Medical Treatment by Impurities Filthy Things where they explain:

“Treatment by camels urine in particular is permissible by sharia scholars. As for being pure, the Sharia scholars were in disagreement as some of they said its pure while others said they are impure. Those who supported using it for treatment rested at the fact that it can be administered if patient is very ill though medical products are so advanced. The research goes a head by narrating, discussing and giving evidence, that the camels urine is impure but despite that filthy things can be used in pharmaceuticals.” [sic, various]

Building on the historical guidelines, practical progress in applied camel urine usage has also recently been made. Research by Dr. Faten Abdel-Rahman Khorshid, associate professor at the King Fahd Medical Research Center, Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Medical Center, King Abdulaziz University (KAAU), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has determined that camel urine contains nano-particles which might be effective against certain types of cancerous cells. The ‘active ingredient’ in the urine – identified by its codename PM701 – has already been tested in humans: See: Khorshid, F., H. Alshazly, A. Al Jefery and A.M.M. Osman, 2010. Dose escalation phase I study in healthy volunteers to evaluate the safety of a natural product PM701. Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 5 ( 3 ): 91 – 97, 2010.
In order to further promote its medical potential in the fight against cancer worldwide, professor Khorshid has also applied for a swathe of international patents. Here is the US application – covering “an absolutely novel use of camel urine“ – it focuses on PM701 obtained from the adult single-humped Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius) found roaming natural pastures near Jeddah.  ‘
Separation and formulation of bioactive fraction and subfraction from camel urine work as anticancer agent‘ (US patent app. 2009/0297622 A1)

What people dont realise is that urine is a sterile by product, it does not have any toxic materials. People have drunk urine as a medicine like the famous Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai. People drink processed urine on the space station after processing it. As a matter of fact, quite a lot of normal drinking water also contains processed urine. There’s a thought for the homeopaths who believe that molecules leave behind memories when diluted to hell and beyond.

Urine can also be used as an emergency medicine if you get hit by jellyfish. And I didnt know that urine shares many properties with amniotic fluid. Go figure. Its also considered to have therapeutic values in various Hindu sacred books. And cow urine been made into a cola!

Urine has also been used to make gunpowder, again because of the presence of nitrogen compounds in it and that makes saltpeter crystals which in turn is used to make gunpowder. So the next time somebody says to you when you have a lump, do you have a gun in your pocket, just say, yep, and i can make gunpowder as well.

Some even take a bath in it, here are dinka tribespeople…

Then again, its also been used as a protest vehicle. What happened to the good old days of using shoes, eh?

Friday, March 4

Nickel talking about Silver

I was sent a notification about a Lecture as below,

Date: Monday, 28 February 2011
Time: 17.00
Title: Exotic silverware during the Han period
Speaker: Dr Lukas Nickel (SOAS),
Venue: G50, Main Building, SOAS 

Just found the juxtaposition of the name of the professor, Nickel, talking about silver :) very apt, eh?

Thursday, March 3

Teach First

Well, I have been working with SIFE LSE to get them working with the teachers in the teach first organisation. The concept behind teach first is to take 500-600 absolutely brilliant teachers per year, give them individual coaches, give them a good grounding and then deploy them to the most challenging and difficult secondary schools in the country. The SIFE team is working to get the trading game into the schools via this channel.

But besides this, I thought that I should get a bit involved as well, so have put in a bid to be a coach for one of the teachers. Lets see how that works out. I am quite excited about this opportunity to work closely with these Brits who will teach for England. Now that’s the kind of passion and commitment that is rare in this world and if I can help in some little way, so be it.

Your feet in heels

How your feet do in heels.

Look at the stresses, bloody hell, and women go through this every day? !!!!!

Wednesday, March 2

Conditions of nationality

This bewildered me. I quote:

They need to have iqamas (residence permits) and obtain exit-reentry visas every time they want to leave the country.

Under the citizenship rules and regulations, children born to Saudi women with foreign husbands are not automatically entitled to Saudi passports at birth.

Boys can, however, apply to obtain the nationality when they are 18, while girls can only get it if they marry Saudi men.

The boys should be born in the Kingdom and lived here until they are 16 years of age. Saudi men married to foreign women do not face such a problem. Their children are automatically entitled to citizenship at birth.

Children born to Saudi women and foreign fathers need sponsorship.

Al-Sharif said many Saudi mothers register their sons and daughters under their sponsorship as drivers and housemaids regardless of their education in order to save them from deportation.

“These particular job titles will prevent their sons and daughters from getting proper jobs and prevent the mother from recruiting a driver or a housemaid from outside,” he added.

“These children feel humiliated in their motherland, the very place they were born in.”

