Friday, January 20

Five research papers that revolutionised health

Some very interesting insights into how medical research was published and how pretty much every medical insight was thought to be stupid. I learnt this German  term yesterday while doing the learning to learn course. It say that our previous learning can actually stop us from learning new things. So true. I need to constantly keep my mind open to new ideas and thoughts. 
Saying no is too easy son. Stay away from people who reflexively say no. Listen to them but keep working away. It's not easy to fight. I'm struggling against some entrenched interests to get a pet subject launched. One year and I'm getting there. Fun times. 
Anyway. Much interesting aspects in the story here. 

Five research papers that revolutionised health
(via Instapaper)

15 March 2015 Last updated at 10:16 By Deborah Cohen BBC Health Check
First edition of Phil Trans Roy SocThe world’s first scientific journal with its founders Viscount Brouncker, King Charles II and Francis Bacon
You are unlikely to find The Lancet, Thorax or the Journal of the American Medical Association in your doctor’s waiting room, but their contents have more impact on your health than the usual lifestyle magazines.
Such journals, where papers are reviewed by other scientists in the same field - are where researchers set out their findings about how diseases occur, which drugs save lives or what surgical procedure is best.
The first scientific journal - Philosophical Transactions - was published 350 years ago this month. It is still produced now - along with thousands of others.
Here are five of the many papers that have transformed medical practice - and people’s lives - over the centuries.

Thursday, January 19

18 Quotes By The Dowager Countess That You Need To Start Using In Your Life

hese were very funny indeed Kannu. Some of them you can use to get into your conversations. The last one I liked. I'm reminded of what one of my bosses told me when I was trying to cut costs. He told me, BD, don't be a middle class with cost cutting. Basically meaning penny wise and pound foolish. But this quote from the dowager did make me think. Why is being defeatist a middle class problem? I'm not one and I guess I could be the archetypical middle class man. In terms of thinking anyway. Money wise we are way off. 
Makes one think as to why the middle classes are so worried and bring defeatist. Is it because of their insecurity? 

18 Quotes By The Dowager Countess That You Need To Start Using In Your Life
(via Instapaper)

To paraphrase another great wit: rumours of her leaving appear to have been greatly exaggerated.
Which is a relief. Because 'Downton Abbey' without its marvellous matriarch - Dame Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess - would be a duller place indeed.
From quick-witted observations to sharp-tongued ripostes, here are some of the finest, funniest bon mots ever uttered by Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.
Whether you're dealing with foreigners, friends or whining women, we highly recommend using them when the social occasion arises...
  • 1 'At my age, one must ration one's excitement.'

Wednesday, January 18

‘Dastarkhwan’ revisited

I first came across this word, dastarkhwan in Lucknow. It's a tiny street which is full of little eateries. And I tell you the food there is to die for kids. It's truly magical what they do. Every time I go there, nana gets me some food from there and I just pig out. Here's an article written by a friend of mine which goes a bit deeper into the history of food. I chuckled at the recipe where she mentions 'bhunao'. Brown. Take a peek at mamma's recipe book. It's so amusing to read. But that's what makes these recipes beautiful and lovely. They include the human touch. The emotion. Nigella Lawson does the same and that's why I love her as well. Food should be a passion and to make it or eat it, you should be passionate about it. And I further reiterate, the mark of quality for any restaurant is a biryani. Specially the meat biryani like goat or chicken. If that's good then the cook/restaurant is good. 
Maybe one day I'll learn to make biryani. We've got that hyderabadi biryani book but those recipes are horribly hard. And the girls don't like that. So I guess I'll have to wait till you come kannu. And it was good to see you yesterday. I was happy to see you relaxed and looking good. And don't forget the deal! :) 

‘Dastarkhwan’ revisited
Pritha Sen (left) with Manzilat Fatima. Photographs: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
Manzilat Fatima, 47, is describing a Shia community speciality offered in prayer (haazri) on Muharram. “You take a mini paratha, place a kebab on it, add a piece of smoked paneer that you get in New Market here in Kolkata, plus julienned ginger, mint leaves, a slice of cucumber and a roundel of onion,” she says. “We call this a ghutwan kebab, because the meat is first marinated with papaya and then cooked till it assumes an almost paste-like consistency.”

Tuesday, January 17

The Ritual behind Wishing Wells: Buying Favors and Good Fortune

This is a fascinating story behind how the tradition of throwing coins into wells and fountains came about. Never knew this at all. What was the most poignant was that Odin was required to pay a very steep price to drink the water of wisdom. Quite an interesting story. I need to read up more on Norse mythology. 
When we went to Italy, we were merrily throwing coins into the wells. There's actually a well in Ambleside which is a charity well. You can throw in a coin to help a charity and also make a wish. Both winners. 

The modern Western world is familiar with the concept of wishing wells, or bodies of water in which currency, most commonly in the form of coin, is tossed with the intention of making a wish.  Some towns even host a fountain in the town square or epicenter in which passersby drop coins in hopes that their desires will be fulfilled. While this practice is common knowledge, the origin of the tradition is not. In fact, when and where this practice began is somewhat unclear.
As with many traditions that predate recorded history, pinning down one particular event or origin related to the wishing well is difficult. Many ancient practices spanned more than one culture, varying according to the practicing people. But in regards to the phenomenon of the wishing well, there are undoubtedly age old customs that correlate to the tradition of wishing over sacred water.
The dark pools in the Luray Caverns are filled with coins and other tokens thrown in by visitors and hopeful wishers. 'Wishing Well' of Luray Caverns, Virginia, USA.
The dark pools in the Luray Caverns are filled with coins and other tokens thrown in by visitors and hopeful wishers. ‘Wishing Well’ of Luray Caverns, Virginia, USA. Wikimedia Commons
Though the wishing well is considered to be a European tradition, it is important to understand the worldwide significance of clean water before the advent of indoor plumbing and water filtration.
Water is the source and sustenance of life. All major civilizations developed around a source of water, mostly fresh, so that it could be used and utilized for drinking and other essential day to day activities, such as agriculture. These large bodies of water were also key in successful trade and defense. On a smaller scale, clean water that emanated from springs or streams were also vital to local communities. Structures often came to be built around the source of this clean water to protect it from contaminates. These ‘wells’ often became a common meeting place for residents.

