Tuesday, 30 November 2010

medical science

Till recently, most middle-age women were under pressure to take 500 mg calcium per day.
All this was "scientifically proved" requirements for women in their middle age.
Now it has been "scientifically proved" that the mega dose of calcium is unnecessary and maybe harmful.
Till about 7 or 8 years back, women were strongly advised to start hormone replacement therapy at the smallest sign of peri-menopausal problems. They were told that it was "scientifically" proved that HRT would eliminate all the unpleasant problems of menopause. It has now been established , again "scientifically", that HRT is really harmful.
In the 1960s, it was considered by most doctors that babies must be fed vitamin fortified formula in preference to their mother's milk. Now it is widely accepted that babies must not be fed formula unless absolutely necessary.
How scientific are clinical studies? Animals and humans are not identical. So all data must be statistical. So must all medical studies be taken with a pinch of salt ? Also how will I know that I am not that outlier in the graph.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Scams

A few days back, I had posted that I am happy our scams are coming out and not being swept under the carpet as has been the case till now.
Now with a vengeance there's a scam-a-day.
Are they being exposed selectively? Are scams being aired selectively by some group that decides which scam can be leaked to the public and which must be kept under wraps?
This is what Ratan Tata seems to suggest. Is he saying that because he has some knowledge of the background, or is he just peeved?
If this theory is true, it's really scary.

Monday, 22 November 2010

confused again

What is the difference between "integrity" and " impeccable integrity"?
I am confused again.
For any appointment to any senior post, "integrity is a given, but if impeccable integrity is an eligibility condition, then most judicial and constitutional appointments will be under question"quote from Vahanavati.
This was on NDTV in the context of the appointment of the new CVC.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

to post doc or not to post doc

IITM has a short term post-doc program for women who have a PhD but could not continue in a research career. It's a nice initiative.
Personally, though maybe it's too late, for I feel my experimental skills are terribly rusty....but again, maybe they are good still......... I wouldn't know till I try it.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Materials

Interesting how people can design materials. A new nanopillar sounds incredible.
However, if we are going to use solar energy on a large scale, should we not stick with silicon and that too amorphous?
Otherwise the problems created by large scale disposal of Ge, Cd, Sb, Te etc is going to be the next problem we create.
Amorphous silicon uses less energy to manufacture.
I think people should tweak the a-Si and come up with better efficiencies for large scale uses, grid integration etc and keep the other elements for specialist uses.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Cheek

The height of cheek-
Raja stating that he is resigning in order to uphold parliamentary democracy.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Chattisgarh

A report by Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera in today's Hindu magazine says that Chattisgarh has improved its PDS enormously.
As they are quick to point out, it is not due to the goodness of the chief minister's heart.
It is good calculation. (That is more sustainable...goodness of heart is not a good model)
When the politicians realise that good governance is good for their chances of staying in power, there is hope.
Because some politicians have realised (or maybe the electorate has made them realise) that it makes good electoral sense to govern well, there is hope for India; there is hope others will emulate this model in order to stay in power.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Obama visit

The whole media-world seemed to be excited by Obama's visit. While I liked his speeches both at St Xavier's and at the Parliament for the free flowing oratorical excellence, it was just a talk... albeit a good one.
Just like he pointed out the human rights violations in India, one could tell him that until there is a just solution in Palestine, until Iraq and Afghanistan are normalised, there will be terror.
He said it was our duty to speak up against such violations anywhere in the world. So maybe we should start with Iraq.
However, we do need to set our human rights track record on the right path, not for Obama, but for our own future -- if we don't want to live perpetually inside gated communities afraid of bombs in trains and shopping malls.

Friday, 5 November 2010

rare earths

“Over the past couple of years, Korab has variously portrayed itself as a gold company, phosphate, uranium, base metals and cobalt (company), more recently as a rare earths company! Whew, how does this company keep up with itself? … Gee, it must be hard to make discoveries like this without doing a bit of drilling or even soil sampling”.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/rare-earths-you-read-it-here-first/story-e6frg9ex-1225944148371

artificial light

It took me a long time to get used to the bluish white light of the CFLs that are currently used everywhere. Maybe it is because most of my life, electric light meant the tungsten filament kind with its yellow light. I wonder if it is true for younger people who are used to the bluish white light form their childhood. If not, then is it some atavistic thing -- from the days when wood fire was used for light and heat?

religion

Murmurings started during dussera and now there is more for deepavali. There are claims that Narakasuran and Mahishasuran were adivasi kings killed in battle and then demonised.
These theories are quite likely to be true though it is probably not possible to prove or disprove such theories.
Whether they are or not, much of our mythology is about warfare, killings etc. Or, to be more accurate, the mythological stories we hear are about war and killing.....many of the finer nuances are obscure and unheard of.
Many temples were allegedly built on adivasi temples or sacred groves.
I do not know how many of these theories are true. Probably, some are true and some are not; but these theories act as a nucleus for strife.
It is time that religion became a personal affair and noisy celebrations phased out.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

"there is toilet paper in khoya and animal fat in ghee" high pitched screeching on the TV . This is a news report on the raids that the Delhi govt has conducted on sweet shops in the run up to Deepavali.
But if ghee shouldn't have animal fat, what should it have? I am confused.

Vedic people

In my school days, the Aryans populating India were of central Asiatic origin who entered India from the north west. Then there was this hu...