India’s sleeping politicians

Indian political system has been under intensifying scrutiny off late both from the public and the investigating agencies for the series of scams. The public outcry against these corrupt politicians is gaining the momentum in a fast rhythm where the trust on the political system is decreasing among the masses. It’s here we think about the high profile ministers who do not stand up to their promises. Here is the list of these sleeping politicians of our cabinet who are just not active enough to address the real issues.

1. S M Krishna – External Affairs Minister


S M Krishna who made a heroic return to the Karnataka politics amid immense hype ending his 4-year stint as the Governor of Maharashtra, could soon make it to the second UPA government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 22 May 2009 as the Union Cabinet Minister of External Affairs. However, he has been keeping a low profile holding one of the powerful portfolios and has been termed as one of the most inactive ministers in the cabinet. He has been widely criticized for his lukewarm efforts to save the Indian sailors who are kept in captivity by the Somali pirates; the almost failed attempt to extradite Warren Anderson, main accused in the Bhopal gas tragedy and Christien Nielsel alias Kim Davy, the key accused in Purulia arms drop case etc. As the external minister of the country, Krishna also failed to effectively lobby internationally to mount pressure on Pakistan to bring the masterminds of 26/11 to justice. Off late, he has been caught in a public gaffe when he inadvertently read out two paragraphs of the speech of his Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado at the United Nations Security Council.

2. Sarad Pawar -The Union Ministor of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution


 Sarad Pawar has been in a series of controversies for his alleged involvement in many scams that shook the nation over the last few months. Infamous corporate lobbyist, Niira Radia had pulled him to trouble when she linked him to 2G-tainted DB Realty Firm. Pawar had resigned from the group of ministers (GoM) on corruption after Anna Hazare termed him as an example of a “corrupt” minister. He has been criticized for the sugar exports policy and has been held responsible for the increasing food price rise. Being the President of International Cricket Council which itself is a prestigious and powerful post, Sarad Pawar is often criticized for his lethargic attitude towards the problems of farmers who are under deep despair and distress among whom the suicide rate is increasing.

3. Ghulam Nabi Azad-Minister of Health and Family Welfare


Ghulam Nabi Azad, a true trouble shooter with unparallel organizational skills, has done wonders for the Congress Party, but not many admire his role as nation’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare. He stirred a controversy when he termed homosexuality as a disease and an import from Western nations. His health policies are wildly criticized as he constantly fails to improve deteriorating health conditions in the country and for he favoring his responsibility in the party over the role as a minister.

4. CP Joshi -Minister of Road Transport and Highways


CP Joshi has never been in the limelight for making a difference to the transport systems in the country. His role gains upmost importance as the country is at a phase of rapid economic growth and the investors are looking for fast-paced infrastructural development. It’s alleged that he could not keep his focus on predecessor Kamal Nath’s dream of constructing 20 km a day of national highways. Many a projects were stalled due to the disputes between the Planning Commission and the ministry. The National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) launched under the NDA regime is at its lowest pace now.


5. M. K. Alagiri – Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers


Muthuvel Karunanidhi Azhagiri, the sole member of the troubled DMK with a cabinet rank, has been appointed to the Council of Ministers under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers. He has been wildly criticized for his lowest attendance record at union cabinet meetings. He attended eight out 48 cabinet meetings in fiscal 2010-11. The opposition has demanded his removal in multiple occasions in the wake of police booking cases against him and many other controversies.

From my heart



<a href="; title="Join Gurlz-Group (” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” style=”color: #000000; text-decoration: none;”>A flower’s fragrance declares to all the world that it is fertile,
available, and desirable, its sex organs oozing with nectar.  
Its smell reminds us in vestigial ways of fertility, vigor, life-force,
all the optimism, expectancy, and passionate bloom of youth. 
We inhale its ardent aroma and, no matter what our ages,
we feel young and nubile in a world aflame with desire.


<a href="; title="Join Gurlz-Group (” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” style=”color: #000000; text-decoration: none;”>I know of no other genus whose plants flower out-of-doors
every day of the year.  I know of no other genus with one
or more species coming into bloom or growth,
peaking or going dormant at every season.
-   Nancy Goodwin, Cyclamen


<a href="; title="Join Gurlz-Group (” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” style=”color: #000000; text-decoration: none;”>Are we, finally, speaking of nature or culture when
we speak of a rose (nature), that has been bred (culture)
so that its blossoms (nature) make men
imagine (culture) the sex of women (nature)?
It may be this sort of confusion that we need more of.
-   Michael Pollan, Second Nature, 1991


<a href="; title="Join Gurlz-Group (” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” style=”color: #000000; text-decoration: none;”>To pick a flower is so much more satisfying than just observing it,
or photographing it …  So in later years, I have grown in my
garden as many flowers as possible for children to pick.
-   Anne Scott-James


<a href="; title="Join Gurlz-Group (” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” style=”color: #000000; text-decoration: none;”>They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

-   Ernest Dowson, 1867 – 1900


<a href="; title="Join Gurlz-Group (” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” style=”color: #000000; text-decoration: none;”>And if you voz to see my roziz
As is a boon to all men’s noziz, -
You’d fall upon your back and scream -
‘O Lawk!  O criky!  it’s a dream!’
-  Edward Lear, 1885


<a href="; title="Join Gurlz-Group (” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” style=”color: #000000; text-decoration: none;”>For myself I hold no preferences among flowers,
so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous.
Bricks to all greenhouses! 

Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!
-   Edward Abbey


Observe this dew-drenched rose of Tyrian gardens
A rose today.  But you will ask in vain
Tomorrow what it is; and yesterday
It was the dust, the sunshine, and the rains.
-  Christina Rosetti


You love the roses – so do I.  I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush.  Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on.  They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
-   George Eliot, Roses


<a href="; title="Join Gurlz-Group (” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank” style=”color: #000000; text-decoration: none;”>In the 1600’s, a language of flowers developed in Constantinople
and in the poetry of Persia.  Charles II introduced the Persian
poetry to Europe, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu brought
the flower language from Turkey to England in 1716. It spread
to France and became a handbook of 800 floral messages
known as the Book Le Language des Fleurs. Lovers exchanged
messages as they gave each other selected flowers or bouquets. 
A full red rose meant beauty.  Red and white mean unity.  Crocus
said “abuse not”, while a white rosebud warns that one is too
young for love.   Yellow roses were for jealousy, yellow iris for
passion, filbert for reconciliation and ivy for marriage.


Murali Iyengar 

The Extremely Kind Lawyer‏

The Kind Lawyer

One afternoon a wealthy lawyer was riding in his Limousine car when he saw two men along roadside eating grass.

Disturbed, he ordered his driver to stop and he got out to investigate. He asked one man “Why are you eating grass?”
“We don’t have any money for food,” the poor man replied. “We have to eat grass.” “Well, then, you can come with me to my house and I’ll feed you”,the lawyer said.

“But sir, I have a wife and two children with me.
They are over there, under that tree”. “Bring them along,” the  lawyer replied. Turning to the other poor man he stated, “You come with us also.”

The second man, in a pitiful voice then said, “But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!” “Bring them all, as well,” the lawyer answered. They all entered the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large as the Limousine was. Once underway, one of the poor fellows turned to the lawyer and said, “Sir, you are too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you.”
The lawyer replied, “Glad to do it. You’ll really love my place; the grass is almost 1 metre high!”

“Character is not made in a crisis, it is only exhibited.”‏

Tsunami & Earthquake & Nuclear Leaks devastated Japan

If we Indians were in place of Japanese
Could we show these things

10 things to learn from Japan


Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.


Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.


The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.


People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.


No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.


Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?


Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.


The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.


They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.


When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly.


11 Surprising Things That Can Make Us Gain Weight


Eating too much and not exercising may be the main causes of obesity, but it turns out they aren’t the only things that build the bulge.


Studies have shown the most unexpected things can pack on pounds — from getting your tonsils out, to having a whole array of “obesity genes.”

These days, 1 in 3 U.S. adults is overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so every factor counts in the fight against extra pounds.

Take a look at 11 surprising things that could be making you gain weight.



Catching one strain of the cold virus.


Children exposed to a particular strain of the common cold virus — called adenovirus 36 — are more likely to be obese than those not exposed, according to findings in the journal Pediatrics in September. In a study of 124 children, nearly 80 percent of those exposed were obese. They weighed an average of 50 pounds (23 kilograms) more than kids not exposed.


Turning on the A/C.


When living in constantly comfortable temperatures, the body doesn’t have to work to keep cool or warm, according to a 2006 article in the International Journal of Obesity. In the South, a region with some of the highest obesity rates in the United States, the percentage of homes with air conditioning increased from 37 percent in 1978 to 70 percent in 1997, the study said.

Having a working mom.


Kids with a working mom are more likely to be obese than kids whose moms stay home, according to study published in May in the American Journal of Epidemiology. University College London researchers followed 8,552 kids in 1965 and compared their weights to 1,889 children in 1991. They found the 1991 children whose moms worked were more likely to be obese than children whose moms stayed at home. However, researchers caution, they didn’t examine diet or physical activity, which are likely to partially account for the results.

Not getting enough sleep.


People who don’t get enough sleep increase their risk of being obese, according to a 2007 study in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. A number of hormonal changes — such glucose intolerance, a precursor to diabetes — occur when the body doesn’t get enough rest, the study said. Sleep restriction can spur hunger, and the tiredness that follows can decrease physical activity, leading to further weight gain, according to a 2009 study in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

Getting your tonsils out.


Researchers from St. Louis University in Missouri found kids who get their tonsils removed gain more weight after the procedure than kids who don’t have the operation. The researchers, who reviewed nine studies published between 1970 and 2009, found increased weight and body mass index (BMI) could be seen for up to seven years after the operation. BMI increased by 5.5 percent to 8.2 percent after surgery. If the operation relieves other health problems brought about by tonsillitis, it might increase a child’s appetite, the researchers said.

Keeping the light on at night.


Keeping a light on at night could add a few inches to your waistline, according to a study published in October in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Mice exposed to dim light at night gained 50 percent more weight over an eight-week period than mice that spent their nights in total darkness, even though all the mice had the same amount of food and physical activity. The results could apply to people who eat meals late at night, the researchers said.

Having an older mom.


Older moms are more likely to have obese kids, according to numerous studies. A 2007 study in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood found children born to women ages 30 or older had 2.6 to 2.8 percent more body fat than children born to women younger than 25. And a 1997 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found obesity was higher among 9- and 10-year-old girls whose moms gave birth after age 35, compared with girls whose moms gave birth when they were 21 or younger.

Being exposed to environmental contaminants.


