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Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Timeless Melody - Mohammad Rafi




Mohammad Rafi is the legendary playback singer of Bollywood and today is the 28th Death Anniversary. He will always be remembered as the Timeless Melody of those days. His singing career spanned three decades of bollywood leading actors like Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra etc..

On 31st July, the whole nation pays tribute to this great singer. He passed away when he was 56 years old in Mumbai. His last movie Aas Paas has his timeless song that echos through time and keeps his memory fresh.

His voice held the melody that suited any and every mood, be it romantic, sad, patriotic or fun song. He was mostly a classical singer, but managed to sing for actors like Shammi Kapoor who had many fun songs in all his films. Who can forget the song "yahoooo" from the movie "Junglee"?

His Quawali's were very popular too and was his speciality. The songs from Amar Akbar Anthony, Hum Kissi Se Kum nahin and many more timeless quawali's will always remain evergreen. We all miss this great voice and will always remember his melody till eternity.

You can listen to his songs here:
http://ww.smashits.com/music/oldies/songs/541/mohammad-rafi-i.html

You can read more about him here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Rafi

Enjoy this song "Tere Mere Sapne" From the movie "Guide" Starring Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman. A timeless classic from the great man.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Total Solar Eclipse - 1st August 2008 in Siberia

Total Solar Eclipse - 1st August 2008 in Siberia

A very unique astronomical phenomenon is likely to occur on the 1st August 2008 in Siberia, Russia. It is the total solar eclipse. The eclipse will cross the Western Siberia from the north to the south. The maximum eclipse is expected to be at 10:21:08 UT. Read this article for the full details.
http://www.total-eclipse-2008.com/

You can also get more in depth information, charts and time etc. at these links:
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/TSE2008/TSE2008.html

China Olympic Total Solar Eclipse:
http://www.clocktower.demon.co.uk/eclipse2008t/

Total Solar Eclipse: August 1 2008
http://www.hermit.org/Eclipse/2008-08-01/

Weather and Maps for the Total Solar Eclipse:
http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~jander/tot2008/tse08intro.htm

Solar Eclipse Glasses:
http://www.eclipseglasses.co.uk/

Viewers all across the globe can watch the event on NASA TV and online at www.NASA.gov.
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/SolarEclipse.html

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth July - Independence Day Celebrations

Fourth Of July is celebrated as Independence Day in the US and is a great day to spend time with your family.
The day marks: Kids. Fireworks. Parades. Ice cream...

So what are the festivities that are being planned throughout the US? Here are some links to check out the programs and events:


Travel plans with your family here
:
http://travelwithkids.about.com/od/holidays/a/Fourthofjuly.htm


Boston's Fireworks Spectacular:
http://www.july4th.org/

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular (IE ONLY) 12:00PM EST 7/4
http://www.channelsurfing.net/watch-cbs-test.html

Fourth of July Fireworks in Washington DC:
http://dc.about.com/od/specialevents/a/4thofJuly.htm

2008 Theme:
"Honor the Past, Imagine the Future"

http://www.evanston4th.org/

Independence Day Festivities in the Southland

http://golosangeles.about.com/od/losangelescalendar/a/July4th.htm

Fourth of July Celebrations
http://www.carynews.com/arts_more/story/9438.html

City of Calabasas hosts annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular
http://www.theacorn.com/news/2008/0626/bulletin_board/056.html

Bristol Fourth of July Committee
http://www.july4thbristolri.com/

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular 11:00PM EST 7/4
http://www.channelsurfing.net/watch-nbc.html

Thursday, July 3, 2008

IVF - Is Medical Technology Being Misused?

A 70 year-old woman from a village in Uttar Pradesh, recently gave birth to twins with the help of IVF. One male and one female child. This news has shocked everyone and the issue is now being debated very hotly in the media, as to how and why a 70 year-old woman was given the go ahead for IVF treatment.

http://www.aol.in/news-story/70-year-old-gives-birth-to-twins/2008070112539012000016


Apparently, the couple have lots of agricultural land in their name (ancestral property) for which they did not have an appropriate heir. Therefore, in the hope of giving birth to a male child, they opted for this line of treatment. Both are very happy now that they have an heir to their property.

