Monday, April 24, 2006

Random Pics

My favourite so far.

City Scape. All the looks of a great city.

City Scape, another view.

Ah! the calming, magnificient, enigmatic ocean.

Today's Link: Finding the Meaning of Life.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The name game

A little about names...

My co-workers and I, last Friday, thought of lunching out at a buffet place. Over lunch, I guess fueled by the really good taste of the food, our conversation moved over to the interestingly silly but factual stuff about names!

Scandinavian Sons...

In the real past, the Scandinavians had a particular way their sons got their names. They had their first name, given to them by their parents, and their last name was their father's name with a suffix 'son' added to mark the relationship and association. So if Peter had a son whom he named John, John's full name would automatically be 'John Peterson'. Likewise, if John's son was George, he would be George Johnson. And so on the names peacefully hung around until Scandinavia had to go to war.

The military addressed their men with their lastnames. And so if the leader wanted to talk to a particular Anderson, about 20 of them sprung up! They quickly decided to patch up the naming convention. So each person was asked to choose two totally different objects of nature and combine them to form their last name. So they picked mountains and clouds, rivers and flowers and so on, in the local dialect, and the permutations were many. Interestingly, this method stuck on and to this day, thats how the Scandinavians name their sons!


At this juncture, our Irish coworker pitched in his 2 cents of the name game. But err.. yours truly was so obsessed about getting his second share of food that I carelessly missed the first part of the Irish story. Nevertheless, I did arrive to catch the last fact - that Irishmen did/do name their lastname with respect to their occupation. So you have John Shepherds, Adam Shoemakers, Thomas Cooks, etc...

Well, I knew a little about names too. Names of the type McGraw or MacMillan mean 'son of' Graw of son of Millan. But I don't remember - was this an American or an Australian style? I didn't dare ask, as I might have been offending the two Americans with us :-) Whatever it be, naming has been a subtle yet historically interesting procedure, sans nations, thanks to which we have the many jokes today.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Of reincarnations

Did you know..
To the Hindu, time and space are multidimensional. According to a Hindu classic called the Yoga Vasishtha, your next incarnation, or your last incarnation for that matter, may be happening right now. Your next life may actually occur in the past! This is because your innermost spirit exists outside of time and space, and can travel to wherever and to whenever it wants.
Now whatever that means, it sure is going to change a lot of perceptions for me!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pain relief - a distant truth

I have always thought we are scientifically advanced day-by-day and have all the equipments, techniques and concepts to take care of any situation. Like an incurable disease for example. But when it strikes you or someone near you, you realize the primitive jungle of human thought and emotion that can't be cured easily. But wait. Haven't we all heard about the new reality called pain relief techniques? Where is it, and how does a poor guy like me though literate (duh, with all the junk about the 100 years war, Hitler's suicide, Moon's craters) get it when I or my friend needs it the most?

Pain relief is a distant truth that many know exists, but never really get the opportunity to learn it.

'It is all in the mind', they say. But how do we practice it? How can we control pain with our minds, as it is said to be possible? Hello researcher, hello cutting edge scientist, you may have won the Nobel prize, but you have learnt haven't been applied and reached the ordinary people. Neither does an onlooker like me know how to help them. Help me help them. What improves lives? What decreases pain? What changes to the society can benefit us? Go out of your way and put it into practice. Few people will help initially. Gradually, a whole nation will be behind you.

Which society has modestly realized that life truths like these have to be incorporated in their school curriculum? I have a junk of knowledge which I won't use. But everyone needs some amount of knowledge which they will all use. But sadly, most of such 'creme' knowledge are not taught!

A lot of highly valuable information is limited to the conference halls and thesis-presentation halls of the high strata of scientific community for eons before it reaches a dying person, who could have been benefitted from it at its point of discovery. Many researchers spend about half their lifetime preaching and proving their work to the scientific fraternity than really going out with compassion to give it to the sufferers to help them straight away. This is how the scientific community is functions. This sort of system should change.

There are a few exceptions that laymen like me are now learning of. Thankfully. Take for example, Dr. Devi Prakash Shetty, or any doctor at the Cancer Institute of Adyar who provide their valuable knowledge with confidence and compassion to the people who need it. That's what makes them respectable - that they took their knowledge to the people who needed it knowing that wasting time takes lives. Trusting in what they have perfected, they go about their duty. Free of cost to most! This is justice to their knowledge. The real heroes. May more be like them. (Pray I would too.)

Well, yes this post conveys an exaggerated amount angst and ill feeling towards the scientific community. Although they are the path-breakers, they aren't really heroes until they get their knowledge to the people.

For, what good is he who earns the gems of knowledge and do not take pains to get it to the needy, thus completing the circle?