Pollution could have an impact on your body’s metabolism, according to studies published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition and the International Journal of Obesity. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol A — found in plastic — and polybrominated diphenyl — a flame retardant — have been found in humans and are associated with obesity by interfering with hormone signaling, the study said. Pesticides that affect hormone synthesis and metabolism can also make their way into humans by going up the food chain.


Your genes.


Scientists identified 18 new genetic markers that could play a role in obesity, and 13 new markers that could determine whether fat builds around the waist or the hips, according to two studies published this month in the journal Nature Genetics. Many of these markers are in or near genes not previously connected to obesity, and by learning what these genes do, scientists may find causes of obesity in different people, the researchers said.


Having a mom who ate a high-fat diet during pregnancy.


Researchers from the University of Cincinnati and the Medical College of Georgia found mice fed a high-fat diet were more likely to have oversized babies than those fed a normal diet, according to a 2009 study in the FASEB Journal, and being oversized at birth was a risk factor for obesity later in life. The mouse babies were oversized because fat consumed by the mother causes the placenta to provide too many nutrients to the fetus, the study said. The researchers said the findings could apply to humans.

Your medications.


Some medications taken to control or prevent depression, diabetes, hypertension and unwanted pregnancy can cause weight gain. Use of psychotropic medications, particularly anti-depressants, in the United States increased by about 5 percent between 1988 and 2002, according to a 2009 study in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Hypertension drugs called beta-blockers have been linked to weight gain, as have treatments for Type 2 diabetes.

10 Weird Things Humans Do Every Day, and Why

Ever noticed that when you stare at your fingers for long enough they start transforming into alien appendages before your very eyes? You see the mundane for what it really is: freaky-looking.



The same goes for the rest of our traits. We take for granted that funny things make us yell out spastically — also known as laughing — and that we spend one-third of every day in a deathlike state of suspended animation known as sleep. But with a little contemplation, these behaviors seem truly bizarre.

Here are 10 mundane yet weird things we do all the time, and why we do them.



How odd that sadness causes water to spill from our eyes! Among all animals, we alone cry tears of emotion.



Not only do they serve the purpose of communicating feelings of distress, scientists believe tears also carry certain undesirable hormones and other proteins that are produced during periods of stress out of the body, which may explain the cathartic effect of “a good cry.”



Hiccups are involuntary spasms of the diaphragm — the muscular membrane in your chest that figures importantly in breathing. A spell of them ensues when that muscle gets irritated, often by the presence of too much food in the stomach, or too little.


Weirdly, though, hiccups are as useless as they are annoying; they serve no apparent purpose. One hypothesis suggests they may be a remnant of a primitive sucking reflex. Whatever the ancient function, they are little more than a nuisance now — something to be gotten rid of via a variety of creative folk remedies.

What Causes Hiccups?

A hiccup is a contraction of your diaphragm, the muscular membrane in your chest that figures importantly in breathing. Inhaling contracts the diaphragm and exhaling relaxes it.

Hiccups are spasmodic, involuntary, and as useless as they are annoying. A post-Thanksgiving distended stomach can irritate the diaphragm and cause a fitful spell of hiccups. Exercise or stress can cause them as well. More often, though, the reflex has no apparent cause.

One hypothesis suggests that hiccups may be a remnant of a primitive sucking reflex. Whatever the ancient function, they are little more than a nuisance now. And everyone swears they’ve got the surefire cure, whether it’s holding your breath, giving yourself a good scare, sucking on grains of sugar, drinking water upside down or even (one reputable journal reports) a gentle, modified Heimlich maneuver. Many of these actually work, by temporary halting the rhythm of respiration.



We spend roughly one-third of our lives asleep. No human can go without it for more than a handful of days, and yet sleep may be the least understood of all our activities.


It certainly allows for a lot of body “maintenance work,” from production of chemicals that get used during waking hours to the self-organization of neurons in the developing brain. REM sleep, with its high neuronal activity, occurs for longer each night during periods of brain growth.

Several theories point to sleep as a state vital to memory and learning. It may help ingrain episodic memories into long-term storage, and it also may simply give our mental waking activities a much-needed break.


How Are Memories Stored in the Brain?



Because memories underlie so much of our rich life as humans — our ability to learn, to tell stories, even to recognize each other — it’s unsettling to think that it all hinges on the mass of flesh and goo between our ears.

Researchers have been able to trace memory down to the structural and even the molecular level in recent years, showing that memories are stored throughout many brain structures in the connections between neurons, and can even depend on a single molecule for their long-term stability.


Do Colorblind People Dream In Color?

Although researchers previously believed that dreams were only black and white, they now know that most dreams are colorful. But how do the dreams of colorblind people look?

That depends on when they became colorblind. Because humans dream about what they know, people who become colorblind after birth can “see” colors in their dreams, according to “Colour Blindness: Causes and Effects” (Dalton Publishing, 2002).

However, people who are born completely colorblind and can only see their surroundings in black, white and shades of gray, do not know what colors look like, and therefore, their minds have no memories from which to fabricate colorful dreams.

Complete colorblindness, a visual condition also known as total color vision deficiency (CVD) or achromatopsia, is extremely rare and affects only an estimated one in 30,000 people worldwide, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Red-green color vision defects (in which a person has trouble distinguishing between reds and greens) are much more common and make up about 99 percent of color vision defieiencies, according to “Colour Blindness: Causes and Effects.” Among populations with Northern European ancestry, red-green color vision defects occur in about 8 percent of males and 0.5 percent of females, according to the NLM.