The doctor who advised this treatment, when questioned by the media, said that he felt that "no woman should be deprived of motherhood, irrespective of her age". He also says that he had never promised the birth of a male child and that such "modern medical technology" to determine the sex of the fetus was not easily available and therefore the question of doing so did not arise!

However, the specialist who had been called, for her opinion on the matter, in the television studio says that that was not true. Fact is that determining the sex of the child can and is being done very easily and is readily available at your doorstep. And that appropriate laws should be reinforced to prevent the misuse of these facilities.

The IVF clinics are making money by encouraging such people to go ahead with the treatment. The specialist was not convinced that the 70 year-old woman was fit enough for the treatment and she would have advised her against it.

This issue is a really serious one that needs careful thought and proper legal measures in place to control the IVF practices and the killing of the female fetuses that has been increased dramatically in the search for a male child.

Read these two shocking news reports of female foeticide being practiced in India:

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/In-Pimpri-female-foeticide-grows-sonography-clinics-under-scanner/271407/
http://www.dancewithshadows.com/society/female-foeticide.asp

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Case Of Medical Negligence?

A mother, Sangita, gave birth to a pre-term (three months) baby in Belle Vue Hospital, Kolkatta recently only to be told, by the three nurses who helped her with the delivery, that the baby was stillborn. This incident happened recently and is in the news for a case of medical negligence against the doctors because the baby (who was declared stillborn) was found to be alive and breathing about six hours later (according to news reports on TV).

'Dead' baby found alive after 10 hrs in Kolkata hospital

Dad finds baby alive 10 hrs after docs say it's dead

Apparently, the mother came to labor on the weekend, and the nurses told her that they were unable to contact the doctor. However, they proceeded with the labor and the head nurse warned her that the child may be born dead! The child did come out soon after, normally and the nurses declared the baby as stillborn as they did not detect any signs of breathing.

Much later, approximately six hours after this incident, the baby was found by the specialist to be alive and breathing. The mother was in shock after she was told that the baby was (first) born dead and then later that the baby was alive. The baby was then taken to the intensive care for observation. They are now trying to stabilize it.

Apparently this is not the first time that such an incident has happened. A similar incident was also reported in a BMC hospital in Mumbai, wherein the mother was initially told that the baby she gave birth to was stillborn, only to find the baby alive and breathing just minutes before it was going to be buried.

‘Miracle’ baby dies after triple tragedy of errors

Such incidences are shocking, and also brings to the fore the question of medical ethics, like the case recently where a dead man came to life hours after being pronounced dead by the doctors.

Dead Man "Waking" Up Causes Stir In Medical Ethics Committee

Is this truly a case of negligence? Or do we need to refine the criteria’s that define when and after how long can a body be declared dead?

Dentists Vs Mechanics

I was inspired to write this byte after reading a post written by Mia Northwest on the similarities between her dentist and the mechanic, which you can read here:
http://www.xomba.com/the_similarities_between_my_dentist_and_my_mechanic

There are many things in common between a dentist and a mechanic. A dentist is also a mechanic as they tinker around in the mouth with the innumerable tools that they have, trying to find a problem and "fix" it same as a mechanic who tinkers around engines with their tools trying to find a problem and "fix" it.

Here is a list of some of the tools that would be similar between a mechanic and a dentist. So, Mia is right in pointing out that maybe the two should get together and have their business in the same place.

1. A drill with the drillbits (burs)
2. Pliers (a dentist has them in all shapes and sizes)
3. Wires (a dentist has them in all guages)
4. Wire cutter
5. Solders and Soldering iron
6. The lathe (for cutting)
7. Polishing materials
8. A compressor
9. All types of wax to make inlays, onlays, dentures etc..
10. Sand papers, files ( big and small ones to suit our needs)
11. Eye protection
12. a work overall

Other than these the dentists also have to work with different types of cements and mixing materials, filling materials, like plaster of paris, stone, acrylic, and many more. The list could go on....! So, in effect, you could say a dentist is a "mechanic". Maybe that's the reason why dentists and engineers make a good pair!

* Update:- If you are curious to see the instruments and tools that are used in a dentist's office then visit this post below:

http://www.xomba.com/instruments_used_in_a_dentists_office_photo_gallery_i_and_2

Happiness

Happiness! A state of mind that everyone wants to be in. What is happiness? It could mean different things to different people, mostly relative to other emotions and feelings.