Al-Sharif said that if the mother was able to register her children as companions to her, they would not be granted work permits regardless of their financial needs.

Al-Sharif said the husband would not have declared in his iqama that he is married to a Saudi, while the wife will not have made the same declaration in her civil records. “They have to have their marriage contract with them always to prove that they are husband and wife,” he said.

He also noted that daughters from such marriages are given cards when they are 18 years old stating that they should be treated like Saudi citizens, but added this would not allow them to work.

He also noted that foreign husbands would not be given any preferential treatment when they apply for Saudi nationality, no matter how long he remains married.

Al-Sharif said Saudi men who marry foreign women without permission from the authorities concerned have a different kind of problem. “They find great difficulties in documenting their marriage contracts or getting their wives and children into the Kingdom,” he said.

Al-Sahrif said children born to Saudi mothers and foreign fathers also have problems in obtaining free medical treatment in government hospitals.

He said the society has come across cases in which children from such marriages were not allowed to obtain their mothers’ pensions or social security assistance.

He claimed that children born to Saudi women and Palestinian men are not even allowed to apply for Saudi citizenship.

Simply bewildering why this kind of gender based discrimination would occur at this day and age. At one point, the UK also treated women differently from men but thankfully this has been resolved now. For example, if a British woman married a foreign man, her British citizenship would be lost but not so if you were a British Man marrying a foreign woman. There are still gender based differences, see here for example.

Tuesday, March 1

Where the hell did all the money go?

This was a very illuminating post on the situation with UK Debt. All that inflow from the empire, the North Sea Oil, all that and where the hell did all that money go?

We owned $4.25 billion to USA at the end of WW1. UK defaulted on this.

We took $435 billion for free from USA in lend lease and another $65 billion at 2% from USA as well as $15bn from Canada.

Unbelievable. And we are still spending like a drunken sailor. What the hell is this country doing with its financials? Why are the combined set of politicians being so stupid? Bloody hell.

Mishraism gets a slam

My ferociously erudite and diabolically brilliant friend, Salil Tripathi knocks the socks off a rather strange whiney article on India and China’s progress written by that strange character, Pankaj Mishra. I have to admit, I have yet to understand why he is rated that well, I mean, d’oh. Anyway, Salil writes back to the Mishra article. I quote this:

To put Indian growth in perspective: when it grew at 7.5% last year, India's income rose by an amount higher than the total income of Portugal ($194 billion), Norway ($183 billion), or Denmark ($178 billion) that year. It was the equivalent of adding a rich country's economy to a very poor one. More important, India has reduced the number of people living in abject poverty, even though its population has increased significantly. Once again, facts: In 1991, 36% of India's 846 million people, or a little over 304 million people, lived on less than one dollar a day, the measure economists at the World Bank use to define absolute poverty. That number - of 304 million people - represented possibly the highest-ever agglomeration of poor people in the world in one country at any time. Ten years later, the proportion of India's poorest dropped to 26% - a decline not only of 10 percentage points, but also in absolute terms. By 2006, India's population had risen to 1.02 billion people. If the proportion of poor is still at 26%, it means 267 million people now lived in absolute poverty. What it also means is that even though India added 156 million more people to its population during that decade - a figure combining the total populations of Britain, France and Spain put together - during that period, the number of poor people in India actually fell by 37 million, or the size of Poland. Had the poverty level remained the same, there would have been 361 million poor in India. Instead, the Indian economy had lifted 94 million people out of absolute poverty during that period - that's 12 million more people than the entire population of Germany, the most populous state in the European Union. Such growth would simply have not happened if India had not put in place macroeconomic changes in 1991.

People who moan about inequality need to understand that there is no crime or problem in people being rich. its when the poor remain or are kept poor is where the problem starts. Here are some of my responses about inequality here, here.

Then Mishra responds to Salil’s note here. Now besides the economic fallacies he exhibited in his first post, he now adds historical incoherence to his post, which Salil takes apart in the rejoinder to the rejoinder here. If nothing else, Mishraji, try to simplify your language. See these 2 statements:

1. Old assumptions of moral and civilizational superiority shape the neo-liberal view of Chinese and Indian history, in which the Indians and Chinese appear as deluded socialists and famine-struck peasants, who could only have been saved by western-style neo-liberalism.

2. I can only mention one here: the challenge of postcolonial reconstruction in countries devastated by war and colonialism, in a harsh geopolitical situation which forced ruling classes everywhere to choose sides in the cold war

Say what?

bah!, and seems like Mishraji gets slammed in other areas as well. Here’s another book review kerfuffle that he got involved in and the book’s author poked him