A person with a red-green color vision defect will dream in the same color set that they see when awake. For example, in his or her dreams, the American flag will have moss-green stripes instead of scarlet.

In the 1950s, dream researchers commonly believed that people only dreamt in black and white, even though both previous and later dream research studies established that dreams have color, according to a 2002 study by Eric Schwitzgebel, a philosophy professor at the University of California at Riverside.

The growing popularity of black and white films in the 1950s as well as increased affordability of black and white television sets may have played a role in the phenomenon of people with full sight having colorblind dreams.

“The first half of the twentieth century saw the rise of black and white film media, and it is likely that the emergence of the view that dreams are black and white was connected to this change in film technology,” Schwitzgebel stated in his study, which appeared in the journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Science.

In the 1960s, as media began to shift to full color, reports of black and white dreams became increasingly rare, showing that the things people observe during the daytime leach into their dreamscape.

“Only very, very rarely does someone report a dream that is black and white like an old movie,” said Deirdre Barrett, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School who is an expert on dreaming.. “If they’re not color blind, this may be due to exposure to old films.”

Barrett notes that if you can’t remember the colors in last night’s dreams, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you dreamt in black and white. Some people may focus on the colors within a dream, while others don’t notice what color things were. This selective perception of sorts is similar to how different people perceive the real world, Barrett said.

“If I asked you to describe something that happened two days ago, you might include no color in the incident – or you might,” Barrett told Life’s Little Mysteries. “If I asked you what color someone was wearing, you might be able to tell me or not—color just isn’t always a salient part of events. The events may be more about the interpersonal aspect, such as navigating or trying to get somewhere, while at other times, color is significant to whatever we’re doing and noticing.”



Okay, technically speaking, dying isn’t an everyday activity. It is, however, done by a whole bunch of people every day. Why?


We die because our cells die. Though they replace themselves over and over again for 70-odd years, they can’t do so forever. Inside each cell, telomeres at the end of our chromosomes contain genetic information that gets clipped away with each cell division. Telomeres start out long enough to handle a great many scissor snips. But eventually, they run out of length, the information they held is lost and the cells can’t divide anymore.

Luckily, scientists are working on how to extend the lives of human beings, and think they could someday double the average lifespan.


Toward Immortality: The Social Burden of Longer Lives

Adam and Eve lost it, alchemists tried to brew it and, if you believe the legends, Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon was searching for it when he discovered Florida.

To live forever while preserving health and retaining the semblance and vigor of youth is one of humanity’s oldest and most elusive goals.

Now, after countless false starts and disappointments, some scientists say we could finally be close to achieving lifetimes that are, if not endless, at least several decades longer. This modern miracle, they say, will come not from drinking revitalizing waters or from transmuted substances, but from a scientific understanding of how aging affects our bodies at the cellular and molecular levels.

Whether through genetic tinkering or technology that mimics the effects of caloric restriction—strategies that have successfully extended the lives of flies, worms and mice—a growing number of scientists now think that humans could one day routinely live to 140 years of age or more.

Extreme optimists such as Aubrey de Gray think the maximum human lifespan could be extended indefinitely, but such visions of immortality are dismissed by most scientists as little more than science fiction.

While scientists go back and forth on the feasibility of slowing, halting or even reversing the aging process, ethicists and policymakers have quietly been engaged in a separate debate about whether it is wise to actually do so.

A doubled lifespan

If scientists could create a pill that let you live twice as long while remaining free of infirmities, would you take it?

If one considers only the personal benefits that longer life would bring, the answer might seem like a no-brainer: People could spend more quality time with loved ones; watch future generations grow up; learn new languages; master new musical instruments; try different careers or travel the world.

But what about society as a whole? Would it be better off if life spans were doubled? The question is one of growing relevance, and serious debate about it goes back at least a few years to the Kronos Conference on Longevity Health Sciences in Arizona.

Gregory Stock, director of the Program on Medicine, Technology, and Society at UCLA’s School of Public Health, answered the question with an emphatic “Yes.”

A doubled lifespan, Stock said, would “give us a chance to recover from our mistakes, lead us towards longer-term thinking and reduce healthcare costs by delaying the onset of expensive diseases of aging. It would also raise productivity by adding to our prime years.”

Bioethicist Daniel Callahan, a cofounder of the Hastings Center in New York, didn’t share Stock’s enthusiasm. Callahan’s objections were practical ones. For one thing, he said, doubling life spans won’t solve any of our current social problems.

“We have war, poverty, all sorts of issues around, and I don’t think any of them would be at all helped by having people live longer,” Callahan said in a recent telephone interview. “The question is, ‘What will we get as a society?’ I suspect it won’t be a better society.”

Others point out that a doubling of the human lifespan will affect society at every level. Notions about marriage, family and work will change in fundamental ways, they say, as will attitudes toward the young and the old.

Marriage and family

Richard Kalish, a psychologist who considered the social effects of life extension technologies, thinks a longer lifespan will radically change how we view marriage.

In today’s world, for example, a couple in their 60s who are stuck in a loveless but tolerable marriage might decide to stay together for the remaining 15 to 20 years of their lives out of inertia or familiarity. But if that same couple knew they might have to suffer each other’s company for another 60 or 80 years, their choice might be different.

Kalish predicted that as life spans increase, there will be a shift in emphasis from marriage as a lifelong union to marriage as a long-term commitment. Multiple, brief marriages could become common.