Albert Camus said, "You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."

Happiness for me is the feeling of utmost joy. I remember many moments in my life when I could say that I was really "happy". I felt on top of the world. My heart sang with joy and I would burst into a song. I would jump all over the place. I felt light and bursting with energy. And the best part of those moments was that I felt in love with everything around me. What a beautiful feeling. At that moment I was the center of the universe and everything that existed was meant for me. I felt "special" and beautiful inside.

Albert also said this, "When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter."

If only I could hold on to those moments in time. Rewind the clock, and relive those precious few moments all over again. Is it possible to be happy always? No, every silver lining will have a cloud attached to it.

"Happiness is the undying quest of life, the unquenchable thirst and the insatiable hunger of all human kind. Happiness is what we all seek for, what we long for. But can such bliss be nothing but an elusive state of mind, which is here one moment and gone the next, or is such a positive outlook attainable for a lifetime?" Perhaps it is.....

I got shot….!

One fine day, I decided to accept an invitation from one of my college mates to spend the day with her. I was staying in the hostel while doing my graduation in Goa and often got such invitations from my friends on any, actually, most occasions like birthdays, festivals, anniversaries or just a plain get-together.

One fine day, like I said, my colleague asked me if I would like to come with her to her place (home town) as they were celebrating some kind of festival that was unique to that place. (I don’t remember exactly what was the occasion or what was being celebrated.). She also mentioned that the whole class was coming along, so I naturally said, OK, not wanting to miss out any “fun”. Here, let me mention that our class was generally the “outgoing” type and very “fun” loving and would not miss out any opportunity that we got.

Looking forward to having a great day ahead, we all set off in great spirits. It was a fun journey going first by the local bus and then catching a ferry to cross a river to a remote village, somewhere in Old Goa. The moment we reached the village on the other side of the river, I had a vague sense of “unease”, for I suddenly realized that we were now totally dependant on the ferry to take us back to the main land (back to civilization). The ferry, as I later learned, turned out to be the last one for the day!

Anyway, here we were, on this vague looking small town with houses built close to each other and like it happens in all such small towns, all the people seemed to know each other very well. Each and everyone greeted my friend as we crossed them on our way over to her house. There was a general air of cheer and excitement in the village, as all the people were getting ready for the “celebrations”. My friend explained to us that there would be a parade with floats and dances and songs along the main road and it would be fun to watch.

Having heard a lot about the famous Goan Carnival (still haven’t witnessed one), which is also celebrated with a lot of fun and fanfare with a similar parade consisting of floats with dances and songs, I thought it would be fun to watch this parade too. So, not aware of what lay ahead of us, we all happily trooped on to take our places from where we could get a better view of the floats and dances.



It was time for the parade to start and we all craned our necks to see the first of the floats approaching. The roadside and the houses nearby were packed with people waiting in anticipation. And suddenly, I felt a sting on my leg. “Oh god! I’ve been shot…!” I thought.

I turned to see what it was and was surprised not to find anything. Ignoring it, although it still hurt, I turned back to watch the proceedings. Before I could say “Robinson Crusoe”, No I think it was more like “Tom”, Zing…something stung me again. This time I turned in time to see someone with a “peashooter” and realized that peashooters from all sides, to my horror, were attacking us. All my friends were also getting a good dose of it.

Now, I guess it would have been really “fun” if we had been similarly armed with the same weapons and could hit them back. But here we were, totally unaware of this part of the so-called “celebrations” and also totally unarmed and like sitting ducks. These adventurous girls and boys of all ages hit us from all four sides with glee. I must say that I didn’t enjoy being hit at all.

The peas really stung hard and what was worse still was that it was also very sticky and left you feeling itchy. The skin became red and inflamed. My other friends, despite being attacked, seemed engrossed in the proceedings and didn’t seem to mind this little bit of intrusion. Well, what could I do? I gritted my teeth and tried to bear it all for as long as I could, as courtesy demanded (not wanting to seem rude). But, soon running out of patience, I asked my friend if she would excuse me and I could return back to her house where we were to stay overnight. Thankfully, another of my colleague also had had it and grabbing this chance of getting away, said she would also come with me. So, we set off and reached her home safely, without much incidence, other than a few more shots from the peashooters.