Monday, January 16

Ecuador - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So we will be going to this country in couple of months. This promises to be great fun. We will be spending time in Galapagos and Quito and the Amazonia resort over 2 weeks. And we will be driving from Quito to the Amazonia resort. It's going to be quite a fun time. The country seems to have gone through some really torrid times indeed. You can see how the geography of the country has an impact on its politics and history. That's why a knowledge of geography is very important. Whist we shape the landscape, the landscape shapes is much more. I hope you two have fun. Keep your eyes open and observe. This is the first time you two are going to go to a Spanish speaking country in South America. Totally different culture, history, food everything. Fun times. 
I'm totally excited :)

Ecuador - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For other uses, see Ecuador (disambiguation).
"Equador" redirects here. For the city in Brazil, see Equador, Rio Grande do Norte.
Not to be confused with Equator.
Ecuador (
i/ˈɛkwədɔr/ E-kwə-dawr), officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador [reˈpuβlika ðel ekwaˈðor], which literally translates as "Republic of the Equator") is a representative democratic republic in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland.
What is now Ecuador was home to a variety of indigenous groups that were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the fifteenth century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the sixteenth century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830. The legacy of both empires is reflected in Ecuador's ethnically diverse population, with most of its 15.2 million people being mestizos, followed by large minorities of European, Amerindian, and African descendants.

Sunday, January 15

All: Everyone wants to be happy. Almost everyone is going about it wrong.


Here's an interesting article on how people are responding to their desire to be happy. What it boils down to is that you cannot expect to be happy all the time, material possessions cannot give you happiness, problems do not come and go quickly, everything cannot be perfect, stability is happiness and what your parents say / do is equal to happiness. 

That made me think. I am generally a happy bunny as you would have noticed. Not least because of you two wonderful lovely kids. Even though I keep on saying that you are gadha and lirbire, that's teasing, you two are the biggest reasons for my happiness every day. I hug and kiss you simply because you are lovely, warm, nice, wonderful children. You are happy so that makes me happy. I make Mamma unhappy but that's because I dont listen to her, snore at night and act like a gadha as well :). 

But how do I stack up given the below? So i dont think i am happy when "something happens" and no, Im happy generally because of various factors. So that's at variance with the below. Material possessions cannot give me happiness is right, not really that much interested in material possessions - maybe other than books but they do get consumed and read and digested and and and. And no, problems dont come and go quickly - some problems i have handled all through my life, like my knee or Dadu's illness/health or the charity issues. And no, my life isnt stable, despite all the efforts of Mamma, workwise its always moving around and there is a heavy risk of insecurity / my job going, etc. etc. 

But the last point is important, kids. What makes me or Mamma happy is not what will fit you nor should it. You have to come up with your own reasons to be happy kids :). You can, of course, learn from us but never take our limitations for yourself, kids. Be happy :) dream big, fail, deal with problems, but be happy :) 



Vox - All
Everyone wants to be happy. Almost everyone is going about it wrong. 
Jun 2nd 2015, 12:00, by Sherry Amatenstein

As a therapist, the number-one goal I hear from my patients is: "I just want to be happy." I ask, "What would being happy mean to you?" The answers range from "Everything I wish for will happen" to "I will feel good all the time" to "I won't ever feel sad or disappointed."
These patients are deeply misguided: believing that bliss is a permanent, attainable state is both unrealistic and emotionally dangerous. Awful things occur that we cannot control, and that will and should at least temporarily affect how we feel.
My happiness-seeking patients are also, sadly, doomed to fail. It's a time-worn paradox: the more you obsess over whether you are happy or happy enough, the unhappier you are. As I've witnessed from years of counseling patients, contentment emerges as a byproduct of a good life, not from the pursuit of it being your life's purpose.
Here are some of the most common myths my patients believe about happiness — and how I help my patients move past them.
1) They keep saying, "I'll be happy when..."
When Philip (all patients' names are changed) began therapy, his heartfelt belief was it would be impossible to enjoy life until achieving X goal. After achieving X goal, there'd be a brief spike of joy before he sank back into gloom, anxiety, and self-doubt. So he'd set Y goal, hoping the elusive happiness he longed for would follow.
More on mental health

9 things I wish people understood about anxiety
Grief is powerful. Here are 6 lessons survivors learn from tragedy.
The secrets of depression
As we worked together, Philip came to realize his hypercritical father, an acclaimed heart surgeon, had drummed into his head that he wasn't worthy of being accepted and loved unless he did great things. Philip told me, "Growing up, getting a single or double in Little League wasn't enough. According to my dad I had to hit a home run to deserve to feel proud and happy."
Philip was able to call his now-retired father and say that these impossible standards had left him unable to enjoy life. After this conversation, Philip told me, "Dad was mortified. He said he'd always been proud of me but he raised me the way his father raised him."
Nowadays Philip is able to choose goals he wants rather than ones he desperately needs to reach. "Since how I feel about myself isn't dependent on whether or not I publish a novel or get a skydiving certificate, I can enjoy the ups and downs along the way."