A doubled lifespan will reshape notions of family life in other ways, too, says Chris Hackler, head of the Division of Medical Humanities at the University of Arkansas.

If multiple marriages become the norm as Kalish predicts, and each marriage produces children, then half-siblings will become more common, Hackler points out. And if couples continue the current trend of having children beginning in their 20s and 30s, then eight or even 10 generations might be alive simultaneously, Hackler said.

Furthermore, if life extension also increases a woman’s period of fertility, siblings could be born 40 or 50 years apart. Such a large age difference would radically change the way siblings or parents and their children interact with one other.

“If we were 100 years younger than our parents or 60 years apart from our siblings, that would certainly create a different set of social relationships,” Hackler told LiveScience.

The workplace

For most people, living longer will inevitably mean more time spent working. Careers will necessarily become longer, and the retirement age will have to be pushed back, not only so individuals can support themselves, but to avoid overtaxing a nation’s social security system.

Advocates of anti-aging research say that working longer might not be such a bad thing. With skilled workers remaining in the workforce longer, economic productivity would go up. And if people got bored with their jobs, they could switch careers.

But such changes would carry their own set of dangers, critics say.

Competition for jobs would become fiercer as “mid-life re-trainees” beginning new careers vie with young workers for a limited number of entry-level positions.

Especially worrisome is the problem of workplace mobility, Callahan said.

“If you have people staying in their jobs for 100 years, that is going to make it really tough for young people to move in and get ahead,” Callahan explained. “If people like the idea of delayed gratification, this is going to be a wonderful chance to experience it.”

Callahan also worries that corporations and universities could become dominated by a few individuals if executives, managers and tenured professors refuse to give up their posts. Without a constant infusion of youthful talent and ideas, these institutions could stagnate.

Hackler points out that the same problem could apply to politics. Many elected officials have term limits that prevent them from amassing too much power. But what about federal judges, who are appointed for life?

“Justices sitting on the bench for a hundred years would have a powerful influence on the shape of social institutions,” Hackler writes.

Time to act

A 2003 staff working paper drawn up by the U.S. President’s Council of Bioethics—then headed by Leon Kass, a longtime critic of attempts to significantly extend the human lifespan—stated that anti-aging advances would redefine social attitudes toward the young and the old, and not in good ways.

“The nation might commit less of its intellectual energy and social resources to the cause of initiating the young, and more to the cause of accommodating the old,” the paper stated. Also, quality of life might suffer. “A world that truly belonged to the living would be very different, and perhaps a much diminished, world, focused too narrowly on maintaining life and not sufficiently broadly on building the good life.”

While opinions differ wildly about what the ramifications for society will be if the human lifespan is extended, most ethicists agree that the issue should be discussed now, since it might be impossible to stop or control the technology once it’s developed.

“If this could ever happen, then we’d better ask what kind of society we want to get,” Callahan said. “We had better not go anywhere near it until we have figured those problems out.”

Do Hair and Nails Keep Growing After Death?

As creepy as a “yes” would be, the answer is maybe an even creepier “no”.

After death, the human body dehydrates, causing the skin shrink back, which exposes the part of the nails and hair that was under the skin, causing them to simply appear to grow.

See in 3-D

Hey, wait a second… how do two eyes produce 3-D vision?


It’s actually a trick of the mind (or three tricks, to be exact). First, our brains utilize “binocular disparity” — the slight difference between the images seen by our left and right eyes. Our brains use the two skewed versions of a scene to reconstruct its depth.

For a close-up object, the brain registers the “convergence” of our eyes, or the angle they swing through to focus on the object, to decide how far away it is.

When glancing at things on the go, we subconsciously gauge distance by registering “parallax.” That’s the difference in speed at which closer and farther objects seem to move as you pass them.

Why Do We See in 3-D?

When it comes to seeing in 3-D, two eyes are better than one. To see how 3-D vision works, hold a finger at arm’s length and look at it through one eye, then through the other. See how the image seems to jump? That’s because of binocular disparity, the slight difference between the images seen by each eye.

Binocular disparity is one of the most important pieces of information the visual centers of the brain use to reconstruct the depth of a scene.

If the object you’re trying to view is close to you, the brain uses another clue: convergence, or the angle of your eyes as you focus on an object. Crossing your eyes will give you an extreme example of the convergence sensation.

But even without binocular vision, it’s possible to judge depth. Animals without overlapping visual fields rely heavily on something called parallax, which is the difference in speed at which closer and farther objects seem to move as you pass them. For example, fence posts along the side of a highway will fly by, while a grain silo a quarter-mile from the road will seem to creep. Our brain has a built-in processing center for this phenomenon, according to a 2008 Nature study. An area behind the ear called the middle temporal region carries information about parallax, and may synthesize it with other depth cues.


Other means of perceiving depth using just one eye involve cues including object size, parallel lines that appear to converge, sharper textures in closer objects, and the way objects overlap.

Even with all these cues at its disposal, the brain makes mistakes. Artists can trick the brain into seeing a 2-D painting in three dimensions by drawing converging parallel lines and painting “closer” objects in greater detail.

Gym class can be a bummer for the visual system, as well: According to a 2008 study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, our brains take shortcuts based on previous experience when judging depth. Because most objects we encounter move relatively slowly, we may misjudge the distance of fast-moving objects — like a soccer ball headed for our face.



Turns out, the cheek-reddening reaction is a universal human response to social attention. Everyone does it — some more than others. Common blushing

triggers include meeting someone important, receiving a compliment and experiencing a strong emotion in a social situation.