*For those who still don’t know what a peashooter is: here is a definition from Wikipedia –
Pea shooter (toy), a toy consisting of a long tube that the user can blow through to shoot dried peas or small bits of paper.”

The Nokia N95 Cell Phone – A Review



I bought a Nokia N95 cell phone recently to upgrade my earlier phone, which was a basic flip style low-end model of Samsung. I had found that phone wanting in several aspects and getting tired of it decided to upgrade to a better model and bought a Nokia.

The Nokia N95 has many features that are very useful and in many ways it is a small personal computer. It allows you to store important information, listen to music, radio, connect to the internet, play games, store and play videos, pod casts, it also has a GPS navigation system with maps, and a very effective 5megapixel camera to take pictures that are sharp and clear.





This cell phone has an innovative two-way slide that lets you switch between mobile computing and multimedia enjoyment. The built-in MP3 player, stereo FM radio, and video player promise you hours of multimedia entertainment on the go. You can activate the camera with a slide of the mechanical shutter and capture great looking photos with this 5-mega-pixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, and also record videos in DVD-like quality with digital video stabilization. There is also a second camera of l.5 mega pixel in the front of the phone that can be used to take self-pictures, it can also act as a web cam when attached to the computer, or use it for video calls.





The cell phone has various connections like the wireless LAN, Bluetooth connectivity, Infrared connection, USB, PC connections, Synchronization, Device manager and a modem that you can use to connect your PC to the Internet. These features allow you to browse the web and download data and packets with high speeds and you can keep a back up of all your content on your PC with the synchronization feature. Nokia N95 also comes with a Nokia lifeblog, which stores all your important files, images, and messages, which can be shared with your friends on the Internet.




This Nokia N95 phone has a special feature wherein you can “Personalize” your device and set it the way you want it to look. You can change the profile, tones (3-D), change the look of your device and also keep it on an Active standby mode. You can also set the font size to big or small the way you like it.

Other features in this phone include the Clock- to set the time, alarm; a Calendar, Messaging – write & send messages, e-mails, multimedia messages; Voice calls; Video calls, Video sharing; Contacts – Save and edit names and numbers, add unique ringing tones, create contact groups; Office – notes, files, calculator, adobe reader, recorder, Zip manager, wireless keyboard and a Barcode Reader.

I have been using this Nokia N95 cell phone for a few months now and find it very convenient and comfortable. I find it to be very user friendly and I can also browse the Internet while I am on the move. I have also been able to take some great pictures that I can upload and share with friends on the web.

The Nokia Care Web support provides you more detailed information on their online services.

http://www.nokia-asia.com/A4415029

http://www.nseries.com/products/n95/#l=products,n95


For a review of the latest Nokia E71:
http://www.xomba.com/nokia_e71_cell_phone_features

What Happened To The Sixth Pay Commission?

What happened to the sixth pay commission?

The Sixth Central Pay Commission submitted its Report to the Government on 24th March, 2008. You can read the full report here:
http://india.gov.in/govt/report_index.php.

However, the report was very disappointing to certain sections of the people, mainly the middle class government employees, and they rejected the recommendations put forth by the committee.
http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2881

Worst affected were the middle ranked officers of the defense services who were getting a raw deal. The only people who seemed to be looked after were all the top brass and the lower ranks, which also includes the "Babus". As a result, the three chiefs of the services got together and demanded changes in the pay structure for the officers as most of them seem to be opting for voluntary retirement as soon as they completed their 20 years of pensionable service. They obviously are not to be blamed, for all their counterparts are getting three times the salary that they were getting. It is becoming a huge problem to retain the officers in the forces.

The report was to be submitted by April 2008, which it did only to be promptly rejected by various sections of the people who were getting affected the most. The employees union, defense forces, scientists, railway employees etc. are all demanding a revised pay structure.

However, what the government will come up with is any body's guess. The latest news about the revised pay is not very encouraging. According to this report there is nothing much to cheer about. Read it all here:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/No_cheers_to_babus_in_pay_revision/articleshow/3139520.cms

According to the above news report, the revised report will be submitted by the first week of July 2008. With the elections coming close, and a ban on any populist measures to be sanctioned after October 2008 due to elections , the government will most certainly try to implement the recommendation by August so as to have sufficient time to take corrective action, if any is required.