Blush biology works like this: Veins in the face dilate, causing more blood to flow into your cheeks and producing a rosy complexion. However, scientists are stumped as to why all that happens, or what function it serves.



It’s weird, when you think about it, that swapping spit seems romantic. Turns out it’s a biological instinct.


Kissing allows people to use smell and taste to assess each other as potential mates. People’s breath and saliva carry chemical signals as to whether they are healthy or sick, and in the case of females, whether they’re ovulating — all important messages for potential partners in reproduction.

Furthermore, the skin around peoples’ noses and mouths is coated with oils that contain pheromones, chemicals that broadcast information about a person’s biological makeup. When people pick up each other’s pheromones during a sloppy kiss, they’ll subconsciously become either more or less sexually attracted to each other depending on what they detect.

Alongside the chemosensory cues exchanged during kisses, psychologists also believe the actual physical act of kissing helps couples bond. This theory is supported by the fact that oxytocin — a hormone that increases most peoples’ feelings of sociality, love and trust — floods brains when mouths kiss.

Love Is Scary: 12 Weird Phobias

Romance can be pretty anxiety-inducing. From the fear of staying single to a dread of chocolate, Life’s Little Mysteries has rounded up the strangest love-related phobias. Here are a dozen examples:


1. “Commitmentphobia” is a made-up phobia, but folks who fear being in a relationship may actually have amoraphobia, the fear of love.

2. People with metrophobia, the fear of poetry, would need to hire a ghostwriter if they want to pen their sweetheart a passionate verse.

3. A heart-shaped box of chocolates — that sweet Valentine’s Day staple — would be more horrifying than romantic to those with xocolatophobia, the fear of chocolate.

4. Here’s a phobia that is probably most common among bashful people making an overture to a crush: Erythrophobia, or fear of blushing, causes the sufferer to be extremely embarrassed and self-conscious of their reddening complexion. Talk about a vicious cycle.

5. Anyone who has ever been the victim of a particularly bad kisser can understand philematophobia, or the fear of kissing.

6. Sending a red, heart-shaped Valentine’s Day card to someone with cardiophobia, the fear of the heart, would be a pretty cruel thing to do.

7. What could possibly be threatening about a bouquet of flowers? Among those with anthrophobia, or the fear of flowers, a single red rose brings about feelings of anxiety — even if it’s been de-thorned.

8. People with haphephobia or aphenphosmphobia must get pretty lonely, as their phobias cause them to avoid letting anyone touch their skin.

9. Headaches caused by overwhelmingly strong, chemical scents and burns from hot wax may explain why some suffer from keriophobia — the fear of candles.

10. Guys who have anuptaphobia, the fear of staying single, might want to use a wingman to help pick up women at bars.

11. & 12. These last two go together:  Ornithophobia, the fear of birds, and apiphobia, the fear of bees. One poses the threat of being pooped on from above and the other packs a painful sting, so these phobias seem pretty reasonable to us.


The answer may stink, but everything we eat or drink gives us gas. In fact, it’s normal to fart up to half a gallon (1.9 liters), or about 15 to 20 toots worth of gas each day.


Particularly fragrant flatulence, however, comes from colonies of bacteria shacked up inside our lower intestinal tract. In the process of converting our meals into useful nutrients, these food-munching microbes produce a smelly by-product of hydrogen sulfide gas—the same stench that emanates from rotten eggs.

Just like the rest of us, the bacteria like munching on sugary foods best. The types of sugar naturally present in milk, fruit — and, of course, beans — produce the most farts.



The punchline of a joke hits you, and with it comes a funny feeling: You’re suddenly overcome by the urge to yell out spastically, over and over. Laughing is weird. Why do we do it?


Psychologists think this behavioral response serves as a signal to others by spreading positive emotions, decreasing stress and contributing to group cohesion. For those same reasons, chimps and orangutans smile and laugh during social play too.

In fact, many hypothesize that laughing evolved from panting. When our prehuman ancestors wrestled playfully with each other, they got all panty… and that eventually turned into getting laughy.



It’s not that strange that we blink: The tenth-of-a-second-long activity clears away dust particles and spreads lubricating fluids across the eyeball. What is strange, though, is that we fail to notice the world plunging into darkness every two to 10 seconds!


Scientists have found that the human brain has a talent for ignoring the momentary blackout. The very act of blinking suppresses activity in several areas of the brain responsible for detecting environmental changes, so that you experience the world around you as continuous.

Where planes go to die: Massive £22bn air force ‘Boneyard’ revealed in high resolution by Google Earth

It’s where old planes go to die – a 2,600-acre patch of U.S. desert where several generations of military aircraft are stored in what has been dubbed ‘The Boneyard’.

The $35billion (£22billion) worth of outdated planes is kept as spare parts for current models at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.


End of the line: The 2,600 acre site is home to 4,200 aircraft, of which 80 per cent are used as spare parts for the current U.S Air Force fleet


Four of the numerous types of military aircraft kept at the site in Arizona

Some planes are merely stored at the base between deployments, but for more than 80 per cent of the 4,200 aircraft that call it home, it is a cemetery of steel – 350,000 items to be called on when needed.


The base is home to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group (309 AMARG) which carries out repairs to the craft and even gets some of them flying again.

Engines, munitions, wiring and electronics are all recycled to help lower the cost of maintaining the current-day fleet. In 2005, staff at the facility recycled more than 19,000 parts worth $568million (£366million).

The U.S. government even allows the military in other countries to buy parts and even planes from the site.


The facility is the size of 1,300 football pitches.

The site has been a curiosity for eagle-eyed Google Earth users since the satellite imagery software was launched in 2005, but now for the first time it is available to view in high resolution.

The desert is a perfect place to store the mass of steel, because low humidity and rainfall means very little rust occurs. In addition, the hard soil means they can be parked up without the need for building concrete ramps.

The military has used Davis-Monthan as a plane storage facility for 60 years, and in recent years its unique landscape has been called on by Hollywood for such films as Transformers.



One of the reasons why the aircraft are kept here is because  in the desert there is low humidity and rainfall which means very little rust occurs



On the left are B-52 bombers, which were built to carry nuclear weapons. They have been chopped up for scrap and (right) these are F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers which were used extensively in the Vietnam War


Squeezed up against each other these B-52s are stored at what has been dubbed ‘The Boneyard’


Battle for Survival in the Wild

Remarkable photographs which capture the vicious battle for survival in the wild

It’s fight not flight that keeps them alive.
From snarling lionesses in the bush to a great white shark snatching a seal from the air, these amazing pictures show nature at its most dramatic.
The wildlife photographers who took them prowled four continents and placed themselves within yards of some of the wilds most lethal creatures to take these spectacular images.


Bald move: Photographer and writer Steve Bloom has spent a decade trekking the globe in a bid to capture some of nature’s most feared species in moments of conflict such as these two bald eagles battling it out in Alaska
Photographer, Steve Bloom, 58, compiled the incredible set of pictures and took a walk on the wild side to capture many of the images himself.
While visiting a nature reserve in Assam, India, Steve found himself face-to-face with a two-ton rhino. ‘I managed to gain permission to visit a section of the reserve people aren’t usually allowed to go to,’ explained Steve.

‘The rhino was standing around happily grazing – until it saw me and suddenly charged. It ran with full force like an accelerating car. I was in an open jeep so I was in a quite vulnerable position. The armed ranger I was with tried to fire a warning shot into the air but his rifle jammed.

‘Then the driver tried to start the jeep but in the heat of the moment the engine stalled. There was nothing I could do but point my camera at the beast. It suddenly swerved and covered us in dust. It felt like you could hear my heartbeat from the other end of India.’


Team effort: A group of bloody-mouthed African lions casually maul a hippopotamus as it is dragged to the ground in Masai Mara, Kenya


No escape: Four large male lions attack a buffalo from all sides, again in the Masai Mara, Kenya


Polar Bear sparring in Cape Churchill ,Manitoba, Canada


Dirty dancing: One polar bear raises its left leg towards its rival as they spar at Cape Churchill in Manitoba, Canada, while two kangaroos are at each others throats on Kangaroo Island in Australia


Rustling up a storm: Two African elephants kick up dust as they prepare to charge at each other in Botswana


Deep dive: A great white shark is caught mid-attack in South Africa as it emerges out of the ocean depths, flinging itself towards its prey


Beary scary: Two grown polar bears spar in Cape Churchill, Manitoba, Canada


Beary Scary : Two Young Bears play fight in Katmai National park in King Salmon, Alaska ,the Brown Bear is distributed across much of North Eurasia & North America and can weigh from 300 to 780 kilograms 


From water to dry land: A Nile crocodile snaps at a blue wildebeest in the Mara River


South Africa while two zebras come to blows in Masai Mara, Kenya

‘For example a cheetah is the fastest land animal at around 70 miles-per-hour,’ said Steve. ‘But it can only run in short bursts of speed. If it doesn’t catch the antelope it’s chasing within the first few seconds it’s the antelope that will outrun the cheetah.

‘So creatures need to be adaptable, learn from their surroundings and above all stay strong.’

Over recent years he has published numerous books exhibiting his work including Trading Places:The Merchants of Nairobi, Living Africa, Elephant!, Spirit of the Wild, Untamed and In Praise of Primates.



What big teeth you have: Two hippopotamus  – famed for their large mouths – battle it out in a river in Botswana


Water fight: Two hippos bear their teeth while they violently writhe in a Kenyan river

He began wildlife while on holiday in South Africa in 1993 and three years later decided to make it his full-time career.

Explaining his inspiration he said: ‘As a child in South Africa, I’d always been interested in visual images, as well as cinema. There was no TV in South Africa, too, as the authorities at that time had banned it, so I spent a lot of time looking at Life and other photo magazines.’

But not all animals involved in conflicts reach in a messy end.  In many cases animals are fighting creatures of the same species for dominance – as shown in the picture of Japanese macaques squabbling in hot springs. In other situations it is the prey that has the upper hand.


Tusk tackle: This aerial view shows two African elephants fighting at Amboseli National Park in the Kajiado District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. Elephants use their tusks for digging for roots and for fighting each other during mating season 


Mud bath: Two male African Elephants thrash around on a muddy river bed battling it out in Botswana


Group outing: Two pairs of polar bears rear up as they duel in the snow in Cape Churchill, Manitoba, Canada


ExtraOrdinary Pictures of Akshardham – Delhi


Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomises 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind.




The grand, ancient-styled Swaminarayan Akshardham complex was built in only five years through the blessings of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and the colossal devotional efforts of 11,000 artisans and BAPS volunteers. The complex was inaugurated on 6 November, 2005.




Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God, the abode of eternal values and virtues of Akshar as defined in the Vedas and Upanishads where divine bhakti, purity and peace forever pervades.




For the first time ever in the world witness the heritage of India in all its facets, insights and beauty at the Swaminarayan Akshardham through its mandir, exhibitions, verdant gardens and other attractions.



The genesis of Akshardham making lies in the wish expressed by Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj in 1968, “A mandir be built on the banks of the Yamuna.” His wish was fulfilled through the efforts and divine blessings of his successor and present spiritual master of BAPS, HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj.


What to see in Akshardham?


mandir Swaminarayan Akshardham reflects the essence and magnitude of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spirituality.
Hall of Vaules Universal values for mankind presented through audio-animatronics and light and sound diorama presentations from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Giant Screen Film A giant screen film on an 85’ x 65’ screen that vividly portrays an 11-year-old child-yogis epic pilgrimage of India.
Boat  Ride A 12-minute fascinating boat-ride experience of 10,000 years of India’s glorious heritage. Learn about the discoveries and inventions of the rishi-scientists of India, see the worlds first university of Takshashila and sail through the caves of Ajanta-Ellora.
Musical Fountains An intriguing combination of a large stone step-well and a Vedic yagna kund with a colorful musical fountain that echoes Vedic sentiments and prayers.
Garden of India Sixty acres of lush lawns, gardens and exquisite bronze statues of India’s child gems, valorous warriors, national figures and great women personalities inspire visitors with values and national pride.


Rs. 1500 Indian answer to iPad: Myth or Reality

While India has been crying over rising costs and a difficult life, our Human Resource Development Mr. Kapil Sibal, goes ahead to showcase an extremely cheap tablet PC, something similar to what an Apple iPad is.

India has developed a 35-dollar touch-screen laptop, touted as the world’s cheapest, under a programme to provide connectivity to students in schools and universities..

The laptop unveiled by the country’s Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal is described by the government as a ‘low-cost computing and internet-access device.’

Sibal said his ministry had initiated talks with global companies about its manufacture and hoped to bring down the price to 10 dollars after the device was mass produced.

‘India had developed another low-cost computing device last year but it cost about 65 dollars. This is a different model … it looks like an Apple iPad,’ Mamta Verma, a ministry spokeswoman, said.

The laptop has all the basic features, including a built-in keyboard, 2 GB of RAM memory, Wi-fi connectivity, USB ports and is powered by a 2-watt system for use in power-deficit areas.

The seven- and nine-inch (18- and 23-centimetre) Linux-based touchscreen gadget, which can be run on solar-power, in addition to the battery-operated system, is likely to be introduced in higher-education institutions next year.

The device was developed by research teams comprising students, professors and experts from the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Sciences.

India’s education policy aims at supplying connectivity to colleges and universities, providing low-cost and affordable access and computing devices for students and teachers and offering high-quality e-content free of cost to students.

The government spends just about 3 per cent of gross domestic product annually on education. The literacy rate has shown steady improvement over the past few years to reach over 65 per cent of India’s 1.2-billion population.

There’s no denying the fact that Apple iPad has captured everyone’s imaginations. A touch screen tablet PC with an impressive range of features from wi-fi access to movies, emails, browsers and access to thousands of Apple’s app store applications, iPad has been appreciated by all. The only thing keeping some people away from buying it is the price range. With an average price of between $500 to $700, it’s not exactly cheap.

However, things can change if what Kapil Sibal unveiled as an Indian answer to iPad is true. What the minister showcased is a touchscreen notepad kind of device, which uses linux as its native operating system. The device has a pretty decent 2GB RAM and provides almost all the functionality a normal notebook can offer. It has a web browser, multimedia player, PDF reader, Wi-Fi access and video conferencing ability. To top it all up, the Indian ipad can be charged using its solar-power option. The only thing missing in the tablet is a hard disk, as it’s been made to use a memory card.

Kapil Sibal holds the Indian answer to iPad

The motherboard has been designed by students from Indian Institute of Technology. Sources have said that India is now working towards reducing the costs even further, with the minister confirming of plans to drop the price to $10 or below Rs. 500.

However, the Tablet PC won’t be available for sale till next year at least. That is what has got many people worrying if the tablet is a real deal, or just another of those Congress promises which never gets fulfilled. The entire thing is too good to be true and if successful, it will change computer and tablet PC sales not just in India but across the world. But unless the real thing is released for the students as promised next year, doubts will remain on the authenticity of its claims.

The7-inch touchscreen tablet features a inbuilt keyboard, video conferencing facility, multimedia content, Wi-Fi, USB port, 32GB hard drive and a 2GB RAM. There’s support for Open Office, SciLab and Internet browsing.

10,000 Sakshat tablets will be shipped to IIT Rajasthan by June-end, following by the launch of over 90,000 tablet units in the next 4 months.

Specifications of Sakshat Tablet:
- QWERTY keyboard, mouse and a minimum display of 7” colour LCD/TFT (touchscreen optional)
- 2 USB 2.0 ports and USB hosts
- Three hours batteryless device
- SD card slot (8GB expandable memory)
- Support to connect LCD projector
- Support for external hard disk drive (Minimum 32 GB)
- Ethernet port
- 80% shock resistant

While the tablets will be priced at Rs 2,200, there are reports of plans for later subsidies of 50%. The 1500 Rupee tablet might go for Rs. 1100, and has been developed as a part of the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology to bring together 25,000 colleges and 400 universities in the Asian subcontinent in an e-learning initiative.









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